Aristoi Atamarism/Academy/Military Studies
The Military Studies program at the Aristoi Academy intends to teach new nobles the following lessons:
- Recruitment and maintenance of units
- The chain of command - realm hierarchy, general and ruler
- Basic combat tactics
- Unit settings
In short, we want to teach you how to be good soldiers. However, mentor's will also be able to answer any other questions you might have, such as how taxes work or what other classes will be available to you, so please do not hesitate to ask (using the in-game messaging system, of course!).
- 1 Units
- 2 The Chain of Command
- 3 Unit Settings
- 4 Basic Combat Tactics
Obviously, the first order of business for a soldier is to acquire a unit to fight battles with. You probably already have a small unit of 20 to 25 men with some standard equipment and a little training. You probably received this unit from your family (usually extra guards from your family manor). Eventually, however, you are going to need to recruit more men. There are five different kinds of units, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.
|Infantry||Basic melee unit (can only attack units in the same column of the battlefield)|
|Archers||Basic ranged unit (can attack units in adjacent columns, but very weak defense)|
|Cavalry||Very effective against other melee units, but weak defense against ranged units|
|Mixed Infantry||A ranged unit that is significantly more effective in melee than archers|
|Special Forces||A melee unit that is very effective against all other unit types|
(Battlefield "columns" will be explained in the "Field Position" section of the "Basic Combat Tactics" chapter.) You cannot combine unit types. It's either all or nothing. Therefore, it is important to understand how to use each type effectively so that they don't get slaughtered at the outset of every battle. But before we get to combat tactics and military strategy, lets first worry about how to acquire a unit and, once acquired, how to keep them happy and ready for battle.
If tactics and strategy did not play a role in the outcome of a battle, than the only statistic you would ever need to worry about is Combat Strength, or "CS" for short. Combat strength is an estimate of how well your unit is capable of performing in battle assuming you don't make any mistakes (such as ordering a unit of archers to charge an infantry unit). Let us now take a look at how to recruit the best unit within your budget, and later we will discuss how to use that unit to the best of its ability.
You can only recruit a unit in your realm's capital (unless you are a hero, but that's another lesson entirely). Ranged units (i.e. Archers, Mixed Infantry, and some Special Forces units) will also have a "range", which equals the distance their arrows can "arch" on the battlefield. For each point of range, the arrows (or javelins, etc.) can arch one column on the Battle Report screen. Below is the information you will be given when you are deciding what unit to recruit, as well as some details and advice about each type of information.
|Troop Name||This is not an important factor. If you don't like the name, you can change it during the recruitment process.|
|Type||You can select any unit type you wish, so long as you don't already have a unit. If you already have a unit, you can only recruit men of the same type as the unit you already have.|
|Train||The higher the better; however, training can improve with combat experience and training exercises. Since training can improve, it is often wise to recruit unit slightly less well-trained in order to save a few gold.|
|Equipment||Equipment is an extremely important statistic during the recruitment process. The first number represents the quality of the unit's weapons (their offensive statistic), the second number represents the quality of the unit's armour (their defensive statistic). These numbers will not change over time; however, if you are adding more men to an already existing unit, the equipment value per man will be averaged.|
|Home||The region from which the unit was drafted. This is not important unless you are a region lord or are otherwise responsible for the administration of the realm.|
|Mor.||Short for "Morale". It is determined mostly by the morale of the region the unit was recruited from, and it has a great affect on combat strength, but it will change up or down depending on how well you treat your unit, so don't worry about this one too much.|
|Avail.||The number of men available from this recruitment center. Since you can only recruit from one center at a time, and each time you recruit it costs one hour of your time, this factor is only important if you are short on hours and need more men than are available.|
|Cost||The cost in gold is per 10 men (though you don't need to hire 10 men at a time). Cost does not factor into combat strength, but higher cost generally correlates with higher combat strength. The other reason cost is important is because when you are done recruiting the men, you want to make sure you will still have enough money to pay their salaries (so don't spend your life savings on men who will abandon you after a week because you can't pay them!).|
It is true that with more men in your unit, the higher your units combat strength will be, but what many troop leaders don't realize is that with each man you add to a unit, the combat strength per man decreases. For example, let's say unit A has 15 men in it, and unit B has 50 men in it, but both units have the same training, equipment, morale, etc. Unit B will have a greater combat strength than Unit A, let's say 500 CS compared to 375 CS. But that means Unit A has 25 CS/man, whereas unit B has only 10 CS/man. The reason is that no matter how good a troop leader you are, it is easier to keep 15 men in order than it is to keep 50 in order. Thus, Unit A is weaker, but a much more efficient use of gold and men. So don't worry too much about always having the largest unit you can get. Sometimes there are more important things to worry about.
As a new noble, there is one more factor you should take into consideration, and that is your own personal honour. Recruitment centers will not allow you to have more men than your honour deems you worthy of leading. The maximum number of men you are capable of leading is therefore determined by your honour. As you prove yourself in combat, your honour will increase, and with it so will the willingness of the recruitment centers to give you more men. Eventually, your honour will reach a point that they would be willing to give you more men than you would ever possibly want to lead, and so it won't be a problem. But in the beginning, you will only be able to lead about 30 to 35 men at a time. Consider it an opportunity to learn to be efficient with your resources.
Once you have a unit, you can check on their stats by either clicking on your name or your unit's name (both located at the bottom of the screen). As you look at the unit's stats (on the right hand side) you will notice several statistics that were not present at the recruitment screen (including Combat Strength, which we have already discussed above, and will be discuss in greater detail later).
|Type||The unit type (as discussed above).|
|Strength||The number of men in the unit. Your combat strength will never decrease as a result of adding more men, but with each man you add, the CS/man will decrease (unless the men you add are significantly better than the men you already have).|
|Training||The average percent of training that each man has (also discussed above).|
|Weapons/Armour||The quality of the unit's equipment (also discussed above).|
|Equipment Damage||As your men engage in activities, any activities, such as traveling or training but most especially in combat, the equipment that your men used gets damaged. As the equipment gets damaged, the effectiveness of your unit decreases. Whats worse, as the equipment damage increase, so does the probability that some of your men will be injured (even if they aren't in combat). Equipment can be repaired in regions with repair centers, and sometimes after a battle you can salvage decent equipment from the dead.|
|Morale||Morale will decrease as your men engage in activities they do not like to do, such as traveling far away from home, doing manual labour (i.e. civil work), or watching their friends die in battle. If morale becomes too low, not only will your combat strength decrease, but your men can abandon you, or even mutiny. Morale can be raised by allowing your men a few hours of free time, or by entertaining them in a city.|
|Cohesion||Cohesion is how well the men in your unit get along with each other. Cohesion will raise as your men do things together, such as train or get drunk, but most especially as a result of fighting alongside each other. Unfortunately, you want high cohesion before you fight a battle, so it is not recommended that you rely entirely on battles to raise cohesion.|
|Total Combat Strength||This is the statistic that matters most (though as I have already said, it is not the only thing that matters). Roughly, what it tells you is: if your unit were to battle another unit one-on-one and both you and the other troop leader were to lead your respective units as they should be led (which almost never happens) than the unit with the highest total combat strength would be the unit to win the battle. The unit would not emerge unscathed, of course, but it would emerge victorious. It can, however, be deceiving, as different unit types have certain advantages and disadvantages over other unit types, and tactics also play a role.|
|Designation||Unit designation is discussed below in the "Unit Settings" section of this lesson. For purposes of maintenance, the relevant factor is the amount of pay the unit expects, and for information about that, see directly below.|
|Last paid||Your men expect to get paid on a regular basis. If more than 5 days go by without being paid, your men begin to suffer a morale drop. If you don't pay your men in over a week, even if their morale is high, they might abandon you anyway. Paying your men will, of course, also cause a small increase in morale, but not if they've already abandoned you. Moreover, if your men abandon you because you didn't pay them, you will personally suffer a loss of honour.|
Strictly speaking, that's all there is to unit maintenance, but any experienced troop leader will tell you that we've only just begun. For example, we have not yet covered paraphernalia, which is integral part of every unit. For now, just try to keep your men paid and happy. You can only pay your men in gold (not bonds, which you can only cash in cities belonging to your own realm) so try to carry around at least 25 to 50 gold and that should take care of their pay for a couple weeks (but don't carry around more than 100 gold because the tax collectors will relieve you of the burden of carrying around so many heavy coins).
The Chain of Command
Every realm has two hierarchies: a feudal hierarchy and a military hierarchy. The feudal hierarchy is led by the ruler of the realm, whereas the military hierarchy is led by the realm's general (who ultimately answers to the ruler). Every noble belongs to both hierarchies. Most nobles have sworn fealty to a particular region, which in turn is aligned to a particular duchy, which in turn is aligned to the realm as a whole. This determines where the noble fits into the feudal hierarchy. The lord of the region the noble has sworn fealty to determines which army the noble will belong to, and this determines where the noble fits into the military hierarchy.
- Ruler - The ruler (often otherwise referred to as the Queen, Pontifex or some other such title) is the noble in charge of leading the entire realm, but many of these responsibilities are overseen in greater detail by others under his (or her) charge, such as the general (for military affairs), the banker (for taxes and trading), the judge (for legal matters) and the dukes and duchesses (for the administration of regions). Diplomacy, however, depends entirely on the ruler because he (or she) is the only noble in the realm with the authority to speak on behalf of the entire realm. Given the sovereignty of the position, many realms consider disobeying the orders of the ruler to be akin to treason; however, since most of the concerns of the ruler are non-military, the orders of the ruler do not often go to troop leaders but rather to region lords and other nobles in administrative roles.
- Duke (or Duchess) - The next in line in the feudal hierarchy are the dukes and duchesses of the realm. There is only one duke (or duchess) per duchy. A duchy consists of a city (or stronghold) and the regions aligned to it. The duke (or duchess) is responsible for overseeing the general good and welfare of the regions aligned to his (or her) duchy and thus spends a great deal of their time coordinating their efforts with the various lords of the regions that belong to their duchy as well as the bureaucrats and traders of the realm. Disobeying the orders of the duke (or duchess) of the duchy you have sworn an Oath of Fealty to will carry serious consequences, but such orders will be very rare and you only have to answer to the duke (or duchess) of your duchy. However, it is generally considered both unwise and impolite to ignore those of superior rank, even if they are not in the same "branch" of the hierarchy "tree" as you are.
- Region Lords - The next in line in the feudal hierarchy are the region lords. Orders to troop leaders from rulers and dukes will be rare because most of their orders will go directly to the region lords. Region lords are as much the backbone of region maintenance as troop leaders are the backbone of military affairs. Usually, region lords are content to work with the bureaucrats and traders, not soldiers; however, sometimes a region will come under attack by the undead or a monster horde, and so it will require the military to provide assistance. They will also require you to manage your estates in his (or her) region, but that will require only occasional adjustment.
- General - The general (often called the High Marshall, Paladin Primus, or some other such title) is the noble responsible for military affairs of the realm. He (or she) is either elected by the nobles or appointed by the ruler, depending on the type of government in place. The general executes the realm's military policies, and thus most of the orders given to troop leaders will come from the general; however, the general is not a policy-maker. That is the job of the ruler, and so the general cannot deviate from the diplomatic precedent set by the ruler. Nevertheless, disobeying the orders of the general, even if you disagree with the orders, will often result in harsh penalties from the realm's judge.
- Marshall - The next position in the military hierarchy is the marshal. Every realm has one marshal for every army within the realm. Armies are "sponsored" by region lords (preferably the wealthy ones, as maintaining an entire army can get expensive). These sponsors appoint the marshals of their armies from among the knights of the army. "Standing Orders" are provided by the marshal as well as the army's "Command Staff" settings. When the general is unavailable (perhaps because he was wounded or captured in battle), it is usually a marshal that will be in charge of the realm's military affairs, including giving orders to the troop leaders. Disobeying the orders of your marshal will also usually result in a penalty from the judge, unless of course the marshal's orders conflict with the generals orders. Just like the ruler is above the general, the general's orders will always take priority over a marshal's orders.
- Second-in-Command - The next position down the military hierarchy are those nobles designated Second-in-Command, or "SIC" for short. Like the marshals, they are appointed by the army's sponsor. SICs have all the powers and duties of a marshal, but only when the marshal is absent from battle or is otherwise unavailable.
Most of what is involved with combat tactics comes down to unit settings. Therefore, in order to understand combat tactics we must first understand how unit settings work. Generals will usually issue orders that include the unit settings they feel are ideal for whatever it is they are ordering you to do. These orders are not polite suggestions. When troop leaders do not work in concert, everyone dies. Even if your general is an idiot, it is better to have all the troop leaders work together than have everyone running around the battlefield like headless chickens. Your unit's settings can be set from the "Orders" page, and they look like this.
There are five "settings" each with 4 or 5 options. From top to bottom, they are commonly called 1) Conduct, 2) Designation, 3) Field Position, 4) Unit Formation, and 5) Withdrawal. Settings for "Designation" and "Withdrawal" are generally not included in the general's orders because troop leaders rarely deviate from the default settings of "Regular Army" and "60%", respectively. The options for each setting are described below.
Conduct determines how your unit behaves once it is on the battlefield (and to some degree whether or not there is a battle at all). Below are the options for conduct as well as a short description of their effects.
|Evasive||drastically increases the chance to evade combat with enemy units|
|Defensive||only engages enemy units if they engage you|
|Normal||initiates combat with any enemy units in the region (and sometimes neutral units)|
|Aggressive||engages all enemy and neutral units (and sometimes peaceful units)|
|Murderous||will attack almost anyone in the region, possibly even allies and peasants|
Evasive is commonly used while trying to return home from a campaign, such as when you need to "refit" after your unit was "wiped out" by enemy forces, or if you do not have enough gold on hand to pay your men so you need to find a friendly bank to cash bonds. In these situations, it is important to return to the safety of your own realm as quickly as possible, but your unit will still engage enemy troops on the way unless you tell them not to. On the other end of the spectrum, murderous is almost never used. I have never once seen a general order his troop leaders to murderous, and with good reason. I saw a young, ambitious and foolish marshal try it once, and it caused a peasant uprising within his own realm. His title was promptly revoked. That is not to say that murderous is never a good choice, but I suggest leaving it to experienced generals to decide when that moment is.
The other three options (defensive, normal, and aggressive) are the most common settings for conduct. Whether or not there is combat is largely determined by diplomatic relations; however, a single unit with the wrong settings can accidentally cause a huge battle that could sway the outcome of the war or forever change the relations between realms. For example, let's say there are 3 realms with equally large armies in the same region, and that the first two realms are at war with each other while the third is neutral to both of the others. If one of the units of one of the warring realms is set to aggressive while everyone else is set to normal or defensive, he may inadvertently cause the neutral realm to take sides with his enemy, causing not only the destruction of his realm's army, but also creating tensions between his realm and the neutral realm, perhaps drawing the two realms into war. On the South-East and South-West islands, diplomatic relations are easy to understand because everyone is at war with everyone else. But on other continents, diplomatics relations can be very complex. Even some of the oldest and wisest nobles are occasionally surprised at the causes and effects of diplomatic relations. So it is very important to instruct your unit to conduct themselves appropriately.
Anyway, units set to aggressive are more likely to advance (even into a wall of spears), whereas units set to defensive are more likely to hold their ground (even under a hail storm of arrows). In regions with strong fortifications, the defending units are often set to defensive in order to take advantage of their walls, and attacking units are set to aggressive to overcome that obstacle as quickly as possible; however, much of this depends also on the unit type as well as the size of the region's fortifications. Normal is the mean between defensive and aggressive conduct.
Designation is easy to understand, but hard to explain. The simplest way is to say that while unit "type" determines in what fashion the unit is trained to fight, unit "designation" determines how the unit will utilize their training. Again, that's not strictly the case, but nothing ever is. It is also important to note that you can only set your unit's designation once per "pay period". If you want to change the designation a second time, you will have to pay your men their wages again.
|Regular Army||Standard designation. If you don't know what to do, set your unit to regular army|
|Sentry||Slightly higher combat strength than regular army, but slower travel times and 20% more expensive|
|Police||Diminished combat strength, but not as averse to civil or police work (the only designation available to bureaucrats)|
|Vanguard||Faster travel times than regular army, but slightly lower combat strength and 20% more expansive|
|Mercenary||Far less prone to drops in morale, but 50% more expensive than regular army (the only designation available to traders)|
Sentry is generally reserved for units intended to be "dropped" as militia. When you drop militia, their unit settings remain what they were before you dropped them, but once you drop them, you can't take them back or make changes to their settings. You, as their former troop leader, are no longer responsible for paying their salaries, but the region lord is, so make sure the region needs militia before you drop your unit. Mercenaries are generally used for lengthy expeditions because they don't lose morale when away from home like other unit designations. Vanguard is used for shorter campaigns, such as the classic hit-and-run, especially in rough terrain, because vanguard units can travel from one region to the next much more quickly than any other designation. Police are more-or-less self-explanatory, and are usually reserved for bureaucrats to maintain region control; however, sometimes region control drops low enough that it requires the presence of professional soldiers, such as yourself.
Most of the time, a unit should be designated as "regular army".
The battlefield is divided into 11 columns (numbered 1 through 11 from left to right). The attacking army starts on the left, the defending army on the right. If the region has fortifications, then the 5 columns on the right will be colored gray and represent the area of the battlefield behind the fortifications. Which column your unit will begin in will depend on your field position. (Turn to the "Field Position" section of the "Basic Combat Tactics" chapter to see an example of what a battlefield might look like at the start of battle.)
|Front||If you are attacking, you will start in column 5. If defending, column 7.|
|Middle||If you are attacking, you will start in column 4. If defending, column 8.|
|Back||If you are attacking, you will start in column 3. If defending, column 9.|
|Rearguard||If you are attacking, you will start in column 2. If defending, column 10.|
Therefore, columns 1, 6 and 11 are always empty at the beginning of a battle (but they may become occupied as the battle progresses). If the defending units are dug in or are behind fortifications, it is not likely that they will "advance" from column 7 to column 6 until all the attacking melee units are disabled (i.e. wounded, retreated, etc.). If the region has fortifications, it is very difficult for the attacking units to "advance" from column 6 to column 7 without siege engines. Ranged units will only "advance" toward the enemy if there are no enemy units within their range.
This will be explained in greater detail in the Basic Combat Tactics chapter of this manual. For now, simply trust the orders of your commanding officer. While field position will not result in the military and diplomatic catastrophes that unit designation is capable of producing, being in the wrong field position can easily cause your entire unit to be wiped out by enemy forces very quickly, or if you are lucky, perhaps simply causing your unit to have absolutely no effect on the outcome of the battle, stripping you of not only any potential increases in honour, prestige or skill, but also forcing your realm mates to fight your fights for you. Very embarrassing, and some judge's consider it a punishable form of disobedience.
Unit formations are probably the least understood of the unit settings, despite it being one the most critical elements of combat tactics. Field Position determines where your unit starts on the battlefield, Conduct determines under which conditions your unit advances, and Unit Type determines what your men fight with (swords and shields or bows and arrows), but Unit Formations will determine the actual tactics your men employ once they engage the enemy. Below is a table that explains the tactical implications of each option. (Keep in mind that ranged units tend to already be at a disadvantage in terms of defending themselves, but that is compensated for by their ability to attack units from a distance.)
|Unit Setting||Defense vs melee units||Defense vs ranged units||Attack vs melee units||Attack vs ranged units|
|Box||Greatly Improved||Diminished||Slightly Diminished||Slightly Diminished|
As I said earlier in this manual, if your unit faces off alone against a single enemy unit, the victor will usually be the unit with the greatest combat strength. The key word here is "usually". Unit Formations can change everything. For example, a 250 CS archer unit can easily wipe out a 500 CS cavalry unit if both units are set to box formation because every arrow will strike a rider whereas the riders will have to hack their way through the archers one body at a time.
Know the unit formations better than you know your own name. I am not kidding. Few ever even try, and it is probably the most important unit setting of all. It is true that the larger the two opposing armies are, the more important the other settings become, but unit formations are always important, and they are rarely understood correctly. Everyone knows that archers should be behind the cavalry by the time the enemy infantry arrive, but very few people understand what the units should do once they met each other on the battlefield. Even some generals fail to understand them correctly, but those that do are capable of overcoming the greatest of odds.
This setting is fairly straight-forward. Instead of selecting from a limited number of options, you can choose any percentage between 25 and 80. Once that percentage of your unit suffers casualties, regardless of whether the men were killed or merely wounded, the entire unit will retreat from the battlefield. For example, if you have a unit of 25 men set to a 60% withdrawal rate, your unit will retreat from the battlefield once 15 of those men are killed or wounded (because 15 is 60% of 25). However, each battle is unique, and so the number of casualties required for withdrawal is recalculated based on the number of men in the unit that remain capable of fighting. So if this same unit were to engage in a second battle, this time with only 10 men (because the other 15 are dead or wounded), than the unit would retreat after it suffered only 6 casualties (because 6 is 60% of 10). It is also important to note that regardless of what the withdrawal rate is set at, if the unit's cohesion is low enough, the unit might retreat from a battle before it reaches the set percentage of casualties due to overwhelming fear, but no unit will remain on the battlefield once they suffer the set percentage of casualties.
The appropriate withdrawal rate requires a balance of two conflicting needs. You don't want to retreat too early because your realm might lose the battle as a result, not to mention losing out on the possibility of increasing your honour, prestige and skill. But on the other hand, you don't want to wait until your last man is killed because, if your realm does lose the battle, there won't be any units left capable of fighting a second battle. Moreover, each time one of your men is killed or wounded, there is one fewer men capable of protecting their troop leader, thus increasing the chances that you yourself will be captured, wounded, seriously wounded, or if you are a hero, perhaps even killed. And no one wants that. Most people feel that 60% is a good balance of both ideals, but some situations may call for adjustment. For example, if you are not trying to win the battle but merely escape back to the safety of your capital, you might want your unit to withdraw rather quickly. Or, if your realm is desperately trying to save its last remaining city from being taken over, you might want your unit to fight down to the last man because if you lose, all is lost.
Basic Combat Tactics
By now you should have a good idea of what is going to be important to combat tactics. But remember, combat tactics and military strategy are not the same thing. It is one thing to win a battle; quite another to win a war. It is not my responsibility to teach you strategy, and it is not your responsibility to know it. The general, along with his military council, will determine that. It is your job to fight (and hopefully win) the battles they tell you to fight. For the most part, combat tactics will be dictated by the general as well, but you should be familiar with the basics because you may find yourself engaged in more battles than your general anticipated. So, here are the basics.
In order to become a victorious tactician, you must first learn how to read the "battlefield". Here is an example of what a battlefield might look like at the start of a battle.
Each unit is represented on the battled by an alphanumeric code written in following format: #(#-X), where the # within the parenthesis represents the number of men in the unit and the X represents the unit type ("A" for archers, "C" for cavalry, "I" for infantry, "M" for mixed infantry, and "S" for special forces). The # outside of the parenthesis is an identifier, unique to each unit. It has no effect on the battle itself, and is listed (in alphabetical order, attackers first) prior to any other information in the scribe note. It is used merely to help the tactician keep track of the units as the battle progress from round to round.
- Note: in an actual battle, the columns will not be numbered 1 through 11. I have added numbers to the columns so that it is easier to reference each column.
The attacking army always starts on the left-hand side, and the defending army always on the right. If one army arrived on the battlefield first, than it will play the role of the defenders. If both armies arrived at the same time, the army that controls the region will play the role of the defenders. If both armies arrived at the same time and neither army controls the region, then it doesn't really matter which army plays the role of the defenders.
In this particular example, it appears the defending army is taking advantage of the region's fortifications. We know this because columns 7 through 11 are colored gray. Taking advantage of a region's fortifications is done automatically, and if the region's fortifications are used, they are always used by the defending army (and thus the fortifications always appear on the right-hand side of the screen). However, if both armies arrived in the region at the same time, then neither army will gain the advantage of fortifications, regardless of who controls the region.
The amount of protection afforded to the defending army by the fortifications depends on the type of formation. There are currently five fortification types (a 6th type, called "Citadel" is no longer extant).
- Mote and Bailey
Palisades are the weakest type of fortification, but better than nothing. They can be built by the region lord of any region type. A Mote and Bailey is slightly stronger, but can only be built in a townsland, city or stronghold. Each successive type is stronger the the previous, but the last three can only be built in a city or stronghold and generally require siege engines to breach the walls. Successive attacks on the region can cause damage to the fortifications. Once the damage reaches 100%, the fortification type drops to the next lower type. In the case of palisades, 100% damage will completely destroy all fortifications in the region.
If a region does not have any fortifications, the defending army can still "dig in". By ordering your unit to "dig in", your men will dig trenches and build makeshift walls, resulting in a sort of temporary fortification, but only for your unit and it will be less effective than even a palisade, but still better than nothing.
We are also able to determine the field position each unit has been set to using the battlefield screen. In the example above, the attacking army set their archers to "front" (column 5), their cavalry to "back" (column 3), and their infantry, mixed infantry and special forces to "middle" (column 4). The defending army set their archers to middle (column 8), their cavalry to rearguard (column 10), and their infantry, mixed infantry and special forces to "front" (column 7). It is fairly typical to set infantry, mixed infantry and special forces to the same field position.
The field positions of each unit at the beginning of battle is determined entirely by the field position setting of each unit; however, once the battle begins, the units will change their field position regardless of what the field position setting is set to. Each round of the battle will begin with a new battlefield, showing the new field positions for each unit as well as the number of men that remain in each unit after the casualties of the previous round.