Author : Belisarius
Original Thread : TWC Italian Campaign Guide and tips
TWC Italian Campaign Guide and tips
The Italian Campaign
The Peninsular one was wiped in the crash, I found this one. This is a general guide and as is the nature of TW no campaign is the same so use the info here to guide new players and teach them what to expect. - bel
You start off with an introduction; Napoleon is an individual of great military expertise who, thanks to the French Revolution, has a chance to use his brilliance to attain glory. The Italian peninsula is under the control of Austria and its allies, the French ambitions for success in the region seem to be nonexistent as France focuses on wars in the North. Napoleon Bonaparte then takes control of the French Army in the region and immediately inspires them to take the initiative and renew the offensive. This is when you assume the role of Napoleon and start your campaign.
Beginner Tips –
Time is your biggest enemy in this campaign if you want to achieve all the objectives.Aggression is essential; a defensive tactic will most likely fail.Empire building is out of the question in this campaign!Never risk napoleons life, if he is wounded you lose him for some turns and then he reappears in Nice and has to travel all the way back. This can waste 8 turns in all. You could continue without him but that’s not accurate.Use Diplomacy when you can, try convincing Sardinia to attack Austria or some other country and if there is no chance of you holding a province give it to them, Austria might attack it automatically triggering a war between them.Try trade with as many people as possible, money is scarce on hard settings.Take Sardinia out of the picture as soon as possible by taking Turin.If you wander south you’ll be given a mission to subjugate the Papacy, do this if you took Turin in about 8 turns or less, and keep your supply lines upgraded.Before looting, take into account civil rebellions, will you be able to hold an unhappy province? Rebellions must be avoided at all costs.In central Italy there seems to always be only one force, destroy it and scout about with militia units and if Milan and its neighbor are undefended, take them fast.Parma and its southern neighbor are normally always well defended; take them only if you have not reached the 20 turn warning.If you have 15+ Turns you have enough time to take Venice, ignore the minor cities and go straight for it from Mantua, it will be a hard fight.Austrians have DEADLY sharp shooters and I only encountered them in the final battle, you need some cavalry to chase them off or skirmishers. I can’t emphasize just how good the Austrian skirmishers are!When you reach the final objective there is always a full stack army about a turn away and a full garrison in the city, you NEED to keep reinforcements close behind.
General Tactics -
There are some things you need to take into account throughout the campaign. Firstly the main driving force which will dictate your campaign and battle tactics is the time limit. I am playing this on VH/H and the way the AI works is that on Very Hard the unit stats of the Ai are improved. This makes the Italian Campaign more of a challenge on VH battle setting as you don’t have the time to throw armies away as was common in Rome and Empire. Every man is precious and funds will be limited. You don’t have time to wait out sieges, nor do you have time to pacify middle Italy on Very Hard unless you are a very experienced player. The campaign mechanics cause you to rush, but at the same time you can’t leave too many enemy forces behind which could cut you off. You don’t have the time to rush back to retake essential provinces! Battles themselves have to be fought carefully, your tactics must aim to conserve as many of your units as possible and inflict as many losses, which sounds obvious. As obvious as it is one mistimed charge or delayed flank attack could have your army waiting around resupplying thus eating up four to five turns.
The way I used to control the battle was use the Wellington tactic of always trying to deploy my troops behind a slight elevation in the ground to essentially cancel the effects of enemy artillery. Then I would deploy my artillery on the crest of the hill making sure they are not blocked and essentially force the enemy to attack. As their infantry closes in I would advance my infantry with the first line in a Romanesque checkerboard formation with artillery in the gaps. This prevents the enemy charging my cannons and allows me to blast in some grapeshot before pressing the rout button and allowing the artillery men to run to safety. The amount of artillery you have directly depends on the amount of artillery men who survive. The second line would be solid infantry and if time permits one can move in one or two units to overlap and plug the gaps. The AI always makes some form of flanking attempt; you can either use infantry square formation on the flanks or deploy reserves.
What I like to do is keep one flank anchored with infantry in square to act as a pining force and attempt to hold for as long as possible, this frees up my cavalry to be offensive. My anchor is placed on the side where I expect the attack to be strongest but I don’t deploy into square, if I misread my enemy and want to move elements of my anchor force. I want them ready to run to the other side and quickly deploy. As was said in time commanders, a truly brilliant general is one who adapts to the situation. So, my artillery lures the enemy, I attempt to fix them and blast them with close range grapeshot and then I have a free fresh cavalry to swing round the unopposed flank and smash into the enemies rear while their engaged in combat. This is a “hammer and anvil” tactic which is ideal for numerically inferior armies. You start off with two units of cavalry in the game, sometimes this is not enough for a hammer and anvil and thus one can use what I call the “Pacman”. The “packman” is simple, if you manage to hold the enemy in a fixed position and are not in danger of routing then gather all free infantry units and reserves and swing round one of the flanks. Deploy in an L shape and if need be allow the L to collapse into the flank and rear of the enemy in a bayonet charge. If one flank and elements of the enemies center collapse simply pull out and recharge into the rest of the army.
There are many tactics that work and as we know. Napoleon was big on artillery and mutually supportive roles in maneuvering with his army and in developing a “core” like system seen in most armies today. How you kill the enemy is not important but rather the main aim is to conserve your own forces. Using artillery close range is a definite killer as is quickly smashing into a units flank and rear for a rout. Remember, routing men don’t fight back and are easier to kill! Napoleon TW also introduces a supply line system whereby your forces regenerate if they are in an area that is controlled by you. This level of regeneration is increased with the presence of “Supply Warehouses” and consequently you might find yourself either destroying markets to place warehouses or having the presence of warehouses determine what provinces you attack and which are of little importance.
Campaign Tactics – Taking Sardinia and Genoa
You start off with Napoleon controlling a small force on the coast within sight of a small Austrian army and another general further inland within sight of the lightly defended Curin. Initially your main enemy is Sardinia who is allied to Austria, but this is an allegiance that the King of Sardinia will easily forsake if you strike hard and fast at Turin. Gather all your forces to prevent yourself from being stretched out and advance on Curin, it will normally surrender without a fight and here you have your first chance to build a warehouse. Build a market in Nice as well as a barracks and train a unit of cavalry, your cavalry is limited. Loot Curin and train a unit of militia or two to hold it. Here is your first choice that determines your campaign.
Initially I focused a lot on thinking Genoa was of importance, but with a large garrison and its relative distance I found that the losses gained and its distance from my home region meant that even if I took it the time to re-supply and regenerate would outweigh the benefits of holding Genoa. By taking Curin I am closer and have a supply line so the choice is to either quickly knock out Turin and Sardinia or to take Genoa and then Turin fast enough to prevent a Sardinian counter attack on Curin which if I advance to Genoa will be lightly defended. I decide to go for Genoa since this is my second play through and as I advance I am pursued by a small Sardinian force. I Train men at Nice and send them to Curin to defend it as best I can and continue to advance on Genoa. I find the small Austrian Force outside the City and the garrison having mostly retreated to Turin. I know that a Sardinian force is a turn behind me and that the garrison is in the area. I have more men and decide to attack the Austrians. They run, so I attack Genoa. I must take it and be ready to move in less than a month.
I am faced with an inferior force but the Austrians have turned and appeared on the field so the numbers are nowhere near enough to beat me but just enough to risk me being bogged down in Genoa unable to return for the expected counter attack. I deploy and force the Sardinians to attack by focusing my cannon on theirs, as they advance I pepper them with artillery and as they bring in their main force on one flank I decide to lure them away with my cavalry, gallop past and take out their Cannon. I then pull back my cavalry. The AI is easily distracted by feigned attacks and this is a point one should consider. It’s common for the AI to use a primitive lure tactic, if it is indeed intentional. On the campaign map the AI might let you approach a city only to regroup and counterattack as you besiege it. Seeing as you have to conserve men, this is important to take into account. I take Genoa with acceptable casualties and my speed has allowed me a turn to use the 2500 I looted to train more men at Nice and Curin. I have a turn to resupply as best I can; my next tactic depends on what Sardinia manages to do.
The force that was following me turns and places itself between Curin and Nice, having anticipated a counter-attack both have enough troops to defend them and within a month (2 turns) will have enough to overwhelm them. Napoleon and my Army are positioned where I can either take Lissandria or swing back and take Turin. I am building a supply line in Genoa and decide to wait a turn to see if I see anymore Sardinians. Sardinia is unable to muster its troops in time and has done nothing, Curin is vulnerable but I decide to move for Lissandria and take it without a shot fired, I see Austrians headed for Turin. Genoa is not yet pacified and I don’t want to risk a revolt I have to send two units from Napoleons army there to pacify it.
A turn later Sardinia makes its counterattack and Slams into Curin, if you choose to take Genoa then this is inevitable and my aim is to inflict as many casualties as possible so the Forces in Nice can then counterattack and quickly bog down the Sardinians. This would leave Napoleons army which is restocking free to attack Turin and Break the Sardinians, but as I said before this is a high risk Strategy. By taking Lissandria Austrian Milan looms off to the right, the taking of Turin must be fast as attack from Milan is inevitable. I thought I’d apply pressure from the north with Napoleon and South on Curin with the force from Nice. Bad idea, the main force was not on its way to Curin, it was at Turin and at that point I thought this would be a short guide. However I used the hammer anvil tactic combined with some well timed grape-shot which fragmented their army and allowed me to win, barely. I then Ran to Curin, no screenshots as I did not expect victory and just tried it before loading a resave. I combined forces and Curin was retaken without much resistance, most of the units had rushed up to fight napoleon and were now returning to Turin, battered. At this point I have to waste time retraining and restocking but with a warehouse in Curin which I start to upgrade and another one in Genoa I have good supply lines and more tax income to fight the real enemy in the future.
This is a difficult tactic, and you can lose your campaign easily. Thus I will post a better alternative from my first play through for less experienced players. I recommend Taking Genoa for players who want a real challenge.
This has taken time and delayed me; I cannot wait for more men and have to attack Turin. When playing the campaign remember you are Napoleon and the campaign actually encourages you to make ballsy moves of aggression, and at this point with 1500 Sardinians a turn away I gather all my men, 1900 in all and attack the City of Turin, which will always be fully stacked with and in my case had over 2500 Men.
My only chance was finding a hill, deploying behind it and provoking an attack. You will definitely be put in positions where your campaign will rest on one battle and this was it for me. I deployed behind the crest of a hill south-east of Turin and essentially made their Artillery redundant. They advanced with a strong center and left flank, I anchored my flank on a hill forcing the Sardinians to walk round the cliff face, as then did I redeployed so as they turned - they found my men to their left and cavalry ready to flank them, they were crushed. My center held with the advance halted by my withering artillery fire from the hill crest. It might be wise to point out that if you are firing downhill the artillery need to be deployed slightly forward pointing down the hill. If not the muzzle will be aimed down into the ground and all you’ll get is muddy cannons.
To the right I was just able to hold on, using Napoleon to keep the men from routing and sending in a unit of cavalry which had just arrived from the victorious left flank to charge the general, who was killed. The Sardinians retreated and their advantage lost. I provoked another attack with cavalry and as they charged the hill they sustained more casualties. As they again retreated I started to advance, catching them at Turin and crushing them, a heroic Victory. Sardinia surrenders and becomes my Protectorate, I loot 11000 and repair my war torn warehouses and cities. Next Stop, Milan.
Alternative Campaign Guide – Sardinia but not taking Genoa
Gather all your forces and raid Curin, it will fall without a shot in most cases. Then build a warehouse for supplies and whatever reinforcements you can. Advance on Turin with Nice and Curin building whatever men they can. You will note more than a full stack so attack the ones outside the city in the hope of luring the army into open combat. If you think you are too outnumbered in the event of numerous stacks just wait close to Turin and the AI will normally muster one army and attack you. Crush it then restock in Curin and attack Turin. Normally you can just siege it and fight off the superior force with your army, this game is about one of the greatest generals after all! Basically take Turin and Sardinia will surrender.
Assault on Milan and Mantua
Due to the large garrison in Turin I was forced to send all forces into one assault leaving Lissandria. The Campaign Ai did what it does best in these situations and attacks the weak point. Lissandria falls as Turin is subjugated. Milan is no-longer an open target and I cannot leave a full stack army in Lissandria to destroy my supply lines and take my power base. Throughout the campaign you will need to reinforce your main army, you don’t have the time or resources to train new army which is the reason why defeat in this campaign is not an option at any stage. I restock for one turn and assault Lissandria. I attack; my aim is minimal casualties and a quick victory with enough loot to train reinforcements.
Lissandria is taken, my cavalry superiority meant I could launch hit and run attacks on their flanks and destroyed their artillery, I pinned down their right and advanced on their left and took the village while my strong center advanced on the main force and prevented them maneuvering. Once the left was crushed I surrounded the Austrians and those who were not killed by the withering cross-fire were chased down by my cavalry. I loot 3500 franks and immediately ride for Genoa which is also besieged. In Turin I order the recruitment of 5 infantry units and repairs on Lissandria. Genoa is saved as Napoleons army attacks from the rear and the Militia from Genoa hold their positions, the general is killed and I am awarded a Heroic Victory. Two battles mean my men are exhausted and I need to resupply, I end the turn and return to Lissandria to wait for my men from Turin.
I spend a month Preparing and launch an attack on Milan, the Austrians have retreated after their losses at Lissandria and Genoa so I loot 9000 Franks, which goes to training more troops. Neighboring Lodi is also undefended; I also take it without a fight. I gain a sizable war chest but the Milanese are unhappy, I quickly get all my repaired cities churning out units to garrison Milan while Napoleon, falling behind, advances to assault Mantua.
On my way, I note that the Austrian force, or what I think is the main force is in Parma, I have no choice but to turn and attach this force, equally matched I know I can’t lose many men and Parma is placed in such a position on the map that I can’t maneuver well. I use my militia to garrison and keep the main Austrian force busy and drive my main force against the armed citizenry on the left flank which collapses. I then face the Austrian lines and flank them with the militia routing them but taking worrying losses in the process. I don’t know whether Mantua is undefended or has its own garrison, I assume that Austria couldn’t afford to garrison both so strongly and go for it. I was correct; in 4 turns I liberated Milan, Lodi and Parma and took Mantua without a fight. I now border Venice, I can’t let them bog me down as I have Austria on the retreat, I need to avoid them or take them down fast.
I think up a plan, Venice doesn’t want to give me military access to access their lands and I have about 17 turns to take out the Austrians, I have no choice but to rush across and possibly hold off the Venetians with the forces I have coming from Nice and Turin. At this stage in the campaign, if you took the option of taking Genoa and the regions there on Very Hard, you will be pressed for time, taking Venice might not be a realistic option. Venice in my campaign had a full stack army.
The Race to the Finale
I prepare for the final offensive, an army in Milan which will serve to defend against any Venetian attacks and Napoleons army primed to strike at the final objective of the Austrian Homeland. Unfortunately using Fraps and windowed mode I didn’t quite notice Nice was rebelling and once it did my forces were already at Milan, I thought I would just turn and destroy them once Napoleon was close enough to Austria, this shouldn’t be a problem in Hard and other difficulties. Lodi rebelled, but that was anticipated as I have no use for it and it can easily be taken back after the final objective (I say to myself!) I could use my Milan Garrison to take Lodi but I rather wait and see what Venice does, we are at war now that Napoleon has crossed into their territory. As I advance I take the province near Mantua (not the venetian one) and move my Milanese army to Lodi and besiege it, my army in Mantua which is 5 stacks of fresh infantry advances to follow Napoleon. The new province rebels and attacks the reinforcements but they defeat the mostly dragoon army and continue to follow Napoleon. I am one turn away from Klagenfurt and an Austrian Army intercepts me on the road, I accept Battle. I win and move on to Klagenfurt with reinforcements from Mantua. I take the City and Win. The last battle was very similar to the Turin battle but I didn't have Fraps on, was outnumbered by about 600 men but as usual I provoked an attack and crushed the advantage with Grapeshot.
Campaign Tactics Discussion and Criticism –
I chose this play-through to write a guide and it was probably my worst Italian Campaign. Playing on Very Hard and not rushing from the start proved to be the hardest Italian campaign I’ve done to date. What is evident in any play through of this campaign is that you need to be aggressive and keep the momentum going. If you are bogged down at any point early on you are in for some real trouble once you hit the border with Venice. I was unable to complete two missions, liberating the city south of Parma and subjugating Venice, this was primarily due to the stat balances of the difficulty level and the fact that I took more casualties then I wanted to in Parma and my reinforcements were too far away, I overstretched myself and as a result had to forget about keeping the peace and just push forward.
Looting gives you money but the penalty on civil order is significant that if you’re not fast and garrison those cities with cheap troops you’re in for revolts. If rushed like I was you may opt to save the essentials such as Nice, Turin and Milan and not worry about the others, once Austria is crushed it should be easy to mop them up. That’s what I kept telling myself anyway.
My main error in this campaign is that I waited too long and as I took Mantua I only had 8 turns to finish, I had to rush and only just managed to win. It was a challenge and ideally I would have wanted to use my protectorate Sardinia to attack Venice or Austria, but they always refused. I ignored southern Italy and the missions to subjugate the Papacy as the difficulty does not give you the time to refresh your losses. On Hard and Medium it’s very possible to keep a spearhead going and achieve all the objectives but on Very Hard I will have to keep homing my tactics.
This is by no means a perfect strategy, I made one or two mistakes (one because I kept alt tabbing to write this) and another because sometimes I can be a read idiot but in general I think this “guide” will help the player see the hardest scenario and what is to be expected
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