Victory – Through Tactics

THE PHILOSOPHY CORNER- Traditionally, victory is most often awarded to the army that has the larger size in a battle. Here’s an argument that perhaps we shouldn’t give that much of an emphasis on size.

The army community has always been a size-oriented one. Of course, that sentence makes it sound like we’re a community obsessed on

A symbolic representation of top five armies.

how fat and sexy people are, but that’s not what I mean (although it could perhaps be argued that some of us here might be obsessed with people’s physical appearances *wary*). Instead, what I mean is that we always give the size of an army an emphasis. The victor of a battle is usually the army with the larger size, the army with the larger size gets a higher position on the top ten than other armies, how well an army performs is usually looked upon through the lens of size- these are only a couple of examples.

There’s another part of armies though, and it’s tactics. Yes, this is another post arguing that perhaps we should give tactics at least as much weight or even more weight than size. I know that there’s been countless posts written about this topic in the past on this news site, but I hope that the way I present this argument might serve to make this post unique from other ones about the same topic.

Anyway, I want to start out with, as I usually do in my posts, a look into history for inspiration.

Winning a Battle with Half the Troops

Orange= Roman Empire at the start of Justinian’s reign; yellow= the conquests made by Justinian often through small armies

I turn to a favorite empire of mine that I can often use to illustrate as an example: the Roman Empire (yes, again). However, this time, I’m not talking about the Western Roman Empire; instead, I’m talking about the Eastern Roman Empire. In 476 A.D, the Western Roman Empire finally fell, with the imperial throne becoming vacant; instead, the Western provinces, such as North Africa, Italy, France and Spain were all occupied by ‘barbarian’ troops. Only the Eastern Roman Empire continued to exist.  In the sixth century A.D, however, a new Eastern Roman Emperor ascended to the throne; a visionary named Justinian I. His greatest ambition? To restore the Western provinces back to Roman rule.

To achieve this goal, he ordered his general, Belisarius with a small army to North Africa to reconquer the city of Carthage. In a couple

Mosaic of General Belisarius

of pitched battles where he was always outnumbered, Belisarius managed to wrestle back control of the province. Overjoyed with the success, Justinian ordered Belisarius to take eight thousand men into Italy to reconquer the Romans’ homeland. It was a very small army, especially when thinking about what the mission of the army was, but by 536 A.D, Belisarius had conquered all of Sicily and even recaptured the city of Rome itself.

The magazine Armchair General writes:

The military victories of Belisarius spanned the Eastern Roman Empire from the  borders of Persia, to Vandal North Africa, to Gothic Italy. Belisarius frequently found  himself outnumbered; to compensate, he employed mobile and durable cavalry, political skill, brilliant tactics, and audacity. The consequence was a string of vanquished
enemies. Vandals, Persians, Goths, and a host of barbarian enemies soon learned to fear his army. A master of small force theory, Belisarius demonstrated that numbers don’t count as much as resolve, toughness, and vision.

The same article also states:

Victory by the smaller side in battle is not an exceptional event. In fact, contrary to popular belief, the smaller side in battle prevails more often than the larger side. A recent review of 481 engagements found that the smaller side won 56.5 percent of the contests. Only 36.4 percent of the time did the larger side win, while in the remaining seven percent of battles, the sides fielded roughly equal numbers.

What the above excerpts say is that there’s a roughly equal chance for the smaller army to win or lose a battle, because, in fact, size is only one factor; leadership, tactics and morale are also nearly equally as important. 

Size vs Tactics

Therefore, if in reality larger sizes are usually not the deciding factor, is it logical that in armies we continue to value size so much? Perhaps it does; but perhaps it doesn’t. First, let’s think about why it does make sense to value size.

  • Size can allow the true demonstration of which army is the more powerful, the more popular.
  • It’s simple logic: a larger sized army is often threatening to a smaller one, thus bringing the smaller one to capitulate.

For why it doesn’t:

  • As I just spent a couple of paragraphs explaining, in real life a slightly larger size wouldn’t really guarantee a victory, because other factors are just about as important.
  • Is our rules on how the larger army wins based on the incorrect view that a larger army usually wins? If so, should we change?

Of course, there’s a flaw in this line of thinking. What it seems to be arguing here is that we should either make size more important than tactics, or tactics more important than size. But then could a compromise be reached? 

*pls be prepared for quite a bit of personal opinion here*

Let’s carry out a thought experiment. Let’s say that the factors in winning a battle will be size, tactics and formations. Size refers to how large your army is. Tactics refer to how many tactics you use and how fast your army can carry them out. Formations refer to how your army organizes itself. Size would be a representation of the power of the army, while the tactics and formations are a representation of how well disciplined your army is and of the quality of the army’s leadership. In order to win the battle, the army would need to beat the other in at least two of these factors.

This would be a radical new idea, to be sure; after all, this allows the possibility that a perhaps substantially smaller army to win a battle. But then this wouldn’t make sense either. Finally, Emperor Justinian would be so jealous of Belisarius that he would strip Belisarius of most of his troops, giving him an even smaller army that was barely able to hold on to his gains in Italy; this shows that even the best general may not be able to accomplish much with an overly small army. In armies, it’s much easier for a five person army to carry out tactics with precision while battling a twenty five person army, so perhaps a rule could be added that if the size difference is more than about, say, five or six people, then victory is given automatically to the victors. But still, this would still allow a smaller army to beat a larger army through a combination of better formations and tactics.

Benefits and Consequences

Benefits:

  • Battles wouldn’t be so predictable.
  • Greater opportunities for small armies to proceed in things like tournaments and wars, if their leadership is of a higher quality.
  • Perhaps battles would be more exciting, as the victor of the battle wouldn’t be determined so quickly at the start of the battle based on sizes.

Negatives:

  • Battles would become much harder to judge. Outside judges may always be needed for most battles.
  • [Insert something that someone who didn’t bother reading the first part of this post would say eg. ‘SIZE IS SUPER IMPORTANT!!’

In conclusion, if this idea is to be used, it’d require agreements between armies and also a lot of working out of the details. But is this a good or bad idea? It’s for you to decide. That’s pretty much it for today. This post isn’t really up to my standards I guess, but I do think I haven’t posted in too long and that I should get a post out.

Thanks for reading.

Splasher99

CPAC Vice President

14 Responses

  1. whats the difference between joke bombs and spears. ONE OF THEM ACTUALLY HAS A POINT TO IT! see what i did there?

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  2. ST WOULD ALWAYS WIN!!!!!!!111111111!!!!1 #WINNING

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  3. 1st since nobody called it

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  4. The fact is, things like this have been attempted before. They all failed. For whatever reason. I think the main reason why people put size so highly is that it’s factual. You can take a pic, and say my army was larger. Tactics, both of the army leaders will argue their army was greater until it’s bed time and mommy shuts down the computer. Then they both claim victory, and both claim the server. Which is another major problem in our community, by the way. With no centralized type of monitoring system, we as a community will always have issues. We will never be an organized, self running society.

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  5. I love this idea, but you would have to bring back Club Penguin United Nations for it to suceed. (People will listen to them)

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  6. “Victory isn’t determined by who is Right, it’s determined by who is left”

    i.e. Whoever outlasts the other should win the server. That’s how it worked before.

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  7. What you consider “tactics” many of consider dancing in a line making emotes out of pixels. There are no true tactics to CP warfare (I guess one could argue that charges are the only real tactic effective of diminishing your enemy’s size), but other than that tactics are pretty useless.

    Let’s go back to snowballs plas. c;

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  8. Very well written post, you and tap make the best posts.

    Like

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