1. About 88 AT and German defense: At start your most potent weapon is the 88 AT buy one section of those ( they are cheap you can buy more but it is just not fun and historical to have more than a couple of those in your batallion we are not playing DOOM II here !). 88 AT are very accurate , they can punch a hole in any kind of enemy units , but they are very vulnerable. Use them only for long distance kills when visibility is good. in scenario where the enemy have heavy artillery move them the turn after they fire. It is the priority targetof aircrafts and artillery , have them stay more than 15 hexes away from enemy units. Ammunition is scarce so use it carefully. In defense scenarios , when they are not spotted yet , set their opportunity fire to one hexe. Otherwise they will be spotted too early and the enemy will fire everything available at them and will not engage the bulk of his units before your spotted 88 AT are destroyed ( well at least if the player is a competant human , the AI is more straightforward). You should deliver a decisive blow when your 88 open fire during your turn using their 6 shot. A well trained 88 should normally kill any unit in 3 shots at 20/30 hex range , so normally 4 (maybe more) of the most heavy enemy tanks should be burning wrecks after your first "broadside". Have your battalion leader (in A0 unit) less than 5 hexes away from your 88 section leader (the "0" unit ), it helps greatly pass the morale check during fire and...successfull morale check improve *a lot* the accuracy for consecutive shots at the same target Do not forget to move some cheap big truck or cavalry to draw the enemy opportunity fire *before* you fire your 88 AT otherwise they may be suppressed / destroyed by the return fire. After this you may want to move your 88 AT away from enemy spotting range to lay another ambush before massed direct fire from enemy start pounding your vulnerable crew next turn. Your opponent will just see 4 of his best units burning without any explanation for that , not good for the enemy major's morale ! I strongly recommand not to place those AT on top of the hills , sure they have a beautifull view and enjoy the landscape but it is the first place where the 152 mm preparatory (ie just before first turn ) shell from your human opponent will land. If you play aga inst the AI hill tops are just great so different opponents , different tactics ... If you like to follow the books , you may want to lay a carefull ambush near the objective with a first line of infantry/engineers with range set to 1 and some AT with their range set to the distance to infantry plus one. The idea behind this is to have the enemy tank bump into the infantry and every AT and infantry fire at the same time. Sure you will kill the first recon unit but it is a cheap price for him to pay in order to spot your complete defense system , and your opponent will engage your AT immediately with all his firepower (since he his the attacker he his supposed to have more than you and you will loose). If you really want to play the infantry ambush I suggest you cover the area with smoke (or use reverse slope) in order to avoid concentration of fire from the attacker and take his incoming units piece meal preferably with your enginners (I suggest to stiffen your grunts with some armor adjacent to kill instantly any unit foolish enough to enter that fog and avoid any retaliation from incoming unit). Works great with the computer, haven't tried it yet with a human opponent but it should embarass him because he will not even be able to spot for artillery because of the smoke . In offense 88 AT must be used to kill from a distance the heavy enemy armor detected by your recon units. Be carefull to leave them outside retaliation range ( 15 hexes minimum), do not forget to move them the turn after they have fired (here will come the enemy artillery) and move them with AA units because they are the preferred target for aircrafts.I know , I know, 88 AT were originally AA weapons but ... they still need some AA to protect them! 2-About setting infantry trap against armor: 0 range is useful for nothing , if you want to trap tank set your range to 1 since close combat occurs at 1 hex distance not 0. Maybe 0 range can be useful if you want a sniper to stay unspotted in a tree hex (I 'm not so sure it works). Use engineers preferably because they can blow off almost any tanks with flamethrowers and satchel charges. Preferably use your infantry in reverse slope condition in order to avoid enemy concentration of fire once they are detected.See below. 3-About stopping heavy Russian armor .and the reverse slope trap: Try those 88 AT , set their range to 1 (to avoid them being detected early with opportunity fire ) and fire massively all of them at long rangewhen your enemy have commited the bulk of their forces (if visibility is good). Of course after they fired you may want to change their range. Do not forget to have all your leader within command range(5 hexes) to improve the accuracy of successive shots. If visibility is bad try the reverse slope trap (just set all you units massed behind a hill or forestin the path of the enemy) in order to avoid enemy concentration fire. Have your tanks behind your engineers and destroy the incoming forces piece meal (thanks to your concentration of fire) , it can be useful also to back them up with some 88 AT (to punch big holes into those KV easier) in the rear area but not too far since visibility is bad. Just be sure the enemy has fired all his opportunity fire before firing your AT: just move or fire (alternately to avoid enemy accuracy increase) a couple of expendable or well armored unit. After a while repelling any kind of armor attack will be second nature ! I've found the reverse slope works also pretty well against the German too, he cannot use his long ranged 88 and his superior accuracy , he must fight your T34 in close combat at a disaventage. PS: You can also use smoke in front of your units in order to create the artificial "reverse slope" , it is even better because the enemy doesn't benefit from beeing on top of the hill (I think there is a bonus for that). 4. Searching for a way out of the Mines!: I had very few scenarios with them. I used some cavalry to detect the minefield and advance quite fast , one cavalry will not always detect the minefield but 4 of them stand a good chance to have some losses in a dense minefield area (I have them followed them closely by some _support_ expendable Stugs just in case they get really unlucky to pass the minefield without losses!). Once the mined area is detected I dismount my engineers from my tanks and try to find a way out of it; it seems you do not have to wait till the engineer clear the minefield completely, sometime the engineer can make a path, for the mechanized units. It seem also once the engineers are in the hex you can move trough the hex safely, it seemed to work but I just tested it once so I'm not sure 100%. Once you have crossed the dangerous area, just repeat the process with advancing cavalry. The funny thing is that enemy artillery do not take long to fall on your dismounted engineers so you better find the path quickly ... Maybe there is another way to avoid minefield, attacking enemy objective from the rear after a large enciclement (I haven't tried this one yet !). According to the latest info I got from other players ,the minefields are always in your path whatever it is ! 5- Best reconaissance: For me the best reconaissance unit is the cavalry , they are not fully destroyed when they bump into enemy position (unlike armored carriers or light tanks), you can use them again after rallying, they are cheap, and they spot much better than vehicles since they are infantry so why not buying a platoon of them as support unit ? 6-Spending enemy opportunity fire Move alternately 2 expendable or heavily armored units , the enemy will switch target and loose all cumulated accuracy bonus. When the target stop firing move some armored killer adjacent preferably in his rear .Take care if you want to dispatch him with infantry since the bad guy may still have some machine gun left and your precious engineers may be pinned before shooting , move some cavalry within range in order to spend his MG opportunity fire. Be carefull this adjacent aproach can be dangerous if you suspect some enemy concentration around the target . If you face an enemy concentration let him move toward your position and use the reverse slope trap to defeat him piecemeal. 7-About attacks and smoke. First you have to decide if you have "long distance" supremacy. Long distance supremacy is the ability to have enough long distance gunnery to inflict a decisive blow to your enemy without much risks for retaliation. This is the case if you are the German with enough 88 AT (I consider using more than 2 of them is "cheating" ) or enough Panthers or Tigers. Usually the German can be expected to have long distance supremacy. If you have long distance supremacy do not use smoke. If you do not have long distance supremacy buy a lot of cheap mortars to lay smoke lavishly along your avenue of approach and go straight for the objective (use some 152 mm to soften them before) with your troops massed and covered with smoke. Remember smoke is the most potent weapon if you are outclassed by enemy gunnery. If you have long distance supremacy almost everything will work....make some concentrated attack since the enemy will probably use smoke (unless it is the dumb AI). Always recon before moving precious units , I like to have some expendable support cavalry spearheading the attack , then some support stugs or heavy close support tanks mounted by support engineers and then my precious core , if you can keep your force concentrated nothing can stop you exept mines, maybe also enemy artillery can disrupt a little too ... Have some air support attack along your path of advance during preparatory phase to take out some potent long distance killers and/or use smoke for cover if you do not have long distance supremacy. 8-Do not forget AA The enemy aircraft will always bomb your most important assets , protect them with specialised AA units. 9-Command control Try to have your units within 5 hexes range of the platoon/section leader (the "0" unit) and the platoon leader within 5 hexes range of the battalion leader (A0 unit). Your suppression will be removed more easily and your firing accuracy will improve greatly with consecutive shots. Always try to rally before firing since suppression is very bad for accuracy. 10-Off board artillery Everything less than 150 mm is just good for laying smoke. Corollary :buy cheap mortars for smoke, buy nothing but 150 mm for OBA. 11-Experience and morale. Morale , experience and leaders ability are extremely important factors in SP. Very often a veteran outguned unit will kill or rout an inexperienced enemy thanks to superior accuracy and rate of fire. The more you kill enemy units the fastest your experience grows. The unit credited for the kill is the unit who destroyed the vehicle or killed the last infantryman. Alway have your support units supress the enemy and leave the kill for your core units in order to gain more experience , use every opportunity to finish enemy units. Exeption (bug?): if you kill a unit with area fire (targeting the hex rather than the unit , this happen when you use flamethrowers for instance...) you won't be credited for the kill.
Steel Panthers strategy guide
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