The Commando Glider is a base structure fielded by the British in Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts. It is available only to the Royal Commandos Support company. Gliders are not constructed by infantry - instead they are landed from the air at any point on the map, including enemy territory. Gliders are used for creating various types of Commandos units, meant to operate behind enemy lines.
Before and during the invasion of Normandy, the allies utilized plane-drawn gliders to place troops behind enemy lines. A glider is a more accurate method of delivering a large force to a specific spot than deploying paratroopers, and can even be used to deliver heavy munitions or light tanks.
A British player choosing the Royal Commandos Support tech tree can acquire access to three types of Commando Gliders, which are used to perform the same function as in the real world: delivering troops and equipment behind enemy lines. However, unlike real World War II gliders which are limited to carry a certain number of infantry, equipment or vehicles, the Commando Gliders featured in this game are in fact base structures, potentially capable of producing more and more units as required.
Commando Gliders are deployed using Command Abilities that are unlocked when the appropriate Command Upgrades are purchased. When the ability is used, you must select the landing point and orient the Commando Glider in the direction you want it to land. Try to have it land in as open an area as possible, to minimize damage to the glider. Note that the wings on these gliders are designed to break off if they impact with anything, though this will cause the entire glider to rotate as it lands, possibly ending up with an undesirable orientation. However, the glider's ability to go thorugh pretty much anything (due to their heavy bulk or force of their impact) it is possible to go though enemy base edges (such as hedges and wall) which open up new possibilities, for flanking and harassing enemy units and fortifications (e.g.: bunker, tank traps, barbed wire...).
Upon landing, the Commando Glider may or may not automatically spawn a single unit (depending on the glider chosen). If so, you must have the required Population Cap points free for that unit before spawning the glider.
Once landed, the Commando Glider becomes a base structure that can spawn additional Commando units as appropriate to its type, and can reinforce any nearby infantry in the same way the Headquarters Command Truck does. These abilities require the glider to be set up in friendly territory connected directly to your HQ Territory - though the final glider type (the HQ Glider) can do so even in enemy territory. The glider itself has no weapons, and can easily be destroyed by all sorts of weapons.
There is no limit to the number of gliders that can be placed on the map. As long as you can afford them, you can keep landing them. This can provide you with extra points at which to reinforce infantry, and/or spawn units to surprise your enemy from new directions.
There are three types of Commando Gliders that can be deployed. Each of these types of Gliders may produce a different unit upon landing (or none at all), and can then produce different types of units once landed.
- Price: 560, 6
- Requires Royal Commandos Support: Glider-borne Commandos
- Produces: Commandos (1 free unit upon landing)
- Requires connection to HQ Territory for further production/reinforcement.
Known as the Waco CG 4 glider (and simply called Glider in-game), this is a high-wing cantilever monoplane with wooden wings and a wooden semi-monocoque fuselage.
Once landed, the Commando Glider spawns a single unit of Commandos for free (though the Commandos require 6, and the glider cannot be called in if you cannot satisfy this requirement). If landed in a friendly sector connected directly to your HQ Territory (or when later connected to your HQ territory by capturing the strategic points in between), it can begin producing more Commandos for the cost of 510, 6 each, and can reinforce any infantry unit in its vicinity.
- Price: 450, 6
- Requires Royal Commandos Support: Tetrarch Tank
- Produces: Tetrarch Tank (1 free unit upon landing)
- Requires connection to HQ Territory for further production/reinforcement.
Known as the General Aircraft 49 Hamilcar glider, but called a Tetrarch Glider in-game, this glider is also built on a wooden fusalage with two wooden wings, which break apart from the main body to absorb the impact and decrease the risk of a crash landing. However, it is large enough to contain a tank, and has special ramps for disembarking the vehicle.
Once landed, the Tetrarch Glider spawns a single Tetrarch Tank for free (though the tank requires 6, and the glider cannot be called in if you cannot satisfy this requirement). If landed in a friendly sector connected directly to your HQ Territory (or when later connected to your HQ territory by capturing the strategic points in between), it can begin producing more Tetrarch Tanks for the cost of 300, 25, 6 each, and can reinforce any infantry unit in its vicinity.
- Price: 340
- Requires Royal Commandos Support: Glider Headquarters
- Produces: HMG Commandos, PIAT Commandos, Mortar Commandos (no units spawned for free)
- Can produce and reinforce infantry without connection to HQ Territory.
This is a Waco Glider, similar to the Commando Glider described above. It is fitted with a tent and radio, and is therefore set up as a secondary headquarters on the field.
This glider does not automatically produce any units upon landing. However, it can immediately begin producing three different kinds of commando units, and reinforce any nearby infantry, regardless of where it landed (even in enemy-controlled territory).
The three units you may produce are the HMG Commandos, PIAT Commandos and Mortar Commandos. Each of these units costs 255, 3. These 3-man special weapons groups can either immediately seek out the enemy on their own, or better yet link up with landed Commandos and Tetrarch Tanks to form a powerful battle-group. In any case, the Glider remains on the ground, providing a behind-the-lines reinforcement point for your commando operations.
These gliders are fielded to deploy light units from the air, and their materials are also light, being made out of wood. Therefore, they are lightly armored and are very fragile. Mortar fire, artillery strikes and tank fire will most likely destroy a glider with a few shots; even infantry enfilade will put it down in a matter of minutes. They can even be destroyed simply by landing if there are too many obstacles in their path.
Because Commandos cannot carry out repairs, it is important to try to land the glider as smoothly as possible. Any damage incurred through collisions with the environment can only be repaired if your Sappers can reach the glider.
- While the British used their own Airspeed Horsa gliders for landing infantry, the Commando and HQ gliders' fuselages look uncannily like the Waco CG-4, which was used by the United States Army Air Force. The game does not specify which model they are actually meant to represent, though historically the British did use the CG-4A which they nicknamed the "Hadrian". It's more likely that the glider models from the Company of Heroes single-player campaign (used there as wreckage during D-Day missions) were re-used instead of modeling entirely new ones. The Tetrarch Glider, however, is correctly modeled after the British Hamilcar, which was actually used to land Tetrarch tanks.