In response to CorkscrewBlow’s post on the USA vs PE matchup, I decided to dispense some advice on how to play Americans in this matchup. I think a good place to start would be analyzing the early game advantages and disadvantages that you have, so to help form a general strategy.
1. Engineers – Almost all American players start with 2 engineers. This gives them the best early game capturing power in CoH. Engineers easily counter opposing pioneers or kettenrads, forcing the Axis player to divert combat troops to help. This makes for relatively easy capturing of important points on the map.
2. Rifles – Riflemen hit the field fast, and can overpower Panzer Grenadiers by charging them in most cases. This allows American players to either win the first fight (by finding the first PG squad and attacking it) or force the enemy to fall back and regroup with his second PG squad (meaning no help for his kettengrads against engineers).
1. Infantry Halftracks – In general Infantry Halftracks are difficult to deal with early on. They move around the field fast, carry PG squads, and can reinforce those PG squads. Because of their speed and power, they are ideal for escorting kettengrads to capture territory, or backing up a push by PGs. They are also repaired by the same units they carry, making repair easy and cheap.
2. Upgraded PGs – Panzer Grenadiers are easy to deal with when they first come out, but as the game progresses these units get much tougher. Upgrades like the G43, Defensive Operations, and 4 man squads can make PGs superior to riflemen.
The Overall Strategy
Now that we have analyzed the advantages and disadvantages of the early game matchup, its time for the overall strategy. Since it is clear that Americans have an advantage early on, they need to capitalize on it to minimize the amount of time spent in ‘late’ early game where the PE player can bring in his halftracks and upgraded PGs to ruin the American player’s riflemen. To quickly get the game out of Tier 1 (Barracks) the American player should use his early advantage to capture as much fuel as possible. After that, he will need to make sure that his opponent doesn’t have much fuel (to limit the amount of halftracks and upgrades he can purchase). After getting the game out of Tier 1, the American player begins to have an advantage. Good play with 57mm AT guns will shut down the PE player’s armor, and WSC units (mainly snipers and machine guns) backed by upgraded rifles will handle the infantry. In my opinion, playing USA vs PE is mainly a game of just trying to hold out until the American can get his sniper/AT gun/Upgrade rifle steamroller rolling. Once that is up, the PE player has few options that cannot be overcome by creative play. He cannot kill the snipers without the ATHT’s focus fire, but he can’t get that in range long enough with the AT guns covering the sniper. Without the sniper dead, his infantry will continue to take expensive losses (Everytime the sniper fires, he kills a PG worth 43 manpower!). Without the infantry, his tanks can’t take on the AT guns. His only option is left to artillery, of which the PE barely has any to speak of. The mortar halftrack sits only about 10m out of AT gun range, so if the AT gun moves just a little bit forward it can start hitting it. The hummel comes late, is doctrine specific, and dies to just about any light armor left unguarded. Remember: the PE vs American matchup is very heavy on fuel control, whoever is able to control it early on is likely to win the game.
Here is a replay vs planeswalker (6 on the PE ladder) where I beat his PE using the concepts in the article. He didn’t build infantry halftracks, but if he did he would have just been screwed more because he wouldn’t have had the fuel to research panzershrecks before my M8 won the game. Here is the link to the game (rapidshare was the only filehoster I could think of, if you don’t want to use it shoot me off an email at Steven.Uray@gmail.com and I’ll put the replay in the reply)