|Machine Gun Emplacement|
An American Machine Gun Emplacement
|Role||Anti-infantry defensive weapon|
|Produced By||Engineer Squad|
|Production XP||+22 xp|
|Primary armament||M1917 .30 Cal Heavy Machine Gun|
|Can Be Garrisoned By||Up to 4 squads of Infantry, 6 men maximum|
The Machine Gun Emplacement, also called the MG Nest, is a Defensive Structure built by the Americans in Company of Heroes. Armed with an M1917 .30 Cal. Heavy Machine Gun, it can fire a hail of bullets at enemy infantry and light vehicles entering its line-of-fire, easily destroying them. It also has the ability to suppress infantry and can be garrisoned by Allied troops to protect its otherwise vulnerable flanks.
The only Active Defense available to the American army by default is the Machine Gun Emplacement. Though costly, it can provide good defensive firepower to prevent enemy infantry from sneaking into American territory and grabbing sectors.
The Machine Gun Emplacement is constructed by Engineer Squads for the price of 200, 15. At the time of construction, you must determine the direction of this emplacement - it cannot be rotated afterwards.
The Machine Gun Emplacement is simply a square of sandbags topped by a canvas tent and equipped with a stationary M1917 .30 Cal Heavy Machine Gun. This machine gun is a powerful anti-infantry weapon, capable of firing long and deadly bursts which are very effective at suppressing enemy units. The long bursts are also quite potent against enemy light vehicles, though less so against medium vehicles.
The Machine Gun Emplacement is completely stationary. Its heavy machine gun can only rotate to fire at targets within the zone dictated by the emplacement's original facing. As such, its sides and rear are undefended and enemies approaching from those directions would be free to attack the emplacement at their leisure. To protect the nest from such enemy attacks, it is possible to Garrison up to 6 infantrymen inside; they will provide firepower towards the vulnerable directions.
Note that this is one of the few weapon emplacements in the game that do not cost any Population Cap points to maintain. Therefore it is possible to build as many Machine Gun Emplacements as your resources can buy, potentially protecting the entire American territory. However, the lack of effective firepower against tanks and other medium or heavy vehicles means that the emplacement still needs support from anti-tank units or mobile defense forces.
The Machine Gun Emplacement is armed with a single M1917 .30 Cal Heavy Machine Gun - a belt-fed automatic weapon with superior anti-infantry firepower. Unfortunately, this weapon is not useful against enemy armor and cannot swivel to attack targets behind the emplacement at all.
M1917 .30 Cal Heavy Machine Gun Edit
The M1917 is a belt-fed fully-automatic weapon, firing .30-06 caliber rounds. Thanks to the water-cooling system it employs, the weapon can keep up a very high firing rate.
The M1917 fires bursts 5-6 seconds long, discharging 40-50 bullets per burst. There is a 2-3 second interval between each burst, and the weapon only needs to be reloaded every 10 bursts or so. What this basically means is that the M1917 has an extremely high rate of fire, pouring a lot of ammunition on its targets.
Each bullet that hits an unarmored target will deliver 7 points of damage. Coupled with relatively good accuracy values at infantry-engagement range (about 20 meters), it will take about one burst to kill an infantryman - and often much less than that. The closer the target, the deadlier the burst. Also, the more targets are within this gun's firing cone, the more accurately it fires!
In addition, this is one of the more suppressive weapons available to any faction, capable of suppressing an infantry unit within 1 or 2 bursts at most and pinning it down by the fourth burst at most. As a result, enemy infantry will rarely survive a run through this weapon's firing arc.
Against very light vehicles, the M1917 is still quite powerful, destroying Motorcycles and Kettenkrads with ease. It has somewhat more trouble penetrating the front armor of light and medium vehicles, but may still cause damage to these. It is not powerful enough to hurt tanks however, whether from the front or the rear.
The main drawback of the M1917 is that it is mounted on a fixed tripod. Therefore, it can only swivel 60° to the left or right of its original orientation. It cannot attack enemies outside this cone of fire at all. This leaves the sides and rear of the Machine Gun Emplacement undefended.
Note that the range of the M1917 is 40 meters: just slightly beyond the sight-range of the emplacement itself.
Machine Gun Emplacements present a reliable method to keep enemy infantry from accessing your territory. A single emplacement can mow down large groups of enemy infantry entering its firing zone. Those it doesn't kill straight away will likely become suppressed quickly, preventing them from escaping or firing back at the emplacement, thereby dooming them to destruction soon afterwards if they don't retreat or somehow get rid of their accumulated suppression.
Thanks to this, the Americans tend to construct many Machine Gun Emplacements - especially during the early and middle part of the battle. They are usually worth the high cost in Manpower. Also, because these emplacements do not require any Population Cap points, more can be constructed as long as resources are available.
The primary use of the Machine Gun Emplacement is to cover areas through which infantry infiltration is expected - generally the entire American front line, if possible. Construction of elaborate Barbed Wire fences and minefields in front of a Machine Gun Emplacement can radically increase its potential.
When enemy medium vehicles and tanks begin to appear, the usefulness of a Machine Gun Emplacement begins to wane, as it cannot reliably do damage to such vehicles. Nonetheless, when coupled with mobile anti-tank units like the M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun, the Americans can present a rather solid defensive line against enemy attacks well into the late game.
Deciding where to place your Machine Gun Emplacements is very important. A good location should adhere to all of the following guidelines:
- A clear line of fire to as many openings through which enemies can enter your territory.
- Little or no Heavy Cover within the firing zone behind which enemies can hide.
- No undefended passageways that enemies can use to bypass the emplacement's firing zone and reach its vulnerable sides or rear.
- A clear line of fire at one or more Strategic Points.
Of course, it's not always possible to address all these requirements, but the goal is to try and achieve as many of them as possible. Once you have Machine Gun Emplacements properly protecting all Strategic Points, you can begin constructing more to defend non-essential areas, especially minor entry points or even major roadways.
The direction in which the Machine Gun Emplacement is facing is of paramount importance. During construction you can see the firing cone of the emplacement's weapon. Once it is placed, the weapon cannot be rotated, and will only fire at targets within this zone! Therefore, try to make sure that the sides and rear of the emplacement are protected by impassable terrain obstacles (like dense trees of the kind that cannot be crushed by vehicles, buildings, and other similar objects).
Obstacle Funnels and Minefields Edit
To increase the potential of a Machine Gun Emplacement, it is recommended to build a Barbed Wire funnel that will force enemy infantry to enter the emplacement's line of fire - if possible at the edge of the emplacement's firing range.
The most common way to do so is to build a long fence at about 35-40 meters away from the emplacement, with a gap right in the middle of its firing cone. This way, enemy infantry must go through this gap, and be subjected to the gun's fire if they try to approach any further.Zig-zag funnels are even better. In this method, a line of Barbed Wire is stretched from just a little beyond the gun's firing zone center to one side, then another line is stretched slightly closer from beyond the center to the other side, then another line, etc. The image on the right side illustrates how this is done. When built properly, enemy infantry need to zig-zag between the openings in each line, being subjected to fire as they move, and having no place to hide. However, note that enemy vehicles can simply crush through the Barbed Wire, allowing enemy units to stream through the new gaps. Therefore, make sure the emplacement has a clear line-of-fire over the entire area.
If a passageway cannot be protected by a Machine Gun Emplacement, block it with Barbed Wire and (if possible) Tank Traps, to prevent enemies from going that way. Unless the enemy has a way to break through these obstacles, they will be forced to send their troops through the gaps that are not blocked - i.e. the gaps leading straight into the Machine Gun Emplacement's firing zone.
Mines can also be used for various blocking purposes. If placing Mines in front of a Machine Gun Emplacement, be sure to place them just beyond the machine gun's range (40 meters), otherwise they may be destroyed as the emplacement opens fire at enemy troops. If you have plenty of Munitions to spare, you can place mines inside the MG's range too - when they explode they might take out a few enemy personnel. Note the use of the word "might", though.
Anti-Tank Support Edit
Machine Gun Emplacements are only useful against infantry, and on occasion against light and medium vehicles. Against heavier targets, the machine gun simply lacks the penetration to do any damage at all. Therefore, to achieve well-rounded protection, it is necessary to support the Machine Gun Emplacement with anti-tank weapons.
The best weapon for this is the M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun. Cheap and long-ranged, it might be able to support several Machine Gun Emplacements simultaneously, i.e. rotate to target various vehicles coming to attack these emplacements without needing to move much. Remember that this anti-tank gun moves very slowly, so try to place it in a position where it only needs to rotate to engage different targets. Remember to use the long range to your advantage: don't expose the anti-tank gun to enemy fire, keep it further back and fire from afar.
Anti-tank infantry are also great for this - especially if you can find a good garrison position forward of the Machine Gun Emplacement. When a vehicle appears within the Machine Gun's range, the infantry can begin showering it with rockets and/or bombs. Meanwhile, the Machine Gun will kill any enemy infantry posing a threat.
Finally, as always recommended for the American army, keep a mobile defense team ready to support your Machine Gun Emplacements at all times. You may even use a few tanks or tank destroyers of this, if your army is large enough.
The Machine Gun Emplacement is not a very solid building. Although it has 500 (like most American base structures), it is classified as a special type structure which receives additional damage from most weapons - especially artillery. It can therefore by obliterated by high explosive munitions or even tank fire pretty rapidly.
Because the machine gun cannot rotate beyond 60° of its original heading, it cannot fire at targets to the sides or behind the structure. This makes it very vulnerable to flank attacks. Use obstacles, other units, and/or other Machine Gun Emplacements to protect those vulnerable flanks.
If you have an infantry unit nearby, consider garrisoning the Machine Gun Emplacement with them. They'll provide fire to protect the emplacement's flanks, and at the same time enjoy Structural Cover protecting them from damage and Suppression.