Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (Full Version)

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The Gray Mouser -> Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/14/2009 1:27:13 AM)

I have been using the editor to test out cavalry vs cavalry combat and something doesnt seen quite right..
For my test I created 4 identical cavalry units for each side(spaced out so no mult-combat between units) I set the casualty range to be 1 to 1 (so that each "hit" causes only one kill), and seperated by one hex, all in line and facing eachother.
After 4 runs of side a charging side b the "hits" i ever saw were 6(combined causalties on both side from 1 combat round) i think the results were 6 3 3 and 2 each time i reloaded the test scenario and conducted 1 charge attack. This seems pretty low # of hits...

I then took side A's units and faced them away from side B (so A's would be charged in the rear) I made A's units column, routed, skirmish and line respectively and then loaded the scenario and ran it sevral times for 1 charge combat each time by B

What i noticed is that even when charged in the rear, A's units in column and line either took no hits or at most one(although several times the column unit "dodged the charge" by moving backwards!) The units in routed and skirmish formation did however take on average 20 hits (at least the times where they didnt rout before combat or when the skirmish unit dodged the charge)

Im not sure if the combat between cavalry has been changed since The Prussian War Machine, but I do rember cavalry combat being much more decisive in that game, and units in column or line attacked in flank or rear would generally take very heavy causaualties..

**What seems related is the editable "combat modifier table" where the various formations and angles of attack are filled out EXCEPT the cavalry charged parameters which are all 0's...
I attempted to then repeat the above test by filling out those parameters with other than zeroes, hitting the "accept" button to save the changes (per the manual), saving the scenario and then replaying. I saw no difference at all even w extreme values of 1000%

Is this paramater line not functional at all in the editor? Am i not saving the changes correctly? Per the manual, cavalry charging other cavalry should have there combat values modified when charging different formations as well as the facing of the charged units, just like infanty fire and assualt combat does...but I am not noticing any differences at all.

Sorry for the long post, I hope it was reasonably clear.







IronWarrior -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/15/2009 2:24:54 AM)

Were cavalry of Frederick's time weaker than Napoleonic cavalry? They seem weak in general in the system to me. Interested in the response to this, thanks for taking the time to do this Gray.




jackx -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/15/2009 11:23:04 AM)

Weak in what way? They do little against disciplined and steady infantry as one would expect, and infantry is probably a bit more disciplined than during the Napoleonic wars. Technically, that makes them weaker, though really, what does it matter that they're even worse at something that napoleonic cavalry is already completely useless at? If napoleonic cavalry appears stronger, then I'd say that's mostly because it is integrated into the army differently, and combined with the strategic and operational changes, that gives it a different role. When it comes to being "traditional'" battlefield cavalry, I don't see much of a difference.

Their main use is in dealing with enemy cavalry, and if they're still fit for action after that, they're supposed to attack wavering infantry and pursue the fleeing enemy. Doesn't happen too often, mostly because the cavalry battle leaves them too exhausted. Keeping a cavalry reserve for the decisive blow also wasn't unheard-of, but is something I'd place more in the times of Marlborough than of Frederick.
While the focus was shifting towards infantry, and then ever more rapidly towards artillery during the period, cavalry was still regarded by many to be the arm that delivers the decisive blow in battle.


It's true that cav-v-cav is probably bugged atm, but since cavalry charges usually resulted in one side giving way before contact was made, the low number of casualties from that seems quite right overall. When cavalry suffered heavy casualties, it was usually from artillery, less often from infantry fire.

As for using cavalry effectively, it's all about picking the right moment to strike (and if you're a bit unlucky with activation, it may simply not be there).
No matter how many rally points the enemy still has, his units will be vulnerable after combat, before the next leader from their side that can actually rally them becomes active. If you can launch a mass charge at that moment, and preferably a few turns into the infantry fight, so that morale loss and disruption had some time to build up, that can be devastating - but you should always be willing to disengage the moment you come up against serious resistance.

That is if you want to launch a charge at all. You can just as easily simply use your mobility and ZoC to throw the enemy lines into disorder (while cavalry can disengage multiple times and move freely afterwards, infantry disengages one hex, loses its ability for secondary fire in the process, and that's it), to keep routing units from rallying, and also make it more expensive to rally units. Rallying units in ZoC costs twice the normal rally points, so take advantage of that.
If you absolutely need the mental image of squadrons of heavy horse thundering into battle, think of it as feigned charges keeping the infantry in place.





The Gray Mouser -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/16/2009 1:19:19 AM)

I am not too versed in 18th century cavalry tactics, but I think by mid century, most cavalry had reverted to the shock role(at the gallop) as opposed to the firing of carbines/pistols prior to trotting into action (exception being the Swedish cavalry). I dont think, on a squadron level /man to man basis, there would be too much difference between cavalry of this era and Napoleonic cavalry.

Heres a pretty cool link re: Napoleonic cavalry, and there is no reason to think may of the items wouldnt apply to this games time frame as well.

http://www.napolun.com/mirror/napoleonistyka.atspace.com/cavalry_tactics.html

This is an interesting quote from the above article (apparently said by Wellington himself):
"I considered our (British) cavalry so inferior to the French from the want of order, that although I considered one squadron a match for two French, I didn't like to see four British opposed to four French: and as the numbers increased and order, of course, became more necessary I was the more unwilling to risk our men without having a superiority in numbers."

I guess the lesson is that superior command and control/the keeping of reserves etc would have been critical in large scale cav. vs cav combat.

I think the game engine represents cavalry combat very well, although I stand by that something seems squirrelly about it at the moment.. I know it isnt fair to compare this version vs The Prussian War Machine, but at the same time it really is the same engine, and I recall that cavalry combat was very decisive and fluid in TPWM where now it doesnt feel right.

Hopefully one of the developers or beta testers can provide some feedback.[:)]




IronWarrior -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/16/2009 2:43:30 AM)

I don't really agree that cavalry should alwys do little against disciplined and steady infantry (although cavalry shouldn't always maul them either). There are plenty of examples of cavalry devestating a fresh, disciplined line. Take Combat of the Coa for examle where French cavalry obliterated a full company of the 95th (elite infantry) and then continued to turn Craufurd's flank, forcing him to begin a withdrawal over the bridge.

Besides, there is also no fatigue to simulate in this system. A battalion rallied 10 times to full morale is no different than a battalion that hasn't seen battle yet (although with less strength perhaps).

quote:


When cavalry suffered heavy casualties, it was usually from artillery, less often from infantry fire.


I just had a pbem where I just advanced my infantry in extended line, obliterating the Austrian cavalry. Realistically cavalry was much more feared, and generally infantry would not advance on enemy cavalry like this.

It also seems like infantry in square has too much firepower, and should take more casualties from line infantry, but again just in my opinion in my limited play so far.




jackx -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/16/2009 12:03:17 PM)

Not familiar with the incident you cite, but the first thing that caught my attention was the small number of infantry involved. I can picture a single company being worn down and then overwhelmed quite easily.

If a few men on each flank of a battalion are cut down by cavalry moving into the gaps in the line (which is all a frontal charge really can result in if the infantry does not break prior to contact), you'd have to repeat that process for a very long time for it to have any impact. In fact, those casualties are probably less worrysome than casualties from enemy fire, because the remaining men do not have to move at all to maintain their formation.



I also do think you've a wrong impression of the ability of infantry in line to resist cavalry (or maybe it is correct for the napoleonic period, I'm not claiming to be an expert on that). Infantry in line is no different from infantry in the front of a square, so cavalry won't charge home. True, they may charge through the gaps in the line (between companies or battalions), and cut down some men, but when you consider that the cavalry also charges on a wide front, intend of breaking the enemy prior to actual contact, this "weakness" is fairly hard to exploit.
And even if the infantry breaks and is ridden down, if the unit's morale is high enough and discipline can be maintained (Officer/NCO casualties can be of great significance here), you end up with moderate casualties and a temporary dispersal. 1/Leibgarde was successfully charged 3 times at Kolin iirc, and eventually retired in good order.


quote:

Besides, there is also no fatigue to simulate in this system. A battalion rallied 10 times to full morale is no different than a battalion that hasn't seen battle yet (although with less strength perhaps).

That "less strength" does matter though, as it directly influences the availability of rally points, and the activation chance for the commanders.

Not saying cavalry is perfect, in fact it is a bit weak in situations where it should really be able to hurt the infantry, or catches other cav in the flank/rear, but I wouldn't want it to be any stronger against formed and steady infantry. If you send cavalry against infantry, the outcome is simply unpredictable - and period commanders were risk-averse, to put it politely. If you as the player want to gamble, you can, and it might or might not work. If you can engage cavalry with your infantry, unless it's a very special situation, that means the cavalry is letting itself be engaged. So it's not "my infantry easily defeated the enemy cavalry" but "my infantry easily defeated enemy cavalry that was badly-led or in a disadvantageous situation".


Regarding square firepower: Not really too high. Like all firepower, it is highly dependant on disruption, and with 15 minute turns and the high level of small-unit mobility and discipline during this time period, it's reasonable to assume that a unit that's not too disrupted would in fact deploy as many platoons as possible back into line the moment the threat of cavalry has passed and fire is to be brought to bear against infantry. Troops refusing to move once in a certain formation and engaged was a problem during this time period, but that is adequately represented by disruption IMHO.

The game isn't a detailed representation of micro-tactics, so you'll have to fill those in with your imagination, or find a game (or create scenarios for this one) that focusses on that level.


Edit: Sorry, this turned into more of a rant than I intended. As stated, I don't think cavalry works quite as it should in some instances, but I'd also not like to see it made (much) more effective vs formed infantry, or the time it takes for cav-v-cav to be decided to be reduced too much. Maybe disruption should have a higher impact on the morale loss due to approach of cavalry...




Arinvald -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/16/2009 2:01:10 PM)

I would like to see much more decisive results when Cavalry is caught in flank or rear as well as in column. I also think Cavalry should be forced to withdraw when taking fire from Infantry. As it stands now Cavalry can hold ground in the line of battle too easily.




MacDuff -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/16/2009 2:46:38 PM)

This is a very interesting thread. One thing really stood out and that was Iron Warrior regarding infantry's fear of advancing on cav is substantiated by first hand historical writings. I know Tim is monitoring these closely and I'm sure that in future releases this will be dealt with.

My only recommendation to (rather than say correct I'll improve) improve the existing game play of cav v. cav would be to increase the moral penalty of an infantry unit that does advance within "X" number of hexes from a cav unit.

It would be interesting to hear further improvement recommendations from you guys regarding this subject.




jackx -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/16/2009 6:01:43 PM)

Fear of cavalry doesn't equal cavalry being able to overrun infantry in a frontal attack, though.  That didn't exactly happen very often, and you'll find instances of the extreme opposite with about the same "regularity".

An increased morale penalty might work, maybe do a slight blanket one, and then increase the impact of disruption, too. As for cav "holding the line" too easily - units in adjacent hexes can be quite far apart, with a 150 yards hex scale, cavalry could be hovering 200-250 yards in front of the infantry - too far for effective fire in most instances but too close to ignore. Duffy mentions IR von Bredow driving off cavalry hovering about it with skirmish fire ("Heckenfeuer", basically (half-)platoons taking turns stepping out in front to fire at targets that a whole volley would be wasted on) at Kunersdorf, so it did happen at least occasionaly. Also, in H&M, units already test for fallback out of enemy ZoC once they're below 50 morale, so compared to previous games, it's much harder to hold them in the enemy ZoC.
With the 100 yard hex scale, it's a bit more problematic, of course.

More devastating flank, rear, and "soft target" charges (and probably a lower overall chance for infantry to form square, or adjusted disruption modifiers for the new system, as it is now much easier to reduce disruption) would be welcome, too, so long as it doesn't speed cavalry combat up to the point where you can almost always expect the cavalry to be able to contribute further to the battle after dealing with the enemy horse. That might be more of an AI issue though, as currently, the AI cares more about launching as many charges as possible than about preserving a continuous front, making it easy to flank AI squadrons.

Edit:
Something's definitely not working right. I just played out another turn for my AAR, and well, not only did some Croats withstand a flank charge by 0-disruption, 100 morale cuirassiers from 2 hexes away, no, they also didn't suffer a single casualty in the process. Considering that I get a massive x3 modifier to my charge strength, this is not the result one would expect.
Skirmishers shouldn't withstand heavy cavalry. Ideally, they'd probably be more vulnerable to light than to heavy or medium cav (the former can chase them down much better, inflicting more casualties), but the point should be academic, because unless they're in terrain not suited to cavalry, they should be toast.

Feels a bit like the earlier incarnations of NTW2 with light infantry in guard mode. *grr*




IronWarrior -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/18/2009 7:15:49 AM)

Still don't totally agree Jack. In fact I would almost say the opposite. From the first hand accounts I have read, infantry was always instructed to form square when threatened by enemy cavalry. From the same accounts, I would say infantry in line was able to withstand a cavalry charge less than 50% of the time. There was good reason for the square formation, after all. I do agree that care should be taken in any change so that cavalry doesn't become too powerful within the system.

Also note that the French cavalry that mauled the 95th in my example continued to rout and inflict heavy casualties on two more battalions of British line infantry in that battle, and was enough of a concern to shape the direction of the battle.

That said, once cavalry was committed, they were usually spent for the battle. In this system, I agree it would be hard to simulate this. I also agree with the adjectives used in this thread... decisive and unpredictable. The problem for me, at least, is that currently it is too predictable favoring infantry.

Cavalry (and particularly heavy cav) do not fulfill the role of a "shock" force in my humble opinion.


Edit: Forgot to add that I really like the idea of increased morale loss for infantry advancing on cavalry! [8D]




jackx -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/18/2009 8:08:42 AM)

There was a lot of cavalry on mid-18th century battlefields, there's little mention of squares by comparison.
Cavalry isn't much of a physical shock force, if you put a wall (of men) in front of it, it won't go through it. Successful physical shock seems to mostly happen by accident, i.e. dying or stampeding horses. It's a psychological shock force, and the wall of men in front of it is quite likely to run away and seek shelter, despite that being about the worst possible course of action in such a situation. Arguably, being in a square, and thus in a more tightly supervised formation that makes it harder to run away (the rear-ranker in a line has maybe half a dozen NCOs and officers behind him, the rear ranker in a square doesn't really have anywhere to go), and which might also bolster the courage of the men further because they now expect to be safe(r), makes it much harder for cavalry to actually break the infantry formation by sheer psychological pressure. So facing cavalry in line asks more of the men, but if they're able to deliver that steadfastness, there's not really any disadvantage to not forming square.

Currently, the cavalry doesn't deliver enough morale shock. It should be much harder for infantry to maintain full morale when faced with cavalry, but if they do manage, the actual physical damage that cavalry can deliver shouldn't be greater than it is now, i.e. very little.
That, and adjust the square check to the fact that disruption is now much lower overall, and we should have the cavalry wreaking havoc when it catches unprepared or shaken infantry, just like it should.

So, altogether, I don't think we disagree all that much, I want the cavalry to become more dangerous too, I just don't want them to be able to slaughter too large a number of unbroken infantry.

Edit: Becoming "spent" is somewhat represented by the overall higher tendency of cavalry to lose morale in combat, even if successful. If the casualties from cav-v-cav combat also increase once the bug with that is fixed, and thus lead to decreased rally points and activation chances, this effect should become more telling.

Edit2:
Just scanned through Duffy's "Army of Frederick the Great" (not on purpose, but I'm still in the process of moving into a new appartment, and my stuff's all over the place), and his section dealing with squares finishes with this: "The square remained a formation that the king was very fond of but which was despised by the generals". (Not an exact quote, as I do happen to own the book in German, and did a quick translation.)

In the same section, he also mentions a "closed square" or "Colonne nach der Mitte", created by moving the flank platoons behind the central platoons, a more elaborate version of what he describes as the most common and easiest method of dealing with cavalry - halt the infantry, about-face the rear rank and fire away.

Of course, one can interpret the "squares" in HnM as "defensive formations vs cavalry" that don't actually have to be full "hollow" squares as popularized by Waterloo, and I've in fact already done that earlier when trying to provide possible historical explanations for the often quite high firepower of units in "square formation" in the game.




Arinvald -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/18/2009 1:47:59 PM)

There are very few examples of Infantry actually forming square during the mid-eighteenth century. Infantry really didn't fear Cavalry all that much as the well documented examples at Kolin suggest. In fact, there are a few example of a Square being used when faced with swarming Grenzers and in a controlled retreat from a battle but I can only think of two against Cavalry. Simply laying on the ground and letting the Cavalry pass over the unit or having the rear rank perform an about face seems to be a popular respons to a Cavaly threat. Cavlry charing the front of an Infantry line was almost always doomed to failure and would collapse before the Cavalry came into contact.




IronWarrior -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/19/2009 12:00:50 AM)

Ok, so this goes back to my original question and sounds like I am comparing apples to oranges then- being that cavalry in this period were much different from cavalry in the Napoleonic era.

It does make me wonder what the purpose of heavy cavalry was during this time though. Also seems to make the Austrians at a huge loss in this game if their strength was in their "superior" cavalry.




Arinvald -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/19/2009 3:34:20 AM)

Actually the only battle that the Austrian Cavalry really dominated was at Mollwitz. After the mauling that the Prussian Cavalry took there Frederick instituted a crash program of improvement that already showed some promise at Chotusitz. By the time of the SYW the Prussian Cavalry usually maintained an overall level of superiority; even in the Hussar category, which was the suposed Austrian specialty.

To my understanding, Heavy Cavalry was meant to defeat the opposing enemy Cavalry and then to maintain a threat to the enemy Infantry, thereby limiting it's tactical freedom and flexibility. Usually by the time the enemy Cavalry was defeated; if it ever was; the Heavy Cavalry was usually so worn out that it ceased to be a factor. There were certainly cases where Cavalry played a critical role, such as at Hohenfriedburg, Leuthen, Rossbach, and Kolin, but this almost always resulted from the element of surprise or a fortuitous opportunity that presented itself. It could rarely be counted on or planned for.

At Chotusitz, the Prussian Cavalry defeated the Austrian Cavalry on the Austrian right. The Prussian Cavalry made a complete circuit behind the Austrian lines and engaged the Austrian left flankCavalry in support of the roughly handled Prussian right flank Cavalry. The results were underwhelming and the Cavalry fight bogged down inconclusively. The Prussian Cavalry that was completely behind the Austrian Army found no opportunity to achieve any results and the Austrians didn't seem all that worried about any possible threat from them. After the battle was won there was no Prussian Cavalry pursuit worth the name as the Cavalry was spent.

It seems from my reading that Cavalry just was not decisive on many occaisions during or after the battle. In fact, Frederick actually tried to pursue the defeated Austrian Army after Leuthen with some Infantry as his Cavalry was not up to the task. This was superb Cavalry led by Ziethen no less. It had simply hit the wall.

In game terms, well ordered Infantry should rarely have anything to fear from Cavalry. I do agree that Squares seem to punish the Cavlary too severely, especially when they are the result of a last minute reaction to a charge.




IronWarrior -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/19/2009 4:15:39 AM)

Interesting, thanks again for the reply Arinvald. I wasn't aware that Prussian cavalry had equalled or surpassed Austrian cavalry. I had assumed since Austrian cavalry was regarded as the best during the Napoleonic period that they had been so throughout the SYW.




cavalry -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/20/2009 9:03:50 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Arinvald

Actually the only battle that the Austrian Cavalry really dominated was at Mollwitz. After the mauling that the Prussian Cavalry took there Frederick instituted a crash program of improvement that already showed some promise at Chotusitz. By the time of the SYW the Prussian Cavalry usually maintained an overall level of superiority; even in the Hussar category, which was the suposed Austrian specialty.

To my understanding, Heavy Cavalry was meant to defeat the opposing enemy Cavalry and then to maintain a threat to the enemy Infantry, thereby limiting it's tactical freedom and flexibility. Usually by the time the enemy Cavalry was defeated; if it ever was; the Heavy Cavalry was usually so worn out that it ceased to be a factor. There were certainly cases where Cavalry played a critical role, such as at Hohenfriedburg, Leuthen, Rossbach, and Kolin, but this almost always resulted from the element of surprise or a fortuitous opportunity that presented itself. It could rarely be counted on or planned for.

At Chotusitz, the Prussian Cavalry defeated the Austrian Cavalry on the Austrian right. The Prussian Cavalry made a complete circuit behind the Austrian lines and engaged the Austrian left flankCavalry in support of the roughly handled Prussian right flank Cavalry. The results were underwhelming and the Cavalry fight bogged down inconclusively. The Prussian Cavalry that was completely behind the Austrian Army found no opportunity to achieve any results and the Austrians didn't seem all that worried about any possible threat from them. After the battle was won there was no Prussian Cavalry pursuit worth the name as the Cavalry was spent.

It seems from my reading that Cavalry just was not decisive on many occaisions during or after the battle. In fact, Frederick actually tried to pursue the defeated Austrian Army after Leuthen with some Infantry as his Cavalry was not up to the task. This was superb Cavalry led by Ziethen no less. It had simply hit the wall.

In game terms, well ordered Infantry should rarely have anything to fear from Cavalry. I do agree that Squares seem to punish the Cavlary too severely, especially when they are the result of a last minute reaction to a charge.



Nice Avatar and chat aboit cavalry her - thats my speciality - so how about the real thing !










[image]local://upfiles/9997/7CD3EF06220C4048AA87378A6100BF0C.jpg[/image]




cavalry -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/20/2009 9:09:12 PM)

Yes I hit it !



[image]local://upfiles/9997/C39529957F0C4C3DABAC6C33D82F9879.jpg[/image]




Arinvald -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/20/2009 9:21:10 PM)

Bravo! Jolly good show!




sulla05 -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/20/2009 9:34:33 PM)

I think people don't realize the importance of horses to the cavalry against infantry debate. A horse unless mad with fear or pain will not charge into things. You can actually drop down on the ground in front of running horses and not get touched at all. They will go out of there way not to hurt themselves. If the infantry is steady, just like someone said it is just like approaching the side of a square.

Now if you want to break into a square everytime ride cows they'll do it.

I don't know if it was because of doctine or whatever but Rossbach is the only battle that I've read about that cavalry was the dominant arm in a battle of Frederick's




Arinvald -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/20/2009 11:29:22 PM)

I certainly agree and Rossbach was a once in a lifetime opportunity.




IronWarrior -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/21/2009 12:31:59 AM)

I'm sure I've heard/read this debate about horses before somewhere. The counter argument I think was that those horses were specially bred and trained for this purpose. Not that they would charge right into a line of bayonets, but using their mobility they could have much success against line infantry. Square formation took away the advantage of mobility, and was close to impregnable. The one thing that they could not overcome was some sort of instinctual fear of camels though (obviously in different theatres of operation), from what I understood.

One thing I currently read that I found interesting was that British line employed a 4-rank line at Waterloo at times when they were unable to form square in time.




The Gray Mouser -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/21/2009 2:43:29 AM)

I think it is interesting when people are discussing 18th century or Napoleonic cavalry, there are always the refernences to cavalry never being able to charge into formed infantry for reasons such as: horses wont charge into things they cant see over, or that only a dead or dying horse "falling" onto a infantry square is the only time one can be broken, etc. To be honest , I really dont see a 2000 lb horse thinking that it couldnt push its way thru a 3 deep line of puny humans. There are several medieval/Ren. battles where armoured horsemen were able to literally plow THRU pike formations and emerge on the other side.. (whether they did much damage to the pikes is irrelevent). The 17th century Polish Hussaria was known to be able to beat Swedish pike/shot formations by the charge w a very high chance of success (and low casualties). The companion cavalry of Alexender the Great (riding horses much smaller than a Napoleonic mounts) appear to have destroyed the Theban Sacred band(heavy phlanx style infantry) at Charonea to the man...
Anyways, there are examples of cavalry defeating formed infantry that held firm even at the point of contact...


Imagine a typical Napoleonic battalion square, in good order and morale but has NO powder. Now imagine a line of 16th century Gendarmes charging down on that square. Now, for all intents and purposes the infantry square is nothing more than a 4 deep line of light infantry (no shields or body armour and wielding short and clumsy spears.) I really have no difficulty in imagining the Gendarmes basially plowing thru and over that square, even if every man in it stayed in rank until the moment of contact. I fail to see why a Cuirrassier squadron of Napoleon couldnt potentially do the same thing except for the following reasonings which have nothing to do w the horses themselves :

Perhaps the psychology of the *rider* is what mainly hindered cavalry's performance vs formed infantry by the 18/19th centuries. Thru most of history, the heavy cavalryman was from a warrior cast trained and fully expecting to engage in up close and personal hand to hand combat as a matter of course. For the most part cavalrymen of the 18th/19th cen. were troopers conscripted/drafted from the wealthier peasants or the country gentry classes. They might have had some horsemanship skills but likely little experience in hand to hand combat. I think the "civilising effect " of fighting from a far via musketry was also, ironically a more instinctual way of fighting, and when given the oppurtunity men would often choose to not to close the distance. After all, after several hundred years of "shock cavalry" providing a very important if not decisve role in combat, within 50 years of the wheelock pistol being invented, lances disappeared from almost all European armies and pistolleer tactics dominated untlil the beginning of the 18th century. When cavalry rediscoverd shock tactics by midcentury , I dont feel it was with the same "gusto" or 'killer instinct" as carried out in earlier times.
Firepower by this time would have made the cavarly trooper even less interested in pressing the charge home if it looked like the infantry was going to remain cool and hold fire until point blank range.

Cavalry in earlier times would have been armed and armoured much better than most in this era and this likley gave then a huge morale advantage in pressing the charge home... And they didnt have to worry about 6 muskets on the same frontage of a single horseman capable of 2-5 rounds a minute to contend w either.







jackx -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/21/2009 8:49:39 AM)

Several good points again - infantry fire surely was important, and enabled British infantry in line to repel French cavalry over a hundred years prior to Waterloo already. Wounded and dying horses seem to have contributed to that at least as much as any fear of death on part of the cavalry.

Again, I blame Waterloo for overdramatized depictions of squares that make them seem so important, when in fact, over a hundred years earlier, infantry already turned back cavalry in line, and nobody made much of a fuss about it, because it was the expected outcome. Ok, maybe the French did, as it lost them the battle of Blenheim, but they're usually quick to point out that they didn't really mean to charge the infantry, but being in pursuit of the Allied horse, ended up too close to it to avoid its fire, became severely disordered and where then routed by the reformed allied cav.

Similarly, when Swedish cavalry at Poltava were ordered to charge the Russian foot after the collapse of their own infantry, from the accounts that survive, they were very aware that this was a desperate measure, and mostly a sacrifice to give the infantry time to escape. I wouldn't accuse these horsemen of a "lack of gusto" in the charge with cold steel (though arguably, that was (re-)introduced as an anticavalry measure, and worked well in that regard), but whether the Russians formed square or remained in line, they turned the charges away with ease.

I don't know how to reconcile earlier accounts of heavy horse quite literally "plowing" through defensive infantry formations (though as you mentioned, with unclear destructiveness) with 18th century accounts of horse (physically) refusing to charge into infantry formations most of the time, and of course we have a third type of heavy horse, the cataphracts of (late) antiquity, which supposedly "ground down" there opponent in prolonged melee...

For the 18th century, it seems to be the threat of cavalry that made it valuable in a combined arms setting on the battlefield (much of the value of cavalry is due to its off-battlefield functions, but that's not part of the game, or this discussion), not so much the actual attack. Infantry had a good chance of withstanding attacking cavalry (without there being widespread agreement on the nature, and causes of this), and inflicting considerable casualties in the process, but it could do very little against cavalry hovering close, but out of effective weapons range.
This also reinforced the role of cavalry as the most effective counter to enemy cavalry, leading to almost separate infantry and cavalry engagements, a trend further reinforced by the lack of institutionalized combined arms.

When cavalry attacks on infantry formations happened, they usually happened in a support role - either reinforcing success, or trying to cover a weakness - Driesen at Leuthen is a good example of the latter, and with a decisive part in the outcome of the battle. (So is Seydlitz at Zorndorf arguably, but that's a less clear-cut case with many more what-ifs.)

What exactly that should mean in gameplay terms I don't know yet, it's probably best to wait and see how it plays out once cav-vs-cav works as intended, but I think that readjustments to the disruption modifiers are necessary, and an increased chance for morale loss also seems a reasonable option.

All this debate about cavalry-vs-infantry also has to be seen in front of the background of the continuing shift of tactical advantage from the attacker to the defender, and the ever-increasing dominance of field artillery. This shaped the course of battles, and thus the opportunities for successful employment of cavalry, considerably. The support and "mobile reserve" roles of the cavalry were strengthened, its value as a direct, offensive weapon decreased.

(All these are generalised interpretations of trends, of course, so it shouldn't be hard to find at least one example of the exact opposite for all of the above... ;))

Edit: Expanded the post as I had to rush off earlier, hopefully my attempt at a summary can also serve as a basis for compromise.




Venator -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/21/2009 4:07:19 PM)

Even in ancient times there are startlingly few examples of cavalry successfully charging infantry from the front (of course generally speaking the infantry formed at least four ranks deep, most often 8 ranks or deeper). Even a trained warhorse will not charge into steady infantry who are armed with spear - or later bayonet - as a cursory examination of the first day of Bannockburn, for example reveals: the English knights, the very flower of chivalry, reduced to throwing swords and axes at the Scots schiltroms. With very, very few exceptions - and most of those caused by accidents - cavalry beat infantry because the infantry break and flee before contact, often because taken flank or rear.




IronWarrior -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/22/2009 12:46:52 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Venator
With very, very few exceptions - and most of those caused by accidents - cavalry beat infantry because the infantry break and flee before contact, often because taken flank or rear.


Yeah that's really the key... there's a world of difference and in the amount of success had between cavalry assaulting infantry with protected flanks vrs cavalry charging infantry on a flank.

I think in game terms, and again just from my limited play- correct me if I'm wrong here, I think the shorter distance cavalry begins a charge the less likely it should be for infantry to successfully form square. I haven't seen a failed attempt so far. I do still think that square formation should be more susceptible to musket fire.




jackx -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/22/2009 1:06:06 AM)

The insta-squares are because unless you shoot it up and charge before it can recover, the AI always tries to maintain 0 disruption, and disruption recovery works at a much faster rate than in previous titles in the series. Personally, I'd cut disruption recovery rate in half (it's been effectively quadrupled, as movement points where doubled, and reduction per MP spent was doubled), and maybe just lower the overall chance of being able to form square for all units by 10, too.
In Prussia's Glory, disruption build-up was at times too crippling, and making it less so was a good move, but I think it has been overdone, and as a result, infantry, even after a heavy engagement, or a disorderly advance, isn't really in any danger from cavalry.




sulla05 -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/22/2009 10:09:03 PM)

The plowing through could be explained by the type of horse and how it can be used. A heavily armed knight was on a percheron or clydesdale or similar animal. This was not a gallop charge and the lance could have been longer than the weapon the infantry was using. During the 1813 campaign in a battle in the rain a group of lancers destroyed a square by just using their lance length to spear enough men to collapse the square.

Instead of thinking how much a horse might think it is bigger and stronger than a human, think the other way. Out of the many horse trainers I've talked to many believe that the horse is afraid of us not the other way around. You also hit the nail on the head as far as human fear. All a square, line or hexagon or whatever of men need is one or two weak links and they are doomed. That fact must have been drummed long and hard into the infantryman's head at the time. If one tries to run everyone in his outfit is dead.

In the descriptions of Waterloo all you read about is the French cavalry milling about and many using their pistols. Frederickian and Napoleonic battle was really a case of rock, paper and scissors. Had infantry and artillery followed the cavalry they would have decimated the British squares. Their were some charges that worked but mostly because of the time and place. Take Eylau for example, 10,000 cavalry ride toward your unit in a snowstorm.

Let's also take a look at bayonet charges and hand to hand combat according to the surgeon Larrey it didn't happen. He states ( I can't remember where ) that he only saw two bayonet wounds in his career.  I remember reading that he also said that the French bayonets were so bad in Egypt that the infantry were bending them with their feet to hook the dead Mamelukes out of the Nile looking for gold and jewels. I think many things we were taught and read about have to be rethought with the personal descriptions of the combatants that are not, shall we say embellished.




The Gray Mouser -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/23/2009 1:18:19 AM)

Hey Sulla05
In regards to knights not galloping into combat: Do you have any sources on that? Is it because of the weight of man/equipment that physically prevented it or a tactic in order to keep the men in formation/alighnment? I did some google searches on horse strength/capacity and only found some very odd and disturbing things not relative to cavalry at all...

In regards to the very low # of bayonet causalties in this time period: Yeah, it seems men werent willing to face steel, especially while not armoured in any way.. However, clearly the nearly naked ancient Gauls and Germans had no problems assaulting roman legionairies yielding the Glaudius. I guess it really is an attitude change in western Europe about what "reasonable risk" entails.




The Gray Mouser -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/23/2009 1:26:44 AM)

from IronWarrior
"I think in game terms, and again just from my limited play- correct me if I'm wrong here, I think the shorter distance cavalry begins a charge the less likely it should be for infantry to successfully form square. I haven't seen a failed attempt so far. I do still think that square formation should be more susceptible to musket fire. "

I agree about the shorter distance charge decreasing the chance of forming sqaure, that would be an nice feature. In regards to the square vs musketfire : I thinks its set to 300% additional casualties which theoretically seems ok...

Also, is it disruption that modifies the unit's chance in forming square or is it the morale?? The only modifiers i can find in the editor are for the moral of the unit... It seems like disruption would be better though..





jackx -> RE: Cavalry vs Cavalry bug? (7/23/2009 11:46:16 AM)

Disruption, morale and unit quality all matter. Unit quality determines the base chance of success, which is then modified by disruption and penalties for low morale.
The maximum penalty for low morale is +30, for disruption it's +50.
(all from the manual, on page 39, and I know that that's also how it worked in PG. The +30 Hussar/Cossack modifier seems to do nothing though, and is probably a leftover from earlier games)


Regarding the bayonet - yes, close combat in the open did not happen, and bayonets probably weren't the preferred close combat weapon when it did happen, many accounts mention swords and musket butts and improvised weapons getting at least as much use. That said, the surgeon would see few people with bayonet wounds, as most of them would be dead or dying, and beyond his help.

I like to think that much of the morale impact of a bayonet charge comes from the fact that mutually-assured death/serious injury is the outcome if neither side gives way. Thus, by being the first to move forward and to (seemingly) accept that, you do provide a very strong incentive for the other to give way. Someone summed it up as "Every nation in Europe claims none can withstand a bayonet attack by its soldiers. They're all right." for the Napoleonic period. This is getting off-topic though...




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