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Hoaroot Forest


Overview

So, you successfully defeated Dragaa's forces and driven them from the western half of Keldonia. No doubt the Shadow Lord has taken notice, but Dragga is notoriously sloppy, so don't expect any intervention yet. You must now decisively defeat the Orc King's forces and seize control of eastern Keldonia, and from there, you will be able to evict Dragga from Keldonia once and for all, and secure a base of operations for the Council.

Your Army

You will not have any opportunity to increase the size of your army between your first battle and your second, but volunteers will have arrived to join your army, providing you with some extra substance for this battle. You'll need it, since this map is considerably more difficult than the first two. Also be certain that if you only purchased three units before the first battle, purchase your fourth one now!

The Map

While this map is bigger than either of the first two, it is still fairly small. It will feel much smaller than it is due to the river which you will have to cross - you have no choice as it runs north to south the entire length of the map. In addition, there is extensive forests on the opposite side of the river, especially between Linden and the Altar of the Twin, but it should not be a serious obstacle. There are three objectives on this map, one of which is on the same side of the river you start on - the Standing Stones. The other two require river crossings, but you can expect the bulk of the resistance on your advance to the village of Linden, while the Altar is almost more of a diversion than a true objective.

The Strategy

The primary thrust for this battle must be directed towards Linden, both for its economic benefit and due to the fact that it is the only place on the map where enemy reserves can enter the battle. Therefore your primary concern should be capturing the northern-most bridges across the river, and the bulk of your forces must be dedicated towards that end. The Standing Stones can be captured by your light troops and irregulars while the main river crossing is being carried out by the big guns, as these weaker units have not the strength nor power to participate in that operation in any meaningful manner, and indeed, they would only get in the way for there is limited room for maneuver in effecting the river crossing. A force of light, fast troops should be sent to capture the Altar of the Twin - light so as to not detract any vital strength from our primary river crossing (and because we do not expect any serious resistance from this quarter), and fast so that after they do capture the Altar, they will be able to link up with the primary assault force for the final push on Linden.

Troop Placement

Having decided on three task forces, and given that the total troops at our disposal is the same as in the first battle, plus a few volunteers, we must now assess and apportion our meager forces into capable armies. Army Group North, tasked with the capture of the Standing Stones and then exploiting the river crossing, should consist of light troops and irregulars. Army Group Center is the primary assault force that must force the river crossings and lead the assault against Linden. This army will contain all your heaviest and most powerful units, without exception. Army Group South will make a lightning thrust south, crossing the river towards the Altar of the Twin. Needing to be both light and fast, this force will idealy be comprised exclusively of light cavalry (you should have two light cav in your army by now, even if one of them in volunteers - if not, you will need to divert a light infantry, a skirmisher, or a hero or two into this army group. I'll assume you do indeed have two LC, however). With these thoughts in mind, a good split might be: Army Group North: 1SK, 2LI Army Group Center: 1HI, 2AR, 1SE, 2HC Army Group South: 2LC, 1 HC Your volunteers will modify this slightly - in my campaign I have light infantry and apprentices as my volunteers, so I put the LI with AG North and the Apprentices with AG Center. Also note that I listed one HC with AG South - this is purely for administrative purposes, as circumstances may dictate that HC being used by AG Center. If it should prove unncessary, however, the extra strength will be of great assistance to AG South. Basically, that HC should be held in reserve (i.e. be one of the last units you move), so you can move it to wherever it is needed most. In fact, starting with this battle, now is a good time to start thinking in terms of maintaining a strategic reserve. Fast units such as cavalry are the best for reserves, as their speed enables them to reach any threatened sector of the front very quickly - a very necessary characteristic of a strategic reserve force! Reserve forces are also useful for mopping up operations, allowing your main force to continue its advance at as fast a pace as possible. Again, cavalry are useful here for they can spend two or three turns mopping up enemy forces and still not fall behind the main force. But don't be afraid to commit your reserves when necessary - that is what they are there for! ("It was objected that the 6th Armored Division was all we had left. I stated that it could do no good being left, that it was there to fight." -Patton). If an attack is going poorly, or if you feel that just a little more oomph could could turn a marginal victory into a decisive victory, commit them! If all goes well, they can be recalled, rested, and put back into reserve status for use later. My initial placement in the starting area is as follows: SK LI LI LI AR HI SC AR SE HC LC HC HC LC

The First Few Turns

Back to the battle at hand! It is highly recommended that you move your least important armies first, as they may just be able to provide some recon for your main forces. In this case, that means moving AG South first, followed by AG North, and finally AG Center. You should be able to have both light cav from AG South cross the river via the south bridges. They will run into some resistance, but it shouldn't be anything they can't handle. Some light infantry will attack your army group while heavy infantry takes up a position to defend the altar directly. After scattering the light infantry, which should be fairly easy, you can attack the altar from opposite directions, trapping the defenders and allowing you to defeat them at your leisure. AG North should advance directly towards the Standing Stones. They will not be able to attack it on the first turn, but they can position themselves to capture it on the second. Ideally you will want to attack with the skirmishers, to soften up any defenders, a light infantry to dislodge the defenders, and the second light infantry to capture the objective and finish off the defenders. If you are unable to dislodge the defenders or capture the Stones on the second turn, do not get dismayed as the main force will probably need more than two turns to effect a river crossing. Take your time with this army group and don't take any unnecessary losses. AG Center has the most difficult task of all, but the Orc King's lack of tactical skill will pay off here. When AG South made its river crossing, their recon should have revealed enemy forces on this side of the river! A heavy inf and cavalry supported by archers. A formidable position, but there is room for your heavy cavalry to strike the enemy from the flank, hopefully knocking out the archers. But first, you should move your siege engine forward into striking range - to attack the archers if you can, otherwise attack wherever you can inflict the most damage. With that first strike in, now is the time to KO the archers - move your heavy cav in and attack for all that you're worth. You should meet with success, either routing the enemy, or forcing them to retreat into the river where they can not support the other enemy troops. With the archers out of the way, you now need to secure your cavalry from enemy counterattack, so move up your archers to support the cavalry and attack the infantry, then move your heavy infantry in to attack what's left of the enemy infantry. If you manage to rout the enemy infantry, you can move up an additional heavy cavalry to screen the vulnerable archers and finish off the enemy infantry. Any forces still not committed that can reach should now attack the enemy cavalry. With his primary force destroyed on the far side of the river, Dragga will have to struggle to build a new line of defense and you should now be able to cross the river next turn unopposed with at least some of your units.

The End

If you are playing as Calis, Dragon Lord Malric will join your army if you capture the Standing Stones. Malric is easily one of the most poweful units in the game and definitely worth having in your army. Malric can virtually win the air war single-handedly! Mordra will gain Shandel at the Altar, while Calis and Krell will have to wait til the next battle before gaining a hero, but they will gain valuable gold or magic items. Now there is nothing left except to kick Orc King Dragga's sorry ass back into the sea... ;) Please let me know what you think of this article specifically, and about this series in general! :)
eglamkowski@angelfire.com