Do you want to destroy your enemies from range, without them being able to fire back at you? Do you want to use elite skirmishers to circle around the enemy? Then look no further! Austria allows you to do all of these things, granted that you understand the tools available to you.
Austrian Nation Guide
According to the game itself, Austria-Hungary as a nation has these playstyles:
Essentially, Austria is easy to pick up and play, generally plays defensively, and their skirmishers are their most stand-out units.
Other than that, Austria is also a versatile nation, meaning it can adapt to many different situations. However, this means that it can sometimes suffer against more specialized nations.
Austria is indeed beginner-friendly because its mainline infantry and cavalry aren’t very unique compared to other nations. Austria’s biggest strength are her skirmishers, which I will show you in the next section. Most Austrian artillery guns have indirect fire, which is a big improvement over other nations, though in the current state of the game adding artillery to your army is unecessary for any nation other than Prussia (subject to change).
Part 1: Austrian Units
The Austro-Hungarian Empire’s military is comprised of mainly German-speaking and Hungarian infantry, along with a wide array of cavalry (including tatar lancers, called “ulans”) and a decent choice of artillery, including imported French mitrailleuses.
As you can see, there are two types of line infantry to choose from, three skirmishers, and one heavy infantry. Given that most of your army will be comprised of infantry, I will focus on those.
Your main strength are your choice skirmishers, of which there are three types:
- Grenzers – Skirmisher trait, 6 hitpoints.
- Feld-Jaegers – Skirmisher and rugged trait, but only 4 hitpoints.
- Kaiser-Jaegers – Skirmisher, rugged and efficiency trait, 6 hitpoints.
All of these skirmishers come with breech-loaded rifles. This means that they have 2 tiles of range and they can fire twice. This is an incredibly powerful combination that many nations do not have access to, or only certain units. For example, Britain can’t equip any of its units with breech-loaded rifles, and Prussia can only equip them on its Bavarian line infantry.
Personally, I really only use Kaiser-Jaegers, because of their immense mobility. Because they have both rugged and efficiency, you can move through forest tiles and other difficult terrain, while changing formation at will. This allows you to move into a great position quickly, then shoot at your enemy from two tiles away, twice! In case the enemy gets too close, shoots at you, and breaks your cohesion, you can simply change into a(n attack) column formation and move out of harm’s way, without having to fear attrition losses due to the skirmisher trait.
And you know what’s best about those breech-loaded rifles? You can equip them on your regular line infantry too! Your heavy infantry are also equipped with them by default. This allows you to mow down groups of enemy regiments, while keeping dangerous enemies at a safe distance.
For line infantry, you have the choice between German and Hungarian infantry. The German infantry is your average line infantryman, while the Hungarians have the shock trait (+2 damage in charges), along with the disorganized trait (only regenerates half cohesion).
Austrian cavalry is decent, but not amazing compared to other nations. I would advise you to always take at least one regiment of light cavalry so you can at least tango with enemy cavalry, or harass enemy artillery and exposed troops.
For this, I advise taking ulans, as they get have the shock trait, which gives them +2 damage when charging into an enemy regiment. You can equip them with carbines to allow them to fire on enemy regiments if you want to, but this is not required for them to be effective and does raise their cost.
Generally, taking artillery is a liability because it is easily taken out by enemy cavalry. The funds spent on artillery are usually better spent on another regiment of line infantry or skirmishers. That said, Austrian artillery does have the indirect fire trait (apart from the mitrailleuse), meaning it can fire over friendly troops and other obstructions.
Personally, I never take artillery while playing as Austria. This may change in the future as artillery is rebalanced.
This is my personal quickmatch loadout:
As you can see, it features a single Kaiser-Jaeger, a single heavy infantry, a single ulan, three German line infantry and one Hungarian line infantry. Two of the German line infantry are equipped with rifles, one uses breechloading rifles, and the Hungarians are armed with breechloaders.
The damage is done by the KJ’s and the heavy infantry, along with the occassional shots from the breechloading rifle line infantry. The rest of the line infantry is there to add mass to the army. I take one Hungarian regiment in case there is a good opportunity to charge an enemy regiment in the middle of a battle. The ulan is there to distract enemy cavalry or bully enemy artillery or isolated infantry.
There is a different loadout that I have found is more suited to fighting Prussia players, which tend to focus on their artillery:
This loadout swaps the Hungarian line infantry for a regiment of hussars. This added cavalry regiment allows you to circle around the enemy forces. Since you will probably have more cavalry than the other player when playing against Prussia, you can use one of your cavalry regiments to distract the enemy’s horses while using your remaining regiment to focus on the enemy’s artillery.
Part 2: Austrian Tactics
In the field, Austria’s main advantage is the range of its (elite) units. This allows you to chip away at the enemy from range.
Austria’s biggest weakness is its versatility; a more specialized opponent can easily overwhelm Austrian forces. Be it Prussian artillery, rangedrilled British dragoons with breechloaders, or a swarm of French troops that can shoot back at you with their chassepot rifles, you must remain mindful that the enemy will try to deny your strengths.
As mentioned in the unit section, the Kaiser-Jaegers will even ensure Italy mains make a run for their money. Use their traits to march through forests (which also provide soft cover!), change formation and snipe the enemy from range twice.
Your heavy infantry should work with your line infantry and form the brunt of your forces. Have the heavy infantry and your line infantry with breechloaded rifles in front, taking the shots, while being supported by your remanining line infantry, who may get an occassional shot off as well. If the enemy’s troops are starting to get whittled down, you should consider charging with your Hungarian line infantry if they are close enough. Because they are breech-loaded, they can fire before charging! Use this to your advantage; charge an enemy regiment that is almost broken to minimize casualties among your own men.
Use your cavalry to distract enemy cavalry, or to circle around the enemy army, aiming for their artillery. If their artillery has been taken out or is unreachable, use your cavalry to force the enemy infantry to face in awkward directions. This can make them vulnerable to volleys from your infantry, or a charge from your cavalry.
To distract enemy cavalry, simply move your own cavalry into spots where you predict the enemy will move their cavalry to. This will block their movement and deny them good positioning, while probably allowing your own infantry to take pot shots at them. It is also possible to simply charge enemy cavalry, as engaging them in melee makes them unable to move and threaten your troops. That said, engaging enemy cavalry that has the melee drill trait (-1 damage taken in melee) with your ulans is usually a bad idea as the ulans will lose the fight in the long run. Charging cavalry that has already been injured is more recommendable.
Additional Notes/Final Thoughts
Given the nature of an early access game, everything in this guide is subject to change.
Some things to keep in mind while playing as Austria:
- Your heavy infantry has the efficiency trait, just like your Kaiser-Jaegers. This allows them to move and change formation in the same turn.
- If you find yourself lacking enough orders to move all your troops or make them all fire, consider putting them in reserve behind each other, with the best troops in front.