TYW Polish Army - overly powerful?

Byzantine Productions Pike and Shot is a deep strategy game set during the bloody conflict of the Thirty Years War.

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rumguff
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TYW Polish Army - overly powerful?

Post by rumguff » Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:30 pm

What do people think about the Polish TYW army? It seems overly powerful to me. I have played quite a few games both using the Poles and against them. In all those I only saw them loose once - against the Turks.

Polish cavalry, point for point seem to easily dominate their opponents (apart from the turks) and their foot hold their own just fine.

Anyone else care to share their experience fielding or facing the Polish?

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Re: TYW Polish Army - overly powerful?

Post by kdonovan » Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:00 am

The early Swedes seem to do OK against them, though the Poles are tough. I've played several times against the AI rules Poles. The Poles have no real answer the the Swedish salvo foot, nor I suspect to most other pike and shot types.

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Re: TYW Polish Army - overly powerful?

Post by KiwiWarlord » Sat Nov 22, 2014 4:23 am

Have only played the Ottomans against the Poles in skirmish battles of various sizes. Results are even.
Never played the poles nor played against a human Polish General.

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Re: TYW Polish Army - overly powerful?

Post by TheGrayMouser » Sat Nov 22, 2014 3:51 pm

kdonovan wrote:The early Swedes seem to do OK against them, though the Poles are tough. I've played several times against the AI rules Poles. The Poles have no real answer the the Swedish salvo foot, nor I suspect to most other pike and shot types.
Re Salvo foot: Later pike and shot do, blast em to death before they can close to close combat. if they fail to disrupt at impact, they really are no better than any other P&S unit, plus you will have more of them .

Poles are pretty good but I don't believe they are unbeatable.
The real issue for "earlier armies" ie, the later tercio armies, is they are easily outclassed by the P&S armies(the ones w 34/66% pike-shot) Try later Spanish vs a Weimariner army, that is tough!(for the Spanish)

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Re: TYW Polish Army - overly powerful?

Post by Pixel » Tue Dec 02, 2014 1:27 am

The Polish have some strong cavalry units for sure. However, as others here have said their Winged Hussars can be beaten.

It is when they can maximize their very powerful charge on favorable flat open terrain that they do best. Therefore, finding opportunities to use terrain features against them can help even the odds (probably easier to do against the AI then a Human opponent though).

They may disrupt or fragment units with their initial charges but they really don't like prolonged contact with pike blocks. So if you are charged try to force them into sustained melee with supporting pike/shot units or even better hit them in the flank with a pile of pointy pikes. Harassing firepower from shot or artillery also can kill sufficient numbers of impact mounted units like the Winged Hussars or heavy lancer units like Gendarmes to make them lose cohesion.
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Re: TYW Polish Army - overly powerful?

Post by Alma69 » Mon Dec 08, 2014 7:13 pm

I think this units are not portret good enough in this game. They ware using very, very long lances, that where longer then used pikes in the period and those lances where breakable, so the unit was best on the first impact. The whole unit flavor not simulated at all here. Simulated correctly in some other TT games though.

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Re: TYW Polish Army - overly powerful?

Post by nikgaukroger » Tue Dec 09, 2014 8:14 am

Alma69 wrote:They ware using very, very long lances, that where longer then used pikes in the period

Depending on just when you are talking about this is rather a myth I'm afraid. The kopia was about 5m long whilst a pike for Gustavus' army (to take an example) was about 6m - and in use only about half the kopia would project in front of the horse whilst most of the pike projects in front of a man. The Polish hussaria, despite much myth, did not actually ride over pike and shot infantry - IIRC there is just one example of a victory against such troops and it was commented on as being almost unbelievable as it was so unusual.
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Re: TYW Polish Army - overly powerful?

Post by TheGrayMouser » Tue Dec 09, 2014 3:44 pm

http://www.kismeta.com/diGrasse/HowHussarFought.htm

Nice although incomplete analysis of Husaria tactics
Of note, unit frontage is deemed quite important, yet something hard to portray in hex/grid games.

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Re: TYW Polish Army - overly powerful?

Post by Alma69 » Wed Dec 17, 2014 12:06 am

The myth is their wings. That was not atached to armor but in to sadle instead. The fact that they where using breakable long lances is definitely not a myth.

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Re: TYW Polish Army - overly powerful?

Post by Alma69 » Wed Dec 17, 2014 12:46 am

""The assumption in the West was that it was not possible for cavalry to fall on a pike formation. Since the pike and lance were the same length, before the knight reached the pikeman, his horse was impaled on the pike. This situation looked like bad news to the contemporary western European cavalry, who wholly abandoned the lance.

As it happens, the situation was different with the hussar. The Hussar's Lance was constructed differently than medieval lances, as its center was bored out to save weight, and it was longer than its precursors - many were even 5.5m long- but were still lighter than western lances. (Examples exist to the present day). At the same time, the tendency of the pike was to become shorter in the West. So, the hussar could hit a pikemen before the pike reached his horse.

But this is not all. If it happened that hussars knocked out the first rank of pike, two ranks remain to defend the musketeers. How did the hussars overcome this? Several answers are possible. First they were put in a dense formation so that they were not greatly outnumbered by the pikemen. Some hussars had intact lances after the collision, and could continue the offensive on the other lines of pikemen. Secondly, even broken lances were 2-3 meters long, and even if its hit was not mortal, it could cause considerable mutilation and elimination of the pikeman from battle. Third, the possible breakdown of the pikes on the flanks could roll up the whole formation. The final consideration is the second blow that can be delivered by the fresh rear ranks of the hussar formation.""



Examples exist to the present day


So your argue clearly fall.

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Re: TYW Polish Army - overly powerful?

Post by Alma69 » Wed Dec 17, 2014 2:36 am


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Re: TYW Polish Army - overly powerful?

Post by nikgaukroger » Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:43 am

Alma69 wrote:The myth is their wings. That was not atached to armor but in to sadle instead. The fact that they where using breakable long lances is definitely not a myth.

The myth I referred to was that their lances were longer than pikes not that they didn't have long breakable lances - if you read what I say you will also see that I say that it depends on when exactly you are talking about.

On the whole subject of the hussaria against pikemen I would, again, note that IIRC there is but a single example (Kircholm in 1605) where they did break a steady pike formation frontally unaided and that at the time that was seen as very unusual - Jan Sobieski's father saying "In future centuries the victory will be marvelled at, rather than actually believed". Theoretical analysis is all well and good, however, if it is not supported by historical examples it is pretty worthless in game rules development.
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Re: TYW Polish Army - overly powerful?

Post by nikgaukroger » Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:36 am

And as I have time to have a quick dig through Brzezinski's stuff here are a few more bits of info that may inform us.

The writers who mentioned the kopia being longer than pikes are all from post 1650 - at this time pikes were more usually in the 4.2m to 4.8 range.

The unbroken kopia remaining in Poland are 4.8 to 4.9m long but are missing their heads, a single complete example measure 5.02m including an 18.5cm head.

Swedish pikes had a regulation length of 5.98m reduced in 161 to 5.3m (I don't believe there are extant examples to compare the regulation to alas).

As an actual killing weapon the kopia appears to have been a bit naff against armoured troops. The Swedes describe them as shattering against their breastplates and doing little to no harm (IIRC one chap said 3 broke against his breastplate in one battle). It appears to be much more a psychological weapon but was still effective against lesser armoured troops.

Faced with Gustavus' reformed Swedish army the proportion of hussaria in the army dropped from up to 75% of the cavalry to about 30% - which maybe suggestive of the Poles expectations. Greater numbers of lighter cavalry started to be recruited - also western style infantry.
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Re: TYW Polish Army - overly powerful?

Post by Alma69 » Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:49 am

Every husar had 3 kopie. They where very expensive weapons. By your understandings they carred them just for show in all this battles 29-IX-1600 Karksi, 25-XI-1600 Cutrea de Argesz, 7-I-1601 Kieś, 23-IV-1601 Kokenhausen, 25-IX-1604 Biały Kamień, 27-IX-1605 Kircholm, 4-VII-1610 Kłuszyn to name a few, and remain unbeated by more then century. Killing 90% of enemys infantry in Kircholm? With they naff weapon?
Breakable lances was very important element of their equipment to the state that was unhonorable to come back with unbreaked kopia.

"A pikeman hit by a lance would be thrown back through the air like a huge projectile, knocking down several friends and creating a break in formation. (Whereas one hit by a bullet would drop or thrash around a bit) The lancer does not have to be at a canter to achieve this; he can start almost standing still and drive forward 2 meters."
But yes I believe lethality was simply not all, break formation is a enough effect that comes with death in short after.

Other TT games that I played had hasarian kopia in mechanics included. Just in simply ways as bonus at first 2 or 3 encounters.
I wish for something similar in pike&shot as well.

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Re: TYW Polish Army - overly powerful?

Post by nikgaukroger » Thu Dec 18, 2014 10:57 am

Alma69 wrote:Every husar had 3 kopie. They where very expensive weapons.
But did not carry 3 at the same time. Historical information shows that after breaking their kopia subsequent charges would be undertaken with sword in hand - with those with unbroken kopia (if any) used in the front line.


By your understandings they carred them just for show in all this battles 29-IX-1600 Karksi, 25-XI-1600 Cutrea de Argesz, 7-I-1601 Kieś, 23-IV-1601 Kokenhausen, 25-IX-1604 Biały Kamień, 27-IX-1605 Kircholm, 4-VII-1610 Kłuszyn to name a few, and remain unbeated by more then century. Killing 90% of enemys infantry in Kircholm? With they naff weapon?
It is part of a "weapon system" if you like, with the lance being a significant factor in the psychological impact of the hussaria unit. It need not actually do much physical harm to be effective in that role - much in the way that the bayonet wasn't in infantry combat in Napoleonic times, its effect was in the enemies mind.

"A pikeman hit by a lance would be thrown back through the air like a huge projectile, knocking down several friends and creating a break in formation. (Whereas one hit by a bullet would drop or thrash around a bit) The lancer does not have to be at a canter to achieve this; he can start almost standing still and drive forward 2 meters."
Is there actually any supporting evidence for this? I'd suggest that the historical performance suggests not otherwise there would have been more than a single case of hussaria riding down pikemen unaided.
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Re: TYW Polish Army - overly powerful?

Post by Sabratha » Fri Dec 19, 2014 4:59 pm

On the Husaria:

1) Late 16th and early 17th Husaria used lances that were between 3 and 4 meters long. They both hollow lances and also more expensive, heavier (10 kg) non-hollow lances depending on the occassion. (All info from the huge work of MarrekPlewczyński "Wojny i wosjowośc polska w XVI wieku").

2) Much of the capacity of the Husaria was based on the horses used. Unlike other formations in the Polish army at the time or Reiter horses, Husaria chose horses that were specifically capable of very rapidly going from standstill to gallop in a very short space, without the need of gaining speed through several lenghts of lower gaits. Husaria was trained to perform both melee (including swordsmanship) and firearms combat in gallop and in "high gallop" (Polish "cwał" - english seems to lack a distinct word for the highest level of horse gait - one above gallop) without slowing down and going into a protracted low-speed melee with opposing cavalry.
During the battle of Klushino 1610, Husaria charged through massed first rank Russian pomyestna cavalry striking at the second rank cavlry, withle a followup wave of Polish horsemen dispersed the first rank russian units already fragmented by the passage of the Husaria.

3) Another specific characteristc of the Husaria was the ability to use the speed and maneouvrebility of its horses to swiftlty and easily brake away from melee and rapidly strike back in an organized line manner (without losing cohesion or going through a prolonged circling manner like reiters). During the afformentioned battle of Klushino, some Husaria units performed this manner of charge up to 10 times in a row against more numerous enemy horse formations.

4) Husaria rarely fought against massed groups of pike&shot formations, mostly because the usual opponents (Russia, Turkey, Tatars, Cossacks) did not rely on this formation. Notable exceptions were in several battles against Sweden (Kircholm was already mentioned) and the battle of Klushino where Russia fielded a large body of mercenary german pike&shot infantry. Notable example would also be the battle of Byczyna 1588 where around 400 imperial lancknechts participated.

- At Kircholm the swedish pikemen and muskets were fragmented, routed and subsequently cut down by the Husaria attack.

- At Klushino a large body (around 3.500 men) of german pike&shot standing behind a sturdy oak fence was attacked by Husaria and later backed up by a small group of Haiduk infantry (200 men). Both sides fought each other to a standstill - Poles failed to rout the german pikes, but pinned the whole pike&shot group down in attritional back-and-forth charge combat, thus preventing it from helping the Russian forces being cut down on their left. Notably the Husaria was not routed, even though it failed to brake the german pike&shot in repeated attacks.

- At Byczyna a group of 400 lancknechts broke and ran after first being shot at by polish infantry, then being charged by a mixed group of husaria and other horsemen. Its important to note that the lancknechts were one of the last units to flee, probably being demoralized by seeing friendly units being routed and killed all around them.


Overall my knowledge on the subject seems to suggest that the Husaria was rather unique in comparison with other cavalry formations of the era because it relied much more on speed, drill and cohesion in charge-disengange-charge series of attacks rather than prolonged ranged combat (tatars, reiters) or getting bogged down in a prolonged and static melee (eastern melee cavlary, western cuirassiers).

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Re: TYW Polish Army - overly powerful?

Post by Alma69 » Wed Dec 24, 2014 2:56 pm

Reciving a punch from more then 1 ton of mass object moving at 60 kph pace. Yeah I suppose, man would fly away.

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Re: TYW Polish Army - overly powerful?

Post by TheGrayMouser » Fri Dec 26, 2014 2:54 pm

Alma69 wrote:Reciving a punch from more then 1 ton of mass object moving at 60 kph pace. Yeah I suppose, man would fly away.
Unless the one ton mass is a centaur, then no. :D The horses mass has little to do with the kinetic energy released at the point of the lances contact with a target. The majority of energy goes into the mans shoulder and back, maybe legs if hes gripping tight. Modern enthusiasts trying to understand ancient mounted combat have suggested that a big lancer on a small horse is a more dangerou foe that a small lancer on a big horse. High backed saddles can HELP keep a lancer seated, as when one strike a infantry target , which suggests a lance pointed downward, the forces exerted on the cavalry man are going to be back and up.
60kph sound a little high, even for quality polish mount...

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