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Appren's guide to Advanced Tactics.

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Appren's guide to Advanced Tactics. - 6/3/2009 1:14:24 AM   

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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.

Force composition.

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.

Armored Division
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)

Artillery brigade
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.

< Message edited by Appren -- 6/7/2009 10:32:26 PM >
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RE: Appren's guide to Advanced Tactics. - 6/3/2009 1:14:37 AM   

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Everyone should know that HQ’s are vital to provide supply to your forces, but what some may neglect, especially new players, is the huge impact the command bonus given by the staff has on your units.
Select a ground unit, then hover your mouse cursor over the “Staf” value, and you’ll see something similar to this: “Current CombatMod = +59%. Current MoraleMod = +27%”.
The numbers will vary depending on the exp level of your staff, and how far away from the HQ your unit is, and high numbers will greatly increase the power of your units. Try to keep the percentage listed at “Staf” (not the mouseover value) above 100%. Soldiers in the HQ unit itself do NOT get any bonus, so if you want to keep some regular infantry or flak protecting your HQ, make a new unit and let it follow the HQ instead.

If your unit is within 3 hexes of your HQ, it will get the full bonus, then at 4 hexes you get 80%, at 5 you get 60% and so on, until you have no bonus at all at 8 hexes. Considering this information, it would be wise to maintain enough headquarters to cover your frontlines reasonably well, and to keep the army/corps/division headquarters fairly close to the front.
In most cases you will either have a line of HQ’s in place already, with a main “supply dump” type HQ, like STAVKA in the Russia 41 scenario as an example, or you create one below your “Supreme HQ” in a random game, with combat HQs connected to the main HQ.

Knowing that you want to keep your combat HQ’s close to the front to get the bonuses, you should also realize that headquarters make a very juicy target for your PBEM opponent’s air forces, together with other high value formations like artillery and air forces. Protecting these units will then be important, and some players will sometimes stack these together, possibly even erecting a fortification to help protect them. A much better way to keep high value units safe is dispersion: Instead of having one airport, with all your air wings on the same field, create 3-4-5-6 airports close together, and spread the units.

The same goes for artillery, try to avoid placing them all in one stack. Often you can cover multiple airports or artillery with the same flak formations.

If you know your enemy have air cover on a front, but you only see one airfield within intercept range, you know where to hit if you want to go looking for his air units, even if you have no view of the location – do not give him the same advantage, avoid losses to “blind” attacks on your single airfield, and if he hits one of your 5 airfields, well, then your 4 other wings will probably still be in fighting shape.

If you play PBEM with the nuclear weapons option activated, this is even more important, since you can then destroy the airfield completely in an attack, destroying every single plane based on that hex, even those that retreat in the fight.

Try to avoid using ground units from different HQ’s in the same attack, as this will hurt your concentric bonuses. If you need to use another unit from a different HQ to cover all possible flanks in an attack, reassign it to the same HQ as the other troops. You'll lose readiness on that unit, but the resulting bonus will make up for that.

Tip for new players; avoid sending all your production to your main HQ, whether that is STAVKA, OKW or your Supreme HQ, assign factories and cities directly to the front line headquarters that needs new forces. This makes it faster to get your units made and at 100% readiness, and reduces the need for huge transport overheads. If you use the "hardcore logistics" ruleset, this is of course not possible, but this is not something I recommend for rookie players. Feel free to send all supply to the main HQ though, as this makes it easier to estimate your supply production vs usage, and the supply will flow freely as long as you have open lines.

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< Message edited by Appren -- 6/7/2009 11:11:39 AM >

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RE: Appren's guide to Advanced Tactics. - 6/3/2009 1:14:48 AM   

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Avoid having everything you own on a front sitting in one massive defensive line. Even if you have big forts covering them, they are not safe.
If you have no reserves, and the enemy breaks through, you will have big problems to stop him. Also, if you attack, and you manage to break through, but all your divisions on that part of the front are now badly mangled, you will want well rested reserves ready to exploit the breakthrough opportunity your attack created.

In large scenarios, like Russia 41 or Barbarossa (especially as the Soviets), you may want to keep entire armies/corps as strategic reserves, ready to respond to where your opponent launches his main attacks. In other scenarios, having operational level reserves will be sufficient.

Naval combat.

Naval combat in AT is reasonably well balanced, compared to certain other popular wargames, and cunning planning is often needed to be victorious.
First, the ships themselves:

Battleship: This will be unit that provides the majority of your firepower in the early war, before everyone can throw around stacks of 50 dive bombers. Useful to win sea battles, and to pound coastal units and cities to dust. Fairly expensive to upgrade though, and unless you fight a very naval heavy scenario, I recommend you keep them at level 1 and research your air units instead.

Cruiser: These ships are critical to defend your fleets from air attacks, and early-mid war a decent amount of these makes an air strike on your fleet a VERY risky proposal. Late in a war even a big stack of cruisers is not enough to keep a fleet alive however, only your own fighter cover can do the task at that time. Cruisers can also bombard land hexes, at 1 hex range.

This leads us over to the next ship, the carrier. Useful for adding both offensive and defensive power to your fleets, but expensive. If the map and your strategic situation allows it, keeping your fleet under land-based air cover is a good and cheaper option, but of course limits your choices.

Destroyer: Low firepower and no land attack capability, but these ships still have their uses. They are good for anti-submarine warfare, although aircraft will do the attacking part of ASW better and at no risk. Keep some destroyers in your main fleet, and then make a few small units with 1-2 destroyers each, set them to 5% losses. These can be used to scout, but just as important, to surround an enemy fleet, preventing retreat when you attack. Always upgrade destroyers to level II for naval combat maps, as this is cheap and the increased recon and mobility is very useful.

Submarines: Submarines are, in my opinion, somewhat underpowered in AT, mainly because of two things: You can't sneak into convoys, sink a couple transport ships, and then escape like you often could in WW2, and subs, even upgraded, are fairly easy to spot with fighters. They are still useful for sure, but personally I've found huge wolfpacks to be relatively ineffective.
Note: If you play a random game with the seasons option chosen, you will get opportunities to use submarines without danger of air recon and air strikes, which will make them a better choice in these games than in games with no seasons).
Regardless of their combat ability, or lack of it, submarines make good scouts, patrolling the edges of your sea lanes, or poking at the enemy coasts to see what is going on. If you find that your opponent makes good use of aerial recon, your offensive options are limited. The use of at least a small number of subs will at least force your opponent to adapt to some degree, having destroyers with his transports, and/or forcing him to do some recon to counter your subs.

Ships have a fairly limited movement in AT (unless modded), and finding the enemy before you move your main fleet is very advantageous. Also, if your fleet and your opponent's fleets are facing off, just outside engagement range, be careful to move up in front of him to let him do the attack. Ships have same attack/defend ratios against each other, but the one with the initiative on the attack has the option to launch air strikes to lower readiness, and to encircle the others fleet if he should have sub or destroyer picket fleets available. You'll have to find your own balance between caution and bravery here, just don't rush headlong into danger without scouting first :)

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< Message edited by Appren -- 6/7/2009 11:09:59 AM >

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RE: Appren's guide to Advanced Tactics. - 6/3/2009 1:15:01 AM   

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It is vital to cover your flanks; this can be on a strategic level, on an operational level, where you might defend the flanks of your attack along a single road, stopping your opponent from cutting off your supply lines, and down to what you’d consider tactical level, where you try to avoid creating concentric attack opportunities for your opponent.
Even if you are the one doing the attacks, try to avoid having your highly experienced panzer divisions exposed when your turn ends, move up some motorized infantry or similar to cover these valuable units.

When playing a PBEM game, often you can see a line of units, perhaps a few hexes away from the front, behind a river, and you do not have enough recon to tell you what they really are. Do not underestimate the effect fog of war will have on your opponents choices; that defense line might be old men and wooden tanks, but he might never know!
You can always fill in your ultra light formations with more men should the enemy make a serious move in that direction. Also, sending a few fighters to scout an unknown force yourself can sometimes pay off very well.

Read the excellent George vs Seille Russia 41 AAR (sticky in the AAR section) for a couple examples of decisions made because of lack of recon.

Rookie units.

Your newly constructed units will typically have 10 experience, with the men probably coming straight out of recruit schools, and their units lacking formation training, not to mention having any combat experience. Do try to let these units stay out of combat for 2-3 turns if possible, once they get 30-40 XP they will be more effective. Units not involved in any combat will usually get 41 XP given enough time, and combat will increase this further, together with their morale.

Experienced units.

Sometimes you will get very strong units, with a lot of experience. Try to avoid feeding these new recruits if they are in need of reinforcements, as this will quickly bring them down to the 40% level again. If you have 20 men with 60 XP, and then add 20 more with 20 XP, the result will be 40 men with 40 XP. Instead, if you have to reinforce the unit, add some men that were recruited a few turns ago, and that are already at 40 XP. I often use my most experienced units for important assaults, and then send regulars (i.e: 40'ish XP units) forwards to exploit the attack, and take the eventual counterattack.

For air units, once your fighter wing is "big enough" (For me that'll be 10'ish planes, depending on the scenario), instead of adding more planes and losing XP, make a new wing, let it rest a few turns before you turn on intercept.
Rookie fighter wings that are not yet ready to engage the enemy can still gain a bit of XP from recon missions, so have them do a max range scouting trip over your own lands until they reach 40 XP.

Picture showing the position of German forces at the start of Soviet turn.


Keeping the initiative is important. You want to be the one that makes your opponent react to your moves (and to suffer your attacks) rather than being the one feeling the pain.
In some scenarios there will be a clearly defined attacker and defender, but this does NOT mean that you as a defender should simply sit still in your front lines and forts, waiting for the attacker to hit your units.
Many times a defender will get counterattacking opportunities, with 50% or higher concentric attack bonuses, and can cripple enemy divisions before again retreating to their starting positions (or advancing in some cases).

Let’s say you are the attacker, driving a motorized army towards your enemy’s prepared defense line. You start your turn 3 hexes away, and decide to move up next to the enemy but not attack this turn, either because your units do not have enough MP left, or because you want to start the attack with full movement next turn. If your opponent is of the passive kind, this may very well work, but in reality you are giving the defender an opportunity to, for a time at least, seize the initiative.

Your units might well be stronger than the defender’s units, but if he can create a situation where he gets concentric attack bonuses, then your precious panzer divisions could get some serious damage inflicted upon them. Assuming the defensive line is straight, and the attackers units will then also be a straight line, so he’ll use artillery and/or airstrikes to create the first opening, then, if the situation is right, he could “roll down” along your entire front, or parts of it, getting multiple attacks with a 50% bonus, and still having enough MP left to retreat back to the safety of his defensive line (which he could then man with his reserves). Instead, YOU should be the one looking for opportunities to attack, and avoid unnecessarily standing still when you could be attacking.

Of course, your attacks must be made against winnable odds, but if in doubt, attacking is often the best option. If the defender has forts, you’ll need to crush at least one of the forts to create an opening, then concentric attacks, preferably with a small arty strike first, can be enough to push him away from the other forts in the line.

Now that I’ve mentioned forts; quite a few players like to build forts a bit too often. Perhaps you could be pushing forward widening your flanks instead of creating forts to keep it safe? Keep the initiative!

PP is not free, and the usage of them should be well considered. Forts can certainly be important for key defensive objectives/lines, especially early in a campaign, before the players have 20+ artillery battalion’s available, pulverizing forts in one strike, and also to cover HQ’s when advancing.


Last, but by no means least, is mobility. Together with the battle for air superiority, mobility is what I consider to be the most important aspect for an army in AT. Higher mobility means it will be easier to surround an enemy for concentric attacks (much love for armored cars for this task), it means your forces have more MP available, and with that more attacks after advancing against the enemy, and you will be able to react to exploitation opportunities faster, and get in place to stop the enemy advances.
At the very least all your forces (possibly excluding some forts…possibly) should have enough horses to carry all heavy equipment, but I would highly recommend that all regular units should be fully horse-carried, and that a good portion of the army should be motorized/mechanized in good terrain.

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< Message edited by Appren -- 6/6/2009 4:09:02 PM >

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RE: Appren's guide to Advanced Tactics. - 6/3/2009 1:15:11 AM   

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Some tips and information about alternative game settings and options.

Options on the "Make Random Scenario" screen:

Optimize for AI: This adds a lot of small villages with a tiny production, in addition to the normal amount of towns and cities. This helps the AI fight better, it can otherwise have problems dealing with big open maps.

People's Republic: This adds a weak AI force that occupy the entire map when the game starts. This will slow down the expansion a bit, for both sides.

Map loop: Map will be scrolling sideways, and looping "around the world". Rarely used for random games in my experience.

Shrouded map: Map starts dark, and you have to explore it. While some might not like the "Civ" style exploration in the age of worldwide travel and air planes, this adds the useful effect of hiding terrain improvements like factories, roads and ports in unscouted areas.

Mirror map: mirrors the map! Only allowed in two-player games, and gives both sides equal opportunities (whoever has the first turn does have a slight advantage, however)

Block center: Not sure

Full 1st level tech: If this is not selected, you only start being able to build basic units like rifles, trucks, engineers and transport ships. This makes your research choices even more important, and adds flavor to games.

Map options should be self-explanatory, but keep in mind the research cost modifier, a high number means slower research, and once again adds to the importance of your choices on spending your political points.

Start of game options

Seasons: This adds seasons, 8 turns of summer, 2 turns of autumn, 4 turns of winter and 2 turns of spring. Autumn and spring is assumed having bad weather, and will ground your planes and slow down your ground units. This option adds things to consider in your strategy, build up during winter/spring, and then attack in the summer, and so on.

Rebellions: Random chance for a small unit of one of the players to spawn in enemy territory. This can be from 20 to 50 SMG, rifles or scouts. This option when playing against the AI will create a lot of random havoc, and in a human game it will make garrisons and policing of your own lands even more important. I'll typically have 20-30 man garrisons, and then a high number of small mobile units (like 10-20 rifles + horses, or 1 armored car + 5 rifles) spread out, all belonging to one HQ. You probably wont be in range of the HQ for command bonuses, but at least you get no penalty for attacking from multiple HQ's, and you will have enough units to surround rebels quick. If you somehow play on a map with a single important road, be sure to cover this good, especially bridges.

Factories: Lets you spend 32PP and 300 engineering points to construct factories. These can in turn produce 4PP every turn, or units/supply of equal amounts. If this option is enabled (versus human opponent, or if you play an AI+ or AI++), be sure not to neglect this, a factory producing PP will earn back the investment in just 8 turns, letting you build even more factories. Each factory needs to have at least 2 hexes between each other, towns and other constructions like ports and air fields does not matter. The AI will not build factories, so avoid using them against easier AI opponents, like multiple normal AI, or a single AI+, as this would unbalance the game too much in your favor.

Hardcore Logistics: Requires every single production facility/town to have a headquarter in place, and everything produced will then have to be transported manually (except supplies). If you use this option, be sure your PBEM opponent agree with this beforehand, as it adds a lot of micromanagement. The AI is not affected by this choice at all, and will function as normal.
Tip: On big maps where the supply production of your Supreme HQ just isn't big enough, create supply dump HQ's, that is allowed to build up a stock of supplies for a number of turns, then redirect your Corps HQ to that HQ for a turn to let it use those. A big map might require multiple such supply dumps.
If you play with a lot of tiny villages, have them all build 1PP every turn, and save yourself the effort of sending 5 riflemen every turn.

Nuclear Weapons: This lets you build nuclear weapons, obviously. These are, however, incredibly expensive to both research and build, and so far in my games nobody ever built them. What this option does add is the ability to completely destroy any city, factory or other construction. This adds new ways to hurt your enemy, no longer will his stack of 80 engineers simply repair your bombing efforts in a single turn, so your strategic bombing or naval shelling will be far more powerful. It does also add a rather big risk of you demolishing a city you want to conquer, so be careful with those artillery battalions. A hex that has a VP will keep that even if the city is turned to ruins.

Initial nuclear techs: Players start with the expensive nuclear research already done. You might want to use this if you actually want people to use nukes in your game.

Diplomatics: Adds flavor to games with several players, allowing alliances and backstabbing. Again, the AI does not use this option.

Options you should always turn on for PBEM games:
Fog of War
Passwords (You do not need the temptation to look at your opponents turn!)
Anti-PBEM cheat (lets you know if your opponent loads the game several times)

I would strongly suggest to NOT use the Terror PBEM Mod.

< Message edited by Appren -- 6/4/2009 2:13:39 PM >

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RE: Appren's guide to Advanced Tactics. - 6/3/2009 1:15:19 AM   

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Strategic movement.

Headquarters with some sort of transport attached gives you the ability to do strategic movement. Just like transferring newly built material and men to your formations, this ability uses Land or Naval transport capacity points, so the distance and amount of transport in a HQ will limit how much moves you can do. You are not limited to using a units own HQ for strategic movement or transfers.
Strategic movements can be used to what the name implies, moving units with men and equipment strategically, to get them there faster than what they could do on their feet, horses or trucks, perhaps to counter the enemy advances or redirect your own offensive.

This is not the only thing you can use strategic movement for, however. It is also an awesome tool for rescuing troops that are in danger of being overrun by the enemy.

Using strategic movement in this situation allowed me to withdraw 2 divisions that lacked mobility to escape on their own, plus the remains of 2 other divisions in very poor shape. The units are not able to put up a fight for another 3-4 turns, and will need more men added, but they avoided total destruction.

If you find yourself being in a situation where you lack the necessary amount of transport capacity to save an entire unit, and you know the unit is doomed no matter, you can always transfer out as many men as possible (directly to the HQ), and then either let the remaining men and hardware be destroyed the next turn, or you can chose to disband the troops, and then disband the unit itself to get back 1PP (or 5PP for a HQ).

"Mobile artillery"

Another way you can (ab)use strategic movement is to allow your artillery to withdraw after shooting. Unfortunately AT lacks the ability to limit the amount of time a unit spends attacking. It could be nice to tell your artillery battalions to just fire for 5 combat rounds, and then move back, but this is not possible. However, you can use strategic movement for this purpose. The penalty is, of course, the readiness loss; after doing this, your artillery will not be at 100% readiness for another couple turns, but the move has its uses.

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< Message edited by Appren -- 6/6/2009 4:03:37 PM >

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RE: Appren's guide to Advanced Tactics. - 6/3/2009 1:15:54 AM   

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PBEM specific advice.

A human player is far more devious and sneaky than the AI can ever be, and far better at coordinating attacks. This means there are some things you rarely have to worry about in AI games, that suddenly become vital when playing against another human player. Some things I've already mentioned above, and might be repeating some points here, but still, here are some things you have to consider carefully against a human.

Garrison your cities.
When playing against the AI (unless you have rebellions activated) you rarely have to bother with this, except for the cities very close to the front. Rarely will the AI successfully use stealthy and/or surprising deep strikes with scouts or armored cars, but a human player certainly can and often will. Control of your flanks will stop most ground troops from sneaking in, but paratroopers can still come visit, something the AI will never do (AI can't use paras at all)

I've already mentioned this briefly, but it does not hurt to repeat it. Knowing what the enemy, and getting early warnings of attacks on a new front is vital. If you play on a map that is not shrouded you can see new roads being constructed, keep an eye out for ports, roads or airports being constructed in a quiet area of the map, this could be the buildup for an invasion. If you play on a shrouded map you have to go looking for these things yourself. Keep a few small formation of fighters (set at 5% loss) and try to cover areas you think things could happen. On a sea heavy map, the use of submarines as pickets and scouts is a useful method, especially if your opponent does not actively scout his sea lanes with planes.


I've mentioned reserves above, but just restating that having mobile reserves ready to counter sudden invasions or flanking attacks is very important when playing against another player.

Communicate with your opponent
If you know you will be unable to do your turns for a period, due to vacation, busy real life, jobs, etc, common courtesy would be to let your opponent know this. Also, sometimes you or your opponent simply forget who sent the turn, or your email somehow ends up not being received (I've had problems myself where emails with attachments did not get sent). If you suddenly go a week without a turn, while you had daily turns before this, send a new mail. If this happen I'll usually send a mail, with my turn added once again, and politely ask if they have not received the turn, or if they have simply been too busy to play.

If you get a message that the opponent has loaded a turn for the second time, this does not necessarily mean they are cheaters, crashes do happen. Also, you might get the message "so and so has tampered with the log files" or something similar, which usually means they have just been switching out modifications, or doing something with their install, not that they have been doing something bad.

Don't reload: This should be obvious to most people, but still, there are some that just can't resist the temptation to reload if things does not go their way, try not to be that person :) If you do end up having to redo a turn due to power failure, crashes etc, do let your opponent know when you send the turn. As long as this isn't something that happen often, few opponents should have an issue with this.

AI specific advice:

When you fight against the AI, in particular AI+ or AI++, you can quickly be overwhelmed by huge numbers of highly advanced units. Medium Tank IV's and Rifle III's vs your Rifle II and AT-Gun I's can be a bit tough, so what do you do? You use the AI's lack of intelligence, and try to channel their advances into your ambush!

Especially when you play against either multiple AI+, or an AI++ you will have to find terrain you can use to your advantage early on. Here you have to keep them busy as you build up your forces, to be ready to go on the offensive yourself. A competent human player would not do what the screenshot shows, but then again a human player would not have such amounts of men either.

On the screenshot the AI is attacking over a narrow strip of land, and one might think "build forts along the isthmus so he can only attack straight on", but you will not be able to stand against the waves of reinforcements pounding on your fort this way, so you set up an ambush instead. Here I have set up a 4 sided trap for a 100% bonus, and in some cases you could even get a 5 sided one!

If you fight a powerful AI+/++ you'll still have your hands full reinforcing the ambush, repairing forts, and gaining air superiority, but it should be doable.

After you have been "turtling up" for quite some time you should have a nice collection of highly experienced artillery and air forces, and these will be a key element for when you finally go on the offensive. Keep in mind though, that even if it appears that you have air superiority, the AI+/++ will often have sizeable air forces in bases not in range of the front, so be careful when you send out your newly constructed panzer divisions.

Air war

The AI+ will usually get an air force up and going well before you are able to do it yourself. When you do make your first fighter wing, try not to set it to intercept before you have a sizeable amount of planes (10+), with 40 XP. Once you get this first air force up and going, and manage your first successful intercepts, you should be able to keep up with the AI as long as you do not waste planes on early/overconfident attacks.

The AI will adjust his choice of production according to what you do, keep this in mind when planning an offensive supported by heavy air power. If you have not been bombing the AI at all, it should have very few Flak, if any at all, but if you start an air war they will start building these in huge numbers. You might want to consider fighting defensively first, getting control of the skies with your fighters intercepting his, and then building up the bomber force when you get air superiority, and your ground forces are ready for the big push. In a 100 turn game against a single AI++, I encountered stacks of up to 70 Flak III's, which could be somewhat nasty. Still, even big numbers of flak is not able to stop a force of 50 highly experienced planes, but you'll take heavy losses.

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Appren -- 6/6/2009 1:13:24 PM >

(in reply to Appren)
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RE: Appren's guide to Advanced Tactics. - 6/3/2009 6:52:52 AM   


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Nice guide Thanks

(in reply to Appren)
Post #: 8
RE: Appren's guide to Advanced Tactics. - 6/3/2009 7:21:14 AM   

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Nicely done. 1-2 pieces of advice, I actually needed myself.

(in reply to LazyBoy)
Post #: 9
RE: Appren's guide to Advanced Tactics. - 6/6/2009 4:51:47 PM   

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This started as a fairly small project, but I had fun writing, and it kind of grew. I've edited and rewritten it several times, and now added more content, and feel that I cover most parts of what I wanted to do. Might add something more later.

(in reply to TheArchduke)
Post #: 10
RE: Appren's guide to Advanced Tactics. - 6/7/2009 8:45:00 PM   
british exil

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Very nicely written.

Just been playing a PBEM where I made all the mistakes you described. You should have posted this months ago, so that I wouldn't have had to learn the hard way.

Will print out what you've written and leave next to my keyboard as a reminder what not to do.


"It is not enough to expect a man to pay for the best, you must also give him what he pays for." Alfred Dunhill


(in reply to Appren)
Post #: 11
RE: Appren's guide to Advanced Tactics. - 6/11/2009 12:04:26 PM   

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So that's how you escaped my encirlement that time!

(in reply to british exil)
Post #: 12
RE: Appren's guide to Advanced Tactics. - 6/11/2009 12:51:38 PM   


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very nice guide! il read it more carefully today

btw, from your avi I see youve played generals, thats also nice

(in reply to BULLDOGINTHEUK)
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RE: Appren's guide to Advanced Tactics. - 6/13/2009 11:26:31 PM   

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So that's how you escaped my encirlement that time!


(in reply to BULLDOGINTHEUK)
Post #: 14
RE: Appren's guide to Advanced Tactics. - 8/18/2009 11:30:05 AM   

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Very usefull stuff, I...must...learn...

(in reply to Appren)
Post #: 15
RE: Appren's guide to Advanced Tactics. - 9/1/2009 4:48:10 PM   


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Very nicely written Appren....though I'll have to beg to differ on one point you wrote about....dispersment of air units.... unless you are playing with some sort of House Rule... dispersing your air units (IMO) is actualy the easiest way to loose air superiority.

The way I fight the air war (if there are no House Rules in place) NOT by hitting the opponents air-fields where he probably has nice Flak coverage and is in interception range of all his air groups....but rather lure his units out to dogfight piece-meal.

The way I do this, if an opponent disperses his to use a little guesswork and a recon plane to attack a ground unit (or bridge or city) (usualy something unimportant that is unlikely to have much Flak coverage) the very edge of his intercept range for some groups and BEYOND the edge of others.

That way I have my ENTIRE air-force go up to fight maybe a 3rd or 1/4 of his Air-Force....and I tear him up piece-meal. I've used this tactic successfully many times in PvP games.

Remember in AT.... there is no decision making about whether interceptors scramble or not, since it occurs in the other players turn. If you have your planes set to intercept and they are over the organization threshold you set.... They WILL scramble against any strike in thier intercept range.....and that range is fixed....depending upon thier current organization rating.

Thus if you have air units dispersed in multiple hexes and multiple units.... you WILL run into situations where only SOME of your interceptors scramble. A clever opponent will take advantage of this to take your airforce apart piecemeal.

This is pricesly why the mega-stack of fighters has become such a common sight in PvP games.

(in reply to kondor)
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