Adrock’s weapon-related post got me thinking about weapons. And by weapons I mean the Sturmgewehr (assault rifle) MP44. There’s probably nothing a Rifleman fears more than a Kraut trooper charging at him with a blazing MP44. The amount of damage the MP44 (which helped inspire the ubiquitous AK-47) can do to Allied infantry, especially Riflemen, is sickening. A vanilla Rifle squad will drop in a line of green +1s when an MP44 Storm squad or Panzer Grenadier squad runs past. MP44s can hit the field in no time at all with a Panzer Elite opponent; the low squad cost of PGs, plus the fact that Assault Grenadiers come packing munition-free MP44s, explains the PG death blob, which pretty much liquidates Riflemen beneath a storm of SMG fire.
So what can Riflemen do about it? The answer is range, cover and combined arms. NOTE: Riflemen equipped with BARs do not automatically “own” MP44 squads. They still die just as fast to MP44s. BARs will allow you to do more damage from afar, and “afar” is the key word here. You must start shooting before the MP44 squad gets into range. Rifles have the range advantage. So, let’s get to it.
Retreat when you need to
If you’re ever caught off guard by an MP44 squad, i.e. they get in close before your Rifles can react, the best thing to do is simply retreat. Try your best to get your Rifles in a position where they retreat AWAY from the MP44 squads, rather than THROUGH the MP44s — for obvious reasons. MP44s do so much damage that it’s simplicity itself for your opponent to walk his Krauts through your retreating men, slowing them up long enough to kill all retreating squad members.
Rally and focus
When a pack of MP44 infantry charges your Rifles, and you do have time to react, you’ll want to consider the situation. If you have multiple Rifles and it’s only one or two MP44 squads, you can often win the fight or force a draw by getting into green cover and focusing fire on the MP44s, one squad at a time. When they get close, Rifles will start falling like flies, but by the time they get close, at least one MP44 squad should be nearly dead. NOTE: Any time you decide to “hold the line” with your Riflemen and fight charging MP44 squads, you will take losses. Just be prepared to quickly retreat Rifle squads the instant they fall to 50% strength. As mentioned above, avoid being in a position where retreating squads must run through MP44 fire.
A Sniper lurking behind your Riflemen will give them a tremendous advantage against all MP44 troops, even Knight’s Cross Holders. Snipe an MP44 squad member, then focus all your rifle fire on that wounded squad — it’ll die quickly. You can often lure MP44 squads into an MG’s firing arc because vanilla Rifles walking away from MP44 squads make for a very tempting target for the enemy.
As stated earlier, BARs give you an even stronger reason to hold the line against charging MP44 troops, especially when your men are in cover. BARs will defeat MP44s quite handily assuming there are relatively even levels of veterancy between opposing squads. Supressing Fire is great at shutting down charging units, given that they take increased suppression from having zero cover. Grenades are devastating to the Panzer Elite’s small squads and will take a hefty chunk off even vetted Wehrmacht squads — IF you can land grenades in the path of charging enemy squads. Remember that even a near-miss with a grenade frequently causes enemy squads to “dive” for cover briefly, stopping their forward motion and giving your men more time to continue pouring focus rifle fire down on those Krauts.