This is a simple enough piece of advice, one that you could say applies to all factions in this game. But the Panzer Elite suffers particularly from unit losses because of their 3-man squads and extremely high reinforcement cost. Compare their basic infantry, Panzer Grenadiers, which cost 45 MP to reinforce, to Riflemen (27 MP) and British Tommies (35 MP). Low-health squads with as few men as Panzer Grenadiers have are particularly susceptible to focus fire, area-of-effect weapons and flame attacks. And of course, as you all know, grenades REALLY hurt. A single grenade can kill a moving (gets negative cover penalty) 4-man Fallschirmjager squad with 75% or higher health. I’ve had it happen to me and it’s absolutely demoralizing.
So what can you do? Well, the G43 upgrade is pretty devastating against Riflemen. You can pretty much counter Rifles throughout the game by utilizing massed G43 PGs. Their long range allows them to find green cover and stay in it, while Rifles must close to at least medium range to be effective. This gives you plenty of time to retreat, which means longer lifespans for your squads, which means more vetted squads in the late game. You can also consider sticking near-dead squads into your Infantry Halftrack, which makes them impervious to ordinary fire. Remember units in your HT remain highly vulnerable to area-of-effect weapons like grenades and flamers. Snipers can also shoot men inside the HT.
If you’re facing American snipers or if you must use aggressive units like the MP44-toting Assault Grenadiers, you’d better get Increased Squad Sizes pretty quick or you’ll lose too many battles (which means losing too much territory). Grenades are fairly clutch weapons if you and your opponent are equally good, but one grenade can end your game. They always do more damage than the maximum health of your squad members, so one grenade can be fatal to an entire squad, as I said earlier. Early on, a lack of BARs means you need to watch out for grenades. The first grenade, the one that’s thrown before you’re aware he got grenades, is almost always the deadliest.
Once you know grenades are in play, you should lodge that piece of information in your brain and watch for the tell-tale Rifle squad closing in, running out of cover — he’s going for a grenade. Of course there’s also the obvious wind-up animation, but this is often difficult to see in a pitched fight with a ton of units. Suddenly there’s that deadly red 0.6 seconds timer floating over a ton of your dudes and you just know you’re screwed. In this case it’s best to retreat, as trying to move your men will simply apply a moving negative cover penalty to them. At least retreating gives you a 25% damage reduction, which means you’ve got a good chance of saving at least one member of all your squads.
I can’t overstate the impact of losing a battle with the Panzer Elite vs. the Americans. They’ll outcap all your shit, and you’ll take forever to recap it, by which time their waves of infantry will have regrouped. To add insult to injury, a Jeep will easily own a Kettenrad into infinity because of the weird pathfinding issue that continues to cause Kettenrad drivers to always give Jeeps the right of way, despite the dinky little machine gun blazing away at them.
For the record, I feel the balance between PE and Americans is quite good right now. Maybe the extra veterancy can be toned down a little bit, especially the amount given by researching grenades, stickies and BARs. Other than that (and it’s a minor point anyway), I feel the matchup is very fair — as a longtime American player and novice PE player.