Heavy Machine Gun Commandos
An HMG Commando unit, firing
|Role||Anti-Infantry Weapon Crew|
|Men per Squad||3|
|Prereq.||Royal Commandos Support: Glider Headquarters|
|Produced By||HQ Glider|
|Cost to Reinforce||
|Health per Man||65|
1x Vickers Heavy Machine Gun|
2x Silenced Mk.II Sten SMG
|Max. Speed||3 m/s|
The Heavy Machine Gun Commandos, or HMG Commandos, is a 3-man Anti-Infantry support unit fielded by the British in Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts. Overall a very basic Machine Gun team, the HMG Commandos have the unique Commando ability to create Concealing Smoke which allows them to relocate without being seen. This makes them very survivable, and they often accompany Commandos on raiding missions inside enemy territory.
With the Royal Commandos Support Tech Tree, the British rely primarily on very-mobile attack infantry operating deep inside enemy territory. Once they can deploy an HQ Glider, the British can attack the enemy from the rear. However, troops operating behind enemy lines do not get the benefit of powerful emplacements to protect them (like the rest of the British army does), and so must rely on mobile infantry teams to provide support fire for all operations.
Some of this support is provided by the 3-man Heavy Machine Gun Commandos squad. This small team of elite Commandos is equipped with a Vickers Heavy Machine Gun, the same weapon normally found in the immobile Vickers Machine Gun Emplacement and on upgraded Bren Carriers. It operates similarly to the American Heavy Machine Gun Team and Wehrmacht MG42 Heavy Machine Gun Team, with the exception that it can pop Concealing Smoke to cover its movement.
HMG Commandos are spawned from the HQ Glider, for the price of 255, 3. Naturally, this requires the Royal Commandos Support: Glider Headquarters Command Upgrade, and the deployment of an HQ Glider. Unlike other gliders, the HQ Glider can produce HMG Commandos (and other specialized commando teams) even when it is in enemy territory.
The crew consists of a gunner and two watchmen. The gunner is equipped with a Vickers Heavy Machine Gun, while the two other teammates are armed with Silenced Mk.II Sten Sub-Machine-Guns. In the event of the gunner's death, one of the other surviving crewmen will take his place.
The Heavy Machine Gun is used primarily to suppress enemy troops, thanks to its rapid firing speed. It will also kill exposed enemy troops - even suppressed ones - very rapidly. Furthermore, it also has some effect against light vehicles, but lacks the penetration to do damage to better armored vehicles or tanks.
As with all other mobile HMGs, the HMG Commandos must set-up the gun before it can be fired, and must dismantle the weapon whenever they wish to move. This makes them vulnerable at the flanks, though the SMGs do provide good covering fire against flank attacks. Furthermore, like other commando units, they can use Concealing Smoke to hide themselves while setting up the gun, reducing some of their vulnerability.
The crew of an HMG Commandos team is armed with three weapons: A primary Vickers Heavy Machine Gun for suppressing and killing enemy troops, and 2 Silenced Mk.II Sten Sub Machine Guns for defending the vulnerable flanks.
This infantry crew cannot pick up any additional weapons from the battlefield.
Vickers Heavy Machine Gun
This Machine Gun is a powerful belt-fed anti-infantry weapon. It fires heavy-caliber bullets in very long bursts of 4-5 seconds. Each burst is capable of suppressing an enemy infantry unit, and a second burst will usually pin the unit down. Further fire will slowly pick off the pinned down enemy troops as they lie around hopelessly in its field of fire.
This is the same weapon found in a Vickers Machine Gun Emplacement, with the difference that it can be packed up and rotated or moved by its crew, and fires in slightly shorter bursts. It can fire in a forward arc of 120 degrees, up to a range of 40 meters (5 meters beyond the unit's sight range).
To fire, this weapon must be set up in a specific direction. This process takes 3 seconds to complete. To move the weapon or change its facing, it must first be "packed up", a process taking 2.5 seconds to complete.
Vickers HMGs can hurt light vehicles, though that can take a while. It would require the vehicle to be sitting in the MG's line of fire for a while.
Silenced Mk.II Sten SMG
This is a relatively poor SMG in terms of speed, with the Commandos taking longer breaks between their bursts than most other SMG-equipped infantry. It is average in all other respects.
Naturally, in close-combat these weapons are still quite fearsome, which gives the HMG Commandos a modicum of protection for its flanks. This assumes that the enemy tries to charge the HMG from the side, rather than engaging it with long-range shots. It's usually better to turn the HMG to face attacking enemies, if possible.
HMG Commandos lack most of the abilities that make a squad of Commandos so fearsome. They cannot throw grenades, nor can they plant demolition charges, and cannot built defenses to hide inside. They also do not have any armor-piercing ammunition to load into their guns, like some other HMG teams do.
However, HMG Commandos can use a puff of Concealing Smoke to hide themselves from enemy eyes for a short period of time. This can be very useful for getting the HMG team safely to their designated set-up point, or retreat in an organized manner.
Additionally, like all other British Infantry, the HMG Commandos can retreat to the Captain's position. However, since they are usually placed behind enemy lines, this is tantamount to suicide in most cases.
- Costs nothing
- Activation: Immediate
- Cooldown: 60 seconds
As with the normal "Retreat" ability common to all Infantry, once this ability is activated the HMG Commandos will leave the player's control and set a direct course for the Captain. The retreat will break any Suppression effects the HMG Commandos may be suffering at the time.
Retreating to the Captain's position can save the HMG Commandos from death in battle. The advantage in retreating to the Captain's position is that the Captain is usually closer to the front lines than the Headquarters Command Truck. Once the HMG Commandos reach the Captain, they'll be on safer ground thanks to the Captain's command bonus as well.
Note that since HMG Commandos are usually placed behind enemy lines, using this option may get them killed as they try to run through those lines back towards the Captain. Commandos usually prefer to disengage from combat by using the Concealing Smoke ability instead, which basically removes all suppression effects and turns them invisible for a short duration - allowing an organized retreat rather than a mad run for friendly territory.
- Costs nothing.
- Activation: Immediate
- Requires the HMG to be dismantled first.
- Duration: ~15 seconds
- Cooldown: 30 seconds
When Concealing Smoke is activated, a smoke grenade will immediately pop over the units' current position.
This smoke immediately clears all Suppression effects from the unit, and renders it invisible (camouflaged) for a period of 5 seconds. During this time, the unit can disengage freely from combat, either to execute an organized withdrawal or to relocate to a better position.
For those first 5 seconds, the unit can move away freely without the enemy knowing which direction it was headed in. Of course, if it moves forward it may be detected by the enemy anyway (camouflage disabled), so it is often best to back up instead. Then, once camouflage is over, the unit should be well behind the smoke, allowing it to move without fear of being shot thanks to the smoke cover. The smoke itself will last for a total of 15 seconds - easily enough time to retreat back into the Fog of War.
Concealing Smoke is a very powerful alternative to a full Retreat. It breaks suppression, puts the unit out of harm's way for a few moments, and leaves it completely under your control while it does so, achieving all the benefits of the retreat without any of the downsides.
Use Concealing Smoke whenever disengaging from the enemy, for instance after completing a Commando raid, or in case enemy units have counter-attacked with superior firepower and/or vehicles.
Another very good use for Concealing Smoke is to buy time for the unit to relocate in the middle of a battle. For example, the HMG team can seek a better position to fire from, flanking the enemy's cover.
Finally, it is always a good idea to pop some smoke right before setting up the HMG. This renders the team invisible until it can finish placing the weapon, and can then open fire at enemy units. It does not really need too much visibility to suppress enemy troops - firing blindly through the smoke usually does the trick. Unfortunately, once set-up, the smoke ability cannot be used until the weapon is dismantled. If dismantling under fire, remember to pop the smoke as soon as your team is mobile, to cover their movement.
The tactical use of this ability is explained in more detail further down this article.
Heavy Machine Gun Commandos become available as soon as you can land an HQ Glider. This usually occurs in the early mid-game, around the time the British defensive line starts taking shape. Attaching an HMG Commandos squad to your Commandos will significantly boost their performance against enemy infantry, and will also provide a little help against light vehicles and halftracks.
During a Commando Raid, HMG Commandos are used in pretty much the same way as any mobile HMG team: their job is to suppress enemy Infantry so that the Commandos can freely move around to flank them. For this purpose, it is often best to locate a good point to set up the HMG so that it can rain fire on as many enemy units as possible. As long as the enemy does not make it into a garrisonable structure, they will quickly become suppressed and unable to return fire.
Even without Commandos, the HMG team can kill Infantry on its own, but is much more susceptible to flank attacks on its position. Sending an HMG team in alone can result in the loss of the unit if the enemy manages to surround it, and anything heavier than a Motorcycle will normally be able to take out the HMG team in one-on-one combat.
On some Commando Raids, it's better to use the HMG Commandos facing away from the battlezone to cover a possible enemy approach route. This way, if any enemy infantry arrive to reinforce the attacked position, the HMG can keep them away or even kill them. This is particularly useful during Strategic Raids, where the Commandos are busy planting Demolition Charges and need protection from incoming enemy units while they do so. HMG Commandos are also very useful during Ambushes, for the same reason.
As with all HMG units and structures, HMG Commandos work well together with Mortar Commandos: While enemy infantry are suppressed by the HMG, they can be targeted by the mortars and eliminated.
One important trick to remember is the use of Concealing Smoke. The short camouflage period offered by the smoke can protect the HMG Commandos from incoming fire while they set up the machine gun (during which time they are otherwise very vulnerable). The smoke can also be used whenever the team needs to relocate their weapon, but remember that the smoke can only be used when the gun is not set-up. Like other Commando units, smoke can also be used when retreating from an attack, as it removes all accumulated suppression instantaneously and buys the team time to run back into the Fog of War.
As it is very slow to move and deploy and redeploy, the HMG Commandos squad is very vulnerable to any artillery, armoured vehicles and sniper fire. While it can destroy Axis Armoured Cars, their 20mm cannon will usually kill the MG team before they can do much damage.
Since the HMG needs redeployment to drastically change firing angle, it can also be easily outflanked by enemy infantry. Keep the flanks protected, and in worst-case scenarios use smoke to suddenly disappear while re-setting the gun.
Other Commando Teams
HMG Commandos are a support unit of 3 infantrymen with a Vickers HMG, produced from an HQ Glider. Specializing in anti-infantry tactics, they can only provide heavy support against enemy infantry and would require other units to engage the enemy directly, destroy enemy vehicles or protect the HMG's flanks. Two of these support Commando units can be produced from the HQ Glider once it's landed, but the primary Commando infantry unit is called from a different Glider called the Commando Glider.
The following Commando teams are available:
- Commandos: A 6-man infantry team armed with Sten SMGs, and possessing several special abilities. They are general-purpose Commando troops that make up the bulk of the raiding force.
- Mortar Commandos: Armed with a 3" Mortar. This is the same weapon which found in a 3" Mortar Emplacement, and the unit performs similarly to US and Wehrmacht Mortar Teams.
- PIAT Commandos: Armed with 2x Projector Infantry Anti-Tank weapons. This is a small anti-tank squad.
Note that a team of Commandos can capture any vacant HMG left behind by another dead unit. However, this doesn't turn them into an actual HMG Commandos squad, since they lose the unique Commando ability of Concealing Smoke when capturing the weapon. This makes them slightly inferior to the Glider-bought HMG Commandos.