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Commander Airborne Company

The Airborne Company emblem.

The Airborne Company Command Tree is one of the three American command trees. This tree is focused on air-power, be it troops and equipment delivered directly from the air (via parachute), or attack runs by American Air-Force P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft. Primarily an offensive Command Tree, it allows making sudden strikes against the enemy in areas he may have thought to be safe. Paratroopers can take control of enemy sectors and hold them until reinforcements can arrive, performing ambushes and raids against enemy assets, while planes dive down to strike at any juicy target, whether prior to a ground attack or otherwise.

Overview Edit

The German invasion of the island of Crete in mid-1941 was preceded by a massive airdrop of paratroopers in the island's interior, to assist naval-borne units by cutting communication lines and pressing the British defenders in a vise, fighting on two fronts. Due to high casualties in the battle, Nazi high command viewed the use of Paratroopers as difficult at best, and abandoned it for the remainder of the war. The Allies however, viewed the operation as a brilliant success (for the Germans), and began training their own airborne units, ultimately destined to successfully pull off the same strategy during D-Day.

The overwhelming aerial superiority of the American and British air forces over Western Europe in 1944 contributed greatly to this. They would land their infantry behind enemy lines, knock out support weapons, and trap the enemy in a pincer in coordination with the troops landing on the beaches. Airplanes were almost entirely free to make attacks on German ground assets in support of this invasion, and the combination of air and ground operations proved to be one of the main factors in D-Day's overwhelming success.

The Airborne Company provides both of the above assets to the American commander. Airborne Squads can drop in virtually anywhere on the map (assuming eye-contact with the drop zone can be established) to begin harassing enemy operations or even attempt to take and hold a high-value sector, while other ground-units attack in an attempt to link up and relieve the Paratroopers. M1 57mm Anti Tank Guns can also be paradropped to assist the Airborne Squads.

Supply Drops can be called in to turn excess ManpowerIcon Manpower Small.png Manpower into useful MunitionsIcon Munitions Small.png Munitions and FuelIcon Fuel Small.png Fuel, and to provide infantry (especially beleaguered Airborne Squads) with heavy weapons. The ability to order extra resources can change the way American production and strategy works.

Furthermore, this company can call in P-47 Thunderbolt ground-attack aircraft to perform three different types of missions, giving them precise orders on how to do so. Air Reconnaissance missions will reveal enemy terrain as well as hidden enemy units. Strafing Runs with the Thunderbolt's 8 heavy machine guns will kill ground infantry and light vehicles with ease. Finally, the Thunderbolt can unleash high-explosive rockets to utterly destroy anything within a designated attack zone, whether assisting in an attack or simply blowing up some high-value target - possibly even the enemy base.

As a result of the use of these abilities, the enemy becomes incapable of defending himself properly, and becomes fearful of attacks coming from any direction at any time. This confusion will help the remainder of the American forces to steal territory from the enemy bit by bit, eventually leading to his ultimate demise.

Command Tree Structure Edit

Commander Airborne Company Banner
Airborne Company
Air Drops Air Support
CommandAbility Paratroopers 2 CommandAbility Air Recon 1
Paratroopers Air Recon
Allows calling in Airborne Squads for 375Icon Manpower Small.png 375, 6Icon PopCap Small.png 6 each, who can parachute into any visible point on the map. Very hard to kill, these elite infantrymen can reinforce themselves inside enemy territory, and may be outfitted with anti-tank weapons. Grants the ability to order a P-47 Thunderbolt recon flight for 50Icon Munitions Small.png 50, which will reveal a long band of the Fog-of-War and also detect Camouflaged enemy units as the plane passes by.
CommandTree Succession Arrow CommandTree Succession Arrow
CommandAbility Paradrop AT Gun 2 CommandAbility Strafing Run 2
Paradrop AT Gun Strafing Run
Allows parachuting an M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun crewed by tough Airborne infantrymen to any visible point on the map, for 350Icon Manpower Small.png 350, 3Icon PopCap Small.png 3. Great for sudden ambushes and to support Airborne Squad operations in enemy territory. Grants the ability to order a P-47 Thunderbolt Machine Gun Strafing Attack for 150Icon Munitions Small.png 150, which will kill any infantry and small vehicles in a 40x10 meter long stretch of land. Also reveals terrain along the plane's flight-path.
CommandTree Succession Arrow CommandTree Succession Arrow
CommandAbility Supply Drops 2 CommandAbility Bombing Run 3
Supply Drops Bombing Run
For 100Icon Manpower Small.png 100, Allows parachuting boxes containing 100Icon Munitions Small.png 100, 40Icon Fuel Small.png 40 to any visible point on the map. These boxes can be collected by anyone, and also contain an M1917 Heavy Machine Gun and M2 60mm Mortar for infantry to pick up. Grants the ability to order a P-47 Thunderbolt Rocket Attack for 250Icon Munitions Small.png 250, which will entirely obliterate a 40x10 meter-long section of the map. Also reveals terrain along the plane's flight-path.

Command Upgrades Edit

  • Total Price: 12 Command Points

The Airborne Company Command Tree is split into two branches: Air Drops and Air Support. Each has three Command Upgrades to purchase, which must be bought in a specific order.

The two branches concentrate on entirely different ways to implement air power. The Air Drops branch allows parachuting ground units and other assets to various locations on the map where they are needed. Air Support instead concentrates on ordering in attack runs by P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft to destroy specific targets.

Air Drops Branch Edit

The Air Drops branch specializes in providing ground assets deployed through the air. Airborne Squads and later M1 57mm Anti Tank Guns can be parachuted directly to any point on the battlefield, whereupon they become regular ground units. All that's required (other than the resource cost) is to establish line-of-sight with the targeted drop zone. These units can then begin operating against the enemy - especially if dropped behind his lines.

At the end of this branch, the Americans can convert ManpowerIcon Manpower Small.png Manpower into MunitionsIcon Munitions Small.png Munitions and FuelIcon Fuel Small.png Fuel by parachuting boxes of these resources to any visible point on the map. The boxes containing the resources also contain heavy weapons, which can be captured by infantry units to create new Weapon Teams.

Note that although these three assets are delivered by aircraft, the drops are all made from high altitude. This means that the planes themselves do not appear, and cannot be shot down by enemy Anti-Aircraft weapons. But also take in consideration that AA guns can shoot at the paratroopers (both infantry and weapon team of an AT gun) while they are landing, which means that ordering a paradrop on a zone covered by an AA gun is simply suicidal.

Paratroopers Edit

CommandAbility Paratroopers
  • Costs 2 Command Points
"We have airborne troops ready to drop."
This Command Upgrade unlocks the Command Ability called Airborne Infantry. For the cost of 375Icon Manpower Small.png 375, 6Icon PopCap Small.png 6, this ability will deploy a single Airborne Squad to any point on the map that is not in the Fog-of-War.
Upon activation, a green smoke flare will land in the targeted area, followed by 6 Airborne Infantrymen parachuting into the battlefield at the same location. The process takes about 13 seconds until the unit becomes a controllable Airborne Squad. Note that while parachuting down, these men are quite vulnerable to Anti-Aircraft fire from weapons such as the Flakvierling 38 20mm AA or Ostwind Flakpanzer.
Once on the ground, this 6-man squad is a powerful infantry unit armed with M1 Carbine rifles and diverse combat abilities. It can throw Satchel Charges to destroy buildings and large group concentrations, and can Fire-Up to shirk off any Suppression fire for a short period of time. With the correct upgrade purchased at the Barracks, this unit can also throw Mk2 Grenades to destroy enemy infantry and Weapon Teams.
Furthermore, the Airborne Squad can be upgraded with a pair of M18 57mm Recoilless Rifles, turning it into a powerful anti-tank unit that can even attack enemy armor in face-to-face encounters. This upgrade requires the unit to be in captured and connected territory though, so it cannot be applied while the unit is behind enemy lines.
Airborne Squads are extremely tough, having very powerful defensive bonuses against most anti-infantry weapons. Additionally, the squad can reinforce itself anywhere on the battlefield, which means it does not constantly need to seek out a reinforcement point or be escorted by M3 Halftracks to maintain their numbers.
The Airborne Squad has many potential battlefield applications, ranging from ambush and harassment inside enemy territory, to pincer strikes in coordination with other ground forces. Most importantly, several Airborne Squads can band together to capture and hold an enemy sector, while other units break through the enemy's lines to link that sector up to your main territory. The Airborne Squad can often survive an enemy counter attack, reinforce, and continue fighting until help can arrive. This is especially true when the squad is assisted by a Paradropped AT Gun, as explained below.
The Airborne Infantry ability can be used once every 40 seconds. Plan accordingly, as a single Airborne Squad may or may not be able to hold an enemy territory all on its own for this long.

Paradrop AT Gun Edit

CommandAbility Paradrop AT Gun
  • Costs 2 Command Points
"The AT dropps are asking for coordinates."
This Command Upgrade unlocks the Command Ability called Airdrop M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun. For the cost of 350Icon Manpower Small.png 350, 3Icon PopCap Small.png 3, this ability will deploy a single M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun to any point on the map that is not in the Fog-of-War.
Upon activation, a green smoke flare will land in the targeted area, followed by 3 Airborne Infantrymen and an M1 57mm AT Gun parachuting into the battlefield at the same location. The process takes about 13 seconds until the unit becomes a controllable Airborne Squad. Note that while parachuting down, these men are quite vulnerable to Anti-Aircraft fire from weapons such as the Flakvierling 38 20mm AA or Ostwind Flakpanzer.
As opposed to a normal M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun produced at the Motor Pool, this air-dropped version is crewed by Airborne Infantry, who are much tougher than normal Weapon Teams. They are therefore much less likely to be killed in action, resulting in lesser chance of the gun becoming abandoned and being captured by enemy troops.
This Anti-Tank Gun can provide a sudden increase in anti-tank firepower at any beleaguered position on the map. Defensive in nature, the gun can nonetheless be used to escort and support Airborne Squads as they skulk around enemy territory, if used correctly. Most importantly, any attempt to take an enemy territory via airborne assault should be reinforced with at least one of these cannons, to fend off enemy vehicles. This is especially true because Airborne Squads dropped directly into enemy territory cannot by upgraded with M18 Recoilless Rifles (anti-tank launchers) until they return to friendly and connected territory, which means they need anti-tank support. The air-dropped gun provides that support quite adequately.
Like Airborne Squads, an air-dropped M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun can be reinforced at any point on the map - even inside enemy territory. This adds to its usefulness as a good infiltrator unit.
This ability can be used once every 20 seconds. This means that in an emergency, it is possible to rapidly deploy several AT guns to the same position to fend off a large enemy vehicle attack.

Supply Drops Edit

CommandAbility Supply Drops
  • Costs 2 Command Points
"Supply drop is ready and asking for smoke!"
When purchased, the Supply Drops Command Upgrade will unlock a Command Ability of the same name. This ability costs 100Icon Manpower Small.png 100 to use, and must be targeted at a visible point on the map (not in the fog-of-war).
Upon activation, a green smoke flare will land in the targeted area, followed by two large packs of resources. The landing process takes about 13 seconds. The packs cannot be targeted by weapons while they are in the air or on the ground.
One of these packs contains 100Icon Munitions Small.png 100, the other pack contains 40Icon Fuel Small.png 40. In order to collect these resources, an infantry unit must interact with both packs. The resources are then gifted directly to the owner of the infantry unit.
The packs also contain Heavy Weapons: The MunitionsIcon Munitions Small.png Munitions pack holds an M2 60mm Mortar, while the FuelIcon Fuel Small.png Fuel pack contains an M1917 Heavy Machine Gun. These heavy weapons will only appear once the respective resource pack has been collected. As "abandoned weapons", they will remain where they were unpacked until an infantry unit decides to pick them up, creating a Weapon Team in the process.
Both enemy and friendly infantry can pick up the resource packs, so it is imperative to drop these packs close to an infantry unit that can pick them up immediately. It is usually a bad idea to drop these packs inside enemy territory even if you have infantry ready to collect them, unless you intend to also collect the Heavy Weapons dispensed by the packs - otherwise the enemy may decide to take those Heavy Weapons if he stumbles across them.
The Supply Drops ability is a great way to turn excess ManpowerIcon Manpower Small.png Manpower into MunitionsIcon Munitions Small.png Munitions and FuelIcon Fuel Small.png Fuel, and to provide units with Heavy Weapons instead of creating the respective Weapon Teams at the Weapons Support Center. Easier acces to mortars allows Airborne Company to counter strong defensive positions more effectively, because this command tree doesn't have to offer any artillery. Bombing run, although powerful, is very expensive and not so effective against bunkers. It is even harder against strengthened bunkers, available for the wehrmacht defensive doctrine. Multiple mortar teams are also able to create large clouds of smoke, which can protect Airborne Squads during their actions. They also enable engineer squads to use democharges, which can destroy even strengthened bunkers with ease.
Most importantly, this ability is used to provide Heavy Weapons to an Airborne Squad inside enemy territory, such as when performing a sudden land grab. These weapons can help the unit hold the new sector, especially against enemy infantry. Note that an Airborne-crewed Team Weapon is significantly more useful than a normally-produced one, thanks to the Airborne Infantry's innate defensive bonuses. Unfortunately, weapon teams manned by airborne troops cannot reinforce themselves in every place on the map, as opposed to normal airborne squads. They need support of M3 Halftracks or forward barracks.
This ability has a cooldown timer of 180 seconds (3 minutes), so it's important to time its use correctly, and make sure that the supplies are dropped in a safe location where they can be collected immediately.

Air Support Branch Edit

The Air Support Branch deals exclusively with the use of P-47 Thunderbolt ground-attack aircraft to perform specific missions in support of your ground forces. For each of these missions, a P-47 Thunderbolt will streak across the landscape, exposing the Fog-of-War below its flight-path for a few moments, and performing additional actions as required by the mission you select for it.

Each run is called in by selecting a point for the plane to pass over, as well as a direction. The plane will come from the assigned direction, fly over the designated point, and leave the map in the other direction. Note that occasionally, the directions will be reversed - there is no way to know this beforehand.

It is important to remember that these flights are carried out by a low-flying aircraft, which can be shot down by enemy Anti-Aircraft weapons. The Axis factions have several such weapons at their disposal, and these will automatically target the plane as it enters their firing range. Directing the plane to avoid these units, by selecting the proper attack angle, can be crucial to its survival. Note however that on attack runs, it's mainly important to keep the plane alive as it comes into the battlefield; after its attack run a plane crash is largely irrelevant - unless it crashes into your own troops...

Air Recon Edit

CommandAbility Air Recon
  • Costs 1 Command Point
"We have aerial recon abilities."
The Air Recon Command Upgrade enables the Air Reconnaissance Command Ability, which will call in a P-47 Thunderbolt to make a scouting run across the map, for the cost of 50Icon Munitions Small.png 50.
During this run, the plane will make no attack on ground targets. It will simply enter the battlefield on one side of the map, fly over the target, and leave out the other side.
As it flies past, the P-47 Thunderbolt will reveal a 90-meter-wide stretch of the Fog-of-War below it. Additionally, on this specific mission, the P-47 Thunderbolt will also detect any Camouflaged enemy units within a 60-meter-wide stretch below it.
This ability allows you to quickly survey a large portion of enemy territory for a modest price. It can reveal enemy defenses (and weaknesses in those defenses), the location and layout of the the enemy base, and large masses of units.
Another important benefit is that you can land Airborne Squads and other paradropped assets inside the revealed territory, since these abilities can only be used on revealed terrain. P-47 Thunderbolt attack runs also require line-of-sight to their target, so an Air Reconnaissance run can be followed up by a Strafing Run or Bombing Run on any targets you find.
This ability can be used once every 20 seconds, so with sufficient MunitionsIcon Munitions Small.png Munitions you could potentially survey the enemy's entire territory in a very short amount of time.
Remember that the Fog-of-War will automatically return to the revealed areas about 15 seconds after the plane passes over them. Do not waste time.

Strafing Run Edit

CommandAbility Strafing Run
  • Costs 2 Command Points
"Air support is ready for orders."
This Command Upgrade enables the Strafing Run Command Ability, which will call in a P-47 Thunderbolt to make an attack run with its four M2 Browning Heavy Machine Guns. It costs 150Icon Munitions Small.png 150 per use.
When designating the target and direction of the attack run, the 40-meter-long, 10-meter-wide bounding box displayed on the screen indicates the approximate impact point of all bullets fired by the plane's machine guns. The center of this box must be in visible territory {not in the Fog-of-War) when the attack is issued. Use an Air Reconnaissance run, a Jeep, Camouflaged Sniper, or any other unit to acquire line-of-sight to the target zone.
Any infantry unit caught inside this area during the plane's attack is likely to be killed, thanks to the high damage output of the M2's .50 Cal bullets and their rapid firing speed. Light vehicles also stand a good chance of being completely destroyed or at least heavily damaged. Armored vehicles and structures are unfortunately much more resistant, and will suffer minimal damage if any.
Use this attack run to kill a large group of infantry and/or light vehicles. The best times to perform such a run are when an enemy infantry advance is detected passing through a narrow route (from which they cannot easily escape when the plane makes its run), or during combat when your ground-units are engaging the enemy and keeping them in place. An attack run against a moving enemy is always more difficult, so try to orient the target area to anticipate where the enemy units will be when the plane arrives.
As with the Air Reconnaissance mission, the Strafing Run will also reveal a 90-meter-wide band of the Fog-of-War along the plane's flight-path. However, it will not reveal Camouflaged enemy units.
A Strafing Run can be called in once every 45 seconds.

Bombing Run Edit

CommandAbility Bombing Run
  • Costs 3 Command Points
Tactic Bombing Run Rocket Dispersal

This schematic shows the rocket dispersal pattern of a Bombing Run, with the target designation area superimposed.

"Tactical air support are asking for smoke."
This Command Upgrade enables the Bombing Run Command Ability, which will call in a P-47 Thunderbolt to make an attack run with its four 4.5-Inch High-Explosive Rockets. It costs 250Icon Munitions Small.png 250 per use.
When designating the target and direction of the attack run, the 40-meter-long, 10-meter-wide bounding box displayed on the screen indicates the approximate impact point of all four rockets fired by the plane. Consult the schematic on the right side to see how the bombs will hit the designated area. The center of this box must be in visible territory {not in the Fog-of-War) when the attack is issued. Use an Air Reconnaissance run, a Jeep, Camouflaged Sniper, or any other unit to acquire line-of-sight to the target zone.
The rockets will cause massive damage to anything within the target area, including even heavily-armored units and base structures. It will obvsiously kill any softer targets like infantry and light vehicles as well. Whatever does not die immediately will surely be heavily damaged.
You can use this attack run to take out an enemy armored column, or bombard enemy tanks while your ground-units are engaging them and holding them in place. Alternatively, you can bombard a stationary enemy position in preparation for a frontal ground assault, or even make a bombing run against the enemy's own base - potentially taking out a structure or two with a single run.
When the target is moving, remember to compensate and anticipate where it will be when the plane makes its pass. It's often best to trap an enemy in a long corridor from which there is no escape. If done correctly, you can knock out several enemy tanks with a single strike, justifying the high cost of this ability.
As with the Air Reconnaissance mission, the Bombing Run will also reveal a 90-meter-wide band of the Fog-of-War along the plane's flight-path. However, it will not reveal Camouflaged enemy units.
A Bombing Run can be called in once every 45 seconds - assuming you can pay the hefty activation cost repeatedly at all.

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