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Ottoman Infantry Tactics

By Sargon II

Before the new patches for ETW, I'd rather enjoyed playing as the Ottomans. I suppose they just suited my rather artillery and infantry oriented played style. Post patch, however, I was bewildered to find out that the Beylik Janissary Musketeers, on paper a superior unit to the later-game Nizam-I Cedit Infantry, were indeed cheaper than their more regimented counterparts, a paltry 820 to the Nizam's 870.

Of course, I was rather happy until I got in game and realised that the Beyliks weren't quite as aesthetically pleasing as normal. CA had taken away fire by rank capabilities. This is quite probably realistic, but it left me with a problem. Either use the Nizams, with their fire-by-rank capabilities, leaving me with comparable infantry but less dosh to spend, or use the Beyliks. And get stonked.

In the end I came up with a rather nifty tactic that I want to share with you, and see if any of the rest of you have anything to put forward.

For this explanation I shall be focusing completely on the two main infantry lines. Forget skirmishers, forget cavalry, forget artillery (yes, even those sexy lumps of metal that go by the name of organ guns). This is about infantry tactics, and its up to you to deal with the rest of their army.

Say its an infantry matchup of roughly 7 units versus each other. I shall pick three units of Beylik Musketeers, and four of Janissary Hand Mortar Boluks.

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I shall pick three Beylik Musketeers, and four Hand Mortars...

... whilst my smelly enemies pick seven units of straight line infantry.

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... whilst my smelly enemies pick seven units of straight line infantry

Now we come to the battle.

In a straight fight, line infantry versus Beyliks, the Beyliks lose. Straight fight, Boluks versus those smelly polish line infantry, the Boluks lose. However, if we combine the two the result could end up very different.

We need to find a way to negate the Beylik's disadvantage of no rank firing, yet keep their superior firing skills and the added bonus of their inspirational qualities. This is simply done, and thanks to the joys of the print screen/imageshack combo, even more simply told.

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This is how to deploy the battleline..

Group the Beyliks into a single line, and stretch them as far as they can go. You should end up with something near a single or double man line. This gives you roughly 80 out of 120 men firing at one time. Behind them, duplicate the first steps with the Boluks, stretching them out just behind the line of Beyliks. It is imperative you do this, as the Boluks, too, can only have the first rank firing. I prefer to turn guard mode on, personally, but really it's whatever you prefer.

When the enemy advances, or you advance on them, the Beyliks will unload their muskets in a single volley, then start firing at will. As they do this, the Boluks will unleash the hail of grenades, which are, to put it mildly, devastating.

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The enemy approaches...

The grenades, as well as killing many men in packed formations, also lower morale very quickly, often resulting in the chain reaction of routing if you focus fire on one unit.

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...and routs.

For a 60 funds difference, you get an infantry line that is vastly more powerful, has a higher firepower, is more flexible and comparable to, if not greater in hand to hand melee. On top of this consider the morale boost that the Beyliks provide as well as the heat bonuses they get, and you have a powerful infantry base for your ottoman army. This can, of course, be scaled up or down. 4 Beyliks, 5 Boluks or 2 Beyliks, 3 Boluks. Even one and one. You get the idea.

There are flaws to this system. It is easier to defend than attack with this tactic, and a well-placed few shrapnel shots can wreak havoc within your lines. The latter is somewhat negated by the fact that your lines are so thin: a shot that hits four in one row will only really take out a maximum of around ten or twelve, and that is for those occasions in which shrapnel explodes with a preciseness that occurs all too rarely.

It is also fairly vulnerable to skirmishers, of course, but then again I'd have hoped a player would have his own, or at very least dealt with the enemy's to a certain standard. Lastly, the Boluk's ammo is a fair problem. If the enemy can hold out against your grenades for long enough, the Boluks only carry six, making them useless for anything apart from death or glory charges.


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