The Infantry Company Command Tree is one of the three American command trees. This tree augments the capabilities and production of American infantry units, primarily Riflemen Squads and the powerful all-purpose Ranger Squad, shifting the focus of American strategy to their use. It also allows the use of heavy artillery, both from off-map and on-field, to support infantry assaults. Though considered a more "defensive" command tree, it nonetheless opens up many strong offensive options.
The American army joined World War II while it was already well under-way. With their large naval forces concentrated in the Pacific, fighting the Japanese, a large number of able-bodied men were drafted to take the fight to the Germans in occupied Europe. One of the largest participants in the war, the United States had the advantage of manpower over the war-wearing European combatants, and put it to good use by spending years to train its men for the coming invasion of Normandy.
Even without the Infantry Company tree's assistance, American Infantry squads form the basis upon which their army relies. Their primary advantage is their significantly low cost, with the Americans being able to replace fallen men without much financial difficulty. As a result, American Infantry just keeps coming back for more, putting constant pressure on their Axis opponents and outnumbering them in almost any battle.
The Infantry Company takes advantage of this by shifting the focus of the army's strategy towards the use of Infantry squads. By the mid-game, when other companies and factions are beginning to put more emphasis on vehicle production, the Infantry Company uses its existing and growing infantry force to deliver stronger and stronger attacks, pushing the enemy back and denying him any advance.
For starters, it does this by augmenting Riflemen Squads and other Infantry and Heavy Weapon squads. It increases production speed of these units, and allows Riflemen Squads to construct a variety of defenses, shifting responsibilities from the weak and vulnerable Engineer Squad to the battle-ready Riflemen.
Next up the Infantry Company pulls out its primary weapon - the Ranger Squads. These elite infantrymen are initially just good anti-tank units, capable of pushing back enemy vehicle assaults and later carrying the fight to the enemy. They can receive an upgrade that turns them into anti-infantry troops as well, in essence becoming all-powerful squads with the capabilities to engage and destroy any target - especially when traveling in large groups. They are amazingly difficult to stop. Later on, entire battlegroups are constructed to escort and support the Rangers.
During the late stages, Infantry Company abilities open up two different sets of artillery. One is an off-map howitzer barrage, fairly standard, with a hefty Munitions-based activation cost. The other is an M2 105mm Howitzer field artillery, constructed by Engineer Squads. With a very long attack range, it can put a powerful barrage almost anywhere on the map - for free. Together these artillery attacks provide support for infantry, demolish enemy structures, and protect American assets from attack.
Finally, the Infantry Company allows the Americans to do something very interesting: they can call a group of units to the battlefield for the pre-agreed sum of 800. Up to 4 units can appear (depending on how much Population Cap is available) selected randomly from a preset list of possibilities. In practice this can save a lot of resources, and provide a sudden increase in American firepower, such as after a large loss of units. However, the inability to select the type of units that will show up poses a certain element of risk.
Command Tree Structure
|Rapid Response||Defensive Operations|
|Increases the speed of all production and upgrading at the Barracks and Weapons Support Center by 50%. Reduces the time required to convert an ambient building into a Forward Barracks to 15 seconds, and the cost to only 195.||Allows Riflemen Squads to construct Barbed Wire, Sand Bags, Tank Traps and Mines. Reduces the construction time for each of these, as well as the Machine Gun Emplacement, by 50% (including when built by Engineer Squads).|
|Rangers||Off-Map Artillery Support|
|Allows calling in Ranger Squads for 400, 6 each. These are tough and powerful anti-tank infantry units with potential for additional heavy anti-infantry firepower.||Enables calling in a 6-shell off-map artillery salvo at any visible point on the battlefield, for the cost of 150.|
|Off-Map Combat Group||105mm Howitzer|
|Allows calling in a group of up to 4 random American units for the cost of 800, consuming at least 12. Squads are randomly generated, and will not exceed the current Population Cap limit.||Engineer Squads can construct the M2 105mm Howitzer, a stationary artillery piece with a long attack range. This unit can fire 6-shell salvos (similar to the Off-Map Artillery Support) - for free.|
- Total price: 12 Command Points
The Infantry Company Command Tree is split into two branches: Reinforcements and Defensive. Each branch has three Command Upgrades available for purchase, and they must be bought in a specific order.
The Reinforcements Branch concentrates on improving the logistical lines to the battlefield, enabling a fast supply of fresh troops, as well as the ability to quickly call in troops you may not normally have access to.
This starts with a tremendous increase in production times for the Barracks and Weapons Support Center, boosting unit creation speed in both structures. The conversion of new Forward Barracks also becomes faster, and cheaper.
Next, this branch allows calling in Ranger Squads. These infantry are very tough, and potentially capable of tackling almost any enemy threat. They represent the epitome of American Infantry power, and can easily become the primary assault unit for your army.
Finally, the Reinforcements Branch enables a unique ability that allows calling in a group of up to 4 different, randomly selected units to the battlefield. This can provide an extra force in an emergency, and the units it creates are geared to serve the Infantry Company's strengths.
- When the Rapid Response Command Upgrade is purchased, it will immediately apply a set of bonuses, all geared towards speeding up production of infantry and infantry-support assets. This ability will ensure a steady supply of troops to the battlefield, allowing the Infantry Company to keep a strong presence in the face of heavy losses - which are to be expected when Infantry are your core combat units.
- Firstly, this Command Upgrade cuts all production times at the Barracks and Weapons Support Center by one third. This means that the production of Riflemen Squads, Jeeps, M1917 Browning Heavy Machine Gun Teams, Mortar Teams and Snipers is now 33% faster than before. For example, a Riflemen Squad now takes 24 seconds to produce, instead of the normal 36 seconds.
- This allows replacing lost units in a quick and efficient manner, providing constant pressure on the enemy and quickly plugging gaps in your force. It makes Infantry and Weapon Teams somewhat more expendable, as they take much less time to replace.
- As a bonus, Global Upgrades purchased at the Barracks also take 33% less time to install.
- Furthermore, the cost of creating new Forward Barracks out of ambient buildings is now reduced from 260 to only 195. This encourages creating more Forward Barracks to enable more reliable reinforcement of casualties without having to retreat to base. Again, this assists in putting constant pressure on the enemy, or at least maintaining a strong defense in the face of heavy losses. The time required to convert an ambient building into a Forward Barracks is also significantly reduced, from 30 seconds to only 15!
- Note: Reinforcement of infantry units is not sped up. It will still take the same amount of time as before. Production of units at the Forward Barracks is not sped up either, only production at the Barracks and Weapons Support Center is affected.
- With this Command Upgrade purchased, the new Command Ability "Call in Rangers" is made available to you.
- Each use of this ability costs 400, 6, and will call in a single Ranger Squad. You need to select a rally point for the Ranger Squad, to which it will travel upon creation.
- Ranger Squads are some of the most powerful infantry units in the game. They come already equipped with two M9 Bazooka Anti-Tank rocket launchers, which are very good for flanking attacks against enemy vehicles. The squad itself is quite sturdy too, and can survive heavy combat quite easily
- In addition, this squad has useful combat abilities which can help it survive various situations. It can Fire-Up to shrug off all Suppression effects for a period of 15 seconds, allowing it to run past enfilading fire and take out the source of the fire. With the Mk2 Grenades Global Upgrade purchased at the Barracks, this squad can also throw grenades at enemy infantry and Weapon Teams, allowing them to tackle enemy MG42 Heavy Machine Gun Teams and other threatening units in one blow.
- To reach its maximum combat potential, this squad can be fitted with the Thompson SMG upgrade, which will outfit four of the men with automatic close-range weapons. This adds a formidable anti-infantry capability to this unit, on top of its existing anti-tank capabilities - essentially allowing it to engage any target. With their Tommy Guns, the Rangers can charge into an enemy infantry unit and wipe it out entirely within seconds.
- With this Command Upgrade and the Ranger Squads it produces, the Infantry Company has one of its most important assets. Ranger Squads will often lead the battle, or at least provide superior firepower in support of the large infantry groups often used by the Infantry Company to overwhelm the enemy.
- The "Call in Rangers" ability takes 40 seconds to recharge after each use.
Off-Map Combat Group
- This Command Upgrade unlocks a Command Ability called "Off-Map Combat Group". This ability is entirely unique to the Infantry Company, and provides one of the more interesting strategic options available to any faction.
- Each use of this ability costs 800, and requires at least 15 available. Upon activation, select a rally point anywhere on the map.
- When the ability is activated, the game begins randomizing a set of up to 4 units, from a pre-determined list as explained below. These units will enter the battlefield under your command immediately, and will automatically travel to the designated rally point. All units spawn with their respective upgrades.
- Unit selection works as follows:
- 1. The game creates one of the following units, selected at random:
- 2. After a 1 second delay, the game creates one of the following units, selected at random:
- 3. After an additional 1 second delay, the game creates one of the following units, selected at random. It can only select a unit from this list if the player still has sufficient Population Cap points to support it after step 2:
- 4. If the player still has 6 remaining after all the above steps, the game now creates an additional Riflemen Squad.
- Note: The game doesn't care whether you have the required base structures to produce these units, it only cares whether you have sufficient Population Cap points to support them.
- This can result in up to 4 new units entering the battlefield, provided sufficient Population Cap points are available. The game chooses at random from each group, so it is possible to get two M10 Tank Destroyer, or two M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun, etc., at random.
- Since the cost of the ability is fixed ( 800), it's quite possible to get a very good deal out of it - assuming you have enough Population Cap to get all 4 units. For example, two M10 Tank Destroyers plus an M8 Armored Car and a Riflemen Squad will normally cost 1,150, 140 when constructed at the base - but you only pay 800 if you get these through the Off-Map Combat Group ability (assuming you are lucky enough to get these specific units, of course).
- This Command Ability can be used in an emergency to reinforce a dwindled army after a failed battle - since the units are created instantly. Your enemy will be very surprised, coming under a second attack wave (or defensive line) so soon after his victory - especially if he paid dearly for that victory.
- Alternatively, if you have the Population Cap required to support 4 new units ( 24 or more), it may even be better to just use this ability instead of constructing new units at the base at all. That is, of course, if you're experienced enough to be able to use any new units the game selects for you regardless of what you get. Of course, given the Infantry Company's propensity for the use of infantry and infantry-support units, the selection is pretty much guaranteed to get you what you need at least most of the time.
- The Off-Map Combat Group Command Ability can be used once every 40 seconds. This is a surprisingly short cooldown time considering its potential.
The Defensive Branch has a bit of a misleading name, which has led many players to assume that it promotes a more defensive playing style for the mostly-ambiguous American faction. In truth, this branch actually provides both defensive and offensive capabilities, allowing the American army to rely on stronger units and defenses in order to enhance its offensive force.
This is first done by unlocking defensive construction capabilities for the Riflemen Squad. It allows them to build Barbed Wire fences, Sand Bags, Tank Traps and even lay Mines. As a result, reliance on Engineer Squads for forward construction is reduced, instead fielding more firepower at the front lines and freeing up Population Cap points for other, stronger units.
Next this branch unlocks a rather standard Off-Map Artillery Barrage. Firing salvos of 6 powerful shells, the Americans can take out enemy groups to defend their territory, but can also soften up enemy positions prior to a strong infantry assault.
Finally, artillery firepower is augmented even further by allowing Engineer Squads to produce the M2 105mm Howitzer. This is a stationary field artillery piece with a surprisingly long firing range. Placed in a good forward position, this artillery unit can supply free artillery barrages at nearly any point on the map. It can be used to bombard the enemy base, or provide the same services as the Off-Map Artillery in defensive and offensive operations.
- This early Command Upgrade unlocks 4 different construction options for the American Riflemen Squads. These are all Passive Defenses, normally constructed only by the Engineer Squad.
- With these construction abilities, Riflemen Squads can replace destroyed defenses themselves, without having to rely on the weaker and more vulnerable Engineer Squads to risk themselves in battle. This is even more important when Riflemen Squads capture new territory, and can immediately begin creating positions for themselves to take cover behind as they prepare for the enemy's counter-attack. Engineer Squads are still required to build Machine Gun Emplacements and later M2 105mm Howitzers, as well as repair damaged vehicles and structures, but now don't actually have to visit threatened areas during combat.
- In addition to the above, this Command Upgrade also reduces the time it takes to construct the above Passive Defenses by half. This allows your units to rapidly set up a defensive position and replace lost defensive structures, frustrating repeated enemy attempts to take American territory. The construction speed bonus applies to both Riflemen Squads and Engineer Squads, and will also hasten the construction of the Machine Gun Emplacement by the same amount.
Off-Map Artillery Support
- This Command Upgrade unlocks a new Command Ability called Howitzer Shoot. This ability costs 150 to activate, and can be targeted at any visible point on the map (not in the Fog-of-War).
- The Howitzer Shoot begins by revealing a 35-meter-radius area of the Fog-of-War around the selected point. Three red smoke flared will land at the designated target, preceding the attack.
- 3 seconds after activation, the howitzer shells will begin landing on the target, at 2.5-3 second intervals between shells. The Howitzer Shoot fires a total of 6 shells at the target, all landing within 15 meters of the designated point.
- Each of these shells delivers between 100 and 130 points of damage. The explosion radius of the shells is 7 meters, and any target within this radius will suffer the same amount of damage regardless of distance. Penetration of enemy armor, however, is dependent on distance from the blast point.
- Most Wehrmacht vehicles will suffer twice the amount of damage listed above from each shell, making this a terrific weapon for taking out enemy armor while it is being engaged by your other units (and cannot easily escape). Infantry within the blast radius of any of these shells will naturally be killed outright. Enemy buildings will suffer 100% damage as well, and with the tight distribution of the shells it may be possible to destroy a tough enemy base structure with one bombardment.
- This attack can be used defensively, to knock out an enemy force attempting to invade your territory. With the use of Jeeps or camouflaged Snipers to scout enemy territory, it's possible to direct this bombardment at enemy positions prior to or during an assault - or possibly even bombard the enemy's own base, taking out high-value structures.
- This ability has a cooldown timer of 30 seconds. This is just a little longer than the duration of the attack itself, meaning that if you have sufficient Munitions, you can repeatedly bombard the enemy as required over a surprisingly short period of time.
- When the 105mm Howitzer Command Upgrade is purchased, it will allow all Engineer Squads to construct the M2 105mm Howitzer unit, in any captured and connected sector on the map.
- The M2 105mm Howitzer is a stationary field artillery piece. Manned by a crew of three, this unit can perform howitzer barrages at a surprisingly long distance: up to 250 meters. If the howitzer is placed forward enough, it can easily bombard the far reaches of the map, possibly even the enemy's own base.
- Barrages from this howitzer are completely free of charge, though they can only be fired once every 85 seconds. The gun does not automatically fire at targets, and must be instructed to do so manually be activating its barrage ability and selecting the desired target.
- M2 105mm Howitzer barrages may be targeted at any point on the map up to 250 meters away, including in the Fog-of-War. The barrage consists of a 6-round salvo, similar in appearance to that carried out by the Howitzer Shoot ability (see above), but with many important differences.
- For starters, this barrage is not preceded by smoke. As a result, the enemy has no advanced warning about the attack. Again, the barrage can be fired into the Fog-of-War, but does not reveal the area around the targeted point.
- Each shell fired by the M2 105mm Howitzer delivers a whopping 200 points of damage. This is distributed unevenly within the 7-meter blast area around the shell's impact point. Targets inside the first meter receive 50% extra damage for a total of 300 points. Between 2-3 meters, targets receive only 150 points of damage. At 3-7 meters, targets receive only 60 points - still enough to kill most exposed infantry.
- Penetration again is lacking beyond the impact point, with only a 60% chance to penetrate armor at the blast's perimeter. Furthermore, many Wehrmacht vehicles have a 25% resistance to damage from this attack, suffering only 225 points from a direct hit. Panzer Elite vehicles do not enjoy this advantage.
- This barrage is also somewhat less useful against enemy base structures, delivering only 105 points on a direct hit. This compensates for the M2 105mm Howitzer's ability to attack them often if it is placed forward enough on the map. Fortunately, Bunkers receive the full damage amount.
- As a Weapon Teams, the M2 105mm Howitzer is quite vulnerable, and its crew can be killed off by a counter-barrage or an enemy Sniper. This can cause the weapon to become abandoned, at which point enemy infantry units may attempt to capture it. Therefore, it's imperative to protect this weapon with nearby infantry, who can take over if the original crew is killed.
- M2 105mm Howitzer barrages are often used to support an infantry advance. They can be combined with an Off-Map Howitzer Shoot to increase effectiveness. Very little will remain standing after such an attack, allowing the American infantry to rush in and secure the destroyed enemy position easily.