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How would you conquer an island in the me

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    Posted: 22-Aug-2007 at 15:06
Okay here goes
 
This seems like a circular solution. To capture one island I should first capture the other island. But there are only these two, so I have to go for one of them first. ^^
Thing is that the fundamental thing about all military operations is the logistics. ANd the further away the supply base the longer the logistic line and the less reliable it is. Now if you capture that nearby island, you simplyfy it. You can place rations, weapons and men there, over a period of time and when you move you can ensure the logistic tail is not that long, and thus much easier to ensure that resupply and reinforcements reach the battlefield.
 
When would that be (before the harvest)? End of summer to beginning of autumn?

It depends on the geography, but early spring is a good time, just after winter, less food, harvest not ripe.
 
The point of my strategy was that the fleet was moving away to prevent the Rissitics from landing on Tugan. They are not expecting an attack on Fendor.
Hmmm. Then there needs to be a clear objective nearby for the Rissitics to attack. The way you have described the situation, Fendor is the only possible target. Perhaps the ruse is that they intend to attack a convoy of Fendor merchant ships? One reason why a navy of an isolated island would move away. Perhaps the other island is a base, and they want to reinforce it?
 
How would you prevent them from going ashore? Ship-wise the Imetrians are going to be outnumbered. They can have some defensive fortifications, like wooden watch towers lining the entire shore, armed with - I dunno, maybe catapults, probably with a supply of burning stuff to hurl. Still, they can't have massive fortifications around the entire island.

The thing about an amphibious landing is this. Its hell. Men are feeling seasick, under attack, trying to land and establish a beachead, and generally trying not to drown. The actual operation is in two parts, i) the landing itself and the consolidation on the beach (once the beach is secure) getting follow up troops and equipment, and ii) break out of the foothold. You cannot allow them to move to step ii).
 
To stop a landing, well you can use small boats to harrasse the landing partys (as the japanese did against the Mongols in about the same era as your story is set), and as for the troops who get on the beach, use archers (from an elevated postition) gto pin them down and use your infantry to defeat them (with the arrows as covering fire). Even if you are outnumbered overall, the nature of amphibious warfare means that the landings are in waves, never at once so you will have superiority in numbers on the beach, plus fresher troops, who have not just had a sea voyage or a difficult boat ride.
 
BTW, one more question: How fast are ships? How long would it take a fleet of warships to sail, say, 150 km?


Too many variables to answer accuratly. Since its going to be a land and sea campaign you need both warships and merchant ships. The latter will obviously be a lot slower and will travel in convoy this reducing speed even more, and probably multiple covoy's to ensure that one storm or battle does not eliminate them all. Some units of the battlefleet will need to be detached to escort the convoys. The others which are much faster than the merchant ships will be employed in offensive ops. It was an ear of mostly oarships, and in battle the sails would be removed or dumped over to provide speed.

So for the convoys say 3 or four days, and half that time for the warships.
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  Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Aug-2007 at 15:45
I'd suggest a fleet of most warships go ahead and take out the enemies and then have your fleets freely roam around...
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Aug-2007 at 15:53

Yes, send out scouts ahead to locate the enemy's fleet (these are your fastest ships), followed by the battle fleet. Once the enemy has been sighted, you should then force battle with your superior forces.

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  Quote deadkenny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Aug-2007 at 17:13
First I'll preface my comments by saying that the course of battle should be subordinate to the story, not the other way around.  Although I appreciate that you're wanting to 'bounce your ideas' off of people in a history forum, IMHO you shouldn't assign too much 'weight' to the 'hecklers' who might 'complain' about your battle being 'unrealistic'.  One characteristic of battles, certainly no less so those in the Middle Ages, was that one side or the other (sometimes both) would do things that didn't make much sense.  If your 'fantasy battle' was based on Agincourt for example, you might hear 'complaints' about how dumb the attackers were, charging at the centre rather than trying to flank the much smaller force.  However that was the way the battle actually went historically!

OK, now as to how I would go about taking the island:

First, I'm not too sure about 'drawing off' the defending fleet.  How close in size are these 2 fleets?  As the attacker, I sure wouldn't want the defending fleet to 'return' while I was in the middle of landing troops.  As the attacker I would want to draw the defending fleet out so as to destroy it and achieve local naval superiority.  Without naval superiority, I wouldn't want to be trying to take an island in the first place!

So, having achieved local naval superiority, the next step is to land my ground forces on the island.  The topography of the island is critical for this stage of the operation.  Is it possible to land anywhere along the entire coastline?  Or are there 'cliffs' or 'rocks' along sections?  The next question is, how many defenders are there?  Do the attackers significantly outnumber them?  Given such a small island, the size of the defending force would be limited if reliant upon local resources.  Is this island in a salt ocean / sea, or a 'fresh water' lake?  If in salt water, then fresh water supply would be a critical limiting factor.  If the defending force is larger than can be supplied based on local resources, then I would prefer to 'starve them out' for as long as possible.  This would involve some 'raiding' to put the torch to their farmland as well as trying to prevent them from doing much effective 'fishing'.  If the defending force starts off small, or 'starves' down to that level then it should be easy to 'overwhelm'.  The only hurdle then is to get the attackers ashore.  In that scenario the only chance for the defenders would be to 'meet the attackers on the beaches', i.e. station mobile forces in the middle of the island ready to react to where ever the landings take place.  The attackers could then use various means to try to 'misdirect' the defenders, such as 'openly' landing in one place as a diversion while the actual landing is elsewhere.  Or perhaps a night landing with a small force to establish a beachhead that could be more easily reinforced.  Keep in mind that opposed landings where not the 'norm' during this period, and the attackers would not likely have 'landing craft' with ramps like at Normandy in WWII.  Anyway, just a few thoughts on how I would go about it.
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  Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Aug-2007 at 02:32
Well, again, if those commanders are meant as idiots and the battle is to prove that (what might make a good storyline) then by all means, make someone order something stupid (storming the city before siege items perhaps and then driven back with HUGE casualties)?
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Aug-2007 at 16:19
Originally posted by Sparten

This seems like a circular solution. To capture one island I should first capture the other island. But there are only these two, so I have to go for one of them first. ^^
Thing is that the fundamental thing about all military operations is the logistics. ANd the further away the supply base the longer the logistic line and the less reliable it is. Now if you capture that nearby island, you simplyfy it. You can place rations, weapons and men there, over a period of time and when you move you can ensure the logistic tail is not that long, and thus much easier to ensure that resupply and reinforcements reach the battlefield.

Yeah, but my point is that if I want to capture the other island first, I face all the same problems. And I think Tugan would be even harder to capture than Fendor, being smaller and more easily defensible.

The point of my strategy was that the fleet was moving away to prevent the Rissitics from landing on Tugan. They are not expecting an attack on Fendor.
Hmmm. Then there needs to be a clear objective nearby for the Rissitics to attack. The way you have described the situation, Fendor is the only possible target. Perhaps the ruse is that they intend to attack a convoy of Fendor merchant ships? One reason why a navy of an isolated island would move away. Perhaps the other island is a base, and they want to reinforce it?

Both islands (Tugan and Fendor) are held by the Imetrium and are important strategic staging points, being some of the only islands in a large sea. The Imetrians have discovered an alleged Rissitic plot to conquer Tugan, an island they cannot afford to lose. So they send reinforcements from Fendor, hoping to overpower and destroy the Rissitic fleet near Tugan.

How would you prevent them from going ashore? Ship-wise the Imetrians are going to be outnumbered. They can have some defensive fortifications, like wooden watch towers lining the entire shore, armed with - I dunno, maybe catapults, probably with a supply of burning stuff to hurl. Still, they can't have massive fortifications around the entire island.
The thing about an amphibious landing is this. Its hell. Men are feeling seasick, under attack, trying to land and establish a beachead, and generally trying not to drown. The actual operation is in two parts, i) the landing itself and the consolidation on the beach (once the beach is secure) getting follow up troops and equipment, and ii) break out of the foothold. You cannot allow them to move to step ii).

To stop a landing, well you can use small boats to harrasse the landing partys (as the japanese did against the Mongols in about the same era as your story is set), and as for the troops who get on the beach, use archers (from an elevated postition) gto pin them down and use your infantry to defeat them (with the arrows as covering fire). Even if you are outnumbered overall, the nature of amphibious warfare means that the landings are in waves, never at once so you will have superiority in numbers on the beach, plus fresher troops, who have not just had a sea voyage or a difficult boat ride.

Hm, OK, it looks like the landing will be more difficult that I had initially imagined. That's OK, I'll give it some more space in the book. (Hey, it's epic fantasy, so it's no problem if the book ends up 1200 pages long. ^^)

BTW, one more question: How fast are ships? How long would it take a fleet of warships to sail, say, 150 km?
<SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 10px"></SPAN>Too many variables to answer accuratly. Since its going to be a land and sea campaign you need both warships and merchant ships. The latter will obviously be a lot slower and will travel in convoy this reducing speed even more, and probably multiple covoy's to ensure that one storm or battle does not eliminate them all. Some units of the battlefleet will need to be detached to escort the convoys. The others which are much faster than the merchant ships will be employed in offensive ops. It was an ear of mostly oarships, and in battle the sails would be removed or dumped over to provide speed.
So for the convoys say 3 or four days, and half that time for the warships.

Actually, I was thinking of the Imetric fleet moving to Tugan. So something like a day and a half for the warships to go from island to the other? OK, cool.

Originally posted by deadkenny

First, I'm not too sure about 'drawing off' the defending fleet. How close in size are these 2 fleets? As the attacker, I sure wouldn't want the defending fleet to 'return' while I was in the middle of landing troops. As the attacker I would want to draw the defending fleet out so as to destroy it and achieve local naval superiority. Without naval superiority, I wouldn't want to be trying to take an island in the first place!

How about this: The Rissitic attacking fleet is somewhat larger/stronger than the Imetric fleet normally stationed at Fendor. Perhaps 150% as strong. But with the fake attack on Tugan, some of the Imetric fleet has been sent away (perhaps one third of it). And, as mentioned earlier, the Rissitics have sent in raiders in advance in an attempt to draw even more Imetric ships away in pursuit. So at the time when the main Rissitic fleet attacks, perhaps only half of the original Fendoran defense fleet is left. At this point the Rissitics outnumber them three to one, so they move in and destroy/capture the remaining ships. Then they start landing troops, but enough men stay aboard the ships to engage the Imetric ships that were chasing the raiders are will soon return. (As for the ships that were sent to Tugan, it will take them at least a day to return, so we have some slack there.)

Originally posted by deadkenny

So, having achieved local naval superiority, the next step is to land my ground forces on the island. The topography of the island is critical for this stage of the operation. Is it possible to land anywhere along the entire coastline? Or are there 'cliffs' or 'rocks' along sections?

I'll make the coastline mostly level and easy to land at. (After all, I want the Rissitics to win without spending 100 pages on it.)

Originally posted by deadkenny

The next question is, how many defenders are there? Do the attackers significantly outnumber them? Given such a small island, the size of the defending force would be limited if reliant upon local resources. Is this island in a salt ocean / sea, or a 'fresh water' lake? If in salt water, then fresh water supply would be a critical limiting factor.

The defense force will be rather large for such a small island (because the island is strategically important, so they dedicate many soldiers to defending it). This will probably mean that they can't live off Fendoran resources alone but are dependent in the long run on resources from the mainland. (The sea is salt water, so they depend on wells for water.)

The Rissitic force is large, at least as large as the Imetric armies of Cicora and Fendacor combined, but they have an advantage since they can attack the two towns one at a time. (The idea is that they seize Cicora by storm quickly, and then lay siege to Fendacor and take it after a much longer period of time.)

Thanks for the suggestions.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Aug-2007 at 18:33
One more question: How large might these armies reasonably be? Fendor is only 30-50 km^2 big, but it's pretty fertile and well-settled. And it's heavily guarded, with more soldiers than the island can support on its own in the long run - but not far more. How many Imetrian soldiers might that reasonably be? I am guessing 1000-2000 men, but that is a wild guess.

(I am going for a "dark age" feel, so civilization level and overall population levels should be kind of low.)
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  Quote deadkenny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Aug-2007 at 19:58

Originally posted by Spectrum

...
Originally posted by deadkenny

First, I'm not too sure about 'drawing off' the defending fleet.  How close in size are these 2 fleets?  As the attacker, I sure wouldn't want the defending fleet to 'return' while I was in the middle of landing troops.  As the attacker I would want to draw the defending fleet out so as to destroy it and achieve local naval superiority.  Without naval superiority, I wouldn't want to be trying to take an island in the first place!


How about this: The Rissitic attacking fleet is somewhat larger/stronger than the Imetric fleet normally stationed at Fendor. Perhaps 150% as strong. But with the fake attack on Tugan, some of the Imetric fleet has been sent away (perhaps one third of it). And, as mentioned earlier, the Rissitics have sent in raiders in advance in an attempt to draw even more Imetric ships away in pursuit. So at the time when the main Rissitic fleet attacks, perhaps only half of the original Fendoran defense fleet is left. At this point the Rissitics outnumber them three to one, so they move in and destroy/capture the remaining ships. Then they start landing troops, but enough men stay aboard the ships to engage the Imetric ships that were chasing the raiders are will soon return. (As for the ships that were sent to Tugan, it will take them at least a day to return, so we have some slack there.)


Again, it's your story and it depends on how elaborate (or straightforward) you want the naval component to be for literary purposes.  However, I will note that the defenders appear rather willing to send off their fleet here and there piecemeal while facing a 'superior' navy and imminent invasion.  Not to say that military commanders might not make decisions which don't make much sense (as per my previous comments).  However, another suggestion might be that the attackers might 'offer' part of their fleet for possible destruction by the defenders as part of the diversionary effort towards the other island.  I.e. say one third moves in that direction, which the entire defending fleet would outnumber 2-1.  Once the defenders commit themselves in an attack upon the smaller portion of the attacking fleet, the remainder of the attacking fleet shows up and now the defending fleet is outnumbered 3-2.  Once the defender's fleet is defeated and 'scattered', the surviving parts of it could 'flee' anywhere you want, to the 'other' island, back to the 'main' island in your story or even to the mainland and in whatever numbers facilitate the remainder of your story.  The problem with having the attacking fleet sail into the defender's main harbour and destroy the fleet there is that to do so they would have to 'penetrate' the defenses of that harbour itself.  Having done that, it would be easier to simply take the port from there, and not bother landing forces elsewhere at all (if you can follow all that).  The initial penetration of the defenses is the most costly part of any such operation, and having achieved that in order to destroy the defending fleet in harbour, it wouldn't make much sense to stop there and pull back out.  Rather the attackers should simply land their forces right there in the harbour and take the town / city that way (which does not appear to be what you want to have happen).





Originally posted by Spectrum


Originally posted by deadkenny

So, having achieved local naval superiority, the next step is to land my ground forces on the island.  The topography of the island is critical for this stage of the operation.  Is it possible to land anywhere along the entire coastline?  Or are there 'cliffs' or 'rocks' along sections? 

I'll make the coastline mostly level and easy to land at. (After all, I want the Rissitics to win without spending 100 pages on it.)

Originally posted by deadkenny

The next question is, how many defenders are there?  Do the attackers significantly outnumber them?  Given such a small island, the size of the defending force would be limited if reliant upon local resources.  Is this island in a salt ocean / sea, or a 'fresh water' lake?  If in salt water, then fresh water supply would be a critical limiting factor. 


The defense force will be rather large for such a small island (because the island is strategically important, so they dedicate many soldiers to defending it). This will probably mean that they can't live off Fendoran resources alone but are dependent in the long run on resources from the mainland. (The sea is salt water, so they depend on wells for water.)

The Rissitic force is large, at least as large as the Imetric armies of Cicora and Fendacor combined, but they have an advantage since they can attack the two towns one at a time. (The idea is that they seize Cicora by storm quickly, and then lay siege to Fendacor and take it after a much longer period of time.)

I agree with your latter comments regarding the 2 port towns / cities that is in fact a great weakness of the island defenses.  So much so that as the defender, I might very well destroy the port / harbour facilities in the smaller of the two ports, so as to deny them to the attackers.  However, you may well prefer to assume that the defenders in your story are not so ruthless or desperate.   Another point is that Im not sure where so much fresh water would come from on a small island in a salt water ocean.  I mean enough to sustain the population, the large garrison plus for agriculture.  Perhaps theres a lot of rainfall?  In any case, I suppose youll need to assume that the attackers cannot wait, as the most efficient approach might be to starve out such a large garrison on such a small island once they are cut off from resupply.  Depending on how complicated you want the actual landing itself to be, it could be opposed, there could be multiple landings (one as a diversion) etc.  Once ashore, the attackers, as youve stated, would take the smaller port by storm and then besiege the larger one.  

 

 

 

Originally posted by Spectrum

Thanks for the suggestions.

 

You're welcome.

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  Quote deadkenny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23-Aug-2007 at 20:00
Originally posted by Spectrum

One more question: How large might these armies reasonably be? Fendor is only 30-50 km^2 big, but it's pretty fertile and well-settled. And it's heavily guarded, with more soldiers than the island can support on its own in the long run - but not far more. How many Imetrian soldiers might that reasonably be? I am guessing 1000-2000 men, but that is a wild guess.

(I am going for a "dark age" feel, so civilization level and overall population levels should be kind of low.)


Are you including the crews and soldiers aboard the ships?  How big do you visualize the navies being (i.e. how many ships)?
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Aug-2007 at 00:58
Spectrum,
As for size, well that depends. The era you have mentioned, rarely had armies larger than 10,000, with a few exceptions.
 
However since the Rissitics are based on the Romans, well the a average Roman army in the imperial period was around 30,000 men. You need at least that many sailors.
 
Deadkenny,
It is true that landings were often not opposed, however that is since the defenders usually fell back inland and counterattacked else where. In this small island that is not a choice. And landings were opposed by the Japanese against the Mongols.
 
 
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  Quote deadkenny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Aug-2007 at 08:21
Originally posted by Sparten

...
Deadkenny,
It is true that landings were often not opposed, however that is since the defenders usually fell back inland and counterattacked else where. In this small island that is not a choice. And landings were opposed by the Japanese against the Mongols. 


Yes, I concur, in the scenario described the defenders would have little choice but to attempt to oppose a 'beach' landing to some extent.  I was simply making the point that the attackers would not likely be especially equipped for such (again, assuming that Euro-centric basis) and therefore some advantage would go to the numerically inferior defenders (which itself again supports the point that the defenders should actively oppose the landings).
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  Quote Yiannis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Aug-2007 at 08:57
If the two cities are ports, they should be located in gulfs, not at the capes of the island....
 
(says me, being an islander....)
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Aug-2007 at 15:37
Originally posted by deadkenny

Originally posted by Spectrum

Originally posted by deadkenny

First, I'm not too sure about 'drawing off' the defending
fleet. How close in size are these 2 fleets? As the attacker, I
sure wouldn't want the defending fleet to 'return' while I was in the middle of
landing troops. As the attacker I would want to draw the defending fleet
out so as to destroy it and achieve local naval superiority. Without
naval superiority, I wouldn't want to be trying to take an island in the first
place!


How about this: The Rissitic attacking fleet is somewhat larger/stronger than
the Imetric fleet normally stationed at Fendor. Perhaps 150% as strong. But
with the fake attack on Tugan, some of the Imetric fleet has been sent away
(perhaps one third of it). And, as mentioned earlier, the Rissitics have sent
in raiders in advance in an attempt to draw even more Imetric ships away in
pursuit. So at the time when the main Rissitic fleet attacks, perhaps only half
of the original Fendoran defense fleet is left. At this point the Rissitics outnumber
them three to one, so they move in and destroy/capture the remaining ships.
Then they start landing troops, but enough men stay aboard the ships to engage
the Imetric ships that were chasing the raiders are will soon return. (As for
the ships that were sent to Tugan, it will take them at least a day to return,
so we have some slack there.)


Again, it's your story and it depends on how elaborate (or straightforward) you
want the naval component to be for literary purposes. However, I will note
that the defenders appear rather willing to send off their fleet here and there
piecemeal while facing a 'superior' navy and imminent invasion.

Well, they haven't detected the main fleet yet. The idea is that the Imetric commanders are meant to think: "Oh, so they think they care lure off half our fleet to Tugan and then raid Fendor with impunity? I think not. We pursue the raiders and destroy them, that'll teach them a lesson." After all, the Imetrians think that the Rissitic main fleet is near Tugan, so they are not expecting a major attack on Fendor, only small raids.

Originally posted by deadkenny

Originally posted by Spectrum

One more question: How large might these armies reasonably be? Fendor is only 30-50 km^2 big, but it's pretty fertile and well-settled. And it's heavily guarded, with more soldiers than the island can support on its own in the long run - but not far more. How many Imetrian soldiers might that reasonably be? I am guessing 1000-2000 men, but that is a wild guess.

(I am going for a "dark age" feel, so civilization level and overall population levels should be kind of low.)
Are you including the crews and soldiers aboard the ships? How big do you visualize the navies being (i.e. how many ships)?

I don't know, that depends on how many men I could reasonably have. :P

Originally posted by Sparten

Spectrum,
As for size, well that depends. The era you have mentioned, rarely had armies larger than 10,000, with a few exceptions.


However since the Rissitics are based on the Romans, well the a average Roman army in the imperial period was around 30,000 men. You need at least that many sailors.

Actually, the Imetrians, not the Rissitics, are based on Romans. But that's only an aesthetic thing.

However, it is true that while most kingdoms in the period I mentioned for comparison (1000-1100) were small, both the Imetrium and the Rissitic Dominion are rather large empires, each with a total population of about two million people. However, neither nation has anything near their entire army committed to this mission, since they both have other borders to defend and other battles to fight.

Originally posted by Yiannis

If the two cities are ports, they should be located in gulfs, not at the capes of the island....

Hm, OK.

Y'know what, guys? Based on this input I think I'll change my battle plan somewhat. How about this instead:

1. The island will be bigger. About 150 km^2 instead of only 30 km^2.

2. Much of the Imetric fleet is lured away, as above (fake attack on Tugan and then raids). The main Rissitic fleet moves toward the southern shore of the island, near Cicora but outside it. (I am ditching the feigned march against Fendacor. This would also be too time-consuming, given that the island is now larger.)

The Imetrians spot them and send their remaining fleet to attempt to fight them off. Meanwhile, they send ground troops from Cicora to the shore to reinforce the coast guards and oppose the landing. The Imetrians realize that they risk weakening their position by sending troops out of the fortified towns, but they do not want the Rissitics to gain a foothold on Fendor.

The Rissitics destroy the fleet sent against them, then push hard to land their troops. The Imetrians are afraid to lose the beach, so they send more troops from Cicora to defend it. When the Cicoran garrison is sufficiently depopulated, the Rissitics attack from within by summoning daemons, as mentioned above. This forces the remaining Cicoran soldiers to move against the daemons. At this point, part of the Rissitic fleet breaks off to attack the Cicoran harbour, which is mostly undefended. (The Rissitics still have ships, so they have more mobility than the defenders do.)

The harbour falls and the Rissitics capture the town (all except the castle, where the last defenders huddle). The town's fall demoralizes the Imetric troops, and the Rissitics are able to push them back from the harbour and defeat them. The surviving Imetrians retreat to Fendacor. The Rissitics march into Cicora and capture the castle (with magical aid).

How's this sound? Any comments?


Edited by Spectrum - 26-Aug-2007 at 15:40
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  Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Aug-2007 at 06:37
I was going to say that your island should be a lot bigger 30 square kilometers is tiny. (5x6 kilometers), even 150 square kilometres is only 10x15. An island that small wouldn't be able to grow enough to support any sort of military installations itself.
I'd increase the island size to maybe 20 x 20 km (400 square kilometers). That way you'll actually be able to fit two towns and some farmland in.

The other thing no-one has noticed, is that if my enemy has a fleet full of wooden ships, and I have 3 fire breathing dragons. Well you what they said about fire being the worst fear of a sailor. Either you will have to figure out a way to protect your ships from the dragons breath, or warships would be useless in your world.
I'd either give all ships a mage to deflect the dragons fire, or only have transport ships that require your dragons to protect them from their dragons.
Having dragons also opens up the possibilities of aerial landings of troops. Significantly reduces the effectiveness of walls. Think of what you could do with a helicopter gunship and that should approximate a dragon.


Edited by Omar al Hashim - 27-Aug-2007 at 06:39
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  Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Aug-2007 at 07:54
Hmmh. For your information, Spectrum, the Roman Empire fielded close to 500,000 men in the 3rd and 4th centuries. The population was (I guess) close to 3-5 million or so. You can base the Imertian armies on it.

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  Quote deadkenny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Aug-2007 at 13:46
If you're concerned about the battle for the island in your story sounding 'plausible', then I would recommend 'modelling' it on an actual conflict.  For example, Malta would perhaps be ideal.  Malta is approx. 300 sq. km. in area. The Romans took it from the Carthaginians in 216 B.C., so perhaps that would be a good conflict to use as a 'model' to ensure some level of plausibility, if that concept appeals to you.  
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  Quote deadkenny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27-Aug-2007 at 13:52
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim

...
The other thing no-one has noticed, is that if my enemy has a fleet full of wooden ships, and I have 3 fire breathing dragons. Well you what they said about fire being the worst fear of a sailor. Either you will have to figure out a way to protect your ships from the dragons breath, or warships would be useless in your world.
I'd either give all ships a mage to deflect the dragons fire, or only have transport ships that require your dragons to protect them from their dragons.
Having dragons also opens up the possibilities of aerial landings of troops. Significantly reduces the effectiveness of walls. Think of what you could do with a helicopter gunship and that should approximate a dragon.


I had been restricting my comments to 'non-magical' elements, because I believe that's what the author had requested.  Of course fire would render the wooden ships vulnerable.  However, the author can and will presumably introduce some mechanism to counter it, for example some 'treatment', either magical, alchemical or other, that would make the wood more fire 'resistant' (not necessarily fire 'proof' though).  From what I've read about 'fantasy' world dragons, they would not likely react well to 'carrying' humans as if they were some sort of 'beast of burden'.  Especially not 'common soldiers'.  Perhaps a famous wizard would be considered 'tolerable' by the dragon. ;)
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Aug-2007 at 18:54
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim

I was going to say that your island should be a lot bigger 30 square kilometers is tiny. (5x6 kilometers), even 150 square kilometres is only 10x15. An island that small wouldn't be able to grow enough to support any sort of military installations itself.I'd increase the island size to maybe 20 x 20 km (400 square kilometers). That way you'll actually be able to fit two towns and some farmland in.

Yeah. Now that I've scrapped the feigned move against Fendacor (and the subsequent march across the entire island) I can make it bigger. 300-400 km^2 might be reasonable.

Originally posted by Omar al Hashim

The other thing no-one has noticed, is that if my enemy has a fleet full of wooden ships, and I have 3 fire breathing dragons. Well you what they said about fire being the worst fear of a sailor. Either you will have to figure out a way to protect your ships from the dragons breath, or warships would be useless in your world.I'd either give all ships a mage to deflect the dragons fire, or only have transport ships that require your dragons to protect them from their dragons.Having dragons also opens up the possibilities of aerial landings of troops. Significantly reduces the effectiveness of walls. Think of what you could do with a helicopter gunship and that should approximate a dragon.

This is a good point; thanks for bringing it up. Well, Dragons are rare enough that the overall military technology would not be overmuch influenced by them (the entire known world has no more than fifty or sixty Dragons, and only a few of them fight in armies). Still, humanoid mages can cast fireballs and the like, so the problem is still relevant.

Originally posted by deadkenny

I had been restricting my comments to 'non-magical' elements, because I believe that's what the author had requested.

Not specifically "requested". What I meant was just that you might want to disregard the supernatural elements, since they'd be difficult to factor in (because you don't know what magic I have). If you have comments that factor in the magic and monsters, by all means please post them.

Originally posted by deadkenny

Of course fire would render the wooden ships vulnerable. However, the author can and will presumably introduce some mechanism to counter it, for example some 'treatment', either magical, alchemical or other, that would make the wood more fire 'resistant' (not necessarily fire 'proof' though).

Yes, I had this idea, too. I imagine that while smaller or non-military ships would be unprotected, the more important ships (and other structures) could be treated with a special oil or paint that would give them some resistance to fire. The most important ships, like flagships and the big, expensive ones, would be enchanted with spells making them even more durable.

Some of the absolute top-notch ships and (smaller) buildings are protected by a magical shield that attempts to deflect all spells cast from the outside against the ship or people on it. (The Mother Hydra has one of these.)

Originally posted by deadkenny

From what I've read about 'fantasy' world dragons, they would not likely react well to 'carrying' humans as if they were some sort of 'beast of burden'. Especially not 'common soldiers'. Perhaps a famous wizard would be considered 'tolerable' by the dragon. ;)

That's true. Mithian Dragons tend to be a proud, arrogant lot, and will only occasionally deign to carry people.

Originally posted by rider

Hmmh. For your information, Spectrum, the Roman Empire fielded close to 500,000 men in the 3rd and 4th centuries. The population was (I guess) close to 3-5 million or so. You can base the Imertian armies on it.

Thanks. I guess, then, that a total army of about 200,000 men (one per 10 inhabitants) for the Imetrians and Rissitics each would be reasonable. Something of that order of magnitude would have been my guess, too.

But how many inhabitants and how many garrisoned soldiers might be reasonable for a 300-400 km^2 island (heavily fortified and supplied from the mainland)?

Originally posted by deadkenny

If you're concerned about the battle for the island in your story sounding 'plausible', then I would recommend 'modelling' it on an actual conflict. For example, Malta would perhaps be ideal. Malta is approx. 300 sq. km. in area. The Romans took it from the Carthaginians in 216 B.C., so perhaps that would be a good conflict to use as a 'model' to ensure some level of plausibility, if that concept appeals to you.

Nyeah, I could, but I don't really want to spend that much time researching it. After all, I don't plan the conquest to take up more than at most 50 pages. Also, it's near the beginning of the book, not a big climax.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29-Aug-2007 at 01:34
300 sq KM, about 50,000 thousand, considering its a sea invasion, supplies will be difficult.
 Incidentally Spectrum, there are type of wood which are fire-resistant. Ships could be made of that.
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