From: Vermont, USA
Ok, as promised, some additional info on Infantry in Panzer Command: Operation Winter Storm. Please note that this campaign historically was pretty armor-focused and that has been our emphasis, but the given the realities of time and budget, for this campaign we generally chose to add another tank before adding more infantry. In future campaigns, I'm pretty sure that focus will be reversed.
The main campaign focuses on armor-heavy battles, although there are two battles that include quite a lot of infantry as well. There is also a skirmish "quick battle" scenario that is very heavily infantry-oriented, to provide some balance for PBEM choices.
With all that said, the main formations involved on each side are a Panzer Korps for the Germans, with focus on the 6th, 17th and 23rd Panzer Divisions and some Mech and Tank units as well as some Rifle units on the Soviet side. The German campaign focuses on the 6th Panzer, the Soviet on the 7th Tank Corps.
As with all unit data in Panzer Command, infantry unit data is in easily editable XML files that allow you to adjust firepower, accuracy, morale, etc. to your liking.
For the German side, we have PanzerGrenadier Squads, regular Infantry Squads, Anti-Tank Rifle Teams, Anti-Tank Guns , MG-42 Teams and Pioneers. For the Soviet side, we have Rifle Squads, Guards Rifle Squads, Anti-Tank Rifle Teams, Anti-Tank Guns, Maxim MMG Teams and SMG Squads. Mortars are modeled off-map at present, though we plan to bring the smaller size mortars on-map in future expansions.
We initially were only showing three figures per squad. We've removed that limit. By default, you can show 3 or 5. However, the XML files can very easily be modded to allow more than five. I plan to include an alternate set of files with the historical number of infantry per squad for folks with systems that can handle it.
In this release, infantry units are treated as an inseparable whole unit. As a result, we don't support individual casualties, though that's something we definitely plan to add for the first infantry-oriented expansion we do. Future plans are obviously dependent on the success of the first release of this engine, so if you'd like to see what we've done and what we can do, please support us when Panzer Command is available for sale.
Each infantry unit is rated on the accuracy, range, rate of fire and firepower and penetration of its weapons. Accuracy, firepower and penetration are defined for each range band and weapons are aggregated for the squad or team. When an infantry unit fires at another infantry unit, first it rolls accuracy for each shot to see if it "hit" the opposing unit. The accuracy roll is influenced by cover and other modifiers. If it "hit", then the firepower is the most important statistic. Firepower can be reduced by cover as well and infantry that is stationary, whether in cover or in the open, reduces firepower directed against it. Conversely, infantry running in the open or riding exposed on a vehicle is penalized, with firepower that hits it increased in magnitude. The result is that a squad can hug the ground and hang on for a while (as long as it doesn't break in terms of morale) while a squad next to it that's sprinting around gets shot to pieces.
When firing, you can direct your fire against a single enemy unit or fire at a point on the map (area fire). The latter is most likely to just suppress what's in the area (whether you see it or not), whereas the former is the best way to actually cause casualties.
In terms of conditions, infantry can be unsuppressed, suppressed or broken. Each infantry unit is rated for its initial morale, which determines how likely it is to break, it's ability to rally, which determines how likely it is to recover from being broken and the number of turns it can remain broken before it is considered effectively dispersed and removed from the field.
When infantry takes fire, it's possible for the cover and other modifiers to reduce firepower to the point where an infantry squad can only be suppressed or broken, rather than destroyed. Similarly, with positive modifiers a low firepower unit can end up with a good chance to destroy an enemy. In general, the best "roll" will result in destruction, the next best in breaking the enemy infantry, then suppression and finally no effect.
Whenever a unit sustains a roll that would destroy it, we conduct another check to see if it was destroyed or only suffered casualties. If it makes this roll, a message stating "[unit] suffered casualties" is displayed and the unit is suppressed rather than being destroyed. This is generally a good indicator to the player that it's too hot where the unit currently is and that it will need help or it will soon be destroyed.
For the most part, you want to use infantry in cover and not expose them to machine gun or HE fire in the open. With the amount of armor in this campaign and the fact that the terrain was mostly open ground, infantry can have a tough time of it. Most of these battles were also fairly dynamic and the situation in the front was pretty fluid so only in a few instances were entrenchments really of any effect. For this reason, we've included limited fortifications and plan to expand on that in future expansions.
That's a basic summary of what we have in the game in terms of infantry. I realize infantry fans will want more. We can do it, but it didn't make sense to over-emphasize infantry for this release since the campaign itself was focused on armor and largely in "tank country" historically. I think tank-lovers will find a lot to like in the initial release and infantry afficionados will not be disappointed, but future expansions should make infantry fans much happier.