The Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula, homeland of the Spanish and Portuguese is now under occupation by the French. Their hold on Spain is by no means stable, numerous atrocities and rebellions by the native population has given birth to a new type of warfare. The French face off against the British, Spanish and Portuguese between 1807 and 1814 until the defeat of Napoleon by the sixth coalition. The French and the Spanish were traditional catholic allies until Napoleon betrayed the Spanish by overthrowing the government and attempting to strengthen his dynasty by putting his brother on the throne. Napoleon never dealt with Spain personally instead opting to throw men and money into pacifying the region. In many respects he underestimated the resolve of the Spanish and Portuguese which proved to be an error. The Iberian Campaign plagued his ambitions much the same as his ill health plagued his performance and judgment at the battle of Waterloo. The easy conquest of Spain was seen as a foregone conclusion and instead it gave birth to the modern types of warfare, ambush and psychological atrocities which we all see on the news today. The French being used to fixed field battles were thrown into a very different type of war, one could say that the Iberian War was a precursor to what was to come over a hundred years later. A war that was supposed to last a few months dragged on for years and now you attempt to do what Wellington did and weaken Napoleons iron grip on the continent. If you prefer to change the course of history you can play the French and try and manage the situation by means of suppressing the revolt and destroying the allied attempt at liberation, the choice is yours!
You can either play the British, Spanish or the French and in this guide I play the British headed by Sir Arthur Wellesley who will later be known as the Duke of Wellington. Napoleon and the Iron Duke will not face each other directly until the battle of Waterloo.
Things you need to know -
This campaign is different in that supply lines are now essential, though you might build your economy you will rarely have the financial support to train many armies. Though the French are dealing with rebellions they will initially not put up much resistance and at first you may think that the taking of the Peninsula will be a walk in the park. However take note that eventually the French will sort themselves out and launch a massive counter attack of a minimum of three stack armies. The AI in my two playthorugh seemed to specifically target the British and bypassed all the Spanish controlled territories.
When you enter unfriendly areas you will no longer be resupplied and as a result you might have to retreat periodically to resupply. Sometimes you will encounter three to four lightly defended settlements and might be tempted to rush in and take them all, though you are a liberator if you take settlements for yourself they can rebel if not managed and this is an important point to take into account. Similarly you don’t want to mass-liberate every province as the units you obtain will drain your resources leaving you bankrupt. Also you might overextend yourself too far away from your supply lines leading to two campaign ending alternatives. The French might attack your bases on the coast while you are in central Spain ruining your income or alternatively they might attack you where you are unable to resupply and as a result eliminate your main army. Both these scenarios can end your campaign.
The Armies –
The Spanish have been completely reworked in this campaign, their light troops are superb and the rebel troops expand the tactical options of the campaign with their increased deployment areas. Playing as the British the Spanish position is initially terribly weak with no standing army and fragmented provinces so with the AI in control it will be up to you the British to liberate them and give them a fighting chance. You will be able to recruit Spanish infantry and these perform as well as most line infantry but are nothing to write home about, the light infantry are the choice troops in this new form style of warfare. When you liberate a province you normally get a general who has cavalry capable of shooting and can deploy anywhere (barring the red box) and another unit of Cavalry which depends on the province. You will also get two units of light infantry or three if you research the first tier in military science. A more in depth look at Spain will be posted once the guide is out.
The French - Immediately it becomes apparent that this is not the same army you fight in Europe, it looks less well equipped and in general I found the quality of units to be of inferior quality when compared to my British campaign. That said the French will eventually field large armies which are dangerous. Napoleon is not leading them, but they are experienced! That being said the French are not used to the style of war being fought and so they suffer the most from the tactics of the Guerrilleros.
The Portuguese are a faction whom I found played a minor role in the campaign; you can recruit Portuguese infantry in its home areas and are awarded them if you liberate the coast. However these don’t replenish in Spanish areas so I generally used them only to garrison the coast and defend.
The British have a wide range of units and I particularly found the Kings regiments of light infantry as well as their line infantry and cavalry to generally outclass the French. However these will not be replenished in any “local “area and higher tier units will only be replenished where you have advanced supply ports or warehouses. Without supply lines your British forces will soon find themselves withered down to nothingness and unable to fight effectively. These I found to be by far the best units in the game but only if supplied well!
Tactical Battle Basics –
- Always have some cavalry, remember that unlike the middle ages cavalry are much more vulnerable now and under no circumstance should they be involved in frontal prolonged attacks. Horse are good for flanking, distracting, provoking attacks and destroying cannons.
- Always leave some cavalry for charging cannon (from the Flank!). An army with cavalry is more mobile and able to deal with situations. As obvious as this seems I have seen too many players underestimate cavalry or use them as they did in Medieval.
- If defensive, deploying behind a hill will significantly limit the effectiveness of enemy cannon; if a town or village is present use it to screen your advance. You might want to move onto the hill as the enemy advance, it’s all about timing.
- Don’t deploy cannons behind hills unless they are howitzers that can fire over the hills!
- Sometimes you might deploy your cannon on a hill and want it to fire down only to see it firing into the ground. This is because the muzzle of cannon needs to be adjusted and the animations don’t show this but if it’s firing downhill the muzzle will be aimed at the ground.
- Deploy your cannon on the crest, maybe even pointing slightly downward to avoid landscaping.
- When defensive place cannons in front of your lines so you can shatter them with grapeshot.
- When Attacking don’t deploy the cannons in front of your men, deploy them in such a way that minimizes the places where your advance crosses the line of fire. You might want to think of deploying them in a checkerboard or on the flanks, or diagonally on the flanks.
- Always support and protect your cannon!
- Support any advance with cannon fire! Think of Marshal Ney’s at Waterloo or the Charge of the Light Brigade!
- The best troops have no defense against a 6pound ball travelling to close the speed of sound, think of this when aiming your cannon.
- Never ever directly charge cannon with infantry, not even on flanks unless desperate or suicidal.
- Protect your flanks with infantry that can use square formation or cavalry, or ideally both!
- When advancing avoids deploying within the range of fire, deploy short of it and then let them come to you. Better yet use your light infantry to fire out of range while you form up!
- Crap infantry is best used in buildings; it’s about the only thing I use citizenry for and cavalry can’t touch them, yet sometimes their mere presence routs them!
- Militias are better in melee then they are at shooting.
- Your General is not a hero unit, don’t get him killed!
- Use your general to raise the morale of troops with his rally ability.
Here are some easy tips I found helpful for new players –
- Supply lines and ports are essential; they can regenerate 22% of an army every turn meaning your army would be about three times more effective. The ports also boost trade and upgrades allow more advanced units to regenerate.
- Take the Portuguese coast and control it yourself, it has ports and warehouses where you can immediately retreat too if needed.
- Spend the initial money you have on trade ships, whenever you have some spare money invest in them as they pay for themselves in three turns and then continue to provide a profit. They are an efficient source of income.
- Do the missions, all of them, they will guide you through the campaign and provide valuable rewards.
- Do not get trigger happy with liberation, the partisans will cripple your income and you might eventually end up with a stronger France and a weak infrastructure to deal with them.
- Look at a province before you take it; never immediately send an army in until a spy checks the garrison and surrounding area.
- Strike a balance between liberation and controlling territories yourself; loot only when desperate - if ever. Liberate inland provinces that don’t have warehouses or anything of use, these can act as buffer zones and Spain will slowly gain strength to eventually harass and attack the French on their own. You won’t be strong enough to garrison everywhere on harder settings.
- There are many places where you can hide your troops; an ambush can significantly aid you tactically. A common tactic is to place one unit on the road or in an area close but allow it to be visible to the enemy and the main force just far enough away to be hidden but within striking distance. The Areas of mountains and forests to the west offer two ideal ambush sites, one east of Coimbra and the other North of Leon. Another one is situated near Granada.
- When moving your ships beware of lone French ships that tent to attack trade ships as they travel. Use the two ships you are provided with to act as escorts. In both my campaigns the naval threat was minimal.
- Upgrade your provinces whenever possible, Britain will give you 7000 Pounds at least twice! Use this to upgrade your income unless your military situation is dire.
- The new Guerrilleros are valuable tools but you must train them, send them against weak forces until they get experienced enough to tackle the large French armies. At that point you might want to avoid combat until they have caused significant casualties.
- Use your Clerics and Propagandists in far away areas to incite rebellion and cause more trouble for the French. They are also an essential way in delaying and weakening the French counter- attack.
- When fighting battles, conserve as many troops as possible.
- The Partisans and sharp shooters can be deployed further forward (while line) if they are rebels, use these to provoke an attack and take out valuable units. Support them with Artillery/Cavalry.
Example of Campaign Play through
- Red = Take
- Yellow = Liberate
- Blue = good ambush areas
NB - Majority of screenshots lost when the server crashed, filling in as best I can with MS paint - Bel
Backbone of Supply lines -
Main Offensive -
Secondary coordinated Offensive -
The first thing you need to know is that this is not a war of conquest; this is a war of liberation. As you liberate provinces you will be given control of more men and ports. Ports are important to establish trade routes and supply lines. These will be your main source of income and manpower. Your Armies will be a mixture of Portuguese, Spanish and British troops with missions awarding reinforcements from Britain. The missions also serve to guide you to fight the campaign accurately and are essential if you want to truly enjoy this campaign. Start off my investing your 3000 Pounds in trade ships.
The French are overstretched and have their supply lines periodically raided by rebels. However they control most of the territory and as a result will have a substantial advantage in funds and manpower as the game progresses. Like the other campaigns you will probably experience little resistance at the start and then be faced by numerous armies as the game progresses. You must use your rebels to raid and harass the enemy as well as your spies to scout and spot enemy movements. You are surrounded by French territories and initially the campaign with rightly guide you into taking costal ports.
Firstly it might be wise to combine your armies and accept the first mission; Coimbra should not be well defended and will fall easy to the might of your army. As in any short campaign it is essential to conserve troops. Supply lines increase unit regeneration and regenerated experienced units are significantly better fighting then freshly recruited ones, thus highlighting the importance of supply warehouses. Your next mission will be to construct a college, do so. You will then be given a mission to Infiltrate Salamanca so simply move in an agent and be awarded a Guerrilleros. These units are designed to inflict attrition on armies by picking them off, spy and incite rebellion in addition to normal spy abilities. It might be wise to look at success rated and train them up; you are awarded these units through missions. In my campaign the French advanced to the college and I immediately moved wellington nearby to meet them, I used my Guerrilleros too early and he was shot, do don’t make my mistake. Make sure to destroy these armies that prop up behind your lines as their raiding and opportunistic city assaults can cripple your campaign.
Again in my campaign the French went for Coimbra while I was off stopping them raiding the college but I intercepted and smashed them. When winning a victory it is important, like in Napoleons campaigns, to always seize the initiative. Thus immediately after the battle I attacked Porto and with the French defeated near Coimbra it had a meager garrison and fell easily. When you do take Porto immediately builds roads and a warehouse to help retrain your men and a trade ship in Coimbra to start accumulating trade wealth. You want a continual chain of supply ports and warehouses as well as roads so that you can easily fall back and rest your forces. Roads in areas where the French are maneuvering such as in central Spain are less essential until they are pushed back, you might want to liberate all these anyway.
To the south Gibraltar has resources and a port, it is an ideal place to launch a secondary offensive and so with manageable French resistance in Portugal I use the 6000 Pounds her Majesty has awarded me and build trade ships upgrade my infrastructure to prevent any future trouble in Gibraltar, rebellion can affect all factions! I use the spy in the area and find that Granada has no garrison and a supply port. The French will have a significantly harder time defending a two pronged attack and so I launch an attack. At the same time I don’t want to amass many troops as my infrastructure is not strong and the French are weak for now. All campaigns are different but the AI won’t be able to defend everywhere. Use your spies to detect where the French are weak and exploit those weaknesses for easy victories with minimal losses. I take Santiago with no losses and hold it because it has a supply port close to the final objective, Granada I take to the south because it has supply posts which will resupply any troops forced to retreat south. I use this as a base to liberate central Spain and eventually will have trained a full stack army and prepare it to rush north and help the counter-attack. The French have besieged Coimbra and I am three turns away, I have a garrison there and can move some troops around. I manage to defeat the French who seem to have an obsession with this province; in both campaigns they attacked it 5 times! To make matters worse I decide to take a previously lightly defended province of Caceres but as I advance on it I find a full stack garrison, I found the French and I’m in trouble! To the North I advance and take Leon which surrenders. I now await the French Counter attack to the South. The pictures will show how I hid my army in the forest and waited. Eventually the French split their forces moving north and a small force happened to advance in the forest. I slaughtered them and immediately attacked the army which had divided it, wiping out the half I caught. The screenshots will show this tactic in practice.
In one of the ensuing battle the Spanish irregulars prove to be capable as they pick off the right flank and provoke rash attacks. The counterattack by cavalry causes a mass rout and hits the French morale so bad that their numerical advantage is lost and my cavalry superiority soon wipes out their cavalry leaving me able to hold the French infantry and smash into their rear. A heroic victory and settlement liberated. I am given a mission to take Madrid and so I can either move to defend Coimbra or move on Madrid. I actually don’t do this, I decide to move Wellington from Leon and take it, make sure you liberate Madrid as taking it for yourself will cause you to fail the mission. The French are now significantly stronger and have regrouped.
They attack and take my northern two provinces and I immediately counter-attack. The Main French force shows itself near Leon and I rush Wellington to an area where he can resupply, I had actually moved too far and put myself in danger. I hide in the forests in the north and when the garrisons move out I retake my northern base. I didn’t mention but you will get a mission to establish a base north and the province itself is ideal as bait for ambushes. The French turn to retake it and are ambushed in the forest.
Then, the French emerge in a major offensive against Leon, two turns away I immediately know where they are headed for. Wellington’s army is battered and cannot defeat them but I decide to lure the French away from the Iberian Interior by staying in Leon. I fan my spies out and find three undefended provinces, with a large amount of troops in one area assume that provinces are undefended. This is a war of liberation, I send Spanish rebel forces to these villages and cities and take them, and most can be auto-resolved. I did this in my campaign and within three turns I had 4 provinces and a full stack Spanish rebel army advancing to the east while the main French force advanced on Leon.
At this point in the campaign, with the majority of Spain in rebellion the French launch a massive counter attack, both times on Leon. Every campaign is different but provided you built up your infrastructure and supply lines the following points should get you through any final encounter.
- Divide and conquer, remember if you lose your main army then the campaign is all but lost, you must hide and outmaneuver the French until one army is significantly far away to be picked off, once you pick it off retreat and resupply, the nearest fully upgraded supply depot or port should have you fully battle ready in 2 turns. In that time use your rebel troops to harass and distract the Spanish.
- Never ever advance your army into an area without scouting it with spies! I can’t emphasize the importance of not getting yourself into compromising positions enough!
- Spanish troops can deploy anywhere but the enemies area of formation so use this to plan ambushes that can take out their general/cannon. Deploy artillery and cavalry close enough to be mutually supportive.
- The French AI will look for undefended regions and attack with small forces. The East is your main worry because the Spanish at this point can handle themselves. What I did was, as mentioned before, built up roads for fast travel. I placed a Medium sized army in Porto where I then could run up and down defending whatever the French attacked. One garrison could then defend 4 provinces which with infrastructure didn’t rebel for me.
- As the French move about, sometimes taking your weak provinces or Spain’s, use the Agents you have been training throughout the campaign to now attack these armies. Spy on them, sabotage them and inflict Attrition which you bait them with light troops.
- If you are definitely going to lose a province, think about hiding the garrison and waiting for the enemy to leave and simply retaking it after. I did this three times in my campaign.
- Provided you resupplied, defended and inflicted attrition on the French they should fall to your two armies, you could have sent raiding forces east as I did to take provinces but this depends on your income, it had bankrupted me for a few turns.
- When the counter-attack is defeated remember how TW works. The AI economy won’t be paying all those unit costs and will now be training new stacks within 3 – 4 turns. You must sieve the initiative and take as much as you can before they regroup; this involved an immediate push north.
- At this stage the Campaign should be all but over, simply push the French back to their lands and you would have won the campaign as the British.