Deep forest fighting is inevitable

Earlier, I said that a push has two parts:

  1. Achieving armor dominance, which allows you to cross open space and enter a forest or town.
  2. Using the entry point to pump infantry in and force the enemy infantry out.

Note that sometimes you don’t get permanent entry, you just take advantage of a short-lived weakness in the enemy perimeter to sneak some transports in. The basic flow stands. First you find a way to enter, then you try to push them out with your inserted infantry.

iexplore_2016-08-17_02-32-00.png

My main goal here is to explain how forest spotting works, so here goes. Units can only spot or be shot at from the outer perimeter of the forest – I haven’t measured it exactly but it’s probably the outer 300ish meters. In the screenshot above, that’s the yellow area. If you put a unit in the inner part of the forest, the enemy can bring ground radar and put it right next to the forest and it will be no use – you just can’t see more than 300m or so into the forest, regardless of optics or stealth. You can’t shoot any direct fire weapons either.

2016-08-18_22-36-56.jpg

The Lav-25 sees everything in the circle, and is blind to anything outside it.

Within a forest, the maximum engagement range is 317m (this is why I assume the outer edge of the forest is also 300ish meters, without bothering to measure it). High optics can not penetrate further than 317m, nor can units fire further than that. Because it’s so close, if you can see the enemy the enemy can see you – bad optics aren’t a disadvantage. Because the maximum shooting range is the same as the maximum spot range, vehicles have to come in the line of fire to provide fire support.

It’s hard to accept that your fire support, once you reach the forest, becomes so fragile. In the first picture above, yellow is roughly the area where enemy infantry can be shot at from the outside. Should they retreat further inside, there’s no way for your tanks to assist without getting close enough to be RPGd. Going around to cover the other angles is theoretically possible but almost always impractical. The area circled green is impossible to shoot at from the outside, even if you completely surround the forest. You just have to win the inner forests with infantry, not tanks.

This isn’t to say that vehicles are entirely worthless in forests. They can even turn fights around. But they almost always aren’t cost effective – a 60pt tank can sneak shots on infantry that’s too busy to notice it, but it can’t slug it out directly with them unless they’re a specialist squad with poor or no AT. As long as there’s space, 60pts of infantry will do at least twice as much work in deep forest as a 60pt tank.

2016-08-18_22-56-52.jpg

Maybe if I move it a touch right I’ll be able to shoot the inside part of the town..

Long range fire support is useless for deep towns too. It’s tempting to think otherwise, as unlike with forests there isn’t a magical 300m layer past which you can’t fire. It took me many many games until I gave up on trying to get really convoluted firing angles into the inside parts of town sectors.

For close fire support, towns are much worse than forests. In forests, you can tie down enemy infantry, or run down squads with poor AT. In towns, high quantities of infantry make it impossible to reliably get every enemy engaged, and building hops ensure even the WW2 surplus RPGs can kill by sideshot or rear shot. Close fire support is suicidal but rewarding in forests; it’s a waste of points in towns (unless you had to spend those points anyway, like with 5pt transports, of course).

You just have to accept it – tanks secure the outside, but only infantry can win the inside.

To the next guide post: Ground transports

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