Fuel Drain

COMPANY OF HEROES 2—ARDENNES ASSAULT—FUEL DRAIN (STOUMONT)

 

This challenging mission involves taking and then defending a fuel point against five armor+infantry attack waves, while—if you want a silver or gold medal—a portion of your force roves around taking other points on the map.

You can use any company for this, provided that they have solid and relatively cheap artillery support. The German forces on this map are much stronger than you can be, so you need the multiplier of artillery (which the Germans do not have, in any form, on this mission) to help your roving, point-capping force.

I prefer to use Dog Co. for this, simply because it has good artillery (especially when upgraded with incendiary rounds) and defensive buffs, and I don’t need anything special in the way of infantry—in fact, I prefer to use mostly cheap RE squads here because abandoned German schrecks and LMGs, not to mention vehicles, are plentiful.

Phase One (assaulting the sanatorium):

Dismiss your starting force except for the HMG and any RE squads or mortar team. Bring in RE squads and pick up the flamethrower and BAR lying near your base. Go up the path to the left, to the sanatorium, using your HMG and two well armed squads. A German squad will come out to attack you, but with an HMG, BAR, and flamethrower, you will kill them quickly. Next take out the volksgren squad in the sanatorium building, and put your HMG in the building. Don’t go into the VP on the other side of the building, except to pass through quickly. Taking the point will trigger the start of the rest of the mission, and you don’t want to do that just yet. Note that there is no deadline or other time constraint on this first phase, so take your time.

Part Two (preparing outer defenses):

Make lots of RE squads and use them lay lots of tank traps (TTs) and a few stretches of wire. The TTs can start along the initial map-edge to the right of your base and wrap all the way around that map-edge until and including the inside of the wall to the left of the sanatorium building. German tanks will break through that wall and wreak havoc if they are not blocked by TTs. You can go for a full wrap or you can leave one spot where the German tanks can get through, so that you can induce them to approach through that bottleneck and can wipe them with concentrated AT power. You can also go for a full wrap but leave spots for the German vehicles to approach from off-map so that, when they run out of gas (which they will) you can send RE squads out past the TTs to retrieve them. Try to get an ambulance out beyond the line of TTs, on the road to the nearby muni point, before you close it up; you will need that vehicle for healing/reinforcing your roving force, which will soon attack that muni point. While you’re laying TTs and wire, bring in an AT gun and two HMGs. You’ll need a lieutenant squad for that. Make sure you also have two mortar teams. Everything else should be RE squads, although a major and a second ambulance for the sanatorium base are useful. There is an uncrewed US AT gun already in the VP area that one of your RE squads can crew when the time comes. Leftover German units in the VP will fire on your RE squads as they lay TT nearby, so kill them with mortars, flamethrower, or your Lt. squad (popping into the VP briefly) when you can. When the TT- and wire-laying is done, bring your forces into the VP area to cap it, and pick up all the muni caches and abandoned weapons. Build FPs (with HMGs) to cover the west and north, plus another covering the main, east approach. Your AT guns can cover the east side. Make sure you have at least one RE squad with schrecks in the center. Put the Lt. squad, an HMG, two mortar teams, one ambulance, and a couple of LMG-equipped RE squads at the entrance to the road leading up to the nearby muni point (your line of TTs should leave room for them). Place a partial-strength RE squad in the sanatorium building, just for visibility.

Part Three (main mission):

Shortly after you take the VP, a Puma, with infantry support, will charge the sanatorium, usually from the NE, and if you’ve laid TTs it will come as close as it can and start shooting. This is a scripted event, and although the Puma will do some damage (you can minimize this by making sure your TTs hold it at long range), it will soon run out of gas, and you will be invited to gas it up and take it. Note that while it’s alive the Puma will take no more than 50% damage—the idea the CPU is enforcing here is that you’re supposed to capture it, not kill it.

So refuel and take the Puma, and have it join your roving force—it can hide in the dip just north and across the road from the sanatorium. Your roving force can start mortaring the muni point position, with support from the HMG and your other squads, and artillery if necessary. When you have taken that point and healed up, move down the slope to the E to take the fuel point. The Puma can join your roving force at this time. Beware LMG- and schreck-equipped German infantry. Capping that first fuel point earns you the silver medal. Bring any captured schrecks back to the sanatorium.

Meanwhile your force at the sanatorium should be able to fend off each attack wave, mostly using FPs, LMGs and schrecks. You will need to do lots of micro, pausing frequently. There are many “blind spots” the AI exploits on this map, and sometimes it simply cheats and sends tanks through a clean line of TTs.

Your roving force, having taken the first fuel point, should move carefully across the snowy field to the territory point to the right of it, and use mortar fire to destroy its garrison which includes an AT gun and volksgrens. When that is done and the point is capped, the roving force should move SE across the road to approach the other fuel point. This must be done very carefully. The other fuel point is very well guarded with a Pak, HMG, fallschirmjaegers, etc., and there are usually also a couple of volksgren squads about 50 m NNW of the fuel point. Try to make the best use of your units and the available cover (e.g., HMG goes in the building near the N entrance to the fuel point). As much as possible use mortar attacks to wipe the fuel point defenders—a frontal attack by infantry against an HMG and/or FG42-firing fallschirmjaegers is never a good idea. There may be a crippled tank nearby, with the volksgrens,that you have to finish off first. You will take casualties, but if you go slowly and carefully, and keep your mortars firing, you should prevail. You can also use artillery on the fuel point. Note that shortly after you enter the fuel point, a counterattack (volksgrens, fallschirmjaegers, Pak) will come from the NE direction so be ready for that with HMG, mortar and other supporting fire.

Once your roving force has taken the second fuel point it can keep roving and taking points, using artillery to wipe defenders whenever possible, slowly making their way back to (or near) the sanatorium to help out for the fourth and fifth waves. Note that these late waves, even on level 1 difficulty, will typically include vetted fallschirmjaegers and multiple StuGs, Panzer IVs, and Jagdpanzers. Things can go badly for you at any moment. However, if you have taken both fuel points, German armor will usually run out of gas and be abandoned after firing a shot or two. It can help to capture one or two tanks, but bear in mind that German infantry are well equipped with schrecks and AT-nades. Also note that your roving force, outside the sanatorium perimeter, is vulnerable to sudden attacks from all sides.

Other notes:

  • Apart from the Puma there seem to be a few other StuGs or Panzers that are immune to your AT fire or at least your first couple of shots—I guess the best thing to do is avoid them till they run out of gas.
  • There is no German base you can kill.
  • There are sometimes bugs affecting mortars (won’t auto-fire), and HMGs in buildings (won’t auto-face). There is also a notorious bug in which a German unit out of sight (sometimes off the playable map edge) will get stuck, so that the mission never progresses—search the map-edge and if you can’t find anything, start over.
  • A major is useful for cheap artillery support and for serving as a forward rallying point for retreating units.

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