Usefulness of Cavalry

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aprezto
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Usefulness of Cavalry

Post by aprezto »

I am struggling with the usefulness of Cavalry.

Their fire ability is weak - usually taking more damage than they deal if they use this form of attack, if they charge they become disorganised, they can't seige.

I see that they can force infantry into a square that you can then batter more effectively with other infantry, and that they can manueover around units to gain flanking. However, I find that the flanking bonus is incomparable to the effect of the morale bonus.

So I am struggling to get the measure of the best way to use them...

Any suggestions?
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terje439
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RE: Usefulness of Cavalry

Post by terje439 »

a) They are good for when the enemy starts almost on top of you. Place a cav on either side of your arty to protect it from enemy charges.
b) Good for surrounding routed enemy units
c) Good for charging enemy arty in the hope of capturing it
d) Can force enemy INF to form a square (hence lowering its attacks/counterattacks). This can be crucial if the enemy has several high level INF units that are decimating yoru forces.

Apart from that I agree that CAV is not too useful, so I do not build too many of them.


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06 Maestro
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RE: Usefulness of Cavalry

Post by 06 Maestro »

Cavalry is also good at threating the enemy rear. If you have an edge in cav you can get into positions that threaten cassoins thus forcing the enemy to deploy units to its flanks. This is risky if the enemy has a good amount of cav, but I have gotten away with doing this with units that were not even in fighting shape-just have to run at the right time.

From what I have seen, if you can get adjacent to a cassoin it will not deliver supplies at all. One good charge can drastically reduce its re-supplying ability.

No doubt that infantry need to be the primary force of the army, but without cav, you are giving the enemy some significant advantages.
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Anthropoid
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RE: Usefulness of Cavalry

Post by Anthropoid »

What these guys said about actual in-game use. Just to add, based on what I know about the era, their usefulness and design in-game is just about one of the best representations in any game I've encountered. I understand Cav are sort of an Uber unit in the Total War series, and they are certainly mis-represented in the Civilization series. Pre-arquebusier knights I think were certainly much more of a power magnifier than later cuirassier and cavalry, but even then, in the heyday of soldiers on horseback, there are examples like Agincourt where terrain worked against the overwhelming advantages of horse soldiers.
 
In sum, I think the way cavalry works in the game might seem a bit strange because of how unrealistically powerful they tend to be portrayed in many other games, but I think that the CoGEE balance is a more realistic and satisfying dynamic.
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RE: Usefulness of Cavalry

Post by arras »

Cavalry is unit with lot of mobility at expense of firepower. Therefore it excels in manoeuvre warfare, you certainly don't want to use it in head on fight with enemy infantry.

Apart from what was already written you use it for:

Scouting around to find out what and where enemy is doing.

Protect your vulnerable units like supply, artillery and units which got broken so enemy cavalry cant charge them. Generally you use them to protect your flanks and rear.

You also use them to screen your forces while you deploy them in to battle, just place your cavalry in front of the positions you want deploy to so you can move and form your infantry and artillery without enemy interference (formation changing is significantly easier when out of enemy reach). Sure they can get some scars in the process but they prevent other units from much bigger damage.

Another situation where cavalry is useful is when you want to deny some terrain to enemy ...high ground for example or ford across river. Mobility of cavalry will help you to occupy that position before enemy.

And of course they can charge enemy units. Try to charge only disorganized units since cavalry charges are most effective like that. And try to charge from rear or flank. Generally you wait until some enemy unit gets disorganized, then charge it in order to prevent it from reforming and resting. You want to see him flee for map edge not retire behind his lines and rest, reform and fire at you again. Good charge on disorganized unit cause massive damage ...1000-2000 casualties is not unlikely. Cavalry are real killers on battlefield. Use infantry and artillery to brake enemy, then use cavalry to kill him.
But don't mechanically charge any broken unit you see. If you think your cavalry can end up too vulnerable after charging (either to enemy charges or fire), preserve it for better moment.
Generally use your cavalry if you are presented by good opportunity but save it for moment, when enemy is near or on verge of routing. If you think such moment had come (usually you see lot of his units disorganized), send your cavalry to charge his disorganized units. If you do it right, it will tip balance to your side and he will be forced to sound retreat.

Charging unbroken infantry units and force it to square can be useful if you need to slow down enemy advance or take out some pressure from your own infantry if enemy is pondering them too hard. But in general, don't charge at unbroken units (with exception of artillery and supply).

Sometimes you can take on isolated enemy unit, preferably weaken, if you can find one. You want to send several cav. units in such case (concentrate) to surround enemy unit, fire at it from around, brake it, then charge it. If you manage to surround it completely, you may force it to surrender. Cavalry might be too weak to fight with infantry  1 on 1 but you can use its mobility to create local superiority.

If your cavalry gets disorganized, it will probably take some time before you manage to put it back in to formation. To help your cavalry to form again as well as to protect it from enemy charges, retire it somewhere out of enemy reach.

And of course, cavalry is used to hunt down fleeing enemy. In Emperors edition this is done automatically after battle (I preferred it the old way).

To sum it up, cavalry is much to useful to be excluded from your roster. "Cavalry only" force wont probably win you main battle but combined with infantry and artillery can be deadly. I usually combine my forces in this rate: 4 Inf : 2 Cav : 1 Art. Also I usually do not use heavy cavalry ...it just does not have enough mobility to maneuver while at the same time still does not have enough firepower for head on fight (in detailed combat).


Ah ...and of course, to boost usefulness of your cavalry, give it some upgrades ...those which helps formation changing (organization) and increasing its mobility are most useful.
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aprezto
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RE: Usefulness of Cavalry

Post by aprezto »

Now Arras - that is a fantastic post. Thank you for taking the time to enlighten me.
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Mus
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RE: Usefulness of Cavalry

Post by Mus »

Forcing enemy infantry to form square and then blasting the squares with artillery wins detailed battles.  Squared infantry get ate alive by artillery in this game.
 
Also, cavalry is really important in the pursuit and withdrawal phases.
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Bobbyjack60
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RE: Usefulness of Cavalry

Post by Bobbyjack60 »

Infantry and Artillery will win you the battle. Cavalry will win you the next battle.
 
If you have plentiful cavalry, you can capture enemy units instead of having them flee to come back and fight again.
 
In the pursuit phase, I have inflicted 39,000 casulties. That was 10,000 more than I inflicted in the preceding detailed battle.
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RE: Usefulness of Cavalry

Post by ericbabe »

ORIGINAL: arras
And of course, cavalry is used to hunt down fleeing enemy. In Emperors edition this is done automatically after battle

We changed to the new way because most of the pursuits that we were trying to simulate were things that lasted days and covered sometimes more than a hundred miles. The old way also didn't allow cavalry to shine as much in their role of defending infantry from pursuers. Also many people found the old retreat phases tedious, a kind of boring denouement to winning a climactic battle.
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aprezto
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RE: Usefulness of Cavalry

Post by aprezto »

It is an interesting follow up to this thread. I posted this because I was frustrated by what appeared to be a lack of usefulness with cavalry. I can now state that this was purely due to my lack of understanding of the finer points of the game, and more specifically, finer points of the tactical game.
 
I now love cavalry! So there you go. Thanks for all of those that posted, their insight allowed me to examine the use of them far more closely.
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Mus
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RE: Usefulness of Cavalry

Post by Mus »

A quick follow up here.

I noticed you claimed Cavalry cant siege. That is incorrect according to the manual.
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aprezto
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RE: Usefulness of Cavalry

Post by aprezto »

Good point. I had my games mixed up. this was a 'feature' of Europa Universalus 2.
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jugasa77
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Re: Usefulness of Cavalry

Post by jugasa77 »

Hello, what kind of units can pursuit?
Only light cavalry and lancers?
Also cavalry and heavy cavalry?
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