I have been doing a bit of "Theory Hammering" about the fun rules surrounding the skirmishers...
I have of course read the Atchmans Mini tactica (found Here: http://www.warhammer-empire.com/war_skirmishers1.htm
The followint is intended as an expansion on the existing tactica. Some of the points here might be painfully obvious to most players. Some of what i write might be plain wrong.
Please comment, point out errors or just laugh at my spelling. Any critique is welcome...This is a work in progress. I will update it as soon as I possibly can. If you have any comments, I will do my best to correct or expand this.
-- DISCLAIMER --
The use (or abuse) of the following is not always considered acceptable or sporting behaviour. I write this to give you an idea on how to use the rules. Not to give you a manual on how to abuse the rules. Remember to play sportingly.
During this mini-tactica, I won’t go into too much detail about the various skirmishers that exists in the world of warhammer. That exercise is covered in all the army specific tacticas. A good general should always know his opponent, and should always consider every possible outcome of his opponent’s choices. Just remember to consider what will happen if a charge succeeds, if it fails, if the charged unit flees, if it takes the charge and breaks or if it takes the charge and holds.Basic rules about Skirmishers.
”The enemy is brought into contact with the closest skirmisher and then the enemy unit is halted”
“During a charge a unit can wheel once”
This wheel doesn’t have to be in the beginning of a move so, units with enough movement is perfectly capable of performing some rather remarkable charge moves.
This all depends on how much freedom the charger has in when he performs his allowed wheel. If the closest skirmishing model is directly in front of the charging unit, then the charging unit can end up facing almost any direction they want. Charging skirmishers for best effect:
If you are faced with a skirmish screen trying to protect something valuable, you should consider not just charging straight ahead to wipe out the skirmishers, but instead making sure that the single wheel you are allowed to make is performed at the right time to make sure that you end up overrunning into the nice juicy target the opponent tries to protect.
Unbreakable or stubborn skirmishers are often used as both tarpit units and as traps for counter charges from something nasty. If you want to execute the charge anyway, make sure that you identify the possible counter chargers and wheel the charging unit so the counter charge will be less favourable for your opponent.
Also remember that the skirmishers might even end up shielding you from the counter charge since an opponent in your frontal arch cannot execute a charge if your entire front is engaged, even though the opponent can draw a direct line to your flank.
*** Pictures showing wheels protecting the chargers (much the same as above)Flank and rear charges on skirmishers:
When declaring multiple charges on skirmishers, you move the chargers in the order in which they were declared. When the first charging unit hits the skirmisher, the skirmishing unit is formed up to face the enemy. Only when the skirmisher has been formed up, is the next charging unit moved. This can give the charger a great advantage, since the first charging unit decides where the skirmisher ends up having his flanks and rear. It is quite possible, and often the case that combined charges on a skirmishing unit ends up being a charge in the front and in either a flank or the rear.
In this case it is VERY important that you declare your charges in the correct order and that you move your first charger with great caution.
*** Picture showing dual charges on skirmishers.Using skirmishers for best effect:
Remember the golden rule that allows skirmishers to dictate movement around them to a very high degree. Enemies MUST charge the closest skirmisher.
With this in mind, it is quite possible to shield a valuable figure with a unit of skirmishers while still making sure that your opponent cannot overrun into the protected object. This manoeuvre is often called the J-hook.
The trick is rather simple. The opponent must charge the closest skirmisher. If the closest skirmisher is placed right, then an overrun through the skirmishers will only send the opponent even further away from his intended target. For a J-hook to work, it requires that the skirmishers receive the charge. If the skirmishers flee, then a redirected charge could mean the loss of the protected object.
The J-hook even works against multiple chargers, since a redirected charge is only possible if the opponent flees. Not if the opponent is drawn away because of another charge.
*** Pictures showing skirmisher redirection.
Another valuable lesson to remember is that multiple charges on skirmishers do not have to go quite as bad as mentioned above. The trick is to position the closest skirmisher to each opponent, so your opponent cannot wheel in the charge to expose the skirmishers flanks, or even better, forces the charger to wheel away from the common centre, thus drawing the skirmishers out of charge distance of the other chargers. This is called the bull horn or C-defence. Dealing with large targets:
The main problem with screening something valuable from a large target, is that the large target is capable of seeing over the skirmishers and can thus often charge things normal sized targets cannot. This is even more difficult when dealing with large flying opponents. The main trick here is to remember that an opponent in a unit’s frontal arc can only charge that units front even if it can draw a line of sight to the units flank. If there isn’t enough room to land in front of the unit, then that charge is impossible. This means that if you place your skirmishers close to the flank you want to protect, then even large flying targets cannot charge the protected unit, and they might then be tempted to charge the protecting skirmishers in stead. If the closest skirmisher then is far enough from the protected unit, then even an overrun through the skirmishers will keep the protected unit safe.
*** Picture showing skirmisher redirection of large flyer.
The basic thing I am trying to say here is that skirmishers can be a useful and valuable addition to most armies. Knowing and using their rules to the best effect can often be a defining factor in their efficiency. Decent use of wheels during charges:
Though it is often possible to do some rather ridiculous wheels when charging skirmishers, it should never be done to excess.
Consider the maximum change in direction possible when charging a standard ranked up unit. When charging such a unit, the charger is often turned up to 45 degrees from his original direction, but never more. In my personal opinion, you should keep this in mind when charging skirmishers too. Wheels of up to 45 degrees is acceptable, but more than that is stretching it a bit too much.
So a general rule of thumb is LESS than 45 degrees… which is still enough to gain some valuable benefits but not enough to be too ridiculous.
update 1: 2 Pictures added, more text added.