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venkelos

Benefits of Mounted Combat?

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So, let this start of with the mandatory whining: I don't like Rough Riders. I've never really been a fan of them, their one-shot wonder pikes, and their do-nothing-else standing. They and the Shining Spears always made me go "what?" When I originally heard that Rough Riders were out in 6E, I was happy, and hoping that IG would get Bikers; +1T, fast-moving soldiers, possibly with Relentless HW sidecars was going to be very nice, then they didn't drop the horse's asses, though they did drop their relevant leader. Sadly, this post, now this far into it, has nothing to do with my not liking RRs, but I had to whine.

 

Here's where the mattering part is. Is there any advantage in game to fighting mounted? I know that Rough Riders are meant to crash into the enemy, use their one-shot weapon, and then use being mounted to get out quick, and call it a day, but if you had Space Marines on bikes, Orks on their bikes, or what have you, would they want to keep them, or just hop off and fight? Dark Eldar have blades on their jetbikes, so that they can ride by and slice, getting back away from melee as they go. What other advantages are there?

 

In other RPGs, such as D&D or Star Wars, they made some advantages. If you charged, and had the feat for it, you could use the mount's Str bonus for the attack and damage, rather than your own. Also, mounted combat often gave access to Ride by or Flyby Attack, so you could strike in the middle of a move, and keep going, striking with the curved sword you had, and then turning to do it again, later, away from your current enemy. (Oh I missed Canto in Fire Emblem: Awakening.) Does any of that work here, in Only War? If my Evil Sunz Warboss were to ride into combat on a bike, is it going to figure into combat, or, being much more melee-oriented, is he going to cross ground with his Wario-mobile, and then hop off to descend into bloodshed?

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Two words: flying mounts. And forget the hunting lance, it is neither cool nor practical. Go shooty or go home. 

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Aside from cultural conventions (up 'til World War 1, cavalry were the 'elite' close-combat troops- until machine guns put an end to that mindset), there is the advantage that being 'elevated' gives a +10 bonus to Weapon Skill; and a trained mount can make an attack of its' own (picture the backwards kick that the Royal Lipozon (sp?) Stallions are famous for).

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K, so if anyone other than the Imperium and certain Chaos forces used living? mounts, then we'd have something. However, minusing those and some Kroot, mechanical conveyance is the way of the day. So, if I'm riding something that doesn't make its own attacks, am I SOL? I can imagine an Ork biker crashing into some folks, sewing chaos, and then get up, and beat them up, but other than that, I don't know what strategic advantage said bike has to a warrior who prefers close combat, and doesn't like/isn't maybe smart enough to withdraw.

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In my opinion mounted combat is much about flavor and preference, not that much about a huge stat gain.

 

It has its taste to play a semi-noble cuirassier regiment, clad in carapace using sabres, pistols and carbines for heavy strike attacks, dragoons that mainly use their mounts to move around the battlefield and act like light infantry, maybe working behind the enemy lines where nutrition for horses is easier to come by than fuel for chimeras, some reckless hussars that act as a fast response units throwing grenades and making short work with cut-off or fleeing enemies or the "regular" Uhlans that charge thir enemies heads on with their lances in the regular rough-rider way.

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Horses are quiet.  You could hear a bike a mile off and an evil sun on a warbike even further away. 

 

Horses use grass and other vegetation for fuel, so wherever you go you have a fuel supply (deserts etc excepted).  Bikes need promethium fuels that you will need to take with you and you will need lubricants etc aswell.  So horses can do longer duration missions.

 

Horses may not be as fast bikes but they are faster than on foot.

 

And if you are trapped away from your supply lines you can eat your horse (not recommended for bikes). 

 

Shouldn't the question be why would you take a bike, when:

a horse is quieter

a sentinel has more firepower

a salamander has more firepower and armour

a chimera has more firepower, armour, can take your buddies, vision more restricted though.

 

Just don't charge heavy weapons WW1 style or you will die WW1 style.

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Well, I'd expect a bike to be faster and have a lower profile, and perhaps be more stable. Not to mention probably being able to take a few more bullets than a horse. Fuel might also be a non-issue in the 41st millennium, they could have small plasma-batteries for all we know.

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Two words: flying mounts. And forget the hunting lance, it is neither cool nor practical. Go shooty or go home. 

OBJECTION: Fighting on horse(or equivalent)-back causes problems for shooting and makes you a large target. If you wish to use live mounts and focus on shooting you should be fighting like a dragoon. Use the mounts for fast transportation but fight on foot.

 

On the other hand, there are already melee focused troops in 40k and putting regular humans on a mount gives a few advantages:

 

-Faster movement into melee/charge.

-The mount may be able to help in the melee (Some of the more fierce mounts may do more damage than the spear wielding guardsman on top of it.)

-No need for fuel as they only need food. (This may be a disadvantage if bringing the food is difficult, but mounts like the Krieg "horse" can simply eat the dead guardsmen or their enemies and some herbivores can simply graze on the grass on the ground. If that grass is edible that is.)

 

 

Also, the hunting lances are fun and cheaper than getting a melta for everyone in the squad. (and the difference between charging with the horse to 10meters from the tank or just charging to the tank and stabbing it is quite small.)

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Two words: flying mounts. And forget the hunting lance, it is neither cool nor practical. Go shooty or go home. 

OBJECTION: Fighting on horse(or equivalent)-back causes problems for shooting and makes you a large target. If you wish to use live mounts and focus on shooting you should be fighting like a dragoon. Use the mounts for fast transportation but fight on foot.

 

You suffer no penalties for shooting while riding a horse. So you can use the mounted archers tactic with a longlas/sniper rifle instead of a bow.

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Horses are quiet.  You could hear a bike a mile off and an evil sun on a warbike even further away. 

 

Horses use grass and other vegetation for fuel, so wherever you go you have a fuel supply (deserts etc excepted).  Bikes need promethium fuels that you will need to take with you and you will need lubricants etc aswell.  So horses can do longer duration missions.

 

Horses may not be as fast bikes but they are faster than on foot.

 

And if you are trapped away from your supply lines you can eat your horse (not recommended for bikes). 

 

Shouldn't the question be why would you take a bike, when:

a horse is quieter

a sentinel has more firepower

a salamander has more firepower and armour

a chimera has more firepower, armour, can take your buddies, vision more restricted though.

 

Just don't charge heavy weapons WW1 style or you will die WW1 style.

So much of the massive army hitting massively makes me think that many IG armies couldn't care less if they were quiet. "This fight" has been being waged for decades. Everyone is rather sure where everyone else is. Sentinels are packing, but the Attack Bike I imagine has a heavy or special weapon on it, which might add up to that goofy chicken walker, while keeping you compact, by comparison, and on wheels. I choose not to compare bikes to guys in tanks, but agree that the treadheads have better armor and guns. If anyone can like cavalry over Chimeras, then I'd say the bikes have the same advantages.

 

Not sure if I'm always confident that there is grass on the churned, blasted battlefields of the 41st millennium, and it might not always be edible. Bikes also don't wuss out or buck, and bikes MIGHT be easier to repair. If Rough Riders were more often illustrated as mobile infantry than a unit of guys with a one-use weapon, one each, I might like them more. Making a regiment with "cooler" mounts, and preferably more long-term weapons, I'd whine much less, rather than seeing Rough Riders slam into one enemy, blow their HL load, and then run away, to go get a sandwich. I can see them slam, and then get away, to protect their mounts and bacon, but "real" cavalry often fought on, and had weapons that didn't battle royale collar after the first hit. Yeah, lances might snap, but swords could be used, and guns, if you are still, aren't bad, but that's not how Rough Riders are portrayed to me.

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Well, in the TT Rough Riders continue to fight even after they lost their Lances, they are just not very effective in the TT and sometimes have to retreat to not grant a Kill Point to the enemy. But if you play without KP you can just waste them as some sort of Meat-Shield. Regular close combat weapons with their low strength were no special thing and hence they are not famous for their prowess at arm, never the less they still could fight.

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That looks awesome! Screw hunting lances, ripper guns both for shooting and for swinging from the saddle like polo mallets. **** yeah!

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Two words: flying mounts. And forget the hunting lance, it is neither cool nor practical. Go shooty or go home. 

OBJECTION: Fighting on horse(or equivalent)-back causes problems for shooting and makes you a large target. If you wish to use live mounts and focus on shooting you should be fighting like a dragoon. Use the mounts for fast transportation but fight on foot.

 

You suffer no penalties for shooting while riding a horse. So you can use the mounted archers tactic with a longlas/sniper rifle instead of a bow.

 

Mounted archers did not have to worry about heavy stubbers, bolters, multilasers or any of the nasty heavy weapons that the Xeno races use.

 

And you are a bigger target while on horseback so it is easier to hit you.

 

And I would think that there are penalties while shooting from on top of a running horse. If on the other hand you have stopped your horse to be able to aim better why not go a step further and leave the horse slightly behind, perhaps in cover of trees or behind a hill or something, and then fight on foor or go to work like a sniper. (You can still go back to your mount if you need to retreat or change position quickly.)

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Two words: flying mounts. And forget the hunting lance, it is neither cool nor practical. Go shooty or go home. 

OBJECTION: Fighting on horse(or equivalent)-back causes problems for shooting and makes you a large target. If you wish to use live mounts and focus on shooting you should be fighting like a dragoon. Use the mounts for fast transportation but fight on foot.

 

You suffer no penalties for shooting while riding a horse. So you can use the mounted archers tactic with a longlas/sniper rifle instead of a bow.

 

Mounted archers did not have to worry about heavy stubbers, bolters, multilasers or any of the nasty heavy weapons that the Xeno races use.

 

And you are a bigger target while on horseback so it is easier to hit you.

 

This stands for melee cavalry too, so I can't see the problem. 

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Going back to the OP's focus on melee combat while mounted, a horse (or other living mount) is vastly more maneuverable than a bike in a melee.  As you suggested, I'd expect bikers would actually avoid entering a protracted close combat with foot troops, as they'd almost certainly have to dismount.  This isn't really reflected in the tabletop game, aside from bikers' general lack of access to paired close combat weapons.

 

Cavalry are another matter entirely.  There's the height advantage to consider, not just for a numerical bonus but also in terms of visibility and psychological impact.  The mount can stop, back up, turn on the spot, or even sidestep.  Finally, if properly trained, it could act on its own, including making attacks, presumably even if the rider was incapacitated.  A heavy cavalry unit would likely armor the horses as well as the men, and a charge by them could trample enemies by the handful.

 

Some of that maneuverability could be matched or exceeded by jump packs (or their equivalents, such as Eldar skyboards and flip-belts, Tau jet packs, or Tyranids or Mutants with straight-up wings) but trained living mounts are perfectly suited to close combat.

 

As others have mentioned, how you get them there is another story.  They are a specialist tool, best suited for mobile forces (whether those be melee cavalry or dragoon-style skirmishers) in very dense terrain.  If you're dead set on a classic cavalry charge, you could give weapons specialists grenade launchers or mortars loaded with smoke rounds, allowing them to create their own cover.  There is also the possibility of alternate mounts, I've always considered chocobos myself.

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They are a specialist tool, best suited for mobile forces (whether those be melee cavalry or dragoon-style skirmishers) in very dense terrain.

 

Dense terrain is not a very good environment as if there is something that can kill cavalry then it is a multi-level building or other such terrain feature.  

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I am thinking it MIGHT have been meant, and I don't know, that against some vehicles, mounted cavalry might have an advantage in packed terrain. If you can't waste ammo just blasting our burning the forest out of your way, your tanks could be slow-moving, lack facing for attacks, and just suck. German and American tanks both learned to hate trees and such in WWII. Something like a Rough Rider could surge in, faster than most infantry could counter, and protected against most of said vehicle's guns, stab with their boom stiks, and flee. Dragging that damaged tank out for repairs could be a chore, too.

 

I'd still personally prefer the fast-moving, stabilized heavy weapons or special weapons (even Space Marines don't put a lascannon on an AB sidecar, I suppose) attack bikes, but minusing out the hunting lances, if a cavalry squad happened to be kitted with IMO "better" weapons, such as guns, sabers, or maybe even recon gear, I'd be pretty happy to ride a nasty beast, or maybe even "just a horse." Suppose nothing in the regiment builder mandates cav having those tiki torches from hell. If IG weren't relegated to often unspectacular gear, something less than, but similar to the Consort Honor Blade (RT:LotE, p.82) or the Guardian Spears; certainly nothing so grandiose, but a weapon both useful at range, and still good for closing, if needed. Well, I'll cut myself off before the snowflake syndrome flares full up again. ;)

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Do Mounted Riders benefit from the Hit and Run movement rule from the Core Rulebook? That might make them a more appealing option.

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Do Mounted Riders benefit from the Hit and Run movement rule from the Core Rulebook? That might make them a more appealing option.

 

Mounted Characters have their own variant "Strike and Fade" in Hammer of the Emperor p.134* . It doesn't seem to have the same danger as "Hit & Run" has when failing the Weapon Skill Test by three or higher (Going Out of Control/Crashing)

 

*(There are also more actions specifically for live mounts)

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K, so if anyone other than the Imperium and certain Chaos forces used living? mounts, then we'd have something. However, minusing those and some Kroot, mechanical conveyance is the way of the day.

This isn't an accurate description of the lore of the game world.

As you stated, Kroot ride beasts such as Knarlocks.

Orks often use cybernetically altered boars as cavalry units (although the models for these have been lacking for a few editions)

Eldar Exodites are often depicted riding large repitillian beasts similar to the Cold Ones in fantasy.

Tyranids beasts by design,

Certain space marine chapters have recently been depicted using cavalry (Fenris Wolf Cav, or whatever they're called)

So yes, most of the races in 40k have forces that use some kind of cavalry in the lore. The only real exception is the Necrons.

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K, so if anyone other than the Imperium and certain Chaos forces used living? mounts, then we'd have something. However, minusing those and some Kroot, mechanical conveyance is the way of the day.

This isn't an accurate description of the lore of the game world.

As you stated, Kroot ride beasts such as Knarlocks.

Orks often use cybernetically altered boars as cavalry units (although the models for these have been lacking for a few editions)

Eldar Exodites are often depicted riding large repitillian beasts similar to the Cold Ones in fantasy.

Tyranids beasts by design,

Certain space marine chapters have recently been depicted using cavalry (Fenris Wolf Cav, or whatever they're called)

So yes, most of the races in 40k have forces that use some kind of cavalry in the lore. The only real exception is the Necrons.

 

I have never seen a cy-boar, so I didn't imagine Orks riding one-guy mounts; Squiggoths, certainly, but nothing their scale of a horse or Knarloc. Feel sorry for such beasts.

Eldar on living mounts are High Elves; no one really seems to see Exodites.

Do any Nids move AS cavalry?

Space Marines DON'T ride animals; GW makes a fancy model for one of their even more than Space marine lines, and it looks cool, that's about it.

 

Okay, now that I'm done spouting crap, some of which is likely untrue, most of the technically advanced races DO use machines, rather than F&B animal mounts. Part of my rib is that, while GW doesn't always model everything that exists, or have enough variety to reflect everything they claim exists (female Guardsmen, for example), I've seen very few animal mounts in the minis range; those are for Fantasy, like the cool Slaanesh Chaos Lieutenant on a Steed of Slaanesh a friend of mine made. So, thus I claim that few use them, even if some I didn't consider, or think of, do.

 

Still, babbling about who gives a horse's ass about the horses one rode in on, I still wonder if the mounted riders on machines benefit, once they get where they are going. Horses, and their related mounts are CERTAINLY useful up close; depending on what you are riding, they can bit, claw, kick, pin, or whatever have you, and most are not so fast that you can't swing as you go by. Just not sure if the bike, or what have you, is so similar. Eldar on jetbikes are cool, and in TT are very good, but in RPG, I'm not sure how well they can hit as they ride by at "your dead" speed, and just hovering there, so I can attack, I'm not so agile as an Eldar should be, in dodging attacks. Almost want the Warboss to have a convoluted ejection/catapult contraption that throws him over the front, and into the fray, since I'm not sure how his bike helps him in assault (no Toughness boost, extra Wound, or special rules for disengaging here.)

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