In Company of Heroes 2, victory is largely determined by the quality of tactical decisions you make throughout a battle. Understanding a unit’s capabilities and how to employ it alongside complementary units is an important skill to develop. In Multiplayer, the tactical decisions available to you are expanded through the use of Commanders that provide access to unique units and abilities.
Infantry and Combined Arms
You can analyze a Grenadier squad as an independent unit. It can beat Engineers one-on-one, it can beat Conscripts at long range, it can beat Mortars and AT guns. A Grenadier squad suffers against Snipers, it is shut down by HMGs, it has limited effectiveness against vehicles, with its Panzerfaust primarily disabling rather than destroying them. Its Rifle Grenade can be useful against Snipers and HMGs if it manages a good hit, but it’s not something to rely upon. It can acquire an LMG42 upgrade to increase its effectiveness against infantry so long as it remains stationary, which allows it to excel at its main role but provides no increased flexibility, and incentivizes you to use it more defensively.
Now, consider a group of units that consists of a Panzergrenadier squad with Panzerschrecks, a Pioneer squad with a Flamethrower, and a Half-track to carry them both. It’s not important that Pioneers are ineffective at destroying vehicles because their role in this group is to clear infantry from buildings, repair the Half-track, and attack infantry that try to rush the Panzergrenadiers or Half-track. It’s also not a concern that the Panzergrenadiers give up some of their offensive power against infantry when they get the Panzerschreck upgrade because both the Half-track and Pioneer squad can make up for it. I look at a group like this as a highly mobile and highly versatile assault force particularly suited for capturing points in lightly defended territory (usually flanks) where you’re unlikely to find a combined arms force. Players typically capture territory on flanks with individual infantry squads and defend them with infantry or HMGs garrisoned in buildings. Once they see their point is under attack, the first units to respond are generally light vehicles, medium vehicles, and infantry squads—weapon teams, Snipers, heavy tanks, and AT guns are too slow. Light vehicles are a major problem for infantry without anti-tank weapons, and they are strong counters to Half-tracks—Soviet examples are an M3A1 Scout Car with an infantry squad of some sort firing out of it, a Half-track with one or two infantry squads firing out of it, a T-70 light tank, or a T-34 medium tank.
So how do you use this group of units? Send them to a lightly defended point. The Half-track is there for mobility, both to get to the point quickly and to escape if need be. It also allows your infantry squads to reinforce in the field, meaning you’ll always win fights against enemy infantry so long as they don’t vastly outnumber you simply because you can replace your loses. Such a group should not engage defensive positions of HMGs and AT guns, or attempt to fight in protracted battles.
Commander Analysis: Jaeger Infantry Doctrine
Infantry and indirect fire define this Commander. Through the available upgrades and Tactical Movement, your infantry will be more versatile and the core of your army.
Ambush Camouflage is best used by Panzergrenadiers for one of two purposes. They can hide in cover after capturing an enemy sector that you know will be retaken, or in a well-traveled area, wait for an enemy infantry squad to come near. When close, the combination of a well-placed Bundled Grenade and an MP44 charge will shred through all but elite infantry. Alternatively, with Panzerschrecks Panzergrenadiers can hide in cover to ambush vehicles along roads. Vehicle ambushes are best executed in conjunction with another infantry squad, like Grenadiers, that functions as bait for a vehicle like a T-34.
The Jaeger Light Infantry upgrade is best suited to Grenadiers as it provides rifles that are powerful at range, and in combination with the LMG42 upgrade your Grenadier squads will be extremely deadly.
Tactical Movement is a relatively inexpensive utility ability that allows your infantry to perform better during attacks. For example, when executing a multi-pronged attack against a fortified position you’ll be less susceptible to Mortar and artillery barrages, and you may be able to rush through HMG firing arcs before being suppressed.
Finally, the Light Artillery Barrage and Stuka Close Air Support abilities can be used against fortified positions or to weaken an enemy force immediately before an attack. Much of your army composition should be fairly obvious by now: Grenadiers and Panzergrenadiers. I’d recommend putting the focus on a mobile infantry force because you can always use your upgraded Grenadiers to defend areas when necessary, and reduce the need for HMGs. You’ll likely want a Half-track for forward reinforcement, and an AT Gun will be important for countering T-34s unless you have the Fuel income for a StuG near the time when the first one or two T-34s arrive.
As most of your upgrades take effect in the mid game, I’d recommend keeping the pressure on your opponent by using the medium tanks and assault gun from the Support Armor Korps rather than waiting to build more expensive tanks from the Heavy Panzer Korps. StuGs and Panzer IVs can support your infantry well, or you can build a fast Ostwind to seal the victory if your early game was especially strong. The safest choice is a StuG first as it is available earliest and will provide a great deal of staying power to your infantry in countering vehicles.