The art of war
A heroic deed, J. Höchle, 1830
Austrian hussars attacking French infantry line during the Napoleonic wars

A heroic deed, J. Höchle, 1830

Austrian hussars attacking French infantry line during the Napoleonic wars

tray-the-tealord:

Somebody is going to die
Probably me

tray-the-tealord:

Somebody is going to die

Probably me

tray-the-tealord:


Just imagine that your realm is sharing a border with Sassinia and you have a Foreign Legion. Volunteers from my country are so many that they have their own regiment. Create a regimental standard based on this flag which I really like.


Here you go Simo!

Wow, that’s badass! With this flag at their side our troops will do wonders!.

tray-the-tealord:

Just imagine that your realm is sharing a border with Sassinia and you have a Foreign Legion. Volunteers from my country are so many that they have their own regiment. Create a regimental standard based on this flag which I really like.

Here you go Simo!

Wow, that’s badass! With this flag at their side our troops will do wonders!.

Sergeant of Her majesty’s Own cuirassiers, 1812, K. Ivanovich

Sergeant of Her majesty’s Own cuirassiers, 1812, K. Ivanovich

At the beginning of the Tumblr discussion it’s like

image

but as it develops it looks like

image

Guard Hussars and Guard du Corps, Hessen Kassel, 1813-1821, Knotel

Guard Hussars and Guard du Corps, Hessen Kassel, 1813-1821, Knotel

sapper-in-the-wire:

octoberchan:

sapper-in-the-wire:

cuirassier:

sapper-in-the-wire:

cuirassier:

sapper-in-the-wire:

octoberchan:

cuirassier:

octoberchan:

invictascientia:

cuirassier:

Tzar Simeon the Great at the battle of Achelous - 20 august 917
Painted by Vasil Goranov
That was a major battle of the war between the First Bulgarian Empire and the Byzantine Empire.
With  62 000 Bulgarian soldiers vs 60 000 Byzantium soldiers this is considered one of the largest battle in Medieval Europe.
Simeon’s tactics was to outmaneveur the enemy so he left his center weak while the strongest forces were on the flanks. The Romans charged the Bulgarian center and the Bulgarians started to slowly retreat. The Byzantines formations were broken in the charge and Tzar Simeon led himself the cavalry, previously hidden behind the hills. The heavy cavalry caused havoc and panick and soon the Romans began to run for their lives. Many were slaughtered.
Even 75 years after the battle Leo the Deacon wrote:
"…And even now there could be seen piles of bones at Anchialus where the fleeing army of the Romans was disgracefully slain."
The battle was decisive victory for the Bulgarians and Simeon was crowned as a Tzar of “all Bulgarians and Romans” in Constantinople. 

I’m interested in the outmaneuvering part. What I’m imagining is like this…
So, Simeon concentrated the power on the flanks instead of the center. This center became ‘weaker’ because of lacking offensive power compared to the flanks, yet by doing so, it helped him doing this ‘lurking’ tactics easier? Like, since the center was weaker in offense, it could quickly withdraw, deceiving the enemy who thought he took the main / center power retreating. Convinced that they’ve secured victory, the Byzantines set to pursue Simeon’s center, only to be met with fully offensive heavy cavalry hiding themselves in the ‘natural grave’ readied for the Byzantine army.
Sounds eerily similar to Napoleon’s tactics IMHO! 

* By Napoleonic I mean dividing the units like that
But then again classical era did see the glory of cavalry tactics. This reminds me of Khan Krum’s ambush against Nikephoros I at the Varbica pass. Something interesting is I remember Wiki said Krum mobilized women too.

Well, I think that certain solutions about basic questions revolve over time and replace each other as time goes. This can be easily seen in art and literature like the dilemma “Should it be realistic or not?”
So dividing army units is not something new, it’s just part of that revolving system. Remember that Napoleon managed to beat the Prussian forces due to the latter’s lack of mobility and maneuverability - the Prussians were just holding a line while Napoleon used skirmishers. Similar but reversed thing happened during the Franco-Prussian war few decades later when the Prussian forces encouraged independent action and skirmishing while the French were holding on a Napoleonic-like system which at this time was too centralized and lacked mobility.
Regarding Krum, the Byzantine sources are not to be trusted too much. Suidae Lexicon which is the primary source of the story is a book from late 10th century and it was compiled as a book for the royal children of the ERE. Thus many facts of the historical section of the work were influenced in one way or another in order to create an image of certain rulers and summarize the moral of the (hi)story. Being extremely popular at this time, Khan Krum was depicted as bold, brave, decisive man who strived for his goals with no fear. In Suidae Lexicon Khan Krum had a conversation with three hostages from the Avar Khaganate which was falling apart at this time. Khan Krum asked them why their state was in such a poor condition and the hostages described a picture of beggars and drunkards wondering all over the country. Thus according to Suidae Lexicon Khan Krum made illegal the production of wine and introduced harsh sactions for crimes. However, due to the many compilations the book is contradicting itself and it states that Nikiphor’s army was full of drunkards as they pillaged Pliska.
So regarding that women were also mobilised as it was mentioned in Suidae Lexicon is questionable. It could have been added as a detail to depict Krum as a ruler who can truly unify his whole people.

"So dividing army units is not something new […]"
No, certainly not, and I did not imply if Krum was wrong, however it was a long timespan to draw from Krum’s time to Napoleon’s. Mongol cavalrymen had been using the ‘lure-and-tire’ tactics as well such as when conquering Poland.
"Suidae Lexicon which is the primary source of the story is a book from late 10th century and it was compiled as a book for the royal children of the ERE."
It is also recorded in Theophanos the Confessor’s Chronographia, written during Krum’s time that Nikephoros actually ignored his scouts’ warning. The elite Byzantine tagma damaged Pliska, and as the women part it is cited in Geoffrey Regan’s The Brassey’s Book of Military Blunders (2002), where he argued that Krum mobilized the women together with Avar mercenaries for the Battle of Pliska. This makes sense because a) if Pliska wasn’t saved then the fate of Bulgarian Empire would be at stake; b) Since women at that time did not take part in battles that much deploying them together with the Avar mercenaries would mean something important needed to be done. Even then mercenaries were often used as support or auxiliaries and considering Krum actually defeated the Avars, things fall into the place.
I did not even mention Lexicon. And it would be weird to mention Lexicon since a) it painted Krum in a bad shape where I did not even imply it a bit; b) Lexicon was made in the 900s while the battle itself took place in 811. Chronographia was written circa 814 and not only it covered the downfall of Michael Rhangabe (the first) it also talked about the Diocletian accession. Why do you think I am referring to Lexicon or even painting Krum in a bad way? Krum won, Byzantium lost horribly.

Skirmishing is not the same thing as operational mobility. In general, tactics and strategy during the Napoleonic times up until WWII are bland and dry compared to the past. And Prussian independent mobility is a far cry from planned offensives like the Bulgarians above. The only real reason why the Prussians won the Franco-Prussian war was due to the extremely ill-prepared French forces. The independent mobility of the German forces would cause them horrendous casualties, and be completely obliterated by planned offensives like Soviet Deep Battle. This is similar to Hannibal’s envelopment of the Romans forces at Cannae. However, in both cases, these are hindered by a lack of vision - the focus was on destroying an army group rather than routing it. Casualties were undoubtedly high in both cases. Had the Byzantines been under a more competent commander, this could have been exploited. It’s preposterous to think that the Bulgarians could have taken Constantinople after this. Practitioners of actual operational mobility had no problem dealing with the Bulgarians, as shown by the later Byzantine Tagmas and the Mongolian forces. 

In fact Bulgarians managed to deal with the Mongols under Tzar Ivailo using a similar method as the Mongols themselves. They just appointed elite armed groups to each castle which would patrol around the area and kill every Mongol they see. So instead of one army which would be tired of persuing the small groups, the matter was arranged regionally.
The taking of Constantinople was more a political than a military matter. Has the Chalif of the Arab Sultanate agreed on mutual action against ERE then the Romans wouldn’t have had much chance…
I didn’t say that the Bulgarian army was invincible but to tell me that it was no problem to the Byzantine army… The conflicts were bloody, with different dominating powers over time and both states were overwhelmed by the Ottomans in the end…

What are you talking about? I recall Ivailo getting beat back and holing up in a castle until Asen usurped him, then trying to plead with Nogai Khan to help him win back the throne. And getting assassinated for it. Peoples conquered by the Mongols have a tendency to claim small, insignificant victories as something more.
The Bulgarians served as a buffer force. They were like all barbarians on Byzantine’s borders - they served to shield Byzantium from the north. Similarly how the Avars were called in, and when they proved troublesome, the Hungarians were called in to take their place. Byzantium and Rome had a long history of supplicating barbarians with gold and titles. For example, when the Second Bulgarian Empire formed, the Byzantines were okay with it because they saw how difficult of a region that was to defend. And the Bulgarians held off Tatars and Serbs and Hungarians, which indirectly served Byzantine needs. The Byzantine Empire didn’t last a thousand years without a sense of grand strategy.
Basil “the Bulgar Slayer” doesn’t even mention the Bulgarians by name in his epitaph. His victories against the Bulgarians are wrapped up with his campaigns in Italy as a blanket “victories in the west” line. Twenty lines are devoted to his victories in the east, by comparison. Even the title “the Bulgar Slayer” was invented long after his death, and only became common in the 20th Century, when Greek propagandists wanted to drum up support against the modern Bulgarians.
The only barbarians to ever give the Byzantines honest worries were the Huns, and that was due to the lack of a proper city wall. But once the Theodosian Walls went up, the Byzantines understood that the only people capable of taking their city would be from the East.
And they were right.

Bulgaria became independent from the  Mongols 20 years later… So much for the Mongol rule in Bulgarian lands…
So if ERE considered Bulgaria as a shield against other political powers then why the Romans would attack their own shield so frequently? In fact ERE used Serbia as a power to throw against Bulgaria so they considered the latter a threat not vice versa as you suggest. And centuries before that they threw the Maguars in the fighting against Bulgaria.
Do I really have to list all the times when the Roman armies attacked Bulgarian lands? When Constantine V launched numerous campaigns in the Balkans which proved to be quite costly. He wouldn’t spend so much money on dealing with “barbarians” unless he considers them a threat.
And finally why the Bizantine rulers conquered the Bulgarian lands if they considered them a shield?
I think that in the time the Second Bulgarian Empire was established, ERE was too weak to regain its territories not they just didn’t wish to get them back.
Oh, and one more thing…
"But once the Theodosian Walls went up, the Byzantines understood that the only people capable of taking their city would be from the East.
And they were right.”
Ha, I bet they didn’t see that Fourth Crusade coming…

The Golden Horde left Bulgaria because there was nothing of real value to them there, same situation with Germany. The lands they desired were more out on the Steppe. The Byzantines attacked the Bulgarians when they became a nuisance. They had a long history of setting people up on their border as a buffer, but replacing/defeating/appeasing them when they became too troublesome.  As I’ve already mentioned, they called in the Hungarians to deal with the Avars. Before that, they encouraged the Khazars to settle, when that was unprofitable, the Rus were allowed to destroy the Khazar Empire. Look up “The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire” by Edward Luttak for more about this. And in any case, what did Simeon I actually accomplish? He didn’t get his bride, so no political control over Byzantium, he wasn’t able to capture Constantinople, he was merely given gold and a title. Meanwhile, the man that denied the Byzantine armies supplies and naval support during the campaign was able to overthrow Zoe in the political fallout of the defeat that he helped engineer. Lecapenus’ role in this is often forgotten. Also, if you know your history, the Fourth Crusade came in through the harbor by acting as allies. The walls themselves weren’t taken. The walls stood unbreached for a millennia.

Wait, Simeon wanted a Byzantine bride? I thought he meant to marry one of his daughters to Constantine V, but Leo VI’s mistress Zoe hated Simeon so she married Constantine to a daughter of a Byzantine general instead. Then I think there was a time when she attacked him but got defeated and Leo VI’s successor did not want her influence so she was banished from the court…
Simeon made the empire center of orthodoxy seat and Slavic culture though… also I only remember he besieged Constantinople a couple of times…

Ah shit, yeah. I meant to say “marriage.”
My point was the Byzantines conceded nothing of real value, if anything, Simeon I played straight into Lecapenus’ plot to take the throne.
Also, I’d disagree with the seat of orthodoxy. The Archbishop of Constantinople was still the central figure of Orthodoxy. A Bulgarian city would have been named sister city to Constantinople if that were the case, as was done for Antioch-Rome-Jerusalem.

I meant that Hungarians was thrown against Bulgaria in the campaign of 896. Then they were defeated and moved to Panonia.
Simeon didn’t marry a Byzantine princess but his son, Peter did. After the death of Tzar Simeon in 927, a peace was signed. Peter married Maria who was renamed to Irina which means “peace”. Peter was recognised as an equal to the Roman emperor. The Bulgarian archibishop was given the title of Patriach.
But something much more important happened decades before that. The development of the glagolitic alphabet and the creation of the cyrillic alphabet made Bulgaria a cultural centre of its own. Many countries use the cyrillic alphabet to this day.
Conquests are really interesting but territories are gained and lost easily over the centuries. It’s the culture which remained and managed to keep the Bulgarian people’s identity strong during the long Ottoman yoke.

sapper-in-the-wire:

octoberchan:

sapper-in-the-wire:

cuirassier:

sapper-in-the-wire:

cuirassier:

sapper-in-the-wire:

octoberchan:

cuirassier:

octoberchan:

invictascientia:

cuirassier:

Tzar Simeon the Great at the battle of Achelous - 20 august 917

Painted by Vasil Goranov

That was a major battle of the war between the First Bulgarian Empire and the Byzantine Empire.

With  62 000 Bulgarian soldiers vs 60 000 Byzantium soldiers this is considered one of the largest battle in Medieval Europe.

Simeon’s tactics was to outmaneveur the enemy so he left his center weak while the strongest forces were on the flanks. The Romans charged the Bulgarian center and the Bulgarians started to slowly retreat. The Byzantines formations were broken in the charge and Tzar Simeon led himself the cavalry, previously hidden behind the hills. The heavy cavalry caused havoc and panick and soon the Romans began to run for their lives. Many were slaughtered.

Even 75 years after the battle Leo the Deacon wrote:

"…And even now there could be seen piles of bones at Anchialus where the fleeing army of the Romans was disgracefully slain."

The battle was decisive victory for the Bulgarians and Simeon was crowned as a Tzar of “all Bulgarians and Romans” in Constantinople. 

I’m interested in the outmaneuvering part. What I’m imagining is like this…

So, Simeon concentrated the power on the flanks instead of the center. This center became ‘weaker’ because of lacking offensive power compared to the flanks, yet by doing so, it helped him doing this ‘lurking’ tactics easier? Like, since the center was weaker in offense, it could quickly withdraw, deceiving the enemy who thought he took the main / center power retreating. Convinced that they’ve secured victory, the Byzantines set to pursue Simeon’s center, only to be met with fully offensive heavy cavalry hiding themselves in the ‘natural grave’ readied for the Byzantine army.

Sounds eerily similar to Napoleon’s tactics IMHO! 

* By Napoleonic I mean dividing the units like that

But then again classical era did see the glory of cavalry tactics. This reminds me of Khan Krum’s ambush against Nikephoros I at the Varbica pass. Something interesting is I remember Wiki said Krum mobilized women too.

Well, I think that certain solutions about basic questions revolve over time and replace each other as time goes. This can be easily seen in art and literature like the dilemma “Should it be realistic or not?”

So dividing army units is not something new, it’s just part of that revolving system. Remember that Napoleon managed to beat the Prussian forces due to the latter’s lack of mobility and maneuverability - the Prussians were just holding a line while Napoleon used skirmishers. Similar but reversed thing happened during the Franco-Prussian war few decades later when the Prussian forces encouraged independent action and skirmishing while the French were holding on a Napoleonic-like system which at this time was too centralized and lacked mobility.

Regarding Krum, the Byzantine sources are not to be trusted too much. Suidae Lexicon which is the primary source of the story is a book from late 10th century and it was compiled as a book for the royal children of the ERE. Thus many facts of the historical section of the work were influenced in one way or another in order to create an image of certain rulers and summarize the moral of the (hi)story. Being extremely popular at this time, Khan Krum was depicted as bold, brave, decisive man who strived for his goals with no fear. In Suidae Lexicon Khan Krum had a conversation with three hostages from the Avar Khaganate which was falling apart at this time. Khan Krum asked them why their state was in such a poor condition and the hostages described a picture of beggars and drunkards wondering all over the country. Thus according to Suidae Lexicon Khan Krum made illegal the production of wine and introduced harsh sactions for crimes. However, due to the many compilations the book is contradicting itself and it states that Nikiphor’s army was full of drunkards as they pillaged Pliska.

So regarding that women were also mobilised as it was mentioned in Suidae Lexicon is questionable. It could have been added as a detail to depict Krum as a ruler who can truly unify his whole people.

"So dividing army units is not something new […]"

No, certainly not, and I did not imply if Krum was wrong, however it was a long timespan to draw from Krum’s time to Napoleon’s. Mongol cavalrymen had been using the ‘lure-and-tire’ tactics as well such as when conquering Poland.

"Suidae Lexicon which is the primary source of the story is a book from late 10th century and it was compiled as a book for the royal children of the ERE."

It is also recorded in Theophanos the Confessor’s Chronographia, written during Krum’s time that Nikephoros actually ignored his scouts’ warning. The elite Byzantine tagma damaged Pliska, and as the women part it is cited in Geoffrey Regan’s The Brassey’s Book of Military Blunders (2002), where he argued that Krum mobilized the women together with Avar mercenaries for the Battle of Pliska. This makes sense because a) if Pliska wasn’t saved then the fate of Bulgarian Empire would be at stake; b) Since women at that time did not take part in battles that much deploying them together with the Avar mercenaries would mean something important needed to be done. Even then mercenaries were often used as support or auxiliaries and considering Krum actually defeated the Avars, things fall into the place.

I did not even mention Lexicon. And it would be weird to mention Lexicon since a) it painted Krum in a bad shape where I did not even imply it a bit; b) Lexicon was made in the 900s while the battle itself took place in 811. Chronographia was written circa 814 and not only it covered the downfall of Michael Rhangabe (the first) it also talked about the Diocletian accession. Why do you think I am referring to Lexicon or even painting Krum in a bad way? Krum won, Byzantium lost horribly.

Skirmishing is not the same thing as operational mobility. In general, tactics and strategy during the Napoleonic times up until WWII are bland and dry compared to the past. And Prussian independent mobility is a far cry from planned offensives like the Bulgarians above. The only real reason why the Prussians won the Franco-Prussian war was due to the extremely ill-prepared French forces. The independent mobility of the German forces would cause them horrendous casualties, and be completely obliterated by planned offensives like Soviet Deep Battle.

This is similar to Hannibal’s envelopment of the Romans forces at Cannae. However, in both cases, these are hindered by a lack of vision - the focus was on destroying an army group rather than routing it. Casualties were undoubtedly high in both cases. Had the Byzantines been under a more competent commander, this could have been exploited. It’s preposterous to think that the Bulgarians could have taken Constantinople after this.

Practitioners of actual operational mobility had no problem dealing with the Bulgarians, as shown by the later Byzantine Tagmas and the Mongolian forces. 

In fact Bulgarians managed to deal with the Mongols under Tzar Ivailo using a similar method as the Mongols themselves. They just appointed elite armed groups to each castle which would patrol around the area and kill every Mongol they see. So instead of one army which would be tired of persuing the small groups, the matter was arranged regionally.

The taking of Constantinople was more a political than a military matter. Has the Chalif of the Arab Sultanate agreed on mutual action against ERE then the Romans wouldn’t have had much chance…

I didn’t say that the Bulgarian army was invincible but to tell me that it was no problem to the Byzantine army… The conflicts were bloody, with different dominating powers over time and both states were overwhelmed by the Ottomans in the end…

What are you talking about? I recall Ivailo getting beat back and holing up in a castle until Asen usurped him, then trying to plead with Nogai Khan to help him win back the throne. And getting assassinated for it. Peoples conquered by the Mongols have a tendency to claim small, insignificant victories as something more.

The Bulgarians served as a buffer force. They were like all barbarians on Byzantine’s borders - they served to shield Byzantium from the north. Similarly how the Avars were called in, and when they proved troublesome, the Hungarians were called in to take their place. Byzantium and Rome had a long history of supplicating barbarians with gold and titles. For example, when the Second Bulgarian Empire formed, the Byzantines were okay with it because they saw how difficult of a region that was to defend. And the Bulgarians held off Tatars and Serbs and Hungarians, which indirectly served Byzantine needs. The Byzantine Empire didn’t last a thousand years without a sense of grand strategy.

Basil “the Bulgar Slayer” doesn’t even mention the Bulgarians by name in his epitaph. His victories against the Bulgarians are wrapped up with his campaigns in Italy as a blanket “victories in the west” line. Twenty lines are devoted to his victories in the east, by comparison. Even the title “the Bulgar Slayer” was invented long after his death, and only became common in the 20th Century, when Greek propagandists wanted to drum up support against the modern Bulgarians.

The only barbarians to ever give the Byzantines honest worries were the Huns, and that was due to the lack of a proper city wall. But once the Theodosian Walls went up, the Byzantines understood that the only people capable of taking their city would be from the East.

And they were right.

Bulgaria became independent from the  Mongols 20 years later… So much for the Mongol rule in Bulgarian lands…

So if ERE considered Bulgaria as a shield against other political powers then why the Romans would attack their own shield so frequently? In fact ERE used Serbia as a power to throw against Bulgaria so they considered the latter a threat not vice versa as you suggest. And centuries before that they threw the Maguars in the fighting against Bulgaria.

Do I really have to list all the times when the Roman armies attacked Bulgarian lands? When Constantine V launched numerous campaigns in the Balkans which proved to be quite costly. He wouldn’t spend so much money on dealing with “barbarians” unless he considers them a threat.

And finally why the Bizantine rulers conquered the Bulgarian lands if they considered them a shield?

I think that in the time the Second Bulgarian Empire was established, ERE was too weak to regain its territories not they just didn’t wish to get them back.

Oh, and one more thing…

"But once the Theodosian Walls went up, the Byzantines understood that the only people capable of taking their city would be from the East.

And they were right.”

Ha, I bet they didn’t see that Fourth Crusade coming…

The Golden Horde left Bulgaria because there was nothing of real value to them there, same situation with Germany. The lands they desired were more out on the Steppe.

The Byzantines attacked the Bulgarians when they became a nuisance. They had a long history of setting people up on their border as a buffer, but replacing/defeating/appeasing them when they became too troublesome.

As I’ve already mentioned, they called in the Hungarians to deal with the Avars. Before that, they encouraged the Khazars to settle, when that was unprofitable, the Rus were allowed to destroy the Khazar Empire.

Look up “The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire” by Edward Luttak for more about this.

And in any case, what did Simeon I actually accomplish? He didn’t get his bride, so no political control over Byzantium, he wasn’t able to capture Constantinople, he was merely given gold and a title. Meanwhile, the man that denied the Byzantine armies supplies and naval support during the campaign was able to overthrow Zoe in the political fallout of the defeat that he helped engineer. Lecapenus’ role in this is often forgotten.

Also, if you know your history, the Fourth Crusade came in through the harbor by acting as allies. The walls themselves weren’t taken. The walls stood unbreached for a millennia.

Wait, Simeon wanted a Byzantine bride? I thought he meant to marry one of his daughters to Constantine V, but Leo VI’s mistress Zoe hated Simeon so she married Constantine to a daughter of a Byzantine general instead. Then I think there was a time when she attacked him but got defeated and Leo VI’s successor did not want her influence so she was banished from the court…

Simeon made the empire center of orthodoxy seat and Slavic culture though… also I only remember he besieged Constantinople a couple of times…

Ah shit, yeah. I meant to say “marriage.”

My point was the Byzantines conceded nothing of real value, if anything, Simeon I played straight into Lecapenus’ plot to take the throne.

Also, I’d disagree with the seat of orthodoxy. The Archbishop of Constantinople was still the central figure of Orthodoxy. A Bulgarian city would have been named sister city to Constantinople if that were the case, as was done for Antioch-Rome-Jerusalem.

I meant that Hungarians was thrown against Bulgaria in the campaign of 896. Then they were defeated and moved to Panonia.

Simeon didn’t marry a Byzantine princess but his son, Peter did. After the death of Tzar Simeon in 927, a peace was signed. Peter married Maria who was renamed to Irina which means “peace”. Peter was recognised as an equal to the Roman emperor. The Bulgarian archibishop was given the title of Patriach.

But something much more important happened decades before that. The development of the glagolitic alphabet and the creation of the cyrillic alphabet made Bulgaria a cultural centre of its own. Many countries use the cyrillic alphabet to this day.

Conquests are really interesting but territories are gained and lost easily over the centuries. It’s the culture which remained and managed to keep the Bulgarian people’s identity strong during the long Ottoman yoke.

sapper-in-the-wire:

cuirassier:

sapper-in-the-wire:

octoberchan:

cuirassier:

octoberchan:

invictascientia:

cuirassier:

Tzar Simeon the Great at the battle of Achelous - 20 august 917
Painted by Vasil Goranov
That was a major battle of the war between the First Bulgarian Empire and the Byzantine Empire.
With  62 000 Bulgarian soldiers vs 60 000 Byzantium soldiers this is considered one of the largest battle in Medieval Europe.
Simeon’s tactics was to outmaneveur the enemy so he left his center weak while the strongest forces were on the flanks. The Romans charged the Bulgarian center and the Bulgarians started to slowly retreat. The Byzantines formations were broken in the charge and Tzar Simeon led himself the cavalry, previously hidden behind the hills. The heavy cavalry caused havoc and panick and soon the Romans began to run for their lives. Many were slaughtered.
Even 75 years after the battle Leo the Deacon wrote:
"…And even now there could be seen piles of bones at Anchialus where the fleeing army of the Romans was disgracefully slain."
The battle was decisive victory for the Bulgarians and Simeon was crowned as a Tzar of “all Bulgarians and Romans” in Constantinople. 

I’m interested in the outmaneuvering part. What I’m imagining is like this…
So, Simeon concentrated the power on the flanks instead of the center. This center became ‘weaker’ because of lacking offensive power compared to the flanks, yet by doing so, it helped him doing this ‘lurking’ tactics easier? Like, since the center was weaker in offense, it could quickly withdraw, deceiving the enemy who thought he took the main / center power retreating. Convinced that they’ve secured victory, the Byzantines set to pursue Simeon’s center, only to be met with fully offensive heavy cavalry hiding themselves in the ‘natural grave’ readied for the Byzantine army.
Sounds eerily similar to Napoleon’s tactics IMHO! 

* By Napoleonic I mean dividing the units like that
But then again classical era did see the glory of cavalry tactics. This reminds me of Khan Krum’s ambush against Nikephoros I at the Varbica pass. Something interesting is I remember Wiki said Krum mobilized women too.

Well, I think that certain solutions about basic questions revolve over time and replace each other as time goes. This can be easily seen in art and literature like the dilemma “Should it be realistic or not?”
So dividing army units is not something new, it’s just part of that revolving system. Remember that Napoleon managed to beat the Prussian forces due to the latter’s lack of mobility and maneuverability - the Prussians were just holding a line while Napoleon used skirmishers. Similar but reversed thing happened during the Franco-Prussian war few decades later when the Prussian forces encouraged independent action and skirmishing while the French were holding on a Napoleonic-like system which at this time was too centralized and lacked mobility.
Regarding Krum, the Byzantine sources are not to be trusted too much. Suidae Lexicon which is the primary source of the story is a book from late 10th century and it was compiled as a book for the royal children of the ERE. Thus many facts of the historical section of the work were influenced in one way or another in order to create an image of certain rulers and summarize the moral of the (hi)story. Being extremely popular at this time, Khan Krum was depicted as bold, brave, decisive man who strived for his goals with no fear. In Suidae Lexicon Khan Krum had a conversation with three hostages from the Avar Khaganate which was falling apart at this time. Khan Krum asked them why their state was in such a poor condition and the hostages described a picture of beggars and drunkards wondering all over the country. Thus according to Suidae Lexicon Khan Krum made illegal the production of wine and introduced harsh sactions for crimes. However, due to the many compilations the book is contradicting itself and it states that Nikiphor’s army was full of drunkards as they pillaged Pliska.
So regarding that women were also mobilised as it was mentioned in Suidae Lexicon is questionable. It could have been added as a detail to depict Krum as a ruler who can truly unify his whole people.

"So dividing army units is not something new […]"
No, certainly not, and I did not imply if Krum was wrong, however it was a long timespan to draw from Krum’s time to Napoleon’s. Mongol cavalrymen had been using the ‘lure-and-tire’ tactics as well such as when conquering Poland.
"Suidae Lexicon which is the primary source of the story is a book from late 10th century and it was compiled as a book for the royal children of the ERE."
It is also recorded in Theophanos the Confessor’s Chronographia, written during Krum’s time that Nikephoros actually ignored his scouts’ warning. The elite Byzantine tagma damaged Pliska, and as the women part it is cited in Geoffrey Regan’s The Brassey’s Book of Military Blunders (2002), where he argued that Krum mobilized the women together with Avar mercenaries for the Battle of Pliska. This makes sense because a) if Pliska wasn’t saved then the fate of Bulgarian Empire would be at stake; b) Since women at that time did not take part in battles that much deploying them together with the Avar mercenaries would mean something important needed to be done. Even then mercenaries were often used as support or auxiliaries and considering Krum actually defeated the Avars, things fall into the place.
I did not even mention Lexicon. And it would be weird to mention Lexicon since a) it painted Krum in a bad shape where I did not even imply it a bit; b) Lexicon was made in the 900s while the battle itself took place in 811. Chronographia was written circa 814 and not only it covered the downfall of Michael Rhangabe (the first) it also talked about the Diocletian accession. Why do you think I am referring to Lexicon or even painting Krum in a bad way? Krum won, Byzantium lost horribly.

Skirmishing is not the same thing as operational mobility. In general, tactics and strategy during the Napoleonic times up until WWII are bland and dry compared to the past. And Prussian independent mobility is a far cry from planned offensives like the Bulgarians above. The only real reason why the Prussians won the Franco-Prussian war was due to the extremely ill-prepared French forces. The independent mobility of the German forces would cause them horrendous casualties, and be completely obliterated by planned offensives like Soviet Deep Battle. This is similar to Hannibal’s envelopment of the Romans forces at Cannae. However, in both cases, these are hindered by a lack of vision - the focus was on destroying an army group rather than routing it. Casualties were undoubtedly high in both cases. Had the Byzantines been under a more competent commander, this could have been exploited. It’s preposterous to think that the Bulgarians could have taken Constantinople after this. Practitioners of actual operational mobility had no problem dealing with the Bulgarians, as shown by the later Byzantine Tagmas and the Mongolian forces. 

In fact Bulgarians managed to deal with the Mongols under Tzar Ivailo using a similar method as the Mongols themselves. They just appointed elite armed groups to each castle which would patrol around the area and kill every Mongol they see. So instead of one army which would be tired of persuing the small groups, the matter was arranged regionally.
The taking of Constantinople was more a political than a military matter. Has the Chalif of the Arab Sultanate agreed on mutual action against ERE then the Romans wouldn’t have had much chance…
I didn’t say that the Bulgarian army was invincible but to tell me that it was no problem to the Byzantine army… The conflicts were bloody, with different dominating powers over time and both states were overwhelmed by the Ottomans in the end…

What are you talking about? I recall Ivailo getting beat back and holing up in a castle until Asen usurped him, then trying to plead with Nogai Khan to help him win back the throne. And getting assassinated for it. Peoples conquered by the Mongols have a tendency to claim small, insignificant victories as something more.
The Bulgarians served as a buffer force. They were like all barbarians on Byzantine’s borders - they served to shield Byzantium from the north. Similarly how the Avars were called in, and when they proved troublesome, the Hungarians were called in to take their place. Byzantium and Rome had a long history of supplicating barbarians with gold and titles. For example, when the Second Bulgarian Empire formed, the Byzantines were okay with it because they saw how difficult of a region that was to defend. And the Bulgarians held off Tatars and Serbs and Hungarians, which indirectly served Byzantine needs. The Byzantine Empire didn’t last a thousand years without a sense of grand strategy.
Basil “the Bulgar Slayer” doesn’t even mention the Bulgarians by name in his epitaph. His victories against the Bulgarians are wrapped up with his campaigns in Italy as a blanket “victories in the west” line. Twenty lines are devoted to his victories in the east, by comparison. Even the title “the Bulgar Slayer” was invented long after his death, and only became common in the 20th Century, when Greek propagandists wanted to drum up support against the modern Bulgarians.
The only barbarians to ever give the Byzantines honest worries were the Huns, and that was due to the lack of a proper city wall. But once the Theodosian Walls went up, the Byzantines understood that the only people capable of taking their city would be from the East.
And they were right.

Bulgaria became independent from the  Mongols 20 years later… So much for the Mongol rule in Bulgarian lands…
So if ERE considered Bulgaria as a shield against other political powers then why the Romans would attack their own shield so frequently? In fact ERE used Serbia as a power to throw against Bulgaria so they considered the latter a threat not vice versa as you suggest. And centuries before that they threw the Maguars in the fighting against Bulgaria.
Do I really have to list all the times when the Roman armies attacked Bulgarian lands? When Constantine V launched numerous campaigns in the Balkans which proved to be quite costly. He wouldn’t spend so much money on dealing with “barbarians” unless he considers them a threat.
And finally why the Bizantine rulers conquered the Bulgarian lands if they considered them a shield?
I think that in the time the Second Bulgarian Empire was established, ERE was too weak to regain its territories not they just didn’t wish to get them back.
Oh, and one more thing…
"But once the Theodosian Walls went up, the Byzantines understood that the only people capable of taking their city would be from the East.
And they were right.”
Ha, I bet they didn’t see that Fourth Crusade coming…

sapper-in-the-wire:

cuirassier:

sapper-in-the-wire:

octoberchan:

cuirassier:

octoberchan:

invictascientia:

cuirassier:

Tzar Simeon the Great at the battle of Achelous - 20 august 917

Painted by Vasil Goranov

That was a major battle of the war between the First Bulgarian Empire and the Byzantine Empire.

With  62 000 Bulgarian soldiers vs 60 000 Byzantium soldiers this is considered one of the largest battle in Medieval Europe.

Simeon’s tactics was to outmaneveur the enemy so he left his center weak while the strongest forces were on the flanks. The Romans charged the Bulgarian center and the Bulgarians started to slowly retreat. The Byzantines formations were broken in the charge and Tzar Simeon led himself the cavalry, previously hidden behind the hills. The heavy cavalry caused havoc and panick and soon the Romans began to run for their lives. Many were slaughtered.

Even 75 years after the battle Leo the Deacon wrote:

"…And even now there could be seen piles of bones at Anchialus where the fleeing army of the Romans was disgracefully slain."

The battle was decisive victory for the Bulgarians and Simeon was crowned as a Tzar of “all Bulgarians and Romans” in Constantinople. 

I’m interested in the outmaneuvering part. What I’m imagining is like this…

So, Simeon concentrated the power on the flanks instead of the center. This center became ‘weaker’ because of lacking offensive power compared to the flanks, yet by doing so, it helped him doing this ‘lurking’ tactics easier? Like, since the center was weaker in offense, it could quickly withdraw, deceiving the enemy who thought he took the main / center power retreating. Convinced that they’ve secured victory, the Byzantines set to pursue Simeon’s center, only to be met with fully offensive heavy cavalry hiding themselves in the ‘natural grave’ readied for the Byzantine army.

Sounds eerily similar to Napoleon’s tactics IMHO! 

* By Napoleonic I mean dividing the units like that

But then again classical era did see the glory of cavalry tactics. This reminds me of Khan Krum’s ambush against Nikephoros I at the Varbica pass. Something interesting is I remember Wiki said Krum mobilized women too.

Well, I think that certain solutions about basic questions revolve over time and replace each other as time goes. This can be easily seen in art and literature like the dilemma “Should it be realistic or not?”

So dividing army units is not something new, it’s just part of that revolving system. Remember that Napoleon managed to beat the Prussian forces due to the latter’s lack of mobility and maneuverability - the Prussians were just holding a line while Napoleon used skirmishers. Similar but reversed thing happened during the Franco-Prussian war few decades later when the Prussian forces encouraged independent action and skirmishing while the French were holding on a Napoleonic-like system which at this time was too centralized and lacked mobility.

Regarding Krum, the Byzantine sources are not to be trusted too much. Suidae Lexicon which is the primary source of the story is a book from late 10th century and it was compiled as a book for the royal children of the ERE. Thus many facts of the historical section of the work were influenced in one way or another in order to create an image of certain rulers and summarize the moral of the (hi)story. Being extremely popular at this time, Khan Krum was depicted as bold, brave, decisive man who strived for his goals with no fear. In Suidae Lexicon Khan Krum had a conversation with three hostages from the Avar Khaganate which was falling apart at this time. Khan Krum asked them why their state was in such a poor condition and the hostages described a picture of beggars and drunkards wondering all over the country. Thus according to Suidae Lexicon Khan Krum made illegal the production of wine and introduced harsh sactions for crimes. However, due to the many compilations the book is contradicting itself and it states that Nikiphor’s army was full of drunkards as they pillaged Pliska.

So regarding that women were also mobilised as it was mentioned in Suidae Lexicon is questionable. It could have been added as a detail to depict Krum as a ruler who can truly unify his whole people.

"So dividing army units is not something new […]"

No, certainly not, and I did not imply if Krum was wrong, however it was a long timespan to draw from Krum’s time to Napoleon’s. Mongol cavalrymen had been using the ‘lure-and-tire’ tactics as well such as when conquering Poland.

"Suidae Lexicon which is the primary source of the story is a book from late 10th century and it was compiled as a book for the royal children of the ERE."

It is also recorded in Theophanos the Confessor’s Chronographia, written during Krum’s time that Nikephoros actually ignored his scouts’ warning. The elite Byzantine tagma damaged Pliska, and as the women part it is cited in Geoffrey Regan’s The Brassey’s Book of Military Blunders (2002), where he argued that Krum mobilized the women together with Avar mercenaries for the Battle of Pliska. This makes sense because a) if Pliska wasn’t saved then the fate of Bulgarian Empire would be at stake; b) Since women at that time did not take part in battles that much deploying them together with the Avar mercenaries would mean something important needed to be done. Even then mercenaries were often used as support or auxiliaries and considering Krum actually defeated the Avars, things fall into the place.

I did not even mention Lexicon. And it would be weird to mention Lexicon since a) it painted Krum in a bad shape where I did not even imply it a bit; b) Lexicon was made in the 900s while the battle itself took place in 811. Chronographia was written circa 814 and not only it covered the downfall of Michael Rhangabe (the first) it also talked about the Diocletian accession. Why do you think I am referring to Lexicon or even painting Krum in a bad way? Krum won, Byzantium lost horribly.

Skirmishing is not the same thing as operational mobility. In general, tactics and strategy during the Napoleonic times up until WWII are bland and dry compared to the past. And Prussian independent mobility is a far cry from planned offensives like the Bulgarians above. The only real reason why the Prussians won the Franco-Prussian war was due to the extremely ill-prepared French forces. The independent mobility of the German forces would cause them horrendous casualties, and be completely obliterated by planned offensives like Soviet Deep Battle.

This is similar to Hannibal’s envelopment of the Romans forces at Cannae. However, in both cases, these are hindered by a lack of vision - the focus was on destroying an army group rather than routing it. Casualties were undoubtedly high in both cases. Had the Byzantines been under a more competent commander, this could have been exploited. It’s preposterous to think that the Bulgarians could have taken Constantinople after this.

Practitioners of actual operational mobility had no problem dealing with the Bulgarians, as shown by the later Byzantine Tagmas and the Mongolian forces. 

In fact Bulgarians managed to deal with the Mongols under Tzar Ivailo using a similar method as the Mongols themselves. They just appointed elite armed groups to each castle which would patrol around the area and kill every Mongol they see. So instead of one army which would be tired of persuing the small groups, the matter was arranged regionally.

The taking of Constantinople was more a political than a military matter. Has the Chalif of the Arab Sultanate agreed on mutual action against ERE then the Romans wouldn’t have had much chance…

I didn’t say that the Bulgarian army was invincible but to tell me that it was no problem to the Byzantine army… The conflicts were bloody, with different dominating powers over time and both states were overwhelmed by the Ottomans in the end…

What are you talking about? I recall Ivailo getting beat back and holing up in a castle until Asen usurped him, then trying to plead with Nogai Khan to help him win back the throne. And getting assassinated for it. Peoples conquered by the Mongols have a tendency to claim small, insignificant victories as something more.

The Bulgarians served as a buffer force. They were like all barbarians on Byzantine’s borders - they served to shield Byzantium from the north. Similarly how the Avars were called in, and when they proved troublesome, the Hungarians were called in to take their place. Byzantium and Rome had a long history of supplicating barbarians with gold and titles. For example, when the Second Bulgarian Empire formed, the Byzantines were okay with it because they saw how difficult of a region that was to defend. And the Bulgarians held off Tatars and Serbs and Hungarians, which indirectly served Byzantine needs. The Byzantine Empire didn’t last a thousand years without a sense of grand strategy.

Basil “the Bulgar Slayer” doesn’t even mention the Bulgarians by name in his epitaph. His victories against the Bulgarians are wrapped up with his campaigns in Italy as a blanket “victories in the west” line. Twenty lines are devoted to his victories in the east, by comparison. Even the title “the Bulgar Slayer” was invented long after his death, and only became common in the 20th Century, when Greek propagandists wanted to drum up support against the modern Bulgarians.

The only barbarians to ever give the Byzantines honest worries were the Huns, and that was due to the lack of a proper city wall. But once the Theodosian Walls went up, the Byzantines understood that the only people capable of taking their city would be from the East.

And they were right.

Bulgaria became independent from the  Mongols 20 years later… So much for the Mongol rule in Bulgarian lands…

So if ERE considered Bulgaria as a shield against other political powers then why the Romans would attack their own shield so frequently? In fact ERE used Serbia as a power to throw against Bulgaria so they considered the latter a threat not vice versa as you suggest. And centuries before that they threw the Maguars in the fighting against Bulgaria.

Do I really have to list all the times when the Roman armies attacked Bulgarian lands? When Constantine V launched numerous campaigns in the Balkans which proved to be quite costly. He wouldn’t spend so much money on dealing with “barbarians” unless he considers them a threat.

And finally why the Bizantine rulers conquered the Bulgarian lands if they considered them a shield?

I think that in the time the Second Bulgarian Empire was established, ERE was too weak to regain its territories not they just didn’t wish to get them back.

Oh, and one more thing…

"But once the Theodosian Walls went up, the Byzantines understood that the only people capable of taking their city would be from the East.

And they were right.”

Ha, I bet they didn’t see that Fourth Crusade coming…

sapper-in-the-wire:

octoberchan:

cuirassier:

octoberchan:

invictascientia:

cuirassier:

Tzar Simeon the Great at the battle of Achelous - 20 august 917
Painted by Vasil Goranov
That was a major battle of the war between the First Bulgarian Empire and the Byzantine Empire.
With  62 000 Bulgarian soldiers vs 60 000 Byzantium soldiers this is considered one of the largest battle in Medieval Europe.
Simeon’s tactics was to outmaneveur the enemy so he left his center weak while the strongest forces were on the flanks. The Romans charged the Bulgarian center and the Bulgarians started to slowly retreat. The Byzantines formations were broken in the charge and Tzar Simeon led himself the cavalry, previously hidden behind the hills. The heavy cavalry caused havoc and panick and soon the Romans began to run for their lives. Many were slaughtered.
Even 75 years after the battle Leo the Deacon wrote:
"…And even now there could be seen piles of bones at Anchialus where the fleeing army of the Romans was disgracefully slain."
The battle was decisive victory for the Bulgarians and Simeon was crowned as a Tzar of “all Bulgarians and Romans” in Constantinople. 

I’m interested in the outmaneuvering part. What I’m imagining is like this…
So, Simeon concentrated the power on the flanks instead of the center. This center became ‘weaker’ because of lacking offensive power compared to the flanks, yet by doing so, it helped him doing this ‘lurking’ tactics easier? Like, since the center was weaker in offense, it could quickly withdraw, deceiving the enemy who thought he took the main / center power retreating. Convinced that they’ve secured victory, the Byzantines set to pursue Simeon’s center, only to be met with fully offensive heavy cavalry hiding themselves in the ‘natural grave’ readied for the Byzantine army.
Sounds eerily similar to Napoleon’s tactics IMHO! 

* By Napoleonic I mean dividing the units like that
But then again classical era did see the glory of cavalry tactics. This reminds me of Khan Krum’s ambush against Nikephoros I at the Varbica pass. Something interesting is I remember Wiki said Krum mobilized women too.

Well, I think that certain solutions about basic questions revolve over time and replace each other as time goes. This can be easily seen in art and literature like the dilemma “Should it be realistic or not?”
So dividing army units is not something new, it’s just part of that revolving system. Remember that Napoleon managed to beat the Prussian forces due to the latter’s lack of mobility and maneuverability - the Prussians were just holding a line while Napoleon used skirmishers. Similar but reversed thing happened during the Franco-Prussian war few decades later when the Prussian forces encouraged independent action and skirmishing while the French were holding on a Napoleonic-like system which at this time was too centralized and lacked mobility.
Regarding Krum, the Byzantine sources are not to be trusted too much. Suidae Lexicon which is the primary source of the story is a book from late 10th century and it was compiled as a book for the royal children of the ERE. Thus many facts of the historical section of the work were influenced in one way or another in order to create an image of certain rulers and summarize the moral of the (hi)story. Being extremely popular at this time, Khan Krum was depicted as bold, brave, decisive man who strived for his goals with no fear. In Suidae Lexicon Khan Krum had a conversation with three hostages from the Avar Khaganate which was falling apart at this time. Khan Krum asked them why their state was in such a poor condition and the hostages described a picture of beggars and drunkards wondering all over the country. Thus according to Suidae Lexicon Khan Krum made illegal the production of wine and introduced harsh sactions for crimes. However, due to the many compilations the book is contradicting itself and it states that Nikiphor’s army was full of drunkards as they pillaged Pliska.
So regarding that women were also mobilised as it was mentioned in Suidae Lexicon is questionable. It could have been added as a detail to depict Krum as a ruler who can truly unify his whole people.

"So dividing army units is not something new […]"
No, certainly not, and I did not imply if Krum was wrong, however it was a long timespan to draw from Krum’s time to Napoleon’s. Mongol cavalrymen had been using the ‘lure-and-tire’ tactics as well such as when conquering Poland.
"Suidae Lexicon which is the primary source of the story is a book from late 10th century and it was compiled as a book for the royal children of the ERE."
It is also recorded in Theophanos the Confessor’s Chronographia, written during Krum’s time that Nikephoros actually ignored his scouts’ warning. The elite Byzantine tagma damaged Pliska, and as the women part it is cited in Geoffrey Regan’s The Brassey’s Book of Military Blunders (2002), where he argued that Krum mobilized the women together with Avar mercenaries for the Battle of Pliska. This makes sense because a) if Pliska wasn’t saved then the fate of Bulgarian Empire would be at stake; b) Since women at that time did not take part in battles that much deploying them together with the Avar mercenaries would mean something important needed to be done. Even then mercenaries were often used as support or auxiliaries and considering Krum actually defeated the Avars, things fall into the place.
I did not even mention Lexicon. And it would be weird to mention Lexicon since a) it painted Krum in a bad shape where I did not even imply it a bit; b) Lexicon was made in the 900s while the battle itself took place in 811. Chronographia was written circa 814 and not only it covered the downfall of Michael Rhangabe (the first) it also talked about the Diocletian accession. Why do you think I am referring to Lexicon or even painting Krum in a bad way? Krum won, Byzantium lost horribly.

Skirmishing is not the same thing as operational mobility. In general, tactics and strategy during the Napoleonic times up until WWII are bland and dry compared to the past. And Prussian independent mobility is a far cry from planned offensives like the Bulgarians above. The only real reason why the Prussians won the Franco-Prussian war was due to the extremely ill-prepared French forces. The independent mobility of the German forces would cause them horrendous casualties, and be completely obliterated by planned offensives like Soviet Deep Battle. This is similar to Hannibal’s envelopment of the Romans forces at Cannae. However, in both cases, these are hindered by a lack of vision - the focus was on destroying an army group rather than routing it. Casualties were undoubtedly high in both cases. Had the Byzantines been under a more competent commander, this could have been exploited. It’s preposterous to think that the Bulgarians could have taken Constantinople after this. Practitioners of actual operational mobility had no problem dealing with the Bulgarians, as shown by the later Byzantine Tagmas and the Mongolian forces. 

In fact Bulgarians managed to deal with the Mongols under Tzar Ivailo using a similar method as the Mongols themselves. They just appointed elite armed groups to each castle which would patrol around the area and kill every Mongol they see. So instead of one army which would be tired of persuing the small groups, the matter was arranged regionally.
The taking of Constantinople was more a political than a military matter. Has the Chalif of the Arab Sultanate agreed on mutual action against ERE then the Romans wouldn’t have had much chance…
I didn’t say that the Bulgarian army was invincible but to tell me that it was no problem to the Byzantine army… The conflicts were bloody, with different dominating powers over time and both states were overwhelmed by the Ottomans in the end…

sapper-in-the-wire:

octoberchan:

cuirassier:

octoberchan:

invictascientia:

cuirassier:

Tzar Simeon the Great at the battle of Achelous - 20 august 917

Painted by Vasil Goranov

That was a major battle of the war between the First Bulgarian Empire and the Byzantine Empire.

With  62 000 Bulgarian soldiers vs 60 000 Byzantium soldiers this is considered one of the largest battle in Medieval Europe.

Simeon’s tactics was to outmaneveur the enemy so he left his center weak while the strongest forces were on the flanks. The Romans charged the Bulgarian center and the Bulgarians started to slowly retreat. The Byzantines formations were broken in the charge and Tzar Simeon led himself the cavalry, previously hidden behind the hills. The heavy cavalry caused havoc and panick and soon the Romans began to run for their lives. Many were slaughtered.

Even 75 years after the battle Leo the Deacon wrote:

"…And even now there could be seen piles of bones at Anchialus where the fleeing army of the Romans was disgracefully slain."

The battle was decisive victory for the Bulgarians and Simeon was crowned as a Tzar of “all Bulgarians and Romans” in Constantinople. 

I’m interested in the outmaneuvering part. What I’m imagining is like this…

So, Simeon concentrated the power on the flanks instead of the center. This center became ‘weaker’ because of lacking offensive power compared to the flanks, yet by doing so, it helped him doing this ‘lurking’ tactics easier? Like, since the center was weaker in offense, it could quickly withdraw, deceiving the enemy who thought he took the main / center power retreating. Convinced that they’ve secured victory, the Byzantines set to pursue Simeon’s center, only to be met with fully offensive heavy cavalry hiding themselves in the ‘natural grave’ readied for the Byzantine army.

Sounds eerily similar to Napoleon’s tactics IMHO! 

* By Napoleonic I mean dividing the units like that

But then again classical era did see the glory of cavalry tactics. This reminds me of Khan Krum’s ambush against Nikephoros I at the Varbica pass. Something interesting is I remember Wiki said Krum mobilized women too.

Well, I think that certain solutions about basic questions revolve over time and replace each other as time goes. This can be easily seen in art and literature like the dilemma “Should it be realistic or not?”

So dividing army units is not something new, it’s just part of that revolving system. Remember that Napoleon managed to beat the Prussian forces due to the latter’s lack of mobility and maneuverability - the Prussians were just holding a line while Napoleon used skirmishers. Similar but reversed thing happened during the Franco-Prussian war few decades later when the Prussian forces encouraged independent action and skirmishing while the French were holding on a Napoleonic-like system which at this time was too centralized and lacked mobility.

Regarding Krum, the Byzantine sources are not to be trusted too much. Suidae Lexicon which is the primary source of the story is a book from late 10th century and it was compiled as a book for the royal children of the ERE. Thus many facts of the historical section of the work were influenced in one way or another in order to create an image of certain rulers and summarize the moral of the (hi)story. Being extremely popular at this time, Khan Krum was depicted as bold, brave, decisive man who strived for his goals with no fear. In Suidae Lexicon Khan Krum had a conversation with three hostages from the Avar Khaganate which was falling apart at this time. Khan Krum asked them why their state was in such a poor condition and the hostages described a picture of beggars and drunkards wondering all over the country. Thus according to Suidae Lexicon Khan Krum made illegal the production of wine and introduced harsh sactions for crimes. However, due to the many compilations the book is contradicting itself and it states that Nikiphor’s army was full of drunkards as they pillaged Pliska.

So regarding that women were also mobilised as it was mentioned in Suidae Lexicon is questionable. It could have been added as a detail to depict Krum as a ruler who can truly unify his whole people.

"So dividing army units is not something new […]"

No, certainly not, and I did not imply if Krum was wrong, however it was a long timespan to draw from Krum’s time to Napoleon’s. Mongol cavalrymen had been using the ‘lure-and-tire’ tactics as well such as when conquering Poland.

"Suidae Lexicon which is the primary source of the story is a book from late 10th century and it was compiled as a book for the royal children of the ERE."

It is also recorded in Theophanos the Confessor’s Chronographia, written during Krum’s time that Nikephoros actually ignored his scouts’ warning. The elite Byzantine tagma damaged Pliska, and as the women part it is cited in Geoffrey Regan’s The Brassey’s Book of Military Blunders (2002), where he argued that Krum mobilized the women together with Avar mercenaries for the Battle of Pliska. This makes sense because a) if Pliska wasn’t saved then the fate of Bulgarian Empire would be at stake; b) Since women at that time did not take part in battles that much deploying them together with the Avar mercenaries would mean something important needed to be done. Even then mercenaries were often used as support or auxiliaries and considering Krum actually defeated the Avars, things fall into the place.

I did not even mention Lexicon. And it would be weird to mention Lexicon since a) it painted Krum in a bad shape where I did not even imply it a bit; b) Lexicon was made in the 900s while the battle itself took place in 811. Chronographia was written circa 814 and not only it covered the downfall of Michael Rhangabe (the first) it also talked about the Diocletian accession. Why do you think I am referring to Lexicon or even painting Krum in a bad way? Krum won, Byzantium lost horribly.

Skirmishing is not the same thing as operational mobility. In general, tactics and strategy during the Napoleonic times up until WWII are bland and dry compared to the past. And Prussian independent mobility is a far cry from planned offensives like the Bulgarians above. The only real reason why the Prussians won the Franco-Prussian war was due to the extremely ill-prepared French forces. The independent mobility of the German forces would cause them horrendous casualties, and be completely obliterated by planned offensives like Soviet Deep Battle.

This is similar to Hannibal’s envelopment of the Romans forces at Cannae. However, in both cases, these are hindered by a lack of vision - the focus was on destroying an army group rather than routing it. Casualties were undoubtedly high in both cases. Had the Byzantines been under a more competent commander, this could have been exploited. It’s preposterous to think that the Bulgarians could have taken Constantinople after this.

Practitioners of actual operational mobility had no problem dealing with the Bulgarians, as shown by the later Byzantine Tagmas and the Mongolian forces. 

In fact Bulgarians managed to deal with the Mongols under Tzar Ivailo using a similar method as the Mongols themselves. They just appointed elite armed groups to each castle which would patrol around the area and kill every Mongol they see. So instead of one army which would be tired of persuing the small groups, the matter was arranged regionally.

The taking of Constantinople was more a political than a military matter. Has the Chalif of the Arab Sultanate agreed on mutual action against ERE then the Romans wouldn’t have had much chance…

I didn’t say that the Bulgarian army was invincible but to tell me that it was no problem to the Byzantine army… The conflicts were bloody, with different dominating powers over time and both states were overwhelmed by the Ottomans in the end…

Guide of the First consul, officer, France, 1801, W. Tritt

Guide of the First consul, officer, France, 1801, W. Tritt

octoberchan:

invictascientia:

cuirassier:

Tzar Simeon the Great at the battle of Achelous - 20 august 917
Painted by Vasil Goranov
That was a major battle of the war between the First Bulgarian Empire and the Byzantine Empire.
With  62 000 Bulgarian soldiers vs 60 000 Byzantium soldiers this is considered one of the largest battle in Medieval Europe.
Simeon’s tactics was to outmaneveur the enemy so he left his center weak while the strongest forces were on the flanks. The Romans charged the Bulgarian center and the Bulgarians started to slowly retreat. The Byzantines formations were broken in the charge and Tzar Simeon led himself the cavalry, previously hidden behind the hills. The heavy cavalry caused havoc and panick and soon the Romans began to run for their lives. Many were slaughtered.
Even 75 years after the battle Leo the Deacon wrote:
"…And even now there could be seen piles of bones at Anchialus where the fleeing army of the Romans was disgracefully slain."
The battle was decisive victory for the Bulgarians and Simeon was crowned as a Tzar of “all Bulgarians and Romans” in Constantinople. 

I’m interested in the outmaneuvering part. What I’m imagining is like this…
So, Simeon concentrated the power on the flanks instead of the center. This center became ‘weaker’ because of lacking offensive power compared to the flanks, yet by doing so, it helped him doing this ‘lurking’ tactics easier? Like, since the center was weaker in offense, it could quickly withdraw, deceiving the enemy who thought he took the main / center power retreating. Convinced that they’ve secured victory, the Byzantines set to pursue Simeon’s center, only to be met with fully offensive heavy cavalry hiding themselves in the ‘natural grave’ readied for the Byzantine army.
Sounds eerily similar to Napoleon’s tactics IMHO! 

* By Napoleonic I mean dividing the units like that
But then again classical era did see the glory of cavalry tactics. This reminds me of Khan Krum’s ambush against Nikephoros I at the Varbica pass. Something interesting is I remember Wiki said Krum mobilized women too.

Well, I think that certain solutions about basic questions revolve over time and replace each other as time goes. This can be easily seen in art and literature like the dilemma “Should it be realistic or not?”
So dividing army units is not something new, it’s just part of that revolving system. Remember that Napoleon managed to beat the Prussian forces due to the latter’s lack of mobility and maneuverability - the Prussians were just holding a line while Napoleon used skirmishers. Similar but reversed thing happened during the Franco-Prussian war few decades later when the Prussian forces encouraged independent action and skirmishing while the French were holding on a Napoleonic-like system which at this time was too centralized and lacked mobility.
Regarding Krum, the Byzantine sources are not to be trusted too much. Suidae Lexicon which is the primary source of the story is a book from late 10th century and it was compiled as a book for the royal children of the ERE. Thus many facts of the historical section of the work were influenced in one way or another in order to create an image of certain rulers and summarize the moral of the (hi)story. Being extremely popular at this time, Khan Krum was depicted as bold, brave, decisive man who strived for his goals with no fear. In Suidae Lexicon Khan Krum had a conversation with three hostages from the Avar Khaganate which was falling apart at this time. Khan Krum asked them why their state was in such a poor condition and the hostages described a picture of beggars and drunkards wondering all over the country. Thus according to Suidae Lexicon Khan Krum made illegal the production of wine and introduced harsh sactions for crimes. However, due to the many compilations the book is contradicting itself and it states that Nikiphor’s army was full of drunkards as they pillaged Pliska.
So regarding that women were also mobilised as it was mentioned in Suidae Lexicon is questionable. It could have been added as a detail to depict Krum as a ruler who can truly unify his whole people.

octoberchan:

invictascientia:

cuirassier:

Tzar Simeon the Great at the battle of Achelous - 20 august 917

Painted by Vasil Goranov

That was a major battle of the war between the First Bulgarian Empire and the Byzantine Empire.

With  62 000 Bulgarian soldiers vs 60 000 Byzantium soldiers this is considered one of the largest battle in Medieval Europe.

Simeon’s tactics was to outmaneveur the enemy so he left his center weak while the strongest forces were on the flanks. The Romans charged the Bulgarian center and the Bulgarians started to slowly retreat. The Byzantines formations were broken in the charge and Tzar Simeon led himself the cavalry, previously hidden behind the hills. The heavy cavalry caused havoc and panick and soon the Romans began to run for their lives. Many were slaughtered.

Even 75 years after the battle Leo the Deacon wrote:

"…And even now there could be seen piles of bones at Anchialus where the fleeing army of the Romans was disgracefully slain."

The battle was decisive victory for the Bulgarians and Simeon was crowned as a Tzar of “all Bulgarians and Romans” in Constantinople. 

I’m interested in the outmaneuvering part. What I’m imagining is like this…

So, Simeon concentrated the power on the flanks instead of the center. This center became ‘weaker’ because of lacking offensive power compared to the flanks, yet by doing so, it helped him doing this ‘lurking’ tactics easier? Like, since the center was weaker in offense, it could quickly withdraw, deceiving the enemy who thought he took the main / center power retreating. Convinced that they’ve secured victory, the Byzantines set to pursue Simeon’s center, only to be met with fully offensive heavy cavalry hiding themselves in the ‘natural grave’ readied for the Byzantine army.

Sounds eerily similar to Napoleon’s tactics IMHO! 

* By Napoleonic I mean dividing the units like that

But then again classical era did see the glory of cavalry tactics. This reminds me of Khan Krum’s ambush against Nikephoros I at the Varbica pass. Something interesting is I remember Wiki said Krum mobilized women too.

Well, I think that certain solutions about basic questions revolve over time and replace each other as time goes. This can be easily seen in art and literature like the dilemma “Should it be realistic or not?”

So dividing army units is not something new, it’s just part of that revolving system. Remember that Napoleon managed to beat the Prussian forces due to the latter’s lack of mobility and maneuverability - the Prussians were just holding a line while Napoleon used skirmishers. Similar but reversed thing happened during the Franco-Prussian war few decades later when the Prussian forces encouraged independent action and skirmishing while the French were holding on a Napoleonic-like system which at this time was too centralized and lacked mobility.

Regarding Krum, the Byzantine sources are not to be trusted too much. Suidae Lexicon which is the primary source of the story is a book from late 10th century and it was compiled as a book for the royal children of the ERE. Thus many facts of the historical section of the work were influenced in one way or another in order to create an image of certain rulers and summarize the moral of the (hi)story. Being extremely popular at this time, Khan Krum was depicted as bold, brave, decisive man who strived for his goals with no fear. In Suidae Lexicon Khan Krum had a conversation with three hostages from the Avar Khaganate which was falling apart at this time. Khan Krum asked them why their state was in such a poor condition and the hostages described a picture of beggars and drunkards wondering all over the country. Thus according to Suidae Lexicon Khan Krum made illegal the production of wine and introduced harsh sactions for crimes. However, due to the many compilations the book is contradicting itself and it states that Nikiphor’s army was full of drunkards as they pillaged Pliska.

So regarding that women were also mobilised as it was mentioned in Suidae Lexicon is questionable. It could have been added as a detail to depict Krum as a ruler who can truly unify his whole people.

The 16th (Light) Dragoons, later known as the 16th Lancers or the Scarlet lancers, 1761-1887, by Reginald Augustus Wymer

The 16th (Light) Dragoons, later known as the 16th Lancers or the Scarlet lancers, 1761-1887, by Reginald Augustus Wymer

historicaltimes:

"The Balkans against the tyrant", Greek from the First Balkan War, 1912

historicaltimes:

"The Balkans against the tyrant", Greek from the First Balkan War, 1912

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Prussian troops in Bois de Bolougne, 1871, unkown atrist

Prussian troops in Bois de Bolougne, 1871, unkown atrist