I’ve been in quite a few campaign battles. I’ve seen a lot of successes and fails with these missions. Here is a quick run-through of what works and what doesn’t with these 8 battles.
Battle 4 – Now called “Cannon Showdown”
NOTE: Ignore the two waypoint marks on the top of the map. They no longer exist. This battle is now just a cannon elimination match, hence the name ‘Cannon Showdown’.
This battle is tricky for first timers. You have these 3 siege cannons and you need to wipe out all 3 enemy cannons and keep at least one of yours alive. Seems easy except that these are SIEGE CANNONS. They have range 8 cannons that do an extra point of damage to the specified target (but 1 point less collateral). What is tricky is that these babies can move 1 hex and then fire (even if they move into a ZOC). So an unlocked unit of 30 men could get shot 3 times and routed instantly. That’s a lot of firepower.
So the battle is misleading a bit. It starts out overly quiet for 2-3 rounds as you get your cannons into an optimal position. And then BAM! Your in a big ass cannon fight.
This battle is actually a big showdown between these cannons. Usually the first cannon that moves into the empty space above gets shot and killed. This is a massive barrel gunfight here.
A manoeuvre tip is try not to crowd your cannons too close together. When adjacent cannons fire the smoke will overlap and have a good chance of muzzling your firepower for 1-2 critical rounds.
This is a dangerous battle for your Commander and SF units. It’s rare to not lose important units on this map.
Also be careful in the middle as if you shimmy up close to the enemy (with trees separating each other), make sure your opponent didn’t pick up a mortar from a previous battle. That one often surprises people, me included.
These cannons also have auto grapeshot. A defensive blast that triggers when a unit melee locks with the cannon. A weak grapeshot blast combined with a melee attack that often destroys size one units. A smart commander focuses upon weakening units near the cannon so that they can’t overcome the defensive blast.
Moving a cannon into the tree-line can help sometimes. You take 1 less damage from cannons and if someone locks you from outside the trees – you can still break away using that rare ‘edge breakaway rule’ that everyone always forgets about. But moving into or out of the trees uses 2 move points and so you can’t shoot at that time so it’s debatable if this is a good tactic. Perhaps best done when the enemy can’t shoot you or your firepower is not needed. It’s one way to avoid cavalry charges.
The last thing to remember about siege cannons is the range is affected my the 1 move they can do. With the move 1 hex and fire it effectively makes them range 9 and range 3 grapeshot. People often get hit by these guys when they think they are ‘just out of range’. You always want to be that extra hex further away from them.