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As is well known, the battle of the Teutoburg Forest was an important turning point in the history of the Roman empire.

Now a time traveller goes back into that time in order to change history, with the goal to have Varus win. However it is not possible for him to take any modern/future artefacts with him; not even the time machine itself. He can only transfer himself back in time, and program a point in time when the time machine automatically takes him back to his own time; if necessary, he can repeat that several times (provided his change in the time line didn't make the time machine vanish). So all he can do is to learn as much as possible about that time, and use that knowledge to try changing the history using contemporary means.

So what could he do to make Varus win? Of course he can inform him about the plans of Arminius, but then, why would Varus believe him? And could he do anything else? Maybe use future knowledge to provide Varus with better weapons?

Note that he can't simply kill Arminius as child, as that way Varus would not win the battle because there would not be any battle.

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    $\begingroup$ The battle might still occur if Arminius dies as a child, just with a different opposition to Varus, yes? $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Sep 14 '15 at 20:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre: In which case the result would be quite hard to predict, I guess. Not a good option for someone who wants to have Varus win. $\endgroup$
    – celtschk
    Sep 14 '15 at 20:52
  • $\begingroup$ Not if the time traveler is the one who leads the opposition. ;) $\endgroup$
    – Frostfyre
    Sep 14 '15 at 20:53
  • $\begingroup$ @Frostfyre: That's an interesting idea. But how would he convince the other side that he's the right leader for them? $\endgroup$
    – celtschk
    Sep 14 '15 at 20:59
  • $\begingroup$ Varus was actually warned, repeatedly about Arminius' plans, at least in general terms. He just didn't believe it. But changing it would not be hard. Even delaying the march a few days would likely have led to the Germans being detected, or going home in disgust. $\endgroup$
    – Oldcat
    Sep 16 '15 at 0:19
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The key to the Germanic victory in the Battle of Teutoburg Forest is that they ambushed the Roman legions while those legions were strung out along the path of travel. Take that away, and with near parity in numbers, the superior Roman training will let them win.

Preventing the battle is easy: go back in time to before the battle, establish yourself as leader of the unit responsible for scouting for the army, and ensure that the German forces are spotted well before they can attack. The problem is bringing the Germans to battle: Arminius is knowledgeable enough about Roman tactics to know he can't win against an army in battle formation.

The Roman forces were strung out along 15-20 km of ambush-friendly terrain -- so spread-out that the various units would be almost entirely unable to support each other. With that sort of tactical disadvantage, no weaponry advantage short of modern automatic firearms is likely to turn the tide, and even that might not be enough.

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Well if he was willing to sacrifice himself in the name of helping Varus win, then getting caught and 'questioned' pretending to be a spy from Arminius telling all that he knew about the ambush, then most likely he would use that information to increase a victory, however, the the chance of survival for our intrepid time traveler, go down, likely seeing his last sunset from the posts of a cross.

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  • $\begingroup$ Varus was actually warned, repeatedly, but trusted clan leaders, that Arminius was up to something. So one more such claim from a source without credit would not help. Some real factual evidence, might. $\endgroup$
    – Oldcat
    Sep 16 '15 at 0:21

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