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-   -   Could a small neighborhood conquer the Roman empire? (https://www.mersenneforum.org/showthread.php?t=27030)

MooMoo2 2021-07-28 06:10

Could a small neighborhood conquer the Roman empire?
 
A few years ago, I checked into a hotel while on a road trip. There was an airport, a car dealership, and a gun range nearby, which were all within biking distance of the hotel. When I checked out a few days later, this (paraphrased) conversation came up:

Hotel clerk: Did you enjoy your stay?
Me: Yeah, this place is awesome! I went off-roading, shooting, and flying on the same day. You know, a tiny fraction of this neighborhood could take probably take down the entire Roman Empire.
Clerk: Really? That sounds like an interesting plot for a book or movie.
Clerk2: Forget it. You'd run out of fuel and ammo before you'd get anywhere near the emperor.
Me: It can be done. All you need is a few dozen men and a time machine...

So let's say you look around the neighborhood and find a time machine and some guys who'd love to join your mission to overthrow Augustus, the first Roman emperor. All of you are sent to the outskirts of a town in northern France in 20 BC. You look around and see the following:

- 50 fit men with military and flying experience
- 50 AR-15 rifles and 100 rounds of ammo per rifle
- 40 Jeep Wranglers with a full tank of gas per Jeep
- 10 R-22 helicopters with a full tank of gas per helicopter
- Several English-Latin and Latin-English dictionaries
- Three days' supply of army rations and bottled water

Suppose that the ancient Romans are immune to all of the diseases brought by the modern soldiers, and that the modern soldiers are immune to all of the diseases that the ancient Romans had. Given those conditions, could the modern "army" form an alliance with some disaffected peasants and slaves, get to Rome, and overthrow the emperor?

axn 2021-07-28 06:37

No.

retina 2021-07-28 07:02

If you have ever been down the Appian Way then you will know that it isn't so easy to get around in ancient Rome. You wouldn't stand a chance, the locals will outsmart you without too much difficulty. Once they figure out the tyres are vulnerable to sharp pointing things then you will be toast.

LaurV 2021-07-28 08:04

[QUOTE=MooMoo2;584170]
- Several English-Latin and Latin-English dictionaries
[/QUOTE]
:lol: Haha, couldn't stop laughing. Why would you need dictionaries? Hit the Roman soldiers with the dictionary in the head? Talk them to death? :rofl:

And the answer (sorry axn (edit, and sorry retina, crosspost)) is yes. Hannibal (almost) conquered Rome with 30 elephants. Only the cleverness of Roman generals stopped the history to have a total different course than we know today. For who doesn't know the story, in short, Hannibal, some small commander during the Punic war, crosed the Gibraltar strait and the Alps with his small army, which included African war elephants, and landed in front of the walls of Rome. The Romans were not prepared to an attack from that direction, because the alps were considered un-crossable at the time, especially for a large army, but the elephants helped a lot. Now, you may not imagine, but an elephant is the equivalent of a heavily armored, modern tank. It can take a 10 meters log in its trunk and make way through Roman army lines like in butter. Additionally, they had iron blades (knives) mounted on tusks, and on laterals, etc. You don't want to get that beast angry. So, the Roman soldiers shitted their pants when they saw the elephants, ran inside of the city walls, and locked the gates tide. A long siege followed, and Rome almost capitulated, except for the fact that some Roman generals decided to put their men on some boats and send them over the sea to hit Hannibal in his house. When he got news that their women and children are slaughtered at home, he couldn't control his army anymore, and they had to retreat in big hurry and go home.

Now, imagine the impact a humvee or helicopter could have. These things won't be stopped by gates, or city walls. Big layer of pants full of shit in all the peninsula, and the smell still could be felt today... Imagine Roman soldiers contemplating three dead comrades, and looking through the holes through 4 layers of shields and 3 helmets caused by the first bullet. You won't need to shot the second. They will all fall in their knees and pray to Jupiter for mercy. Walking into the senate building would just be a breeze.

Dr Sardonicus 2021-07-28 12:01

A time machine? :rolleyes:

As long as you have one of [i]those[/i] things, why attack Caesar Augustus at the height of his power? Why not just go a little farther back in time and kill young Octavian or prevent his birth?

Of course, the resulting change in the course of history might prevent all of [i]our[/i] existences...

I'm not sure [i]why[/i] you might want to change history in such a way.

As to Hannibal, I don't think he ever got near the city of Rome. He won a major military victory at Cannae in August 216 BC. Up to 70,000 Roman soldiers died in that battle, including quite a few of their high-ranking officers. When word of this crushing defeat reached Rome, there was indeed panic in the city. But Cannae is 250 miles from Rome. Hannibal's commander Maharbal urged Hannibal to march on Rome immediately after his victory at Cannae, but Hannibal declined. He didn't have the resources for breaching the walls, or for a prolonged siege.

xilman 2021-07-28 13:30

[QUOTE=MooMoo2;584170]Suppose that the ancient Romans are immune to all of the diseases brought by the modern soldiers, and that the modern soldiers are immune to all of the diseases that the ancient Romans had. Given those conditions, could the modern "army" form an alliance with some disaffected peasants and slaves, get to Rome, and overthrow the emperor?[/QUOTE]Possibly.

Conquer the Empire? I very much doubt it unless you did so very early in history.

By Julius Caesar's time the empire was vast. The remainder of the empire could well have fought back against the tiny band of usurpers.They would have won against your peasants and slaves after the time travellers had run out of fuel and ammo.

Look what happened after the Germanic invaders sacked Rome. The Roman Empire continued for another thousand years before the Muslims inflicted the coup de grace.

MooMoo2 2021-07-28 16:06

[QUOTE=Dr Sardonicus;584192]A time machine? :rolleyes:

As long as you have one of [i]those[/i] things, why attack Caesar Augustus at the height of his power? Why not just go a little farther back in time and kill young Octavian or prevent his birth?
[/QUOTE]
Because I'm looking for a good challenge :smile:

Going further back (300 BC?) to the early days of the Roman Republic would make things too easy, while going forward and overthrowing an 18th century kingdom would be impossible.

kriesel 2021-07-28 16:06

Understaffed and under-supplied. One to one vehicle to person ratio is foolish. (Everyone is busy driving or flying. So no one available for defense of the vehicle or occupant.) So is the absence of mention of backup weapons. Ammo load is quite insufficient; 100 rounds is for a lot of people, a warmup at the practice range.
The puny 55 grain .223 projectile of an AR-15 (30 round mag standard) is more likely to annoy a legionary than disable him, especially after (if?) it penetrates any armor he's wearing. It's suitable for coyote (a 20-50 lb canine) and the bare legal minimum in some states for whitetail deer. At Sandy Hook school it took Lanza ~6 rounds per fatality, on mostly small children wearing normal clothing only. AR-10 (.308 caliber, 150 grain projectile) would be more effective in combat; 20 round mags are standard for that.
In Iran they used motorcycles for two to discourage protests; one drives, the other shoots unarmed protestors. [URL]https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/video-shows-iranian-police-opening-fire-water-protest-78920037[/URL]

R-22: 240 mile range, 110mph cruise, no armaments, ~500 lb payload including pilot and passenger.
Trade them in for some well equipped Apaches.
Or vietnam-war era Hueys with door gunners, capability of 2000 lb of cargo plus crew/passenger complement of four, or jump a wall with an entire equipped squad of 6-8.

Your scenario reminds me of a bit of a SF movie I saw years ago. A man in a long trenchcoat stands in the path of a CSA paywagon, which stops. The several escorts on horseback laugh at him when he tells them if they leave now he'll let them live. Then he flips open his trenchcoat with an Uzi in each hand, goes immediately to full auto fire x 2, and they're all down as they draw their revolvers. Buries the safe full of gold they were hauling, to recover in his own timeframe.

firejuggler 2021-07-28 16:21

You would have a better chance to topple an empire with a dozen of trained snipers, IMHO

MooMoo2 2021-07-28 16:33

[QUOTE=kriesel;584208]Understaffed and under-supplied. One to one vehicle to person ratio is foolish. (Everyone is busy driving or flying. So no one available for defense of the vehicle or occupant.)[/quote]
Couldn't the group split up? 20 vehicles would have both a driver/flyer and a shooter, while the remaining 10 men stay behind to guard the rest of the vehicles.

[quote]
So is the absence of mention of backup weapons. Ammo load is quite insufficient; 100 rounds is for a lot of people, a warmup at the practice range.
The puny 55 grain .223 projectile of an AR-15 (30 round mag standard) is more likely to annoy a legionary than disable him, especially after (if?) it penetrates any armor he's wearing. It's suitable for coyote (a 20-50 lb canine) and the bare legal minimum in some states for whitetail deer. At Sandy Hook school it took Lanza ~6 rounds per fatality, on mostly small children wearing normal clothing only. AR-10 (.308 caliber, 150 grain projectile) would be more effective in combat; 20 round mags are standard for that.
In Iran they used motorcycles for two to discourage protests; one drives, the other shoots unarmed protestors. [URL]https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/video-shows-iranian-police-opening-fire-water-protest-78920037[/URL]

R-22: 240 mile range, 110mph cruise, no armaments, ~500 lb payload including pilot and passenger.
Trade them in for some well equipped Apaches.
Or vietnam-war era Hueys with door gunners, capability of 2000 lb of cargo plus crew/passenger complement of four, or jump a wall with an entire equipped squad of 6-8.
[/QUOTE]
I'll allow weapon and vehicle substitutions, but they'll have to be things you can find at a typical airport, car dealership, and gun range. So a Huey would be out, but an R-44 chopper (instead of an R-22) would be fair game.

LaurV 2021-07-28 16:52

It always amazed me how much weight western people put on Roman empire. I think your school/education/politic/whatever taught you that Romans were kind of demi-gods or something, there is a big propaganda behind that idea of republic and democracy or whatever, I don't know. They were just normal, primitive people (by today standards), living in terror in an enslaved society. Most of them lived at the base of the social hierarchy, they were slaves and pariah. The higher class ruled by terror and maintained a good army to be able to keep their status, while assassinating or poisoning each other periodically. Don't believe everything you see in movies like Gladiator, etc. You are the same as the guys who, having no idea about the size of the numbers we work with, come here periodically showing some factoring algorithm that work nice to split 5561 intor 67*83, that is, you forget the difference in technology that the progress brought in 2000 years. It is like factoring a 200 digit number versus factoring 5561. A thousand super-skilled, super-fighter, super-proud, Japanese samurais were killed by 50 peasants with guns that took 5 minutes to reload after every bullet shot (with a metal rod inserted on top, and a bunch of wool to avoid the bullet falling out of the pipe). A difference in technology of only 50 years. And you talk about attacking a bunch of monkeys with an helicopter. You don't need to shot any bullet, I was silly in the former post thinking you may shot one and won't need the second :razz:

(and yeah, the Hannibal history may be a bit off, I pulled it on my direction, same as the story with the samurais - but you also pulled in yours, did you ever heard the expression "Hannibal ante portas"? :razz: He did march to Rome, after the battle of Canae).


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