Eochaidh smiles as he passes the hardcover over. It's old, pages yellowing slightly. Lacquered, but simple is the cover. Inscribed in gilded words is "Informalities on Conflict" and you note that the author is one "Duke Grogar." Is it really the same Duke?
"It's a good book. Duke Grogar is controversial politically but respected militarily even by his harshest critics. It's meant to be used as an introductory text for students of the Officer's Academy, though most recognise that it is interspersed with his unique views on the matter, as well as a large focus on conventional ground warfare for a book written in the Archipelago. The tone sounds nothing like him, but I guess there are a few things he can't be a buffoon about. The seriousness does make it more convincing as well."
You crack open the covers and peer in...
"...Formations should be used only by those with ample anti-magic. Embed mages trained in anti-magic throughout your ranks. There is no universal way to arrange large bodies of troops to best deal with all forms of magic- where fireballs might disperse tight formations, fog will disperse loose formations. Thunder pours from the skies, while earthquakes split the land.
So the answer is to simply blunt and undo their magic. Disperse the storm clouds summoned. Reseal the crevices dotting the battlefield. Dispell the illusions masquerading as the enemy.
In short, reduce the element of unpredictability inherent with magic, and the complexities of fielding your troops are lowered..."
"..Shields don't stand against a fully-powered fireball, but any fireball hurtling towards your army has had to penetrate several fields of anti-magic and weakening barriers, and will be easily blocked by a proper shield wall. Same goes for bullets and cannonballs.
These projectiles will look just as scary to your troops, but they deliver fireworks, not death. However, paper tigers strike most strongly at the heart- if your troops are green levies, they will go down in flames all the same.
Thus, your shieldbearers should be mostly comprised of veterans who can call the bluff, though mix a few green troops with them in every battle to familiarise more of them while maintaining combat efficiency, as veterans will embolden them, allowing them to stand just as firm as the veterans..."
On Air versus Ground
"...An airforce dropping projectiles can be mitigated through ample mages playing defence, but the fact remains that it is a riskless attack. A few casualties is still a loss when compared to none, and can be demoralising if your opponent remains uncontested.
Use mages to rob the wind from their wings and sails, or bring your own airforce.
With the exception of the Archipelago due to its unique circumstances, control over the skies is not an absolute advantage most of the time, as the relative scarcity of aerial units among landbound polities prevents an airforce from wreaking havoc over a conventional ground army with their own mages to defend and retaliate. Still, they weigh the dice in one's favour heavily.
An airforce can be used to scout out enemy positions, provide near-uncontestable fire support when paired with conventional forces, and be used to demolish key enemy infrastructure..."
"...Devote a large portion of your magic on logistics, either in the maintenance of supply lines or to supply armies on their lonesome. Water mages keep armies in water-scarce regions as flush as they would be if near rivers, while Earth mages cart supplies at high speeds even in the rockiest of terrain.
This may reduce the number of mages in the frontline, but not by a significant fraction, for the mages working in logistics are of a different temperament of those willing to risk their necks on the battlefield.
The Archipelago has a unique advantage in this regard, for no other nation possesses as much air power as they do. This can be easily repurposed to create supply lines that outright ignore the lay of the land and convoys that move faster than the best horses..."
"...Hearing-stones will keep you in touch with your army within your own territory, but these are unreliable outside, and even less so in that of the enemy.
Every nation knows to hones the strength of their broadcasting towers, both to improve the reliability of messages sent through this network, and to drown out the messages of their enemy, and often the enemy will know to erect their own wartime broadcasting towers within the territory of the enemy.
The end result is that the reliability of magical communications is no better than that of physical communication within heavily contested warzones. And thus one should not rely on them- instead, they should see them as another means of reinforcing the reliability of intel..."