Captured units - Use them?

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Bonesoul
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Captured units - Use them?

Post by Bonesoul » Sun May 04, 2014 12:56 am

Ok, on paper as a basic unit, many of the units you capture are better than those currently available as standard German kit, the Souma etc in GC40, the KV and T-38s in GC41-42. But are they actually worth using, especially with the unit specific experience system in v1.2.

I can see it as worthwhile on easier difficulty levels where you can gain exp fast or on the very hard difficulties like Deducter's mod where you just don't have the prestige to buy what you want and have to make do. But playing on FM difficulty where exp gain is slowed, I question if its worth it. In my play through so far, the only captured units I have used (other than in the scenario in which they are obtained) are the polish artillery from Warsaw, which got upgraded later and two T-38/41's that I have been using just to get them experience before they get upgraded to Panther/Tiger's (no point buying Pzr III/IV for 6 or 7 scenarios).

In general, I look at it that a better German equivalent is near enough in the future that starting a unit at zero exp and kills isn't worth it, especially if I already have a 2-3 star Pzr III/IV that's not that much worse in terms of basic stats and gets the benefit of its experience and can be over-strength.

Are there any units you feel are just so much ahead of whats coming through the pipeline they are just a must to use, maybe the KV-1B from Smolensk41?

Cheers
Bone

captainjack
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Re: Captured units - Use them?

Post by captainjack » Sun May 04, 2014 4:10 am

I have been using two Char Bs through 1942 and am still using them in Kharkov at the start of 43. At 3 or 4* they do OK. The GD is good and the SA is decent for clearing out soft targets, though the HA and initiative mean they aren't very good against advanced tanks though they do OK against the light tanks. I was even using the Matilda in some scenarios in 1942, though it's a bit marginal by then.

I don't bother with the KV1A, but the KV1B armour helps it survive well and if at 3 or 4* it is still good into 42. The KV1C is a bit better all round if you don't mind the slightly lower speed (the Char B are also slow) but both start to become limited in late 42, mainly due to the HA. I will probably retire or upgrade the Chars after Kharkov and start using the KV1s in the anti-infantry and defensive blocking role the Chars used to fill, where they will probably be OK for another year.

My captured T34s always appear to under-perform the Russian ones and I rarely use them unless I have a need for a fast attack group - not very often. If they get 2 or 3* in their missions they get retired until better tanks become available, otherwise disbanded. The Somau is good when you get it but doesn't stay useful for long - mine has been in the reserves since early 41 and has just been converted to a 3* tiger in 43.

Having said that, I play at General where experience gain isn't a big issue if you can keep your units alive. I would think the Char B would still be useful at FM for the armour and SA into 41, but you'd then have to decide whether to retire and replace with KV1s or upgrade to make the most of their experience.

sn0wball
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Re: Captured units - Use them?

Post by sn0wball » Sun May 04, 2014 6:17 am

KV-tanks always were the spine of my tank force until I had access to Tigers. The T-34s are fast, but hard to keep alive on a pitched battlefield.

The french tanks are fun to use and, like the KVs, very useful due to their high defense values for the time. Absoultely useless were the American tanks captured from the Russians - I have tried to use them, but they stood no chance againt Russian armor and were too slow for other roles.

BiteNibbleChomp
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Re: Captured units - Use them?

Post by BiteNibbleChomp » Sun May 04, 2014 6:44 am

My captured units usually die very quickly, so there is no point. The only captured thing I see any use in is the 2 captured Mk IV tanks that come in Cambrai '17.

- BNC
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MartyWard
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Re: Captured units - Use them?

Post by MartyWard » Sun May 04, 2014 3:05 pm

The best use for captured units is selling them for prestige.

wargovichr
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Re: Captured units - Use them?

Post by wargovichr » Sun May 04, 2014 8:15 pm

It seems the only T-34 capturable unit is the 76A, the earliest war model. Shame.
It does have a very high movement rate (notably the fast durable Christie suspension used in this fast tank was the one declined by the Germans, then accepted by the Russians!) and is useful against infantry but as noted cannot stand up to the later model Russian tanks. After attacking infantry it needs to be protected behind the front line like the PzIIIN and Flamm tanks. I liken its mobility** to the German Panther (that can hold its own with the heavier Russian tanks) and I have converted some 76As into Panthers in later war years.
Of course, the AI LOVES to attack and kill any captured units but leaves them alone after conversion to German as it sees the newly converted unit as German only.
I would love to capture a T-34/85 (hint, hint).

ThorHa
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Re: Captured units - Use them?

Post by ThorHa » Sun May 04, 2014 8:34 pm

KV 1 B and C are very decent blockers even after Tigers are available. They really rarely take more than 1 or 2 damage against up to T34/43, especially experienced, even if they are not often the first ones to shoot.

The T34/40 is good for the time captured (best German tank IV E/F is clearly inferior). The T34/41 come a bit too late, the available German armour IV F2 is preferable in principle. I still use captured T34 as they are still decent in 42 and don't cost prestige.

To not use a tank because another one is available a few turns later is not really sound. Even on FM the first 2 stars should be max. 4 scenarios if the greenhorn is part of a killer team (one strong experienced unit accompanies a green one and prepares the kils of said green). Conversion to German armour cost exactly the same as buying the German armour. Difference is 2, sometimes 3 stars, which convert into lower losses, higher kill rates and less prestige spent resp. more won.

And btw - there is no such thing as "AI loves to attack captured units". The AI usually attacks what seems to me like "ratio between the highest calculated damage in range and own losses". And that could easily be the captured KVs IF for example the surrounding Pz IV in reach have more experience and thus likely shoot first against the attacking Soviets. Don't know the exact formula but the behaviour pattern of the AI is pretty clear without.

Regards,
Thorsten

Werk9
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Re: Captured units - Use them?

Post by Werk9 » Sun May 04, 2014 9:19 pm

I like to use KV-1B. Even the KV-1A is useful until stronger Panzer IV versions are available.

captainjack
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Re: Captured units - Use them?

Post by captainjack » Sun May 04, 2014 10:27 pm

In AK the Lee is remarkably useful for finishing off entrenched soft targets - good SA and CD of 4. The Shermans in 42 East also do a passable job for clearing out suppressed entrenched soft targets and soft targets in the open. They rarely survive tank combat, and their main use is where I have fielded all decent tanks and need one or two extra or where I expect to have to sacrifice a unit, so I bring something that has at least some use before it gets destroyed. If it gets a star or two it can retire until I need an experienced panther or tiger, but that doesn't happen very often
Last edited by captainjack on Sun May 04, 2014 10:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Bonesoul
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Re: Captured units - Use them?

Post by Bonesoul » Sun May 04, 2014 10:38 pm

Even though I probably have a sufficient prestige cushion (I am on FM difficulty) that I could just use the captured units, all my decisions are prestige/experience based as if I have zero to no prestige to play with, that and my Ebenezer Scrooge alter ego is having a field day.

Its worth a note that in 1940 I deliberately blooded more panzers than I needed of the III/IV versions, on the basis that getting them the stars then would be easier than starting them green in 41/42, so I had a number of earlier versions of German panzers just waiting to be deployed as the number of units in a scenario increased (the same with other unit types), I only ended u using the two T-34/41s I am at the moment because I felt for some 43 scenarios I might need even more and it wasn't worth buying new Pzr IV's this close to the big cats (this is my first play through so the kitty's may be further away than I think, oops?).

Anyway with my zero prestige mentality its not just unit X is better than the unit Y I would otherwise have to deploy, its more that the KV-1B is 485 prestige if disbanded (458 for a KV-1A), so disbanding that one captured unit will fund upgrading 5-6 of my existing Pzr III/IV to the latest models L,M and G at the moment. The equation thus becomes 5-6 slightly better units deployed with one not so good Vs deploying the KV-1B and the 5-6 other panzers as F/2's etc. Spend prestige from my stash? I say no damn you no!!!!! If you always operate on the assumption you have no spare prestige, your must less likely (I hope) to actually end up with no prestige some time in 43-45.

So with that in mind is the KV so much better than the IVG that I don't take the 485 and upgrade?

Cheers
Bone

BiteNibbleChomp
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Re: Captured units - Use them?

Post by BiteNibbleChomp » Mon May 05, 2014 7:43 am

MartyWard wrote:The best use for captured units is selling them for prestige.
That wasn't a thought that ever passed my mind when I played on v1.05 - Then again, most things didn't (Elite Replacements, 8,8 switches - even using aircraft!)

- BNC
Creator of American Civil War mod for Strategic Command WWI!
Discuss here: http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=4504986
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Resolute
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Re: Captured units - Use them?

Post by Resolute » Mon May 05, 2014 5:06 pm

The only ones I sell straight away are T34s and Shermans. The rest I always use until I get the first hero bonus . If it is a decent one I do convert them, if not they're getting disbanded for prestige. The ones I always keep are the SU-122, they're just too good to pass.

MartyWard
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Re: Captured units - Use them?

Post by MartyWard » Mon May 05, 2014 5:46 pm

Resolute wrote:The only ones I sell straight away are T34s and Shermans. The rest I always use until I get the first hero bonus . If it is a decent one I do convert them, if not they're getting disbanded for prestige. The ones I always keep are the SU-122, they're just too good to pass.
Yes the SU 122 I keep.

Victor_K
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Re: Captured units - Use them?

Post by Victor_K » Mon May 05, 2014 5:57 pm

Bonesoul wrote:Even though I probably have a sufficient prestige cushion (I am on FM difficulty) that I could just use the captured units, all my decisions are prestige/experience based as if I have zero to no prestige to play with, that and my Ebenezer Scrooge alter ego is having a field day.
Cheers
Bone
Ahhh! A player after my own heart. Unless the captured unit is something special, like the Su 122, I usually end up selling or keeping for a "rainy day" fund.

Bonesoul
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Re: Captured units - Use them?

Post by Bonesoul » Mon May 05, 2014 6:17 pm

It rains a lot where I live Victor :)

captainjack
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Re: Captured units - Use them?

Post by captainjack » Tue May 06, 2014 8:55 am

I agree on the SU122 - very handy, especially once you get the second one so you can keep one firing while you reload the other. My captured Polish 105mm gun is still going strong in 43 East without an upgrade> It now has 4* and provides a lot of support to the SE task group with its 8 ammo. Funny how its 8 ammo seems to last about five times longer than the SU 122's five shots.

The Crusader from 42 West goes straight to the sales, but I have had to keep the one in AK when I had a prestige crisis. It's rubbish!

The BA64 from Stalingrad Docks - as recon goes it's quite tough. But since I have a Tiger with 5 spotting I don't need recon except to find minefields, trip up T34/43s and get destroyed so that I can reform it for the next scenario. Maybe I should look up how to colour it dayglo yellow or tiger striped, use a cheat code for an extra unit slot and bring it on every mission to the end of 45 East. Either that or sell it for prestige when I'm bored with it.

Slygore
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Re: Captured units - Use them?

Post by Slygore » Tue May 06, 2014 11:21 pm

I sell them all. I haven't worked all the way through yet though. I would love to keep the Somua's and use them more, but they come too late. It makes me happy to use that Romainian one in the Belgrade scenario though.

Scholomancer
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Re: Captured units - Use them?

Post by Scholomancer » Sat May 10, 2014 7:55 pm

For the first part of the game (39, 40 and 41) I keep them and build them up to their experience caps, and then when the time right upgrade them into a high-tech German version. I don't buy brand new tanks after 1940 as you get so many captured tank units from then on. For example, I'm in Crete right now, I have 2xIIIs, 3xIVs, a Somua, 2xCharB1 and 2 Matildas and feel too tank heavy as it is.

For the slower moving tanks like Matildas I try to put them where the fighting will be most intense so they can slug it out and not worry about mobility too much, but they and the Somua are the first to be converted into IIIs, IVs or better. For the Char B1s, I usually try to hold out until until the Tigers and Panthers are released. I have found these units as part of an battle group with infantry, arty or AT to be still pretty useful, especially in close combat, defensive or slow movement attacks. Then much like Resolute, I convert my best tanks and scrap the rest. But I keep all artillery and aircraft as I find them very useful and worth converting if need be.

With that said I agreed, I've found the KVs to be generally all-round great tanks. Once I upgrade the CharBs, I use the KV-1A and KV-1B in roles I used the CharBs for, ie) grouped with infantry and artillery for defence, close combat or slow moving attacks.

Although once I kept them all just to see how many captured units I could pick up, and I think I was up to about 65 core units in Berlin, lol. At least half of them never deployed again but it gratifying to see them all converted to prestige all at once. ;)

Longasc
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Re: Captured units - Use them?

Post by Longasc » Sun May 11, 2014 2:47 pm

That depends. ;)

I usually sold the T-34 for Prestige and kept the KV's as protection for my Panzer IV. The idea was to let Stukas and KV weaken enemy tanks to finish them with Panzer IV.
Careful, KV-1 A,B,C look identical till you hover over them.

I sell Matildas - they are super slow, too slow. It's 50:50 if I keep a Char B or not, you can have two and they do okay in 1941. Not so much in 1942 anymore.
I also sell the Polish Artillery you get 1939.

ThorHa
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Re: Captured units - Use them?

Post by ThorHa » Sun May 11, 2014 3:45 pm

Char B are one of the very questionable performance designs of the dev team. While the attack and defense might be okay, the initiative should be close to 0. Char Bs operated with one man turrets, thus its inhabitant was supposed to operate as commander, gunner and loader for the anti tank gun in the turret.

Regards,
Thorsten Haupts

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