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The Targaryen army withdrew from Dorne, leaving the country untaken. A thousand pinpricks did what a single pitched battle could not, and Aegon chose to withdraw and leave Dorne an independent nation.

-- AWOIAF, War of Conquest

Why did Aegon give up? What kind of tactics were used by the house Martell to make this happen?

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I would like to mention that I am puzzled by this question. The original quote does not exist on the internet, and similar quotes can be found only right alongside their answers... – MrLemon May 19 '14 at 15:58 (Battle in Dorne), I cut it a little for summarize my question. – JeanPaul May 19 '14 at 16:01
up vote 27 down vote accepted

It wasn't that Aegon didn't want to capture it. He couldn't, because the defendants fought in a way Aegon could not use his dragons. They knew that they didn't stand a chance in open battle. They were using ambush techniques and were not hiding in castles like other kings did.

Whereas other kings and lords had taken to the field against Aegon, or clustered in castles, the Dornish refused to give open battle and allow Aegon to deploy his dragons. Instead, they turned to ambush and raids, striking quickly and then slipping back into the desert or through the mountain passes, where even the dragons could not find them. In time, Aegon pulled away from Dorne.

(A Dance with Dragons, Chapter 8, Tyrion & A Feast for Crows, Chapter 28, Cersei)

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Well, when someone hides in the caves of a mountain, it is hard to squeeze a dragon through – Shevliaskovic May 19 '14 at 16:08
@JeanPaul - As Tywin said: "You can't conquer a country with dragons. You need an army." Even in modern militaries, you can't invade a country with just an air force and a navy. You need land forces. – System Down May 19 '14 at 16:18
@Moogle, the Soviets had the modern equivalent: airplanes and helicopters. – Dima May 19 '14 at 16:41
@Dima - Sorry, but that's a rather simplistic and revisionist view. The Soviets did have air supremacy at first, and frankly were kicking the Afghans' butts. The turning point came when the US began supplying the Mujahideen with Stingers. Without effective air support, the rigidity of Soviet tactics (they were largely road bound, for instance) made them vulnerable to guerilla tactics. – WhatRoughBeast May 19 '14 at 18:33
@WhatRoughBeast It's meant to illustrate a point, not give a full-blown history lesson. Leave the arguing to the History SE. – Chris Hayes May 19 '14 at 19:16

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