REPLAY: Jianshu (Infantry) vs. PredatorHUN88 (Scorched Earth) RETAIL 2.301
REMEMBER: Download the replay for this Battle Report. Alright, so there was actually no one (ZERO games) playing the very buggy beta patch 2.501 at this point, so I finally hung my head, swallowed my pride and hopped back on my retail account, Jianshu. BAM, no sooner do I hit automatch than I draw a level 10 PE player, one PredatorHUN88, on the oldest map in the game: Semois. This turns into a great game, with my Americans essentially wrestling with his PE to decide who gets to be more aggressive. The star of this game is my heroic Quad Halftrack, which survives the entire game and was really the lynchpin of my entire army. Without that Quad, victory would not have been possible. This is another argument for using the Quad in addition to or instead of the almighty M8.
Now, my promotion of the Quad is based on three simple reasons: 1.) mobile reinforcement of Riflemen, 2.) suppression and anti-infantry power essential to augment Riflemen effectiveness vs. PE infantry, and 3.) Quad’s .50 cals can tear through PE light armor just as fast as the M8.
This game you’ll see the Quad staying back, chasing down light vehicles and surviving even being immobilized by a PE light AT halftrack. Quad tends to work best with full-tech Rifles, as it complements Riflemen and you therefore want to maximize the utility of your Rifles. Meanwhile, the Motorpool grants you access to 57mm AT guns as well, a crucial supplement that can snipe PE halftracks at range and also defeat the fearsome Marder III and Panzer IV infantry support tank.
So, the match. I try to do a little unconventional tactic, namely using some wire to limit PredatorHUN’s Kettenrad movement. It’s worth remembering that PE has no way to cross barbed wire until they produce an infantry HT. You can use this to your advantage by constricting their early movement. I’ll write up a tip on using wire to remove green cover from your enemies sometime next week. The map is Semois, which is pretty much where barbed-wire starting tactics were born. A little history for the uninitiated, the Wehrmacht’s “Semois pin” was absolutely deadly if you weren’t looking for it. This is back in vCOH, a few patches before the final vCOH patch, when wire cutters actually cost fuel to research! In those heady days, you were often forced to drop everything you were doing and build a WSC to dislodge the inevitable MG+Bunker combo that was coming next. Ah, the good old days… Moving on, my Engineer wires the middle land bridge, as shown, then wires off the right-most land bridge by the right-most VP.
Meanwhile I go for a Jeep after my first Rifle squad, intending to use it against Predator’s Kettenrad to slow down his capping. As a result, the game is off to an aggressive start for PredatorHUN, as I send the Jeep and my 2nd Engy to challenge his single G43 PG squad trying to cap a +5 fuel. This was somewhat dangerous, because this is retail and the G43 remains deadly fast at close range. But fortunately Predator doesn’t focus fire the Engies in time, loses a man, and is forced to retreat.
I usually go for grenades first against the PE, and that’s what I do in this game. Now, this would be a lot more helpful in the beta, seeing as how the grenade upgrade would increase Riflemen veterancy rate. But this is the retail game, so I grit my teeth and remind myself repeatedly that I’ll need to keep my first four Rifles alive throughtout the game. Retreat early, retreat early was going through my head the whole match. In the first serious encounter it’s three PGs and an infantry HT (that arrives a little late to the party) vs. three Rifles and my Jeep. Predator is very good at dodging grenades and annoyingly enough, he ducks two grenades — a loss of 50 MUN that hurts this early in the game (could’ve gotten a flamer!). Meanwhile, G43s and infantry HTs being what they are, I start bleeding Riflemen. I know I’m going to come out at a disadvantage in this opening skirmish if I don’t do something do even up the manpower loss going on here. So I take a chance: I know grenades do MASSIVE damage to PGs inside halftracks, if you manage to land one near or in the halftrack.
So I toss a grenade aimed at the infantry HT, which is just chilling there with 2 full PG squads inside. You can observe for yourself the results of this — and the grenade didn’t land exactly inside the halftrack, it landed just a smidge to the left of it. But it’s long been known that the U.S. “pineapple” grenade does a LOT of splash damage in COH, a very pleasant property of these grenades that you love if you’re playing the Americans. I suppose it’s justified by the fact that you have to pay 100 MP and 40 critical fuel to research the upgrade, but MAN do they pay off in spades if you can land a good one. I know I’ve said before that grenades are a little clutch — great if they work, waste of ammo if they don’t, inconsistent throughout.
I stand by this axiom, though I freely admit that this was a pretty luck grenade that really helped even the game out for me. If you do the math I come out quite a bit ahead because the grenade actually kills an entire PG squad and leaves another one with only a single surviving member. Great stuff. The Rifle squad throwing this grenade instantly gets a stripe for five dead Krauts, who go FLYING out of the halftrack, blown through the air by the explosion. These are the times when I just LOVE this game, bugs, balance and Relic completely forgotten in the magic of the moment.
I have fortunately been able to field what I believe is the ideal tier 3 U.S. army against Predator’s array of G43 PGs and mixed halftracks. Rifles with BARs (they arrive just a few seconds after this battle climaxes) and grenades (and stickies as needed), the Quad as anti-infantry and anti-light armor and reinforcement, plus the 57mm AT gun to handle any serious armor threats. To make a long story short, Predator can’t take the combined fire and has no way to eliminate my AT gun short of charging his infantry in, and he can’t do that because of massed Rifles and the Quad.
So as you can see from this screenshot, he’s in a terrible position now. It’s basically a trail of tears, as Predator tries to retreat halftracks with engine damage and forced to keep SOME PGs next to the retreating halftrack to protect it. He keeps trying to reinforce the PG squad off the halftrack, but the fact that he has to keep moving means no cover and finally he decides to retreat the PG squad. This is a huge mistake and it will lead into my next tip: killing enemy squads completely while they are in retreat (meaning full retreat, with the red ! mark over their heads).
We’ll start easy. You create a situation where enemy squads are forced to retreat. Here in this example, the PGs have no way to deal with a Quad, so they are forced to retreat a fairly long distance back to base.
As this is happening, you can grab your Rifle squads and move them along the retreat path of the retreating enemy squads, which is what I do here. This is obviously simpler on some maps and in some cases than others — on a bigass map like Train Wreck you might have no idea what route Relic’s ingenious pathfinding AI will send retreating squads on. But again, for the purposes of this match, Predator’s men head down the main road toward his base. Well, it is surely obvious what sort of welcome these poor Germans are in for as they run home to mama.
Basically I’ve been winning this match one fight at a time, bleeding Predator’s manpower. Often it happens because of random stuff, like a lucky 57mm AT gun shot. Now, I don’t want to take too much credit for AT gun kills that happen when I’m not even looking at the same part of the map, but here’s a great example of why positioning your AT gun is important. In this example Predator had sent a PG squad to cap a VP in an infantry halftrack. The AT gun is well out of his sight range and in any case it’s a tough shot to see, because the gun must fire between two buildings. This all happens automatically because my AT gun happened to be cover part of the VP in its firing arc. It also covered the main road as well. So remember, take your time to position your AT guns — the few shots that a well-positioned AT gun gets off in the first few seconds before your enemy can react is CRUCIAL.
It’s worth noting that doctrine-specific abilities for me in this matchup (I picked Infantry Company) hardly did anything at all. No real successful off-map artillery barrages, I didn’t pick Rangers because they didn’t feel necessary, and I didn’t build a Howitzer till very late in the game and it didn’t do much either. Finally, I get a Sherman and I got one because I know Predator has no Marders — I’ve given him no reason to get Marders thus far. The Sherman also counters the Panzer IVs that have started appearing, and these tanks are definitely the correct answer to mass Rifles and Motorpool units. They do need support, however…
And Predator isn’t ready to support his Panzer. So the Sherman chases Predator’s wounded Panzer IV into his base, where the Sherman finds a sweet situations — a lack of any serious AT. So the Sherman just slaughters a ton of Predator’s shit and spots for my off-map artillery barrage.
The Sherman is eventually immobilized with a treadbreaker shot (damn those LAT halftracks!) but he still kills entire Tankbuster squad and some assorted infantry before getting his main gun destroyed and being blown up. But of course, it’s been GG for a while at this point.
– Good unit preservation, leading to veteran Riflemen in lategame
– Forced investment in grenades to be useful by persisting till a lucky grenade landed
– Good unit placement and unit mix
– Good AT gun positioning, which inflicted many vehicle casualties for little effort
– Good Quad micro, always keeping it in the back and repaired
– Good avoidance of booby traps, losing only one Engy squad to traps
– Slow to build Rifles in the beginning (floated too much manpower)
– Wasted grenades twice on the same building, knowing opponent was looking to dodge grenades
– Late researching Sticky Bomb
– Good unit mix
– Good and thorough use of booby traps, including on points and in buildings
– Kept losing entire squads in retreat
– Need better light armor micro to avoid focused Rifle/Quad fire
– Need faster reaction to AT guns sniping light armor
– Didn’t concentrate forces well enough, leading to early setbacks (remember the first G43 being forced to retreat?)