This is a state of affairs that has frustrated even the Fuehrer:
But don’t you worry! There’s still a way to effectively hunt speedy light vehicles like the M8 and Stuart with your panzershreck squads! It just takes more effort and forethought, that’s all. Read on to find out how!
There’s a few things you’ll want to keep in mind with the post-2.300 panzershreck. Its accuracy has been significantly reduced at long range and moderately reduced at medium range. The short range accuracy remains unchanged, as far as I know.
Next, the Panzer Elite’s panzershreck does approximately 20% less damage than the Wehrmacht panzershreck, a subtle difference that is probably in the game for balance reasons, given how much easier it is for PE to access their shreck.
Final point: it takes approximately 7 seconds for a squad to reload the panzershreck after firing. This is a crucial fact you should know.
Steps to effectively countering light armor with panzershrecks:
1.) Don’t shoot till you’re close. If you just allow your men to move forward, they tend to mill around and snap off shots as they move. This is very counterproductive if one of those shots they casually fire off happens to be a panzershreck round. Your heat stick could get arbitrarily fired at long range when you have little chance of scoring a penetrating hit. Meanwhile you’ll have to wait another agonizing 7 seconds for another try, and you’d be surpised how far an M8 or Stuart can move in 7 seconds. So keep issuing move orders to your men, ensuring they don’t shoot. When you see the shreck man begin a firing animation, order the squad to move again so no shot is fired. Only order your squad to fire when they’re in medium or short range, and you have a good chance of hitting.
2.) Field at least two panzershreck teams. The most you can hope to accomplish with a single panzershreck is to fend off a marauding M8 or Stuart. You can’t possibly hope to kill it. The vehicle will have plenty of time to run away after taking a hit. Then it repairs and comes back for more.
3.) Chasing and baiting. With two teams you stand a chance of landing two hits, which could possibly result in engine damage (unlikely). At the least it will force a swift retreat. But the real reason you want two shreck teams is that they give a chance of killing the vehicle. Split your teams up and move an advance team behind the vehicle, far behind it so you will have room to maneuver. The idea is to chase the M8 with one team into the other.
4.) Blocking escape routes. Anything can block an M8 or Stuart — a vehicle such as a halftrack or an Armored Car is best, but even infantry can slow these units down, because they can’t run over men. This gives you time to close with your AT teams.
5.) Rockvee for the win. Anyone who’s ever played Command & Conquer: Generals knows what a Rockvee is. It’s a Humvee with five soldiers carrying rocket launchers. C&C being the arcade game it is, the Humvee allows all men to fire from inside, and the men fire at an absurd rate. To make it still sillier this lethal contrivance was available a mere two minutes into the game, if that. Of course, the Rockvee is a glass cannon since everything dies fast in C&C, and a Humvee dies super fast. That’s neither here nor there. The closest thing you’ll get to a Rockvee in COH is a PE Infantry Halftrack with a panzershreck squad inside. This allows your men to fire from inside and it gives you the speed you need to chase down and kill an M8 or Stuart. The glass cannon philosophy applies here, too. The Infantry HT is weak to small arms and dies in in about 5 hits from the M8 or Stuart’s main cannon — taking engine damage frequently after 3 hits. So play smart, and don’t waste an Infantry HT chasing down a full-health M8 or Stuart. This play is only worth it if your prey is already badly wounded.