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I notice a lot of people posting in the High Elf section of the forum seem to set up their army lists with a view to making flank charges on units - in fact that seems to be some people's only justification for taking a unit of Phoenix Guard (to use as a unit to bog down an enemy unit while you manouvre another unit to be able to make a flank attack).
My question is this:- how many times have people actually been able to make flank attacks?
Since my friends and I started playing Warhammer again I can only recall two flank attacks in the games we've played. Both went against me as the High Elf player, and both were from follow-through from a previous combat (where I'd had to wheel a unit to try and fend off something coming up on my flanks).
As a High Elf general fighting battles against predominantly Empire and Orcs & Goblins my main concern (other than forgetting important things, such as my White Lions are stubborn and so test on unmodified leadership on break tests - hopefully won't make that mistake more than once) is setting up to try and avoid getting flanked. Maybe it's because those two armies have comparatively cheap troops and thus more units and so I'm always at risk of being flanked unless I sit back for several turns and try and inflict damage with my bolt-throwers and magic.
So I am missing an obvious trick with my armies, or is everyone else banking on a tactical option that's highly unlikely to come up?
Due to the numbers you are facing the chances are that you will not get a flank charge. Empire a disciplined so you can't put units in dumb places using frenzy etc.
I don't often get flank/rear charges with rank and file but it isn't that rare with cavalry/ dragons. A lot of it depends on how you line your units up the turn before you get charged I suppose but most opponents will spot a trap and only fall into it if they are confident that they can get out of it.
To force opponents into a trap you have to have enough shooting/magic that they are afraid of staying out of combat otherwise they can just wait till the numbers suit them.
So yes and no, I also think that White Lions near a BSB make a better unit for tieing up for a turn or 2, their stubborn has served me better than PG Ward Saves.
Hope it helps.
a lot of it depends upon your army list.
I've played lists with small 6-7 WL units designed specifically for flanking the enemy. I have also used reavers and shadow warriors and even dragon princes as flanking units as well.
But on the whole, a high elf force is usually outnumbered therefore making flanking more difficult to come by or position.
Small units of DPs and SMs are your best for flanking operations - big numbers of high WS and S attacks and you can throw in an Elyrrion banner - WLs are obviously more elegant as they have the woodsman ability - but it really relies on setting up a flanking unit that can steamroller in through difficult terrain, or be mobile enough to do it whilst the enemy is stuck in a combat.
Put your cavalry out on your flanks, and let the enemy choose between being charged by a big block of X, and simultaneously flank charged by your flankers (or vice versa).
A noble with a star lance thrown in with those DPs can make a mess of heavily armoured units, too.
It's a tough one to pull off, though.
You could try and bog down a unit using something resilient like a large spearman block or PGs and then follow it up with a flank.
High Elves rarely get to make a flank charge. Because of the linear nature of warhammer, the 'wider' army will often get the flanks. Elven infantry is a compact mass, and pulling units in from the sides in order to 'flank' is just a way to make the army smaller and give the enemy more opportunity to make a rear charge into your flanking unit.
However, I play a list composed primarily of cavalry. I can almost always force a flank charge through sheer strength of will. By charging the enemy and creating a 'hole' in his line, I alienate one or more units into a smaller group. This group is less able to defend itself because it is no longer as 'wide', and the effective range of cavalry charges makes my mounted elements much 'wider'. Once the enemy is alone, I can flank him with impunity.
However- also note that just because you aren't always going to get your flank charge, doesn't mean that you should not be taking a hard 'anvil' unit. Such units do make a good center for your army, as they are very resolute and help to ensure that your center does not get punched out. You can afford to lose men on the extreme flanks, as that is minimal "erosion" damage to the army, and does not break the phalanx. Losing your center though, makes you an opportune target for the "divide and conquer" tactic, and that will almost always be your downfall.
See, I'm not convinced about HE cavalry at all. For the cost of DPs I'd rather take double the amount of SMs - although as both the armies I've played so far are scared to death of the SMs, they tend to resemble pin cushions by the time any survivors get through the barrage of magic and shooting into combat. When I did field DPs they were running after the second round of combat due to the necessarily low numbers of them fielded leading to them being outnumbered
Likewise I'm not too sure about dragons having played a DM once - about the only good thing I can say about that is that my Empire opponent now blows 30 points on the Orb of Thunder every time to try and ruin my day should I happen to field another dragon. Having said that, I have considered taking a dragon as a monstrous mount should we play a larger points game than we have to date.
At the moment I'm tending towards taking 2 units of WLs as the core of my army - 15 or 20 depending on the points level, with a Prince going into one and a Noble BSB into the other, with a L2 mage in each unit. After I've taken my RBTs and the compulsory core units (so far I've taken 1 or 2 units of 10 spears depending on the points level, but since everything they come up against has no problem killing them or fending off their attacks, I'm planning on going for archers next so I should hopefully be able to knock a few models off larger unit blocks or get at war machine crew) I'm going for either a single unit of 10 SMs or a couple of smaller units.
Either way I'm only starting the games with 5 - 6 units (four of which won't be very strong numbers-wise). The best result I've had so far was against the Orcs & Goblins, where the necessity of not charging in straight away becuase of fanatics meant I hung back in a narrow core, making use of magic, RBTs and the Reaver Bow to whittle down the enemy units. Every time I've gone for a wider deployment after a couple of turns I'm looking nervously at something nasty heading towards the units closest to the flank.
This is a great discussion.
It seems to me that the ability to flank really depends on the army you play against. For example, I played a friendly this past weekend against Dwarfs (1250 pts). I was thinking since I was so much quicker than him that I would be able to flank easily. I had 5 Reavers, 5 SW (set up in a forest toward the middle) 5 WL and 5 SM, all for the purpose of flanking the guys who charged into my block of spearmen. What a rude awakening when I discovered that a unit of Quarallers and a unit of Thunderers and a BT are more than capable of defending the flanks of those Dwarf Warriors.
Not only that, but for me the game always seems to unfold in a way that I wasn't expecting. With all the fleeing/rallying and repositioning that goes on, flanks seem to come up unexpectedly when there are several units from both sides that are meeting up in the middle. Sometimes the opportunity comes up and sometimes it doesn't. When I get flanked by my opponent, I can usually see how it is the result of a bad maneuver or lack of foresight when planning how to attack him.
Vase- it really does help to know what kind of foe you will be facing. Armies like Vampire Counts, who field close-knit waves of troops, who can convincingly flood the field from corner to corner, make it very difficult. However, it is fortunate that those armies often ALSO rely on getting flank charges against our superior fighters, and we can beat them through combat resolution.
One thing to note is that my friend and I (both HE players) have almost NEVER been flanked. Elves are so much faster than their foe, that we can strike pre-emptively. Angling our units slightly outwards towards enemies who try to get our army's flank can ruin their day.
"you have an 8 inch charge? Well, I charge 10inches, I think I'll hit you first..."
There are several advanced tactics that can give us the opportunity to flank an enemy. Redirecting charges with eagles is a personal favorite. Place an eagle at an angle, and get him JUST close enough to the enemy that one corner of the enemy unit clips him on it's way to your big unit. Since the enemy has to line up against you, they will have to wheel to get into base to base with the eagle. Now they are exposed to flank charges.
Additionally, you can go for spilt deployment, where you intentionally leave a gap in the middle of your army and deploy it as two independent forces. When the enemy moves to attack one of the sides, the other side comes around like a boxer's hook-punch, and catches his flank.
Finally, understand what you are using as the 'anvil' and what will be your flanking 'hammer'. It seems to me that you are using Phoenix Gaurd as your anvil, but that you are spending points elsewhere that is causing your army to run thin on troops. Perhaps if you made that 'anvil' into a unit of cheaper Spear-Elves with the Warbanner, you could use the points that you saved to get some larger Elite units. Remember, the Anvil only needs to hold for 1 round, and doesn't have to win combat on it's own. If it could win alone, you wouldn't be spending points to get flankers. If you DO choose to stick with the PGs or another Special choice Anvil, don't under-estimate Silver Helms or even Ellyrian Reavers as flankers. DPs are very powerful, but once again- they could almost take down a unit on their own, and having two mutilating units working together on one target is just over-kill. All you need is a unit that can hold the line, and a unit that negates ranks and gets a +1 flank bonus. Reavers are great for that. They're cheap, manueverable, and can actually do limited damage on the charge. SHs are nice too- a little slower, a bit more pricey, but nonetheless MORE damaging when they hit.
This thread needs a bump. It's too good to die with so little discussion
Like I said in an earlier post, the opportunity to flank seems to come up rather unexpectedly sometimes. I just played a game recently where my rather large unit of WL flanked a giant. I would never have planned for something like that (the unit had 15 models in it to start the game). The WL are slower than the giant and much more difficult to maneuver. But in the 5th turn of the game the opportunity presented itself. I was able to maneuver and kill the thing in the last turn.
Like has been mentioned by CaptainSarathai, this flank came about because the WL had punched through the middle of my opponent's line and was able to head toward a wing to engage in a combat that was already taking part.
Against the Orcs, it is more likely that you in that narrow corridor NOT because you had more time to shoot him, but because he was unable to bring his much larger force to bear against your smaller one, and that he had to spend extra time bringing his wings in off his own flanks, to reach your army (think the 300 at Thermopoly)
Additionally, whenever you're in a wide deployment, try 'false flanks'. Put extraneous units, possibly even cavalry, on your own flanks and then deploy your army with a "center" in mind. This center needs to be a self sufficient fighting force that can defend it's own flanks. It's certainly going to be bigger than just a single unit.
When your opponent strikes for the 'false' flanks of your army, rush them away. You can bring them behind your force, or be more bold and launch a sudden march/charge across your own front. This leaves the enemy stranded out far from the fight, and he'll need to leg it for a turn or two to get back the fray. Of course, the long you wait to do this, the more risky it is to your 'bait' units, but the steeper the angle of redirection is (which means he's got to reform/wheel even more before moving)
The two variations of this can be found in my cavalry tactica. The first of course is to cram that 'center' down your enemy's throat. Then your previously 'false flanks' wait for your foe to funnel down onto those units, and then charge his newly exposed flanks.
The other variation is the WH equivalent of a shield and sword. Your shield (that tough center) deploys on one extreme flank, and the 'sword' (your fast moving flank chargers) deploy on the other. The enemy will move towards either:
The shield- you charge with the sword, moving at an extreme angle and hitting his flanks
The sword- you quickly scamper away to redeploy, leaving him far away from your units, where your RBTs, Archers, and Mages can do more damage to him as he tries to redirect.