The Royal Engineers Support command tree is one of the three British command trees. It focuses on improving the survivability of British vehicles and structures (including their Command Trucks), improving resource gathering, increasing the Population Cap beyond normal limits, and fielding heavily-armored support tanks not available to other British companies.
It is no secret that the British order of battle is centered primarily around their ability to defend their own territory. This is another throw-back to the First World War, where entire armies entrenched themselves and fought massive battles over a few miles of land. When British tanks first appeared during that war, they allowed breaking the enemy's fortifications, and eventually won the war. In Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts, the British use this same war-winning tactic of massively fortifying captured ground and then using powerful armor units to get more ground, fortify that, and repeat the cycle over and over.
The Royal Engineers Support tech tree is geared precisely to bolster the effectiveness of this tactic. On the one hand, it reinforces all British fortifications, making them extremely resistant to attacks. It then increases British resource-gathering speed, allowing the Brits to accumulate the massive resources required to build a powerful armoured assault force. It even provides British tanks with the ability to entrench themselves as part of the defensive line, or to do so on attacks to draw enemy fire while other units surround and destroy the enemy.
Furthermore, this Command Tree makes available three unique British armored units, each based around the Churchill Tank hull - a slow but heavily-armored tank that does not submit easily under enemy fire. These tanks often lead the British assault, absorbing fire and providing support against enemy infantry.
Overall, the Royal Engineers Support Command Tree bolsters the player's offensive and defensive properties almost equally, if used right. It capitalizes on enhancing the fundamental qualities of the British army. The result is often a slower game, with the British holding their ground against significant opposition, culminating with extremely powerful strikes to cripple the enemy until he submits. As a result, non-British players often find that this Command Tree makes the British player very difficult to fight - though somewhat tedious.
Command Tree Structure
Royal Engineers Support
|Field Improvements||Tank Support|
|Improved Emplacements||Churchill Infantry Tank|
|Increases the Maximum Health of all British Defensive Structures by 50%, and reduces the amount of damage they receive from all sources by 25%.||Allows calling in a Churchill Tank, a slow tank with heavy armor and a general-purpose 6-pounder cannon.|
|Hull Down||Churchill AVRE|
|Allows all British tanks to entrench themselves in sand bags, increasing their armor and reducing damage taken from all sources. This entrenchment makes the tank temporarily immobile.||Allows calling in a Churchill AVRE, a slow tank with heavy armor and no primary weapon, but fitted with a spigot mortar launcher that can do massive damage to infantry and structures.|
|Improved Command Vehicles||Churchill Crocodile|
|Improves all British command trucks. It increases the speed at which all Trucks produce units, reduces damage taken by trucks, and increases the amount of resources the trucks gather from Fuel and Munitions sectors. Also, each truck provides +5 Munitions and +6 Population Cap points just by existing.||Allows calling in a Churchill Crocodile, which is basically a Churchill Tank with an additional flame-thrower for added anti-infantry strength.|
- Total Price: 13 Command Points
The Royal Engineers Support command tree is split into two branches: Field Improvements and Tank Support. Each has three Command Upgrades to purchase, which must be bought in a specific order.
Field Improvements Branch
This Field Improvements branch concentrates on making your vehicles and structures more resilient to damage. It begins by fortifying emplacements to take almost twice as much damage before being destroyed, and proceeds to give tanks the ability to do the same by sacrificing their mobility. Finally, it improves the survivability of Command Trucks, with an additional and quite significant bonus to resource income and Population Cap acquired from these trucks.
- This Command Upgrade is the most straightforward defensive bonus to be acquired by the British army: it increases the survivability of all Defensive Structures built by the British infantry.
- The bonus gives +50% maximum health to these structures, and reduces all damage they take by 25%, regardless of its source. This effectively makes your emplacements almost twice as hardy as normal.
- The affected emplacements include:
- This is an exceptionally important Command Upgrade for any player who wishes to rely on their defensive line to hold its own without additional mobile units. Given this Command Tree's reliance on a strong defensive line, this is often the first-picked Command Upgrade.
- When this Command Upgrade is purchased, all British tanks receive an additional ability: Hull Down Position. This is a toggled ability that can be switched on and off without any resource cost.
- When a tank goes into Hull Down Position, it is fortified with sand bags to receive a 33% bonus to armor, and a 25% reduction of damage from all sources. However, the tank becomes immobile until this ability is turned off.
- Hull Down is available to all British tanks except the Tetrarch Tank and Priest self propelled artillery (which you can't get anyway since it requires a different Command Tree).
- This Command Upgrade allows you to use your tanks as mobile emplacements, using Hull Down when the tank reaches its defensive position, then canceling the action to move the tank elsewhere. This way you can bolster your defenses greatly with each additional tank you acquire. This ability can also be used on offense, where the leading tanks entrench themselves to draw and soak-up enemy fire while other units move to flanking positions.
Improved Command Vehicles
- This extremely useful ability upgrades all Command Trucks, adding the following bonuses to each truck:
- 50% maximum speed increase, which is cumulative with the Speed Governors upgrade.
- 25% shorter build times for anything the truck produces. (This may or may not be correctly applied in your game)
- 25% damage reduction from all sources.
- Each truck produces almost 100% more Fuel/Munitions when set up in a Fuel/Munitions sector as appropriate. This is cumulative with the Secured Resourcing upgrade and the Captain's level 3 veterancy resource upgrade.
- Each truck produces +5 Munitions at all times, even when mobile.
- Each truck provides 6 extra Population Cap points.
- As a result, not only do you make a lot more resources than otherwise, your trucks are now much less vulnerable (and quite speedy moving from sector to sector or escaping enemy attacks), and with 3 trucks on the field your Population Cap is increased by a whole 18 points - enough to field two extra tanks, at least.
- Due to the superior resource bonus alone, most Royal Engineers Support players will attempt to reach this Command Upgrade as soon as possible.
Tank Support Branch
The Tank Support branch is entirely devoted to the production of British heavy tanks. There are three varieties of Churchill Tanks to unlock in this branch, each of which specializes in a specific method of killing infantry, buildings, and/or light vehicles. Due to their good all-around protection, the Churchills are often used at the head of an advancing tank column, to suck up damage from enemy units while faster tanks move to their flanking positions.
Churchill Infantry Tank
- This Command Upgrade unlocks a Command Ability to summon a Churchill Tank for 600, 8.
- This expensive tank is very slow, but also very well armored. It is about as well-armored as an M4 Sherman at the front, except it has about the same amount of armor on all sides, making flank attacks almost entirely pointless. As a result, the Churchill Tank is often used as a lead element in any assault, simply so that it can sit there (preferably with Hull Down activated) and take whatever punishment the enemy can dish out. Meanwhile, faster units and tanks move around the enemy, flanking and destroying them.
- Unfortunately, the Churchill Tank is relatively weak in its offensive capabilities for a tank. Its 6-Pounder cannon has only basic Penetration, and is not very apt at killing infantry or destroying buildings. It does provide firepower, but not as much as can be expected from a tank. The Churchill's true value is its armor, not its armament.
- Finally, this tank can be upgraded with a Mine Plow, further increasing its value at the head of an advancing column.
- Due to the high manpower costs, some players put off the purchase of the Churchill Infantry Tank Command Upgrade until later in the battle. Nonetheless, it can be extremely useful during your defensive stage, acting as a mobile weapons platform.
- This Command Upgrade unlocks a Command Ability to summon a Churchill AVRE for 600, 8.
- The Churchill AVRE is a slow but very well armored tank. Like the basic Churchill Tank, it has an equal amount of armor on all sides, significantly increasing its survivability.
- The Churchill AVRE does not have a primary weapon. Instead, it has a spigot mortar installed at the front of its turret. This mortar is fired for the cost of 35, and the shell is so powerful it will take out any infantry within the target area and probably reduce buildings to rubble. It has little effect on armored vehicles, but will destroy light ones. The spigot mortar only fires when you pay - it does not automatically target any enemies.
- Technically, the AVRE can be used the same as a regular Churchill - to soak up damage by entrenching itself. When infantry threaten the AVRE, it can simply bombard them with a spigot round to destroy an entire group. Even better - infantry in buildings will be utterly devastated by a single ground, and the AVRE can obliterate emplacements, Weapon Teams, and even bunkers - as long as you have the Munitions to pay for it.
- Since this is a specialty weapon, you can put off the purchase of the Churchill AVRE Command Upgrade until you're ready to mount an armored offensive.
- This Command Upgrade unlocks a Command Ability to summon a Churchill Crocodile for 800, 10.
- The Churchill Crocodile is the most expensive British unit in terms of Manpower and Population Cap consumption. In essence, it is simply a Churchill Tank with one of its machine guns replaced by a flamethrower. Unlike the similar M4 'Crocodile' Sherman, it does not sacrifice its main cannon for this, so it now has two primary weapons - one for general purposes, and the other for killing Infantry and Weapon Teams.
- This dual armament provides the Churchill Crocodile with good offensive power against multiple types of targets, which is why it costs more than the regular Churchill Tank. It can fend off anti-tank Weapon Teams, burn infantry out of buildings, and generally cause mayhem to enemy fortifications.
- This is usually the last Command Upgrade purchased in this Command Tree, though players who want a good mobile defense may want to reach this earlier to get a tank that can handle various defensive situations with ease. Still, 10 is a problem, which can be solved by going for the Improved Command Vehicles upgrade first.