Hey guys... most of you are TW experts. I have no special problems in campaign (at least for now), but I want to practice my RTS until the patch is released. Problem is, I just don't know what to do. I lose lots of the battles (if the numbers are equal). Any basic tips? I don't know where to send which unit, what units are better than others, how to flank the enemy, position my troops and stuff. Tried to watch some video tutorials but they're for more advanced players.
When possible have your men fire into your enemy's flank. I.e. have your men cross the T. Of course your enemy won't let you get away with it easily but that is what you want to achieve. Flanking them in the back is the most destructive of all if you can get into that position, but that's generally harder to do than crossing the T.
To start a rout
Your objective in the battle isn't necessarily to kill the other guy, but rather it is to rout them and cause them to flee the battle field. A method of doing this is to put heavy pressure at 1 point of your enemy's lines. A well placed canister shot or explosive shot can hit your enemy's moral very bad, use them. When they start to waver (flashing flag), sometimes all it takes is a massive charge by your line or your cavalry and it will start a chain reaction of putting the rest of your enemy's line in a panic.
Just be careful about Friendly fire with the field guns. You want them either on a hill just behind your line, or just in front of your line. The former is the best position, while the ladder your gunners will probably take hits when the musket balls starts flying but it may be the only choice on a flat battlefield.
But 'crossing the T' is a naval warfare tactic and I meant land battles :)
and which units are better than others? I mean, which units to send on line infantry, cavalry, skirmishers and stuff.
Crossing Ts work on land or on the ocean. It's about as fundamental of a tactic as you can get.
Units aren't necessarily "better" than others, it's more of what they are good for and how do you exploit their best abilities. Line infantry is pretty much your standard fighting unit. They are good at holding ground and absorbing damage to a point, they can be deadly against cavalry if they are in a square formation. But the trade off of a square formation is that you make yourself more vulnerable to artillery.
Artillery lets you hit your enemy way before they can hit you back and cause a relatively large moral hit. Solid shots at the beginning of the game are pretty much only good for hitting cavalry at a distance, but once you research to the bottom of the artillery tech trees, the shrapnel shots and percussion shots are extremely deadly at a distance. I have had instances where I eliminated 1/4 of my enemy before my lines were engaged. However Artillery is only as good as where they are placed. Also if your guns are unprotected and are at melee range against cavalry or infantry, you can pretty much kiss them good bye, don't let your enemy get close to your guns without protection from either infantry or cavalry units.
Cavalry is the mobile arm of your army. Their advantage is being able to move around the battlefield fast. You can use them as reserves and help a part of your line that may be in trouble or have them threaten your enemy's artillery. They are most effective when they charge at wavering enemy and causing a rout.
Another general tip. Always keep a few units in reserve (depends on the size of your army of course), so you can either plug holes in your line or exploit a gap opening up in your enemy's line. Don't commit everything you have at the beginning because if something goes wrong and you have no reserves, it is all over for you.
If you want a bit more detail Skirmishers/ line infantry are really there to move quickly to and hold a position before your main army can relieve them. Line infantry should be your standard unit. Militia units are cheaper versions of line infantry but they aren't as well trained and would break before line infantry would in the same situation.
Mortars and howitzers are for hitting your enemy at long ranges only. They are ineffective close range, but they fire in an arch so friendly fire is much less of an issue and they can hid behind terrain so they don't get counter battery fire. Field guns are mildly effective at long ranges, but they are extremely good at close range w/ canister shots.
There are melee cavalry and dragoons. Dragoons are basically line infantry on horse back. Good for riding fast and holding a hill or a strategically important place on the map before your enemy gets there. But melee cavalry like lancers are much better at charging attacks.