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View Poll Results: Who would win?
Karl XII (Swedish Empire) 1 100.00%
Frederick II The Great (Kingdom of Prussia) 0 0%
Tied 0 0%
Voters: 1. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-27-2013, 07:46 AM   #1
Ninja of Cao
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Default Karl XII vs Frederick the Great

Two of the greatest soldier kings in European history, both utilizing revolutionary tactics and excellent leadership to fend off armies many times the size of their own. Who would win in an all-out-war? The man who used religion to make his men fearless of death and commanded the most decisive charges in the history of the bayonet, or the man who turned the small nation of Prussia into a great power and paved way for the union of Germany?

Scenario: The German state of Prussia, seeking expansion in any direction, believes that the loosely populated Swedish Empire is a prime target for invasion. But Karl XII and his Carolean army stand ready to beat their enemies back to the south and once again prove Nordic superiority. Their weapons (bayonets, rapiers, muskets and pikes) are the same, but their tactics are decisively different. While the Prussian force relies on long-range firepower, the Caroleans have a far more devastating - but also more risky - way of going into battle. They will march close to their enemies, ignoring the inaccurate long-range fire, and then launch a single, massive volley at short range followed by a devastating melee charge. Karl XII have defeated Russians, Poles and Danes easily with this tactic. But will it be enough to rout a force as disciplined as the Prussian army?

Spoiler:


Spoiler:


For greatest victories and greatest defeats, there are links that will take you to a Wikipedia article of that battle.

Statistics Karl XII Frederick II
Lived: 1672-1718 1712-1786
Age: 26 45
Army size: 200,000 193,000
Navy size: 37 13
Empire: Swedish Prussian
Government: Absolute monarchy Absolute Monarchy
Greatest victory: Narva Rossbach
Greatest defeat: Bender Kolin
Army setup:

Karl XII
45,294 infantry (shoot-and-charge tactics)
31,706 cavalry (shoot-and-charge tactics)
123,000 conscripts (33% pikemen, 54.5% musketeers, 12.5% grenadiers)
37 cannons
11 ships of the line
10 frigates
6 galleys
10 fire ships

Frederick II The Great
70,000 infantry (musketeer line tactics)
20,000 cavalry (skirmish tactics)
103,000 conscripts (15% pikemen, 80% musketeers, 5% grenadiers)
79 cannons
3 ships of the line
10 frigates

My own conclusion:
Spoiler:

This subject has been commonly debated in Sweden; Karl XII was truly a tactical mastermind as displayed in battles such as Narva, Klissow, Pultusk and Holowczyn, among many others. Karl XII never lost a single battle under his own command, except for the minor skirmish at Bender where the enemies were 288 times his own numbers. Frederick the Great on the other hand lost numerous battles and displayed a certain degree of cowardice, fleeing a battle that was about to go wrong so that his second-in-command could take the blame for defeat. Karl XII would never have committed such dishonorable acts, and his soldiers were in every way superior in terms of training and discipline. Also, they did not fear death due to their strong Christian beliefs, and they would not hesitate to charge against the Prussian line of fire for melee combat, in which the Caroleans were far superior to any other soldiers in the world at the time. Because of superior numbers, superior discipline and superior close combat effectiveness, I believe that the Swedish army under Karl XII will be victorious. Not only that, but they have a far superior navy to blockade Prussia’s ports and weaken their economy, as well as bombarding major coastal cities from the shore.
Final conclusion: Karl XII wins

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Old 03-27-2013, 10:24 AM   #2
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Default Re: Karl XII vs Frederick the Great

I'm a Frederick fan, but a proven musket tactic is to get close and volley, then charge when the times right. Karl's tactic of marching through fire to do the most damage possible is the premiere musket based tactic used by all serious armies during the musket warfare era. Karl wins.
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:28 AM   #3
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Default Re: Karl XII vs Frederick the Great

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Originally Posted by Mekuto View Post
I'm a Frederick fan, but a proven musket tactic is to get close and volley, then charge when the times right. Karl's tactic of marching through fire to do the most damage possible is the premiere musket based tactic used by all serious armies during the musket warfare era. Karl wins.
Plus, Karl XII has a stronger navy and a slightly larger force
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:34 AM   #4
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Default Re: Karl XII vs Frederick the Great

Really it's a wash, but still a Frederick fan. If I'm not mistaken Prussia used his tactics and plans all the way until Napoleon stomped them.
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Old 03-28-2013, 06:52 AM   #5
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Default Re: Karl XII vs Frederick the Great

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mekuto View Post
Really it's a wash, but still a Frederick fan. If I'm not mistaken Prussia used his tactics and plans all the way until Napoleon stomped them.
I believe so, yes. But then it should be said that Karl XII was one of the historical commanders that Napoleon respected the most, second only to Gustav II Adolf (also a Swedish king). And bayonet charges were still useful during the Napoleonic wars, although the Carolean tactic could be quite bloody due to the increased range and accuracy of Napoleonic muskets. Nevertheless, many people say that if Karl XII and Napoleon had equally sized forces on an open field, Karl XII would win due to his superior cavalry and the fact that his men were religious fanatics who refused to retreat or surrender. Napoleon's superior muskets and cannons would probably not be enough to compete with the Caroleans' superior discipline, courage, skill and training. Although I am uncertain if the Caroleans can make up for their long-range casualties in close combat after being fired upon by Napoleon's troops.
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Old 03-28-2013, 07:05 AM   #6
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Default Re: Karl XII vs Frederick the Great

Karl won every fight he fought, had better army. gg.
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Old 03-28-2013, 07:12 AM   #7
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Default Re: Karl XII vs Frederick the Great

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maruko View Post
Karl won every fight he fought, had better army. gg.
To be fair, he didn't won the Skirmish at Bender. but 43 against 13,000 are not great odds...
Frederick on the other hand lost several battles, a couple of which he actually had more soldiers than his enemies in. And his navy was annihilated by Sweden in the battle of Frisches Haff (by that time Sweden was much weaker than under Karl XII), as well as being quite much of a coward compared to his Swedish adversary.
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carolus rex, frederick ii, frederick ii the great, frederick the great, history, karl xii, military comparison, prussia, prussian empire, soldier king, sweden, swedish empire


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