Who would win: Roman Legioneers or 1770s era army?

Martin

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Jan 15, 2000
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I saw part of "The Patriot" a few days ago and "Spartacus" a few weeks ago. As I was watching the battle scene in the patiot, it occured to me how stupid these people were. If movies are to be believed, they just stop 30m across from one another and fired shots every so often (followed by a charge with sabres).

I was just thinking, if you send 2000 roman legioneers against 2000 (say) redcoats, the legioneers would simply slaughter the redcoats. I mean, they had shields and armor and I doubt those 1770s muskets were powerful enough to go through both of them. Plus, it seems the legions were much better trained in hand to hand combat.

Just my late night musings...what do you guys think?

 

Machupo

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i think the roman's victory would be more attributable to their desire to close with and destroy the enemy by hand to hand combat (an assuredly workable system) instead of hanging their hopes on a technology that was less accurate than tossing the rifle itself at the enemy :D
 

Martin

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Jan 15, 2000
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Originally posted by: Gatsby
can you say cannon?
But I don't think those would have made much of a difference.

1. Romans had their own ballistic weapons
2. Once they got close enough to fight, you can't use canons anymore
 

ElFenix

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roman soldiers weren't that well armored.

you also have to realize that the movie spartacus has the best battlefield tactics of any movie ever.
 

ElFenix

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Originally posted by: MartyTheManiak
Originally posted by: Gatsby
can you say cannon?
But I don't think those would have made much of a difference.

1. Romans had their own ballistic weapons
2. Once they got close enough to fight, you can't use canons anymore
they wouldn't get that close. a trained soldier in the 1770s could fire and reload his musket a good 8 times a minute.
 

rgwalt

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Apr 22, 2000
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The armor you see in movies about the Legioneers isn't what they wore back then. They didn't extensively use iron, but rather favored bronze, which is much softer. That being said, I bet it would be a close match. The legionaires would need to be briefed on the fact that the 1770's army had rifles, otherwise seeing sticks that could kill from far away might cause them to "route".

Ryan
 

Kadarin

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Nov 23, 2001
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Originally posted by: Gatsby
can you say cannon?
Bingo. Gunpowder era armies would prevail in part because they had invented this wonderful, horrible stuff called "artillery". The Romans would have been shredded to pieces. Keep in mind also that the tactics of lining up to shoot volleys at each other were developed in response to the need for the gunpowder armies of the day to fight against other such gunpowder armies. Don't discount gunpowder; in the form of the matchlock gun, it ended the age of chivalry, with its knight in armor individually superior to anything the Romans had. Musket balls can pierce suits of armor.

"But the Romans had discipline!" you say? So did the gunpowder armies of the 1700s.. it takes a lot of discipline to stand there in a row and get shot at.
 

wfbberzerker

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Apr 12, 2001
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i think the fact that 1770's army had artillery would be the deciding factor. much stronger artillery than the type romans had.
 

Martin

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How many canon would accompany an army though?

Reading War and Peace, I got the impression that canons were very rare and extremely valuable (something like 8 cannons per 20000 men?).

Also, about the "shred the romans with canons before they got close enough" argument. Isn't that kinda invalid? I mean, rifle armies managed to get close enough, why wouldn't the romans get the same chance?
 

Machupo

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i seriously doubt that artillery would have as large an effect as you expect... the revolutionary-era cannon artillery weren't that accurate, so yes, they'd take out a few right away, but getting the remaining romans would be difficult...

oh, and ElFenix... 8 times a minute? c'mon... who are we kidding here? try 2-3 times a minute, if he is well trained and isn't pissing in his pants when a screaming guy with a sword comes running at him...

i think what it would actually come down to would be the fact that the romans would go "all in" (to use a poker term... seems to fit)... they would be willing to throw an entire line into an attack whereas the british would retreat, regroup and try again... besides, if the romans showed even an ounce of ingenuity (which, they happened to show consistently throughout their military history) and speared the british lines to close faster, it'd be all over... what it comes down to is that roman commanders were given the flexibility to adapt to their situation whereas the brits were entrenched in doctrine...
 

Kadarin

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Nov 23, 2001
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Originally posted by: amdmang
1770's

they had guns
They had range, rate of fire, and penetrating power. Tactics would evolve on both sides, but those are three very significant advantages, which are most likely insurmountable.
 

Zugzwang152

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Oct 30, 2001
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Originally posted by: MartyTheManiak
How many canon would accompany an army though?

Reading War and Peace, I got the impression that canons were very rare and extremely valuable (something like 8 cannons per 20000 men?).

Also, about the "shred the romans with canons before they got close enough" argument. Isn't that kinda invalid? I mean, rifle armies managed to get close enough, why wouldn't the romans get the same chance?
probably true. I think that a Civil War-era army though, roughly 100 years later, with better cannon, and more accurate firearms, would completely obliterate a Roman legion.
 

Savarak

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Oct 27, 2001
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I just thought of TTT, how only 10s of thousands of Urak'ai stormed the Keep... wonder how well they(the 10s of thousands of Urak'ai, that is) would fair against 1000 US Military soldiers fully locked and loaded...

Imagine the Keep defense's faces when they saw the 10's of thousands of Urak'ai marching along... Now... that is only 10's of thousands.............

As of recently there are well over 150000 US Military units over in Iraq, with automatic weapons and 'nades... This isn't including the WMDs of our own(just in case it comes to requiring its use)... and tanks, navy stuff, and the Air Force stuff like Jet fighters, etc...
 

Grasshopper27

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Sep 11, 2002
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Originally posted by: Zugzwang152
probably true. I think that a Civil War-era army though, roughly 100 years later, with better cannon, and more accurate firearms, would completely obliterate a Roman legion.
One thing that is often overlooked is the numbers of Roman legions vs. the number of American and British soldiers...

AFAIK, Rome never had nearly as many soldiers as the British and Americans had 225 years ago. Then again, there were far fewer people in the world at the time as well.

It should also be pointed out that a modern Army squad could hold off an unlimited number of Roman soldiers so long as their ammo held out.

Hopper
 

Grasshopper27

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Sep 11, 2002
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Originally posted by: Savarak
I just thought of TTT, how only 10s of thousands of Urak'ai stormed the Keep... wonder how well they(the 10s of thousands of Urak'ai, that is) would fair against 1000 US Military soldiers fully locked and loaded...
A thousand US soldiers with enough ammo could hold them off forever.

As of recently there are well over 150000 US Military units over in Iraq, with automatic weapons and 'nades... This isn't including the WMDs of our own(just in case it comes to requiring its use)... and tanks, navy stuff, and the Air Force stuff like Jet fighters, etc...
Most people fail to understand the raw amount of firepower the United States military wields, it is unique in history...

Hopper
 

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