Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 59

Thread: How to defend a bridge?

  1. #1
    Member Member Philbert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    144

    Default How to defend a bridge?

    Do you put your spearmen on the bridge, or do you create a pocket at the end of the bridge so that the crossing troops are attacked from 3 sides?

    I was just attacked by a mongol army and they took forever to rout and even though I won, my army took a serious blow and had to bail out of the next attack.
    I took the second approach, making a pocket.
    Hebban olla uogala nestas bigunnan hinase hic enda thu

  2. #2
    Typing from the Saddle Senior Member Doug-Thompson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Fayetteville, AR
    Posts
    2,455

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    I'm a "pocket" advocate. If you put the troops on the bridge, they'll be shot to pieces by all those Mongol archers before the real fight starts.
    "In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns."

  3. #3
    Typing from the Saddle Senior Member Doug-Thompson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Fayetteville, AR
    Posts
    2,455

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    What faction were you, by the way?
    "In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns."

  4. #4
    Bureaucratically Efficient Senior Member TinCow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    13,729

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    The "pocket" method is preferable, unless you don't have enough infantry to hold the pocket. In a rare situation where you have many ranged units, but only one or two infantry, place the infantry on the bridge to give your ranged more time to kill the enemy before they force their way across. The "pocket" is preferable in every other scenario I can think of, though with an all cavalry army, I would say use a 'charge pocket' method. Instead of blocking the bridge with your cavalry, have them surround the 'pocket' area and charge into the enemy from all sides when they reach that point.


  5. #5
    Guardian of the Fleet Senior Member Shahed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Leading the formation !
    Posts
    7,918

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    The problem with defensive pocket (or anything else) is often a determined cavalry advance will see the cavalry breaking through the pocket at multiple points. The push back effect at it's best. It also happens in gate defence.
    A Gamecenter with a dedicated Total War fanbase!
    Check out our Facebook!
    Email: shahed@outpost.be


  6. #6
    Enlightened Despot Member Vladimir's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    In ur nun, causing a bloody schism!
    Posts
    7,906

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    A modified hammer and anvil approach works. Take a large unit with high defense, a small unit with high attack and charge and form a half isosceles triangle, I forget what that's called. Form your spears up at about a 30 degree angle with the bridge and position your charging units a little way back from the open side, enough so they can get up to max charge speed. If you make sure that your spears are close enough that the enemy engage them and not go around, you set up a nice flank charge with your (hopefully fast) attack units. Keep running those suckers in and out until the enemy breaks. Set your spears on guard mode.

    That's the poor man's bridge defense. The box is probably a better option and make sure you have indirect fire support.


    Reinvent the British and you get a global finance center, edible food and better service. Reinvent the French and you may just get more Germans.
    Quote Originally Posted by Evil_Maniac From Mars
    How do you motivate your employees? Waterboarding, of course.
    Ik hou van ferme grieten en dikke pinten
    Down with dried flowers!
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



  7. #7
    Bureaucratically Efficient Senior Member TinCow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    13,729

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sinan
    The problem with defensive pocket (or anything else) is often a determined cavalry advance will see the cavalry breaking through the pocket at multiple points. The push back effect at it's best. It also happens in gate defence.
    Yes, cavalry can force an opening, but that in turn can be countered by lining the pocket with spears in schiltrom formation. 3 units can do an effective job. With sufficient cavalry, even this can be forced, but with very high casualties and that's assuming only 3 or 4 spear units on defense.


  8. #8
    Guardian of the Fleet Senior Member Shahed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Leading the formation !
    Posts
    7,918

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    I'm having some trouble visualising this. Is it possible to post an illustration ?

    I've always had problems defending bridges and gates, people just get pushed aside by the horses. I fare much better in open field vs Mongols than at bottlenecks. So much so, that I've given up being defensive against them, if they enter my land... MOUNT UP & RIDE !!! IT'S WAR !!!
    A Gamecenter with a dedicated Total War fanbase!
    Check out our Facebook!
    Email: shahed@outpost.be


  9. #9
    Typing from the Saddle Senior Member Doug-Thompson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Fayetteville, AR
    Posts
    2,455

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    There's also the question of what the pocket is for. For me, the pocket just holds the attackers stationary while a deluge of missiles does the killing.

    In fact, I use thin lines of infantry because you get less friendly fire losses that way.

    I have a pocket of three units backed by a reserve of a fourth to take care of the breakthrough problem Sinan mentioned. If I have more infantry, I double up with a second pocket right behind the first.
    "In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns."

  10. #10

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    I think the pocket works best, but also, another question needs to be asked.

    Are you using 1.2?

    I sort of use the pocket method with Spearmen in schiltrom at one end. I put them in formation, and line them upa along the length of the bridge protruding out a bit on either end. Then, I stagger another line of them behind, all surrounded by other infantry to charge in and plug holes or stop advances. Cuts people to shreds, but I had the same problem where I took heavy losses at some points. However, I think the shield bug plays a MASSIVE role as to the effectiveness of the tactic.

    I've yet to try it with 1.2, but I bet the extra defense helps quite a bit.

  11. #11
    Shadow Senior Member Kagemusha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Helsinki,Finland
    Posts
    9,546

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    I create a large pocket or a killing zone as i like to call it. I leave enough room inside the pocket so the enemy can cross the bridge and comes under the fire of my missile units about half way through the bridge. This usually leads that the enemy army will loose cohesion and my own troops dont take too much casulties of from the enemy missiles. I will usually let the entire enemy army to cross or atleast most of it while peppering it with missiles. After enough of the enemy has crossed the bridge i will commit a full scale counter attack with my infantry and cavalry,starting from the flanks and then from the front.Usually the enemy breaks after a short period of fighting and most of the routers are captured.
    Ja Mata Tosainu Sama.

  12. #12

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    Hi,

    Well, I guess it depends also on your tactical goals and strength balance.

    To just deny crossing with minimal casualties, you should probably defend the bridgehead itself, and leave it to your archers to take down the morale of the troops on the bridge.

    Pockets, in particular large ones, give you a chance to do more damage to the enemy army and routers will not make it as easily from the field, but you need more melee units for that, are more likely to take friendly fire, and having some "fire fighter cavalry" in reserve would be very useful.

    I've recently read a trick of shooting a cannon down the bridge along during the charge. Anyone having experience with that?

  13. #13
    Guardian of the Fleet Senior Member Shahed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Leading the formation !
    Posts
    7,918

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    Hi Canopus and Welcome aboard !

    Yes I do, Sir.

    As HRE sitting on the bridges bordering France, with 6 EXP >5 Serpentines. That is a different case altogether. You pound as the enemy approaches and then let them over the bridge. In that case actually I've had a lot of success.

    Note however, if I'm not mistaken, OP's case in point is vs Mongols.
    A Gamecenter with a dedicated Total War fanbase!
    Check out our Facebook!
    Email: shahed@outpost.be


  14. #14
    Senior Member Senior Member Cheetah's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Hungary
    Posts
    2,085

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sinan
    The problem with defensive pocket (or anything else) is often a determined cavalry advance will see the cavalry breaking through the pocket at multiple points. The push back effect at it's best. It also happens in gate defence.
    You have to push back. Deploy your troops in the U shape, select all, then wait till the first enemy unit gets into the focal point of the U shape. Then double click on the lead unit. Sit back and enjoy the show ... It is amazingly efficient.

    I have won battles this way that would have been impossible in any other way. For example defending Sofia vs a byzantine army with two militia spears, 19 and 29 man strong repsepectively (playing on normal thus full strenght is 75), with one DFK, one bosnian archer, one magyar cavalry and one hungarian noble (i.e. six melee unit 2 of them 1/3 strenght). The byzantines had a full stack of mercenaries: trebizond archers, alan merc cavs, armenian cavs, turcopoles. I deployed my tiny force in a U shape, 2 spears on sides, one cav behind each, DFK front. Waited for the lead unit (it was a turcopole), select all, double click. Turcopole routed almost immediately which chained the other turcopoles. Soon half of the enemy were fleeing, the rest were pushing but amazingly even this tiny force was able to keep them in the pocket, had to throw in the bosnian archer though to win. Both spears died, DFK had 4 men left, hungarian nobles had 1 men left, magyar cav died, bosnians had 22 men left. But: I won! Killed almost all of the byzantine forces. On the open it would have been impossible.

    On another occasion using the same method I defeated an army of boyar sons (4 or 5 unit) supported by some archers and a family member with a "force" of 5 town militia and a half strenght militia spearmen.
    Lional of Cornwall
    proud member of the Round Table Knights
    ___________________________________
    Death before dishonour.

    "If you wish to weaken the enemy's sword, move first, fly in and cut!" - Ueshiba Morihei O-Sensei

  15. #15

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    Quote Originally Posted by Canopus
    I've recently read a trick of shooting a cannon down the bridge along during the charge. Anyone having experience with that?
    I've done it ONCE to devastating effect with a flaming catapult shot, but it has to be timed too perfectly.

    Since the shot is going to be coming in at a low angle, you can't have your own troops in the way or you're going to make a huge hole in your line. Also, this really can't work with defenders on the bridge, so you have to pocket. Likewise, if you pocket, you can't have your artillery really right in the middle shooting straight ahead (unless you want to make your artillery useless once there is a mass melee).

    Position the artillery as close to the edge of the bridge next to the pocket as you can, and once the enemy hits the other end of the bridge, target a unit in the mid to back of the group. It has to be timed perfect so the weapon loads and fires at the right time.

    In any event, the angle of the shot is so low and it targets a back unit. So, when I did it, it left a straight trail of blackened bodies from one end of the bridge to the other and had quite a hefty morale penalty to boot

  16. #16
    Typing from the Saddle Senior Member Doug-Thompson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Fayetteville, AR
    Posts
    2,455

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    I wish there was a "fire at this spot" option. I put some mercenary elephant artillery way off to the left of a river crossing. I had to target units as they crossed the river. I would have rather kept firing at the same spot in the river.

    Anyway, it was a small grumble. The artillery had a clear shot and was out of range of any counter-battery fire. The poor Mongols tried to set up some trebuchets to get at it, but the elephants just fired on the trebuchet crews. They scurried away. The artillery killed well over 100 men by itself, as I recall.
    "In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns."

  17. #17

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    I usually use a pocket formation of 3-6 infantry with lots of archer and artillery backup. Basic setup is as follows.

    | |
    | |
    -------- --------------
    A I I A
    A I A
    AAAAAAAA

    I tend to place crossbowmen closer to the river, angled so that those furthest from the bridge are closest to the river, and vice versa, as that seems to offer the best trajectory for the majority of the crossbowmen, while archers go to the rear. I tend to place catapults (and likely trebs, if I ever used them) a bit further back behind the archers, and aim for the enemy at the rear. Low trajectory siege equipment, such as ballista, at the head of the bridge so that they can get off a few impressive shots, then move them back behind the battle lines.

    I'm beginning to wonder, has anyone tried Ribaults in bridge battles? I haven't used them much in any scenario, and haven't really heard much talk of them, but this seems like a situation where they could have some devastating effect.

  18. #18

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    Hmmm.... for some reason the board software seems to ignore spaces at the beginning of lines, so it doesn't seem like I can do an accurate representation of my typical formation. Anyway, the basics is that the archer form a second line behind the infantry, with them all angled, basically like a V or a wedge with an empty middle.

  19. #19
    Masticator of Oreos Member Foz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    968

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crazy Larry
    Hmmm.... for some reason the board software seems to ignore spaces at the beginning of lines, so it doesn't seem like I can do an accurate representation of my typical formation. Anyway, the basics is that the archer form a second line behind the infantry, with them all angled, basically like a V or a wedge with an empty middle.
    Use [CODE] tags.


    See my Sig+ below! (Don't see it? Get info here)

  20. #20
    Guardian of the Fleet Senior Member Shahed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Leading the formation !
    Posts
    7,918

    Lightbulb Artillery

    I found this shot on my HD, not that great but not too bad either, normal units size, defending a bridge (surely can't be London). I deployed within range of the bridge and fired on them as they approached. Let them cross, closed the bridge off and attacked with my infantry, they insta routed (whatever was left of them). EDIT: added another image from a different battle, also a bridge battle.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 






    Last edited by Shahed; 05-09-2007 at 05:28.
    A Gamecenter with a dedicated Total War fanbase!
    Check out our Facebook!
    Email: shahed@outpost.be


  21. #21
    Member Member Matty's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Bulgaria
    Posts
    185

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    Quote Originally Posted by Canopus
    I've recently read a trick of shooting a cannon down the bridge along during the charge. Anyone having experience with that?
    I usually set up one cannon to fire directly down the bridge and one on each side firing from higher ground. Preferably a catapult on each of the 'shoulders' of the central cannon, two crossbow units in front and 3-4 infantry to hold the bridge entrance. Leaving a clear line of fire down the centre of the bridge and with the cannons on solid shot for both accuracy and penetration through the massed ranks. The catapaults are set to hurl flaming missiles and by the time they've weathered this hell storm they're into the crossbows and shattered by the time they finally close with the infantry. When the hand to hand battle starts at the end of the bridge I'll move the spare cannon to higher ground and begin pounding the massed ranks held up by the infantry. You have to make sure you keep retargeting your cannons and catapaults on the furthest troops as nothing shatters morale like seeing half your unit fried by your own side. If you take out the general, morale crashes and its game over.

  22. #22
    BLEEEE! Senior Member Daveybaby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Hastings, UK
    Posts
    767

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    God i love defending bridge battles. I know its easy, but the carnage is just funny.

    The pocket approach always works well for me, although in the case of a large cav assault i find it helps to put one 'sacrificial' unit in the centre of my own pocket to soak up the initial impact of the charge. The cav that do leak through can then easily be handled by the units that make up the pocket itself because the momentum of the charge has been lost.

    I also have a few 'emergency' units close by (e.g. heavy cav, or attacking infantry) ready to charge in if things go pear shaped.

    Of course having loads of archers is the key. Fish in a barrel. Deep Joy. Got longbows/dismounted dvor/trebizonds/some other uber-archers? Hilarity ensues.

    Crossbows/muskets - not so useful since they cant really shoot through your infantry. You can sometimes get a couple of units deployed along the shore, sort of parallel to the bridge, and they can wreak merry hell upon the enemy as they cross, but you cant really rely on this.

    Havent tried naffatun yet. I imagine this would be great fun though.

    Cannons / catapults with flaming ammo work great too. Once those guys get bunched up along that bridge you can kill scores with just one hit. Sometimes, if things get particularly hairy, its worth the risk of sacrificing your infantry in the line of fire because of the insane amounts of carnage you can wreak upon the enemy in just one volley. Always place your artillery so its firing straight down the line of the bridge, if that means placing them one behind the other, so be it - any more than a little way off to the side means that most of your shots will tend to sail harmlessly over the heads of the packed enemy forces. What a waste.
    Last edited by Daveybaby; 05-09-2007 at 11:24.

  23. #23

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    I just position my army as I normally would in a pitched battle, with the end of the bridge just within reach of missile infantry. That way they disperse enough that they don't break through your forces by sheer concentration of men, but not so much that they can manouevre.

  24. #24
    Member Member Tusk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Pretoria, South Africa
    Posts
    24

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    I also enjoy the pocket method. I find another tactic that often works, especially if I do not have enough archers or artillery to create a "hellstorm" is to select all the ranged units I DO have and focus them on the enemy general's unit - he is sometimes killed by the time they cross the bridge, and the army becomes that much easier to break when they reach the pocket.

    BTW, it goes without saying that it is useful to charge units from all sides of the pocket, and not just to let the enemy reach them.
    "Distracting a politician from governing is like distracting a bear from eating your baby." - PJ O'Rourke

  25. #25

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daveybaby
    Havent tried naffatun yet. I imagine this would be great fun though.
    My god, I never thought about naffatun. I can't even begin to imagine the havoc they could wreck. The beauty of it is that you wouldn't even need that many. Just a couple to drop some bombs alongside your siege weapons and then watch everything rout.

  26. #26
    Annoying Warhammer know-it-all Member DrZoidberg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    225

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    If you've got a phalanx/pikemen unit, placing them at the end of the bridge is a no brainer. Nothing will come through no matter what.
    Sorry you must have been boring. -Dr Zoidberg

  27. #27

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    Quote Originally Posted by Crazy Larry
    I'm beginning to wonder, has anyone tried Ribaults in bridge battles? I haven't used them much in any scenario, and haven't really heard much talk of them, but this seems like a situation where they could have some devastating effect.
    they only have enough range to fire like halfway down the bridge, and they have to be placed directly in line with the bridge because the low projectile arc doesn't let them fire over the little railings on the edge.

    I tried using one in a bridge attack against a bunch of pikemen and it didn't do much even though I sent it down the bridge by itself to shoot the stationary enemy formation. the cannon and serpentine stationed on the sides of the bridge had many more kills than the ribault.

    it might work better against the huge mob in the typical bridge defense, but it didn't seem to be killing multiple men per arrow like the description says.
    Last edited by Griz; 05-09-2007 at 20:02.

  28. #28
    Slaying Pagans near you! Member TeutonicKnight's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Posts
    151

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    I never use the pocket - I've seen it break too many times on me. I seal the end of the bridge with spear infantry or pikes if available, and I have heavy infantry behind the spears for when the enemy is committed and a pocket is still starting to form.

    Behind that, I'll have missile units. Bows or crossbows - gunpowder just kills your own people. AP missiles like longbows and crossbows will do tons of damage to the incoming enemy. If I have javelins or naffatun, I'll put them in with my spear line. They will wreak havoc there.

    I place cavalry off to both flanks, as broken enemy units sometimes run to the sides. Also, when the enemy army breaks, they are closer to capturing them. If the enemy doesn't break, you can swim light cav across the river to hit them from the rear for a complete massacre.

    Artillery of any sort is placed farther back, but in line with the bridge. Bouncing cannon balls are just freaking wicked nasty, I actually had one cannon ball take out two generals on different bounces. Any extra artillery I'll put on the shoreline to the side of the bridge to act as counter-battery and soften up the enemy, but they don't get as many kills on the bridge so I don't bother letting them shoot there.

    As mentioned, pike units tend to stop charging units cold, until they are able to filter in. Naffatun are absolutely insane in this situation, as their grenades will take out huge numbers of units and rout the rest. Handgunners are pretty decent too, I've had them break the charge at the last minute and still mop up the enemy, but they need good armor upgrades for that.

    I'd say though that longbows are probably the king of bridge battles, followed by artillery.

  29. #29
    Die Frenchy! Member Joshwa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    England
    Posts
    198

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    I use the pocket like most people. Just wanted to interject and say that ribaults are hilarious if you are defending a ford, getting a few of them firing on barage into the oncoming hordes is like watching the first day of the Somme all over again!

  30. #30

    Default Re: How to defend a bridge?

    I love bridge battles too

    of course its preferable to make a defensive stance at the bridge with the pocket method

    but it also happened to me that I had no missle troops just infantry. Well I decided to charge them over the bridge and hope for the best...

    well worked back then, but the opponents were french, so no real opponents anyway :)

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Single Sign On provided by vBSSO