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Explain the usage of artillery and recommendations for each type of map such as: Mountainous, Flat, Forested, and Hilly.
Fire & Maneuver Artillery Field Manual
There are 3 types of artillery in the game: Canon, Mortar, and Machine Gun. For the purposes of this guide the Machine Gun will not be relevant to discuss.
Artillery is the least mobile unit type in the game, and is the only unit able to break FAW (Fire At Will) without getting shot.
Most artillery have the slowest movement speed of only 1 tile. Though, horse artillery have a default of 2 speed. All artillery gets +1 speed on roads, though Canons and Mortars usually have the cumbersome trait, which mean that they can either fire or maneuver in single a turn, unlike most other units which can do both on the same turn.
Due to its low maneuverability its important for artillery users to plan out how they intend to use their artillery before deploying them, as it is usually impossible to reposition poorly placed artillery once you are engaged in a battle.
How to use Artillery in Battle
Mortars Vs. Canons
The 2 mains types of artillery are mortars and canons.The difference between mortars/howitzers and canons is that the former has the indirect perk. This means that mortars/howitzers can fire over hills and forests. However, having the indirect perk raises your unit cost by $40, so its important to know whether or not you should send extra funds for the indirect perk, or if its more beneficial to buy an artillery piece without indirect, in order to spend those funds elsewhere.
Predicting & Eliminating your Opponenet
Due to its low maneuverability and health artillery is a purely support unit & it cannot win battles on its own. Artillery for this reason cannot block the enemy from regenerating cohesion and artillery can very rarely break through a units cohesion all on their own. If you intend on firing on a unit with your artillery you must have other units attacking the same enemy. This means that you get to focus down and quickly eliminate enemy units, whereas it is impossible to defeat an opponent if you spread all your damage evenly among their troops.
Another important aspect to consider when choosing which unit to fire at, is making sure that your artillery will actually hit that unit.You can guarantee that a unit cannot dodge your artillery fire by ensuring that they are in the center of your firing zone (which you can see if you right click on your unit).
The photo above demonstrates how you can guarantee that you won’t miss as long as the unit can’t move out of your firing zone. Notice how the unit is in open order formation, which only has 1 speed. If they had been in attack or march column, they could have ran outside of the artillery’s firing range and not gotten shot (movement comes before attacking). This means that you should look for closed, open order, and square formations to shoot because they are far more predictable than march and attack column. This is also why artillery is less effective against cavalry and efficient infantry, which are the are the most maneuverable units in the game.
The best country for artillery is Prussia. However, the UK and Russia are also above average countries for artillery. This is because all of these countries have 5 range breech-loading artillery and another 4+ range artillery with Range Drill. Putting it crudely, any artillery 3 range and under (with the exception of machine guns) absolutely sucks. At that point all the enemy has to do is move forward a little bit and focus fire on your artillery, and your artillery will very quickly die due to its low health and cohesion. This also means that the artillery with the longest ranges is usually much better. The best artillery is the Prussian 6lb Krupp Artillery and 21cm Krupp Mortar. This is because both are 5 range (which can be increased all the way to 6 if you are on a hill), and they both have Breech-loaders + Range Drill, which means that they always deal at least 4 damage and if the enemies cohesion is broken, a minimum of 6 damage, which instantly kills every unit in the game. ALWAYS make sure that your artillery is never on its own because it can be easily rushed.
Maps such as Legault’s crossing, The Orchards, and Ukraine Flatlands fit this category
Bring Canons, there isn’t anything to shoot over. Though it may not be worth brining artilerry at all due to how easy it is to maneuver on these maps
Contested Central Hills
Maps such as, River Path, Twin Creeks, Little Brook
The central hill blocks the vision of canons, making canons obsolete on maps with central hills. Using indirect allows you to bombard the enemy despite there being a hill in the way. Your primary goal on maps like this is to take control of the center hill, though you shouldn’t push up the hill without carefully considering how much firepower your men will expose themselves to once they climb the hill.
Uncontested Perimeter Hills
Maps such as, Wissembourg, Saarbrucken, The Orchards, The Badlands
If you seek to use the hill effectively on these maps you will need at least 4 range artillery, though usually you need 5 range artillery for the strategy of putting your artillery on a perimeter hill. This is because your artillery, is on the perimeter–far away from the battle taking place and you need every last bit of range if you want to be effective with this strategy. You should always use a canon for this type of strategy because hills already give you indirect, so there’s no point in taking an indirect artillery.
You could also just ignore the perimeter hills and act like Saarbrucken is just a river crossing, or that The Orchards is just a field, but I would seriously recommend using your advantages to your fullest, and if you have a hill to put your artillery on I would try to put it on that hill.
Maps such as: Sarrbrucken, Wissembourg, and Legault’s Crossing
Use the choke-points to your advantage, you can usually cover an entire bridge with a single artillery, this forces the enemy to rush your artillery head-on or to attack through fewer bridges, leading to a bottleneck in their assault. If they however play defensive you can use your artillery to force them away from the river, allowing your troops to cross the bridges unscathed. Refer to the rest of the guide if you are unsure whether to bring indirect artillery or not.
Maps such as: Poplar Station & River Path
Use indirect artillery, forests block the firing zone of standard canons. The forest can still act as a choke-point for the enemies (or your own) assault, but its not as hard to traverse as river crossings.