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Rome v Alexander's Empire

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  • zraver
    replied
    Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
    Just looking at the forces given; not only do the Romans have a numerical advantage, but the 'bonus' troops for the Greeks are Persian light troops... while the Romans get Carthaginians.

    Now, I'm not saying that Carthage as an ally automatically gets you command of the seas, but it's likely a Greek force in Italy will be facing a supply shortage after a while.

    All in all, I'd say the Greek force as outlined is at a disadvantage.
    Off set to an extent by Macedonian control of Sicily allowing a very short crossing to Italy and Heraclea unless Rome can take the city and surrounding region forcing Macedonia to fight and win at sea or lose Naples and Campania.

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  • The Exorcist
    replied
    great, how?
    Just looking at the forces given; not only do the Romans have a numerical advantage, but the 'bonus' troops for the Greeks are Persian light troops... while the Romans get Carthaginians.

    Now, I'm not saying that Carthage as an ally automatically gets you command of the seas, but it's likely a Greek force in Italy will be facing a supply shortage after a while.

    All in all, I'd say the Greek force as outlined is at a disadvantage.

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  • zraver
    replied
    Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
    Well, under the outline of the assault given, Rome wins.
    great, how? Not saying I dissagree with you, but the reasoning behind your veiw (and behind others) is what drives the discussion.

    However, you have in this scenario a united Alexandrian Empire, which would eventually drown the Romans with wave after wave of reinforcements.
    Possibly, but it brings up an interesting point. No one has really commented on the key to Italian unification for Rome and retaking Scicily for Carthage- control of the seas.

    Who decides where the fleet fights? Carthage obviously wants to start in the South West. Its the least direct overland route to Syracuse, it provides a spring board towards future efforts in Lybia, secures the southern flank and makes sure that by the time any joint Roman- Carthaginian army reaches Messana and can cut off the northern sea route to Campania, Carthage already has most if not all of what it wants.

    Rome most likely wants a strategy to take either Naples and Campania, or Heraclea. Heraclea would provide Rome with access to Scicily which would probably burn the Carthaginians so is out at least in the beginning. Crossing the middle of Italy to attack the adratic coast deprives Rome of its allies so the only real option is Campania the heart of Italian magna greacia.

    If Rome's goal is Naples and Campania they need th fleet to blockade the coast. Othrwise the Roman army has to look two ways at once for troops from the Macedonian Empire- from the South by land and from the West by sea.

    For the Macedonians, as long as they control the sea they can supply Campania and the south of Italy and ward Sicily against invasion. Since Rome isn;t a naval power, they likely view the Carthaginians as the sole contenders at sea.

    Which begs the question- with Carthage as an ally, would Rome even fortify Ostia and build a fleet?

    You also have the PR nightmare of Rome appearing in the same light that Athens did when Greece was attacked by Xerxes.
    Ooops...
    Not the Greeks it wouldn't, Rome is not part of Magna Graecia but is barabaroi. At best they might be likened to some of the more civilized tribes of Thrace and points north.

    Now if Roman or Carthaginian troops sack Naples....

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  • The Exorcist
    replied
    Well, under the outline of the assault given, Rome wins.

    However, you have in this scenario a united Alexandrian Empire, which would eventually drown the Romans with wave after wave of reinforcements.

    You also have the PR nightmare of Rome appearing in the same light that Athens did when Greece was attacked by Xerxes.
    Ooops...

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  • Yankee
    replied
    Rome ; They had some good manuvers such as thr Tortose : To where Roman solders got buttoned up inside of the their sheilds with only the spears coming out. And every once and a while they would open the top sheilds up. And have their archers fire a few vollyes .

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  • Gooner
    replied
    Originally posted by zraver View Post
    He beat the Roman army sent against him using hoplites and sarissa infantry.
    Actually the core of the Roman army at this time, the Principes and Triarii, was still spear armed, Hoplite like, infantry. Only the Hastati carried the Pila.
    Pike armed infantry beating spear armed infantry the Macedonians had established as the norm.
    It was in response to the Pyrrhus invasion that the Romans reamed the Principes with Pila leaving only the Triarii as the veteran spear armed reserve.

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  • Nick the Noodle
    replied
    The following book is directly relevant and a great buy. Given a better supply line my money would be on Pyrrhus.



    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pyrrhus-Epir.../dp/1844159396

    I have this to read next which also looks relevant and decent .



    http://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Roman...Greece/p/2065/

    Leave a comment:


  • Frtigern
    replied
    Alexander vs. the Roman Republic, erm? I've had the same thoughts. If Alexander hadn't suddenly died in Babylon or had not even tried to raid India and instead reassembled his army and a navy to invade Italy around 300 BC Rome would have a hard time dealing with the battle hardened "conquerors of the known world". Whereas Repubulican Rome at that time was little more than a unified collection of Latin tribes and Italic allies, some of whom were not known to be very loyal if they saw an opportunity to gain them some independence or influence or whatever. Some Italian cities were Greek colonies and they may have thrown in their ports and manpower with Alexander. The only other real threat was the Carthaginians who probably would've allied with Alexander for the war until the Romans were wiped out.

    As for strategic and tactical differences. Alexander defeated Greeks, Illyrians, Getae, Persia, and Sogdia with a suicidal attempt at India. He didn't just destroy the cultures or people he conquered, he assimilated them, and spread control of these areas to trusted generals. I have no doubt that as his campaign drove on he would've made use of local troops as it was impossible replenish troops from Macedonia. Also keeps men of war from rebelling while his army moved on. If he decided to turn around at modern day Afghanistan and assemble an army from all the lands he conquered to take Rome you would see a much different Army that defeated Thebes decades earlier.

    It probably would retain the heavy cavalry meant for hammering weak points, flanks and taking out enemy cavalry but it would include cavalry from all of the eastern lands where horses were a way of life. Italy had few cavalry specialists and they had to be wealthy enough to keep horses and equip themselves. Also the Romans were never a cavalry oriented army and would use allies well into Eastern Roman Empire days to fill their mounts.

    Also the professional Imerial legionary cohorts in lorica segmentata plate armor we see in every Roman era Hollywood movie wouldn't exist for another 300 years. The Roman army was a conscripted lot of citizens who were divided by class and their skill and equipment was based on how many battles they've seen and how much money they had to purchase equipment. For the most part this meant that there were more light infantry and skirmishers in their ranks than their were veteran warriors.

    With this in mind all Rome had to worry about was some Gauls in the north, some hill tribes in the central highlands and the Greek colonies in the south. Their army was good enough to widthstand the armies in thier vicinity and not much else. When they were beat by a professional army bent on sacking all of Italy was when they first reformed recruiting, equipment, incentives and organizational particulars that was to make the Romans a professional army. The event I speak of are the Punic Wars.

    If Alexander invaded, they would surely learn how out classes they were. I can see it happen like a Xerxes type of invasion with war elephants from India, phalanxes from Greece, cavalry from Armenia, archers and chariots from Persia, light infantry and skirmishers from the Hindu Kush to the Nile River and mercenaries from everywhere in between assembled in this vast coalition on the heel of the Peninsula ready to wipe clean puny Roma and the small republic it calls itself. Have mercy on them when hastati are thrown into a wall of sarissas and then ran through by Alexander's companion cavalry who were rested and refit back home in Macedonia. All this after hundreds of thousands of arrows and javelins were launched. To meet any Roman cavalry and maniples flanking would be elephants supported by cavalry and light infantry. Some missile troops are also skilled at melee and also be thrown at the front but of course the one battle winning variable would be Alexander himself leading his companions straight at every weakness seen and trying to cut he head off from its body, which would be the Roman commander who would witness the quick massacre of his army and knows his only two options are to run or die trying to kill Alexander in a mad charge!

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  • zraver
    replied
    Oh thanks for liking the concept, I like what ifs that are not just X v Y, out of place and time comparisons or trying to re-win already decided wars. Yet I like discussions that center on realistic might have beens that make people argue multiple areas in support of a central thesis.

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  • zraver
    replied
    Originally posted by Tuor View Post

    As to the premise, you seem to be implying Alex reaches a standoff with the Romans, leaving them in control of central Italy and the Carthaginians independent, and the Macedonians with increased control of Greece.Doesn't seem to be his style to leave the Mediterranean half controlled by enemies---he was forced to do so on the brink of distant India, the central Mediterranean isn't that far from Macedon.
    not a standoff, he simply runs out of life before it is finished. He takes Libya and from there can jump to Sicily which is fully castellated even then.

    Of course there are several real constraints which might support the scenario: 1) even if living 20+ years his reckless and less then austere lifestyle would effect him 2) the bigger the empire the more difficult to control it. Trying to control from India and Bactria to Yemen and Macedon's northern borders to Sicily is mind-boggling and he could conceivably need to periodically revisit areas.
    exactly

    Perhaps someone could analyse the respective plusses of 330 to 270 B. C. phalanxes vs. legions.
    For the Macedonians the phalanx is superbly trained and supremely confident but much smaller in number. For Rome, no changes. Until the Marian reforms the maniple system dominated.

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  • zraver
    replied
    Originally posted by Nick the Noodle View Post
    The background is okay, but the numbers of troops need to be revised, vastly downwards in the main, especially the cavalry. Hannibals cavalry at Cannae was only c10k, and the Persian cavalry number at Issus probably only a thousand or so larger. Also in ancient times, army sizes were about 50k max due to the limits of logistics.

    Still a nice change from the usual X vs Y
    troops revised, numbers roughly the same, these represent total numbers of troops easy at hand, not singular field armies. During the First Punic War Rome was able to sustain a navy number well over 100,000. Logistics along the coast allow for bigger troop numbers for the Greeks who have multiple ports, while interior lines allow Rome to keep a large number of men under arms if not all concentrated together.

    Nikkieb,

    I don't see any reason that you would have any companion Cav or Cata sent to Italy, the cost would be very high. Likely it would be mostly Greek type troops.
    Official imperial contribution to show the power of the crown and remind all and sundry there are more where they came from. To rebel and create his own empire Pyrrus would have to kill them, and that would be instant blood feuds with every nobles whose son he murdered.

    As for invading. You seem to be forgetting Magna Graecia (Greek Italy) giving the Macedonian Empire multiple fortified beach heads to start from. They also control the anchorages of Syracusa, Naples and Heraclea (Taranto) and control the crossing at messana and thus dominate the the South West and Adriatic etc. There is no Royal Navy to charge to the rescue in the East. However, the combined Roman and Carthaginian fleet has a real chance to seize at least local control, but so does the Hellenic fleet.

    Finally thanks to Rome's efforts to unify Italy, the area is crisscrossed with the worlds first paved all weather highway system, while the areas suitable for farming from central Italy south have been cleared and either planted with Olive orchards or massive grain growing latifundia

    Broderick,

    But you've got Pyrrus - not Pyrrhus of Ephesus? If it's him, I'm backing Rome.
    You might want to research Pyrrus of Epirus. He was one of the great captains of the ancient world. His comment leading to the term Pyrrhic Victory need to be understood in context, "one more such victory and we shall be undone". He beat the Roman army sent against him using hoplites and sarissa infantry.

    The areas the Romans want to seize are obvious- Campania to uncorck the southwest and Heraclea to gain access to Messana. If fact Pyrrus first victory against the Romans occurred at Heraclea against the consular army lead by Publius Valerius Laevinus (85-90,000 total troops counting both sides). The Carthaginians want Sicily, while the Macedonians want Rome.

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  • Tuor
    replied
    Originally posted by Namib
    Italy is a very hard place to attack, the Ottomans tried landing a massive army there, but the logistics of Operating in Italy and threatened supply lines pretty much stopped them.
    Not to mention the allies in WWII (Don't listen to Winston, Americans, he's trying to suck in the allied forces into messing around in the Mediterranean).

    As to the premise, you seem to be implying Alex reaches a standoff with the Romans, leaving them in control of central Italy and the Carthaginians independent, and the Macedonians with increased control of Greece.Doesn't seem to be his style to leave the Mediterranean half controlled by enemies---he was forced to do so on the brink of distant India, the central Mediterranean isn't that far from Macedon.

    Of course there are several real constraints which might support the scenario: 1) even if living 20+ years his reckless and less then austere lifestyle would effect him 2) the bigger the empire the more difficult to control it. Trying to control from India and Bactria to Yemen and Macedon's northern borders to Sicily is mind-boggling and he could conceivably need to periodically revisit areas.

    Perhaps someone could analyse the respective plusses of 330 to 270 B. C. phalanxes vs. legions.

    Leave a comment:


  • broderickwells
    replied
    In a battle, probably Rome. In a war, back a big empire against a small one.

    But you've got Pyrrus - not Pyrrhus of Ephesus? If it's him, I'm backing Rome.

    Leave a comment:


  • niikeb
    replied
    Hmm...
    If we cut the Cav down, and drop the total # of troops to the ~50k Limit.

    Then it depends on where the battles took place.

    If it takes place in Italy I think Rome wins. The Legion concept is more flexible over broken ground than the Phalenx format.

    I don't see any reason that you would have any companion Cav or Cata sent to Italy, the cost would be very high. Likely it would be mostly Greek type troops.

    Italy is a very hard place to attack, the Ottomans tried landing a massive army there, but the logistics of Operating in Italy and threatened supply lines pretty much stopped them. Not to mention that Cav has never been widely used in Italy due to the terrain types. Try charging your horses up hill on rocky loose ground and/or thick brush. It can be done, but it requires the right terrain.

    This is somewhat a Operation Sealion, with superior ground forces expecting to take an invasion into unfriendly limited terrain. This is also why Persia had a hard time invading Greece. Bad Terrain for your favorite troop type, threatened supply lines, limited time in the field.

    Great topic though.
    Last edited by niikeb; 18 Jun 12, 12:22.

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  • Nick the Noodle
    replied
    Originally posted by zraver View Post
    Instead of dying in 323 B.C, Alexander lives to 302 B.C. In those extra 20 years he spreads west and wages war first against Rome securing the Greek city states. Then to support further campaigns in Italy, against Carthage capturing Libya and Sicily. When he dies his son Alexander IV takes the throne in Babylon.

    One of things Alexander IV does is wage war in Europe. Helped in part by a shared greek Heritage and family ties among the Molossians who he promotes he manages to capture the Adriatic coast almost all the way to Italy.

    Alexander's IV's primary general in the West is Pyrrus of Epirus, a post he retains as a member of the Diadachi. Rome for its part was not idle, seeing the moves of Alexander as a threat, they use his distraction against Sicily and Carthage to wage a series of wars called the Samnite wars to unify all of the non-Greek Italy.

    Roman efforts to unify Italy lead them into conflict the first time in 275 when Rome defeats Pyrrus in a war over the part of the Adriatic coast Macedon does not control but is shown to be weaker than they thought, especially at sea so they also ally with Carthage against the Macedonian Empire's assured revenge. Carthage of course wants to regain control of the trade routes and to secure efforts in Hispania and Corsica.

    Its now 274 B.C., and a great war has come. Dentatus is first consul for the Romans, and Pyrrus leads for the Macedonians.

    Pick a side either Macedonian or Roman.

    The Roman Army is about 140,000 men including about 40,000 Carthaginian light cavalry. The Roman part of the army has 3000 heavy cavalry, 15,000 triarii, 30,000 principes, 10,000 hastati, 20,000 velites and 25,000 allied Latin auxilla. The legions use the maniple system.

    The Macedonians have 40,000 sarisi, 50,000 Persian light infantry and archers, 20,000 light cavalry, 10,000 Macedonian Companion cavalry , 10,000 Hellenic cataphractoi, and 10,000 non-latin Italian allies a mix of Magna Greek Hoplites, light infantry and Gauls.

    Two great commanders, evenly matched forces. At sea the fleets are similar as well. Pyrrus can draw on more trained troops from the rest of the empire but not nearly so many as Roman can create (Velites and Hastati).
    The background is okay, but the numbers of troops need to be revised, vastly downwards in the main, especially the cavalry. Hannibals cavalry at Cannae was only c10k, and the Persian cavalry number at Issus probably only a thousand or so larger. Also in ancient times, army sizes were about 50k max due to the limits of logistics.

    Still a nice change from the usual X vs Y

    Leave a comment:

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