Company of Heroes 3 – Ultimate Infantry and Recon Unit Roles Guide

Guide to Unit Roles

Infantry

Line Infantry e.g. Infantry Section, Grenadiers

Line infantry are your most basic unit, typically wielding bolt-action rifles, grenades, and a “snare”. They fulfill many critical roles and you will almost certainly make some over the course of any game; or, if not proper line infantry, a selection of other infantry that collectively cover all the same bases.

Line infantry typically start out fairly weak at inflicting damage, but can often be upgraded to become more powerful (e.g., Bren gun upgrade on the British infantry section). They are, however, the most versatile unit in your lineup.

Grenades

A well-placed grenade can instantly wipe an enemy squad if they are clumped up enough. Nevertheless, grenades have a small munition cost that adds up if you use it too much; it is very much possible to spam grenades and drain your munitions while achieving nothing in the process.

Use grenades when you think your opponent will not be able to react in time. The most obvious example of this is team weapons, which cannot pack up fast enough to dodge grenades. More advanced is trying to surmise where an enemy’s focus is. If a battle is spread out across a large area, you may be able to drop a grenade on an enemy infantry squad without them noticing in time. However, if a battle is focused on a small area, an experienced opponent will almost certainly dodge it.

Grenades are most devastating against clumped enemy units, particularly those in cover. However, do note that green cover (and not any other type of cover) will reduce grenade damage if the grenade passes over the cover. While a clumped squad in green cover will still be hurt a lot by the grenade, it will not instantly kill a full health infantry model like it would otherwise.

Amongst newer players, grenades can be incredibly powerful as newer players have not gotten the practice to dodge them. Feel free to use this to your advantage, but if you find your opponent to be very on the ball about dodging, scale back your grenade usage before you drain your munitions completely.

Snares

Line infantry squads have snares, such as anti-tank grenades and panzerfausts. These abilities have the capacity to stun or disable enemy vehicles. Snares have very low range so your squad needs to get close to the target to get one off. However, if (after the damage from the snare is applied) the enemy vehicle is under 50% health, the snare will damage the engine and cripple its mobility. If the enemy vehicle is still above 50% health, the vehicle will still be stunned for a few moments.

Snares by themselves are not sufficient to ward off enemy armor, but they offer critical support to other dedicated anti-armor weapons because they prevent the enemy from escaping. Snares alone are just a deterrent, but snares combined with other forms of AT are deadly.

Capturing Points

Line infantry are not the fastest units for capturing points (unlike dedicated capping units like Kettenkrads), but they will still usually be your primary cappers, especially in dangerous areas near enemy lines. Line infantry can defend themselves against enemy threats that intercept them, quickly move into cover to protect themselves, and stay alive long enough for the rest of your forces to arrive to help them. Where engineers or recon units will often die, line infantry can take and hold territory.

Screening

Like capturing, line infantry are not the best at scouting but will nevertheless be one of your most important vision tools simply due to availability and durability. Spread out line infantry around your other units will allow them to see threats coming, allowing you to respond in time.

The mobility of your line infantry also makes them essential protectors of your other units. If you are relying on a heavy machine gun to pin enemy infantry, position your line infantry around it so they can focus-fire enemy infantry trying to flank it. If you are losing an armor battle, use the threat of a snare to prevent the enemy tank from chasing down and finishing your tank. Line infantry provides essential protection to most of your other units in this way.

Flanking

Flanking infantry can circumvent cover, focus down retreating units to secure a kill, kill an enemy HMG from its vulnerable flank, or snare a retreating enemy tank. Infantry going in from the front are very vulnerable to suppression and heavy fire, but flanking infantry can punch above their weight if attacking from an unexpected direction.

Retreating, Unit Preservation, and Manpower Bleed – Retreating is absolutely critical for all infantry units. Retreating units are substantially harder to hit and run faster back to safety. It is much cheaper to reinforce a squad than to replace it. A squad reduced to a single member will be up at full strength for less than half the cost of replacing the squad outright.

Additionally, veteran units are enormously more powerful than their unvetted counterparts. You will be facing a severely uphill battle if, by late game, you are fighting veteran troops with fresh troops; this requires keeping your squads alive.

Even without squad losses, a substantial amount of your manpower income over the course of a game will be lost to “manpower bleed” – the cost of reinforcing your infantry squads. While reinforcing squads is much cheaper than buying fresh, the cost is still substantial and can allow your opponent to snowball the game by getting more units. Also keep this in mind when choosing infantry squads – expensive squads will usually not just be more expensive to bring in, but also more expensive to reinforce over time. It is possible to cripple your own manpower economy by losing too many infantry models even if you never lose a single squad.

If you see a squad that is in danger, do not wait for its health to get critically low or for it to lose almost all of its members – retreat it immediately. Additionally, keep an eye out for vulnerable enemy units and focus-fire them if they are exposed.

Cover

Similarly to veterancy, the benefits of cover cannot be overstated. Exposed units (red cover) take substantially more damage from small arms. Units in yellow cover take half. Units in green cover take about a quarter (50% less incoming accuracy and 50% less incoming damage from most sources). In a fight between almost any two infantry squads, the squad with superior cover will win.

Cover ceases to be effective at very close range. If you are in a position where your enemy has superior cover, one way to negate that advantage is to rush them up close.

Building cover is a little bit special. Against small arms, buildings are roughly as effective as green cover. Certain dedicated anti-building weapons (grenades, flamethrowers) however can do even more damage to garrisoned units. Building cover is always fully effective even at point blank range – an enemy squad cannot rush the building to negate the cover (unless they use Breach).

Additionally, with buildings, pay special attention to windows or other shooting positions. If a building only has a single window on the side your enemy is facing, then only a single of your garrisoned units will be able to shoot at a time. This may be fine for a heavy machine gun but for a 5-man infantry squad, this cripples their effectiveness. Finally, pay attention to the building’s health. If a building is destroyed while your unit is in it, that unit will die.

Elevation is new to the franchise. Units on higher elevation ignore cover when shooting units at a lower elevation. In the screenshot below, the pathfinder squad has the height advantage (indicated by the mountain icon). The grenadier squad is behind a truck that normally offers green cover, but that cover will do nothing against attacks from the pathfinders.

Weapon Ranges

All weapons in Company of Heroes perform differently at different ranges. Usually (but not always!), the closer you are, the more damage you deal. However, the shape of this curve varies wildly by weapon type. Bolt action rifles do OK damage at long range and somewhat better damage close up. Submachine guns do incredible damage close up and almost nothing at medium or long range. STG-44s (early assault rifles) are very strong up to medium range, but less good than SMGs at close range and less good than rifles at long range. Breaking the mold, light machine guns (squad MG42s, Bren guns) cannot fire on the move and do less damage against closer enemies.

This dynamic is extremely individual for various units and unfortunately a case of needing to know the units in question. Units may even have a mix of different weapon types. Usually, the unit’s tooltip gives you a good idea of where it is effective; pay close attention to this. Even different types of line infantry have subtle variances – Wehrmacht grenadiers are unusually skewed towards long range combat, and US riflemen are skewed towards close range with their semi-automatic Garands.

Engineers e.g. Royal Engineers, Pioneers

Your engineer unit is, at the very earliest stages of the game, an effective supplement to your stronger units in combat. Beyond the very earliest stages of the game, these will usually be relegated to the sidelines repairing vehicles, capturing safe points while your other troops are in the thick of things, building defenses. Certain upgrades (such as flamethrowers) allow some engineer units to be effective supplements in combat later on, but they are typically very vulnerable and die quickly.

Engineers are the primary way you can build green cover, which can be very powerful. Try to place green cover in such a way that the enemy cannot use it against you; the easiest way to do this is to place the sandbags right behind some obstacle so that there is no room on the other side, like so:

Note that with this arrangement, your infantry can benefit from green cover, but the enemy cannot run up to the other side and benefit from it themselves.

Barbed wire can be used to close infantry paths, but most often barbed wire is used to deny cover to the enemy. When your engineers are idle, find some green cover (or a building entrance) you suspect your enemy is likely to use and block it off from their side.

Mines are incredibly powerful and one of the most efficient uses of munitions in the game. Most mines will trigger on both infantry and vehicles. On infantry, it will kill at least one model and suppress the squad, rendering it combat ineffective. Against a vehicle, the mine will inflict damage and damage the vehicle’s engine, making it extremely vulnerable to counterattack.

Place mines on expected lanes of attack, or even just around points your opponent might want to capture. Mines will cause attrition and will make your opponent wary of attacking. Most notably, mines can blunt an aggressive push and allow you to turn the tables on them by finishing off the wounded squad or snared vehicle. If you find yourself sitting on munitions and don’t know what to do with it, build mines.

Assault Infantry e.g. Grenadiers with MP40 upgrade

Assault infantry are infantry units that have short or short to medium ranged weapons, such as Thompson SMGs or STG-44s. They are usually worthless at long range and lack snares, but have incredible close-range damage (great for flanking and wiping out squads), sometimes superior grenades, or even smoke to block enemy line of sight.

Assault infantry are exceptionally good at wiping out enemy units if they get in close, even moreso if they execute a successful flank. However, their need to get in close makes them very vulnerable to focus fire, and are very easy to lose in turn. Additionally, because of this, assault infantry requires more micromanagement than standard ranged infantry.

Usually, you won’t want to overload on assault infantry. However, if you have some mechanism to deliver assault infantry close to the enemy – a sneaky flank, a smoke barrage, or even just ambushing them from around a corner, they can be devastating.

AT Infantry e.g. Infantry Sections with Boys AT Rifles, Jaeger Squad with Panzerschreck

Anti-tank infantry sacrifices anti infantry capability for dedicated AT weapons. AT infantry are generally capable counters to enemy light vehicles, and offer useful damage support against larger tanks. However, AT infantry lack the range or speed to effectively secure kills against vehicles capable of escaping, so they generally do not work on their own.

AT infantry perform better closer up; close range increases both their penetration and their accuracy. Against heavier vehicles, this also allows them to get shots on the side or rear armor, especially important for weaker weapons like AT rifles to get their damage in.

Anti-tank infantry act as supplements to other AT weapons. AT infantry can chase down a snared vehicle and finish it off, for example. Additionally, AT guns’ principal weakness is their immobility, meaning that they can be flanked even by the vehicles they are built to counter. The presence of AT infantry can make it impossible for enemy tanks to rush your AT guns, which allows your AT guns to do their work from afar.

Recon

e.g. Kettenkrad, Infantry Section w/ Recon Package

Recon units are one of the more varied unit types, and most recon units fulfill more than one function. Kettenkrads serve as fast capping vehicles, for example, and recon package infantry sections are still solid fighters. Recon units, however, all have something that lets you keep tabs on the enemy better than other units. Usually this means increased sight radius, but it can also include abilities like flares or even the ability to identify enemies through the fog of war.

Recon units are important enablers for your other units. The most basic use is to scout for units who can fire longer than they can see, such as HMGs or AT guns. Much of Company of Heroes 3 is about positioning relative to your enemy, and you cannot do that without knowing where your enemy is.

On the defensive, recon units can help you identify where an attack is coming from and position your defenses (such as team weapons) in preparation; this can save you from a devastating flank.

On the offensive, recon units can help you identify where your opponent is and set up an effective attack. Recon will prevent your tanks from running face first into AT guns, your infantry from running face first into HMGs, and your plucky but under-gunned Infantry Sections from running face first into a pile of Stoßtruppen MG42s.

Recon further acts as an enabler for artillery or mortars; such weapons are only effective against things they can see. A combination of good recon and artillery can force your opponent to come at you.

Written by DemonicSpoon

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