A pair of Commando Mortar-men, preparing to fire
|Role||Light-Artillery Support Infantry|
|Men per Squad||3|
|Upkeep per Minute||-1.5 (per man)|
|Prereq.||Royal Commandos Support: Glider Headquarters|
|Produced By||HQ Glider|
|Cost to Reinforce||
|Health per Man||65|
1x OML 3" Mortar|
1x Mk.II Sten SMG
|Max. Speed||3 m/s|
The 3" Mortar Commandos, or Mortar Commandos, is a 3-man Light-Artillery support unit fielded by the British in Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts. Overall a very basic Mortar team, the Mortar 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 squads to provide support fire for all operations.
Some of this support is provided by the 3-man Mortar Commandos squad. This small team of elite Commandos is equipped with an OML 3" Mortar, the same weapon normally found in the immobile 3" Mortar Emplacement. It operates similarly to the American M2 60mm Mortar Team and Wehrmacht Gr.34 80mm Mortar Team, with the exception that it can pop Concealing Smoke to cover its movement.
Mortar 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 Mortar Commandos (and other specialized commando teams) even when it is in enemy territory.
The crew consists of a gunner, a loader and a watchman. The gunner and loader are equipped with an OML 3" Mortar, while the other teammate is armed with a Silenced Mk.II Sten Sub-Machine-Gun. In the event of the gunner's death, one of the other surviving crewmen will take his place. If the team is ever reduced to 1 man, that man will be killed automatically, leaving the mortar behind on the field.
The 3" Mortar is used primarily to suppress and kill enemy troops from a safe distance. It will kill infantry in buildings, and can cause some damage to vehicles. However, like all other mortars, it is slightly inaccurate, especially when firing from its maximum range.
As with all other mobile HMGs, the Mortar Commandos must set-up the launcher before it can be fired, and must dismantle it whenever they wish to move. This makes them vulnerable, especially because they are often far from other units that could protect them. However, like other commando units, they can use Concealing Smoke to hide themselves and run away, reducing some of their vulnerability.
The crew of a Mortar Commandos team is armed with two weapons: A primary OML 3" Mortar for shelling enemy positions, and a Silenced Mk.II Sten Sub Machine Gun for (very) light defensive capability.
This infantry crew cannot pick up any additional weapons from the battlefield.
OML 3" Mortar Edit
This is a slow-firing anti-infantry light mortar. It can lob shells at enemies detected within 20-75 meters of its position.
The shells explode within a circular area of 6 meter radius. Within 2 meters of the blast point, infantry receive about 40 points of damage - almost (but not quite) enough to kill them. Airborne infantry are apparently less vulnerable, receiving only 20 points of damage (1/3 of their health). The further beyond 2 meters a target is, the less damage is inflicted. The mortar can also penetrate the armor of most vehicles (including tanks), but will cause relatively minimal damage except against non-armored light vehicles. Note that some (but not all) bunkers receive additional damage from mortar shells.
Mortar shells are lobbed at a slow rate - about 1 every 4-5 seconds. This rate can be increased for a short period of time with the 3" Mortar Bombardment ability. The Mortar Commandos will automatically fire at targets within its 20-75 meter firing range, unlike other artillery units.
The accuracy of the shells depends greatly on range, with high accuracy when firing at close targets. When the mortar fires at enemy buildings (garrisoned buildings, etc.) it receives a good accuracy bonus - but only when left to fire automatically (i.e. not using the 3" Mortar Bombardment or other such abilities).
Silenced Mk.II Sten SMG Edit
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 Mortar Commandos a small amount of protection for its flanks. However, since the squad is only protected by one of these, it will quickly be destroyed by anything more than light opposition. It's best to pack up the weapon quickly and pop some Concealing Smoke.
Mortar 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.
However, Mortar 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.
As with all other mortar teams, the Mortar Commandos can begin a barrage of shells at their target. This increases rate of fire considerably, but confines the team to fire at one specific target.
Additionally, like all other British Infantry, the Mortar 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.
Withdraw to Captain's Position Edit
- Costs nothing
- Activation: Immediate
- Cooldown: 60 seconds
Like all other British infantry, once a Captain is recruited, the Mortar Commandos can retreat to his current position at any time.
As with the normal "Retreat" ability common to all Infantry, once this ability is activated the Mortar Commandos will leave the player's control and set a direct course for the Captain. The retreat will break any Suppression effects the Mortar Commandos may be suffering at the time.
Retreating to the Captain's position can save the Mortar 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 Mortar Commandos reach the Captain, they'll be on safer ground thanks to the Captain's command bonus as well.
Note that since Mortar 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.
3" Mortar Bombardment Edit
- Costs nothing
- Activation: Select Ground (within 20 to 75 meters from the mortar)
- Cooldown: 30 seconds
When this ability is activated, select any ground point. The Mortar Commandos will then move to within 75 meters of the target, and will proceed to fire 6 shells at this target at a significantly-increased firing rate. You may target this ability at the Fog of War, if required.
This ability simply increases the firing rate of the mortar, offering no other bonuses. It is only useful when you are certain that the target area contains enemy unit that are unlikely to get away quickly, otherwise the mortar will waste its time firing at empty terrain.
The best time to use this ability is when a stationary target is discovered - either an enemy emplacement, an enemy rally point, or infantry that has been suppressed by your other units. Since it can't get away, the target will suffer the full wrath of 6 mortar shells.
Note that the cooldown period begins when the Bombardment is ordered, and its duration is just slightly shorter than the time it takes to fire those 6 shells. In other words, if you do not interrupt the bombardment, the ability will become available again as soon as the mortar finishes firing the 6-shell salvo. You can therefore continuously use this ability over and over at different targets, if you so wish.
3" Supercharge Barrage Edit
- Costs nothing
- Requires the Royal Artillery Support: Super Charge Artillery ability
- Replaces the 3" Mortar Bombardment ability
- Activation: Select Ground (within 30 to 120 meters from the mortar)
- Cooldown: 30 seconds
Note: This ability is only available through the Royal Artillery Support tree. During a normal, 1v1 game, it should be impossible to acquire a Mortar Commandos Squad with a 3" Supercharge Barrage because it requires the Royal Commandos Support tree. However, in games with more than two British players, it is theoretically possible for a player with the Royal Artillery Support tree to recrew the 3" Mortar and gain the ability.
The 3" Supercharge Barrage replaces the normal 3" Mortar Bombardment ability. It is identical to the 3" Mortar Bombardment ability in everything but range: you may now fire shells at targets up to 120 meters away.
The 3" Supercharge Barrage allows the mortar to attack enemy units much further away. One important upside is that enemy mortars can no longer out-range the 3" Mortar. Another upside is that you can place the 3" mortar slightly further away from the target, giving it more protection without sacrificing too much range. However, you still need to keep it relatively close to the target to maintain good accuracy.
A downside to this ability is that the mortar can now only fire at targets more than 30 meters away from its position.
Concealing Smoke Edit
- 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.
Mortar 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 a Mortar Commandos squad to your other Commandos will provide them with artillery support, which can be directed against concentrations of enemies, especially inside structures. It can also be used to clear mine-fields, and will provide a little help against light vehicles and halftracks.
During a Commando Raid, Mortar Commandos are used in pretty much the same way as any mobile Mortar team: their job is to shell enemy units, possibly suppressing them in the process. While the shells are not terribly powerful, they explode over a wide range, slowly weakening enemy troops.
Even without Commandos, the Mortar team can shell enemy groups or buildings to harass the enemy. Once you spot enemy movement towards your mortar's position, relocate the Mortar Commandos somewhere else to avoid retaliation. With skillful movement, it's possible to keep shelling the enemy for quite some time.
Due to the close-in-combat nature of Commandos, it may or may not be a good idea to bring a Mortar Commandos squad along on an attack: they might hit the Commandos while they're mixing it up with enemy troops.
As with all Mortar units and structures, Mortar Commandos work well together with HMG Commandos: While enemy infantry are suppressed by the HMG, they can be targeted by the mortars and eliminated.
As it is very slow to move and deploy and redeploy, the Mortar Commandos squad is very vulnerable to any artillery, armoured vehicles and sniper fire. Furthermore, it has virtually no protection against any enemy attacking it directly. Remember to use Concealing Smoke to disappear when an enemy unit shows up to attack your artillery position.
Other Commando TeamsEdit
Mortar Commandos are a support unit of 3 infantrymen with a 3" Mortar, produced from an HQ Glider. Specializing in artillery support, they can only provide long-range fire, and are quite vulnerable on their own. The primary Commando attack force is made up of other Commando units. Two additional types of support Commando units can be produced from the HQ Glider once it's landed, but the primary Commando infantry unit is produced by 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.
- Heavy Machine Gun Commandos: Armed with a Vickers Heavy Machine Gun. This is the same weapon mounted in a Vickers Machine Gun Emplacement. This unit is similar to an HMG team fielded by the Americans or Wehrmacht.
- 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 mortar left behind by another dead unit. However, this doesn't turn them into an actual Mortar 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 Mortar Commandos.