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#1 Edited by _Gaff_ (5107 posts) - - Show Bio
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Scenario: A plague wipes out the Kushan, Parthian, Hatra, and Osroene nations sometime around 200 AD. The Romans and Hans send in their full military force to conquer the undefended lands. Eventually the two armies meet and a war erupts.

Scenario 2: Roman Army start in Fort Collins CO, Han Army start in Pueblo CO. State in un-populated.

No outside interference from other factions.

Decide your own victory conditions.

Who wins?

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#2 Posted by Fallschirmjager (23432 posts) - - Show Bio

At the high of their power both are estimated to have like 50M population so I doubt numbers factors much.

And I don't know enough about Han Dynasty to comment on their technology or the competency of their military.

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#3 Posted by ParagonNate (4621 posts) - - Show Bio

At the high of their power both are estimated to have like 50M population so I doubt numbers factors much.

And I don't know enough about Han Dynasty to comment on their technology or the competency of their military.

If I'm remembering right the Han relied largely on large, lightly armored, peasant levies, backed by an absurd amount of crossbows that were fast and easy to reload. Preferred tactic was to pin the enemy in place with levies and a solid core of heavily armored professional troops and bury them in crossbow fire. Completely different approach to combat than the Romans. As for how a battle would go down, I doubt either side is going to make any headway in taking the others territory. At that point in history no one did siege warfare better than the Romans, either on offense or defense. The Han's lightly armored troops aren't going to last long going on the offensive against Roman's in relatively enclosed spaces like cities and towns, or on walls, either when attacking or defending. And the Roman's lack an answer to the sheer number of ranged troops that the Han can bring to bare on an open field. They'd get shredded long before they get into melee.

Really their doctrines are a result of different environments. Europe at the time is largely poorly suited for massed cavalry or ranged warfare, seeing as a lot of the battle the Roman's fought took place over seas, which makes transporting horses a nightmare at the time. And the relatively enclosed space of Europe, due to heavy amounts of forest that people seemingly forgot existed at the time (see the Black Forest of Germany for an example) made massed ranged warfare highly situational and not a good bet to rely on. All of these resulted in a focus on heavily armored and well trained infantry that eventually would become the Legionaries that everyone knows so well.

On the side of the Han, with China's wide open space and plenty of people, resulted in calling in massive levies when needed and giving them weapons that were effective but easy to master, like the crossbow, if you can point you can kill with a crossbow. They also made use of cavalry, likely due to the influence of the Mongols. Not to mention the Han's complete and utter lack of Naval might and experience, when compared to the Roman's at least, will make crossing the Mediterranean laughable, if they reach it at all.

Tldr? Europe is a fortress at this point in history, guarded by heavily armed and armored professional troops you have to close with to beat. While China is a wide open space filled with masses of ranged combatants you have to close with to beat. Neither side is making headway of any real amount, so they'll likely stop fighting after an absurd number of soldiers die on both sides, and the frontier territories between them turn into fortresses for both sides, and trade inevitably happens.

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#4 Posted by ParagonNate (4621 posts) - - Show Bio

What do you think? @wut

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#5 Posted by ParagonNate (4621 posts) - - Show Bio

A comparison of their troops armor and some other stuff.

Leather armor for standard levied soldier.  Some training and a year of service required for levied troops.
Leather armor for standard levied soldier. Some training and a year of service required for levied troops.

vs

Chainmail shirt and steel helmet as standard, along with a big shield and standardized training.  Potential lifetime of service and experience, minimum of 20 years of service in some capacity.
Chainmail shirt and steel helmet as standard, along with a big shield and standardized training. Potential lifetime of service and experience, minimum of 20 years of service in some capacity.

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#6 Posted by Wut (6956 posts) - - Show Bio

@paragonnate: Your break down was solid and I agree with it. Neither could do much, I doubt either would even be able to reach one another in force given the logistical nightmare that would arise and even spreading that large would likely just accelerate the collapse of both.

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#7 Posted by ParagonNate (4621 posts) - - Show Bio
@wut said:

@paragonnate: Your break down was solid and I agree with it. Neither could do much, I doubt either would even be able to reach one another in force given the logistical nightmare that would arise and even spreading that large would likely just accelerate the collapse of both.

I could see both sides adapting and advancing their militaries due to the fighting. The Western Roman Empire attempted to adapt to the Hun's use of mass cavalry towards the end, and might have been successful if their infrastructure hadn't been complete shit due to their steady decline. Rome could adapt to use cavalry to greater extent in attempt to counter the Han's use of massed archers. While The Han could advance their siege warfare and engineering techniques as well as adopting more heavily armored infantry to counter the Roman's own.

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#8 Posted by ParagonNate (4621 posts) - - Show Bio

@wut: We might be able to get a more conclusive answer if the landmass between the two was made smaller or removed entirely. That way both nations could bring their full power to bare more easily.

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#9 Posted by Wut (6956 posts) - - Show Bio

@paragonnate: Indeed, as that distance, to me, is what makes a war really impossible. The logistics is way too demanding even for the Roman Empire to undergo such an undertaking to any real degree, and even if they slowly expanded out, by the time they reached one another, they would have changed and evolved differently and in unknowable ways.

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#10 Posted by XLR87T3 (9874 posts) - - Show Bio
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#11 Posted by ParagonNate (4621 posts) - - Show Bio

@xlr87t3: Then I grabbed the wrong picture. Leather was the common armor for conscripted Han soldiers. Professionals would wear metal or brigadine.

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#12 Edited by ParagonNate (4621 posts) - - Show Bio

@_gaff_: Hey is the land between the two vanishing or shrinking in any way? That would make it much easier for them to get at each other.

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#13 Posted by _Gaff_ (5107 posts) - - Show Bio

@_gaff_: Hey is the land between the two vanishing or shrinking in any way? That would make it much easier for them to get at each other.

I added a second scenario.

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#14 Posted by ParagonNate (4621 posts) - - Show Bio

@_gaff_ : You put the two armies 180 miles apart, they aren't even going to be able to find one another with the technology at their disposal, much less fight in any amount of time. Just drop them in an open field or something.