Advice on how best to use terrain

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Stmcla
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Advice on how best to use terrain

Post by Stmcla » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:23 pm

I'm new to PC. I have been playing the DLC campaign for about a month and rather ambitiously I'm trying it on field marshal. I'm trying to keep my losses to a minimum so I can build up prestige, and need to use all the advantages I can find. I have looked at the various advice on the forums , but I haven't found how to use terrain to the best advantage. I know that rivers are a bad place to defend from. Tanks should stay in open terrain and that infantry should stay away from open terrain, but has anyone any other suggestions on how I can use terrain features better.

I should add that I'm an Ipad users and the manual is limited on terrain features.

ThvN
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Re: Advice on how best to use terrain

Post by ThvN » Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:34 pm

Hello Stmcla, welcome to the forums. Good that you mention the iPad version, otherwise I would have mentioned the library (hopefully it will be added with the next patch).

I made a screenshot of the library, that might help a bit.

Close terrain: The 'close' terrain is very important, because if you have a tank in a forest and it is attacked by infantry, they will attack vs. the tanks 'Close defense' value, which is usually very low. This is also why attacking infantry in a city with a tank will give poor results. So 'close' terrain is best used by infantry.

Base entrenchment: a unit can entrench themselves in terrain (happens automatically), which gives a bonus to defense and the higher the entrenchment, the better the chance of a 'rugged defense'. But some terrain types are better than others, for example in 'fortifications' units will dig in very quickly, but 'swamps' are pretty poor.

Initiative cap: a units initiative can be limited by terrain (and bad weather). So normally a good tank with a high initiative has a good chance of taking relatively little return fire when attacking. But if it is stuck in a swamp, its initiative is capped at 2, very low. So it cannot exploit its high initiative anymore, and enemies with low initiative will now be fighting on more equal footing. This is also a good way to tackle enemies with high initiative; try to even the odds by attacking them in terrain that has an initiative cap.
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Stmcla
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Re: Advice on how best to use terrain

Post by Stmcla » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:24 pm

Thank you for your suggestions on tactics and the screen shot. I look forward to the next iPad update.

I'm impressed with the time that you, your colleagues, and other forum members take to help fellow players. Years ago I played Panzer general and Allied general as rare PS1 games, and I wasn't sure if I would suffer déjà vu. However the DLC campaigns have been refreshing, but the real difference to my enjoyment has been reading the forums which have shown the hidden depths of the game, and the many ways you can play it.

Many thanks.

ksasaki
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Re: Advice on how best to use terrain

Post by ksasaki » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:20 am

that's fantastic, I was wondering if airfield was close terrain or not.

A couple other questions:

Are there "maximum" entrenchment levels? I think I've seen city go up to about 8,l but not any higher.

What is the defensive penalty for being on a river?

ThvN
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Re: Advice on how best to use terrain

Post by ThvN » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:45 am

Hello ksasaki,
Are there "maximum" entrenchment levels? I think I've seen city go up to about 8,l but not any higher.
You are correct, that is a 'normal' maximum figure for entrenched infantry in a city, which is 'base entrenchment +5' . Let me just quote the lead dev (Rudankort) here:

"...base entrenchment determines initial entrenchment after entering a hex, and also the rate of gaining entrenchment after that. Maximum entrenchment level a unit can have is base entrenchment+5. Different units will achieve this level with different speed. Infantry is the fastest to entrench, tanks are the slowest, and their entrenchment is limited by 2, unless a higher level is specified specifically in the Editor."

From viewtopic.php?p=280420#p280420
What is the defensive penalty for being on a river?
It's actually a bonus for the attacker; a unit that attacks another unit on a river gains +4 attack and +4 defense bonus. To be more specific: when you attack an enemy from a river hex, the unit you attack will have +4 attack / +4 defense versus your unit.

robman
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Re: Advice on how best to use terrain

Post by robman » Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:45 pm

Stmcla wrote:Tanks should stay in open terrain and that infantry should stay away from open terrain, but has anyone any other suggestions on how I can use terrain features better.
Add to this that tanks should be attacked in close terrain, and infantry should be attacked in open terrain. Now you have a 2 x 2 matrix of the optimal positioning of your units vis-à-vis the enemy:

Infantry attacking infantry: yours are in close terrain, theirs are in the open
Armor attacking armor: yours are in the open, theirs are in close terrain
Armor attacking infantry: both are in the open
Infantry attacking armor: both are in close terrain

Now, in practice, the enemy will not be so obliging, so you will often have to attack armor in open terrain and infantry in close terrain. In either case, attack first with artillery and/or air attacks to inflict initial damage, impose suppression, and/or reduce entrenchment. Otherwise you will take very high losses.

Molve
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Re: Advice on how best to use terrain

Post by Molve » Sat Jan 18, 2014 8:50 pm

Since the AI is essentially looking for kills, but often blind to terrain effects, you can and should use terrain against it.

For instance, if you can position a weak unit in such a way that a strong enemy unit can only reach it by moving into unfavorable terrain, it will often take this bait. Then all you need to do is safeguard your weak unit somehow (such as by defending it with hidden artillery, or simply by leaving a hex open for its retreat) and then counter-attack the now-vulnerable enemy unit at its weakest.

For instance, it can often be a great prestige savings to sacrifice (or at least expose) a cheap infantry unit in order to lure enemy armor into close terrain, where you can efficiently (=at a low cost in prestige and time) destroy it. This as a desirable alternative to using your own armor to duke it out out in the open.

janscas
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Re: Advice on how best to use terrain

Post by janscas » Wed Jan 22, 2014 4:19 pm

Molve wrote:Since the AI is essentially looking for kills, but often blind to terrain effects, you can and should use terrain against it.

For instance, if you can position a weak unit in such a way that a strong enemy unit can only reach it by moving into unfavorable terrain, it will often take this bait. Then all you need to do is safeguard your weak unit somehow (such as by defending it with hidden artillery, or simply by leaving a hex open for its retreat) and then counter-attack the now-vulnerable enemy unit at its weakest.

For instance, it can often be a great prestige savings to sacrifice (or at least expose) a cheap infantry unit in order to lure enemy armor into close terrain, where you can efficiently (=at a low cost in prestige and time) destroy it. This as a desirable alternative to using your own armor to duke it out out in the open.
I use this weak AI spot a lot of time. Makes easier the game.

ksasaki
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Re: Advice on how best to use terrain

Post by ksasaki » Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:30 pm

yeah, I use my poor auxiliary units as cannon fodder all the time, especially approaching the end of a scenario I will put them in an opel blitz two squares away from the city to lure out the 8 entrench infantry :P

Messmann
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Re: Advice on how best to use terrain

Post by Messmann » Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:41 pm

robman wrote:
Stmcla wrote:Tanks should stay in open terrain and that infantry should stay away from open terrain, but has anyone any other suggestions on how I can use terrain features better.
Add to this that tanks should be attacked in close terrain, and infantry should be attacked in open terrain. Now you have a 2 x 2 matrix of the optimal positioning of your units vis-à-vis the enemy:

Infantry attacking infantry: yours are in close terrain, theirs are in the open
Armor attacking armor: yours are in the open, theirs are in close terrain
Armor attacking infantry: both are in the open
Infantry attacking armor: both are in close terrain
"The combat always happens in the defender's hex." I have read this statement in the following thread: viewtopic.php?p=280420#p280420.

So it's all about the defender's hex - that's what's decisive. It is not important where you are coming from. Considering this, it wouldd not be the best alternative to take infantry and attack infantry in open terrain; and it also wouldn't be the best choice to use tanks for attacks on tanks in close terrain. (Of course it does make sense to take care that your units won't wind up in a terrain that is not suited for them.)

To sum it up, I'd say that
1) With infantry, stay in close terrain and attack close terrain;
2) With tanks, stay in open terrain and attack open terrain;
3) With all units, do not enter river hexes, and do not attack from river hexes.

As to rivers, it's sometimes a nice idea to place a unit behind a river and let the AI or opponent come to you. It's easy to guard a river with a unit or two, attacking everyone on the river hex.

However, when you yourself need to shift your unit to a river hex, place artillery behind it. :wink:
Last edited by Messmann on Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

carlisimo
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Re: Advice on how best to use terrain

Post by carlisimo » Fri Jan 24, 2014 5:54 pm

Another iPad player here - thanks for the info! What effect do hills have?

orlinos
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Re: Advice on how best to use terrain

Post by orlinos » Fri Jan 24, 2014 6:25 pm

carlisimo wrote:Another iPad player here - thanks for the info! What effect do hills have?
No special effect. They give one less basic entrenchment, but the initiative cap is higher - 5 instead of 2 (forest) or 1 (city). So if you need to place a tank or AT unit in close terrain, hills will have less limiting effect on its initiative.

On the other hand, infantry is much more susceptible to enemy armor on the hills - because they get lower defense bonus and their effective initiative is lower than that of a tank (because no infantry has initiative of 5).
Piotr 'Orlinos' Kozlowski

Messmann
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Re: Advice on how best to use terrain

Post by Messmann » Fri Jan 24, 2014 10:30 pm

You could also argue hills cost more movement, usually twice as much.

Anfield
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Re: Advice on how best to use terrain

Post by Anfield » Sat Jan 25, 2014 4:13 am

Always try to get the terrain to work for you when attacking, will make your infantry much more effective. For example, lets say you have a tank about to attack another tank. Always make sure you are thinking of the direction you attack from and what direction the unit you fire on will retreat. Its unlikely your one tank will kill another tank outright. So try to hit the tank so it retreats into bad terrain for tanks, city, woods, river etc. That way you wont have to waste another tank firing at it, you can now use your infantry to kill the tank, as its in bad terrain. Its a great tactic when it can be done, course terrain wont always make it possible, but id say my infantry kill more tanks than my tanks do over the long run.

cranston
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Re: Advice on how best to use terrain

Post by cranston » Wed Mar 05, 2014 3:30 am

orlinos wrote:On the other hand, infantry is much more susceptible to enemy armor on the hills - because they get lower defense bonus and their effective initiative is lower than that of a tank (because no infantry has initiative of 5).
Except that hills are still close terrain.
in my experience, fighting armor with infantry in hills is less than suicidal.

hertzstepper
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Re: Advice on how best to use terrain

Post by hertzstepper » Wed Mar 05, 2014 3:25 pm

Messmann wrote: "The combat always happens in the defender's hex." I have read this statement in the following thread: viewtopic.php?p=280420#p280420.
Can somebody confirm this?
This is striking news for me as i always thought that the hex the unit is placed on counts.
My understanding for many years was same as robman
robman wrote: Now you have a 2 x 2 matrix of the optimal positioning of your units vis-à-vis the enemy:
Infantry attacking infantry: yours are in close terrain, theirs are in the open
Armor attacking armor: yours are in the open, theirs are in close terrain
Armor attacking infantry: both are in the open
Infantry attacking armor: both are in close terrain
But if combat always happens in defenders hex, it´s much simpler: It´s only 1x1 matrix
Either you fight in open terrain or in Close Terrain. :?:
As this would impact my understanding of the game mechanics fundamentaly, i would be happy about a bulletproof confirmation of this.
Thanks!

Horst
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Re: Advice on how best to use terrain

Post by Horst » Wed Mar 05, 2014 6:35 pm

Normally, the defender's hex is the place of combat and its modifiers. There is the exception of rivers though that gives the "Target on River +4" bonus to the attack and defense value of the defender if the attacker is attacking from a River hex and is no bridge engineer (or a unit with the "beng" trait). Also naval units receive +8 to defense when battling with ground units, no matter if defending or attacking.

It's always a good idea to hang around in close terrain or terrain with high base entrenchment if you are afraid of enemy aircrafts and artillery, because it usually offers a better defense. It's the favored playground of infantry where vehicles and guns should not play. It's still good for AT guns that lack initiative, like Pak 36 vs. T-34, because some terrains have an initative cap.
The speed units entrench themselves depends on the terrain type and unit class, while infantry is fastest, AT/ATY/Recon are medium, and tanks and armoured trains are slowest.
The higher the base entrenchment of a terrain, the faster a unit can entrench itself:
Fortification: 4
City, Port, Thick Forest, Jungle: 3
Bocage, Forest, Mountains, High Mountains: 2
Hills, Airfield: 1

For example it takes 36 turns for infantry to entrench to level 5 on Clear. 54 for AT/ATY/Recon, and 109 for tanks and armoured trains (yes, I had too much time to test that once).
On Fortification terrain, it only takes like 8 turns for infantry to level 9 (4+5). Got no exact numbers for the other classes at moment, but it roughly doubles in time.

hertzstepper
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Re: Advice on how best to use terrain

Post by hertzstepper » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:16 pm

Thanks Horst! There's always a lesson to learn in life.
I will have to seriously reconsider my terrain usage.

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