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How To Use Artillery Defensively.

Discussion in 'Civ3 Strategy Articles' started by zagnut, Jun 26, 2003.

  1. zagnut

    zagnut Monarch

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    There has been much debate about whether Artillery is useful and the best way to use it. Moonsinger wrote an article in the War Academy on how to use Artillery offensively. This article is about how to use Artillery defensively.

    I always produce Artillery units. The most common use for them is to reduce the population of an enemy city so that the units in the city do not get a defensive bonus when you attack. However, Artillery can also be used to weaken attacking units before you attack them. This strategy is valid for any level.

    1. You should plan ahead to use this strategy. Once you discover Metallurgy, have a couple of your outlying, less productive cities, start building Cannon. The Cannon is a fairly ineffective unit because it only has a one tile range. Your intent is to stack the Cannons in one central town and then upgrade them to Artillery when it is discovered. This allows you to get a head start on building up a stack of Artillery without adversely impacting your production.

    2. Once you enter the Industrial Age you should discover Steam Power quickly and then devote all of your Workers to the construction of railroads. The best way to do this is to use stacks of Workers for the construction. First develop a spidery network of railoads from north to south and east to west. The goal here is to be able to move units quickly from one end of your territory to another. Once you have the main rails in, then make sure all cities are connected. Then worry about filling in other spaces. Do not leave this job to the Governors. They focus on railing resources and don’t care whether you can move units quickly from one end of your territory to the other.

    3. Once you discover Replaceable Parts you should upgrade all of the Cannon to Artillery. You are now in a position to withstand almost any ground attack. Those attacks will come in one of 2 ways:

    a. If you are at war with a civ on another continent, then the AI will have to land units from its ships. The Transport is the best vessel for this as it can carry 8 units. I will use that in my examples as it is the worst case scenario. You can sucker them into landing at a place where there are only plains, desert or grassland by leaving a nearby city undefended and putting some old units on any coastal hills, forests or mountains. They will then be unable to achieve a defensive bonus from the terrain when they land.

    The AI is terrible at maritime invasions and will invariably unload only one Transport at a time. Sometimes it will be smarter and unload 2. Very, very rarely will it coordinate an attack with more than 2 Transports. Therefore, you can expect 16 units, at most. Your worst fear is that they will all be Tanks or Modern Armor. But, not to worry. With Artillery, they don’t stand a chance. Once they land they can’t move until the next turn. Just move your stack of Artillery two squares away by rail and bombard them all down to one hit point. Then your offensive units can have a field day destroying them and becoming elite at the same time.

    How many Artillery do you need to do the job? For a stack of 8 Tanks that are a mix of veteran and regular, you will need about 3.5 Artillery for every Tank. Therefore, figure on about 28 Artillery to reduce a stack of 8 enemy Tanks to one hit point each. This is an unscientific analysis, but you will find it close enough in practice. Therefore, to be able to easily defeat 2 Transports loaded with Tanks you will need 56 Artillery. This is easy to achieve if you start early and build consistently.

    Your Artillery can also be used to weaken the enemy Navy. Shore bombardment from the Artillery can redline their Battleships, Destroyers and Ironclads. They will then retreat to heal. Or, if you have your own naval units nearby, you can destroy them easily once they are redlined. If you have your naval units in a nearby city, they can attack and then return to the city without risk of being lost to a superior force.

    b. The second alternative is a ground invasion from an adjoining civ. In this situation the AI acts in a more intelligent, coordinated manner. It understands combined arms and uses them. However, it will invariably attack by the shortest, most direct route. Therefore, unless you are surprised by the attack, you can move defensive units into your border towns to protect them. Fortify the border towns before any attack because the AI knows where you are weakest and will attack there. They will bypass heavily fortified towns to attack a weaker town behind it. This gives you an opportunity to sucker them into a killing field.

    Station your Artillery in a city or terrain which gives a defensive bonus and protect them with 2 or 3 Infantry. The AI will not attack a stack of units protected by 3 Infantry, especially if it is on terrain with a defensive bonus. The 2 square reach of the Artillery allows you to use the terrain to your advantage to bombard the enemy units. They also have the disadvantage of only being able to move at most 3 squares in your territory, while your units are very mobile on your roads and railroads.

    Once you blunt the enemies initial attack, you can use your Artillery in the traditional manner, to reduce their cities population before sending in your offensive units.

    4. As you can see, the Artillery is an essential unit for warfare in the Industrial/Modern Eras. It is cheap, powerful and can be used both offensively and defensively.
     
  2. Txurce

    Txurce Warlord

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    Zagnut, this is a good overview of artillery's primary role in defense after the construction of a rail network (and a great argument for building that network asap). With regard to seaborne invasions, artillery is also useful in redlining many ships once they appraoch the coast. This not only drives back many invaders, but also greatly limits naval shelling of the coast. Add the odd destroyer to your ports to pick off the redlined vessels, and the enemy navy will start shrinking pretty fast.
     
  3. zagnut

    zagnut Monarch

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    Thanks for reminding me, I should have put that in. It is very useful for driving off those pesky Battleships. I don't like to build Battleships, but do use Destroyers to pick off the redlined enemy Battleships and their ever-present Ironclads.

    I added a paragraph on this topic.
     
  4. Moonsinger

    Moonsinger Settler Retired Moderator

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    Yes, artillery is one of my most favorite units (the other one is the horseman/knight/cavalry). Artillery is good for both defense and offense, and mostly importantly it lasts forever and recyclable too.:) IMO, once we have 100 artilleries or more (defending on the map size), we are pretty much invincible (unless against nuke).

    PS: I'm sorry I haven't had the time to rewrite my artillery article yet.:(
     
  5. bippukt

    bippukt Chieftain

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    I didnt know artillery were so important. In the last I made 40 cannons and thought that I had made too many of them. Guess that is because I didnt have to use them until regent. Perhaps now I will have to use them in Monarch. Thanks!!!
     
  6. zagnut

    zagnut Monarch

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    Cannons are pretty weak and ineffective units because they have to be next to the unit/city they are bombarding and are not accurate enough. But when they are upgraded to Artillery they become a very useful, powerful unit.
     
  7. Zwingli

    Zwingli Chieftain

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    Good Article :goodjob: . Once railroads and sufficient artillery are in place, it is almost imposible for an AI civ to make a successful attack due to the effectiveness of massed bombardment of trespassing units.

    Defensive artillery are especially helpful to bring along when invading a strong island civ. It is likely that an island civ will have a large amount of offensive units built up to counterattack any beachhead city, so even a small number of artillery can help to weaken incoming units. Since artillery can fire on offense and defence, you are likely to get a lot of value out of them when starting a major intercontinental invasion.

    Although cannons are much weaker than artillery, it is still useful to bring these along on an invasion if they are the only bombardment unit available. Cannons lack the punch for offensive operations, but since range and rate of fire do not matter on defensive bombardment, cannons can be a reasonably powerful boost to the defence of a foothold city. In this example cannons made the difference between maintaining a successful foothold and being pushed into the sea.
     
  8. gfid

    gfid Chieftain

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    To me, building that rail network is ESSENTIAL. You can't even begin to think about winning if you can't move troops around and keep control of your resources.
    I use artillery everywhere. Invading, defending, artillery does it all. I usually stack 7-10 in border cities, and when invading.
    Another bonus is that it (each artillery unit) can pretty much be used twice each round. IF the enemy attacks your city, the artillery will strike the attacker before the main melee. Then once it is the defender's turn, you get to use the artillery to bombard. I don't know of any other unit that has that kind of versatility.
     
  9. padisah

    padisah Chieftain

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    When invading into enemy territory the AI sends most of its piled units to counter the attack. This wave is usually a mix of outdated and "modern" units, usually attackers.

    So, the AI does these attacks in kind a dumb way, but the flow of counter units, and the withdrawing units among them creates a scirmish-style fight, where the attack pack gets erodated before reaching their intended target.

    Artillyery, here not just the unit named artillyery but Catapult-Cannon etc. can be used to defend your slow-moving attack force from such hit-and run actions, since the artillery hits first, and takes the hit points from the attacker before the close combat. It may also lead to the units defending that group became elites while on the route. First doing a succesful defend, and then do a succesful attack makes a great chance to get promoted or a great leader.

    On the offensive, the first artillyery that can be used effectively the unit with the same name artillery. Also they have to stacked in large numbers, and usually destroys the city improvements before you can take it. Also pounding the city from turn to turn takes a lot of time, and will limit your speed with expansion.
     
  10. padisah

    padisah Chieftain

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    One more thing that should be investigated :

    If a unit attacks on a pack which was defnded by arti, which value of the attacker is used when the bombardment's success is calculated?

    Defence or Attack?
     
  11. zagnut

    zagnut Monarch

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    If you are defending with Catapault, Cannon or Artillery, and the AI units attack, the applicable bombardment unit will attack the AI's offensive power. So if it is a Cavalry unit that is attacking with 6 attack points, your bombardment unit will try to reduce those 6 attack points. A successful counter bombardment of this type will usually reduce the attack points by one. That Cavalry unit will then attack your defending units on the same turn, with 5 attack points.
     
  12. civ_steve

    civ_steve Chieftain Retired Moderator GOTM Staff

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    Usually a successful defensive barrage will reduce the attacker's hit points by 1. I'm not sure if the attack value or defense value of the attacker is used to determine the odds, however.

    I agree with all the uses of artillery which are laid out here, and I enjoy using bombardment units. I'd add that even catapults with a good road system provide considerable defensive benefit. If an invader is moving his attacking armies into my territory, I'll try to place defensive units on good terrain first. This gives the attacker two unpleasant choices: either attack my defenders at bad odds, or continue on in open terrain. Meanwhile, any catapults (early on; cannons or artillery later) will move around from defense point to defense point, pinging away at the attackers and ready to provide a defensive barrage if the attacker decides to charge a defensive stack. As the attacking stack becomes redlined, my offensive units can now eliminate it with little to fear.

    I also like to place catapults on coasts near chokepoints or at peninsula tips. They keep track of who is floating by, and can barrage an enemy ship if it comes by. This is quite effective early on when galleys have to end their turn in vulnerable coastal tiles, or risk sinking.
     
  13. padisah

    padisah Chieftain

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    This looks a little bit ridiculus. If you try to defend against a modern armor, then you will take 1 attack power from 24 .. if I remember well. That practically means nothing.

    On the other hand, when you are defending against an archer, or horseman, it would half their attack power...

    As I was watching what happens there, I think it takes hits points if the counter-bobardment is successful. I wonder I got some "debug mode" to my civ, and look at it closer.
     
  14. zagnut

    zagnut Monarch

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    I believe you are talking about a different situation than the primary thrust of this article. You are focusing on the situation where an enemy unit is attacking your city which contains an Artillery unit. The enemy unit will be bombarded by your Artillery before it makes its attack. In this situation the enemy unit will usually be weakened by one hit point. You are correct, that doesn't do much damage to Modern Armor.

    However, this article is really about using Artillery to weaken enemy units that are attacking your territory in force. With a rail network you can move your Artillery around at will and attack those enemy units before they attack you. If you use enough Artillery you can bombard the hit points of that Modern Armor down to one. They are then easy pickings for your other units.

    Of course, you could attack an enemy Tank with one of your Tanks. But the chance of losing is much higher. Better to weaken the bad guys first and then destroy them. This also gives you a much better chance of getting a Great Leader.
     
  15. padisah

    padisah Chieftain

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    Of course I understand this... and I was using this sort of defensive way extensively. Especially agains bombarding ships...

    I was only suggesting a little "unusual" approach, and the situation where it can be really useful is not cities defended by artillery, but in the beggining of the game, swordsman packs can be defended by catapults in enemy territory.

    Actually I was trying to use this trick against Persia :)), but that didn't worked. Immortals are too strong. It worked well against Chinease however.
     
  16. WackenOpenAir

    WackenOpenAir Chieftain

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    if i have the resources to build that many artileries, i don't think there is any living opponent to attack me.

    needing 4 units to hold one just doesn't seem efficient to me. in fact i always assume i have to reach a 1:2 efficiency meaning i am fighting with half the amount of units the AI has and having to win by superior tactics (and unit quality due to AI not upgrading them)
     
  17. handy900

    handy900 Chieftain

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    This is a good article. I always build a load of artillery. I started after reading :worship: Moonsinger's :worship: excellent article. This article covers well the benefits of defensive artillery. I don't think I could win on higher levels without pillaging & artillery. On monarch & lower I can win huge pangaea maps before reaching the modern ages with Cav + artillery + rails, which is a powerful combination. On regent I usually win before I get to replacable parts. Would not be able to do this without the benefit of :worship: Moonsinger's :worship: article. Below is a screen shot of my current Always War Monarch game's military advisor. 100 artillery is not enough in an always war game where every AI is ganged up against you.

    Another highly recommended strategy that should be summarized & enshrined in the war academy is pillaging. Way powerful. Here's a few pillaging links if you care to check them out.

    Offensive pillaging

    pillaging...

    ...more pillaging...

    ...even more pillaging

    Many thanks to betazed & Grille - :beer: two outstanding players that taught me everything I know about pillaging. betazed also taught me loads about how to win at Always War. After I took the Korean Capital last Night I re-named it Betazed in his honor :goodjob:

     
  18. betazed

    betazed Seeking...

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    Excellent article. :thumbsup:

    There is just one thing I wish to add (not directly to the strategy though).

    I have seen that in almost every game some city in the late industrial period ends up as a 80-85 uncorrupted shield output city. This is the ideal city for building artillery. Building anything else would be too wasteful in this city. In my games this city continues to churn out arty - 1 every turn - till the very end almost.
     
  19. zagnut

    zagnut Monarch

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    Artillery is one of the least used and understood units. I also do not know how people play without it. Some players can win this game in the Middle Ages and so never get to Cannon or Artillery. I, however, am not that proficient.

    I play a style of game where I try to limit the lose of my units. That means not throwing 20 Cavalry at a metropolis defended by numerous Riflemen. A Metropolis is size 12 or greater. All units in the city get a 100% defensive bonus. It is much better to reduce the city size to 11 and then they only get a 50% bonus. If you can reduce the size to 6 then there is no bonus.

    Only Artillery, Naval Units or Bombers can do this. Therefore, I use them once I get into the later game both offensively and defensively.
     
  20. handy900

    handy900 Chieftain

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    zagnut,

    Thanks for the nice thread & the tip about no defensive bonus in a city under 6. I previously thought if you were fortified in a city you got a 25% bonus even if it was a size 1. I checked the manual & you are 100% correct. Thanks for setting me straight.

    betazed If you are following this thread check out my save @ the end of your pillaging thread It's otto 900ad

    I could use your insight in my Otto diety game. I'm only a Great Library away from a solid chance @ victory. Unfortunately the GL is in a Korean city across the sea & I'm having to invade with about 15 galleys. :lol: At least I'll have my Otto UU by then. If Korea gets rails before I build my UU's & land I'm gonna be a dead meat sitting duck. At least I don't have to worry about an AI artillery bombardment. ;)
     

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