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Thread: Fantasy author looking for tips on army sizes

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Midgardsormr View Post
    300,000 would be an enormous city by Middle Ages European standards. Paris and London, I think, were about that size prior to the plague and reached that size again perhaps early in the Renaissance. Some of the cities under the Umayyads and Abbasids exceeded 500,000, but they had a significantly different culture, with a strong middle class that was missing in Christian nations through most of the Middle Ages.
    You're absolutely correct. I've researched a little more, and have done some refining (with a special thanks to waldronate for the Medieval Demographics Made Easy link -- I had that page in my bookmarks quite a while ago before losing it, never was able to remember the name). I'm currently putting the entire "nation" of Orthigar at two-million, with the capital city of Sivan holding about 75,000 people, and a standing army of 40,000.

    Predictably, another question has come to mind: what's logical for garrisons? If Sivan, walled-city, has 75,000 people, and Orthigar in total has about 40,000 standing soldiers, what would be a logical number to divert into the defense of said city?

  2. #12
    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    It depends on a number of factors: How likely is it that the city will be attacked? In the event of an attack, is there a militia? Is the standing army or a portion thereof typically stationed in the city? Is there some kind of constabulary that would do double-duty as a defense force?

    Medieval military doctrine was to attack a fortified position with at least 10 times as many troops as the defender had. Conversely, if you were determined to hold a particular position, you would need to be able to garrison it with troops equal to 10% of the largest army your enemy could bring against it. I'd place that as a soft upper limit of the number of troops that should be assigned to a given city as defenders. Physical size of the city doesn't really matter, since the circumference of your walls will always be less than the circumference of an enveloping force. Thus, the defenders can typically react quickly enough to a redeployment to maintain a proper defense.

    That number can be reduced by the other factors mentioned. In a city of 75,000 in which women do not fight, there are probably around 15,000 men able to bear arms who might be able to form a militia. Depending on the severity of the threat, the culture and the laws of the land, I would figure on anywhere from 10 - 20% of that number actually being in an active militia during a given conflict. So possibly 2,000 townsfolk ready to defend the walls. If you follow Ross' numbers, there is one law officer per 150 citizens, so figure around 500 for the city watch.

    So then, assuming the enemy has an army similar in size to Orthigar's, and assuming they're holding about 20% back from an attack to defend their own lands, Sivan might be attacked by as many as 32,000 soldiers. We therefore want a defense force of at least 3200. We can whistle up 2500 from the populace, so we need to station about 1000 from the standing army to be certain of the city's security. Now, I believe you mentioned that there were three cities of similar size in this nation, and we want to be sure of all three of them. That leaves us with an army of 37,000. We'll need to keep some of those in reserve, about 20%, in case the enemy does something tricky. That leaves about 30,000 to use against the hypothetical besieging force. We're a little bit outnumbered, but it's our home turf, we've got the city walls as an additional weapon, and the enemy has to use some of his men to defend his supply train. Or we can go on the attack, using the reserve to pin the enemy army against our walls, giving the main army time to establish a presence in enemy territory.

    Obviously, there are a lot of factors that can change things, but hopefully that gives you a decent baseline from which you can plan.
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  3. #13
      vgunn is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by waldronate View Post
    +1 :-)

    From a great article from Dragon Magazine that was updated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by waldronate View Post
    The classic Medieval Demographics Made Easy (a good read, by the way) states that a typical settled region would support about 180 people per square mile. That population density would work out to 7.2 million people in the 40000 square miles of the region if everywhere was settled.
    I think that's probably a bit high. I wouldn't take population density (over large areas) any higher than 120/sq mi.



    Quote Originally Posted by Midgardsormr View Post
    300,000 would be an enormous city by Middle Ages European standards. Paris and London, I think, were about that size prior to the plague and reached that size again perhaps early in the Renaissance.
    300,000 is ridiculously big. London was actually pretty average for a medieval city - it had less than 50,000 people at the height of the Middle Ages and didn't top 100,000 until the 16th Century. Paris was much bigger, hitting 250,000 in 1328, but that was the largest city of one of the largest and most densely populated countries in Europe, at the height of a population explosion.


    Quote Originally Posted by Francis Buck View Post
    You're absolutely correct. I've researched a little more, and have done some refining (with a special thanks to waldronate for the Medieval Demographics Made Easy link -- I had that page in my bookmarks quite a while ago before losing it, never was able to remember the name). I'm currently putting the entire "nation" of Orthigar at two-million, with the capital city of Sivan holding about 75,000 people, and a standing army of 40,000.
    That's very unrealistic to me. There's actually an excel spreadsheet which has the data from that article, and you can plug in your kingdom information to determine population, city sizes, and so on. I use it for my world building, and I have a kingdom of 9 million with very fertile land (i.e. very high population density) and the largest city is only 45,000 or so. They also have a standing army, and it took quite a bit of fudging and manipulation to make 18,000 a believable number. 40,000 would be an extraordinary large military even for a modern country of 2 million. Not that it's impossible; it's a smaller percentage than the Roman Empire, but you have to allow for some considerations:
    1. The Romans had such a large army because it was a way for immigrants into the Empire and newly conquered peoples to gain citizenship
    2. The Romans had such a large army because they were an incredibly aggressive conquest-focused state
    3. The Roman model was ultimately unsustainable; they couldn't support their armies long term and this ultimately contributed to the collapse of the Empire



    Quote Originally Posted by Francis Buck View Post
    Predictably, another question has come to mind: what's logical for garrisons? If Sivan, walled-city, has 75,000 people, and Orthigar in total has about 40,000 standing soldiers, what would be a logical number to divert into the defense of said city?
    A feudal kingdom with a standing army would almost certainly have restrictions on where that army could be deployed (i.e. only on the frontier) because citizens and nobility tend to get nervous when the king/emperor/sultan has an army sitting around getting bored. The defense of the city would most likely fall to a special unit, for example Roman Legions were prohibited from entering Rome (actually they were prohibited from entering mainland Italy at all) and protection of the city was the responsibility of the Urban Cohorts (who were the police force) and the Praetorian Guard (who were the Emperor's bodyguard). That's why Rome got sacked so frequently; if an enemy force actually managed to make it past the frontier of the Empire, there was nothing between them and the capital.

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      lordhypno is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Midgardsormr View Post
    That number can be reduced by the other factors mentioned. In a city of 75,000 in which women do not fight, there are probably around 15,000 men able to bear arms who might be able to form a militia. Depending on the severity of the threat, the culture and the laws of the land, I would figure on anywhere from 10 - 20% of that number actually being in an active militia during a given conflict. So possibly 2,000 townsfolk ready to defend the walls. If you follow Ross' numbers, there is one law officer per 150 citizens, so figure around 500 for the city watch.

    Obviously, there are a lot of factors that can change things, but hopefully that gives you a decent baseline from which you can plan.
    Hi new here, but I couldn't help but chime in I think it's fair to consider that if they did start over why would the typical old gender roles come in to play especially if someone is pushing them toward advancement.

    I do think the numbers look right it would make sense in my opinion, but I believe it wouldn't just be the men, I guess my logic is this advanced humans leaves Earth the group that stays behind is going to have the same views of the people who left they wouldn't necessarily just thrown away everything. So this would be the basis for the new society and things would slowly change from their so picking people to protect the group wouldn't necessarily always come down to men It would come down to picking people who had the skills necessary. In less of course the group that stayed behind were a large Quaker like community, also don't forget about the support people in the military fire crews, supply groups, medical contingent and the engineering group

  6. #16
    Guild Master Gracious Donor Midgardsormr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Francis Buck View Post
    They had no records or knowledge of the previous civilizations, so their progression would be natural and "fresh".
    I would assume that, given a clean slate, civilization likely develops in similar patterns this time around as it did the first time. There are reasons why, historically, women soldiers have been rare. They tend to lack the same amount of mass and upper-body strength as men, so they are at a significant disadvantage in personal combat. In the event of major warfare in which a sizable percentage of an army is killed, a few men can more rapidly repopulate the society (better ensuring its survival) if there is a surplus of women. Women are the obvious choice for caring for young children, since men do not usually lactate, and most societies try to keep their children shielded from warfare.

    Of course, a situation like this would certainly be a good opportunity to explore that matter, but egalitarianism for its own sake usually feels a little contrived most times I encounter it in a novel.
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  7. #17
      Tracker is offline
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    Hello:

    Let me give you some historical numbers. During the civil war of the United States the North had 8% to 10% of the population under arms. The North had around 22 million people so around 1.8 to 2 million total under arms. The South had a population of 9 million people and from 15 to 20% under arms.

    During World War 2 the United States had a total of around 16 million under arms about 12% of the total population.

    Under arms include support, training, logistics, medial personal as well as combat.

    The South during the U.S. civil war crippled their industry (what little they had) by not having a work force. It also did not help that most of the soldiers of the South kept in their states by their Governors. If the Governors of the South would hae released their soldiers to the National needs of the Confederate Nation the War could have been really different.

    Remember that an acre of wheat can feed 9,000 people for a day; however, if there is not one to tend the wheat or grind the wheat into flour how good is that acre.

    Tracker

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