Nordic troops are highly desirable for siege warfare (especially attacking) and, with the Rhodoks, are the best troops for sieges. On the field, they are a terrible faction to pit against Swadia, the Khergits, and the Sarranids, due to their outdated fighting style and weakness to cavalry. However, this weakness can be easily avoided by simply battling with the other factions where their cavalry are useless - in villages or castles their horsemen will spawn without horses; not even a mighty army of Swadian Knights or Sarranid Mamlukes will stand a chance against the Nords without their horses. In mountains or forests (or rivers) you can order your troops to hold a hill (or stand in the water of a river) where the cavalry of your enemy cannot charge into your troops and will be easy pickings for the thrown weapons.
The other Nord weakness is the relatively low level archers. While Nord Veteran Archers are serviceable, readily available and very economical, they aren't as hardy or deadly as the much higher tier archers in other armies. This is compensated somewhat by the thrown weapons the infantry carry, but inclines Nord commanders to press infantry attacks forward rather than applying a tactical defense and letting accurate archers antagonizing the enemy into making an assault.
There are two battlefield tactics in the Nordic arsenal, the shield wall and the charge.
- The Shield-Wall:
- In what is probably the most famous Nordic tactic, one simply tells all infantrymen to hold their positions (preferably on or just past the crest of a hill) and to stand closer (x1), with all archers and cavalry somewhere behind that line. This causes the infantrymen's shields to overlap and, in concert with a tall hill, become capable of stopping just about any cavalry charge (which is every Nord's worst enemy). The already tightly woven line then surrounds the halted horseman and slays them. The shield wall, being extremely resilient, can also stop any and all infantry charges. Its only weakness is its flanks, which are hard to defend without cavalry. It gives a moderate defense against enemy archers. This approach is very tactically sound and has a strong historical precedent, as seen in ancient Roman testudoes, medieval Scottish sheltrons, and more. However, it was also used by the Saxons prior to their famous defeat during the Battle of Hastings (which is a good reminder that the shield wall is virtually impregnable as long as it is held, yet can quickly lead to disaster when broken). Never break the shield wall when fighting a stronger opponent. Even if you want a quick victory or are just impatient, never let the shield wall break, because that is what the enemy needs to counteract the outdated Nordic tactics and fighting styles.
- The Slow Advance:
- This tactic is good for wearing down the enemy. Have all your infantry line up into a shield wall, with archers behind. Slowly advance toward the enemy. The archers will pepper the enemy while your infantry push forward. When in range, your infantry will unleash a huge storm of throwing axes and javelins, thinning out the enemy. Eventually, your infantry will be close enough to engage the enemy in melee, easily destroying the already weakened soldiers. Your archers can then shoot anyone fleeing; this is important as the Nords do not have cavalry to chase them down like other factions.
- All out assault:
- Another tactic is just as easy; have all of your men follow you. Tell your infantry to charge, find a good place for your archers and tell them first to hold their positions and next to stand their ground. Then have your cavalry (if any) flank the enemy; feel free to do the same with small contingents of infantry. If you're losing the battle, you can have all infantrymen surround you. It is a Germanic tradition that warriors surround the dead body (or, in your case, weakened body) of their leader and then fight to their deaths. As per basic strategy, never attack up a hill from lower ground; it is suicide - especially when done with infantry. Instead, try to pull the enemy off of their high ground with light cavalry charges and quick, feigned retreats, or weaken them first with archers. Remember to always look to your enemy's flanks. Also, as per Sun Tzu: make them prepare on their right and then attack them on their left.