Men of War Guide. Part 4 – Attack and Defense

Your own Maginot Line. The defensive.

You cannot always remain on the attack. Eventually you will gain too much ground, or you will end up in the enemy spawn. Building a solid defensive line comes in a number of “sub-types”, depending on your needs at the time:

  • Delaying Defense: You do not want to halt the enemy completely, maybe because you lack the resources or time.
  • Mobile Defense: You do not have the points to buy new units or the control points. As such, you use the units you have on hand.
  • “Fortress”: You buy all the units you might need to annihilate an enemy attack. Although a purely theoretical concept it is doable in some situations.

As a defender you usually do not know what to expect, in terms of an attack. You will often try to prepare yourself for any eventuality, which in practice is simply not possible. Let’s look over your possibilities as a Defender.

Men of War
The combined effect of AT and AP mines, as well as tank obstacles and barbed wire. A graveyard.

Any player has access to Mines and “Engineering Tools”. You can call in special engineers who come equipped with a certain number of mines, or you can call in a truck and use whatever is stored on it to deploy. You have access to anti-personnel and anti-tank mines. AP mines are highly effective against infantry, but against tanks they can at best de-track. Anti-tank mines should be capable of taking out most tanks, but in practice Heavy tanks have a decent survival rate against them. Creating a multi-layered minefield will stop any bold advance. The enemy can counter such an obstacle using Infantry Deminers or armored Deminers. Armored Deminers are essentially armored vehicles with a plow of some sort at the front, to detonate mines they encounter. Although effective they can accidentally de-track. The cheaper and safer solution are infantry deminers, who use their mine detectors to “switch off” mines (they do not only mark them, but also neutralise them).

Barbed Wire and Anti-Tank obstacles are your second tool of obstruction and limiting enemy movement. Even the heaviest tanks will be at least slowed down by tank obstacles, while barbed wire will stop infantry entirely. Using explosives or finding an opening in your defense are the only effective methods of getting past these defences. Smaller vehicles can still get around tank obstacles, but these defenses should be one of the elements of your wall, not the only one.

When you are employing mine fields a good addition to any “kill zone” is a mortar. Deminers will have a hard time working when bombed constantly, and any damaged tanks or vehicles will have a hard time performing any repairs while under fire. Mortars are also a good idea to remind the enemy that even thought they took a zone you can still taunt them. Holding your own heavier guns (artillery) allows you to respond to the enemy’s own barrage, by destroying their equipment. A costly artillery emplacement or rocket artillery truck will be damaged or destroyed from a single accurate shot, costing the enemy a lot of resources. Artillery can also in some cases be used to stall an enemy advance, but it is often difficult to do so, unless you have enough firepower.

Using anti-tank guns, HMGs or other emplacements gives you the benefit of using up fewer points, while still having some sort of defense. A well placed Pak 40 or Zis-3 will cost the enemy dearly in tanks and vehicles, while a HMG will stop a quick enemy advance with infantry. The problem with most Anti-Tank guns is that they are not powerful enough to damage enemy heavy tanks, unless they perform a successful ambush. When deploying such guns you should always try to deploy them on your distant flank. While the enemy advances directly at your point your guns will have a clear view of their flank, increasing their chance of penetrating hits.

One example of an extremely well-played defense was another frontline game I had. A 2 vs 2, Germany vs USA round. Having played as the Germans much more often I knew the abilities of my units, and the weakness of the US tanks. I deployed a PAK 40, fortified it with sandbags and then camouflaged it. Some distance behind it was a carefully angled Panzer IV G, in case the enemy tried to drive through my defences. On the right flank I had my infantry squad, riflemen, hidden behind a wall, and some distance behind that was a mortar, hidden behind a house. The finishing touch was an officer, observing the approach, hidden behind cover with the PAK40. Before the round began I ordered the Mortar and PAK 40 to hold fire.

I waited for the enemy to advance and at first I saw a number of tanks. A Sherman M4, M3 Lee and a halftrack. I immediately took control of the PAK 40 and waited for them to be within effective range. I fired off at the Sherman first, knocking it out. The M3 Lee did not manage to return fire before I took it out with a second accurate shot. While the opposing player finally realised what was happening he tried to force his halftrack forward, only for it to get disabled by the next PAK round. I then quickly selected my Mortar and ordered a ground bombardment of what I now called as the “Kill Zone”. The enemy crew which left their tanks and the now dismounted infantry squad were quickly dealt with, thanks to the barrage. What followed was a sad image of fresh tanks being taken out in the exact same method, over and over again. An attempted attack on the right flank was also stopped by my PAK, while the riflemen shot down any survivors.

Men of War

Trenches offer cover, but they are not reliable. An accurate HE shot landing inside the trench will wipe out all nearby infantry.

The clear problem here was that the enemy tried the same tactic over and over again, despite the constant loss in tanks and infantry. I was aware that my right flank was weaker, but from the enemy’s perspective there was nowhere safe from my PAK.

When you cannot fortify yourself your best option is a mobile defense. This is often the case when you do not have enough troops to cover an entire area, especially on bigger maps. Having a token force at the front, to observe for enemy movement, provides you with an indication of where the enemy will come from. Meanwhile in your rear you have a number of fast-moving vehicles to quickly counter the enemy’s attack. Tank Destroyers are perfect for such a role, since a lot of the time their plating and guns permit them to withstand enemy fire, and answer with their own threatening barrage. Ordinary tanks are also good at countering enemy units, especially lighter and quicker tanks or vehicles. Using halftracks for your squads allows you to quickly reinforce the front, in case you ever need infantry. If you employ a token frontline force you have the advantage of enemy barrages being wasted on a handful of troops, while your actual force is waiting in the rear. The moment you sustain heavy bombardment in an area you know where to send your forces.

Using houses or ruins as strongpoints is not a bad idea, but they are often death-traps for your infantry, during a barrage. More often than not I bomb any building that could be housing enemy infantry, as well as any other type of cover the enemy could be using. On the other hand, if the enemy lacks artillery or HE shells, using buildings gives you a solid advantage.

Summary

In Men of War, knowing is half the battle. The other half is quick and decisive planning. Like in any Strategy game you have to keep attacking your foe, one way or another. If you hold the initiative you should do anything you can to keep pushing him back. When you are defending you have to limit his movement, force the foe into the defensive so that you can start pushing him back. It might not be as climatic as the Siege of Moscow, or as “dark” as Stalingrad, but it will always be a challenge. Learn from your mistakes, and if the enemy is more experienced than you, learn from his actions.

See you on the battlefield.

Alex “WriterX” Bielski

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About The Author

Aleksander "WriterX" Bielski
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Student of Psychology, he was identified as a Nut-Job even before he started the course. Having done some small work as a Modder for a number of titles, and worked as a Game Designer part-time, Alex now writes in third person. As Co-Owner and Editor of AlterGamer.com he aims high, while being armed only with a sling. In the future, he hopes to become a fully qualified Newspaper Editor, and purchase Google.

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