a short comic i did for my english sci-fi final, about a girl and her android
talk about things taking forever @__@
I like myself. :) Feel free to follow. I post anything which pleases me. (In practical terms this means I reblog lots of pretty pictures!) Feel free to say hi ^_^
Imagine a tree that produces not just one type of fruit, but a whole variety of them! Artist Sam Van Aken has brought that vision to life with the Tree of 40 Fruit, an ongoing series of hybridized fruit trees that grow over 40 types of stone fruit, including cherries, plums, peaces, nectarines, apricots, and almonds.
Van Aken created these unique trees through the process of grafting—taking a sliver off a fruit tree and inserting it into an incision of another tree, then pruning it to encourage growth as a normal branch.
Tzar Simeon the Great at the battle of Achelous - 20 august 917
Painted by Vasil Goranov
That was a major battle of the war between the First Bulgarian Empire and the Byzantine Empire.
With 62 000 Bulgarian soldiers vs 60 000 Byzantium soldiers this is considered one of the largest battle in Medieval Europe.
Simeon’s tactics was to outmaneveur the enemy so he left his center weak while the strongest forces were on the flanks. The Romans charged the Bulgarian center and the Bulgarians started to slowly retreat. The Byzantines formations were broken in the charge and Tzar Simeon led himself the cavalry, previously hidden behind the hills. The heavy cavalry caused havoc and panick and soon the Romans began to run for their lives. Many were slaughtered.
Even 75 years after the battle Leo the Deacon wrote:
"…And even now there could be seen piles of bones at Anchialus where the fleeing army of the Romans was disgracefully slain."
The battle was decisive victory for the Bulgarians and Simeon was crowned as a Tzar of “all Bulgarians and Romans” in Constantinople.
I’m interested in the outmaneuvering part. What I’m imagining is like this…
So, Simeon concentrated the power on the flanks instead of the center. This center became ‘weaker’ because of lacking offensive power compared to the flanks, yet by doing so, it helped him doing this ‘lurking’ tactics easier? Like, since the center was weaker in offense, it could quickly withdraw, deceiving the enemy who thought he took the main / center power retreating. Convinced that they’ve secured victory, the Byzantines set to pursue Simeon’s center, only to be met with fully offensive heavy cavalry hiding themselves in the ‘natural grave’ readied for the Byzantine army.
Sounds eerily similar to Napoleon’s tactics IMHO!
* By Napoleonic I mean dividing the units like that
But then again classical era did see the glory of cavalry tactics. This reminds me of Khan Krum’s ambush against Nikephoros I at the Varbica pass. Something interesting is I remember Wiki said Krum mobilized women too.
Well, I think that certain solutions about basic questions revolve over time and replace each other as time goes. This can be easily seen in art and literature like the dilemma “Should it be realistic or not?”
So dividing army units is not something new, it’s just part of that revolving system. Remember that Napoleon managed to beat the Prussian forces due to the latter’s lack of mobility and maneuverability - the Prussians were just holding a line while Napoleon used skirmishers. Similar but reversed thing happened during the Franco-Prussian war few decades later when the Prussian forces encouraged independent action and skirmishing while the French were holding on a Napoleonic-like system which at this time was too centralized and lacked mobility.
Regarding Krum, the Byzantine sources are not to be trusted too much. Suidae Lexicon which is the primary source of the story is a book from late 10th century and it was compiled as a book for the royal children of the ERE. Thus many facts of the historical section of the work were influenced in one way or another in order to create an image of certain rulers and summarize the moral of the (hi)story. Being extremely popular at this time, Khan Krum was depicted as bold, brave, decisive man who strived for his goals with no fear. In Suidae Lexicon Khan Krum had a conversation with three hostages from the Avar Khaganate which was falling apart at this time. Khan Krum asked them why their state was in such a poor condition and the hostages described a picture of beggars and drunkards wondering all over the country. Thus according to Suidae Lexicon Khan Krum made illegal the production of wine and introduced harsh sactions for crimes. However, due to the many compilations the book is contradicting itself and it states that Nikiphor’s army was full of drunkards as they pillaged Pliska.
So regarding that women were also mobilised as it was mentioned in Suidae Lexicon is questionable. It could have been added as a detail to depict Krum as a ruler who can truly unify his whole people.
"So dividing army units is not something new […]"
No, certainly not, and I did not imply if Krum was wrong, however it was a long timespan to draw from Krum’s time to Napoleon’s. Mongol cavalrymen had been using the ‘lure-and-tire’ tactics as well such as when conquering Poland.
"Suidae Lexicon which is the primary source of the story is a book from late 10th century and it was compiled as a book for the royal children of the ERE."
It is also recorded in Theophanos the Confessor’s Chronographia, written during Krum’s time that Nikephoros actually ignored his scouts’ warning. The elite Byzantine tagma damaged Pliska, and as the women part it is cited in Geoffrey Regan’s The Brassey’s Book of Military Blunders (2002), where he argued that Krum mobilized the women together with Avar mercenaries for the Battle of Pliska. This makes sense because a) if Pliska wasn’t saved then the fate of Bulgarian Empire would be at stake; b) Since women at that time did not take part in battles that much deploying them together with the Avar mercenaries would mean something important needed to be done. Even then mercenaries were often used as support or auxiliaries and considering Krum actually defeated the Avars, things fall into the place.
I did not even mention Lexicon. And it would be weird to mention Lexicon since a) it painted Krum in a bad shape where I did not even imply it a bit; b) Lexicon was made in the 900s while the battle itself took place in 811. Chronographia was written circa 814 and not only it covered the downfall of Michael Rhangabe (the first) it also talked about the Diocletian accession. Why do you think I am referring to Lexicon or even painting Krum in a bad way? Krum won, Byzantium lost
Skirmishing is not the same thing as operational mobility. In general, tactics and strategy during the Napoleonic times up until WWII are bland and dry compared to the past. And Prussian independent mobility is a far cry from planned offensives like the Bulgarians above. The only real reason why the Prussians won the Franco-Prussian war was due to the extremely ill-prepared French forces. The independent mobility of the German forces would cause them horrendous casualties, and be completely obliterated by planned offensives like Soviet Deep Battle.
This is similar to Hannibal’s envelopment of the Romans forces at Cannae. However, in both cases, these are hindered by a lack of vision - the focus was on destroying an army group rather than routing it. Casualties were undoubtedly high in both cases. Had the Byzantines been under a more competent commander, this could have been exploited. It’s preposterous to think that the Bulgarians could have taken Constantinople after this.
Practitioners of actual operational mobility had no problem dealing with the Bulgarians, as shown by the later Byzantine Tagmas and the Mongolian forces.
In fact Bulgarians managed to deal with the Mongols under Tzar Ivailo using a similar method as the Mongols themselves. They just appointed elite armed groups to each castle which would patrol around the area and kill every Mongol they see. So instead of one army which would be tired of persuing the small groups, the matter was arranged regionally.
The taking of Constantinople was more a political than a military matter. Has the Chalif of the Arab Sultanate agreed on mutual action against ERE then the Romans wouldn’t have had much chance…
I didn’t say that the Bulgarian army was invincible but to tell me that it was no problem to the Byzantine army… The conflicts were bloody, with different dominating powers over time and both states were overwhelmed by the Ottomans in the end…