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[Spoilers GoT] Battle of Winterfell Tactics

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Amigoltu, May 10, 2019.

  1. Amigoltu


    Dec 21, 2012
    Greetings everyone. This may be sort of a strange post, but, maybe, someone will find it interesting. And, of course, I get to vent my frustration and express my thoughts, so here goes...

    So, the Battle of Winterfell...

    While it definitely had it's moments, personally, I was just blown away by the absolutely horrendous tactics used by... actually, both sides. Now, I am not an expert military tactician, but in this case, simple common sense, and a little bit of knowledge is needed to deduce this. And so, in my opinion, this is how is should have been.

    First of all, the human side:

    #1: Starting positions
    Right of the bat, the entire set up of their army is wrong:

    Human positioning at beginning of the battle.

    The artillery (trebuchets) should be at the very back of the army (with only archers being further back, on the walls). The cavalry should be positioned at the sides, possibly a bit further back, with plenty of space to maneuver around. And lastly, the infantry should be at the front.

    #2: Equipment/artillery
    First of all, talking about the artillery...
    In the show, something called trebuche is used. Now, technically, a trebuche is a weapon against something, that is not moving (A castle, primarily), because once the trebuche is set up, it's position cannot actually be changed. Although, taking in mind the undead were attacking from one side, it's viable.

    Still, better alternatives, or rather, additions (and necessary in this case) would primarily be anti-personnel weapons... Ballistae:
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    There are multiple historical variations of these: those, that launch spear-sized arrows, and those, that throw rocks. Flaming rocks would be an option here, too. Ballistae are also pretty mobile, and can change direction fast + can be mounted on top of the castle walls.

    Now, onto infantry (unsullied) equipment:
    Infantry should be wielding actual pikes, rather than short childish sticks they have in the show. And shields. They should have proper SHIELDS. Kite shields, or something of similar size would be best. What they have now is most similar to bucklers.

    #3: The battle tactics
    Now, first of all, when fighting an enemy of this situation - undead, how do you approach it? Undead do not need to eat, drink, sleep. They also do not tire, and may potentially be stronger and faster than regular soldiers. So how do you fight them?

    1. You do not engage in melee for as long as possible:
      The human army should have done everything to take down as many of the undead as possible, before engaging them in melee combat. For that, they should have relentlessly used trebuchets and archers, possibly even employing explosive/incendiary weapons (they do have wild fire, so they must have an ability to make something explosive). Ballistae could have been used to cleave through multiple enemies, or take down giants (we've seen it before). All of this would not only serve to thin out enemy numbers, but to light up the entire battlefield.

      Multiple lines of trenches and/or barricades could be used to slow the enemy down, and gather them in one position, as well.

    2. And you do not let them outnumber you:
      Now, of course, at some point, the undead would still manage to reach the human army. Now, first of all, even though the undead clearly are more numerous than humans, it is, in fact, possible for humans to outnumber them, using proper tactics.
      The military term choke point is used for such things. Primarily, the human forces here could have used the gates of Winterfell, or a narrow opening in the trenches, to make it, that only a small part of enemy forces could get through at once, thus not letting the undead use the advantage of numbers. (Granted, for this tactic, preferably, humans would not fight undead at Winterfell at all, rather choosing something like a narrow valley with steep cliffs on either side.)

      And if a valley is not anywhere near (Though I do think the army should have been mobile, and able to retreat towards a more preferable strategic area), the very trenches, that were used in the show, could have had openings made deliberately to control the stream of attacking enemies.

    Going further, the infantry should have the unsullied soldiers (wielding pikes) at the very front, and those soldiers should be employing proper phalanx formation (The rest of the human infantry would only engage in case some undead broke through the phalanx):

    Phalanx formation

    This formation, when done right, would not allow the undead just jump over/get through like they did in the show. Rather, it would stop them at a distance, and, as long as the undead did not flank the army, and the giants were kept at bay, this formation would be nigh impenetrable.

    How do you prevent this formation from being flanked? That's where cavalry comes in handy. The cavalry would attack the enemy from the flanks, and use hit-and-run tactics, primarily, both to thin out the enemy numbers, and to possibly draw the enemy away from the front lines, and scatter them out.

    During all of this, the trebuchets, ballistae and archers, all of them, would keep firing the enemy forces, that are located further at the back relentlessly, shooting in high arcs to avoid friendly fire.

    Meanwhile, Jon and Dany should actually be doing what they did in the show - keeping NK, and his dragon, occupied, away from the rest of human forces.

    Secondly, the Night King's side:

    Well, this is kind of a simple one. If NK's army could be so easily defeated by just killing the NK, then he should have always stayed at the back the whole time, while covering the entire battlefield with that blizzard/fog thing, and then, either fight in a hit-and-run way, or defeat/disable Dany's dragons, and then annihilate the human forces using undead dragon.

    Although, in general, the best strategy for the Night King would have been to go around Winterfell altogether. Rampage through the surrounding areas, and gather as many soldiers as possible before facing the one army in the entirety of Westeros, that can even hope to put up a fight.

    All in all,

    With the way human forces acted in the show, NK should have won this battle, and quite easily at that. If not for HUGE plot armour, most of the main characters would have died many times, quite early in the fight.
    And if not for huge Deus-Ex-Machina-teleporting-Arya, NK would have still won, despite all that plot armour of the main characters.

    And Arya IS teleporting. Because, as far as it was shown, at the end, NK and Bran's location was surrounded by White Walkers and Wights from all sides. It was physically impossible for Arya to sneak past them.

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