Knight's Cross Holders
A Knights Cross Holder ready for battle
|Role||Heavy anti-infantry unit|
|Men per Squad||3|
|Upkeep per Minute||
-2.688 (per man)|
-8.064 (full squad)
|Produced By||Panzer Command|
|Cost to Reinforce||
|Health per Man||90|
|Basic Weapon||3x MP44 Sturmgewehr|
|Open Weapon Slots||2|
|Max. Speed||3 m/s|
The Knight's Cross Holders are elite heavy Infantry fielded by the Wehrmarcht in Company of Heroes, produced from the Panzer Command.
The "Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross"(Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes, or simply known as Ritterkreuz) was a level of the Iron Cross. The Knight's Cross was the second highest military order of the Third Reich, second only to the Grand Cross of the Iron Cross (which was only given to one person, Hermann Göring) It was awarded to recognize extreme battlefield bravery and successful military leadership during World War II. Receiving the Knight's Cross was among the highest honours and was only awarded to the bravest, toughest and most battle hardened infantry in the Wehrmacht Arms Force.
The Knight's Cross Holders (often shortened to Knight's Cross or KCH) are a largely ahistorical unit made up for Company of Heroes, with no true real life counterpart- unsurprisingly, the ranks of officer that would wear the uniform the squad is depicted in would very rarely fight on the front lines, though certainly they could be abstracted to represent the absolute elite in any given German infantry unit.
In game, they come in a 3-man squad, armed with StG 44s. This makes their use simple and obvious- they are an effective Anti-Infantry squad, able to quickly and decisively deal with any Allied infantry unit in almost any situation, outside of full frontal assaults on HMGs. In addition, these units are very difficult to kill, boasting high HP and Heroic armor. These combined factors mean that the only regular Allied infantry unit able to even put up a fair fight against the Knight's Cross Holders are the Commandos, who, even then, will still be usually unable to deal with a veteran squad effectively.
This is all balanced out by the armor-heavy nature of the late game. Wehrmacht players are very unlikely to have built a Panzer Command before Allied forces have access to armored vehicles outside of particularly one-sided battles. Therefore, most matches involving them will see them simply supporting tanks or assaulting support weapons rather than Infantry-versus-Infantry encounters, outside of against American commanders making heavy use of Rangers or Airborne. Though somewhat outclassed by the Ostwind in a purely anti-Infantry role, the Knight's Cross Holders are far better Anti-Infantry escorts to Tanks, given their lower cost (especially the total lack of Fuel cost) and lack of vulnerability to Anti-Tank Guns and Tank Destroyers.
Notably, Knight's Cross Holders are able to be built at a Forward Headquarters. The ability to quickly produce a super effective Anti-Infantry squad so close to the battle the moment the Panzer Command is completed can come in handy in many situations.
The Knight's Cross Holders have two Combat abilities- Assault Grenades, identical to the ability bestowed by the Blitzkrieg Doctine, and Fire Panzerfaust, which requires the first level of Veterancy.
Knight's Cross Holders can also use Medical Kits and turn neutral buildings into Forward Headquarters.
- Breaks supression and launch a volley of grenades at the target
- Costs 50 Munitions to activate
- Cooldown: 20 seconds
This ability causes the Knight's Cross Holders to break suppression and close in on enemy Infantry or Support Weapons while throwing several low-damage Stun grenades at the target, causing enemy Infantry hit to move far more slowly. As of the most recent patch, these Grenades are lethal, but in the hands of Knight's Cross Holders, it's far more likely that the enemy will die to the StG-44 or retreat before the Grenades do the job.
The main use of this ability is to quickly close on a low-damage suppressing weapon, usually either a MG squad or a squad or group of BAR equipped Riflemen or Bren equipped Infantry Sections. The Grenades are also generally useful against Infantry in cover, as they'll squirm out of it after getting hit.
This ability has no interaction with the Assault Grenadiers upgrade from the Blitzkrieg doctrine- it does not require it, nor does it get any benefit or change in any way because of it.
When this ability is activated, the Knight's Cross Holders Squad will advance to within 30 meters of the targeted enemy vehicle, and launch a single Panzerfaust Anti-Tank Warhead at that vehicle.
The warhead has 100% accuracy against any vehicle, and has no problem penetrating any kind of armor. While the explosion has a radius of 3 meters, it will deliver the vast majority of the damage at the point of impact.
The basic damage delivered by the weapon is 75 points of damage - enough to kill an infantryman, but not do much damage to a tank. Fortunately, the game multiplies this by 2.25, to a final value of 168 points of damage, whenever an any tank or other heavily-armored vehicle is hit. Even M3 Halftracks and M8 Greyhounds receive extra damage, though not as much.
The Panzerfaust won't destroy a tank (unless it's significantly damaged already), so it's mainly used when the Knight's Cross Holders Squad is flanking a target that's already under attack by another unit from another direction, or to simply whittle away at a vehicle spending extended time in a fight. However, any Armored Cars, Halftracks, or Light Tanks will take good damage from the weapon, typically being destroyed in 2 hits, making this ability an acceptable method of countering them.
This ability allows Knight's Cross Holders Squads to act as anti-tank infantry when necessary. Although this ability has a high munitions cost, the trade-off is that the team doesn't need to lug around an anti-tank weapon which would diminish its anti-infantry capabilities.
Though the Panzerfaust can be targeted at enemy Infantry, this ability is of little value aside from potentially destroying Sandbags or other heavy cover. Infantry in the open will only very rarely be hit by this ability.
After activation of this ability, the Knight's Cross Holders' squad starts to recover health. Since this squad cannot be produced before the Battle Phase, they can only use the Field Medical Kit in legitimate gameplay, which allows them to heal themselves in Friendly, Neutral, and Enemy sectors.
Each soldier of the squad recovers 72 health points per minute. There is, however, one drawback: upon activation, the squad's speed will be reduced for 18 seconds. This should be taken under consideration when choosing the moment of activation.
Intelligent use of this ability can make this already tough unit even stronger- especially in conjunction with the Assault Grenades ability, which naturally speeds up the unit, essentially balancing out the speed malus.
- Costs 260
- Requires the Knight's Cross Holders to garrison a neutral structure.
- Requires the garrisoned structure to be inside captured and connected territory.
- Activation: Through the Garrisoned Structure's menu.
- Takes 30 seconds to complete
When Knight's Cross Holders enter a neutral structure that's inside captured and connected territory, this ability appears in that structure's menu. Activating this ability begins a 30-second upgrade period, at the end of which the building will be converted into a Forward Headquarters.
The Forward HQ can produce and reinforce Infantry as a standard base building would be able to. Unless you have skipped the construction of or lost a base building, you will be able to construct any of the following units at this point:
|Existing Base Structure||Unit Production Unlocked|
|Wehrmacht Headquarters||Pioneer Squad|
|Wehrmacht Quarters||Volksgrenadier Squad|
|MG42 Heavy Machine Gun Team|
|Krieg Barracks||Gr. 34 8cm Mortar Team|
|Pak 38 50mm Anti Tank Gun|
|Panzer Command||Knight's Cross Holders|
These units cost the same amount of resources as they do when produced from their appropriate base structures. They will appear next to the Forward Headquarters when production is completed.
Note that all unit production at a Forward Headquarters is suspended if the sector it's in ever falls into enemy hands. You must recapture the sector to re-enable unit production. However, the building itself is marked as owned by the Wehrmacht, requiring the enemy to either capture the building in the same manner as a strategic point, or demolish the HQ outright.
Knight's Cross Holders are classified as infantry unit and gain veterancy through infantry veterancy upgrades, available at the Kampfkraft Center. These bonuses effect both newly produced units and those on the field.
|Level 1 Veterancy:
|Level 2 Veterancy:
|Level 3 Veterancy:
Generally, you shouldn't field Knight's Cross Holders that don't have at least the first rank of Veterancy- if you don't either already have that level nor are you planning on immediately getting it, save for an Ostwind instead. With the second and third ranks the damage reduction number is low but 5% reduction on a unit that already takes very little damage is surprisingly useful, and further the 20% health bonus makes the unit an outright monster, able to withstand ludicrous punishment- surviving Sniper shots and even direct hits from the cannons of the Greyhound and Staghound.
However, if you haven't leveled your Veterancy by this point in the game, you may be better off just getting Tank Veterancy instead.
- The StG-44 is unique in that it actually performs better while the squad is on the move- you therefore have the tradeoff of having the unit in cover to let it take even more damage versus keeping it on the move to make it deal even more damage.
- Picking up Anti-Tank weapons with this squad is a large trade-off: They deal no more damage nor or any more accurate with Panzerschreks, Bazookas, and PIATs than any other Infantry squad (less so than many), and you sacrifice 33% of your firepower to do this. In addition, anti-Infantry weapons- BARs, MG42s, etc.- are almost universally a downgrade compared to the STGs.
- Always keep a Halftrack close to your Knight's Cross Holders- very few things in the game can kill this squad faster than it can reinforce.
- A Knight's Cross Holder squad retains its armor, HP, and StG-44s when crewing an abandoned weapon, but this will instantly disband the squad, and they will use the weapon itself based on your Support veterancy- good if you're taking up a weapon that will be under constant fire but you're nearly always better off recrewing with other squads, especially since KCH crew members killed and reinforced will be replaced with their generic counterparts.
- It is almost impossible to dislodge this unit from a captured Slit Trench, especially if the remaining slots are filled with Panzerschrek-armed units. If the British are forced to abandon a Trench close to the front lines, send a unit of Knight's Cross Holders in to make a nearly unassailable obstacle.
- Pair Knight's Cross Holders that aren't escorting a tank with either an Anti-Tank Gun or Panzerschreks. The StuG or Geschutzwagen also work as low-cost alternatives to turreted Panzers.
Knight's Cross Holders are the ultimate Anti-Infantry unit surpassed by few units or even vehicles in the game, however, they are of little value against enemy vehicles with even basic armor. The Panzerfaust is okay but no replacement for a Panzerschrek or AT gun, and likewise, anti-infantry armored units like the Quad .50 Halftrack, Crocodile Tanks, or the AVRE will quickly make short work of the squad without even costing terribly much more than the Knight's Cross Holders themselves. In addition, Artillery pieces larger than Mortars will have no issue taking the Knight's Cross Holders out.
Knight's Cross Holders are also high value targets for both Veterancy and Company Commander XP. A poorly placed squad caught out and killed, especially one without the additional bonuses from Veterancy, could lead to an American commander able to produce a Pershing faster than expected- or worse yet, provide a Pershing with a free level of Veterancy.
When issued with move order in battle:
When wounded, in battle: