Recon

Optics aren’t needed just for spotting concealed units, but also for seeing across open ground. For non-recon units we’re usually choosing between medium and poor optics. The difference is that against units with no stealth and no concealment, poor optics see out to 2.1km, while medium go as far as 2.8km. This means that poor optics units must rely on some other ally to spot for them, or they’ll perform..poorly. Without optics you’ll often miss enemy movements performed in plain sight.

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Tanks with poor optics don’t see as far as their guns can shoot, making them less suitable for roles where recon support isn’t guaranteed.

What about the recon tab? Here we have choices going from good to exceptional optics. Without going into details, ground optics maxes out at 3.5km, which even good optics achieve provided no stealth and concealment are involved. Very good and exceptional ground optics help with spotting stuff in forests as well as units with inherent stealth, but don’t extend past that 3.5km cap. The cap is 5km when it comes to helo recon, with good optics maxing out at 4.2km.

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Cheap, flexible, and good enough for almost all scouting.

But this isn’t a mechanics post, it’s a basic tactics post. Here’s the guidance – with optics, coverage is everything. It’s more important to have a good optics vehicle on every flank and every back route to your base, than to have an exceptional radar in mid. Keep that 3.5km figure in mind and place the good optics accordingly. 10pt unarmed good recon is fine; 25pt cannon or autocannon recon is even better, as it can repel half-hearted attacks and insertions without requiring your attention (in doubt, choose autocannon over cannon, as autocannons can kill helos defensively).

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Cheap mobile autocannon recon is not only great at defending flanks but also for probing them.

Wheeled good optics recon is also good for escorting opener forces – it tells you where the opposing force is and what it contains before you start losing units, and it spots targets for your wheeled tanks and ATGM jeeps if you brought any. Add being useful for cheaply testing forests for enemy presence, for attacking flanks, and for chasing retreating AA after tank breakthroughs. The conclusion is that good optics recon is a very versatile unit type that can be employed anywhere.

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Recon helos, as expected, are another decent flank scout. They’re a bit more expensive and the lack of armament means you’ll need to notice and send units against any attacks that do get spotted, but they can be placed over water or other otherwise inconvenient ground. Frontline scouting is possible but riskier than alternatives due to the inherent fragility of helos; as mentioned, the helo view range cap is 5km as opposed to the 3.5km of ground scouts.


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Hax?

If good optics spots far enough in the open, what’s the use of the higher levels? Forest penetration. Most units will be spotted just fine when they fire from a forest, even by the medium optics of infantry. Recon units however are a bit stealthier, adding one more use to the already long list of virtues of armed recon vehicles – they can kill advancing infantry without exposing themselves to return fire, unless very good or exceptional recon is present.

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Left: dies in one to two shots. Right: built to last.

Recon infantry is currently the best source of very good optics, as it costs just as much as normal infantry, giving you the optics for free. Let’s try that same push with recon infantry:

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Way better, the stealthy recon defense is spotted immediately. Recon infantry is great for offensive recon like this, as it comes with both better stealth than vehicles and the inherent resilience of infantry, buying maximum time for fire support to mop up whatever it spots.

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The SMAW have longer range but blue can’t actually see the recon.

Recon infantry is also great for defending cities in the same way recon vehicles are – they stay hidden much longer, and in the case of recon SF they put out so much damage that they can erase pushing squads without being spotted at all. Here, too, the best way to counter is to push with recon infantry of your own. Failing that, smoke the entry point.


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Left: border guards. Right: sniper team

Finally, let’s go back to passively spotting across open spaces for a second. We have three options here. Good optics vehicles are cheap, usually fast, and usually armed to provide decent fire support. Fighting recon infantry is convenient – coherent forest defense starts with an infantry squad, so having that infantry squad be recon costs you nothing.

The last option is non-fighting infantry, either a sniper team or a border guard squad. Border guards are cheap, but useless at anything but spotting, making them little better than an even cheaper 10pt unarmed recon jeep. Sniper teams are more expensive but have exceptional stealth, meaning they’ll frequently keep spotting even as the frontline collapses all around them; just put them in a bush that enemy units are unlikely to drive directly into.


To sum it up: recon has three uses. Passively, you use good optics to spot across vast swathes of open ground. Defensively, you use armed recon to stealthily kill attacking forces, ignoring any armor advantage the opponent may have. Offensively, you use very good or exceptional recon to spot stealthy defenders, be they recon units or ATGM squads, and you also use mobile autocannon recon to punish a lack of flank defenses.

EDIT: Since the Israel DLC, ground exceptional optics recon has had its spotting cap increased from 3.5km to 4.2km. All other ground optics are still capped at 3.5km. This doesn’t seriously change the tactics described above.

To the next guide post: Artillery

More on SEAD

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Missiles with the [SEAD] tag can target radar AA that has been left on, and nothing else (well, ships too, but the damage is lacking). With the exception of the ka-52 recon helictoper, they’re exclusive to planes.

How to use them? First, don’t be too aggressive. Yes, this applies to all planes, even the ones that counter AA. While SEAD comes with the highest ECM values you can get for the price, sending them directly at the enemy AA will eventually force them to fly over and past it. SEAD can only shoot what is directly ahead, so you can expect all radar AA to turn on and shoot back as soon as the plane flies over or tries to evac. Getting too close also exposes the plane to deadly short-range IR AA.

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Don’t do this at home it’s a terrible idea

Instead, know where the enemy AA is likely to be and start turning away as soon as you start getting in range. This allows the plane to shoot at any radar that is on while minimizing the time it spends exposed to return fire.

Second, don’t think of SEAD as a way to earn destruction points. Better players will keep radar AA off until they need it, making SEAD-only runs pure risk, with no reward. SEAD’s job is to protect another plane, sending it alone is usually pointless. The correct usage is to send your bomber to do its task as usual, and time a SEAD plane to arrive on the scene just after that. Having the SEAD arrive first means it will start evacuating while the more fragile bomber is still on the field, exposing it to AA. Having the SEAD arrive later will allow it to cover the bomber’s evac, and potentially even bait the enemy into turning their AA on.

How do you deal with SEAD? The direct counter is to intercept the enemy bomber train with a fighter, rendering the SEAD meaningless. The indirect one is to find a way to position IR AA close enough to get kills. Planes fly at different altitudes, with SEAD and fighters usually being very high up, so getting IR in range is extra hard against SEAD. Finally, bigger numbers of heavy SAMs can reliably down SEAD as it turns away after strikes.


If you want more on the topic, here’s Razzman showing how to juke SEAD missiles by toggling radar AA (juking is after 4:00, but he also shows some SEAD usage before that):

 

To the next guide post: Why use fighters?

Artillery

Warning: I’m not a heavy artillery user, so I may be omitting some roles. Be more skeptical than with the rest of the posts in the guide.

There are broadly three types of artillery and three jobs that artillery does. The types are MLRS, howitzer, and mortar; the jobs are dealing damage, demoralizing, and spreading smoke.

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MLRS is artillery that shoots lots of rockets in a short period of time. Some spread napalm, others cluster – these effects are the same as what I described in the plane section. Napalm is generally not lethal enough to kill but may block off sight lines and force units to move out of it, cluster does some morale damage and is mostly dangerous to thin-skinned support vehicles.

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50pt Chinese BM-24 softening a defensive line. Except for very lucky direct hits, damage is negligible.

You’d expect the last type of MLRS, pure HE MLRS, to be used for the damage its rounds can inflict, but they’re surprisingly harmless. Instead, its main job is to suppress groups of enemy units just before an attack. Moving the MLRS closer to the frontline shrinks the dispersion of its salvo – while most pieces can reliably panic a fairly large area simultaneously, shooting all the way from your base may spread the hits out too much and leave some enemy units untouched.

If you know you’ve panicked everything, you can stop an MLRS mid-salvo and use the rest to target a separate area. This is especially useful for units with long salvos. The buratino has such a long salvo with so effective individual rockets that you can get 5-6 powerful strikes out of one reload if you babysit it enough.

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As an aside, if it frequently seems to you like your artillery quickly reaches 50% ready to fire and then gets stuck, that’s because the bar above each weapon isn’t one indicator split in two rows, it’s two entirely separate indicators. I’ve tried to explain how reloading works here.


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From the left: spammy, useless, modern FCS, sniper

The next artillery branch are the howitzers. This is a messy one, in big part because the most important stats are not listed in the armory at all. These important stats are salvo length and aim time.

There’s broadly three types of howitzer. One is the spammy regular piece, lobbing normal shells with decently long salvos and a very long (~30s) aimtime before each salvo. The low price and long aim time makes these mainly useful for shelling towns and other static positions.

Modern FCS artillery is a sidegrade to spammy artillery, costing at least twice as much with little increase in firepower. The advantage in modern FCS is the 10-second aimtime, making these a lot more flexible and usable on a dynamic battlefield. Keep in mind that modern FCS varies wildly in effectiveness between nations, with the BKAN-1C being three times as effective as a Paladin and rivaling spammy artillery in shots fired for the price. For details, test yourself or check the hidden stat spreadsheet, tube artillery page.

There’s usually a unit sitting between spammy and modern FCS, a mix between the two – both expensive and with long aimtime. This is as useful as it sounds.

Finally, there’s what some call sniper artillery – pieces with usually very short salvos, the aimtime of spammy artillery and the cost of modern FCS, but firing shells between 9 and 10 HE. I believe these are mainly used for CV snipes as the blast range maximizes the chance of blindly killing something.


MLRS and howitzers are fairly niche; it takes big unit concentrations for it to be worth it to buy a stunning unit instead of an extra tank, and buying howitzers to rack up kills takes a while to pay off. The next artillery type, mortars, is not niche. Mortars are easily the most important part of the artillery tab, being simultaneously precise, fast to aim, and cheap. They’re used effectively for both panicking soft targets and spreading smoke.

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The damage and panic role of mortars is obvious – target positions you see AA missiles emerging from, target infantry that is fighting your own, target spotted enemies. High-HE mortars do better here. Using mortars for damage is fairly high-micro, so it’s mainly done by very fast players who have micro to spare or when playing destruction (as destruction is less demanding on that front).

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Mobile forest.

The harder to master aspect of mortars is smoke. The smoke puffs are basically small pieces of forest, with the middle being impossible to shoot through and the outer part providing penetrable concealment. There are multiple ways to use smoke, but for me the main issue wasn’t coming up with uses for it, but rather remembering that smoke is an option at all, when the challenges of enemy ATGM or crossing open field came into the picture. Buying a mortar at the start of the game and binding it to a main control group (1-3) helps here. You could even make a macro for smoke.

For smoke, it doesn’t matter that much which type of mortar you use – 3HE makes smaller puffs but fires faster. If there is no price difference, take 5HE for the greater range, otherwise it depends on how much you value the cost savings vs the convenience of range. Smoke almost always lasts 90 seconds.

To the next guide post: AA

AA roles

Talking about infantry transports, I mentioned that rocket helos are among the deadlier types of fire support. On superheavies, I kept bringing up that they’re countered by AT planes. Time to give the spotlight to antiair, the class of units meant to deal with these threats.

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The [RAD] tag really needs to be more prominent with how important it is. Note also the slightly different unit type icon, top right.

There’s two types of ground-based antiair – radar and nonradar (IR). IR weapons lend themselves to dealing with helos; radar ones come with good antiplane ranges. Of course, that isn’t to say that radar weapons can’t kill helos or vise versa – as you can see, the roland 3 above has a very usable antihelo range, it’s just slightly less than that of the equivalently priced crotale. Fighting a helo at 2.8km, the crotale would also be more accurate than the roland due to range scaling.

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The KF-16C Block is a SEAD aircraft. To avoid being targeted, the radar hawk missile has been turned off. It’s good practice to always keep all radar weapons off and only briefly turn them on when targets are in range.

The [RAD] tag isn’t just shorthand for the range stat though. It also has a drawback in that any radar weapon can be automatically spotted and targeted by SEAD aircraft. The only way to protect your radar weapons from this fate is to turn them off when SEAD is around (it’s only necessary to turn off the weapons that are actually radar; a tunguska will be safe with its missile turned on, for example, as long as the radar gun is off). Because SEAD planes can be used to escort bombers, it’s generally necessary to mix in some IR even if your opponent isn’t a heavy helo user.

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SEAD usage from the red player’s perspective.

What else is there to consider beyond RAD vs IR? Missile count is a factor. Many big SAMs only come with 3-4 shots. If using them on the main frontline, resupply is just a minor inconvenience. For flank defense or extended pushes however, the lack of self-sufficiency is a big drawback. Wheels vs tracks is another – it helps to have a wheeled AA piece to escort your forces in the opening minutes.

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The range vs price tradeoff is just as important as the RAD vs IR one. Some cheap AA pieces lose range compared to costlier alternatives, but keep most or all of their accuracy. This makes their role a defensive one – their range prevents them from covering pushes or dealing with carefully used bombers, but high lethality for the price allows you to cheaply protect your airspace from being completely trampled over. Full-featured AA on the other hand comes with much more convenient engagement ranges, but may be too expensive for low-importance flanks. MANPADS, aka infantry AA, are a common example for defensive AA – very cheap compared to conventional AA (always take the highest end ones), barely any range, but a stack of two is enough to create an instant death threat.

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When picking defensive AA, keep in mind that range scaling does NOT apply when shooting at planes. This is the only exception – every weapon in the game becomes more accurate the closer the target is, except when shooting planes. The antihelo osa pictured above for example, while it has low accuracy, will become a lot more reliable as it gets closer to enemy helos. Regardless of how close a targeted plane gets however, the kub and osa will both remain inaccurate. This isn’t to say that a low-accuracy AA unit is automatically useless, but it’s different from how all other cheap units work and a factor to keep in mind.

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The 35pt wolverine is defensive AA, only dangerous when a plane flies directly over, but enough to punish overly aggressive air usage. This also illustrates a point I make in every post about bombers – they’re best used to hinder enemy attacks, with aggressive usage being far riskier.

What about SPAAGS? The cheap ones trade some lethality for the ability to stun anything within seconds, and for a decent fire support role, making them versatile defensive AA. The expensive ones are as different from each other as they are from pure missile AA, but they’re all very lethal.

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Finally, an important hidden stat – the number of tubes on an AA piece’s model determines how many shots it can fire in quick succession. For most units this is only important when being swarmed by helos, but the roland series for example only comes with two tubes per piece. Where many radar AA will have enough time to shoot thrice at a bomber, the rolands always enter a lengthy reload after the second shot.

To the next guide post: SEAD

Some more planes

Let’s take a look at the plane types that haven’t been covered yet. Their usage and counters are broadly similar to those of AT planes and iron bombers which I already wrote on, so I’ll be brief on those points.

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If there’s a unit that lets you feel like you’re a direct participant in the fight, it’s the rocket plane. You click a target and it is erased seconds later. Rocket planes give HE damage, same as iron bombers, but restricted to one or two targets, for a much smaller price. Most carry enough rockets to kill anything short of a tank, including AA. Against tanks, they’ll reliably inflict panic and maybe a crit, winning you the fight if you have a tank of your own to finish the job. Despite what the statcard might make you think, they’re very precise – 32 rockets at 30% accuracy each practically guarantees enough hits to kill any soft target, and the spread and AoE are small enough that nearby units are rarely harmed.

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Directly right clicking will always use all rockets on the selected target, but some planes will only fire half of their ammo if you use fire position instead. This makes it possible to kill two separate targets in one sortie, as long as you use fire position on the first. While you’ll only get half the payload per target, rockets are lethal enough to soft targets that you’ll almost never see survivors even when splitting.

Rocket rearm length tends to fall somewhere between “fast” and “insanely fast”. This adds to the high efficiency of rocket planes. When playing against a rocket plane user, think carefully before attacking or otherwise exposing your units until you have a way of disabling the plane, as having a unit deleted once or twice a minute adds up pretty quickly. When using a rocket plane, exercise restraint – it’s tempting to try and use bombers as soon as they come off cooldown, but it is a bad mode of thinking that promotes suicide strikes. It is doubly tempting with rocket planes as they tend to be off cooldown all the time; but you simply won’t have a viable target conveniently pop up every 30 seconds, and trying to manufacture such targets by using fire position on last spotted AA or infantry positions is wasteful.

Rocket planes do poorly in larger games where killing a single infantry or fire support unit is not a reliable way of deciding an engagement, and their aggressive approaches become a big drawback due to better AA coverage.

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Laser bombers are another type of precise HE bomber. They drop a small number of homing bombs. Most laser bombers can serve in an AT role as the bombs target top armor, the weakest part of tanks.

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Grainy combat footage of the only 4-split recorded in Wargame history.

It’s possible to split the payload between multiple targets by selecting a new target just before each bomb is dropped. City infantry can dodge the payload by teleporting just before the hit happens; the bomb won’t be able to turn fast enough.

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Cluster bombers generally cover a wide swath of ground with low-AP munitions that hit top armor. The advantage over HE bombers is the higher effectiveness against armor, the advantage over AT planes is that they don’t need sight and target a wide area; but on the downside, they’re not as dangerous to tanks as AT planes and can’t harm infantry like HE bombers.

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No HE = no deadly explosion when the bomb lands. Only Czechnology has methods for manufacturing explodey napalm.

Napalm planes are like HE bombers, but instead of doing high upfront damage, they spread napalm that panics and slowly does damage. Currently the napalm isn’t very lethal, and soft units can escape the area of effect before dying, while even lightly armored transports and tanks can just drive through  if willing to take the morale and health damage. Napalm bombers are most useful for blocking off roads at the start of the game. Another use is for fast smoke walls, as the burning area will block line of sight just as well as mortar smoke.


There’s not much to say about countering the planes here that hasn’t already been said – use radar AA and ASF. Spread out when targeted by AoE bombers, and break line of sight when expecting direct-target strikes like those of laser bombers.

To the next guide post: Conclusion

ATGM infantry

The theme thus far has been fighting in closed spaces. Let’s take a breather in the open field again.

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ATGM are long-range high-AP missiles that make anything but the cheapest vehicles a stressful pain to use. It’s hard to provide fire support against a forest when the forest is shooting missiles that oneshot your 60pt tanks and twoshot the 100pt ones. Compared to vehicle-tab ATGM, infantry squads are exceptionally stealthy. This makes them hard to counter, because they break the basic push formula I described earlier, killing the fire support of a push without being spotted by the pushing infantry. Generally you need to either somehow sneak recon close enough to spot them, or smoke off the launcher.

ATGM infantry is always a good thing to bring if you can spare the deck space. Even if you don’t get any kills with it, the inconvenience you’re causing your opponent for just 30-40 points is always worth it. Don’t go overboard and spam it in large numbers – even a single squad is lethal enough. Be mindful that they run out of ammo quickly and require a fair bit of supply to rearm. ATGM infantry is mostly only useful on the defensive as it requires cover – either a forest or a town – and some distance between itself and the target.

Finally, a deckbuilding tip. There’s generally two to three types of ATGM infantry for each nation, each being a straight upgrade from the last. Don’t be cheap; always bring the high-end option. The cost increase is always worth it. A similar rule holds for MANPADS.

To the next guide post: City fighting

AT planes

I’ve been referring to AT planes as the only reliable superheavy counter. Why?

Most things that can harm a superheavy are defensive in nature. An ATGM requires the superheavy to stay spotted for a long time; this is usually the case when the tank isn’t being microed or is in the open. Infantry requires the superheavy to be encroaching on an occupied forest. Neither can be used to push – if your infantry is walking in the open to reach an enemy forest, the enemy tanks can take potshots and hide before ATGM can hit. Just as importantly, any ATGM hits that do connect will only damage, not outright kill, leaving the controlling player with a wounded but intact superheavy that he can repair after repelling your attack.

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The Mig-27 has a HEAT gun, which damages tanks if you directly target them.

An AT plane, on the other hand, can circle behind a push and dive on the first defending superheavy that appears, killing it in one pass. This isn’t a strong way to use your AT planes; it tends to get them killed, and careful micro can still hide the targeted tank in time. But in a deck without superheavies of its own, it’s usually the only way to deal with a defensive superheavy protecting lots of open ground.

AT planes, as all planes, are much better when used defensively. If you target tanks in the middle of crossing open ground and time it right, they won’t be able to reach a forest and hide from the instant death missiles. Such approaches also decrease the likelihood of losing the plane to AA. Conversely, when controlling expensive tanks, try to only cross open ground when an ASF is available to intercept airstrikes, and keep in mind how long it would take you to get to cover.

There’s not much else to say about AT planes as far as beginner tips go – expect them, bring some of your own, and don’t waste them on cheap targets because you’ll need them for the superheavies. On the other hand, not every run is a suicide mission.

To the next guide post: Recon

Spread your infantry out

This post is about using and defending from iron bombers (dumb HE bombers).

Bombers, and planes in general, are mainly defensive units. Primarily this is because of two things:

  1. A defending enemy has his units well within the AA net. An attacker on the other hand is usually forced to keep his AA a bit further back, meaning that the bomber has more chance of getting out alive.
  2. Planes are very reliant on good spotting. When the enemy is pushing across open ground you get good and very reliable line of sight.

Iron bombers are primarily an anti-infantry weapon. While they don’t need line of sight to drop a payload, in order to hit anything it’s still paramount to have had sight in the past five seconds or so.

Thus far, the section has been about infantry. How do iron bombers tie into this? Well, until now I’ve been repeating over and over that infantry is god in forests etc etc. It follows that you can make a forest impregnable by just stacking a lot of infantry on top of each other:

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Everyone in the same spot, when enemy infantry attacks it gets shot by 10 squads..

Yet, in actual gameplay this is a terrible idea – you’d just get bombed and lose your entire force. If iron bombers and artillery didn’t exist, it would be impossible to take a reinforced forest – when the enemy puts 200 points of infantry in it, you’d be forced to wait until you get 200 points of your own, at which point they’d have 400, and so on.

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However bombers do exist, and when an enemy spots any sort of infantry concentration, sending one to clear the board is the kneejerk reaction. Because of this, past a certain point density, adding more infantry to the frontline of the same forest is excessive. It could be that 30 Jaeger is enough to win most fights, with 60 Jaeger vastly increasing the bombing risk for no significant anti-infantry gains (because you’re already winning the fights). It could be that 30 Jaeger is already too much; it’s all contextual on things like opponent playstyle, AA density, and map type. You can still buy more infantry, but the prudent thing would be to send them to another part of the forest or just keep them in reserve at the back.

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Expensive for a unit that will mainly kill 20pt infantry.

How do you use a bomber? It’s important to already have it up when you need it. If you spot the enemy infantry, call a bomber, and promptly lose sight, the 20 seconds needed for the bomber to reach the frontline and drop gives the enemy plenty of time to reshuffle his units and you’re effectively blindbombing, with little chance to hit. On the other hand, if you keep sight until the payload is in the air, it’s impossible to reliably dodge.

The maxim “the bomber always gets through” applies. Ground AA can kill an evacuating plane, but even dense AA nets struggle to kill a plane during its approach, before it has dropped the payload. Interceptions with ASF are possible and generally vital to protecting pushes, but require foresight and good timing.

There are two ways to drop iron bombs. You can use the fire position command and click on the ground, in which case the plane will drop according to its unit-specific bombing pattern. You can also right-click an enemy unit, in which case the bombs have a chance to hit the target directly, based on the bomber’s accuracy. The rest will fall according to the predefined pattern. The downside of this latter approach is that the bombs won’t be dropped if you lose sight during the run, so fire pos is usually preferred.

Finally, regardless of which targeting method you use, keep in mind most bombers can only drop in a narrow arc in front of them. If you change the target in the last second and the plane can’t turn toward it in time, it will fly over and into the enemy AA net without releasing its payload or starting an evac. The same behavior happens if you right click a target but then lose sight of it.


For the defender, the guaranteed lethality of bombers means that dealing with them is a matter of limiting losses, not completely preventing them. Infantry is cheap, bombers are expensive. The 160pt Deagle may be guaranteed to kill whatever it is sent after, but if you manage to limit losses to one squad each sortie and you  kill it the first or second time it goes out, that’s a net loss for the bombing player. Hence making sure that infantry is never so concentrated that a suicide strike is worth it.

That’s it, really – the tactical role of bombers is to wipe out clusters of infantry or other light units. When using them, try to restrict yourself to defensive strikes or at least ones that don’t go too far into the enemy AA net. When countering them, it’s hard to guarantee that the bomber will die, but if you focus on minimizing losses and having some chance of kill on every pass, you’ll tend to come out ahead.

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Notice how slowly the bombs drop. Some players prefer to watch them in awe, but you can calmly predict where they’ll land and dodge out of the way instead.

And a note on towns: it’s much easier to minimize bombing losses there, which is to a small extent why towns can hold much denser infantry concentrations. That said, don’t be too hasty in dodging, take your time and be sure what blocks will get hit before doing anything. Jumping too early is the main way to take damage from a town bombing – the 5 second cooldown means you won’t get a second jump if you accidentally move into the bombs’ path. It’s also common to get tunnel vision and concretate so hard on a town that you don’t notice the approaching bomber; the only advice I have for that one is to git gut with time and practice..

To the next guide post: Advanced forest technique OR skip intermediate section and go straight to tank warfare is simple

Helo handling and types of helo

Helos, like planes, are mainly defensive units. A lot of people complain about helo handling, and much of that is because they expect to use helos offensively.

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Having traveled in the same direction for a while, the DAP can start shooting immediately. An order to move back is given, and all firing stops as the helo realigns.

Regardless of how it works in real life, in WRD most helo weapons are intolerant of sudden course changes. Rockets, ATGM and AA missiles can be fired on the move without issue, as long as the helo is moving in a straight line or standing still. Giving a move order in the middle of an engagement will throw these weapons out of alignment for anywhere between one and five seconds as the helo reorients itself. This also happens when attackmoving, as that order makes the helo stop as fast as possible when it meets an enemy.

Weapons will not be disabled for more than half a second if the helo stops as a result of reaching the destination of a normal move order, as long as the order was given early enough to give the unit time to gradually slow down.

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Even a sideways move order will disrupt alignment and stop weapons from firing.

So how do you control helos then? You give your helos normal-move orders to positions where you think they’ll have good coverage with their weapons. When the helo has come to a stop, you either let it pick its own targets or give attack orders on targets that are already in range. Manual attack orders on out of range targets result in movement toward the target and then a stop as the helo gets in range, throwing weapons out of alignment, potentially giving the target time to get out of range again so the cycle can start anew. For this reason you’ll mostly be using pure move orders, treating the helo as a turret that needs a second to set up and tear down. This deliberate control that is intolerant of surprises is what makes most helos unsuitable for in-your-face offensive usage.

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A hind moving parallel to expected AA positions, searching for targets. An overlooked treeline gets it killed.

AA and ATGM helos can also be moved in a straight line parallel to the frontline, briefly shooting anything that grazes their range while moving fast enough to get away from AA if it appears. The goal here is to be close enough to engage potential targets, while staying far enough to escape before AA can land two consequtive hits.


There’s broadly four types of helo armament. Rocket helos have already been covered – they’re devastating fire support, predominantly found in the infantry tab but also present in the helo tab. Rocket helos can fire on the move, but only in a very narrow arc directly infront of them.

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Reminder to check the armory model’s movement to determine how easy it will be for the helo to align its autocannon.

Helo autocannons come in many forms. The main role of this weapon is fire support, trading the burst of rockets for slightly more anti-armor effectiveness and the ability to fire on other helos. That last part allows cheap autocannon helos to act as ghetto AA helos, parking over a town and gunning down any transports that try to land. Most autocannons are only practical to fire while stationary due to alignment requirements, but those with a frontally mounted freely rotating gun can be used on the move, making them real gunships. Cheap helos whose autocannons can be used on the move, like the mi-24D or the cassiopee, are among the few helos that are effective offensively.

Gunships are also very useful for clearing friendly forests from behind the lines infantry, especially if they’re bullet resistant (1 armor).

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ATGM helos, as expected, bring longrange antitank missiles to the table. While they’re much easier to deal with than the invisible infantry carriers, they’re a good panic buy to stop aggressive tank breakthroughs which have outrun their support. Their range and speed can also be used to block pushes all over the map as long as there is a lack of high-end antihelo AA.

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When taking the enemy 2pter on bloody ridge, the usual response will be bombers followed by heavy infantry reinforcements with some tank escort. You can buy a few minutes with a surprise AT or rocket helo defence, as longrange antihelo is usually both late to the party and impossible to move up without securing some of the town first.

An odd weakness of many of these is that their high price will tempt enemy players into using ASF to strafe and kill them. This is practically guaranteed if you get one into a position where it threatens to kill expensive tanks or stop a push. Therefore it is a good idea to keep AT helos close to friendly AA (defensive usage, remember?).

As an aside, any type of helo under attack by ASF can be saved by calmly using the land command without issuing further move orders. You can still get hit by the gun run, but it increases your chances. Landing can also be attempted when surprised by AA that is too close to fly away from. Almost all helo weapons can be used in landed state. If there is no time to land, moving toward the ASF minimizes the time it can spend doing damage, while moving away commonly results in being shot with two missiles instead of just one.

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Finally, AA helos serve to kill other helos and rarely planes. They are most useful during the opener for preventing helodrops, but can also roam the frontline during the midgame, protecting the areas where ground AA is too inconvenient or expensive to deploy.

If your AA helo has longer range than the enemy and you want to use it for kiting, remember that changing directions too fast will lock your weapons, which is suicide in AA duels. To pull it off you’ll need the optics to spot the enemy early enough, and an approach angle that lets you gradually steer away without abandoning the area you’re trying to secure. In other words, don’t rely on being able to kite..

To the next guide post: More planes

ATGM

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A useful number to remember is 14: If the AP of a HEAT weapon (like all ATGM) is 14 more than the AV of the target, it will be a oneshot. To oneshot the Chieftain we’d need 28AP.

It’s pretty obvious what an ATGM does. Slightly longer range than a tank gun, scary AP, and generally a carrier fragile enough to die in one or two shots. If autocannons and machine guns specialize in the direction of being good fire support but useless against tanks, ATGM is the opposite – a strong tank deterrent but useless against infantry.

ATGM without stealth and with poor armor is generally easy to counter – you just move up and oneshot it, being hit once at worst, often not even that. They’re useful in openers for oneshotting everything on wheels and disabling tanks, but once the frontline settles down sneaking up and killing them is manageable.

The issue is ATGM from the recon and infantry tabs. These tend to stay stealthed unless your recon is very close, and depending on the unit they may require multiple shots to kill. Using them is straightforward – put one in a critical forest or town that is surrounded by some open space, reap free kills. But what to do when you’re on the receiving side?

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The Konkurs squad is only being spotted because of how close the rangers are. Note the m1a2 slightly retreating at the end, breaking los and juking the ATGM.

Unfortunately I don’t have an easy answer. Here’s a couple options:

  • Pushing them out directly. It is hard as they kill the fire support of a push without revealing themselves, but it may be that you don’t need fire support if pushing an infantry ATGM without enough fighting infantry to support it.
  • If you need to cross land being overwatched by the ATGM, smoking it off with a mortar is the common approach, but it’s a troublesome thing to do every time you want to move.
  • The direct answer is to sneak recon infantry close enough via a nearby hedge, getting the spotting you need to kill the ATGM. Situational.
  • Manually juking the ATGMs or providing cheap targets until it runs out of missiles.
  • Artillery or MLRS can panic the squad.
  • A gamey tactic is to zoom in, see which building the missile is coming from, and use fire position on that. This kind of blind shot works best with a high-HE unit.

Considering we’re usually dealing with 30-40 point units here, all of these tactics cost more points than the ATGM being “countered”, on top of usually requiring a lot of micro and not even killing the ATGM. I wish I had an easy solution, but ATGM is a frustrating thing to deal with. Out of the listed options, I personally prefer smoking and taking the areas around the ATGM until I can put recon close enough to spot and kill the ATGM itself.

To the next guide post: AT planes