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How many soldiers can one man lead?

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snowybeagle View Drop Down
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  Quote snowybeagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: How many soldiers can one man lead?
    Posted: 14-Jun-2005 at 06:39

In pre-gunpowder historical era, what do you think is the largest number of soldiers (trained or untrained) a leader can lead without any assistant leader?

40?

100?

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  Quote aknc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Jun-2005 at 06:47

a lot more than that

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  Quote snowybeagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Jun-2005 at 06:51

I'll qualify further by stating "lead effectively".

Does it matter whether it is for offence or defence?

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  Quote Richard XIII Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Jun-2005 at 07:38
5
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...the rest are details."

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  Quote baracuda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Jun-2005 at 07:56
I agree with Richard XIII, effectively 5 to 8, but if you want to mean as just a figure then a lot more..
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  Quote aknc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Jun-2005 at 10:09
Originally posted by snowybeagle

I'll qualify further by stating "lead effectively".

Does it matter whether it is for offence or defence?

It does

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  Quote aknc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Jun-2005 at 10:13

Originally posted by baracuda

I agree with Richard XIII, effectively 5 to 8, but if you want to mean as just a figure then a lot more..

the romans got it best.80,the number of men a centurion leaded

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  Quote baracuda Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Jun-2005 at 10:50
For infantry;

Effectively - if it means to control every single action of everysingle unit, then the ideal is the army standard for SAS,SAT,SEAL... units they are usually in pacs of 8-10.

Efectively if it means, showing a plan then hoping for the best during battle, then you can be infront of a horde off a couple thousand people.. it wouldn't matter but you would only be a 'figure head', you wont be able to change too much the flow of battle, as only a handfull will see your actions/signals and percieve it as you intend it.. So it wouldn't be effective in a sense. you might get it to work effectively if you reduced the number to 20-30 but thats not sure..

Thats the reason for people for signalling and people to command and relay those signals to minor groups of troops on the battle field.

For ranged - weapons

1 commander can control much much more archers.. over 100 need be, as they fighting style is distant to the field.. and hence seing range much further than an infantry unit.

For cavalry - sword or lance;

1 commander i'd say up to 60-80 units..


With veterancy, you can almost double units to all part the infantry.

Edited by baracuda
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  Quote Paul Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Jun-2005 at 18:58
I'd say several thousand, you just have to think, mob!
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  Quote Constantine XI Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Jun-2005 at 02:51

"A disorderly more an army than a heap of building materials is a house" - Socrates.

Oh man I have been playing too much Rome Total War

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  Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Jun-2005 at 11:57
Belisarius said allegedly, when he was told the news that the Ostrogoths' King Witiges was coming to besiege Rome, held by the Byzantines, with about 150.000 men:
" Rare was a general who could handle 40.000 men, he was rarer still who could handle 80.000. What about Witiges who has brought twice that number against us?"

Belisarius was right, Witiges couldn't!
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  Quote Lannes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Jun-2005 at 12:03

As many as can hear him (of course, that's only assuming they are willing to hear him)...

It is hard to give an exact number of men especially when you have to take into consideration things like how loyal the men are, how much discipline the leader's troops have, what kind of troops they are, etc.

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  Quote Quetzalcoatl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jun-2005 at 07:56

 

About 20 to 50 depending on formation and type of units. Some units are simply unleased on the battelfield other need to be commandeered.



Edited by Quetzalcoatl
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  Quote Quetzalcoatl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jun-2005 at 07:57
Originally posted by aknc

Originally posted by baracuda

I agree with Richard XIII, effectively 5 to 8, but if you want to mean as just a figure then a lot more..

the romans got it best.80,the number of men a centurion leaded

 

 A century wasn't controlled by one man only.

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  Quote Moustafa Pasha Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Jun-2005 at 11:40

Hitler controlled several millions of soldiers in the sense that a field commander could not move his men without the express authorization of Hitler.

That is exactly what happened in Russia and on D-Day when the whole German army in France waited for orders and could not move because Hitler was sleeping.

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  Quote human Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Jun-2005 at 02:48
Originally posted by Constantine XI

Oh man I have been playing too much Rome Total War

 

lol Constantine XI. Me too!!!!

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  Quote snowybeagle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-Jun-2005 at 04:14

I suppose the answer would be if there was no semblance of discipline, a leader can't even lead a single soldier.

However, if they trained together, and as a disciplined force, I guess a single leader could lead up to 50 soldiers, max.

I don't have military experience to back my guess.

It's from what I observed.

In a classroom, the best teacher could not handle more than 50 students.

In military organisations, I recalled reading a sergeant leading 40-50 men to safety without any co-leaders, under exceptional circumstances.

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  Quote mazuk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Oct-2008 at 12:23
This is a complex question, many aspects are invovled here;

Respect - from soldiers
Discipline - maintained from soldiers
Maintenance - soldiers knowing how to maintain their equipment sufficiently
Drilling - know the movements,commands,formations etc
Fighting effectiveness - trained efficiently to allow leader to lead / unit experience

Answer all them then it may be easier to gauge Approve
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  Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Oct-2008 at 11:33
I think the OP needs to clarify what he means by "lead".

Are we talking about the lowest echelons of command, or the highest?

Then there are variables like the type of warfare, the technology available, and so on.

In general I would say 8 to 15 ... whether its a 20th century squad, a Roman contubernia, or an ancient Germanic warband, this seems to have been the basic building block of military forces throughout history.
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  Quote Darius of Parsa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02-Nov-2008 at 05:04
Themselves. 
What is the officer problem?
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