Friday, February 2, 2018

Real PvP: The Battle of Knob Creek

Greetings, cannon fodders.

The Phalanx [300] has been at war, so I have been busy with fighting.

Today I bring you a Real PvP article directly from the front lines: the Battle of Knob Creek. This operation is representative of regional siege warfare in Illyriad. Knob Creek was a medium range siege fought in eastern Pawanallpa with a medium sized siege force. A SIN-300 team besieged the Tank [Hell] city of Knob Creek from a small hill position. Most siege camps were launched from our core stronghold of Fellandire. Fighters from [Hell] and [Aesir] constructed a standard defense of both clearing forces and city reinforcements. One sally forth attempt was made and defeated. Ultimately the city was razed by PublicRelations [SIN] after a 46 hour battle.

Context


War has existed for months between several SINdicate alliances (including the Hashashin [SIN], Loki [Asatru], Mos Eisley Cantina [TA2IN], The Phalanx [300]) against a coalition of alliances including Aesir [Aesir], Murder of Crows [mCrow], Hellfire [Hell], The Unbowed [Unbow], The Saints [SAINT], Eagles Eyrie [EE], The Elgean Alliance [TEA], Storm [Storm] and others. The war declarations have not been entirely uniform.

On 18 Jan 2018, The Phalanx [300] formally declared war on Aesir [Aesir]. Fighting had already existed in the Pawanallpa region between SINdicate and Grand Alliance forces. Into this conflict, the Phalanx entered with a shock attack strategy, successfully razing 11 Aesir cities in 4 days. During these operations, Phalanx sieges were struck by Hellfire players attempting to defend their allies in Aesir. Additional sieges were deployed, and several more were attacked by Hellfire troops, including stalwarts from a dwarf named Tank.

At that time, a decision was made for a joint operation against Tank [Hell] Knob Creek.

Mechanics


The legendary city of Knob Creek was approximately 27000 population. The main city tile was a 6 food plains square located at [810|-1757]. Seven of the surrounding tiles were plains, optimal for a cavalry clearing defense, with a small hill on the Northwest corner.

The SINdicate siege was targeted at the NW small hill. A weak but fast blockade was deployed to the SE corner, along with small opportunistic blockades to other squares. The main blockade landing was scheduled to arrive after siege bombardment had commenced.

To give Tank less warning, the siege was launched from PublicRelations [SIN] city of Bilingual Dwarf in Pawanallpa. The siege travel time was reduced to 20 hours.

Strategy


Prior Hashashin and Asatru sieges in Lapo'Lua had worn down enemy clearing attackers. The previous Phalanx sieges in eastern Pawanallpa had also drawn out some Grand Alliance armies.

To confuse the enemy, a diversion siege was launched against Frances of Oz [Hell], Pair a Dice Beach, two days ahead of the Knob Creek siege. The south building tile seemed likely to draw out enemy stalwarts.

Initially, we concluded that the 6-food, 27000 population Knob Creek was overbuilt, and would therefore quickly lose population. To accelerate building implosion due to negative food, t1 cavalry clearing waves were scheduled at +14, +16, +18, +20, +24, +26 hours from siege landing. Sieges take 12 hours to set up and start firing, so the clearing waves started arriving at 2 hours after bombardment started. In addition to taking food, a clearing wave will also remove building materials that can be used to prestige build structures, a technique used to keep the city above raze population (25% original population) and prolong the siege.

t1 cavalry was selected primarily for its carrying capacity. Its greater speed was also a factor, allowing it to be launched after the siege itself was already enroute and visible as enemy incoming to the city.

The orc Tool [Aesir] had reinforced several cities with kobolds against previous sieges, so we felt it was necessary to give the battering rams at least two good volleys against the wall. Holding the blockade during the early siege was also important, to minimize prestige building of the damaged wall.

Briefing and Launch Schedule


Note: typically army sizes and home cities are sensitive information. I mailed Tool prior to posting this section, and he was able to provide a full XML battle report that showed all our forces. There is no information posted in this section that the enemy hasn't already seen in full detail.





Execution of the Plan


The team performed admirably on the launch schedule. Unfortunately, we later discovered that I had made an error on one of Tinkinator's army assignments. One spear army was set to arrive at -5 hours instead of -5 minutes prior to siege landing. This mistake demonstrates how fragile siege plans can be, even with excellent teamwork. The early arrival of a real spear army confirmed to Tank that this was a live siege, not a diversion. Luckily he did not exodus away from the incoming forces. Even when an opponent doesn't take the opportunity to flee, an early reinforcement arrival can give give away the landing zone and give the enemy extra time to launch clearing forces. In this particular scenario, there was only one weak point (the NW small hill), so everyone already knew where the all troops were going.

PublicRelations [SIN] made contact at 31 Jan 2018 18:13, precisely on schedule.

The Battle Begins


A notation of (#)xE indicates elite commanders. While these tiny armies are not a major factor alone, over dozens of attacks they can often inflict significant damage in aggregate. Elite attacks also serve to exploit the fog of war, because the offensive team perceives a much larger number of enemy attacks approaching the siege camp.

All attacks are from [Hell] players unless otherwise noted. 

City clearing attacks from the SINdicate are highlighted in red.

The damage percentage listed is against the current stack of troops at that time. Sometimes armies arrive or depart during a siege (although I don't believe that happened much here), so it can be difficult to provide a percentage reduction compared with the very first siege camp.



The Sally Forth


After the initial six waves of clearing cavalry, several enemy players reinforced Knob Creek with kobolds. These spear armies were large enough to block the 20000 runerider raze force. Since we had no further scheduled cavalry clears, these 212000 kobolds became a significant obstacle to completing the operation.

At 01 Feb 23:53, the city of Knob Creek launched a Sally Forth maneuver against the SIN-300 siege. The attackers lost 33% of their army (about 70000 kobolds), causing only 6% damage in the exchange. As the attack was almost completely composed of kobolds, it was very unlikely to succeed against an entrenched defensive force of bows, kobolds, and halbardiers.




The Conclusion of the Battle


The surviving city defenders were joined by a final 77000 kobold army from Hank [Hell] Haus. Because the siege had gone much longer than we expected, there were no planned clearing armies sweeping the city. The first response army was from Kaggen [SIN] (20000 knights), followed by PublicRelations [SIN] (2000 packsmen, 4000 runeriders), and finally Spike [300] (10000 chariots). These cavalry armies cut through the kobolds on plains, paving the road for a PublicRelations raze at 02 Feb 16:53. 

The siege lasted approximately 46.5 hours, which was considerably longer than planned.



Aftermath


A handful of strikes continued to land after the raze had been completed. Transit time for messengers from Fellandire was approximately 10 hours. Darifal [Aesir] landed two final strikes that totalled 108000 stalwarts. More yellow armies touched the siege square after the final green armies had departed around 03 Feb 04:00.

Conclusion


This siege operation highlights what's fun about Illyriad warfare. The initial plan encountered the enemy, went well for a while, and then suffered a major roadblock. Due to the distances and travel times involved, it becomes challenging to address problems over medium distance (900 squares). The battle was well fought by both sides. While the sally forth was a risky move, the unexpected reinforcements should highlight the defensive advantages of nearby allies and of being able to see direct incoming armies.

The losses to the rams and catapults should reinforce the necessity of using redundant siege engines so that you always have the maximum 30 fire every hour, even after medium casualties. If we had started with a 30 ram, 30 catapult army, our firing rate would have quickly started to degrade with each major strike.

Always remember, my dear cannon fodders, that the further your forces get from home, the harder it becomes to control the ebb and flow of the battle. That goes triple in an enemy cluster. 

Until next time:

Misbehave, kill lots of stuff.

<^^^^^^^^||==O    Skint Jagblade

2 comments:

  1. After casualties were tallied, it looks like approximately 25% of the original siege camps survived. 75% of our defenders were destroyed, although much of the damage was from the two Darifal hits after the siege was already successful.

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  2. You don't need to promote yourself on your blog. I thought this was about information for newbs, everyone not to show off how good you are.

    ReplyDelete