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Old January 11th, 2017, 09:42 PM   #1

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Describe yourself as a military commander

My approach was far more defensive and subtle but with the ultimate goal of taking the offensive through relatively rapid maneuvres (but not so rapid that I could not haul my siege train or outrun my supplies or entrench my position before the enemy attacked me, as I depended on a rather large amount of cannon of various sizes to have some kind of tactical advantage over everyone else).

I definitely favoured combined arms tactics such as light gun barrage with infantry, large gun barrage to wear down opponents and charge with cavalry or a combined infantry-cavalry assault on a flank (which is comparable to Turenne and Gustavus tactics such as Dunkirk, Breitenfeld etc). Essentially my battle strategies were to hold in a defensive position while carrying out a subtle counter attack on a single exposed point. Prior to starting the game I was extremely hesitant to engage in reckless attacks and charges (after the defeat of my ally I realized that this was indeed not the proper way to win battles unless one had the surprise or numerical/armament advantage). He had actually made a fast maneuver behind the enemy positions, pushed them away from in front of Verona and taken a position in front of my fortress as the enemy withdrew to the hills behind them. I had advised my ally that upon his initial success he should then withdraw to a defensive position (so entrench before the fortress, put troops in the fortress and wait for the arrival of my army) as he could not repeat that success since he had failed to actually destroy or maul the enemy with that battle, only gaining a clear positional advantage in front of my fortress. I wanted to bring up my army to Verona to gain a numerical advantage and obviously as the fortress was a good defensive position and had a river to supply it we would have gained even more advantages over the enemy. He disagreed, wanting to fight an aggressive battle, and upon the next engagement was completely routed and Verona lost (after this battle I started referring to him as Tilly, because the Battle of Verona and his methods were akin to Breitenfeld).

I then had to hold the Mincio river line (Peschiera and Mantua) on my own against what became two enemy armies and planned on using Wallenstein type tactics if the enemy tried to cross (similar to Alte Veste). My plan had become to hold that line, maul the enemy little by little and halt their advance by creating a meat grinder in a Stalingrad type of scenario and await reinforcements from my allies (the game ended abruptly soon afterwards).

Now during the game no one used the terms Dutch, Swedish, French, German, Spanish doctrines to describe their strategies and tactics however the moves made by them could be described as being similar to some of these.
When I say German doctrines I should add that I mean the methods used and popularized by Albrecht von Wallenstein. While Tilly was an Imperial commander his methods were extremely aggressive compared to other Imperials and not in line with the type of methods that I prefer. As I have mentioned several times now neither did Conde employ my preferred tactical methods.
I also criticized the German doctrine as being too cautious and I do understand there is a time and place where it is best suited (my example above from my game may have illustrated some of this). Though my campaigns would have been offensive in nature and whether I took an offensive or defensive stance in a battle is never set in stone, honestly some of my tactics would be similar to the Ottomans in that they would rely on cavalry and artillery to bring about the victory.

My maneuvres would be two kinds, to either overrun as much area as possible (but very sustainable) thereby fighting an enemy at a strategic disadvantage and put them on their back foot so to speak. The other maneuvre would be subtle to gain positional advantages and possibly logistical advantages in order to force my opponent to outstretch themselves both logistically and in their positional deployments then swinging to a counter offensive and smashing them.
The campaigns and operations would be offensive in nature but the tactics may be offensive or defensive depending on the situation.

I do admit that my line of thought is influenced by Napoleonic doctrines and a good deal of it is an amalgamation of sorts by using the French school, Swedish school, German school and possibly the Dutch school.
I have no way of really explaining it in simple terms except by citing Turenne, Gustavus and to some extent Wallenstein.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 09:44 PM   #2

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In Napoleon Total War I use basically the exact same battle tactics, especially since they melt the AI. I also am terrible at unit micromanagement so standing still and shooting anything that comes close is a lot easier than running about. I employ my cavalry not like the Russian tactics but more for flanking attacks and I almost always use massed cavalry charges so I put my cavalry on a single flank. Likewise with my light infantry if I have a couple of these I mass them on a single flank.
However when I don't have superior terrain I try to make fight happen on one flank and I mass my infantry and cavalry on the other flank and smashing it then encircling what remains of the other flank.
I don't tend to play multiplayer but in NTW at least I ended up becoming basically unbeatable because of my insane defensive combined arms tactics with massed counter assault. I would intersperse my line infantry with light infantry allowing me to get them all along the line from far and then rapid firing if they came closer with the line infantry. Using massed cavalry and infantry assault together with massed artillery barrage to melt their line. This combination will melt all units even if they try flanking attacks.

Initially I preferred pincer movements but then I took a page from Marcus Antonius, Nikolai Vatutin, Konstantin Rokossovsky, Napoleon, Erich von Manstein etc and realized if one rushes or ambushes one of the sides of the pincers with the majority of one's army and overwhelms it the pincer movement is not only destroyed but the enemy army is destroyed piecemeal.
Though Total War games are limited in their logistical, strategic and operational options. Shogun 2 (I am not as good at this one) and Napoleon were the best ones by far imo. The game I played was a text based role playing game with actual maps and military councils via Skype. Our game master was extremely good and knowledgeable on the pike and shot period and quite enjoyable as it also included logistics, politics and economics.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 09:59 PM   #3

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Though I prefer the French military art I have to say that from all of these I much prefer Turenne's approach in particular as it was far more subtle. Even if he was not an uber powerful tactician.
Credit where it is due I certainly see the benefits of the German system. As I said before about the recklessness that some French commanders employed I see the German commanders as far too cautious for my personal tastes.
If the French are at one extreme and the Germans are the other extreme then I would put Turenne somewhere in the middle but more towards the French extreme, even more so to that side than the Swedes but fairly close and similar in some respects.

The thing we have to take into account with a comparison between Gustavus and Turenne is that both had very similar origins. Both learned their craft from the Dutch and had their hardest experiences in the Thirty Years War. Their approach was extremely similar however Turenne had more emphasis on maneuver and employed a fox like subtlety that caught his enemies off guard. Compare Lutzen to Turckheim, they are similar but Turckheim takes the cake both in the scope of the operation and in its results. When it comes to tactics the two are practically a mirror image with Gustavus having a larger and more varied artillery train that makes him a dangerous foe in a pitched battle. However the lack of such a massive artillery train for Turenne adds to his maneuverability; he can't be pinned down and he can strike practically at will and in this regard is more comparable to Wallenstein. Gustavus' approach of forcing battle I find is more comparable to Conde's mentality however the Swedish King's tactics are more viable and less reckless, in some ways far more reactionary to an enemy's attacks as we saw at Breitenfeld and is comparable to Wallenstein's methods at Alte Veste. Montecuccoli is also comparable to Turenne in many ways, often employing the indirect method and having a very subtle approach and maneuverability as well. More often than not Montecuccoli was able to avoid battle rather than force a battle.

If we were to compare these commanders using positions on a spectrum it would probably look as follows:

Aggressive Battle Seeking| Tilly----Conde----Gustavus----Turenne----Montecuccoli----Wallenstein |Cautionary and Reactionary Maneuvering

Last edited by Lord Oda Nobunaga; January 11th, 2017 at 10:05 PM.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 10:02 PM   #4

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A while ago I decided that I would organize generals into the following categories:

-strategic commanders



-irregular warfare

-Grand Strategy (ie diplomatic/political/administrative and overall plan in all aspects of war)

-organizational (like chief of staff or war minister; logistical, unit organization, time schedules, innovation etc)

Of course many generals would overlap into multiple categories and the majority that people talk about we tend to think of the first 3 criteria. Some generals on a lower level probably would not fit into some of these categories.
Honestly I'm inclined to think that the irregular warfare bit would really be an amalgamation of some of these but the categories I came up with are just to easily understand a commander and for the sake of insurgents, counter insurgency generals and guerillas I basically made this category for them but really it's for generals who use unorthodox strategies and methods such as Orde Wingate who was not technically an insurgent.

I think Defense and Offense would be sub-categories of tactical. Not all commanders are tactical, some can best serve on the strategic level and while they might command armies they could delegate the tactical engagements or battles to a subordinate on the Corps level or Army level.

I don't think the Commander-in-Chief necessarily needs to be an all rounder. Chances are he would be spending his time inside of the main HQ coordinating Armies and entire Fronts or Army Groups which would be commanded by other generals. That said the Commander-in-Chief's priorities are to formulate the grand strategy, coordinate with the various armies and fronts and ensure that his staff in his personal HQ are delegating all of this and doing their jobs as they should be and if he is also the ruler of a state then he must dictate political and diplomatic goals as well as military.

I also do not understand #6 "Maintenance or repairs" what exactly does this mean? Repair what exactly? A fort or a ship? I would also say that repairing would be a job for a subordinate. This category as well could also go under logistics or if in the case of fortifications then defense for you or tactical in my case.

For the category of Intelligence I do think this is vital but I feel it would go more under the category of strategy or operational. A commanding general very rarely puts themselves in charge of intelligence and is usually the job of a subordinate. An example would be the head of the CIA who is not a commanding general but nevertheless has a crucial role. Actually my list was made to have field commanders and campaign generals in mind.
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Old January 11th, 2017, 11:32 PM   #5
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Hmmm a little inconsistent and flaky going by any war-games and chess results, Bad at deployment, (Schwartzenberg like!) counter marching and redeploying is request thing, but good tactical eye, pessimistic (always aware of may own weaknesses but can spot and expiiot it in others ) ,dogged, with occasionally flashes of brilliance , found of sweeping flanking manoeuvres.

My main problem is my younger brother is just incredibly good and hard to beat and lives around the corner soI get regular poundings from the best.
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Old January 12th, 2017, 11:08 PM   #6

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Originally Posted by pugsville View Post
Hmmm a little inconsistent and flaky going by any war-games and chess results, Bad at deployment, (Schwartzenberg like!) counter marching and redeploying is request thing, but good tactical eye, pessimistic (always aware of may own weaknesses but can spot and expiiot it in others ) ,dogged, with occasionally flashes of brilliance , found of sweeping flanking manoeuvres.

My main problem is my younger brother is just incredibly good and hard to beat and lives around the corner soI get regular poundings from the best.
That seems to be like what you would expect from a Corps commander. Marching and counter marching very much suits their play style due to their high mobility. They are also very tactical if you look at examples like Davout, Lannes, Augereau, Ney etc. Where as sweeping flanking maneuvers are not so much a staple but they can pull it off. Though in many cases, when at their best, they tend to be tough as nails and very aggressive in their tactics or nearly impossible to dislodge from their position.
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Old January 12th, 2017, 11:45 PM   #7

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Wait for your enemy to make a mistake then throw everything you've got to take advantage of it. Take a lot of risks.

I'm no real general and would never claim to be one, but it's a flawless approach in any strategy or FPS game.
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Old January 13th, 2017, 05:10 AM   #8
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My "take no prisoner" and "rape and pillage as much as you want" policies will anger a lot of people but I guess it's okay. I would prefer to approach things slowly and think it out before doing anything, better be safe than sorry. I love waiting for enemy to come to me and plan a counter attack with cavalry, especially in Napoleon Total War. I may sail out to bail enemy but will retreat to where I feel comfortable to fight.

Last edited by A Vietnamese; January 13th, 2017 at 05:17 AM.
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Old January 13th, 2017, 02:11 PM   #9

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I base this solely off of Empire and Napoleon Total War, as I haven't played any other war games

Grand Strategy: I only declare war on someone if some circumstance forces me to at a particular time, or after very careful build-up, where I can mostly be sure that my strength is superior to that of the enemy.

Strategy: When the enemy declares war on me, I usually go for a two-pronged style when ever possible. I seize one really vital but also easily defensible region from the enemy and let them waste themselves trying to re-take it. At the same time, I use another army to go on a blitzkrieg on enemy areas that are not being defended heavily, already heavily engaged on the other front.

Operations: I make sure, whenever possible, that I out-number the enemy significantly on any given battlefield, and through superior concentration of force whenever they outnumber me overall. I try to orchestrate situations where I am sandwiching in an enemy army from two of my own, or even surrounding them on some occasions. In the rare instances where they field two armies against me on a single battlefield, I have at least one other matching army, and usually more, to face all comers. I also try to anticipate what the terrain on a battlefield will be like based on the campaign map features. This, of course, isn't fool-proof. Strategically, I always am aggressive enough to tempt the enemy to attack me in a prepared situation/battlefield of my choosing. Ambushes are a favorite of mine too.

Tactics: I usually play defensively, in a strong natural position or well guarded dispositions, whenever possible, as it is easier to manage. The downside is that the necessary terrain may not exist and the fact remains that defensive fighting surrenders the pace of the engagement to the enemy. Against a strong position though, I feel like this factor matters little, and it suits my abilities better, as micro-management is not my strong suit. Of course, once the enemy is engaged in fruitlessly battering themselves against my position, I prepare a counter-attack, usually with cavalry or any infantry that happens not to be engaged. At this point, I turn off my artillery (particularly canister shot), and charge their remaining army and continue pursuit with all I've got. If forced to attack first, I typically make what is classically considered to be an unwise move, and divide my forces so as to be able to hit them at as many spots as possible from unexpected angles of attack. I put some infantry and artillery in a really strong position, soften the enemy up through bombardment until they've had enough and attack that position, then flank them entirely with the rest of my forces. My forces aren't divided, per se, as they are within easy supporting range of each other. Defensively, I try to be like Wellington or Wallenstein whenever possible. Offensively, I'm a strange amalgam of Robert E. Lee at Second Bull Run, as well as Napoleon and Frederick's respective less successful moves at Bautzen and Torgau.

Logistics: For the most part, not really applicable to Total War, apart from finances and the healing up of troops while encamped in Napoleon. I typically devote my entire economy to the upkeep of my armies, wait until my men are mostly healed up before engaging them in another battle or undertaking a major offensive in general, and tax my upper classes at a higher rate than the lower classes.

Naval affairs: I dislike naval battles and avoid them whenever possible. I only use my navy for army or agent transportation purposes. Word of advice- Always avoid making the classic AI mistake of using just one or two ships to transport a full stack army. Use a full stack fleet to do so whenever possible.

Sieges: I typically bombard two sections of wall, send one part of my army to face most of the enemy in one breach, and send the rest to either get in through the more weakly held breach or to scale the walls elsewhere. If anyone checks out my youtube video where I take out the Prussians in their final fortress, I get a very, very pyrrhic victory because my execution and micro-management, especially at the main breach, was nowhere near as good as the conception of my attack itself.
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Old January 13th, 2017, 02:25 PM   #10

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Don't wait, don't plan ... just charge!

As a proverbial knight I suffer from KS [Knight Syndrome].

It carries the individual to think that the enemies are never too many: they are never enough!

So that, I tend to think that to attack is the first step to win. Period. So ... let's charge!

And, honestly, knights had a great opportunity: usually common persons cannot choose their destiny ... knights can charge towards their destiny!

Whichever it will be ...

P.S. This means that I would be a terrible military commander!
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