A question about armies and historical tactics

Field of Glory II is a turn-based tactical game set during the Rise of Rome from 280 BC to 25 BC.
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Gnaeus
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A question about armies and historical tactics

Post by Gnaeus » Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:14 pm

Having played this for a while (single player only), I find myself almost always anchoring a refused flank on suitable terrain while making a wide flanking maneuver on the other flank. This, of course, is standard Vegetius right out of the game manual. One of the Youtubers I think mentioned that the epic battles are pretty much head-to-head affairs with little room for maneuver. This got me thinking as to how historically plausible the Vegetian tactics are in different periods.

An Alexander, Scipio, Hannibal or Caesar with a veteran army was certainly capable of complex maneuvers, although a flank march in sight of the enemy would always be risky. Maybe also a late Roman general who had read his Vegetius and had a trained army not wholly composed of recently raised foederati. But a Frankish or Viking army? I'm starting to think that as I start exploring the early middle ages I should take down the difficulty a notch and just throw my horde head-on against the enemy. Maybe armies with significant cavalry components were more flexible?

Does anyone have any good references for tactics used in the early Middle Ages in Western Europe?

Blastom1016
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Re: A question about armies and historical tactics

Post by Blastom1016 » Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:05 am

You can try to increase the width of the map but keep the points the same.
This can give you more maneuver space for the same army.

jomni
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Re: A question about armies and historical tactics

Post by jomni » Fri Jul 12, 2019 7:30 am

Blastom1016 wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 3:05 am
You can try to increase the width of the map but keep the points the same.
This can give you more maneuver space for the same army.
He’s talking about Epic Battles and historical behaviour.

Gnaeus
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Re: A question about armies and historical tactics

Post by Gnaeus » Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:53 pm

Historical behavior in epic battles, custom battles or campaigns. The epic battles I've played seem to leave less room for maneuver. I'm just thinking about how best to have a more or less historical approach, rather than gaming the system. Also wondering how much Vegetius is the textbook ideal, and how much it reflects actual practice in the late empire.

kvnrthr
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Re: A question about armies and historical tactics

Post by kvnrthr » Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:11 am

I think the issue is that FOG doesn't really have a model of command. There are commander units that give combat bonuses and allow a bit of extra movement, but you can always order units to do something no matter how far away.

I don't know any ancients PC game that does it, but there are Napoleonic era games that have orders delay, orders getting lost, couriers sending messages back and forth, friction etc. But one couldn't add those in FOG without essentially designing an entirely new game.

That's why epic battle setups are so different from what you'd do in a skirmish battle, since the real commanders who set things up had to consider many things the omniscient player does not.

jomni
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Re: A question about armies and historical tactics

Post by jomni » Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:59 am

How much do you think “on-the-fly” commanding was done during the ancient world? I thought it’s more like a case of “set-and-forget”.

kvnrthr
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Re: A question about armies and historical tactics

Post by kvnrthr » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:13 pm

jomni wrote:
Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:59 am
How much do you think “on-the-fly” commanding was done during the ancient world? I thought it’s more like a case of “set-and-forget”.
Set-and-forget is definitely true. From what little I've read (e.g. Philip Sabin's Lost Battles) the ability to rotate troops, make decisions and commit flexible reserves in the Napoleonic style was essentially nonexistent. You can give your subordinates orders but it would be difficult to do anything you didn't plan for or deal with contingencies etc. Even a single long line would be difficult to coordinate. "Historical battle" deployments are a result of those limitations.

FOG does allow you to have even more control than is reasonable, so the optimal deployment is different from what is historical. E.g. we always extend our line to outflank the enemy, while ancient battles tended to deploy in a deep formation due to command limitations.

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