Point of Special forces?

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

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Marsouin
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Point of Special forces?

Post by Marsouin » Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:02 am

Playing through the various campaigns on normal difficulty (3) and occasionally tried to use commando units that were provided to me, such as Marine Raiders, Australian commandos, Chindits, etc. However, I mostly just get them killed without doing much. What's the best way to use these resources? Should I just not bother?

TL;DR: what's the most effective way to use special forces units? (Camouflaged, Special Ops, Demolitions, Weak attack/Defence compared to normal line infantry)

koopanique
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Re: Point of Special forces?

Post by koopanique » Sat Jun 13, 2020 2:56 pm

I wish I could answer this question. I think if the scenario is not designed with them in mind, these units are mostly useless, or only good for lightly harassing enemy units. Unfortunately, I have yet to encounter a campaign map where they could really shine. Didn't play all the DLCs though!

Erik2
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Re: Point of Special forces?

Post by Erik2 » Sat Jun 13, 2020 4:36 pm

They have a special attack where they take no damage in return. I think it costs 10 resource points.
I guess they are also supply immune and probably move more quickly in difficult terrain.
The British have 2 different kind of special forces units, one amphibious and one airborne.
These units are useful for recon and harrasing duty, but are vulnerable when attacked.

ColonelY
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Re: Point of Special forces?

Post by ColonelY » Sat Jun 13, 2020 7:55 pm

Yes, each use of their capacity costs 10 RPs, and they are indeed "Supply Immune" :D , as one can see here: http://mfendek.byethost16.com/?i=2
-> Under "unit trait" (the second last), select "Special Ops", then you should see all available units of this kind! :wink:

These units have useful facilities in terms of displament and concealment, but also the trait of "Quick Retreat" which helps to preserve them.

In any case, you shouldn't in principle send a completely isolated unit... it would be a bad idea. Especially since, as these units cannot "capture ground", it will not be possible to replenish them if we've sent them isolated far from our main lines, and as when they are spotted, the enemy will then be able to concentrate his efforts against them! And so, if they are isolated, they can easily be outnumbered and crushed. :(

So, even with the "Quick Retreat", if they are badly hurt, they will need to be replenished to become efficients again... therefore, they musn't in principle be sent too far away from our main "regular" lines.

:idea: A nice way to use them, I think, is to make them attack an enemy unit, let's say an entrenched one, maybe from the rear ('cause they are very mobile), and make them attack using their ability (thus taking no damage in return) just before other regular infantry units strike as well the very same enemy unit... This will be effective! But such an attack must be planned a little, especially in a scenario where the player may be a little short in ressources (10 RPs each time, better make sure it's worth it before doing it :| ).

These units can as well destroy bridges and even supply output... :o Blowing bridges can for sure be useful in a defensive scenario to delay the enemy (and maybe there are too many bridges for the available engineers units).

Actually, I have never really found an opportunity to use them like this, but :idea: they could even be used well ahead of our troops if they manage to infiltrate without being spotted by the enemy (here, a recon plane could be crucial)... With mission to blow up bridges that must be used by the enemy to get reinforcements to the front line, or even to demolish some of its supply outputs to create supply problems for the enemy. But for this, it is better to be sure to have enough supply for your own troops and not to have to cross the same bridges later on, otherwise our own troops will be delayed later on.

So there are opportunities to do some very great and interesting things with them... BUT it has to be done under the right circumstances. :wink:

Therefore, I would say that these interesting units are excellent in terms of immersion for the player :D but they are to be used with care and parsimony.

Marsouin
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Re: Point of Special forces?

Post by Marsouin » Sun Jun 14, 2020 1:28 am

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I actually already knew about the various abilities on these forces, however I struggled to make them worth the resource and command points spent, as it's usually impossible to get them to an empty bridge or supply source- the enemy usually garrison them. Additionally, if, say, you wanted to blow up a supply point (usually a town), you must first check if there is any infantry concealed in it. This is impossible to do from the air, and if you move your special forces next to the town and there IS infantry, they are now spotted and will likely lose most of their strength in the AI turn.

The only time these kinds of operations are remotely feasible is when combined with a camouflaged flexible pathing unit like Marine Scouts, or by suiciding a cheap recon jeep. Additionally, most special forces units have 2 spotting points- meaning they can only see 1 tile under almost all circumstances. I would be curious to know what the design rationale of that decision was. Special forces are cost-inefficient if used conventionally, but are virtually blind and cannot reliably avoid enemy units, thus making it prohibitively difficult to accomplish any 'Behind-The-Lines' sabotage missions. The best I ever did with them was find an AT gun, AA, or Artillery and destroy them through the Special Ops attack, and I could only get in this position ~30% of the time, and this was to spend 10 RP per attack!

I think that Spec ops aren't very useful as it stands. Ideas to buff them:
  • Increase vision to 4 or even 6, allowing them to spot for themselves, similar to Vietnam '65 or Afghanistan '11
  • Give them flexible pathing, allowing them to check forests and towns for infantry without committing to an engagement
  • Maybe decrease cost of the 'Spec Ops' Attack to 5 RP? Could feel a bit too good, so maybe have this only apply when attacking non-infantry? Maybe an ability that makes them take no damage on the attack if not spotted by an enemy unit, replacing the 'Spec Ops' attack?
I'm not sure I would implement ALL of those buffs- maybe pick and choose a couple- but it would be good to see special forces able to sneak around the back lines and spot/blow stuff up. Again, what I've suggested might be too much, but in normal scenarios these forces seem very weak.

GabeKnight
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Re: Point of Special forces?

Post by GabeKnight » Sun Jun 14, 2020 8:02 am

If used properly, very useful behind enemy lines. Destroying enemy arty (land/air/naval) as soon as possible is key to winning every scenario.
But yeah, they need air recon and to attack units that can not spot them, like bunkers, foxholes and all mechanized units. Or to set "traps" for the enemy. E.g. place them in front of an AT-unit during a tank attack... 8)

Marsouin
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Re: Point of Special forces?

Post by Marsouin » Sun Jun 14, 2020 6:46 pm

GabeKnight wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 8:02 am
If used properly, very useful behind enemy lines. Destroying enemy arty (land/air/naval) as soon as possible is key to winning every scenario.
But yeah, they need air recon and to attack units that can not spot them, like bunkers, foxholes and all mechanized units. Or to set "traps" for the enemy. E.g. place them in front of an AT-unit during a tank attack... 8)
All of those ideas are pretty good... I'll have to try them out and see if I can make them worth their points.

bru888
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Re: Point of Special forces?

Post by bru888 » Sun Jun 14, 2020 9:15 pm

Marsouin wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 1:28 am
I think that Spec ops aren't very useful as it stands. Ideas to buff them:
  • Increase vision to 4 or even 6, allowing them to spot for themselves, similar to Vietnam '65 or Afghanistan '11
  • Give them flexible pathing, allowing them to check forests and towns for infantry without committing to an engagement
  • Maybe decrease cost of the 'Spec Ops' Attack to 5 RP? Could feel a bit too good, so maybe have this only apply when attacking non-infantry? Maybe an ability that makes them take no damage on the attack if not spotted by an enemy unit, replacing the 'Spec Ops' attack?
These are great suggestions. The first one rings a bell because I just manually did something similar, giving a bunch of AIB commandos on New Britain "jungle vision" so that they could help locate Japanese lurkers:

Screenshot 1.jpg
Screenshot 1.jpg (219.38 KiB) Viewed 604 times

Although they were guerillas (Soviet partisan units under Australian flag = no terrain penalty), the map was too big and they moved too slow but with "jungle vision," they were much better suited for the task. Their task was merely to locate the enemy, as scouts should, and your suggestion of increased vision is what they needed to do the job properly.
- Bru

prestidigitation
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Re: Point of Special forces?

Post by prestidigitation » Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:51 pm

Great sniper hunters in Burma scenario, also occasionally good for attacking other stuff. Usually best to use them in jungle terrain where they can sneak around without issue and nail runners.

10CP to attack with zero cost in efficiency/reinforce is not a bad deal, but I question why they should have a cost to fire off a ranged attack when heavy infantry and snipers do not and when they tend to take a hammering in return (unlike heavy infantry).

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