Retreating, Routing, and Falling Back from Battle

In GITM, two or more hostile units are only allowed to occupy the same tactical square while a battle is pending. At the end of the battle, the winning side remains in the tactical square, and the losing side must move to a different square. Units can leave the battle square in three ways: retreating, routing, or falling back. Units unable to leave the battle square surrender.

Units can retreat or rout out of the battle square if they fail or morale check. The units of the winning side can rout or retreat also, though it is less likely. Units can rout or retreat in either the firing phase or the melee phase. A unit which routs must make a strategic move to an adjacent strategic square, which is selected at random. If it cannot make the move for any reason, it shatters, unless trapped in a fort, in which case it surrenders. A unit which retreats must make a tactical move of 1 to 4 tactical squares away from the battle. If a unit moved into combat, it cannot retreat in the direction it was moving, nor one direction to either side. For example, a unit which moved north into battle cannot retreat to the north, northeast, or northwest. These forbidden retreat directions are called invalid. If an enemy unit moved into the combat, then the retreating unit cannot retreat in the direction from which the enemy unit came, nor one to either side; those directions are also invalid. For example, if an enemy unit entered the combat from the east, then the retreating unit may not retreat to the east, northeast, or southeast. A retreating unit will select from among its valid retreat directions. If there are adjacent enemy or neutral units in an otherwise valid direction, it will not retreat in their directions (although it may select a direction which would require retreating diagonally past the adjacent unit even though that retreat move will fail). If there are adjacent friendly units in a valid retreat direction, not in the same square as enemy units, then it will retreat in one their directions. The unit will shatter if it has no valid retreat direction, or if its retreat move fails for any reason, including block by an enemy unit, unless trapped in a fort, in which case it will surrender.

If a unit on the losing side has neither routed nor retreated, and thus is still in the battle tactical square at the end of the battle, then it must fall back. It will fall back exactly one tactical square, and will choose a direction using the same criteria as retreating units choose directions. Units which cannot fall back, either because they have no valid fallback direction or because their fallback move is blocked,shatter will . A unit which needs to fall back may be unable to do so if enemy units have surrounded it in the melee, even if it had a valid retreat direction. In this case the unit is trapped and will shatter.

The following messages are printed as a result of movement from routing, retreating, or falling back:

 "MX1IN  is unable to move." - This means a unit had to retreat or fall back, but its movement was blocked in the first tactical square it tried to move to.

"MX1IN is unable to rout/retreat/fall back and is forced to surrender!" - This means a unit that had to rout/retreat/fall back had no valid direction in which to move.

"MX1IN is exhausted, and surrenders!" - This means a unit lost a melee and had fatigue of 16 or greater.

"MX1IN is trapped by enemy forces and surrenders!" - This means that a unit lost a melee but was so entangled with the enemy units that it was unable to leave its present tactical square, even if it had a valid fall back direction available. The odds of this happening are higher if the unit had a flank turned (higher still if both flanks are turned) but it can happen even if not. This message is printed only for units falling back, not for those that failed morale checks and are retreating or routing.

"MX1IN tries to rout/retreat/fall back but is blocked, and surrenders!" - This means a unit tried to rout/retreat/fall back after combat, but all the squares to which it could legitimately move were impassible terrain, or contained enemy or neutral units, or in the case of rout, were invalid strategic moves.

"MX1IN has no direction to retreat and is forced to surrender!" - This means that all valid directions in which a unit could retreat were blocked by hostile units.

Note that in all of these cases, although the program says "surrender" the unit will actually shatter, though it will lose many prisoners in the process. Updating the code is on the wish list.

Last updated 2-22-22