World best soldiers ever

Armed conflicts in the history of humanity from the ancient times to the 20th Century.
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Karl Heidenreich
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Mon May 23, 2011 1:35 pm

lwd:

"Disqualified" I don't think so. Some of the methods imployed are certainly problematic but then the same can be said of Dupuy or Glantz. In the former case it usually people trying to read more into his work than is there though. Glantz has also been accused of not making enough use of German records.


And you knew it? And still you came up with that hoax and try to pass it as a reference text to us? You just tried to deceive us with "make believe" information. Next time you can send us a link from youtube with an episode of Combat!

Glantz use German records, I have a book of his filled with them, read the bibliography (and what's the matter, you think German records are at fault, didn't you?). And Dupuy is certainly a respected author with even an Institute to study such things. Of course everybody present problems but it's the degree of them: Bonn simply made a outstanding incompetent work.
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby lwd » Mon May 23, 2011 3:39 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:lwd:
"Disqualified" I don't think so. Some of the methods imployed are certainly problematic but then the same can be said of Dupuy or Glantz. In the former case it usually people trying to read more into his work than is there though. Glantz has also been accused of not making enough use of German records.

And you knew it?

Actually I had forgotten it until I read the review you posted. Still the point is that while the methodology problems impact the conclusions that he reached they don't necesarily refute them and even if they do the situation may still refute your statements.
... Glantz use German records, I have a book of his filled with them, read the bibliography (and what's the matter, you think German records are at fault, didn't you?).

I didn't say he didn't use them I said he that some have said he made insufficient use of them.
See: http://www.dupuyinstitute.org/ubb/Forum ... 00035.html PLS note that that this is the Dupuy forum.
Or: http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 2&start=30
Where a quote from Qvist notes
Well, the information he gives about German strengths, losses and so on are certainly a decidedly weak point of his books. Unfortunately there are also cases of wrong understanding of the Soviet figures he quote (f.e. Krivosheev's). In other respects I find his books valuable.

and Aurora notes:
Zetterling has leveled some devastating criticism against Glantz use of sources, and the conclusions he draws from them.

And Dupuy is certainly a respected author with even an Institute to study such things. ...

Indeed and you can find a fair number places where people crisize his work although as I've stated it's usually because people don't read it carefully enough and understand just what the limitations and caveats are. Some of them are a bit more fundamental as well though.

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Karl Heidenreich
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Tue May 24, 2011 1:56 am

lwd:
You simply like to make the final statement so everybody thinks you won the argument, because that's what you like: argumenting for the sake of it. Your last post just point that way. But you don't even care to read:


Karl:

Of course everybody present problems but it's the degree of them: Bonn simply made a outstanding incompetent work.


:pray:
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby britishinvasion » Sat Jun 04, 2011 8:45 pm

Good evening all! Some brilliant posts and arguments here...thought I might add my 2 cents worth (coming from an Englishman!)
Everyone seems to be focusing on conventional armies, units and soldiers...might I suggest some unconventional alternatives (though, I'll stick to the 20th century)? In no particular order:

(1) The Boers (South Africa) - Fought us English in the Anglo-Boer War...hard, tough, disciplined soldiers who were undeniably the best marksmen and small unit tacticians of their time. About 70 000 Boer soldiers managed to keep over 400 000 English soldiers "busy" for a good number of years. They were only finally pushed to surrender by the placing of Boer women and children in huge concentration camps, as well as the "scorched earth" policy of burning their farms and homesteads and subjecting them to starvation. In fact, the origin of the word "Commando" can be traced back to "Kommando" - the name given to the small horse-mounted Boer units that waged a Guerrilla war against the British. Churchill thought so highly of them that Boer leader Jan Smuts came to be one of his most trusted friends after the Boer War, and served on the War Cabinet of the 2nd World War.

(2) British SBS - lesser known than their SAS counterparts, but just as (if not more) effective. Google them.

(3) Gurkhas - I think enough as been said of them already.

(4) 2de REP, Legion d'Etranger (French Foreign Legion) - Hard, disciplined, well-trained...maybe bloody crazy!

(5) The Rhodesian Selous Scouts and the South African Recces - Fought in the Zimbabwean Bush War and South African Border War respectively. Also, very tough and determined soldiers. Lived months on end in the bush behind enemy lines, utilising small unit tactics to recce and engage the enemy. One would be hard-pressed to find tougher soldiers, their endurance being on par (if not better) than other SF units worldwide. Go wikipedia them, great reads!

(6) American Vietnam-era SOG Teams.

My thoughts, feel free to disagree! :) (Though I do feel they are valid choices!)

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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:03 am

Hi britishinvasion!

Good points. My old man thinks a lot like you in that regard (he is a special forces fan, specially the SAS and SBS). I think that in many ways you are correct. The real elites, those super hard soldiers are always small units and their mission is very hard to evaluate.

Those guys that recently went to Pakistan and killed that Osama rat, they are superb, what they did was incredible. As were those guys in the Iranian Embassy in London during the Thatcher years or the israeli commandos at Entebe or the Germans at Mogadishu.

Obviously their task is not to defeat an enemy but to perform precision jobs that, in some way, could help in the victory.

I must admit that I have always been a fan of BIG units: Marine divisions, Japanese Fleets, Waffen Panzer Grenadier formations, British Airborne Troops, etc. etc. I think that what we have been talking is in the capability of a nation to really train it's population to face great odds. Like Rome against Hannibal or England against Napoleon: the military is the measure of the will to prevail in human nature.

But we have been forgetting some "not so popular" guys as the Rhodesians or the South Afrikans just because, being politically incorrect, the media decided to ignore them. I still remember the Soldier of Fortune magazines in the early 80ies addressing the fights those guys went, alone, against the commies there. Maybe the best soldiers ever we have never even heard of because were some guys in some dark jungle of Asia.

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RF
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby RF » Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:35 am

britishinvasion wrote:(1) The Boers (South Africa) - Fought us English in the Anglo-Boer War...hard, tough, disciplined soldiers who were undeniably the best marksmen and small unit tacticians of their time.
(


Not really. Actually they were part time militiamen, not regular soldiers, who refused to fight on Sundays because observing the Sabbath was more important than fighting a war.
They were good marksmen but not well disciplined at all. What is often focussed on are the early British defeats; the Boer defeats and especially their incompetant performances in the sieges of Ladysmith, Mafeking and Kimberley are nearly always overlooked.
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby RF » Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:40 am

britishinvasion wrote:
. They were only finally pushed to surrender by the placing of Boer women and children in huge concentration camps, as well as the "scorched earth" policy of burning their farms and homesteads and subjecting them to starvation.


This is the stuff of propaganda, even used by the nazi's to justify their genocide.

Internment camps were used to cut off the supply of food to the Boer guerillas. Conditions were bad but the policy was not one of starvation.

The Boer republics were overun by May 1900, eight months into that war. The rest was a mopping up operation, the outcome was never in doubt.
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby RF » Mon Jun 06, 2011 8:43 am

britishinvasion wrote:
(5) The Rhodesian Selous Scouts and the South African Recces - Fought in the Zimbabwean Bush War and South African Border War respectively. Also, very tough and determined soldiers. Lived months on end in the bush behind enemy lines, utilising small unit tactics to recce and engage the enemy. One would be hard-pressed to find tougher soldiers, their endurance being on par (if not better) than other SF units worldwide. Go wikipedia them, great reads!
(


Now here I can agree.
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby Garyt » Tue Dec 16, 2014 3:52 am

I think one huge thing that has to be taken into account is the "size" of the unit we are speaking of in comparison to the size of the army.

My point being is man for man, Leonidas' 300 man personal guard was probably as good as any unit in history from a morale state. But it is only a small portion of an army. Same goes for a Rangers unit - again, a small component of an army. Are we talking about full blown armies, or classes of troops (airborne, Varangian Guard) in these armies, or elite units making up a very small percentage?

Also, what time are we looking at? To state "The Romans" Is far to great of a time span. I think you really have to narrow it down to a century, or a few centuries. In modern times, things move much faster. A Roman Legionairre in 100 BC would not feel to out of place in 200 AD. Cavalry would chnage from largely local to largely foreign, and it's now a volunteer vs. a conscription or draft, but armor, weapons, tactics would all be somewhat familiar.

Take a soldier from WW2 and put him in an army 300 years ago, and he'd feel very out of place, and vice versa.

So you probably have to break the time periods down into smaller units as time gets closer to the present.

Lastly, it's very very difficult to compare units/soldiers of differnt time periods together, so you probably need to break it down into eras.

Since I'm getting long winded :D , I'll just name some of my "Favorites" from roughly the Rise of the Persian Empire to the fall of the rise of Rome, maybe 550BC-250BC Classical age, and by "class" of troop.

In no particular order-
1) Macedonian Companion Cavalry
2) Spartan Hoplites
3) Persian Immortals

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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby aurora » Tue Dec 16, 2014 11:40 am

ZULUS
Tactically the Zulu army relied on speed and surprise to suddenly outnumber an enemy as at the battle of Isandlwana where a Zulu army destroyed a British army, an event which had a huge political impact back in Great Britain. Generally the lightly equipped,incredibly brave, forging Zulu army could cover 20 miles in a day and still fight at the end of the march.

Battlefield tactics involved the famous Buffalo formation which is basically an double envelopment with a strong central group engaging while the horns of the formation flanked on both sides encircling the enemy. Veterans were normally held back as a tactical reserve.

One of the most interesting aspects is the similarities of some aspects of the Zulu army organisation to the Roman Legions. The introduction of the short broad stabbing spear much like the roman gladius, the organisation into groups of 1000, the idea of regiments building fortified camps and being able to march 20 miles in a day and even the encircling tactic.
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby RF » Tue Dec 16, 2014 8:51 pm

aurora wrote:ZULUS
Tactically the Zulu army relied on speed and surprise to suddenly outnumber an enemy as at the battle of Isandlwana where a Zulu army destroyed a British army, an event which had a huge political impact back in Great Britain..


Not really, it was overshadowed by the defence of Rorke's Drift. By May 1879, barely three months or so later, the Zulu army was totally defeated...... largely by concentrated rifle fire.
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby RF » Tue Dec 16, 2014 8:54 pm

aurora wrote:ZULUS

Battlefield tactics involved the famous Buffalo formation which is basically an double envelopment with a strong central group engaging while the horns of the formation flanked on both sides encircling the enemy. Veterans were normally held back as a tactical reserve.


It didn't work against the Boers at Blood River, or against the British in the 1879 Anglo-Zulu War (except for Ishandlawana, a victory which indirectly led to the Zulu's total defeat).
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby aurora » Tue Dec 16, 2014 9:40 pm

Of course you are right about the Fall of the Zulu nation -shot to pieces by Gatling guns and rifle fire from the British square at the final Battle of Ulundi; but that did not detract from the fact that they were great warriors-which was my point RF
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Re: World best soldiers ever

Postby Garyt » Thu Dec 18, 2014 1:00 am

but that did not detract from the fact that they were great warriors-which was my point RF


I agree, they were just not technologically able to compete with Euorpeans, but that does not undermine their discipline, morale, or courage.

For that matter, perhaps the Nez Perce should be included?


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