Luftwaffe Ground Force
A Luftwaffe Squad next to an AA gun they've constructed.
|Role||Light defensive construction and repair squad|
|Men per Squad||5|
|Upkeep per Minute||-1.34 (per man)|
|Prereq.||Luftwaffe Tactics: Luftwaffe Ground Force|
|Produced By||None; Called in from the field.|
|Cost to Reinforce||
|Health per Man||55|
4x Karabiner 98 Kurz Bolt-Action Rifle1x MP44 Sturmgewehr Assault Rifle (*)
|Open Weapon Slots||4|
|Max. Speed||3 m/s|
The Luftwaffe Ground Force or Luftwaffe Squad is a 5-man construction and repair infantry unit available to the Luftwaffe Tactics Panzer Elite company in Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts. Luftwaffe Ground Forces are the only Panzer Elite unit capable of buildings defensive gun emplacements. They are otherwise a rather light infantry unit ( about as strong as a Wehrmacht Volksgrenadier Squad), not suitable for heavy combat. This squad can also repair vehicles and structures at a good speed.
The Luftwaffe Tactics doctrine is considered to be one of the more defensive Command Trees available to the Panzer Elite, not in the least because it allows recruiting teams of Luftwaffe Ground Forces. These infantrymen belong to the Luftwaffe, the German air-corps, but are in fact responsible for constructing anti-aircraft defenses. As with most other anti-aircraft weapons in the game, these defenses are useful against ground units as well - in fact, very useful.
Luftwaffe Ground Forces are not constructed by any base structure. Instead, they are called in using a Command Ability also called Luftwaffe Ground Forces, which is made available when the Command Upgrade (also called Luftwaffe Ground Forces) is purchased from the Luftwaffe Tactics Command Tree. This ability costs 260, 5 to use, and will call in a single unit. The unit will travel automatically to the designated rally point.
The Luftwaffe Ground Force squad consists of 5 men. Four of these are armed with Kar98k bolt-action rifles, the standard-issue weapon of the Nazi German military. The fifth man is a sergeant, holding an MP44 Sturmgewehr which (strangely) behaves like a slightly better version of the Kar98k, being a bit more accurate and slightly more damaging (but otherwise a Kar98k in every sense).
The squad can construct both Barbed Wire and Sand Bags, like most other engineering squads. In addition, it can build two varieties of Anti-Aircraft weapons. The Flakvierling 38 20mm AA carries four cannons firing rapid volley of heavy shells, capable of killing infantry and light vehicles. The 88mm Flak 36 AT/AA is essentially an Anti-Tank cannon that can destroy almost any unit it encounters, but its construction requires purchase of an additional Command Upgrade from the Luftwaffe Tactics Command Tree. Naturally, both weapons can shoot down aircraft rather well, since this is what they were originally designed for.
The Luftwaffe Ground Force also possesses the Advanced Repair ability as soon as they are recruited, regardless of whether this ability has been purchased as an upgrade from the Kampfgruppe Kompanie building. This allows them to repair damaged vehicles and structures at a rate of +6.8 per second, higher than most engineering units available to other factions.
The main purpose of the Luftwaffe Ground Force is not for combat. While it is a large squad, holding relatively accurate long-range firearms, it is usually tasked with the responsibility for constructing Defensive Structures and repairing vehicles and buildings.
When initially created, the Luftwaffe Ground Force squad carried 4 Karabiner 98 Kurz bolt-action rifles, used for long-range combat. The fifth squad member, designated as the team sergeant, carries an MP44 Sturmgewehr assault rifle, which for some strange reason behaves like an enhanced version of a Kar98k rifle.
As with most other Infantry units, the Luftwaffe Squad has the ability to pick up abandoned weapons (including Team Weapons) from the field, as long as it has sufficient Open Weapon Slots.
Karabiner 98 Kurz Edit
Among other standard long-range rifles in the game, the Kar98k is one of the best. Compared to the American M1 Garand, the Kar98k is both significantly faster and more accurate.
Unfortunately, the infantrymen in a Luftwaffe Ground Force squad are not terribly good at using this weapon, and so are slightly less deadly with the Kar98k than the Panzer Grenadiers. In their hands, the weapon inflicts only 10 points of damage per shot, taking about 6 shots to kill an enemy infantryman. At a medium range (17 meters) every second shot will hit an exposed infantry unit, giving a total kill rate that is quite remarkable for a long-range weapon. This decreases to one hit per every 3 shots at the weapon's maximum range of 35 meters (sight-range). Even shots that fail to hit have some effect, as this weapon is relatively good at suppressing enemy infantry.
Like all other small-arms, this rifle is largely useless against armored vehicles and structures. Additionally, at close range it will easily be outdone by Light Machine Guns and Sub Machine Guns.
MP44 Sturmgewehr Edit
The Luftwaffe Ground Force squad leader is clearly seen holding an MP44 Sturmgewehr assault rifle. However, the select fire on this MP44 is set to single-fire, thus it is less effective in short-range combat than the standard MP44 your other infantry recieve when upgraded. It inflicts 12 points of damage per shot (taking ~5 shots to kill an enemy infantryman), and like Panzer Grenadiers benefits from a +15% accuracy bonus when shooting at infantry.
Luftwaffe Ground Forces are known primarily for their construction abilities - the primary reason to recruit them. While they can also construct passive defenses like the Barbed Wire fence and a line of Sand Bags, their crowning achievement is the construction of two Anti-Aircraft weapons that are both superb at fighting ground units. With these structures, the Panzer Elite can finally defend their territory properly against enemy units.
- Costs nothing
- Takes 2.5 seconds to build per piece
Barbed Wire is an anti-infantry obstacle. Infantry cannot pass through a piece of Barbed Wire, and has to go around it.
Place these obstacles to slow down enemy units from reaching a Strategic Point. You can also funnel them into the killzone of a Flakvierling 38 20mm AA gun.
Barbed Wire can be run over by almost all vehicles without a moment's thought, so avoid placing it in areas where vehicles (both yours and the enemy's) are likely to pass.
- Costs nothing
- Takes 7 seconds to build per piece
Sand Bags are man-made cover for infantry. Infantry units behind sand-bags are said to have Heavy Cover, making them less vulnerable to direct damage and Suppression. However, they are just as vulnerable to explosives and artillery fire as troops in the open.
Like Barbed Wire, Sand-Bags also act as infantry obstacles. They are less useful though, since they give passing-by enemy infantry units a good place to take cover as they move, and so should not be used in this capacity unless you actually want the enemy to take cover there (to bombard them with a nearby Mortar Halftrack, for instance).
Sand-Bags can be run over by (almost?) all vehicles without a moment's thought, so avoid placing it in areas where vehicles (both yours and the enemies) are likely to pass. Sand-Bags are also quite easily destroyed whenever anything explodes near them.
The Flakvierling 38 20mm AA is a rotating weapon platform armed with four rapid-firing 20mm cannons, and crewed by three men. Although originally meant to shower incoming aircraft with heavy shells (and quite capable of doing just that), this AA gun can be depressed sufficiently to engage enemy infantry and light vehicles with alarming potency.
The 20mm AA will absolutely destroy attacking infantry. It only takes a few moments to suppress an enemy infantry squad, and only a few more to kill them if they can't find any good cover. This is similar to the anti-infantry capability of the Wirbelwind Flakpanzer or an American M3 Halftrack with the Quad .50 Cal upgrade. Light vehicles will also be rapidly destroyed in the face of this awesome firepower.
This is effectively the Panzer Elite version of a Machine Gun Emplacement, except it has the benefits of 360-degree protection thanks to the swivel mount, and the ability to target incoming aircraft and paratroopers.
- Costs 400, 75, 11
- Requires the Luftwaffe Tactics: Flak 36 88mm Cannon Command Upgrade
- Takes 60 seconds to construct
The 88mm Flak 36 AT/AA is a large cannon mounted on a swivel, firing high-explosive shells. Originally designed to create flak screens against incoming aircraft, the Germans quickly realized that it is also incredibly useful against enemy tanks - capable of easily piercing through armor and causing massive damage.
The Flak 36's heavy shells cause 225 points of damage, making it the most powerful anti-tank cannon in the game. They are also amazingly accurate, retaining a basic 100% hit chance at a range of up to 75 meters (!), and dropping to "only" 90% accuracy at its maximum range, 100 meters, making it the most accurate and longest-ranged direct-fire weapon available to any faction. It can even snipe infantry at almost any range (though this was reduced in later patches).
With these statistics, and a high chance of penetrating the front armor of an M4 Sherman tank, the Flak 36 is essentially a multi-purpose weapon capable of engaging and destroying any enemy unit that enters its line of fire. The only reliable way to destroy one other than a full-force assault is by artillery bombardment, since it is an immobile emplacement and largely unprotected from such attacks.
The best place to put a Flak 36 is in the middle of an open field, with units patrolling the outskirts of its vision range in order to detect enemies before they can even come close to the gun. Remember that this weapon can engage enemy units at up to 100 meters, making the use of spotters paramount. You may also place it at the end of a major approach corridor, and will be able to handle anything coming down that corridor, be it vehicles or infantry.
Unfortunately, due to the high cost in Population Points, only a few of these massive cannons can be fielded at any given time. They are used primarily to defend one or more high-value Strategic Points from enemy attacks. However, with proper placement, a forward-built Flak 36 can use its amazing range to assist in an offensive against enemy targets - even in destroying the enemy's own defensive line.
The Luftwaffe Ground Force squad is lacking in combat abilities compared to the extremely versatile Panzer Grenadiers, but it does have some important abilities nonetheless. Foremost of these is the ability to conduct Advanced Repair without the need for upgrades. Additionally, this squad can convert neutral buildings to Reinforcement Points, and once all the infantry-oriented Global Upgrades have been purchased from the various Panzer Elite base structures, it can also use the Sprint ability to charge at enemy positions.
Advanced Repair Edit
- Costs nothing.
- Activation: Select Damaged Vehicle or Structure.
- Reduces manpower income by about -5 while active.
- Remains active until repairs are complete or interrupted.
This ability allows the Luftwaffe Ground Force to conduct repairs on friendly vehicles and buildings. To do so, either click the ability button and select the target to be repaired, or right-click on the target directly. The Luftwaffe Ground Force will move to close proximity and begin to repair the target. This continues until the target reaches 100% health, is destroyed, or moves sufficiently far away from the Luftwaffe Ground Force to discontinue the action automatically.
This ability is identical to the Advanced Repair ability acquirable by Panzer Grenadiers, fixing +6.8 points of damage per second while active, almost 40% faster than an Engineer Squad or Pioneer Squad! However, the Luftwaffe Ground Force squad has this ability by default, and does not require any upgrades to be purchased at all.
While they are repairing, the Luftwaffe Ground Force are three times more vulnerable to damage. Therefore, if you must make repairs during combat, try to retreat the damaged vehicle away from the fighting before administering repairs. Also note that during repairs, your Manpower income is decreased by about -5 per minute, a negligible amount overall, unless performing repairs on many vehicles simultaneously.
Upgrade to Reinforce Point Edit
- Requires the Luftwaffe Ground Force to garrison a neutral structure inside captured and connected territory.
- Costs 260 to activate
- Activation: Through the target structure's menu.
- Takes 30 seconds to complete.
- Permanent until structure is "un-converted" or destroyed.
- Cooldown: None.
This ability is available whenever a unit of Luftwaffe Ground Force enters a neutral structure situated inside friendly territory connected to your supply lines. It appears in the structure's own abilities menu. To activate the ability, simply click it.
After 30 seconds, the building will be converted to a Reinforcement Point. Nazi flags will be hung from the sides, and a large Panzer Elite emblem will float above it. This conversion is permanent until the structure is destroyed, though it can be "un-done" by enemy infantry.
The primary benefit of a Reinforcement Point is that any Axis Infantry unit within 25 meters of the building can be reinforced, in the same manner as infantry units near your own base structures. An additional benefit is that enemy infantry cannot garrison this structure, since it now belongs to the Panzer Elite.
An additional bonus can be unlocked by the Defensive Operation Global Upgrade, purchased at the Panzer Elite Headquarters. With this upgrade, the Reinforcement Point will automatically heal any infantry within its reinforcement radius.
Enemy infantry can "un-convert" a Reinforcement Point back to a neutral building. This process takes 30 seconds. Enemy vehicles can attack the structure and potentially destroy it.
This ability allows Luftwaffe Ground Force to create a forward outpost to which they (and other Panzer Elite Infantry) can withdraw to replenish lost men (and heal injuries, if this ability is unlocked). This saves a lot of time sending troops back to home base for reinforcements.
- Requires the following Global Upgrades:
- Costs nothing
- Activation: Immediate
- Duration: 15 seconds
- Cooldown: 60 seconds
The Sprint ability is the last ability to become unlocked for the Luftwaffe Ground Force, if for no other reason than the fact it requires 6 Global Upgrades to be purchased from the various Panzer Elite base structures.
When Sprint is activated, for a period of 15 seconds the unit will receive only 50% Suppression from any source. In addition, it will not react to large explosions (where normally the soldiers would hit the ground or escape the explosive radius), and the soldiers will run at full speed regardless of terrain constraints or group formation.
Use these 15 seconds to either run past or directly into a source of suppressive fire, like an enemy Machine Gun. While the soldiers are not made vulnerable to incoming fire, they'll be able to reach cover or assault the suppressing unit in short order, lessening the casualties they would otherwise sustain. This ability can also be used to withdraw to a safer position without having to hit the "retreat" button.
Like all other Panzer Elite units, the Luftwaffe Ground Force squad can attain 3 levels of Veterancy, by accumulating experience points from the killing of enemy units. As it gains levels, its performance will increase proportionally.
The Luftwaffe Ground Force use the Panzer Elite Shared Veterancy system to accumulate Veterancy points. In this system, units share experience from their kills with each other, within a certain radius.
Each kill the Luftwaffe Ground Force squad makes will grant it 100% of the experience value of the killed unit.
In addition, it will pass 50% of that value to any Panzer Elite units within 35 meters of itself.
Vicariously, the Luftwaffe Ground Force receives 50% of the experience value of kills made by other Panzer Elite units within 35 meters.
Every time the Luftwaffe Ground Force gains a level, you'll be asked to choose which Veterancy Upgrade you wish to apply to them - either a Defensive bonus or an Offensive bonus, but not both. You can choose a different bonus at each Veterancy level, if you want.
The bonuses described below are specific to each level. Due to the way they are applied on top of each other, when computed together (see below) they may or may not add up as you may expect.
When these bonuses are computed together with each other as well as the unit's basic statistics, the results at each level are as follows:
*Click button at top right corner to expand.
The Luftwaffe Ground Force squad is generally called in for a single purpose: constructing defensive emplacements. This is largely at odds with the Panzer Elite's general strategy, which puts significant emphasis on offense rather than defense.
The Luftwaffe Tactics allow construction of exactly two types of emplacements: a Flakvierling 38 20mm AA, specializing in anti-infantry fire, and an 88mm Flak 36 AT/AA, specializing in anti-tank fire. Both emplacements are very deadly to enemy light vehicles.
The placement of these weapons depends greatly on the purpose they need to serve. Although the 20mm AA gun is primarily a defensive weapon, the Flak 36 has an awesome range which allows it to act as a support gun for offensive action, targeting units far ahead of its position.
Luftwaffe Ground Force squads can also be attached to a Panzer Grenadier platoon, in which they will act as a long-range fire team, drawing the enemy's attention and providing Suppression. They are more survivable than a regular Panzer Grenadier squad thanks to their unit size (5 men), and are cheaper to replace.
Defensive Emplacements Edit
The ability to construct Defensive Structures makes the Luftwaffe Ground Force unique amongst Panzer Elite infantry. It opens up the possibility to actually defend a sector without the need for a mobile team to react to enemy infiltrations.
The Flakvierling 38 20mm AA is most suitable for this endeavour, especially for preventing enemy infantry and light vehicles from invading Panzer Elite territory and nabbing a sector in a hurry. The gun will quickly eliminate such units.
This weapon is best placed in a position where it can defend more than one Strategic Point simultaneously. It can rotate 360 degrees around itself, making it more useful in this capacity than a normal Machine Gun Emplacement or Bunker which can only fire in a forward arc.
The use of Barbed Wire can also help here, requiring enemy infantry to take a longer route in order to reach its destination, thus giving the AA gun more time to kill them. Keep the barbed wire fence slightly further away from the gun, so that enemy infantry cannot easily reach grenade range.
With a properly-placed AA gun protecting your forward sectors, you can free up some of the mobile defense units to other tasks - protecting other sectors or participating in assaults.
Offensive Emplacements Edit
The 88mm Flak 36 AT/AA gun is the most powerful Defensive Structures available to any faction. Accurate and extremely deadly, it can kill virtually any target within 75 or even 100 meters of its position. Although it can be used to defend your territory against enemy armor attacks, it also serves the purpose of providing long-range support fire for your own assaults on enemy territory.
To utilize this, construct a Flak 36 close to the front lines, where it has a line-of-fire directly into enemy territory - preferably a large section of the enemy's own front lines.
Next, your Kettenkrads can reconnoitre enemy territory using their Camouflage ability, granted by the Luftwaffe Tactics Command Tree. Any unit they discover which is within 100 meters of the Flak 36 and in its line of fire will be attacked automatically by the gun, and likely destroyed.
The best results from this include the destruction of enemy emplacements. This is especially true when fighting the British, whose defensive line is very hard to breach. Assuming the Flak 36 is placed far enough away from the enemy positions, it can keep sniping at their defensive structures and punch a hole through them, allowing your assault force to invade enemy territory and wipe them out from the inside.
Remember that enemy anti-tank guns also have a long range, though not nearly as long as the Flak 36's. Keep the gun just out of their reach, to avoid return-fire which can easily destroy it.
In a Panzer Grenadier Platoon Edit
The Luftwaffe Ground Force squad can be attached to a Panzer Grenadier platoon, serving as a fire-team. This role is originally given to a basic Panzer Grenadier squad or Gewehr 43-upgraded squad, but the Luftwaffe Ground Force is better suited for the role.
As a fire-team, the Luftwaffe Ground Force advances at the center forward of the platoon. When enemy units are engaged, it seeks cover and begins firing on enemy positions, while drawing enemy fire itself. With time it might even suppress the enemy, but the primary task is to draw attention.
While it does so, other Panzer Grenadier units can flank and destroy the target. Assault Grenadier Heavy Infantry will easily destroy an enemy infantry unit, while Tank Buster Heavy Infantry and flank and destroy vehicles.
The reason a Luftwaffe Ground Force squad is better suited for the Fire-Team role is due to its size and value. With 5 men, it is 40% more survivable than a basic Panzer Grenadier squad, thus being able to last longer in battle without being wiped out. Additionally, reinforcing this squad costs only 35 per man, compared to the Panzer Grenadiers' 45 per man.
In addition, if the platoon manages to capture a new territory from the enemy, the Luftwaffe Ground Force squad can immediately begin constructing a Flakvierling 38 20mm AA gun to protect the sector from an enemy counter-attack. This gives more weight to any infantry-based assault.
Like all other infantry, the Luftwaffe Ground Force squad is a soft target, vulnerable to almost any weapon in the game. High-explosive weaponry, such as artillery and mortar shells, are its greatest danger, followed by high-accuracy small-arms and Suppression fire from machine guns. At close range, they can be decimated by enemy infantry equipped with SMGs or other automatic weapons.
Fortunately, this squad is slightly more survivable than a Panzer Grenadiers squad, if only for the reason that there are more men in the Luftwaffe Ground Force squad. This means they can sustain more losses before having to retreat and reinforce, and they are also cheaper to reinforce to begin with.