Thought I would move this here before the other forum closes down as I had included a fair bit of research. Some of the arguements I made where contested so don't take everything researched as literal rules since there are plenty of exceptions in history:
CAVALRY TIPS WITH EXCERPTS FROM;
NAPOLEON’S CAVALRY: A KEY ELEMENT TO DECISIVE VICTORY
"...the effect of shock cavalry is psychological and not physical."
- (Rahe 1981, Keegan 1977)
************************************************************************THE PURPOSE OF THIS TOPIC IS MERELY TO SHARE CAVALRY TIPS AND RELATIVE HISTORICAL INFORMATION (Please post criticism/bitching about cavalry or general griefing in the other relevant topics.)
I will add more points as I think of them. Feel free to post your tips and experiences with cavalry.
(Lancers and Hussars):PRIMARY ROLE:
Reconnaissance, screening, advance guard and pursuit missions. Can also act as pickets and vandettes (mounted sentinels deployed forward of an outpost).TIPS:
The first rule is to ride in numbers for maximum effect and to use your speed to your advantage. Stay on the move; Its harder for enemy infantry to target fast moving cavalry especially at a distance. Do not use frontal assault tactics; engage enemy flanks if you have to but your best bet it is to circle the enemy from a distance and swoop in to pick off stragglers that have stopped to reload their musket while the rest of the enemy group have moved on. When in numbers; swoop and feign attacks in order to grab the enemy player’s attention while another player swoops in from behind. Abort your attack and turn your horse if the enemy infantry man is facing you and has enough time to raise his bayonet. Your job as light cavalry is not to engage in a pitched battle but to make contact with the enemy, screen his movement(s) and pursue him at every turn waiting for a weakness to present itself. As a lancer you have the added advantage of range with your lance, use it to pick off entrenched enemies that are hiding behind barricades (make sure you stay on the move and time your approach so that you arrive while the majority of the enemy are reloading). As a lancer you cannot block so maintain your distance. You can and in some cases should engage enemy cavalry before they become a problem for your team’s infantry, but be careful as your horse is extremely vulnerable thus, the best attack, same as any attack on infantry: is from the side or behind. BENEFITS TO YOUR TEAM:
When playing infantry myself, I appreciate when the light cavalry run ahead in order to scout out the battlefield and harass enemy infantry or cavalry. The benefits to me are:a)
The location of battle becomes audible and therefore the enemy’s position is made clear to infantry units who may not have a clear view of the battlefield and are otherwise in danger of making contact with the enemy while unprepared. This also occasionally saves the infantry from wasting valuable time searching randomly and gets them to move in a straight line to the action (large maps or urban maps mainly).b)
The enemy is preoccupied by the harassment of light cavalry thereby lessening the concentration of fire levied against friendly but slow moving infantry from enemy units that may or may not be entrenched / fortified.c)
Can cause confusion / fear among enemy players who are forced to turn every few seconds at the sound of approaching hooves while simultaneously being engaged in melee with friendly infantry. This can provide valuable openings for bayonet/sword swings. d)
Can force enemy infantry players who are being circled by your cavalry to stay closer together (ie: bunch up) which makes it more likely/easier to hit large numbers for both musket and cannon (it can also force them to dig in which is not always a good thing).
The primary missions given the light cavalry were reconnaissance, screening,
advance guard, and pursuit missions. They could also be subdivided into smaller-sized
units for use as pickets and vedettes (mounted sentinels deployed forward of an outpost).
As British historian Sir Charles Oman describes, the hussars were, “Intended to be the
lightest of light cavalry, and were to find their proper sphere in raids and reconnaissance
rather than in pitched battles. Napoleon relied on his light cavalry to gain and maintain
contact with the enemy and to screen his movements. A successful screen would deny
the enemy valuable information with regard to the location, size, and composition of
Napoleon’s forces. The light cavalry was also employed as couriers and used to secure
the French lines of communication. Along with reconnaissance, however, one of the
most significant contributions the light cavalry made to Napoleon’s campaigns was in the
role of pursuit. Often it was the use of the light cavalry, pursuing a defeated and
retreating enemy, which proved decisive in completing the destruction of the enemy force.
Seize key terrain, guard the flanks, act as battle cavalry and mounted infantry.TIPS:
While most of the tactics of the light cavalry can apply to dragoons, the dragoons have the added benefit of carrying carbines or cavalry muskets meaning they can ride out to a piece of strategic terrain that the enemy team seems to continually run for, say a house, and hold it until friendly infantry arrive. The main map where I’ve seen this tactic employed successfully is Roxburgh. Dismounting for cover and taking pot shots at the enemy for a while only to remount and displace is another tactic I’ve seen used but I can’t say for certain how effective it is (your lucky if some bugger doesn’t steal your horse). It certainly is annoying for enemy infantry if the run a mile for nothing. Medium cav is a good mid range cavalry that’s mainly used to fill gaps when weaknesses arise given the mobility and firepower. You should engage enemy cav when they threaten your team, dismount to lend a hand to infantry when needed and engage enemy infantry keeping in mind the aforementioned tactics of the light cav. Watch out when engaging lancers head on however. Firing at the enemy, while riding towards them is fun but very inaccurate. Choose your shots carefully and fire when close unless you’re a keen swordsman. If you need to reload, try to move your horse behind cover first, since its not a good idea to stay stationary around enemy infantry for too long as it makes you easier to hit. BENEFITS TO THE TEAM:a)
It’s always better to arrive on a hill or at a house that’s already in friendly hands rather than arriving only to have to take it from an entrenched/fortified enemy first.
Napoleon’s next category of cavalry was his medium cavalry, better known as
dragoons, of which he inherited twenty regiments. The dragoons were equipped with a
long straight sword (for thrusting), pistols, a dragoon musket (which was shorter than the
infantry models), and a bayonet. They typically wore brass helmets and tall boots,
which were unsuited for dismounted action. Because of their mobility and increased
firepower, as compared to other cavalry units, dragoons were used to seize key terrain for
the main body or employed on the flanks with security force missions, all of which are
examples of shaping operations using current doctrinal terms. Dragoons were also
employed as battle cavalry for charges and were used extensively as mounted
infantrymen in Spain. Napoleon found himself in the middle of an age-old debate of whether the
dragoons were mounted infantrymen or cavalrymen with increased firepower. During the
30-Year War, dragoons were primarily mounted infantrymen. As Sir Charles Oman
describes, “They were men with firearms who had been provided with horses in order
that they might move rapidly, not light cavalry furnished with a musket for skirmishing
purposes.” By the eighteenth century, however, dragoons became more like cavalry and less
like mounted infantry. For example, Frederick the Great employed his dragoons as
cavalry with carbines or muskets. Because of their speed of mobility and firepower,
Frederick’s dragoons were expected to seize ground when infantry units were
unavailable, and take charge of the skirmish line. Thus Frederick capitalized on the
cavalry trait of mobility to shore up a potential weak point on the battlefield.
As Napoleon considered the force structure of his military at a junction, he turned
the role of the dragoon back to that of mounted infantry. As such, he ordered the
replacement of the knee- high boots with gaiters to aid in dismounted operations.
Napoleon even went as far as planning to use dragoons as mounted infantrymen for his
cross-channel invasion of England.
(Cuirassiers, Carabiniers)PRIMARY ROLE:
Held in reserve for decisive operations (ie: crucial moments that decide the outcome of a battle), used exclusively for battle.
Heavy cavalry is slow but the heavy cavalry horses have more hit points than any other cavalry. While a head long charge at full speed into a bayonet may kill it in one hit, it usually takes more than one bayonet thrust to kill a heavy cavalry horse. As of the recent patch heavy cav players also have a small armor stat. Historically the armor was deisgned to protect against musket shots at long range but did little to stop a musket shot from close range. They were NOT bulletproof. Ultimately you are still easy to kill and on a slower moving horse that can make you an easy target. Keep in mind however that your horse does more ramming damage than any other cav type, this is useful for wearing an enemy down and or killing already wounded enemy soldiers, but the lack of speed makes this cav a type to be used in numbers. Historically heavy cavalry was specifically bred (and costly) for its role in carrying big men into battle. Heavy cav was also used in conjunction with artillery, where the barrage would soften the enemy up and the heavy cavalry would be used on mass, concentrated in an area in order to penetrate the enemy’s lines. Your role as heavy cav is to engage the enemy at a crucial moment preferably in a spot where the enemy is about to brake or run away towards their friends because their numbers have thinned out in the area your attacking. For inexperienced heavy cav members such as myself, I have found it useful to exercise patience and wait for friendly infantry and light cavalry to wear down the enemy before I committed to a charge. I also found heavy cavalry useful for engaging enemy cavalry that was harassing friendly infantry (the added protection and hit points meant I could swing for the enemy’s horses in order to at least render them harmless while enemy swords where less likely to de-horse me first). Not so good for chasing down enemy light cav however. If your unsure what to do while waiting for said decisive moment to arise you can always try an protect you teams cannons and discourage any commando infantry or cav advances behind your lines, your artillery men will thank you as I often see light cav flanking, infiltrating and raiding cannon positions. BENEFITS TO THE TEAM:a)
Knocking down an enemy while dealing out damage gives opportunities for nearby infantry to pounce and bayonet fallen enemies.
During battle, Napoleon’s heavy cavalry was typically held in reserve to be
committed at the critical place and critical time to deliver the decisive blow against the
enemy. Thus, the cavalry’s commitment to the main battle proved decisive. Following
the main battle, light cavalry was used to pursue elements of the foe and complete total
destruction of the enemy’s force, which was habitually Napoleon’s objective. Therefore,
with sufficient and well-trained cavalry, Napoleon’s victories were decisive, as in the
Jena-Auerstadt Campaign of 1806; without it they were hollow, or at best Pyrrhic, as in
the Saxony campaign of 1813. Clausewitz summed up the value of the pursuit when he
stated, “Only the pursuit of the beaten enemy gives the fruits of victory.”
The final category of cavalry Napoleon inherited was the twenty- five regiments of
heavy cavalry.14 The heavy cavalry was broken down into two types, the cuirassiers and
the carabiniers a cheval. These were the big men on big horses who were held in reserve
exclusively for service in battle. Due to their large size and heavy armor, which
increased their protection and survivability, the heavy cavalry was Napoleon’s decisive
combat arm that could deliver a devastating blow upon enemy units when properly
employed. In context of current doctrine, the heavy cavalry would be kept almost
exclusively for decisive operations.
Typically heavy cavalry charges were used in conjunction with the artillery.
Following an artillery barrage, the heavy cavalry charged forward in mass in order to
penetrate enemy lines and exploit any tactical success. Napoleon also used his heavy
cavalry to counterattack any enemy cavalry assault.
In order to preserve the combat effectiveness of the heavy cavalry in battle, the
tasks of courier duty, screening, reconnaissance, and pursuit typically fell to lighter
cavalry units so that the heavy cavalry could be employed with maximum effectiveness at
the critical time in battle. Napoleon was even quoted as saying, “Under no consideration
shall cuirassiers be detailed as orderlies. This duty shall be done by lancers; even
generals shall use lancers. The service of communications, escort, sharpshooters, shall be
done by lancers.” The cuirassiers were also uniquely equipped. Their name derived from the metal
breastplate, cuirass, they wore. To further increase their survivability, Napoleon ordered
that a back plate be added to the cuirass as well as equipping these units with steel
helmets. The structural criteria for the breastplate was specified to be able to withstand
one shot “at long range.”16 While the cuirass did not necessarily prove effective against
musket fire at short range, it could withstand shots from pistols as well as attacks from
lances, sabers and bayonets. For offensive weapons the heavy cavalry troopers were
issued a longer straight sword for thrusting, two pistols, and either a musketoon or
carbine “so they could deal with small bodies of enemy infantry in villages or defiles.”17
The carabiniers a cheval were similarly equipped but did not wear armor, like the
cuirassiers until 1809. Originally known as the horse grenadiers, they were fitted with
carbines instead of pistols for the Danube Campaign of 1809. They did, however, have
the reputation of being hand picked and, therefore, the favored force, sometimes referred
to as royal pets. Needless to say they developed the attitudes to match.18
Although Napoleon’s heavy cavalry had the reputation of being well equipped
and provided for, they did have their drawbacks. With regard to cuirassiers, Napoleon
once stated, “One result of having men of large stature, is the necessity of large horses,
which doubles the expense and does not render the same service.” Because of the size
requirements for the horses, only large breeds were accepted into the regiments.
THE GOLDEN RULE: A frontal charge is always the least desirable form of attack and cavalry lone wolfing is seldom as rewarding as cavalry in numbers. Full frontal cavalry charges did happen during the Napoleonic wars, but, usually as either a last resort or in the confidence of victory. The results have always varied drastically. An example:
Marshal Contades is reputed to have said bitterly after the battle: “I never thought to see a single line of infantry break through three lines of cavalry ranked in order of battle and tumble them to ruin.”
Minden: an iconic victory for the "Minden" Regiments who advanced to battle with white roses in their hats, plucked from the hedgerows, and repelled the attacks of French cavalry.
My view is that there are so many factors (in real life battles) that can determine success or loss, that its impossible to factor them all into a game but for every scenario there are constantly differing outcomes. If your planning to do a full frontal charge then do it as a last act of an already won battle or a desperate attempt to save the battle from defeat, as any experienced infantry melee players will no doubt destroy your charge:
In conclusion, most cavalry vs. cavalry and cavalry vs. infantry interactions were probably decided before the two sides came into contact, but it is not improbable that at least some cavalry units were actually able to charge and come into contact with unbroken infantry. The greatest doubt lies in the who, the where, and the when--though it is clear that contact followed by hand-to-hand fighting between two unbroken lines was generally the exception among infantry-cavalry interactions, it is not an easy matter to decide how prevalent these exceptional cases were. I think nobody would disagree if I say that we still need a great deal more research before we can resolve that doubt. http://l-clausewitz.livejournal.com/141888.html
Historians such as John Keegan have shown that when correctly prepared against (such as by improvising fortifications) and, especially, by standing firm in face of the onslaught, cavalry charges often failed against infantry, with horses refusing to gallop into the dense mass of enemies, or the charging unit itself breaking up. However, when cavalry charges succeeded, it was usually due to the defending formation breaking up (often in fear) and scattering, to be hunted down by the enemy.
Small video of me playing light cav with a few really basic tips:
I still suck at cav but was really fun to try and coordinate. Another time I played heavy cav in Avignon and there were 5 of us, 2 heavy cavs and 3 dragoons, we ended up riding back and forth along the main road and kicking ass.
Small video of a heavy cavalry flank charge. Our officer held us back and observed the battle from his spyglass until he felt the moment was right to charge the enemy position. Our team's infantry used the moment of our attack to initiate a charge and the battle was won:
Darcane's cavalry experiment with heavy cavalry (prior to patch 2 or 3? Not sure):
The rarity of full frontal charges in history discussed:http://l-clausewitz.livejournal.com/141888.htmlhttp://books.google.com.au/books?id=z2FRzcz2W0oC&pg=PA268&lpg=PA268&dq=Horseman+duel+against+bayonet+infantry&source=bl&ots=RTtOqd7hwc&sig=weT2VhtrWjT6QR3BpHmjRpKpuys&hl=en&sa=X&ei=1HCeT46VIK-0iQeajJGwDg&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Horseman%20duel%20against%20bayonet%20infantry&f=false
Napoleon's use of Cavalry (Source for the beginning of thread):http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA406969
Napoleon's main use of heavy cavalry was to keep them in reserve and to trot them out only for decisive operations and mop ups. Occasionally however, when his situation grew desperate he did in fact trot them out for a frontal charge (as is the case in the battle of Eylau). At Eylau Napoleon sent Murat with 10,700 cavalry to charge the Russian center in order to buy himself some time. At one point Napoleon had to send in more cavalry to ensure Murat and his cavalry wouldn't become encircled. Some of the Russian infantry managed to withstand several charges before eventually succumbing or withdrawing. All in all the battle proved indecisive and the casualties to Murat's 10,000 strong cav force are estimated at over 1,500 although the exact numbers are unknown. It was the largest cavalry charge of its time.
Except and source:
Napoleon saw that Murat would have to be cut free and ordered forward the
cavalry of the Guard. The guard cavalry smashed through everything, cutting a path for
Murat’s trapped cavalry to withdraw. The cost was heavy though. General Dahlmann,
Aide de Camp to Napoleon and previous commander of the Chasseurs of the Guard, was
killed. General Lepic, commander of the Guard Grenadiers, was wounded.45 Murat had
lost over 1,500 cavalry (either killed or wounded) in the assault. General D'Hautpoul,
who commanded the cuirassiers, was killed and General Grouchy was wounded.
Additionally, four regimental commanders were lost in what would become know as the
greatest cavalry charge of the Napoleonic wars.
******************************************************************EXCERPTS FROM A U.S. BAYONET MANUAL 1852
******************************************************************http://www.7thmichigan.us/manuals/Bayonet.pdfPreface - The power of the bayonet
Instance of two men vs 25 cav
Gomard lays it down as a principle, that
the most formidable antagonist an infantry
soldier can encounter is an infantry soldier;
that the bayonet is more formidable than
either the lance or the sabre. This assertion
may seem surprising, but trial will convince
any one of its truth, and of the consequent
fact that an infantry soldier who can parry
the attacks of a well-drilled infantry soldier
has nothing to fear from a cavalry soldier,
because simple variations of the parries
against infantry are perfectly effective against
the sabre and lance, e.g. the parries in high
tierce and high quarte.
The work of Gomard was translated by
the author of the present work about two
years ago, and taught by him to the noncommissioned
officers of the company of sappers
with which he was then on duty. The
non-commissioned officers soon became competent
to instruct the men, and the system
was in successful operation when the author
was relieved from duty with the company.
The thrust and lunge-out vs cavalry:
It will be proper to remark that any system
of fencing with the bayonet can, in service,
have its full and direct application
only when the men are isolated, or in very
open order; as, for instance, when employed
as skirmishers, in assaulting breaches, fieldworks,
or batteries, or when broken by cavalry,
etc. etc. When in the habitual formation,
as infantry of the line, the small interval
allowed each file, and the method of
action of masses, will prevent the possibility,
or necessity, of the employment of much
individual address; but even then, in the
shock of a charge, or when awaiting the attack
of cavalry, the men will surely be more
steady and composed, from the consciousness
of the fact that they can make good use of
their bayonets, and easily protect their persons
against everything but balls.
There is an instance on record of a French
grenadier, who, in the battle of Polotsk, defended
himself, with his bayonet, against the
simultaneous attack of eleven Russian grenadiers,
eight of whom he killed. In the battle
of Sanguessa, two soldiers of Abbe*'s division
defended themselves, with their bayonets,
against twenty-five Spanish cavalry, and,
after having inflicted several severe wounds,
rejoined their regiment without a scratch.
At that period there was little or no regular
instruction in the use of the bayonet.
The use of the arms is independent of the
use of the legs; the first is often sufficient to
reach the body of the adversary. There are
three methods of using the arms the thrust,
the lunge, the lunge-out.
Of these Uiree the thrust is the best, because,
since the hands retain their usual position
on the piece, the aim is more certain,
and the parry of a riposte easier; the thrust
should, therefore, be used whenever the disfance
of the antagonist will permit it.
The lunge reaches as far as the thrust with
the development; it is a very rapid and quite
sure blow far preferable to the lunge-out;
it, however, exposes the fencer to a quick
riposte, which would be difficult to parry,
especially on the outside.
The lunge-out reaches farther than either
of the preceding, but it throws the piece so
completely out of control, that it should only
be used against an antagonist who cannot
riposte, or is endeavoring to escape; it may
be used with advantage against the horse of
a cavalry soldier, to keep him at a distance.