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Military of Westeros 4 – Conclusions and Implications


Conclusions

Evidence supports both views – that of a professional or semi-professional militaries, and that of an untrained rabble. But overall weight of evidence supports the view of semi-professional militaries, albeit with no organized system of strategic or tactical training for commanders. Logistical and military engineering capabilities are also limited compared to Roman and Byzantine armies.

Strategic implications

Armies described above are not feudal levies. They are professional armies, at the very least similar to standing banderia of Hungarian-Croatian kingdom as maintained by the large magnates. Consequence of this is twofold: these troops are capable of significant battlefield sophistication and offensive campaigning, but they also lead to significant internal instability, decentralization of power and propensity for internal conflicts. Especially due to size of Westeros, each lord paramount is essentially a king in his own right, and the Iron Throne can at best act as overseer and coordinator.

Where system significantly differs from Hungarian banderies is in its output. Where most of Hungarian banderia were cavalry – predominantly heavy cavalry – majority of forces in Westeros are infantry. Hungarian banderia fielded 6 000 cavalry and 4 000 infantry in 1518 (link) which means that cavalry made up 60% of total force, whereas in Westeros cavalry forces are about 20 – 25% of the total force.

Regardless, fact that the war in Westeros is about control of government, it means that opponents generally need to seek each other out and give battle. This is almost ritual, as legitimacy is gained by defeating the opposition in field battles. More here.

One weird thing is that naval capabilities of Westeros are limited on the east coast. Yet due to proximity of Essos, East Coast areas should be the ones with most naval strength. Prominence of Moat Caillin also speaks badly of strategic utilization of navy in Westeros. North had no navy at all since Bran the Burner burned ships, which should have left it open to invasion from everyone and their aunt.

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