The Royal Artillery Support command tree is one of the three British command trees. It focuses on improving the performance of artillery units by adding range and abilities, and also allows calling for additional types of artillery that are not available to other commanders.
The British base much of their World War II operations on lessons learned from World War I. They offer their troops the aid of powerful artillery units, including the fearsome 25 Pounder Gun Howitzer. On top of this, a British Commander receiving Royal Artillery Support can both increase the potential of his existing artillery, as well as implement new types of artillery that are not otherwise available.
With this tech tree, the 25 Pounder Gun Howitzer becomes one of the most powerful units on the battlefield, capable of raining destruction on pretty much any enemy target, blocking enemy advance routes with constant bombardment, and shut down the enemy's own field artillery.
Other units are also augmented by the Royal Artillery Support tree. 3" Mortar Emplacements benefit to some extent, similarly to the 25 Pounder Gun Howitzers. The Lieutenant and Captain are even more useful than before - now being able to call in off-map artillery strikes - thereby giving you another reason to send them forward with your assaulting forces.
Finally, the Artillery commander can call in a Priest 105mm self-propelled howitzer, which offers a heavy mobile artillery piece that can keep up with the troops. This is the final word in British artillery, and is one of the most valuable units in the game.
Command Tree StructureEdit
Royal Artillery Support
|Forward Observation Officers||Supercharge Artillery Rounds|
|Grants Lieutenants and Captains the ability to call off-map artillery barrages. Cromwell Command Tanks get the ability to call in a large artillery-deployed smoke screen.||Grants a 50%-60% range increase to 3" Mortar Emplacements, 25 Pounder Gun Howitzers and Priest 105mms.|
|Creeping Barrage||Overwatch Artillery|
|Enables 25 Pounder Gun Howitzers and Priest 105mms to perform a heavy, rapid bombardment of a long stretch of land, punching a hole through enemy defenses or wiping out a whole line of units. Also reduces 25 Pounder Gun Howitzer barrage cooldown times by 15 seconds.||Allows 3" Mortar Emplacements, 25 Pounder Gun Howitzers and Priest 105mms to enter Overwatch Barrage mode, where they will fire a rapid volley of shells at any target entering a small, specific area. Also reduces 25 Pounder Gun Howitzer barrage cooldown times by 15 seconds.|
|Priest 105mm SPG||Counter Battery|
|Enables a Command Ability to call in an incredibly-powerful Priest 105mm mobile artillery unit, for a suitably high Manpower cost.||Allows 3" Mortar Emplacements, 25 Pounder Gun Howitzers and Priest 105mms to enter Counter Battery mode, where they will automatically fire a rapid volley of shells at any enemy artillery detected within their firing range.|
- Total price: 14 Command Points
The Royal Artillery Support command tree is split into two branches: Barrage and Concentration. Each has three Command Upgrades to purchase, which must be bought in a specific order.
Barrage Branch Edit
The Barrage branch increases firepower across the board. It allows off-map artillery, heavy creeping barrages, and the introduction of a mobile artillery piece. Focus on this section first if you want to make early-game assaults into enemy territory to be accompanied by powerful barrages.
Forward Observation Officers Edit
- This Command Upgrade gives your Lieutenants and Captains the 25 Pounder Artillery Barrage ability. With this ability, for the price of 150 your officers can call in an off-map artillery barrage, directed at any territory that is not within the Fog of War (though the officer needs to get within 45 meters of the target to launch this attack). 6 Shells are fired in this attack, which are identical to the shells of a 25 Pounder Gun Howitzer, and will cause a lot of destruction within the target area - killing infantry and destroying light vehicles.
- Additionally, your Cromwell Command Tank receives the Creeping Smoke Barrage ability for 50. This wide-area smoke barrage by off-map artillery can almost instantly conceal a large group of friendly tanks in smoke, obscuring them from enemy eyes and allowing them to advance or retreat unharmed.
- This Command Upgrade can be purchased early to be used by your Lieutenants in defensive and offensive action. This may give you the edge in the early game because most enemy units are still either Infantry or light vehicles, both of which are very vulnerable to artillery fire. Offensively, this can be used to drive the enemy out of a crucial sector, prior to the creation of more permanent artillery units. Note that you will need to stockpile a large amount of Munitions just to fire a single barrage...
Creeping Barrage Edit
- This Command Upgrade will improve your 25 Pounder Gun Howitzers and Priest 105mms by giving them the extra ability of Creeping Barrage. With this, your heavy artillery can fire super-heavy barrages that advance in a specified direction.
- A Creeping Barrage involves the firing of about 15 shells, distributed evenly between three target areas (visually marked "1", "2" and "3") which are arranged in a straight line. The barrage "creeps" forward from area 1 to area 3, clearing a path through enemy lines or utterly demolishing a line of fortifications. The shells are also fired considerably faster than normal barrages, giving the enemy little time to escape.
- However, there is a proportionally hefty cost of 150, and the center point of the barrage must be within visible territory and within the artillery's range. Also, the artillery piece involved will go into a long cooldown period after executing this ability.
- Also note an additional bonus granted by this upgrade: All 25 Pounder Gun Howitzers will take 15 seconds less to recharge after normal/supercharge barrages. This bonus is cumulative with the one acquired from Overwatch Artillery.
- Obtaining the Creeping Barrage early will enable you to make very powerful offensive artillery attacks, to destroy large concentrations of enemy infantry or preliminary defenses they might set up. At this early stage, if you can hit a strong enemy position with this barrage, you can cost the enemy a lot of assets and leave them vulnerable for a long period of time as they struggle to rebuild. Strike quickly to take advantage of this, or use the lull to fortify your own defenses. Note however that early use would require plenty of resources, first to construct a 25 Pounder Gun Howitzer emplacement, and then to pay for the ability.
Priest 105mm SPG Edit
- This Command Upgrade grants you the Command Ability to summon a Priest 105mm self-propelled artillery unit, at the cost of 625. It also requires 12 for the vehicle. Up to 3 Priests can be fielded simultaneously.
- This is the final word in British artillery. The Priest 105mm behaves for the most part exactly the same as a 25 Pounder Gun Howitzer, except it can move, its shells are almost twice as powerful, and it has better range without the Supercharge Artillery Shells Command Upgrade. If you can afford its high cost, the Priest 105mm is possibly the best on-field artillery unit in the entire game.
- Thanks to the Command Upgrade chain, by the time you acquire a Priest 105mm it already has the Creeping Barrage ability available. Like the 25 Pounder Gun Howitzer, it will gain the remaining artillery abilities when the appropriate Command Upgrades are purchased from the Concentration branch.
- If you can gather up the manpower required to build one of these units, acquiring the entire Barrage branch as early as possible gives you the ability to practically dominate the entire battlefield right from the get-go. Given the armor on the Priest, you can even risk driving it partway into enemy territory just to launch a powerful bombardment at the enemy base and retreat - you are sure to leave it in shambles, and may win the game if you act quickly afterwards!
Concentration Branch Edit
The Concentration branch helps increase the abilities of all artillery units, primarily by almost doubling their range, and by adding overwatch and counter-battery barrages to their existing abilities. Focus on this section if you want to rely on early stationary artillery with extended range and versatile abilities. This helps primarily with defensive purposes and/or strategic bombardment.
Supercharge Artillery Rounds Edit
- This Command Upgrade improves the range of all British artillery units, including the 3" Mortar Emplacement, 25 Pounder Gun Howitzer, and Priest 105mm. Mortar Commandos and infantry squads that have captured an abandoned mortar are not affected.
- This Command Upgrade works by replacing each unit's basic Barrage ability with a longer-ranged "Super Charged Barrage" ability (the exact name of these abilities differs from unit to unit). 3" Mortar Pits also get an increased basic-attack range.
- The range on these weapons is increased by 50-60% (depending on the weapon), allowing artillery units to fire much further than normal. Tactically speaking, you can either place your artillery further back, keeping it safer, or leave it at the front lines and use the extended range to bombard sensitive enemy positions or concentrations of enemy troops. Given the massive range acquired by heavy artillery with this Command Upgrade, it should be quite possible to bombard the enemy base from almost clear across a medium-sized map.
- Supercharge Artillery Rounds would normally be the first Command Upgrade purchased by an offensively-minded artillery player, as it allows shelling the enemy wherever they are, protecting neutral points from being seized by enemy infantry, or even leveling parts of the enemy base. Defensively-minded players can also benefit from this, as it allows them to place artillery back near their base and still use it to defend construction operations at the front lines.
Overwatch Artillery Edit
- Once purchased, the Overwatch Artillery Command Upgrade enables the Overwatch Barrage ability for all three main British artillery pieces (the 25 Pounder Gun Howitzer, 3" Mortar Emplacement and Priest 105mm).
- When an artillery piece is placed in Overwatch Barrage mode, it will automatically fire rapid salvos of shells at any unit entering the designated overwatch area. This can dissuade enemies from entering that area, potentially blocking enemy troops from traveling through it (and destroying the ones foolish enough to try anyway). It forces the enemy to seek out other, less orderly routes, which can disorganize or slow down his attacks. This ability can also be used on a resource/victory point, to ensure that any infantry attempting to capture it will soon receive a massive rain of death - usually way before they can wrest control of that point from you. You can sometimes leave a resource point completely unguarded by anything except an Overwatching artillery unit.
- The downside to this ability are that the Overwatching unit cannot perform any other action (i.e. fire at any other target) while in Overwatch mode. Canceling this mode takes some time, too.
- Overwatch Barrage is better used with heavy artillery, and is sadly almost useless with mortars. This is due to the very-high trajectory of mortar fire, which means that the shells take a long time to travel to the target, and will probably miss any unit that runs through it at anything more than a snail's pace. Heavy artillery, on the other hand, will fire a large number of "air-burst" rounds, which explode in a huge radius and can often take out whole groups of infantry and/or vehicles with a single response salvo.
- Also note an additional bonus granted by this upgrade: All 25 Pounder Gun Howitzers will take 15 seconds less to recharge after normal/supercharge barrages. This bonus is cumulative with the one acquired from Creeping Barrage.
- This Command Upgrade is only useful to take once you have at least one 25 Pounder Gun Howitzer on the field. Even then, only go for this upgrade if you do not have the resources required to use the Creeping Barrage' or Priest 105mm SPG Command Upgrades from the Barrage branch, and need to obtain a defensive artillery ability quickly.
Counter Battery Edit
- With the Counter Battery Command Upgrade purchased, all three main British artillery units receive the ability to activate Counter Battery mode. These units include the 3" Mortar Emplacement, 25 Pounder Gun Howitzer, and Priest 105mm.
- A unit set to Counter Battery will automatically open fire at any enemy artillery launcher detected - including Mortars, Nebelwerfer 41s, etc. - with deadly accuracy. The Counter Battery does not care whether the target is within the Fog of War - the enemy will be detected as soon as its artillery fire hits one of your units, and your own artillery piece will react immediately.
- This allows you to protect your lines from enemy bombardment. Unfortunately, it is only truly useful with the two heavy artillery units (25 Pounder, Priest), since the 3" Mortar does not actually make much of an impressive attack against detected artillery units. Another caveat is that most Axis artillery is mobile and quite fast, and so it can run away as soon as it has completed its barrage. Whether it succeeds in escaping the retaliation is mostly up to timing, in such a case.
- Unless your enemy is placing a big emphasis on artillery himself, Counter Battery can be skipped until later in the battle, possibly even until there's nothing better to buy on the Barrage branch of the Command Tree. At the very least, do not spend these command points until you've constructed at least one 25 Pounder Gun Howitzer or Priest 105mm, as it is certainly wasted on 3" Mortar Emplacements...