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Battles (Full Spoilers)

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Weren't the counts on the armies quite a bit off? Don't get me wrong it felt very epic and I loved it, but when troops were marshaled for the last battle the amount they came up with didn't seem like it was even the full amount of all the Aiel. Just comparing to when the Shiado came  to steal rand from the box?

 

Also what's with Logain saying 100 channeling men couldn't take out 100000 trollocks? Didn't they hold back 200000 Shiado when they came for Rand?

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40,000 but in KoD 25 Asha'man and Aes Sedai destroyed 100,000 Trollocs.

 

The numbers may or may not have been off, but even if the citations were on, they often felt in description like they were way too low, in particular the Seanchan, at least too me.

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Numbers/descriptions off, battle plans ridiculous, excuses made to weaken channelers and a huge example of the "tell don't show" style in these last three books in relation the plans themselves. You can't just tell the readers they are brilliant plans when the flaws are so readily apparent.

Edited by Suttree

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Numbers/descriptions off, battle plans ridiculous, excuses made to weaken channelers and a huge example of the "tell don't show" style in these last three books in relation the plans themselves. You can't just tell the readers they are brilliant plans when the flaws are so readily apparent.

I recall doing a vague tally just after ToM and finding there should be roughly 4 million (on the low-side) total troops present at Tarmon Gai'don, though I don't know where I came up with my Trolloc numbers. There were not even half that in aMoL if I read it correctly.

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WoT the numbers are off, especially the number of channelers. 

 

There should be at least 2500 Wise Women that can channel for the Aiel, which is about 1/2 of the Shadio clan. 

 

The Seanchan should have at least 1000 damane, looked like they had 1/2 that. 

 

The Sharan army was overly exaggerated, no way it should have been bigger than the Seanchan. 

 

I can understand Trollocs in the multiple millions but the Light channelers were there to offset some of the Shadow's far superior numbers...instead it appears they were barely equal in size to the Shadow channelers. 

 

The size of the Trolloc Armies were never stated, but likely around 1 million for each front.  The Sharan army, probably 1 million as well.  Shadow Forces, 5 million. The Light Forces, 1.5 million or so.

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The size of the Trolloc Armies were never stated, but likely around 1 million for each front.  The Sharan army, probably 1 million as well.  Shadow Forces, 5 million. The Light Forces, 1.5 million or so.

Not even close to one million, unless BS's wording was just that off. He writes the forces to be closer to two hundred thousand at each front. The end of ToM puts the force Lan faces between 150,000 and 200,000. This is woefully inadequate, as it should be closer to the one million you guess to fit the scale of the story. None of the other fronts are written in a way to suggest anything much larger than a couple hundred thousand. And the Aiel are definitely underwritten, as they should number greater than half a million despite losses to battle and despair.

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Why did Elayne/Bashere have people making bridges to cross the Erinin when they could have just used a gateway to get across either when they got to the river or before?  Their goal was to lure the trollocs there which they did even before the bridge was finished.  They planned to destroy the bridge anyway before the trollocs could use it so the bridge itself was not needed besides getting Elayne/Bashere's army across.

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Why did Elayne/Bashere have people making bridges to cross the Erinin when they could have just used a gateway to get across either when they got to the river or before?  Their goal was to lure the trollocs there which they did even before the bridge was finished.  They planned to destroy the bridge anyway before the trollocs could use it so the bridge itself was not needed besides getting Elayne/Bashere's army across.

If they could have used gateways to cross a river they could have used them to pull out to somewhere safer.

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Shara's army was, if anything too small. I don't think you get how huge shara is. The Seanchan forces on this side of the ocean are powerful, even without damane, they're more powerful than any single nation but the Aiel "nation". But they're not the full armed forces of an entire continent. More galling was the utterly ridiculous tactics. Look, Jordan wasn't a professional historian, nor a higher officer, but at least he fairly understood military operations. Yet even then, his real strength *as an author* was in slicing across the battle field and capturing the chaos - *not* following the staff officers back in the tent. None of these battles remotely compared to the battle of Cairhien in FOH. Hell, Ituralde's defense of Maradon was more gripping, painful, and exciting than the entire Last Battle. So it's not like this is purely a RJ v BS thing

Edited by Mr. Micawber

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Wait there are citations on army sizes? really wish Sanderson put more battle description into the book, I couldn't understand the scope of the battles or who was fighting. Battles before ch. 37 were forgettable. 

 

Also, the use of dragons was pretty anti climatic for me, i wanted a big bang when they came onto scene. Orgier fighting was okay...

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Why did Elayne/Bashere have people making bridges to cross the Erinin when they could have just used a gateway to get across either when they got to the river or before?  Their goal was to lure the trollocs there which they did even before the bridge was finished.  They planned to destroy the bridge anyway before the trollocs could use it so the bridge itself was not needed besides getting Elayne/Bashere's army across.

Plot convenience.

 

Other questions with the same answer: Why didn't they burn Caemlyn to a cinder while the Trollocs were inside? Why did only the WT fight at Kandor? Why did Lan only have 5 channelers? Where did the WOs disappear to?

 

For a book mainly about war, battles sucked.

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I agree that the Light's strategy was very bad.  From their perspective the situation was thus:  The enemy had divided their forces into three.  You have interior lines, plus instantaneous travel.  Your enemy cannot use instantaneous travel, and must rather walk.  You're willing to go full on Stalin with a scorched earth policy.  Therefore the light can easily create overwhelming superiority on any one front, and defeat the dark in detail.

 

The light clearly should have formed up all of their military power at one point, and gone and defeated each army in succession.  Victory would have been nearly assured, rather than a close run thing, and losses, while still severe, would have been much less.  Mat should have been in charge from the beginning. :)

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Palarran, it's utterly galling to me that they all ignored *SHADOWSPAWN CANNOT TRAVEL*. They should have been able to defeat every Trolloc army in detail within about a month. You don't need to be a military historian or a staff officer to figure is out. It ruins the narrative because it requires everyone to carry an idiot ball. Then again, their High Commander was Elayne, so maybe they all developed stupidity by osmosis. Back in the First War, like huge numbers of the human population were willing or unwilling Shadow conscripts, but even so, the flexibility of the Light forces was a major reason they could hold off the Shadow for so long

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Considering that the DO's forces were split in 4 and that it was Bashere who announced it was fate that this meant that each Great Captain could fight one of them, it seems it is plausible that the forces of the ligth were manipulated into splitting up. 

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Uh, bros. the Big Guys forces were split in four. This was true at Merillor. The Queen of Kandor wasn't even at the meeting because Kandor was virtually overrun, Caemlyn was taken, and Tarwin's Gap was about to be broken through. And it was Elayne who decided as supreme commander to split the forces

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Pre aMoL numbers we knew for a fact are pretty accurate:

 

Borderlanders: 200,000

Lan: 50-200,000ish (its hard to judge based on what was said at the end of ToM)

Andor: 200,000+ Minimum. Elayne had dozens of Mercenary bands let alone Andoran houses which each had very large levies, wouldnt surprise me if they were closer to 3-400k

Perrin in ToM had better part of 80,000 due to the Wolfguard

Band of the Red Hand was 20-40k depending on how much more they had recruited or lost.

Illian had better part of 100,000 when Sammael was in control if not a lot more and thats without people rallying for Tarmon Gaidon.

Tear: probably atleast equal to Illian.

Aiel: Each clan had around 40-80,000 based on Shaido numbers coupled with the 2 clans who sat it out during the Battle of Cairhien so thats 500k-960k and thats not counting the fact that the women who were not Maidens would have fought as well.

Seanchan with their allies is probably another 500k

 

Then you have literally millions of commoners who would have volunteered  it would be almost impossible to arm everyone who would have wanted to fight.

 

Shadow Forces are harder to guess because we have no numbers:

Trollocs - should have had a good 6-7million. They have been throwing away 100k armies like they are nothing afterall. 

Myrrdrall - 50,000 (This is basically just less than 1% birthrate compared with Trollocs)

Shara: (Bare in mind they use slaves: Actual army 500,000 + 1mil slaves)

 

 

Overall I think the numbers were probably between 1/2 and 1/3 what they should have been really

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Considering that the DO's forces were split in 4 and that it was Bashere who announced it was fate that this meant that each Great Captain could fight one of them, it seems it is plausible that the forces of the ligth were manipulated into splitting up.

Yes, this is very much possible.

 

But as I said in another thread, committing the troops in one front (say, Caemlyn) means abandoning the other three. Lan, for one, will die without the timely help from the Borderlanders. Kandor was already fallen, but without White Tower stalling the Trollocs, the same forces that destroy Kandor will have the time to destroy other Borderland nations.

 

In my opinion, the early plan is sound. It only become bad when the Great Generals slowly destroying their own armies.

 

If the early battle plan is stupid because of BS does not understand battle tactics, I think his writing of Mat's battle plan should be considered as stupid battle plan too. But I have not seen anyone complaining Mat's battle plan.

 

Edit: Seanchan's army joined the war late. We should not include their 500k + how many damane in this. Or, better, we should counted Seanchan army as possible enemy during FoM meeting.

Edited by esvath

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No it doesn't. Bro, Randland is the size of the US or at an absolute minimum the US east of the Mississippi. All the Light forces can be concentrated via traveling. In every battle they were outnumbered by the Shadow because they were all fighting separately. But the Light could have concentrated all of its forces, first at the Gap, then at Caemlyn, then at Kandor. The Shadow cannot, because Trollocs can't go through gateways.

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I agree that the Light's strategy was very bad.  From their perspective the situation was thus:  The enemy had divided their forces into three.  You have interior lines, plus instantaneous travel.  Your enemy cannot use instantaneous travel, and must rather walk.  You're willing to go full on Stalin with a scorched earth policy.  Therefore the light can easily create overwhelming superiority on any one front, and defeat the dark in detail.

 

The light clearly should have formed up all of their military power at one point, and gone and defeated each army in succession.  Victory would have been nearly assured, rather than a close run thing, and losses, while still severe, would have been much less.  Mat should have been in charge from the beginning. :)

But they WEREN'T willing to go full scorched earth. Darth Rand was, and he had a better plan given that. He wanted to let the trollocs split into smaller bands (remember, if they're not fighting, they can't eat) and then hit them with parties traveling by gateway in rapid succession. It's a good plan, except that a LOT of trollocs are going to escape. Not enough to destroy your armies, but enough to slaughter a lot of villagers. The Light here made a conscious decision that that was unacceptable.

 

Some of the choices in how the forces were divided up, on the other hand, were more problematic. But then how much can you expect when Elayne is running the show?

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You're imagining Randland like a single battlefield. It's not. It's a continent. The Trollocs cannot move anywhere near as fast as the Light armies can Travel since Traveling is instantaneous. This incredible advantage didn't exist in the First War because there were huge DF armies from the get go.

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Osan'gar, do you know what scorched earth means? That's exactly what they were doing. They were falling back, denying the opponent any of the resources of the newly conquered territory. They literally burned their own and their enemies corpses because Trolloc armies don't carry food

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