NAT II’s Art of the Defensive Siege, pt. 2
4) – Boiling oil and pitch
Boiling oil and pitch are very useful tools in holding out in a defence. On a large scale pitch can be devastating but I personally prefer using boiling oil as it is sustainable and can be used over and over again if you have a smelter.
Gluckesburg is an example of a map where boiling oil and pitch are so important. You have a small garrison but the fields in front of the castle are filled with pitch and your defence includes 4 boiling oil engineers. This first screenshot is taken from near the beginning after a few waves of swordsmen. I have torched some of the pitch but not all of it and am now using my engineers. Swordsmen are tough and can take down walls and gates quickly so if in doubt use the oil! This especially applies to a map like Gluckesberg where you have four engineers, all of which can refill their pots of oil. So here I am being fairly liberal with the use of the oil, knowing that I can refill easily. So you must judge the situation you are in when it comes to oil and pitch, knowing when the dangerous waves of attacking soldiers are. If you can’t re-use your boiling oil engineers then you must be especially careful. It’s all about patience and timing!
The enemy have broken through but it isn’t a disaster. Because I left pitch out in the land outside my walls I can use it now to devastating effect. The enemy get very confused and their attack is slowed and weakened.
This is the crucial part of the siege; the gate has been destroyed and the enemy are funnelling all at once. With my four engineers all pouring oil the fire can last for a long time! Barely one spearman or maceman got to the keep while playing this map (played on very hard). So all is not lost once the enemy have broken through your castle! Usually it is only at one small place causing the enemy to funnel in – a perfect opportunity to use boiling oil. If you have a spare engineer unused or he is on top of the keep get him to this point as he can do a lot of damage as shown on the left!