28 October 2008 | Tide of Iron

Re: Infantry

From: Daniel Clark, ToI Support Staff, FFG H.Q.

Victory on the field of battle requires knowledge of the terrain, knowledge of the objectives, knowledge of the enemy, and – most of all – knowledge of oneself and the forces at one's command. A squad's failure to take a hill is not a failure of that squad – it is the failure of the commander, for asking of them a task they were not well-suited to accomplish.Regular InfantryIn order to properly prepare commanders for the coming battle, this briefing will detail the soldiers available to commanders of both nations.        Move: 4Vs. Infantry: 4 Range, 1 FirepowerVs. Vehicles: 1 Range, 1 FirepowerThese soldiers will comprise the bulk of a commander's forces and bear primary responsibility for taking and holding objectives over the course of the battle. Regular infantry have minimal firepower and no special defenses, and are particularly ill-suited to combating enemy vehicles. However, regular infantry can bear specializations, enhancing their effectiveness at particular tasks, and even with their basic armaments can prove lethal against enemy infantry of all types.Since they have no special defenses of any kind, the importance of cover to the preservation of regular infantry cannot be overstated. Infantry caught in the open by enemy fire will be quickly slain or routed.        Elite InfantryMove: 4Vs. Infantry: 4 Range, 2 FirepowerVs. Vehicles: 1 Range, 1 FirepowerBattle-Hardened: This squad gains +1 cover against suppressive fire for each elite infantry in the squad.A significant upgrade from regulars, elite infantry remain of limited effectiveness against vehicles but excel at eliminating enemy squads. Their resistance to suppressive fire makes them particularly strong at rushing enemy positions, as they are unlikely to be pinned, but it also assists them when deployed in Op. Fire mode on defense for the same reason. Like regulars, elite infantry may bear specializations, which further enhance their ability to perform specific tasks.Unfortunately, elite infantry are more rare than regulars but no harder to kill. A commander must still make best possible use of cover to protect his elites from normal attacks. Where mixed squads exist, always lose regular infantry as casualties first.        OfficerMove: 4Vs. Infantry: 4 Range, 1 FirepowerVs. Vehicles: 1 Range, 1 FirepowerFast Recovery: During the Status Phase, remove all disrupted tokens in this hex.Rally: When pinned, any squad in this hex may still make a concentrated attack.Determination: Any squad in this hex gains +1 cover against suppressive fire (not cumulative with other officers).Increased Mobility: This squad gains +1 movement (not cumulative).Officers dramatically increase the effectiveness of any squad in their area, although not their offensive firepower. The most important feature to keep in mind about an officer is that, with the exception of their increased mobility ability, all of their enhancements apply to every squad in their hex. The wise commander will distribute his available officers to key points across his line of battle, and use the enhanced mobility they confer upon their squads to move them to where they are needed most as the battle progresses.Placing officers into squads containing regulars, elites, or weapons teams is a difficult decision. Do you want to place your officer in with a group of elites, increasing their speed and therefore getting them to where they need to be faster? Or would you rather place your officer in with regular infantry, anticipating that his squad will do more moving from point to point than firing? Is this machine gun nest critical enough to your defense that it warrants an officer to help resist pinning? Such decisions must be made carefully.        Mortar CrewHeavy Infantry WeaponMove: 4Suppressive Fire: 8 Range, 4 FirepowerNormal Fire: 8 Range, 2 FirepowerArea AttackBallistic Fire: May use a friendly unit's line of sight when attacking.Minimum Distance: May not attack adjacent hexes.No Opportunity FireNo Mixed Fire: May not participate in attacks with other figure types.Mortar crews excel at pinning enemy squads and disrupting formations on both attack and defense. Their long range and ballistic firing arc allow them to deploy into protected positions and still send their lethal payload directly to the enemy. Unlike all other infantry, the firepower and range of the mortar crew is not dependant on whether their target is a vehicle or squad, but rather on whether they are making a suppressive or normal attack. This means that mortars are moderately effective at disabling enemy vehicles, although their inability to combine fire with non-mortar allies does restrict this effectiveness somewhat.Mortar crews take up two slots in a unit base and cannot combine their fire with any units except other mortar crews. These two facts mean that squads comprised solely of two mortar crews are not uncommon, and such a squad does unleash a fearsome eight combined firepower when making a suppressive attack, so it is certainly a viable choice. However, commanders must consider the following when making the decision to combine or distribute their mortars: the double-mortar squad can attack only once per round, whereas two squads with mortars could attack separate targets. Further, each mortar crew takes only a single hit to eliminate, which means that a double-mortar crew squad can be eliminated with only two normal hits, and its firepower is halved after only one hit.        Machine Gun CrewHeavy Infantry WeaponMove: 4Vs. Infantry: 5 Range, 3 Firepower (Americans)Vs. Infantry: 5 Range, 4 Firepower (Germans)Vs. Vehicles: 3 Range, 2 FirepowerRapid Op Fire: May Op Fire without becoming fatigued as long as only machine gun crews participate.Machine gun crews specialize in defending positions, using their rapid op fire ability to pin or eliminate enemy squads and vehicles that advance upon them. Even a single machine gun crew has approximately the firepower of an entire squad of regular infantry, so the sight of such a crew deployed in op fire mode will make any attacker think twice about advancing.Machine gun crews suffer from the same limitations as mortars – their effectiveness is dramatically increased by combining them with other machine gun crews at the expense of increased fragility and reduced flexibility.Note that the German MG-42 is a superior weapon as compared to the American Browning machine gun. Its superior rate of fire results in increased effectiveness against infantry. Despite the MG-42's increased firepower, the same considerations and guidelines apply to its use and deployment.Infantry form the backbone of any offensive or defensive strategy. Numerous, maneuverable, and effective when properly deployed and supported, infantry oftentimes are sufficient to overwhelm the enemy and complete mission objectives.For those times when they are not, commanders will have access to vehicles, which will be the subject of our next briefing.Dismissed!

Back to all news