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WhiteGhost

WhiteGhost wants to VJ

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On 4/2/2019 at 10:08 AM, KB Girl said:

Still really enjoy these china life stories. 

 

Big same!  I love them!!  It's rad to hear how other cultures do mundane stuff like pay the bills :DDD

 

On 4/3/2019 at 3:15 AM, WhiteGhost said:

Friday is Tomb Sweeping Day

 

THAT'S METAL \m/

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14 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

Eh, not really.  They aren't really spying on each other as much as just enforcing the school rules.  I think it is probably a good system because it gives the kids opportunities at leadership and leaves the teachers free to do teacher stuff.    It also helps the kids understand the perspective of the enforcement side, because they get to experience it. 

 

I read that bit out to TH and we both agreed it's a great way of teaching the kids that they have to take responsibility for their actions and from the response you got from Ghostlet when you asked him if his friend was angry he disciplined him, it seems the take home for this kid was he was in trouble because of what he did, not because he got caught which I think is a lesson a lot of whippersnappers could do with learning these days. 

 

Along with staying off my lawn *fires shotgun into air*

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1 hour ago, deftona said:

 

I read that bit out to TH and we both agreed it's a great way of teaching the kids that they have to take responsibility for their actions and from the response you got from Ghostlet when you asked him if his friend was angry he disciplined him, it seems the take home for this kid was he was in trouble because of what he did, not because he got caught which I think is a lesson a lot of whippersnappers could do with learning these days. 

 

Along with staying off my lawn *fires shotgun into air*

 

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I've been waiting for an excuse to use that one. 

 

Great movie.

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On 3/11/2019 at 9:27 AM, WhiteGhost said:

1. Move - I am pretty happy with my current workout program so I will stick with it for now.  I may vary things up depending on how I am feeling, but generally sticking with the pulll/push/leg split

 

2. Shiny Hunting - I want to keep working on my gymnastics skills, and I am also planning to sign up at the trampoline park so I can work on other cool stuff.  

 

3. Eat - Now that I have the basics down for cooking, I want to try and expand on that by trying new foods.  I would like to try 5 new recipes over the course of the challenge.  Also, I will make an effort to eat gooder, with less sweets/dessert and more vegetables.

 

4. Shiny - Other Self-Improvement.  This is going to be doing something non exercise related to make me into a more well rounded person.  This could be anything from practicing the ukulele to learning Spanish to practicing drawing to learning some new skill or information.  I know that trying to create a specific schedule for this will be counter-productive, but I want to make sure I am doing at least one thing every day for self betterment.

 

Love the goals, brother! I have 6 pages to catch up on...which may or may not happen, but I'll try and keep up moving forward! Keep kicking butt, dude!

 

Whats your "shiny" goal for today??

 

Wolf

 

 

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22 hours ago, shaar said:

 

Big same!  I love them!!  It's rad to hear how other cultures do mundane stuff like pay the bills :DDD

 

 

THAT'S METAL \m/

OK, then, I'll keep them coming :)  

 

Haha, I guess it sounds kinda metal :D  Actually, though, it's only sweeping/cleaning the outside of the tombs and putting up flowers

 

16 hours ago, deftona said:

 

I read that bit out to TH and we both agreed it's a great way of teaching the kids that they have to take responsibility for their actions and from the response you got from Ghostlet when you asked him if his friend was angry he disciplined him, it seems the take home for this kid was he was in trouble because of what he did, not because he got caught which I think is a lesson a lot of whippersnappers could do with learning these days. 

 

Along with staying off my lawn *fires shotgun into air*

Another part of the school experience also goes along with that but I forgot to mention it.  The schools here don't employ janitors.  The kids are responsible for cleaning up their own school, so every day before and after class some kids come early or stay late to clean up their classroom and the common areas (on a rotational basis) 

 

15 hours ago, scalyfreak said:

Great movie.

I actually haven't ever seen it and I had to look up the reference.  I will see if I can find it somewhere.

 

3 hours ago, SheriffWolfpool said:

Love the goals, brother! I have 6 pages to catch up on...which may or may not happen, but I'll try and keep up moving forward! Keep kicking butt, dude!

 

Whats your "shiny" goal for today??

 

Wolf

Hey, great to see you!  Totally understand if you can't read everything, you have a lot on your hands, especially with the new pup (she's a real cutie!)  You can basically get a gist of what has been going on here if you look at the bodyweight library link in my signature.

 

Today's shiny was... ukulele I guess?  I didn't spend much time on it but more than anything else.

 

Today we were planning to go to some place called the Lu Canyon Bridge, which is a historical site from the war with Japan not far from Beijing, but Ghostess was too sleepy (She has been getting back from work after midnight all this week) so we just called a rest day.  In the evening we went out for Spanish food (fake paella - with ham & pineapple this time) and then watched Shazam!  It was a really fun movie, but the first half of it was so scary that Ghostlet was turned backwards in his chair grabbing my arm :D  He loved the second half, though.

Tomorrow we will be going up to the Great Wall for a couple of days.  I may not be online much while I am there but will be sure to update when I get back.

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Hallway monitors used to be common in the US. I think the snitches get stitches culture killed that; at least in the schools I’ve taught at. I don’t really have a take one way or the other. Ghostlet would be appalled at what students get away with here.

I really like the kids as janitors thing. I can’t imagine it flying here though.

Enjoy the wall.

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On 4/5/2019 at 10:20 AM, WhiteGhost said:

Another part of the school experience also goes along with that but I forgot to mention it.  The schools here don't employ janitors.  The kids are responsible for cleaning up their own school, so every day before and after class some kids come early or stay late to clean up their classroom and the common areas (on a rotational basis) 

 

Toilets too? That can't be sanitary. :blink:

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On 4/7/2019 at 9:50 AM, Sloth the Enduring said:

Hallway monitors used to be common in the US. I think the snitches get stitches culture killed that; at least in the schools I’ve taught at. I don’t really have a take one way or the other. Ghostlet would be appalled at what students get away with here.

I really like the kids as janitors thing. I can’t imagine it flying here though.

Enjoy the wall.

I think he would be more jealous than appalled :D Student here have a very, VERY short leash

 

On 4/7/2019 at 12:06 PM, scalyfreak said:

 

Toilets too? That can't be sanitary. :blink:

Yeah, it does.  I asked him about it, and apparently they do have people to clean the toilets and the kitchen, but they do have to bring their own dishes.  The students are responsible for sweeping and mopping classrooms and making sure public areas like the sidewalks and field are clean and orderly.

 

15 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

Hope you're having a fun trip!

It was fun.  See below for details

 

Our trip started with a short drive to get up to the Great Wall.  It is about 50km north of us so we expected it would be about 90 minutes to drive there.  The first 45km or so were fine but, as is common on holiday weekends, traffic hit a bit of a snarl. It took us nearly 3 hours to go the last 5km

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The traffic was stopped because the parking lot at the great wall was full, and instead of keeping to the exit lanes, the cars kept coming over into the other lanes to try and jump the line, eventually completely plugging up all traffic.  A few cars behind were some other foreigners and they came over to ask me if I knew what was going on.  They thought it was a bad accident and didn't believe me when I told them it was just because of a full parking lot.  I suspect they were quite shocked when traffic finally moved to see that this was, indeed, the cause of the stoppage.

 

One we got there, we stayed in a very nice hotel/resort designed by the company that does most of the more interesting architecture around Beijing.  

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We were in the white building to the top left.

 

We spent the first day going to the "Badaling Bear Garden" (Badaling is the name of this section of the Great Wall) but it was really disappointing.  There were about 30 or so black bears in cages/enclosures along a short path waiting for people to throw food to them.

 

 

After that we were going to go to the Forest Park but we could tell from the line of cars trying to get into the parking lot that we would not even get in until almost dark, so we gave up and went to the resort.  As it turns out, the interior of the resort was almost identical to the forest park, but with infinitely less people so we enjoyed walking around the forest and taking pictures, climbing rocks and trees and generally just messing around.  

 

The next day we hiked up to a section of the Great Wall that is only pen to resort residents, which was nice because we pretty much had the wall to ourselves.  If you go to the public areas of the wall, they are literally thronged with people.  It was really nice and we could see both the areas that had been restored in the 1980s as well as a section that had not been restored at all.  Most of the popular tourist places were restored again in in preparation for the 2008 Olympics, and they are quite beautifully done but do not have any feel of being ancient.  They might as well have just built a new wall.
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3 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

The traffic was stopped because the parking lot at the great wall was full, and instead of keeping to the exit lanes, the cars kept coming over into the other lanes to try and jump the line, eventually completely plugging up all traffic.  A few cars behind were some other foreigners and they came over to ask me if I knew what was going on.  They thought it was a bad accident and didn't believe me when I told them it was just because of a full parking lot.  I suspect they were quite shocked when traffic finally moved to see that this was, indeed, the cause of the stoppage.

From what you mentioned earlier 3 hours is nothing :P 

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While the images of the wall and the mountains are beautiful, they may be misleading as to the actual height of the thing. If I remember right, the wall was built to attempt to keep the neighbors in the northwest out, but that honestly doesn't look like something that can be realistically expected to stop an invasion. :huh:

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3 minutes ago, scalyfreak said:

While the images of the wall and the mountains are beautiful, they may be misleading as to the actual height of the thing. If I remember right, the wall was built to attempt to keep the neighbors in the northwest out, but that honestly doesn't look like something that can be realistically expected to stop an invasion. :huh:

I don’t think the wall itself is very tall, but there’s hills and terrain and with enough people patrolling you could get a good warning system which would be pretty impossible otherwise over that huge length of border.

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2 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

From what you mentioned earlier 3 hours is nothing :P 

Yep, we got out of that one relatively unscathed.  Probably because we were traveling on the 2nd day of a 3 day weekend :) 

 

55 minutes ago, scalyfreak said:

While the images of the wall and the mountains are beautiful, they may be misleading as to the actual height of the thing. If I remember right, the wall was built to attempt to keep the neighbors in the northwest out, but that honestly doesn't look like something that can be realistically expected to stop an invasion. :huh:

This picture should give you an idea of how high the wall is

gyNyn6K.jpg

The idea behind the wall was that it would stop or significantly slow a large invading army.  While the soldiers could get over the wall, it would have been very hard for their resupply wagons to do so.  The wall would create a huge bottle neck which was expected to give the defending armies sufficient time to regroup and counter-attack.

 

That said, most military strategists I have spoken with agree that this would not really have been a very effective defense against a serious invader, as was demonstrated when the Ming Dynasty fell to the Qing invaders from Manchuria to the North.

 

46 minutes ago, Mad Hatter said:

I don’t think the wall itself is very tall, but there’s hills and terrain and with enough people patrolling you could get a good warning system which would be pretty impossible otherwise over that huge length of border.

It was a very effective tool against raids for the exact reasons you mention.  The wall is dotted with fire signal towers to let the defenders know when and where a raid was coming so that defenders could come from nearby garrisons to assist in shoring up the defenses

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22 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

 

That said, most military strategists I have spoken with agree that this would not really have been a very effective defense against a serious invader, as was demonstrated when the Ming Dynasty fell to the Qing invaders from Manchuria to the North.

 

 

My point exactly. An actual army firmly set on invading might have been slowed down, but the wall would have needed to be much taller to be effective. (Castle Black from GoT comes to mind...) As far as defending against raiding parties and a smaller version of an army, yes, a wall is effective. Medieval Europe would not have kept building them around cities and castles if they weren't.

 

The signal fires remind me of the system Norway had set up along the coast and mountain ranges, long before modern communication technology was invented. When an invading fleet approached shore, the first signal fire would be lit. The instant it was seen by the fire watchers in the mountain top two days inland, they lit theirs and so on. In a matter of hours, everyone who needed to know about the invasion threat, had been notified. There's a sequence in the Lord of the Rings trilogy that shows the signal fires between Gondor and Rohan, that shows how it worked. I always thought that the first person ever to think about that way of communicating, was a very particular kind of genius. It takes exceptional brilliance to be the first person to realize something obvious.

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Does the wall still have weird Christmas muzak blaring out from loudspeakers around areas where tourists visit? I was one of those tourists and frankly of I'd brought an invading army with me I'd have turned tail and run. 

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11 hours ago, scalyfreak said:

 

My point exactly. An actual army firmly set on invading might have been slowed down, but the wall would have needed to be much taller to be effective. (Castle Black from GoT comes to mind...) As far as defending against raiding parties and a smaller version of an army, yes, a wall is effective. Medieval Europe would not have kept building them around cities and castles if they weren't.

 

The signal fires remind me of the system Norway had set up along the coast and mountain ranges, long before modern communication technology was invented. When an invading fleet approached shore, the first signal fire would be lit. The instant it was seen by the fire watchers in the mountain top two days west, they lit theirs and so on. In a matter of hours, everyone who needed to know about the invasion threat, had been notified. There's a sequence in the Lord of the Rings trilogy that shows the signal fires between Gondor and Rohan, that shows how it worked. I always thought that the first person ever to think about that way of communicating, was a very particular kind of genius. It takes exceptional brilliance to be the first person to realize something obvious.

The height of the wall isn't really a major factor.  The wall in GoT is visually impressive, but if it were not protected by magic it would probably not do any better than the Great Wall of China.  The problem with border walls is that they are too long to effectively defend.  Castles or fortresses are much easier to defend because you can have a strong garrison always in close proximity to the outer defenses, no matter where the enemy attacks from, also, they always have multiple layers of resort, so that when the outer defenses are breached there is always another line of defense.  Walls don't have that so as soon as the wall is breached there is little to stop any further advance.  It just isn't a sound defensive strategy for anything other than raids.

 

Completely agree that using fire/light to communicate over distance is genius but I suspect it was discovered independently among various peoples because it is pretty obviously way to engage in fast, long distance communication.

 

4 hours ago, 18ck said:

Does the wall still have weird Christmas muzak blaring out from loudspeakers around areas where tourists visit? I was one of those tourists and frankly of I'd brought an invading army with me I'd have turned tail and run. 

I don't know because I avoid places where large crowds of tourists congregate as much as possible.  It would not surprise me, though.  That said, I don't think they were actually playing Christmas music and I suspect you were at the wall in the mid to late 00s (2005-2009ish).  There was a Chinese pop song that was very popular at the time that was put to the tune of some Christmas carol (I can't remember which one) and you couldn't go anywhere without hearing it.

 

 

I feel like I probably should do an update for last week, even though I didn't do much.  Being on injury reserve means that 3 of my 5 challenge items are pretty much off the table.  Food has been so-so and I have not been doing much on the personal development stuff other than some ukulele practice.  I expect week 4 is going to be a lot of the same...

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It looks very peaceful - if not even somewhat romantic for a war-related structure though :) may it stay that way.

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That might be it bit it was a but earlier - about 1994 I think. We had the impression it was just their idea of welcoming foreigners but who knows. 

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9 hours ago, WhiteGhost said:

The height of the wall isn't really a major factor.  The wall in GoT is visually impressive, but if it were not protected by magic it would probably not do any better than the Great Wall of China.  The problem with border walls is that they are too long to effectively defend.  Castles or fortresses are much easier to defend because you can have a strong garrison always in close proximity to the outer defenses, no matter where the enemy attacks from, also, they always have multiple layers of resort, so that when the outer defenses are breached there is always another line of defense.  Walls don't have that so as soon as the wall is breached there is little to stop any further advance.  It just isn't a sound defensive strategy for anything other than raids.

 

Oh no, the height of the wall is absolutely a major factor. So is the number of defenders behind it, as well as their training and attitude. If there are civilians behind the walls, they matter as well... they have the ability to open gates when they get tired of watching their children starve over political technicalities.

 

Game of Thrones spoilers below.
 

Spoiler


The reason Mance Rayder attacks Castle Black, despite the fact the rest of the wall essentially is undefended, is because he can't get the non-warriors of his people over the wall. The children and elderly simply can't climb that far. Sure, you can use existing elevators and build new ones, but that takes a lot of time, and time is a resource Mance doesn't have a lot of. (He doesn't have engineers who can build elevators either.) He has to go through the wall, and there aren't a lot of gates to use for that purpose. Yes, he could, and probably should, have attacked one of the other gates instead, but that decision can probably be explained away by the fact that the army he has assembled is not the most stable or lasting of alliances, and if he ignores the desires of the chieftains who have hated the Night's Watch for generations and who are salivating at the thought of killing as many crows as they can get their hands on, he might soon find himself without an army.

 

Also keep in mind that an army's supply train or the animals that pull them, cannot get over a wall of that height, and that matters because they need them once they have crossed to the other side. Cavalry would need to leave their horses behind, which renders them almost useless - name one army in human history who actively trained their cavalry men to fight effectively on foot? Yeah, I can't think of one either.

 

Back to Mance, he would probably have done a lot better against the wall if he had been able to bring siege engines, however walls around cities and castles have withstood those so while that would have helped him, it's not a guarantee that siege engines would have breached a wall of magically fortified ice. The Night King needed a dragon, after all.

 

Honestly, what Mance should have done was to send a small party of stealthy warriors over the wall in a location without any guards at all (there are many of those on that wall), poison Castle Black's water supply, and wait.

 

 

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10 hours ago, @mu said:

It looks very peaceful - if not even somewhat romantic for a war-related structure though :) may it stay that way.

The part I was was very peaceful.  Most places that are open to the public are crammed with tourists and merchants hawking souvenirs so it is really quite cacophony.  It really has zero military purpose today, though, so it is not really any more a war-related structure than an old castle.

 

3 hours ago, 18ck said:

That might be it bit it was a but earlier - about 1994 I think. We had the impression it was just their idea of welcoming foreigners but who knows. 

Nope, that wouldn't be it at all.  That song didn't come out until more than 10 years after you were there so you were probably treated to actual Christmas music for some reason.  It wouldn't surprise me :D   China had only been open to foreigners for about 10 years at that point so it is very possible they just didn't have any idea what foreigners liked.

 

41 minutes ago, scalyfreak said:

Oh no, the height of the wall is absolutely a major factor.

Eh, not so much.  The only difference between a 3 foot wall, a 30 foot wall and a 300 foot wall is how long it would take for a fighting force to get over and create a perimeter for the sappers to clear a route for the supply train.  If they couldn't get over it, they would just punch a hole through it or dig a tunnel under it, both of which were possible with technology available at the time.   While I love GoT (and am STILL!!! waiting for Winter to come :( ) the books explicitly state that this method of getting passed the wall was impossible because of the wall's magical protections.  Otherwise, the giants could have dug a tunnel under an abandoned section of the wall before the crow sentries could get over on their patrols.

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1 minute ago, WhiteGhost said:

 

Eh, not so much.  The only difference between a 3 foot wall, a 30 foot wall and a 300 foot wall is how long it would take for a fighting force to get over and create a perimeter for the sappers to clear a route for the supply train.  If they couldn't get over it, they would just punch a hole through it or dig a tunnel under it, both of which were possible with technology available at the time.

 

 

And that is exactly why the height of the wall matters. The purpose of a wall is not actually to stop the invader from taking the city or castle. It is to make the process of doing so, take so much time and effort that it just isn't worth it. And if the attacker decides it is, they will be slowed down enough that the defenders can send for help, when that help arrives, the attacker has used up so much of their resources that when they find themselves trapped between the arriving reinforcements and the defenders from the city, they are easy pickings.

 

Details behind the spoiler in a wall of text that grew big enough to justify the spoiler. :)


 

Spoiler

 

Time is the enemy of everyone in a siege, but it tends to be on the side of the people behind the walls, because in a siege, whoever runs out of food and water first, is who loses the battle. Feeding a large army that has nothing to do but rush against a tall wall and die every few days or so is very expensive, not to mention that bored soldiers faced with really bad odds when the boredom finally lifts, are just not something that you want to have a lot of if you're the one who brought them to the city in the first place. Morale is the first casually of a long siege.

 

The army outside the walls is also facing the possibility of disease in addition to low morale and boredom because, unlike the people behind the walls, they do not have a functioning sewage system.

 

City walls built specifically to withstand a siege were, as you pointed out, often were built in rings, to allow the defenders to fall back behind an inner wall if the outer one was breached. They also often had a moat around them, meaning the besieging army was not able to get right up against the wall to attack, unless of course they were willing to construct a bridge to get across, and this was generally thought to be a Very Bad Idea, because the archers on top of the wall can use you for target practice while you are standing still in one place and focus on building stuff.

 

Siege engines can damage and batter down a wall, but as always when technology makes advances, while the engineers who built siege engines became better and better at their craft, architects and builders of walls became better at theirs. The wall is also already there... the engines were often transported in pieces and assembled after the army arrived, so it takes some time to get them up and running. Obviously this was done beyond effective target practice range, and the engine operates from beyond target practice range as well, however, a well constructed city or castle wall is not easy to knock down - Peter Jackson's version of the city of Gondor is so misleading in this regard that the first time I saw it I actually started yelling at the movie that no one would ever be moron enough to build walls like that. Ever! :rolleyes:

 

So first we have to spend a lot of time assembling our siege engines, and then we have to spend a lot of time watching them hammer at the walls, and while we do that, we are slowly running out of food, we are running out of fresh water to drink. We have skirmish after skirmish with the defenders, because they want us to go away so they keep coming out from behind the walls, well fed on their well rested horses, and attack us in the middle of the night, and set fire to things. Annoyingly, they keep doing it to our siege engines. So now we have a growing number of wounded, who we cannot leave behind the way we normally do, and their constant presence and the way they keep dying from their wounds is just not good for the men's morale and general attitude. Add in the fact we're rationing the food and very strictly rationing the ale and wine, and they're all growing a bit short tempered as well, so it's a matter of time before we have brawls breaking out in the middle of camp... and it's only been a month!

 

Worst of all, the city doesn't stand alone. They have allies, and those allies are on their way, and we all know this, and that also makes the troops a little edgy.

 

Meanwhile, inside the walls, you have the same situation with boredom and rationed food, and the slowly sinking feeling of impending doom waiting right outside the gates. People who are injured and/or sick die and can't be taken out of the city to be buried anymore, which creates a rather unsanitary situation that can lead to a growing number of sick people. Because the people inside the walls know that as long as the situation remains unchanged, the wall will eventually fall. Not today, not tomorrow, but some day, the walls will come down. And when they do, everybody dies. Everybody. Women, children, parents, everyone will be slaughtered... or forced into slavery, which was not necessarily the better of the two outcomes.

 

There's a reason the vast majority of successful sieges happened because the two sides struck a bargain, and the defenders willingly opened the gates.


 

 

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1 hour ago, scalyfreak said:

The purpose of a wall is not actually to stop the invader from taking the city or castle.

Honestly I don't have anything useful to say I just want to throw gasoline on the fire and watch the discussion unfurl. :D But this is a slightly different situation as this wall is not protecting only cities but a large chunk of border with wild terrain on either side. So you'll have the soldiers on the wall and the garrisons, but that's it.

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8 minutes ago, Mad Hatter said:

Honestly I don't have anything useful to say I just want to throw gasoline on the fire and watch the discussion unfurl. :D But this is a slightly different situation as this wall is not protecting only cities but a large chunk of border with wild terrain on either side. So you'll have the soldiers on the wall and the garrisons, but that's it.

 

Which is exactly why the wall needs to be taller! :D

 

The thing with using a wall to defend yourself against an army, is that the smaller the area the wall defends is, the more effective it will be.

 

A wall along a border will successfully slow down an invading army if the wall itself is tall enough, and adequately staffed with defenders on the wall itself, with an army right behind the wall backing them up. Basically, the wall will give the defending army time to arrive, but that's about it. How much time depends on how tall the wall is and how many garrisons patrol it.

 

A well built and manned wall around a city is an effective deterrent that keeps out all but the largest armies with the best equipment, who can afford to grind down the city's defenses,  both the wall itself and the population's will to resist the invading army. Civilians tend to lose the willingness to fight to the last man when they realize that in order to survive and not have the city burnt to the ground, all they have to do is open the city gates and surrender.

 

A wall around an inner and taller wall, around a stone keep, of the type European kings and nobles started building in the 12th and 13th century, was impossible to take by force with the military technology available to armies at the time. When a castle fell to a siege, it was either because they didn't have enough defenders, or because someone inside helped the attackers get in.

 

I apologize to @WhiteGhost for allowing my inner history nerd to take over his challenge thread. :)

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Somehow, I thought I had followed your challenge earlier but apparently did not! Even though we're near the end of the challenge, I'm following along for the last few days. Your goals are great, and I'm super impressed with your photos! I've always wanted to see the Great Wall in person. It looks amazing. That traffic though...

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13 minutes ago, scalyfreak said:

I apologize to @WhiteGhost for allowing my inner history nerd to take over his challenge thread. :)

Not my thread but I love these random tangents! :lol:

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