The Chariot Class

By Edorix

The chariot is among the most flash units you will find in our world. Able to decimate cavalry and shatter by sheer weight most infantry formations when used correctly, it is also among the most deadly. You wish to learn how to wield this deadly contraption. Well, I am Edorix, and I shall be your teacher. Many mistake my name for Eporedorix, which is perhaps more fitting: it means Chariot-King.

The Chariot

There are many different kinds of chariot. The Celts build them one way, the Egyptians another, the Greeks think they know best and use yet another. I shall attempt to give a broad overview of how they work.

Chariots are fighting platforms on wheels which are drawn by either two or four horses. In battle, chariots tend to be drawn by only two horses, for otherwise they become too difficult to turn, but four-horsed chariots are a common sight at races. The two horses are yoked together and the yoke has the chariot on the other end. Either one, two or three men stand in the chariot, which has wheels. In this way it can trundle along at very high speeds (up to fifty miles per hour and more at times). On the wheels are stuck massive great pointy thingies. These are designed to cut men in half and cut horses legs off when driving through enemy formations, and they are ruthlessly effective. This concludes our basic description of a chariot. Obviously they are far more complex than that in execution: you can have a look at mine after class if you wish.

War-Chariots

Chariots first began to be used on my island around the sixth century BCE, traded from across the sea. The Celts who taught us about them had themselves got them by copying peoples living further East; it is thought that the chariot was first developed somewhere in the plains of far away Scythia. However, since horses have been bred to be larger and it is now possible to ride them directly rather than having to harness them to a chariot, chariots have gone out of fashion both in Scythia and among the Celts. There are only a few peoples left now who have not forgotten this wonder: the Britons, naturally, the Egyptians, the Pontic people of Asia Minor, and the Seleucid Empire. We use our chariots however in very different ways.

We Britons have three types of chariot unit. The first is the Light Chariot; these are cowardly chieftains with bows and arrows who ride into battle and shoot at the enemy from chariots without ever engaging them. Cowardly, yes; but very effective. They are able to defeat most cavalry unsupported. The second is the Heavy Chariot; these are the real chieftains, the brave warriors who charge straight into melee in the battle-wagons. The third type is the Warlord's Bodyguard; basically these are heavy chariots, except that they are much tougher. Each British chariot bears two men; a driver and a warrior or archer.

The Egyptians also have three types of chariot unit: chariot-archers, heavy chariots and the general's bodyguard chariots. However, their general's bodyguard is made up of chariot-archers rather than chariot warriors. Around the year 1150 BCE the Egyptians either invented or copied off the Hittites a clever system to do with the placement of the axle, which allows their chariots to bear three men instead of two. This gives them quite an advantage over British chariots which can only bear two.

The People of Pontus have acess to two types of chariot and the Seleucids but one. Both peoples have the scythed chariot, which is like the heavy chariot except the wheel-spikes are bigger and they only carry one man; the Pontics also have chariot-archers like the Egyptians.

Of these, those cowards who call themselves charioteers but only really want to shoot and then run away do not interest us; they are well worth your silver though. For information about how to use them, you should go to the class on horse-borne cowards as soon as we are able to find a teacher. For this class, we are interested in how to use chariots in noble melee.

How to use heavy chariots

Select the chariot unit. Lots of them is better (if you have lots of them).

Choose an enemy.

Charge.

When the enemy flees, choose a new enemy. Repeat ad lib.

That concludes our lesson on how to use chariots.

Tips & Tricks

We Britons are honest folk; we do not deal in trickery. But all the same... there are a few tricks that you should know before you go crashing your hundred-strong chariot warband into an enemy only to find half a dozen return alive.

The golden rule of chariot warfare is keep them moving. A stopped chariot is a dead chariot. Chariots are rather large objects; if they stop in the middle of a formation, they are an insanely easy target. Those hitpoints will be eaten up very rapidly by a two-dozen peasants with butter-knives through sheer weight of numbers. Do not let your chariots become bogged down in melee. They will drop like flies.

The second thing to remember is chariots are like cavalry; if you charge them into spearmen, they are at a serious disadvantage. The spears stop them in their tracks; remember the golden rule? They die like flies. Do not charge spearmen head on- unless they are a unit like Eastern Infantry who are already "wavering". Never ever charge a phalanx head-on, even if there are just ten men left and they are wavering. Don't charge spears from the sides either; A chariot unit tends to have a wide formation, whereas a spear unit is very narrow from the side. If you charge it, some of your chariots will go round the front and be speared, which is obviously no good. Always charge spearmen from the back.

The next trick is not to actually charge anything. Charge through formations, not into them. If you just click "attack", your chariots will smash into them and remain engaged; they will come through the formation and then come back round for some more. Eventually they will get bogged down and killed. This is especially important of spearmen; some of your chariots charge into the rear, break right through the formation, turn around, come back and get speared. Don't do it. Instead of clicking on the unit, click beyond the unit; the chariots will charge straight through without stopping, leaving in their wake a fantastic trail of destruction. Now their formation is broken, charge back through again. Rinse and repeat.

Those are the golden rules. Remember them, and you will go far. Good luck, noble warlords!

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