Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Monday, July 02, 2007


This is coolbert:

Good program on public television [Nova] the other night.

Dealt with the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. Referred to as “The Conquest”.

It has long puzzled the "experts" as to how the Spanish under Pizarro were SO EASILY able to defeat the Inca.

The Inca was a relatively highly developed civilization, able to put large military forces in the field.

[the Inca could put ARMIES in the field that numbered in the many tens of thousands!!]

The Inca were military expansionists and DID have a lot of experience with warfare. Pizarro and the Conquistadores should NOT have had an EASY time!

"By its height in the early 16th century, the Inca Empire had conquered and absorbed hundreds of other chiefdoms and spanned over 772,000 square miles. Its warriors remained undefeated in battle for nearly a century before falling to the Spanish at the Siege of Lima. How did some 200 European adventurers manage to take down a chiefdom so mighty? "

Archeologists, forensic scientists, historians [conventional and military both] now seem to be in consensus that the Spanish were aided in large measure by American Indian allies. Allies NOT necessarily pro-Spanish as more anti-Inca. Allies whose significant numbers tipped the military balance in favor of the invader.

[similar, if not identical to what occurred in the Conquest of Mexico. A rag-tag band of Conquistadores numbering NOT more than two hundred Spaniards defeated the Aztecs by having large numbers of American Indian allies at their side, fighting against the Aztec overlords!]

A somewhat surprising fact about the conquest is that:

* The Spanish Conquistadores for the most part were NOT soldiers. Were of peasant stock but NOT necessarily persons with a military background.

Men - - adventurers - - who were accustomed to hardship, physical toil, deprivation. Men - - primarily from the harshest, most desolate, poverty stricken part of Spain, the Extremadura.

[“the best preparation for being a soldier is poverty - - Napoleon.”]

This is contrary to what I have read. My impression was that the Spanish Conquistadores WERE soldiers. At that period in time, the Spanish soldier was regarded as the BEST in the world.

Armed with a melange’ of weaponry that was characteristic of the time. Wearing body armor protecting the critical areas of the body.

* Swords. [were rapiers? NOT slashing swords but piercing swords?]

* Pikes.

* Mace. [a stick with the chain and a lead spiked ball at the end.]

* Crossbow.

* Cannon. [of the backpack variety, broken down and man-carried during travel.]

* Arquebus.

Rode war horses that also wore armor.

Facing American-Indian warriors equipped with Stone Age weaponry.

* Bolos. [slings for heaving pebbles??]

* Spears. [tipped with flint spear-points.]

* War clubs.

Armored men on horseback, riding into combat in massed formation, driving a wedge into the numerically much greater formation of Inca warriors, was the favorite battle tactic of the Spanish.

Military historian is quoted on the program as saying that the Inca, NOT having any battle experience against horsemen, DID NOT have an answer to the massed cavalry charge of the Spanish.


The means to repel a cavalry charge WAS at hand, but not used! See my previous blog entry about HOW the Inca, employing the correct combination of weapons, tactics, AND FIGHTING AS SOLDIERS RATHER THAN WARRIORS, COULD have defeated the Spanish cavalry.

[it would have been further possible for the Inca to impede the forward progress of the Spanish horsemen by flinging rocks the size of grapefruits into the path of the cavalry charge. Such an impediment, simple as it is, causes the riders to hesitate, for fear of breaking the ankles of their horses. Shock effect of the massed horsemen would be lost!!]

The Inca COULD HAVE, BUT DID NOT! The rest is history!



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