Chapter 13: The Battle-First Moves.

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Chapter 13: The Battle-First Moves.

Post by ^Marcus Cornelius^ on Sun 08 Jun 2008, 19:21

13. The Battle: First Moves

13.1. Moving on Battle Field


Here we are. The battle is commencing.
Talk with your mates and decide an approach to enemy strategy.
Then drag your entire army to its destination.
In moving your army keep in mind these principles:

1. Move your army to reach your mate armies. A team has always to act as one.
2. Move your army as one, except for light or missile cavalry scouting enemy forces if needed.
3. Move your army at a slow pace if you can. Running means tiring. Tiring means less combat power in melee, less energy in throwing missile weapons, less energy to hold a position if attacked. But if enemy is going to reach you and try to double you, be quick to get protection close to your mates and run.
4. Move your army to get an advantage position. That is, try to win strategically even before fighting.

13.2. General Concept

In Total War MP games players all usually start with the same amount of florins. i.e. on paper, when the games starts, none has an advantage, apart from personal skill and experience and location on map at start.
What is an advantage position? It is a combat situation that allows your team to fight starting with an advantage. Just like, you could have bought more men with your limited budget.
Example: 40 archers on a hill will kill enemies as if they were 60.

I see two types of advantage position:
- Location advantage (hill, edge, river)
- Manoeuvre advantage (2 v 1, 3 v 2, etc.)

Remember, strategy is the art of moving your forces to win the battle just before having to fight it.
Really, move to an advantage position and 90% of work is done. If you win the strategical battle the tactical win will follow as natural.

..13.3 Location Advantage

Location advantage is easy to understand.
Taking the top of a hill, deploying on edge of a slope will give your army advantage.
This advatage will work for you:
- During the skirmish phase
- During the melee phase.

Archers throwing arrows from a hill will have their range increased. The missile attack factor (i.e. precision of shot and armour piercing factor) will increase a bit too.
Infantry or cavalry fighting uphill will have their combat factors decreased a bit.

So, if it is possible, all players of a team should move together to immediately take a location advantage position. Or they should move to prevent enemy taking location advantage.
All factors equal, if you miss location advantage you loose the game. See picture for example.




13.4. How to Counter Location Disadvantage

Mobility and Flank Attack

To counter location disadvantage you will need a superior skill.
Superior skill means mobility and quick concentration of units and fire power on flanks while the enemy is standing still. This concentration can cause rout and disorder in enemy ranks with a quick mass rout.
See picture.
This is a way to counter a location disadvantage by acheiving a manouvre advantage: see next chapter.



Shooting on Massed Units

A frequent error made by players exploiting a location advantage is massing units in little space. Often you can see players massing units on small hills and waiting for your troops for climbing the hill.
If the slope is not actually a cliff, with overwhelming disadvantage both in missile and melee, the attacking army can take advantage in spread missiles troops and shooting on massed enemy troops with different shoot angle. Casualties in enemy troops defending massed on the little hill will be considerable, and not only to missile units but even on cavalry and melee troops massed. After missiles end their task in softing enemy ranks, both if out of ammo or all killed by enemy shooters, if stillness of enemy is kept on, a rush up the hill can solve the situation. Attackers troops were kept fresh and untouched by arrows, they can fight well against soften and massed enemy units. The attacker should concentrate his strong melee infantry and cavalry on the flank and less skilled troops to hold the front. The enemy flank should collapse by the skilled troops and a mass rout should occur.





13.5 Manoeuvre Advantage

Manoeuvre advantage is less easy to understand and less easy to achieve.
Manoeuvre advantage means that your team manoeuvres to concentrate more friendly combat factor on less enemy combat factor for a certain period. During that period manoeuvre will cause more casualties in numbers to enemy than enemy can cause to your team. In that period a consistent part of enemy forces is standing unemployed and is not causing any harm or danger to friendly units.

If you attack 1 enemy unit (40 men) doubling it with 2 units (80 men), the overall losses for enemy will be 1 unit (40 men: routed or dead). But less then 1 full unit overall will be the losses for your team.
This can be applied both to missile duel and to melee.

This advantage is much more for melee troops, because with the extra unit you can try to flank. Units attacked on flank rout easily and cease fighting.

So manoeuvre advantage consists in doubling (2 armies v 1 army), tripling (3 armies v 1 army, 3 armies v 2 armies).
The two (or three) surviving armies will be able to attack the 1 (or 2) remaining enemy army almost at full strength. And that means a second double (triple).

If during the start of the battle you can see that the enemy armies act as separate armies and they are split in two or more parts and the space between them is wide, you can hurry and catch one isolated. Thus, you can exploit a manoeuvre advantage. See picture.




Another way to achieve manoeuvre advantage consists in half a double.
This is typical in melee phases. It consists in dividing one of your team armies (usually a lateral one) in a mobile wing (cavalry) and a static main body. The static main body keeps off an entire enemy army, avoiding direct contact, while the mobile wing adds its force to team mates to hit enemy in flanks and cause a quick collapse. See picture.




13.6. How To Counter Manouvre Disadvantage

If you fall as a team in manouvre disadvantage that means that you had lack of communcation with your teams mates.
Enemies are doubling some of your team armies. If the army that are going to be doubled had enough time and space and they are not engaged, the best thing they can do is communicate with other team mates not doubled and retreat all together in a meeting point out of danger to reorganize. So better always to evaluate your position when moving and your distance from enemies and allied.

If a retreat is not more possible and doubled are engaged by enemies, the battle is almost lost.
In this situation you can often see the doubled allied routed, the other armies running to help and coming tired in the place of battle only to partecipate to a mass rout.

Maybe the best strategy that can be applied in this situation is what follows:
1. the doubled armies resist as much as they can to enemies attack trying to cause as much damage as they can;
2. the incoming allied stops just to be in range of its missile units and skirmishes: it is not a treason if agreed with other allied. If enemies are not so efficient in killing quickly the doubled, they will catch many missiles shots from the helper;
3. when the allied are routed, the survivor is alone against more enemy armies, but these armies are decimated in melee troops and very tired for the previous combat;
4. the survivor can launch fresh troops into a new melee against tired enemies with some chance of victory.
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^Marcus Cornelius^
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