This was probably my first game against a respectable opponent in the beta, being that it’s very hard to automatch a beta game thanks to large numbers of balance-whiners who refuse to play the beta.
But I digress. I still believe PE has an edge against the U.S. in general, and my opponent Shifftybeta made a rather dubious choice (in my opinion) of picking Armor Company, which definitely still sucks. The crappiness of the Pershing and the fact that you must choose between Pershing and Calliope (COH veterans will recall they were once on the same side of the Armor tree) really hurts Armor as a doctrine choice.
The map was Semois and Shiffty did a pretty basic Riflespam start. I’ve played many games on Semois where US builds a Jeep and harrasses the hell out of my Kettenrad, so my current build calls for a very conservative Ketten capture order, as you can see from the replay. If that Jeep goes Ketten-hunting, he won’t find it anywhere in sight in the early game.
Anyway, I send 3 PGs with my G43 squad on point to Shiffty’s strategic point for the classic Semois cutoff. There’s a brief rifle battle and I shift some PGs to take out an Engineer squad that sneaking through to decap my prized +16 ammo point on the right. Remember that short-range units (like Engies) holed up in a building can be safely picked off by rifle units like PGs from a distance. In this case the Engies couldn’t even return fire.
So the battle shifts to the almighty church in the center of Semois, I have 2 wounded PGs inside taking fire from 2 Rifles, one in a house. Shiffty maneuvers the second Rifle squad into the blind spot on the church (any of the diagonal corners, where they cannot be hit by garrisoned units thanks to the window layout).
This is doing quite a number on my PGs but fortunately they hold out long enough for 2 additional PGs to flank the blind-spot Riflemen from the south. I retreat a nearly-dead PG squad.
My PGs forced the garrisoned Rifle to retreat by attacking the side of the building with only one window. Always attack a building from the side with the fewest windows. There are even buildings WITHOUT WINDOWS on one side, meaning you can shoot units inside without taking fire. NOTE: Snipers cannot shoot through walls, they will shoot through windows. So while rifle units can shoot through a blank wall at garrisoned infantry, Snipers should be positioned to fire at infantry that are visibly standing in windows. Strange how Rifles can shoot through walls, but the mechanic works well in-game. Basic Tip on windows, buildings and Snipers soon to come.
While these things were happening, I had sent my Ketten to decap Shiffty’s +10 fuel, which is what ensures a fairly slow and equitable tech on Semois. Good players tend to harrass these critical points. Indeed Shiffty had already decapped my +10 fuel with a Rifle squad early on (bad idea in my book, because he needed that Rifle vs. my PGs in the center; send an Engy instead). My Ketten was merely trying to even the score. Alas I forgot about him while microing the church fight, and while I came out on top there, the Ketten paid the price as he was doomed by the time I told him to run. OK, tit-for-tat, fairly even so far, right? Keep reading to see how this exciting game develops!
You can’t really keep up on VPs and capping without a Ketten, so I build another one. Knowing I had slowed my tech by building an Infantry Halftrack, I delayed teching to the inevitable Armored Car by first researching the Tank Buster upgrade to get Panzershrecks to prepare for the likely M8. After all, Shiffty had researched zero Riflemen upgrades so far.
There’s a few more infantry engagements which Shiffty loses badly, and I am able to wipe out two entire Rifle squads in two separate battles. Don’t be afraid to use your G43’s Volley Fire early on a retreating Rifle. I try to use it on squads with 3 men or less, and 4 men or less if the squad has low health bar. The first Rifle had to exit a church under heavy fire and is murdered by G43 PGs in my Infantry HT.
This second Rifle was also slowed, the yellow “slowed” text was just about to fade out when my AC unleashed the final volley that killed every last man. Use your AC’s speed to chase down retreating Rifles and maximize damage. Relic will probably nerf AC damage eventually, so start practicing being aggressive with your ACs now. A damage nerf won’t change the AC’s ability to hunt down retreating squads.
Remember, every eliminated squad is a full 270 MP down the drain and also it takes longer to build a new Rifle than to reinforce even a 1-survivor squad. Also, every eliminated Rifle means your US opponent loses all veterancy gained. Vetted Rifles gain incredibly good bonuses (including that long-range Sticky Bomb toss that will catch your AC by surprise) and should be targeted with extreme prejudice.
Here is an early set-piece engagement where infantry on both sides has vehicle support and is slugging it out in cover, at range. Notice the AC being used to move BEHIND the Riflemen and the haystacks that offer cover. Any fire directed from the AC once it completes the flank will do full damage vs. the Rifles as all cover is directional. You should always flank enemy infantry with your AC (its fast and has Overdrive, making it a perfect flanking unit) to inflict maximum damage.
By now Shiffty has several Motor Pool units out, including a Quad, an M8 and an AT gun, which is sniping at my halftracks from long range. Remember to hide your vehicles behind buildings and hedgerows to avoid long-range AT fire. Your Mortar HT will be in great shape as this allows it to fire while completely out of sight of the enemy.
Shiffty’s first M8, wounded, is chased off by two Tank Buster squads — but they chase the M8 in the direction of a Fallschirmjager squad.
I shift the Fallschirmjagers northwest to intercept the fleeing M8. They deliver a Panzerfaust round which kills the damaged M8 instantly.
There is one final set-piece battle in the game as Shiffty regroups and tries to hold his strategic point just in front of the church. His unit placement is quite good, with Rifles mostly in green cover, an M8 to discourage flanking from the open road in the north, and an AT gun behind the Rifles to strike oncoming vehicles.
Unfortunately once battle is joined, I race my AC around the M8 so it’s behind the Rifles and the AT gun. An AC with offensive veterancy just mows through infantry, especially because the flank allowed the AC to fire at Riflemen and AT crewmen that do not have any cover.
An incendiary mortar round coupled with incendiary grenades from charging Fallschirmjagers concludes the battle, devastating pretty much the entire US position.
Before I can do anything else, I hear Calliope rocket fire — I didn’t even know positively until now which doctrine Shiffty had picked. The unexpected rocket barrage kill about 4 or 5 men and forces a retreat.
Notice the rockets do not reach over the massive church.
When I regroup I position the vulnerable infantry and infantry HT behind the church to avoid future Calliope fire. My intention was to use the HT as a reinforce point, protected by the church.
The Calliope tries to advance and fire from the north to strike behind the church, but damage is minimal and the trusty little AC dashes in front of the Calliope and traps it. Two Tank Buster squads run up and kill it.
It’s now GG, but I race an infantry HT with the 2 Tank Busters into Shiffty’s base and activate the Henschel anti-armor patrol to see if Relic fixed it. They did indeed, and as you see here the Henkel’s accurate cannon fire almost instantly disabes the second Calliope with an engine critical. I’m really glad, because I always thought Henkels were one of the coolest end-tree abilities in the game.
Henschels appear to fire at emplacements, like the US MG nest, as you see below. In this shot the cannon round hits just short of the MG and kills an unlucky Rifleman instead.
The MVP unit this game was clearly the Armored Car, which stayed alive the entire game and scored an astonishing 53 infantry kills. It reached offensive veterancy level 3 and was felling men with each round fired. Relic should probably tune the AC’s effectiveness against US infantry, or make it do maximum damage only at short range.
– Good unit preservation
– Good use of focus fire, G43 Volley Fire and Armored Car to eliminate entire squads
– Good use of baiting tactics and unit placement to eliminate an M8 and later, to trap and destroy a Sherman Calliope tank
– Allowed first Kettenrad to die
– Took conservative route and teched to Tank Busters, but was still not fully ready with AT when Shiffty’s Quad hit the field
– Idle units during some fights
– Floated lots of manpower at certain points in the game
– Let VPs fall faster than necessary, given constant victories on the field
– Harrassed fuel early on, successfully decapping key fuel point
– Destroyed Ketten that was attempting to harrass his own fuel
– Teched to the right units, including fairly quick Quad
– Didn’t keep Rifles together, which contributed to numerous early losing infantry fights
– Didn’t retreat Rifles early enough, resulting in squad loss
– Rarely focused fire, resulting in numerous high-veterancy PGs and Fallschirmjagers; I didn’t lose a single squad throughout the early/midgame
– Build Quads, which were somewhat effective, but every Quad was destroyed (total of 3)
– M8s were not used well, and inflicted almost no casualties but was destroyed
– Picked Armor Company when either Airborne (Strafing Run, Paratroopers + Recoilless Rifles) or Infantry (Rangers + Thompsons, Off-Map Artillery, Howitzer) would’ve been far more effective and offered doctrine-specific bonuses early on