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Old January 6th, 2017, 10:57 AM   #1
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Do individual warrior cultures such as barbarians lack common sense teamwork tactics?


An interesting post I found online.


Individual Fighter Warrior Culture and Team Work by LustyVenusianJuuza on DeviantArt

Although the writer focuses on criminal activities and civilian violence, he does have a point.

I mean if drunkards in a bar are able to work together in such coordination that one angry customer pins you down while his drinking buddies are stomping on you.......

It makes me doubt the notion the cultures emphasizing individual fighting EG barbarian tribes who lost to Roman Legions such as the Celts lacked any notion of team work. I can understand the military cultures like the Romans being far superior in their coordination and team-based tactics.

But after reading the link's statements about lower class civilians able to work together in riots-despite typically being individual brawlers in most fights they participated in and lacking ANY TRAINING what so ever- it makes doubt that warrior cultures fought completely as individuals who only knew how to battles as one-on-one duelists.

If civilians like prisoners, angry farmers in a riot, and even some people drinking at a bar could work together to surround you and hit you from blind angles or stomp you on the ground while you try to pin down one of them in a BJJ style move, I find it ridiculous warriors who have the "individual one-on-one fighter" mentality wouldn't think of something as simple as "my friends take on those Spanish conquistadors in a melee to distract them while I sneak behind them and behead them".

I mean not just many movie but even many history books even describe warrior cultures such as the Mamelukes lacking the common sense to do something as basic as dogphiling a French soldier who was knocked to the ground and stab said French soldier to death.

Which is sounds utter BS to me because guys at bar do such teamwork all the time. Hell even high school jocks (who tend to be egotistic enough to prefer one-on-one fights) can call their friends to surround you should you prove too tough to take on!

So I seriously doubt warriors who fight for a living couldn't think of something as simple as "Mahican throws stones and spears at colonists to distract them while some other Mahican with tomahawks charge in and hack the distracted demoralized colonist with axes".

I have no doubt Warrior Cultures and societies emphasizing individual toughness tend to train more as dueling and other individualist style fighting and military based cultures like the Mongols and Germans are far better organized in their teamwork. But to claim warriors only knew to fight as individuals and lack any sense of teamwork is a slap in the face against human nature because even untrained civilians who never been in a fight before could work together to overwhelm a much tougher opponent using basic "common sense" teamwork tricks like one of my friends rearchokes the person while I beat him up.

When I was young I seen a gang of little kids younger than 10 can easily surround someone they're mad at, tackle him to the ground, and start stomping on him in a coordinated attack. So are you telling me that the Celts lacked any notion of distracting a Roman scout in the woods while other Celtic warriors sneak up on the Roman scouts and behead them? Or that African tribes man were so individualistic that they would literally take turns trying to fight British soldiers one-on-one in a duel (rather than charging all their superior numbers of strong hunters at once in a flanking attack while calling younger African men to throw spears)?

How can historians seriously believe that Japanese airmen who conducted bombing raids did not know something as basic as protect bombers or surround an isolated ship? That Americans have teamwork in their aerial warfare while Japanese didn't?
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Old January 6th, 2017, 01:37 PM   #2
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Much of what this author is passing off as teamwork could just as easily be described as basic human herd instinct - that animalistic trait that drives some to pick off the weak, often in an unthinking frenzy. I would distinguish between the two as animalistic pack behavior vs intelligent tactical thinking. A barroom brawl or a bunch of 10 year olds are more likely displaying pack behavior than intelligent tactics.

There might be room for an argument that warrior cultures discourage both pack behavior and team tactics in the name of individual honor. If an individual gets into a fair fight, it might be a disgrace or an insult to not let him win by himself or die trying.

Intelligent tactics require training and discipline. If warrior cultures do not train and discipline their warriors this way, it will be very difficult to carry out team tactics under the stress of battle. There are numerous examples of Native Americans usng a decoy party to lure an enemy into an ambush, but it goes wrong when the ambush party grows impatient and attacks too soon, before the enemy has been trapped.

As far as Japanese vs American pilots, I'll let an expert comment on that, but I think US pilots did do a better job of teamwork, flying in pairs to protect each other, while the Japanese might not have.
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Old January 6th, 2017, 04:45 PM   #3

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This whole question sounds oddly familiar, there must be a thread about it already.

But basically, the whole concept of "barbarians" being a mob with no idea of tactics is a myth. They were certainly not trained like Romans! And we really have very little information, if any, about what sort of training they did. Obviously that would vary, with aristocratic warriors having far more training than the average conscripted farmer. But that was true in most other cultures as well.

However, there are references in literature to basic formations and tactics being used that make it clear that these were more than drunken rioters. It simply does not take much training to teach men to stay in a simple line and follow a few orders. Most of the front rankers would have been the experienced warriors or professionals in any case. The very fact that Celts and Germans deployed substantial armies in recognizable units, using terrain to their advantage, springing ambushes, making coordinated assaults from different directions, etc., shows that they were organized in some way.

As a comparison, medieval armies (English, for instance) were composed of aristocratic knights backed up by levied militias of commoners. There were strict regulations about what a common man had to supply himself with for armor and weapons, based on his income and wealth. No one was required to have anything he could not afford, in other words, and anyone too poor to afford basic weapons was not conscripted to fight. Regular musters were supposed to be held to inspect equipment and practice some simple drill, though I suspect that often got cut short by the drinking and dancing! But from battle descriptions it is clear that these men knew how to line up and hold their ground. They weren't trained hardened killers, but the system basically worked.

And since any substantial ancient battle was based on straight lines, nothing too clever or complicated was needed. But not wild mobs!

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Old January 10th, 2017, 08:07 PM   #4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrangler29 View Post
How can historians seriously believe that Japanese airmen who conducted bombing raids did not know something as basic as protect bombers or surround an isolated ship? That Americans have teamwork in their aerial warfare while Japanese didn't?
Which historians? What are the specific claims made about Japanese airmen?
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Old January 10th, 2017, 11:51 PM   #5

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It was a long OP, but I've always thought that the Inca must have been led by idiots. Which is what it comes down to - those in charge are not necessarily any good at leadership, they are just 'the king'.

Romans, on the other hand, were usually led by someone who knew what they were doing, otherwise they get fired - Varus being a bit of an exception, clearly.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 01:25 AM   #6

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Julius Caesar in his account of the Gallic Wars uses phalanx a couple of times to describe formations of Gallic or Germanic infantry.

Obviously they weren't fighting in the Greek fashion, but Caesar's use of the word probably indicates that at least in the instances where phalanx shows up in the account, they were fighting in some sort of shield wall. The use of shield walls would indicate that the barbarians did have some degree of organization and tactics and were not just coming at the Romans in a wild, disorganized, charge.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 03:26 AM   #7
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The OP is confused.

It is as though he believes "Barbarians" are a homogeneous group - they are not.
Merely being a member of a barbarous group does not make you a warrior or a member of a warrior society

Secondly many barbarous groups were war-like and DID fight together - the Zulus for instance
The Viking "shield wall"

Lastly - civilized people such as the medieval knight or the Samurai emphasized individual combat at the expense of teamwork.
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Old January 12th, 2017, 12:27 AM   #8

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poly View Post
The OP is confused.

It is as though he believes "Barbarians" are a homogeneous group - they are not.
Merely being a member of a barbarous group does not make you a warrior or a member of a warrior society

Secondly many barbarous groups were war-like and DID fight together - the Zulus for instance
The Viking "shield wall"

Lastly - civilized people such as the medieval knight or the Samurai emphasized individual combat at the expense of teamwork.
I think he may be on a learning curve.

If he is thinking about Visigoths it's also worth bearing in mind that after centuries of contact with Rome, by the time of Alaric I rampaging around Italy, they were organised and equipped much like Roman forces. Not too long after that, joint Roman/Visigothic armies were used in Iberia, in the ealry and mid 5th century especially. They certainly didn't have a Roman legion on one side and a 'horde' on the other! Much the same in operation give or take the hairstyles!!
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Old January 12th, 2017, 03:44 AM   #9

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The Roman Imperial army was mostly made up of barbarians anyway. Spaniards, Cekts,Germans, Africans.
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Old January 12th, 2017, 04:08 AM   #10

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edric Streona View Post
The Roman Imperial army was mostly made up of barbarians anyway. Spaniards, Cekts,Germans, Africans.
True of course.

Once all the old citizen-only rules went out the window it was recruitment all over. I read recently in a history of ancient Iberia (Entre Fenicios y Visigodos) about some Basque Country (local) troops that could be traced serving in various places like Britain and Africa.
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