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Thread: Siege Techniques

  1. #1
    Member Member Bregil the Bowman's Avatar
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    Default Siege Techniques

    It seems to be a fairly common view on these threads that playing out siege battles (as opposed to auto-calc) is a bit of a waste of time.

    Nonetheless, for those who cannot bear to let the computer fight our battles for us, there are times when we must try to breach the castle defences and send a few expendable minions through the breach to put the defenders to the sword.

    If anyone (other than me) plays these out on a regular basis, I wonder what the favoured troop mix and attack technique is, and whether people have enjoyed different results using different methods?

    Is it possible to take down a castle or better without gunpowder?

    Do armoured troops who steam in slowly take less hits than fast moving skirmishers?

    I tend to do the following:

    1) mass as many guns or catapults as I can, sometimes more the half attacking units are artillery

    2) focus them all on the area where the outer curtain wall meets the inner wall

    3) aim at towers rather than walls, beause the odd stray shot usually takes out the walls beneath

    4) Let my artillery run out of ammo before sending slowest, best protected troops up

    5) follow them with lighter troops so all arrive at around the same time

    Mind you, I still seem to take appalling casualties whatever I do!

    In VI Viking Era games, you also have to be careful that defending troops are not always in the compund - sometimes they are hiding in the woods nearby waiting to ambush your attackers as they go in. Does this ever happen in medieval battles? - if so I've never seen it.
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  2. #2
    Wandering Fool Senior Member bamff's Avatar
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    Default Re: Siege Techniques

    A waste of time? Oh no, no, no, no, no!

    My preferred troop mix for such missions is also "artillery heavy". In fact on occasions so much so that I rotate the artillery units off the field AFTER they have expended their ammo to allow "assault" units on to the field.

    I also tend to allow my artillery to keep on pounding away even after establishing the breach - generally either at another tower or at a differnt part of the fortification (say an inner wall, for example).

    Positioning artillery is very important (particularly so if using trebuchets or mangonels, which cannot traverse).

    I also target towers, for two reasons - 1. it reduces casualties on my side if I take down their artillery, and 2. as Bregil correctly pointed out, you generally take down the adjoining wall anyway.

    As for troop types, cavalry still do have their uses here. On occasions it can be handy to have mounted sergeants or the like, who can close to the fortifications much faster than footsoldiers. All depends on what has survived and is waiting behind the remnants of the walls.

    Better protected (but still expendable) troops take the van, followed by faster troops which I try to get onto the enemy flank (much the same as an ordinary battle).

    The casualty toll will invariably be higher than in a "normal" battle - so I tend to throw "lesser" but still capable troops at the walls while keeping my elite well clear.

    I have not encountered the enemy hiding in the forest thing in MTW. Sadly, I have also had relatively few opportunities to defend a castle in MTW - the AI rarely seems inclined to assault my fortifications (must be those scary gargoyles on my outer ramparts!).

  3. #3
    Member Member stson's Avatar
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    Default arrow sponges

    I usually have a sacrificial troop or two of spears or halbs that are stretched out in front of the siege machines. That is, I place them between the siege machines and the castle walls. The defenders, particularly the arrow towers, will aim for the troops and leave the machines alone. This greatly reduces the casualties suffered by the machines' crews.

  4. #4
    Master of useless knowledge Senior Member Kitten Shooting Champion, Eskiv Champion Ironside's Avatar
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    Default Re: Siege Techniques

    Quote Originally Posted by bamff
    I have not encountered the enemy hiding in the forest thing in MTW. Sadly, I have also had relatively few opportunities to defend a castle in MTW - the AI rarely seems inclined to assault my fortifications (must be those scary gargoyles on my outer ramparts!).
    There's a tip for that one. The comp likes to counter a sally with only the troops inside the castle, with a storming. That said, it won't always happen and in that case you cannot retreat back to the castle (losing the battle will still make you keep the castle if you still got men left iirc), but only to another province.
    We are all aware that the senses can be deceived, the eyes fooled. But how can we be sure our senses are not being deceived at any particular time, or even all the time? Might I just be a brain in a tank somewhere, tricked all my life into believing in the events of this world by some insane computer? And does my life gain or lose meaning based on my reaction to such solipsism?

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  5. #5
    Member Member cosminus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Siege Techniques

    I found in plain MTW (not VI) sometimes (rarely) some defenders that were not in castles, but in wood or not. I realised that mostly because after killing all troops in castle the battle still not over and then looking carefully I saw defenders on the map.
    When I go for an assault, I shot firstly all available artillery in one point of the wall, that break the wall in one volley. Then I shot to towers, especially catapults. When canon long range available I shot from safe distance almost the entire castle to dust, then I engage with ground forces. I prefer 16 culverins, then withdraw some and bring cav (they reach the target sooner than infantry).
    Also, for faster valor increase of the arty, I engage arty crews in battles with enemies. This way, with higher valour, the arty will shot with more accuracy in the next battle (not only sieges).
    I found that even if I put in front line of the arty others troops, the defenders will still shot at the arty, not only at the front troops. I prefer to use also the king in assault sieges, because his guards are replenishing for free after the battle. Of course, this is risky to loose the king, but usually he will survive.
    It is unclear to me if heavy armoured troops will take less casualties than light troops. Using spread formation will ensure less casualties than close formation.
    Because arty accuracy depend on valor, I prefer to use a high star general when assaulting. Otherwise the arty will miss a lot of the shots.
    Also I played several castle defences and if you do not have a well defensive unit (as foot knights, varangians or so) to put to hold at the last gate, it is unlikely to win such battles.

  6. #6
    Member Member cosminus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Siege Techniques

    I forgot to mention to attack walls instead of gates, walls are much easier to destroy, so my arty never directly target a gate. Another advantage is that within walls breaches the assaulting troops have a more larger battle front than entering thru gate.

  7. #7
    Member Member Agent Miles's Avatar
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    Default Re: Siege Techniques

    Some fortifications take a long time to replace, so I use my artillery sparingly. I only fire at the gates until they are opened. Then I send in second line units to force through into the interior. After the main gate is clear, I rush in cavalry or my best infantry to smash the defenders. A good spy helps too.
    Sometimes good people must kill bad people to protect the rest of the people.

  8. #8
    Defeater of the Wicker People Member The Darkhorn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Siege Techniques

    I too use the fire at the towers technique till all the arty is out of ammo. As for assualt troops. I NEVER use good troops. They tend to get shot to hellandgone with or without armor. It's a waste of well spent money. If is it after the first 100 years or so of the game this is a no brainer. I send the bits and pieces of mercs left from a battle unless they are still above 50% or so. Also, in HIGH, my "attack" stacks usually consist of over half of troops who have been replaced by upgrades in the "defense" stacks. I find it hard to disband these troops who have served me so well. So, they go on campaign (often punitive campaigns as I like to mainly turtle, but other powers will of course not leave you alone to the more peaceful life) with a good general. I let them die a glorious death in battle rather disband them to become mercs nobody wants. These expendable troops are sent in 1-3 units at a time through a single breach so that their lack of numbers is not as much of a hindrance (harder to flank them). I EXTREMELY RARELY lose more than 400 men assaulting even the toughest citadels. Make sure you have arty to knock that breach in the wall and the nearest towers to give your old FMAA a break! This is why I never autocalc assaults. I want to take the casualties out of certain units. When I autocalc, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it with nearly every unit losing a few men.
    We are men of action...lies do not become us.

  9. #9
    Defeater of the Wicker People Member The Darkhorn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Siege Techniques

    ...or a lot of men!! By fighting assaults, I can reduce casualties 90% of the time over autocalc plus pick and choose which units take the casualties.

    Also, as to the question about defenders outside the walls in MTW:


    ALL THE TIME....NEARLY EVERY ONE IN SOME CAMPAIGNS, ESPECIALLY if there are a lot of small units left over from a really big battle. Also, look out for a defender that has more than 16 small units in a seige. The others will come onto the map as you do destroy units. Sometimes they hide. Sometimes they just get out of the way somewhere. I never send cavalry into the breach unless I'm trying to use them up, but I usually take 1 or 2 light cavalry anyway and set them up in woods opposite the side I'm trying to breach. If there are outlying units, they are usually small and easily dispatched by the cavalry which can find and attack them much faster than infantry!
    We are men of action...lies do not become us.

  10. #10
    Camel Lord Senior Member Capture The Flag Champion Martok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Siege Techniques

    In addition to taking down the gate, I use artillery to knock two large holes in the wall on either side of the gatehouse. For the main assault, I send in halfway-decent infantry along with whatever scrap/leftover units are at my disposal -- I often use mercs for this as well. I only send in heavy infantry/elite units to back them up if it's *absolutely* necessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Darkhorn
    This is why I never autocalc assaults. I want to take the casualties out of certain units. When I autocalc, there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it with nearly every unit losing a few men.
    Agreed. I often manually fight castle assaults for the specific purpose of ensuring that my crappier/leftover units bear the brunt of the casualties -- it drives me nuts to auto-calc a castle assault, only to discover that my knights and archers had an attack of the "stupids" and apparently decided to join the infantry in the battle.
    "MTW is not a game, it's a way of life." -- drone

  11. #11
    Minion of Zoltan Member Roark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Siege Techniques

    Siege tactics:

    1. Blow everything up until I run out of rocks/shot.
    2. Send in fast, cheap troops (Highlanders, Murabitin etc)

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