I’ve been trying a double-Kettenrad start lately with Panzer Elite and it’s actually quite strong. Two Kettens pretty much negate the PE’s capping handicap (no pun intended) and leave your PGs to focus purely on harrassing enemy Engies and tackling Riflemen. The extra time it takes for your PGs to hit the field matters little since they won’t need to do any capping at all; they’re free to wade into the map looking for a fight.
Crucial to this start is the use of shift-queuing points to be captured by Kettens, so you won’t have to worry about them idling. And of course, don’t lose your Kettens. They die very fast and with two of these vulnerable units to worry about, it can be very hard to remember to move them when they’re under fire.
Anyway, here’s a decent game I had vs. r0ck3tsauce in the beta. It’s Sturzdorf, so I send both Kettens far right, to grab the +16 fuel and link it up to my righthand sectors ASAP. Click the image to enlarge for detail.
As I’m locking down the +16 fuel, rocket throws his units at it as quickly as they’re built. First on the scene are a Rifle and an Engy, they are able to decap the strategic point and cut off the fuel. Then my PGs arrive and the Rifle/Engy can’t win vs. a G43 PG and 2 regular PGs so rocket sticks them in the warehouse overlooking the fuel point. I use a regular PG to recap the SP from safety behind the train car — remember certain elements of the map block line of sight which means you’re completely safe from any enemy fire except mortars and artillery. Meanwhile the PGs grab some cover and fire on the garrisoned infantry from long range.
Eventually enough Rifles arrive and attack from different directions that I’m forced to pull back. I find most players understand cover is good and use it; but many newer players don’t use NEGATIVE cover to put extra hurt on their opponent. In this screen shot the Rifle squad attacking from the rear is doing EXTRA damage to those PGs because there is no green cover or any cover at all between them the Rifle attacking from behind. Thus begins a battle for the high fuel that seesaws back and forth. I take the fuel back again with support from my Infantry Halftrack and recap the SP and victory point.
Meanwhile rocket sends Engies to cap the entire left side of the map, so I am fully aware he has ammo and fuel for Rifle upgrades and an eventual M8. I am debating whether I should attack the cutoff points right next to his base since I can reinforce off my halftrack, when suddenly I notice the beginnings of a massive counterattack coming. He throws 4 Rifles up against my 3 G43 PGs and 1 regular PG and infantry HT. Based on manpower alone, he should lose this fight, but as you can see in this shot he gets a ton of excellent green cover while my men have practically no cover whatsoever.
What happens next? Click to read the full story and find out!!
I am forced to retreat my men slowly backward. This convinces rocket to press the attack, unfortunately the instant he leaves cover his squads get focus-fired and absolutely slaughtered as they struggle up the ramp. He really shouldn’t have attacked at all, he needed one more card in his hand before attacking massed PGs with G43s ready for anti-infantry work.
In any case I hunt down his Rifles mercilessly and eliminate one entire squad. These days G43 Volley Fire no longer slows on retreat so really focus fire or a racing infantry HT or Armored Car is your best bet to kill lone survivors. It definitely IS worth chasing down one man, by the way. Unless they have AT guns, it’s to your advantage to play aggressively. Click image to enlarge.
Now I am ready to make a push on rocket’s cutoff points; back in my base I started training a Tank Buster and upgrade a Panzershreck on a regular PG to fight off the inevitable M8. The fight starts well, with rocket again enjoying the benefit of green cover and myself enjoying halftrack support and offensive-veterancy PGs. I know an M8 isn’t far, because there are no BARs and I haven’t seen any grenades yet either.
No sooner had this thought occurred to me than I saw the wind-up animation on a Rifleman as he tossed a grenade. I was quick enough to avoid the grenade and it goes off harmlessly. This definitely has me on edge though, the Mk. II Pineapple ‘nades are incredibly lethal vs. PGs, each nade does more damage than a single PG’s health bar. So one grenade will kill all PGs unless they have defensive vet or are far enough to only absorb part of the blast.
The M8 arrives as predicted and my shreck squads must move from my base to provide AT, meanwhile I keep reinforcing my PGs and use them to keep my HT alive while the M8 fires nonstop at these fearless men. Finally the shrecks arrive, they are harrassed by a random Rifle squad that was between my base and the M8, but they are tough enough to survive and drive off the M8.
Another ‘nade goes off but the squads have some yellow crater cover and take only health damage without losing any squad members. The M8 is forced to pull back under shreck fire.
Four men die, that’s one dead squad inside the HT and one squad with a single survivor. This is the first of two super-grenades that essentially puts rocket back into the game. At this point he had lost a ton of Riflemen, his M8 was damaged and late to the party, and I held the +16 fuel point.
Fortunately for him, rocket is able to land a second super-grenade that is much more devastating than the first. I see the throw but react late to hit retreat, I swear I did hit retreat, but the game disagreed. You can see the price paid yourself.
That is a total of 6 dead PGs, 2 entire squads gone in the blink of an eye. Given these ridiculous losses I order a general retreat and get everyone back to base.
I regroup and add a Fallschirmjager squad and an Armored Car to the mix and drive my infantry HT to the +16 fuel which is really the main site for battles this entire game. In a reminder of the danger of 57mm AT guns, my HT gets plinked twice by an AT gun before I can react and it’s dead.
I figure my infantry is still strong enough to take the US forces near the fuel, a panzerfaust round from a Fallschirmjager cripples the M8 and it’s killed later by a Tank Buster.
Meanwhile my men storm through the US position, eliminating an AT gun, killing several Rifles and almost killing a Quad rocket had just upgraded.
To counter the AT guns I build a mortar halftrack and position behind a dune on the left side of the map, where the mortar men can fire without risking return fire from AT guns.
This is quite effective and nets me enough XP for the mighty Henschel run. I use the Henschel to even the odds; the plane destroys the Quad and kills the AT gun crew; I recrew the gun for my own purposes. Here’s a tip on using the Henschel, use it to finish kills. In my case I did some initial damage with Shreck squads, then forced the Quad to move south. I placed the Henschel patrol waypoint right behind the Quad and the first plane arrived point right at the Quad and caught it perfectly.
Throughout this game my Fallschirmjagers and G43 PGs have killed an awful lot of Rifles, the combined fire of two Falls with FG42s firing stationary for accuracy is just amazing. They burn through Riflemen like a knife through hot butter. Damage per second takes a noticeable hit when your Falls move and fire, but the long range of the FG42 and its power and stationary accuracy makes this an invaluable anti-infantry unit.
Finally, having lost a lot of manpower on dead Rifles, rocket shows his hand and reveals… a lone M-26 Pershing, which scares off my Falls and goes straight for the vulnerable infantry HT the Falls were riding in. I ran the HT back to my main force, which served the dual purpose of LURING the Pershing into AT alley (you’ll see this in a second).
Good thing I stole that 57mm; a Marder shell plus the 57mm drop the Pershing to nearly 50% health in one salvo. You can see how the unsupported Pershing got itself into serious trouble almost instantly by chasing that infantry HT.
Far too late, rocket activates field repairs on his Pershing. The heavy tank goes down in a blaze of fire less than 40 seconds after it appeared on the map, yet another victim of Tiger Syndrome, which afflicts good players almost as often as noobs.
For the record, I do believe the Pershing needs a buff beyond the 50% penetration boost from upgrading the 76mm Sherman gun at the Tank Depot — a manpower drop from 900 to 800 MP would be great, plus say a 5% increased chance to frontally deflect infantry AT. The 5% frontal deflection vs. infantry AT stacks with each level of vet, so by vet 3, the Pershing now has a 20% better chance to deflect shrecks and captured bazookas/recoilless rifles. Nevertheless, rocket really nailed his own coffin by sending a valuable-yet-vulnerable unit like the Pershing blindly into a trap, alone.
It’s a GG at this point but rocket summons another Pershing, with feeble support from AT guns and a single Rifle (most of his Rifles were dead by this point anyway), and it manages to kill my wounded Marder III.
Unfortunately a second Henschel run is activated, which reduces the Pershing to scrap metal with a little help from a second Marder III. Click the image to enlarge.
– Good focus fire, placement and use of cover throughout the game
– Timely use of Fallschirmjagers with FG42s to thin Riflemen ranks; good preservation of Falls as they received veterancy very fast
– Good use of Henshel run to destroy Quad
– Good use of baiting tactics and unit placement to eliminate a Pershing almost instantly after it arrived
– Allowed Kettenrads to die throughout, which hurt the double-Ketten start
– Tank Busters arrived a touch late compared to the M8 even though rocket was at almost constant fuel disadvantage
– Allowed grenades to destroy whole squads (THIS IS A BIGGIE!)
– Idle units during some fights
– Realized the importance of the +16 fuel and constantly challenged it
– Good use of cover throughout the game
– Teched to the right units, including M8 and Quad and very timely AT guns
– Poor unit preservation as numerous Rifle squads were cut down in retreat (should retreat earlier when you know a lot fire will be directed at retreating men)
– Attacked too early, before enough forces were ready to contest my position, and as a result kept fighting for and losing the +16 fuel
– Should’ve picked Calliope instead of Pershing, given the presence of Marder IIIs