Cannon is a Dwarfs siege engine unit in Total War: Warhammer. A staple of Dwarfen armies, the cannon is a long-ranged, powerful weapon essential to the Dwarfen grand strategy.
Cannons were first made by the Dwarfs of Zhufbar, although now, many of the larger Holds make their own. One of the most potent war machines, a cannon can shatter the most heavily armoured foe, pour shot into massed enemy formations, level a foe's cities or fortifications and topple the largest of monsters. They are, however, somewhat temperamental devices, and even the best-forged cannon in the world (those made by Dwarfs, naturally) are subject to occasional malfunction. The slightest crack or premature ignition of black powder can result in devastating accidents. In addition to the cannons housed within Holds, many Clans maintain a number of cannons that can join a throng on the march. These are hauled into overlooking positions on the battlefield where their long range and potent shot can dictate the course of the enemy's actions. Give the quality of their make, many Cannons have been in service for a number of centuries and are revered by their crew.
- ↑ Anti-Large: Anti-large units have an advantage against targets that are at least as large as a horse. This advantage can be a damage bonus against large targets or an attack that focuses on a very small area. However, some units are simply better against large targets because their attacks are slow and easy to dodge by skilled melee combatants.
- ↑ Armour-Piercing Missiles: The damage of armour-piercing weapons mostly ignores the armour of the target, making them the ideal choice against heavily-armoured enemies. They are often heavier and attack at a slower rate though, making them less efficient against poorly-armoured targets.
The basic Dwarfen Cannon can be built from the same Gunsmith as the Thunderer musketeers, and provides a role the Dwarfs are otherwise sorely lacking in to that point: anti-Large capability. The Cannon does not replace its Grudge Thrower predecessor, as its projectile lacks the area-impact of the GT's stones--it provides a different role altogether (though the infantry that do get hit by Cannon shots are not going to particularly enjoy it.)
The Cannon fires a ball at a much faster speed than the Grudge Thrower, making it much harder to dodge, though the rate of fire is marginally slower. Cannon shots do far more damage than Grudge Thrower shots, over twice as much in both categories, but the lack of area-impact makes them poor at handling crowds. Inversely, however, the Cannon is much more accurate than the Grudge Thrower--and indeed moreso than its higher-tier Imperial counterpart--making it able to "snipe" targets smaller than an entire regiment at longer ranges. It shoots at exactly the same range as its predecessor, making them work well in concert--the Grudge Thrower plasters slow massed infantry, while the Cannon's faster shots target enemy monsters and cavalry. The Cannon is also a much more effective siege weapon than the Grudge Thrower--while it can't hit the troops on or behind the walls as well, Cannons do much more damage to towers and walls than GTs do.
Dwarfen armies should pick up at least one unit of Cannons as soon as they are able--while pricey and a bit more specialized than the Grudge Thrower, the only other option for the Cannon's role is the even more specialized Slayer. Running two units of each type works well, and should give you a taste of how Dwarfs work as the game gets later and more of their exceptional artillery comes online. While you could argue that the Organ Gun obsoletes the Grudge Thrower, the Cannon never is--nothing that comes after it can match its range or its ability to smash fortifications and big, slow targets.
Like all artillery, Cannons need to be protected against cavalry flanking and flying attacks, and should stay at the back of the army. Unlike Grudge Throwers, Cannons absolutely need to be placed on as high ground as can be managed, as their much flatter projectile arcs mean they cannot shoot over their own guarding troops on the flat. Cannons should focus on Very Large targets first and foremost such as Giants or Varghulfs, and then move to enemy cavalry, targeting infantry only if absolutely necessary or if no other ideal targets are left. If you are also using Thunderers as your ranged units, the same spacing tactics that let your Thunderers work will also work for Cannons, and allow them to wreak havoc on enemy infantry engaged with your front line.