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Posted: Wed Dec 22, 2004 8:09 pm
by Guest
Just bought this game and it's quite tough! And I'm looking for a little help about tactics that work...

1. It seems no matter what I do (even if I have several infantry squads assaulting at once) assault will stall as soon as the first bullet/arty flies. They just sit (or actually - lay down). Can't get them to move even under cover fire it seems. Even when it I have overwhelmingly superior numbers. Suggestions?

2. Any good suggestions on proper scouting? I've been taking to using recon units with armor/inf acting as overwatch but as soon as they hit resistance - once again I have a hard time getting the recon units out of there once contact is made. They lay down and eventually die.

3. Question about the AI...if I shell a woods with known enemy infantry - does the AI move them back or just lay down and wait it out...or wait it out and then move back...or.... just curious. When I DO get a visual on enemy infantry - they seem to be running around randomly (no formations, etc) I'm curious if they are acting as a unit or just a bunch of individuals

4. Not sure if this has been asked before, but does arty supress enemy armor? If so, how long?

It's an enjoyable (and as I'm a newbie - frustratingly enjoyable) game. I originally played the demo and using terrain masking - was able to pull out a victory without firing a I'm thinking "hey, this is a cake-walk." WRONG. Now I'm getting my butt handed to me repeatedly. Any help is appreciated.

Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 2:36 am
by Andy Brown
Basically, your boys won't move if they think there's a chance they'll get shot. Once nobody's shooting at them and no stray explosions are going off anywhere near them, they'll eventually shake off their suppression/disruption/fear and get moving again.

Part of the trick is to always have movement covered by fire. It's very easy to set up the initial approach with supporting tanks, MGs etc but the problems really start when your assaulting squads are halfway through the objective and the fire support no longer has direct line-of-sight to the enemy that are left.

I usually end up with the assault troops in a "C" or a "U" around the objective inching forward a squad at a time until the enemy breaks and runs. The model seems to be very "virtual" in that terrain stops bullets hitting targets by being in the way (ie there's no "-2 on the dice for being in rough terrain" that you see in some wargames). This means that if a couple of squads advance on an objective at right angles to each other, the enemy usually can't take cover from both of them at once.

You've got to watch out for friendly fire though. I think you can shoot your own guys.

If you get enough guys close enough to the enemy, their morale cracks and they start to withdraw. If they get away, they may go to ground somewhere else and eventually start firing again if you let them. Same thing happens with your troops. Their morale takes a hit under fire and recovers when things stop shooting at them. When it recovers enough, they'll resume their advance.

The trick is not to rush things and to keep plenty of reserves. Once a unit is taken under fire, you won't be able to do anything with it while the fire keeps up. If you commit reserve squads into the same ground as the ones already pinned down, all you get is more pinned-down squads. You've got to keep working the flanks.

I don't use those three-man recce patrols. I consider them a waste of points. When they get hit, you're probably going to want a squad or two's worth of firepower from that direction anyway so it may as well be there from the beginning. Whatever gets hit, it won't want to move much in the short term but a squad can at least return fire with some authority.

I think the enemy does work in formations much the same as yours. Try and imagine what your boys would look like from the enemy point-of-view, especially if you've got a couple of squads mixed in together. If you can catch some enemy in the open, you'll often see them advance, come under fire, go to ground, take more fire, then eventually withdraw.

Arty doesn't seem to suppress armour. It frequently knocks it out if a shell lands close enough to a vehicle (the game overdoes this a bit, I feel) and it will cause it to withdraw if the armour in question has already been slapped around a bit. Once again, it's that cumulative morale thing. Destroying all the enemy tanks and ATGs is usually essential before you can win the game.

I used to be in the Army and I find Firefight agrees very well with my training and experience. By planning my attacks the way I was taught, I find I'm slow but reasonably successful. The key is to accept that you'll probably only get to commit each element once and to plan accordingly. You can't just move anywhere, the enemy will see to that.



Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 12:38 pm
by Guest
Andy, with your experience, what's your view on attacking with tanks - do you lead with them to flush out infantry more quickly but risk getting hit by anti tank weapons, or use infantry to edge forward first and bring in tanks to help with any units that are pinned down/in need of extra support?

Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 3:26 pm
by Quitch
Check the setup you start off with... I suspect that's what the enemy has almost mirrored at the other end. The AI probably advances its troops across the map in a reasonably straight fashion, moving troops around to deal with threats as they appear.

I agree that the arty taking tanks is overdone. I tend to find the best way to get anti-tank guns and tanks is to offer them something to shoot at, withdraw it, then shell the location the fire came from till I see smoke.

As Andy said, flank them. Lay down fire to keep them supressed, then bring in another squad. I believe the phrase is "attack in detail" whereby you overwhelm the enemy section by section. Don't win the whole battle, just win each fight and then you will win the battle. The more victories you get on the flanks, the more central the enemy becomes and the easier surrounding them becomes. Use the old "Horns of the Bull" tactic, pushing up from the centre and sweeping in from the flanks.

Use mortar and arty fire to surpress the enemy.

As for tanks, I don't think I've really got the hang of them, but use them to help crack tough positions. Stick them out too far and they'll be shot by some hidden bugger, better to be the one springing the surprise. I use them as a support for infantry. If you do come under fire, pull the tank out of the LOS of it and shell it to kingdom come!


Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 7:05 pm
by guest
if you want to experince a quick win...just blitz with your tanks to the objective and use your infantry for canon fodder divert fire.....

its pertty quick....

Re: win

Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 8:22 pm
by knight
guest wrote:if you want to experince a quick win...just blitz with your tanks to the objective and use your infantry for canon fodder divert fire.....

its pertty quick....
I just did it and won in 3 minutes flat, no losses. Not much fun though. :-(

What is the proper role for tanks?

Re: win

Posted: Thu Dec 23, 2004 10:07 pm
by Andy Brown
guest wrote:if you want to experince a quick win...just blitz with your tanks to the objective and use your infantry for canon fodder divert fire.....
On attack, the AI does that, usually after about 20 minutes of shelling your forward troops. I found that a flamethrower camping on the objective usually sorts things out.

Tank "blitzing" is realistic if you're playing Russians in 1939-1940. Historically, it didn't work very well. The Finns in particular were quite good at using molotovs, grenade bundles and other improvised explosives to destroy Soviet tanks that had left their infantry behind.

It's not a good idea in 1943-45 when the infantry gets bazookas/panzerschrecks. Against the late-war Germans with panzerfausts in the infantry squads, it's pretty daring.

The correct use of tanks at this level is in the infantry support role. Put a tank or two with the assaulting squads to shoot up any stubborn defenders. In the late war, it's important to coordinate the tanks and infantry fairly closely for the infantry-anti-tank reasons I've described above.

At the beginning of a game, however, I always keep the tanks back to locate and destroy enemy tanks and ATGs. You don't always have to do this. Sometimes you can use terrain to avoid them. Like everything else, it's better to have two or three of your tanks shooting at one of his when it suits you rather than have an enemy panzer turning up on your flank halfway through an assault.


Posted: Fri Dec 24, 2004 7:58 am
by Quitch
Do the squads change over the years in this game? I always start early British campaigns and get bored of the desert :)

Posted: Fri Dec 24, 2004 10:27 am
by Andy Brown
Quitch wrote:Do the squads change over the years in this game?
The Brits don't, but some of the other nationalities do. Check out "File", "New Game", "Custom" and play around with different date settings and nationalities, especially the Germans.

Posted: Sun Dec 26, 2004 2:24 am
by Quitch
I'm getting better at defence. I can rout all the early campaign assaults now as the French, even a "Fairly Major" attack which out numbered me three to one... thanks for the Flame Thrower tip. They are invaluable.

AI certainly seems vunerable to the tank blitz on maps with cover... at least so long as you're around "Average" difficulty territory. Tried it on the hardest skill lever and all four tanks got blown away.