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The Troop Guide to Units and Their Use

This guide is a small compilation of my thoughts on units and their use in The Troop. I thought it might be useful to some people, particularly beginners. Please don’t take what’s written here as an absolute truth, either historically or from a gameplay point of view, as there are more than likely other ways of approaching and viewing the game.

1. Infantry units

An unassuming guide to units and their role on the battlefield in The Troop

The infantry, “the queen of the battlefield”, is the only truly essential component of your force, the other types of unit generally being there only to support it. As a general rule, you can theoretically fight a battle with only infantry without the support of tanks or artillery, but not vice versa, as your infantrymen are given missions that only they can carry out to the best of their ability.

The missions of the infantry

In the defense

  • Occupying and holding terrain, by taking up positions in buildings, forest areas and other types of difficult terrain.
  • Providing intelligence on the enemy thanks to their relative stealth and ability to take cover in forward areas.
  • Ambushing and destroying enemy infantry as quickly as possible, and preferably only when a total destruction of the attacking unit is assured.
  • If necessary, ambushing and destroying any enemy vehicles that get too close.

In the attack

  • Occupying and securing the objectives by advancing through difficult areas (buildings, swamps, forest, etc.) and, if necessary, clearing the terrain of enemy infantry using hand grenades.
  • Revealing enemy positions by advancing to meet them.
  • Engaging in limited combat with enemy infantry, but not as a priority.

Thus, and most of the time, the “quality” of the infantry is secondary, as long as the men can advance, take up position and observe, leaving the combat itself to stationary heavy weapons or combat vehicles. In the attack however, veterans or elite infantry could justify their deployment cost, not by their “combat capabilities”, but by their ability to better withstand enemy suppressive fire.

In the event that only infantry is present on the battlefield, your men would obviously have to engage in direct combat with the enemy. This eventuality is highly unlikely, as in The Troop, even “infantry units” benefit from heavy armor support thanks to infantry tanks, tank destroyers and other assault guns.

Additionally, keep in mind that, to have a reasonable chance of successfully completing an assault, you will need to field at least three times as many troops as the defender, a difficult requirement to meet in this game. So, if the defenders manage to eliminate all your heavy equipment (tanks, cannons, etc.) while keeping some on their side, you can consider your assault almost already lost.

The types of infantry

Line infantry

I include here all ‘regular’ infantry, simply equipped with rifles, hand grenades, SMGs and possibly LMGs or GPMGs, regardless of their experience or quality. This is the main component of your force.

As mentioned above, their main role is generally not to fight directly while in the attack, leaving this role to your other units, primarily there to support them.

Anti-tank infantry

I have grouped under this term the PIAT/Panzerschreck team and regular infantry group equipped with Panzerfausts or an anti-tank chargse. Although they can fulfill more classic infantry missions (area control, scouting), their real interest lies in their ability to counter enemy heavy hardware (obviously).

To this end, they are ideally used in ambush tactics, thus predisposing them to defensive combat, since if they are sent forward in an assault, they would be sure to lose the surprise effect so essential to their success.

Specialized infantry

I’m referring here to snipers, flamethrower teams, and other highly specialized units. Their use is very situational, which makes their deployment cost difficult to justify most of the time, at least in my eyes.

2. Armored fighting vehicles (AFVs)

An unassuming guide to units and their role on the battlefield in The Troop

We are talking here about the “heavy metal” which constituted the majority of a self-respecting armored forces: Tanks, SPGs and other types of Assault Guns. They primarily serve as a “force multiplier,” improving the striking power of your troops.

The missions of the AFVs

In the defense

  • Targeting and destroying enemy heavy equipments (vehicles, fixed weapons).
  • As a secondary objective, applying suppressive or even destructive fire on enemy infantry.

In the attack

  • Targeting and destroying enemy heavy equipments (vehicles, fixed weapons).
  • Targeting and destroying entrenched enemy infantry.
  • Applying suppresive fire in order to support the progression of allied infantry.

In my playstyle, AFVs are tasked with engaging and destroying enemy forces, thus supporting infantry who must reveal their positions and occupy terrain once they have abandoned it.

Due to their nature, which essentially makes them large, moving metal boxes, they have little terrain control capability, making them very vulnerable to infantrymen, who could use hand grenades to harass them at close range.

So make sure that your armored vehicles are always supported by your own infantry, especially during an assault, where ambushes from anti-tank units are recurrent, and always ensure that neighboring buildings or forest areas are free of any threats.

While it is perfectly possible to conduct a successful defense without any armor support, I consider attempting the same for an attack to be very complicated, unless a clear advantage in numbers is on your side.

The types of AFVs

General purpose tanks and assault guns

I include in this category all AFVs capable of dealing with all threats with approximately equal effectiveness. These vehicles are expected to make up the bulk of our armed forces, as their versatility allows them to adapt relatively easily to changing battlefield situations. Thus, there are of equal (precious) help during the defense or the attack.

Note that German AFVs generally have guns better suited to anti-tank combat than those of the Allies. Most of the time, I do not advise the use of heavy tanks, as they are expensive and in a tank-to-tank fight, it is usually the first to land a successful shot that wins.

With its heavy frontal armor, hight velocity 75mm gun, good mobility and reasonnable deployment cost (and without its real life reliability issues), the Panther is in my opinion the best in this category, as it could almost be described as a turreted tank destroyer (like the soviets did in fact), while still being relevant against infantry thanks to its hull mounted MG.It fits with my strategy of prioritizing the destruction of enemy armor.

Exemples: Sherman tanks, Cromwell tanks, Panzer IV, Stug III, Tigers and Panthers

Tank destroyers

Tank Destroyers are AFVs specialized in anti-tank combat. They typically feature heavy frontal armor, powerful high-velocity guns, and sometimes no turret, allowing for a lower profile. Well adapted to ambush tactics, they are, however, very vulnerable to infantry, as their armament is not suited to the anti-personnel role and they are often open-topped.

Thus, TDs should be maintained behind the main force, waiting for the right moment to engage enemy equipment, with priority given to tanks.

Exemples: M10 tank destroyer, Sherman Firefly, Marder I, Jagdpanther

Infantry support tanks

I consider an IST any AFV equipped with weapons allowing it to effectively deal with entrenched infantry, such as howitzers, assault mortars and flamethrowers. As a highly specialized vehicle type, it is often best to let them behind in favor of more versatile units.

They could, however, sometimes be useful in attack, when their enormous firepower becomes necessary to dislodge heavily entrenched infantry, particularly in an urban environment.

I consider the Centaur to be the best in this category, as its large number of gunnery points allows it to adapt quickly in close combat, and its short gun is powerful while not suffering from the long loading process or limited range of other ISTs.

Exemples: Centaur IV CS, Churchill AVRE/Crocodile, Panzer III Flamethrower

3. Light vehicles

An unassuming guide to units and their role on the battlefield in The Troop

In this fairly broad category, I am referring to all lightly armored or even unarmored vehicles which are therefore generally not intended for direct combat, like light tanks, armored cars, APCs or trucks. They are nonetheless an important part of your force, especially in the assault. As a general rule, light vehicles should be kept as far away from combat as possible, due to their weak armor, resisting only small arms fire and shrapnel, when they have an armor…

The missions of light vehicles

In the defense

  • Help to relocate quickly troops from a position to an other.
  • For armed vehicles, acting as a rapid reaction force to reinforce the line where it needs (limited).

In the attack

  • Performing recon tasks.
  • Transporting infantry accross the battlefield and enabling it to quickly take forward positions.
  • For armed vehicles, engaging in some limited infantry support (not ideal, avoid if possible).

The types of light vehicles

Light armored vehicles

Light tanks, armored cars, and other types of lightly armored vehicles assist the main force by providing information on the enemy’s position, thus taking advantage of their high mobility. Although they are often equipped with some sort of weaponry, it should generally only be used for self-defense purposes.

Technically, they could engage in limited combat actions if the enemy is not properly equipped to deal with armored threats, but this remains a rare occurrence.

Exemples: Daimler AC, Dingo AC, Stuart light tank, Sd.Kfz 234 armored car

Armored personnal carriers

APCs, sometimes nicknamed “war taxis”, provide your infantrymen with much-welcome additional tactical mobility, allowing them to keep pace with the tanks. Some might ask why spend valuable deployment potential on a dedicated APC when infantry could simply ride on a tank, a tactic known as “desant”. However, I do not recommend this method, as the infantry quite obviously finds itself on the wrong side of the armor while riding it (in The Troop, even if you can’t see your men ON the tank, the game still consider that they lack cover, meaning that even attack with small arms could result in casualities). Additionally, a tank is much more likely to attract fire due to its inherent nature, while being much slower than a dedicated APC.

As they are very mobile and sometimes even armed, it is possible to use APCs as improvised reconnaissance vehicles, once their infantry has disembarked (obviously). However, keep in mind that their open configuration makes them very vulnerable to infantry attacks.

Exemples: Universal Carrier, Half-track M5, Sd.Kfz 251 half-track

Unarmored vehicles

This category includes all types of unarmored cars and trucks, which benefit from a low deployment cost. Although totally unsuitable for combat, they can still be useful for quickly moving troops in position during the early stages of a battle. After this initial phase, they should only be used to transport units in fully controlled areas.

Although you could sometimes see jeeps or kubelwagens used as reconnaissance vehicles, I strongly advise against it, as any attack will destroy the vehicle and/or kill its crew.

Exemples: Jeep, Kubelwagen and other regular trucks

4. Heavy weapons

An unassuming guide to units and their role on the battlefield in The Troop

I group in this last part all the non-motorized weapons which must be put in place to be able to fire, such as MMGs, mortars (or mortar observation stations), automatic cannons, anti-tank or infantry support guns.

Although they appear rather primitive at first glance, most of these weapons retain a role on a mechanized battlefield in my opinion, even if their static nature generally limits them to defensive roles. Thus, I made the difference between the mortar, an almost essential complement to your force whether you attack or defend, and the other fixed weapons, useful only in the latter case.

The missions of heavy weapons

In the defense

  • Ambushing and destroying advancing enemy infantry and armor as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The mission of the mortar

  • Harassing the enemy from afar, with an emphasis on clusters of infantry and/or open-topped vehicles.
  • In the attack, targeting stationary enemy weapons.
  • Covering allied advances by creating smoke screens.
  • Engaging in counter-battery fire against enemy mortar teams (to be effective, you will need at least two tubes per enemy you wish to suppress)

The types of heavy weapons

Mortars

I start with what is, in my opinion, the most important fixed weapon in the game: the mortar (which can be supplemented or replaced by observers for off-map medium mortars). As noted above, mortars can engage in a wide variety of important missions which, in the absence of heavier artillery alternatives, they are the only ones capable of executing. This is more than enough to justify their fairly low deployment cost.

Just keep in mind that without proper observers (“HQ” groups or tanks) on the battlefield, their effect might be somewhat limited.

Autocannons, anti-tank and infantry support guns

These types are, in my opinion, the least useful when it comes to heavy weapons. While their firepower can match or even exceed that of tanks or self-propelled vehicles for only a fraction of the cost, their lack of mobility constitutes a serious disadvantage, since some, like the German 88mm, cannot even be moved after the start of the battle.

This makes them sitting ducks for enemy AFVs and mortars, more or less dooming them once they reveal their position. The best defense lies not in armor, but in stealth, and when that is lost, in mobility, so I see deployment resources better spent on tank destroyers and/or SPGs rather than on fixed guns.

MMGs

After my unflattering statements against cannons in the previous part, one would imagine that my argument about Medium machine guns would be similar. However, MMGs have two critical advantages over these types of weapons : firstly, they can take position in buildings or forested areas, making them much more difficult to spot and destroy, and second, they are just as mobile as any other infantry unit, which mitigates the biggest disadvantage of heavy weapons.

This is why I consider MMGs to be worth their (small) cost in defense.

Written by ADN

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