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Thread: Tactics

  1. #1
    Senior Member Senior Member Yeti Sports 1.5 Champion, Snowboard Slalom Champion, Monkey Jump Champion, Mosquito Kill Champion Csargo's Avatar
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    Default Tactics

    Can anyone tell about ancient tactics used by the great generals back then this would be greatly appriciated.

    Czar of Russia



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  2. #2
    The hair proves it... Senior Member EatYerGreens's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tactics

    It's a shame to see this hasn't generated any replies so far.

    All I can say in our defence is that this is a video-game support forum, not a history forum. Most of the talk you will see here is how to beat the AI in battle, how to beat other real people, in multiplayer, what units go well against what other units and so on.

    I'm not a great one for books, more of a telly addict but we have whole satellite-TV channels dedicated entirely to history now, so there's plenty of pre-digested material out there about how various historical battles were fought and won.

    This suggests to me that written sources are in plentiful supply and lots of detail was recorded in writing whilst the events were still fresh in the memory of the battle's survivors. Either that or it was a case of an oral history surviving for many generations and only later being written down for the record. In the latter case there's more room for speculation, rumour, tall tales and out and out fabrication.

    As always, the caveat about 'history is always written by the winners' applies with things like this. A general can always brag about his exploits in his memoirs and claim that this or that tactic was used to great effect but, for all we know, it could have been a giant tactical blunder, on the part of their opponent, or poor morale amongst the enemy troops, on that day, which brought about a famed victory.

    Not that the losing sides never get their chance to have a say. Even the Viking raids on England, in the late 800's were written about, perhaps because of attacks being directed at monasteries in particular, partly in search of treasure and partly reaction to a rival faith. Whilst the majority of the people had no use for literacy, the monks could read and write, so the events were recorded contemporaneously and in considerable detail.

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  3. #3
    " Hammer of the East" Member King Kurt's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tactics

    For my 6 pennyworth - i have always believed in the Dictum of an American Civil War general - I forget which 1 - who said to "get there firstest with the mostest" - the standard of english is about right for an ACW general!!

    I translate this identifying the key strategic point on the battle field and getting as much of my army there as soon as possible. This means moving quickly and not hesitating. It is better to get to a key point in some disarray, then reform, then to advance cautiously in good order, only to be too late.

    Good generals tend to be aggressive and direct.
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  4. #4
    Yesdachi swallowed by Jaguar! Member yesdachi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tactics

    One of the reasons I have not replied is that I am not that familiar with ancient/medieval tactics that are any good, most were lame or at least lame by today’s standards. I think that the majority of the battles that were fought in Europe were small and really standard for the time. If I were to use the same tactics in the game now I think I would be wailed on especially a multi-player game. But don’t get me wrong there were some fantastic battles with cunning generals and off the wall tactics but they are the exception. I think for the most part they were battles of attrition where everyone meet at a field and beat the crap out of each other until losses were so great that running away was the only option. The same general tactics stayed around until the revolutionary war. Things were a little different in North Africa because heavy armor was a no-no and trained soldiers were uncommon and in Russia because they used more cavalry and I won’t even start on about the Mongols, they were tactic masters. But in medieval Europe proper, good tactics were about as common as toilets, non-existent until the 1800’s!

    The few things I do know…
    Archers were considered dishonorable.
    Battles were planned around planting and harvesting seasons.
    The people were scared to death of wolves.
    Peace in Europe will never stay, because I play Medieval II Total War every day. ~YesDachi

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    Member Member DensterNY's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tactics

    Perhaps its just the manner in which he posted his question which hasn't really encouraged people to post. The very first post that I made on this forum was quite similar titled, "Brilliant Military Tactics."

    However, I asked in the context that it related to my fighting tactics in MTW as opposed to general knowledge. I came here with the Rome:Total War guide to fighting and that was form a single line, get a coffee and wait for the AI to kill itself which certainly won't happen in MTW.

    I guess, Csar you could try and look for that post and read the great responses I got from people and you could also do what I did to supplement people's contributions and google names like Hannibal, Julius Caesar, Scipio Africanus and Alexander The Great. There is a lot of material out there that covers specific tactics and they actually work in MTW.

    Best of luck!
    "The greatest pleasure is to vanquish your enemies and chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth and see those dear to them bathed in tears, to ride their horses and clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters."

    -- Genghis Khan

  6. #6
    Master of Puppets Member bretwalda's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tactics

    On strategical level:

    Know you enemy, know its strenghts, possibilities and numbers. Know more about your enemy than it knows about you maybe more than it knows about itself


    On tactical level:

    Know yours and your enemy's strenghts and weaknesses and play to your strenghts and to your enemys weakness. If the enemy army is unbalanced then concentrate on the most important units (e.g. they have a Katatank...) OR attack according to your force composition. Yes, sometimes it is a good idea to do a frontal assault. (But sometimes it is time to skirmish...)

    Dont forget to use the terrain to your advantage is possible...
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  7. #7
    Arrogant Ashigaru Moderator Ludens's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: Tactics

    Sun Tzu said that the greatest victories are those achieved without battle. But if you are going to fight a battle, the best way to destroy an enemy is to divide his army into smaller groups and destroy each one individually. This is defeat-in-detail.

    In many historical battles, commanders tried to divide the enemy cavalry from the enemy infantry. Since most armies deployed with infantry in the centre and cavalry on the flanks, defeat of one or both of the enemy cavalry wings allowed envelopment of the infantry (as cavalry combat is a fast and furious affair that is over quickly, in contrast with the slow slogging match of the infantry). Off course, it did not always work this way as the victorious cavalry quite often got either caught up in the chase, or went of the plunder the enemy encampment..

    However, most medieval armies were too ill-disciplined and unorganized to allow for fancy tactics. In the end, it all came down to whose cavalry prevailed. Provided the enemy infantry had already been thinned by the melee, the footsoldiers would be at the mercy of the heavy cavalry. That is why such importance was placed on knights: good heavy cavalry won the battles for you. However, it was this overreliance on heavy cavalry that almost lost the French the Hundred Years War. They assumed that, because they had more and better knights than the English, the battle would be a walk-over. The English, however, did not cooperate. Instead, they set a trap for the heavy cavalry, using the terrain and their massed archers to immobilize and thin them, and then finishing them off with infantry, including their own knights, who had dismounted.

    The game fortunately allows much better control of your troops than Medieval generals had. It is much easier to split an enemy army, especially since the computer is not so good at keeping them together. Both light cavalry and missile weapons can be used to draw off the enemy cavalry flanks. Horse archers are ideal for this: they can stay out of range and still entice the computer into attacking with his heavy cavalry. They are fast enough to stay out of range and, once you lured their strong units far enough, you can either take on their isolated units or envelop their army. In the first case the goal is to lure the enemies powerful cavalry into a position where you outgun them, in the second case it is to make the computer send strong units (knights, mounted sergeants) to deal with a light unit (horse archers) so that your strong units can envelop his army.

    So the tactics to remember are:
    1) Dividing the enemy army
    2) Envelopment of isolated parts
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  8. #8
    Member Member Del Arroyo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tactics

    Well, a lot of people like to be condescending about the tactics used in the Medieval Era, but the simple fact is that they were good enough and for the most part they worked. Also remember that it's pretty easy to feel condescending about real historical tactics when you are playing a GAME which allows you alot of flexibilities in tactics and manuever that would never have been possible in real life.

    But, at any rate, a tactic used in many battles in the dark ages was the idea of a shield wall, that the main line of infantry, armed with throwing spears and swords or axes, would form a formidable wall of shields which would be difficult for the enemy to break. Archers, usually deployed out in front or in the first couple of ranks of this formation, would shoot arrows from a distance, and if the enemy shot back, they would pick up those arrows and keep using them, so that an archery duel could last for quite a while.

    A good example of this would be the Battle of Hastings. Here we can see that the Shield Wall was effective in holding the Normans back and in stopping their heavy cavalry, but that with time, attrition due to archery, repeated charges, and the elimination of a foolhardy contingent of Saxons who pursued fleeing Norman infantry down the hill, gaps opened up which the Norman cavalry was able exploit.

    ..

    Later on a common tactic was to recruit masses of unreliable peasants as infantry, and rely on a devastating Heavy Cavalry charge to win the battle. The English often relied on a devastating salvo of archery to be the decisive factor in battle.

    Anyway, there's alot more to it, but that's a starter.

    DA

  9. #9
    Arrogant Ashigaru Moderator Ludens's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Re: Tactics

    Quote Originally Posted by Del Arroyo
    Well, a lot of people like to be condescending about the tactics used in the Medieval Era, but the simple fact is that they were good enough and for the most part they worked. Also remember that it's pretty easy to feel condescending about real historical tactics when you are playing a GAME which allows you alot of flexibilities in tactics and manuever that would never have been possible in real life.
    I agree: medieval commanders were faced with a lot of limitations, so they couldn't use complex tactics. What I meant to say was that tactics of the Catholic armies were simple compared to those of the Muslims or the Byzantine Empire of the same period, not to the tactics we can pull off behind our computers.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Tactics

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russia#Ancient_Russia

    It seems Russia has spent most of it's history being civilised by european and middle eastern civilisations, only to be tormented by various steppe hoardes. Obviously due to their superior warfare skills on plains. They must have survived by guarding forested and hilly regions of Russia. Possibly camping there until their plains dominant enemies faced logistical problems and had to go elsewhere to feed their cattle. They would have had superior infantry, so in any area unsuitable for cavalry they would be king. I'm sure they would have also used their own horse archers when trying to drive their enemies from the wide open plains in open battle, which explains the boyars. Possibly with an elite anti-cavalry infantry line for support, which explains the jedi (for the dark ages) russian spearmen.

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