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Infantry Tactics in Empire: Total War

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Warfare & Tactics in:

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The Total War Series


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Attrition warfare
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Infantry Tactics in Empire: Total War

Infantry Tactics

Infantry form the backbone of most armies in the game. They are used to hold the line, wear down the enemy, garrison, skirmish and many other key roles. Generally they are not used to out maneuver an enemy, as that is more the role of cavalry, but if they are successful in manouvering around an enemy, they can be extremely effective.

Pre and post firing drills

One of the technologies that can be researched in the game is the fire by rank drill. Once researched, the use of infantry greatly increase. They go from only having the first rank firing to the first 3 ranks. The other firing drill is platoon fire, which is used by Elite Infantry like Guards and also by grenadiers.

Pre firing drills

Early in the game the infantry available will be militia, line infantry and possibly grenadiers a bit later. Before firing drills, all these units will only be able to fire with the front rank. This means that, unless the line is spread very thin, a lot of units will not be firing and therefore the full weight of firepower cannot be brought to bear. This must be taken into consideration when using infantry. Although spreading the units into 1 rank thick lines will maximise the firepower, a lot of units will be too far away to be of any use.


This is a relatively simple tactic that allows more firepower to be brought to bear on the enemy whilst also having the benefit of changing which squads are at the front taking fire (meaning less casualties per unit and consequently better morale) and allowing your units to reloads at seperate times. To execute this tactic do the following:

  1. Line your troops up into 2 seperate lines. 2 or 3 ranks deep is generally good.
  2. It is helpful to make one line into one group and the other into another group. It is helpful if they are roughly equal size.
  3. Put both units on hold fire and advance until the front row is in range of the enemy.
  4. When you decide to open fire, activate fire at will on the front row. Once they have fired, they will start reloading.
  5. Select the second row and use the advance key (') to move them infront of the first row. Turn on their fire at will and turn it off for the row behind.

Repeat this as long as you want. You can also retreat with this by moving the front row behind the second row. The back row should always have fire at will off to prevent them shooting your own troops in the back.


If your line is spread out thinly, with your units in 1 rank thick lines, you can use this to your advantage. When your centre units are engaging the enemy, and the units on your extreme left or right flank are not engaging the enemy, move them to the flanks, so that your formation looks like this- \__/. The enemy units are in the middle of this 'V'. Thus your units will envelop the enemy, and will fire into the enemy's flanks, causing a good number of casualties.

More to come later

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