Re: Bachrach vs Halsall - Early Medieval Warfare

"Soren Larsen" <Wagnijo@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message news:4a1acec8$0$15898$edfadb0f@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
David Read wrote:
"Soren Larsen" <Wagnijo@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
David Read wrote:
Extract from "Warfare and Society in the Barbarian West, 450-900" by
Guy Halsall. p.130-131.

concentrations of troops of troops may have been comparatively rare.
At Strasbourg in 357, Julian's army was 13,000 strong, according to
Ammianus. Although Ammianus was not present, he may have had access
to reliable official documents.

So here we have a largish Roman army winning a battle against an
at least equally large barbarian army..
(The sources claims the romans were outnumbered)

So the Allemanni and Chnodomar could assemble a large army and
keep it in the field in the fourth century.

The army defeated by the Goths at
Adrianople in 378, in a catastrophe regarded as a second Cannae by
contemporaries, has been estimated as about 20,000-30,000 --

And the Goths could wipe out 20.000 - 30.000 proffessional Roman

There might have been more than a handfull of Goths around that day.



The point remains, as stated by Halsall, that these engagements
might have been comparitively rare, even for the Late Roman period.

I know you've read Halsall, Soren, so please don't get cute and start
snipping stuff in order to makes a nonsense of what the man wrote -
like this:- "Yet even
here, many successful campaigns were waged with small armies of a
couple of thousand men."

Halsall was referring to Roman armies.

Your posted piece does start with:

"The armies of the late Roman Empire may also stand as a comparison."

I merely pointed out that germanic armies from considerably less organised
societies than Carolingian Francia occasionally fielded armies capable of
challenging even these exceptionally large late roman proffessional armies.

I certainly do not think that every carolingian army was this big, but neither
do I believe that Chucky and Francia were too disorganised to do field
such an army if need need be.

BTW You could say that the Goths were in a desperate situation and didn't
field the army at Adrianople by choice, but you know I can come up with
other examples of germanic armies taking on large roman forces, sometimes
even succesfully..


History is not what it used to be.

There are plenty of other examples. During the 502-506 Persian War three Roman armies, estimated at a total of 52,000 troops, were operating in and around Edessa. In addition to the usual problems with billeting, the usual Roman method of the bread supply coming from Egypt broke down, at least substantially. Pseudo-Joshua is quite clear about how upset the Edessenes were over having to bake bread for these forces.

They were stationed there right after a substantial famine in Armenia and Osrhoene, the usual method of supply at least partially broke down and nobody starved (or nobody that Joshua cared to mention at that time - he talked about it plenty regarding the famine in preceeding years).

It all comes down to organization and logistics - could such a force be supplied? Did a kingdom/empire have the necessary resources and administrative structures and mechanisms to achieve this. I believe the Carolingians did, though like you, I don't begin to believe they did so every year.

Curt Emanuel