Battle Report: Is PE too good vs. US? (beta)

REPLAY: CorkscrewBlow vs. Shifftybeta (Beta version 2.402)

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.

Engies outranged 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).

Rifles exploit blind spot

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.

Rifles overpowered

Windows matterMy 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.

Ketten killedWhile 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.

Let no man return alive!

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.

Cut them down! Cut them DOWN!!!

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.

Get your AC behind Riflemen if you really want\'em dead fast

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.

Vehicles hiding behind buildings

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.

M8 being chased toward a squad waiting with a Panzerfaust

I shift the Fallschirmjagers northwest to intercept the fleeing M8. They deliver a Panzerfaust round which kills the damaged M8 instantly.

Try to steer wounded light vehicles into waiting AT infantry

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.

Cover is DIRECTIONAL.

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.

The US unit placement is good, but fails to react fast enough to the AC flank

An incendiary mortar round coupled with incendiary grenades from charging Fallschirmjagers concludes the battle, devastating pretty much the entire US position.

Everything\'s on FIRE!1!1!!!1!

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.

RUN!

Notice the rockets do not reach over the massive church.

The church absorbs most of the rocket fire

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.

These units can\'t be touched by Calliope rockets unless the tank shifts to fire from the north

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.

Any vehicle -- including Bikes and Jeeps -- can block tanks

Henkels can now aim again! Their gunners laid off the lager!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.

Do Henkels shoot at everything that moves? How cool would that be?

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.

53 kills from ONE unit. Name another single unit that can do that.

CorkscrewBlow
PROS:
– 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

CONS:
– 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

ShifftyBeta
PROS:
– 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

CONS:
– 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

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5 Responses to Battle Report: Is PE too good vs. US? (beta)

  1. jodonnell says:

    Great play-by-play with some useful tips. 🙂

    Two questions for you – one, is there a particular reason you opted for Tankbusters instead of the AT halftrack? I am no veteran PE player by any stretch, but it seems a little more reliable to me (with its more consistent DPS against Motor Pool vehicles and its excellent suppot abilities.) You call the Tank Busters more conservative, but to me they seem a riskier proposition, being less mobile and not much more survivable than the AT halftrack, weakening your anti-infantry power by reducing a potential G43 squad, and having somewhat erratic DPS.

    Secondly, how does a US player deal with those early ACs without doctrine AT (if the AC comes out before 3CPs or you do not have the munitions for Recoillesses) ? I’ve had some serious problems in past 1v1s where an early AC just chases down any retreating squad, wipes them out, and then activates warp drive to get the hell outta Dodge if needed. Obviously, mines work, but what are other good countermeasures?

  2. I like to avoid going too halftrack-heavy vs. US, you know there will be a Motor Pool and you know there will be 57mm AT guns.

    It is AWFULLY easy to lose a halftrack to 2 AT gun shots at long range. The first shot hits from out of nowhere, while you struggle to pull back the HT, the second shell kills it. Remember virtually all PE halftracks have TERRIBLE turning circles and take forever to turn. It is is best to shift-click reverse the HT if under fire. Meanwhile as US, you can take advantage of this by moving your AT gun close enough to guarantee two hits before firing the first one.

    Panzershreck squads are great because they don’t die fast, especially with Increased Squad Sizes, they boost your capping power and prevent Marders from being flanked. I much prefer Marder III as AT rather than AT halftrack. Besides the Support Kommand building only produces Bergetigers and Panzer 4s, neither of which was fuel-efficient on a low-fuel map like Semois. Marders will handle all US armor period, and as you can see the AC plus G43 PGs and Fallschirmjagers is more than adequate anti-infantry.

    Finally as the US, your best bet IS doctrine AT, however ACs tend to arrive before Rangers and Paratroopers (AC absolutely MURDERS Paratroopers, by the way, much faster than Rangers).

    You have a couple options, early fuel harrassment is always good; mines are always good especially on Semois, where you KNOW that AC will go on one of two roads (main road by strategic point, roads by bridges or the embankment on the north, by the north +10 fuel).

    It is surprising how much one successful mine is at slowing down the AC. It makes the PE player feel vulnerable and he will repair the AC first.

    Besides mines, your other option is massed Rifles + Jeep. The Jeep is handy early on to harrass Kettens. It’s also great at blocking AC’s escape route while your Rifles close for the kill. Remember NOT to bunch up your Rifles, spread them out to minimize damage. Ideally you will have one Rifle draw fire while the rest close in and your Jeep blocks the AC.

    There is pretty much no getting around the fact that you will lose a shitload of Riflemen vs. an AC, that is why it’s crucial you preserve squads with veterancy. Consider delaying your tech to M8 to get Stickies if you have a vet 2 Rifle, which will nail an AC with a long-range sticky bomb. Stickies will do about 50% to 60% damage to an AC, plus engine damage.

    Use your Engies to preserve your map control, remember losing lots of Rifle squad MEMBERS (don’t lose SQUADS!) to an AC is not a huge deal as long as you hold your resources and hang on for Rangers/Paras/M8.

    Remember if you focus a lot of fire on the AC, you WILL damage it and force the PE player to use it less aggressively. The mistake is to ignore it and allow it inflict massive damage for free. It is a glass cannon and you should capitalize on this by firing on it.

    Overdrive is pretty ridiculous but again, plan for it by approaching the AC from two sides. You can anticipate it will be used and can try to block it accordingly.

    Again as I stated I believe AC damage needs to be toned down, vs. Riflemen especially. However the imbalance is not overwhelming. Look on it as a chance to outplay your opponent and play mindgames with mines and units to block the AC.

  3. jodonnell says:

    Thanks for the tips! I think one of the problems I had in that game was my Rifles getting cutdown piecemeal – one badly injured squad would retreat back to base alone, so that made it easier for the AC. Perhaps if I had kept my Rifles closer together, it would have given them a better shot at making it back intact (as well as deterring the AC from loitering in my base for long.)

  4. Liquidwulfe says:

    Good tips for using PE. I really like these play-by-play’s due to the fact that they allow for some of the more subtle tactics used to be highlighted.

    I am curious if you would do something like this for a T1-T3 Blitz strategy post 2.403?

  5. Thanks and glad they helped.

    When I get a chance I’ll do a Battle Report with the tier-3 blitz strategy, but it could take awhile as I don’t play Wehr very often. As a result i’m fairly rusty.

    I’ll ask Surprise to see if he can squeeze a tier-3 blitz replay as well.

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