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Empire: Total War - Land Battle Discussion
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Empire: Total War Heaven » Forums » Empire: Total War - Land Battle Discussion » A Failed Experiment
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Topic Subject:A Failed Experiment
webstral
Mariner
posted 03-09-12 07:06 PM EDT (US)         
During my most recent game as Great Britain, I tried an experiment that appears to have failed. For a long time, I have wanted to try using an all-cavalry army in the hopes that it would move more quickly on the strategic map and perform well tactically. So far, my experiment has been a very expensive force with disappointing combat power.

I raised Sixth British Army (6BA) in New France in response to the strategic situation in North America. France declared war on me around 1732. From the French point of view, the timing was excellent. From my point of view, the timing hardly could have been worse. I had two field armies in North America at the time. Second British Army, by far my best, had completed the conquest of Cherokee Territory and Kain Tuck Territory a couple of turns earlier. The Cherokee still owned Georgia and Florida. I had moved 2BA against them immediately in order to deny the Cherokee a chance to rebuild or further threaten the Thirteen Colonies. I was one turn away from taking Savannah, GA under siege when France declared war. The French still owned Upper and Lower Louisiana. I decided against turning around 2BA.

Third British Army (3BA) was in Huron Territory. This force was tailored to fight First Nation armies. I had saved all of my regiments of pike since the beginning of the gameófive altogetheróto be the foundation of 2BA. In order to carry the war to the Iroquois in Michigan Territory, then the Huron-Wyandot, I reinforced the base with five native musket auxiliary, a pair of 12-lber foot batteries, a pair of 12-lber howitzer batteries, three mounted tribal auxiliary, and two regiments of horse. I wasnít about to turn this force around, because to do so would invite a Huron-Wyandot assault on Upper Canada and New France.

I raised 6BA under the assumption that the French would attack Michigan territory first. In hindsight, I donít know why I made this assumption. It seemed like the worst case scenario to me, since Canada appeared to be wide open that way. Also, Michigan Territory would have been a easy get. I have noticed that when European AI powers conquer a First Nation region, they break everything and start from scratch. I happen to like the communal farms of First Nations, so as a rule I donít replace them. I suppose I had my eye on the communal farms of Michigan Territory and not the First Nations buildings of Cherokee Territory.

I had intended 6BA to be very robust force; however, at the time I had only mounted tribal auxiliary, colonial dragoons, and 6-lber horse batteries available. I didnít feel that I could wait for regiments of horse to arrive from Europe or lancer cavalry to arrive from India. This decision proved very costly. Once my force reached ten units (one generalís bodyguard, two colonial dragoons, two horse batteries, and five mounted tribal auxiliary), I set off for the west.

By this time, though, the French had opted to invade the former Cherokee territory. Iíll spare the reader the details. Suffice to say that I was able to salvage the situation, but the job was costly. The French captured Cherokee Territory and promptly razed a meeting hall, a gunsmith, an iron workshop, an iron mine, a small cotton plantation, and a communal farm. I retook the region the next turn and destroyed the French force completely, but the damage was done. The loss of the meeting hall was especially bitter. The point, though, is that my expensive 6BA arrived on-scene too late to do anything better than survey the wreckage.

I moved 6BA west. I destroyed a couple of raiders, then attacked the main French force in Upper Louisiana. The French had a single battery of 12-lbers, four regiment of colonial line infantry, three mounted tribal auxiliary, two regiment of colonial light cavalry, and a couple of bowmen auxiliary. My cavalry force was crushedóembarrassingly. I had the usual problems with getting my mounted tribal auxiliary to pay more attention to firing their weapons than to the exacting fineness of their formation. Sadly, the enemyís MTA had no such difficulties. The dragoons proved toothless on the ground. One of the French line infantry regiments charged ahead of the others. I engaged it with both of my units of colonial dragoons dismounted. My dragoons were shot to pieces in what should have been an equal contest. The whole business turned into a debacle and an expensive lesson for me. Itíll be a long time before Iím ready to trust dragoons to do anything important.

Things might have turned out differently if I had some real striking power. The absence of regiments of horse and/or lancers no doubt hurt me badly. The unreliability of the MTA seems to grow in direct proportion to my need for them to do their job with an appropriate sense of urgency. If I had some hard-hitting cavalry in the mix, I wouldnít be quite so dependent on the firepower of the undependable. For now, though, my experiment has turned out to be an expensive failure.

The musket is for fixing and softening the enemy. The bayonet is for destroying him.
AuthorReplies:
Ecthelion
Mariner
(id: p90pro)
posted 03-10-12 05:47 AM EDT (US)     1 / 4       
Itíll be a long time before Iím ready to trust dragoons to do anything important.
Again, I'm scratching my head over your results. My dragoons (Colonial or Light) produce good results in battle more often than not. But I rarely, if ever, have them dismount (much less to fight line infantry) IIRC, dragoons have less range and lower accuracy than line infantry, so in a shooting match it will all be in the LI's favour even if you have two units of dragoons fighting one LI.

Did you have both dragoon units line up as one to face the LI or did you have one facing and the other pouring in flanking fire? Either way doesn't really matter; I'm betting that it took maybe three whole volleys from the French and both units routed. Two volleys to devastate the first unit, and one to give the second unit (utterly alone, outnumbered, flanks unsecured, friends routing) the push it needed to route.

Oh, another question, did the French have square formation at the time of the battle?

Sir, I have not yet begun to defile myself.
Swallow my pride? No thank you, Im too full of myself.
I bring you nothing but love and a shopping bag full of sexual depravity.
I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.
Tied with Meteora (****er) for Best Sig Award.
webstral
Mariner
posted 03-11-12 00:54 AM EDT (US)     2 / 4       
I tried using Sixth British Army (6BA) in battle again and had much better results. However, some things were very different this time. The dragoons earned their keep, but they still were very roughly handled.

After replenishing 6BA with the logic that I could break the army up for other purposes later, I sent the force to Upper Louisiana. The French had a substantial force in Ft. Crevecoeur that I didnít want running around. The French army essentially was the same force that had so badly beaten 6BA in 1737, although by Summer 1739 the French had added some mounted tribal auxiliary (MTA) and native bow auxiliary (NBA) for a total force of about 16 units. I was very confident that 2BA, which is easily my best army, could squash the French army. However, I had to move up from Lower Louisiana. Without belaboring the details, I lost some time while moving up 2BA. The small replenishment group I had assembled for 2BA, consisting of one colonial line infantry (CLI) regiment and a unit of grenadiers (GR) got ahead of the main army. I added them to 6BA, then reinforced with three regiments of colonial militia (CM) I had brought west to occupy Upper Louisiana. I put this force, plus the CLI and GR, in to besiege Ft. Crevecoeur to prevent the large French force from making mischief. (The French already had sent raiders into Lower Louisiana. I had too much money sunk into fresh construction projects to have the French causing trouble.)

The French sallied immediately.

I found a good defensive position and put my horse batteries side-by-side in a forward slope defense near the crest of a small hill. I put my CLI on one side, flanked by a CM; I put the other two CM on the other side of the guns. I put the GR behind the guns, ready to shift to either side. I lined up my four MTA behind the guns, then my generalís bodyguard (GB) and colonial dragoons (CDR) behind that. The enemy, with four CLI, two light colonial horse (LCH), four MTA, six NBA, one 12-lber foot battery (12F), two firelock armed citizenry (FAC), and a GB had a substantial qualitative and quantitative advantage over me. I decided that I was going to have to pick one side or the other to concentrate my cavalry and achieve success there.

The fight opened pretty well. My guns reduced one MTA and one CLH to half strength before the fight really got started. Both of these units, plus another MTA made a wild charge at my right flank. I had just moved all of my MTA to that side when the enemyís cavalry entered the range of my infantry. To spare the reader the blow-by-blow details, Iíll summarize by saying that my CLI and CM each fired a volley before fixing bayonets. My MTA rode up and fired over the heads of my infantry. The enemyís cavalry broke and ran at a reasonable cost to my own forces.

The end of the opening round blended right into the main fight. The enemyís infantry came right up the middle in a long line. My two CM on the left were engaged for most of the middle portion of the fight against another French MTA. In hindsight, this was good use of an MTA by the enemy. Two of my regiments were completely tied down fighting one skirmisher unit for more than a minute of game play at the most crucial time. My CLI paid its way in this fight, as did the field guns. One battery caught a French CLI reversing direction. Three rounds of 6-lber canister took down 40 infantry.

Throughout the fight, I kept my cavalry on my right flank. I hoped to smash the French left and deliver enfilading fire across his middle with my MTA and dismounted dragoons. It didnít quite work out that way. The enemy fed his NBA forward quickly enough to avert a crisis while the main battle unfolded in the center. I mobbed a French MTA with four of my cavalry units, only to find that a CLI had shifted to cover the rear/flank of the main effort. Very annoying.

The whole point of the post, though, is to say something favorable about the dragoons. As the middle part of the fight started, I dismounted one CDR on the right of my line of infantry. Firing in tandem with my CLI and GR, the dragoon dismounts did a good job. The other CDR also dismounted behind the enemyís left flank. I moved them forward to trade fire with the CLI I mentioned just above, which had gone into a square formation in the face of my cavalry. Against only ľ of the French CLI, my dragoons had a modest advantage in firepower. So I found a way to use them that didnít result in their getting wiped out or routed.

The other stars of the show were my grenadiers. So long as another unit is taking the enemyís fire, these guys can really beat the stuffing out of an enemy regiment with grenades. I threw about four volleys of grenades during the fight. The GR picked up a level of experience in their very first fight while losing about 10 of their own. I hit one of the enemyís CLI with two volleys of grenades and took down perhaps 60 of the French. Iím going to make sure every field army has some grenadiers from now on.

In summary, 6BA restored its honor, if not my confidence in the all-cavalry concept. Two regiments of horse (RH) have arrived off Newfoundland, so I should have a bit more striking power once they get inland. Iím going to take out the Plains Nations as a precautionary measure. I have to decide, though, what kind of force Iím going to send. Iím feeling a bit better about the abilities of the dragoons.

The musket is for fixing and softening the enemy. The bayonet is for destroying him.
Ecthelion
Mariner
(id: p90pro)
posted 03-11-12 09:05 PM EDT (US)     3 / 4       
Any thoughts about expanding into Spanish territory? Mexico, some of South America and most of the Carribean Islands give you substantial income once you have them built up. You need some heavy funds for this yourself since the Spanish rarely upgrade their overseas holdings.

Sir, I have not yet begun to defile myself.
Swallow my pride? No thank you, Im too full of myself.
I bring you nothing but love and a shopping bag full of sexual depravity.
I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.
Tied with Meteora (****er) for Best Sig Award.
webstral
Mariner
posted 03-12-12 03:37 AM EDT (US)     4 / 4       
Now that Iím at war with Spain, too, Iím going to take everything I can from her. I was focused on finishing off the French in the Americas and securing my strategic rear before embarking on a campaign into Spanish America. I just took Upper Louisiana with 6BA. Iíve turned 2BA towards Texas, and none too soon. A 20-regiment Spanish army has been moving north for the past couple of turns and is in Texas as of Summer 1740. They are markedly inferior to 2BA, though: fewer field guns, no general, fewer skirmishers, and several units of native warrior auxiliary. The enemy does have a modest advantage in cavalry, but all of his units are CLH.

Iím about to take Hispaniola with 4BA, which is the same force that captured Curacao, Dutch Guyana, and French Guyana. Iím of a mind to try to take Cuba, but Cuba is defended by a high-quality Spanish force. Iím on a timeline now to capture Gibraltar and keep it through 1750. If I leave next turn, Iíll be 2-3 years in transit. Iíll need a couple of years to secure Morocco and thus my operational rear. I donít think I can keep 4BA in the Americas beyond next turn. This means Iíll have to raise a fresh force to tackle Cuba, New Andalusia, and New Granada. I donít know that I can swing such a thing. Iím already recruiting at my best rate in Bengal to replace losses from the incessant combat with the Maratha Confederacy. In order to ship out all of the commodities Iím capturing in the Americas, Iím building ports as fast as I can. (Admittedly, this is a good problem.) Commercial basins are a substantial investment.

At the moment, my plan is to use 2BA to capture New Spain, which is obviously the big prize in Spanish America. I can spare the resources to build an auxiliary force for 2BA. 2BA-R will be a force with 8-10 units. Most of them will be CLI, but Iíll throw in one of the other units I employ in the main force. After each battle, Iíll consolidate, then rotate intact units from 2BA-R into the main force. Units in need of replenishment will go into 2BA-R and absorb replacements while on the move. Once I capture New Spain, Iíll have a source for CLI on-hand.

3BA is en route to Montagnais. Iím going to finish the 25-year war with the Inuit that has seen no blood spilled. Iíve kept a sloop in the strait between Montagnais and Newfoundland to prevent the Inuit from invading. Once I have captured Montagnais, I will disband my pikes and figure out what Iím going to do with the remaining 15 units. This force might be the base of a new army to capture Cuba. That a few years out, though; and I only have 10 left in the game.

6BA was pretty badly damaged during her fight to reclaim her honor. After I consolidated the understrength units and took out the borrowed infantry, thereís not much left. I want to send this force inland to capture the Plains Nation and New Mexico. I donít believe in leaving my strategic rear uncovered. Weíll have to see how things progress, though. Iíll send a rake in to have a look first.

The real action right now remains in India. This past turn, Summer 1740, is the first one in which I havenít fought against an army of at least 12 units in maybe 10 turns. Iíve been recruiting at the best possible rate in Bengal the whole time, and Iím finally at the point where I can send 1BA forward to clear northern Bengal of enemy troops and create a new 5BA to secure the rear around Calcutta. Actually, Iím using 1BA to take Orissa & Circars next turn. Then Iíll send the new 5BA to secure Cuttack. Holding Cuttack in strength will serve to keep the enemy from approaching Calcutta from the south, while 1BAís action in northern Bengal and Hindustan should defend Calcuttaís northern approaches.

The musket is for fixing and softening the enemy. The bayonet is for destroying him.
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