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-The Use of Light Infantry -by Paul Bruffell-


Light infantry should primarily be used to keep the enemy missile troops from your main infantry body and to harass the enemy main line. Missiles will weaken but will not destroy an enemy MI / HI unit. It is possible to create such losses to an enemy unit that their morale is shaken and they rout from the battlefield. However, it is unlikely the enemy will stand and receive missile fire sufficiently long without taking some counter measure such as the use of his cavalry.

Light infantry are therefore first and foremost considered as skirmishers and missile troops. Light infantry without missiles are effectively useless and a liability as their loss will award victory points to your opponent. The only time you should consider moving your LI in to combat is to engage the enemy LI.

The nemesis of the Light Infantryman is the enemy cavalry. If caught by MC or HC shock troops your LI can be eliminated within 2 turns. Good practice is therefore to provide support for your LI with either MI or HI or some cavalry of your own.

Where the support comes from the MI or HI, please your missile troops just 2 hexes ahead of the heavier infantry. This allows your heavier infantry to charge through and protect them. If cavalry are the supporting group then ensure they can reach your LI within ¼ of their movement allowance again to protect them from oncoming enemy units. Remember your own units can not charge through your LI unless the combined stack level is 100% or below. An example is shown below where HI is providing the support.

Skirmishers

Skirmishing is the use of missiles on the move. LI with missiles can skirmish but use 30 action points for every volley fired. This means that you need to move no more than 60 action points if you are reserving sufficient points for volley fire. 60 action points is three clear hexes so this is the most they can move if you intend them to fire once the enemy come in to range. If the enemy unit(s) is already in range then use of the skirmishing command will result in the missile troops firing first before any movement.

Foot archers can also fire overhead and therefore over intervening friendly forces. This overhead fire does reduce the archers range for the composite bow from 9 hexes to 6 hexes so it is usually necessary to place your archers directly behind your main line for overhead fire as seen below.

Archers Overhead

The other key role players often forget is LI are excellent scouts with rapid movement of 90 action points and low cost penalties for movement through Close terrain.

These are your eyes in FOW and can quickly scout out previously unobserved areas. The tactical benefit of knowing your enemy position and composition far outweighs the possible loss of a few LI units.

More to come...