The Wacky What-If Thread

Discussion of all history subjects not related to World War 2.
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Re: The Wacky What-If Thread

Postby Roel » Sat Nov 08, 2008 8:30 pm

Sound advice. I've encountered this kind of trouble before, but somehow I never learn from my mistakes. Please don't tell anyone. :mrgreen:

Now, without further ado...

In 401 BC, Cyrus the Younger, brother of King Artaxerxes II of Persia, gathered an army to march on Babylon, defeat and depose his brother, and seize the throne of the largest empire of his day. The two brothers met on the battlefield of Cunaxa. Cyrus had come dangerously close to the capital, but Artaxerxes II was confident that his forces were sufficient to destroy his enemy; over 50,000 infantry and 6,000 cavalry had flocked to the king’s banner, facing a mere 25,000 footsoldiers and 600 cavalry under Cyrus. The pretender had only one trump card to play. Half his infantry consisted of Greek mercenaries (anachronistically and inaccurately known as "The Ten Thousand"), widely regarded as the finest soldiers to be had. Cyrus knew that the only way he could gain victory at Cunaxa was to let his Greeks deal with his brother’s throngs of footsoldiers while he, in an uncharacteristic move, made a straight dash for the enemy’s centre and killed Artaxerxes himself.

The first part of the plan worked. The Persian line infantry did not even wait for the Greeks to reach them when the battle began; they fled the field before their enemy came to blows with them. The second part of the plan met with a slight setback when Cyrus caught a javelin in the face. At this point Artaxerxes II declared himself victorious; the pretender was dead, his army now left without purpose. The Greeks, though, had other standards. They believed that whoever held the field was the victor. Since they saw no one standing before them, all the Persians having fled at the sound of their charge, they knew that they were the ones who had won the battle.

Historically, the Greeks tried to bargain with the Persians to get a safe journey home; they were betrayed, their leaders were murdered, and they ended up being forced to march back to Greek territory through a hostile Persian Empire. However, in the aftermath of the Battle of Cunaxa, they were an unbeaten army of over twelve thousand professional Greek and Thracian soldiers, a day’s march away from Babylon, faced with an army that did not dare to stand its ground against them…

The Mercenary Kings

Klearchos, effectively in command of the Greek mercenary force, is an exile of Sparta, a veteran of many wars and a ruthless disciplinarian. Deciding that the only way to guarantee the safety of his men is to act audaciously and decisively, he orders a forced march for the gates of Babylon. He finds the city undefended, takes it, accepts Artaxerxes’ challenge to meet the Persians in open battle, and, with the help of a hastily organized force of cavalry to complement his Greek footsoldiers, he smashes the King’s army at the Second Battle of Cunaxa. Artaxerxes II is captured and executed. The Achaemenid line is eradicated, the Greek cities in Asia Minor liberated, the Persian threat to Greece permanently removed, and the richest and most powerful state in the world falls into the hands of sword-swinging Klearchos himself.

To a man, the leaders of the mercenary force are exiles, opportunists and troublemakers; they know no livelihood but hired service. Having no other war to fight, they declare that they will eagerly follow Klearchos on whichever new expedition he has in mind. He is one of their kind in every way. And he knows exactly where to go.

Reinforced by massive numbers of Persian levy troops and instructed by Klearchos’ most important tactical advisor, Xenophon the Athenian, the army makes its way back down the Royal Road to Sardis, crosses the Hellespont, and invades Greece. The Thracians eagerly provide throngs of mercenaries to swell the ranks of the invading army; the staggering wealth of Klearchos’ new empire buys him the services of the very best men available. Iphikrates the Athenian, always following the money, joins his army and finds in the mass of hired infantry the room he needs to experiment with tactical innovations he has long been dreaming about. By the time they reach the heart of Greece, their superb training and use of new tactics have made them unstoppable. Klearchos’ tens of thousands of hoplites are drilled to perfection, his light infantry and cavalry wield skills unmatched by any of their enemies. Athens quickly folds. Thebes, weakened by its defeat against Sparta at the Nemea, is unable to withstand them. Sparta itself cannot muster any experienced generals, now that Agesilaos never left his home to fight against the Persians. Their total levy is crushed and their city, for the first time, is thoroughly sacked. While paying homage to the gods at Olympia, Klearchos surprises friend and foe alike by declaring that he is the incarnation of Zeus himself.

With an empire stretching from the Adriatic to India and the revenue of all the trade of the East, there is indeed nothing Klearchos cannot do. His army, equipped with the long spears, combat boots, entrenching tools and fearless obedience introduced by Iphikrates, is utterly without equal. None of the old powers lurking at the borders of Greece can stand against it. The kingdoms of Macedon and Thrace are switfly destroyed – the latter long considered the most powerful of all nations on earth. Unable to enjoy peace and fearful to disband his army, Klearchos knows there is only one civilized land not yet under his control: Italy.

The Greek colonies in Italy and Sicily prove just as powerless as their mother cities against his modernized and disciplined force. Even Syracuse falls after a long and costly siege, its walls broken by the engines that have only recently been invented. As Klearchos turns north, the Etruscans, faced with overwhelming odds, unite the League of the Twelve Cities one last time. Their army fights with outdated equipment, its tactics effortlessly anticipated and exploited by Xenophon; the Etruscans are bitterly defeated. Thousands of young men are butchered in the Battle of Asculum, 379 BC. The Etruscans, facing complete destruction, surrender to the mercenaries. In all of Italy, only Rome remains defiant: unjustly proud and independent, she stands alone against the might of the Greeks. Klearchos shows no mercy. Standing on one of the seven hills overlooking the smouldering ruins of the city, he decides to found Klearchopolis there, on soil fertilized by the ashes.

Upon Klearchos’ death, fierce rivalry breaks out among the finest of his generals – ageing Xenophon, shrewd Iphikrates, old dog and notorious war criminal Menon, Epameinondas of Thebes, and Philip, a promising young barbarian of the former ruling house of Macedon. Soon the entire empire is torn by the forces their unleash upon each other. Professional fighters to a man, they are preoccupied with war and neglect the need to unify and pacify their states. Egypt is the first to assert its independence; the cities of Mesopotamia and Asia Minor soon follow. Sicily becomes a battlefield once more as the rising star of Carthage decides to show its talons. The Gauls invade Northern Italy; the Thracians of the Danube region nibble away at the northern bordes of Greece. After two hundred years of increasing fragmentation and war, the Parthians deliver the final blow. The depleted Greek forces quickly crumble. The legacy of the Mercenary Kings is destroyed. The Parthian Empire is founded in the east, where all wealth and power has had its seat since the dawn of civilization.

Europe is once again reduced to a war-torn backwater of squabbling tribes and city states. This is what it has always been. This is what it will always be.
"The Athenians were born neither to have peace, nor to let others have it"
- Thucydides

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Re: The Wacky What-If Thread

Postby dave » Tue Aug 04, 2009 2:04 pm

Ok rekindling this,

It is July 1643, The city of Bristol is about to fall under seige, However Colonel Fiennes, is not deprived of a large portion of his force for Roundway Down by Waller.

Bristol is besieged by the Royalists under Prince Rupert of the Rhine, Bristols 5 miles of defences and well placed gun emplacements hold out against Rupert's assault and Bristol holds. The siege is either broken or relived by a defeated Waller returning from Roundway Down, this encourages Rupert to retreat.

This failure to capture Bristol fails to secure the Royalist positions in the Southwest, forcing either another siege against a stronger garrison or for the royalists to abandon their position in the South West.

The Royalists now also lack ships they would have captured in Bristol docks and the facilities to produce 300 muskets a week, this effectively puts the Royalists out of the war as they are unable to control a large section of the country and loose a significant part of what would become their weapons industry.

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Re: The Wacky What-If Thread

Postby Black Hornet » Thu Mar 18, 2010 3:45 am

Ricky wrote:King Alfred loses against the Vikings. English identity is put back a while (Alfred basically invented it) and England remains a cluster of squabbling kingdoms - just ruled by Vikings not Anglo-Saxons. Essentially though, its history remains the same. The land is squabbled over by the Scandinavian races, everybody wants a chunk of the good farmland on offer. The important difference is that there is no real 'home-grown' set of rulers to compete for the crown.

Eventually the upstart Norman rulers decide that a divided England is an easier target than France, and the 'Norman Conquests' start. Obviously, it takes a little longer than historically, as they are effectively conquering 3 or 4 countries, not 1, and there is more Scandinavian involvement. The bonus is that they wind up conquering Wales as part of the extension.

From that point on, English history is much the same, with the exception of the Welsh border. In consequence, the Scots border becomes the place to be, with a similar level of castles & fighting as Wales had in reality. Oh, and the Victorians had to start their rose-tinted views of England's heritage with the Normans, whom they reinvented as enlightened Vikings. :mrgreen:

How bout Vikings stay at Vineland & grow into a sizeable force no other European nation could defeat?

Or, Scandinavia joins Finland against Russia ( circa 39 after Russia attacks 1st), England joins in & a Yalta type conference ensues with Dolpho & Russia is split between the west European nations.

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Re: The Wacky What-If Thread

Postby LionSE1 » Tue May 01, 2012 2:33 pm

Ricky, your idea of the Chinese and Canada fails to take one small aspect into account, much the same as when Martians invaded earth and were bought low by the 'flu. You didn’t take into account that the Chinese getting one taste of Maple Syrup would fall into diabetic comas and be pillaged by the natives! End of the Chinese expansion into Canada, and America!

Europeans now take advantage and move in. Meanwhile, assailed by not only opium, and Maple Syrup the Chinese are in no fit state to govern themselves, they become fat drug addicts and collapse. Anarchy ensues. China, for the worlds protection is walled up for good and successive Chinese Governors become more and more like Jabba the Hutt, they even talk like him too! due to this there is no vietnam war, or Korean wars. Russia expands into asia and is confronted by America, and all European countries. War follows. Asia is laid to waste, Europe is wiped out in the ensuing nuclear war. America becomes shattered and inward looking. The Chinese slowly wander fourth as there is no one to stop them now and take over the world.

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Re: The Wacky What-If Thread

Postby Ricky » Wed May 02, 2012 7:38 am

I'm sorry, but your persuasive argument is ruined by its inherent contradictions:

successive Chinese Governors become more and more like Jabba the Hutt

The Chinese slowly wander fourth

If they were like Jabba the Hutt they'd be slithering, not wandering.
"Study the past, if you would divine the future"

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Re: The Wacky What-If Thread

Postby LionSE1 » Thu May 03, 2012 3:18 pm

I see your point, but slugs slither and wander. Your comments are nothing more than speicial prejudice and racial arrogance, to suggest that the chinese are unable to wander!

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Re: The Wacky What-If Thread

Postby jeaguer » Thu Apr 16, 2015 10:36 pm

Gettysburg 1863 , on the second day Ewell corp with Jubal Early launch a determined assault on cemetery ridge ,
the Union having depleted the line to reinforce their left assaulted by Longstreet , the confederates take control of the high ground and roll back the I and XI corps in disorder along the Baltimore pike
seeing fleeing soldiers at their back , approaching fighting down the ridge , the Union left holding grimly is unhinged , the retreat become a rout

Lee decide to go for Washington wich fall on the 6 of July , the strong peace party in the North concede an armistice , the South independence is gained

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