In Company of Heroes, Infantry Weapon is a generic name used to refer to all weapons that are carried by individual Infantrymen on the battlefield. Almost all Infantrymen in the game carry their own weapons, though these can widely vary in both size and firepower, from the smallest (a pistol) to the largest (a rocket-launcher). In all cases, one infantryman carries and operates one Infantry Weapon in combat.
The majority of Infantry Weapons are good against other infantrymen - and may be virtually useless against any armored target, including even Medium Vehicles. Naturally, the many Anti-Tank Rocket Launchers are much more suitable for taking out enemy armor than they are at killing soldiers. "Specialty" weapons can be acquired by a unit through upgrades, increasing its combat abilities in one way or another. These Specialty Weapons also have a chance to "drop" during combat, becoming abandoned - in which case they may be picked up and used by another Infantry squad.
Company of Heroes features several hundred types of weapons, which may be mounted on vehicles, affixed to defensive positions, fired by off-map assets, and of course carried by Infantrymen. Infantry Weapons are naturally the smallest - as they need to be light enough to be carried and operated by one man.
This is what defines an Infantry Weapon as opposed to any other type of weapon in the game: it is carried and fired by a single Infantryman. However, beyond this distinction, Infantry Weapons are extremely diverse.
The smallest Infantry Weapons include Pistols and SMGs - weapons suitable for close-range combat against other Infantry units. SMGs, in particular, can be quite deadly at this range. Rifles and Assault Rifles are very common, and provide mid-range combat capabilities - with a few being useful even at long range. More advanced weapons include the Sniper Rifle, which is extremely accurate but slow, and the Machine Gun which will rend infantry and send them diving for cover. The largest Infantry Weapons are the Anti-Tank Launchers, designed to destroy all manners of enemy vehicles.
Infantry Weapons are generally sub-divided into two groups: "Basic" (or "Default") Weapons, and "Specialty" weapons. The distinction may sometimes be hard to understand, but the game treats these very differently, as explained below.
Note: If a weapon is carried or operated by two or more Infantrymen, it is considered a Team Weapon. This primarily means Mortars and heavier weapons. Heavy Machine Guns are very borderline in this regard.
Overview of Basic and Specialty Weapons Edit
Infantry Weapons are generally divided into two groups.
- "Basic" weapons, also called "Default" weapons, are given to infantrymen by default. Most infantrymen will stick with this weapon as long as they stay alive. They are often anti-infantry weapons, but are relatively weak even in this task.
- "Specialty" weapons are acquired through various means, primarily as upgrades bought for an Infantry Squad. When a soldier is equipped with such a weapon, he will use it instead of his "Default" weapon. Specialty Weapons are very diverse, and each one can be very strong for a specific kind of combat situation - but less so for other situations.
Basic Weapons Edit
Almost all Infantrymen are equipped with a "Basic" Infantry Weapon immediately upon their creation. They will continue to carry their Basic weapon until death.
The type of Basic Weapon given to an infantryman by depends entirely on the type of Infantry Squad he belongs to. In most cases this will be a standard-issue rifle. In others, a weak variety of some other weapon type, most likely an SMG.
Pistols and Rifles are among the most common Basic Infantry Weapons. Standard-issue rifles, like the American M1 Garand and German Kar98k, are by far the most common weapons used in any battle. Some squads are equipped with "Basic" Sub-Machine Guns, though these are often pale versions of the truly dangerous SMGs available as "Specialty" weapons (see below).
These weapons are almost exclusively used for anti-infantry warfare. Unfortunately, they're not terribly good at it. On the other hand, most squads consist of several infantrymen, which will all fire their "Basic" weapons during combat - thus producing a reasonable amount of firepower.
Players often understandably prefer to outfit their soldiers with somewhat more useful weapons - "Specialty" Weapons - which can make a squad significantly more powerful. This can be achieved in several methods, explained below.
Specialty Weapons Edit
Aside from "Basic" weapons, there are also "Specialty" weapons. These are weapons of higher quality and firepower, which an infantry unit can acquire in one of several different methods.
"Specialty" weapons are generally very powerful in specific combat situations - and less powerful in other situations. e.g. they "Specialize" in one form of combat. For example, most Assault Rifles are terribly powerful in mid-range or short-range combat against enemy infantry - but will do little against structures, vehicles, or in long-range firefights. They can decimate enemy infantry squads with ease, but would have trouble engaging an armored car, for example.
Other "Specialty" weapons include powerful SMGs, accurate Rifles, Light Machine Guns and even Anti-Tank Launchers of various kinds. Again, each of these weapons is particularly potent against a specific kind of target at a specific range, sometimes allowing the infantry squad to take out much stronger enemies, but in return the squad becomes much less useful against other targets.
When the squad is equipped with one or more Specialty Weapons, each member of the squad will hold one of these weapons - instead of his Basic Weapon. He will use the Specialty Weapon exclusively for as long as he remains alive. When a soldier carrying a Specialty Weapon dies, however, things can change, as explained below.
The primary method to acquire a "Specialty" weapon for an infantry squad is to purchase a Weapon Upgrade Package for that squad. The squad will then be outfitted with one or more such weapons, possibly even a variety of them. Some infantry squads have a choice of several such packages which can be purchased for them, thus enabling a wider range of options in "customizing" a squad with specialty weapons to make it more useful for certain tasks on the battlefield.
Some squads will arrive on the battlefield already carrying a few Specialty Weapons. The best example may be the American Ranger Squad, which comes armed with two M9 Bazooka Rocket-Launchers. These replace two of the M1 Garands (basic Rifles) that Rangers carry by default.
Furthermore, Infantry Squads can pick up abandoned Infantry Weapons they find lying around on the battlefield. These weapons rarely come "from nowhere" - they are usually dropped by an Infantry Squad when its team-members are killed off. Therefore, weapons purchased for one squad may drop during a battle, and then be picked up by a completely different squad - possibly even an enemy squad. Interesting combinations may result from one squad picking up a wide variety of abandoned Specialty weapons from the battlefield. There are very complex rules, explained thoroughly below, which dictate how this works.
Infantry Weapon Types Edit
Infantry Weapons are designed, obviously, to be carried and used by Infantry. Often small, they are nonetheless quite varied, serving a wide array of purposes on the battlefield. The smallest Infantry Weapons are no more than a foot long. The largest ones are almost man-sized, and proportionally heavy.
A weapon's design determines a myriad of combat properties, most importantly which targets it is best suited to destroy.
This section lists the various Infantry Weapon Types, going from the most common to the least common.
The Rifle is the most common type of Infantry Weapon found in Company of Heroes, and indeed the most common weapon in any World War II setting. Infantrymen are trained to use these weapons, and are usually issued a rifle as their "standard" weapon for combat.
Rifles are meant for infantry-on-infantry combat. They fire small-caliber bullets (usu. 8mm in diameter) which can injure and kill infantry quite easily. Other non-armored targets, such as Light Vehicles, may also be damaged by this weapon.
Rifles are often loaded with a clip or a magazine: a small pack of bullets inserted into the gun and subsequently fired one at a time. Generally, the firing rate of a Rifle is mediocre or even slow, as it requires the shooter to constantly reaim (and possibly re-cock) his weapon between each bullet.
Rifles are medium-range weapons. They are best when used at targets around 20m away. At short ranges they can be difficult to aim properly, and their slow firing rate leaves the shooter vulnerable as he tries to kill his target. At very long ranges, Rifles may lack the precision to hit their targets consistently.
Rifles are further distinguished from one another based on their bolt mechanism - i.e. the mechanism used to eject the casing of the previous bullet, and load a new bullet from the magazine into the firing chamber:
- Bolt Action Rifles have manually-operated rechambering mechanisms. The shooter must pull a lever after each shot, ejecting the spent bullet casing and forcing a new bullet up from the magazine. This slows down the firing rate, but makes for a more accurate weapon.
- Semi-Automatic Rifles use the gases expelled during the firing process to perform the re-chambering action. The gases push the spent casing out of the gun and push the firing pin back to its "cocked" position. Thus, each pull of the trigger readies the weapon for another shot. This speeds up the firing rate, as the shooter only needs to pull the trigger again and again. However, the mechanism reduces overall firing accuracy.
- The American army outfits most of its soldiers with semi-automatic M1 Garand rifles - especially the core Riflemen Squad. These are quite speedy, and fairly good at mid-range combat. M1 Carbines are issued mostly to light infantry, and are faster and more useful in close-range combat (10-20 meters).
- The Wehrmacht equips its basic troops (including both Volksgrenadier Squads and Grenadier Squads) with bolt-action rifles, the Kar98ks. Although slow to use, these are exceptional weapons in mid-range infantry combat (20-25 meters). There are several versions of this rifle given to different troops.
- All British core soldiers (both Infantry Sections and Sappers) carry Lee-Enfield rifles, which are bolt-action operated. Generally on par with the Axis rifles, they are slow but great at a distance. They are also versatile weapons, allowing for interesting upgrades.
- The Panzer Elite's Panzer Grenadiers and Luftwaffe infantry squads all carry Kar98k bolt-action rifles by default, like their Wehrmacht counterparts. Most units will swap these (through weapon package upgrades) for better combat weapons. The Gewehr 43 should also be mentioned, a very accurate (though even slower) long-range rifle.
Light Machine Guns Edit
Machine Guns have been in use since before the First World War, but by World War II there have been several successful designs that make them easier to use on the move (unlike Medium or Heavy Machine Guns that must be set up on bipods or tripods in order to be usable). This type of weapon is called a Light Machine Gun.
The Light Machine Gun (or LMG) is another fairly-common weapon on the World War II battlefield. Similar to, but slightly larger than a standard rifle, the Light Machine Gun's primary benefit is its fully-automatic firing mechanism, which allows it to spit out a large number of bullets within a short space of time.
Depending on their design, LMGs are loaded with either a large box or drum magazine, or fed from a chain of bullets. The bullets are often of the same small caliber used by rifles (usu. ~8mm in diameter), and are predominantly meant for killing enemy infantrymen.
This large number of bullets is essential because LMGs fire in "fully automatic" mode. Like the semi-automatic rifles described above, the LMG utilizes gases expelled by a fired bullet in order to operate its entire mechanism to load and prepare the next bullet for firing. Unlike a semi-automatic weapon, as long as the LMG's trigger remains pulled it will continue firing more and more bullets until the trigger is released (or you run out of bullets). As a result, the LMG can fire many bullets in a short amount of time. LMGs are also designed to better dispose of the heat generated during this process, allowing them to keep firing continuously for much longer periods of time.
The increase in bullets fired makes the LMG very dangerous to enemy Infantrymen. Despite it often firing very inaccurately, the increase in bullets provides an overall statistical increase in the chance to hit enemies. This is true in almost all ranges, though the LMG is often best at medium-to-long range (20–30 meters).
Though in real life they have several disadvantages, LMGs in Company of Heroes are often considered superior to rifles in all engagements.
- The Wehrmacht may equip its Grenadier Squads with MG42 Light Machine Guns. These iconic LMGs are extremely potent anti-infantry weapons. Though less dangerous than a tripod-mounted MG42 (see MG42 HMG Team), it is still a deadly weapon.
- The British may equip their Infantry Sections with Bren LMGs. While odd-looking, the Bren is every bit as dangerous as an MG42, and grants the additional ability to "suppress" enemy vehicles.
- The American army has no real LMGs, but instead may equip its Riflemen Squads with Browning Automatic Rifles (BARs), a weapon halfway between a rifle and an LMG. Though fully-automatic and quite dangerous, its small magazine capacity means that it must be reloaded every few bursts, reducing overall usefulness. Nonetheless, it is significantly more powerful at shorter ranges (~10m) than a conventional LMG.
- For the Panzer Elite, only the Fallschirmjäger Squad from the Luftwaffe Tactics company arsenal may be outfitted with mid-range automatic weapons - the FG42s - which like the American BAR are actually more akin to assault rifles than actual LMGs. They are quite good at close and mid-range battles (10-20m).
Sub-Machine Guns Edit
The SMG is an automatic weapon related to the LMG but significantly reduced in size. This weapon type is a true "newcomer" on the World War II battlefield, compared to Rifles or even Light Machine Guns. Like the LMG, the SMG fires large quantities of small-caliber bullets (usu. 9mm in diameter, but much shorter than rifle rounds), meant to kill enemy Infantry.
Because they are much shorter than LMGs, SMGs are significantly less accurate. Nonetheless they are effective in short-range combat. This is primarily thanks to their small size (enabling them to be easily aimed in close quarters), but moreso thanks to their high firing rate.
As with LMGs, the SMG's fully-automatic mechanism, meaning that the gun handles the ejection of spent bullets, the loading of bullets into the firing chamber, and the cocking of the firing mechanism all on its own. This happens very rapidly, allowing the average SMG to fire a dozens of bullets during the span of a few seconds. All the shooter has to do is point the gun and squeeze the trigger for as long as necessary.
SMGs are loaded with magazines - though they hold significantly more bullets than the average rifle. This enables them to fire continuously for longer periods of time. This is important because SMGs are very inaccurate - they need to fire more bullets in order to be effective. The bullets themselves are usually very small and not too damaging, further increasing the importance of firing a large number of them.
Due to the lack of accuracy, SMGs are largely useless at normal infantry engagement ranges (20 meters or so). However at close range, a burst of bullets from an SMG can easily kill an enemy infantryman. SMGs are considered some of the best weapons for close-combat infantry engagements. Units holding these weapons are often best when charging straight into an enemy squad and wiping it out in seconds. Getting close enough without being shot first, of course, is the real trick.
- American Engineer Squads carry M3 "Grease-gun" SMGs by default. Very inaccurate and having very low damage values, this squad is unlikely to win any serious combat engagement. However, the Ranger Squad can be outfitted with significantly more powerful M1 Thompson SMGs, which can decimate enemy teams at close range.
- The Wehrmacht's basic type of SMG is the MP40, which can be given to the Volksgrenadier Squad (replacing its default Rifles). Roughly average in usefulness, it is still quite dangerous in close range - but utterly rubbish at 20 meters or beyond. Additionally, several Wehrmacht troops (including the famous Knight's Cross Holders) carry the MP44/StG44 Assault Rifle - the forebearer of modern standard infantry weapon - which is extremely dangerous in both close and medium-range combat.
- The British army's Commando Squads carry Sten SMGs by default, as do their Lieutenants. These are roughly average weapons, but a large (6-man) Commando unit firing all at once at close range can destroy an enemy Infantry Squad quite easily. The Stens are also somewhat more useful at longer ranges than other basic SMGs.
- Panzer Elite infantry do not have access to basic SMGs. However, for close-range combat they can be equipped with significantly superior MP44/StG44 Assault Rifles. These are deadly in both close and medium range (5-20m).
Sniper Rifles Edit
Quality-manufactured rifles can actually have amazingly good accuracy - but this accuracy rarely comes into play with normal battle rifles because aiming them at a far-away target is somewhat difficult. Installing a scope on a rifle allows its user to better aim it at far-away enemy troops, utilizing this accuracy to "snipe" enemy infantry easily.
An accurate rifle with a magnifying scope is called a Sniper Rifle, and usually given to a trained marksman - a Sniper. He can use this weapon to eliminate enemy Infantry at extremely long range - sometimes well outside the sight-range of a normal infantryman. A well-placed shot from such a weapon will kill an infantryman on the spot.
During World War II, almost all Sniper Rifles were bolt-action operated Rifles of better-quality design than the type of rifles issued to the regular troops. Bolt-Action Rifles are inherently more accurate than Semi-Automatic ones, thus increasing their combat potential at long range.
The Bolt-Action mechanism also means that these rifles are very slow, and the need to use a scope to aim at targets also further decreases their speed. A rookie Sniper may take several seconds lining up each shot. Nonetheless, each shot he makes has a 100% chance (in most situations) to kill his target, again thanks to the high accuracy and quality aiming equipment.
Optimally, these weapons are used to kill infantry from outside combat range - i.e. distances of 30 meters or more. Some high-level Snipers can fire at ranges of over 50 meters, without any loss of accuracy. Naturally, these weapons are very hard to use in close-quarters combat, so the Sniper must always keep his distance from the enemy in order to preserve his advantage. He will be outgunned in any encounter occurring at less than 20 meters.
- Both the Americans and the Wehrmacht deploy their own specialized Sniper units consisting of only one man and his Sniper Rifle. The American Sniper uses the Springfield M1903, while the Wehrmacht Sniper uses a Gewehr 43. Both weapons are nearly identical in their abilities, though the Snipers themselves may have slightly different combat properties.
- The British can turn an Infantry Section into a Recon Element by outfitting one of the men with a Scoped Lee-Enfield (a scoped version of their already highly-accurate standard rifles). In normal combat this weapon behaves as a somewhat inferior "basic" Lee-Enfield, but grants the ability to make an accurate sniper shot (automatically killing one enemy infantryman) for a small Munitions cost.
- The Panzer Elite have no access to Sniper Rifles whatsoever. On the other hand, some of their anti-tank weapons are so accurate that they can snipe infantry or other units at amazingly-long ranges...
Anti-Tank Launchers Edit
All guns described thus-far are essentially anti-infantry weapons. Though they do have some potential use against un-armored or lightly-armored vehicles, the bullets they fire cannot possibly get through any serious armor, and thus cannot damage medium or heavy vehicles at all.
Nonetheless, Infantry are nothing if not versatile, and all factions have one or more Infantry Weapons at their disposal that can do grievous harm to enemy vehicles. Some of these weapons are thrown bombs (see later in this article), but the most common and usually most useful ones are Anti-Tank Launchers.
The Anti-Tank Launcher is essentially a long, wide tube that is loaded with a heavy shell - sometimes 10 cm in diameter or more. The shell is packed with explosives, and designed to bust straight through thick armor upon impact with the target. The impact detonates the warhead, destroying the contents of the target vehicle.
The launch mechanism may differ between AT launchers. Most utilize a rocket engine fitted to the warhead, which propels it at great speed towards the target (increasing armor penetration considerably). Others simply "lob" the warhead at the enemy using a loaded spring. Whichever method is used, the warhead is designed to pierce through the armor on impact.
Anti-Tank Launchers are less powerful than tank cannons, and may have trouble getting through the heavier types of armor in the game (such as the front armor of a Heavy Tank). Therefore, infantry carrying these launchers are often encouraged to maneuver behind the target to fire at its weaker rear or side armor, increasing the chance of penetration. Furthermore, these launchers tend to be somewhat inaccurate at anything more than close range (5–15 meters), requiring infantry to get pretty close to their targets. Nonetheless, a single impact from such a warhead can cause significant damage to any vehicle, and will often cause damage to secondary systems if it doesn't destroy the vehicle outright.
The primary advantage of this weapon, compared to conventional cannons, is its mobility and the fact that it is carried by infantry. Infantrymen are small targets, and tanks often have trouble killing them - giving the infantry time to fire their warheads at the tank in order to destroy it. On the other hand, these weapons are difficult to reload, taking upwards of 5 seconds between each shot - essentially requiring you to make each shot count.
- The Americans have access to two different types of AT launchers: the M9 Bazooka (two are given to each Ranger Squad by default) and the M18 Recoilless Rifle (two may be purchased for an Airborne Squad for a hefty Munitions cost). The Bazooka fires a rocket-propelled warhead, while the M18 actually fires an artillery shell. Both weapons are inherently inaccurate but nonetheless quite powerful.
- The Wehrmacht may equip its troops with the dreaded Panzerschrek Anti-Tank Launchers, readily identifiable by the large metal plate installed at the front of the launcher (protecting the user from the warhead's rocket plume). These are significantly more accurate than the American launchers, and thus greatly feared by Allied tank commanders (and prized by any unit that manages to capture one). Additionally, some Wehrmacht Infantry can use disposable Panzerfaust launchers for a one-time Munitions cost.
- The British use a somewhat different weapon called a PIAT ("Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank"). This is essentially a sort of mortar, lobbing very heavy shells at a relatively high angle. These shells are dangerously powerful against most armor, though prior to Patch 2.400 they are also extremely inaccurate - especially due to the longer flight time of these arced projectiles.
- The Panzer Elite, like their Wehrmacht counterparts, also utilize both the Panzerschreck and Panzerfaust. Panzer Grenadier units may be created with one or two Panzerschrecks by default (these are called Tank Buster Heavy Infantry). The Panzer Elite 'Schrecks are, for balancing purposes, even more accurate than the Wehrmacht version, making them significantly more dangerous to Allied Vehicles.
Heavy (and Medium) Machine Guns Edit
Like their Light Machine Gun brethren (see above), Medium and Heavy Machine Guns (MMGs/HMGs, respectively) are fully-automatic weapons firing mid-sized bullets (usu. 7-8mm in diameter) in rapid succession. The quantity of bullets they fire significantly increases their deadliness, though they are difficult to aim properly.
The real difference between LMGs and their larger counterparts is sometimes very difficult to discern. Many weapon designs could be used as either LMGs, MMGs or HMGs. The military distinction tends to be based on how the weapon is set up. Where LMGs are carried by infantry and often used dynamically (i.e. on the move), MMGs and HMGs are meant to be used while stationary - set up on a bipod or tripod for easier control of the gun as it fires. Additional cooling systems can be installed when such a weapon is set up (water-cooling is very common), increasing the amount of time the weapon can keep firing without overheating.
In Company of Heroes, the terms MMG and HMG are often used interchangeably, and without much regard for their real-world application. Therefore these two groups can be referred to as one group (HMG, being the more common term used, therefore refers to both groups).
HMG infantry is relatively common, and often used widely by any faction that has access to it. It is a predominantly anti-infantry unit, capable of destroying enemy troops at medium and long range (15–30 meters) with ease. Several HMG teams have the ability to load their weapon with Armor-Piercing bullets, which may be able to inflict damage to Light or Medium armored vehicles (though tanks are still too well-armored to be hurt by them).
One of the main advantages of an HMG, of course, is its ability to Suppress enemy infantry. The volume of fire produced by one of these weapons is enough to scare enemy troops into taking cover, and reduces their combat effectiveness. This is often used in "Fire-and-Maneuver" tactics, with the HMG forcing enemies to take cover and keep their heads down, while another infantry unit flanks the enemy and destroys them from another angle.
The primary advantage of HMGs is that they are significantly heavier than normal weapons, and thus take some time to set up on their tripods (and time to disassemble them when the squad needs to move elsewhere). This exposes the unit to artillery fire (as it cannot quickly get out of the way), and makes it vulnerable on the flanks (since the HMG can only swivel so far on its tripod).
Note that the majority of HMGs are actually not infantry weapons - they are installed on the many different Vehicles available in the game. Most vehicles have at least one such weapon which they use to fend off infantry. HMGs installed on Vehicles tend to be larger and more powerful than the infantry-carried type, though they are often also much less accurate. Other HMGs may be installed in Active Defense structures, called "HMG emplacements".
- American HMG infantry teams utilize the M1917 Heavy Machine Gun. Their counterpart is the Wehrmacht MG42 team, using the MG42 with a tripod mount. Both machine guns are excellent for suppression fire and will indeed kill infantry quite rapidly as well. These two teams are used somewhat differently from one another, mainly due to the force composition of the two factions.
- The British Royal Commandos Support company has access to Heavy Machine Gun Commandos, carrying the same Machine Gun normally installed in the Vickers Machine Gun Emplacement. It is roughly on par with the other infantry-carried HMG designs.
- The Panzer Elite have no access to infantry-carried Heavy Machine Guns by default. They can only capture such weapons with their Infantry squads.
One of the most feared weapons on the battlefield is the Flamethrower, an ingenious device whose lineage can be tracked all the way back to Ancient Rome (and possibly even before then).
The Flamethrower consists of a fuel-filled pressure tank (or two), a hose, and a nozzle containing a sort of pilot light. To use this device, the infantryman points the nozzle at the target and pulls the trigger, spraying the target with a long stream of pressurized fuel. The pilot light is then used to ignite the stream, sending a plume of flame at the target and burning anything the fuel comes in contact with.
As a result, the flame causes damage to any flammable object it hits, and may ignite any nearby flammable objects - inflicting damage over time (even after the flame jet has ceased). In game terms, this appears like constant damage done to the target over the span of a few seconds. Each jet is treated similarly to a slow burst fired from an automatic weapon (see above).
Naturally, fire is the worst enemy of Infantry units. They have no protection from the flames, and thus suffer considerable damage. An infantryman only needs to be targeted by the flames for a few seconds before he dies. To make matters worse, both Light Cover and Heavy Cover provide no protection from Flamethrowers—in fact they increase vulnerability to fire. This makes the Flamethrower a great weapon for destroying enemies suppressed by another weapon.
Furthermore, structures are extremely vulnerable to fire, making the Flamethrower a very good weapon for destroying them. Again, a building may catch fire after a few jets of flame hit it, suffering continuous damage for a few seconds until the fire dies out on its own (or the building is destroyed). While a building is aflame, infantry units garrisoned inside will suffer continuous damage as well - once again meaning that Flamethrowers are terrific for rooting enemies out of a tactically-crucial building.
On the downside, the flamethrower is a short-ranged weapon. It cannot be used at the unit's sight-range, and some may not even be used at normal infantry engagement range (20-25m). The flamethrower-wielding infantryman usually needs to get pretty close. Also, due to the inherent inaccuracy of the flame jet, it may be necessary to get very close to the target (5-10m!) to increase damage output sufficiently.
Note that several Vehicles in the game also mount Flamethrowers. These usually have better range, but are otherwise identical to the infantry-carried variety.
- The Americans and Wehrmacht can both equip their repair infantry units (Engineer Squads and Pioneer Squads, respectively) with flamethrowers as a weapon upgrade package.
- The British and Panzer Elite have no access to infantry-carried flamethrowers at all. The British can make up for this with the Churchill Crocodile tank. The Panzer Elite have no flamethrower weapons whatsoever - but do have access to plenty of incendiary explosives.
Grenade Launchers Edit
World War II also saw a wider use of a budding new weapon called the "Grenade Launcher". Grenades, being infantry-thrown explosive charges, have existed for many centuries - but always required physical power in order to be thrown far enough (and accurately enough) to hit the enemy. A Grenade Launcher instead uses a mechanical device to propel the grenade towards its target.
During this period, Grenade Launchers were somewhat rudimentary, with the primary mechanism being a muzzle-launched "Rifle Grenade". This involves fitting a specially-designed grenade onto (or into!) the muzzle of a rifle, and then firing a special "primer" bullet. The bullet triggers the grenade's launch mechanism, sending it flying towards the target as though it was just a very big bullet itself.
Rifle Grenades allow accurately hitting a target with a small explosive charge (the grenade has to be small to fly well, and much of its size is taken up by the launch mechanism). The charge is generally strong enough to kill or seriously injure any infantryman it hits dead-on. It has a small blast-radius, allowing it to also hurt enemies up to a few meters from the impact point.
Rifle Grenades may be useful against stationary enemy Infantry; moving infantry is much harder to hit, due to the slow flight of the grenade. Most importantly, the arched ballistic trajectory of the grenade, as well as its explosive blast, renders Cover largely irrelevant - thus allowing the Rifle Grenadier to kill infantry hiding behind cover or inside buildings.
Although the Grenade is strong enough to cause some damage to unarmored or lightly-armored vehicles, it will nonetheless have little effect on these - and little or no effect on armored targets or even buildings. Therefore, it is almost entirely useless against anything but Infantry.
- The British are the first and only faction that deploys Grenade Launchers - by purchasing them as Weapon Upgrade Packages for the Infantry Section. With this package, two of the infantrymen's default Lee-Enfield rifles are fitted with Rifle Grenades - which they will fire automatically without requiring any payment. The modified weapons will no longer fire regular bullets - only grenades are fired.