how to use AT units?

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Vorskl
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how to use AT units?

Post by Vorskl » Thu Dec 31, 2015 3:51 am

Guys,
I know it sounds silly, but after 2+ years of playing this fantastic game one aspect is still unclear for me: how to effectively use AT units?
My problem is: in DLC 39-42 when Zi Germans attack, mobile AT units (Jag1) are too weak and towed are both slow, weak and cannot be used for offense. And they also need to be protected from AI bombers and infantry (:
Yet I read that many fellow players include 2-3-4 AT units in their core. Why? And how do you use them for offense?

captainjack
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Re: how to use AT units?

Post by captainjack » Thu Dec 31, 2015 4:21 am

That's a very good question.
For a while I experimented with towed AT. It's OK here and there for dealing with counter attacks when backed by artillery to suppress the target, but by the time you pay for a gun and a transport (which you will have to upgrade later to a halftrack) they really don't seem worth it. The SPAT is much more cost effective as it's always able to fight. .

These days I get a Panzerjager and get early experience finishing off units and any transports in reach as it can't cope with tanks until quite well experienced. Unfortunately, the upgrade path for AT is awful (There are how many different Marder classes?) and for towed AT the Pak75 has been mis-statted something rotten - it has HA13 (only one better than the 50mm) yet it was considerably more powerful. The portee units in Allied Corps also work OK but again you have to develop the first star or two with ambushes or easy targets rather than shooting at tanks.

For me, the only real point in developing AT is to accumulate a few 2 or 3* units so that when Elefants arrive you can deploy something with 24HA plus 4 or 6 HA for experience. For a few brief months the Soviet tanks are vulnerable again.

However, playing towed AT units did eventually improve my play style as it made it much more important to understand how to use terrain to your advantage, and how to set traps and to know when to wait and when to attack.

tenshin111
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Re: how to use AT units?

Post by tenshin111 » Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:08 am

Yes, German AT units are mostly useless early in the game.

I would sometimes use towed AT gun(s) in a defensive scenario. The "Piatek" scenario is a great example in DLC'39 - two or even three 3.7cm PaKs can be used there effectively and quickly gain experience.There is a "but" however - you need to babysit them and protect against cavalry/infantry units. This is generally the case with all towed guns.

Panzerjager I is actually quite good for finishing off suppressed tank units in 1940 campaigns. But again, you need to protect against full health enemy tanks and everything else, really, as it's quite squishy.

One more thing - I always use elite replacements on those early AT units just to make sure that the hard-to-get experience doesn't disappear. And later in the game, well before Elephants come, you get access to really nice machines. A StuG IIIF/F8 with 3 star experience is quite a formidable tank. And it gets even better after upgrading to StuG IIIG. I really like those - they're cheap to buy and cheap to reinforce/over-strength.

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Re: how to use AT units?

Post by sn0wball » Thu Dec 31, 2015 11:26 am

I needed to acquaint myself with AT guns when playing Afrika Corps in "Graziani"-mode, using all Italian units, that is. Without the Italian 88 in AT mode it would simply have been impossible to defeat British infantry tanks. Scout ahead, find suitable targets, move the AT guns up front on trucks, then slowly advance them step by step under the cover of heavy artillery. This is no blitzkrieg, but it worked for me. It should work with straight AT guns as well.

captainjack
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Re: how to use AT units?

Post by captainjack » Thu Dec 31, 2015 7:57 pm

The Italians aren't helped by the 47mm having the same HA stats as the German 37mm, when it should be somewhere between the Pak 37 and the Pak 50 (as is recognised in the first SPAT). Luckily the 75 and 90mm AA guns switch into passable AT guns.

Also, Tenshin111's point about always using elite reinforcements is particularly important for AT since the HA rises at +2 per experience *. The same goes for AA and fighters. The biggest concern is that if you are using your AA gun as AT, you will feel intense disappointment when you get +1 initiative instead of the +1 range.

wargovichr
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Re: how to use AT units?

Post by wargovichr » Fri Jan 01, 2016 2:17 am

It's a labor of love to aggressively use the early war 37mm AT -- positioning it, protecting it, backing it up with artillery, until you upgrade to the mobile Panzerjager or go the route of towed AT 50mm, 75mm, 88mm.
Nothing like having an experienced 88mm AT in '44 and '45. They are cheaper to repair. They are historical.
If you go the mobile upgrade path, and if you have the prestige you can upgrade once (expensive!) to the StugIII, Elefant or later yet the excellent mobile Jagdpanther if you are so patient. More experience stars mean better initiative.
Using either mobile or towed AT means the coddling mentioned above but the wiliness to really use it ideally and that is positioning it as tank trap in ambush**!
I keep the one AT included in the DLC East mix and helicopter mom it.
Better for defensive scenarios which increase in frequency in later war years. Needs help to clean up weakened enemy infantry, not like tanks. Should be backed up with artillery in city hexes when attacked by infantry.
Other than that the 88mm AA/AT is excellent at BOTH**...the "dual-purpose" 88," and that's what I go to thereafter. Formidable even in clear terrain if backed up by experienced artillery. Give it experience shooting down air, or pre-position it two hexes back from the enemy frontline ready to be one-hexed forward to cleanup (and kill**) sloppy leftovers from tank action or an enemy retreat toward your lines.
Blessed be the 88mm AA/AT +1 movement hero.

captainjack
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Re: how to use AT units?

Post by captainjack » Fri Jan 01, 2016 7:49 pm

wargovichr wrote:Blessed be the 88mm AA/AT +1 movement hero.
Indeed, any towed AT with +1 move suddenly becomes quite useful. I've had 2 move heroes on artillery once, and double move hero on towed AT could be kind of neat, especially as you could eliminate the transport to make elite upgrades cheaper and never run out of fuel.

From experience, +3D on a Panzerjager (and later +5D on the Elefant) can be handy too.

GSlapshot
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Re: How to use AT units?

Post by GSlapshot » Sun Jan 03, 2016 6:38 pm

I don't use AT units until late in the war. My approach is to purchase 88MM A/A unit which can switch to an AT unit and capture victory hexes and shoot at aircraft.

RVallant
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Re: how to use AT units?

Post by RVallant » Fri Jan 15, 2016 9:42 pm

I've tried using them, but they are luxury units when it comes to advancing quickly. In the early GC aside from Piatek, the terrain and the scenarios aren't really that conductive to AT warfare. Plus, early game, Stuka is basically the AT of choice, so mobile, so lethal, so wunderbar!

By the time AT's are useful, the Soviet tanks are so strong they one-shot them, even on defence. So I usually use SPAT guns as 'finishers' and cheaper anti-tank tanks basically, which doesn't always work that well depending on the year! Of course, at that point, the Soviet Air Force is so lethal the Stukas become something of an elderly man's junk. /sigh. (I apologise for the colourful description...)

Indeed, the best static AT I utilise is the 8.8 because it can at least offer some versatility in terms of attacking planes if there isn't a tank on the ground for it to go up against. They too, suffer late-war though, but I found it kind of pathetic that from basically '39 to '43 they were the de-facto AT gun of choice and no one thought to put them on a bloody chasis until what? Late '42 when the war was lost? Who didn't get the memo for gods sake?

They do have uses if you know the scenario inside out though, but that's hindsight. I think there was only a select few scenarios that I looked at and went 'hmm, choke point over there is so obvious for tanks to come rolling in, maybe I'll put an AT there' and very rarely was my foresight vindicated, which makes me feel like a poor tactician, such as it is. *sob*.

captainjack
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Re: how to use AT units?

Post by captainjack » Sat Jan 16, 2016 1:37 am

RVallant wrote:and no one thought to put them on a bloody chasis until what? Late '42
Actually there were mobile 88s around during the attacks around Sedan. Known as Bufla (from Bunker Flak) they were essentially unprotected 88s used in a direct fire role against fortifications.There were some Bufla icons around late last year.

The source I read showed that only 10 were made. It's quite believable that once the French fortifications had been shot up then nobody could see a further use for an anti-bunker gun. It's also quite easy to believe that a truck mounted large gun might have problems with rate of fire or stability which (with increased vulnerability and visibility) might not look so attractive as a slower but more effective and reliable towed AA gun.

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Re: how to use AT units?

Post by Scholomancer » Sun Jan 17, 2016 11:44 pm

I don't really bother with AT for the first few years, and avoid the towed units entirely. In the GC you are given a Jagerpanzer mobile unit, and I usually buy or capture another and use both until there is a star or so of experience, then mothball them until the Stug IV comes out.

The artillery\AT multi function of the Stug IV suddenly makes these units extremely versatile second-line units as either light artillery or light armoured units. At this point I upgrade my AT (including the SU76 you capture in a previous GC East scenario) immediately.

Sometimes when the Jagdpanther, Jagdtiger or Elephant units come out I have to sit there and think about what I want more, sheer firepower or tactical flexibility. :)

As for the towed AT, I can see how useful it could be in scenarios you defend fixed positions, but I'm always constrained about my core slots - a tank is more versatile and has better all around tactical flexibility, so it'd be really hard for me to consciously give up an advantage like that.

Heck, I'd prefer a HW or Pionere infantry unit over towed AT - again, more versatility, and infantry of course is wicked against tanks in close combat hexes.

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Re: how to use AT units?

Post by captainjack » Mon Jan 18, 2016 9:04 am

That's a good point with the Stug IV.
Artillery gains experience quickly, so you can get your first two or three stars and then either enjoy the multi-tasking or convert to Elefant/Jagdtiger or Jadgpanther, according to preference.

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Re: how to use AT units?

Post by robman » Mon Jan 18, 2016 2:51 pm

I also have settled on the 88-then-StuG IV approach. Towed AT guns are most useful in defensive scenarios, and there just aren't that many of them early in the war; but the 3-hex range of the 88 in AA mode makes it useful even on the offense. The 88 can't be upgraded to a different AT, but its usefulness only grows along with Allied air dominance. I skip SPATs until the StuG IV arrives, again because of its dual-purpose mode: it gains experience very quickly in artillery mode (it has a range of 2!), and it can be upgraded later to a more powerful multi-star Jagd-something when those appear later on.

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Re: how to use AT units?

Post by goose_2 » Mon Jan 18, 2016 4:25 pm

I have to kind of agree with what has been said on this post.

It is the AT that can switch between being arty or AT that are the most useful.

I bought 1 25 pounder and 1 was given to you at the start of the Desert Campaign in Allied Corps. Those were the most versatile and worthwhile units that I have used in my campaign, especially when they were given a +1 movement hero.

I use other artys, but it is their ability to switch that make them so effective.

In my Grand Campaign I only have 2 AT units that I struggle keeping around even though they both have +2 Def heros. One is a Marder and the other is a Stug.

I am hoping they pay off for when I switch them to Elephants, which are the beast of the battlefield.
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Re: how to use AT units?

Post by Scholomancer » Mon Jan 18, 2016 11:50 pm

robman wrote:I also have settled on the 88-then-StuG IV approach. Towed AT guns are most useful in defensive scenarios, and there just aren't that many of them early in the war; but the 3-hex range of the 88 in AA mode makes it useful even on the offense. The 88 can't be upgraded to a different AT, but its usefulness only grows along with Allied air dominance.
That's true about the 88, but I've always used it primarily as an AA weapon, particularly after that 44 East scenario.. (Poltava? where you pick up a bunch of AA units which you can use to substitute for your high-prestige air force in low prestige scenarios of 44 and 45). I've only used it in AT roles in dire need. They are just too exposed to late-war mobile artillery. With enough suppression, or a really good artillery hit, almost anything can smash a towed 88 even in the AT role.
goose_2 wrote: I bought 1 25 pounder and 1 was given to you at the start of the Desert Campaign in Allied Corps. Those were the most versatile and worthwhile units that I have used in my campaign, especially when they were given a +1 movement hero.

I use other artys, but it is their ability to switch that make them so effective.
Then you should really try the Stug IV when it comes out, you'll really see the difference. In addition, I also love those UK Arty\AT 25pders. Once I was lucky enough to get a +1 range hero on one of mine, so I used it into Italy!

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