Appren -> Appren's guide to Advanced Tactics. (6/3/2009 1:14:24 AM)
A guide to Advanced Tactics
I’ve tried to write a little guide (guess it got a bit bigger than I had first planned), with some hints and tips both for PBEM and play vs AI. Much of this will be aimed primarily against newer players, but hopefully even moderately experienced players can find something useful.
First of all, something I see quite often from PBEM opponents (not to mention the AI, say hi to 1000 SMG’s defending a capital city!), is a tendency to build few and large units, often with limited mobility. This, I believe, is rarely the optimal.
Build many smaller units, and then stack 2 or 3 on an important hex as needed. When you get a chance to counterattack, instead of having one unit of 150 infantry of various kind, you’ll have 3 units of 50 instead, which can then attempt to encircle your opponent. Also, having many units makes it easier to rotate units in need of rest, reinforcements and so on. Not only will multiple units give you a greater flexibility, you will also get a stacking penalty if you have more than 100 stack points on a single hex, and the hex gets attacked.
The amount and types of men and hardware in a unit will vary a lot, from scenario to scenario, and between players with different styles. Keeping in mind my preference for multiple small or medium sized units, here are some suggestions for typical units I would be likely to use in a PBEM game:
Infantry Division (regular)
30 Rifles, 5 mortars, 5 MG, 0-1 AT-Gun, +horses or trucks, depending on role/economy/terrain.
Infantry Division (defensive)
25-30 Rifles, 10 machine guns, 1-2 AT-Guns, 1 Flak. Add horses, either enough to for the entire formation, or at least to carry the heavy guns.
4 Light Tank, 20 Rifle, 10 Mortar, 1 Flak, 1 Truck (Occasionally halftrack, if I do not have to spend PP researching them in the scenario)
5-10 artillery, 10 rifle, 1-3 flak, trucks or horses.
Armored Cavalry, for recon and more importantly; to outflank enemies to provide big attack bonuses.
5 Armored Cars, 5 mortars, 20 rifle (scouts is an option, but personally I rarely use them, since I always upgrade rifles, and do not feel spending PP on researching higher level scouts is worthwhile)
For counter-insurgency (with rebels), or for guarding quiet flanks, I’ll typically use a very light infantry brigade, something like 20 infantry and 2 horses.
As time goes on, and production increase, I’ll usually increase the number of mortars in my offensive formations, sometimes having as much as 20 mortars in a single formation. I find mortars to be more effective than infantry guns, and have completely stopped using those in my forces at all.
In addition, for bigger scenarios, I’ll typically have 1-2 Flak divisions, covering my HQ or artillery, something like 20 rifle and 3++ Flak, positioned to cover critical hexes from neighboring hexes.
The choice of units cannot be made without knowing the terrain you expect to be fighting in. If you have to fight in the mountains, leave the panzers behind (or avoid building them until you have fought your way through the deep forest/mountains).
Spending your PP – what to research and build.
Your PP should not be used haphazardly, without a plan behind how you spend them. Avoid researching multiple types of units that do the same job. For instance, if you are going for Mortar III’s (mortars are awesome!), then do not bother to research even level 1 of Infantry Guns, nor to build any of them.
Also, try to avoid using PP on more than 1 or at most 2 types of tank research, but rather build many of one kind with a higher research level. What type of tank you pick is up to you. In some scenarios like Russia 41 you will start with dozens of existing ones, and chosing to upgrade your 50 light tanks to level III might be smarter than researching medium tank II and starting to build those. Personally, I will in most cases only research light tanks, as I value their mobility a lot, and I feel heavy tanks and tank destroyers are simply not worth it, considering the vulnerability of such high-cost units to airstrikes. If I am up against an enemy with multiple TD’s or heavy tanks, I’ll often soften them up with air, or even attack with a rifle/mortar combo before sending in my light tanks.
Bazooka's vs AT-Guns is also a choice you have, you can certainly build both, but avoid researching both. My choice is usually AT-Guns, as I find bazooka's a bit too vulnerable for my liking.
SMG’s – you may consider using these for urban combat, or heavy forests, but unless I make units specifically to defend or attack such areas, I will use rifles for versatility.
A fairly typical order of research for me could be something like this:
(Random game, exploration)
Armored Car, Mortar, (ships if needed), Rifle II, Mortar II, Fighter, Fighter II, Machine Gun, Artillery, AT-Gun, Flak, Light Tank I&II, Fighter III…etc
Note: In a random game, speed is INCREDIBLY important for your first turns, build multiple infantry brigades with 1 truck each, to claim land QUICK.
(Scenario like Russia 41, assuming full level 1 research)
Rifle II, Fighter II, Fighter III, Light Tank II, Mortar II, Mortar III, Artillery II, Fighter IV, Dive Bomber II, Rifle III
You might notice that I place fighter upgrades very high on my wish list, and this is quite true. I also build a LOT of those planes. I am not going to cover the air war deeply in this guide, and will only say that this is the most important part of a big scenario, if your opponent control the skies, you simply cannot win a ground war. Please check out Grymme’s excellent guide on air supremacy for further information on fighters, flak and bombers.