Author Topic: The numbers of Persian ships at Salamis according to Aeschylus  (Read 11942 times)

aligern

  • Former Officer
  • Society Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2836
  • Country: gb
Re: The numbers of Persian ships at Salamis according to Aeschylus
« Reply #15 on: April 29, 2018, 10:28:09 AM »
But you are asking men to do things they do not normally do and crucially to transship at sea from one type of ship to another and then to unliad on a beach. That has as much credibility as invading the UK with Rhine barges. Are the corn ships the same height as the ships they transfer the cargo to? Is there a methodology for moving the loads?
When ships run the blockade to deliver relief to a besieged town they are delivering to a dock and to a team of people that regularly unloads ships, that has a command structure and is used to handling the cargo. Akso, the cargo cannot just be dumped on a shore, it has to be moved inland to a distribution point. Again, doing this with one ir two ships is relatively easy, but scale up and there will be real problems. Your imaginings do not encompass the delays, the accidents ( remember the US attempt to res ue the Iran hostages where their helicopters hit each other. A sudden squall would cause chaos.
I would like to echo Erpingham's caveats about just in time systems, which struggle even with modern logistics. There is a lot of friction in war, as armies get bigger logistical needs increase logarithmically rather than arithmetically. Just seeming ly small things such as which ships are delivering which contingent's grain? It will not work to have the Immortals queuing for their rations whist the Caspians are stuffing themselves. What happens when the galleys with horse feed get behind those with human rations whilst the cavalry have moved to the distribution point and are waiting.  The response that the  Persians could have adopted this or that expedient just dies not wash, if you were to supply stuff by sea then you need considerable redundancy in the system to ensure that all the friction does not cause the army to grind to a halt.
The big argument against having huge armies in the ancient period is that where we have reasonable numbers they are not on such a huge scale, even where the state concerned has the trained military manpower to field a huge force and that's most likely because the difficulties of supply are just too great. The killer is that the transport animals need feeding and, as has been pointed out several times the incremental amount that can be carried by each additional animal for consumption by the soldiery is tiny.
Just finding the men to do the work would be a huge oroblem. Ancient societies on subsustence agriculture are limited in the number of non producing mouths they can sustain. To have a million soldiers and another million in logistical tail then you have to be supporting that numberof non productive males ( and their families) plus you are not going to have any less priests, merchants, administrators.nobles etc.  The soldiers and carriers cannot simply be magicked up, nor can their weapons armour, horses and draught animals. Where do all these donkeys come from? Is the rest of the Empire to be ungarrisoned? What happens to policing, tax collecting and repelling invaders whilst two million men are wasting their time in Greece?  Just saying that the great king can command this and that and it will happen is naive, the great king's writ is not as wide and all seeing as Herodotus might think. Again there is considerable friction between an idea in Persepolis and an action in the Cilician mountains. In fact , in Anatolia, there are whole areas that do not obey the alleged imperial government whether Persian or Roman.
Had Xerxes disposed of the impossible million soldiers he could have used them rather more wisely by running ten huge armies of 100,000 and simply appearing before the top ten non medising Greek cities and taking them. Instead he runs off leaving one army in situ and taking another home. If we buy the idea of Mycake then he has a third, not in great numbers, on the returning ships. Nothing in the outcome of the campaign suggests that the army was huge other than in proportion to its likely opponents.
Roy
  • Roy Boss

Erpingham

  • Global Moderator
  • Society Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8396
  • Country: gb
  • Interests: Medieval warfare, Old School, home made rules
Re: The numbers of Persian ships at Salamis according to Aeschylus
« Reply #16 on: April 29, 2018, 10:52:24 AM »
Perhaps a warning about not blurring the two Xerxes topics?  If we look at the shipping side only, Patrick strongly believes that ancient transport fleets stood off and transfered cargo by lighter when unloading across beaches. I don't think so far he has shown his evidence for this.

It had occurred to me what a fleet with what Herodotus was envisaging as predominently made up of small warships was doing with them.  They could be inshore transports, but then why the marine contingents?  Your rowers will give you more than enough labour.  That they were an inshore squadron, coasting along with the army and restocking at the various depots in Greece, which are supplied by what we've come to term the "conveyor" - a shuttle bulk grain service running out of Asia Minor - is possible.  Their cargo capacity would be small (under 10 tonnes, maybe just 2 or 3) but if they are just operating as an adjunct to the supply train they could be useful. 
Another possibility is that they are fleet auxiliaries.  So far, little thought has been given to naval operations in the other thread.  We have noted on one occassion, the persians pulled their triremes out of the water to dry out.  We have noted on another occassion, the triremes rode at anchor off the beach - a very risky situation presumably forced on them by a lack of beach space.  But the daily beaching/provisioning/watering cycles associated with galley warfare haven't really been discussed.  So, perhaps, the light ship fleet was associated with provisioning the fleet?

Correction : I've done a bit more research on penteconters and, in particular, their dual purpose use in carrying people and cargo as well as as warships.  It is thought a penteconter may have been able to carry fifty passengers on top of its crew or, crucially, 30-50 cubic metres of cargo.  So our Herodotan penteconters might have carried 12-20 cubic metres of stores with 30 marines.  If this was grain, that's 8-14 tonnes ( less if using amphorae).   
« Last Edit: April 29, 2018, 04:19:56 PM by Erpingham »
  • Anthony Clipsom

Patrick Waterson

  • Society Member
  • Posts: 7026
  • Country: gb
  • Interests: Pretty much everything to do with warfare, especially how military systems actually work.
Re: The numbers of Persian ships at Salamis according to Aeschylus
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2018, 07:25:09 PM »
I've done a bit more research on penteconters and, in particular, their dual purpose use in carrying people and cargo as well as as warships.  It is thought a penteconter may have been able to carry fifty passengers on top of its crew or, crucially, 30-50 cubic metres of cargo.  So our Herodotan penteconters might have carried 12-20 cubic metres of stores with 30 marines.  If this was grain, that's 8-14 tonnes ( less if using amphorae).   

Interesting.  As mentioned, if the pentekonters' marines are debarked onto the beach before any cargo is loaded for the day, they can take more cargo (at least 30 people's worth, perhaps doubling the given estimate) and have a 30-strong landing party on shore to help with unloading.  Or, if the corn-ships had minimal crews, the marines could be placed on board for the duration of the transfer to provide manpower to shift amphorae.  Or some of both.  Given the extensive experience of maritime peoples of the East Med, I would assume they would operate as efficiently and effectively as possible.

I do not know why Roy sees a problem with this happening on a large scale.  It is not really a 'just in time' system so much as a 'take a day out' system.  The only time during the march to Thermopylae when the fleet and army were out of touch for several days was when the army was marching through Macedonia, to meet the fleet at Thermum (near Thermopylae).  Is there any good reason why the fleet would not have arrived before the army, unloaded a week's supplies at leisure (even taking a few days if it desired, there being no great urgency prior to the army's arrival) and then waited for the army while the empty corn-ships, perhaps with empty amphorae, went back to Asia Minor for a refill?

The fleet of triakonters and pentekonters would presumably service only as many corn-ships as were needed to deliver supplies for that instalment, working a few ships until they were empty before starting on the next.  Cargo transfer might involve any number of techniques from using yardarms as cranes to cable transfer systems to simply handing amphorae down from the corn-ship to the pentekonter.  We can actually put some basic figures forward for the overall process.

If we look at a system where two pentekonters service a single corn ship, one of them coud put its marines on board and the other its marines on the beach.  This gives balanced loading and unloading parties and if we rate the cargo of a corn ship at 50 tons (probably an underestimate) then at, say, 15 tons per pentekonter (perhaps a bit less for the sake of optimising time and effort) it only takes four pentekonter-loads to clear one corn-ship, i.e. two trips by each pentekonter, then it is on to the next corn ship.  Say one hour to empty each ship.  This involves 30 men on the ship plus any crew moving 50 tons in one hour - about 1.7 tons per man per half-hour , the other half of that time being spent in transit between ship and shore.  Hence each man is moving 33 hundredweight in 30 minutes, about one hundredweight (or amphora) per minute per man involved, with 50 men in the pentekonter helping to receive and stow the loads.  Such figures are speculative but if reasonable give us a rule of thumb by which two pentekonters empty a small corn ship and deliver its load to the beaches in about an hour.

With, say, 600 pentekonters it would not take long to unload 300 corn ships, beach size permitting.  Beach size would in fact appear to be the limiting factor with regard to unloading capacity.  With one pentekonter loading at the corn ship and the other unloading at the beach only half the pentekonters involved need ot use the beach at any one time, and if the loading/unloading cycles of alternate ships are offset this can be halved again.  Having 200 pentekonters taking three times as long would empty the same number of corn ships.  This is still only three hours.

Yes, a squall would cause problems but squalls are not common in the western Aegean in the spring and summer.  The prevailing northerly winds were known and everyone would have taken them into account for cross-Aegean journeys.  Beach-landing was well practised (unlike WW2) because everyone was used to beaching ships; also well-practised was loading and unloading of vessels inside and outside ports.  The main consideration for large-scale activity is large-scale organisation, and the Persians were not strangers to large-scale maritime expeditions (vide Marathon).
  • Patrick Waterson
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." - Winston Churchill

Erpingham

  • Global Moderator
  • Society Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8396
  • Country: gb
  • Interests: Medieval warfare, Old School, home made rules
Re: The numbers of Persian ships at Salamis according to Aeschylus
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2018, 08:21:24 AM »
Quite an excursus from Herodotus there Patrick :)  A couple of points of clarification.  Roy didn't invent the "just in time approach".  That was originally advocated by yourself and Justin in the other thread.  Personally, I think using your grain fleet to stock depots, given the army something of a buffer, is the way to go and it seems we agree.  I continue to disagree on the weather in the Aegean - you treat the Etesian winds very lightly.  I doubt the Persian fleet did.

Quote
Beach-landing was well practised (unlike WW2) because everyone was used to beaching ships; also well-practised was loading and unloading of vessels inside and outside ports.  The main consideration for large-scale activity is large-scale organisation, and the Persians were not strangers to large-scale maritime expeditions (vide Marathon).

An interesting take on the problem.  Beaching galleys at night and the occassional merchant ship beaching to trade with the locals doesn't really scale up to WWII style operations does it?  As to the Persian operation at Marathon, this suffers the same issues of how big the force was as Xerxes' expedition.  Even ancient estimates all come in under 600,000 (most less than half that), compared with the force you propose for Xerxes of aroung 5.5 million, so its a huge scale up for fleet operations.

While I find your detailed beach operations ideas interesting but highly speculative and possibly a bit impractical (was it based on WWII practice using landing craft to ferry stuff ashore, or do you have something more period as a model?)

  • Anthony Clipsom

Duncan Head

  • Former Officer
  • Society Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 5349
  • Country: england
Re: The numbers of Persian ships at Salamis according to Aeschylus
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2018, 09:02:12 AM »
In VII.97 Herodotus explicitly uses 'kerkouroi' (corn-ships) as part of the 3,000.  Translating this as 'light galleys' looks like extraordinary carelessness, but there may be a reason, if an incorrect one.

Quote from: LSJ
κέρκουρ-ος (proparox.) or κερκοῦρος , ὁ,
A.light vessel, boat, esp. of the Cyprians, Hdt.7.97, cf. Din.Fr.12.2, Moschio ap. Ath.5.208e, D.S.24.1 (pl.); used for Nile transport, PCair.Zen.54.3 (iii B.C.), etc.:—written κέρκυρος (as if from Κέρκυρα) Sch.Ar.Pax 142; κέρκυρα (pl.) Suid. s.v. Ναξιουργὴς κάνθαρος.

Certainly Hellenistic Egyptian kerkouroi were used as grain-transports on the Nile.

Quote from: Pliny NH VII.57
Hippus, the Tyrian, was the first who invented merchant-ships; the Cyrenians, the pinnace; the Phœnicians, the passage—Boat; the Rhodians, the skiff; and the Cypriots, the cercurus.

It looks as if kerkouros may have been used for two separate types of vessel - Cypriot vessels that may have been light galleys, and big Hellenistic grain-ships. Which meaning Herodotos intended is not clear; but translating "kerkouroi" as "light galleys" seems to be straight out of the lexica.
  • Duncan Head

Erpingham

  • Global Moderator
  • Society Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8396
  • Country: gb
  • Interests: Medieval warfare, Old School, home made rules
Re: The numbers of Persian ships at Salamis according to Aeschylus
« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2018, 09:17:38 AM »
Thanks Duncan, that does make sense.  So, these are oared merchant vessels.  At the time, the Cypriot version does seem to be the more likely than the later Nile barges and the translator could well be correct.  They will fit very well with the more generic triaconters and penteconters.  Do we assume that horse transports follow the later model of converted triremes or is there a special type being refered to here?

Certainly, the idea that the 3,000 are oared and beachable as opposed to deeper water vessels seems to be meant.  If the naval conveyor of hundreds of merchant ships existed, it is outside this fleet.
  • Anthony Clipsom

Patrick Waterson

  • Society Member
  • Posts: 7026
  • Country: gb
  • Interests: Pretty much everything to do with warfare, especially how military systems actually work.
Re: The numbers of Persian ships at Salamis according to Aeschylus
« Reply #21 on: April 30, 2018, 09:35:02 AM »
An interesting take on the problem.  Beaching galleys at night and the occassional merchant ship beaching to trade with the locals doesn't really scale up to WWII style operations does it?  As to the Persian operation at Marathon, this suffers the same issues of how big the force was as Xerxes' expedition.  Even ancient estimates all come in under 600,000 (most less than half that), compared with the force you propose for Xerxes of aroung 5.5 million, so its a huge scale up for fleet operations.

A couple of points here. Xerxes' army did not arrive by amphibious invasion, whereas the 490 BC force did, both at Eretria and Marathon.  Directly landing a force of 600,000 or so combatants and associated hangers-on is at least as much of a maritime achievement as supplying a force of 2.5 million or so combatants and associated hangers-on via a combination of beaches and coastal cities.

I would avoid making comparisons with WW2-style operations.  These were carried out against defended beaches, usually under fire, and follow-up supply efforts were subject to interdiction and harassment by sea and air.  Xerxes' maritime supply operations took place in a setting of absolute naval superiority and no harassment whatsoever.  There really is no comparison.

Quote
While I find your detailed beach operations ideas interesting but highly speculative and possibly a bit impractical (was it based on WWII practice using landing craft to ferry stuff ashore, or do you have something more period as a model?)

General principles, really: if there is a parallel using a period we know, that period would be the 18th-19th century and the agency the Royal Navy, which moved a lot of troops and supplies overseas, and the customary method of landing anything and anyone was to lower it (or them) into boats and put it (or them) ashore.  This was especially easy in the Mediterranean, e.g. at Aboukir in AD 1801.

Caesar used a different approach in his invasions of Britain, pulling his fleet (and any supplies it contained) up onto the beach and building a protective palisade around it.  This was the fruit of hard-won experience of British weather, which was routinely much less forgiving than the relatively mild and predictable Etesian Winds.

Thanks Duncan, that does make sense.  So, these are oared merchant vessels.  At the time, the Cypriot version does seem to be the more likely than the later Nile barges and the translator could well be correct.  They will fit very well with the more generic triaconters and penteconters.  Do we assume that horse transports follow the later model of converted triremes or is there a special type being refered to here?

Certainly, the idea that the 3,000 are oared and beachable as opposed to deeper water vessels seems to be meant.  If the naval conveyor of hundreds of merchant ships existed, it is outside this fleet.

Well hunted, Duncan; this does raise the intriguing possibility that Herodotus' maritime mathematical mistake is not in VII.184, as I previously assumed, but in VII.97, where he has 3,000 kerkouroi, pentekonters, triakonters etc. but not the "companies of the grain-bearing craft" (tōn sitagōgōn ploiōn kai hosoi enepleon toutoisi) which are added in VII.184.  These are presumably the 'naval conveyor of hundreds of merchant ships'.

Horse-transports of this period may have been a distinct (and less seaworthy) type.  In the very same year (480 BC), the Carthaginians launched their 300,000-man invasion of Sicily, en route losing all their horse trnasports but no other ships in a storm.  (This loss of mounted assets was the reason for their subsequent defeat by Gelo of Syracuse.)  The horse-transports, it seems, had some distinctive design peculiarity which was not weather-friendly.  (I assumed it to be ramps, which would be sealed for the transit but could be unsealed by strong wave action.)
  • Patrick Waterson
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." - Winston Churchill

Erpingham

  • Global Moderator
  • Society Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8396
  • Country: gb
  • Interests: Medieval warfare, Old School, home made rules
Re: The numbers of Persian ships at Salamis according to Aeschylus
« Reply #22 on: April 30, 2018, 10:23:42 AM »

A couple of points here. Xerxes' army did not arrive by amphibious invasion, whereas the 490 BC force did, both at Eretria and Marathon.  Directly landing a force of 600,000 or so combatants and associated hangers-on is at least as much of a maritime achievement as supplying a force of 2.5 million or so combatants and associated hangers-on via a combination of beaches and coastal cities.

But the 600,000 (is there a mention of additional hangers on?) is still plagued by the same "unreliable figures" problem as the 2.5 million (with 2-2.5 milion hangers on).  Whether the two operations are an equivalent achievement regardless of numbers is another debate.

Quote
I would avoid making comparisons with WW2-style operations.  These were carried out against defended beaches, usually under fire, and follow-up supply efforts were subject to interdiction and harassment by sea and air.  Xerxes' maritime supply operations took place in a setting of absolute naval superiority and no harassment whatsoever.  There really is no comparison.
It was you who introduced a WWII comparison.  They aren't strictly comparable.  In WWII, they had specialist equipment on an industrial scale and used hugely more seaworthy craft.  Ammunition, fuel and equipment were a much bigger component of supply than in Xerxes' day.  They also dealt with smaller forces than that proposed for Xerxes.  So in many ways, it was easier.  Some things didn't change though - weather was a real problem

Quote
General principles, really: if there is a parallel using a period we know, that period would be the 18th-19th century and the agency the Royal Navy, which moved a lot of troops and supplies overseas, and the customary method of landing anything and anyone was to lower it (or them) into boats and put it (or them) ashore.  This was especially easy in the Mediterranean, e.g. at Aboukir in AD 1801.
But the Royal Navy wasn't operating beachable ships, so they were bound to use ferrying if they didn't have a port.  This seems a false comparison.

Quote
Caesar used a different approach in his invasions of Britain, pulling his fleet (and any supplies it contained) up onto the beach and building a protective palisade around it.  This was the fruit of hard-won experience of British weather, which was routinely much less forgiving than the relatively mild and predictable Etesian Winds.
Why didn't the Persians do this, I wonder?  It's the sort of thing their naval contingents would have recognised, having experience of beaching warships at night.

  • Anthony Clipsom

Jim Webster

  • Society Member
  • Posts: 5386
  • Country: 00
    • Tallis Steelyard. The jumbled musings of Tallis Steelyard
Re: The numbers of Persian ships at Salamis according to Aeschylus
« Reply #23 on: April 30, 2018, 11:56:41 AM »

Why didn't the Persians do this, I wonder?  It's the sort of thing their naval contingents would have recognised, having experience of beaching warships at night.

When you read the accounts of some of the naval campaigns fought between Athens and Sparta, especially for control of the Bosporus, one serious issue is finding enough beach space to beach a fleet of galleys
Suitable beaches may not necessarily be where you want them, the Persian fleet was definitely larger that the later Greek fleet. A trireme is about 6m wide, but obviously you have to add the oars to that because the minute a trireme hits the water it gets a lot larger so to be safe I'd suggest 18m per ship. So they don't clash oars when they get in the water if some of the crews are a bit casual

So even 300 ships are going to need five to six kilometers of beach.

Given headlands, currents, reefs and shoals, good beaches are going to be trick to find, so I can see the Persians being forced to keep boats in the water
  • Jim Webster

Erpingham

  • Global Moderator
  • Society Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8396
  • Country: gb
  • Interests: Medieval warfare, Old School, home made rules
Re: The numbers of Persian ships at Salamis according to Aeschylus
« Reply #24 on: April 30, 2018, 12:08:44 PM »
Quote
So even 300 ships are going to need five to six kilometers of beach.

And we also have the small galley fleet (the 3000), which will also need beaching at least some of the time.

If you don't beach the triremes, you run a medium term risk of waterlogging and, of course, wrecking.  More acute is the issue about the crew.  The crew would need to go ashore to collect food and fresh water regularly - triremes had very little stowage space.

How well we can assess beach availability I'm not sure.  Patrick has noted extensive coast line changes.   
  • Anthony Clipsom

Jim Webster

  • Society Member
  • Posts: 5386
  • Country: 00
    • Tallis Steelyard. The jumbled musings of Tallis Steelyard
Re: The numbers of Persian ships at Salamis according to Aeschylus
« Reply #25 on: April 30, 2018, 12:34:01 PM »
Quote
So even 300 ships are going to need five to six kilometers of beach.

And we also have the small galley fleet (the 3000), which will also need beaching at least some of the time.

If you don't beach the triremes, you run a medium term risk of waterlogging and, of course, wrecking.  More acute is the issue about the crew.  The crew would need to go ashore to collect food and fresh water regularly - triremes had very little stowage space.

How well we can assess beach availability I'm not sure.  Patrick has noted extensive coast line changes.   

Yes, I'd say that if we know that ships didn't beach every night, it would be the sign of a very large fleet, for all the reasons you've given. Whether you could 'get away' with squadrons beaching alternate nights, I don't know. It would be 'suboptimal' to say the least.
  • Jim Webster

Patrick Waterson

  • Society Member
  • Posts: 7026
  • Country: gb
  • Interests: Pretty much everything to do with warfare, especially how military systems actually work.
Re: The numbers of Persian ships at Salamis according to Aeschylus
« Reply #26 on: April 30, 2018, 08:02:40 PM »
Yes, I'd say that if we know that ships didn't beach every night, it would be the sign of a very large fleet, for all the reasons you've given. Whether you could 'get away' with squadrons beaching alternate nights, I don't know. It would be 'suboptimal' to say the least.

When they arrived off Thermopylae, the Persians arranged their fleet as follows:

"The Persian fleet put to sea and reached the beach of the Magnesian land, between the city of Casthanaea and the headland of Sepia. The first ships to arrive moored close to land, with the others after them at anchor; since the beach was not large, they lay at anchor in rows eight ships deep out into the sea." - Herodotus VII.188.1

Nobody even beached; were they leaving the beaches free for unloading operations?

Back at the time of the review at Doriscus, the Persians had beached their ships and indeed had made sure they dried out properly.  Might this have been an indication they thought facilities for future beaching might be limited?
  • Patrick Waterson
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." - Winston Churchill

Flaminpig0

  • Society Member
  • Posts: 221
  • Country: gb
  • Interests: everything
Re: The numbers of Persian ships at Salamis according to Aeschylus
« Reply #27 on: May 04, 2018, 03:44:44 AM »
I would avoid making comparisons with WW2-style operations.  These were carried out against defended beaches, usually under fire, and follow-up supply efforts were subject to interdiction and harassment by sea and air.  Xerxes' maritime supply operations took place in a setting of absolute naval superiority and no harassment whatsoever.  There really is no comparison.

In the initial stages this might be true but the large supply efforts took place after the enemy had been cleared back from the beaches and in the Middle East and Europe Axis naval and air interdiction was negligible- D -Day being the obvious example.


Patrick Waterson

  • Society Member
  • Posts: 7026
  • Country: gb
  • Interests: Pretty much everything to do with warfare, especially how military systems actually work.
Re: The numbers of Persian ships at Salamis according to Aeschylus
« Reply #28 on: May 04, 2018, 07:32:17 AM »
In the initial stages this might be true but the large supply efforts took place after the enemy had been cleared back from the beaches and in the Middle East and Europe Axis naval and air interdiction was negligible- D -Day being the obvious example.

I think the important point to consider here is that people are tempted to use the actual amphibious landings as the standard of comparison rather than (relatively) unimpeded beach supply.  The actual landings involved suppression of defences (takes time), assembly of waves of landing craft (takes time), disruption by beach defences (reduces landing throughput), pinning down of debarked troops by beach defences (adds time to the whole process) and loss of incoming vessels to mines and obstacles (reduces landing throughput).  Follow-up supply efforts over beaches (which you are invoking) usually involve masses of vehicles which could not be landed in the first wave plus the need to use cleared lanes through minefields and obstacles - somewhat constricting on throughput.

Contrast this with our Achaemenids happily boating ashore, transferring their loads to willing hands and going back again for another load.  No obstacles, no mines, no constriction on the beaches, no masses of heavy internally-combusting vehicles, no visits by enemy raiders.  Same planet, but a different world.
  • Patrick Waterson
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened." - Winston Churchill

Erpingham

  • Global Moderator
  • Society Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8396
  • Country: gb
  • Interests: Medieval warfare, Old School, home made rules
Re: The numbers of Persian ships at Salamis according to Aeschylus
« Reply #29 on: May 04, 2018, 07:50:52 AM »

Contrast this with our Achaemenids happily boating ashore, transferring their loads to willing hands and going back again for another load.  No obstacles, no mines, no constriction on the beaches, no masses of heavy internally-combusting vehicles, no visits by enemy raiders.  Same planet, but a different world.

No LCTs, no DUKWs, no Mulberries, no Red Ball express etc.  Yes, its a different world.  But even with all the huge technological advances, it was still difficult.  You've already said WWII isn't a good comparison.  But what we can take from it is over-beach supply is hard, even with ideal beaches, modern technology and a smaller army than you propose.  And weather can really disrupt things, even with a far more sea worthy fleet and artificial harbours.  Enough now on the WWII analogies?
  • Anthony Clipsom