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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-08-11 04:51 PM
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Rome, Sweet Rome: Could a modern day Marine infantry battalion destroy the Roman Empire..
http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/k067x/could_... /

http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/digital/fact...

It was a hypothetical question that became a long online discussion and now a movie in development: Could a small group of heavily armed modern-day Marines take down the Roman Empire at its height? We talked about the debate with James Erwin, the man who scored a movie writing contract based on his online response, and ran the ideas by Roman history expert Adrian Goldsworthy.

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Rowdyboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-09-11 12:26 AM
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1. I believe they decided it would be impossible due to the inability of the
time-travelers to provide fuel for their vehicles and ammo for their weaponry.
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-09-11 06:32 AM
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2. You could have posted a spoiler warning..
:evilgrin:

An informal motto of the Marines is "Improvise, adapt and overcome"..

In a Marine battalion there's almost certainly going to be at least a few well versed students of military history.

I'm kind of reminded of H Beam Piper's "Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen"..

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord_Kalvan_of_Otherwhen

Piper has an at least somewhat plausible scenario where one person with a much superior knowledge of military science (weapons, tactics, strategy) can influence the entire course of history.

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Rowdyboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-09-11 08:56 AM
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3. I'm really not certain of my "facts" in this case.....but I'm really sorry
I should have been a little less "informative"
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MrModerate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-10-11 10:16 PM
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4. The classic work on the subject (although not from a purely military POV) . . .
Is "Lest Darkness Fall," by L. Sprague de Camp.

An oldie but a goldie.
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Fumesucker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-12-11 08:30 PM
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5. And Poul Anderson's "The High Crusade" is almost the exact opposite..
Aliens land on Earth in the Middle Ages and the Medieval knights manage to capture their ship and then eventually overwhelm an entire interstellar empire but lose track of where Earth is in the process.

Eventually Earth develops starships goes out and is shocked when it finds humans already spread throughout space.

Anderson's tales were always a rollicking good read.

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krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-13-11 01:13 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. "Ranks of Bronze" by David Drake is in the same vein
A powerful interstellar merchant family needs primitive soldiers to wage war on primitive worlds, due to government laws preventing them from simply machine-gunning cave-dwellers with spears. So they purchase a defeated Roman legion on Earth (illegally, of course) and use them to smash up primitive aliens so their mercantile masters can make lucrative trade deals.

The Romans are used on muscle-driven-weapons-only worlds. Once they defeat the enemy, they are stuck back in cold sleep until they are needed again, so the book is, as I recall, several different wars the legion fights in.



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krispos42 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-13-11 01:05 AM
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6. They could probably fragment it...
...if they were in a position to move quickly and seize Rome. With modern artillery, they would be able to rip through the static defenses of the city, and rifle and machine-gun fire would easily penetrate the armor and shields of the gathered legions.

By slaughtering the legions and garrison troops around and in the city, they would be able to topple the Roman central government and secure the critical parts of the city.

Word would get out slowly, and it would take weeks for troops stationed in the surrounding provinces to gather, coordinate, and move on the city. In the meantime, barbarians on the borders and foreign powers would take advantage of the lack of government and troops to move in.

However, the Marines would probably not be able to maintain control over the city for too long, especially if the city riots. Remember Baghdad? Urban warfare chews up soldiers and negates many of the advantages of modern weaponry. The Marines would be insufficient to maintain civil law and order without Roman help, which would give the Romans access to the Marines' planning. The Romans would also have time to get a feel for at least some of the capabilities and limitations of the Marines and their equipment.

In addition, the Marines, far from their loved ones and looking for wine, women, and song, will be forced to fraternize with the Romans socially, so you'll have long-term issues of loyalty, especially when children start popping out.

The Marines will have to fraternize economically as well... even if the Marines stick to just food and water, where is that food and water coming from? Roman suppliers! So there's always the chance of sabotage and poisoning by the Romans.

Not to mention the general danger of contracting some long-dead disease the Romans have, or the Marines causing some sort of plague among the Romans.

I think that ultimately, the aristocrats would see such a danger in the Marines and their attempt to ultimately impose (or at least introduce) modern American values, that they would be successful in waging a guerrilla political and insurgent campaign against the Marines.

Probably the Marines would have to withdraw from Rome. Probably hop on a few ships and head for, say, Cyprus or something where they can establish themselves fresh and be able to defend themselves.

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baldguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-21-11 08:50 AM
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8. A) How long does it take to move a Marine battalion from the Tiber River to Rome?
B) How long would the battalion be an effective fighting force?

If A < B, then the answer is yes.
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