Men of War Guide. Part 4 – Attack and Defense
We are at an end of the road here. The final (for now) part of the Men of War Guide will explore some ideas behind organising an effective Attack and Defense. The situation is rarely in your favour, and as a commander you should always remain sceptical of any success you have. Although you could defeat an enemy attack there is no guarantee of victory, untill the battle ends. Although I will provide two examples from my own battles I cannot give you a simple formula for “winning”. You will have to perfect that yourself, but use the ideas given here to inspire you.
On the Attack! Artillery, Tanks and Sturm Infantry.
Attacking an enemy might be a necessity, when you are losing the battle, or an optional task, to gain some more ground. Whichever the case, you have to prepare yourself for such an undertaking. Each nation has its own special units, but you cannot always deploy all of them, being restricted to a handful of units you managed to buy or save over the course of the game. In order to succeed in an attack take the following elements into account:
- Where is the enemy? Only because you want to attack, does not mean you should charge in blindly. A well hidden Anti-Tank gun or Tank Destroyer could halt your advance with a single well placed shot. Mines could be deployed in your line of advance. There are a lot of factors that could ultimately turn your attack into a miserable failure.
- The composition of the enemy. Think of it this way, if you are facing a dominantly infantry force, what should you use to counter them? Armored Cars are cheap, and although they lack heavier protection, they have all they need to kill even Elite infantry. In turn, if the enemy is using tanks or tank destroyers you have to adjust your attack accordingly.
- Situation in the other sectors. If you team is progressing forward you should do the same, but if your attack would achieve little and instead you could help your neighbour, do just that. If you advance alone your flank could be exposed to enemy fire.
Once you have all the knowledge you need to attack consider how many points you have to spend. Most of the time you will be tempted to buy Elite infantry and the heaviest possible tanks. In practice, you could invest in cheaper units, in order to “mob” the enemy with firepower. The question of quantity over quality is never an easy one. SMG infantry is good on the attack, but using Elite infantry could pay off more, even though you will have much less of them. I usually go for the “Better Tanks, cheaper infantry” approach. Infantry, unlike tanks, tends to die much more quickly. A single squad of Sturmtroopers could die from an artillery shell, but if you had two squads of Riflemen, some of them are bound to survive. Meanwhile a strong tank will provide the much-needed “punch” to your attack.
As an example I will describe a Frontline game I had. 2 vs 2, Germany vs the Soviet Union. I was playing on the side of the Soviet Union and my teammate suggested we focused on KV-1s as our tank choices, as well as BT-7as for support. We did just that, and I used SMG infantry to attack the trenches and fortifications. A KV-1 is not at all a powerful tank, but initially its frontal armor is incredibly tough against most enemy anti-tank guns, and during a frontline game, almost indestructible. The BT-7a is a lightly armored medium tank, with a good 75mm gun, but only against infantry (it does not use AP shells). On the other end the toughest foes we would face were Pak 40s and Panzer IV Gs, which could with ease destroy the KV-1 if they fired up close and from the flank. During the initial approach I was worried about Anti-tank and anti-personnel mines, but to my luck they were employed scarcely. My KV-1 was unaffected by said mines, and the best the enemy could do against it is de-track it with their Paks. As my KV-1 advanced, later to be joined by another KV-1, I steam-rolled through the enemy front, my infantry protecting the armored behemoths.
Although this strategy worked in a frontline game, during a battle zone round you do not have the comfort of a weaker foes with limited supplies. The KV-1 can be outflanked or ambushed, and although a powerful tank both in the attack and defense it does become obsolete. This translates into any Attack you could perform. Pay close attention to your own weaknesses and advantages. There is no such thing as an unstoppable force. You have to play your cards properly in order to win.
One of your trump-cards is artillery. Often miss-used to damage enemy Super-Heavy tanks, artillery is a highly effective method of weakening the enemy’s defences. Be it stationary guns, SPGs or rocket artillery, a secure infantry position becomes a smothering ruin. As suggested in another of my articles, you should attack while your bombardment is being performed. If your tanks reach the enemy front the moment your barrage ends you will have complete surprise. Enemy guns could be destroyed or de-crewed, enemy tanks immobile and infantry dead. You walk into a deadland with little opposition. If you attack a few moments after the bombardment finished you could find yourself forcing into a re-manned defense.