In-depth: Using the 57mm AT Gun

Airdropped 57mm AT guns like this one can reinforce because they are crewed by Paratroopers

Remember, airdropped 57mm AT guns like this one can reinforce because they are crewed by Paratroopers

As a primarily American player, the disparity in armor between all the U.S. doctrines and the Axis armies just gets me sometimes. Wehrmacht has Stugs and Panzer IVs, plus the Panther and King Tiger. The Panzer Elite packs extremely powerful Marder IIIs, Hetzers, Panther Battlegroups and the Jagdpanther. All we’ve got are M-10s with tissue-thin armor and Shermans with cardboard armor. For better or worse, this is historically accurate.

“There was a barely suppressed fury among American tankers about the inferiority of the Sherman tank to the latest German models, the Panther and the Tiger,” writes historian Steven Ambrose in his classic, Citizen Soldiers (to be reviewed later on Rifles Ready!). “The Sherman was universally denounced by anyone who had to fight in one against a Panther or Tiger.”

American tank tactics called for the use of specialized tank destroyers, like the M-10, to counter heavy Axis armor. But this pretty much resulted in American tank destroyers getting owned, hence the eventual production of the Pershing, too late to make much difference. In any case, there were better versions of the M-10, like the M-36 Jackson, so Axis armor had a slightly harder time in real life than they do in COH.

Wow, I’ve rambled for three paragraphs before coming to the point: the 57mm anti-tank gun is the American answer to ALL heavy armor in COH, period. It slices, it dices, it’s accurate, deadly and does nasty damage with AP rounds for 50 MUN. The trick to using them is what I call the three “Ps” — persistence, protection, and placement.

Persistence
Against a watchful opponent, your 57mm may only snap off one or two shots before he pulls his armor back. This puts the hurt on light armor, but against Panthers, Tigers, the King Tiger and Jagdpanther, this results in minimal damage. So you must be prepared to constantly MOVE your AT guns, advancing them toward enemy tanks, altering their firing arcs so as to anticipate where the targets will be moving to.

Protection
This seems obvious, but if you keep moving your AT gun to get hits in, you will wind up leaving them undefended. You don’t ever want to lose an AT gun because an enemy squad blazed by with some MP44s. Anytime your enemy has cheap or large squads around, like Pioneers, Volksgrenadiers or Luftwaffe Ground Infantry, they are likely to capture your AT gun and use it against you. If they have tanks or panzershrecks, they can easily destroy the uncrewed AT gun. Place your AT gun within the firing arc of an MG or keep Riflemen nearby. Be prepared to pull undefended AT guns back the instant you see infantry heading that way.

Placement
A lone AT gun is easily destroyed when flanked. A good opponent will send powerful units like Ostwinds, Panzer IV infantry support tanks or even Armored Cars to attack your AT gun from an angle outside of its firing arc. Ideally you want a second 57mm covering your first gun, or a Sherman or other vehicle defending the gun from a flanking attack. Remember: Always keep rotating a flanked gun to target the enemy vehicle even while you bring in reinforcements. This will force your opponent to keep strafing around the AT gun; you’ll often wind up being able to get off a short-range shot this way.

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