Thing One: Charge

corby's picture

Number 1: Charge

The simplest thing. You and your unit head directly for the enemy. The only trick is arriving together, and perhaps having to avoid being flanked on the way. This is easiest to teach, easiest to understand, hardest to mess up. It is the best choice when your unit has an advantage in shields or their unit has an advantage in long weapons like polearms and spears. If you have more big people than they do, it is also worthwhile to consider a charge.
The common errors in the charge are breaking up on the way, hitting the opponents in small groups rather than as a unit, and failing to charge hard enough to actually penetrate the opposing unit's front line. Practice a bit on having the front line guide to the first rank guy on the far right, who should be an experienced sword and shield fighter.
Typically, it is a good idea to set a direction for the unit once they've broken into the other unit. "Break through and turn left/right." is typical.
It is better to have a deep column penetrating the opposing unit than a wide column hitting the entire unit's forward face. Your unit needs to move through the opposing unit fast enough that the unengaged fighters on their front cannot step in to flank the sides and back of your column.

The following illustrations show units of the same size, with weapon mixes making a charge good for blue. Long arrows are spears, short arrows are polearms or greatswords. Each unit has 20 members.

Blue approaches red in a deep column, guiding on shieldman 5. The fighters on shieldman 5's side have a more difficult job staying alive as they contact, since their shields are to the inside of the column. Don't put your leftie shieldmen on 5's side though, as they prefer to be able to swing. They go on the blue shieldman 1's side.

Note that at contact, unless red has excellent command and control, Red A, B, I, J, and the second ranks behind them have no targets. Of course, the two back ranks of blue have no targets either, but they are about to get them and Red A, B, I J etc. are not.

Immediately after contact, both sides have lost some people. They are either dead, as is likely for the front line blues, or knocked down, as is likely for the front line reds.

Keep in mind that the natural reaction of all the reds is to step back. Well trained units may countercharge, but these are an exception. Almost everyone steps (or falls or bounces) back when charged. That's why charging works on almost every unit.

Once the reds step back while the blues continue forward, the momentum of the situation is all in the favor of the blues. Since all reds on both sides step back, the blues have the chance to turn (left or right-left is easier) with a very good chance of "getting away" on the outside of the turn.

In other words, as the column turns (let's say left) the right side of the blues have to run faster and try to avoid sticky engagement with the reds along the right side. The idea is to leave them alone! The direction of turn after the initial hit must be set beforehand and alll the blues need to know it. After the intital contact, the idea is to ignore all the reds on the outside of the turn, so that the majority of the blues can attack a minority of the the reds. This is the whole point of tactics in the first place! Get many of your unit to attack a few of their unit, and you win!

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corby's picture

fixed some junk

The various updates of this site had not been kind to the formatting of this article in particular.

I fixed a bunch of bad line breaks and missing images.
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