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How would you conquer an island in the me

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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: How would you conquer an island in the me
    Posted: 14-Aug-2007 at 19:44
Hello. This is my first post.

I am writing a dark fantasy novel set in a medieval-like world, and I would like some advice on how to make it "realistic". (Of course, it's my world and I can do whatever the Hell I want, but I prefer my world to be well-researched and consistent with the real world in most aspects unless there is a good reason for it to be different.)

I have a situation I am working on where the Rissitics are trying to conquer the island of Fendor, held by the Imetrians. (And I want them to succeed in capturing it.) The island is small, perhaps only 50 km^2, elongated in the east-west direction, with a fortified port town in each end (Fendacor and Cicora, each with a castle) and farmland spread out over the rest of the isle. Fendor is of great strategic importance, being one of few isles in a large sea, so it will be well-fortified and well-guarded.

The technology level is mostly "middle medieval", approximately corresponding to 1000-1100 CE.

I suppose that each town will have a number of defensive towers with archers and perhaps ballistae and catapults to fire at approaching ships, as well as a defensive fleet of ships and an army of land-based soldiers.

Now, of course in my world the situation is complicated further by magic and monsters, but if we try to disregard those for the moment, can you give me some suggestions on how such an attack might be put together?

Also, what major issues are there that I should consider? (Technology available for ships and siege engines, perhaps weather and terrain, organization, whatever.)

Thanks in advance.
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  Quote Kamikaze 738 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Aug-2007 at 20:15
Where is this medieval world set in? Different places have different cultures such that medieval Europe is very different than say medieval China. Im not sure what kind of people the Rissitics are nor the Imetrians... so cant help without knowing what kind of culture they are like.
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  Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2007 at 02:10
That is not even important. The best way to solve this would be to:

- get the invading nation a type of ships with small draft (right word) that could easily be sailed into the coast an unboarded
- put some good money into heavy infantry

If the island isn't circulated by a wall, then this would work. Most preferrably somewhere in the middle of the island. Your men sail there and build up camps (obviously fortified). Then you would send your remaining fleet to block the ports. Your cavalry (if you have any) would do scouting and looting (oh, you could write an amazing scout report together into the book).

Then, if you have enough forces you go to attack both towns simultaneously. If the port doesn't have an inner wall (the docks are separated from the city with a wall) then you could have your remaining ships sail into the harbour and take over the enemy ships one by one. Your main forces attack from the weakest place in the walls (gates) most preferrably as far from the keep as you can.

The second would fall the same way if the building is identical.

Note: I presume that the ships and fighting from them is done by boarding. If this is the case, you could also have a small force of hostile ships be stopping in the landingplace. Perhaps the landingplace is a well known bay, you go there, enemy is ahead. The enemy uses Athenic ships (has underwater rams) so it would seem the invaders are losing but you manage to pull of some trick or something...


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  Quote Balaam Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2007 at 06:21
Having ships with catapults on them never go astray in these kinds of seiges, I'm not sure whether they actually existed or not but I've read about them in a couple of fantasy novels.
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  Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2007 at 06:22
I believe I've read about English ships using these kinds of catapults in the Hundred Years War. 
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  Quote Knights Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2007 at 06:28
Most notably at the Battle of Sluys (Naval) I believe. Most of the battle was fought hand to hand, across ships, though. And artillery was used by the English, on board, to much success. It was an English victory.
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  Quote Melisende Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2007 at 07:10
Might I suggest reading about the Norman Conquest of Sicily under Roger I (yes, Guiscard took the credit but Roger was, I believe, the brains behind it all).
 
The conquest of Sicily was achieved with both a land and sea force - and took a number of years to complete.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2007 at 08:54
Thanks for the replies, everyone.

Originally posted by Kamikaze 738

Where is this medieval world set in? Different places have different cultures such that medieval Europe is very different than say medieval China. Im not sure what kind of people the Rissitics are nor the Imetrians... so cant help without knowing what kind of culture they are like.

The technology is based on Europe (because that's what I know best). Aesthetically and culturally I have drawn influences from all sorts of cultures. For instance, the Imetrians are kind of meant to resemble Romans and the Rissitics are inspired by Ancient Egypt. But this is mostly an aesthetic thing. For the actual technology used, Europe in the 1000-1100s is what it's mostly meant to resemble.

I have thought up a battle plan for the Rissitics that is rather circuitous but cool. It goes like this:

The Rissitics leak a tip to the Imetrians that they are going to send their fleet to attack the nearby island of Tugan (west of Fendor), and they send a fleet moving towards Tugan, in case scouts come to investigate. This is a ruse, meant to draw the Imetric fleet away from Fendor. After a while, the bulk of the fleet turns and moves toward Fendor.

The Rissitics (who are coming up from the south) then send fast ships in to harass the Imetrians of Fendor, especially on the northern border. This is a feint, meant to draw the remaining ships away in pursuit of the raiders.

With most of the Imetric navy gone from Fendor, the Rissitic transports go ashore at the middle of the island (in the farmland between the two fortress-towns). They find only token resistance (a few ships and defensive towers), not enough to prevent them from going in and landing thousands of soldiers. These soldiers feign making a move east toward Fendacor, and some of the Rissitic ships, with more soldiers still remaining aboard, likewise turn east to attack Fendacor from the sea side.

The Rissitic army terrorizes a few villagers and fire a few farms while moving. This is to convince the Imetrians that they are a menace to the populace, thus enticing them to send out their forces and engage them. (In fact, the Rissitics don't destroy a whole lot, because they intend to conquer the island and sieze control of the farms to supply them in the eventual siege.)

The Imetrians swallow the bait and send out soldiers from Cicora (the smaller town to the west) in order to attack the Rissitic army from both sides at once.

Meanwhile, in secret, the Rissitics have sent a small force into Cicora in disguise, including a pair of powerful sorcerers. The mages perform a ritual and summon a group of terrible daemons. The plan is that after the Imetrians have sent out many of the soldiers from Cicora, the daemons will attack the city from within, forcing the Imetrians to send the remaining town garrison to fight them.

But in truth, only part of the Rissitic fleet moved east to Fendacor. The rest takes a longer route (to avoid discovery from the shore) south and west and around to Cicora. There attack the harbour, which is now depopulated, and seize control of some of the fortifications. They then meet up with the mages and daemons and destroy the remaining Imetric forces in Cicora, barring the few holding the main castle.

The Rissitic army set ashore in the middle of the island now turn back west. Rather than letting themselves be caught between the two armies, they attack the Cicoran army head-on before the one from Fendacor can reach them. Meanwhile, the news of Cicora's fall strikes a blow to the morale of the Cicoran army, and the Rissitics defeat them. The Cicoran army is routed and the remains flee east to Fendacor, while the Rissitics march into Cicora. With few defenders left, the main castle of Cicora quickly falls to the Rissitic siege engines, mages and superior numbers and morale.

Cicora is now taken and the Imetric armies have suffered heavy casualties. A longer war of attrition begins, culminating in a long siege of the stronger town of Fendacor, which eventually falls after perhaps several weeks.

How does this sound? I am pretty happy with it myself, but I would like someone to comment on it and point out any mistakes I might have made, things I need to consider.

Thanks.
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  Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2007 at 09:08
Give a map. Would make the locations easier.

You have dragons? I'd have the dragon burn down the city gates.


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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2007 at 12:05
Originally posted by rider

Give a map. Would make the locations easier.

OK, as requested, I've drawn a map. It's ugly and took me five minutes to make in MS Paint , but it gives some idea of what's going on.



Originally posted by rider

You have dragons? I'd have the dragon burn down the city gates.

Yes, the Rissitics have a few Dragons on their side. Probably two or three. The Imetrians might also have a Dragon. On my world, even a single Dragon is extremely powerful, easily a match for hundreds of men or several humanoid mages. Dragons cannot breathe fire as a natural ability, but they are mages and can use spells to similar effect.

I am not sure yet more exactly what role the Dragons and mages will play in the battles.
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  Quote Aelfgifu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2007 at 12:06
I would agree with rider: land in the middle. If the island is not too wide, the invaders can put a blockade across the island, seperating the two cities. Ships can block the entrances to the harbours of the cities, locking the whole of the island from the mainland. Plunder the countryside to stop food from coming into the cities and besiege them, perhaps one at the time.
 
i am not certain, but I believe catapults and such were not common in the 11th centuries. Trebucets probably were, but those cannot be used for bringing down walls, just for bombarding over the walls (lobbing rotting an diseased corpses over the walls to spread sickness within was quite popular, I believe).
 
Dragons or airforces could help in  spreading chaos. Meanwhile, having a proper propagandasystem to convince the population to surrender may help. With all the refugees from the country, the cities will be overcrouded and hunger and disease will be rife. Plant some infiltrants to stir up riots within the walls.
 
Your battleplan sounds good, but I would advice you to make sure you do not make the whole thing too complicated. It will hold up the story if the whole thing goes into detail. There is of course an audience for detailed battle descriptions, but I think most readers would lose their focus if you make it too long or difficult.

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  Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Aug-2007 at 14:21
I would advise to have dragons as the 'cavalry'... If they can fly, they could support the landing and also they could support blockading the ports. You could make it so that there is a hostile dragon and the two duel and both kill each other and fall in the middle of the bay of one of the cities... 
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  Quote The_Jackal_God Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Aug-2007 at 22:54
island sieges makes me think of the ottomans: they took cyprus and rhodes, but had a hell of a time at malta.
 
one plot point: your dragons are spell-casters, so rationale and perhaps wise? so why are they subservient to another power?
 
sounds interesting, good luck
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  Quote Kamikaze 738 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Aug-2007 at 23:16
Originally posted by rider

That is not even important.


Well, different cultures have a different style of amphibious warfare and weaponry such as Byzantine having fire ships that burns even on water, which no other western nation has or the Chinese having installed cannons on ships which are much more effective destorying walls than say some catapults. But as for the discussion, this does become irrelevant cause it seems Spectrum already have a battle plan set up.

And are there like sea serpeants in the story? It could be use as a naval escortor or maybe use to destroy the Imetrian fleet in an ambush or something.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Aug-2007 at 15:38
Originally posted by The_Jackal_God

one plot point: your dragons are spell-casters, so rationale and perhaps wise? so why are they subservient to another power?

I did not say they were. :P

I have not quite determined the organization of armies, but the Rissitic Dragons are among the highest-ranking members of the force. Still, they serve Rissit Nechsain, the god of the Rissitics, who is in fact a Dragon himself.

Originally posted by Kamikaze 738

And are there like sea serpeants in the story? It could be use as a naval escortor or maybe use to destroy the Imetrian fleet in an ambush or something.

Yes, I do have sea serpents (called Linnorms), and it is possible that the Rissitics might have some alliance with them, but I have not settled on that yet. Even if not, there are other sea monsters they might conceivably have in their service.
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  Quote Kamikaze 738 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18-Aug-2007 at 18:46
Originally posted by Spectrum

Originally posted by Kamikaze 738

And are there like sea serpeants in the story? It could be use as a naval escortor or maybe use to destroy the Imetrian fleet in an ambush or something.

Yes, I do have sea serpents (called Linnorms), and it is possible that the Rissitics might have some alliance with them, but I have not settled on that yet. Even if not, there are other sea monsters they might conceivably have in their service.


Well since the Rissitics are more like the Egyptians, the Egyptians have special connections with serpents and snakes, hense the cobra was kinda popular but thats just my opinion on how to connect the similiarity of the two.
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Aug-2007 at 08:12
Okay long and difficult thing. But some points.
 
Weapons and tactics are not as important as startegy and logistics. If I was the one incharge of the invasion/ defence here is what I would do.
 
As the Attacker.
-Its a seabourne invasion, something difficult to do. So you need to ensure that you have an adequete supply of weapons and food. Capture that nearby island and use it as a supply base. Solve most of your logistical difficulties right there.
 
-Secondly isolate the island, destroy the enemy fleet. Otherwise you landing will be disputed and with lack of naval superiority you will, not be able to setup a supply line and well you can pretty much right off the landing force.
 
-This is very important. Attack before the harvest, when the island has only a few days worth of food. Otherwise they will have a huge surplus and will be able to last a lo longer.
 
-Your strategy must be to establish a beachead and then move inland. Since the terrain is flat you can land pretty much everywhere. The advantage here lies with the attacker, there is little strategic depth. Once you land, you could move on until you have reached the other end of the island hence splitting the place in two. Then you can hold against one city, and move against the other, with the latter having little hope of reinforcement. And then after you have taken one, move against the other.
 
As the defender
 
-Your strategy should revolve around denying the attacker a base of operations on or off the island.
 
-Occupying that nearby Island is a good idea. Will force them either to attack that or bypass it which will cause them a huge problem, seeing as the supply line come from sea all the way from there homeland.
 
-The fleet should aim to prevent a landing. Move away is not a good idea. Most of the fleet should remain nearby
 
-As for countering a landing, well as said, the terrain favours the attacker. Once they establish a beachead the game is up. Your staretgy must therefore revolve around not allowing them to establish a beachead. Theu cannot be allowed to get a secure foothold and move inland, they must be pinned down on the beach and destroyed there, otherwise the game is up.
 
 
 
 
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Aug-2007 at 14:09
Thanks for the input, Sparten.

Originally posted by Sparten

-Its a seabourne invasion, something difficult to do. So you need to ensure that you have an adequete supply of weapons and food.Capture that nearby island and use it as a supply base. Solve most of your logistical difficulties right there.

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. ^^

Originally posted by Sparten

-This is very important. Attack before the harvest, when the island has only a few days worth of food. Otherwise they will have a huge surplus and will be able to last a lo longer.

When would that be? End of summer to beginning of autumn?

Originally posted by Sparten

-The fleet should aim to prevent a landing. Move away is not a good idea. Most of the fleet should remain nearby

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.

Originally posted by Sparten

-As for countering a landing, well as said, the terrain favours the attacker. Once they establish a beachead the game is up. Your staretgy must therefore revolve around not allowing them to establish a beachead. Theu cannot be allowed to get a secure foothold and move inland, they must be pinned down on the beach and destroyed there, otherwise the game is up.

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.

BTW, one more question: How fast are ships? How long would it take a fleet of warships to sail, say, 150 km?


Edited by Spectrum - 22-Aug-2007 at 14:10
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  Quote Jeroen72 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Aug-2007 at 14:28
Richard the Lionhearts conquest of Cyprus deserves mention too :)
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  Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Aug-2007 at 14:38
Depends... With the right winds, I believe a galleon could make quite a few knots... Perhaps up to 12 or so? The galley's however would be slower (quicker if also with sails)...

I have no actual idea though.
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