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Topic Subject:Combined Arms
General Sajaru
Tribunus Laticlavius
posted 23 October 2012 00:31 EDT (US)         
A little article on what troops you might want to use in your army:

Throughout history, there have been many theories on the force composition of armies; some have been more effective than others. In historical times, especially around the time of Rome: Total War, the focus was on large masses of infantry, with minimal support from other types of troops. xx

The Greek and Macedonian model revolved around solid blocks of pikemen, either hoplites or phalangites, supported by light cavalry and skirmishing infantry on the flanks. This was a fairly inflexible formation, excellent at facing head on attacks, but not very well suited to quick maneuvering or standing up to flanking attacks. xx

During his conquest, Alexander the Great used an early version of combined arms. At the beginning of his campaign, he fielded approximately 21,000 hoplites and phalangites, 7,000 skirmishers, 3,000 hypaspists (light infantry), 1,000 archers, and 6,800 cavalry (both lighter scouts and the heavier companion cavalry). xx

With the rise of the Roman Empire, the Roman Legion became the foremost military formation in the world. Once again based around a mass of heavy infantry, this time with large shields, short swords, and pila, there were limited amounts of supporting troops. In a legion of five to six thousand men, organized into ten cohorts of six centuries each, with five centuries of one-hundred sixty men in the first cohort, there were only about three hundred cavalry and a small number of artillery. While many legions had auxiliaries- archers, cavalry, spearmen, and other troops attached to the legion- sometimes up to as many men as the legion itself, their number and composition were never standard. xx

While the legion swept through the Mediterranean world, Gaul, the Iberian Peninsula, Germania, and points further east, it still had tactical limitations. When they encountered Parthian forces composed of light horse archers and heavy cavalry, they discovered one of those limitations. While under fire by the horse archers, the legionaries would form a testudo. However, when they did so, the heavy cavalry would charge, shattering the Roman formations. Attempts to fight the horse archers with their own archers failed due to the limited number of auxiliary archers present in the Roman Legions. The Roman cavalry was not up to the challenge of fighting off the Parthian cavalry either. xx

The issues with forces that focused upon a single type of troop or style of fighting did not disappear with the fall of the Roman Empire. During the 1200s, when Genghis Khan formed the Mongolian Empire using the devastating horse archers from the Mongolian Steppes, they ran into similar problems. While they were excellent at field combat, sieges were more problematic. Using extreme terror techniques, they managed to avoid sieges in many cases, and were therefore largely successful. xx

In Europe, during the Middle Ages, the focus became heavy cavalry: knights. For several hundred years, the knight was the most powerful warrior on the battlefield, until the advent of the longbow. At Agincourt, the English longbow men proved the demise of the French knights; however, even there, only the weather conditions and French arrogance allowed the mostly unsupported longbow men to triumph. xx

It was not until the 1500s and 1600s that the first true combined arms armies emerged onto the battlefield. While Gustavus Adolphus is often credited as the father of the combined arms force, he was just one of the first to really emphasize a combined arms force mix along with a focus on logistics. Once again, the central focus was blocks of pikemen, supported by arquebusiers, cavalry, and artillery. This was a more flexible formation, able to respond more quickly to changing battlefield conditions because of its varied force structure. xx

Today, those same thoughts are implemented even more thoroughly. Long range artillery, air support, and tanks support infantry on foot or in armored personnel carriers. Combined arms show up within those infantry units; anti-tank, anti-air, and mortar units support more straightforward soldiers such as riflemen, snipers, and machine gunners. xx

The same force compositions and strategies can work in Rome: Total War. While the artillery in Rome is notoriously inaccurate, the other three main types of units- infantry, cavalry, and archers- can and should be present in your army. xx

While the exact mix of forces is up to the individual player, depending upon your playing style, some general guidelines for creating a versatile, combined arms force are as follows:

7-10 Infantry
3-7 Archers
4-9 Cavalry
1 General

These numbers are subject to change based upon which faction you play, with some nations, like Scythia or Parthia short on infantry, Carthage or Spain short on archers, and Britannia and the Greek Cities short on cavalry. Mercenary units are of course available to fill such shortcomings, or you can substitute other units for them. For instance, a Scythian army might have horse archers in addition to both foot archers and standard cavalry. As Carthage, you might use War or Armored Elephants in place of archers. As the Greek Cities, extra pikemen or even skirmishing units such as Heavy Peltasts might take the place of some of the cavalry. xx

My standard formation, which I use with most factions, is nine infantry, five archers, five cavalry, and a general. That gives me enough infantry to form a line, enough archers to be effective, and enough cavalry to prevent flank attacks, ride down fleeing enemy, or provide decisive hammer blows. For a horse archer focused faction, like the Scythians or Parthians, I might use five infantry, five infantry archers, five horse archers, four cavalry, and a general. As Egypt, I tend to modify my force composition, using seven infantry, seven archers, five cavalry, and a general. xx

Macedonia:


The Greek Cities:


Pontus:


Scythia:


Armenia:


House of Brutii:


The above are only examples of how you might choose to determine the force composition of your army. I recommend experimenting with different combinations of troops to figure out what’s best for your style of play. Remember, though, having your army composed of only one or almost all one troop type limits the battles you can fight and win. xx

Using varied troop types enables you to face almost any enemy army. Against an enemy army focused on infantry, simply spread out your infantry, putting more mobile units (in the case of Armenia or Seleucia) on the flanks and place the archers behind them. If your enemy has artillery, you might want to use your cavalry to eliminate it. Otherwise, put your cavalry on the flanks. Then, simply advance into archer range, allow them to open fire, then finish off what remains with your infantry. xx

Against a more mobile foe, form your infantry into a curved line, with your archers again behind. Close the gap with your cavalry. This will allow you to protect your archers while they kill the enemy and use your cavalry to react quickly to enemy action. Generally, the infantry forms a line, the archers provide the primary firepower, and the cavalry gives you a quick reaction force to bolster your line, run down enemy troops, or provide a hammer blow to break your opponent.

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction." - Ronald Reagan
"Judge them not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Pick up a rifle and you change instantly from a subject to a citizen." - Jeff Cooper
"I like my enemies like James Bond likes his martinis- shaken, not stirred."
My first book, The King's Own

[This message has been edited by General Sajaru (edited 11-05-2012 @ 10:58 PM).]

AuthorReplies:
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 23 October 2012 01:15 EDT (US)     1 / 16       
Nice article!

One nit:
In a legion of nearly ten thousand infantry, organized into ten cohorts of ten centuries each, there were only about two hundred fifty cavalry, and a limited number of archer or infantry auxiliaries.

Bolded are recommended corrections:
In a legion of just over five thousand infantry, organized into ten cohorts of six centuries each, there were only about three hundred cavalry, and a limited number of artillery. There were often auxiliaries attached to a legion- archers, spearmen, cavalry, etc, but these were never standard.

Info:
Modern forces (at least modern Western forces) are almost exclusively combined arms- the Americans even take this down to the company-level: two tank platoons and a motorized infantry platoon. At Armor Battalion level, you have three tanks companies and one infantry company, plus mortars (artillery) and scouts (light caalry). Regiment/Brigade is two battalions of one and a battalion of the other- two tank one inf for Armor, two inf one tank for infantry. Brigades add bigger artillery.

At division level, the mix is odd- one inf bde, one armor bde, one mixed bde for an infantry division, 2 armor bdes one mixed bde for armor division. Division is like a legion, in that at that hq you have lots more artillery, air scouts, the majority of your immunes (specialists like medics, doctors, supply, logistics, maintenance, etc) and any attached units (auxiliaries).

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General Sajaru
Tribunus Laticlavius
posted 23 October 2012 01:31 EDT (US)     2 / 16       
I was under the impression that the exact number of centuries and cohorts in a legion varied, as did the number of men in a century (with the later ones having closer to 80 than 100). I put the "regulation" numbers as I knew them, but I'll change it if yours are the more historically accurate ones.

As to the details of modern units, I was reluctant to go into too much detail, as I wanted to primarily focus on the theory's application to the game. However, thanks for the extra info; I may include some of it .

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction." - Ronald Reagan
"Judge them not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Pick up a rifle and you change instantly from a subject to a citizen." - Jeff Cooper
"I like my enemies like James Bond likes his martinis- shaken, not stirred."
My first book, The King's Own
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 23 October 2012 02:50 EDT (US)     3 / 16       
You're welcome.

FYI:

The standard late Republic/Early Imperial legion consisted of 9 regular cohorts of six centuries of 80 men (with 20 men as non-combatants, making a century actually 100 men) and one First Cohort. The First Cohort was of six double-strength centuries (160 legionaries). There was a cavalry scouting contingent of 10 turma of 30 men each (making 300 cavalrymen), plus artificers, drovers, artillery, etc. Most of those were not counted as combatants, though.

These were the legions that won the Empire. Later legions varied in size and strength, but their strategic role was no longer attack and conquer, but counterattack and defend. They were also much much smaller than the 5280-man heavy infantry legion, often being 1500 men or so, and with a heavier cavalry contingent than the earlier legions.

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Champion of the Sepia Joust- Joust I, II, IV, VI, VII, VIII

[This message has been edited by Terikel Grayhair (edited 10-23-2012 @ 02:52 AM).]

General Sajaru
Tribunus Laticlavius
posted 24 October 2012 23:29 EDT (US)     4 / 16       
Legion organization researched and edited accordingly.

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction." - Ronald Reagan
"Judge them not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Pick up a rifle and you change instantly from a subject to a citizen." - Jeff Cooper
"I like my enemies like James Bond likes his martinis- shaken, not stirred."
My first book, The King's Own
Alex_the_Bold
Legionary
posted 24 October 2012 23:39 EDT (US)     5 / 16       
A very nice article, General Sajaru. Just a few suggestions: You could describe how a combined arms force should be deployed and used, i.e. why is it better against mobile armies, how can you use it against an infantry-heavy army etc. In addition, i believe that Alexander the Great deserves to be mentioned, as he used combined arms too.

Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 25 October 2012 01:02 EDT (US)     6 / 16       
Excellent!

One nit- the First cohort was not composed of twelve centuries, but of six double-strength centuries. Twelve centuries gives you twelve centurions (and accompanying officers), while six double-strength centuries gives one six very senior centurions (and accompanying officers). Same number of legionaries, though.

The cohort organization is precisely the same as with the other nine cohorts, just that the centuries are double strength.

/nit

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Somewhere over the EXCO Rainbow
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Champion of the Sepia Joust- Joust I, II, IV, VI, VII, VIII

[This message has been edited by Terikel Grayhair (edited 10-25-2012 @ 01:05 AM).]

General Sajaru
Tribunus Laticlavius
posted 25 October 2012 10:00 EDT (US)     7 / 16       
@Alex: Thanks for the suggestion; I'll add in a section about tactics. As for Alexander, while he and his father did indeed introduce some measure of combined arms (i.e. using heavy cavalry with their phalanxes), but the main focus was still on the phalanxes, with only a limited number of cavalry being used. Also, he didn't use archers much.

@Terikel: I'm finding conflicting information on this front; some sources say doubled number of centuries (i.e. 12), some say double sized centuries (6 units of 160), and some say five double sized centuries (5 at 160), so I'm rather unsure at to which one is correct. (I'm inclined to believe you).

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction." - Ronald Reagan
"Judge them not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Pick up a rifle and you change instantly from a subject to a citizen." - Jeff Cooper
"I like my enemies like James Bond likes his martinis- shaken, not stirred."
My first book, The King's Own
Alex_the_Bold
Legionary
posted 25 October 2012 13:21 EDT (US)     8 / 16       
Actually, General Sajaru, Alexander's army had a cavalry to infantry ratio of 1:6, quite high for an ancient Greek army. In addition, he was the first Greek commander to successfully deploy artillery and used many missile infantry units, too. The numbers are (at the beginning of his campaign): 21,000 hoplites/phalangists, 7000 javelinmen, 3000 hypaspistai (light infantry), 1000 archers and 6800 cavalry (both light and heavy). That makes a total of 21,000 heavy infantry and 17,800 other troops. I think that this is a combined arms army...

Invincibility lies in defence, while the possibility of victory in the attack -Sun Tzu
Akouson me, pataxon de (hit me, but first listen to me)-Themistocles to Euribiadis prior to the battle of Salamis.
General Sajaru
Tribunus Laticlavius
posted 25 October 2012 16:19 EDT (US)     9 / 16       
I'd agree that he made a good start on the theory, even if he didn't take it as far as others (so I added a section about him).

Also, I've added a short section about tactics.

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction." - Ronald Reagan
"Judge them not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Pick up a rifle and you change instantly from a subject to a citizen." - Jeff Cooper
"I like my enemies like James Bond likes his martinis- shaken, not stirred."
My first book, The King's Own

[This message has been edited by General Sajaru (edited 10-25-2012 @ 04:34 PM).]

Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 26 October 2012 12:53 EDT (US)     10 / 16       
I looked it up in John Warry's Warfare in the Classical world. He mentions five double-strength centuries, each commanded by one of the five primi ordines.

I'd go with that one.

He also mentions that the structure of the legion changed with the ages (duh), and earlier post-Marian legions had ten normal cohorts, while the one above is an early Imperial legion. later ones had even more drastic changes.

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Champion of the Sepia Joust- Joust I, II, IV, VI, VII, VIII

[This message has been edited by Terikel Grayhair (edited 10-26-2012 @ 01:30 PM).]

General Sajaru
Tribunus Laticlavius
posted 05 November 2012 17:27 EDT (US)     11 / 16       
Unless anyone has more major corrections, suggestions, or nits to pick, I declare the Two Day Rule to be in effect.

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction." - Ronald Reagan
"Judge them not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Pick up a rifle and you change instantly from a subject to a citizen." - Jeff Cooper
"I like my enemies like James Bond likes his martinis- shaken, not stirred."
My first book, The King's Own
Agrippa 271
Legionary
posted 05 November 2012 19:50 EDT (US)     12 / 16       
Long rang artillery
One quick nit . You spelled range wrong.

Death is a (vastly) preferable alternative to communism.
"Idiocy knows no national or cultural borders. Stupidity can strike anyone, anywhere." -- Terikel
General Sajaru
Tribunus Laticlavius
posted 07 November 2012 15:05 EDT (US)     13 / 16       
Posted and newsied.

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction." - Ronald Reagan
"Judge them not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Pick up a rifle and you change instantly from a subject to a citizen." - Jeff Cooper
"I like my enemies like James Bond likes his martinis- shaken, not stirred."
My first book, The King's Own
Terikel Grayhair
Imperator
(id: Terikel706)
posted 08 November 2012 02:32 EDT (US)     14 / 16       
Looks really good.

Conga Rats!



(And for those interested, the long rang artillery was fixed.)


|||||||||||||||| A transplanted Viking, born a millennium too late. |||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Too many Awards to list in Signature, sorry lords...|||||||||||||||||
|||||||||||||||| Listed on my page for your convenience and envy.|||||||||||||||||
Somewhere over the EXCO Rainbow
Master Skald, Order of the Silver Quill, Guild of the Skalds
Champion of the Sepia Joust- Joust I, II, IV, VI, VII, VIII
Awesome Eagle
Spear of Mars
(id: awesomated88)
posted 08 November 2012 03:10 EDT (US)     15 / 16       
A good thorough article that is a great addition to the site.

Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it- George Santayana
History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are- David C. McCullough
Wars not make one great- Yoda

[This message has been edited by Awesome Eagle (edited 11-08-2012 @ 03:14 AM).]

Average Citizen
Legionary
posted 08 November 2012 13:37 EDT (US)     16 / 16       
I don't see any reason for a scythian player not to asshat in my opinion.
Also I've always felt that if Armenia was going to have a core then it requires both legions and heavy spearmen.
Don't get me wrong, this is a great article, I just felt that some of the infantry options were not varied enough, phanlanxs are often too static for my intrests.
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