Battle Report: Sepha (Wehr) vs. Hamilton (US)

REPLAYSepha (Terror) vs. Hamilton (Infantry) RETAIL 2.502

[Click link above to download the actual replay] 

TANK WARZ!

TANK WARZ!

At long last, we have a Battle Report featuring the first new map of retail 2.502: Flooded Plains. On the one hand we have COH legend Sepha, playing as Wehrmacht; on the other, as the Americans, we have one Hamilton, whom I’m unfamiliar with.

Rest assured however, this is an excellent match. There’s a ton of infantry that reach elite status; there’s a King Tiger that goes out in a Bismarck-style blaze of glory; there’s artillery wiping out an entire Knights’ Cross squad in one hit, plus lots of dead Panzer IVs. Flooded Plains is still so new that both players are still sort of figuring it out. It’s an interesting map for two reasons: first, there are two high fuels, just like Angoville, and they’re close enough to each player that teching is quite quick. Second, the terrain and resources are quite evenly distributed.

Both players start by tacking toward their high fuels, which I suspect will pretty much be the default opening move on this map. Sepha moves next to secure what seems like a stronghold position at the top mid-region, but it becomes quickly evident that this area doesn’t favor MGs.

Decisions, decisions...

Decisions, decisions...

If you garrison the house, your MG can’t hit either the top Victory Point or the nearby Munitions point.

MGs can't cover either point.

MGs can't cover either point.

If you deploy in the open, it’s tough to cover both discrete routes, which enemy infantry can easily take simultaneously in separate squads. Your best bet is to angle your MG so you cover the top route and much of the bottom.

relic00008Sepha is thwarted by Hamilton for precisely this reason; the Riflemen move in two directions, forcing him to keep shifting his MG. It may be a better idea to go for multiple Volksgrenadiers on this map; then again the high fuel income means BARs can come very quickly, devastating your Volks. It’ll be interesting to see how high-level play develops on this map. Sepha goes for an Axis Sniper instead; this is a common tactic for Wehrmacht on building-heavy maps like Semois, where Rifles frequently garrison buildings to hold ground.

If you can pick off enough Riflemen, you can justify the expense and risk of a Sniper. If you don’t kill enough men before losing your Sniper, you’ll have sacrificed time, manpower and capping power.

Sepha’s Sniper is off to a good start, but unbeknownst to him, Hamilton’s spare Engineer squad spends some time placing a mine.

relic00011It may seem random, but this is actually a pretty decent spot for a mine; hostile units crossing the stream downward will naturally veer off to the right to press on the top player’s territory.

If enemies are moving north, they’ll also wander into the vicinity of the mine.

It’s the latter action that proves most unfortunate for one Kraut Sniper. Losing a Sniper so early is quite devastating for Sepha; most players would move on, but our champ goes for Sniper #2. relic00012The logic remains the same: kill enough men to compensate for the loss of the first Sniper, then collect enough scalps to justify his own training.

This is generally not recommended, because you’ll need to be extremely careful with your Sniper to keep him alive long enough.

It’s a fair debate as to whether Sepha was simply experimenting around with his Snipers, or whether he felt this was the best way to advance the match in his favor.

RelicCOH 2009-05-15 17-40-41-79Meanwhile, Hamilton dedicates significant time and effort to harrassing Sepha’s fuel point; however it should be pointed out that the high fuels are in big ponds of water.

Not only does this terrain offer no cover, it also greatly reduces the default movement speed of infantry. This doesn’t appear to affect how quickly they move in retreat. Another terrain feature that defines key areas of Flooded Plains are the irregular batches of hedgerow, which curve and surround important points.

RelicCOH 2009-05-15 17-42-03-48This retangular outhouse covers the stream crossing, but only has one window facing the rear approach, and even that is blocked by the thick hedgerow.

Remember: Grenades can be thrown over hedgerows; a prime example is the length of hedgerow along the bottom of Angoville. It’s an old American trick to dislodge a garrisoned MG by tossing grenades over it and the same trick applies here.

Shortly thereafter, Sepha gets his money’s worth out of the MG, as it suppresses practically Hamilton’s entire army.

This area is frequently trafficked.

This area is frequently trafficked.

RelicCOH 2009-05-15 17-43-14-10Moments later, Hamilton gets BARs. This proves unfortunate for Sepha’s Sniper #2, who is chased by one Rifle squad into a second. He’s cut down during the retreat. By now Hamilton has a comfortable fuel advantage thanks to better map control; in the early game he’s consistently proven himself better at capitalizing on the unfamiliar terrain.

Hamilton back-techs to a Weapons Support Center, going for his own Sniper. Sepha settles comfortably into a rather late Kreigsbarracks for the classic tier 2 Wehrmacht strategy.

Wehrmacht grenades aren't terribly dangerous, but they're still worth dodging.

Wehrmacht grenades aren't terribly dangerous, but they're still worth dodging.

But Sepha is just way too far behind; the standard American counters to vetted Grenadiers are BARs and a Sniper, but Hamilton has them before vanilla Grens materialize. The Sniper is unchallenged, with two fallen Kraut Snipers.

Make sure your Sniper has a clear sightline to MG squad members inside.

Make sure your Sniper has a clear sightline to MG squad members inside.

Unfortunately, as Hamilton moves down for an attack, his Rifles are suppressed before the MG can be eliminated via Sniper. Charging Volks force his Sniper to retreat and beat off the attack. The multiple retreats give Sepha the time to put up a defensive MG Bunker just north of the top stream crossing.

A sticky situation for the Yankees.

A sticky situation for the Yankees.

A Halftrack with a nice surprise that'll pop out when the Quad cannons emerge...

A Halftrack with a nice surprise that'll pop out when the Quad cannons emerge...

But Hamilton hasn’t been sitting still either. With BARs and a WSC already under his belt, he goes for a Motorpool and whips out a Quad Halftrack. One trick old-school American players like takes advantage of the lengthy Quad upgrade time. You stick Rifles in the halftrack as the upgrade progresses to get a free .50 cal gunner. This is a great trick to use with Flame Engineers; you time it so your Quad finishes right when you’re in the enemy base. The Quad fights off infantry, the Engies set demo charges and use their flamers to torch buildings. But I digress.

In the game at hand, Hamilton sends his Quad after Sepha’s bastion of strength. For whatever reason, the MG squad inside the Bunker fails to pivot to confront three Rifle squads moving from the bottom.

Which firing port, Hans??

Which firing port, Hans??

By the time the Rifles are up close and personal, there’s only one MG squad member left. Fortunately for Sepha, he comes to his senses and starts blasting away. But alas, while several Riflemen are killed, Hamilton’s Quad arrives in time for them to start reinforcing and kills the MG squad.

Lead is seeping through the firing slits, Hans!

Lead is seeping through the firing slits, Hans!

By now Hamilton has seen enough to help him decide that Infantry Company will be the best choice against Sepha. He places his Command Points and BAM, uses some of his ridiculous munitions reserve to drop Off-map Artillery on a random squad of Grenadiers, trying to capture a point.

RelicCOH 2009-05-15 17-57-23-14

Sepha is slow to react, but he actually does see it in time and starts moving his Grenadier squad downward, away from the initial artillery round. Sadly (or outrageously, depending on whose side you’re on) the next shell explodes south, wiping out the entire squad and leaving no corpses for his Medics to retrieve.

I generally don’t recommend using 150 munitions against a capping squad to test your opponent’s reflexes, but if you have hundreds of munitions and oodles of map control like Hamilton so far, I can’t blame you.

RelicCOH 2009-05-15 17-57-51-22Just wait, however: things WILL turn around. Otherwise this wouldn’t be a Battle Report. But first, Hamilton shoots off another Off-map Artillery barrage, this time centered on that pesky Bunker, which Sepha has re-garrisoned. In my experience, this typically results in a fresh Bunker going down to about 10%-15% health, unless the opponent went Defensive and got the Bunker health bonus.

RelicCOH 2009-05-15 17-58-08-75Hamilton gets even luckier. He has no idea if Sepha went Defensive or Terror (it’s the latter), but he burns off an Off-map barrage anyway just because he can afford it. It pays off because the shells all hit.

Not only do they all hit, but he comes up aces because Sepha doesn’t ungarrison his MG squad in time, resulting in a dead squad good for another -260 manpower. This is just too good to be true for Hamilton, but Sepha doesn’t waver (at least you can’t tell from his gameplay or micro).

RelicCOH 2009-05-15 17-58-28-11He continues the resistance, gathering his Grenadiers and lone cloaked Pak 38 in an attempt to catch Hamilton’s BAR Rifle/Quad/Sniper army off guard.

Meanwhile Hamilton consolidates his lead, choosing to bypass a Tank Depot (he certainly has the resources) in favor of an on-map, in-base Howitzer.

RelicCOH 2009-05-15 17-58-36-12 If there’s one thing this game showcases, it’s how utterly shitty Wehr grenades are. It’s not for no reason that Surprise refers to them disparagingly as “firecrackers.” I know how the argument goes — sometimes they’re randomly great! But they need to suck because they’re free, whereas American pineapple grenades incur an extremely high 40- fuel cost and are most effective early on, when fuel is most valuable. Check out the shot below. Now imagine if that was a pineapple grenade and those men were Panzer Grenadiers. I wish the balance design wasn’t so logically arbitrary.

I guess it's better than not having a grenade explode midstream...

I guess it's better than not having a grenade explode midstream...

The game finally starts tilting Sepha’s way when his cloaked Pak 38 rips Hamilton’s Quad a new one.

Bam, son, BAM!

Bam, son, BAM!

It’s now early late-game (get it?) and Hamilton knows he can expect some tier 4 armor and probably a King Tiger (no Flak 88/For the Fatherland is a giveaway). He begins producing 57mm AT Guns. And this is where the tables turn. Somehow his AT guns are wholly and utterly out of position when Sepha’s TWO Ostwinds strike. 

Um, Sarge?

Um, Sarge?

RelicCOH 2009-05-15 18-05-25-62Most likely Hamilton just gave his army a move order. This is really dangerous when your AT guns are your only defense against fast-moving, high-damage output units like Ostwinds and Panzer IV Infantry Support Tanks. Which is like 90% of the time for Americans, unless you’ve got Tank Depot units.

In which case your opponents will probably never have built Ostwinds or P4 ISTs. So what happens when a good, attentive opponent catches your AT guns with their pants down? Well, you’re fucked, is what.

You get circle-strafed while desperately trying to turn your guns around while trying to get off a Sticky Bomb and maneuvering your Rangers.

Both 57mm AT guns are eliminated (though the guns themselves are not destroyed, an oversight on Sepha’s part because he forgets). Desperately Hamilton overruns the Pak 38 and tries turning THAT around, but it gets owned by the Ostwinds without getting off a single shot.

With that the tide turns, forcing Hamilton off the field long enough for Sepha to reclaim a lot of territory. It’s worth noting Sepha also has a significant VP advantage, mainly because he emphasized them while Hamilton did not. The tier 4 units continue pouring out of Sepha’s Panzer Kommand, with a Knights Cross squad joining his Ostwind. And then comes the Howitzer Shell of the Century.

Oh snaps, Hans, is that--

Oh snaps, Hans, is that--

Yes it freaking was.

Yes it freaking was.

If God has any say on the trajectories of inbound artillery shells, it clear whose side he was on this game.

Finally, Sepha’s anger is roused and he sends his freshly called-in King Tiger and surviving Ostwind directly into Hamilton’s base to eliminate the Howitzer.

OMG he's in ur base killin' ur mans!

OMG he's in ur base killin' ur mans!

Unfortunately Hamilton’s Rifles retreat back to base in time to land just one measly little Sticky Bomb on the King Tiger. Owing to his huge resource reserves, Hamilton actually had teched to a Tank Depot during his down time and sends an M10 after the Ostwind, which is destroyed in rapid fashion.

Lawlz he sent ur d00ds flying

Lawlz he made ur d00ds fly and they prob didn't wanna

What follows is an absolutely edge-of-your-seat cat-and-mouse game wherein Hamilton throws every last man, woman and child he has against the limping King Tiger while Sepha strains his very bowels to urge his armored monster toward freedom.

The hunter becomes the hunted...

The hunter becomes the hunted...

RelicCOH 2009-05-15 18-08-09-40There’s an obligatory ring-around-the-impenetrable-game-world-object minigame between the damaged M10 and the King Tiger. It ends predictably, with the M10 careening wildly to its doom, though not without getting a defiant shot off.

Hamilton’s vetted Rifles and Rangers get nearly close enough to land more crippling shots, but are sent packing by a well-timed storm of Nazi pamphlets denouncing capitalism and private enterprise that descend from the very heavens.

RelicCOH 2009-05-15 18-08-27-83The King Tiger manages to elude pursuit long enough for a Pioneer squad to reach it and begin repairs near a civilian building.

Hamilton doesn’t stop and chases — that’s right, chases after the supertank with a 57mm crew.

While this may defy real-world logic, you should always send AT guns after tanks, even if they’re not limping. It’s shocking how effective it is, because your opponents often retreat their tanks to a set point and then stop, not realizing your guns are following and can still fire from range.

Anyway, here Sepha manages to crawl his tank toward the other side of the building, cleverly using it to block the AT crew’s line-of-sight while sending a Grenadier squad after the AT gun. Hamilton parries by sending a BAR Rifle squad after the Grenadiers.

Parry after parry!

Parry after parry!

RelicCOH 2009-05-15 18-09-44-57In the end the AT gun is overrun and infantry fight each other to a standstill while Hamilton races his Ranger squad after the King Tiger. He runs them to the rear of the tank for a weak armor shot.

Remember: Be careful when running infantry to the back of a tank for a rear-armor shot. Your men are very susceptible to being run over by a smart tank player.

RelicCOH 2009-05-15 18-10-08-63Fortunately Hamilton is on top of his game and manages to get in a pair of rear-armor bazooka rounds, ending the King Tiger’s reign of terror.

His boys go home with a vet 2 promotion from vet 0, a pretty sweet promotion for an elite infantry squad.

A Firestorm dropped just behind the King Tiger as it limped away could’ve been effective at forestalling a last-ditch infantry attack, if it was well-timed. But of course this is all theorycraft.

Without his King Tiger, Sepha relies more and more on his tier 4 and manages to produce — and lose — an impressive number of Panzer IVs and Knights Cross Holders. By my count, it was four of the former and two of the latter (though the Howitzer Shell from God was partly responsible).

Hamilton’s good luck doesn’t run out, either. He gets some more crazy lucky shit, which you can see in detail if you watch the replay and look for it.

I thought AT weapons were done doing that.

I thought AT weapons were done doing that.

At one point, after vetted BAR Rifles own multiple KCH, Sepha asks Hamilton if KCHs got nerfed. I don’t believe they did, and I know they didn’t in the documented changes. It’s more a function of Sepha’s vet 2 KCH facing vet 2/3 BAR Rifles, including one Rifle with a captured LMG-42 and an elite, Thompson-toting Ranger squad.

More medals than men.

More medals than men.

Sepha tries to make a last-minute stand for VPs, but by now his once-formidable VP advantage has disappeared and he’s unable to budge Hamilton’s ticker below 14. It’s GG, though it’s amazing how many standout squads there were this game, particularly on the American side.

League of extraordinary Riflemen.

League of extraordinary Riflemen.

RelicCOH 2009-05-15 18-21-29-03Sepha had one Grenadier squad that personally slaughtered nearly 30 Rifles and Rangers. He never did get the fuel to reach vet 3 infantry, which is unfortunate. Vet 3 on his KCHs could’ve made a big difference. But really Sepha lost this game early on, when he took huge hits and never inflicted enough in return, even with a brilliant tier 4 coup and a moment’s worth of lazy calculations on Hamilton’s part.

Sepha
PROS:
– Rarely got flustered, even in the face of heavy losses
– Engineered a brilliant comeback, calmly teching to tier 4
– Saw an opportunity present itself and seized it gloriously, destroying two AT guns and large numbers of enemy infantry, turning the tables
– Good use of Propaganda War

STUPID SHIT FOR WHICH YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED:
– Played roulette by building two unneeded Snipers in the early game, then losing them

CONS
:
– See above regarding Axis Snipers
– Poor use of grenades; they were being dodged so you need to stay one step ahead to land them
– Poor grasp of terrain, realizing too late that certain points were too difficult to defend
– Failed to exit MG when Bunker was under fatal artillery fire
– Randomly dropped a V1 (watch replay; it was random I didn’t bother mentioning it)
– Careless with Panzer IVs in the late game
– Failed to support base push against Howitzer with infantry, which could’ve saved the King Tiger

Hamilton
PROS:
– Amazingly good infantry survivability, nursing four squads to elite/near-elite status
– Consistently dodged most grenades
– Early on, seized the advantage by maximizing use of Flooded Plains’ linear terrain
– Effective fuel harrassment yielded massive fuel advantage, permitting the purchase of early BARs, early Triage Center, back-tech to WSC without slowing Motorpool, Tank Depot even Supply Depot upgrades
– Excellent, determined use of infantry to kill King Tiger

LUCKY SHIT FOR WHICH YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED:
– Almost too many to list
– Amazing, Sniper-seeking mine that kills Kraut Sniper five minutes into the match
– Two absurdly lucky Off-map Artillery barrages that killed one Grenadier squad outright, one Bunker and one MG squad
– Once-in-a-lifetime, God-assisted Howitzer shell that destroys an entire full-health Knights Cross squad instantly

CONS:
– Lost the M10 when it could’ve retreated safely and been repaired
– Asleep at the wheel, drunk on confidence which resulted in a total disaster, losing two AT guns and lots of squad members
– Late researching Sticky Bombs

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12 Responses to Battle Report: Sepha (Wehr) vs. Hamilton (US)

  1. Kat says:

    Wow, still reading. So far this BR is really impressing.

  2. Fratt says:

    sick report

    I hope 2.600 will bring hope to coh, I’m so pissed of by the game those days 😦

  3. Thanks kids — sorry for the delays!

  4. General_II says:

    Awesome battle report. Dotted lines and circles that show impending artillery pwnage are full of win. Pretty cool to see players that are unfamiliar with a map, especially at a high level of playing.

  5. Lt. R4GE says:

    Man so many times there is so many lucky BS bazooka shots. TWO snipers got killed at the same time (nearly) by a ranger bazooka shot… WTF. Good battlereports though I hope to see more. =]

  6. The Hat says:

    I’ll second the serious amounts of BS pouring out of bazookas and howitzers in this match. Still, very impressive game, very impressive writeup.

  7. Beef36 says:

    Very nice writeup 🙂

  8. PoPcOrN says:

    how do i watch the replay? i don’t know how to change it to a proper format

  9. I have been visiting related blogs and sites lately and i have to admit you have a nice design and content. I have bookmarked your page and hope to mention your post in my upcoming blog.
    17:02

  10. I’m pleased I located this web page, I couldnt get any knowledge on this subject before. I also manage a website and if you want to ever interested in doing some guest writing for me if possible feel free to let me know, im always look for people to check out my web site. Please stop by and leave a comment sometime!
    02:50

  11. Great battle report! You have a great blog here. I think you should re-invigorate it for the release of CoH:O

    Only game replays has content like this and nothing this play by play or in-depth. Good stuff!

    I plan to spin my own blog towards COH related stuff with map strats and such very soon.

  12. 20ninjas says:

    Yeah actually this has inspired my own blog for the release of CoHo…. hopefully mine can be as good as this! fightingpit.wordpress.com

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