Cavalry and Battle Frontage Solution

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Re: Cavalry and Battle Frontage Solution

Post by pnoff » Fri Aug 09, 2019 5:51 pm

Gray Fox wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 5:47 pm
G, I was a soldier for 21 years. Military History starts as the Age of Infantry. The Battle of Adrianople is recognized as the start of a Millennia of Cavalry rule, ending in the Age of Gunpowder. These are real milestones in military history.
Being soldier for 21 year is respectable, but does not make you an expert on ancient warfare. Neither do average Military history courses, tbh. Even on historical faculties such courses can be quite superficial, unless you specialize in the subject.

Edit. See your edit referencing a book now, cheers! Will comment on that later. By promising to read whatever I meant description of Adrianople (editedit: of Magnesia, I meant), not whole military history book, although I will look over it too :)
Last edited by pnoff on Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cavalry and Battle Frontage Solution

Post by Gray Fox » Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:10 pm

Since you missed it:

Pnoff, I don't know how fast you can read but here's a source, Men in Arms by:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/00303 ... bl_vppi_i0

Alex Roland is Professor of History Emeritus at Duke University, where he taught Military History and the History of Technology.

He further breaks this period into the Age of the Phalanx and the Age of the Legion, with no mention of how highly important cavalry were.

The Bibliography has many other good sources. Oh, and this was course material I took from an actual Professor of Military Science.

P.S. We're competing with our posts. :D

I'll take a time out so G can post his friend's source material.
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Re: Cavalry and Battle Frontage Solution

Post by edb1815 » Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:37 pm

Gray Fox wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 5:27 pm
I appreciate your contribution to the discussion. However, people who study military history in depth didn't make the video or the Wikipedia entry. They teach at military academies, and they teach that this was the Age of Infantry. Great states with professional, well equipped infantry armies ruled the battlefields. I'm sure that someone will mod Empires so that a Combined Arms Cavalry Panzer Korps will finally appease those who want to have a "solution". At Magnesia, Antiochus' cavalry raided the Roman camp, they didn't turn and crush the Roman Heavy infantry, because they would have been slaughtered. The Roman cavalry that surrounded the phalanges didn't charge into their rear either. The line of phalanges were retreating until the Legions destroyed them. Archers weren't machine gunners, cavalry weren't tanks and combined arms wasn't a thing in this era.
If you look at the OP Geffalrus is not advocating for a cavalry panzer corps breaking through a well ordered infantry line. Even accepting that infantry was the predominate force on the battlefield at this time cavalry getting on the flank of a pike phalanx was a real threat. That is what he is talking about in the Empire battle system. FOGII simulates this well. Heavy cavalry will lose to ordered heavy infantry frontally but if they are disordered or hit in the flank the cavalry particularly lancers can be devastating. Also if you read anything about Alexander's tactics you will note that he did make use of combined arms, perhaps not in the way that we think of in modern warfare.

There is a danger in looking at history with too broad a brush, something that professional historians can fall prey to as well. This can be true for military history courses if you are not studying one specific era in depth. Conversely a Wiki entry can be well researched the point is to look at the sources. Looking specifically at the time frame of Empire there were already examples of changing use of cavalry (looking at western armies mostly). Alexander arming the companions with sarrisa ie lancers for example. This was clearly different to the earlier Greek hoplite warfare where cavalry for the most part were skirmishers. Of course the reasons for that are multifactorial. The Romans of course being the prime example of the infantry oriented force, but I would note that even before your Adrianople cut off the Romans had introduced a much higher proportion of heavy cavalry in their field armies. Having studied the Parthians and Sassinad Perisans I will say that it is incorrect that cataphracts were armored because of bowmen and were armed with bows themselves. That is a much later development. They were originally lance armed. Still you are right they are not going to charge fresh infantry frontally. On the flank or infantry disordered by missiles is another matter.

For the game the bottom line is that a proposal to give heavy cavalry a flank bonus in open terrain is historically correct.

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Re: Cavalry and Battle Frontage Solution

Post by Gray Fox » Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:00 pm

The dangerous life of a cataphract

Nevertheless, the cataphract was not invincible. Its greatest strength was also its greatest weakness. For a start, the weight of the armor was so great that the warrior needed others to help him up onto his horse. As long as he remained on his horse, the warrior was in a safe position. If he was dismounted during battle, however, he would have been an easy target for the enemy. Although the armor afforded extra protection, it also reduced the horse’s stamina. Furthermore, overheating was also a major problem. These weaknesses were exploited by the Roman emperor Aurelian during his battle against the Palmyrenes led by Zenobia. Using his lighter cavalry, Aurelian provoked the Palmyrene cataphracts to attack. The emperor’s cavalry, however, were ordered not to engage the cataphracts, and pretended to retreat. Once the cataphracts succumbed to the heat and the weight of the armor, Aurelian’s cavalry charged and annihilated the Palmyrene cataphracts. Whilst the armor of the cataphract was able to withstand attacks from swords and arrows, they seemed to be useless against blunt weapons. During Aurelian’s battle against the Palmyrenes, he had troops from Palestine armed with clubs and staves that were used specifically “against coats of mail made of iron and brass”.

https://www.ancient-origins.net/history ... war-003361

Geffarus started the "cavalry problem" in other posts where he wanted his medium cavalry to occupy the line, but not get slaughtered. Alexander used innovation in his use of cavalry. However, this was before the game starts. As above, leaders by this time largely figured out what to do about heavy cavalry. Light cavalry were scouts, raiders and pursuers. Medium cavalry could trump them as Hannibal did the Roman cavalry at Cannae. But at Cannae, the Roman infantry pushed themselves into a cauldron. The Carthagenian infantry closed the trap after their cavalry prevented a Roman retreat. Hannibal's cavalry didn't charge the Roman rear and slaughter them.

I did offer a solution that reflects reality. A stack with medium cavalry should be able to reduce the effect of skirmisher/light cavalry. This would reflect their ability to chase them away before they did any real damage.
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Re: Cavalry and Battle Frontage Solution

Post by pnoff » Fri Aug 09, 2019 9:53 pm

Gray Fox wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 5:47 pm
G, I was a soldier for 21 years. Military History starts as the Age of Infantry. The Battle of Adrianople is recognized as the start of a Millennia of Cavalry rule, ending in the Age of Gunpowder. These are real milestones in military history.

Pnoff, I don't know how fast you can read but here's a source, Men in Arms by:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/00303 ... bl_vppi_i0

Alex Roland is Professor of History Emeritus at Duke University, where he taught Military History and the History of Technology.

He further breaks this period into the Age of the Phalanx and the Age of the Legion, with no mention of how highly important cavalry were.

The Bibliography has many other good sources. Oh, and this was course material I took from an actual Professor of Military Science.
I'll look at relevant chapters when I'm in the library in a few days time since I promised (although I wanted Battle of Magnesia sources, but whatever :) ).

But I don't have very high expectations tbh. This is modernised (to 1991) 1956 book with slightly different authors, which is super old by any standards. This also looks to be "grand narrative" type of book from BC to 1980's, I don't expect it to be very in depth and correct in details.

Unfortunately, I can't find modern "grand narrative" quotes on relative importance of cavalry vs infantry. Searching term "Age of Infantry" does not give anything relevant neither in google nor in academic library search, I doubt this is current scientific term.

I found this particular topic quite stale academically, unfortunately (maybe Geffalrus or edb1815 can show me otherwise?). I wish I could access https://www.amazon.co.uk/Warhorse-Caval ... 1847250238 which seems to deal in this matters quite rigorously. (but I can pm rave review from The Historian Vol. 70 Issue 3 with some more details than on amazon page).

On Magnesia: I think main sources are quite clear on importance of flanking by cavalry, see
Livy 42 (https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/From_the ... ty/Book_37)
and
Appian 34-35 (https://www.livius.org/sources/content/ ... wars-7/#32)

(edit. and quite consistent with wikipedia and youtube video, by the way. With all my snobbery, they are actually quite good on average, to the point that I got lazy at checking :) I would be interested what "real historians" can add to them.)

The problem with Antiochus charge was that he got bogged down chasing camp instead of turning around and encircling infantry, which Roman cavaly did and won the day.

Nobody argues that infantry was not important or that it was loosing to cavalry in line battle regularly, it's all about enveloping flanks. Just look at open field battles (those mentioned in this thread, for example). I would choose Zama as iconic example (without scythe chariot debacle of Magnesia).

edit. Could somebody give a good list of important battles of the period, please? I want to count how many were decided by cavalry action.

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Re: Cavalry and Battle Frontage Solution

Post by Geffalrus » Fri Aug 09, 2019 10:57 pm

Gray Fox wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 5:27 pm
I appreciate your contribution to the discussion. However, people who study military history in depth didn't make the video or the Wikipedia entry. They teach at military academies, and they teach that this was the Age of Infantry. Great states with professional, well equipped infantry armies ruled the battlefields. I'm sure that someone will mod Empires so that a Combined Arms Cavalry Panzer Korps will finally appease those who want to have a "solution". At Magnesia, Antiochus' cavalry raided the Roman camp, they didn't turn and crush the Roman Heavy infantry, because they would have been slaughtered. The Roman cavalry that surrounded the phalanges didn't charge into their rear either. The line of phalanges were retreating until the Legions destroyed them. Archers weren't machine gunners, cavalry weren't tanks and combined arms wasn't a thing in this era.
Okay buddy. I'm not "contributing" to this discussion. This is - my - discussion. You rudely barged in. And the only thing you've contributed is the assertion that the period from some century BC to ~500 AD was the "Age of Infantry." I've listed multiple battles and described some in detail, while you have not. If you want to have a discussion of modern military tactics I'll defer to your experience, but Hellenistic military history is something I've studied for a long, long time.

And again, you keep getting the Battle of Magnesia wrong. Antiochus didn't avoid the Roman infantry center because he would have been slaughtered. He'd already overcome the Roman infantry on the left wing. There is literally - no - reason to believe attacking the Roman center would have been a bad idea. Especially since his own infantry center was engaging it. Countless battles in the ancient world were decided by that very thing: victorious cavalry on the wing flanking engaged infantry in the center. Hell, half the time they didn't event need to charge home because the mere threat of flanking cavalry was enough to rout many infantry formations. The actual reason he chased the Roman cavalry to the camp was because he got caught up in the excitement of the battle and the chase, and didn't keep track of where he was. This was actually a common problem in that time period before radios and binoculars. Dust and distance made it difficult to properly coordinate things. Antiochus was a good soldier and commander, but he wasn't good enough to properly wheel victorious cavalry around to flank infantry. We see this at the earlier Battle of Raphia as well. And that's why I referenced Panium, because that was an example of his son displaying superior skill AND victorious cavalry outflanking an infantry center. And as far as the Roman cavalry was concerned (actually it was Pergamene cavalry if you take the time to read the sources) you need to remember that the Seleucids had - elephants - intermixed with the infantry line. Surely you must know of the effect elephants had on ancient cavalry forces. The Seleucids literally won the Battle of Ipsus because of a giant elephant screen that prevented Demetrius the Besieger from using his victorious cavalry wing from outflanking the Seleucid and Lysimachid phalanx.

I'm not trying to create some sort of Panzer experience here, in large part because the comparison doesn't make a lick of sense. The scale that Panzers operated was much, much larger than the battles we deal with in the Hellenistic Era. You're clearly more comfortable in the modern military context. You need to be very careful about not letting that prejudice your understanding of Ancient Warfare. The lessons you have from the modern era are not perfectly applicable to this older context. You're much better off comparing ancient battles of other ancient battles, which is what I'm doing here.

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Re: Cavalry and Battle Frontage Solution

Post by Geffalrus » Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:07 pm

edb1815 wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:37 pm
If you look at the OP Geffalrus is not advocating for a cavalry panzer corps breaking through a well ordered infantry line. Even accepting that infantry was the predominate force on the battlefield at this time cavalry getting on the flank of a pike phalanx was a real threat. That is what he is talking about in the Empire battle system. FOGII simulates this well. Heavy cavalry will lose to ordered heavy infantry frontally but if they are disordered or hit in the flank the cavalry particularly lancers can be devastating. Also if you read anything about Alexander's tactics you will note that he did make use of combined arms, perhaps not in the way that we think of in modern warfare.

There is a danger in looking at history with too broad a brush, something that professional historians can fall prey to as well. This can be true for military history courses if you are not studying one specific era in depth. Conversely a Wiki entry can be well researched the point is to look at the sources. Looking specifically at the time frame of Empire there were already examples of changing use of cavalry (looking at western armies mostly). Alexander arming the companions with sarrisa ie lancers for example. This was clearly different to the earlier Greek hoplite warfare where cavalry for the most part were skirmishers. Of course the reasons for that are multifactorial. The Romans of course being the prime example of the infantry oriented force, but I would note that even before your Adrianople cut off the Romans had introduced a much higher proportion of heavy cavalry in their field armies. Having studied the Parthians and Sassinad Perisans I will say that it is incorrect that cataphracts were armored because of bowmen and were armed with bows themselves. That is a much later development. They were originally lance armed. Still you are right they are not going to charge fresh infantry frontally. On the flank or infantry disordered by missiles is another matter.

For the game the bottom line is that a proposal to give heavy cavalry a flank bonus in open terrain is historically correct.
Yup, the Romans increased the percentage of cavalry forces in their armies the larger they got. Germanic, Gallic, Numidian, Iberian, etc etc. As soon as they got access to cavalry they scooped them up.

Alexander's Macedonian army had a rather large proportion of cavalry, especially when compared to the later Diadochi other than the Seleucids. This all had to do with availability. Antigonid Macedon did not have access to the same level of cavalry forces.

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Re: Cavalry and Battle Frontage Solution

Post by Geffalrus » Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:29 pm

One final thing before I disengage from the "arguing with Grey Fox" portion of this thread.

I want to make it perfectly clear to anyone reading this that my reasoning for suggesting these changes is to make Empire battles look and feel more like ancient battles. The existing algorithm in Empires already does a lot to make that a reality. However, it has a key weakness that crops up as soon as you build an army with more than 10 infantry (regardless of how much cavalry you have). When that happens, the infantry take priority over the cavalry and relegate them to the reserve battle rank way in the rear. From one end of the battle to the other, you have nothing but infantry and the cavalry do nothing. This is not how ancient battles worked, regardless of their size. The Battle of Ipsus in 301 BC was a titanic contest featuring tens upon tens of thousands of men from the largest Diadoch Kingdoms. They still. Put cavalry. On their flanks.

If an army had cavalry 9 times out of 10 they went on the flanks unless special terrain existed that made that unnecessary. We don't have that level of granular detail in Empires, but the region terrain sort of approximates that. As has my flank zone suggestion and its interaction with those region terrains.

In the current iteration of Empires, the battle algorithm prioritizes infantry, and honestly, it should. Frontally, most infantry outperform basic cavalry. On a restricted battle field, that makes sense. But in open terrain, that does not. The game does not currently correctly model how much space battles could truly utilize in this era. THAT is why armies of this time period put cavalry on their flanks. Cavalry had the speed and mobility to exploit said open space on the flanks. This mobility would allow them to outmaneuver infantry on the flanks, isolate them in small pockets, break their morale, and then run them down. We can't literally show that, but with the flank zones, we can get the same result. The flank zones represent that ability of flank cavalry to use mobility to overcome infantry. Something that is a danger attested to in almost every military treatise written in that time period. That is why infantry heavy forces would do their best to anchor their flanks on non-flat terrain when they could. But they couldn't always do that. That's my point with the differences between the region terrain types.

This isn't about making cavalry uber units. It's about making them more accurate and properly useful. Hopefully the dev team will take that to heart and make a change that moves in that direction.
Last edited by Geffalrus on Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cavalry and Battle Frontage Solution

Post by Gray Fox » Sat Aug 10, 2019 4:29 pm

G this is a forum for discussion, not an archive for guides etched in stone. You want cavalry to have a solution. Light cavalry were not designed to turn an enemy flank and crush their army. Medium cavalry were designed to chase off LC, so they were also not going to be able to do this. The heavy cavalry of Antiochus were the apex predator of your theory and they didn't do it at Magnesia. These were an elite force of armored warriors on armored cavalry lead by their ruler. They routed light infantry and cavalry on the Roman flank and pursued them to their camp, where the light Roman forces rallied and repelled them. Antiochus didn't instead turn into the center of the Roman heavy infantry, as pnoff proposes, because he would have been stopped...and slaughtered. Explain that any way you please, but Antiochus knew what he was doing and did not try to attack the Roman Center with only heavy cavalry. That is a fact.

"Cavalry were important in the ancient era." I'm sure we can all find that on the internet, because they were. What that means is a phalanx or a legion could not chase off a light cavalry raid on a village. Only medium cavalry with lightly armored cavalrymen could do that. Both of these could scout, harass and pursue a defeated foe. Armored heavy cavalry could stand up to foot archers and fire their own bows or launch javelins. However, none of these could lower a lance and charge into a wall of heavy infantrymen. Antiochus knew that as well as William Wallace over a millennia later.

Great states eventually collapsed into a collection of poorer feudal realms. These were not able to maintain large, well equipped, well armed, professional armies. Ten thousand peasants cannot do what an equal number of trained soldiers can. Heavy cavalry ruled this period because the infantry offered little resistance. The Byzantine cataphract was an armored mount with an armored warrior armed with a bow, a sword and a lance. Nobles funded knights who were much better equipped than the lowly infantry. The Pope even banned the crossbow to maintain this divide. This is when cavalry ruled. I did a search for "Age of cavalry" and only got references to cavalry in the Age of Empires. Everyone apparently knows that if it is not available on the internet, then it doesn't exist. So forgive me for expressing an idea that the internet has overlooked, but is common knowledge among real warriors (with more than a good amount of patience I might add).

"When Antiochus found that the men whose backs he had seen just before were now resuming the struggle, and that another mass of soldiery was collecting from the camp and from the field, he turned his horse's head and fled."

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/From_the ... Book_37#37
Last edited by Gray Fox on Sat Aug 10, 2019 5:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cavalry and Battle Frontage Solution

Post by Batman6794 » Sat Aug 10, 2019 5:14 pm

Gray Fox wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 4:29 pm
"Cavalry were important in the ancient era." I'm sure we can all find that on the internet, because they were. What that means is a phalanx or a legion could not chase off a light cavalry raid on a village. Only medium cavalry with lightly armored cavalrymen could do that. Both of these could scout, harass and pursue a defeated foe. Armored heavy cavalry could stand up to foot archers and fire their own bows or launch javelins. However, none of these could lower a lance and charge into a wall of heavy infantrymen.
I don't think ancient cavalry saw themselves as you are describing them. They weren't divided into discreet units of light, medium, and heavy with clearly defined roles and accompanying stats. Certainly ancient cavalry performed a wide variety of rolls, and had varying equipment and training, but how they were equipped had a lot more to do with what they could get their hands on then being equipped and trained for so specific a role. Furthermore the role they played on the battlefield had a lot more to do with what they could accomplish in the circumstances than it did any kind of rock-paper-scissors formula for which they had been designed. The light-medium-heavy distinctions exist to help us frame our understanding of an ancient world in which a thousand miles might as well be a different planet for most people, and prevent us from assuming that all ancient "cavalry" are created equal regardless of the region/society that produced them.

Your age of infantry vs age of cavalry argument, while generally true, is a similar generalization, and it does not mean that infantry should be the ONLY factor, just that they are typically the most important.

I don't believe anyone is saying that cavalry should become THE factor, just that they should be able to have SOME influence on battles. After all, the biggest challenge for ancient armies was usually supply, and horses eat quite a bit, so if cavalry were so inconsequential in ancient battles, I think someone might have figured out that they weren't worth bringing.

If I'm understanding Geffalrus's proposal correctly, if your infantry beats my infantry, and my cavalry beats your cavalry, you're still going to win the battle. However, if our infantry is evenly matched and my cavalry beats your cavalry, I will win. It is still the age of infantry, and they are the most important factor, but in a battle with equal strength of infantry on each side, certainly secondary factors should come into play.

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Re: Cavalry and Battle Frontage Solution

Post by Gray Fox » Sat Aug 10, 2019 5:52 pm

Okay, let's remove distinctions that you claim are fabrications. Antiochus wants to scout for the Roman force. Does he send unarmored men on fast horses or slow, armored men on armored mounts? Maybe he should send a mix of both, so they can move at the rate of the slowest one. If distinctions are only made to my convenience, then why wasn't the Roman army just a hodge-podge of auxilia, hastasti and principes. How did those distinctions get in there? Obviously for a reason, the same reason that different cavalry or missile troops were differentiated. The tactical structure of your army dictates a different mission for each unit type. Don't pound nails with a screw driver.

I really do get the real point of G's solution. In several threads he has made it clear that he wants his cavalry to do something. The crux of that argument is that heavy cavalry are just heavy cavalry. If medieval knights can turn a flank and rout an army, then cataphracti should be able to do the same. As I have tried to point out, the infantry make the difference. Heavy infantry of this period are not untrained peasants. Of course, someone can search the intellectual bowels of the infallible internet and find an exception to the rule. That's fine, as long as we accept that it is an exception, not a new rule. If your horse archers drive off my horse archers, so what? Are you saying that your horse archers routed my Legion? What if we use G's rule and I only deploy flanking cavalry. If my cavalry win, the battle is won, right? I don't think we'll find that exception to the rule anywhere in this era.
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Re: Cavalry and Battle Frontage Solution

Post by Batman6794 » Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:18 pm

Gray Fox wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 5:52 pm
Of course, someone can search the intellectual bowels of the infallible internet and find an exception to the rule. That's fine, as long as we accept that it is an exception, not a new rule.
I agree with your point 100%, no single incident should be taken as a guideline to inform all incidents. That's why I think the battle of Magnesia example you keep bringing up without addressing the multiple mitigating factors Geffalrus has brought up isn't a strong thesis for your point without some supporting examples, beyond unsupported statements that "All military academies" and "all real warriors" see it your way. You have cited an actual book, which is a start, but just because it was printed does not make infallible, and as you point out, its dangerous to rely on a single source.

I don't disagree that there were distinctions in units, I'm just saying that simplifying their roles and differences too far obscures a lot of facts. You example of scouting is a great one, but if that's the reason you've brought cavalry, why bring heavy cavalry? They're slower and its a big waste of armor. Furthermore, if the purpose of cavalry is limited to scouting, shouldn't an army with better cavalry derive some sort of advantage from better information? In the current game mechanics that's not reflected.

Do you believe current usefulness (or lack thereof) cavalry have the game is appropriate?

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Re: Cavalry and Battle Frontage Solution

Post by Soar » Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:15 pm

Batman6794 wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 6:18 pm
I don't disagree that there were distinctions in units, I'm just saying that simplifying their roles and differences too far obscures a lot of facts. You example of scouting is a great one, but if that's the reason you've brought cavalry, why bring heavy cavalry? They're slower and its a big waste of armor. Furthermore, if the purpose of cavalry is limited to scouting, shouldn't an army with better cavalry derive some sort of advantage from better information? In the current game mechanics that's not reflected.

Do you believe current usefulness (or lack thereof) cavalry have the game is appropriate?
I'll save you two a bit of time by pointing out that Gray Fox already gave his take on most of those questions upthread:
Gray Fox wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 6:02 pm
If my flank is anchored on a river with a ford, my troops don't guard the length of the river, they just guard the ford. By a similar reasoning, my flank troops don't have to spread out over miles of open plains, they can do that in a tight line on the plain next to my center. Flanking cavalry would still have to charge through the line of men with pointed sticks. Although heavy cavalry may be armored, most, even cataphracts, were armed with javelins or bows. Armored cavalry were just meant to take less damage from the return fire of foot archers. Medium cavalry were meant to chase off lightly armored cavalry armed with javelins and bows. With few exceptions, cavalry did not rule the battlefield until Adrianople, long after the game ends. The "solution" you pose didn't exist.

However, here is a RL solution to add significance to cavalry. Medium cavalry present in an army should be able to counter skirmishers, foot or cavalry, by decreasing their effect. Everything else stays the same for all terrain types, but medium cavalry get a chance to chase the skirmishers away before they can fire.
Effectively, this would turn medium/heavy cavalry into higher-tier support units. While this would give them a more significant role, it wouldn't cause the cavalry flank engagements that were a common feature of battles historically to happen in the game.

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Re: Cavalry and Battle Frontage Solution

Post by Soar » Sat Aug 10, 2019 11:53 pm

Geffalrus wrote:
Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:05 pm
Infantry receive penalties when fighting in the flank zones because those zones are an approximation of the large amounts of space that would exist on open battlefields. Due to their speed, cavalry can take better advantage of this space, allowing them to surround and isolate infantry formations unsupported by cavalry.
I want to expand on this a bit. Not an expert on military history here but this next bit seems pretty obvious: If the terrain does not provide obstructions and there is an absence of enemy cavalry opposition, that should give cavalry the opportunity to concentrate simultaneous attacks from multiple angles against the outermost part of the enemy infantry formation, no matter how much enemy infantry they're facing on that flank. Infantry is too slow to outmaneuver the cavalry to prevent this.

This should be significantly more disruptive than being attacked merely from the front, especially if the infantry is trying to maneuver at the same time since parts of the formation would have to concentrate on defending against attacks from one direction while simultaneously trying to maneuver into a different one, and any stragglers from the formation can be easily swept away by the surrounding cavalry. If the enemy has numerical infantry superiority, it's not necessarily true that the cavalry can stop all the enemy infantry from flanking their own infantry line, but a portion of the enemy footmen on that flank are still likely to have a bad day.

IMO this logic definitely argues towards a special flank zone of some sort for cavalry.

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Re: Cavalry and Battle Frontage Solution

Post by Geffalrus » Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:38 am

Soar wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:15 pm
Effectively, this would turn medium/heavy cavalry into higher-tier support units. While this would give them a more significant role, it wouldn't cause the cavalry flank engagements that were a common feature of battles historically to happen in the game.
+1

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Re: Cavalry and Battle Frontage Solution

Post by Geffalrus » Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:45 am

Batman6794 wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 5:14 pm
If I'm understanding Geffalrus's proposal correctly, if your infantry beats my infantry, and my cavalry beats your cavalry, you're still going to win the battle. However, if our infantry is evenly matched and my cavalry beats your cavalry, I will win. It is still the age of infantry, and they are the most important factor, but in a battle with equal strength of infantry on each side, certainly secondary factors should come into play.
On Plains with 6 core and 6 flank, it would be a draw, which is exactly what happened in various battles of the era. However, if one side can avoid losing completely in their weaker zone, while still winning decisively in the other zones, then they'll win the battle. Which is exactly what happened in a great many battles.

But take the battle to hills, forests, mountains, etc and that infantry superiority easily wins. Take it to steppe/desert and the reverse happens where cavalry dominate.

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Re: Cavalry and Battle Frontage Solution

Post by Batman6794 » Sun Aug 11, 2019 1:37 am

Geffalrus wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:45 am
Batman6794 wrote:
Sat Aug 10, 2019 5:14 pm
If I'm understanding Geffalrus's proposal correctly, if your infantry beats my infantry, and my cavalry beats your cavalry, you're still going to win the battle. However, if our infantry is evenly matched and my cavalry beats your cavalry, I will win. It is still the age of infantry, and they are the most important factor, but in a battle with equal strength of infantry on each side, certainly secondary factors should come into play.
On Plains with 6 core and 6 flank, it would be a draw, which is exactly what happened in various battles of the era. However, if one side can avoid losing completely in their weaker zone, while still winning decisively in the other zones, then they'll win the battle. Which is exactly what happened in a great many battles.

But take the battle to hills, forests, mountains, etc and that infantry superiority easily wins. Take it to steppe/desert and the reverse happens where cavalry dominate.
That sounds appropriate to me, and certainly stillwithin the parameters of something that could fairly be described as “the age of infantry.”

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Re: Cavalry and Battle Frontage Solution

Post by kongxinga » Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:21 am

Perhaps we can take another leaf from the systems in the classic and great game Great Invasions by AGEOD designed by Philippe Thibaut (so same company, different designer). POCUS is great too, but Philippe did create the classics.

FOG Empires has a very similar nation aging and decadence mechanic, except for Great Invasions it was more Ruthless. ALL nations there inevitably collapsed, except ERE or Byzantium which had special rejuvenation rules.

In great invasions, better leaders often found terrain favourable to them to fight in, so this means a battle joined in say a mountain province may sometimes happen in a plains terrain (the great leader found a flat valley for the fight inside the mountains) if the army of the better leader is more suited to one terrain. So an army with cavalry superiority will get battles in plains, while an outnumbered army with HI and armor advantage will find constricted, flat terrain to fight in. This effect extended to the frontage. The leader with more and unit for unit inferior forces will EXPAND the frontage so more of it could fight, while the leader with weaker and presumably more elite troops (roman legions versus tribes) will SHRINK the frontage.

In addition, in certain AGEOD games I recall that certain troops take less frontage if they are in terrain that benefit them, and move more or faster while in it. So a bushwhacking unit of American colonial rangers or militia will attack more times, and can fit more units of rangers in the same square of frontage while in Swamps or heavy forests, while the opposite is true for Red Coat cavalry in plains, where more cavalry can fit into a single square of frontage.

Taken together, the army with cav superiority will roll a dice to expand frontage (from 12 to say up to 36) because the superior scouting allows them to choose the battlefield, with die rolls modified by leadership. In suitable terrain, each square of frontage counts as half for suitable troops. So a regular plains battle with 12 frontage will be able to fit 24 cav and therefore allow more cav to deploy (same principle for restricted terrain for light foot skirmishers where you can deploy twice as many light foot per square). Finally, the leader quality sometimes directly change the terrain to your advantage. So if someone is camping mountains with medium infantry, and you bring in your cataphract doom stack led by a general as good as Hannibal Barca, your general may magically change the terrain engaged in to plains to get some cataphract action.


My main concern with the current battle system is how lopsided the results are. Too many annhilation and fights to the death. In past AGEOD titles, the weaker army will try to withdraw, but here the computer loses legions after legion after I catch it with multiple battles on same turn where the odds keep getting worse as its army gets smaller.

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Re: Cavalry and Battle Frontage Solution

Post by Gray Fox » Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:54 pm

Geffalrus originally brought up the Battle of Magnesia, stating that the heavy cavalry beat Roman infantry on that flank by charging into them. In point of fact, they routed light infantry and cavalry, which then rallied and repelled the elite heavy cavalry. That's why I keep mentioning it.

As for generalizations, a phalanx was not an immobile bunch of drones that was at the mercy of flanking cavalry.

https://www.historynet.com/battle-of-ma ... rsians.htm

The Greek hoplites ran into the Persians, denying them the use of their archers and cavalry. The armored infantry ran over the distance to the Persians, reformed the phalanx and then attacked. That's what a professional infantry force can do.

Real tactics aren't rock-paper-scissors. I posted a book written by a Professor Emeritus citing the period as the Age of the Phalanx and the Age of the Legion, i.e., the Age of Infantry.
Cavalry attacking the rear of a Legion are actually facing a unit of Triarii, the most experienced of the Roman infantry. They fight as a unit, so they most certainly can do an about face. One thousand Roman heavy infantry have three thousand javelins (pila). In addition, each man carried many caltrops, small iron devices that look like large jacks. So charge your cavalry hooves over several thousands of those.

The game has a mission for light cavalry already. What I proposed is a mission for medium or even heavy cavalry.
Someone will eventually mod the game to your liking or the devs will patch it because they want to keep players happy.
Peace, out.
For new players: Not my First Rhodus AAR and Steam Guide: Tips for new players

Soar
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Re: Cavalry and Battle Frontage Solution

Post by Soar » Sun Aug 11, 2019 3:58 pm

Gray Fox wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:54 pm
As for generalizations, a phalanx was not an immobile bunch of drones that was at the mercy of flanking cavalry.

https://www.historynet.com/battle-of-ma ... rsians.htm

The Greek hoplites ran into the Persians, denying them the use of their archers and cavalry. The armored infantry ran over the distance to the Persians, reformed the phalanx and then attacked. That's what a professional infantry force can do.
According to that article, the Persian cavalry wasn't even present on the day of the battle as they were away on a separate mission, so that's not really a good example. If the Athenians gained some surprise advantage by rushing the Persians in such a move, the absence of the Persian cavalry may well have been what allowed them to get away with breaking ranks and then reforming in the first place.

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