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Thread: POTF 28 - Winner and Runner-Up

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    Default POTF 28 - Winner and Runner-Up


    The winners of POTF 28 were Lord Oda Nobunaga and Love Mountain, earning 1 competition point and 5 rep points each. Well done!

    Winning Post
    Love Mountain - Charges dropped against General Flynn

    Quote Originally Posted by Cope View Post
    The Mueller report - salient portions of which I cited - concluded that there was no evidence of coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Legally and constitutionally, that is the only relevant finding.
    Legally, the Mueller Report explicitly did not make a prosecutorial recommendation because it was constitutionally impossible.

    'The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) has issued an opinion finding that “the indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would impermissibly undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions” in violation of “the constitutional separation of powers.”1 Given the role of the Special Counsel as an attorney in the Department of Justice and the framework of the Special Counsel regulations, see 28 U.S.C. § 515; 28 C.F.R. § 600.7(a), this Office accepted OLC’s legal conclusion for the purpose of exercising prosecutorial jurisdiction."

    In other words, even if President Trump was guilty of a crime, Mueller is simply unable to make that call.

    [No one paid attention to it (or frankly cared) for any other reason. Your insistence that the report really proves the opposite of what it claims is mindless gainsaying; it exposes the fact that you still aren't ready to accept that you were sold a conspiracy theory by a liberal establishment clawing in the dark for excuses.
    I didn't bring up the report, you did. And a report that ends on, "Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him." Nor does it do the President any favors when the man in charge of the report replies Yes as to whether the report establishes sufficient basis for further investigation. I don't need the liberal establishment to tell me anything, the facts are rather self-evident. Multiple members of the Trump Campaign indicted, under investigation, or worse. The President himself not declared innocent by a length investigation into the matter.

    The WH already had a judgement against it in the subpoena dispute from a federal court. It is highly unlikely that the administration would have been able to "obstruct" a Supreme Court ruling for a year after the initiation of impeachment proceedings. For a comparison, it took the court less than half that time to insist the Nixon comply with House subpoenas in his impeachment hearings. The House Dems chose to prioritize their own timetable over the proper process and they lost. It's time to move on.
    The Watergate scandal took months to resolve. Suggesting that the same should be done with Trump's White House is a bad joke. The White House ignored virtually all subpoenas, using a variety of legal arguments to stonewall Congress. The fact that Trump is still in office is because impeachment is ultimately a political matter. As I've said before, the Senate protected Trump out of partisanship, not because of a sound legal defense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cope View Post
    Transcripts of more than 50 previously classified closed-doors interviews relating to the Russia investigation have been released. To the surprise of no one, non of the interviewees, including former Obama era staff (James Clapper, Susan Rice, Loretta Lynch etc.) were able to produce any evidence of a conspiracy between Trump and/or the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

    Clapper, a former director of national intelligence and staunch opponent of the president, claimed in 2017 that “I never saw any direct empirical evidence that the Trump campaign or someone in it was plotting/conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election whilst Lynch, a former AG, claimed she "could not say" if there was any proof to support the conspiracy allegations. Rice noted that "to the best of my knowledge there wasn't anything smoking...I don't recall intelligence that I would consider evidence to that effect that I saw prior -- of conspiracy prior to my departure".

    Despite knowing this, figures like Schiff (who was then the Dems' ranking member on the House Intel Committee) spread misinformation about the probe, repeatedly and falsely claiming that there was clear or "significant" evidence of collusion between Russia and Trump, a narrative which was amplified by his allies in the press.
    Lol, okay.

    DR. WENSTRUP: Was Pnesident Putin successful in his effont to
    undermine the credibility of the electoral pnocess, in your opinion?

    MR. CLAPPER: I believe -- I believe he absolutely was. I
    believe that they were successful beyond thein expectations in terms
    of sowing doubt and discord about the veracity or sanctity of our
    election pnoces.

    .
    .
    .


    MS. SEWELL: Since the dissemination of the assessment and the
    inauguration, more information about the Russian meddling has emerged.
    Most necently, you were quoted ln the medla saylng that you don't
    believe that the emails associated with the meeting that DonaLd Tnump,
    ln. had took with the Russian Government lawyers ane the only evidence
    of collusion between Dona1d Tnump and the Russians. To the contrary,
    you explained - - and I think this was in Ciphen Bnief . To the contrany,
    you explained that the Russian offer to provide the Tnump campaign with
    negative matenials about their competitons centainly comports with
    traditional Russian tradecraft to give leverage and influence any way
    that they could.
    In this classified venue, why do you believe that mone evldence
    of collusion will emergel
    MR. CLAPPER: WeII, I don't knowthat it wi1l, but I find it hand
    to believe that the entire boundary of evidence here is just bound up
    tn those -- in that emall exchange in early lune of 2Ot6. I just find
    that hand to believe that that was it. That was a one-time anecdote,
    and nothing else happened. I find that hand to accept.


    Yeah. Those transcripts are just completely in favor of Trump.


    Winning Post
    Lord Oda Nobunaga - French Command in the Franco-Prussian War

    It goes back to the French Revolution. Officers were promoted on their merits obtained during field command, but they had no structure for training an officer corps. This was also an observation which Napoléon made (the real one I mean, not the adopted Louis pretender). Prussia on the other hand was using the methods developed from Clausewitz, Gneisenau and Scharnhorst. For this reason although Moltke had to rely on some rather hot headed field commanders, he could more than make up for it with his excellent staff officers and coordination of his armies in the field. The French on the other hand had no such advantages and had to rely on sub-par planners and some very élan minded field commanders. Which no doubt would have performed well in the Napoleonic Wars but lacked the abilities to command entire armies in the field. This was also a problem which Napoléon experienced, although his own contributions mitigated that issue. The French in 1870 had no such leadership that was comparable to Napoléon or Helmuth von Moltke. But that is only one part of the problem, there are so many others that I'm not sure where to begin.


    Runners-up this week were Hanny and EricD. See you next time!

    Runner Up Post
    The Disobedient Roman Soldier

    Quote Originally Posted by EricD View Post
    I cited Ardant du Picq, not because I believe his model for Roman tactics is the most accurate (I think that aspect is rather dated and too heavily influenced by his 19th century military experience), but because I think du Picq's insights on the importance and dominating influences of morale and fear are very important. I did not cite du Picq on Roman tactics, I cited du Picq on the impact of fear in battle, because on that topic I think du Picq's writings are very accurate.
    Talking about incompetence, Picqs view on Roman discipline is exactly the opposite of yours, his is the view that the un brave Roman was compelled to fight from fear of punishment.

    Then you shoud have used Roman sources not a source from a millennia past the events, only your ignorance of both Roman warfare and Picq, can excuse you, especially since what Picq wrote is "The Roman was not essentially brave. He did not produce any warrior of the type of Alexander.""The discipline of the Greeks was secured by exercises and rewards; the discipline of the Romans was secured also by the fear of death. They put to death with the club; they decimated their cowardly or traitorous units.""In order to conquer enemies that terrified his men, a Roman general heightened their morale, not by enthusiasm but by anger. He made the life of his soldiers miserable by excessive work and privations"" Roman training and Roman discipline produced a fantastic army, discipline cannot be secured or created in a day, it is an institution."""The soldier is unknown often to his closest companions. He loses them in the disorienting smoke and confusion of a battle which he is fighting, so to speak, on his own"


    Here Picq is using his knowledge of French harsh military views of discipline, conscription of people unknown to each other who then served together, and what it produces in his time, and *thinking* this applied to a different culture in a different time. Btw his thinking is what led to French mass slaughter by charging into high volume rifle fire with bayonet charges, in the Franco Prussian war, roughly equal numbers committed to campaign, and French casualties were 5 times that of Prussia.

    Picq views were formed in his century, and the mechanics and nature of combat had radically changed, ergo his views were totally different from a Romans views on morale and fear.

    To a Roman citizen of the Republican period, his service was an not only a duty, it was an act of devotio, he put himself at risk for body politic, wounds received were proof of this for all to see. Livy describes how a first centurion was picked, by giving us his speech as to why he should be preferred. Marcus Servilius"I have a body distinguished by honest scars,every one of which was received on the front of my body."Servilius was presenting a common discourse about warrior values in the ancient world. A soldier should only have wounds on the front of his body, since wounds on the back were a shameful sign that he had run away. Another centurion when arguing for promotion, pointed out his awards for killing 23 enemies in combat and 7 wounds to his front. Caeser lament the loss of a centurion "Q. Lucanius, of the same rank, fighting most valiantly, is slain while he assists his son when surrounded by the enemy", father dies to save son, unlike saving that man next to you who you dont know,,and relates chief centurion of the legion P. Sextius Baculus, a very valiant man, who was so exhausted by many and severe wounds, that he was already unable to support himself.

    The Roman manipular standard has an open hand on its top, on taking the military oath, the citizen becomes a soldier, he raises his open hand and gives his fides to serve, to a Roman his fides was more than important than his life, to break it was to become less than Roman and to offend the gods.

    Only those of high dignitas advanced in rank in military service, those who surrendered, performed badly by routing etc, exiled on poor rations to serve in sicily for the duration of the war, freed slaves were preferred over them for military action and service.

    With his fides intact he could achieve viritus, 'acting like a brave man in military matters'. virtus was to be found in the context of 'outstanding deeds' (egregia facinora), and brave deeds were the accomplishments which brought gloria ('a reputation'). This gloria was attached to two ideas: fama ( fame) ('what people think of you') and dignitas ('one's standing in the community'). The struggle for viritus at Rome was above all a struggle for public office (honos), since it was through high office, to which one was elected by the People, that a man could best show his manliness which led to military achievement, which would lead in turn to a reputation and votes. c25% of all citizens were in service during the Republican period, and c9% lost there lives there.

    The Treatment of War Wounds in Graeco-Roman Antiquity, (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Treatment-G.../dp/9004114793) Salazar points out that the ancient sources used "wounding as a metaphor for heroism." To be wounded and continue to fight was heroic; to stop fighting after suffering a wound was cowardly. Titus Quinctius, the son of Cincinnatus, continued to fight despite having an "arm cut off."

    Quote Originally Posted by EricD View Post
    I would also dispute any characterization of the evolution of Roman military methods based upon some idea that they meant to create a "superior military machine" such that "superior methods" could make up for "inferior numbers".

    So, they must have abandoned the use of a phalanx for the Legion to create an inferior method of fighting then, acording to you. Greeks gave up the pike phalanx it up to imitate the Roman legion, because it was so inferior. Half of Roman field forces were allies in the period, as Roman citizens were to few on their own, and Rome required Allies to serve the Roman Military machine, because the Roman state that had a small citizen body, and they all ended up using Roman equipment and methods, because they were inferior.

    They gave up having 2/3 of the legion with spears, to 1/3 and finally to no spears because pila were inferior then, they gave up using greek straight swords for gladius during the 2nd PW because it was an inferior weapon.

    Quote Originally Posted by EricD View Post
    It is known that an army suffers far heavier casualties when it is routing and running away without fighting, than when it is standing and fighting.
    Known only to the innumerate it appears.

    I just, pointed out what you know is contradicted by the evidence the opponents of Sparta, with 2 and 3 to 1 odds in their favour, incurred 8% when defeateing Sparta at odds of 3:1, and twice that when defeated by Spaerta when at odds of 2:1, ie they will take 8% anyways, so another 8% from losing, is not how you described it, and is exactly why Sparta with inferior numbers but superior training and discipline was able to defeat superior numbers, when all were using the same weapons. This data set again points out the cost in lives lost in close combat was far higher than that of missile based engagements for a millennia and beyond.

    Quote Originally Posted by EricD View Post
    They could always put and support sizable armies into the field, and while they may not always have outnumbered the enemy tactically in a given battle, they usually had armies of comparable size to any opponent and they never seemed to have suffered from any anxiety about their manpower.
    Appointment made by Caeser from Allesia/ Bibracte, who wants a word with you about how to count, 15 mins later, you have an appointment with Marius who wants a word about Aquae Sextiae/Vercellae, 15 mins later Paulinus is coming back from watling street to have a word, oh, he is double/treble booked with Lucullus on his way back from Armenia and Scipio from Magnesia.

    Meanwhile, the Senate wants to know why they were outnumbered in the 2nd PW till 202, and when can they have a word.

    Mobolized forces 2nd PW


    218 Rome 70k Carthage 140k.
    217 Rome 70k Carthage 85k
    215/214 Rome 100k Carthage 165k
    204 Rome 110k Carthage 128k
    202 Rome 150k Carthage 50k


    Carthage as 150% 120% 165% 115% 50% % of Rome



    Only if you ignore Roman history and the search for the bloodless battle that Romes generals looked for.
    Military defeats, casualties of war and the success of Rome
    https://cdr.lib.unc.edu/concern/dissertations/gm80hv44c


    Runner Up Post
    The Disobedient Roman Soldier

    Firstly, providing quotes from authors and citing their works is not plagiarism. Plagiarism would be if I were to claim their works as my own. I do not. I am saying that Sabin et al's works on this subject have influenced my own views. That is not plagiarism. Kindly cease to accuse me of such.

    Actually: How would you summarize my views on the Roman Army, in your own words? Because the arguments that I am making and the arguments that you keep saying I am making appear to be two different things.

    Talking about incompetence, Picqs view on Roman discipline is exactly the opposite of yours, his is the view that the un brave Roman was compelled to fight from fear of punishment.
    Yes, and? Again: I did not cite du Picq for his view on Roman tactics, because I believe they are dated and no longer accurate. I cited du Picq for his views on the effect of fear and the importance of morale on the mechanics of battle, where I think he has important insights. Again: I think Sabin, Zhmodikov, and Quesada-Sanz's papers have the most correct model for Roman tactics and the "face of battle" in Roman times. Du Picq's work Battle Studies is an important work on understanding the impacts of morale and fear in combat, but I don't agree with every aspect of his characterization of Roman or Greek armies. So stop saying that du Picq disagrees with my characterization of the Roman army, I already know that and it's not particularly relevant.

    So, they must have abandoned the use of a phalanx for the Legion to create an inferior method of fighting then, acording to you. Greeks gave up the pike phalanx it up to imitate the Roman legion, because it was so inferior. Half of Roman field forces were allies in the period, as Roman citizens were to few on their own, and Rome required Allies to serve the Roman Military machine, because the Roman state that had a small citizen body, and they all ended up using Roman equipment and methods, because they were inferior.

    They gave up having 2/3 of the legion with spears, to 1/3 and finally to no spears because pila were inferior then, they gave up using greek straight swords for gladius during the 2nd PW because it was an inferior weapon.
    This is a misrepresentation of my views, and I have not said any of these things.

    The Roman state, and the Roman military method, had many advantages in war or battle. I can list many of them: The training and equipping necessary for a legion is simpler and easier than the very specialised level of drill needed to handle a sarissa in a phalanx, allowing for more manpower to be mobilized more quickly. The widely distributed system of centurions assigned to conveniently sized sub-units provided a generally very reliable level of local leadership at the sharp edge of battle. The pilum is a very effective weapon, and the scutum's size and strength both physically protects the soldier and provides a psychological feeling of safety to support him as he moves into combat. The gladius is an effective sword for both cut and thrust, and the act of charging with swords drawn would terrify many lesser opponents into flight outright.

    The intervals between the maniples let the Romans vary the frontage of a legion for whatever the circumstances required by varying the size of intervals, but still keep reserve lines disposed in depth. Those reserve line leant a very great degree of resilience to frontal pressure upon the legion, as a repulsed attack or a retreat of a few maniples does not turn into a rout of the whole army. Even in battles with phalanxes like at Cynoscephalae and Pydna, the Romans were able to both match frontage with the phalanx and have reserve lines in depth at the same time. This is a very great advantage, keeping reserves well back from the stress of combat, being able to bring up reinforcements wherever a maniple is hard pressed, and at the same time not sacrificing frontage so that the enemy cannot overlap your line. The Roman battle line could bend without breaking, but also had great resilience because of the depth of the triplex acies.

    Their light troops and skirmishers had similar aggression to the line infantry, and performed well. Their cavalry particularly is often underestimated but was a very dangerous and important force.

    The Romans taught their young men to be brave, and glorified in aggression in battle. They had a great degree of grit and elan, which often let them keep up the pressure until an opponent's will was cracked, or let them keep in the fight even when being driven back until the battle could be won elsewhere on the field (Cynoscephalae and Pydna spring to mind). Their centurions were experienced men of proven courage who could inspire the normal soldier to fight more bravely by leading from the forefront of battle. The social glory that accompanied single combat, and the loose array of the maniple which enabled aggressive individuals to move forward, and at the same time the mass of the century or maniple offered group support to those individuals who lead the charge.

    Their distributed system of leadership and the organization of numerous sub-units let the Roman army be very responsive and exploit opportunities swiftly and ruthlessly as they occurred on the battlefield. This is perhaps best shown by the tribune of Cynoscephalae. For my money the most incredible example of it was Claudius Nero's actions at the Battle of the Metaurus, outflanking the Carthaginians by shifting maniples from one end of the Roman battle line to the other, behind the rest of the embattled army.

    They were very skilled campaigners, who were diligent about fortifications, watches, and picquets, and this set of skills transfers well over to siege warfare, where they excelled many of their contemporaries. Siege warfare is really the decisive act of ancient warfare, as only by taking the fortified places of an enemy can you truly conquer their lands. In sieges, the Romans did well in the Republic and only became better with more practice later on.

    So no, the Romans didn't win out of inferiority. That is a ridiculous statement, and a misrepresentation of my arguments.

    Why did the Romans win their Empire? I would argue that the most salient factors include high strategic reserves of manpower, a culture of constant military expansion leading to a high level of experience of warfare present in the society for the legions to draw upon in recruitment, and a lot of aggression of both individual soldiers and of commanding generals combined with enough self-discipline to keep their aggressive behaviour generally (Although not always) within the parameters of militarily useful actions.

    I don't believe that they had perfect, unbreakable discipline, or better close order drill, or that they needed superior methods to cover up for less manpower. I believe they had a greater cultural system for bringing out the courage of their men, enough discipline to keep said aggression under control, a better system for mobilizing the manpower of their territories, a simpler, but very resilient array for battle, and superior campaigning and siege skills. They had morale, numbers, organization, and leadership, and these are considerable advantages. There are trade offs in that their armies were at times disobedient in their aggression, but overall they had more advantages than disadvantages.

    Appointment made by Caeser from Allesia/ Bibracte, who wants a word with you about how to count, 15 mins later, you have an appointment with Marius who wants a word about Aquae Sextiae/Vercellae, 15 mins later Paulinus is coming back from watling street to have a word, oh, he is double/treble booked with Lucullus on his way back from Armenia and Scipio from Magnesia.
    Why, yes, the Romans could be outnumbered in a given battle. Now the exact numbers claimed in ancient sources are a matter of controversy, because often they strain credibility (Herodotus claiming that Xerxes invaded Greece with a million men, for perhaps the most classic example), so we don't precisely know what was the level of outnumbered an army could be in a single battle. But we have a pretty good idea that, say, the Seleucids outnumbered the Romans at Magnesia. The Romans had the same logistical challenges and limits as anyone else, so yeah they could be outnumbered in a given battle.

    But just as often, they had armies of comparable size to their enemies. You cite Alesia, Bibracte, Aquae Sextiae, Vercellae, Watling Street, and Magnesia as incidences when the Romans were outnumbered. I could cite Asculum, Bagradas, Adys, Trebia, Dertosa, the Metaurus, Zama, Cynoscephalae, and Pydna as incidences when the Roman army is estimated to have been similarly sized to their opponents. I could also cite Heraclea, Cannae, the Siege of Carthage, or the Battle of Corinth as incidences where the Romans outnumbered their enemies. So whether the Romans outnumbered their enemies or were themselves outnumbered was always a matter of the fortunes of war, the skill of the general, the logistical challenges of the campaign, but the Romans were just as capable of meeting these challenges as anyone else, and had similar resources to their opponents, and so they usually seem to have deployed armies of comparable size to their enemies.

    Above the tactical level, however, the Romans always had similar or superior strategic resources in manpower to their opponents. A defeat like Cannae could have shattered other polities, much less four crushing defeats in a row like Trebia, Trasimene, Cannae, and Silva Litana. Fear and panic and sorrow certainly affected the Romans after slaughters like these in the Second Punic War, yet they raised new legions and carried on until Carthage was defeated.

    "For the conquest of Italy, the system perpetuated itself, as the more Rome expanded, the larger its collective army became. Some states even joined the alliance system voluntarily, recognizing its benefits. Newly conquered areas were also made safe by series of colonies that Rome planted throughout Italy, many of which went on to become large cities in their own right and provided Rome with even more troops. The confederacy provided immense resources of manpower which go a long way towards explaining Rome’s military success during the mid-Republic. The system allowed Rome both to conquer large parts of the Mediterranean and to defend Italy from incursions by the Gauls and by Pyrrhus and Hannibal. They could now fight wars on multiple fronts and survive bitter and costly defeats, as the human capital of Italy gave them enough resources virtually to guarantee eventual success"
    Cambridge History of Greek & Roman Warfare, Volume 1, 2007, Pg 486

    "Just as gainful military campaigns account to a degree for the lack of internal stasis in mid-Republican Rome, this type of warfare was also necessary for Rome’s relationship with its Italian allies, as the latter were taxed not in money or kind but in men for the communal army. This alliance system served as indirect financing for the Roman state at war, as the costs of combat for Rome itself were greatly reduced due to the large presence of the allies, who met their own expenses. The system accounts for much of Rome’s success on the battlefield, as the vast reserves of Italian manpower saw the Republic through many long and bitter conflicts. Furthermore, many of the allies did not serve by compulsion, as they saw for themselves the economic benefits brought about by plundering others."
    Ibid, Pg. 495

    "Rome of the mid- Republic went to war nearly every year. The Roman people voted wars in assembly – the comitia centuriata, itself a body with military origins – and no case is known of its refusing a war the Senate wanted. Individuals might have resisted the call to arms with impunity, since the Roman state was quite incapable of compelling the unwilling to serve in the army, but Roman men did not (Polyb. 6.26.4). When there was widespread resistance to the callup in 151 Polybius reports that this was new to Roman experience. And comparison of the size of Roman armies to census numbers reveals that the Romans were able to mobilize a remarkably large proportion of their men for war. From 200 to 168, when the Republic faced nothing we would accept as a threat to its security, nearly one out of six adult male citizens was in the field every year. During the crisis of the Second Punic War (218–201) the proportion had been higher – more than a quarter."
    Ibid, Pg. 511-512

    "On a practical level the societal urge to demonstrate virtus produced brave armies (Polyb. 1.64.6), large armies, and armies that could be reconstituted year after year even in the wake of bloody defeats, as during the Second Punic War. Roman manpower poured forth like a fountain (a Greek might observe); fighting the Romans was like fighting the hydra, cut one head off, and others sprung forth in its place"
    Ibid, Pg. 514-515



    Manpower and mobilization was a major strategic Roman advantage, not a disadvantage that they needed to cover up.

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