What is the best way to start planning for the upcoming battle?

You should first study the map, where the battle takes place. It is highly important to know its terrain and features, and use those while planning your strategy.

What is the best troop alignment before the battle?

The main idea is that no matter how you locate your troops, they should be aligned to provide the best support for each other. Archers should always have the possibility to retreat behind spearmen or heavy infantry; swordsmen should always rely on the spearmen’s support in case of cavalry charge, and the spearmen should know that enemy heavy infantry, if they charge will be riddled with arrows and run over by the allied cavalry.

What behavior modes are the most preferable to set for the troops?

It all depends on whether you are into attacking or defending. If you prefer the latter, then the best mode for the infantry is to ‘Hold Position,’ hence you can be sure no one will decide to start an early attack and mess up the formations. The archers, placed in front of the main body, should be under ‘Avoid engagement’ so that they retreat behind the main body in case of danger.

If you are into attacking, then it is better to assign the infantry with ‘attack mode’ to let them charge when the time comes. You assign cavalry with ‘Hold Position’ so that it does not act impulsively , and move their pacing by pressing ‘Page Down.’ Foot archers, if they move in front of the main body, should be under ‘Avoid engagement’. If they are behind, then you should assign ‘Hold Position’.

What troops are the best to start the battle with?

It should be your archers. Mounted archers are especially precious. If you prefer defense, these warriors can quickly advance to the enemy, shoot, and retreat bringing the enemy with them towards your defensive positions which are ready to annihilate the enemy.

The same idea goes for attacking the enemy. It is advantageous to send the archers before your main body so that they inflict some damage to the enemy, put the enemy’sir formations into disorder, and also, lure some of their troops to move towards your advancing forces. But be sure to keep an eye on your archers to provide for their timely retreat behind your main army.

What formations are the best to use, and when?

The line is the best formation for the infantry. Spearmen should form a ‘circle’ if you are afraid of being attacked by the enemy cavalry (because then they have neither rear, nor flanks) so they will have a hard time battling them. But when the spearmen are faceing the infantry, then you should put them into a line and make the line as dense as possible. The cavalry can move as wedge. It is preferable when you need to break the enemy lines. But you should always keep in mind that this formation is not as maneuverable as the line, and it is easy to attack.

Both width and depth are important for a formation. It is easy to break a wide but not deep formation, but when you have to attack foot archers with cavalry, for example, it is wiser to stretch the front of the attacking cavalry, so that the cavaliers can kill as many archers as possible in a single blow. Death of large number of warriors in a short period of time almost always entails immediate panic.

It is also important to remember what kind of formation you are using: normal, dense and sparse. The latter type of formation should be taken when you are under enemy fire, hence your losses will be minimal. A normal formation is very good for both close combat and for protection from arrows, whereas the dense formation provides for maximum striking power for the troops making them very vulnerable in case firing. You should group your troops into a dense formation right before they engage in combat.

What troop types are most useful against others?

Spearmen or pikemen are clearly specialists as anti-cavalry units.

In general, swordsmen with shields will make short work of spearmen, pikemen, foot archers and crossbowmen in hand-to hand-combat.

Long-range soldiers (archers and crossbowmen) can inflict heavy losses on all foot troops, but they are very vulnerable to a cavalry charge.

If swordsmen l have time to prepare for a to cavalry charge and close ranks, they may not only sustain the initial strike, but prevail. On the other hand, cavalry will tread spearmen into the ground if the swordsmen don’t have time to take up a defensive position.

Take advantage of the landscape

You should plan all your actions according to the relief of the map. Keep in mind that your long-range troops will receive an accuracy bonus if deployed on heights. Fear not the enemy cavalry in the forest, on ford, marsh land and ploughed fields – they won’t be able to gallop and thus won’t be able to wipe your men off the face of the Earth with a dreadful charge. Small armies can hold back a larger force if you position them in a narrow passage way.

Which tactical tricks are most used in the game?

There are plenty of them, these are the most widely used ones:

“Hammer and anvil” – your forces in the center (usually infantry) hold the main enemy charge, while cavalry and other auxiliaries break enemy forces on the flanks and completely surround them.

“Hammer” – it’s pretty much the same as thye previous example. The idea is to beef up just one flank, usually the left one, smite the right enemy flank and gain the rear of the enemy.

“Cliff” – it’s a purely defensive trick. Your forces assume an all-around defense on a vantage point, using terrain features to cover the flanks and rear if possible. The enemy attacks you at a disadvantage and suffers more losses than you, then you counterattack when his forces are exhausted.

“Waves” – this is the most common trick of nations employing horse archers, it’s highly typical for Mongols. Horse archers harass the enemy, showering his forces with arrows and evade hand-to-hand combat. When enemy forces are depleted, a fatal strike follows.

What should I always keep in mind during combat?

Concentrate your forces, they must support and supplement each other. If you scatter them all over the field the enemy will easily crush them one by one.

Always try to protect your flanks and rear. It’s even better if you can do this using landscape features.

Don’t order several of your regiments to engage the enemy regiment from one side – it’s much better to attack it from different directions.

Attack the enemy when he doesn’t expect it or when he isn’t ready yet, for example, ambush his forces when they are on their march.

Scout for an enemy ambush before moving your entire force into a narrow gorge or forest. Light cavalry or horse archers are best suited for such tasks since they can retreat quickly.

Firing from the maximum range will have little effect, while positioning your archers or crossbowmen on hills gives them an advantage.

Try to surround and destroy any enemy regiments separated from main force before they can regroup.

Disengage the exhausted regiments from the fray and replace them with fresh ones from your reserves if you can, but be careful to not to turn the tactical retreat into a stampede.

Don’t send the battered and shaken troops into the battle first, especially without support from other regiments. They will most likely waver and rout at the first sight of the enemy.

Remember, your regiments influence each other. Dying and running away allies frighten your troops, while dying and routing enemies inspire them.

Presence of a general on the battlefield raises troop’s morale, and the sound of his battle horn may reassure even panicking soldiers.

If you manage to gain the rear of the enemy, the presence of your troops on the flanks and rear of the enemy force alone will lower enemy morale and potentially lead to panic of his troops. Don’t allow the enemy to frighten your soldiers in the same way.

These hints are simple and clear, remember them and you’ll prevail.


The knight detachment, under the command of a noble seignior, is the main gameplay unit for Western European armies in this game. It consists of the seignior's vassal knights and squires. The combat power of knights (the most combat-ready, well-armed and equipped fighters of the Middle Ages and our game) are demonstrated most effectively when they act as a detachment.

A knight detachment is ae primary strike force and a valuable elite unit at the same time. That is why there are few of them, and why each detachment is unique. The most distinctive feature of the detachment is the seignior's “blazon”, which appears on the banner, knights' cottas and shields, horse blankets, and sword bearers' shields. This makes it impossible to confuse two knight detachments, even if they're fighting on the same side. This demonstrates the diversity and spectacle of medieval heraldry.

The truest example of our knight detachment is a "banner," the primary tactical unit of medieval knight armies (an alliance of minor "lances", each comprising a knight and his subordinates, namely servants and squires) under the command of a noble seignior. In order to single out the detachment commander, we styled the outfits of knights and sword bearers in accordance with mid-thirteenth century standards, and those of a seignior in accordance with late thirteenth century standards, mostly those that applied to tournaments.

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You can familiarize yourselves with the main components of a knight regiment using the detachment of Duke John I of Brabant, as an example: the seignior duke, his vassal knights and a squire.

Success of a knight detachment largely depends on the type of formation. The mission determines the placement of each unit in the formation, for example, when a mounted or on-foot attack is undertaken the knights must always be positioned ahead of the main attack force, and the commander should provide the lead. This principle guides the structure of the two main formations used by the attacking knight regiment: a linear battle pattern and a spearhead. The first rank, or the edge of the spearhead, consists of knights led by a seignior. They are followed by a flag-bearing knight and sword bearers in the next ranks of the constellation body.

The density of formations may be different which is important during both offensive and defensive operations. For instance, an on-foot knight detachment, while rebuffing attacks from all sides, may form a tight circle that not every enemy can break.

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Here, you can also see examples of a mounted knight detachment's attack formations: the spearhead of Matthieu de Montmorency, the hero of the Battle of Bouvines and subsequent constable of France. You can also swee the linear battle pattern used by the detachment of Henry de Bohun, a leader of rebellious barons in the Battle of Lincoln, and constable of England.

Make the most of the capabilities of knight detachments in the game. Don't waste them, but you have to, don't hesitate to plunge them into the thick of the battle and they will bring you victory.

Mounted Archers Battle Techniques

Today we will discuss tactics, in particular, the tactics of using mounted archers. In Real Warfare: 1242 mounted archers are a very powerful weapon. Due to the high speed of their horses and their high endurance these riders can easily avoid direct skirmishes while firing deadly arrows in their wake. So, what factors should you consider to make mounted archers your Angels of Death? Let’s describe the most important details.

First, consider the bow skill of the archers. The higher it is, the higher their accuracy is as well.

Second, horse’s gait – walking, trotting or galloping – is also important. When a horse is standing or walking, it doesn’t affect archer’s accuracy, but when his horse is trotting or galloping the accuracy is penalized (-1 while trotting, -2 while galloping).

Third, consider the distance to the target. The longer it is the lower accuracy and killing power is of the archers.

Fourth, it’s also important whether an archer is firing at a usual target or at a pursuer. Having to fire at targets close on your tail, and having them reach at you with spears, you will involuntarily feel uneasy and that will negatively affect your accuracy.

Fifth, consider arrow trajectory: a direct shot is deadlier than a volley.

It is also important to know at what directions an archer can fire and at what he cannot. A mounted archer can fire forward, and turn in his saddle counterclockwise by 90 and 180 degrees. This means that to the right is a dead space.

So, after we have briefly described the key factors of firing efficiency let’s see how to use them in practice.

Mounted archers are ideal for luring enemies from established positions, quickly firing and getting away with it. Do not ever try to gallop your archers to a target, especially if he’s far away. There’s a limit to horses’ endurance, so until the time comes, press 'Page Down' to change gait to walking. My personal favorite is to attack enemies with 2-3 mounted archer troops standing in one direction. One troop leads, while two others support. From that position I send troops along a "stairstep" – diagonally one after another, so the first troop is in front of or slightly to the side of the targeted enemy units. This formation allows archer troops to support each other with fire. If an enemy is reckless enough to chase only 1 or 2 troops, retreating archers will pass by friendly supporting troops that, while walking or standing, will fire at pursuers point-blank. This often results in severe enemy casualties and demoralization. If this is still not enough, I try to retreat, being chased, not along a straight line but in a kind of circle (more on this later) to get the enemy under fire of fresh supporting troops. And I also try to approach pursuers with fresh troops in a parallel but opposite course to fire at close range. This resembles a kind of rotation.

Still, these tactics are not always practical. Suppose we have only a few troops or the enemy is chasing all our troops at once. In this case, you have to do something different but as they say “don’t ever retreat as the wolf chases.” Otherwise, you will pass the initiative to your enemy, and he’ll drive you wherever he wants instead of wherever you want. Secondly, when retreating along the straight line, you’ll get too far from pursuers thus making it harder to shoot accurately. Still, you must not allow the enemy to get too close – remember that hot pursuit penalty? So what do we do? Let the enemy get closer by means of maneuvering. Suppose your enemy drives you along a straight line and you are far enough away already. In this case I usually order to cease fire and save arrows ('N' by default). Then I abruptly change the course by 90 degrees. Just remember to turn archers counterclockwise. Then, having changed the direction by 90 degrees, they will still be able to fire at the enemy (do not forget to release 'N').

If you turn archers clockwise, they won’t be able to shoot due to the aforementioned dead space. They will be forced to wait until the enemy sits to their left again. Changing direction by 90 degrees counterclockwise from time to time at a long enough distance, you will see yourself moving in circles. One of my friends called this "a waltz of death." ;) Sometimes, if the situation permits, you may try a totally bold maneuver: to change course by 160 or 180 degrees, instead of 90, and rush head-on past the pursuers, shooting a few volleys in the process. The effect really is devastating!

All of the above is mainly related to fighting enemy cavalry. Note that it’s clearly easier to deal with infantry. Try to surround them, all while shooting from different directions – preferably from behind or to the right (where there’s no shield). Walk, gallop only if nearly caught, and after breaking free, start walking again. If there are hills, even small ones, occupy them as firing positions to provide an accuracy bonus. Just remember that you must be able to get away from there quickly.

When battling both unmounted and mounted archers, you must be willing to spread out your ranks. This will significantly reduce your casualties. Still, if the enemy has more archers than you, do not engage since you will most likely lose. Do not let the enemy choose your paths of retreat for your mounted archers either. Instead, dictate the rules while retreating along a path you want. Use mounted archers when they are in little to no danger (against cavalry, infantry or small archer troops), use them to spread enemy ranks (lure or thin out by skillful maneuvering without exposing archers to enemy fire), or for fast recon. Remember, mounted archers are intended for surprise strikes, hitting enemy where he cannot defend. You must use mounted archers based on their advantages. As soon as the situation changes, disengage and direct your troops to another advantageous position.

Let’s talk about infantry and how to use it best. All infantry regiments in our game can be roughly divided into the following types:

Foot irregulars — are the most unreliable regiment type. Their morale is low, weapon skill is low, but– what can you expect from hastily armed townspeople that were sent to war? Even such poor warriors can be useful if you know how to use them best though.

They can tie up enemy regiments for some time (while your main forces make a flanking maneuver or fire at enemy) or shield (they do usually have shields) more valuable troops from enemy arrows or bolts. For example, a simple combination of 1 foot irregulars regiment (0 melee skill, 0 armor, 0 morale, costs 190 gold pieces) + 1 regiment of foot militia crossbowmen (3 weapon skill, 1 melee skill, 1 armor, 1 morale, costs 570 GP) will defeat one foot knights regiment (3 melee skill, 3 armor, 3 morale, costs 820 GP).

Spearmen or pikemen — a militia unit, but Russians also have professional spearmen. These troops are typically an anti-cavalry unit, their main task is to defend other infantry from enemy cavalry charges.

Militia foot swordsmen are somewhat better than other militia troops, they’ll make short work of foot archers or the crossbowmen of most factions, but they’ll be in trouble facing professionals. For example foot archers of the junior druzhina. They will also be useful against most spearmen or pikemen.

Professional swordsmen — both the European foot sergeants and foot swordsmen of the junior druzhina belong to this class. It’s the main heavy infantry force of most armies, their backbone.

Elite swordsmen — these battle-hardened veterans are foot knights or foot swordsmen of senior druzhina. They are obviously the best heavy infantry troops, even more capable than professional warriors in the right battle conditions.

Foot two-handed axemen are quite different from other infantry types. They are armed with heavy pole axes that require both hands to wield, making these troops unable to use shields. A successful hit from a heavy pole axe usually means death most of the times, but these weapons lack the speed and accuracy of swords. To use a regiments like this to their full capabilities you should tie up an enemy regiment in close combat with other infantry first and then order the axemen to charge from behind – the result will be devastating. They are also very useful in slaughtering cavalry that is unlucky or foolish enough to get stuck in a melee.

All these unit types combine to make infantry powerful on a battlefield. You should remember that they can fight effectively only as a whole.

Usually, the order of battle for an army consisting mostly of infantry is a classic – ranged troops (archers or crossbowmen) at the front and spearmen or pikemen behind them, so skirmishers can quickly hide behind them in case of a serious danger. Pikemen will cover other infantry from heavy cavalry charges. If (when, more precisely) the enemy orders his heavy infantry, swordsmen with shields, to join the fray our third line consisting of the swordsmen will meet them. Militia and irregulars should act as a backup for the main force and try to flank enemy regiments or encircle them.

The well-known saying “Infantry is the King of Battles” was born in the early modern era, in the Middle Ages this was the other way around. The cavalry was the King of XIII Century battles since most of them were fought on the open plains. However, in other places infantry was much more useful.

One should know where and how to engage in combat using an infantry-based army.

The infantry is perfect for battling in the shallow section of a river, in swampy areas, in the fields and in deep snow. In such environments they can almost forget about the enemy cavalry, however they should be still careful about the archers. Rugged country with lots of rough spots is the best location for infantry combat. Hill tops are always a must for capturing, they are much easier to defend for the infantry units fortified there. Moreover such hills should be carefully chosen to be partially covered with forests, or have a river or a mountain chain. It is important to control bottlenecks. If there are hills over such locations then it’s the best spot for archers. Even a small army can withstand, and hinder or stop the advancement of an army much greater in number in such conditions. Do you remember how it happened at the Pass of Thermopylae?

But one should always remember the number one disadvantage of the infantry – it is slow. So be sure to consider that when planning your actions. While on the march to some strategically important location it is highly advisable to send out light cavalry reconnaissance to make sure there are no enemies ahead of you. Otherwise there is a great risk of facing an ambush and heavy losses. The reconnaissance is required to allow for the positioning of your troops into a combat formation ahead of time.

The best option for the infantry is to await the attack of the enemy cavalry while standing with maximum closed formations (additonally the feeling of a comrade’s shoulder will boost the morale of your troops, and it will make it harder for the enemy to break the formation), however the spearmen should form a circle. It is highly important to make sure that the enemy cavalry never flank or approach your lines from the rear. If the enemy cavalry gets your infantry on the march, the total annihilation of your infantry units or at least serious casualties can be expected. If you find yourself under enemy archer fire be sure to move the swordsmen with shields forward, they are more likely to withstand the enemy fire and will provide cover to your infantry units. Remember that the spearmen are very powerful against the enemy cavalry while in “circle” formation, but in a face-off with the infantry it is recommended to form a closed line. If you do not have any spearmen, or there are just a few of them left, and you are under imminent danger of the enemy cavalry attack, then it is advisable to put less valuable units in front to face the cavalry first. They should not be too worn-out and have lots of wounded units, otherwise it is highly probable that they will panic and retreat way before the combat itself.

Make sure that you have archers behind such closed lines. They will cover other regiments with fire. When the enemy cavalry gets into the first line of your units, flank out your infantry units as quickly as possible. Outflank the cavalry and strike it from the rear, but hurry so that the cavalry does not destroy the front line of your defense and get to your archers.

So let’s sum it all up:

1. Infantry is a very versatile type of troops, which is able to fulfill any combat tasks.

2. Infantry is slow and that’s its key drawback.

3. The infantry is highly vulnerable in open spaces, where the enemy cavalry and archers can flank it and circle.

4. The infantry is perfect when it comes to battles on rough terrain, especially vs. the cavalry.

5. The key enemy of the infantry are archers, especially mounted.

6. The infantry if fortified on a rough location, controlling surrounding paths with archer support, turns into an almost invincible force.

With these basics in mind it will be easier for you to win many battles using your infantry.

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