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Whoopy-Cat's PG2 Essay  01-2


Death by Suppression

PG2 Essay


 There are certain occasions when the best way to kill an especially stubborn enemy unit is by simple suppression/retreat tactics. For instance in Novgorod, when you, as the German player probably don't have an effective answer to those tough Russian T-34s and KVs; or near the end of a scenario when the only units you seem to still have at full strength are your arty and air defense units. There is another way to kill an enemy unit besides blasting the hide off it.

What you need to remember is that there are two types of damage you can inflict on the enemy, only one of which is "kill"s. The other is the often-overlooked "suppression" numbers, which seem to be easier to produce than flat-out kills, especially when you are out-gunned by a superior unit type. You have seen the effects of suppression, even if you have never thought about it. Whenever all the remaining strength points of a unit are suppressed, it is forced to retreat. However, if there are no legal hexes for the unit to retreat into, it is killed instead. And that is the key to this "trick".

To pull this trick off, you will need sufficient units to occupy all the hexes around the enemy unit in question. Usually this number is 6. However, it can be less if there are other enemy units adjacent to your target unit, or if the enemy unit is next to an impassible river, the ocean, or the edge of the map. You will need to occupy all the hexes adjacent to the target enemy unit into which it could possibly retreat. Even strictly defensive units such as air defense units, guns-in-transports, and out-of-ammo units can be used to occupy these hexes. Their only purpose is to block the enemy unit from retreating once his strength has been fully suppressed.

The next step is to attack the targeted enemy unit as you would any especially tough or deeply entrenched unit, trying to deplete his ammunition, lower his entrenchment, and as much of his strength as possible. Artillery strikes can help reduce his strength and/or entrenchment. Recon units can poke away at the enemy unit to try and weaken his entrenchments and reduce his ammo. Weakened tanks, anti-tanks, and infantry should be brought to bear when the target enemy unit has been sufficiently weakened, or is out of ammo.

And lastly, a bombing run from a tactical bomber, and/or a "Shock Tactics" leader unit will provide suppression that will last the rest of that turn. Carefully watch the numbers as they flash across the top of the screen, noting especially the amount of suppressions these units inflict. If you have weakened the target enemy unit to a strength of, say, seven, and your Tac Bomber (or "Shock Tactics" leader) inflicts five points of suppression (even if it inflicts zero kills), then your final attack only needs to succeed in suppressing the final two points of the enemy unit's strength in order to force him to retreat.

At this point, you would like to have one remaining hex adjacent to the enemy unit which is unoccupied, or occupied by a phased-movement unit (a recon or a unit with a "Recon Movement" leader) that still has movement points left. As the final coup de grace, bring up your strongest tank, anti-tank, or (best of all!) an infantry unit, which will hopefully inflict enough suppression upon the enemy unit to cause it to retreat. And, since you have blocked all possible routes of retreat, the enemy unit will instead be eliminated. Hooray! It worked!! ...or not??

As a final note, it is important to remember what will happen if this plan fails to suppress all the enemy strength, and the unit thus survives your onslaught. First you should remember that if you have used weakened or vulnerable units (arty in trucks, for instance) to block routes of retreat, the surrounded enemy unit might have a field-day breaking out of your encirclement! On the other hand, the enemy unit may well be out of ammo now; and, since no unit may be re-supplied while adjacent to three or more enemy units, he cannot be re-supplied in the intervening enemy turn. So it is important to keep checking his supply situation as the events unfold, and also to know the whereabouts of any other enemy units which might try to help break your encirclement from the outside.

But with practice, careful planning, and depending on the exact circumstances you face, this is definitely a viable alternative to killing an enemy unit outright. Good luck, Herr General!


  Joel "Whoopy-Cat" Illian

   1 October 2000, v01-1




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