Company of Heroes Wiki
Barbed Wire
Unit Barbed Wire
A Barbed Wire funnel in front of a Machine Gun Bunker
Army United States
Panzer Elite
Role Infantry obstacle
Unit Cost Nothing
Prereq. Varies; usually none.
Produced By Engineer Squad,
Riflemen Squad,
Pioneer Squad,
Volksgrenadier Squad,
Grenadier Squad,
Panzer Grenadiers,
Tank Buster Heavy Infantry,
Assault Grenadier Heavy Infantry,
Luftwaffe Ground Force
Health 110Icon Health Small 110

Barbed Wire is an obstacle that forces enemy infantry and (very) light vehicles to take another route, preferably into a prepared kill zone. Barbed Wire can be constructed by several different types of units - at least one unit type per faction. Some engineering units can cut through Barbed Wire, and most vehicles can simply drive through it, crushing it in the process.


One of the most basic types of Passive Defenses is the Barbed Wire fence. It consists of a coil of metal wire with sharp wire points protruding out of it. Infantry cannot cross this wire, and must walk around it to reach any destination on the other side.

Every faction in the game has potential access to Barbed Wire, with several infantry unit types capable of constructing it. Construction is completely free, and takes only a few seconds per section of wire.

A Barbed Wire section blocks infantry units as well as very light vehicles like the American Jeep or Wehrmacht Motorcycle. Such units cannot pass through Barbed Wire and must plot a route around it. If the fence is very long, it can delay the approaching unit significantly.

Anything larger than a Jeep can drive straight through Barbed Wire, destroying it in the process. Additionally, some engineering units possess the ability to cut through Barbed Wire.

Barbed Wire is primarily used for blocking infantry passage through a gap, forcing them to find another way to enter the blocked area. However, Barbed Wire is also often used to funnel enemy units into kill zones, or delay them as they move past the firing zone of an anti-infantry position, such as a Machine Gun Emplacement or Heavy Machine Gun crew. The Barbed Wire itself provides no cover to the attacked infantry unit.

Barbed Wire can be scuttled whenever you need to allow passage to your own troops.

Constructing Units[]

Barbed Wire can be constructed by many different infantry units - at least one from each faction in the game.

Faction Units Requirements
American Engineer Squad
Riflemen Squad Barbed Wire construction requires the Infantry Company: Defensive Operations Command Upgrade.
Wehrmacht Pioneer Squad
Volksgrenadier Squad
Grenadier Squad
British Sappers
Panzer Elite Panzer Grenadiers Barbed Wire construction requires the Scorched Earth Tactics: Roadblocks Command Upgrade.
Tank Buster Heavy Infantry Barbed Wire construction requires the Scorched Earth Tactics: Roadblocks Command Upgrade.
Assault Grenadier Heavy Infantry Barbed Wire construction requires the Scorched Earth Tactics: Roadblocks Command Upgrade.
Luftwaffe Ground Force Fielding this unit requires the Luftwaffe Tactics: Luftwaffe Ground Force Command Upgrade


Due to the early availability of Barbed Wire (at least for most factions), it can be used as an early Defensive Structure to prevent enemies from easily infiltrating your territory. As the game evolves, Barbed Wire can be used for various purposes, such as denying access to entire sectors, funneling units into kill zones, or delaying enemy infantry to buy time to repel them.

In the early game, forward infantry can construct Barbed Wire to block off dangerous access-ways into captured territory. In particular, small gaps between buildings or trees can be blocked off, to force the enemy to approach only from easily-defensible routes. You can block access from one sector to another, especially if you do not intend to take the other sector at this stage.

Unit Barbed Wire Outpost

A rudimentary Barbed Wire outpost. Note the Mines laid in the gap.

Barbed Wire can also be used to cordon off a Strategic Point entirely - making it impossible for any early-game unit to breach through and take that Strategic Point. You can also leave a small gap in the fence, and place a mine in the gap to kill any enemy infantry foolish enough to try approaching it anyway.

To construct a killing zone funnel, cordon off all approaches towards a large open area, then use Barbed Wire to leave a small gap right in front of a good anti-infantry position. Infantry coming through the gap will be subjected to Suppression fire from the prepared position, which will leave them hopelessly exposed and easy to eliminate.

Alternately, you can use several layers of partially-overlapping wire fences, so that enemy infantry have to move in a zig-zag pattern in front of an anti-infantry position if they wish to get close enough to throw grenades at it. By delaying the enemy from reaching grenade range, you buy time for the position to suppress or eliminate them, since they have to take a longer route. (See main article image for a basic example).

Barbed Wire is often coupled with heavier obstacles, such as Tank Traps and Road Blocks, to prevent passage to both infantry and vehicles. Since vehicles can easily run over Barbed Wire, the Tank Traps are placed forward of the fence to block the vehicles. Nothing but heavy tanks can get through this obstacle (or nothing at all with Road Blocks), so the enemy will need to repeatedly bombard the area to clear away at least some of these obstacles. Again, remember that some engineering units possess the ability to cut through Barbed Wire.


Barbed Wire is quite flimsy, and can be destroyed by most explosive weaponry - such as artillery, mortar-fire, grenades, mines, etcetera. However, it is immune to small-arms fire and machine guns.

All but the lightest Vehicles will just simply roll over this obstacle. If you wish to stop vehicles from doing this, place Tank Traps in front of the fence.


  • AI will not upgrade Hazard Removal Package for their infantry, hence their infantry could never pass Barbed Wire unless they use vehicles to attack and crush them on the way.
    • AI doesn't attack tank traps intentionally either. If players build a ring of Barbed Wire denying AI infantry from capturing it, they tends to wait here and do nothing until something that can crush the Barbed Wire arrives.
  • When combined with sandbags, it becomes a one-way cover. Unlike trenches, this type of cover has almost no use to your enemy since you always come from the back of that position.
  • Barbed Wire construction is not restricted on territory in supply.
  • The Barbed Wire has an animation of expansion that tells it starts to block access when it is built. This animation will be postponed if any infantry(usually the builder) is still on the way of it.