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Word Count: 1,097
The vast differences between the size and nature of the Greek and Persian forces led to the adoption of opposing strategies The Persians attempted to utilize their numbers to quickly overwhelm the Greek resistance whilst the Greeks had to devise more cunning approaches to offset their deficit in number Despite Herodotus viewpoint of hurried and disordered reactions of the Greeks there is evidence to suggest a designated Greek plan which was adhered to by their forces Xerxes had crossed into Europe via the Hellespont with about 180 000 men Despite their technological disadvantage Ethiopian and Indian troops armed with stone-age weaponry Xerxes had a firm belief that his numbers would prevail At the outset the Greeks had realized that the complete defeat of such a large force was an impossibility Their actions in 480-479 reveal a strategy which would slow the advance of the Persians but allowed for concession of Greek Territory The Greeks main policy was to exploit flaws in the Persian war machine These flaws were largely a result of the Persians numbers Themistocles had realized that the key role of the Persian fleet was to supply the army The huge land force was supplied by 3000 support vessels which ferried supplies from outposts in Thrace Total defeat of the Persian army was unachievable - the alternative was to attempt to cut off the Persian naval supply lines and hold out until winter The arrival of winter would cause immense problems for the supply of troops - storms and the treacherous coastline would wreck many ships It also made land and naval engagements harder As a result the Greeks adopted a policy of merely slowing the Persian advance until winter The Greek army would retreat to locations with the best geographical advantage whilst the navy attempted to interdict the Persian fleet and their supply lines In order for this policy to work effectively the Greeks had to adopt a northern defense strategy The
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