Airborne Infantry (Paratroopers) Squad
|Role||Elite Heavy Infantry|
|Men per Squad||6|
|Upkeep per Minute||
-2.4 (per man)|
-14.4 (full squad)
|Prereq.||Airborne Company: Paratroopers|
|Produced By||None; Called-in from the field|
|Cost to Reinforce||
|Health per Man||70|
|Basic Weapon||6x .30 Cal M1 Carbine Rifle|
|Open Weapon Slots||4|
|Max. Speed||3 m/s|
The Airborne Squad (also known as Paratroopers) is a 6-man air-dropped elite infantry squad, fielded by the American Airborne Company in Company of Heroes. Initially armed for infantry combat, Airborne Squads have several useful combat abilities which enable them to cause a lot of destruction behind enemy lines. They can even be outfitted with powerful anti-tank launchers to harass and destroy enemy vehicles. Airborne Squads can reinforce anywhere on the map, making it possible for them to hold distant positions against enemy retaliation until help can arrive.
- 1 Overview
- 2 Weapons
- 3 Production
- 4 Abilities
- 5 Upgrades
- 6 Veterancy
- 7 Tactics
- 8 Quotes
- 9 Gallery
The American Airborne Company bases much of its strength on surprise attacks. Half of its abilities are related to aerial attacks with P-47 Thunderbolt planes, but it's the other half that provides the true potential for surprise attacks: the ability to land Airborne Squads and M1 57mm Anti Tank Guns behind enemy lines. The Airborne Squad itself performs a similar role to that of Ranger Squads, serving as powerful anti-tank troops with good anti-infantry capabilities thrown in.
The ability to call in an Airborne Squad is unlocked when the player purchases the Paratroopers Global Upgrade from the Airborne Company Command Tree - a cheap upgrade often purchased very early on. The ability (called "Airborne Infantry") costs 375, 6 to use, and will call in a single Airborne Squad. Naturally, a drop zone must be selected.
The Airborne Squad will parachute down into the targeted location, a process preceded by a green smoke flare, and taking up to 13 seconds to complete. While the Paratroopers are making their landing, they are vulnerable to several different weapons (mostly anti-aircraft guns) who can rapidly kill them. Once on the ground, the squad's innate defensive bonuses kick in, making them very hard to kill.
The Airborne Squad can be dropped into any visible location on the map (i.e. not inside the Fog-of-War). The drop is often preceded by an Air Reconnaissance run with a P-47 Thunderbolt to reveal the target area, or the use of other scouting units (like a camouflaged Sniper). The area around the drop zone will become fully revealed almost immediately, since the Airborne Squad's sight-range is applied as soon as they begin their drop. Note that the plane carrying these troops makes a high-flight, and is neither visible nor attackable.
The Airborne Squad consists of 6 elite infantrymen, each carrying an M1 Carbine Semi-Automatic Rifle. With these weapons the team can fight off most smaller infantry units at infantry-engagement range (15–20 meters). This squad relies more on its combat abilities, of which it has three: a Mk2 Fragmentation Grenade for taking out enemy Weapon Teams, a Satchel Charge for destroying enemy emplacements and buildings (and even stationary vehicles!), and the Fire-Up ability which allows the team to shrug off enemy Suppression-fire.
More importantly however, the team receives great defensive bonuses from its "Airborne" Infantry Type. It is overall much harder to hit with most weapons, suffers much less suppression than other units, and even receives damage reduction against many opponents. Coupled with a Maximum Health of 70 (higher than any other American unit), this team can survive very dangerous situations and overwhelming odds, even when outnumbered.
When resources become available, it is possible to purchase an upgrade called M18 57mm Recoilless Rifle which will outfit the unit with two of its titular launchers. This allows the Airborne Squad to effectively combat enemy vehicles - possibly even enemy tanks - on its own or with extra support from other units.
Tactically, Airborne Squads are often used to grab hold of an enemy's territory by making a surprise air-drop and grabbing control of a Strategic Point before the enemy can react. Their sector-capture rate is 125% of normal, making this a relatively speedy process. M1 57mm Anti Tank Guns can be paradropped into the same sector to fend off enemy vehicles while the Airborne Squad takes cover to defend the new position - with the hope of holding it until reinforcements can arrive.
This sort of tactic is further augmented by the fact that Airborne Squads can reinforce themselves anywhere on the battlefield, unlike other infantry units which need to seek out a reinforcement point or be constantly escorted by a vulnerable halftrack or other similar vehicle. This allows the Airborne Squad to keep moving after its initial objectives have been met, harassing enemy units inside their own territory and reinforcing themselves each time a man falls in battle. A skilled player can have several such units operating alone behind enemy lines for a considerably long period of time.
Otherwise, Airborne Squads can also augment other infantry or vehicles during assaults. They are excellent at almost any role that can be assigned to them in combat, especially when the M18 57mm Recoilless Rifles have been purchased. Surprise flanking attacks made by dropping in Airborne Squads behind the enemy's position during an attack can turn a hopeless battle into a glorious victory.
Initially, all Airborne Squads are outfitted with .30 Cal M1 Carbine Semi-Automatic Rifles - the standard "short" rifle for American infantry units. It is a solid weapon for protracted mid-range encounters, and can defeat enemies at short range as long as they are not armed with SMGs.
Like other infantry squads, this unit can pick up additional abandoned weapons from the battlefield, but it is usually better off purchasing the M18 57mm Recoilless Rifle, which will grant it two anti-tank launchers. These weapons are very dangerous to tanks, and can pierce armor from any direction.
.30 Cal M1 Carbine Semi-Automatic Rifle
The .30 Cal M1 Carbine is a "short" magazine-fed semi-automatic rifle. Each member of the Airborne Squad carries one of these rifles by default, when first entering the battlefield.
The M1 Carbine is a solid mid-range weapon, intended for firefights at a range of about 15–20 meters. It has a good firing rate for a non-automatic rifle, with one shot every 2 seconds or so. Its magazine holds 10 bullets, requiring a short 3-second reload once spent.
Each bullet that hits its target inflicts 7 points of damage - a relatively low amount given the firing rate. Nonetheless, with 6 squad-members firing simultaneously, the damage output is pretty good compared to other infantry squads. Suppression values leave something to be desired, but then this is a semi-automatic weapon anyway.
Furthermore, of all infantry-carried weapons in the game, the M1 Carbine suffers the smallest Accuracy penalty while the squad is moving. This can be used to your advantage, since the Airborne Squad is also very difficult to hit while it's on the move. In other words, as long as the squad keeps moving around, it can return fire easily at enemy targets while becoming very difficult to kill itself.
For best effect, you'll need to know which weapons your enemy is using. Enemies armed with long rifles (like the Kar98k) should be engaged in close combat. Enemies with SMGs should be fought from a distance. Machine guns and other automatic weapons will put the M1 Carbines to shame, but that's what Mk2 Grenades are for.
M18 57mm Recoilless Rifle
The M18 57mm Recoilless Rifle is not an infantry rifle as the name suggests: it is a powerful anti-tank launcher, utilizing then-state-of-the-art technology to reduce recoil to a minimum, stabilizing the weapon and its projectile while providing much greater accuracy compared to rocket-propelled anti tank weapons at the cost of range and warhead size. The 'rifle' part of the name refers to the rifling inside the weapon, making it more accurate than similar types of weapons.
The Airborne Squad is outfitted with two of these weapons when the namesake upgrade is purchased (or one, if the unit has fewer than 4 Open Weapon Slots available at the time). They will replace two of the default M1 Carbines.
The 57mm warhead fired from this weapon is not very powerful, delivering only 78 points of damage per hit - assuming the target was hit directly. The blast has a radius of 1.5 meters, so it can cause damage on near misses as well, and can kill infantry if they are close to the impact point, but the launcher is very inaccurate against infantry and will rarely hit them dead-on. It is also quite inaccurate against other targets, requiring the unit to get within 15 meters of the target for any reliable chance to hit.
On the upside, this weapon has amazing Penetration abilities: it will go through just about any tank armor with a 100% success-rate, regardless of which side you fire it from. Only the heaviest tanks, like the Panther or Tiger has strong enough armor to deflect this warhead, and then only about 25% of the time! Flanking such tanks will usually increase Penetration chance to 100%.
The M18 Recoilless Rifle must be reloaded after each shot, a process taking about 8 seconds. Since there are normally two such launchers per Airborne Squad, damage output is still high regardless, with one warhead per every 4 seconds on average. This can bring down an enemy vehicle rather rapidly, assuming the Airborne Squad can maintain its firing position long enough, and is close enough to hit with each shot.
The maximum range of the M18 Recoilless Rifle is 35 meters. The recoilless rifle is unique in that it has very low scatter. What this means is that all shots fired will have very little deviation. If the game rolls a miss, the very low scatter will mean that the fired round is still on a collision course with its intended target, causing a hit despite the game rolling a miss. This translates to the recoilless rifle having very high accuracy against all tanks in the game, even at maximum range. This does not apply to light vehicles like pumas or armored cars, which lack hitboxes and cannot function as targets for missed shots.
Note: When an infantryman holding an M18 Recoilless Rifle is killed, and there is no other squad-member available to pick the weapon up, there is a 40% chance of the weapon being dropped and becoming abandoned. Other infantry squads (friendly or enemy) can pick this weapon up if they have at least 2 Open Weapon Slots.
The Airborne Squad can construct Observation Posts on captured Strategic Points. Unfortunately, this is no more useful for this squad than for Riflemen Squads, as the structure cannot be built on unconnected sector points (i.e. deep behind enemy lines).
Note: Airborne Squads can capture sectors deep behind enemy lines, but Observation Posts cannot be built in a sector that is not directly connected to your territory. Since Airborne Squads spend most of their time in such locations, and shouldn't waste their time on construction in friendly territory when they could be harassing the enemy, this is not a very useful ability for this team.
Even with the M18 57mm Recoilless Rifle upgrade, the Airborne Squad is not the best anti-infantry unit when going by weapons alone. Instead, the squad has three different combat abilities that enable to quickly destroy enemy infantry and structures during combat. These abilities can be used very effectively for hit-and-run attacks as well.
- Requires the Mk2 Grenades Global Upgrade from the Barracks
- Costs 25
- Activation: Select Ground
- Cooldown: 15 seconds
When the Throw Grenade ability is activated, select any point on the ground. The Airborne Squad will move to within 15 meters of that point, whereby one of the squad members will pull out a Mk.2 "Pineapple" Hand Grenade and lob it at the target spot.
1.2 seconds after the grenade hits the target, it will explode with a damage output of 60 - enough to kill an infantryman. The radius of the explosion is 4.5 meters, though the 60-point maximum damage is inflicted only on targets on top of the grenade itself. Other targets receive diminishing damage, down to only 20 points at the outer radius. Still, there is good likelihood to instantly kill any already-injured infantryman caught within the blast radius regardless of how far away he is.
Due to the time it takes to throw the grenade, and the time it takes for it to detonate, this weapon is primarily useful against stationary targets, including infantry behind cover and inside buildings. Weapon Teams are especially susceptible to this attack, since they cannot quickly get away. In fact, this is one of the best ways to get rid of an enemy MG42 Heavy Machine Gun Team.
Note that grenades do cause damage to vehicles, and have some (small) chance of destroying a vehicle's secondary weapon (if it has one) or damage its mobility. However, actual damage is negligible to vehicles, and significantly reduced against enemy armor. It's usually better to restrict the use of grenades to infantry targets only.
- Costs nothing
- Activation: Immediate
- Duration: 15 seconds
- Cooldown: 60 seconds
When this ability is activated, all Suppression effects are removed from the Airborne Squad immediately, returning it to normal combat state. For the next 15 seconds, the squad is completely immune to suppression fire, regardless of how heavy it is. The squad continues to receive damage, but won't become suppressed or pinned down.
In addition, the squad-members will move at running speed regardless of the terrain, nearby explosions, etcetera, for the duration of this effect.
Use this ability primarily to break suppression on the unit, allowing it to fire back at its enemies. More importantly, use it to give you a short window in which you can charge at an enemy position and take it out. This is especially useful when you plan to use a Mk2 Grenade or Satchel Charge to take the enemy out, because you'll need to get pretty close in order to do so. Alternately, use the ability to disengage from combat instead of using a full retreat.
This ability is invaluable in taking out MG42 Heavy Machine Gun Teams and other similar anti-infantry units. Of course, since this provides no actual protection from damage, expect one or more Paratroopers to become casualty during such a frontal assault - but it's better than retreating to base or losing the entire team due to heavy suppression fire.
The unit will be marked with overhead icons while this effect is in progress, as well as white lights strobing underneath the team-members. This allows you to spot your "Fired-Up" team easily, and tell at a glance when this effect is over.
However, this ability has its drawbacks. After 15 seconds, squad suffers from several negative penalties. For next 10 seconds, Airborne squad will move much slower. Weapon reload will be longer by 50%. Fire rate of whole unit will also suffer, because each weapon will fire slower by 50%. This fact should be taken under consideration, while using this ability. Airborne squad should have time for safe retreat from enemy sight, after executed action.
When this ability is activated, select any visible point on the ground (not in the Fog-of-War). The Airborne Squad will move to within 18 meters of that target, whereupon one of the Paratroopers will throw a large pack of dynamite at the target.
Once the Satchel Charge impacts with its selected target, a 5-second fuse will begin to count down. When it runs out, the bomb will detonate with extremely powerful force, taking out or heavily damaging any unit within its radius.
The blast radius for this bomb is 5 meters. Units within the first 4 meters will receive the full impact of the explosion: 300 damage points. This is easily enough to kill infantry, and will automatically penetrate any vehicle as well. Units 4–5 meters away from the blast point will receive anywhere down to 150 points of damage - still enough to kill infantry and hurt vehicles badly.
The explosion only causes about 250 points of damage to structures, but this is still a hefty amount. Furthermore, Wehrmacht Bunkers and Observation Posts receive a whopping 450 points of damage - making this bomb excellent in removing them from your path. If necessary, consider throwing two bombs simultaneously (assuming you have two Airborne Squads available) to ensure a building's destruction. This is very useful when attacking the enemy's base.
Due to the 5-second fuse, this bomb is not very useful against enemy vehicles or infantry in the open - unless you think the enemy isn't going to react quickly enough. This bomb is best used against structures, garrisoned Infantry and Weapon Teams.
- Costs 260
- Requires the Airborne Squad to garrison a neutral structure.
- Requires the garrisoned structure to be inside captured and connected territory.
- Activation: Through the Garrisoned Structure's menu.
- Takes 30 seconds to complete
When an Airborne Squad enters a neutral structure that's inside captured and connected territory, this ability appears in that structure's menu.
Activating this ability begins a 30-second upgrade period, at the end of which the building will be converted into a Forward Barracks.
A Forward Barracks has two functions: reinforcing infantry, and constructing new units.
Reinforcement here works the same as it does at the American Headquarters: any infantry units which have lost one or more men can move to within 25 meters of the Forward Barracks, and will be able to replace any lost men for a nominal cost.
Unit production is possible here as well. Initially, the Forward Barracks can only produce new Engineer Squads. As more American base structures are constructed back at the HQ Territory, new production options will become enabled at the Forward Barracks:
|Existing Base Structure||Unit Production Unlocked|
|American Headquarters||Engineer Squad|
|Weapons Support Center||Mortar Team|
|Heavy Machine Gun Team|
|Motor Pool||M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun|
These units cost the same amount of resources as they do when produced from their appropriate base structures. They will appear next to the Forward Barracks when production is completed.
Note that all unit production at a Forward Barracks is suspended if the sector it's in ever falls into enemy hands. You must recapture the sector to re-enable unit production.
Also note that converting a structure into a Forward Barracks changes its ownership to American. The enemy cannot Garrison this structure with infantry. In fact, enemy infantry will be able to "un-convert" the structure back to a neutral structure, given time and opportunity, so you will need to protect your Forward Barracks from this possibility.
Although they are quite dangerous with their basic weapons and combat abilities, Airborne Squads are not quite at their full potential until they receive the M18 57mm Recoilless Rifle upgrade. Though expensive, this upgrade outfits the unit with one or two anti-tank launchers can be used effectively to knock out enemy vehicles from any angle.
- Costs 125
- Requires at least 2 Open Weapon Slots
- Takes up 2 or 4 Weapon Slots as available
- Takes 45 seconds to install
Upon purchase of this upgrade, the Airborne Squad receives either one or two M18 57mm Recoilless Rifles - powerful but inaccurate anti-tank launchers. This weapon adds a crucial anti-tank capability to the unit, allowing it to make strong attacks against enemy vehicles and armor - especially when several Airborne Squads are working together with each other or with other support units.
The number of Recoilless Rifles given to the unit depends on how many Open Weapon Slots it has when the upgrade is purchased. Two of these weapons are given if the squad is still at its original 4 Open Weapon Slots; only one weapon when it has 2 or 3 slots available.
Note that it's not always the best idea to purchase this upgrade for each Airborne Squad. It's often better to locate enemy weapons, like the Panzerschreck or anti-infantry weapons like the MG42 Light Machine Gun or Browning Automatic Rifle to create a better anti-infantry squad. Mixing up units with anti-infantry and anti-tank weaponry will allow several Airborne Squads to work very well together as a single group.
Like all other American units, the Airborne Squad obtains Veterancy points by killing enemy units. It receives 100% of the experience value of each unit it kills. Once it has accumulated a sufficient number of Veterancy points, it will automatically advance to the next level, gaining the related bonuses immediately.
American units do not share Veterancy points with one another. To receive points, the unit must personally kill an enemy unit.
At each Veterancy level, the Airborne Squad gains a specific set of bonuses as listed below. These bonuses are cumulative with each other.
|Level 1 Veterancy:
|Level 2 Veterancy:
|Level 3 Veterancy:
With its diverse combat abilities, high survivability, strong weapon upgrade, the ability to enter the battlefield at any location, and the ability to reinforce at any given time, the Airborne Squad is one of the most versatile - if not most useful - infantry units available to any faction. As a result, outlining all tactics that could be served by this unit is complicated: it can fill many different roles and perform many different maneuvers. The only real limit is strategic imagination.
Nonetheless, it's possible to generalize some of the more useful tactics available to its unit, capitalizing on the above advantages it possesses.
Tactical considerations begin in the air-drop itself. This unit can be placed anywhere on the map - as long as you can clear the fog-of-war from that area. There are several methods to doing this, which are covered below. Depending on the initial mission you want this unit to accomplish, your selection of drop-zones can differ radically:
- You can deploy Airborne Squads in your own territory. This gives them safety during the landing, and once on the ground they can join your other units as powerful infantry, assisting in assaults or defensive operations, and perhaps looking for ways to get into enemy territory on foot or by M3 Halftrack.
- A "Shallow" deployment is more common: paradropping a squad just behind enemy lines to create a pincer strike, with the Airborne Squad attacking the enemy from the rear while other units assault it frontally. If resources are available, it's possible to land several squads along with M1 57mm Anti Tank Guns to capture and hold an enemy sector by surprise, while your other units breach forward to link up to that sector.
- A "Deep" insertion can be used to initiate harassment of the enemy. Airborne Squads will move through enemy territory, attacking any exposed units they come across. If you can afford to send in several squads simultaneously, it is possible to mount a direct offensive against the enemy's base this way.
If the designated drop zone is deep within enemy territory, acquiring line-of-sight to the drop zone can be tricky, of course. The easiest but most expensive way of doing this is by ordering an Air Recon flyby over the target area. Unless the enemy has plenty of anti-aircraft weapons, it is unlikely that he can stop this move.
Alternately, Snipers can attempt to infiltrate enemy territory using their camouflage ability to acquire line-of-sight. This can be the more tactically-sound approach, as Snipers will work very well together with an Airborne Squad on harassment missions, acting as forward scouts to keep the Airborne Squad safe as it moves.
On "shallow" landings, the use of a Jeep may be better - assuming you can keep it alive. Jeeps have a very long line-of-sight, and can quickly move into enemy territory just to make eye-contact with the target area, then quickly retreat to safety.
Never land your Paratroopers anywhere near an enemy anti-aircraft gun (such as a Flakvierling 38 20mm AA or Wirbelwind Flakpanzer): these guns can shoot your troopers out of they air as they make their descent!
The Pincer Strike
Airborne Squads can paradrop behind an enemy position to provide a sudden flanking force in support of another assault group. While the assault group (infantry, armor, whatever you have) attacks the enemy from the front, the Paratroopers land behind them to create the titular "Pincer".
In a pincer strike, the Airborne Squad takes advantage of the confusion to wipe the enemy out as quickly as possible, often employing Mk2 Grenades to knock out any particularly threatening units like enemy Pak 38 50mm Anti-tank Guns or MG42 Heavy Machine Gun Teams. They can quickly destroy a Bunker or other enemy-occupied building with Satchel Charges to remove it from the assault's path.
This maneuver requires speed and good coordination. If you need a pincer strike to take out an enemy position at all, it means your main assault force won't last long under the firepower coming from that position. This means your Airborne Squad needs to neutralize the enemy units quickly. It also means that you must time your airborne landing perfectly to coincide with the attack. If the Paratroopers land too soon, they'll be engaged by the enemy and might be wiped out too soon. Alternately, if they land too late, your assault force may take too many casualties from the enemy position.
You can also try reversing this by drawing fire to your paratroopers and then striking the enemy from the other side with your main assault force. Remember that Airborne Squads are tough, and if they take proper cover and use Fire-Up at the right time, they might be able to survive long enough to pull off this trick.
The Land Grab
On D-Day, many airborne units were tasked with occupying and controlling a piece of ground, holding it against enemy counter-attacks until friendly units could arrive to link up with them. The American campaign mission in Carentan portrays one such situation that actually occurred shortly after the invasion. You can duplicate this maneuver, on a smaller scale, using Airborne Squads.
To perform this tactic, you'll need to locate a position behind enemy lines that has a high strategic value. For example, a high-yield Strategic Point or one that links several enemy sectors to the enemy's HQ would be a good example. The important point is not to strike too deep, since your other units will need to link up to this sector sooner rather than later to avoid losing it to repeated enemy counter-attacks.
Once a target is selected, acquire line-of-sight to it and paradrop as many units as you can afford (and/or need), including M1 57mm Anti Tank Guns and possibly Supply Drops to equip your troops with mortars and machine guns. Immediately get to work capturing the Strategic Point and setting up an ambush for the impending enemy counter-offensive.
Naturally, sectors with no defensible cover or ambient structures could prove impossible to defend properly, so try to do this where plenty of cover is available. Put your stronger units (Machine Guns and Anti Tank Guns) in a defensive position, with the Paratroopers holding the perimeter. Expect the enemy to come from any direction, and in large force.
While your Airborne Squads are making their valiant defense, do not neglect executing the primary assault that will link their sector with the rest of your territory, using the remainder of your units. You'll need to act fast if the Paratroopers are to survive more than one or two counter-attacks. Push with as much force as you can make available, and if possible push from the other direction with any available Paratroopers. During the confusion, you can attempt to rush a Riflemen Squad or Engineer Squad through enemy lines into the Paratroopers' sector to begin fortifying it immediately.
If you act quickly and plan your assault well in advance, you could nab two or three sectors with such an assault, leaving the enemy utterly confused and at a disadvantage.
The Base Raid
Airborne Squads are exceptionally good at making surprise raids on the enemy's own headquarters. To do so, they will need to attack in force and with complete surprise. Using their Satchel Charges, they can cause a lot of damage with such a raid.
Begin by scouting out the enemy's base to figure out a good entry path - preferably one that circumvents his base defenses. You can perform an Air Recon mission to get the details you need, but it's usually better to get a Sniper to the area to maintain constant line-of-sight with the enemy base. You'll want to strike when the base has only few troops inside if any.
Land several Airborne Squads at a location close to the enemy base, far from any structure or unit that may spot you as you land. The more squads you can get for this attack - the better. If you have Airborne Squads performing harassment inside enemy territory, you can pull those in as well - as long as you don't tip your enemy off to the impending attack.
When the enemy base is left undefended (such as when the enemy is attempting to attack your own territory), rush your units in. If you have enough units, try to eliminate base defensive structures first, and any base defenders loitering about as well.
All other units must begin throwing their Satchel Charges at the enemy structures. You can either go for the weakest structures first (since they are easiest to destroy), or throw several charges at the most expensive ones, like tank-production facilities.
Use camouflaged Snipers to watch the perimeter and give you early warning against enemy units returning to protect their base. If the enemy only sends weak units, eliminate them as they come. If the enemy responds in force, clear out in as many different directions as possible. You may wish to order a general retreat once your units are far enough away. Alternatively, any units that are not immediately pursued by the enemy can simply move to some hidden location, reinforce, and set up for harassment missions or even another base attack.
Due to their ability to reinforce anywhere, Airborne Squads can spend a surprisingly long time inside enemy territory. While they cannot camouflage like Fallschirmjäger Squads, and cannot see all enemy movement like Commandos, they rely on sheer survivability. While inside enemy territory, Airborne Squads can attack weak units or positions, capture or neutralize exposed Strategic Points, and perform ambushes against enemy movement.
The best way to start a Harassment mission is to land one or more Airborne Squads in a safe position inside enemy territory. Find a location far from any Strategic Point, preferably behind some solid cover so that passing enemy units will not auto-target them. Alternatively, you can land the Airborne Squad inside your own territory to purchase M18 Recoilless Rifles for them, but this would then require you to get them into enemy territory on foot.
To make eye-contact with the drop zone, it is best to use Snipers. The Sniper will then join up with the Airborne Squad, serving as their eyes and ears. Performing harassment without a Sniper - or more than one - is much more difficult and dangerous.
Use the Snipers to scout ahead of the unit. Try to locate exposed enemy troops or undefended positions. Also, use snipers to help your Airborne Squads avoid enemy patrols and lines of sight as they move.
When a target is found, attack quickly and annihilate it rapidly. Use grenades and satchel charges if necessary. It is often best to attack only solitary enemy units, and Weapon Teams easily make the best targets as they can rarely fight back effectively. If infantry are encountered, consider exposing your Sniper to assist with killing them.
Grab any weapons you can and evacuate immediately. The enemy will surely respond with force, so try to get your Paratroopers as far away as possible. If you've grabbed any team weapon you wish to keep for later, try getting it out of enemy territory if possible, while protected by the Airborne Squad. Captured Machine Guns can join the Paratroopers to operate together, mortars less so. Captured Nebelwerfer 41s and Pak 38 50mm Anti-tank Guns should be retreated if possible, as they won't survive long on the move inside enemy territory.
If you can find an exposed Strategic Point, you can try grabbing it. A single Satchel Charge will reduce an Observation Post to rubble, if one is blocking your path. Proceed to capture the Strategic Point. Keep your Snipers alert on the perimeter, to spot the enemy's response force before it arrives. Pull your Paratroopers out immediately when the enemy is spotted, whether or not you managed to take the sector at all.
After harassment is done, withdraw back to a safe position. Don't forget to reinforce any lost men as quickly as you can, to keep your unit in good fighting form. Once regrouped, organize a new harassment mission.
Picking Up Abandoned Weapons
Airborne Squads should always be on the lookout to capture fallen enemy weapons. Any weapon you can find will be a fantastic benefit to this unit, as its default weapons are pretty weak.
Light machine guns, like the MG42 LMG or Browning Automatic Rifle are often a great choice, as are Wehrmacht Panzerschrecks (the Panzer Elite ones are good, but an Airborne Squad can only carry one) and other fallen launchers. Remember that you cannot pick up small-arms if your Airborne Squad has been outfitted with M18 Recoilless Rifles.
Team Weapons are also a great boon when they are found. The main reason for this is that when Paratroopers capture such a weapon, they are still Paratroopers, and thus benefit from the great "Airborne" Infantry Type, making them very hard to kill. They are often considerably more survivable than the weapon's original crew. This is true for both friendly and enemy Team Weapons you can capture.
You can even exploit this by getting your own Weapon Team crewmen killed, and taking the weapon over with an Airborne Squad. The resulting Weapon Team will have a much better chance of surviving under enemy fire, making it considerably more useful in heavy combat. Note that Mortars don't benefit so much from this, as they rarely see direct combat anyway. Both Heavy Machine Guns and Anti Tank Guns, however, will benefit greatly from a Paratrooper crew.
As an infantry unit, the Airborne Squad can be killed with just about any weapon. Dedicated anti-infantry weapons, like Sniper Rifles, Machine Guns, Mortars and Flamethrowers are the greatest danger.
Nonetheless, the Airborne Squad's high Maximum Health, coupled with its innate "Airborne" Infantry Type, make it very difficult to kill even with such weapons. This is exceptionally true for anti-tank cannons, as well as some ordinary tank guns, which are extremely unlikely to hit the unit at all.
Additionally, once a Paratrooper is killed, the unit can be reinforced regardless of where it is on the map. Make use of this often, if you can afford it at all: these are some of the most expensive infantrymen in the game.
When facing Suppression Fire, always remember the Fire-Up ability: it can save the squad's life, and allow it to destroy the source of fire rapidly. The unit is also inherently resistant to suppression, which should make this easier. Nonetheless, prolonged exposure to enfilading fire will destroy an Airborne Squad like any other infantry unit.
Finally, remember to avoid dropping paratroopers near Anti-Aircraft Guns: they can kill an entire Airborne unit while they're still dangling from their parachutes.
When issued with construction order:
When clicked after squad is decimated:
When selected multiple times in short succession:
When issued with attack order on a wounded squad:
When wounded and selected in battle:
When issued with retreat order in battle:
When issued with attack order, when wounded:
While activating ability: