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!
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.