The Arts of War:
1. Form a Strategic Plan.
2. Placing Troops.
3. The ĎHornetís Nestí
4. Delaying Positions.
5. Protect your flanks.
6. Use of reserve regiments.
This is very basic really, all it is, is numbers. If you have a site worth 10 VP and they have one worth 5 VP, you should play defensively. Sometimes it is trickier, two equal VP sites, a 100 difference between the respective VP totals etc.
Despite the very basic level that this is, and how simple it appears to be it never stops people making mistakes of one kind or another, the answer to this is always look at the Scenario scores screen to make sure you have found all the VP sites. If you missed one in your initial check of the map (as is often the case)
Infantry:CAREFULLY inspect the land at the start of the Scenario, if a VP is in a valley in open ground donít deploy your troops there, this may seem obvious but the number of times I have seen it done is painful. If at all possible deploy your main battle line in sheltered ground (forest, orchard,) in front of the VPís, so if your line is battered backwards you can plug the gaps and hold before they reach the VP.
Donít divide your forces if at all possible, this is because, in defense two isolated positions are easy to pick off with a larger force, basically if you are in defense and have two all-important VPís separated by over a mile and a larger attacking force, you are gonna have a very tough time. If the VPís are close together you can switch troops between the two. The best way to deal with the far apart VPís is to only man one of them properly, say leave a regiment on the other VP and try to develop a three sided hornets nest, if possible (see section 3) around your position.
If you are flanked on one or both sides with no reserves to counter it, unless there is no time left and this is the all-important VP, run like hell, there is no point trying to hold your position against such odds. If you stand and contest every inch all your troops will be heavily beaten up or routed. Thing is, when you retreat it buys you a brief (at least 30 seconds) respite with which to organize another line further back and reorganize yourself, normally, the attacker will wait for a minute or two before they carry on just so they can regroup their brigades and rest them to clear some stress. If the enemy come on almost immediately do not try to put your troops into brigades, make them fight where they are, just try to straighten the line in time. When I say retreat I mean either marching away from the area or using the retreat command until you have completely broken contact over all your front then forming an ad hoc line of regiments moving them as little as possible in the process, just enough to get the morale advantages of the linear support blacks (left and right)
Always line up your brigades in covered ground wherever possible; remember that when they kneel down that means they are invisible to the enemy.
I consider the double line in defense to be pointless, it is much better to form the regiments into line in maneouver column positions (see below)
Sometimes it is necessary to deploy troops thicker than they would be deployed normally, for instance in an ambush of troops in column you want to destroy the enemy before they can react. You can deploy a brigade into maneuver column on the tree line (to keep them hidden) then press the Ďbí key followed by the spacebar in quick succession and all the regiments deploy into line in their current position. Unless you have got very small regiments (20-125 men) you get a concentrated fire that routs one or two regiments before the enemy has time to react.
Wait for the columns to stop moving
Then press B quickly followed by the spacebar and hey presto.
OK, the placing of artillery can be tough, I will divide it in to two sections, 12 Pound (Napoleons) and Three Inch (Rifles)
12 Pound Smoothbore Cannons:
These Napoleons are the close-range killing power that, when placed right can decimate regiments in a few shots. I'm not going to tell you exactly where you should place your 'Naps' because everybody has their own specific style of play, personally I favor the flank, the Napoleons then can blast great holes in the regiments attacking your center with enfilading fire (fire from the flank). But two batteries of Naps placed in your center will have just the same effect on their flank regiments, it all depends on the position you are holding. If you have the tree line you should place them in an advanced part of that tree line if possible so the battery can turn its fire onto the flank of a regiment in the enemy line (sometimes at right angles to the facing of that regiment)
Napoleons are of use in long-range artillery duels, but remember that they are only half as effective as Rifles at long ranges. At close range, however they are three times as effective as Rifles so keep 'em placed in-between regiments or just behind regiments in your battle line, try to always cover artillery with adequate Infantry support because you will quickly find yourself without any artillery if you leave it out in the open.
If the enemy is heavily occupied you should try to cap their flank with some artillery just outside musket range, this really helps to throw them back double-time.
Three Inch Rifled Cannons:
These rifled cannons are nobody's favorite, they can be used in close-range firefights but don't count on them to save the day, their most effective use is to be put on a hill behind the enemy's flank at medium to long range and to pound away at their fighting regiments. They tend not to kill that many enemies but they add some serious stress to their regiments.
These rifled guns are good for counter-battery work as well, in fact this is where they excel, place them on a hill and they will deal with those nasty enemy napoleons.
The concept of the Hornets nest is to place a large amount of troops into a very small space and support them heavily with close-range cannon, generally on top of a VP or anchoring the Flank. Hornet's Nests are most useful when placed in a small forest or orchard with an open field of fire on the sides where the enemy will attack for the napoleons to do their work.
That was what I believe to be a detailed definition of a Hornets Nest, this can be an extremely effective way of holding of a large enemy with only a small force and should be tried whenever practicable, but don't ever be too confident about the Hornets Nest, it is only as good as the ground it is on.
This is only viable in medium to large battles because in smaller battles, the difference made by one regiment in the battle line can be crucial. It is really your choice whether you use Skirmishers or Battle Lines, if you set small, delaying ambushes you should use the close-packed firepower of the line, whereas in open ground Skirmishers on 'Fall Back' will force regiments to form line and fire a volley, slowing them down, and therefore giving you more time for those reinforcements to arrive.
You can also use Hornet's Nests as a delaying position but retreat just before the enemy has time to co-ordinate an overwhelming force or you will end up with pointlessly routed regiments and batteries.
Try to place delaying positions as far forward as possible from your VP's or they will be your own downfall.
Never place too many men in delaying positions or by the time they get to your main force it will be too small to be effective.
You've got to protect your flank if you are going to survive very long in this game. If numbers permit, try to 'cap' your flank with an artillery battery or a regiment. This means deploying a regiment/battery ready to hit an enemy regiment attacking your line at right angles in the rear, forcing them to retreat quickly. Hornet's Nests are also useful, as is angling your line slightly backward to make it more awkward and take longer to flank.
You can also protect your flank by using reserve regiments, brigades or in extreme cases, divisions. When you place regiments in reserve, as I do very often, you must consider that they must be able to be deployed quickly into your battle line where needed. Generally I would keep them in Column and in woods close to my line as close to the center as possible. Sometimes it is necessary to form regiments into line while they are in reserve, for instance when they are in open ground regiments suffer more stress while under artillery fire while in column. Also if you have 'lost' the position of some enemy troops they may have slipped past your flank and you must be ready for them to charge into the rear of your line.
In a moderate sized battle you may need more than a regiment but less than a brigade, do not be afraid to detach units for reserve duties, just don't try to reform your brigades after an enemy attack. It makes you very vulnerable with all those regiments moving about showing their flank to enemy artillery.