Best use of engineers

Order of Battle is a series of operational WW2 games starting with the Pacific War and then on to Europe!

Moderators: The Artistocrats, Order of Battle Moderators

thgmusic
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:00 pm

Best use of engineers

Post by thgmusic » Wed Feb 20, 2019 4:15 pm

In light of a recent thread discussing units that people found “useless”, it prompted me to think about how to best use engineers.

I’m still a relative noob when it comes to OoB, especially in getting the most out of the different unit types.

So, what are your recommendations for the best use of engineers on the attack? on the defense?

To give a little bit of focus, I’m playing through the Blitzkrieg campaign right now, with plans to advance into Panzerkrieg, then Endsieg. I’ll also be doing a Sandstorm campaign to create a different core force to bring into Endsieg.

Thanks for the help!
Happy Gameplay!
Brad

Andy2012
Order of Battle Moderator
Order of Battle Moderator
Posts: 1771
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2015 6:55 pm

Re: Best use of engineers

Post by Andy2012 » Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:19 pm

thgmusic wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 4:15 pm
In light of a recent thread discussing units that people found “useless”, it prompted me to think about how to best use engineers.

I’m still a relative noob when it comes to OoB, especially in getting the most out of the different unit types.

So, what are your recommendations for the best use of engineers on the attack? on the defense?

To give a little bit of focus, I’m playing through the Blitzkrieg campaign right now, with plans to advance into Panzerkrieg, then Endsieg. I’ll also be doing a Sandstorm campaign to create a different core force to bring into Endsieg.

Thanks for the help!
Use 2-3 per mission. At least 1. Bring transport, have them advance on roads. They are slow. Let them lead attacks for shock damage and entrenchment reduction. This does not mean they should lead an attack all by themselves, but rather be around and lead an assault on an entrenched position - but only when other units attacks as well in the same turn (!). When necessary, they clear mines. They will have losses, so use them carefully and withdraw and reinforce after they have done their job. This is not Panzercorps, so an all-engineer infantry corps does not work well. They are a support unit.

thgmusic
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:00 pm

Re: Best use of engineers

Post by thgmusic » Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:55 pm

Andy2012 wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:19 pm

Use 2-3 per mission. At least 1. Bring transport, have them advance on roads. They are slow. Let them lead attacks for shock damage and entrenchment reduction. This does not mean they should lead an attack all by themselves, but rather be around and lead an assault on an entrenched position - but only when other units attacks as well in the same turn (!). When necessary, they clear mines. They will have losses, so use them carefully and withdraw and reinforce after they have done their job. This is not Panzercorps, so an all-engineer infantry corps does not work well. They are a support unit.
Thanks for these ideas. I confess that I've led with an engineer-only attack and paid the price. So, that's a great reminder to me to always use them in concert with other forces.
If I'm understanding your suggestion correctly, this is use of engineer on the attack. Do they help in any way on the defense?
Happy Gameplay!
Brad

Halvralf
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Posts: 279
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:13 am
Location: Sweden

Re: Best use of engineers

Post by Halvralf » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:11 pm

thgmusic wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:55 pm
Andy2012 wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:19 pm

Use 2-3 per mission. At least 1. Bring transport, have them advance on roads. They are slow. Let them lead attacks for shock damage and entrenchment reduction. This does not mean they should lead an attack all by themselves, but rather be around and lead an assault on an entrenched position - but only when other units attacks as well in the same turn (!). When necessary, they clear mines. They will have losses, so use them carefully and withdraw and reinforce after they have done their job. This is not Panzercorps, so an all-engineer infantry corps does not work well. They are a support unit.
Thanks for these ideas. I confess that I've led with an engineer-only attack and paid the price. So, that's a great reminder to me to always use them in concert with other forces.
If I'm understanding your suggestion correctly, this is use of engineer on the attack. Do they help in any way on the defense?
Engineers can be of use by laying mines on important hexes. The AI has huge problems handling them and in Endsieg west front they are a gamewinner in some scenarios. They also hit almost as hard as Paras vs infantry in close terrian (aka citys etc) especially if you have the Goliath Mine specialisation (purchaseble in Panzerkrieg and onwards). Also a bonus is that they are cheap to buy and reinforce and only use 2CP's.
"They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance."

thgmusic
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:00 pm

Re: Best use of engineers

Post by thgmusic » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:26 pm

Halvralf wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:11 pm
Engineers can be of use by laying mines on important hexes. The AI has huge problems handling them and in Endsieg west front they are a gamewinner in some scenarios. They also hit almost as hard as Paras vs infantry in close terrian (aka citys etc) especially if you have the Goliath Mine specialisation (purchaseble in Panzerkrieg and onwards). Also a bonus is that they are cheap to buy and reinforce and only use 2CP's.
I appreciate this information. I was not aware that I could lay a minefield in a city hex.
Do you recommend contiguous minefields or more random for the element of unpredictability?

I'm glad for more experienced grognards who will share valuable intel! :)
Happy Gameplay!
Brad

GabeKnight
Major-General - Tiger I
Major-General - Tiger I
Posts: 2359
Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:24 pm

Re: Best use of engineers

Post by GabeKnight » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:42 pm

The most important information about eng. you've already got in a nutshell.

Give them Bren carriers. Heck, give it to every unit if possible. Before, I never took the "Beutepanzer" spec, because all I could see were the crappy tanks I've got. But the Brens have an incredible range on all terrains and climates. Super useful when cutting supply. I would almost consider this unit an "exploit".

thgmusic
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:00 pm

Re: Best use of engineers

Post by thgmusic » Thu Feb 21, 2019 12:23 am

GabeKnight wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:42 pm
The most important information about eng. you've already got in a nutshell.

Give them Bren carriers. Heck, give it to every unit if possible. Before, I never took the "Beutepanzer" spec, because all I could see were the crappy tanks I've got. But the Brens have an incredible range on all terrains and climates. Super useful when cutting supply. I would almost consider this unit an "exploit".
Oh, now that's great to know! I just chose that option but only looked at the tanks available. I'm assuming the Bren would show up as transport option for infantry? I'm away from the game now, so can't check directly.
Thanks so much!
Happy Gameplay!
Brad

GabeKnight
Major-General - Tiger I
Major-General - Tiger I
Posts: 2359
Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:24 pm

Re: Best use of engineers

Post by GabeKnight » Tue Feb 26, 2019 10:17 am

I've noticed a change in the behaviour of the AI clearing mines. It's not just the engineers anymore, but even heavyinf. will be used to clear minefields. Cool. :)

At least I think it must be new, because I had to change my tactics in the WinterWar DLC quite a bit in a few scens.

CoolDTA
Sergeant First Class - Panzer IIIL
Sergeant First Class - Panzer IIIL
Posts: 396
Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:52 am

Re: Best use of engineers

Post by CoolDTA » Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:09 am

GabeKnight wrote:
Tue Feb 26, 2019 10:17 am
I've noticed a change in the behaviour of the AI clearing mines. It's not just the engineers anymore, but even heavyinf. will be used to clear minefields. Cool. :)
You mean Hvy Inf has the Mine Sweeper -trait? Or just that they clear mines in the Russian way? ;)

GabeKnight
Major-General - Tiger I
Major-General - Tiger I
Posts: 2359
Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:24 pm

Re: Best use of engineers

Post by GabeKnight » Tue Feb 26, 2019 12:11 pm

CoolDTA wrote:
Tue Feb 26, 2019 11:09 am
Or just that they clear mines in the Russian way? ;)
:lol: Yeah, kind of, no trait. I think they used their mortar ability to do it.

Warbringa
Lance Corporal - Panzer IA
Lance Corporal - Panzer IA
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Sep 17, 2014 7:10 pm

Re: Best use of engineers

Post by Warbringa » Tue Feb 26, 2019 9:39 pm

Engineers are very good units for their CP and reinforcement costs. An noted above in posts, they excel in a few certain areas but are still support units and cannot handle isolated combat against most units. They are slightly better defensive units than offensive units. The 2 CP cost compared to 3 for normal infantry can't be discounted as they aren't 33% worse than regular infantry.

Offense: good at attacking, with coordination, entrenched units and fortifications - they excel in being the first units to attack a dug in unit (after appropriate artillery barrage etc.) - in rare scenarios, they can help speed up attacks by repairing bridges etc.

Defense: minefields are their best defensive ability, with blowing up bridges good for several scenarios in endsieg dlc. They are adequate defenders if properly dug in and supported as well.

Weaknesses: Speed - if you want to use them in any offensive capacity you will need to give them trucks or some other transport

In Endsieg, if possible make your Engineers SS since you will have a ton of extra CP for them if you fully advance that tech, you can build minefields without abandon

thgmusic
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Posts: 43
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:00 pm

Re: Best use of engineers

Post by thgmusic » Wed Feb 27, 2019 1:39 am

Warbringa wrote:
Tue Feb 26, 2019 9:39 pm
Engineers are very good units for their CP and reinforcement costs. An noted above in posts, they excel in a few certain areas but are still support units and cannot handle isolated combat against most units. They are slightly better defensive units than offensive units. The 2 CP cost compared to 3 for normal infantry can't be discounted as they aren't 33% worse than regular infantry.

Offense: good at attacking, with coordination, entrenched units and fortifications - they excel in being the first units to attack a dug in unit (after appropriate artillery barrage etc.) - in rare scenarios, they can help speed up attacks by repairing bridges etc.

Defense: minefields are their best defensive ability, with blowing up bridges good for several scenarios in endsieg dlc. They are adequate defenders if properly dug in and supported as well.

Weaknesses: Speed - if you want to use them in any offensive capacity you will need to give them trucks or some other transport

In Endsieg, if possible make your Engineers SS since you will have a ton of extra CP for them if you fully advance that tech, you can build minefields without abandon
Thanks so much for your reply! These are great ideas. I've been gradually using engineers more on offense, but with careful coordination with other elements.
I did, however, today leave them on their own while approaching an objective. They pretty much got their clocks cleaned by a surprise Russian '41 infantry...
(Sigh) So the experience goes on...
Happy Gameplay!
Brad

conboy
Sergeant First Class - Elite Panzer IIIL
Sergeant First Class - Elite Panzer IIIL
Posts: 444
Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2017 4:18 pm

Re: Best use of engineers

Post by conboy » Wed Feb 27, 2019 4:09 pm

They are also quite useful in preparing defenses in that they assist other units in digging in more rapidly and can temporarily fill breaches if positioned properly. They can blow bridges, which I recently found useful in Dubno PvP. They are extremely useful (if not the best) in house-to-house fighting if my memory serves me correctly.

conboy

GabeKnight
Major-General - Tiger I
Major-General - Tiger I
Posts: 2359
Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:24 pm

Re: Best use of engineers

Post by GabeKnight » Thu Feb 28, 2019 1:52 am

@all: What would you do? And why? :wink:

Screenshot 919.jpg
Screenshot 919.jpg (945.36 KiB) Viewed 1443 times

This may help a little:

Screenshot 924_mod.jpg
Screenshot 924_mod.jpg (994.36 KiB) Viewed 1439 times

GabeKnight
Major-General - Tiger I
Major-General - Tiger I
Posts: 2359
Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:24 pm

Re: Best use of engineers

Post by GabeKnight » Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:04 pm

And of course I don't want the enemy to retreat, right!?! :wink:
Those will repair forever with Eriks campaigns. :lol:
And there are only two units capable of attacking the town without the enemy infantry to be able to escape...

PoorOldSpike
Major - 8.8 cm FlaK 36
Major - 8.8 cm FlaK 36
Posts: 974
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 6:06 pm
Location: Plymouth, England

Re: Best use of engineers

Post by PoorOldSpike » Fri Mar 01, 2019 1:40 pm

GabeKnight wrote:
Thu Feb 28, 2019 1:52 am
@all: What would you do? And why? :wink:
I'd attack with the Engs first to strip away most of the enemy's entrenchments. Sure the Engs will take losses but hey that's war....:)
If he retreats I'd use a spare tank to pounce on him and finish him off.

lloydster4
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:04 am

Re: Best use of engineers

Post by lloydster4 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 4:15 am

Something to keep in mind: engineers are extremely vulnerable to enemy tanks. Keep them supported with a powerful AT gun when they're on the front line.

Halvralf
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Staff Sergeant - StuG IIIF
Posts: 279
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:13 am
Location: Sweden

Re: Best use of engineers

Post by Halvralf » Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:13 am

lloydster4 wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 4:15 am
Something to keep in mind: engineers are extremely vulnerable to enemy tanks. Keep them supported with a powerful AT gun when they're on the front line.
I disagree a bit here. They have better mechanical defense than infantry defense.
"They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance."

lloydster4
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Private First Class - Wehrmacht Inf
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2013 4:04 am

Re: Best use of engineers

Post by lloydster4 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 7:10 pm

I disagree a bit here. They have better mechanical defense than infantry defense.
I had to go look it up, but you are correct for the early parts of the war. In the later years the infantry defense increases past the mechanical defense. But I was also surprised to see that, for every year, standard infantry and engineers have essentially identical values for mechanical defense.

What I found most striking is how much stronger engineers are when they have a lot of cover. An engineer in open terrain is an easy target because they just can't return damage.

GabeKnight
Major-General - Tiger I
Major-General - Tiger I
Posts: 2359
Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:24 pm

Re: Best use of engineers

Post by GabeKnight » Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:32 am

Almost completely forgot about it:

That was my solution to the "order of attack/battle": :wink:

1.) Sure, engineers have to go first, taking care of entrenchment and lowering enemy efficiency
2.) The rather (still) costly second attack has to be done by a cheap unit. The enemy will most likely not retreat at this point
3.) Enemy efficiency's real low by now, attacks will cause only little damage to my units. But here's a real possibily that the enemy might retreat. Thus the attack has to be done by a unit that prevents that possibility
4.) "Coup de grâce" :mrgreen: 8)

And that was a full efficiency, full entrenched, 12HP infantry unit taken care of without the help of airforce and/or artillery at the cost of 3-4HP infantry damage :shock: on my side.
Although there's probably some unseen, decimal damage on the tank, as well as on the Ital. infantry unit, whose HP are closer to eight than nine, I guess.

Screenshot 925.jpg
Screenshot 925.jpg (982.41 KiB) Viewed 1068 times

Post Reply

Return to “Order of Battle Series”