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Napoleon in Egypt
Having excelled himself in the first Italian campaign Napoleon’s next expedition wasn’t quite as successful. He planned an invasion of Egypt to extend French influence throughout the region. His ultimate aim was to unsettle the power of the British by cutting off trade links with India. He even hoped to unite with an enemy of the British and drive them from their prized possession.
In the event he won a series of battles against the Mamelukes and the Ottoman Empire but suffered a naval defeat to Nelson. His army suffered in the unfamiliar conditions and Napoleon decided to return to Europe before his plans could be realised. France was not doing well in his absence.
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Napoleon: Total War gives you the chance to replay the Egypt campaign and guide the French to victory in the area. Starting from a base in Alexandria you’ll have to destroy the Mamelukes, keep a wary eye out for Bedouin interference from the desert and then turn east towards the mighty Ottoman Empire. The British represent an ever present threat lurking in the Mediterranean and may use their indestructible fleet under Nelson to land an army and attack along your Northern coastline. It’s a tough campaign with a range of threats and in order to succeed you’ll need to take advantage of every opportunity.
This guide will present a victorious path in Egypt and offer hints and tips to help you on your way.
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Your first mission is to take Cairo but several hostile cities stand in your way. To begin with use your small army to siege Damanhour and launch an assault on Mahalla al-Kubra with Napoleon. You should attack immediately with Napoleon’s army because you’ll have no difficulty in taking the city with minimal casualties. Recruit some more troops in Alexandria and bring a couple over to Mahalla al-Kubra so you can press on with Napoleon and hit Cairo quickly.
Cairo has an educational town in Giza and so you will be able to begin some research into new technology as soon as you capture it. While Napoleon hits Cairo replenish your other army in Damanhour and press for Mansoura and Damietta. You’ll be able to build another university in Damietta so you can research two technologies at once.
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The British Threat
This early period is straightforward and the Mamelukes shouldn’t put up much of a fight. It is very important to protect your dockyard in Alexandria so station a couple of troops in it and begin constructing a naval fleet as early as possible. Make sure you leave a reasonable force in Alexandria with artillery because the British are quite likely to land a force there.
Having played the campaign a few times the British seemed to turn up randomly at various points in the campaign. It is very helpful to construct a few decoy ships, a few sloops perhaps, so you can send them out into the Mediterranean and track the British fleet. Do not engage them in naval battle though. Later on in the campaign you’ll want to use your decoys to keep the British fleet busy so you can sail an army across the water to attack the British in Nicosia but for now we’ll focus on securing Egypt.
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Securing the South and Taming the Bedouin
Allow Napoleon and his army to recuperate in Cairo. It is likely that you’ll need to defend against Mameluke attempts to regain the city. Bring your other army south and take Beni Suef and Fayum. Reinforce and watch out for Bedouin attack. Once the cities are secured you should head south to take Minya.
In order to completely secure the south of the map you must defeat the Bedouin at Awlad Ali. This will involve a march across the desert and attrition will cause some of your men to abandon the army while others will simply die from the terrible heat. The best idea is to create a cavalry army so you can move across the desert quickly with minimal casualties. The Bedouin tend to leave the city empty or sparsely defended so you won’t need many units but watch out for invading armies coming the other way.
The Bedouin armies are generally composed of camel riders and so infantry with the right defences backed up by well placed artillery can defeat their invasions. If you are protecting a city then use the buildings to your advantage. Any infantry units who can’t form squares should be in a building. With artillery remember to switch to grapeshot as soon as the enemy are close enough because it will quickly rout cavalry units.
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Finishing the Mamelukes and Bedouin
While your second army deals with the south Napoleon should be rested and ready to press on from Cairo. A march across the desert would be pointless so follow the road to the east and hit Zagazig. The Mamelukes should be weak by now and you’ll be able to secure the city and press on to take Suez quite quickly.
Bring your experienced troops from the south back up through Cairo so they are ready to reinforce Napoleon. The last city in the south is Ababda on the Red Sea coast. Build an army of camel cavalry from Awlad Ali if you want to take the city. Do not attempt to march normal troops across the desert. Be warned this city is much better defended than Awlad Ali was. If you don’t take it you’ll continue to suffer Bedouin raids but the long march across the desert is a serious impediment. At the very least infiltrate the city with a spy and let him build up an intelligence network. With your spy in place you’ll be able to track Bedouin movements and intercept raiding parties.
Your final target will mark the end of the Mameluke Empire. Build a strong army merging the best troops from the south with Napoleon’s army from Suez and advance on Arish. The Mamelukes are already well beaten but as soon as you take Arish you’ll find a new foe in the Ottoman’s and they waste no time in attacking. Don’t delay when taking Arish, this is no time for a siege. Once you have the city it is a good idea to patrol the region with a medium army and prevent any Ottoman invaders from sneaking past to attack your other cities.
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Prepare to Invade Cyprus
It is going to take a while to build a big enough fleet to risk sailing an army over to Cyprus. Spend all your spare cash on building a naval force and continue to use sloops as decoys replacing them whenever necessary. You also want to establish a second army again which will board your fleet once it is ready. It is not worth risking Napoleon on this invasion mission.
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Fighting the Ottoman Empire
In the meantime push on up the coast with Napoleon and invade Gaza. You can expect some harsh Ottoman resistance and they fight a lot better than the Mamelukes. At this stage a vital component of your empire is ordnance factories which allow you construct artillery with greater range. You’ll need these when you face the Ottoman’s because they have decent artillery units.
In general, when facing an Ottoman army, make sure you position your troops carefully. They usually have artillery and it is powerful and long range. If there is a hill then keep your men just behind the brow until the enemy get close. This will save a lot of unnecessary casualties from enemy cannon fire. Remember that buildings are destructible and try to use your cavalry to flank the enemy in a wide arc and take out their artillery units.
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The Road to Damascus
Jaffa is your next target and it is an important one because it will equip you with another dockyard. This means you can construct a decent fleet more quickly. Ignore Jerusalem for now and press on to take Acre instead. This is liable to be a big battle so make sure your army is in top condition and that Napoleon is in command. With Acre under control make sure you have decent defences and then swing back to take Jerusalem otherwise the Ottoman’s will start to slip into your lands behind the front and attack more vulnerable cities.
Acre is a good place to defend from because it has a fort. Even large armies will struggle to take a fort. Your next big target is Damascus but it is easier if you take Jerusalem, Tyre and Beirut first. This will break the back of the Ottomans but you can expect some fierce battles and you’ll need to send a steady stream of fresh troops from behind the front. Try to make sure you don’t lose your experienced troops because they are worth so much more than standard units. If you bite off more than you can chew then fall back, don’t press on with a suicidal attack. It is always easier to defend than attack so let the enemy attack you where possible rather than racing into battle.
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Victory is Yours
If you take Damascus then the game will end so have a go at the British in Nicosia first. If you have enough moves left then try to draw the British fleet with some decoys and ferry your army over in a separate fleet. You’ll want a good sized stack of experienced troops in order to take it. You could go for this target earlier in the game but the British fleet will crush you if they catch you so your only chance is to evade them, which is easier said than done.
With the British threat gone, the Mamelukes conquered, and the Bedouin tamed all that remains is to claim Damascus. With the region under your influence the campaign is complete. Napoleon is free to return to France and take part in the coup that will lead to his rule over the country. The next task is to spread that rule across Europe.