AT units pros and cons

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MartyWard
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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by MartyWard » Tue May 06, 2014 2:14 pm

BiteNibbleChomp wrote:
Loki1942 wrote: (Jagdpanther im looking at you)
Jagdtiger!

- BNC
Yeah if you bring your own gas station with it! :)

Slygore
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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by Slygore » Tue May 06, 2014 11:14 pm

I remember playing Panzer General for years and it taking several playthroughs before I understood the value of the AT units (SP towed was and is garbage). On defense there was nothing better. I remember playing defense on Bagration my one 15 strength JgPanther Must have knocked out 30 B-T 7's. The AI was a firm believer in buying as many cheap units as possible when you beat it's core :)
I have not worked my way through the entire GC yet, but I feel like I'm going to see the same thing. The AT's excel at protecting your flanks on the advance and finish off stragglers. I can't wait to upgrade to Marders (who would have thunk) If the PzJg1 wasn't so terrible I think they would get more love.

captainjack
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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by captainjack » Wed May 07, 2014 4:13 am

Slygore wrote:The AT's excel at protecting your flanks on the advance
Achtung Panzer! by Heinz Guderian says that the main use of AT is to protect the flanks, so you are following a good precedent. I assume he was talking towed AT rather than SP, but it's still nice to know the experts agree with you.

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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by iceFlame » Wed May 07, 2014 8:25 am

captainjack wrote:Achtung Panzer! by Heinz Guderian says that the main use of AT is to protect the flanks, so you are following a good precedent. I assume he was talking towed AT rather than SP, but it's still nice to know the experts agree with you.
Makes sense. That way you're concentrating their firepower at your most vulnerable points, plus you're not allowing them to dictate the pace of the advance. Hurry Heinz, hurry! :wink:
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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by rezaf » Wed May 07, 2014 9:08 am

Hmm.
Can somebody hook me up with a copy of Guderian's "Achtung! Deployment limit."?
_____
rezaf

Slygore
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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by Slygore » Wed May 07, 2014 12:31 pm

I actually read Achtung Panzer years ago. Probably because of playing Panzer General.

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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by ThvN » Wed May 07, 2014 6:27 pm

Interesting thread...

The standard AT units, especially towed ones, never really worked that well for me. I will mention some tips and hints near the end, so scroll there to avoid this wall of words...


I mentally divide AT units into towed and SP (self-propelled), some of their advantages and disadvantages are shared, but the towed category (especially the 75mm PaK) does not seem very cost effective as soon as you start adding transports.

But in the GC’s (DLC’s), you generally need core units to be somewhat mobile, which means any towed unit must have a transport. This makes the towed guns a lot more expensive, the cheaper ones relatively more so because all transports cost the same. Actually the 88mm PaK is relatively cheaper here because of the SdKfz 7 halftrack.

Some examples (German units): for the early war years, you can buy a Panzerjäger IB which costs 210pr, or an inferior 37mm PaK + halftrack for 206pr. Without the halftrack the tactical mobility is generally inferior as well, and without decent mobility it will become even harder to get experience for it.

The 50mm PaK, which is better in combat stats than the Panzerjäger, costs 264pr including a halftrack, with a truck it is still 214pr.

The 75mm PaK seems to be the worst, including a halftrack it costs 285pr, even with a truck it is already 235pr, almost as expensive as the Marder IIA (262pr), and shortly after that the much tougher StuG IIIF (299pr) becomes available. Even the JagdPz IV/48 looks favourable when compared to these prices, and that is a unit that I have declared worse than worthless during some early ranting sessions.

The 88mm PaK has actually pretty decent stats and a cheap, good transport unit (a 70pr halftrack, for a total cost of 340pr), but by then Nashorns (467pr) have been on sale for seven months, although personally, in late 1943 the StuG IV (347pr) gets my vote.

But even with all this the towed guns could have been made to work, if it wasn’t for the Luftwaffe: not their Stukas, but the switchable 88mm FlaK that is available from day 1 and costs only 344pr including a nice halftrack. It makes the other towed guns an even less interesting choice.

I don’t remember seriously buying any towed AT guns during AK and AC as well, even the self-propelled ones are not very interesting, although I have used the British ‘portée’ guns (fragile but cheap) and some US SP units, which are tougher.

To me, tanks still remain a better choice overall, despite the M36 Jackson and some of the late-war German units being very good, but by that time getting them experienced enough to be effective will be a challenge. The limited deployment slots favour an army that consists of expensive generalists, not cheap specialized units that might be useful for a few turns if you can get them at the right spot at the right time. Unfortunately.



OK, now some useful bits of info about the AT class:

There are some game mechanics that involve the AT class (most are only visible through the combat log), it might help to know them to understand their strengths and weaknesses better.

First off, as mentioned earlier any unit in the AT class gets a +3 ini bonus if it is defending against tanks and recon units. But if the AT unit attacks such units there is no bonus and its ‘base’ initiative is used. This bonus can also be ‘overruled’ by weather or terrain caps, unfortunately. A note to modders: the ‘rott’ and ‘fixedt’ traits do not seem to do anything, the bonus is built into the class itself. This is why I am contemplating putting the M10 GMC and similar units in the tank class.

Then there are two other bonuses that come into play during combat between AT units and infantry:
If infantry attacks an AT unit, this infantry gets a +2 attack bonus. On the other hand, if and AT unit attacks an infantry unit, the infantry gets +2 defense bonus.

So, a summary:

AT defending against Tank/Recon: AT gets +3 initiative, but this is subject to weather/terrain caps.

AT defending against infantry: Infantry gets +2 attack bonus.

AT attacking infantry: Infantry gets +2 defense bonus.


One small advantage of AT units when compared to tanks is their slightly quicker rate of entrenchment; just put a tank and an AT unit in a city hex and check their entrenchment every turn. It’s not a very decisive advantage but worth noting.

A peculiar use I have for AT units is actually an exploit: I use them to attack other ‘hard’ AT units, so that those units do not benefit from the +3 ini bonus. ‘Hard’ artillery units and transports (halftracks) also make excellent targets. A bit gamey but it helps to get cheap experience.

Also remember that weather and terrain caps can work to your advantage if you have AT units with high ground defense: AT units generally have lower ini than tanks but these ini caps can nullify the difference and make the tougher versions good units to try and get some strength off of difficult targets.
Because tough AT units are much cheaper than tanks with similar HA/GD values they can save you prestige when the inevitable repairs must be made and keep your more expensive tanks alive for longer. I wouldn’t buy AT units specifically for these purposes, but it might help to get more use out of them.

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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by MartyWard » Wed May 07, 2014 6:56 pm

The StuG III is good when it is first available but all the family upgrades seems to be not worth it. Once the StuG III is out I usually buy two to start building them up. If I'm tight on prestige I'll buy more. I eventually upgrade them to JP's which work fine through the end of the war. The replacement costs are a whole lot less than for a Panther and they pack about the same punch. They aren't quite as good defending though.

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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by Bonesoul » Wed May 07, 2014 9:59 pm

To me the problem with AT is they dont work well, when compared to other unit classes in game terms. Towed upgrades arent terrible, though to me come a few scenarios too late and you always have that 88mm AA switchable, which is esentially as good or better than equivalent towed AT variants. So why would you ever choose a towed AT early on, unless you have a very long term plan (30ish scenarios or more) to convert them to SPAT later. The SPAT variety upgrade path is horrible, all you have is the PzJgI, until the Mader turns up whar seems like centuries later and essentially they offer no great benefit (frankly they are worse) other than being a little cheaper than tanks.

The only reason you are using AT at all is to get them experience for when the JP and Elephant turn up and that on the basis you have to use some because with soft cap rules or just lack of prestige you cant go full on Tanks. I dont think anyone would argue that with the game mechanic's experience is the key, so for those of us looking to have AT in our late game cores, were all looking at what is the least sub-optimal early game choice, to give us experienced quality SPAT later.

I know its repeating what has been said earlier but to me there realy has to be some cross type upgrade options later on, SPAT were a macro economic decision historically not a tactical one and experienced panzer crews ended up in SPATS not because they were the best choice but because tats what was available, but in PzC, unless you leave them in obsolete PzrIII/IV, they can only go into big cats not into SPAT variants.

The other issue with AT is they were never deploied as unique units, they were always part of other units, the little 37mm PAK we get at Poznan would in reality have been a few guns attached to each infantry division not a load of guns operating as an independant unit. Guderian when talking of AT protecting the flanks, just as the Russians did in the late war was essentially looking at layered anti tank defence within infantry formations, not independant units comprising soley of AT.

This is why to me in an ideal world, AT would be an attachment to existing units, brigades if you consider the basic unit a division. This concept gives a great deal more flavour and flexibility to the system, it also has the potential to extend the life of infantry as a viable option in the late game, if its getting boosts to hard attack from an AT attachment.

Right now the only reason to use AT units as they are is issues with prestige and if your having issues with prestige you probably too far in the mire for switching to AT units to help, especially if to do so your having to go from experienced tankers to green SPAT crews.

Cheers
Bone

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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by Resolute » Thu May 08, 2014 8:24 pm

Despite all their flaws they do have a very high hard attack rating for the prestige they cost. I started to no longer overstrength my tanks but just my AT units instead which started to save me a lot of prestige. With some suppression they can one shot enemy tanks whereas it would take me two tanks to get the same result. The StugIV is a very good art unit and can still a good amount of damage in AT mode to lesser armoured enemy units. Same goes for the StuH42 which has a soft attack of 10 in AT mode and can be put to good use.

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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by ThvN » Thu May 08, 2014 10:29 pm

Bonesoul wrote:Towed upgrades arent terrible, though to me come a few scenarios too late and you always have that 88mm AA switchable, which is esentially as good or better than equivalent towed AT variants. So why would you ever choose a towed AT early on, unless you have a very long term plan (30ish scenarios or more) to convert them to SPAT later.
That is a good summary.
The SPAT variety upgrade path is horrible, all you have is the PzJgI, until the Mader turns up whar seems like centuries later and essentially they offer no great benefit (frankly they are worse) other than being a little cheaper than tanks.

I know its repeating what has been said earlier but to me there realy has to be some cross type upgrade options later on, SPAT were a macro economic decision historically not a tactical one and experienced panzer crews ended up in SPATS not because they were the best choice but because tats what was available, but in PzC, unless you leave them in obsolete PzrIII/IV, they can only go into big cats not into SPAT variants.
This. I would like to be able to upgrade an obsolete tank into an AT unit, for example a Pz I could be upgraded to a Panzerjäger I, etc. I believe deducter has made his mod so that it could be done, but when using a single equipment file it would be problematic.
The only reason you are using AT at all is to get them experience for when the JP and Elephant turn up and that on the basis you have to use some because with soft cap rules or just lack of prestige you cant go full on Tanks. I dont think anyone would argue that with the game mechanic's experience is the key, so for those of us looking to have AT in our late game cores, were all looking at what is the least sub-optimal early game choice, to give us experienced quality SPAT later.
This is pretty much how I pick early SPAT, just to build up experience for when the good stuff becomes available.
The other issue with AT is they were never deploied as unique units, they were always part of other units, the little 37mm PAK we get at Poznan would in reality have been a few guns attached to each infantry division not a load of guns operating as an independant unit. Guderian when talking of AT protecting the flanks, just as the Russians did in the late war was essentially looking at layered anti tank defence within infantry formations, not independant units comprising soley of AT.

This is why to me in an ideal world, AT would be an attachment to existing units, brigades if you consider the basic unit a division. This concept gives a great deal more flavour and flexibility to the system, it also has the potential to extend the life of infantry as a viable option in the late game, if its getting boosts to hard attack from an AT attachment.
Same problem as the AAA units... Basically support units can't be mixed but at least they can defend adjacent units, like artillery. AT is on it's own except for the mass attack bonus, and they are very much a 'rock - paper - scissors' unit, somtimes utterly useless and sometimes exactly what you need.
Resolute wrote:Despite all their flaws they do have a very high hard attack rating for the prestige they cost. I started to no longer overstrength my tanks but just my AT units instead which started to save me a lot of prestige. With some suppression they can one shot enemy tanks whereas it would take me two tanks to get the same result. The StugIV is a very good art unit and can still a good amount of damage in AT mode to lesser armoured enemy units. Same goes for the StuH42 which has a soft attack of 10 in AT mode and can be put to good use.
That is one thing I like about the soft cap, it can make other units more attractive, especially those switchable units you mention. But for 'pure' AT units, unfortunately only the very best are actually survivable enough to be useful, so I still have no Marders running around... :(

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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by JimmyC » Fri May 09, 2014 2:15 am

I'm currently in the 40's campaign and have been experimenting with AA vs AT. AA is just so much more versatile and even packs a bigger punch. If it wasn't for this thread i would have dumped the AT long ago - but i have decided to try and build it to 3 stars and then put it into storage until decent SPAT becomes available.

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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by ThorHa » Fri May 09, 2014 7:39 am

Just an additional piece of useless information - in Yakovlevo and Oboyan dlc 43 I used Marder III H with good success. In Oboyan its basicslly these guys plus a StuG III G plus an Elephant with the help of 2 Hummels dwarfing the complete armoured counterattack in the southeast on their own.

I agree you habe to start early. Thus in addition to 2 AA 88 I bought 3 PzJg I for the low countries and France scenarios in dlc 40. Where they are absolutely useful against the only fearsome enemy units - Mathildas, Chars and Somuas.

But yes, they need artillery cover even more desperately than all other units. For WW2 conditions artillery is completely overrated and available in much too generous quantities.

Regards,
Thorsten

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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by ThvN » Fri May 09, 2014 3:04 pm

Well, that's certainly not useless information! :) In fact I'm happy and interested to hear about any good use that is made of units most people consider worthless.

My setup usually has two 88mm FlaK's as well, I alternate them until one gets a hero and then I use the other one to see if I get a 'better' one. Some examples: If one gets +1 spotting it is still good as a mobile unit, +1 movement means it'll probably stay a towed unit. And I don't mind AT units that get spotting heroes, as they usually have worse spotting than tanks so it is actually useful for them.

One little question about your artillery comments: with 'overrated' do you mean that they are actually too good stat-wise? Because 'overrated' usually means that people consider something to be better than it actually is, which was not what I understood you tried to imply?

And yes, artillery is much too cheap and common, especially the SP units are sometimes very overpowered. I actually started avoiding buying the SiG 38(t) because of its tank-like defenses, and I usually restrict myself to a single Sturmpanzer I or SiG33. And the AI can still be clumsy with artillery, otherwise I'm sure there would have been more calls to balance them a bit more.

I really have to start using more AT units, in the West GC's they were usuable for me the last time but I mishandled them earlier on the Eastern front which turned me away from them for a while. I'm now doing a quick AK game and I managed to get a StuGIII with three heroes, it still performs nicely along Tiger I and Panther tanks. But getting that first few stars can be challenging, I had to bring some spare parts and deployed it overstrength a lot early on.

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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by Razz1 » Fri May 09, 2014 3:07 pm

The Total Realism Mod helps allot with this issue as towed AT cost has been reduce a little. Some units have an initiative increase.
The PZ38 t can be upgraded to future mobile AT units along with the Panzer Jager I that can be upgraded to the Marder family.

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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by ThorHa » Fri May 09, 2014 4:07 pm

@THvN:

My artillery comment had 2 components - first one was that I think arty is a bit too strong especially against armour in the early dls. But mainly you are right - its a question of the available amount. It should simply be impossible to field 25% of your core in arty, which seems to be some common ground among the better players.

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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by ThorHa » Fri May 09, 2014 4:08 pm

@Razz:

Just rub it in for the ipad players :P

Regards,
Thorsten

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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by Bonesoul » Sat May 10, 2014 12:56 am

Now I would have the opposite view re artillery, though I would agree that allowing to many might cause balance issues, I think artillery should be of great value and am worried about its loosing effectiveness in the late war. Its effectiveness against tanks i've touched on in other posts, its that artillery can strip away armour's infantry support that makes it so important. Unsupported tanks are always vulnerable.

At least to me, when I buy a Pzr IV unit, I always consider it to be Tanks with panzer grenadier support not just tanks.

Bone

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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by ThorHa » Sat May 10, 2014 11:39 am

All PzC units except conscripts have the same basic strength. This leaves one and only one unit size if someone wants to think of PzC icons as real units - bataillons. Any armour bataillon in whatever WW2 army never had integrated infantry support, this support was earliest provided on regimental, brigade or divisional level.

Regards,
Thorsten

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Re: AT units pros and cons

Post by Zleepyhead » Sun Nov 30, 2014 2:01 pm

I think of the AT as similar to the knight in chess. It would be great to have all queens...but you probably won't get that playing at higher levels so you need knights to screen and bust down support. It is just cheaper to use. I use my Marders for rear support - finish off the low strength targets and claim town hexes. They are awful in the open field though. The Sturmgeshcutz work great to screen your artillery and hold up well in close terrain against armor or against infantry with artillery support. When I assault a town, I bring the Sturm up to the hex on the exposed side with the infantry next to it and artillery right behind. When you shift to the defensive later in the war, defend as much as you can in close defense hexes with AT defended by artillery.

And finally, they make great tank fodder. Throw some cheap ones out on the front. Let Ivan pick through them while you adapt to the battlefield. When they die, bring in a few more elite core units. Its a lot cheaper than refitting your Panther on turn 2 and 4.

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