Attacking when defending?

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Carriage
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Attacking when defending?

Post by Carriage » Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:15 pm

In a normal points match, I usually see defenders castle up on their free hill in some manner and not move too much. Does ignoring the fact that you're the defended advancing out to attack anyway work? Obviously you can't cross the centre, but if you start back a bit, you should (could?) be able to influence the shape of the battle too. You can also place your hill and attempt to place other terrain where you expect to fight ahead of you.

What brings this on is discussions I've had with a number of players about considering taking a better CC to try and get first turn with an attacking style list. However, you can still get unlucky and end up defender.

martymagnificent
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Re: Attacking when defending?

Post by martymagnificent » Mon Dec 08, 2014 11:21 pm

I have often found myself attacking/counter-attacking in games where I am the defender recently. This has been for a number of reasons

-The hill does almost nothing for you. I see little reason to cling to it.
-If using a large army (I have been using 1805 Austrians with 18 regiments) defending passively is suicide. You need to manouver to bring your numbers to bear (often pressuring the flanks of the opponents attack)

Some of the things I have found it important to remember

-To attack from defending effectively you need to deploy as far back as possible to give yourself room to manouver. I tend to deploy a little less than 10" in as this gives my unreformed infantry two full turns of forward movement, with all the potential shifting/wheeling this brings, without leaving my deployment zone.
-Some units can leave the deployment zone early. I sometimes rush my grenzers forward in skirmish formation. Either to seize important ground or exploit a hole, weakpoint.

Martin

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Re: Attacking when defending?

Post by pugsville » Tue Dec 09, 2014 6:48 am

I often wind up attacking on the other flank to those attacking me. Yup the two turns is a wait, but playing with the Russians those cossacks can be used to slow down the advance of the opposing forces. I favour deploying back a little in the deployment area, as you can't move out you should take advantage in those 2 turns to align forces more favourable after seeing the whole deployment, prefer guns limbered for that reason. Note the attack cannot move backwards in those 2 turns.

I agree the Hill isn't much of an advantage. Note those fighting in weird climes, (ottomans mainly but southern europe too) can take a Steep hill (the rules state IIRC) that any of the compulsory hill types can be taken, as the Ottomans I would take a steep one and push it as forwards possible, slogging over a steep hill could slow down/divert the attack.

MDH
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Re: Attacking when defending?

Post by MDH » Tue Dec 09, 2014 8:58 am

Yes even with an unreformed army which has lost the initiative I usually try a counter attack after my turn 2, if only to disrupt the initial attacker and restrict his manoeuvre and force him to think carefully before coming within 2 MUs by getting to the 4 MU point . This can backfire if he has a large artillery unit however in the same sector!

In terms of the initial deployment, as unreformed defender I still usually place a solid infantry division on the hill ( if it has several large infantry units all the better so I try to concentrate such units in one division). This is so as to force the attacker at least to occupy the centre ground in his half lest I come forward after two turns.

Bear in mind too that on average the reformed attacker has fewer infantry bases ( 10 pts for reformed ave drilled as opposed to 8) than you as unformed, so needs to concentrate his more .

I aim to have placed place a road laterally and behind this position in my half with my flanking division(s) on or adjacent to it . This is useful for a cavalry division as within your own set up area you can get from one flank to the other swiftly. So in that scenario I am far from passive in my first two active turns as the defender. The key to this ability to shift divisions is the solid centre on the hill.

What I have had little opportunity to experience so far is attacking with an unreformed army! Moving only 4MUs in tactical limits how far you can get in those first two moves and feels more like advancing to a position in order to defend it! The Flank march option is an obvious attraction there but the lack of skilled commanders can be a limiting factor and the risk of failing to link up with the rest of the army as they creep forward and being defeated in detail by a defender who spots correctly which flank you are likely to use.

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Re: Attacking when defending?

Post by MDH » Tue Dec 09, 2014 9:09 am

Typed 8 not the icon - weird!

marty
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Re: Attacking when defending?

Post by marty » Tue Dec 09, 2014 12:32 pm

What I have had little opportunity to experience so far is attacking with an unreformed army! Moving only 4MUs in tactical limits how far you can get in those first two moves
You are allowed to move 6" with unreformed infantry in the first two turns if you are attacking, it's in the errata.

Martin

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Re: Attacking when defending?

Post by MDH » Tue Dec 09, 2014 5:06 pm

marty wrote:
What I have had little opportunity to experience so far is attacking with an unreformed army! Moving only 4MUs in tactical limits how far you can get in those first two moves
You are allowed to move 6" with unreformed infantry in the first two turns if you are attacking, it's in the errata.

Martin
Oh pooh you'd think I knew that wouldn't you as a co-author :oops: ( but I did lists rather than rules for the most part so have not always kept up with the emerging post publication rule changes and hardly gamed at all in FOG(N) until this year .)

That's right handy especially this coming weekend as I am just one initiative point away ( in a 1799 Austro-French in Germany confrontation) assuming we both have exceptional Corps Commanders, so I am in with a chance of having the initiative.

Though I have to say from a historical perspective ,rather than a game perspective, in the period 1792-1805, I tend to feel that attacking unreformed armies ought to have to use march columns to get the 6 MU move. So many big engagements seemed to involve columns of troops advancing - although I suppose you could argue that one you get to a 16MU gap and can see the enemy they would reform.

Anyway ta very much . :D

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Re: Attacking when defending?

Post by martymagnificent » Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:53 pm

No problem.

I dont think it would be wise to make unreformed infantry less capable of attacking by insisting on March Columns. I'm finding them harder to win with as it is (although this may just be a reflection of inexperience). Not going to stop playing with them though, the Austrians have always been my favourite Napoleonic army.

Martin

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Re: Attacking when defending?

Post by MDH » Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:07 am

martymagnificent wrote:No problem.

I dont think it would be wise to make unreformed infantry less capable of attacking by insisting on March Columns. I'm finding them harder to win with as it is (although this may just be a reflection of inexperience). Not going to stop playing with them though, the Austrians have always been my favourite Napoleonic army.

Martin
More an observation than a proposal as I can see the game value of the 6mu move in an attacking scenario. In other circumstances of course 4 MUs apply.

As I say it was more like the type of higher level of formation often used by many armies in the earlier period when advancing to an attacking position and not yet in contact - possibly in some armies a hangover from the "open" columns of the mid 18th century which were manoeuvre formations designed to facilitate getting the infantry into line- platoon width with platoon width intervals between platoons.( A closed column is more the column of the route march where no contact is expected.)

I seldom lose with my 1792-1800 Austrians ( or Russians who are often allies) but as seldom win either. I do often find in our big games ( 1200 points in 5-6 hours) that I am able to frustrate the attacking French and even pin them back ( better cavalry) but not defeat them as such. But then the Austrians of the 1790s were in many respects better than the later 1800's as an army. I do think if we move to do a version 2,, and revisit all the lists as part of that, we should review the classification of Austrians as unreformed throughout which may have been a bit sweeping . (My initial thinking had been to classify them as reformed from 1809.) But we aren't going to do that any time soon and not without taking soundings from gamers here beta testing etc. A corrected and clarified 2nd edition would not be so radical just easier to use with a few marginal changes I am guessing.

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