AT units pros and cons

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bebro
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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by bebro » Sun Nov 30, 2014 5:52 pm

UK 17 towed pdr rocks. Not easy to handle in offensive scns though, like other towed. Still it rocks :)

captainjack
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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by captainjack » Mon Dec 01, 2014 3:43 am

Can't be that hard to fit a 17 pounder onto a portee.
Far from perfect but at least you never get attacked while defenceless.

Delta66
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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by Delta66 » Wed Dec 10, 2014 10:52 pm

A while ago I made a guide about units experience on Steam,

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/f ... =305486619.

in the second part I compare combat predictions using a PzIV H (I8,A13, D14) and a StuG III F/8 (I5,A13, D14). Because they have similar combat values except Initiative.
The StuG start not as good as the Pz IV due to its low Initiative. But with 3 starts it get on par with the Pz IV, and better afterward with 4 or 5 stars. due to its +2/stars attack value.

However AT are not as good vs soft targets.

I can easily play campaigns or GC without any AT, but I'd like to use a pair of self propelled AT in the grand campaign (plus the free JagdTiger that come later).
I think the best hero is Initiative to balance their low at start value, then Attack to improve their best feature even more.

The price is usually attractive compared to turreted tanks. So you can easily use them in the front-line to absorb some losses. Still it is better to backup them with artillery as they are a bit vulnerable to infantry.

monkspider
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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by monkspider » Fri Dec 12, 2014 5:10 am

I really like AT units, and I thank the OP for making some good points I hadn't considered, especially how units like the Nashhorn benefit from defensive heroes. I will say that towed AT units aren't terribly good, especially in the early years. But after Kursk, when you are generally on the defensive, they are actually pretty effective. The main reason I like them though is that they are really fun to use. It is really satisfying for some reason to build up that Pak 36 you get in the first scenario up into an effective unit. I do try to use base my core on historical division organization, so I will always have a fair number of AT units deployed.

I do think if towed AT units started with 2 move it would make a huge difference.

fliegenderstaub
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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by fliegenderstaub » Fri Dec 12, 2014 10:28 am

A word about the Stug IV.

It's combat values are slightly inferior to the StuG III. But it also has the capability to switch to a range two artillery unit. While playing the GC West I do the following:

I buy one (or two) StuG III (or I upgrade one or two of the AT units I receive as reinforcements) and upgrade it (IIIF -> IIIF8 -> IIIG) when possible. As soon as the StuG IV is available I upgrade the StuG IIIs (cost 0). At that time I buy a new StuG IV. As you might know artillery units gather experience rather quickly (Example: A StuG IV bought at Monte Cassino has now - start of Villers-Bocage - 322 experience) . So I use this new StuG IV mainly as an artillery unit. As soon as the Jagdpanther is available, I upgrade one of my Stug IVs to a Jagdpanther. Same procedure until the Jagdtiger arrives. (btw: an "Elefant" is always part of my core)

The StuG IV itself is a rather good tank hunter, too. So it is always possible to finish up some of the weaker allied tank units. This adds kills for a possible hero one day. And last but not least replacing losses aren't that expensive.
...and like the once-mighty Mahi-Mahi, you will end
up on a poo-poo platter in the Tikki Hut of life! -Al Bundy -

Delta66
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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by Delta66 » Fri Dec 12, 2014 11:31 am

you are correct in stating that Artillery get experience quickly, however they do significantly less kills, and they often lag behind other type of unit for heroes.
Anyway a freshly purchased 0 xp unit is very weak in the second half of the GC, unless it is a significantly improved hardware for the time period. So beefing up a new unit quickly to 200+ xp is very important.
G
At first xp matter most, however by the end of the GC, you may well max xp anyway, but lag behind in heroes if you use a switchable StuG too much as artillery.

***************************************************

I tend to think that towed AT guns Close Defense value is a bit low. As it is, you often better let them in the open rather than put them in protective terrain. That sound a bit strange for me as historically they were often setup in ambush position concealed in terrain.

captainjack
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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by captainjack » Sat Dec 13, 2014 3:49 am

Delta66 wrote:I tend to think that towed AT guns Close Defense value is a bit low
I think CD is intended to cover circumstances where you are fighting at very close range. Maybe the French 25mm, should have an increase as there's a few reports of them being used at around 20 to 50 m range. With a fire rate around 30 rounds a minute with a well trained crew they could probably make an attacker think twice. Otherwise, a couple of AT loaders and spotters armed with SMGs and LMGs won't add much to your AT gun here.

A faster entrenchment rate (same as infantry) would reward defensive usage, but I think that this is hard coded and can't be modded, so you probably are faced with increasing base defence for selected towed AT, or tweaking the gamerules files to modify the rate that defence stats change with experience (though changing the gamerules would probably change SPAT as well as towed AT). My experience is that even a small change to stats can often make quite a difference so +1 CD and +2 GD might be enough to get the feel you were after. I'd be interested to hear how you get on, as I think towed AT is underrated.

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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by ThvN » Sat Dec 13, 2014 6:45 pm

fliegenderstaub wrote:A word about the Stug IV.
Very true. I am a big fan of them, and use the same method you describe to get experienced SPAT units. Although I don't really use the Jagdtiger, it is very tough but the HA is a bit low and it seems to spend more turns refuelling than fighting!
Delta66 wrote:I tend to think that towed AT guns Close Defense value is a bit low. As it is, you often better let them in the open rather than put them in protective terrain. That sound a bit strange for me as historically they were often setup in ambush position concealed in terrain.
It is not just the low CD that is a problem: often close terrain has an initiative cap which reduces its effectiveness even more. The CD only is a problem when attacked by infantry, but lowered initiative can often erase any advantage of the AT +3 ini bonus vs. tanks/recon. It might be nice to have this bonus added after terrain effects.
captainjack wrote:A faster entrenchment rate (same as infantry) would reward defensive usage, but I think that this is hard coded and can't be modded...
Yep, it seems that way. Tanks have a reduced rate of entrenchment (and max out at 2), infantry is slightly better than the rest; all other unit classes have the same rate of entrenchment (although it seems recon is slightly faster when base entrenchment is 0).
...so you probably are faced with increasing base defence for selected towed AT, or tweaking the gamerules files to modify the rate that defence stats change with experience (though changing the gamerules would probably change SPAT as well as towed AT).
Yes, the whole class gets the same bonus. I have tried to make towed unit more effective and I am still trying out different approaches, but it will require careful tweaking. It is not just the stats of the units: the biggest drawback of towed units is their price when you add a transport unit, then they just aren't competitive enough when SPAT's are very cheap already. And it remains a sad fact that real-life losses of towed anti-tank units were very high.

captainjack
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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by captainjack » Sat Dec 13, 2014 11:05 pm

At least the price is easy to adjust. Reducing the cost by 50 prestige so that you effectively get the towing unit for free might be a bit generous, but it would have the advantage that elite reinforcement (even in game) would be very affordable and because you are a cheap unit, experience gain would also be fast. Maybe for a towed unit if you put up the CD by 1 and GD by 2 and dropped the price by 20 or 30 prestige that would be about right.

For British (and French) forces, you could also adjust the family so that a towed AT can be converted directly to a portee version with no penalty. Just don't blame me if you end up with a portee with a truck! (maybe disband the prime mover first).

I have been using AT units in mods. With 4 or 5 entrenchment and hold (fire) orders, they make excellent blocking units that break up attacks and take up several units to remove. The entrenchment level seems to make enough difference to be useful. This is why I suggested faster entrenchment gain as you can't easily get this level of entrenchment in normal play with your own units.

If you're writing your own mods, you could assign AT units as retained auxiliary units (in the same way the Italian Auxiliaries are retained in some of the West scenarios). Not that I know how to do this yet, but it would mean you get access to towed AT without using up core slots. Since you are assigning them as auxiliaries, you can modify them to restrict upgrade options if you want to avoid mass conversion to SPAT without affecting core unit behaviour.

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