Advanced Tip: Using Panzershrecks

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their eyes!

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their eyes!

How do you use panzershrecks? It’s simple, right? You got some guys with a stovepipe, you let your guys automatically shove a heat stick in the stovepipe, there’s some aiming, there’s some stumbling around in the grass, then BOOM, say auf wiedersehen to that nasty M8 or Stuart, right? Sadly, after the nerfing of the panzershreck (I believe this was in patch 2.300, if memory serves), you can no longer just point and shoot with panzershrecks. If you try the above point-and-clickery, your stovepipe-bearers will be kited all around the map while under heavy fire from the M8’s main cannon and vicious .50 cal gunner. There’s also probably some Riflemen somewhere that the M8 is leading your AT teams towards. As your men have to keep moving, they suffer penalties and of course have no cover. So they are highly vulnerable while being kited. In the end you may score one or even two hits with your panzershrecks at range, only to have the super-fast M8 or Stuart or even a Sherman retreat somewhere for repairs. Your AT squads are typically in dire shape as a result of being kited.

Fast light armor is deadly in the hands of a kite-happy player.

Fast light armor is deadly in the hands of a kite-happy player.

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.


3 Responses to Advanced Tip: Using Panzershrecks

  1. Logabob says:

    Good tips! I always find shrecks to be a bitch to use.

    The main problem for me is all those damned rifles/brit blobs. The only thing the shrecks can really do is, as you point out, scare off a marauding stuart/M8.

    That, and the Marder III arrives just too late to be of use in this scenario, teller mines are hit or miss because the enemy may avoid them, and hetzers always managed to get blown to bits after being buttoned/stickied. Of course, I’m no pr0 but that’s my experience.

    LAT halftrack sometimes cuts the cheese, but it always arrives just a tad too late.

  2. You don’t necessarily have to kill an M8 or Stuart outright, you just need enough panzershrecks used well enough to limit the damage these units can cause.

    Don’t try chasing it with AT teams alone if it’s got plenty of infantry around it. You can fight army-to-army even if they have an M8 or Stuart (I would recommend splitting your panzershrecks apart and focusing fire on the Stuart to avoid getting gibbed by grapeshot). Just make sure your G43s are targeting infantry and your panzershrecks are targeting the light armor.

    You can always reinforce your men and your Infantry HT can suppress squads trying to close for a sticky bomb. Just kite with that HT. Be patient and look for an opportunity to kill the light armor — almost every opponent will give you one, because they love racing that M8 or Stuart all around the map, looking for weak points. This is when you can start a baiting game, chasing it into more AT or a Teller mine or a Light AT HT for the immobilizing shot.

    As for the Light AT HT or Marder III, I think they both arrive right on time if you preserve equal fuel control. Just remember, the M8 and Stuart take a lot of effort to use well, and your opponent WILL slip up with it — it’s inevitable.

  3. Liquidwulfe says:

    More and more I find staying in tech two is the way to go with PE in 1 on 1. Three Halftracks with shcrecks inside is a serious threat to anything on the map (4 halftracks with shrecks will shred a pershing before a pershing will kill HT#1). Going luft for repair luft to keep your HT in fighting shape faster is almost mandatory, plus using kettens to scout for ambushes and mines.

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