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Field Commander: Napoleon» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Reserve Fighting and Use of Cavalry rss

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Dave Rutter
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I am new to this game and have been trying to play the first Italian Campaign. I have enjoyed the game but have been defeated three times. I think I am not using the rules to my advantage and I would appreciate any advice.

(1) I see that reserve units cannot attack. Does that mean I should be trying to pin the enemy units in the reserve. All my battles tend to involve meeting in the middle. Units are so easy to hit and have such limited survival that the battles usually get resolved there. Also, France only gets 1 or 2 battle plans so usually 1 or two French units jump out front to attack. Not sure how I could effectively move many units to force back enemy to reserve. I dont think I am yet seeing all the importance of the rules about approach and reserve. I find myself mostly sitting back with cannons or fortifications, blasting away at enemy before it gets to my men, but I am sure that a more aggressive style will be more effective since the rules are set to copy Napoleons aggressive style of warfare.

(2) I dont think I am using cavalry well. I see the sweep insight and flank battle commands, but usually most of my cavalry charges into the enemy hits once or twice and then is the focus of all the enemy and goes down.

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Steve Willows
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Well I just got the game but I'd be interested in talking some strategy when I've played a bit.

After reading the rules my first thought was that perhaps there would be a better investment in terms of supply points than cannon. I'm thinking additional battle plans or scouts.

Secondly, this won't be the first time I've played a game with powerful offensive forces that are fragile on defense like cavalry. The idea is to committ those precious forces at just the right time and place. Make it a blow so powerful that it limits the response of opposing forces.

Of course, I don't know exactly how to do that yet but I note that sweep involves removing cavalry from the battle map back to the campaign board meaning no counter-attack.

EDIT: Also don't forget that units that do not get a battle plan use a default one (those listed on the side of the battle map) so it doesn't seem like you should have only two isolated units in the center. In addition, the enemy should have it worse off than you in battle plan execution both because their activation numbers are worse than yours and because a unit may get assigned a useless battle plan at random. Don't forget though, if a unit on either side fails activation it does not act. It does not get to use a default plan instead.

I'll be back.
 
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Steve Willows
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Well, after playing around last night a bit, I think I’m better able to answer your questions.

In my opinion, you should not be trying to pin units in the rear area. Instead, you should be trying to position your forces in such a way that your battle plans can be used to their best effect. Volley fire was a potentially devastating part of battles in those days, along with properly used cavalry. When to change formation and put your plan in to play are important decisions.

Also, with regards to cavalry, you should not charge these units forward for the simple reason that hits are taken from the lowest skilled units. So, for example, if you keep your forces together in the face of enemy fire, your worst units will take the damage first and your more valuable units are supported and protected.

In addition, the order in which you have your units act can be very important.

What I decided to do on the first turn of the first scenario in Italy is to numerically split my force. To Turin I sent the line cavalry, the two line infantry and the poor line infantry. The cream of my army moved East in to Savona.

My idea was to use the veteran force to fight the major enemy formations while the lesser force faces the static units in Turin and then Milan. It is important to take cities quickly since you will get more supply points and the enemy will get fewer rolls on the resupply table. After the enemy moves however, it may be necessary to also attack enemy units with the lesser force from Turin rather than attempting to attack Milan on turn two.

The way the battle of Turin played out was very entertaining! My plan was to advance the force together letting the poor infantry take the fire from the fort. Once the garrison was defeated, I would have enough strength to rout the enemy.

Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men. I rolled a 10 on the fog of war table. This added a new enemy unit (I drew a 3 strength cannon) and rout was no longer a consideration. But I had five turns, no rush.

My forces were deployed in column in the approach area. Turn 1 I simply used default orders to move all units to the front area. Enemy cannon scored a hit and the poor line unit was flipped. Turn 2 saw the first use of a battle plan. Three units would advance in column in to the enemy front, one of the line infantry got the “Engage” order which allowed it to change formation to line and execute a +1/+1 attack on the garrison (I rolled a 9 – miss!). Again one of the cannons hit and the poor line infantry was eliminated.

Turn 3 had options. My infantry in line formation was now poised to use the volley fire! I scored a hit and eliminated the garrison. Then, I used the default March order to move my cavalry two areas in to the enemy reserve area. The cannons now could not fire. In addition, a shock check eliminated one of them.

Turn 4 had very little chance to fail.

Good start, no idea if my overall plan will work, but I had a lot of fun playing my first battle. I’m sure playing the next battle against mobile forces will be a lot different. Hopefully I'll have more than 30 minutes to play next time.
 
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