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Thread: Early Defense Against Cavalry?

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    Third Regional Assistant Peon Member Prussian1's Avatar
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    Default Early Defense Against Cavalry?

    Does anyone have any good tips or strategies regarding dealing with cavalry in the Early Game? I find while playing as the HRE that my eastern front sports factions that field cavalry early and I have to make due with vanilla spearmen, archers and urban militia on relatively flat ground without much in the way of terrain features to work with.
    Nations, like men, it is sometimes said, have their own destiny.

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    Member Member Tratorix's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early Defense Against Cavalry?

    Your archers should be quite effective against cavalry, even if they are only vanilla archers. Use them to weaken up the cavalry units , pin them with your spears and then flank with urban militia. Also, you should get some mounted crossbows. They can soften up enemys with crossbow fire, chase away enemy cavalry and aren't too bad in melee. Hope this is helpful, but I don't play as the HRE much.

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    Default Re: Early Defense Against Cavalry?

    Tech up to Spearmakers' Workshop and you can recruit Feudal Sergeants that are a lot tougher than the vanilla Spearmen. Spear units alone will not kill cavalry however and are only useful in pinning them down. Use flanking tactics with Militia Sergeants or your own cavalry to achieve this.

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    Camel Lord Senior Member Capture The Flag Champion Martok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early Defense Against Cavalry?

    Welcome to the Org and the Main Hall, Prussian1.

    As Brave_Sir_Robin pointed out, archers & mounted X-bows can actually be quite useful against cavalry. Used in sufficient numbers, archers decimate lighter horse units (such as horse archers and Szeleky(sp?)). Against heavier cavalry (such as knights), mounted crossbowmen can be very effective against them -- their Xbow bolts penetrate armour, and their speed is superior to that of most heavy horse (so they can maintain a safe distance).

    The main area in which I differ from Robin is in the use of Urban Militia. I prefer to use regular FMAA to flank, especially against enemy cavalry -- in my experience, UM simply don't do very well against horse units, even light cavalry such as HA's.
    "MTW is not a game, it's a way of life." -- drone

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    Believer of Murphy's Law Member Sensei Warrior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early Defense Against Cavalry?

    I have to agree with Martok about the Urban Militia, (sorry Brave Sir Robin). In early your best bet would be FMAA for the flank.

    It has been awhile since I played HRE but if I remember, Woodsmen (a good throw away unit) can be useful here as well. I use to use lots of Woodsmen in Early. I would wind them up against an armored target and turn them loose, they have crazy charge.

    Its been awhile so feel free to pick away.
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    Member Member Tratorix's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early Defense Against Cavalry?

    Just for clarification, I wasn't saying I prefer urban militia as flankers. FMAA are better in every category. However, playing as the HRE, which has very low tech provinces to start out, you sometimes have to use whats available.

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    Believer of Murphy's Law Member Sensei Warrior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early Defense Against Cavalry?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brave_Sir_Robin
    Just for clarification, I wasn't saying I prefer urban militia as flankers. FMAA are better in every category. However, playing as the HRE, which has very low tech provinces to start out, you sometimes have to use whats available.
    Too true. I didn't mean to suggest you preferred them. It's been awhile since I visited the Forums and guessed Prussian1 is relatively new to the game, and suggested FMAA for the flanking unit as the unit to be better suited for accidental tactical slipups.

    If anyone remembers me from oh-so-long ago (which I doubt), I am a hardcore advocate of Urban Militia. I have a depraved, almost sadistic fondness for them, and often, I have spent whole games building UM units into units of mass destruction. I assumed, and maybe unjustly, that Prussian1 would not have the same loving reverence that I do for them.

    Woodsmen, and IIRC Slav Warriors also make cheap, suitable units for HRE during the first early cash strapped years. Also, any even starred general (2,4,6, etc) does wonders for improving your units in battle overall. And dont forget Archers, Archers, Archers, although these are expensive too. If you pay lots of attention to detail, Javelinmen of any type can really make a dent in Cav as well, especially the armored variety.
    Every weapon has evolved from the same basic design, either a rock or a sharp pointy stick.

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    Second-hand chariot salesman Senior Member macsen rufus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early Defense Against Cavalry?

    Hi & welcome Prussian1

    All good advice above - I would just add that the mounted Xbows are one of your most valuable assets as HRE, and when you tech up far enough, the Swabian swordsmen can be pretty handy. Their units are big enough to swamp knights, and the armour-piercing weapon really helps. For best effect, try to catch them in the woods (I find a battle line with one end buried in woodland and held by the Swabians there will do wonders against outflanking cavalry manoeuvres )

    One of my best ever generals as HRE was a mounted Xbow - I worked him up to valour 9, by which point his unit could take on kataphractoi in melee and win
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    Member Member Agent Miles's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early Defense Against Cavalry?

    Fight fire with fire. Build a Keep. Then all you need is a Royal Court to make Royal Knights or a Spearmaker's Workshop and a Horsebreeder for Mounted Sergeants. My early HRE stacks consist of 5 RK's/5 Spearmen (or FS)/5 FMAA and a general.
    Sometimes good people must kill bad people to protect the rest of the people.

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    Third Regional Assistant Peon Member Prussian1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early Defense Against Cavalry?

    Thanks all for the excellent input?

    I suppose I should set up some custom battles to test each of these in a controlled environment.

    I never thought I would be doing "wargaming" in order to more effectivly play a wargame
    Nations, like men, it is sometimes said, have their own destiny.

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    Camel Lord Senior Member Capture The Flag Champion Martok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early Defense Against Cavalry?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brave_Sir_Robin
    Just for clarification, I wasn't saying I prefer urban militia as flankers. FMAA are better in every category. However, playing as the HRE, which has very low tech provinces to start out, you sometimes have to use whats available.
    Gah! My bad for assuming, Robin. You're quite right, of course. The HRE usually can't train many FMAA right away (at least in vanilla MTW/VI), so sometimes you must make do with the UM instead.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sensei Warrior
    If anyone remembers me from oh-so-long ago (which I doubt), I am a hardcore advocate of Urban Militia. I have a depraved, almost sadistic fondness for them, and often, I have spent whole games building UM units into units of mass destruction. I assumed, and maybe unjustly, that Prussian1 would not have the same loving reverence that I do for them.
    As a matter of fact, I do remember (albeit a bit vaguely) you rhapsodizing over Urban Militia on a couple different occasions. You were quite....eloquent, as I recall.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prussian1
    I suppose I should set up some custom battles to test each of these in a controlled environment.
    It never hurts to play a few simple skirmishes to at least get a feel for your units. I personally didn't do so that much myself, but I was young and foolish at the time. (I'm still foolish, just a bit older now.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Prussian1
    I never thought I would be doing "wargaming" in order to more effectivly play a wargame
    Ironic, ain't it?
    "MTW is not a game, it's a way of life." -- drone

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    Believer of Murphy's Law Member Sensei Warrior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early Defense Against Cavalry?

    Quote Originally Posted by Agent Miles
    Fight fire with fire. Build a Keep. Then all you need is a Royal Court to make Royal Knights or a Spearmaker's Workshop and a Horsebreeder for Mounted Sergeants. My early HRE stacks consist of 5 RK's/5 Spearmen (or FS)/5 FMAA and a general.
    Not to question the veracity of that statement, but how do you manage to do that? I never have the resources for a stack like that in Early with HRE. My stack usually consists of Slav Warriors, Woodsmen, Spearmen, UM, and maybe a sprinkling of the units you mentioned.

    I am going to assume you have the florin accumulation part down to some type of art.

    @Martok. Aww, thanks for remembering. I figure most people round here figure I'm a fair weather poster, considering my long gaps inbetween posts. Anyways, I might as well add:
    LONG LIVE TANCRED DE NORMANDIE

    Also, I never really got the hang of using Mounted XBows. Generally I just placed them behind my spearwall and prayed for the best.

    Man the edit button is gettin a workout. I never bothered with test battles. I figured if I lost it would just make the game more interesting. Of course, maybe this attitude is the reason why I cant use Mounted Xbows very well, hmm.
    Last edited by Sensei Warrior; 08-30-2007 at 23:59.
    Every weapon has evolved from the same basic design, either a rock or a sharp pointy stick.

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    Camel Lord Senior Member Capture The Flag Champion Martok's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early Defense Against Cavalry?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sensei Warrior
    @Martok. Aww, thanks for remembering. I figure most people round here figure I'm a fair weather poster, considering my long gaps inbetween posts. Anyways, I might as well add:
    LONG LIVE TANCRED DE NORMANDIE
    Heh. I've never really understood why the vanilla game has him stuck commanding a regiment of UM -- not that you mind, of course.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sensei Warrior
    Also, I never really got the hang of using Mounted XBows. Generally I just placed them behind my spearwall and prayed for the best.

    Man the edit button is gettin a workout. I never bothered with test battles. I figured if I lost it would just make the game more interesting. Of course, maybe this attitude is the reason why I cant use Mounted Xbows very well, hmm.
    To be honest, I'm not that great at using mounted crossbowmen either. It's just so happened that I've gotten lucky with them often enough to get some idea of their abilities. I can at least verify that they seem to have a knack for helping enemy Jedi generals kick that nasty oxygen habit.
    "MTW is not a game, it's a way of life." -- drone

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    Believer of Murphy's Law Member Sensei Warrior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early Defense Against Cavalry?

    Quote Originally Posted by Martok
    Heh. I've never really understood why the vanilla game has him stuck commanding a regiment of UM -- not that you mind, of course.
    Any multi-star general in a storm I always say. They seem to be few and far between with the English in Early.

    Quote Originally Posted by Martok
    To be honest, I'm not that great at using mounted crossbowmen either. It's just so happened that I've gotten lucky with them often enough to get some idea of their abilities. I can at least verify that they seem to have a knack for helping enemy Jedi generals kick that nasty oxygen habit.
    /sarcasm begin
    I don't know if I'm extremely lucky or what, but I can't remember ever having a problem with those so-called Jedi-Generals. I honestly think they're a myth. I did have a couple of generals that were tougher than normal, but the proper application of several hundred arrows, bolts, javelins, and can-openers solved those encounters.
    /sarcasm end
    Every weapon has evolved from the same basic design, either a rock or a sharp pointy stick.

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    Minion of Zoltan Member Roark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early Defense Against Cavalry?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sensei Warrior
    Also, I never really got the hang of using Mounted XBows. Generally I just placed them behind my spearwall and prayed for the best.


    ON DEFENCE

    You should position your Mounted X-bows out as far near the enemy as you can place them.

    Have them work in teams of two, especially if the enemy has fast cavalry. They should hassle the opponent's heavy cavalry continually as the enemy journeys to your front line.

    Either:

    1. Move them from hill-to-hill on the enemy's flanks so that you can shoot down at the general or any other Royal Knights.

    OR

    2. Take them off skirmish and hassle the enemy knights from behind. You will need to get quite close at times, as the enemy army will be marching away from you towards your main army. Your boys take a fair while to load their quarrels. This technique needs micro-management to keep the Mounted X-bows safe when skirmish is turned off.


    If the enemy sends archers after you, try to draw them a sufficient distance from the main body of the army and then extinguish them with drawn swords (Alt-Attack) from two different angles.

    If the enemy sends knights after you, turn skirmish back on and try to manoevre your two units so that there is one on each side of the knights. Then you can just play piggy-in-the-middle with the slower knights and they will tire themselves chasing you.

    If the enemy send infantry after you - SWEET! Just pump them full of quarrels on skirmish as they are separated from the main body of the army. When they break, draw your swords and collect prisoners.



    ON OFFENCE

    1. Send the Mounted X-bows in first to attempt to draw units out of formation and into your infantry archer's range

    2. Use them to sneak in and massacre siege crews and archers who are left unattended.

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    Member Member Agent Miles's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early Defense Against Cavalry?

    Sinsei Warrior-I did a “quiet opening” and abandoned some of my starting provinces as a gambit for my neighbors. They took them from the rebels and maintained peace with me. I built up Saxony as my cavalry producer. I actually had several of the above stacks by the time that the French attacked me. I counterattacked and retook all of the provinces that I had “loaned out.”
    Sometimes good people must kill bad people to protect the rest of the people.

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    Believer of Murphy's Law Member Sensei Warrior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early Defense Against Cavalry?

    Roark There's some good tips on there. Stuff I hadn't thought of. Thanks, cant wait to try them out.

    Agent Miles Ahh, I see what you did. That gambit has never crossed my mind. I'm a greedy king, once I have a provence, I'm at loathe to give it up. I really should start trying new tactics. I might give that one a whirl next time i queue up a HRE game.
    Every weapon has evolved from the same basic design, either a rock or a sharp pointy stick.

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    Member Member Agent Miles's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early Defense Against Cavalry?

    I "farmed" rebels in Bavaria and Bohemia, too. It was a tight budget for a while, but it worked.
    Sometimes good people must kill bad people to protect the rest of the people.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Early Defense Against Cavalry?

    Just a note: spearmen as is generally known work best in hold formation, as in that arrangement they receive the rank bonuses that enable them another attack combat point for every rank.

    However when they charge flanks or rears in hold formation the charge bonus is very likely to be given to a couple of men if not a single one only against say pinned cavalry. Frogbeastegg made this observation in her guide and wrote an explanation there of why this is so, and it is practically speaking like this i find.

    Considering that most spear units are relatively lightfeeted and also have a substantial charge, this is quite some waste of potential. Things are much better if you charge your spears in flanks and rears on engage at will i find. Despite the fact that they don't have the bonus against armour that militias get (making them very effective flankers against armoured infantry as well as knights and HC), they have one against cavalry that with the charge can wreak more havoc than one might suspect to cavalry units.

    When the charge dies out, the unit can be ordered to hold formation once again to receive the ranks during melee.

    Otherwise, the advice presented in the thread covers everything, i think.

    Noir

  20. #20

    Default Re: Early Defense Against Cavalry?

    Just get a hold of some camels somewhere and you'll won't have to worry about anything anymore...
    Abandon all hope.

  21. #21
    Minion of Zoltan Member Roark's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early Defense Against Cavalry?

    Speaking of which...

    I was cleaning up the remnants of the Egyptians recently as the Byzantines (XL, circa 1140). After I slew the Sultan and his two heirs on the battlefields of Mesopotamia, I discovered that he'd been spamming Bedouin Camels in Arabia like they were going out of fashion. These all went rebel after his death, of course, and I bribed them to join my mighty empire. They are led by the magnificent Nur Al-Din (6 stars, 8 on attack).

    Next stop, North Africa - to take on the superpowered Almoravids, who are barely being held back at Navarre and Aragon.



    It's nice to have camels.

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