First I don’t play Ironman :) But if I did it would go like this: First hires will hopefully be Farmers, Brawlers, Butchers, Thieves, Peddlers, or Wildmen. They have the best stats at low hiring prices. Get 7 guys running. 6 is going to be tougher against your early fights.
Make sure to get everyone shields and headgear ASAP. Keep them in spears until melee hits 60 which gives them +20 to hit. Then slowly graduate them to sword class which gives you +10 to hit. Once they hit 70 melee then you can diversify them more. Always have 1 or 2 people as polearm users. Polearms have a bonus to hit and they do amazing amounts of damage. When you can afford it, try to get more ranged asap. You’ll want them as archers, but for the early stages outfit the new ranged recruits as crossbowman for the to-hit bonus and armor penetration capabilities. But once they’ve leveled up enough and can spec in bow go that route for the extra range. In the end you’ll probably want ~4 archers.
For front-liners when you level you generally want to put all your points in melee attack, melee defense and fatigue. When one of those is just 1 point, then put them into HP and Resolve. Resolve is more important than I realized early on, not just because it’s extremely important in the expansion, but even with Underdog, when you get 2+ guys in you, your guys can get a morale hit (little white flag starting to show) which at stage 1 lowers offense and defense 10% (which is huge). Takes a person’s 60 attack and drops it to 54. This stops happening ~60 resolve with Underdog.
HP you want at 62 or above. This is when a single, lucky Crossbow bolt to the head will no longer kill you.
You can use this as a guide for perks though I’d think about substituting killing frenzy for pathfinder to give you more strategic capabilities in battle. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1gKplp5RT2Migt45AP6uItw7WUXXmOO-qQd33fvqY2GI/htmlview?usp=drivesdk&sle=true#
For crap recruits you want survival traits: go Colossus - Gifted (put those points into melee attack, melee defense, and Fatigue/HP/Resolve) - Steel Brow. Nine Lives is good, but generally if you’re down to 1 HP he’s generally dead anyways so it’s better to not get there through other traits.
Don’t be afraid to move up to 12 if you feel you need more numbers. But keep in mind the game scales linearly based on your characters levels, number of bros, and armor level.
If you’ve got a guy with terrible fatigue go Nimble (archers and dedicated polearm should be Nimble anyways). To get max value out of Nimble don’t go over 10 for body armor and 5 for helmet. This gives you 40% reduction in damage.
Get kite shields as soon as you can. They make a huge difference vs. ranged. If you can buy them for a good price do it.
Don’t be afraid to use high starting funds and beginner costs. It’s still wickedly hard, but at least this way you can actually buy something in the game.