Lets do a naive push:
Ok, the tank got very unlucky, if not for the weapon jam surely invincible Abrahams bestowed with depleted uranium armor would be able to deal with some cheap infantry right? Let’s send a second one, against the same squad:
Note how the tank can’t use its superior range because the infantry is invisible to it until it gets really close. If you read my previous post, infantry is overpowered, the failure of this push would be no surprise. Infantry is strong in forests and cities and can only be countered by other infantry; blue lost as soon as he tried fighting infantry on their terms, without infantry of his own.
How can blue take an occupied forest then? Employing the age-honored tactic of imitating opponents who beat us, let’s try using infantry of our own:
Almost good enough, and for less than a third of the price of the M1a1 employed in the previous attempt! Note how both players use their infantry transports to support their respective infantry squads – although the infantry does a lot of damage by itself, the humvee and BTR-D pretty much double that.
Can we do better? Sure, we can improve the fire support:
What changed? Canadian rifles are less powerful infantry than Delta Force™, but they come in the TH-495, whose autocannon significantly outperforms the humble machine guns on the BTR-D and humvee. Thus the TH-495 not only decimated the VDV 90 faster but it also deleted the BTR-D once the latter tried to shoot at blue’s riflemen. And for cheaper too – the rifles + TH-495 combo costs 10+15 points, the delta force + humvee cost 25+10 points!
A last thing before we move on – note how the delta force enter the nearby hedgerow during the firefight. Infantry in forests and hedges only takes 60% damage, so your footsoldiers are almost always at a disadvantage pushing open ground, but rarely – like in this case – a convenient hedge is available to even the odds. Usually we just make up for it with superior fire support. The canadian rifles tried to enter the hedgerow but due to poor micro stopped just short of it, taking a bit more damage but still coming out ahead thanks to their powerful transport.
Let’s take a look at a full-fledged (and somewhat disorganized) push now:
Red has prepared a light-medium tank, the T-72A, to prevent any more autocannon shenanigans. Blue however has brough up the M1a1, a far heavier tank. The T-72A is capable of cleaning up the transports, but is ultimately dispatched by the M1a1 and the red infantry is forced to retreat to the inner forest to avoid being slaughtered by overwhelming fire support.
This is why tanks are useful – we have a fire support hierarchy, with machine gun transports like the BTR-D occupying the lowest rung. They’re weak but they’re also very cheap and can support an infantry push with proper micro. Autocannons are a bit more expensive but will kill the enemy humvees and BTRs. Cheap tanks are practically invulnerable to enemy autocannons and will make short work of them. Heavier tanks deal with swarms of cheap tanks, and so on. Whoever establishes armor dominance can cover his infantry and enter the enemy forests, or slaughter enemy infantry as they try to cross open ground to invade his own forests.
There’s other dimensions to pushing – these include dealing with helos, planes, ATGM and invisible recon vehicles. We’ll save these for later posts – for now, remember the basic technique. Infantry goes first, with vehicles far enough behind that they don’t get RPGd by the enemy garrison, but close enough to murder any enemy that shoots from the forest you’re assaulting.
These pushes are cumbersome. It would be far easier and faster if you could just drive your tank through the middle of the map and into the enemy base. This is why forests and towns are basically the strongholds of Wargame – once you have conquered one and put some of your own infantry there, you can use the concealment it provides to always have the first shot in engagements, you can observe enemy movements while they only see a hostile forest, and if they decide to force you out they need to slowly and cumbersomely walk infantry up, giving you plenty of time to counterattack.