Another “solo co-op” mission
Theater of War Mission Pack: Operation Barbarossa
Mission: Leningrad Approach
Difficulty Level: General
Commander: Any or none. I like the ones with the mortar halftrack.
“Leningrad Approach” is set in winter with blizzards and freezing troops, with less access to fuel/munitions than in previous missions. There is only one muni point near the center of the map.
Your strategy is, as usual, to hold VPs and fuel points, and get the enemy’s points down to zero before they overwhelm you and your CPU ally. Your CPU ally will look halfway alive for the first 10-15 minutes and then usually will be destroyed (at least temporarily), leaving you to face both Russian armies.
- Send your starting pio squad immediately to the far VP at the left side of the map to take that VP. If the pios meet a Russian engineer squad, put them in cover and let them fight it out, and retreat them if they’re losing.
- Bring in seven HMGs and have them cover the left VP, the upper fuel point next to it (in building), the lower fuel point (bottom of map—beware penals), the church (to the right of the muni point), the building to the right of the church, the area to the right of the lower VP, and the upper left VP again, in that order. All HMGs will require lots of micro and often will have to switch to AP rounds to be effective against Russian infantry which apparently are too thick-skinned for ordinary bullets.
- Use your pios, after they take the upper left VP and make a fire pit for the HMG there, to cap the territory point just above it, the fuel point nearby, and the upper right VP. They should then build an HMG bunker behind the building to cover the fuel point, then cap the territory point going back to base, then tech for Paks, then build command bunker behind the two HMGs covering the upper left VP.
- After the seven HMGs, bring in six Paks, siting them as follows: left VP, upper fuel point, left VP, upper fuel point, lower VP, upper fuel point / left VP. Aim to get at least a couple of Paks out by 10-11 minutes. If the game is still going after you have 7 HMGs and 6 Paks, and you have spare MP, bring in a mortar team (I prefer call-in mortar halftrack) to cover where needed. Also build bunker-HMGs.
It’s a pain-in-the-ass, micro-intensive mission, and you’re always going to be one or two unlucky squad-wipes away from losing. The Russians have very strong and numerous infantry that will often run through HMG fire for a long way (and sometimes grenade your HMG crew for good measure), and as always the visibility is unrealistically low so your units will often be surprised by stuff jumping out of them. But if you can keep the Russians off the fuel points in the early game, and hold two VPs while helping your ally hold the third, you can win not long after the Russian tanks appear.
Winning when playing from the left-side base might be possible, but it would be much harder. With the default base assignment, you can hold the two upper VPs, which are not far apart, with difficulty—but it’s doable. Playing from the left-side base means holding the lower/left VP and the nearby fuel point, and at least assisting heavily at the middle VP and upper fuel point, which I’m not sure is doable on this map.
[updated 14 Feb 2021]