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Thread: Hammer and Anvil in EB2?

  1. #1

    Default Hammer and Anvil in EB2?

    I'm new to EB, just got it last week, n its amazing. It's the best Total War game period, better than any of the original games. But I got a couple of problems tactically. I'm playing a Romani campaign, I'm about 50 turns in, and I'm fighting in Sicily and Northern Italy/Southern Gaul.

    Since I'm either up against barbarian heavy infantry or medium phalanx my main line takes heavy losses in every battle and the only tactic that reliably works is flanking either with other infantry (slow pay-off, easy execution) or cavalry (immediate pay-off, difficult execution).

    My main issue compared to the vanilla Rome is that in vanilla, the AI engages in skirmish vs skirmish and cavalry vs cavalry before the main clash, in order to establish an early missile or cavalry superiority early on which can then be used to gain an advantage in the main infantry clash later. EB2 AI behaves more intelligently and saves many skirmishers as reserves and refuses to engage cavalry vs cavalry.

    So the problem is that my cavalry can't get a charge off on my "anvil" because my enemies backlines are full of reserve skirmishers and cavalry. Getting in the way. How do I clear the backline of bodies in order to charge the locked up enemies in combat with my infantry? This is the first time I've encountered this problem in any Total War which just goes to show that EB2 is a far more realistic representation of large scale combat than any historical Total War.

    Bonus question, are there any compatible submods that run with the latest version of EB2 that allow you to field more than 20 stack armies? Or at least to control more than 20 units in battle? I'm sick of my reinforcements waiting at the red line. I like to field 20 infantry/skirmish units and a back-up general reinforcing with 4 units of cavalry to try my hammer and anvil tactic, but it's pointless if the cavalry just waits at the red line until something else retreats.

  2. #2
    Domaje's Avatar Libertus
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    Default Re: Hammer and Anvil in EB2?

    I have never heard of a mod that allow you to have more than 20 units on the field of battle with M2TW.
    In EB2 you can give order to a AI reinforcement army but I don't know if this is from Kingdoms or if this is a modded functionnality. I also don't know how reliable it is because I never trust AI to lead my soldiers.

    Anyway, back to your main question : to clear the backlines of the enemy in order to charge the rear of the main line you only have to order your cav to... charge. Skirmishers don't have a chance against mounted troops. Charge, disengage, then charge again til their moral is broken.
    When it comes to winning a cav engagement, in my experience the best advantage is gained throught local numerical superiority. The idea is to have one more unit than the AI, or more if your cav is significantly weaker than your enemy's. Engage in 1vs1 fight and use your spare cav to attack from behind. If you can't do this on both wings, focus on one of them and protect the other flank with infantry or cav in reserve.
    Last edited by Domaje; March 28, 2020 at 01:24 PM. Reason: typo

  3. #3

    Default Re: Hammer and Anvil in EB2?

    I actually find that in EB the decisive factor in battles is whose reserves run out first, exposing their main line to a flanking assault - pretty cool to see we're having very similar experiences!

    My solution to this is that just behind either side of my main line (which consists of the heaviest infantry I have, screened by skirmishers) I have two "wings" of reserves consisting of medium all-rounder infantry (thureophoroi, uazali, those Sabellian spear auxiliaries Rome gets, etc.) supported by my cavalry. I keep them staggered back in a sort ___-----___ formation (where the ---- is my main line) and once the main engagement starts I bring the "wings" forward and around to attempt a flank (so attempting to turn the ___-----___ into a sort of giant quasi-V shape), which usually makes the enemy commit *their* reserves in response, and if I pull this off right my "wings" chase off their reserves which then leaves the enemy exposed and vulnerable to envelopment. This is why my reserves have a mix of medium inf + cav, you want to be able to do mini hammer and anvil charges but also retain a good amount of mobility, hence you don't want your heavy inf here, they'll serve you better holding the line and brawling it out in the thick of the main fight.

    Basically the knack of it is in finding ways to rid the enemy of their reserves while retaining the ability to commit yours to the fight. This basic tactic is what serves as my default battleplan, but if you can put a more creative spin on it then I'm all ears!

    (Obviously the above approach is best executed by the standard "Mediterranean" cultures, if you have horse archers or very strong northern European charge infantry your tactics may differ - definitely for the cavalry-heavy eastern factions, at least. Surrounding the enemy with horse archers, confusing them and splintering their lines, tying them down with trash inf from the front and charging cataphracts in the sides/rear is rip-roaringly good fun and immensely satisfying.)

  4. #4

    Default Re: Hammer and Anvil in EB2?

    Quote Originally Posted by Domaje View Post
    I have never heard of a mod that allow you to have more than 20 units on the field of battle with M2TW.
    In EB2 you can give order to a AI reinforcement army but I don't know if this is from Kingdoms or if this is a modded functionnality. I also don't know how reliable it is because I never trust AI to lead my soldiers.

    Anyway, back to your main question : to clear the backlines of the enemy in order to charge the rear of the main line you only have to order your cav to... charge. Skirmishers don't have a chance against mounted troops. Charge, disengage, then charge again til their moral is broken.
    When it comes to winning a cav engagement, in my experience the best advantage is gained throught local numerical superiority. The idea is to have one more unit than the AI, or more if your cav is significantly weaker than your enemy's. Engage in 1vs1 fight and use your spare cav to attack from behind. If you can't do this on both wings, focus on one of them and protect the other flank with infantry or cav in reserve.
    You're right, there is no mod for it. I googled it and it's hardcoded into M2TW engine and can't be changed. And yh I cud never let the AI control my troops lol

  5. #5

    Default Re: Hammer and Anvil in EB2?

    Quote Originally Posted by Baharr View Post
    I actually find that in EB the decisive factor in battles is whose reserves run out first, exposing their main line to a flanking assault - pretty cool to see we're having very similar experiences!

    My solution to this is that just behind either side of my main line (which consists of the heaviest infantry I have, screened by skirmishers) I have two "wings" of reserves consisting of medium all-rounder infantry (thureophoroi, uazali, those Sabellian spear auxiliaries Rome gets, etc.) supported by my cavalry. I keep them staggered back in a sort ___-----___ formation (where the ---- is my main line) and once the main engagement starts I bring the "wings" forward and around to attempt a flank (so attempting to turn the ___-----___ into a sort of giant quasi-V shape), which usually makes the enemy commit *their* reserves in response, and if I pull this off right my "wings" chase off their reserves which then leaves the enemy exposed and vulnerable to envelopment. This is why my reserves have a mix of medium inf + cav, you want to be able to do mini hammer and anvil charges but also retain a good amount of mobility, hence you don't want your heavy inf here, they'll serve you better holding the line and brawling it out in the thick of the main fight.

    Basically the knack of it is in finding ways to rid the enemy of their reserves while retaining the ability to commit yours to the fight. This basic tactic is what serves as my default battleplan, but if you can put a more creative spin on it then I'm all ears!

    (Obviously the above approach is best executed by the standard "Mediterranean" cultures, if you have horse archers or very strong northern European charge infantry your tactics may differ - definitely for the cavalry-heavy eastern factions, at least. Surrounding the enemy with horse archers, confusing them and splintering their lines, tying them down with trash inf from the front and charging cataphracts in the sides/rear is rip-roaringly good fun and immensely satisfying.)
    lulz that's almost exactly my deployment and tactic

    except my main line --- is hoplite style units such as triarii and the other latin/greek hoplites. behind the main line of hoplites i have a line of hastati but only on the ends of the line, not the middle, and behind them another line of principes but only on the edges of the line, so they can throw javelins on Fire at Will while the front line is engaged, can act as reserves and can also flank. same as u on the wings i have the sabellian infantry/gallic infantry like u: __------__ and then cavalry on the wings but further back.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Hammer and Anvil in EB2?

    That's interesting that you say you haven't been able to get the enemy's cavalry to engage with yours. Most every battle in EB 2 I've seen has had the AI put their cavalry on the two wings and come forward with the rest of their army to where my own horseman can easily attack them. So I'm not sure if maybe you're having a different experience or not. One thing I can say is that with the slower kill rate in EB 2, you have more time to complete maneuvers with your army before the battle is decided. So, at least in my experience, there's every reason to think that you could send your cavalry off to battle on the wings, even if it takes them quite far away from the infantry, and still get them back in time to attack on the enemy flanks.

    Also, and this helped me a lot when I learned this, you don't have to get that far around the side of an enemy unit to effectively flank them. Even just attacking one of their units at a diagonal, where you're getting them partly in the front and partly from the side, accomplishes the purpose of the 'flanking maneuver' by reducing their morale, ganging up on their front-line units, and oppressing them from multiple sides at once. So you can actually improve your gameplay overall by flanking with units very slightly to the left or right of the main battle line, and there's no need to bring them out very far to the side.

    Overall, if you widen your army deployment enough, you should be able to flank the enemy, even if you aren't able to totally get around them Cannae style. There's no need for that because even just putting your troops in a wide line and pushing the enemy at the edges a little with some dependable infantry will give you the benefits of a flanking attack. Once the units on the enemy's left and right ends begin to break, then you will be able to close up their center and actually hit them all the way from the side and rear

  7. #7

    Default Re: Hammer and Anvil in EB2?

    As Beckitz mentioned as well, my typical experience fighting the ai is that they generally have their cav equally divided across both flanks. If you're having trouble baiting their cav to engage you might want to try forcing the situation on a specific flank by bringing a vanguard of a couple spear units with the majority of your cavalry, this also works with velites or other throw away skirmishers but they will almost immediately route after getting charged. Lancetai serve this purpose really well in the early game. While the rest of your army waits to engage you can wipe out all their cavalry and if you're lucky the enemy general will charge in which allows you to snipe him almost immediately. From there you have undisputed mobility across the battlefield where you can charge enemy skirms and get free flanks once you bring your main line forward. It might feel a little gamey but going for the general snipe before anything else is almost always the best strategy.

    I still remember my first battle in EB2 in a forest against barbarian rebels. It was an absolute slog and I loved the slow pacing of units fighting rather than having meat grinder altercations, and after much adversity in the battle I was able to maneuver my men into a flank and route the barbarians one by one.. I was hooked immediately. It's great to hear you like the mod, you only get to experience being new to the game for so long, so enjoy it while it lasts.

    I am currently recording a full map conquest as Rome and uploading it to my youtube channel (Gospeedrcer) which is dedicated purely to this EB2 playthrough so I'm not shamelessly plugging. If you're interested in seeing the tactics above put into action give the early videos a watch. For reference, and a humble brag, by turn 15 I had conquered all of Italy and was besieging Syracuse with construction in all settlements.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Hammer and Anvil in EB2?

    As all of you pointed out, flanking is key to winning a battle. One of the key difference between the RTW and the MTW2 engine in battle is that units are much worse at keeping formation and are generally more sluggish. Some may call this a downside of the new engine, I would say it just adds challenge and a bit of realism, after all maneuviering formates of hundreds and thousands of men on the battlefield was definitely the biggest headache for the pre-modern general. If you ever tried to disengage that group of peltasts you wanted to flank with from some random medium infantry blob they ran into you know what I mean.
    I usually group my heavy cavalry with light-medium infantry that flanks together with it. Ideal are in my experience some mobile spearmen with javelins (Thureoporoi, Galatianized Spearmen, Iudaoi, Iberians...), your can can engage the enemy cav with your own and then "hand over" to your spearmen so your then-free cav can either break the enemy cav through a charge or shatter the enemy main line. Heavy skirmishers (Peltastai in all their variations) are more helpful for dealing with the enemy missile troops that you typically find scattered behind their lines and are also a more effective as flankers themselves due to having more javelins...
    In the end, it depends on what your faction has available.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Hammer and Anvil in EB2?

    I actually leave my army at the AI most of the time. I find the AI does a decent enough job of committing my troops where they can be useful. The only thing that, arguably, it does poorly, is following routing units with infantry. That can be useful but I prefer my infantry to keep engaging the enemy and deal with routers later.

    Of course, I only do that when I have something I want to micro manage and don't want to bother with the rest of the army for the most part. Usually some cavalry or something big, expensive and that can quickly win me the battle if I use correctly, like large chariots and elephants.

  10. #10
    Marvzilla's Avatar Ducenarius
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    Default Re: Hammer and Anvil in EB2?

    I have the same experience with the enemies cavalry refusing to engage, though often they have numerical superiority in that regard but are lighter than mine. But I also often fight with numerical superiority in total numbers so that may be a factor. How do you guys get your spearmen to keep up with your cavalry, as in those that are supposed to help in the cavalry engagements ?

  11. #11

    Default Re: Hammer and Anvil in EB2?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gospeedrcer View Post
    As Beckitz mentioned as well, my typical experience fighting the ai is that they generally have their cav equally divided across both flanks. If you're having trouble baiting their cav to engage you might want to try forcing the situation on a specific flank by bringing a vanguard of a couple spear units with the majority of your cavalry, this also works with velites or other throw away skirmishers but they will almost immediately route after getting charged. Lancetai serve this purpose really well in the early game. While the rest of your army waits to engage you can wipe out all their cavalry and if you're lucky the enemy general will charge in which allows you to snipe him almost immediately. From there you have undisputed mobility across the battlefield where you can charge enemy skirms and get free flanks once you bring your main line forward. It might feel a little gamey but going for the general snipe before anything else is almost always the best strategy.

    I still remember my first battle in EB2 in a forest against barbarian rebels. It was an absolute slog and I loved the slow pacing of units fighting rather than having meat grinder altercations, and after much adversity in the battle I was able to maneuver my men into a flank and route the barbarians one by one.. I was hooked immediately. It's great to hear you like the mod, you only get to experience being new to the game for so long, so enjoy it while it lasts.

    I am currently recording a full map conquest as Rome and uploading it to my youtube channel (Gospeedrcer) which is dedicated purely to this EB2 playthrough so I'm not shamelessly plugging. If you're interested in seeing the tactics above put into action give the early videos a watch. For reference, and a humble brag, by turn 15 I had conquered all of Italy and was besieging Syracuse with construction in all settlements.
    ill watch it

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