From: Houston, TX
It is important to understand that in this battalion-scale scenario, units have very different capabilities and need to be used in their proper function. Artillery should be held in the rear for both offensive and defensive bombardment purposes. Considering that your opponent will also be using artillery in this fashion, you will find that armor (including recon) makes the best shock troops, due to its immunity from artillery. Infantry should be preserved for holding ground, if possible. Of course, since armor can be in short supply, infantry will have to be the second choice for shock troops. But effort should be made, if possible, to mitigate their losses by disentrenching any in-range enemy artillery first (that knocks it out of support mode).
Artillery units should almost never be used in the shock troop role or in any frontline defense role. Think of them as gold. Preserve them at all costs. Destroy enemy artillery at any opportunity. Artillery superiority is virtually a prerequisite for offensive action. Always try to have your artillery in good defensive deployment at the end of your turn, with a defensive barrier of combat units between them and the enemy. Allowing the enemy easy combat access to your artillery is bad form.
This can be a complicated problem due to the random risk of early turn ending. It is usually best not to wait till the end of the turn to dig your artillery in. There is a lot of art in that decision since if you dig in too early, the large movement rates may result in the battle advancing beyond the range of the, now dug-in, artillery. But there is nothing worse than the turn ending early and all your artillery is in mobile mode. You will be defenseless in the coming enemy phase. One strategy is to place your artillery in a reserve mode so that they provide half-strength help to all attacks in range. The advantage is that they still can move if the turn continues, yet they can defensively support in that mode if the turn ends early. But if they have MPs left, they can also move right into the arms of the enemy attackers, getting decimated in the process. Itís a tough problem that requires high skill and luck.
Auxiliary unit-types, such as HQs, AAA, AT, and engineers will make poor shock troops because they incur higher hex conversion costs than infantry and armor. This is because of the high movement rates of this scenario. Each hex costs 10% of a unitís MP to convert, absent recon bonuses. Auxiliary units have been denied recon assets in this scenario to intentionally ensure that they will be poor hex converting units. Frontline units like armor and infantry, however, have been liberally supplied with recon assets, to make them very good at hex conversion. If in good health, they will never pay more than 1 extra MP to convert a hex. This has a very realistic effect on the play of the scenario. Frontline units tend to fill frontline roles and rear area units like auxiliary units and artillery tend to be unable to fill those roles, except defensively, and therefore tend to stay in the rear where they belong. In some TOAW scenarios you will often see auxiliary units like HQs and AAA units spearheading breakthroughs. They wonít be able to do that in this scenario and that is a good thing. Spearheads will be armor, recon, or motorized infantry.
And donít forget that HQs and engineers have special functions. HQs have support and command squads, the loss of which affects formation supply rates and formation proficiency levels. Engineers may be needed to repair bridges in the Nile delta. Both should be kept out of combat for those reasons.
The air formation base support units are worthless as combat units. They lack any active equipment. As such, they can be easily overrun by any combat unit, or even by other base support units. They should be held in the rear doing functions like converting hexes in bypassed areas (in fact, Iíve specifically left them in the game so they can perform that function). Occasionally they can be sacrificed to help combat units break contact with enemy units. But note that once destroyed they wonít return.
The supply units are equally worthless in any form of combat regardless of the defense numbers on their counters. They must be kept safely in the rear to preserve them for their critical supply extension function. To that end they must be kept more than 25 hexes apart to all remain functional.
< Message edited by Curtis Lemay -- 9/5/2009 10:21:14 PM >