General Grant in Westeros.

FAN: Discuss various fictional worlds that don't qualify for SF.

Moderator: Steve

User avatar
Elheru Aran
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 12125
Joined: 2004-03-04 01:15am
Location: Georgia

Re: General Grant in Westeros.

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-05-04 01:30pm

Sherman wasn't crazy as much as he was ahead of his time. He knew quite well what war consisted of, and applied it to his enemy to the fullest extent, mercilessly and without regrets. If that's crazy... well. It got the job done at the time, and later he applied the same attitude to fighting Native Americans; he was in command of the army around the time of Little Bighorn. The latter is obviously less laudable.
It's a strange world. Let's keep it that way.

User avatar
The Romulan Republic
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 14568
Joined: 2008-10-15 01:37am

Re: General Grant in Westeros.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-05-04 02:48pm

Going off the source I cited in the OP, the main points of Grant's approach to military strategy can largely be summed up as follows:

-To remain on the offensive as much as possible and quickly follow up battles with another offensive (often detached from supply lines and relying on foraging/pillaging the countryside).

-To engage in something approaching total war by targeting enemy resources and infrastructure.

-To be uncompromising towards an undefeated foe but generous after the war was over.

-To combine military and political goals (notably, his actions to implement changing Union policy towards African Americans). He seems to have been deferential towards the civilian leadership on political matters (at least compared to certain other Union generals like Fremont and MacClellan), but preferred to conduct his campaigns without a lot of oversight.

-To use the Union's greater numbers to fight a war of attrition, attacking the South from multiple directions at once and keep Southern forces in one area from reinforcing another area.

-To focus on destroying/neutralizing enemy armies, rather than capturing territory.

-He preferred professional (particularly West Point) officers to generals who were politically connected/ambitious/appointed for political reasons.

Now, some of these won't really be applicable, or effective, in Westeros during Robert's Rebellion, I suspect. Others will be.

Number one is likely to be impeded by inferior medieval logistics. Fast movement will really only be possible for cavalry living off the land, I suspect, which will mean (along with mounted knights being the premier troops in Westeros) that Grant will have to rely more heavily on cavalry than the predominantly infantry Union armies did.

Number two is certainly possible, and would likely win him a certain amount of respect from Tywin Lannister, but it would be frowned on by Ned Stark most likely, and won't earn him any points with the small folk. On the other hand, the situation he's dealing with here is somewhat different than in the South, where the populace was largely behind the war effort. Here, this is mostly a war between nobles, isn't? So he might be less punitive towards the small folk.

Number three is likely to be entirely applicable, and not too different from the approach Robert took canonically, although Grant will probably not share his "kill all Targaryens" obsession. That may or may not make things harder for him down the line, depending on how the issue of the Targaryen heirs is handled. If he can get to King's Landing before Tywin has Rhaegar's wife and children murdered, though, it'll improve relations with Dorn and help unite the kingdoms in that sense. If he can push South quickly after the Trident, this might be possible (and I think Grant would want to if possible- see point number one).

Number four is largely moot- Robert basically was the highest military and political authority on his side, and there's no overarching political issue like slavery in play- this is, when you get down to it, a personal squabble between wealthy families and their retainers.* Grant will have to work with his allies, but if its the same coalition as in canon, they're basically trustworthy.

*That said, a larger question of the role of the king and the limits on his authority vs. other institutions such as the nobility, the Faith, etc. could easily grown out of it, and is somewhat implicit in it. There's an opportunity here, I think, to set some precedent on the limits of the power of the Crown, to either throw out (as in canon), modify, or uphold the rules on succession, and institute at least some rudimentary/informal checks and balances. Maybe even the foundations that would eventually lead to a parliamentary system. I can see Grant, a man raised in a republic, thinking along those lines, and setting policy accordingly.

Number five depends on whether he has numerical superiority. Presuming the factions break down the same way as in canon, with the Crown, Dorn, and the Reach vs. the Riverlands, North, Stormlands, and Vale, and the Westerlands and Iron Islands sitting it out... Probably? I could see him splitting his forces after the Trident, sending one force to relieve Storm's End, another to keep the Reach/Dorn busy, maybe one to intercept Tywin and keep him from getting to King's Landing first...

Number six runs into the issue of their being fortified castles/cities that Grant will have to siege. Introducing gunpowder, if possible, could help here.

Number seven isn't really possible. There aren't really professional soldiers in Westeros. There are noblemen (who tend to be arrogant and ambitious twits with good connections- precisely the kind of general Grant reputedly hated to deal with), and mercenaries who fight for the highest bidder.

I can see Grant trying to create a professional officer corps., but I don't know how much headway he'd make.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

User avatar
U.P. Cinnabar
Sith Devotee
Posts: 2921
Joined: 2016-02-05 08:11pm
Location: Aboard the RCS Princess Cecile

Re: General Grant in Westeros.

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-05-04 03:59pm

That sounds about right.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law

"The Constitution's a piece of paper. A kick in the head is a jolt."
—Stanley "Ray" Kowalski
"Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty."
---NRA motto

User avatar
The Romulan Republic
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 14568
Joined: 2008-10-15 01:37am

Re: General Grant in Westeros.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-05-04 05:49pm

A couple major things that will probably impede Grant (depending somewhat on how flexible he can be):

1. Shit logistics. He won't be able to move as fast, and might get bogged down in sieges too (though that's not an unfamiliar problem for him- see Vicksburg and Petersburg). However, I can see Grant (who was a fine rider himself, and early in his military career wanted to be a cavalryman) adapting to having to rely more on cavalry, and employing fast-moving cavalry raids as a key part of his strategy.

He needs a Westrosi Sheridan or two to fill the role of cavalry commander for the forces he isn't personally commanding, however.

2. Culture clash. While having time to get used to Westeros will help, perhaps, his American/Christian upbringing might clash with the sensibilities of his allies and subjects quite badly. Fortunately Ned, Stannis, and Jon Aryyn are all the loyal type. Especially if he tries to push things in a more democratic direction. True, if there's any point in "recent" Westrosi history where there's an opportunity to set a precedent on checking the power of the Crown, its probably Robert's Rebellion- that or the Faith Militant. But probably at the price of increasing the power of the feudal nobles, though acting as regent while preserving the Targaryen dynasty could mitigate that.

Post-war, I wonder what his Small Council would look like, if he did take the crown: Presuming that the same people are all alive/dead, well, Commander of the King's Guard and Grand Maester are likely filled as in the original timeline. Aryyn, Ned, and Stannis likely get posts (the only difference here is Ned). He'd likely put Renly on when Renly gets older, as in canon. I can also see Grant, who will lack the nobility's bias against a recently-raised commoner, giving a post to Davos. Not sure if he'd keep Varys- Grant could be easily manipulated, but mostly by those he regarded as his friends/loyalists, and I don't know that he'd have reason to see Varys as one, especially since there are limited spaces for people Grant would likely rather have. Probably not Tywin, since Robert didn't give a post to Tywin canonically, and I can't see Grant liking Tywin much- their values/personalities seem too different.

Altogether, this is probably a better Small Council than the canon one, though I suspect Grant would get suckered into putting Littlefinger on it. Damn it.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

User avatar
NecronLord
Harbinger of Doom
Harbinger of Doom
Posts: 27078
Joined: 2002-07-07 06:30am
Location: The Lost City

Re: General Grant in Westeros.

Post by NecronLord » 2018-05-05 08:14am

The technology he can 'invent' that will really overturn their society is movable type printing. In either example (perhaps as a maester) if he can get investors and resources to make a printing press he can print money and utterly alter society.
Superior Moderator - BotB - HAB [Drill Instructor]-Writer- Stardestroyer.net's resident Star-God.
"We believe in the systematic understanding of the physical world through observation and experimentation, argument and debate and most of all freedom of will." ~ Stargate: The Ark of Truth

User avatar
The Romulan Republic
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 14568
Joined: 2008-10-15 01:37am

Re: General Grant in Westeros.

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-05-08 07:49pm

True, though I think he'd also probably go for large-scale infrastructure projects. One of the interesting tidbits I learned reading about Grant was that he did a lot of work in upgrading DC's infrastructure as President- and also had a dream of linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans via a canal network. IIRC, the transcontinental railway was completed during his time in office as well, although started earlier (under Lincoln, I think?).

He'd also doubtless be frustrated with Westrosi roads and logistics, vs. what he's used to working with, from a purely military perspective.

He won't bankrupt Westeros with tournaments and feasts like Robert, but he might very well put some strain on the treasury through infrastructure projects (and a certain blindness towards con men like Littlefinger). They'd be worth it long-term if completed, though.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

Simon_Jester
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 30092
Joined: 2009-05-23 07:29pm

Re: General Grant in Westeros.

Post by Simon_Jester » 2018-05-16 10:53am

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-05-04 01:30pm
Sherman wasn't crazy as much as he was ahead of his time. He knew quite well what war consisted of, and applied it to his enemy to the fullest extent, mercilessly and without regrets. If that's crazy... well. It got the job done at the time, and later he applied the same attitude to fighting Native Americans; he was in command of the army around the time of Little Bighorn. The latter is obviously less laudable.
Honestly, Sherman didn't do much in Georgia that various European armies hadn't done at various points in history to each other's countries. He made a shock not so much because he was uniquely destructive, as because that had never happened before in North American history. The military history of Americans (including Confederates) up to that point included the Indian wars, which were brutal but very small-scale, and the Revolution and War of 1812, both of which involved relatively small British forces that marched from one specific point to another, usually occupying territory without really impacting the countryside beyond the minimum requirements of garrisoning and patrol.

Compared to that background, Sherman's army was utterly unprecedented in size, in the neighborhood of a hundred thousand men. And unlike the British, Sherman's goals explicitly involved doing economic damage. So he did things that, while not atypical in European history, simply hadn't ever happened before in the experience of anyone engaged in the war on either side.
This space dedicated to Vasily Arkhipov

Post Reply