Cavalry Tactics

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What is your favorite cavalry tactic?

Running down enemy archers and skirmishers
5
36%
Turning the flank or charging into the rear of the enemy front line
4
29%
Using cavalry as a decoy to pull enemy units away from the main battle
2
14%
Messing up the enemy's battle plan by charging into his deploying units
1
7%
Other
2
14%
 
Total votes: 14

kongming
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Cavalry Tactics

Post by kongming » Mon May 21, 2007 12:11 pm

I think many will agree that cavalry units are the most challenging units to use well in LA. There are a lot of great posts about cavalry tactics scattered throughout other topics. I would like to compile them here in a separate thread, one that will hopefully generate some other inputs and ideas.

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Post by kongming » Mon May 21, 2007 12:15 pm

From robindavies in 2nd Macedonian post:
1. Cavalry is very useful when used properly, esp when dealing with archers and skirmishers. There is nothing worse than watching your best troops get cut to ribbons by a bunch of missile troops that are behind a wall of infantry. Try to use your troops to cut a nice hole somewhere in their lines and then send the cavalry units (which you hold back until the right moment) through the breaches in the enemy lines to cut their missile units to peices in no time. Archers and javalins are very weak vs horsemen... your scouts can even wipe them out nicely. MAke sure you upgrade the trample skill whenever possible, and also upgrade swordsmanship. Makes them a very effective unit. Another nice feature about horsemen is that you can use them to harass enemy troops and provide a nice decoy when necessary. use the disengage button after charging a group of missile units that are attcking you and then retreat before their heavy infantry reach you so that you don't get slaughtered (I am using 2 cavalry units... scouts and nobles, and they have been invaluable in taking out archers, esp. in battles where you need to keep your losses down). Can't stress how useful these guys are in a jam. I never used them much before (played the Rome campaign once, the celt campaign once and the Mithras campaign before i decided to do it all over again and I can't believe the difference they make when used properly). Also, with cavalry, if you find yourself in a situation where you are obviously going to win and have some order points left, you can order your cavalry units to run down routed units and get some extra kills before the time runs out to build up their experience (not to mention it is pretty bloody satisfying to run the bastards down as they flee from the battle).
[/quote]

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Post by kongming » Mon May 21, 2007 12:17 pm

Here's an example of robindavies ideas about using cavalry as decoys. I would love to hear other examples.
2nd ascension of venus just played out in a surprising way for me; and it illustrates how important cavalry are both in the historic sense of strategy, but also for beating the game's AI.

I started with my battle line shifted to the left half of the field, with my 3 aux anchoring my right flank on the scrubby ridgeline. I put my heavies, 4 legions and one principe, in the valley, with 3 heavy cavalry on our left flank. The line was positioned pretty far back out of range of their archers. My archers and velites were behind the front line.

As the first wave of ghost legions advanced, my cav moved forward and then swung around to attack the rear of the ghosts. By the time they got there, my legionaries had sauted their way through the ghosts pretty easily. So I swung my cavalry back to the left flank to get them out of the marching line of the second wave. And this is where it got interesting....

The two ghost legions and 1 archer on the ghosts' right flank took a shine to my cavalry and marched towards them. I was able to get one cav to charge the archers, while the other two charged then disengaged from the legions. Once the ghost legions engaged with the cavarly, they attempted to track them down all over the field. This allowed me to send my cavalry racing off to run down both archers units, and pull two ghost legions out of the assault as the marched to and fro in pursuit.

This is a good example of robindavies ideas on the "decoy" use of cavalry in the "2nd Macedonian" post. I suppose there is some historical accuracy to this on a larger campaign scale, though on a small battlefield it can seem a bit silly. Nonetheless, it is a weakness of the AI that one can try to take advantage of.

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Post by kongming » Mon May 21, 2007 12:28 pm

The Possum Approach to Cavalry upgrades and equipment:
For cavalry, it's like this -

Swordsman, Drill, and Feint, in that order, over and over. At Level 8, I interrupt the cycle to take Trample.

At Level 12, Master Swordsman should come up in the rotation.

At Level 13, take Frenzy, and your troops become killing machines.

Usually I go for Missile Protection after that, and maybe Block.

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Post by kongming » Mon May 21, 2007 12:34 pm

A good tactic against skirmishers from legatus from the "What to recruit first?" thread:
I noticed that cavalry is pretty effective against skirmishers(as they should be). Best kills I've gotten when attacking skirmishers from rear, while they've been blocking the cavalry's path while cavalry is moving somewhere else. Then they don't end forming a clear battleline , but instead charge almost through the skirmihes formation slicing lot of quick kills. I use cavalry for flanking and hitting soft spots quickly, I feel they're wasted on one-one battles.

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Post by kongming » Mon May 21, 2007 12:40 pm

Another great tactic by sum1won in the same "what to recruit first" thread.
One useful trick with skirmishers is to send them out with a baby sitting unit of heavy cavalry behind. The skirmishers will fire at the enemy, and when they charge into combat, hit disengage immeadeaitly. If all goes well you should take out at least a few. While the enemy is chasing, slam the cavalry into them before they can get turned about, then, before they organize, disengage AGAIN. This one-two punch is excellent if your enemy is relying on shock units (elite units in the frontlines) to carry the day, and if done right, can literally cripple their army. Your opponent will likely want to use rally at this point to save his butt, and this will make him expend an extremely vital order. If he doesnt use rally or turn around, more fool him, because those troops will be wiped out. If you use only one or the other unit type to pull this off, the hit will not be quite enough to hamstring the unit.

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Post by kongming » Mon May 21, 2007 12:55 pm

I would be interested to hear other people's ideas about upgrades and equipment for cavarly. Is trample essential or is the XP better spent upgrading their basic combat strength? Are morale upgrades, the noted weakness of Roman heavy cav, like junior officers and purchase of standards equally important?

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Post by kongming » Tue May 22, 2007 2:03 am

More Possum wisdom on cavalry, actually from the same post as above, from the Unit Types thread:
Lavish great love and attention on your heavy cavalry. Upgrade their equipment before any other troops. You will probably only have 3 heavy cavalry units, but they can be your knockout punch if you train them right, equip them right, and use them right.

Heavy cavalry (properly developed) have combat power equal to any heavy infantry. Yet they are far more mobile.

When faced with evil enemy archers, you can often open a hole in the enemy line simply by leaving a gap in your own. The enemy unit which is not facing one of yours will usually "aggro" to one side or the other, leaving a gap. Then one of your heavy cavalry units roars through the gap and nails the archers good.

Always think flanks. If you can't nail the enemy archers via the trick above, find a way to go around. Use waypoints to go around his flank, then come back and do his archers like the monkey did the miller's wife - hard, fast, and from behind.

Heavy cavalry at the charge are very very fast, and capable of executing sweeping manuevers in plenty of time to save the day. Don't be afraid to experiment.

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Post by kongming » Tue May 22, 2007 2:07 am

Another point made by Possum in the Unit Types thread:
For Heavy Cavalry, once you have Frenzy, consider strongly going after Grand Master Swordsman III so you can buy Teutonic Horses, which may just be the most effective of the "elite" equipment items.

Oh, and one last thing. If you're playing as the Romans, be sure you get Auxiliary Cavalry, not Nobles. The Nobles have no armor, just like Light Cavalry.

If you're playing as the Celts, Celtic Nobles are the only Heavy Cavalry available, and they are indeed very heavily armored.
Which Possum later amended with the following:
I was mistaken to say that Master Trample gets you Teutonic Horses. Teutonic Horses become available when you reach Grand Master Swordsman III. Master Trample gets you Sarmatian Cavalry Armor, which is also very nice.

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Post by coldknight » Tue May 22, 2007 10:48 am

Yea i like to charge the deploying forces, thats my favorite thing to do :wink:

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Post by Redpossum » Wed May 23, 2007 6:10 pm

Excellent work, kongming!

You've collected a lot of related stuff in one place. What's next, a wiki? :)

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Post by kongming » Thu May 24, 2007 12:45 am

Possum, I'm glad you approve, since most of the thread consists of your input. There is lots of good info spread across the forum, but I kept losing track of where I'd seen it. Hopefully others find this useful as well.

Some people's lot in life is to compose; others to compile...How does "The Collected Works of Possum" sound? Or do you prefer "The Annals of Possum"?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this question.
I would be interested to hear other people's ideas about upgrades and equipment for cavarly. Is trample essential or is the XP better spent upgrading their basic combat strength? Are morale upgrades, the noted weakness of Roman heavy cav, like junior officers and purchase of standards equally important?
PS. I love the bit about the monkey and the miller's wife. I've laughed about that a lot.[/quote]

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Cavalry and the Trample Skill

Post by robindavies » Wed Aug 08, 2007 5:29 pm

Swordsmanship and Feints are critical for the cavalry but do not underestimate the value of the Trample skill. I use my cavalry constantly during battles until they are broken sending the crashing into enemy formations (scoring at least 3 or 4 victims per charge) and then disengaging before the cavalry gets cut to ribbons by the infantry. Once the remnants of your cavalry have disengaged and reformed behind your lines, you can send them in again for another trampling charge. The trample skill can be as effective per round of battle as archer fire so use this well!

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Post by Redpossum » Wed Aug 08, 2007 10:03 pm

Kongming, LOL, how about "The Tao of Possum" ?

Robin, yessssss, on one level I hear you, and on another...

I guess it's just a judgement call. If you follow my development plan, you get troops that slaughter opponents in the melees. If you put more levels into Trample early, you delay the development of those crucial melee skills, but get more trample kills.

I suppose it comes back to how you plan to use your cavalry units.

I would get Heavy Cavalry to Frenzy first, as outlined above.

Now, with Light Cavalry I would train Trample up earlier, because they're never going to be worth a fart in the melees anyhow. But mostly I just don't use Light Cavalry past the mid-point of the campaign.

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Post by Frost » Mon Oct 22, 2007 7:14 am

For me I don't use the charge-and-retreat at all unless I really must. A few guys seem to ALWAYS get caught and downed, or refuse to move and stay to fight even though the rest of the squad is halfway across the field already. Unless you're playing on normal, every cavalryman downed can be expensive.

I play with three units of Auxilia Cavalry; my best guys, with the black horses (so I recognize them easily :)) and the best equipment, usually stay with or behind my lines to reinforce weak sections and take out flankers. The other two I mostly use to pick out the weak points in the enemy's line (read: light infantry), punch through it ASAP, then gain access to their rear. If I'm facing a big and difficult line, though, sometimes I'll switch this out. My elites try to find a way around, and my two regular Auxilia Cavalry reinforce my infantry.

Overall, works really well. Once my cavalry pass level 10, I stop really having any problems with archers or skirmishers unless they're embedded really well within the infantry columns. Sometimes, it turns out really REALLY well, like what happened with an overconfident Hannibal and his rearguard skirmishers in the level I just played... 8)

Hannibal Messes Up

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Post by moj » Sat Nov 17, 2007 2:06 am

I don't like cavalry.

I run with two Auxiliary Cavalry, but use Heineken tactics: only good for reaching the parts other units cannot reach. I can think of only two Roman battles which require deployment of two cavalry units - both are time-limited general-killers. Once I'm past Cynoscephalae I won't bother with cavalry where possible, in order to try and get my archers up towards the Magic Bow of Megadeath.

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Post by pgeerkens » Sun Aug 31, 2008 3:12 am

H moj,

Playing GBOR onVery Hard, I really must disagree - cvalry is essential in many battles. while experimenting recently with some different upgrade sequences, I replayed Magnesia with half my heavy infanty a level lower on armour. I doscovered that sending a cohort of scouts ahead as pincushions (in line, of course) worked wonders. Not only did they absorb all of Philip's arrows for the first third of the battle, but they survived to do an end run and hit his guards in the rear! Very satisfying ;-)

In summary, I do not have a favourite cavalyr tactis - but many favourite tactics depending on circumstances. All those listed have their place, depending on the composition and layaout of the opposing army. I use them all, and then some ;-)
"Even on the attack, the spade is the equal of the rifle." Erwin Rommel
Caesar & "Marius' Mules" would agree.

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Post by honvedseg » Wed Sep 03, 2008 2:07 pm

Cavalry is extremely important, not only for the aforementioned tasks of running down skirmishers and outflanking the opposing line, but also for preventing the opponent from doing the same to yours. Even on Very Hard, if I can gang up two of my Aux Cav on an approaching enemy mounted unit, they generally rip it to horsemeat and scrapmetal and are still in good enough shape afterwards to continue on with the offensive goals stated by other players. Incidentally, those cav kills are worth mega-points toward the next promotion....

Archers tend to shoot AT the target, NOT where it will be. A fast cavalry unit on the charge will usually outrun most of the incoming fire as it closes.

Once you've got them in the opponent's backfield and the battle is going your way, it's often worth burning an order or two to have them range across the field to catch any retreaters. If you've got them in motion, they will continue to rack up kills even after the battle is over, as the survivors flee.

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Post by gamer66 » Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:14 am

I always sit a group in the middle and make all their advance troops follow them into my strong trap group :D. I always win with that one lol.

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Re: Cavalry Tactics

Post by Aleksandr » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:34 pm

Necroed!

A copy-paste work from my other post...

Note:
*) Over the months (well, years maybe?) I designed a very powerful horsemen tactic, one that I had much success with. Unless the map dictates otherwise, I run the cavalry into the nearest/most dangerous enemy and then Trample-Disengage-Trample until the squad is either crippled or routed. The initial clash carries away nearby enemy squads, of course. This way I may lead an enemy cluster right before my shooters and once they engage with guards (optimal situation is enemy heavies vs. my lights in swamp/rough), I encircle the cluster and trample over routed enemy, gaining precious amount of horrid experiences... or vice versa? Once the cluster starts to melt, I ran the horsemen into the fray, destroying the opposition and overrunning both the initialy routed and the guys leaving the cluster. By this time rest of the enemy troops starts to pester me, so you just can't always use this tactic, but well, horsemen are fast enough to run away if any danger pops up, and they also may either lead another units into doom, or just destroy the incoming enemy (mainly Skirms).
Maybe this looks like a needless trick or even a cheat on game design. I don't care of the latter, as there are other game features (like the disengagement-failure bug) that work against me, but I wish to evaluate on the "unnecessary waste of time" argument. First of all, there's nothing like unnecessary exp. Of course that time from time I was too greedy and instead of using my Scouts to the very best result, I moved them where they were of no use. But any scenario where you may guide the enemy units into a big cluster that you may lately encircle with your horsemen, so that the routed enemy squads automatically undergo Trample kills while they sieve through your cavalry, brings a lots of fresh new experiences to your mounted troops.
If the Trample-Disengage-Trample tactic is solid, the Encircle-and-Sieve trick is plain amazing.
One last note: yes, you need to upgrade the Trample skill, of course.



Enjoy!

/necro

EDIT: When using this tactic, you must not forget of several very important things.
First of all, the usual possum's upgrade path remains in use, except for a few differences. Rather than maximizing Feint and Drill, take the Trample whenever possible instead.You'll need at least some Drill to use your cavalry effectivelly, and you'll also need some Feint to upgrade Swordsman and to make some damage in hand-to-hand. But whatever "excess" level you find, upgrade the Trample skill. Depending on how exactly you'll upgrade, on level 13 or 14 you'll get the Frenzy skill.
The other important thing is that you can't skip the Drill, because you need it not only because of upgrade tree, but also because you want lots of free movement, if you wish to use cavalry properly.
Third thing to know. Although setting your cavalrymen into the offensive stance should bring more Trample kills, it's not always true, especially when you're about to hit an enemy in a defensive stance: this time it's better to be also in a defensive stance, because your formation is wider and the "landing surface" is also wider, thus making far more trample kills.
Another reason for attacking in a defensive stance is the fact that this way the cavalry won't break too deep into the enemy formation and thus has very little problems with disengagement. When you use aggressive formation, your cavalry breaks so deep that it either can't disengage at all, or at least some horsemen remain trapped in enemy line where their fate is short, cruel and bittersome.
When is the best time for disengagement? Immediatelly! In fact I hit the "Disengage" button as soon as it becomes active, because before the order takes place, cavalrymen just hit the enemy. You may give them one additional second, so that their wave hits with more strength, but it's not the best idea when there are lots of enemy squads all around. Your horsemen may easily become trapped.
This tactic is a little bit dull and needs some micromanagment, but the fact that you'll get lots of free experience (and namely the fact that these come from heavies) would be enough to justify the effort. The added bonus of losing very very little of your own men is... well, it's the added bonus of losing very very little of your men.
Last edited by Aleksandr on Sat Jun 23, 2012 6:22 am, edited 2 times in total.

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