Strongest military powers throughout history:A Timeline

greatstreetwarrior

Ad Honorem
Nov 2012
3,852
I know you made remarks on the turkish invasion and ottoman rise to power, but they were completely unrelated to both the thread and my comment, so I have no idea why you made them. They may have not been date specific but the question was, and so was my comment. I never said that the byzantine empire was the strongest in the world at the time, I said "undoubtedly the strongest state in Europe and the Mediterranean)", I even outright said that the song were still more powerful in my original comment. You say that your comment is a general comment on how Asian powers aren't taken seriously, but what does that have to do with my comment? I fully acknowledge that there were many strong powers in Asia.
well matter settled then. However I do stand by words that if not for Timur, Ottomans would have finished off Byzantines much earlier and indeed for quite sometime Byzantine survived as a rump around Constantinople and Western Anatolia.

There are some great Indian powers such as Guptas, Mauryas, Cholas (invaded SE Asia), Palas, Rashtrakutas and Pratiharas. Finally the Marathas who were in the middle of a Hindu reconquista which was rudely interrupted by the British. If not for Brits India would have been under wholesale Hindu rule in another 30-50 years.
 

Sam-Nary

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
6,848
At present SD, USA
France was a weakling after Franco-Prussian wars and would never have regained a superpower status had the rest of the allies not helped it in WW2.
While WW2 is a different story...

MOST of the fighting on the Western Front in WWI was done by the French. They occupied the longest portion of the Western Front in 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, and 1918.

The Marne in 1914 was a FRENCH victory. Britain was there, but the entire BEF was still dwarfed by the French forces involved in the battle.

The British manned only a tiny portion of the Western Front in 1915 and their offensives, particularly at Loos were plagued by poor coordination of their reserves, a lack of manpower, and a lack of equipment. There is no way the British could have done more that what they did do, and the task was on the French to hold the line, which they by and large did.

Britain gained strength and numbers by 1916, and the Somme Offensive did help the French strategically, but the Somme was Britain's only major battle of 1916. The French fought at both the Somme AND at Verdun in the same year. The French advanced further than the British did on the Somme and Verdun was a French victory.

And while the French Army did mutiny in 1917, the British didn't distract the Germans from it. The Germans never new about the mutiny and were more focused on knocking Russia out of the war than with the French. And Petain managed to launch successful offensives in the fall of 1917 before American troops even entered the lines.

What stopped the German advance toward Amiens in 1918 was not the British resolve but reinforcements from the main Allied reserve, which were all French. The German drive south in 1918 was intended to draw those reserves away, but Germany didn't attack toward Paris and even if they did, they didn't have the logistics to support a drive on Paris, so while the AEF won at places like Belleau Wood and Chateau-Theirry, they beat a distraction, not the REAL German effort.
 
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Lord Oda Nobunaga

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Jan 2015
5,606
Ontario, Canada
I would argue that the Hittites during the reign of Suppiluliumas became the military power of the Bronze Age, supplanting Egypt and Mitanni. There was a brief recovery by the Egyptians in the reign of Seti I but I think that Muwatallis II might have knocked Ramesses II off the top spot and managed to hold it maybe into the reign of his brother Hattusili III. The Hittites saw a massive decline by the third generation after that and the Egyptians reclaimed the top spot, especially in the reign of Ramesses III.
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,756
France was a weakling after Franco-Prussian wars and would never have regained a superpower status had the rest of the allies not helped it in WW2.
Except France had made up for that and bounced back by the time of Bismarck starting the "Ist Krieg in gesicht?" crisis 1875. That's why he started it.

Now, the big idea was to bully France into not daring to rearm again, so as never again be able to stand up to Germany. That failed, the French rearmed like there was no tomorrow, conscripting 89% of avilable manpower compared to the German peace-time rate of 46%, meaning France right up until WWI continously maintained itself at military parity with Germany.

It certainly annoyed the Germans that France pulled out all the stops to maintain itself like that, rather than as the Germans thought they should accpet relegation to a second tier power compared to Germay. It was so annoying because it worked.

Now, HAD Bismarck's attempt at intimidation worked in 1875, it would have worked out for France as you have claimed. But it didn't.
 

Lord Oda Nobunaga

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
5,606
Ontario, Canada
I would not underestimate France even post 1871. But France was not Germany's match even by 1914. Though I must stress that France was still very capable.
 

Larrey

Ad Honorem
Sep 2011
5,756
I would not underestimate France even post 1871. But France was not Germany's match even by 1914. Though I must stress that France was still very capable.
The Germans still failed in 1914, in a move specifically designed to take out France. Enough of a match I'd say.
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
6,643
Spain
While WW2 is a different story...

MOST of the fighting on the Western Front in WWI was done by the French. They occupied the longest portion of the Western Front in 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, and 1918.

The Marne in 1914 was a FRENCH victory. Britain was there, but the entire BEF was still dwarfed by the French forces involved in the battle.

The British manned only a tiny portion of the Western Front in 1915 and their offensives, particularly at Loos were plagued by poor coordination of their reserves, a lack of manpower, and a lack of equipment. There is no way the British could have done more that what they did do, and the task was on the French to hold the line, which they by and large did.

Britain gained strength and numbers by 1916, and the Somme Offensive did help the French strategically, but the Somme was Britain's only major battle of 1916. The French fought at both the Somme AND at Verdun in the same year. The French advanced further than the British did on the Somme and Verdun was a French victory.

And while the French Army did mutiny in 1917, the British didn't distract the Germans from it. The Germans never new about the mutiny and were more focused on knocking Russia out of the war than with the French. And Petain managed to launch successful offensives in the fall of 1917 before American troops even entered the lines.

What stopped the German advance toward Amiens in 1918 was not the British resolve but reinforcements from the main Allied reserve, which were all French. The German drive south in 1918 was intended to draw those reserves away, but Germany didn't attack toward Paris and even if they did, they didn't have the logistics to support a drive on Paris, so while the AEF won at places like Belleau Wood and Chateau-Theirry, they beat a distraction, not the REAL German effort.
You are right.. but Marne in 1914, the BEF played a major rol. Of course, it was not possible a victory without French Force.. but British Expeditionary Force played a Major role in Marne in 1914..so I would say it was a French-Britisih victory.. not only French.
In 1916, the British Army was awful... and neve had the quality they had in 1914... but in First Marne.. British Army played a Major Rol.
 

Lord Oda Nobunaga

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
5,606
Ontario, Canada
The Germans still failed in 1914, in a move specifically designed to take out France. Enough of a match I'd say.
That was more because of strategic concerns. I mean the French totally failed to dislodge the Germans from their positions behind the Aisne River as well. Failed offensive after offensive and Petain getting replaced with Nivelle while War Ministers were being moved about.
The actual German army organizations, personnel and equipment still outclassed the French by a significant enough margin for the French and British to get pushed all the way to Paris, even if the Germans lost the 1st Battle of the Marne.

Go on YouTube and watch videos that show the small "arms race" between the Germans and French and compare their equipment up to 1916. The German weaponry gave them a clear advantage over the French when it came to actual combat. Of course other factors played a role.
 

Sam-Nary

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
6,848
At present SD, USA
That was more because of strategic concerns. I mean the French totally failed to dislodge the Germans from their positions behind the Aisne River as well. Failed offensive after offensive and Petain getting replaced with Nivelle while War Ministers were being moved about.
The actual German army organizations, personnel and equipment still outclassed the French by a significant enough margin for the French and British to get pushed all the way to Paris, even if the Germans lost the 1st Battle of the Marne.

Go on YouTube and watch videos that show the small "arms race" between the Germans and French and compare their equipment up to 1916. The German weaponry gave them a clear advantage over the French when it came to actual combat. Of course other factors played a role.
It was a strategic concern, sure, but one the Germans willingly undertook. While the French had a great deal of trouble in pushing the Germans out... there really is no way the Germans could have pushed the past the Marne, take Paris, defeat France, and then turn east. Germany was likely to run out of supplies regardless of what happened in the campaign. The fact that the Germans managed to occupy a large portion of northern France is irrelevant. The French gave 100% and stopped the Germans at the very limits of their attacks...

From there, while the French weren't able to push the Germans out, by the time that the stalemated war on the Western Front began, the war had progressed into a stage that the Germans could NEVER win. They simply had neither the manpower nor the resources to fight on 3 or 4 fronts and win over 4 years of fighting while deprived of all the resources of their colonies due to naval blockade. And that is where Germany MUST be held back.

And in many places, the French did lead the way or did hold an advantage. For example, the first cannon to actually have a feature to allow the gun to recoil without having have the crew reposition the gun was the French 75mm field gun. While the gun wasn't that great in the siege war that would come, on the Marne it was highly effective at dealing with troops in the open which the larger German siege guns COULDN'T deal with. The first army to put a steel helmet into service was the French Army with the Adrian Helmet in 1915... now the German Stalhelm may have been of better quality, the fact remains that the French were first. And while the British were the inventors of the tank, their tanks were essentially armored boxes that would have more in common with a WW2 assault gun than any post WW1 tank. The first tank to have a working turret and to set the pace for tank design for the foreseeable future were the French with the Renault FT 17.
 

Sam-Nary

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
6,848
At present SD, USA
You are right.. but Marne in 1914, the BEF played a major rol. Of course, it was not possible a victory without French Force.. but British Expeditionary Force played a Major role in Marne in 1914..so I would say it was a French-Britisih victory.. not only French.
In 1916, the British Army was awful... and neve had the quality they had in 1914... but in First Marne.. British Army played a Major Rol.
The British played a role, but it wasn't a leading role in the Battle of the Marne. Their forces were too small and they weren't even the only force that moved into the gap between Kluck and the rest of the German army. The Marne was predominantly a French victory.

And while the quality of the individual British soldier may have declined in 1916, the fact the British by the numbers to actually fight a major battle and stand there would make the army of 1916 better than the army of 1914.