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War has broken out in my world after 750 years of relative peace. After four years of back and forth fighting, the Marisari, now a nation weary of war, plan to win the final battle of the war by sending half of their army, a force of 1,000,000 elite warriors, to march on, then capture, the capital of the old federation. The only issue with this is that the only way to get to the capital is to go through 372 miles (100 yards) of untamed wilderness (grass). (I'm not sure if this is a short or long distance for an army mostly on foot to trek.). The capital is made aware of their plan and is told that they will arrive in roughly seven days if all goes well for them. This greatly distressed the capital, as they will need 12 days to prepare a defensive force and fortify the capital. So they send a force of 2,000 men on the backs of white and vinegar flies to delay the attackers. They are told upon going "Do whatever it takes, whatever it may be, to delay the usurpers "

My question is:

Is there anything that a force so insurmountably outnumbered could do to stall the force of 1,000,000 for five days?

  • $\begingroup$ what level of technology is available? $\endgroup$ – sdrawkcabdear Mar 16 '16 at 17:37
  • $\begingroup$ @sdrawkcabdear Bronze Age $\endgroup$ – user15036 Mar 16 '16 at 17:47
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    $\begingroup$ A normal sized foot could do the trick. $\endgroup$ – Jason C Mar 16 '16 at 18:21
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    $\begingroup$ 372 miles != 100 yards! $\endgroup$ – JBentley Mar 16 '16 at 19:33
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    $\begingroup$ Rain. Light Rain. $\endgroup$ – Serban Tanasa Mar 16 '16 at 20:04

The disparity of forces is so extreme that their chances are incredibly low. However, there could be a thing or two they could try.

Their best chance is to somehow turn larger insects/animals against the invaders.

If they can stir an ant's nest, for example, and lure said ants into the path of the incoming army that would definitely throw a wrench in their plans.

Additionally, if they plant bait which might attract spiders, or other predatory insects in the army's path they will be delayed.

Somehow managing to turn on the sprinkler would probably also work :-P

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    $\begingroup$ +1 for sprinkler idea , lol ( can I say lol on this site ?) $\endgroup$ – user15036 Mar 16 '16 at 17:51
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    $\begingroup$ @TheoclesofSaturn - I do it all the time! lol! $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Mar 16 '16 at 17:55

Light a fire downwind in the grass (provided it's really dry grass).

Despite the unpredictability of fire attacks, they would be incredibly effective in this case. A small force of 2000 men on flying "horses" can't oppose 1,000,000 men. Given the fast spread of fire and the relative amount of fuel, lighting a fire in the right place could destroy large parts of the enemy army. If the enemy army manages to avoid being burned to death, they will still be delayed on their march to the capital.

Given that the enemy army is down in the grass, they may suffocate to death instead of burning...or both. Either way, it's a nasty way to die.

Attack the supply lines behind this giant army.

With the superior mobility afforded by the flies, the 2000 could attack wherever they choose. If the supply trains are unguarded then they are ripe for attack and looting. If the supply trains are guarded then that will slow them down and possibly divert manpower away from the attack on the capital.

Assassination of enemy commanders

Whenever an commander dies, it induces a little disorder in the ranks while everyone figures out that the commander is in fact dead and then who is supposed to take command. If you do this often enough, the ability for the army to maintain operational cohesion goes way down.


If the enemy army all has the plague, they won't make much if any progress towards the capital. Poison the water supply.

Any asymmetric warfare strategy should work here

Given the disparity between the attackers and the defenders, any and all asymmetric warfare tactics used throughout the ages will be useful here.

  • $\begingroup$ Vynikající ! O tayo !'Exochos! $\endgroup$ – user15036 Mar 16 '16 at 19:12
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    $\begingroup$ Really, the answer to this question is asymmetric warfare. Fighting in the open between the flying cavalry and the million man arm isn't going to work out. But, destroying supplies, sewing disease or careful assassination will have a huge effect on the enemy army. $\endgroup$ – Green Mar 16 '16 at 19:15
  • $\begingroup$ The only problem with using fire is that at that size you're capital is toast (no pun intended). The potential for devastating enemies quails in comparison to the potential damage to yourself. $\endgroup$ – Aarthew III Mar 17 '16 at 0:27
  • $\begingroup$ @AarthewIII That is the problem with any fire attack. Sun Tzu has lots to say about fire attacks. $\endgroup$ – Green Mar 17 '16 at 0:29
  • $\begingroup$ @green right, but I think sun Tzu probably meant for normal humans (not sure). Normal sized humans have a ridiculously hard time keeping fires under control(if they can). Imagine if you are approx 5000 times smaller. It's literally up to the wind. $\endgroup$ – Aarthew III Mar 17 '16 at 4:16

Block the road by chopping down grass across it.

Grass has a blade like crossection hence the name. Trees have a circular cross-section and so are harder to cut down. Cut a blade down perpendicular to the enemy's line of approach and it is a long wall.

Grass is 6 -3 mm wide and the enemy is 0.3 mm tall so climbing over a blade of grass is like a human scaling a 10 -20 story building. Grass can be 1 1/2 inches to 4 inches to a foot long so the barrier is 120 - 520 times longer that a man is tall. It can be even longer in the wild.

It is much easier to build a grass barrier than a tree barrier since the grass grows more densely and is easier to cut down.

Per Aarthew III's answer you have several days establish few short barriers near the enemy capital to slow them down, and stop them from brining any really small siege engines. Then work on a main defense line closer to home make it a blade or two high and cut it early to let it dry out. When the enemy ties to climb it your flying units can attack them as they climb and as a last resort you can set the wall on fire Per Green's answer.


So according to http://historum.com/war-military-history/50719-how-many-miles-could-medieval-army-move-day.html the average medieval army could travel 15-18miles in a day. I myself hike and with just my pack (no weapons)I have trouble doing 15 miles. So to cover 372 miles in 7 days would be 53 miles a day. Since the army would only spend around 7-9 hours hiking that's approximately 6.6mph. 3.1mph is the average walk speed WITHOUT carrying anything. It would be impossible for them to make it there in seven days. Your soldiers have time to spare. If you would prefer conflict though you could drop flaming pots of tar on important targets.(like supplies and officers)

  • $\begingroup$ Oh yeah, also I just wanted to mention I'm a big fan of your microscopic humans idea Theocles of Saturn. It just seems like a cool idea. Especially the anthill one. $\endgroup$ – Aarthew III Mar 16 '16 at 19:52