Guide to Team Weapons
Team weapons offer critical support to your other units. Team weapons, however, are the most vulnerable unit type in the game. Because of their limited mobility, team weapons can be wiped out extremely easily with a well-placed grenade or even just concentrated fire. Even worse, team weapons can be stolen and used against you. Losing a team weapon and having it turned against you can be devastating.
If you manage to de-crew an enemy team weapon, do not let them take it back. If you cannot steal it for yourself, destroy it. The easiest way to do this is to have a tank or vehicle force attack it – select the “attack move” ability in the ability grid, and then target the team weapon.
The single biggest weakness of team weapons is artillery. Artillery – either off-map call-ins or artillery units – can make a broad area completely inaccessible for a period of time. This is damaging enough for regular units, but is crippling for slow team weapons which are dependent on precise positioning to be effective.
Heavy Machine Guns
Heavy machine guns are your bread and butter for dealing with overwhelming enemy infantry. They often deal solid damage, though by far their most important function is suppression. Suppression works in an area around the target, allowing you to suppress multiple enemy squads at once. Additionally, you can use the attack move command to order your HMG to switch targets to suppress even more squads at once. The advantage of doing this over a regular right-click attack is that, if you miss-click and target the ground, your HMG will keep shooting instead of unpacking.
Heavy machine guns all look relatively similar to each other at first glance, but they hold some important differences. Some machine guns have extremely wide arcs of fire compared to others; additionally, some machine guns deploy or pack up faster than others. These variables affect how ‘mobile’ your HMGs can afford to be. Slow, wide-arc HMGs need to be positioned more carefully and are more vulnerable if flanked, but can cover a vast area on their own. Faster, narrower-arc HMGs require a bit more repositioning, but can move around more to support their infantry.
Heavy machine guns have vastly greater range than normal infantry weapons, and they are plenty capable of suppressing infantry at maximum range. However, they cannot see that far. To both keep your HMGs protected and to take advantage of their incredible range, you should pair HMGs with scouts. This can be proper recon units, or even just line infantry positioned slightly ahead of them.
Heavy machine guns are excellent candidates for garrisoning in buildings. Buildings offer greater line of sight, allowing the HMG to compensate for some of its weakness, and HMGs in buildings can switch windows relatively quickly. Beware, though, HMGs in buildings can also be very vulnerable and still must be supported; weapons like grenades or flamethrowers can kill garrisoned HMGs before they can exit.
While HMGs may seem like static weapons, you should reposition them frequently. Once your enemy has seen your HMG, they will adjust their movements to avoid it and flank it, rendering it worthless and putting it at risk of dying or being stolen. By repositioning, you prevent your opponent from being able to flank you based on prior knowledge.
Heavy machine guns are always a good purchase if you are struggling with enemy infantry no matter what phase of the game. Heavy machine guns will stop elite infantry, assault infantry, and line infantry alike. Depending on the circumstance it can often be good to get more than one to cover more ground.
HMGs are also one of the few units that can be suitable to hold a flank by itself. In the later game, if you find manpower is a little less in demand, you may notice the enemy capping at the edges of your territory with one or two infantry squads while most of your force is concentrated elsewhere around, say, a victory point. In these circumstances it can be good to place an HMG covering a chokepoint on your flanks to discourage this. However, this has its risks – like any unsupported HMG, if the enemy discovers it, they may flank it and kill it before you can react.
AT guns are your primary infantry-based tool for fighting off enemy tanks. Like HMGs, they have vastly longer weapon range than they have sight range, meaning that they require a spotter to be used effectively. Unlike HMGs, they cannot retreat – only reverse – making AT guns even more vulnerable to enemy capture.
AT guns have a gun shield which, from the front, provides cover to the crew. This does make AT guns somewhat resilient to small arms fire from the front. This also means that, when you need to pull back your AT gun, you should usually use the “reverse” command rather than a regular move order.
AT guns are slow and clumsy, but work very well at long range. They don’t lose much penetration over distance, so they are reliable counters to tanks at distance. Because of how slow they are, they are very vulnerable to being rushed, both by infantry and tanks. For this reason, they must be kept in the back and protected by your infantry.
AT guns work best in conjunction with other forms of AT. AT guns cannot chase down fleeing enemy vehicles, you need something else to help secure the kill. Snares are extremely effective here; a tank with a blown engine goes nowhere fast.
Mortars are your earliest artillery-like unit and they do multiple jobs.
The regular attack of a mortar comes down slow but can be devastating to an enemy squad it lands on. A mortar behind your troops works best in slow, long-range, cover-to-cover engagements. In quick fights, or in highly mobile fights where the infantry are moving around a lot, mortar shells are unlikely to be particularly effective.
Mortars can also serve to provide you with the initiative and force your opponent to come to you. This is particularly valuable for more defensive, team-weapon-oriented armies like the British. If you lack proper assault troops and rely on defensive-focused weapons like HMGs, direct assaults can be challenging, particularly if your opponent is also entrenched.
Mortars allow you an early tool to project power at long ranges and perform slow, grindy pushes forward. Use mortars in conjunction with recon units to probe at the enemy (but don’t commit!) and then shell them. Figure out where enemy HMGs are and barrage them. This forces the enemy to either attack you directly or cede ground while suffering losses; effectively, this allows you to push forward slowly while not ever abandoning a defensive posture.
Mortars are also the most reliable carrier of smoke, though various other units can deploy it as well. Smoke has numerous uses and I will only scratch the surface here. Unlike regular mortar barrages, smoke can effectively support a fast, aggressive assault by blocking the line of sight for enemy units. Due to their limited mobility and highly specific positioning, smoke is particularly effective at quickly neutralizing enemy team weapons. One of the fastest ways to dislodge an HMG is to drop smoke on it and rush forward with your infantry.
Smoke can mitigate the greatest weakness of assault infantry, allowing them to safely close into their optimal range without risk of damage.
Smoke can be used defensively to protect units in danger. If one of your units is under fire and trying to retreat, drop smoke on it to prevent it from being fired upon and guarantee its safe escape.
Smoke can be dropped on a contested strategic point to allow infantry to safely capture it.
Units cannot see through smoke and will refuse to directly attack units in smoke. However, do note that projectile weapons like AT guns and tank guns can be manually ordered to fire into smoke using the Attack Ground command. This can be used by tanks to chip away at enemy infantry hiding in smoke, or by AT guns to finish off a wounded tank being protected by smoke. This isn’t perfect; attack ground is inaccurate and requires quite a bit of micro, but it can nab you an extra kill now and then.
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