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Everybody's Unique Unit: The Marine

Discussion in 'Civ3 Strategy Articles' started by scoutsout, Apr 4, 2004.

  1. scoutsout

    scoutsout Minstrel Boy

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    People like to discuss units on Civfanatics forums, especially Unique Units. Specialized units are often discussed; Longbowmen, Guerrillas, Paratroopers, and Marines. Starting with a question like "Do you ever build unit X?", newer players join in and learn the mechanics of the game, while more advanced players join the discussion and gain (or share) insight into using units more effectively. Tactics are offered here for using one specialized unit effectively: the Marine.

    What is a Marine?

    The CivIII Marine appears to be a foot soldier that attacks better than Infantry, and doesn't defend as well. What separates the Marine from all other units (save the Viking Berserk) is his ability to attack from the sea. He is by nature an offensive unit, both in attack/defense statics, and his proper place on the battlefield. His full potential: a shock troop, leading an invasion from the sea.

    The Marine is perhaps the most uniquely offensive unit in Civ Warfare.

    Think about it; offensive units can be used defensively and vice-versa. Cavalry can skirmish against enemy units within your own borders; an offensive "tactic" within a defensive "strategy". Defensive units like infantry can be used to protect a stack you're using to invade the AI. Using Marines to their full potential involves attacking another civ on another shore. We're not just contemplating war, we're talking about invading. And not just an invasion, but invading overseas. Few military offensives are more ambitious or audacious than a "D-Day" style invasion.

    "So you're going to take an AI continent with Marines?!?!?"

    Not at all. Aside from taking those pesky one-tile city-islands, or island-hopping campaigns, the bulk of the invading force will not be Marines. Marines are the tip of the spear. These tactics aim to give the AI the shaft.

    A note on "Tactics and Strategy"

    This is a "grunt's-eye-view", written about tactics, not strategy. While "strategic" questions are more important, Marines don't get to ask the "Who, When and Why" questions, and they're not answered here. If you're considering Marines, you're contemplating war. You should have an objective in mind, whether you want to grab a resource, or a continent. Maybe you've got a potential ally in mind who (you hope) will declare war with you a turn or two before your D-day, and absorb your enemy's first counter-punch. These are questions of strategy that you should answer for yourself before building (or at least before deploying) Marines. There's a lot of great advice to help with strategic questions in the War Academy and forums, but not here.

    "Break Glass in Case of War"

    These tactics are designed to seize and maintain the initiative from the opening round of an invasion. If you like, war can begin with an opening attack from the sea. The basic idea is to hit the AI fast, hard, and deep with your initial invasion. These are the basic goals of these tactics:

    1) Take, and hold, a coastal city in the AI territory, on that first turn of the invasion.
    2) Take, and hold, a second AI city, again, on that first turn.
    3) For the next few turns, move significant quantities of follow-on forces, to maintain the offensive.

    Why take two (or more) cities? Simple: if you're going to go through the trouble and expense to invade another continent, you might as well take as much as you can, as soon as you can. If you take the resources to take 2 cities and choose not to, that's one thing. If you don't (or can't) muster enough of an invasion force to take (and hold) 2 cities, you need to take a step back and rethink your strategy.

    These tactics use 3 basic types of ground units:

    1) Marines: minimum 1 CivIII transport full, 2 boatloads in C3C. 2-3 boatloads should suffice.
    2) Good defensive units: (Infantry or Mech) 2 boatloads minimum
    3) Fast offensive units (Modern Armor, Tanks, even Cavalry) minimum 2 boats
    of Tanks, quadruple your boatloads (or more) if resorting to Cavalry.

    ...and 3 basic types of naval units:

    1) Transports
    2) Something (anything) to protect the transports
    3) More Transports

    This unit mix is the foundation, not the whole house. If you have (or can build) a bunch of carriers, bombers, and battleships to provide fire support to "soften" the target, even better. If you want to bring some artillery to the party for the follow-on attacks, the more the merrier, just remember you'll need more transports. Using fire support is great fun; though not fundamental to these tactics, it is tactically sound (and wise). The most important naval unit for these tactics is the transport. You almost can't have too many of these. This is also intended to be more of a recipie than a blueprint. Think "1 part Marines, 2-3 parts Infantry/Mech, 2-3 parts Tanks/Modern Armor, add fire support to taste. You may substitue 8-15 parts Cavalry if Tanks are unavailable. Be sure to have more units on hand for second helpings".

    "So now we attack, right?"

    Not just yet. These tactics require a bit of forethought, planning, and prepositioning of forces. "Amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics."

    Here are some key things to be done in the planning stages:

    1) Identify that first target city on the AI coast. Maybe you'll choose the one with the shortest sea-lane to your shore, or maybe you'll choose the one nearest the resource you want to grab. If the sea lane is longer, you'll need more transports.

    2) Identify a second target within striking distance of this coastal city. Maybe it's another city up or down the coast, or it might be inland. Maybe it's got that strategic resource or a wonder you covet; perhaps you simply want to take out that metropolis to deny the AI a productive city. By "striking distance", imagine you already have that stack of fast attack units stationed in the coastal city; you should be able to attack your next target IN THE SAME TURN. Visualize the 9-square radius around the coastal city you're going to take. If you will have to cross 2 enemy squares to hit that city, you'll need Modern Armor or lots of Cav (or Panzers or lots of Cossacks). If there's a city that you can hit after crossing only one enemy square, it's a great target for Tanks!

    3) Position 1-3 transports within range of that first coastal city - even before you can build Marines or Tanks... By "within range", imagine for a moment that you already own that coastal city, and these transports are full. You should be able to move the transports into the city and UNLOAD them IN the city (in one turn). To avoid rep hits or angering your enemy too early, this position should be outside the cultural boundaries of the target. The AI will be good and furious in due time.

    4) Position "convoys" of transports from one of your ports to these forward transports. The idea is to be able to move one "boatload" of ground units to the forward position in a single turn. (The mechanics of the "one turn" trans-oceanic move should be discussed elsewhere on this site). If you can build a 2-3 deep convoy, that's fine, but the basic idea is to be able to move one transport load of follow-on forces across the ocean in a single turn, and to do it each turn until you can't fill a boat at the back end. Stop and think about this for a minute. To pull this off, you'll need 3 (likely more) full transports at the front, at least one transport at each "ship hopping" point along the way, plus a minimum of 5 transports in the city at your end of the sea lane. Did I mention that you'll need some transports? Let's see, one boatload of follow-on forces times 5 turns of following-on is about 30-40 infantry &/or mech &/or tanks &/or modern armor... (Rome wasn't built in a day...)

    5) Position "escorts" on the tiles occupied by the transports. In CivIII, Destroyers; Destroyers and/or Cruisers in C3C. The escorts should be as fast as the transports so you can "patrol the lanes" that the transports will be using, and have them finish the turn on a tile used by a transport. Battleships are a bit expensive and (in C3C) slow for escort duty. Though Subs are a bit slow for escort duty, using a few for scouting or hitting AI ships can't hurt.

    Okay, we've done our planning and reconnaissance, pre-positioned our forces. For whatever reason, it's time to wage war against that AI across the sea. It's time to...

    SEND IN THE MARINES!

    If you brought fireworks to the party (bombers, battleships, etc.) now is the time to set them off. After "softening up the shores", move the transports containing Marines to the square adjacent to the coastal city, wake 'em up, and attack from the sea. Usually the marine that kills the last defender will be down to a hit point or two...

    Now pause for a minute to take in the scene while the smell of cordite rises through your nostrils. You've got two important things here: an AI city, and options. You may move the transport into the city, unload a fresh marine or two, and fortify them IN the city. If you've got several left, you can withdraw them to a rally point to be assembled with other units for future use.

    Next - grab at least one transport full of defenders (Infantry or Mech), move that transport into the city, and UNLOAD it. Since they have their movement points intact, you have options. Depending on how many defenders you brought along, you can either fortify them in the city, or in the squares NEXT to the city. You'll need more troops for option #2, but you can form a perimeter AROUND the city just taken. This can provide good defense for the city, and allow a pre-positioned counterattack in case of a culture flip. They'll also prevent the enemy from reinforcing the city in the event of a culture flip. The fundamental tactic is to secure the position - how you do it is a matter of technique, and the resources available.

    For the final phase of the initial attack, move the transports with the fast attack units into the coastal city, and UNLOAD them, with all their movement points intact. Attack, and take, that second city. If you've got enough fast units to take more cities, then by all means do so. Just don't press the attack to the point that you can't hold what you've taken. If at all possible, get defenders into the cities you've taken.

    The AI's next turn will determine how well you've planned and executed your invasion, and whether or not you've underestimated your enemy. He/she will throw most of what they've got at you in the counterattack that will ensue. If you did as Sun Tzu advises and "made many calculations" then you should be able to keep what you took. Now you use your pre-positioned transport convoys to start moving at least one transport load of troops into your new territory each turn for the next 5 turns...

    Pounding the Shore with more Waves

    Remember item #4 in our preparations? Transport convoys, and some additional (not "extra") transports in the home port at the beginning of the sea lane? Now that you've taken a nice piece of the AI's territory, you maintain the intitiative with units that were still on your shores when you sent in the Marines. Using railroads and ship-hopping, you should have no trouble moving a full transport load of units to that coastal city you took and unloading them with all their movement points intact. On the second turn of the invasion, some of the units you used in the first turn will need to heal for 1-3 turns until you can use them in combat again. Resupplying your offensive with at least one transport full of fresh troops each turn for 3-5 turns will allow you to maintain the initiative. Three full transports in C3C would be 18 units; 24 in CivIII. If you can only muster or move a couple dozen units, they should be tanks. If your convoy of transports is three-deep (and you have the units) then by all means move a combined arms mix with some Infantry and Artillery.

    Parting Shot...

    So there you have it, a basic recipe for an amphibious invasion. Adjust (and scale) it to suit your style and needs. There certainly are a lot of things you can add to this recipie to suit your taste or the circumstances of your game - this is intended to be the "main course".
     
  2. Ision

    Ision Master

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    scoutsout,

    Excellent article - logical and well thought out. Marines are often overlooked by players, and can be invaluable. Interestingly, I have noticed that the AIs DO use marines and effectively – unfortunately in typical AI fashion – they never use enough, nor have the back up of re-enforcements. Still, you better not take your coastal cities for granted.

    Once again – great article!

    Ision
     
  3. scoutsout

    scoutsout Minstrel Boy

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    Thanks for the compliment Ision, I appreciate it!

    On the AI use of Marines - spies can come in handy here. Balancing risks and such, if you can manage to get a spy into the AI capitol, you'll know the composition of his military. You won't know where the units are unless you do the "Steal Plans" trick, but you'll know the number of each type of unit... which will let you know if the AI has Marines.

    Again, thanks for your feedback.
     
  4. yankees

    yankees Chieftain

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    great article scout!

    i got some qeustions, since infantry and tanks are alot stronger why would i use marines. i know that they can attack right away but isnt better to land on a mountain or hill next to the city and then take with better units? i have used marines a few times but i dont like them. maybe your artcile will help. dunno
    anyway maybe you can help answer.
     
  5. scoutsout

    scoutsout Minstrel Boy

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    Let me say one thing right off the bat: If there was a single "best" way to accompish every goal in a Civ game, it would be more like some games that you can memorize the sequences to progress up the levels. There may be a best way to play a specific situation, but Civ presents so many situations.. Back to invasions.

    Let's see...landing a stack on a hill versus attacking with Marines. Here we're talking about an amphibious landing versus an amphibious assault. Your inclusion of the hill or mountain as a landing site is a good point and a smart use of terrain. From what I've read, some players prefer a "bring the house" amphibious landing approach, using the best units they have available.

    Coupled with sound tactics, either is a valid approach. As I see it, here are the up- and down- sides to each approach:

    Amphibious Landing:
    1) The units will get counterattacked, before they've had a chance to hit the enemy.
    2) If everything is loaded into every available transport, and dropped off all at once, it will take a few turns for the transports to go home, pick up more units, and return with the reinforcements. That initial force better have some staying power...

    Amphibious Assault
    1) It's costly. Marines aren't cheap, and they will suffer some casualties. The dead-end tech adds to the cost.
    2) If you don't back them up with something immediately, there's a pretty good chance they'll get pushed right back into the sea.

    That second point is basically what my article is intended help with. If you use Marines in a piecemeal or uncoordinated manner (or as mere footsoldiers) you won't get the full potential of the unit. Used correctly, they can spearhead an impressive (and fun) invasion.

    Thanks for the feedback and compliment yankees, I appreciate that. I hope you find this helpful, even if you still don't care for Marines...
     
  6. Longasc

    Longasc Deity

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    I like the article, but you missed something out - a great unit for making things easier for the Marines:

    Sun Tzu would recommend Bombers to soften the city defence for the Marines.

    What could better complement a Marine Attack force than 1-2 Carriers with 6-8 Bombers?
     
  7. Halcyon

    Halcyon 9000

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    Half a ton of marines are also useful on those occasions when you are fighting a civ which is militarily far superior to you, which you'd not be easily able to invade conventionally (counter-attacks with 200 MA along railroads, for example), and whose cities you either don't want or couldn't keep. With enough marines, preferably with naval/air support, you can simply raze all the cities on their coastline until they give in. 12-6-1 is only a bit weaker than a tank on offence. Just mind their navy.
     
  8. scoutsout

    scoutsout Minstrel Boy

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    @Longasc: Your comments are on the money, Fire Support is a Good Thing. Fire support is mentioned in there in a couple of places. If you look in the paragraph after the "planning" items you'll find
    I don't emphasize it, and maybe that's why it's a little easy to miss those comments. I didn't emphasize it because I don't think fire support is a central part of these tactics. Is fire support tactically sound? You bet! Good idea? Only about 99.99% percent of the time. With respect to these tactics, I think it's just a bit more important to follow the Marines up with some ground combat units that defend better and hit harder. Hence the emphasis on logistics, transports, and other ground units.

    But your comment is right on point, and a good one.

    @Halcyon: An ... interestng variation on the theme you've got there. :hammer: I guess what you do with the cities when you take them is up to you! A good point on the attack value of Marines compared to tanks, though the speed/retreat ability of tanks gives them added combat value.

    "Minding their Navy" is important, and one reason ship-hopping is key to these tactics; even more so in Conquests. If the transports are empty until the turn of the invasion, you won't lose a bunch of land units to a pre-emptive naval strike. The reason C3C makes this trickier is because subs have "stealth" attack capability; they can selectively attack your transports even if they're under a stack of Battleships...

    Good points in those posts - thanks for the feedback and compliments.
     
  9. yoshi74

    yoshi74 Tourist from Mars

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    Good article :)

    For the marine, i think its a good unit, but comes at a bad point. AFAIK the marine corps was first created during the civil war. A 8-4-1 marine coming with the ironclads would be really nice, even for none naval combat. But since they were disbanded after the war it would be maybe too early. So the 12-6-1 marine would have a really importent impact when coming with Rep.Parts (they were refounded during the early 1900, right?).
    But in the current tech tree there is the question wheter to research a mandatory tech, which gives a 16-8-2 unit or an extra tech for a 12-6-1? Well, everyone takes the tanks. Tanks are even cheaper than marines!
    The marines get you a city one turn earlier. But the problem is normally not the taking of a city on a foreign continent, but to hold it. Placing a large army next to a city, on nice defending terrian isn't a problem at all. I've never seen the ai to attack a big stack with infantry on a mountain. But as soon as you take the city, he trows everything he amassed during his whole history at you, even longbows and MI or other outdated stuff. And this can be a lot!

    So this question:

    Its not the question wheter you can take 2 or three cities, but can you secure each city good enough to hold it? Since you don't know which on is attacked, and the ai normally goes for one, you need the triple number of units for the first wave, even when 2/3 of your troops are sitting and twiddling their thumbs.
    So during the first turns the mission is to secure the beachhead and to defeat as much of his troops as you can. After this he only has his regular production, which shouldn't be such a big problem.

    One last little critizism: Please stop underlining to many words. It should be left for really importent points. Using it in every line is only annoying and really makes the text harder to read. ;)

    Keep up your good work :)
     
  10. scoutsout

    scoutsout Minstrel Boy

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    Thanks for your comments Yoshi, I appreciate that. I made a minor edit to the passage that you quoted, because I strongly agree with you that holding what you've taken is as important as taking it in the first place. I may review the whole thing and see if I can't touch that up a little.

    The rest of your comments in reverse order:

    Sorry you found the underlining annoying - though that was by design. Invading an AI continent requires attention to logistics, and putting transports :p all over the place was done to try to drive that point home.

    Your comments on research priorities go to a larger, more strategic question. If Space Race is enabled and you're behind in technology at this point, it might be a bad idea to research Amphibious Warfare at all. In my opinion, Tanks ought to be cheaper; there is no more costly type of campaign than an amphibious assault in the real world; it should be so in Civ warfare too.

    Right now I'm wondering if there's a way to raise your strategic points without weakening the article. (It's already quite long). But your comments go to an important point - if you go the Amphibious Warfare route, you'd better really mean it.

    I hope this doesn't take us to a digression, but - on the history bits you mentioned:

    You're correct in that the Marines' history extends well into the Age of Sail. However, the tactics were fundamentally different. Back in those days they were primarily used for ship-boarding operations. To this day, the U.S. Marine officers' hats have an emproidered design on the top that resembles a clover leaf. This has its roots in the Age of Sail - armed sailors up in the rigging could distinguish the Marines from the enemy by their hats, and know who to shoot at.

    As for the place of Marines in the Civ Tech tree, it seems appropriate. Amphibious assaults (as they're implemented in Civ war) came later in WWII, after tanks. Though there were amphibious operations during WWI, they were more of the "amphibious landing" type. (See Gallipoli). Making the Marine available with Replaceable Parts would be too early, IMO. It would eliminate the historically accurate, Artillery-heavy WWI style campaigns of the early industrial era. It might also change the game fundamentally by introducing an attacker with an edge over the defender.
     
  11. Bluemofia

    Bluemofia F=ma

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    Never underestimate the power of weakling defenders"

    i once was attacking the French in one game, they were down to one island city with pop of 2 and on grassland, and it was guarded by 1 spearman. it slaid 3 of my marines before i finally killed it.

    any math person want to figure out the chances of this?
     
  12. yoshi74

    yoshi74 Tourist from Mars

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    The point with the underlined words is that such highlighted ones are catching the eye, even when they are not at this position in the text. So, at least for me, the eyes flies from transport to transport, while the rest between is more or less skipped. Reading the same word several times tend to increase the reading speed so much that at the end the only thing which keeps in mind is the work transport. Its a importent part, but i doubt the word transport is the most importent thing in your text. Its just too obvisios to use transports, or is there a another way to get them across the sea ;)

    I agree on the point that the point in the tech tree fits with the real world history. But at that point they are mediocore at everything except one thing: naval assault. And this unfortunatly isn't very rewarding compared to a standard drop off lots of artillery, tanks and inf close to the city.

    There is still a advantage to take a city by marines, when moving enough artillery inside and use them instantly to destroy all roads close to the city. This way the counter strike will be easier to handle.

    Also they could be used for raiding enemy coastel cities, razing them when taking and holding is not an option (e.g. you are in an democracy, where defending a bridgehead is nearly impossible). The most you can loose in the assault to enemy land units is the marine who takes the city and sits there till the next turn. Just keep enough anti-air and anti-ship around.
     
  13. scoutsout

    scoutsout Minstrel Boy

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    Since it bugs you that much, I'm going to play with italicizing the words in a little while... (I just love the ability to edit something you already posted... :) )
    The word "transport" isn't the most important thing in there, you're right. It's heavily emphasized in the article because these tactics do hinge on some logistical support to bring in those units we need to hold the city (or cities).

    By "another way to get them across the sea", it sounds like you're leading to a discussion of airports and airlifting mass quanties of troops across the sea.... here's my take on that:

    The "recipe" in the article is really for an invasion, not a complete campaign to conquer a continent. The emphasis on transports for 3 to 5 turns after the invasion is important because you can unload the units with their movement points intact, and use them immediately in these early stages of the war.

    After the first 3 to 5 turns it should be pretty clear how the war is going... but in any case, it will take you at least 2-3 turns to quell resistance and rush-build an airport. Once you've got substantial forces on the other continent, a city with resistors quelled, you can rush an airport and shift from sea-lift to air-lift. The caveats: you need to be in a position that you can afford to wait the extra turn to use the units you just built and airlifted, and you need several airports at home... At this point you're no longer "invading the continent", you're campaigning to push the AI off that continent, and the nature of the war is changing.

    Airlifting is powerful stuff, for sure. Same as with transports, you have to put the pieces in place to make it work effectively. A steady flow of reinforcements ship-hopping through sea lanes for 3-5 turns can give you the time you need to put together the airlift capability.
     
  14. Ision

    Ision Master

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    Scout,

    Newbies never build enough transports - leave your underline! -

    The article is excellent, but I must raise 1 issue with you -

    you state in the article: "you should be able to attack your next target IN THE SAME TURN" - I say - why?

    I believe that the focus on the inland expansion is wrong. naturally if you 'can' thats one thing, but 'should'? First and foremost in any invasion is ensuring the survival of the initial invadeing force - spread your invasion to wide - too soon - and the enemy counter-attack can devastate you. Remember that allthough you may have total superiority in total numbers accross the board (like the allies at d-day) on average the enemy will have LOCAL superioity. Your military may be 2 or 3 times lkarger than his as a whole - but logistically - his military will be stronger at the actual front. I believe that with invasions 'patience' is the better part of valor. Once that initial counter-attack is absorbed (by your ENTIRE force) then and only then should you move inland and 'breakout' . Waitng for the second wave is IMO a far better alternative. Trust me, I have run quite a few invasions of the type you describe and have found that the AI counter punch is usually far more potent than one assumes.

    As I said, I realize that the 'context' may make this different - no doubt an invasion launched 1 or 2 turns AFTER an ally has engaged your enemy on the same continent - changes things extensively - however, your article did not break down the individual strategic variables.

    Ision
     
  15. scoutsout

    scoutsout Minstrel Boy

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    ... apologies to Yoshi...underlines stay...
    Lots of good stuff in here. Let's start with some things we clearly agree on:
    On these points you are absolutely correct.

    Let me throw something in here, setting aside the "second city issue" a moment. Using these tactics, you should take a chunk of territory, and keep it. At the end of the first round of the invasion, all of your units should finish the turn within your new cultural borders. Any cities you've taken should have solid garrisons of infantry (or better).

    Bottom line: It is certainly far better to take one city and keep it than to take two cities, only to lose one (or both) to counterattack. No argument there - point conceded.

    I'm hoping this will help some players in this respect: Planning the invasion, and applying that planning to putting the pieces in place to sustain it. You don't have to take a second city, no. But if you take the first one with Marines, you should have that option.

    If one plans the invasion force to take 2 cities and chooses not to, that's fine. If one plans to take 2 cities and meets stiffer resistance on the second city than expected (or 30 panzers are discovered outside the second city), one can always call off the follow-on attack, dump all the units in the coastal city, and brace for the counterpunch.

    ...but if one plans to simply take one city and hold it while waiting for reinforcements to arrive, there is a real risk of getting a toe-hold where a foot-hold is needed, and that breakout could be delayed and made more difficult as a result.

    I'll admit, the "second city" part of that little recipie is a bit bold and audacious. Done without a second thought as to enemy strengths, you could easily cross the line between "bold" and "brash". The difference is a calculated risk versus a wild gamble.

    Back to the 2 cities, and some things I would and would not do:

    We've taken a coastal city, and there is a second city 3 tiles away from the borders of our "new coastal city". The invasion force comprised 3 transports of Marines, 3 Infantry, and 64 Cavalry. "New Coastal City" gets a transport of Infantry, fortified. Next come the Cavalry, wave after wave against that second city, taking it. Though this is painful, and appears wasteful, the Cav are becoming obsolete. Anyway, I take that second city, grab a boatload of Infantry, move 'em into the city, and fortify them. I can take my remaining boatload of infantry and put them in the 2 cities I've taken...

    That is one way to play it. There's definitely a "Know your enemy" component to this, and there is certainly a risk in dividing your defensive force. On the other hand, you've deprived the enemy of a productive city that he/she could use to build or draft units...

    Now here is something I would not do. Let's take out the Cav, and substitute 2 dozen tanks. I would not take those tanks and send them against that second city, only to end the turn at the city's gates, in enemy territory, waiting on a counterattack. If I didn't have Modern Armor or a ridiculous number of Cav for this gambit, I wouldn't go for that second city, I'd put the tanks in the coastal city, to take out the units that the AI counterattacks with... Now if that second city is only 2 tiles from our new borders, I'd look at sending the tanks against it... but I would not simply move units into enemy territory on the initial turn unless the could attack a second city with a reasonable chance of success.

    Is the "Second City Gambit" part of this recipie risky? You bet. Audacious? Without a doubt. Tactically unsound or flawed in the fundamentals? I don't think so... (but of course I would think that! :D ) I also think a measured amout of audacity is healthy when you're putting together something like an invasion.

    Edit: Ision, I'm going to read back through the article to make sure it's clear that the "Second City Gambit" is optional. Hand-in-glove with this is the fact that invading with Marines gives you options that you wouldn't otherwise have if you just drop a stack off on the shore... a follow-on attack after taking a city with Marines is a powerful option.
     
  16. Wakboth

    Wakboth Chieftain

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    Just a couple observations:

    I agree. However, it's very important (especially for newer players) to realize that an amphibious assault *is* the most expensive type of campaign. For that reason, it should be avoided unless there is no other choice.

    You need to very carefully weigh your options. Honestly, I've never bothered with marines. The real problem with them is that they are a specialty unit, and one in which you only use when you are forced to attack in a less then ideal manner. Why would you spend dozens of turns ahead of time to build specialty units just so you can make an expensive amphibious assault? That to me sounds like planing for waste. If you've got that much lead time, I'm sure you can come up with a better way to attack the AI then that...

    If you just build your best offensive and defensive units, you can mount a standard assault and probably do it in less time, and still have units that are optimally designed for the rest of the war. Once you've taken that first city on the enemy's continent, there's no use for your marines anymore. You'd be better off using tanks and infantry (or MA and MI) in every situation.


    IMHO, unless you just really want to replicate a D-Day type assault, and really enjoy killing off hordes of your own units attacking an enemy city, there's not much reason to do this. As several people have stated, the litmus test of a successful assault is generally not taking a square (or even a city). It's surviving the initial counterattack. Assuming a limited number of transports and other naval vessels, the best way to ensure you have a maximum number of units to survive that counter attack is to not kill 50% of them making your beach head. Land your units in a big stack. Move them towards his city on turn 2. Let him smash his units against your best defensive units. Use artilery to remove rails on his likely routes and create a kill zone. Destroy the bulk of his forces *before* taking that first city. Assuming a railed enemy area, you're going to have to fight all his units pretty much right away anyway. May as well do it on your terms instead of his. Once you do that, you can take that first city and then just roll through his area.

    By not taking a city first, you can split his counter attack into multiple sections. You can take a few turns whittling it down (especially if you use armies as defensive hard points). If you just land in a city, he will send every single unit connected by rail to attack you. You've given yourself the worst of both worlds. You've reduced the units you have to defend by partaking of an expensive amphibious assault, and you've ensured that he'll send the maximum amount of units to attack you on the next turn.

    I strongly recommend landing a force on a non-city area first, taking control of a coastal area, whittling his stacks of units down until he can't mount a counter attack, and *then* taking that first city. If you time it right, you'll take it right about the time your transports will be arriving with a second wave of fresh units. I've just found that that's a vastly better way of assaulting an enemy held continent.


    One other point about the AI and units. The AI *always* builds two types of land units: The unit with the highest offensive value, and the unit with the highest defensive value. By giving or depriving the AI of certain resources, you can effect what units he'll have to fight against you.

    If he has oil and rubber, he will build MI and MA. If he has rubber, but no oil, he will build infantry and marines. If he has no rubber, but he's got saltpeter, he will build riflemen and calvary. If he has no saltpeter, he will build knights and riflemen (they don't need any resources!). This, of course, assumes he's got all the required techs.

    It's actually an interesting debate as to whether to deprive an AI of rubber. I always deprive them of oil if I can, but rubber presents an interesting quandry. With rubber, they get infantry on defense (which are better then riflemen by a good amount). However, I will often prefer to fight an AI that's got marines as it's offensive unit then calvary. That may seem bizaare, but it's not. I can manage a defense much easier if the AI has no fast attack ground units. Even with a lower attack on the calvary, it's painful because he can come out of nowhere to attack inside your foothold area. A marine unit cannot. It's much easier to draw them into a kill zone and wipe them out before they get any penetration into your area.

    The problem with that though is that if the AI has marines, he *will* conduct amphibious assaults. This can be a pain since you now have to defend your coastal cities with more units just in case (or make sure you patrol with naval units). Which combo of units is better depends a whole lot on the specifics of the situation you are in. It is important to note that you can control which units the AI has access to, and you should make use of that when planing your strategy.
     
  17. scoutsout

    scoutsout Minstrel Boy

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    Wakboth - you raise a lot of good issues and questions. There are some things you said that I agree with, but on some things I must respectfully disagree.
    Though I disagree, it's beside the point. The point of the article was to show some effective tactics for using Marines, not to compare those tactics with entirely different tactics. Either amphibious assaults or landings can be done effectively, or fail dismally. Neither is intrinsically "better". Specific circumstance may make one better suited for those circumstances...which is also beside the point. Let me reiterate a point that (I thought) I made earlier in this thread: I am not going to debate the merits of an amphibious landing versus an amphibious assault.

    Now, on to your comments...

    The short answer is, I don't. Take 8-10 productive cities and put them to work making marines for 2 production cycles (3-6 turns/cycle/city) and you'll have the 12-24 Marines needed for the initial assault.
    Here's one we agree on. However, passing this litmus test generally depends on the number of defensive units that you brought along. Are good defensive units fortified in a freshly taken city are at any more risk than the same number of unfortified defensive units on a hill or mountain in enemy territory?
    Two questions: According to the article, what is the most important naval unit to have? Is the proportion of Marines even in just the initial assault force higher than one third in any variant of the recipie? And none of the follow-on forces are Marines...which makes the proportion of Marines relatively small.

    This is quoted badly out of context, but it really does play right to the strength of these tactics: fighting on your own terms. Nobody should reasonably expect to take a city with Marines and expect those same Marines to hold the city against a counterattack by tanks. Take that city with Marines, and then unload 2-3 transport loads of Infantry, and 2-3 transport loads of tanks - minimum. At that point, you've got a pretty decent sized contingent, IN that city, with all their movement points intact. You have the option to press the attack, or dig in and weather the counterattack. How is that anything less than fighting on one's own terms?
    Compare this comment to the tactics outlined in the article. We're both talking about doing the same thing: landing a second wave of fresh units the turn after taking that first city. An important difference: the tactics outlined in that article call for that second wave to arrive on the very next turn. And another wave the turn after that. And then a third...
     
  18. ShiplordAtvar

    ShiplordAtvar Texan by the grace of God

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    I hate to quibble with an otherwise good post, but the United States Marine Corps was founded on 10 November 1775.
     
  19. scoutsout

    scoutsout Minstrel Boy

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    Um.. wait a sec, I didn't think the United States was founded until 1787? (The year the Constitution was written/ratified.) :p I'm jerking your chain here ShiplordAtvar - please don't respond to that. I know darn good and well that you're talking about the heritage of the Marines, you may very well have been one from the way you posted that date, and intend no slight on the Corps.

    In all seriousness, did they call it the Marine Corps back then?

    I knew the history of the Marines extended well into the Age of Sail...though I didn't know it went back quite that far. I hope my other 'history' comments in the thread weren't off-point...

    Just bear one thing in mind: A lot of the people posting on these boards are not Americans. Generally, only those who are students of military history have much understanding, let alone appreciation, for the US Civil War. I would imagine there are those who could pick either of us apart if we were to post something about the history of the Highlanders or Spetsnaz ... etc. I'm still a little foggy on what a "Dragoon" or "Fusileer" is... :D
     
  20. ShiplordAtvar

    ShiplordAtvar Texan by the grace of God

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    1.) Not a problem, I could discern the intent. :)
    2.) I haven't yet been a Marine, but I will be shipping to Marine Corps recruit training (ie boot camp) in two weeks (fwiw).
    3.) Yes it was known as the United States Marine Corps back then. I can't make too much of a comment as to how much of the early history was spent aboard Navy ships and how much was spent launching amphibious assaults, because I don't have my notes right here next to me. Having said that, there is a reason why the Marine Corps hymn includes the lyric "From the Halls of Montezuma/to the shores of Tripoli". Marines fought against the pirates of the Barbary coast and in the Mexican-American war of the late 1840s (I believe making an assault at Veracruz, then marching to the capital).
    4.) From what I've read, your other comments weren't off-point.
    5.) Yes, I realize that probably a majority of the posters hereabouts are from outside the USA. However, given the context in yoshi's comment, I went out on a limb and guessed that he was talking about the Marines of the US. You are correct, only military personnel or military/military history buffs could be expected to converse intelligently about military history type stuff. I wouldn't expect a crack addict to be able to discourse on the civil wars in old China or a burger flipper to be able to talk about the Roman conquest of Gaul. Hell, even I don't know as much about those as I'd like to. And yes, you are correct that our international friends could probably wipe the floor with us in specialized areas of military history. Dragoons - my best guess is that this is a type of light infantry that rides to battle on horseback & then dismounts. Fusileers - I have no *obscenity deleted* idea.
     

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