View Full Version : PT2: Offensive Assaults


Sarevok
Oct 18, 2003, 01:49 AM
PT2: Offensive Assaults

Most wonder in the age of total war how succesful offensives can be launched against entrenched positions or enemy fortresses. there are amny different ways to take such fortresses. the ways that will be described are Mobile Offensive, Attrition Offensive, and Encirclement Destruction.

Mobile Offensive:

This is the offensive you would see in 1914 when the Schlieffen plan was in the process before the entrenchments were dug. This offensive stresses using speed and rail networks to quickly move forces to gain as much ground in a large offensive assault. A massive force of infantry (for every enemy city, 5 infantry at minimum) as well as artillery (as many as you see fit) are required for there assaults, the AT should pund up enemy positions when the infantry then andvance and gain the vital ground. Conscripts are usable because they can hold ground, paticuarly in pairs. Eventually you will be able to take your main objective and win the war.

Attrition Offensive:

This would be likely looking at the Battles of Verdun or Passchendale in terms of how it was fought. The goal is to have a large amout of artillery and infantry, possibly some tanks added for easier killing. These infantry should be mostly conscripts to save resources and money, but some should be vets. The plan is to bombard positions then send a few infantry to attack the position, but only a small handful, but make sure you kill at least 1 unit. The plan is to make the AI send more soldiers there from which you can shell the target and force the enemy to fight for the vital ground while killing his troops off slowly. These battles always take a long time, and it can be a severe problem for you if you are not careful. You dont have to capture your objective, your goal is the absolute destruction of the opposing army.

Encirclement Destruction:

Encirclement Destruction, or 'Cauldron Battles' are what the Battle of Tannenburg was in 1914. These battles are very helpful to both self-esteem and to your civil;ization. the point is to have a good infastructure and a good amount of artillery as well as infantry and cavalry. this actually should begin 2 turns after a war starts, so that an enemy has moved into your territory. The AI is often dumb enough to move in one bloc army which are hard to destroy. The best way is to wait untill it is 2 squares deep into your territory, then to use your rails and to surround the army with 2 infantry and 1 aT in each square at least to trap the bloc while a heavy ocncentration of AT is in another location. your goal is to hold the encirclement while pounding the bloc to hell. they will try to get out, so you need to reinforce the suares if they lose units or get low HP. Since they are cut off, they do not get reinforced, and it becomes a mass of wounded units. After abot 3 turns, you can use your reserve force to burn up the Bloc and eliminate it. Its destruction will be much easier and you will have taken out a huge chunk of the enemy army, and it alows you to gain ground yourself after the offensive.

These three tactics are but three types of assaults, as you will learn in PT3, the defensive formations earlier shown will be proved obsolete and a new age of war will unleash.

Next: PT3: Operational Manoeuvre Warfare

Lynx
Oct 18, 2003, 11:53 PM
Encirclement all the way. Nice article :D

Sarevok
Oct 19, 2003, 12:24 AM
Im gald you like it

Sarevok
Oct 19, 2003, 02:59 PM
Hmm... I suppose no one is reading this?

AlanH
Oct 19, 2003, 03:52 PM
What's the significance of "total war" in your opening line? I use war as a means to an end - to capture territory or resources, or to destroy a civ on the way to conquest or domination. Maybe you are waging war for its own sake? If so then my reactions may not be relevant. Also, I've only played single-player games, so my experience doesn't stretch to handling intelligent defences.

I wouldn't let the AI into my territory in the first place if I am waging an offensive war, as I would declare war and then start taking cities and defending them during the same turn. So I would consider your option 3 as an early defensive move when I another civ starts the war, to be followed by a counter attack using mobile defense.

Interesting emphasis on Infantry. I normally attack using your mobile offensive approach, but I use the fastest units available. I use Knights against spears and pikes, then Cavalry against muskets and rifles. Once Infantry are defending I hold off until I have tanks and then Modern Amour. It's clearly best to get and keep a tech lead once you get into the Industrial Age, then you will have superior unit strengths and it all gets much easier. :)

Using fast units gives rapid penetration of enemy territory and reduces losses, as they often retreat rather than die. It also gives some prospect of finishing your turn in your own territory and still being able to move forward again on the next turn. These factors can allow you to remain in Democracy for longer, and the productivity benefits help to pay the higher unit costs of more mobile units.

Big artillery stacks and/or bombers and/or battleships (20 minimum but preferably twice that) are essential in Industrial/modern ages. They allow you to (a) cut the size and defensive strength of 12-plus cities, (b) assess the defensive force in a city (you can count them as each takes hit points and another steps up to be hammered) (c) ensure that you get minimum deaths during the final assault and (d) to allow leapfrogging from one target to the next as you take over the enemy's rails. It's also handy to bring along a bunch of workers to build roads and rails where *you* want them - I've used a ROP to build-ahead my strategic rails before, then attacked on the next turn after it expired.

In my experience you only have to absorb a few turns of counter-offensives from the AI. After that you are only handling new builds of offensive units, or lower-grade defensives being pushed forward. Ths is just as well, as fast units often don't give time for defensive units to keep up to provide cover.

Using this sort of approach I typically over-run substantial civs in 5 to 10 turns, keeping and taming their cities as I go, at Monarch and Emperor levels. Maybe I've just been lucky?

Sarevok
Oct 19, 2003, 06:32 PM
I think you have been lucky. my mobile offensive stesses speed, but does indeed require some cavalry for scouting. these strategies are industrial-modern aged strategies when your opponent is as advances as you are, not when you have a large lead.

AlanH
Oct 19, 2003, 08:16 PM
I don't follow your logic. Tanks and artillery will work better and faster than infantry and artillery in Industrial/modern age offensives.

Why do you say I've been lucky? Infantry are crack defenders and I've learnt not to try against them with cavalry unless I've already maimed them with artillery, but they are lousy attackers. Tanks are almost three times more powerful in an attack force than Infantry. Heck, even Cavalry are better than Infantry in an offensive! Same attack strength but three times the speed and capable of retreat! But tanks are the appropriate response to Infantry defence if you are not planning suicide missions.

Attacking credentials:

Infantry: attack strength 6, range 1, and no retreat.
Cavalry: attack strength 6, range 3, retreat capability.
Tank: attack strength 16, range 2, retreat capability.

Run the Combat calculator ...

Vet infantry attacker vs. vet infantry defender fortified in a 12+ city has 3.5% chance of success, and failure means death. You'll lose maybe 10 infantry to kill each infantry defender. If you reckon to take an infantry-defended large city with 5 or even 10 infantry attackers then you are the lucky one!

Vet tank attacker vs. the same infantry defender has a 30% chance of success, but if he fails he has a 50% chance of retreating to fight another day.

Of course, you normally want to soften up the target with artillery, but the odds for our infantry attacker only go up to 30% when the defender is down to 2 hit points, and you'll still lose a couple of infantry units for each two-point defender you kill compared with my tank's 70% kill rate against two-point defenders.

And it's not as if Infantry are much cheaper - there's only 10% difference between an Infantry unit (90) and a tank (100).

Sarevok
Oct 19, 2003, 11:42 PM
This is pre-tanks, and i did say to add artillery.

Moff Jerjerrod
Oct 20, 2003, 02:14 PM
Originally posted by AlanH

Attacking credentials:

Infantry: attack strength 6, range 1, and no retreat.
Cavalry: attack strength 6, range 3, retreat capability.
Tank: attack strength 16, range 2, retreat capability.

Run the Combat calculator ...

Vet infantry attacker vs. vet infantry defender fortified in a 12+ city has 3.5% chance of success, and failure means death. You'll lose maybe 10 infantry to kill each infantry defender. If you reckon to take an infantry-defended large city with 5 or even 10 infantry attackers then you are the lucky one!

Vet tank attacker vs. the same infantry defender has a 30% chance of success, but if he fails he has a 50% chance of retreating to fight another day.

Of course, you normally want to soften up the target with artillery, but the odds for our infantry attacker only go up to 30% when the defender is down to 2 hit points, and you'll still lose a couple of infantry units for each two-point defender you kill compared with my tank's 70% kill rate against two-point defenders.

And it's not as if Infantry are much cheaper - there's only 10% difference between an Infantry unit (90) and a tank (100).

But if you have no access to horses, haven't discovered armor yet, than your only alternative is to attack with wave after wave of infantry backed up by stacks or arty. In civ3 you must not fall behind gaining ground, whether by peaceful means or war.

I voted for encirlement destruction doctrine. I find that even if I declare war and have a large mobile strike force at the border the AI always sends in stacks of troops into my territory. He will deal with my invasion force but somehow the AI always has stacks of troops in reserve to send into your lines.

The encirclement destruction doctrine really breaks the back of the AI and either results in his death or forces him to the negotiating table real fast. The AI totally respects strength especially when it is low on strength.

Great thread btw. ;)

AlanH
Oct 20, 2003, 04:23 PM
Originally posted by Sarevok
This is pre-tanks, and i did say to add artillery.

Hmmm. That narrow window between Replaceable Parts and Motorised Transport. Even narrower if you can get Theory of Evolution and jump a couple of techs. I'd just hold off for a few more turns rather than use defensive forces to attack and die in large numbers.

@Moff Jerjerrod: If you plan to go to war in this era then part of the planning should be to ensure you have the techs and resources you need. That should happen in earlier wars or trading in the game. It should be a rare occasion when you go to war that ill-prepared.

He will deal with my invasion force but somehow the AI always has stacks of troops in reserve to send into your lines.In my experience he throws it all at your invaders in one or two assaults and runs out of steam pretty fast.

The encirclement trick sounds fine as a specific tactic when the counter attack is the right shape, but it's dangerous to base your whole campaign on the assumption that it will fall that way. For example, if the enemy is using fast units then you can't allow them a second turn inside your territory - that turn will likely end inside one or more of your cities. I just think you shouldn't rely on a single rather specific formula. Fast troop offensives allow flexibility, provide greater resilience, and get the job done quicker.

TedJackson
Oct 20, 2003, 06:18 PM
@Sarevok

trying to draw similes between real-life battles, strategies & tactics vs those situations encountered in Civ play can be very misleading.

I, for one, would never contemplate attacking with Infantry preferring instead to defend (with those Infantry) until I researched something a little more suitable for offense.

If I needed a critical resource, for building Tanks say, then I would probably base my attack around a fast unit such as Cavalry with Infantry support.


Ted

Sarevok
Oct 20, 2003, 06:33 PM
This isnt the last article you know. this article is how to use infantry EFFECTIVELY in offensives.

TedJackson
Oct 20, 2003, 06:40 PM
But that's the problem...

I don't think Infantry are effective offensive units.


Ted

AlanH
Oct 20, 2003, 06:55 PM
The article sets out to describe a number of offensive strategies. Infantry are then introduced as the only option for achieving effective offence. I apologise for misunderstanding your ojective in this article, but I think the old Irishman's response, when asked for directions, applies: "If I wanted to go there from here, I wouldn't start from here." ;)

Sarevok
Oct 20, 2003, 08:19 PM
again, this isnt the last article, I havent even got to the best article of them all yet... PT 3

Moff Jerjerrod
Oct 21, 2003, 10:23 AM
AlanH:

Good points, I do agree that lightning fast mobile warfare is very effective. Yes the Ai does throw everything he has at you if you're in his territory. I guess the reason why he seems to have troops leftover to invade my territory is because I need to increase my attacking force. While there is no repeatable and reproducable formula for every game I still believe the encirlement doctrine to be valuable.

On mobile war. I tend to use my cavalry as resource pillagers. They get behind the lines and cut the enemies resources. My slow moving infantry stacks advance one tile at a time capturing every city in their path. I find that even large stacks of cavalry get cut to shreds by the ai because he's smart enough to counterattack with mobile troops. But again it could be my initial offensive stacks are not large enough.


Once I discover tanks my tactic quickly changes to WWII style blitzkrieg.

Sarevok
Oct 21, 2003, 04:27 PM
hehe, do you know what Operational Manoeuvere is?

it seems like no1 likes attrition :(

AdrianE
Oct 24, 2003, 10:23 AM
Given there are no logistical constraints in Civ, encirclement is pointless. You want the wounded enemy units strung out in your territory. They are so much easier to pick off when you can pick and choose your targets.

I can't believe that you are advocating using conscipts in battle. They only have 2HP and die off quickly. I haven't checked the calculator but a conscript infantry should lose to a defending veteran pike more often than not. You can't afford the war weariness hit of lots of losses.

Conscripts should only be used when you are desparate. They can also be used as military police or to surpress resistors. They should never be in the front lines.

You are underestimating the value of units that can retreat. Note that in the industrial era (pre tanks) Cavalry is cheaper than infantry. And half the time it lives to fight another day. That's a real advantage. Every time a cav retreats from an attack, an infantry would have died. You save 90 shields. That's worth a lot .

Adrian

Sarevok
Oct 24, 2003, 06:31 PM
for some1 who has over 30 cities that give over 50 production, it isnt a problem at all. I dont understimate tanks or cavalry, didnt I say to USE them? Conscripts are good for holding positions only, not for offensives. id use them to have them get attacked, making them vets, then using them for offensive operations.

BTW, I have never suffered from war weariness, even as a democracy after over 50 turns of modern warfare.

Moff Jerjerrod
Oct 27, 2003, 07:20 AM
Originally posted by Sarevok

BTW, I have never suffered from war weariness, even as a democracy after over 50 turns of modern warfare.

You must have had all of the luxury goods, many entertainers, and the luxury slider set to 2 or 3. That's pretty impressive because I routinely suffer from war weariness under a republic when the war drags on over 50 turns.

Sarevok
Oct 27, 2003, 09:07 PM
nothing was on luxury, and my empire was small... for a while hehe.

BTW is any1 going to read my article 3, no1 is rteading it :(

Lynx
Nov 04, 2003, 08:51 PM
ive done that before, its really hard and the games usually extend as log as 50 hours.

Sarevok
Nov 04, 2003, 09:04 PM
not quite THAT long. my American game took 60 hours, but that was because of the sheer number of units and the scale of the fighting (5 world wars)

Moonsinger
Nov 06, 2003, 08:52 AM
I don't really have a tactic. I usually just observe the enemy carefully and wait for them to make a mistake like sending their stack of doom into the jungle or something, then plan my attack according (also mostly based on the surrounding terrain and resource location). I guess I could say that I use a combination of all of the above: Encirclement Destruction and Attrition Defensive first and always fight battle in my own territory until the enemy running out of troops and unable to mount any more offensive. Then it's time for an all out Mobile Offensive.

AlanH
Nov 06, 2003, 04:33 PM
Originally posted by Moonsinger
... first and always fight battle in my own territory until the enemy running out of troops and unable to mount any more offensive. Then it's time for an all out Mobile Offensive.
I agree, but I find the definition of "my territory" changes quite quickly. As far as I am concerned "my territory" is anywhere I can move fast in - that's roaded or railroaded that I own or is neutral, including any I have recently liberated. So if I can take enemy cities on the first turn of war I do so. An then that becomes "my territory". Next turn ... what else can I turn into "my territory" so that I can road it or rail it and move fast on it.

In short, I don't usually have a clearly defensive phase unless the enemy has taken the initiative and I don't yet have offensive forces in position to move forwards on that front.

RougeKing
Nov 07, 2003, 11:21 AM
On the question of Infantry in battle, they are only as good as their artillery support.

Calvary can scout, but do not have the staying power.

I have been fighting like this for many turns. It is slow but effective.

Until tanks get on the scene, infantry and artillery are a fine combination.
I say stay mobile and keep moving. I do not want to loose any territory. Fighting on the AI's turf means my resources are not at risk.

Sarevok
Nov 07, 2003, 05:57 PM
thats what you use them for. infantry only is suicidal.

Lynx
Nov 08, 2003, 12:53 AM
i learned that lesson hard one day, i had 20 infantries and i attacked and i got the city, but with my last man.

Sarevok
Nov 08, 2003, 01:07 AM
when did you do that?