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This was a LONG, back-and-forth game on Semois vs. Azza, who plays Panzer Elite (probably not his best faction, but he’s a solid player) against my Airborne U.S., probably my best faction. Is it just me, or does Airborne seem pretty weak in 2.501? Two accurate Strafing Runs killed practically nothing this game, and I was a little off with my single Bombing Run. A LOT of misses by Recoilless Rifles as well. I honestly don’t think my Paratroopers killed a single vehicle despite spending like 15 minutes on the field before dying. However, this game shows the effectiveness of full-tech Rifles backed up by a conservatively-used Quad Halftrack, and I constantly displace my Riflemen pretty effectively, making Azza’s Mortar Halftrack miss just about all the time. There’s a few spectacular full-out, set-piece battles, plus two Rifle squads that survive the entire game, becoming lethal grenade-tossing, Sticky-hurling, BAR-wielding killing machines.
Anyway, let’s get right down to it. Azza is off to an aggressive start, rushing multiple PGs right down to my strategic point choke before my second Rifle can even emerge from the Barracks. There’s really no point trying to fight off entrenched PGs (including a G43 squad) when I have no real sectors tied to the strategic point they’re holding, so I decide to move across the middle foot bridge.
Azza anticipates this move and already has his same three PGs moving to hit green cover around the foot bridge by the time I get there, so I send my first Engineer to go harrass the single +10 fuel by his base — the key to teching up on Semois. Azza does the same thing, sending his troops to decap my +10 fuel. This opens up the strategic point that’s the natural entry point into the map from my base, and I send all my Rifles through there unopposed to start capping other important points. I figure we’ll be equal on fuel because we’re both harrassing our +10s, and this won’t equate to any significant fuel gap.
This sort of fuel-harrassment game happens fairly routinely on Semois, the trick is to maintain even fuel income. If he goes for your fuel, you go for his. If you can, try and sneak a non-combat unit (Kettenrad, Engineer) to decap the +10 fuel while your main combat troops engage the enemy. This is a good way to apply pressure and delay teching. What NOT to do is panic over losing that fuel point, and send all your troops to stop the point from being lost — especially if it’s a single crappy unit like an Engy or Ketten that’s threatening it.
This is exactly the kind of reactive response your opponent wants to elicit from you. It’s particularly bad to constantly react to enemy moves if you’re playing as an aggressive, mobile faction like the U.S. or PE — you should be the one causing the enemy to react to you and fight on your terms. In this particular game, Azza did have most of his army (about 3 PGs) focused on decapping my +10 fuel, which to me is an even greater reason to go cap other stuff and threaten his fuel and strategic cut-off point — I know I won’t run into any major opposition.
Anyway, as soon as my fuel is down Azza shifts towards my strategic point once more; meanwhile his new Infantry Halftrack engages the two Rifles threatening his strategic point and battle is finally joined in earnest. Read on to find out what happens next…
It’s not an ideal situation for me, as two Rifles are held up by suppressing fire from Azza’s Infantry HT, leaving only two Rifles (and one arrives a little late) to fight 3 PGs, including that fearsome G43 squad. Fortunately, probably with a little help from the nerf to the G43’s close range rate-of-fire, the first Rifle on the scene holds out long enough to get off a decent grenade.
The second Rifle gets another OK-grenade in, and combined close-range fire from the Garands makes it very dicey for Azza, and he wisely retreats rather than risk losing any 1-member squads.
Next comes a set-piece fight once Azza returns to challenge the center with fresh squads, plus his Infantry HT and a shiny new Mortar Halftrack lurking behind his army. When I see the first mortar round hit, I begin to shift my men from different green cover positions. Obviously moving Riflemen from the safety of green cover while under G43 fire is pretty unhealthy, but its much better than losing 3-4 guys or even an entire squad to a lucky mortar round. Incendiary mortar rounds are even more dangerous. Moving Rifles around also makes it much harder for an opponent to notice the wind-up animation for tossing a grenade or a Sticky Bomb, which I do in this fight to even the odds.
Still, even though I land two Stickies on the Infantry HT and one Sticky on the Mortar HT, my Riflemen have just taken too many casualties to finish the job. If they tried to stay and kill either vehicle (which were being retreated by Azza), they’d be completely eliminated by concentrated PG rifle fire. That’s simply too big a risk early in the game, and preserving Rifles with kills (which leads to veterancy) is really important. In retrospect, I really shouldn’t have even picked this fight. Four Rifles against four PG squads (with two G43s), an Infantry HT and a Mortar HT is just not a fair matchup. To win, some really lucky grenades were needed, and grenades can often be very “clutch” weapons — you either win big, or you waste munitions and bleed Riflemen.
Speaking of wasted ammo, I threw a total of three Stickies that resulted in precisely ZERO dead PE halftracks. That’s 105 munitions that gave me nothing except the time needed for Azza to repair those halftracks. It’s better than nothing, but still a reminder not to waste Stickies unless you’re pretty sure you can seal the deal (say if you had an M8 that could chase down damaged vehicles).
By this point I knew I’d need some AT, and since I got grenades, I felt much safer going for infantry AT than trying to stick out for enough fuel to tech to a Motorpool for an M8. Since I had 2 CPs, I pick Airborne and drop Paratroopers in the northern part of Semois. I intended to decap Azza’s +10 fuel and to do so with most of my army. I get Recoilless Rifles and that helps fight off the first Armored Car. This is where I start noticing a higher-than-average percentage of recoilless rounds missing. Later they miss all kinds of shit, which got really frustrating.
Azza had by now two ACs, and since I had built a Supply Depot earlier to offset the high upkeep of four Rifles and a Paratrooper squad, I was set to build a Motorpool. I went for the Quad Halftrack because the M8 just isn’t as good as being able to reinforce my Rifles — particularly since I’d invested in grenades for those Rifles. One thing you always want to do in COH is maximize your investment. If you invest in Rifle upgrades, USE YOUR RIFLEMEN and keep them alive so they gain veterancy. The Quad turns out to be a great choice anyway, since its guns can suppress infantry at long range, giving Riflemen greater accuracy against crawling squads, plus those .50 caliber rounds punch right through PE light armor, including ACs.
The combination of a Quad, Riflemen and a Paratrooper squad for AT is very effective at this point in the game. Just remember to keep that Quad back at range. This forces Azza to retreat in pretty short order (having played PE, I can tell you, GOD is that suppressing fire from a distant Quad annoying!).
By the way, grenades are great against suppressed enemy squads, as you can see here. It only takes 4-5 PG kills to give Riflemen their first stripe (if you purchased a Barracks upgrade to boost their veterancy rate, that is).
Azza loses a lot of men in this fight. Really he should have retreated his men earlier, but that’s one of the great things about the Quad — opponents don’t really think of it the same way they would an MG. An MG generally conditions people to retreat quickly, whereas with a Quad people often feel they can sort of crawl out of range and stay in the fight. This is very dangerous when Riflemen are using the Quad’s fire to advance and throw grenades. Later, after Azza regroups, I retreat one of my Rifles way too late and it’s mowed down instantly. A significant mistake, as I lose all veterancy from the kills that Rifle scored…
By now Azza has made it clear he went Luftwaffe with the appearance of Fallschirmjager squads; fortunately he’s distracted during another attack and loses big to a single grenade. PE squads are particularly vulnerable to grenades due to their small size; while Wehrmacht squads are small as well, Wehr veterancy greatly reduces damage from grenades. PE players tend to pick offensive veterancy and thus remain vulnerable to grenades the entire game; even if they pick defensive veterancy, they remain weaker than vetted Grenadiers and Stormtroopers, to say nothing of Knight’s Cross Holders.
In this next fight, I land a pretty well-placed Strafing Run that does… absolutely nothing. Practically no damage to PE vehicles and almost zero damage to infantry. I know a couple of those guys were in green cover, but the direction of the P47 should’ve made the cover worthless. What a tremendous waste of 175 MUN. Here are three screens showing the health of the targeted (and hit!) units before the strafe, during the strafe, and after the strafe.
I’ve got enough fuel by now for an M8 and enough manpower for an AT gun; this is a really strong combination against the PE’s midgame and even lategame, if your AT guns are well-placed when a Panzer IV hits. Again, Azza is forced back by Quad fire, grenades and veteran Riflemen.
Alas, my heroic Quad is eliminated by a Marder III, which is also killed. It’s very interesting to note how quickly I’m forced off the field by concentrated PE elite infantry, including Fallschirmjagers and veteran G43 squads. This, combined with Butterfly Bombs, actually tip map and VP control in Azza’s favor. I just don’t have the ammo to replace the Quad thanks to wasted munitions on Stickies and one hell of a worthless Strafing Run. Azza keeps the pressure up on my strategic point while making back his VP losses; I drop a Supply Drop too close and the bastard steals one of the crates, good for a solid +40 fuel.
Nevertheless, other Supply Drops plus my +10 fuel have given me a lot of fuel, so I decide to spring for some Shermans. At this point Azza’s AT is pretty weak, though I forget he stole one of 57mm AT guns. This is particularly unwelcome news for my first Sherman, which circle-strafes the Marder and destroys it. Only pure luck saves the Sherman from a would-be fatal 57mm round that missed. Here ensues a merry chase where Azza struggles to get a Fallschirmjager squad close enough to kill the Sherman with a panzerfaust.
This actually leaves the Sherman in an awkward position; an AC is stopping Engineers from getting to it for repairs, and it can’t really get to base for repairs without running into an AT squad.
It’s eventually killed by a panzerfaust, though I did take some solace from the fact that it killed a Marder and a bunch of infantry before dying. Plus, I’ve got fuel for more Shermans, which one at a time seals the deal. I get off a single ineffectual Bombing Run…
Anyway, Azza has really lost too much shit to continue, and killing Shermans with panzerfausts is really a desperation move because I’m replacing each tank very quickly. It’s a supported Sherman, backed by my two triple-vet Rifles and a new halftrack, that caps all the VPs and ends the game. GG indeed.
– Good focus fire, placement and use of cover throughout the game
– Good unit preservation, leading to very useful elite Riflemen in lategame
– Good use of grenades
– Good unit placement and unit mix
– Effective fire-and-move minimized casualties from enemy mortar fire
– Lost Engineers a lot out of carelessness
– Wasted Stickies
– Chose to fight when clearly at a disadvantage (THIS IS A BIGGIE!)
– Got careless with the first Sherman (which tried to take on a Marder + 57mm AT gun)
– Wasted Strafes (is this really my fault?)
– Aggressive, effective opening
– Good resource and strategic point harrassment
– Good light armor micro, keeping vehicles alive despite getting Stickied
– Poor unit preservation, kept suppressed squads in the fight for too long
– Constantly got hit by grenades
– Kept dropping Butterfly Bombs ON enemy squads, which just shot most of them down for free
– Careless with Marder III, leading to unnecessary losses