Examples of Siege Tower Use
In all of these examples, I have used an AI army of 15 Town Watch, 3 Light Auxilia and 2 Roman Archers. My army was 2 Urban Cohorts for wall fighting and various supporting units.
||Rome: Total War 1.5
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Although my army was superior, I wanted to be able to categorically prove how and how not to use siege towers, so the deciding factor is how many casualties my units take. I also wanted to avoid a protracted meatgrinder battle on the walls, since that is rather boring to watch.
This was a battle for a Minor City with a Stone Wall. My army has 2 Urban Cohorts, 3 Town Watch and 1 Light Auxilia; I use one set of Ladders and three Siege Towers. This is my typical strategy for attacking any city with stone walls, although I generally don't have enough build points to build three siege towers.
The first point of note is where I attack. I am aiming for the gatehouse, but I don't directly attack it. The AI always defends the gatehouses, but rarely defends the rest of the walls. There are points on the walls that are out of the field of fire of the towers; I am only using one of them here, although it is perfectly acceptable to use several. The enemy is generally weak at the corners, so attack that weak point. You do it on the strategy map, so why not the battle map?
Secondly, I get both of my Urban Cohorts up onto the walls before I do anything else of significance. When you get whole units up on the walls, they perform far better than a few at a time climbing up.
Thirdly, I send my Light Auxilia running round the walls. This is to capture all of the towers. There are two main reasons for this: They don't shoot your men and they shoot the enemy. If there are a large numer of enemies in the city, then they are likely to be patrolling the roads along the inside of the wall. This means that they will be shot at constantly, whittling down their numbers. This means less fighting and less losses for your army.
Fourthly, I don't charge the gatehouse right away. I let the enemy come to me. This brings them within range of the devastating fire from my Siege Towers. The first two units are decimated and on the point of breaking before they reach my Urbans. they also have to come through the towers, so my full unit fights their men one at a time.
It is only later that I charge, when their Light Auxilia and Roman Archers are firing at me from a distance and there are no more enemy Town Watch in between us.
If this was a campaign, I would place my general just next to the wall where the fighting is so my troops receive the benefit of his command bonus.
One other point of relatively little impotance: Note the mistake I made in positioning the Siege Tower at the end. I had intended to finish the battle off earlier by adding another unit in the mix (not that it was actually in doubt). Not only did I put it in the middle of my on units rather than inside or behind the enemy like I had intended, I also got the approach angle wrong, allowing the remaining enemy tower to kill several of my Town Watch. Coming in at a 45 degree angle would have prevented many of those losses.
This battle was for a Large City with large Stone Walls. My supporting troops were 2 Heavy Onagers and 4 Town Watch.
A slightly different way of doing it, but basically the same principle. I use my artillery to knock down the towers, allowing me to approach without being fired upon. I did use the most powerful artillery going, but there was plenty of ammunition left over. One unit would probably have been enough, as would less powerful artillery.
The main thing to note here is the huge power of the siege towers' bolts. They wiped out two and a half (I think) whole units before they ran out of ammunition. If I was really trying to optimise the battle, I would have stopped them from firing earlier on, allowing my Urbans to finish those units off and allowing them to then concentrate their fire on the larger mass on units.
Otherwise, the battle was similar to the first.
For some reason, I accidentally took a unit of Town Watch instead of the Light Auxilia and ended up with an extra tower. I therefore used one of my artillery crews to run around the walls. Quite why about six of them jumped off, I don't know.
This is how not to do it. The battle is for a Huge City with an Epic Stone Wall. I did do one for how one should fight this battle but it was basically the same as the other two, just with bigger walls. Using the same lineup as in Battle 1, I go for a full frontal attack on the gatehouse.
Although my Siege Towers are very effective at decimating the defenders, my Urban Cohorts have taken similar losses by the time they get to the wall as they did in the whole of Battle 1. Note that the status panel says that they are "Panicked by artillery fire", costing them morale. Against a more determined defence force than Town Watch, I am certain that they would have routed. Also, if I was using a lesser unit (Principes for example), then they would have routed as well.
Although I still take the gatehouse, my losses are vastly greater, leaving me unable to take the city square, as I think would have been possible (if difficult) in the other two battles.
In conclusion, there are four main points to note regarding Siege Towers:
1. Don't attack where the enemy is strong. Attack where he is weak.
2. Set the towers to Fire at Will; they are great for killing off enemy units on the walls.
3. Get whole units up BEFORE you engage the enemy. You want to fight part of his unit with a whole unit of yours, not the other way round.
4. If you use them for fire support, then you make the job of taking the walls far easier for your infantry.
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