How much the number of soldiers contributes to ability to win a war?

Me and roommate in debate over how much sway number of soldiers contributed to win ort loss for each war. Does anyone have numbers of available soldiers, not how many died in action. He says it absolutely does, but I don't remember any of the major wars being fought by vastly outnumbered militaries, or where tactics and luck haven't played a huge role. I do know that the civil war was double people on the north than south. Wasn't even the civil war close in the end?

2 Answers

  • 4 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    The quickie answer is that, if the two armies are equal in resources, abilities and training, then the one with the largest number will win.

    However, that's for a single battle. 

    In real life, it's a matter of which force can bring to bear the greater force (position, resources, power) at specific points. Then, in that local area, the greater force will always win. This is why the Spartans at Thermopylae could hold back an army of tens of thousands with only 300 men -- the Persians could not bring their superior force (more men and other resources) to bear on what should have been a skirmish. Yes, the Persians eventually won, but at the price of being able to beat the Athenian forces later, and even then, it was a matter of someone betraying the Spartans.

    In WWII, the Germans should have won the Battle of Britain, which would have kept the Russians and Americans out of the war. But Britain could use its resources better in the actual field (I know --it was mostly an aerial battle) and hence beat the Germans back, preventing the superior forces from invading the Islands and getting control of enough resources to conquer at least half the world.

    In the American Civil War, the confederacy should have won, because they had the better army and resources, but eventually, the Union could bring more into play than they could, and turned the tide.

    Also look at Israel's "six day war" -- out numbered and our resourced, they beat the arab coalition easily -- same basic principles...

    So, not so much luck as being better able to use the resources available.

    BTW, read Sun Tzu's Art of War -- being able to use your resources better than your opponent can mean that a smaller force beats the larger one 

  • Mike W
    Lv 7
    4 months ago

    It's only part of it.  Wars are won by logistics.  You can have the best trained and most competently led army, but without supplies, they won't go very far.  

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