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Thread: Does Taksashila army suck or do I?

  1. #1

    Default Does Taksashila army suck or do I?

    Playing custom battles against AI for fun. Always on the verge on completely routing enemies but failing at the last minute thanks to elephants going beserk or Indian heavy infantry just not holding the line. One thing I noticed even on Medium difficulty is that opposing cavalry are not completely routed after coming in contact with more than one unit of my armored Elephants. I noticed even weak javelin cavalry holding out against my elephants in melee (LOL) till there are basically none of them left. Shouldnt they just rout after a good charge and losing over half their numbers? That's how it would have been in real life. Even rear charges into the battle line don't immediately rout the enemy forces.

    So is it just me or do these units truly suck? What's your tactial approach to using these units? These Taksashila Indian units seem to be of poor quality overall, though I have won many battles with them on all difficulty settings.

    How historically accurate is EB II with respect to Taksashila? So far, its making Indian military to look like a joke to me, even though a small Indian kingdom like Porus could bloody Alexandr so badly that his Greeks mutinied on the banks of the Yamuna.

  2. #2
    Rosbjerg's Avatar Tiro
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    Default Re: Does Taksashila army suck or do I?

    Ashoka the Great and the Maurya dynasty were at the times occupied with internal strife and the conversion to Buddhism. So you're basically playing an semi-independent governor, using local levy troops, to expand the borders of the empire.
    In this regard, it's very historically accurate. If you had access to the royal army however, it would be much easier for you.

    That said, you can play on their strengths and fall into their weaknesses, you've been doing the latter. Remember that you're using levy troops, so infantry is best used as a weak meatshield for your limited stronger units.
    Elephants aren't used for prolonged melee, their use is purely shock - keep them near the enemy, charging their flanks and scaring them - don't ever put them in a prolonged fight.

    Historically light infantry and javelin troops were used to kill elephants. They were maneuverable enough and spears thrust and hurled into elephants will most certainly kill them.

    But you'll be outclassed in all categories, the Bactria and Greek successor states has better infantry, the Parthias and Persians have better cavalry and shock troops - so you need to adjust your strategy, depending on the factions you are fighting at the time. You'll never win a slugfest against either, on their own turf.

    Good infantry is countered by the anvil tactic, get the hoplites etc occupied with cheap units and hammer them from behind with elephants, cavalry, heavy infantry or archers hitting them from the sides.
    Cavalry is countered by protected longbowmen and spears or simply more cavalry than they are bringing.

    But you are fighting an enemy with superior troops, with your inferior levy troops, in their lands - so it is a hard fight. It's a fun campaign once you get rolling though.
    Last edited by Rosbjerg; July 15, 2019 at 08:13 AM.

  3. #3
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Does Taksashila army suck or do I?

    Are you using the Indo-Greek units? If you're just using the native units, you've essentially got levies with a small leavening of better troops (Macemen and Swordsmen). Cavalry definitely shouldn't rout for good after one charge; lights especially thrive on kiting around and pouncing where they can, before moving again.

    Also of note, I recently upgraded the Spearmen to semi-professionals, meaning they should stick around more.

    Ultimately, though, there's nothing we can do about chariots and elephants being rubbish in the M2TW engine.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Does Taksashila army suck or do I?

    Yeah I sometimes use Indo Greek units like the horsemen or spearmen, but I prefer to use all Indian units for a more realistic experience. My preferred way of deployment is a forward line of heavy infantry guarding massed longbows who stand and fight, with cavalry and elephants on the flanks. The massed longbows devastate and the heavy infantry is decent at holding the line, but I just feel like they are lower morale than the standard issue infantry of the Hellenic factions. It doesnt take much for them to rout and lose a battle that I'm on the verge of winning.

    Point taken on the M2TW engine. I'll keep all of this in mind for my next battles.

  5. #5
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Does Taksashila army suck or do I?

    There is no arbitrary "equality" between the rosters of the various factions. The advantage Taksashila would have over Baktria, say, is that they'd have huge armies comprising mostly of levies. The Indo-Greeks are the closest thing you have on that roster to Hellenic heavy infantry.

    Note an all-Indian army isn't necessarily realistic or historical; most nations had contingents of mercenaries and other foreigners present.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Does Taksashila army suck or do I?

    In regards to Porus, he was holding a strong defensive position against Alexander and still lost. He also ruled a kingdom that was a rival of Taksashila, that they are both Indian doesn't guarantee they have the same martial skills. The reasons for the Macedonian mutiny are more complex than their losses against Porus, nor was there only one mutiny.

    While I admit to being ignorant of Indian history in general, it seems like archaeological and epigraphic data on the Ancient Indian Military is wanting in comparison to contemporary Greeks or even Celts. So there's less materiel to work with.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Does Taksashila army suck or do I?

    Quote Originally Posted by BailianSteel View Post
    In regards to Porus, he was holding a strong defensive position against Alexander and still lost. He also ruled a kingdom that was a rival of Taksashila, that they are both Indian doesn't guarantee they have the same martial skills. The reasons for the Macedonian mutiny are more complex than their losses against Porus, nor was there only one mutiny.

    While I admit to being ignorant of Indian history in general, it seems like archaeological and epigraphic data on the Ancient Indian Military is wanting in comparison to contemporary Greeks or even Celts. So there's less materiel to work with.
    Well, we could go back and forth about how well his forces held up against Alexander. Greek sources do seem to agree that Porus was just a warlord, and yet managed to put up quite a stiff fight even when outnumbered.

    As for the Macedonians, however, their struggle with Porus blunted their courage and stayed their further advance into India. For having had all they could do to repulse an enemy who mustered only twenty thousand infantry and two thousand horse, they violently opposed Alexander when he insisted on crossing the river Ganges also, the width of which, as they learned, was thirty-two furlongs, its depth a hundred fathoms, while its banks on the further side were covered with multitudes of men-at-arms and horsemen and elephants. For they were told that the kings of the Ganderites and Praesii were awaiting them with eighty thousand horsemen, two hundred thousand footmen, eight thousand chariots, and six thousand fighting elephants.
    - Plutarch

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    Default Re: Does Taksashila army suck or do I?

    Plutarch was born almost 400 years after the battle took place I don't know what sources he used but he is hardly a first hand account.
    Elder Scrolls Online :Messing up the Lore since 2007...

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  9. #9

    Default Re: Does Taksashila army suck or do I?

    It's worth pointing out that Porus remained loyal to the Macedonians at least until his kingdom was lost to the Maurya. He clearly wasn't left in a position in which he could have easily revolted.
    ORANGE MAN BAD

  10. #10

    Default Re: Does Taksashila army suck or do I?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack1293 View Post
    Well, we could go back and forth about how well his forces held up against Alexander. Greek sources do seem to agree that Porus was just a warlord, and yet managed to put up quite a stiff fight even when outnumbered.

    As for the Macedonians, however, their struggle with Porus blunted their courage and stayed their further advance into India. For having had all they could do to repulse an enemy who mustered only twenty thousand infantry and two thousand horse, they violently opposed Alexander when he insisted on crossing the river Ganges also, the width of which, as they learned, was thirty-two furlongs, its depth a hundred fathoms, while its banks on the further side were covered with multitudes of men-at-arms and horsemen and elephants. For they were told that the kings of the Ganderites and Praesii were awaiting them with eighty thousand horsemen, two hundred thousand footmen, eight thousand chariots, and six thousand fighting elephants.
    - Plutarch
    We could, I don't think it'd be very enlightening, the most I know about Indian history is what I remember from forums and Arrian's Anabasis.

    So holding a river against an enemy force is a major defensive advantage. A fair bit of Alexander's battle against Porus is finding a way across without blundering into a prepared defense. In the passage you've cited, it isn't just that the fight with Porus wore them down, but that they'll again be fighting a large force defending a vast river. After the battle with Porus Alexander continued his campaign into India and made further conquests. According to Arrian's findings, the Macedonian losses weren't pyrrhic.


    After skimming over the Indian sections of Alexander's journey, it is neither the Taksashilan or Pauravan army that is said to be fiercest amongst the Indians, but the Mallians. I haven't come across them in my 3.0 Taksashilan campaign, so maybe the Taksashila roster is due for a buff.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Does Taksashila army suck or do I?

    It wasn't the individual power of the Pauravans or any other kingdom that led to them turning back but rather a long campaign and the fact that there were more kingdoms of that size. Remember that many of these men were veterans not only of the Persian War but also Philip's campaigns and Alexander's Balkan campaign. They weren't about to go traipsing along merely for Alexander's glory anymore.
    ORANGE MAN BAD

  12. #12

    Default Re: Does Taksashila army suck or do I?

    Just want to clarify : The North West Indian subcontinent may or may not have been home to some "fierce" tribes, but the simple fact is that they were the weakest of all Indian peoples. There has never been a great kingdom that originated from the NW Indic peoples, ever. For thousands of years, up until the rise of the Sikhs in the early modern era, those peoples simply did not have much of an "imperial" culture. They were often just small republics and tribes.

    The real power center of Ancient India was located in its Eastern part, roughly corresponding to modern day Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. These lands produced both the Mauryans and the Guptas, who dominated much of India and maintained huge, well trained standing armies. In comparison, Porus' force was mostly hastily put together levies. Porus himself is said to have told Alexander and the Greeks this.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Does Taksashila army suck or do I?

    Quote Originally Posted by Slaytaninc View Post
    It wasn't the individual power of the Pauravans or any other kingdom that led to them turning back but rather a long campaign and the fact that there were more kingdoms of that size. Remember that many of these men were veterans not only of the Persian War but also Philip's campaigns and Alexander's Balkan campaign. They weren't about to go traipsing along merely for Alexander's glory anymore.
    Not to mention the Macedonian army was never a big, happy family. Alexander was constantly on guard against conspiracy throughout the Anabasis. The Diadokhos that was killed by Eumenes of Cardia had also won the affection of the Macedonians by arguing in their favour against Alexander. By the point of the Hydaspes Alexander had been pushing their limits for some time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack1293 View Post
    Just want to clarify : The North West Indian subcontinent may or may not have been home to some "fierce" tribes, but the simple fact is that they were the weakest of all Indian peoples. There has never been a great kingdom that originated from the NW Indic peoples, ever. For thousands of years, up until the rise of the Sikhs in the early modern era, those peoples simply did not have much of an "imperial" culture. They were often just small republics and tribes.

    The real power center of Ancient India was located in its Eastern part, roughly corresponding to modern day Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. These lands produced both the Mauryans and the Guptas, who dominated much of India and maintained huge, well trained standing armies. In comparison, Porus' force was mostly hastily put together levies. Porus himself is said to have told Alexander and the Greeks this.
    I am aware that the area conquered by Alexander is not the center of Indian culture and might, many of those forum posts I've read posit that it was the Nanda empire (who were overthrown by the Mauryans) that deterred the Macedonian army. Nonetheless, I don't see why the "fierce tribesman" trope should be disbelieved. There are numerous cases in history where people with no prior history of empire have proven to have great martial strength, often because of their poor resources if ancient authors are to be believed. The Macedonians themselves qualified as a small and weak state for a long time, until Phillip II.

    This also begs the question; if Porus' army was of such poor quality, why should more be expected from the Taksashilan army?

  14. #14
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Does Taksashila army suck or do I?

    Quote Originally Posted by BailianSteel View Post
    There are numerous cases in history where people with no prior history of empire have proven to have great martial strength, often because of their poor resources if ancient authors are to be believed. The Macedonians themselves qualified as a small and weak state for a long time, until Phillip II.
    Until Philip II secured gold mines that allowed him to heavily invest in his military, turning his levied rabble into professional infantry. If Makedonia had remained a small and weak state with poor resources, nothing would have changed.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Does Taksashila army suck or do I?

    Well for starters, I think I had assumed, wrongly, that the units were designed to reflect Mauryan India rather than just the province of Taksashila. Keeping that in mind, I have to say that my OP was a bit misguided. One of the other posters earlier clarified that the M2TW engine is to blame for elephant and chariot performance, which I can understand. Although, I still do have excellent success with elephants when I support and use them right.

    As for the Macedonians,well they got their act together well before 300 BC which is around 2000 years prior to the rise of the Sikhs , Durranis etc. They then went on to conquer a huge part of the known world (at least to them, lol)! There was no kingdom that achieved anything close to that from the North West.

    A pattern is quite apparent over the course of thousands of years where the Eastern and Decanni/Southern Indians produce huge kingdoms and empires, sometimes even with full fledged navies like the Cholas , and the NW Indics get conquered repeatedly by outsiders. It was not just the Macedonians, but also many Central Asian warriors who conquered that part of the subcontient such as the Parthians, Scythians, Huns, Kushans, Turks etc. These peoples struggled to extend their rule to the much more prosperous and fertile Gangetic plain and were repeatedly defeated by the Indians further east. Even when the Muslim Turks managed to conquer Northern India, they were wrecked first by Southern Indians who formed the highly militaristic Hindu Vijayangara Empire, and were then finished off for good by the Deccani Marathas. There clearly is not only a difference in resources, but also culture, since the Marathas were from an arid, dusty plateau without much agriculture.

    Nonetheless, I myself do think that they offered a stiff fight to Alexander, despite not having an "imperial" culture like the other groups I've mentioned. They also might have had superior weaponry in some departments like oversized longbows, and steel swords of high quality.. Wootz steel was invened in Southern India in the BCs..

  16. #16

    Default Re: Does Taksashila army suck or do I?

    Quote Originally Posted by QuintusSertorius View Post
    Until Philip II secured gold mines that allowed him to heavily invest in his military, turning his levied rabble into professional infantry. If Makedonia had remained a small and weak state with poor resources, nothing would have changed.
    I don't doubt the conquest of the gold mines was a vital part of remaking Macedonia into a formidable power. It's telling that after seizing control of Macedonia from Perseus, the Romans initially shut them down. I do think Phillip II's personal excellence had much to do with getting Macedonia that far. From what I know about the start of Phillip II's career, Macedonia's prospects for independence were bleak.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack1293 View Post
    Well for starters, I think I had assumed, wrongly, that the units were designed to reflect Mauryan India rather than just the province of Taksashila. Keeping that in mind, I have to say that my OP was a bit misguided. One of the other posters earlier clarified that the M2TW engine is to blame for elephant and chariot performance, which I can understand. Although, I still do have excellent success with elephants when I support and use them right.
    Fair enough. I've also done a lot of good work with elephants...as Pyrrhus. They make excellent hammers to the phalanxes' anvil.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack1293 View Post
    As for the Macedonians,well they got their act together well before 300 BC which is around 2000 years prior to the rise of the Sikhs , Durranis etc. They then went on to conquer a huge part of the known world (at least to them, lol)! There was no kingdom that achieved anything close to that from the North West.
    Getting their act together is an understatement, they went from being surrounded by enemies and considered a local obstacle to Athenian interests to being at the top of the food chain in Hellas. I would say that is mostly due to Phillip II and Alexander III. Before their rise to power, the Macedonians were conquered by the Persians, and even after their conquest Macedonia was pillaged by the Galatians. Afterwards Macedon was nearly conquered by Pyrrhus and his sons, and took a pretty hard fall against the Romans.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack1293 View Post
    A pattern is quite apparent over the course of thousands of years where the Eastern and Decanni/Southern Indians produce huge kingdoms and empires, sometimes even with full fledged navies like the Cholas , and the NW Indics get conquered repeatedly by outsiders. It was not just the Macedonians, but also many Central Asian warriors who conquered that part of the subcontient such as the Parthians, Scythians, Huns, Kushans, Turks etc. These peoples struggled to extend their rule to the much more prosperous and fertile Gangetic plain and were repeatedly defeated by the Indians further east. Even when the Muslim Turks managed to conquer Northern India, they were wrecked first by Southern Indians who formed the highly militaristic Hindu Vijayangara Empire, and were then finished off for good by the Deccani Marathas. There clearly is not only a difference in resources, but also culture, since the Marathas were from an arid, dusty plateau without much agriculture.
    Interesting. I do believe I've hit the limits of my knowledge about India, so I'll concede this point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack1293 View Post
    Nonetheless, I myself do think that they offered a stiff fight to Alexander, despite not having an "imperial" culture like the other groups I've mentioned. They also might have had superior weaponry in some departments like oversized longbows, and steel swords of high quality.. Wootz steel was invened in Southern India in the BCs..
    I once read an article that states that the Seric steel prized by the Imperial Romans is Indian in origin...here it is.

    http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/...n_Empire*.html

  17. #17
    QuintusSertorius's Avatar EBII Hod Carrier
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    Default Re: Does Taksashila army suck or do I?

    Quote Originally Posted by BailianSteel View Post
    I don't doubt the conquest of the gold mines was a vital part of remaking Macedonia into a formidable power. It's telling that after seizing control of Macedonia from Perseus, the Romans initially shut them down. I do think Phillip II's personal excellence had much to do with getting Macedonia that far. From what I know about the start of Phillip II's career, Macedonia's prospects for independence were bleak.
    Oh absolutely, it wasn't the gold alone, Philip was a canny political operator and skilled general. However, without the gold, he'd have struggled to achieve all that he did and realise his plans.

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