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Thread: Javelin foot skirmishers

  1. #1

    Default Javelin foot skirmishers

    Hey guys,

    Is it just me or do light javelin-armed foot skirmishers feel underwhelming? My biggest problem is that the throw animation is so damn slow that even the heaviest non-phalangite can catch up with them and absolutely destroy them. It also doesn't help that javelins are ineffective against all but the most naked of infantry. Except, like, longche, solifera, and pila, which cost noticeably more to equip and provide little benefit because of the low ammo.

    Are there some hidden pros to these units of which I'm just not aware? I've been trying to field more diverse and historically accurate armies, but I can't bring myself to recruit light skirmishers (except eastern/cappodocian/hyrkanian hillmen, I just have a soft spot for them and they make reasonably effective flankers)

    I've been sifting through the forum archives and it looks like that at some point:

    1) Quintus buffed them via a submod, that I presume was integrated into one of the patches

    2) there was some talk of campaign map benefits and trait/ancillary scripts related to foot skirmishers

    What happened with these?

  2. #2
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Get them behind already-engaged infantry, and throw from there. Even then their primary job is getting rid of other skirmishers, not tussling with the line. Think of them as a difficulty-increasing measure, if it helps.

    They're also death to elephants, though that's an incredibly situational thing.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Look at them rationally. They're cheap, they can mess up the enemy formation, they can prevent the enemy from messing up your formation, they're fast, most hide better than regular line infantry... They have many uses, direct combat just isn't what they excell at.
    From what I've read, cavalry is much reduced in combat capabilities in 2.3. It will be interesting to test it.
    I recommend a pugio rather than a spear, because in close quarters combat, a dagger will serve you better than a spear.

    Rad, 2016.

  4. #4
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    I'm not sure cavalry are "much reduced". Their morale has fallen, which means light cavalry are more likely to run (and reform), and lances are no longer ap, but that's about it.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Quote Originally Posted by QuintusSertorius View Post
    I'm not sure cavalry are "much reduced". Their morale has fallen, which means light cavalry are more likely to run (and reform), and lances are no longer ap, but that's about it.
    Hold up, I thought that this language in the patch notes for 2.3 was from something already implemented in an earlier patch.

    Cavalry morale/combat strength hasn't been nerfed again has it?

  6. #6
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Quote Originally Posted by Krampus View Post
    Hold up, I thought that this language in the patch notes for 2.3 was from something already implemented in an earlier patch.

    Cavalry morale/combat strength hasn't been nerfed again has it?
    Both were already implemented in 2.2r, no further change than that.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Quote Originally Posted by QuintusSertorius View Post
    I'm not sure cavalry are "much reduced". Their morale has fallen, which means light cavalry are more likely to run (and reform), and lances are no longer ap, but that's about it.
    - Rebalance of cavalry to be less capable in melee, culture-based defensive skill and reduction in morale. AP removed from lances
    Sounded like more than that.
    I recommend a pugio rather than a spear, because in close quarters combat, a dagger will serve you better than a spear.

    Rad, 2016.

  8. #8
    Jurand of Cracow's Avatar History and gameplay!
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    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Quote Originally Posted by QuintusSertorius View Post
    Get them behind already-engaged infantry, and throw from there.
    I'm curious to what extent it's historical? If they were skirmishers, they were meant to throw the javs from the front, weren't they?
    I'm simply curious since in many mods this is the best way to utilize the javs, but I've always suspected that something is wrong with this anvil-and-javellins from the back tactics. I haven't seen the AI using it.

  9. #9
    NosPortatArma's Avatar Biarchus
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    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Quote Originally Posted by Jurand of Cracow View Post
    I'm curious to what extent it's historical? If they were skirmishers, they were meant to throw the javs from the front, weren't they?
    I'm simply curious since in many mods this is the best way to utilize the javs, but I've always suspected that something is wrong with this anvil-and-javellins from the back tactics. I haven't seen the AI using it.
    afaik they would be ahead of the main army and harras the enemy skirmishers, and if able also their main line. when real battle starterd they would be on the flanks, so i guess it is reasonable to expect they would do "javelin and anvil" if they were able to. problem is, its much easier to flank the AI that way than it would be for historical armies

  10. #10
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Quote Originally Posted by Jurand of Cracow View Post
    I'm curious to what extent it's historical? If they were skirmishers, they were meant to throw the javs from the front, weren't they?
    I'm simply curious since in many mods this is the best way to utilize the javs, but I've always suspected that something is wrong with this anvil-and-javellins from the back tactics. I haven't seen the AI using it.
    Uh, no. The historical use would be not to engage the main battle line with them at all.

    Skirmishers were there to take ground early, engage other skirmishers, and provoke the main line to commit to fighting the battle. They also had campaign uses for foraging, scouting, screening and skirmishing, which can't be represented in the engine.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    However, didn't Iphicrates engage and destroy an entire Spartan division with only peltasts? Were there any ranged units that the ancients deployed not just as harassers but as the arm used to destroy a sizable section of the enemy via concentrated volleys?

  12. #12
    Jurand of Cracow's Avatar History and gameplay!
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    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Quote Originally Posted by QuintusSertorius View Post
    Uh, no. The historical use would be not to engage the main battle line with them at all.

    Skirmishers were there to take ground early, engage other skirmishers, and provoke the main line to commit to fighting the battle. They also had campaign uses for foraging, scouting, screening and skirmishing, which can't be represented in the engine.
    I haven't written they'd engage the main battle line. I've writtten that they'd just "soften" them by throwing javs from the front, and, indeed, provoking the main line to commit.

    However, this doesn't answer my main question: is it historical to use them as a long-range going to the back and throwing javs from the back? This requires a lot of courage and discipline (ie morale and training).

  13. #13
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    They didn't provoke the commitment of the main line by attacking it, but by drawing them into the contest that started with skirmisher on skirmisher. One general might see an advantage in sending proper infantry to take and hold the point the skirmishers were fighting over, thus triggering the main engagement.

    As before, it isn't historical for skirmishers to attack the line at all. But within the confines of the engine we have, that's the only way you can use them with any effect against the line.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Quote Originally Posted by Pooploop View Post
    However, didn't Iphicrates engage and destroy an entire Spartan division with only peltasts? Were there any ranged units that the ancients deployed not just as harassers but as the arm used to destroy a sizable section of the enemy via concentrated volleys?
    He did but those probably weren't akonistai for example. They were probably equipped as well as the Thracian Peltasts in game, because they were also described as engaging in hand to hand with the hoplites in that part of Xenophon's Hellenica--suggesting they weren't so light as to be unable to fight hoplites hand-to-hand, but definitely lighter than the hoplites as they were described as tiring the Spartans out, and repeatedly harssing/charging and recharging the exhausted hoplites. At least, that's what I remember of that part of the book.

    My thoughts on skirmishers:

    1.Cheap
    2.Good for chasing routers if you don't have much cavalry(very fast)
    3.Good meat-shields against enemy skirmishers so that your more precious units don't lose as many casualties to enemy javelins
    4.OK flankers
    5.OK for ambushes
    6.Skirmisher hybrid units are usually pretty useful.

    Ever try the Neizes yet? Man, those guys are great skirmishers(skirmisher/spearmen hybrid). Perfect for any skirmishing duties, and generally superior to other skirmishers like Leves, Koxolotai, Numidans/Maures, Akonistai, Moldoi, Jugunthiz...You name it, they're better than it, with respect to the levy department. They can even hold a line for a bit.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Quote Originally Posted by Genghis Skahn View Post
    My thoughts on skirmishers:

    1.Cheap
    2.Good for chasing routers if you don't have much cavalry(very fast)
    3.Good meat-shields against enemy skirmishers so that your more precious units don't lose as many casualties to enemy javelins
    4.OK flankers
    5.OK for ambushes
    6.Skirmisher hybrid units are usually pretty useful.
    That's how I use them. The fact that they can throw few javellins is just one of their weapons. They often have good stamina, fast moving or hide skill so I can move them around battlefield quickly to fill support roles. Running around with infantry gets them exhausted, then they fight like crap and rout easly. Skirmishers arent so good at fighting but they are cheap so you can create larger armies where infantry can focus only on battle-line fighting while skirmishers deal with enemy skirmishers and routing units. You can do it with infantry too, but it will cost you more, you will capture less prisoners or you will have to waste non-skirmish cavalry on pursuit, which will cost you much more and they are beter used to break remaining formation and save lives of valuable veterans. I dont like them much (my javelins seems to do less damage as those fired at my troops, no matter which unit I use) but I do use them to save money.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    So as to the second part of my question? Ranged units that can do good damage via projectiles alone? I guess I'll partially answer it myself: Balearic slingers. Or any really good sling wielding warriors. Those and other javelineers and archers under the Roman general Bassus were able to drive off Parthian cataphracts. I guess Indian Kshatriya bowmen, or other Eastern archers with heavy composite bows. Any other units of that ranged proficiency coming out in 2.3?

  17. #17

    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    I agree with Quintus that frontal attacks by javelineers should be less effective, especially when using light missiles, but it should be very dependant on the shield quality facing them. Ammo is too low generally. 5 is kinda the sweet spot I think, but most had it at 2 or 3 a few versions ago, even light skirmishers!T

    he main problem with these units is that their lightness is not well reflected in game, being too slow to react to an approach, get into cohesion, fire, and again fall back. Reaction distance was not well calibrated. Plus there´s still the problem that they take too much micromanaging. I still think the BAI group control for skirmishers should be at least minimally implementes. Fingers crossed for 2.4 -2.5?

    You´ll also find that assault troops which are high endurance, heavy armor, heavy javelin carrying "skirmish" troops, don´t have the javelin power to do frontal attacks, which is their mission (I don´t think heavies are meant to flank, but must have the mobility to face the flank guards of thewings of the main line, firing into an opposing unit until javelin ammo is gone and then have enough stamina to charge in and win, all the while, taking defensive fire like arrows, very well)

  18. #18
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Proper javelineers have 4-6 javelins, not 2 or 3. Only line infantry who happen to carry javelins have 2 or 3.

    Skirmish distance is a tricky thing to set, especially when you factor in the adjustment time for the unit to start and stop moving. If they react too soon, they never fire their missiles. Too late and they get caught. Cavalry also move too fast for anything but the lengthiest reaction distance to catch, but you'll find only light cavalry have an easy time catching foot skirmishers.

    Assault infantry were used as siege troops primarily, but also thrown into weaknesses in the line. Super-flankers, not people who simply charged headlong into pikes.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Its good more ammo was given to "proper" skirmishers, I havent played since 2.2g I think! And yes I can imagine the timing is a tricky thing to get right, I guess over time it´ll be narrowed down to a tee, its hard to get it all perfect, but I have faith

    About the assault infantry being super flankers, I agree, they´re not meant to charge headlong into pikes but rather headlong into the pikes flank guards, who might be heavy spearmen, heavy sword or even assault infantry playing aggressive defence. What I meant is that they´re too heavy to run around the line to get behind it, rather like you say, they want to smash into a weakpoint, with a prelude of AP javelins, keeping the dancing around to a bare minimum. Those guys really must have been super fit, highly aggressive and high morale.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Javelin foot skirmishers

    Quote Originally Posted by QuintusSertorius View Post
    Proper javelineers have 4-6 javelins, not 2 or 3. Only line infantry who happen to carry javelins have 2 or 3.

    Skirmish distance is a tricky thing to set, especially when you factor in the adjustment time for the unit to start and stop moving. If they react too soon, they never fire their missiles. Too late and they get caught. Cavalry also move too fast for anything but the lengthiest reaction distance to catch, but you'll find only light cavalry have an easy time catching foot skirmishers.

    Assault infantry were used as siege troops primarily, but also thrown into weaknesses in the line. Super-flankers, not people who simply charged headlong into pikes.
    What about medium jav cav? Thraikian cav? Cappadocian nobles? The latter only have 2 longche. Missile cav should also have more ammo than foot skirmishers (see horse archers, also EBI jav cav)

    To address skirmish range issues, what about giving them longer range? Can anything be done to shorten the throw animation?

    Also, since they're supposed to be able to outpace heavy infantry, what about giving foot skirmishers the very_hardy trait?

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