A Tank Depot
|Role||Armored vehicle production facility|
|Unit Cost||350, 90|
|Prereq.||An existing Supply Yard|
|Produced By||Engineer Squad|
|Production XP||+37 xp|
Although the American army is often very reliant on its cheap infantry, it nonetheless spends the battle striving to reach the ability to produce armor. In the late game it becomes exceedingly difficult to mount an effective assault against enemy territory with infantry alone. Without tanks, infantry will eventually be overrun.
Construction of a Tank Depot is performed only by Engineer Squads, for the cost of 350, 90. It requires an existing Supply Yard, and the building must be placed inside the American HQ Territory. Having one of the largest footprints in the game, it requires plenty of space and may even require relocation of other base structures to make room. The Tank Depot itself is a large wooden shack, covered with cloth sheets and fitted with a winching device in an opening through the roof. Although still less tough than other factions' base structures, the Tank Depot is the most sturdy American base structure.
The Tank Depot's primary purpose is tank production. It offers three different varieties of tanks: the M10 Tank Destroyer, a medium open-turret tank with a good anti-tank cannon; The M4 Crocodile Sherman, a flamethrower-equipped anti-infantry and anti-building tank; And the M4 Sherman, the mainstay of the American armored force, a medium tank armed with a general-purpose cannon.
The Tank Depot also offers two Global Upgrades that will directly enhance the M4 Sherman tank. The M1A1C 76mm Gun replaces all existing and future M4 Sherman main cannons with an advanced version that is significantly superior in armor penetrating capability compared to their original 75mm cannon, although it is not an upgrade to be taken too early. See the Global Upgrades section for more info.
The Defensive Smoke Screen upgrade enables M4 Sherman tanks to deploy smoke in order to screen themselves from enemy fire. Both upgrades are extremely useful in late-game tank combat, significantly increasing the potential of these tanks on the battlefield.
Construction of the Tank Depot signals the final stage in the American combat strategy, when they will begin to take more frontal offensive action against the enemy, using tanks and infantry in unison. Some players prefer reaching this stage earlier, by skipping construction of the Motor Pool altogether. However, due to the high cost of the Tank Depot and the units it produces, this can put the Americans at a disadvantage for a while, without light and medium vehicles to support their infantry, until a sizeable tank force is completed. Normally, the Tank Depot is constructed last, to introduce tanks only when they are actually needed and when resources for their construction is readily available.
The Tank Depot, not surprisingly, constructs tanks. Each of the 3 tank types available here is meant to fill a different role on the battlefield, and is capable of successfully engaging different kinds of enemy units. Normally, all three tanks are required in order to field a truly well-rounded armored assault force, but it's also possible to make use of each individual tank type in support of infantry rather than other tanks.
M10 Tank Destroyer Edit
This is the American army's primary anti-tank weapon. The M10 Tank Destroyer is a medium tank, carrying about half as much armor as an M4 Sherman but still largely impervious to small-arms fire and most medium-caliber shells (like 20mm cannons), putting it firmly in the medium tank category.
The M10 Tank Destroyer has an open-top turret fitted with a large 3-inch (76mm) anti-tank cannon. This weapon is one of the smaller dedicated anti-tank cannons in the game, but is still quite good at piercing enemy tanks' front or rear armor. It is very accurate at almost any range, with a maximum range of 40 meters (average for tank cannons). It also fires fairly rapidly for a tank gun.
With these qualities, the M10 Tank Destroyer is a great flanking weapon. The tank is expected to utilize its relatively-high speed to outmaneuver enemy tanks and blast their rear armor to pieces, while another, sturdier tank like the M4 Sherman keeps the target busy and soaks up its fire.
M10 Tank Destroyers can also be used in conjunction with infantry, or as support for defensive operations (alongside Machine Gun Emplacements). They won't survive long in face-to-face combat with enemy tanks, and especially enemy anti-tank infantry, but are tough enough to survive battle when properly supported by other units.
M4 Crocodile Sherman Edit
This flamethrower tank is a formidable anti-infantry unit. Its task is to destroy enemy infantry - whether out in the open or garrisoned inside structures - in support of your own infantry or tank assaults. The Crocodile can eliminate an enemy infantry unit very rapidly, and stand up to most enemy weapon crews. The flamethrower can also reduce buildings to rubble fairly quickly, and has an impressive range compared to other flamethrower weapons in the game.
The lack of a main cannon means that this vehicle is not meant for tank combat. Based on an M4 Sherman tank, it has good armor and can serve as a decoy target (to keep an enemy tank busy while other American units are moving to flank it), but the Crocodile cannot hurt enemy vehicles itself.
The M4 Crocodile Sherman can be fitted with a Bulldozer upgrade. This enables the vehicle to clear heavy obstacles that are not normally crushable by medium tanks, such as Tank Traps and thick hedgerows. The only other American vehicle that can do so is the M26 Pershing, which is only available to the Armor Company.
M4 Sherman Edit
The M4 Sherman is the core tank unit for the American army. One of the best medium tanks in the game, it combines good armor with a general-purpose cannon that can be used against almost any type of target.
The M4 Sherman is clad in thick armor, almost twice as thick as a Panzer IV. This enables it to stand up to non-armor-piercing weapons with ease. However, its armor is primarily concentrated at the front, leaving the rear exposed. Fortunately, this tank is quick to turn and move, and so can present its armor to any target that poses a direct threat.
The Sherman's cannon is a general-purpose 75mm gun, firing explosive ammunition. Although lacking somewhat in Penetration values, the explosive radius of its shots make up for this. It can hurt enemy vehicles and medium tanks, and can take out enemy infantry with reasonable precision. The tank is also equipped with two Machine Guns for additional anti-infantry firepower.
The M4 Sherman may be upgraded with several additional abilities, including a Crab Mine Flail for driving through minefields, a gunner for its turret-mounted Heavy Machine Gun, a stronger anti-tank cannon to replace its general-purpose one, and finally a set of smoke-grenade launchers that can be utilized to temporarily defend the tank from enemy fire to prevent its destruction. The two latter abilities are purchased from the Tank Depot as Global Upgrades for all M4 Sherman tanks.
In combat, the M4 Sherman can fill pretty much any niche required. It can support both infantry and other tanks. Large groups of M4 Shermans can be extremely difficult to stop, as they can encircle and destroy enemy tanks or even infantry positions with ease. More often however, they are coupled with M10 Tank Destroyers, M8 Greyhound armored cars, and possibly a screening force of infantry, to make a well-rounded armored assault force.
Global Upgrades Edit
Both Global Upgrades available at the Tank Depot are specifically meant to improve the combat performance of M4 Sherman tanks. The Defensive Smoke Screen increases defensive potential, while the M1A1C 76mm Gun increases offensive firepower.
Defensive Smoke Screen Edit
When this Global Upgrade is purchased, all existing and future M4 Sherman tanks and (for the Armor Company) Sherman Calliopes receive a new ability called Fire Smoke Shell, costing 50 per use, which will detonate a large smoke grenade over the tank's current position.
The smoke serves to obscure the tank from enemy weapons. While it does not render the tank invisible, enemy units will have a significantly harder time targeting the concealed tank, allowing it to back away safely or simply survive a little longer in the face of enemy fire.
This is used in three ways:
- To save a tank from being destroyed, by firing the smoke shell and retreating to receive repairs.
- For increasing the amount of time this tank can stand up to an enemy unit firing at it, buying time for other American unit to flank that enemy and destroy it.
- to allow tanks to confuse the enemy by using smoke as cover to hide behind, alternating which unit is attacking and which unit is hiding from enemy fire.
M1A1C 76mm Gun Edit
When this Global Upgrade is purchased, all existing and future M4 Sherman tanks will immediately have their primary 75mm general-purpose weapon replaced with a more powerful 76mm anti-tank version. The differences between these cannons is quite significant.
The primary difference is in Penetration power, with the 76mm gun having almost twice as much chance to penetrate enemy armor than the 75mm gun. This effectively increases the Sherman's potential as an anti-tank weapon, capable of reliably hurting enemy medium tanks in frontal engagements. In addition, the tank's turret turns slightly faster with this upgrade, bringing this weapon to bear more quickly.
Unfortunately, this upgrade is not without caveats. While increasing anti-tank potential, the tank gives up some anti-infantry power. Its shots still have a wide blast radius, but cause much less damage beyond the impact point. Additionally, they cause virtually no suppression and the gun is slower to reload, taking a whole extra second between shots.
The M1A1C 76mm Gun Global Upgrade is therefore a good way to bring the M4 Sherman up to speed with late-game enemy armor, but diminishes the tank's "general-purpose" quality in return. Nonetheless, it is still a good core tank, and during the late game the extra anti-tank capability is absolutely crucial. Just don't purchase this upgrade too early.
Note: With Patch 2.400 installed, this Global Upgrade will also affect the M26 Pershing's ammunition, replacing its regular HEAT shells with HVAP shells (High-Velocity Armor-Piercing). This results in a massive increase in Armor Penetration for the M26 Pershing, allowing it to pierce almost any tank front armor reliably.
Approaching the later stages of the battle, American infantry are going to be hard-pressed to push back enemy attacks on their territory. Increasingly, the enemy is also going to have an easier time repelling American infantry attacks on his own territory. The use of support vehicles like the M8 Greyhound can only go so far, and without heavier vehicles the Americans would be over-run in no time.
Once the Tank Depot is constructed, however, the Americans can begin to affect a more serious change in the power structure on the battlefield. American tanks are sturdy and pack a good punch. Though not terribly effective on their own, in large groups they are very difficult to stop, regardless of enemy troop composition. In the late game, tanks will essentially be required by the Americans to repel enemy attack. The most effective use of tanks is in conjunction with infantry and support weapons to seek and destroy enemy force concentrations, slowly repelling the enemy until he can no longer resist a direct assault on his base.
It is often important to build a relatively even mix of all three types of tanks available from the Tank Depot. Each tank complements the abilities of the other two, creating a force that can contend with most enemy groups.
Start production with either an M4 Sherman or M4 Crocodile Sherman, depending on the types of threats presented to you by the enemy. If a tank-heavy enemy is beginning to overwhelm your M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun positions, call in an M4 Sherman to provide mobile support. If the enemy is using infantry and crewed weapons, an M4 Crocodile Sherman will be more effective. Some players prefer creating an M10 Tank Destroyer first, but if so they'd better make sure to keep it alive while other tanks are being built.
After the first tank or so, begin mixing up the units. Try creating a tank group that can repel enemy units attempting to take your territory, then create a second group if resources and Population Cap are available. Each tank group should be strong enough to take out one enemy Panther if required, so a mix of 1 M4 Sherman with two M10 Tank Destroyers is often best. If playing on a particularly large map and/or few players, you can try making more groups as necessary.
If you are weak on infantry, get an M4 Crocodile Sherman to act in their stead. It is a terrific replacement for infantry.
Finally, once you have enough tanks under your command, it's time to take the fight to the enemy. Couple each tank group with at least one infantry unit and attempt to take and secure enemy sectors. Use one armored group to lure enemies in, and then punch with the other group at the enemy's flanks. Infantry can either participate, or stay behind to protect your territory while the tanks are away.
Tank Depot vs. Motor Pool Edit
When a Supply Yard is built, you'll have to option to construct either a Motor Pool or a Tank Depot next. This choice affects the remainder of the battle significantly, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Most players will choose to construct a Motor Pool first. The units it produces work very well with the infantry units already on the field at this time, and both the Motor Pool and its units are cheap enough to be affordable in large quantities at this stage of the battle.
The Motor Pool choice is good for defensive operations, as it gives you slow M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun units to augment the Machine Gun Emplacement, and fast units like the M3 Halftrack and M8 Greyhound to quickly repel anything else. Your escalation will match that of your enemy, allowing you to defend your territory for now, and possibly even take some territory if you use these new units well in conjunction with infantry.
On the other hand, construction of the Tank Depot first will give you a major advantage on the battlefield, since the enemy will have few units to oppose your tanks with at this stage. However, both the Tank Depot and the tanks it produces are very expensive. If you even have the resources required to start production with this facility, you will rarely have enough to create more than a few units. It's a gamble, and requires skill in both protecting the tanks you build and making the most of your resources.
If going for an early Tank Depot, consider producing M4 Crocodile Shermans first, then M4 Shermans. Don't get any M10 Tank Destroyers: they may be cheap, but much less useful against whatever the enemy has on the field at this stage.
Do not let up your advantage while you still have it. Make sure to push the enemy back forcefully to restrict his resources, otherwise he'll begin flooding the field with anti-tank weapons and counter your advantage quickly, or even bring out some tanks of his own. Catch him by surprise and you may be able to take a sizeable chunk of his territory before he can react, further delaying the creation of forces strong enough to oppose you.
The Tank Depot has more health than all other American base structures, but it is still not as sturdy as other factions' base structures. It can probably stand up to an artillery attack on your base, and will survive some fire from a flamethrower, but the loss of this structure is costly enough that you'll want to ensure its protection.
Keep an Engineer Squad near your base at all times if possible, to perform repairs when necessary.