Commando Tactics are a specialized form of combat practised by the British, whenever using the Royal Commandos Support company tree. As opposed to regular troops, Commandos strike hard and fast against enemy targets deep behind enemy lines. Superior intelligence gathering allows them to maneuver inside enemy territory, striking at key points or units, and then making their way to the next target or back to your own territory. This fluid form of combat is difficult to perform, but is often one of the most interesting ways to play the game, especially with a faction so defensively-minded as the British.
The Royal Commandos Support company tree contains several Command Upgrades that are quite unique, and not available to any other faction. These Command Upgrades allow the recruitment and deployment of special commando units, all of which specialize in moving through enemy territory unimpeded. Other upgrades in this tree enable keeping tabs on enemy movement and activities, thus making infiltration into enemy land simpler.
Commando Units Edit
There are 5 types of Commando units available for deployment once the entire tech tree has been purchased:
- Commandos: A 6-man infantry squad armed with SMGs and grenades. It can also plant demolition charges, either as mines or as anti-building weapons.
- PIAT Commandos: A 3-man infantry unit armed with two PIAT launchers and an SMG. They can take out light vehicles and tanks with ease.
- HMG Commandos: A 3-man infantry unit armed with a Heavy Machine Gun and two SMGs. They can suppress and destroy infantry.
- Mortar Commandos: A 3-man infantry unit equipped with a 3" Mortar and an SMG. They can provide light artillery support for other units.
- Tetrarch Tank: A fast, light tank with a small general purpose cannon. The cannon can be upgraded to have better Penetration for use against enemy armored cars and even tanks.
The most important common factor to all these units is that each has the ability to mask its movement by popping a smoke cloud that will temporarily obscure it from enemy eyes. Thus, commando units can disengage or hide from enemies, allowing them to relocate, flank, or retreat with ease. This is the basis behind almost all the Commando Tactics discussed here.
All 5 of these units are spawned from special Commando Gliders, which can be landed anywhere on the map. These gliders can produce additional units and reinforce infantry, as long as the sector(s) they are landed in are ever linked to your HQ territory. Two of the gliders produce a single unit as soon as they land.
Other than creating Commando units, the Royal Commandos Support tech tree offers several Command Upgrades that help determine what the enemy is up to, and find ways to maneuver through his defensive lines.
For starters, infantry units can create Detectors for Radio Triangulation. When placed properly, these can reveal enemy movements within the Fog of War, allowing you to determine enemy patrol routes, spot incoming enemy attacks or rally points, and locate weak points in the enemy line.
Furthermore, this tech tree provides the ability to receive notification of enemy upgrades and unit production. This helps assess the enemy's strength, determine which units you should produce to counter his efforts, and generally stay one step ahead of him at all times.
Finally, the Royal Commandos Support branch offers the ability to fire both decoy and regular off-map artillery barrages, used respectively to confuse and destroy the enemy. These come in handy during Commando operations to buy time for retreating units, or pose dilemmas to the enemy ("keep fighting or run from the blast zone?").
When to use Commando Tactics Edit
The decision to select the Royal Commandos Support company should not be made lightly. The use of Commandos is complicated, and requires constant micro-management and good tactical ability. Nonetheless, when used properly, Commandos are possibly the most impressive way of defeating an enemy.
Commando Tactics involve quick, powerful strikes against the enemy's weakest points. For this purpose the Commandos should be inserted behind enemy lines, whether directly (by glider) or simply by finding holes in the enemy's defenses and sneaking them through. Most players - including the AI - will have trouble spotting a Commando team in their own backyard until it's too late.
This also means that some maps are largely unsuitable for the proper use of Commandos. They are best on large maps with plenty of cover (like hedgerows and urban terrain). The fewer opponent players there are, the better. Maps which are segmented, with two or more parts that are largely cut off from one another (for instance, rivers with a few bridges across) will hinder the use of Commandos. The same goes for maps that are considerably narrower than they are long.
Commando Mission Planning Edit
Before dispatching Commandos or a Commando strike force, you need to decide which "mission" to send them on. This basically means determining the goal you're hoping to achieve, then determining which forces you'll need, and finally plotting the general layout of the attack before sending any troops into enemy territory. There are several types of Commando "missions" to be performed, some of which are listed below.
Initially, you'll want to send your commandos as deep as possible to set up detectors within enemy territory (if they are available). This gives you a good idea of where enemy units are at any given time, so that you can avoid them or know when to attack.
After that, you can set up an ambush for enemy units, raid resource points or vulnerable enemy positions, perform a strategic strike against their main base, or use Commando flanking support for your main armored force.
Generally, you should make sure that your Commandos can properly disengage from combat and disappear back into the Fog of War. If you can manage this, you can then regroup and launch another mission immediately, or withdraw your forces behind your defensive line to reinforce and repair them first. At the very least, an organized disengagement may convince your enemy to send his troops to look for your Commandos, in which case his units are not concentrating on defending his front lines - making him vulnerable to an attack by your main armored force. Always keep your eyes open for opportunities to exploit, either with your Commando force, your main armored force, or both at the same time.
Detector Placement Edit
Usually, the most important thing you'll want to accomplish first is to set up at least one detector behind enemy lines. Place the remaining detector(s) right behind your own lines using your regular infantry. Remember that the construction of detectors requires the correct Royal Commandos Support Command Upgrade, which is fairly cheap.
For this mission, it is often best to land your commandos by Commando Gliders deep inside enemy territory. The further back you place the detector(s), the better coverage area they'll have once all 3 have been constructed.
Find a location the enemy is unlikely to visit, land the Commandos there and erect the detector. Good positions include the very edge of the map, near or behind an obstacle (trees, tank traps, etcetera) and away from roads or narrow passageways.
Note that the detector is camouflaged, and enemy units will not automatically attack it. The enemy player needs to recognize the detector on the mini-map as his units pass by it, then order them to attack it manually, otherwise it'll disappear from his mini-map a few seconds later and return to camouflaged mode. Detectors are even difficult to spot when looking straight at them, especially during night missions or storms.
Maximize the area of detection as much as possible. If necessary, scuttle an existing detector so that you can place another one. They are free and fast to build, so feel free to move them about in this manner until you're satisfied with the coverage area.
After placing the collectors, your Commandos can try to hit an enemy position or some enemy units on their way out of enemy territory. Or, if you're feeling particularly brave, you can even try to keep your Commandos inside enemy territory until they are required. This is risky, since Commandos are not naturally camouflaged, but offers a good asset that can augment any future Commando mission.
Once the detectors are correctly placed, you can begin identifying good targets for an attack. Look first for enemy infantry exposed and alone, then unguarded resource points and structures. Finally, when you have time, try identifying primary roads your enemy is using to ferry his units from the base to the front lines.
Force Composition Edit
- Commandos are not the only unit that can set up detectors, but they are by far the best unit to get to the enemy's rear and place the detectors deep inside his territory. You can glide them right into the target zone for only 50 more than the cost of the unit itself. Since this requires you to create a new unit (spawned from the glider when it lands), consider doing this with the very first Commandos you create. Note that the glider itself will often be a waste, since it will be left inside enemy territory (i.e. can't produce or reinforce troops) and will usually be found and destroyed by the enemy shortly thereafter. Still, the detector should remain safe as long as it hasn't been placed too conspicuously.
Ingress and Egress Routes Edit
Before carrying out an actual Commando offensive, you'll want to identify three things:
- A good target.
- A route through which to approach the target.
- An escape route.
To do this, survey the Tactical Map. Your Radio Detectors will show enemy units moving about, and the position of enemy structures. This should give you a good idea what targets are available to you.
Ingress and Egress routes are a little more difficult to choose. For this, survey the actual battlefield, as it'll give you a good 3-Dimensional idea of where good routes are located.
The best routes are ones that do not pass near enemy Resource Points. Remember that resource points have a small sight-range, and the enemy can spot your units as they move near them.
Ingress is more difficult, since your units need to avoid enemy contact at all costs - otherwise the element of surprise is lost. If you must, choose longer routes if they are far from enemy patrols. At the end of an Ingress route, your Commandos should be able to attack the target from the flank or from behind - don't walk directly into their line of fire, look for ways to go around it. This will give you the upper hand.
An Egress route is simpler to choose: it's any route that moves away from the target into an enemy-free area. Your units will move there once their task is complete, and from there will either launch a second strike or retreat back to your own territory. Therefore, the enemy-free area you choose as your Egress rally point should have a relatively clear path back to your defensive line, so that your retreating units can make it back to your own territory with minimum casualties (preferably none). Enemy resource points are less important here, since the enemy already knows roughly where you are, and if he doesn't respond extremely quickly your units will already be halfway out of his territory anyway.
Supply Raid Edit
Commando teams can make quick surprise raids against weak enemy units or locations. This is done to cut off the enemy's supplies by quickly taking a sector - hopefully to cut the enemy's supply routes at a key location to disable resource gathering in one or more sectors. Alternately, you can use your commandos to destroy a weak or exposed infantry unit and steal their weapon upgrades.
First, identify the weak spot. An unguarded sector that links one or more resource-producing sectors back to the enemy HQ is your best target. Approach carefully, avoiding enemy patrols as you do. Once there, commence an attack with your Commandos, preferably from several directions, to kill any enemy units there. Try to close in quickly with enemy infantry, as they will not last long against the Mk.II Sten SMGs at close-range. If you have more than one Commando unit, move one to flank, or even send it straight to the resource point to start taking it from the enemy. The mission is not complete until the sector is no longer controlled by the enemy.
Once you've killed the target(s), grab any equipment you may need and start retreating with the use of Concealing Smoke if available. Get your units away quickly into the Fog of War, before the enemy can bring in any vehicles. It is sometimes best to disperse your Commandos in several directions, to minimize the danger of losing all of them at once. Consider placing demolition charges along your escape routes, either before or during the attack. This way when the enemy responds, you can detonate the charges and take out the pursuing units.
This type of attack is considered successful when you've either:
- Killed one or more enemy units.
- Captured a sector or at least removed it from enemy control.
- Destroyed one or more enemy structures.
Naturally, the more commando units you've lost, the less successful the operation.
Force Composition Edit
- Supply Raids work well with any kind of Commando force composition, and can even be performed with a single squad of Commandos, assuming the target is very light. Naturally, due to the speed required, a larger force is actually a liability.
Strategic Raid Edit
The Strategic Raid is a great way to throw your enemy into chaos, but requires a larger Commando team, preferably with Tetrarch Tank support and/or other assistance. In this type of mission, you're going to attack a major enemy installation while the enemy is away.
Identifying the target should be easy: any concentration of enemy structures, especially the enemy base, will do fine. Keep watch on your mini-map for large groups of enemy units advancing towards your front-lines. The best time to perform this sort of attack is when the enemy has sent a large number of his units to try and break your defenses. When this occurs, move your Commando force quickly through enemy territory and into the area of the enemy buildings. Since the bulk of enemy forces are busy attacking your defenses, their base structures will be exposed, and you can capitalize on the reduced defenses. Also make sure you have as many Munitions available as possible before committing to this attack.
During a Strategic Raid, your #1 priority is to set as many demolition charges as possible near any enemy buildings you can find. Place supporting forces along approach routes to the objective, to protect your commandos from any enemy units that may arrive to counter-attack you.
As soon as you've placed as many demolition charges as you can, begin retreating your Commandos to the egress point. Again, you can use Concealing Smoke is necessary to make sure the enemy doesn't know which way you've headed. The support troops (Tetrarch Tanks or otherwise) withdraw last. As they do, detonate the demolition charges before your units move too far away to see the detonation icons.
This sort of raid is successful if you've managed to take out at least one enemy structure, or preferably several. In most cases, this attack can destroy an entire set of front-line fortifications, but if you do this to the enemy's base you might take out a large chunk of his production capabilities.
Remember to capitalize on this advantage as soon as possible, by launching an armored attack on enemy lines immediately. The enemy will be busy rebuilding his structures, and will be low on resources and units for a while, allowing you time to grab a lot of territory along the front lines.
Force Composition Edit
- A Strategic Raid team should be fairly large, and contain at least several units of Commandos, to plant the demolition charges. Tetrarch Tanks and HMG Commandos are great for covering the approaches in case the enemy comes to stop you from destroying his base. Mortar Commandos are less recommended, because they might fire at the buildings you're trying to mine, and hurt the commandos deploying their charges.
Commando Ambushes are a little trickier to perform, as they require exceptionally good intelligence and timing. In this type of mission, you're going to put your commandos directly in harm's way to try and take out enemy units moving between enemy sectors.
First of all, gather intelligence by observing your mini-map with your detectors set up. Locate a route along which enemy troops are patrolling, or along which units move from the enemy base to his other sectors. You'll need to get your entire Commando team behind enemy lines shortly before the attack, then wait until the targeted road is empty and no enemy movement is occurring there. Naturally, both the rally point and target point should be far from any enemy units or resource points, otherwise the enemy will be savvy to your attempts.
Next, move all your commandos into the road. If you have munitions available, start placing demolition charges further up and/or down the road, a little beyond the point where you wish the battle to occur. You can put several demo charges close to one another (about 5 meters apart) to increase their destructive yield.
Once you're ready (or you can see the enemy coming towards you on the mini-map), arrange your forces on the road and/or off to the sides. As the enemy runs over the demolition charges, blow them up and start firing at your enemy. You may be able to take out heavy vehicles in the initial explosions, then use the commandos to kill any surviving infantry and light vehicles. When the enemy units are destroyed and/or dispersed, either plant more charges to ambush the enemy's response forces, or evacuate your commandos back to the Egress point and out of enemy territory.
This technique works best with large commando teams, especially with PIAT or HMG units to support your Commandos. Always try to keep some units further away so that they can reinforce you from flanking positions if needed. Do not attempt this without radio detectors present!
Force Composition Edit
- All Commando units are great for this sort of mission, though you'll often want to mix as many different types as possible, and larger units may be more difficult to get to the target area in time. Commandos will be in charge of mining the road, while other units will form the main ambush firepower.
- You can also use a squad of Mortar Commandos to lure enemies into your ambush. Enemies will almost always respond to a mortar shelling by sending a weak unit or two to take out the Mortar. Of course, always watch out for when the enemy decides to use an artillery strike instead - these can wipe out your entire ambush force!
Pincer Strike Edit
Finally, Commandos can be used to augment and support your armored advance. During an advance, the enemy can be surrounded and destroyed by first attacking with your main armored force from the front, then suddenly bringing in commando teams from behind. The Commandos can demolish structures containing enemy infantry, take out Weapon Teams and emplacements, and do whatever is necessary to alleviate the pressure on your main advance.
In this scenario, it's best to set up your commandos around the back of the enemy position beforehand, preferably so that they can come in from several directions all at once. Otherwise, keep them moving at the far flanks of the advancing force, use Concealing Smoke to rush past the enemy, and proceed to attack from the rear.
Another possible use is to have the Commandos plant Demolition Charges on roads the enemy might use to reinforced his besieged position. This way, if the enemy sends in any troops to respond, they can be blown up quickly.
When a Pincer Strike is successful, you can send your commandos back to your own base to reinforce, keep them around to fend of the enemy counter-attack, plant demolition charges along the approaches if you haven't already done so, or quickly move them right into enemy territory by taking advantage of the confusion to hide them behind enemy lines in preparation for the next attack. This should be done quickly, as the enemy is likely to respond with force.