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Old 08-25-2010, 10:43 AM   #1
VonKleist
 
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NTW Formations are inacurate

Whenever I'm playing Napoleon Total War's 3D battles, it always occurs to me that the game might well have been called ' Frederick Total War '.

No matter which nation's army I'm up against, the enemy always uses linear infantry tactics; indeed your own units are formed in line by default. This strikes me as being totally incorrect historically; the only infantry sufficiently well-trained & of sufficient discipline to make use of the line formation was that of we Brits. All the other major powers fielded vast, conscripted armies whose training was average perforce. I do not include guard units here, but they seemingly also adopted the universal battlefield formation: column.

Columnar tactics were much easier to instill into conscripted troops & therefore conscripted armies were much easier ( & quicker ) to put into the field; NTW seems to ignore this basic principle completely. You therefore have French infantry coming at you deployed in perfectly aligned linear formations which Marlborough & The Alte Fritz would have greatly approved of.

Massed infantry field columns were the NORM for the Napoleonic period & we should be seeing dense blocks of the wee men marching around our computer screens instead of long thin ranks, no ?

It does spoil the experience somewhat of what is otherwise a brilliant game.
 
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Old 08-25-2010, 11:41 AM   #2
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Game balance comes before Historical Accuracy.
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Old 08-31-2010, 06:54 AM   #3
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That did occur to me too VonKleist but the majot bugbear for me was no fire by rank or platoon fire. This was one of the reasons we, the brits, won a lot of battles. We had more disciplined troops, we were the only nation to train with live ammunition and there are reports of some Spanish battalions fleeing from the fury of their own volleys.

Saying all that I haven't actually played the Coalition campaign yet so maybe the brits get it as a research option. I'll find out soon...
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Old 08-31-2010, 07:17 AM   #4
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Well the problem is, if the British had more research options than the other nations then . . . . well then the game would not be balanced, and the game could become frustrating to play as a result.
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Old 09-09-2010, 05:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VonKleist View Post
Whenever I'm playing Napoleon Total War's 3D battles, it always occurs to me that the game might well have been called ' Frederick Total War '.

No matter which nation's army I'm up against, the enemy always uses linear infantry tactics; indeed your own units are formed in line by default. This strikes me as being totally incorrect historically; the only infantry sufficiently well-trained & of sufficient discipline to make use of the line formation was that of we Brits. All the other major powers fielded vast, conscripted armies whose training was average perforce. I do not include guard units here, but they seemingly also adopted the universal battlefield formation: column.

Columnar tactics were much easier to instill into conscripted troops & therefore conscripted armies were much easier ( & quicker ) to put into the field; NTW seems to ignore this basic principle completely. You therefore have French infantry coming at you deployed in perfectly aligned linear formations which Marlborough & The Alte Fritz would have greatly approved of.

Massed infantry field columns were the NORM for the Napoleonic period & we should be seeing dense blocks of the wee men marching around our computer screens instead of long thin ranks, no ?

It does spoil the experience somewhat of what is otherwise a brilliant game.


wait a minute.... did you just say that only brits were disciplined enough to form this uber-complicated formation called.... a line? wow.
gotta call fail and typical british tight-assery on that, sry
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:28 PM   #6
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Actually, other countries did practice with live ammunition, like the Prussians. The French did too, but shooting practice was usually saved for the Guard units. Britain probably used more ammo for training than any other nation though.

CA seems to have chosen game balance over historical accuracy, and looking at the scale of the armies, it's probably something that needed to be sacrificed. Platoon fire and rank fire didn't work well in ETW and removing them allowed smoother gameplay in NTW. In column vs line, well again, the scale of the game just doesn't seem to allow for this distinction to show unfortunately, so they simply upped the British line stats instead.

EDIT: Yeah just saw the OP's comments about how only the British had enough discipline to use lines...lol wat?

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Old 09-11-2010, 10:13 AM   #7
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column tactics were used by other countries because it struck fear into the enemy ranks. the brits were by all accounts the only military country to use line tactics so the OP is quite correct save for a few instances. The whole idea of the line tactic was used not only in britain and employed on the battlefield by british troops only. but to say they were the only ones to have the skill and discipline to use them might be taken out of context somewhat. The idea was simple, more guns to fire at your enemy at any one time. the opposite was, more people to replace those fallen and smash through enemy lines that way. Most countires did use column formation though, the british abandoned that early on in favour of line.

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Old 09-20-2010, 09:40 AM   #8
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column tactics were used by other countries because it struck fear into the enemy ranks. The idea was simple, more guns to fire at your enemy at any one time. the opposite was, more people to replace those fallen and smash through enemy lines that way. Most countires did use column formation though, the british abandoned that early on in favour of line.
But especially Napoleons success based on the column tatic.

Large groups of militia put in fast advancing columns. Out manouvering the static lines. The pre-blitzkrieg ;-)

I guess its a problem with the game engine. CA has a system thats not based on any Formation. You can see the Formationproblem at the cav square. Even lanciers cant split a line of infantry and rout them just in that way.

In TW games especially since empire (added physics) its a one vs one melee system.
The moving speed is always the same. No matter if they are in column or line.
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Old 09-23-2010, 04:26 AM   #9
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Oman and and another military historian at the turn of the 20th century taught that the french lost so many battles against the british because they had a habit of attacking in column against a line. This is a fallacy of british and american thinking which even Oman acknowledged as false when presented with evidence showing otherwise. Unfortunately, Oman's earlier claim is the one remembered by wargamers.

It is quite right to state that the column was a kind of blitzkrieg, employed to move formations quickly and easily about the battlefield. All nations used the column for this purpose. The evidence suggests that at least one of Napololeons greatest victories was as a result of fast columnar marches that brought the men within range of the enemy muskets. At this point the regiments would deploy (still moving forward) into line and then take the fight to the enemy.

As you can imagine for a soldier to achieve this under fire he had to be well drilled. And that (from what I understand) is where the British had the advantage in the penisula. Of course the french army in spain had its veterans but many of the soldiers Napoleon sent to Spain were conscripts - some did not pick up a musket until at Spains border. This logistical failing was aggravated by the spanish guerillas attacking the french supply lines. The french commanders in spain simply did not have the time to train their men to the same standard as french armies elsewhere on the continent.

Of course Wellingtons tactic of placing his soldiers on the otherside of hills to protect them from cannon fire seemed to work on his favour in more ways than one; as the french on numerous occasions would advance in column to the hills brow, see a british line a little distance away and attempt to deploy into line. Invariably at this point the range from the british muskets was too close for the deployement to be completed without the french formation suffering horrendous casualties (at anything less than 40 yards even muskets can hit a target), and because the british usually charged after a couple of volleys you can imagine the confusion the french must have suffered at this point: they are trying to deploy into line, being fired upon by a enemy who is closer and therefore more effective in their aim than any enemy by rights should be when changing formation; then to top it all off, through the smoke appears (what must seem) a horde of red coats advancing with bayonets presented. A man might feel very alone at this point and could be excused for wanting to get away.

The french as early as 1770 critisized the use of the column in melee, for like Oman, they did the math and knew a column was a bad formation in a firefight. Napoloen knew this, hence his tactics of covering the advance of each column with a vast cloud of skirmishers, and supporting the column by moving artillery forward with it so as it deployed into line the enemy would also be receiving grape fire from the cannons. Fast and deadly.

Napoleon's and Wellington's use of tactics both need to be applauded but unless your men have the training to put your tactics into action you are doomed to failure.

It would be interesting to see how Wellington would have fared against a veteran french army at its peak. Would Wellingtons tactics overbear french training, elan, and grape firing cannon?
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Old 01-10-2011, 05:36 PM   #10
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Let's not forget Napoleon's use of "l'ordre mixte" - that hybrid where columns advanced while connected in between with other battalions in line. This gave, at the 'schwerpunkt' the advantages of both line fire and column assaults. Clearly, however, this absorbed men, and unless he had a major numerical advantage over his opponent, he couldn't maintain l'ordre mixte across the full width of the battle lines.

"God is on the side of the bigger battalions."
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Old 01-13-2011, 02:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surpsycho81 View Post
That did occur to me too VonKleist but the majot bugbear for me was no fire by rank or platoon fire. This was one of the reasons we, the brits, won a lot of battles. We had more disciplined troops, we were the only nation to train with live ammunition and there are reports of some Spanish battalions fleeing from the fury of their own volleys.

Saying all that I haven't actually played the Coalition campaign yet so maybe the brits get it as a research option. I'll find out soon...
They do have fire by rank and platoon fire. You research it.
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Old 01-13-2011, 05:41 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by surpsycho81 View Post
That did occur to me too VonKleist but the majot bugbear for me was no fire by rank or platoon fire. This was one of the reasons we, the brits, won a lot of battles. We had more disciplined troops, we were the only nation to train with live ammunition and there are reports of some Spanish battalions fleeing from the fury of their own volleys.

Saying all that I haven't actually played the Coalition campaign yet so maybe the brits get it as a research option. I'll find out soon...
Yep, you brits won alot of battles but lost the war. Does the American Revolution ring any bells?
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Old 01-21-2011, 10:41 AM   #13
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Yep, you brits won alot of battles but lost the war. Does the American Revolution ring any bells?
If you knew your history, we kicked the Americans arses and nearly made them give up, they were prepared to propose peace treaties, the only thing that saved them was the French re-enforcements which they were lucky to get.
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Old 01-21-2011, 01:16 PM   #14
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OOOhhhh bbuutttt the french came too late and we won on our own genius
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Old 01-22-2011, 10:06 AM   #15
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was always led to believe that most of the American victories against the British were in the south, and that we won the war essentially because we made the cost of prosecuting the war higher than what the British government felt it was worth. It was domestically unpopular, the threat of a French alliance would put British positions in the Carribean in jeopardy, and the cost/benefit of places like Canada, India, and the Carribean was much better. Basically, we fought a guerilla war and won, which is how most of those go. But, as much as I would like to think otherwise, the American army was generally no match for the British in a conventional fight.

The point ultimately being that the British Redcoat was by far the best trained and most reliable infantryman in Europe (and America) at the time, and the British army as a whole was more than a match for any other in an even fight. Right?
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