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Old August 20th, 2010, 09:24 AM   #1

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Face Off: Subedei vs Khalid Ibn Al-Walid


Subedei and Khalid could arguably be the most underrated military genius in all of history. Barely mentioned and barely spoke of, I want to know which of the two do you think surpasses the other. Remember to explain your reasoning and give examples.
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Old August 20th, 2010, 08:51 PM   #2

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Re: Face Off: Subedei vs Khalid Ibn Al-Walid


If they have the armies that they historically made use of in their campaigns for an imaginative battle, then Subutai is a very easy pick as the clear winner. Undoubtedly Khalid Ibn al-Walid was possessed of prodigal tactical ability, but so was Subutai, and as far as the armies that the two commanded go, the Mongols clean the floor.

If one is simply comparing the performances of the two as generals however, then in my mind Subutai still emerges as the superior of the two. Khalid had some truly dazzling successes as a tactician, but there is little in his career that for me can quite match up to the awsome demonstrations of strategy that one finds dotting the military record of Subutai.
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Old August 21st, 2010, 12:07 PM   #3

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Re: Face Off: Subedei vs Khalid Ibn Al-Walid


I actually think they are very well matched.

They are, interestingly, in very similar positions - their people are hardy 'barbarians' who live in tough countries, recently consolidated under a charismatic leader and driven by a combined purpose.

They are both tactical geniuses, and it would have been very interesting to see how each would have approached the battle. On tactics alone, I think its too close to call.

However, the Mongols being a cavalry archer army, and the Arabs being basically an infantry army, I think swings it for me.

Subedai wins, but not by any kind of whitewash.
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Old August 21st, 2010, 02:00 PM   #4

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Re: Face Off: Subedei vs Khalid Ibn Al-Walid


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sargon of Akkad View Post
...
However, the Mongols being a cavalry archer army, and the Arabs being basically an infantry army, I think swings it for me.

Subedai wins, but not by any kind of whitewash.
Sassanids also use cavalry archer. but they defeated. the mongol are not much different with Sassanids. their cavalry archer are not used for final weapon. it is for "weaken" enemy, before their heavy cavalry charge for final blow.
Khalid's army also deploy camel rider. it will naturally scare horses. but if Khalid fighting in steppe, he will crushed. or more likely a Phyrric victory for Subedei.
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Old August 21st, 2010, 02:30 PM   #5

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Re: Face Off: Subedei vs Khalid Ibn Al-Walid


Its true that when we compare the army of the two, Subedei wins hands down due to the sheer might and power of the mongol, and not to mention that the Mongols have an 700 year advantage on Khalid. Instead lets compare in terms of tactic, strategy, grand strategy, diplomacy, psychology, innovation, creativity, and any aspects that are useful in warfare.

Last edited by Eternalsonata; August 21st, 2010 at 04:37 PM.
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Old August 21st, 2010, 02:31 PM   #6

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Re: Face Off: Subedei vs Khalid Ibn Al-Walid


Unfortunately Khalid Ibn Al-Walid's exploits can be attriuted to other commanders, so it is difficult to determine what Khalid actually did himself and what was attributed to him by "hero worshiping" Muslim historians.

Subotai/Subedai's exploits are chronicled by his enemies, so possibly can be considered more "factual".

Difficult call
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Old August 21st, 2010, 03:26 PM   #7

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Re: Face Off: Subedei vs Khalid Ibn Al-Walid


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sargon of Akkad View Post
I actually think they are very well matched.

They are, interestingly, in very similar positions - their people are hardy 'barbarians' who live in tough countries, recently consolidated under a charismatic leader and driven by a combined purpose.

They are both tactical geniuses, and it would have been very interesting to see how each would have approached the battle. On tactics alone, I think its too close to call.

However, the Mongols being a cavalry archer army, and the Arabs being basically an infantry army, I think swings it for me.

Subedai wins, but not by any kind of whitewash.
Khalid ibn al-Walid had already fought many large armies of Sassanid-Persian cavalry archers who fought in a very similar manner to the Mongols, and yet Khalid defeated the Sassanids every time despite being almost always outnumbered. Considering that Khalid's Arab army mostly consisted of light-cavalry lancers and light-infantry, whereas his Sassanid and Byzantine enemies had heavy-cavalry Cataphracts, heavy-infantry and (in the case of the Sassanids) cavalry archers, that's an impressive achievement for Khalid to defeat superior troops using inferior troops (much like Hannibal).

On the other hand, Subetai's Mongol cavalry archers were nearly always superior to the troops of his enemies. Cavalry archers are known to be the most effective military force of the ancient world, up until the gunpowder era. Even much of the Arab forces (after Khalid's time but certainly before the Crusades) had themselves become cavalry archers, after seeing the effectiveness of cavalry archers during the Arab conquests in Persia and Central Asia. The fact that Subetai was using superior cavalry archers to defeat inferior troops, whereas Khalid was using inferior troops to defeat superior cavalry archers, signifies to me that Khalid was a better tactician, in that (again, much like Hannibal) his tactics was a more decisive factor in his victories rather than the quality of his troops.

However, considering that Subetai has a 600-year lead in technology (by which time early gunpowder weapons were being used), Khalid would probably lose to Subetai for that reason alone, not to mention Subetai has the superior troops (Mongol cavalry archers vs early Arab cavalry lancers). If I were to judge on tactics alone, however, I'd give the edge to Khalid, who was nearly always victorious despite having inferior troops to his enemies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Belisarius View Post
Unfortunately Khalid Ibn Al-Walid's exploits can be attriuted to other commanders, so it is difficult to determine what Khalid actually did himself and what was attributed to him by "hero worshiping" Muslim historians.

Subotai/Subedai's exploits are chronicled by his enemies, so possibly can be considered more "factual".

Difficult call
Khalid ibn al-Walid's exploits are described in great detail and there is no ambiguity regarding which commanders did what. The only issue that may be up for dispute is whether Arabic historians exaggerated his exploits, though the same criticism applies to nearly all military generals before his time (such as the Greeks exaggerating Alexander's exploits, or Romans exaggerating Caesar's exploits), besides the few generals chronicled mostly by their enemies (such as Cyrus the Great being chronicled by the Greeks, or Hannibal being chronicled by the Romans).

Last edited by Jagger; August 21st, 2010 at 07:07 PM.
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Old August 21st, 2010, 06:54 PM   #8

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Re: Face Off: Subedei vs Khalid Ibn Al-Walid


Basically, I agree with Sargon of Akkad. Both men were probably similar (with Ibn al-Walid possibly having an upper hand) in terms of talent and ability, but Subedei's army would be superior.
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Old August 22nd, 2010, 09:11 AM   #9

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Re: Face Off: Subedei vs Khalid Ibn Al-Walid


Granted that I'm not a Khalid expert, but although I think it's a very close contest indeed, I give the edge to Subutai. Both were exceptionally talented men though.
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Old August 22nd, 2010, 11:11 AM   #10

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Re: Face Off: Subedei vs Khalid Ibn Al-Walid


I'm not saying the Sassanids (or Byzantines for that matter) didn't have horse archers, I'm saying that the Mongols had predominantly horse archers, whereas the Sassanids would have been a more mixed bag.

I would probably want to give Khalid the victory because he's got a cool name.
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