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Armored Horse Archers?

Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:03 pm
by 76mm
Did a search for this topic, it's probably been covered before, but I couldn't find anything... I'm currently fighting two battles where a large part (~1/2) of my army is made up of armored horse archers, vs mainly foot armies.

I think I'm doing something wrong, because I find these units just about useless...they are hopeless at melee vs both foot and cav. While their bows are good, they are not good enough to do real damage to opposing units before they are engaged in melee. They cannot retreat out of danger like light horse archers...

How do you properly handle armored horse archers when fighting foot armies?

Re: Armored Horse Archers?

Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:21 pm
by MVP7
I can only speak for the single player but I find mobility pretty important at least. Basically don't allow the infantry army to have a linear line battle, ride around their flanks instead, force them to reorganize constantly and pick off any units you manage to isolate and disrupt. As long as you avoid the line battle you should be able to keep your units out of unfavorable melee pretty well. Ideally any enemy you engage should be disrupted before impact and disrupted enemies should be routed in melee rather than wasting ammo on them until frag/rout.

Horse archers are pretty tricky to balance in wargames so that they don't ruin the game for everyone else (although that would be historically accurate :D ). Personally I wouldn't mind if they dealt damage when evading to give them a bit more overall damage (like the damage that occurs during pursuit).

Re: Armored Horse Archers?

Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 2:35 pm
by Nosy_Rat
The trick is to concentrate your horse archers and skirmishers (with a couple of lancers mixed in, if you have those available) on one flank and use focused fire to disrupt as many enemy units as you can.

Then you either keep shooting at already disrupted units to fragment them and then break them by charging or you can charge them right away with superior armored horse archers or lancers.

Positioning your horse archers in a way that they could evade is very very important, remember not to block their escape routes.

The rest of your army is there to delay the main enemy force (you want something cheap for it, like Sassanid levy spearmen or cheap-ish lancers if going full-cavalry).
Bonus points if you position the delaying force in such way that it would prevent enemy from reinforcing attacked flank without actually engaging in a fight.

Superior armored horse archers are very powerful if used correctly and in combination with the right troops (ghilman for the win), above average ones or byzantine lance/bow cavalry are kinda lacking though, in my opinion.
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Re: Armored Horse Archers?

Posted: Mon Aug 26, 2019 6:16 pm
by 76mm
MVP7 wrote:
Mon Aug 26, 2019 1:21 pm
Basically don't allow the infantry army to have a linear line battle, ride around their flanks instead, force them to reorganize constantly and pick off any units you manage to isolate and disrupt. As long as you avoid the line battle you should be able to keep your units out of unfavorable melee pretty well.
Thanks for the tips. Unfortunately I can't really outflank the enemy in either battle because of either terrain (river) or how the historical battle was set up. Doesn't look good...

Re: Armored Horse Archers?

Posted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 5:44 am
by vakarr
they may not turn around as easily as light horse but If their morale is good enough and you keep them out of charge reach, they can withdraw without becoming disrupted

Re: Armored Horse Archers?

Posted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:35 pm
by 76mm
vakarr wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 5:44 am
...and you keep them out of charge reach...
But this is part of the problem...for them to shoot their bows they need to be close enough that the enemy can move within charge range by the next turn, if they are not in charge range already?

Re: Armored Horse Archers?

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 8:59 am
by Zardoz02
vakarr wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 5:44 am
they may not turn around as easily as light horse but If their morale is good enough and you keep them out of charge reach, they can withdraw without becoming disrupted
If you keep them out of charge range they can't shoot, indeed. Unless you play the angles just right, sure, but good players will make that very hard. The simplest tactic to defeat shooty horse is what I call "the wall of cheap foot". On the standard medium size map, with the standard points count, is very easy to get enough units to build a line across the map and prevent the horse getting around your rear. That alone makes historical shooty horse tactics impossible since real horse archers could not be restricted in that fashion. Also by advancing the wall steadily you corral the horse at the back of the map. In a different context we might refer to this as "bagging the hun" :D :D

Re: Armored Horse Archers?

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:23 am
by vakarr
You mean like this? I was playing a beta test game of FOG:E where the Pontic army attacked me in a region which could only be reached in time by shooty cavalry (mostly of the half can shoot type) - despite being outnumbered and faced by a line of heavy spear foot, I was able to defeat it
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Cavalry defeat line of infantry
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Re: Armored Horse Archers?

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 10:45 am
by Zardoz02
Nooo... not like that at all! Like you find in a competition game where the other guy is choosing his army and making his troop selection based on the possibility of having to fight horse archer armies!

Re: Armored Horse Archers?

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 5:49 pm
by 76mm
Zardoz02 wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 8:59 am
The simplest tactic to defeat shooty horse is what I call "the wall of cheap foot". On the standard medium size map, with the standard points count, is very easy to get enough units to build a line across the map and prevent the horse getting around your rear. That alone makes historical shooty horse tactics impossible since real horse archers could not be restricted in that fashion.
Yeah, this is what I'm dealing with in one battle, a line of foot pretty much across the entire battlefield.

Re: Armored Horse Archers?

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 6:04 pm
by MVP7
76mm wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 5:49 pm
Zardoz02 wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 8:59 am
The simplest tactic to defeat shooty horse is what I call "the wall of cheap foot". On the standard medium size map, with the standard points count, is very easy to get enough units to build a line across the map and prevent the horse getting around your rear. That alone makes historical shooty horse tactics impossible since real horse archers could not be restricted in that fashion.
Yeah, this is what I'm dealing with in one battle, a line of foot pretty much across the entire battlefield.
How do you have that many units in even points battle? Are you playing on non-default map size for the points or is there a mountain/water that narrows the map?

Re: Armored Horse Archers?

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 12:57 am
by 76mm
MVP7 wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 6:04 pm
How do you have that many units in even points battle? Are you playing on non-default map size for the points or is there a mountain/water that narrows the map?
The map is actually wider than usual (my usual XL army set up), but there is a river which narrows it quite a bit. Plus he has a ton of cheap foot.