Late Period Portugese Strategy

By Psycho Dan.

This is a strategy for 15,000 Florins battles and requires the ability to select late period units. I have tested this on several occasions in multiplayer games against Milan, England, the HRE and the French as well as in custom battles offline.

The Portuguese (along with the Spanish) have perhaps one of the best late period armies available due to the powerful and reasonably priced infantry that they possess. On a number of occasions (see below) I have found them to be simply too much for other opponents. The core of Portuguese armies that I have used has centred on musketeers, conquistadores and pike men with cavalry support. I have experimented with using cannons but they generally seem to be less effective than musketeers. The key element of this strategy is to win the missile duel before proceeding to defeat your enemy's cavalry and infantry. An example army selection on 15,000 Florins:

  • 5 units of Musketeers (plus one experience)
  • 5 units of Aventuros
  • 5 units of Dismounted Conquistadores
  • 4 units of Conquistadores
  • 1 unit of Late General's Bodyguard

Musketeers are quite possibly the best missile units available and will wipe the floor with archers and lesser gun powder units - hopefully the plus one experience will also give them the edge should they encounter enemy musketeers. This missile superiority will allow them to decimate enemy infantry and cavalry once they have won the missile duel.

Aventuros are a solid pike men unit, with much better stats than standard pikes and should form the "backbone" of your battle line to hold back enemy infantry and cavalry and to provide your musketeers with some protection - if they need to retire in a hurry. I deploy them as a "second line" behind my musketeers.

Dismounted Conquistadores are an excellent infantry unit with good stats that can hold their own against both infantry and cavalry and have proved to be key to all of my victories as the Portuguese. I generally use them as a "reserve line" behind my Aventuros to give flank support to my pikes or to deal with other threats.

Conquistadores are a solid cavalry unit, which although not quite of the same quality as other elite enemy cavalry units such as Lancers or Gothic Knights generally give a good account of themselves. I deploy my cavalry at the rear of my line to give them flexibility - especially as this strategy is not dependent on winning cavalry superiority - from which I use them on mass to exploit opportunities against enemy cavalry and infantry.

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The Initial Formation.

I also generally buy a unit of Late General's Bodyguard - generally as I like having a general in command of my army as opposed to any tactical reasoning.

In the battle itself I generally adopt a defensive disposition but if necessary advance with my lines in order.

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The Initial Formation from the
Enemy's point of view.

You should be able to win the missile battle reasonably quickly and this will force your opponent to attack you and will hopefully will disorganise him - especially if you have a good defensive position on a hill or in woods - and he should also suffer casualties as well whilst he attacks.

Hopefully the bulk of the enemy army should rush your musketeers, which (hopefully!) should retire in good order behind your pike men. In this full frontal duel your pike men should come out on top. Meanwhile you should use your conquistadores to either flank the enemy infantry or to deal with the enemy cavalry. I tend to use my cavalry on mass against the enemy cavalry especially if they make the mistake of dividing their forces. If they survive the initial fight they can then be used to help your infantry or to deal with the rest of their cavalry.

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Engagement with the Enemy.

In my opinion the most likely counters to this strategy would be the mass use of heavy cavalry or artillery - as the relative lack of mobility of the army would be vulnerable to this. The other counter would of course be if the enemy was able to achieve missile superiority, but hopefully in those circumstances the strength of the infantry with cavalry support - as long as they don't suffer too much missile fire - should see you through to victory. Although, it may not seem creditable that human players will try full frontal attacks against your pike men, it has happened in the past with me and your mass of infantry should hopefully be flexible enough to deal with an opponent that tries to flank you.

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Later on in the battle.

This strategy should work well against popular factions such as England - due to their predominant use of archers and lack of good cavalry - and others which lack musketeers or gun powder weapons altogether. I have had success with this strategy also against Milan, France and the HRE. Factions most likely to pose problems would be the Turks, Spanish and Russians primarily due to the fact that they also have musketeers but also their cavalry.

Thanks for reading this article. It would be great if people gave feedback on how good this strategy is, how it could be improved, countered etc.