A mission that highlights Relic’s affirmative action policy for the 1941 Red Army
Theater of War Mission Pack: Operation Barbarossa
Mission: The Crimea
Difficulty Level: General
Commander: I’ve had my quickest win with none, but any commander with abilities boosting AT capability, visibility, or reinforce rate, or giving mortar halftracks, could be helpful.
For “The Crimea” the devs couldn’t even be bothered to make an original map. They took the map for the Blitzkrieg mission and slapped a new label on it.
I don’t really understand this mission except that, like most of the other German TOW missions, it is stacked heavily and anti-historically against the Wehrmacht. The only halfway reliable weapon against Russian penal spam is the MG42 HMG, but trying to lock down the VPs and fuel points with MG42s doesn’t work well here, because the fuel points are on your CPU-ally’s part of the map, far from your base, and your CPU-ally usually makes no effective effort to cap and hold them. The Russians also will swarm the crucial middle VP within the first few minutes, so you need to direct most of your initial trickle of manpower there. On the whole it seems that whatever effort you make, the Russians are going to have at least a half dozen T-34s and KV-1s on the map by 10-11 minutes. So winning in 15 mins or so by holding three VPs really isn’t do-able, and instead you’ll have to aim to hold the upper two VPs and fend off Russian armor and Katyusha attacks for long enough to win.
Note that your CPU-ally often will collapse completely, 10-20 minutes in, so that the entire bottom half of the map turns red, and there are essentially no ally units outside the ally base. When this happens, the Russians will take the upper VP, and then—look out!—the two Russian forces, whose individual units are already stupidly overpowered, will mount combined attacks on you (central VP) featuring six to ten tanks at a time, Katyushas, mortars, Zis guns, HMGs, guards rifle squads, and of course the penals with PTRSs. You might survive one of these attacks, but the second one will come only a minute or two later, once the Katyushas have reloaded, and you probably won’t survive that one.
What works almost all the time, assuming you’re an experienced player who knows how to micro, is to start as the player in the upper base, and then:
- send your pios to take the upper fuel point (this will delay Russian armor by a few minutes only, but seems to delay the big attacks by a longer period; it also seems to have a mildly beneficial effect on CPU-ally behavior),
- bring in an HMG and send it to cover the same fuel point (from behind the near sandbags ~10m E of the point),
- bring another HMG and send it to cover the middle VP,
- send the pio (once it has capped the upper fuel point) to take the middle VP,
- bring in an HMG to cover the upper VP,
- send the first pio to take the upper VP and, when you have the munitions, build a bunker-HMG to cover it,
- bring in two more HMGs for the central VP area,
- retreat the pio to base to build an Infanterie Companie building, and then the building for AT Guns,
- bring the HMG at the upper VP back to the middle VP as soon as the bunker-HMG is in place to cover the upper VP,
- have the HMG at the fuel point abandon his post 6-7 mins into the mission, and either retreat to base or run carefully up to the middle VP by a safe route (there may be none) and take up a position in the house that’s about 60m SE of the middle VP,
- Tech up and focus on building (or capturing) six AT guns for your middle VP area and the route back to base,
- Get supporting units such as a 251, mortar team, scout car, grenadier, panzergren, etc,
- Save up munitions for call-in artillery or CAS if you have that ability,
- When you reach your pop-cap spam bunker-HMGs,
- Have a mobile infantry capability (e.g., pios + 251) for re taking the upper VP when needed.
If you can get a commander that lets you build better bunkers or tank traps, or Osttruppen to replace wiped weapons crews, that could help. Basically you need to guard that middle VP, poke up and retake the upper VP whenever the enemy takes it (the Russians never garrison it after taking it), and do your best to cover the route back to your base which the Russians try constantly to cut. You’ll need a lot of micro. One of the AI’s cheats here is to reduce visibility to 10-20 meters so Russian tanks can surprise you and get behind your (slow, slow, slow) AT guns. (Is anyone besides me bothered by how ridiculously cramped is the scale of tank/antitank fighting in COH2?)
Other minor points:
- If Russian Katyushas, mortars, and/or Zis guns attack your middle VP defense, you have no good options. The Russians generally cover their indirect-fire weapons with tanks, HMGs, and/or PTRS-carrying infantry. If you’re targeting a Katyusha, a suicide attack with a scout car or two sometimes works. A mortar halftrack will force the Russian target to move, at least. Otherwise use call-in artillery or CAS—but try not to commit to a specific commander until you really need this ability.
- I seldom use German mortars because they have been so nerfed, and the other side so buffed, that they are almost useless against the Russian mortar and Zis gun crews that are their natural targets.
- Bunker-HMGs and Pak-43s are nice to have, but will trigger Russian Katyusha, mortar, Zis-gun, and suicide-infantry attacks.
If you use a CPU ally, don’t play as the team with the lower base, focusing on the fuel points and lower VP. You may be able to handle your end, barely—but your “ally” will be virtually AWOL and the Russians will soon control the two upper VPs and ¾ of the map. Also, holding the fuel points only delays but does not prevent the Russians from putting lots of armor onto the map.