although if the AI bothered to just hold a position and form a firing line they'll be hard to beat without losing casualties.
However, once a bullet hits you, you can say goodbye to that health bar.
I've beaten them with only 1 or no casualties repeatedly. It's because I mass Famiglia Ducale and then march them up in a line and have a shoot-out with the Ossians. Generally being inside their rifle range but outside of pistol range is the sweet spot where the crossbows will massacre them but they hardly do anything (maybe they kill a horse or two). I just watch with a shield up. And try to get behind someone so they can't shoot my foot or something.
Uh, the foot crossbows are not as good, they only shoot once per reload, and don't have a horse to allow them a bum-rush. An Ossian charge against a line of foot crossbows and pikes will end up bloodily as the Ossians can fire while charging, and well pikemen aren't good in a close footmen fight either.
Melee units....well you can get a bunch of pikemen to fight off cavalry and hire mercenaries. Or, you can try to raise up some Deltorian Men-At-Arms, they are very lethal. The Menevero Genovesi also work wonders, since they have heavy armor, board shields, and warhammers.
Horsemen on armored mounts. ^___^ So good, fight horsemen with horsemen. On the field, I just run about firing crossbows until the enemy breaks up then just F3 and watch the massacre.
On siege defence, it seems that the Native auxiliaries (the lower level ones) are really good. They have a fast attack with good range, and blunt (goes through armor) damage. Ideal - though piercing would be more ideal. That and having such powerful heavy mounted crossbows means simply running out and attacking the enemy is probably better than waiting for them to *maybe* attack.
As for using ranged weapons on Physaio shields...I wouldn't recommend trying to break them, as Physaio shields have a lot of HP....but feel free to try.
Yes, Actually, I discovered that they have anywhere from 50% to 75% of soldiers with javelins. When they have javelins in hand, they don't raise their shields, so that makes them very easy kills.
One can advance rather close to them (a little out of javelin range) and harmlessly shoot them to death. The final 25% to 50% who don't have a ranged weapon only have short swords so a cavalry charge will flatten them. In fact, I've picked up a few of their javelins and observed the damage is about that of a bow, so just charging in works too, but might as well get the free kills in by firing off all your bolts first.
If you get too close though, the men will break ranks and charge so I really hang back. Besides, its a long line of chaps not using their shields - it's easy to kill them even from long range.
On a siege, you need to make sure you are outside of their javelin range. Then just shoot them to death. (Rinse repeat). They also have short weapons, so getting a long polearm and standing on top of the ladder beating them from there is also an easy way to massacre them. Yum!
You might also want to try getting some WuXia horse archers. They're lightning fast and have pretty dangerous lances to charge unprotected enemies.
I fight Ossians too much I suppose, but they seem more vulnerable to bullets. Probably because they don't have a shield or heavy armor. The horse is stronger, but pretty much any armored horse is nearly invulnerable ... except the player's horse.
(One favorite tactic when I get cocky is to order hold fire -so they take out shields- and just charge headlong into the Ossian line. It gets them every time. In one case, even when they had 200+ to my 80+.