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Half the Battle: Flanking Manoeuvers

So they’re blocking access to the bridge and they brought the bigger guns. Some joker parked his Sherman right in the middle of the road and your infantry keeps getting mowed down by machine gun fire, or blown to bits — sometimes both at the same time. “Why don’t we have tanks?”, asks a green recruit. You do have tanks… but they have been deployed on another attack line. You can hear them shooting at something far away across the water. The body count is rising, but you’re not advancing. What now?

When you cannot defeat the enemy head-on, your best chance is to use a time-honored tactic that worked for Hannibal, Caesar and Napoleon : the flanking manoeuver. As the name implies, flanking means attacking the enemy’s side, or flank (not to be confused with flan). The goal of this manoeuver is to force the enemy in a situation where they must defend against attacks from two or more directions, thus greatly reducing their ability to retaliate. Instead of paraphrasing the whole Wikipedia entry, I will explain the tactic with pretty pictures.

How do you say “SNAFU” in German?

In this example, the German attackers have some light tanks on line B, but only infantry on line C. They are trying to capture a town held by US medium armor and infantry. The German light tanks are trying to provide suppressing fire to help the stormtroopers cross the infamous pontoon bridge, but that’s not working out too well (the skull in the water stands for “certain death”). The Americans are sitting on C3 with Shermans and machine gunners and are not at all intimidated.

Alpha Mike Foxtrot

Change of plans: instead of desperately trying to capture B4, the German guards head for C3 through the woods, followed by light tanks from B1. A beautiful sight awaits them at C3: a whole bunch of suckers facing in the wrong direction. Feuer frei!

Fahrvergnügen

Even if only a single attack line is open, you can operate a flanking manoeuver using the Sonderkraftfahrzeug (also known as APC) as a mobile spawn point. It has a little bit more armor than a truck, but is vulnerable to tanks, not to mention airplanes, so be sneaky. Class dismissed!

Knowing is Half the Battle – and in this column we’ll try to shine a light on some nifty things you can do in the game. Please drop me a PM in the forum or write a comment if you have ideas for future posts.

  1. RaulRaul08-23-2013

    Nice post again :D, what will be the next one about?

    What about rushing? It’s slightly different than the previous post ;).

  2. KP0TKP0T08-23-2013

    I will not argue about the effectiveness of such a strategy.
    But I will say about the obvious shortcomings of this plan.
    Soldiers and commanders from the line B does not see the line C.
    Consequently commanders can not give the order,
    go there only the most cunning without orders.

    It is necessary to give commanders the ability to send troops to any point.

  3. westwickwestwick08-23-2013

    Great article. Nailed it!

    Lovely grapics too.

    Another good topic would be the art of defending. Most players overlook choke-points or effective places to dig in. Instead they split up and head towards the next available capture point: all while they leave the previous point unguarded and inevitably lose it.

    Something along the lines of, ‘Half the Battle: Knowing when to advance’

    On missions where the objective is to defend, the most effective tactic is to let the enemy come to you. Your opponent’s only goal is to attack, if your team tries to both defend and attack, the opponent has an easier time of pushing through.

    A good squad leader knows when to order the team to dig in, some emphasis put on the ‘defend’ and ‘attack’ markers would be useful.

  4. RaulRaul08-23-2013

    Well, I want for my PM to be put to good use too, even if it was similar to the previous Half the Battle post. I struggled to make it good, but as I said, it will come in better with improvements made by Gargamel.

    Then I will nail it too probably :)).

  5. KP0TKP0T08-23-2013

    Allow myself to comment further.
    I propose to significantly reduce the award for lost battle.
    This will be an incentive to take decisive action to “cowards.”

  6. dcisardcisar08-23-2013

    Next post would be: “How to correctly use tanks!”
    Explain: Hellcats and Stugs are not usable in towns or in frontline!(Stuarts and Pz1 too). Medium tank is much better, but without infantry, that must cover thim sometimes it´s unusable. tiger is great tank, but he´s slow, so he´s more usable for defending of any point. This is big problem on both sides!

    • Reto.GargamelReto.Gargamel08-25-2013

      Good point! Not everybody knows the difference between a tank and a tank destroyer, and new players are sometimes confused between AP and HE ammo, among other things.

  7. patton1995patton199508-23-2013

    Tanks are great at the front of (armored :P) spearheads, but like dCisar said , they are extremely vulnerable when their flanks are not protected by infantry (also caused by tanks riding ahead of their infantry support)

    The tank hunters (hellcat and Stug) where used in support roles and seldom where used in frontal assaults (If i recall correctly , the german stugIII had more tank kills than all the other german tanks did collectively)

    Anyhow, i was just wondering if you guys where going to introduce mobile artillary (M7 Priest and Wespe?) ((And possibly an ETA for the mortar?))
    Whatever you guys do with the ARTILLARY … please make the explosions big and visualy appealing so when you get killled by it….. you think “THAT WAS AWSOME” … and not “woooooooooww”

    Well that was my two cents :P
    p.s. AWSOME game

    • Reto.GargamelReto.Gargamel08-25-2013

      Artillery has been discussed a lot on the forum (do a search for “artillery”, you’ll have plenty to read), but is still very much in the air (pun intended) as far as I can tell.

      I’m guessing you enjoyed the “Bastogne” episode from Band of Brothers. If you haven’t seen it, go see it now! It’s scary as hell. Spoiler: artillery.

      Tanks are on my to-do list :)

      • patton1995patton199508-26-2013

        Alright thanks for the heads up :D

        p.s. and yeah, i do like the “Bastogne” episode from Band of Brothers … how’d you know ;P

  8. andreaske1andreaske108-25-2013

    Well you guys should bundle this and post it somwhere very easy for newbies to see!

  9. Marv2.0Marv2.008-25-2013

    Nice post but why we don´t read the art of war XD

    another good topic would be infiltration of town center ;)

    work on like this for new guys
    PS: noone reads an 2000 years old book except eastasian managers and generals

  10. classicmintclassicmint08-26-2013

    Nice post But how do you get your team to follow the strategy

    This is why we need Voice chat.

    • RaulRaul08-26-2013

      It’s easy to do it without too, just tell them to flank, leave an APC somewhere and use it as a mobile spawn :D.

  11. BoskoBuha1BoskoBuha108-26-2013

    Nice dream plan, but unfortunatelly it doesn’t fit into game reality. Time to shoot holes into it.
    1. How will you prevent that idiots won’t spawn/steal in your apc first , drive around to chase enemy on foot and being bazookaed at a3?
    2. How will you organize that experienced players who have a grief on this tactics spawn in APC and actually take charge? Remember lesser weapons holders spawn first.
    3. That briliant plan tells un nothing about crossing the bridge.

    And last: Why do you keep modifying and repairing the same map over and over again? How many hours have you spent on this? How manay additional maps could you have created? AND why does all city attacks have to cross the river? Come on show some variety, diversity ingineuity…

    • westwickwestwick08-26-2013

      It’s some propaganda to go at least some way to encouraging thoughtful play. Even if the impact is minimal it does help.

      I’m happy they keep refining this map. It will provide good lessons in developing future maps because it has something of everything and is an ideal testing ground. The cost of that is it being overly complex for the average player and frustrating for those with experienced. But it is worth it. You know, it being a beta and all.

      • Reto.GargamelReto.Gargamel08-27-2013

        I like the way you think, westwick :) Indeed, the point of this column is to help you enjoy what’s already in the game, and explain what’s what to the new(ish) players so that hopefully they can contribute more to the war effort.

  12. drsstardrsstar08-27-2013

    Oberhausen: OLGAS-ROCK Festival. next one in 2014

    • Reto.GargamelReto.Gargamel08-27-2013

      Correct! However, I was thinking of another one, which is coming this fall… After asking the question, I realized there were many right answers ;) They have a really cool concert hall called Turbinenhalle, built in an old power plant which looks a LOT like the tank factory in H&G.

      • drsstardrsstar08-27-2013

        hmm its difficult…
        maybe lingua mortis orchestra feat. RAGE, Heidenfest 2013, Amon Amarth or Heaven Shall Burn.

        did i won now a porsche gtr3 or a night with/in paris? :D

        mfg

  13. AdmiralVolkAdmiralVolk08-29-2013

    Do something about hiding with tanks please

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