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  1. #1

    2 quick questions about the War

    Questions of my own:

    On page 62, under the descriptive of infantry, it states that these units are
    ineffective against mounted troops in the open field. This implies that foot
    troops cannot expect to stand against cavalry... period.

    On page 69, it states that mounted units are forced to engage only if a mounted
    enemy unit enters their area. If foot soldiers attack the mounted units, then
    the cavalry can choose whether to engage or fall back.
    This implies that the game effect of the cavalry's advantage is a simple choice
    to engage or fall back... period.

    So, my question is:
    Can infantry successfully attack mounted units in the open field?

    IMO, a unit of infantry will be mowed down by a cavalry charge in open field
    combat. If however, the cavalry is engaged by foot soldiers *AFTER* they (the
    cavalry) have finished their charge, then I can understand how the cavalry
    might be slowly cut down from their mounts (though the mounted units would
    still hold the advantage).

    How does everyone handle this? What sort of modifiers (if any) do you apply to
    such circumstances? And what if the battle is in forest terrain? Is the above
    situation then reversed, so that the cavalry is ineffective in a similar
    manner?

    BTW, (and completely off topic) my PC has been down for several weeks, so my
    email has been trashed by the server.

    Later!

    Morg
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  2. #2
    Robert Trifts
    Guest

    2 quick questions about the War

    > IMO, a unit of infantry will be mowed down by a cavalry charge in open
    >field combat. If however, the cavalry is engaged by foot soldiers *AFTER*
    >they (the cavalry) have finished their charge, then I can understand how
    the >cavalry might be slowly cut down from their mounts (though the mounted
    >units would still hold the advantage).

    You want "the Birthright answer" or the "real answer"?

    I'll give you the real answer - and leave the Birthright answer for someone
    else.

    The answer is - it depends:

    If your infantry are armed with knives, swords, short spears, and makeshift
    weapons - basic mediaeval infantry - they are going to get routed in an open
    field battle unless they are VERY disciplined (a la 1st/2nd Order Roman
    Centurions) Classical Roman foot soldiers still reigned more or less supreme
    over cav for six centuries, and mostly every military historian agrees that
    Alexander could have stood up to Napoleon but for grapeshot.

    If your infantry are armed with polearms, and reasonably well disciplined,
    the cavalry retreats until missile fire can be brought to bear on the
    infantry unit. (Phillip/Alexandrian tactics). Cav cannot stand up to
    properly armed & disciplined infantry - no matter what you may have read to
    the contrary. Well armed and disciplined infantry rules the historical
    battlefield until arty enters the picture. The problem was keeping them fed
    long enough to get them to *be* well armed and well-disciplined. The
    Imperial Romans and Alexander did not have that problem - the Carolingian
    and Merovingian Franks did.

    See the film Braveheart for the multimedia proof of same in the mediaeval
    era.

    If your infantry is extremely well armed with polearms and has good missile
    weapons mixed in to the unit in support (crossbowmen) your cavalry is going
    to withdraw after taking heavy losses and after inflicting precious little
    in return. The Spaniards, Swiss and Florentian/Venetian armies used Pikes
    and crossbows to reduce Cav to simply a junior element in a combined arms
    force throughout the Rennaissance period.

    While it may be inappropriate to compare Rennaissance armies with mediaeval
    forces, the drawing line is NOT gunpowder (until grape shot/field arty
    enters the fray - which is early industrial era tech). On the tech side, it
    is well forged steel and the technological innovations in mechanition/pull
    strength permitted by good trigger mechanisms in an army's crossbows which
    is important - a historical dividing line which AD&D has never appreciated
    nor modelled correctly. Gygax was poorly read; heavy crossbows are a
    rennaissance - *NOT* a mediaeval weapon.

    (Good triggers also leads you *directly* to Swiss clocks which leads
    *directly* to the cam shaft thence to the scientific & industrial
    revolutions, respectively, but I digress).

    While gunpowder co-existed with heavy crossbows for 200 years until musketry
    prevailed, it was the crossbows trigger mechanisms which reduced Cav's
    pre-eminence in European continental warfare. Both Crossbows and Muskets are
    easy to train any rabble in. At point blank range - a levelled barrage of
    either bolt or bullet is going to hit the attacker *hard*.

    Final result: Heavy Crossbows + pikes and enough food to keep your unit
    together to train - your heavy cav in Chain or even Plate Armour and barding
    is just expensively armed and slow moving "reckie".

    So *that's* why "it depends".

    (Can you tell I run Birthright under Rolemaster? :-) )

    To bring us out of history and back into Birthright...

    Add a mage with a fireball into the fray - the Cav is useful again. The
    infantry can't maintain cohesion under what is equivalent to a very
    frightening field arty grapeshot attack. This brings you to
    Frederick/Napoleon era cavalry tactics - when the battle centres upon your
    arty (mages). Whoever loses the mostest mages the firstest loses the battle
    for all of the above reasons as the Cav is unleashed upon the shattered
    infantry to rout it.

    See the film Waterloo for a reasonable multimedia simulation of the
    devastation after such a battle when the arty *was not* routed sufficiently
    before Ney released the Cav. Substitute muskets for crossbows and you get
    the field tactics in such a battle well depicted, albeit with more smoke.

    Answer your question? Nope. Didn't think so.. :-)

    Regards,

    .Robert
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  3. #3
    Craig Greeson
    Guest

    2 quick questions about the War

    Hello Morg and Fellow BR'ers,
    Hmm, fine questions are raised by Morg. My group always liked to give
    cavalry the edge over infantry (not pikemen, just std. infantry) in the
    open field, so we always ruled that infantry could only engage cavalry if
    the horsemen chose to be engaged. I suppose I would agree with Morg's
    assertion that infantry could successfully engage cavalry once their charge
    attack had ended.

    I've always had "elfnocentric" campaigns, so my feeling on handling cavalry
    in the forest is potentially different than everyone elses. We always
    ruled that Sidhelien cavalry performed as per their given stats in any
    terrain but high mountains, while human cavalry was much less effective in
    the forest. I've never been a big fan of the War Card system, but if I
    used it I would not allow human cavalry to charge in forested provinces,
    and I'd probably reduce their attack # by 1 and reduce their movement to
    that of standard infantry.

    Regards (and glad to be back on the list)
    Craig Greeson

    Morg wrote:
    >
    > Questions of my own:
    >
    > On page 62, under the descriptive of infantry, it states that these units are
    > ineffective against mounted troops in the open field. This implies that foot
    > troops cannot expect to stand against cavalry... period.
    >
    > On page 69, it states that mounted units are forced to engage only if a mounted
    > enemy unit enters their area. If foot soldiers attack the mounted units, then
    > the cavalry can choose whether to engage or fall back.
    > This implies that the game effect of the cavalry's advantage is a simple choice
    > to engage or fall back... period.
    >
    > So, my question is:
    > Can infantry successfully attack mounted units in the open field?
    >
    > IMO, a unit of infantry will be mowed down by a cavalry charge in open field
    > combat. If however, the cavalry is engaged by foot soldiers *AFTER* they (the
    > cavalry) have finished their charge, then I can understand how the cavalry
    > might be slowly cut down from their mounts (though the mounted units would
    > still hold the advantage).
    >
    > How does everyone handle this? What sort of modifiers (if any) do you apply to
    > such circumstances? And what if the battle is in forest terrain? Is the above
    > situation then reversed, so that the cavalry is ineffective in a similar
    > manner?To unsubscribe from this list send mail to majordomo@lists.imagiconline.com
    with the line

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