The wagons rumble and roll,
— Du Fu, Tang poet, Bingchexing
Slow siege unit with weapon power and range as that of a normal Springald, but has substantially more hitpoints, armour and the ability to attack enemies without unpacking.
|Prereq:||Build time||HP||LOS||Attack||Attack speed||Movement|
|Cost||Created from||Armour||Weapon range||Specialty|
Perhaps one of the more bizarre and unwieldly units of Rise of Kings, the Battle Wagon is a strange beast. Although it shares the same weapon power and range as that of a normal Springald, it however has two other differences that make it highly lethal — massive hitpoints and armour, as well as the ability to fire without having to deploy as normal siege weapons do, making them powerful defensive weapons. Three or four Battle Wagons can be arranged in a line to form a powerful bulwark over which crossbowmen and/or other siege weapons can be deployed, making them highly prized to commanders who follow through with defensive tactics. Better still yet, these weapons can be used to protect weaker units such as Trebuchets, marching infantry and supplies.
With such stats, it is thus a foolhardy warrior who dares to challenge Battle Wagons with normal weapons. If confronted with a barricade of Battle Wagons, there is but one thing that you are to do, and that is to assault them with a weapon that can take them out from outside their range, those weapons being Trebuchets and Bombards, although it is to be noted that some mercenaries like Super Bombards work just as well, given the slow speed at which this unit moves. War Elephants and Gajnal Mahouts, if you have them, are also effective but aren't likely to be feasible given that any player using Battle Wagons will also have Pikemen or archers on hand to defeat them. Less effective, but just as potent, are spies — a Battle Wagon turned is often well worth the sacrifice of the Spy that turned it, since it can be used as a meat shield to distract enemy troops. Still, the effectiveness of these weapons is attested by the fact that various factions throughout Eastern Europe and Asia have absconded to using the same tactics.
- Heavy Guard Duty — Use Battle Wagons is to protect weaker units such as trebuchets, marching infantry and supplies.
- Nut Cracking — Heavy weapons such as Trebuchets and Bombards can easily destroy War Wagons, and factions capable of casting cannon such as the Bohemians, Burgundians, Holy Roman Empire, Turks and Hungarians are all dangerous foes.
- Spy Hard — A spy can be used to turn one or two War Wagons, thus distracting the enemy, given the fact that these weapons have lots of hitpoints and armour, making them worthwhile units to convert.
The usage of carriages as a makeshift fortification has well stood the test of time as an effective tactic, ranging from the use of burnt-out cars by post-modern rioters to wagonforts or Wagenburgen as used by Gothic tribes, European Landsknechte, Boers in Africa and white colonists in America. In the Middle Ages, the Battle Wagon was mostly associated with two groups: the Hussite rebels of 15th century Bohemia, and the Ming Chinese in the 16th.
Part of the secret to the success of these weapons was the use of gunpowder weapons. Early guns were primitive and slow to load, but had greater psychological and physical impact, especially against the armour of their period. Thus, Battle Wagon formations often excelled where the enemy had no heavy weapons on hand for breaching such defences, but this tactic was not always a failsafe measure. For instance, Imperial forces sent to the Hussite Wars found out that it was better to lure out the defenders by feinting than it was to unleash all-out assaults on the wagon forts. This was especially all the more so as the Hussites become brazenly overconfident following initial victories such as that at Vitkov.