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Posted on Jun 8, 2007 in Electronic Games

Theatre of War (pt.3) – Defensive Tactics Primer

Jim H. Moreno

The same scene as seen from the trench. The grey icon, however, indicates that the gun has not been completely destroyed, and may be fully or partially operable even though its crew has been killed.

Without hesitation, we order three soldiers from the trench to run back and man the gun.

The soldiers do not have any gunner skill, and as such their attempts to hit the enemy tanks will be rather futile. In fact, if this was an enemy gun they manned they would not be able to operate it all without a certain minimum skill level.
But the available APHEBC (Armor-Piercing High-Explosive Ballistic Cap) dual-use ammunition allows engaging both tanks as well as infantry in the open, so hopefully the benefit of having a large gun in exchange for three rifles will be worth it. These kinds of decisions will have to be taken by the defending player on numerous occasions.

Luckily, we still have a second gun with a full crew, fully operational, wreaking havoc on the assaulting Germans, and soon enough taking out the first light tank. The 45mm caliber gun is able to penetrate the German light tank frontally with ease at this distance.

As one of the enemy tanks ventures too close, the crew quickly shifts their aim.

The amount of time it takes to rotate and redeploy a gun depends on the gun obviously, but also on the amount of crewmembers and their Gunner skills.

Only seconds later, only a smoldering wreck is left from the bold tank, and its crew is bailing out and fleeing.

The infantry takes care of them, however, and soon there is nothing left but a piece of charred steel.

Only shortly later, the third tank is hit and disabled by the tank gun.

With all three tanks knocked out, the enemy attack spirit weakens noticeably.

And only short time later, the remaining infantry begins fleeing from the battlefield, leaving behind numerous casualties. We let them escape…

… but not without sending a few greetings from one of the guns.
This completes the first part of the training mission. By tactically holding back the anti-tank gun fire and by adjusting to the unfolding events (i.e. re-manning the disabled gun), we have been able to repel the enemy attack with light casualties.

But it ain’t over till it’s over, and the second part of the mission will prove to be much more difficult. Unlike the light tanks we’ve seen so far, this time the Germans attack on the left flank with three modern Panzer III Ausf. J tanks, with strong enough frontal armor to shrug off hits from our anti-tank guns at anything but close distance.

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A look over to the left flank.

The setup here is similar to that of the first trench – an infantry squad supported by two anti-tank guns.

The enemy is leading the attack with a couple of infantry squads.

We order our guns to hold fire and open up with the infantry small arms. But one squad versus two enemy squads advancing across acceptable cover, moving by bounds, is not a good exchange of firepower.

[continued on next page]

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