Did the Holy Roman Empire fare poorly in war?

May 2014
247
U.S.A.
#1
Bear in mind, i am in no way an expert on German history, but would like to learn more. A quick overview of the battles involving the holy roman empire section at wikipedia left me wondering, why does it seem that the HRE lost a seemingly large majority of its battles? It seems like their armies were large, but an unorganized mess due to the results of many of their battles. I would greatly appreciate any battles 14th-16th century mainly that show differently outside of the Italian Wars
 
Jul 2009
9,917
#2
British historian Peter Wilson has argued (rather convincingly) that the HRE was a remarkably effective mechanism of collective security until the Emperor's own vassals began to undermine it in the 18th century. It must have done something correctly to last as long as it did and not be conquered by outside powers.
 
May 2014
247
U.S.A.
#3
British historian Peter Wilson has argued (rather convincingly) that the HRE was a remarkably effective mechanism of collective security until the Emperor's own vassals began to undermine it in the 18th century. It must have done something correctly to last as long as it did and not be conquered by outside powers.
True, but its size helped alot as it seems to outnumber whoever it is fighting in most battles. I am mainly suprised at the number of large scale defeats the HRE suffered. It makes me wonder if they were poorly organized or led for the most part
 
Jan 2015
5,524
Ontario, Canada
#4
In my opinion the Holy Roman Empire was a fairly solid military power from the early Medieval period. It was after the deaths of Johann Tserclaes von Tilly and Albrecht von Wallenstein in the Thirty Years' War that the Holy Roman Empire started to decline in the long run. Regardless they made several comebacks with the leadership of Raimondo Montecuccoli, Eugene of Savoy and Archduke Charles von Teschen (this last one was greatly responsible for the reforms that allowed the Austrians to fight Napoleon from 1809 to 1815). Where as the true rise of the Holy Roman Empire probably began with Otto the Great and continued with Frederick Barbarossa and Frederick II.
 
Jul 2007
9,098
Canada
#5
True, but its size helped alot as it seems to outnumber whoever it is fighting in most battles. I am mainly suprised at the number of large scale defeats the HRE suffered. It makes me wonder if they were poorly organized or led for the most part
The HRE had land borders on almost every side, and in its early years, the one sea border it had wasn't a calm barrier, but a Norse superhighway.

Multiple threat vectors can have an effect in individual battles. An example everyone is familiar with is the one-two punch delivered against Saxon England by Harald III and William the Conqueror. While the Saxon army was capable and inflicted a shattering defeat against Harald III, it could not rest and was forced to race cross-country to meet William's landing and face fresh, unbloodied troops.