Chapter 15: The Battle-Melee (i) - General Concept

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Chapter 15: The Battle-Melee (i) - General Concept

Post by ^Marcus Cornelius^ on Sun 08 Jun 2008, 14:14

15. The Battle: Melee

..15.1. General Concept and Target of Melee

The melee is the main part of the Total War MP game. It is the crucial event of the battle.
The moves on the battlefield and the shootout phase have all the objectives to put your team in the position to win the melee and rout the enemy from the battlefield.
Every player can adopt many tactics and moves trying to win the melee phase. All different.
It is not easy to give a unique way of dealing with melee. Every gamer can find his effective tactics and can vary it from faction to faction trying to exploit single faction’s strengths and weaknesses.
I can refer anyway to a standard melee: the most common way to deal with hand to hand fighting.
What follows does not assume to be the complete method.

The “standard” melee could be classified into four phases:
- Approaching the enemy
- Charging enemy front (hand to hand)
- Manoeuvering and flanking
- Chasing and Regrouping.

I must make an assumption just to make things simpler to discuss. That is the result of a skirmish phase lets the fronting sides be substantially equal: a draw. Discussing all factor as equal is simpler.

Another assumption should be made: none of the sides were able to take an advantage, neither location advantage or manoeuvre advantage.
If your sides strategically lost advantage, probably the battle is already lost. No tactical miracle or skill in moving units in hand to hand can help you win, if you are doubled, tripled, or you are trying to assault a hill or a well defended edge.
If you could move your armies so that you won the battle strategically before tactical hand to hand, probably the skill in using units, matching units, flanking becomes less important and you can win easily. You won the battle moving, strategically, just before engaging enemy.
Refer to Chapter 13 The Battle: First Moves to achieve a strategical advantage.

..15.2. Approaching The Enemy

Approaching the enemy means going near the enemy, in formation, rested, ready to launch a charge.

Near the enemy
Even if you performed a shootout, your are not near the enemy. Maybe you are in range for throwing arrows, but you are many meters/feet away from enemy frontline. If you are not in a hurry, and you are not under fire, it is not necessary to start running and charge enemy from that distance. You can walk until you are near enough to launch an effective charge without being tired by a long run.

It is important to approach the enemy well organized.
To do this you must shape your army in a formation with:
- A frontline,
- Maybe (better) some reserves,
- Maybe (better) wings.
Your formation must be drawn as every unit has a task and is located into the formation in the right place to perform that task. See picture.

The frontline is set up with your infantry melee units.
The task is to engage enemy frontline, matching every unit of your frontline with one (and only one) unit of enemy frontline.
The reserves are set up in a line behind your frontline. They could be melee infantry, and or cavalry, and or spearmen.
The tasks are to support first line morale, to fill gaps in friendly frontline, to exploit gaps in enemy frontline, to counter enemy flanking attempts and to try to flank enemy if friendly frontline is holding safely. Archers surviving can be used as reserves.
The wings are usually formed with cavalry.
The wings can have two tasks.
The first task is to defeat enemy wing and try to flank enemy frontline. You need superiority to achieve this. The greater your superiority, the shorter the time your cavalry will be routing enemy and will be free to charge enemy in the back.
The wings can also both (or one of them) have the task to resist enough against the enemy wing to let your center win the battle. This second task is a hard one. That is because cavalry kill rate and number can cause cavalry to fight for fewer minutes than infantry usually does. Unless your cavalry has a heavy armour (catafracts, clibanarii), it is better if you do not engage your wings if you cannot win in a short time. If their task is passive (hold wing) let the enemy move first and then counter him if you are forced to, always charging at him.

If tired your units will have combat point penalties. Very heavy penalties if exahausted. So before moving towards the enemy, before charging, be sure your units are all fresh … or nearly fresh.
Stay away from contact unless you are forced to.

Every unit has a charge bonus. For cavalry charge factor is higher than infantry (cavalry charge from 6 to 10; infantry charge from 2 to 4). i.e. at first contact if your unit is running to enemy unit you will have a bonus in killing for the first seconds. So it is better going into contact with melee units charging enemy. Charge factor gives its best if charging not from too big a distance.
Consider that range of archers is between 120 and 160 (mt?).
Charge has its best effect usually if it starts between 30 and 40. In going near the enemy frontline be aware of enemy infantry with darts, pila, javelin. You have to avoid being shot by them for a long time. So probably you will have to start your charge before, when you are 100-80 distance from the enemy.
^Marcus Cornelius^

Number of posts : 93
Location : Italy
Registration date : 2008-05-31

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