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BiggsIRL

Why Start A New Thread - Steel Command August

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Oh, good start.

I think I might seek a bit more differentiation. If we're going to use the Holy Trinity of Warfare, we need to talk about infantry, cavalry, and artillery, and variations thereof.

For Infantry, we'll consider four categories (there are move, and there is admittedly overlap between these):

(1) Skirmishers. Light, fast infantry, less well defended, potentially more lightly armed, intended to screen a main body and shape the enemy's attack. They need to be augmented for heavy offense, and need good terrain to defend well. Rebel Troopers are pretty close here (bleeding with the next role).

(2) Line infantry. Jack of all trades, master of none. They attack and defend decently unsupported, have steady if unsurprising movement, and form the core of the army. They have the offensive power to seize ground and the defensive power to hold it. Stormtroopers (bleeding with the next role), Fleet Troopers, Rebel Troopers (who are borderline skirmishers as well).

(3) Assault infantry. Heavy troops designed for direct assaults against fortified positions; they are mobile, if perhaps slower (unless transported) and heavily armed. Darth Vader and Luke are assault infantry (bleeding in to the next role). Stormtroopers are almost this role; Snowtroopers certainly are. The upcoming Commando assault squads might fill this role (TBD)

(4) Specialist Infantry. These fill out niche roles, often with specialized weapons. All the Legion squads can arguably add some specialization particularly with ion weapons, but aren't truly specialists -- we're probably going to see it filled with the sniper squads from the Commandos and scout expansions. Boba Fett is specialist infantry, as may be many operatives.

For Cavalry, we have two roles:

(1) Light cavalry. These units predominately perform reconnaissance , screen the flanks of friendly forces, or exploit flanks and seams of enemy forces and rapid penetrations to get into rear areas and overwhelm softer units.  They can fight for information, but typically favor mobility over protection. Speeder bikes are quintessential light cavalry; AT-RTs are their slower-moving cousins.

(2) Heavy cavalry. Designed to punch a hole in the defender through a balanced combination of mobility, protection, and firepower; they use the shock effect of mass plus firepower to create gaps that can be exploited by more mobile units. Airspeeders perform the heavy cavalry role as do AT-STs (though AT-STs have a secondary function).

Artillery, also two roles:

(1) Indirect fire artillery, providing suppressing and disrupting fires across the battlefield. We have to true indirect fire units in Legion as yet.

(2) Direct fire artillery, providing line-of-sight suppressive and destructive fires against point and area targets. Veers, Leia, the FD 1.4 tower, the E-web, and the AT-ST are all direct fire artillery -- though only the AT-ST and Leia can effectively engage area targets (the AT-ST via multiple weapons and its Arsenal ability, especially with Weiss).

There are also Support roles which typically don't provide much direct combat power but enhance the effectiveness of units; we can argue that Leia and Veers have Support roles when not using their artillery command cards. Hopefully we'll see more units in this space as the game evolves.

Combined arms is the approach which combines elements of the Holy Trinity to employ them to best effect. Normally artillery is most effective against infantry and vulnerable to cavalry (thus far true in Legion), cavalry is most effective against artillery and vulnerable to infantry (so far true in Legion), and infantry is most effective against cavalry and most vulnerable to artillery (somewhat true in Legion, but weakened by insufficient artillery variety).

Effective combined arms employs the arms in concert to support each other and create advantages that can be exploited by different elements. If you know the terrain and opponent you're playing in Legion, you could build an exact army to optimize for the engagement.  But since objectives, setup, terrain, and perhaps opponent are variable, you probably  want a force that has some balance of capability. An approach,, for example:

- A screening and flanking force, used to keep your opponent away from critical units and to exploit weakness or unprotected flanks. Choose 1-2 light cavalry units or equip skirmisher infantry.

- A line element that is the bulk of your force and can support other specialists as well as hold ground (objectives) -- several squads of line infantry.

- An assault element to break through lines. This can be either heavy cavalry or assault infantry.

- Direct fire support to eliminate large threats or reduce points of assault. 1-2 units, potentially enabled by or through specialist infantry if you don't want to invest in a dedicated artillery piece.

An example of offensive tactics (Breakthrough): deploy a screening force to the front to delay your opponent while locating the point for your breakthrough assault. Use terrain or a board edge to screen one flank while sending a flanking unit around the other to distract your enemy and potentially seize an opportunity to get into his rear. Move up line & assault units, and when you've identified your point of penetration suppress/destroy the units that can influence that point with direct fire while your assault element assaults. Line infantry then follows and exploits behind the assault, also helping to ensure your assault unit(s) do not get cut off and whittleed down.

An example of defensive tactics (Recover supplies / Intercept transmissions). Move screening forces as far forward as possible to make contact with your enemy and hold or delay then while you move line infantry up to positions to control your key terrain and objectives. Position direct fire elements to support your line infantry by destroying enemy assault and direct fire support. Maintain your assault elements as a mobile reserve, moving them to stop enemy penetrations (first priority) or shore up weakened lines (second priority).

A note on Commanders: You need commanders for their command abilities and ability to influence units, so the commander's abilities should be picked to match the type of units and balance in you force.  But they are also combatants in their own right, so your choice of commander can play a role in your army as a combat arms function. Pick Luke or Vader if you need additional assault capability; Leia or Veers if you need direct fire support at a key moment. Han looks to fill more of a skirmisher/specialist infantry role, moving quickly and sniping from close range.

Discuss ...

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Both the Steel Command article and Hawstrike writeup are great, though I tend to agree more with Biggs, seeing Luke as more of a (medium) cavalry unit. As for specialist, I do believe the weapons team would fulfill that niche, even if full scout/commando squads would fall into line or assault infantry category. 

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