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M2 105mm Howitzer
A 105mm Howitzer firing a salvo
|Role||Long-range heavy artillery emplacement|
|Upkeep per Minute||
-2.4 (each crewman)
|Prereq.||Infantry Company: 105mm Howitzer|
|Produced By||Engineer Squad|
|Production XP||+44 xp|
|Primary armament||105mm Howitzer Gun|
|Secondary armament||1x M1 Carbine|
70 (each crewman)
The M2 105mm Howitzer, also called 105mm Howitzer or M2 Howitzer for short, is a heavy artillery Defensive Structure built by the American Infantry Company in Company of Heroes. With a very long range and a powerful 6-shell artillery salvo, the 105mm Howitzer is one of the deadliest artillery units in the game. It can easily level structures, kill infantry (exposed or otherwise) and even hurt armored vehicles. Unfortunately, once constructed the 105mm Howitzer is completely immobile, and takes up a large amount of Population Cap points. In addition, being a Weapon Team, its crew can be killed and the weapon captured by the enemy.
The American Infantry Company is relatively weak in terms of heavy units, preferring to rely on masses of infantry to achieve their goals. Nonetheless, this company has access to one of the most powerful artillery pieces in the game - the M2 105mm Howitzer - which provides the majority of heavy firepower to support infantry assaults.
To build an M2 105mm Howitzer, the American player first needs to purchase the 105mm Howitzer Command Upgrade from the Infantry Company tree. The M2 105mm Howitzer itself can then be constructed by Engineer Squads for the price of 450, 75, and consumes 11 ( 8 for the gun itself, and 3 for the gun crew). This high cost prevents fielding the weapon early in the game, but the company should strive to construct it as soon as they have a stable defensive line to protect it.
The M2 105mm Howitzer is not truly a Defensive Structure, but more of a Weapon Team. It consists of the gun itself, and three crewmen: two to operate the howitzer, and an additional crewman to provide some covering fire with an M1 Carbine semi-automatic rifle or replace one of the other crew members if they are killed.
The Howitzer does not automatically open fire at enemy targets. Instead, it needs to be ordered to fire manually, using an ability called 105mm Howitzer Barrage, which will fire a 6-shell salvo at any designated target up to 275 meters away. This is an impressive range for an artillery piece, possibly reaching the enemy's base if the weapon is placed far enough forward. The salvo may be fired into the Fog-of-War.
Although powerful, the M2 Howitzer has several serious drawbacks:
For one, it is completely stationary, and cannot be moved at all once constructed - only rotated around its own axis. It cannot be scuttled either, so once an M2 is constructed it will stay there until destroyed, consuming Population Cap points. The only way to release those points is to deliberately get the gun's crew killed. Also, being stationary, this gun is a perfect target for enemy artillery counter-bombardment or a swift hit-and-run attack.
That leads to the second drawback: as a Team Weapon, the men operating this gun can be killed separately, and have no real protection from the flanks, rear, or from above. If two crewmen are killed, the third dies automatically, leaving the weapon abandoned (unless it was also destroyed in the same attack). Other infantry units, including enemies, can then capture and use this gun. Note that on capturing an M2 Howitzer, it will be crewed by only 2 men, instead of the 3 men it originally has.
Nonetheless, a 105mm Howitzer properly protected by Defensive Structures or other units can wreak serious havoc on enemy units. It can provide defensive fire against enemies attempting to enter your territory, or can bombard enemy unit concentrations or even the enemy's own base.
The M2 105mm Howitzer is essentially a large short-barreled artillery weapon mounted on a wheeled platform (though it can only be rotated, never moved). This artillery has a very long range, good accuracy, and a powerful punch.
In addition, one of the default crewmen for this howitzer is carrying an M1 Carbine semi-automatic rifle, theoretically meant to help protect the weapon from close-range attacks by enemy infantry. Unfortunately, it is a poor weapon, especially since only one is available.
105mm Howitzer Edit
This is a short-barreled artillery gun, firing large high-explosive shells.
The 105mm Howitzer fires salvos of 6 shells each at any target between 35 and 275 meters away. It cannot fire at targets closer than 35 meters. It can, however, fire into the Fog-of-War when ordered to.
The shells are remarkably accurate, often missing either short of or beyond the target, but rarely to either side. They are significantly more accurate at distances shorter than 150 meters.
Each shell delivers a basic amount of 200 points of damage within a 7-meter radius. Targets within the first meter (i.e. directly hit) receive 300 points of damage. Targets 3 meters away from the impact point receive 150 points of damage. Targets at the edge of the blast (7 meters from the impact point) receive only 60 points of damage - but this is still enough to kill most infantrymen outright.
The shells are also powerful enough to pierce most vehicle armor - especially when the vehicle is hit directly. They deliver only 75% of their full damage potential to tanks, but this is still a significant amount. In addition, infantry within the impact area will receive a large amount of Suppression - if they aren't already dead. Buildings, unfortunately, receive only 35% damage from the blast, but any infantry units hiding inside them will usually be killed anyway.
Note that this weapon does not automatically fire at visible targets within its firing range. You must manually activate the 105mm Howitzer Barrage ability to order this weapon to fire. Also note that the weapon must rotate to attack any target more than 35° to the left or right of its current facing. The rotation process takes a few moments.
M1 Carbine Edit
The M1 Carbine is a semi-automatic magazine-fed rifle. It is a standard-issue weapon for American airborne and mechanized infantry.
When compared to other semi-automatic or bolt-action rifles, the M1 Carbine's only real advantage is speed: it has a higher firing rate, and can fire more bullets before having to reload. This makes it better for mid-range encounters (15 meters) than other rifles, but it loses in damage output and accuracy at long range.
One infantryman in the M2 Howitzer's original crew carries this weapon, for purposes of defending the gun from enemy attacks (since the howitzer cannot fire at targets that are already within small-arms range). However, one rifle is hardly enough to truly pose any danger to enemy units.
Note that if the original crew of an M2 Howitzer are killed and the gun re-captured by another infantry unit, it will only be crewed by 2 men (operating the gun) and no third man to provide fire support.
The M2 Howitzer only has one ability, the 105mm Howitzer Barrage, which also functions as this unit's only method of attack. It launches 6 shells at the target position.
105mm Howitzer Barrage Edit
- Costs nothing
- Activation: Select Ground (between 35 and 275 meters away)
- Cooldown: 85 seconds
When this ability is activated, select a point on the ground between 35 and 275 meters from the gun. The 105mm Howitzer will rotate to face this target if necessary, and proceed to fire 6 shells at it. The target point can be in the Fog-of-War.
This is the gun's only attack. It will not fire at any target unless directed to do so by using this specific ability. You can also right-click on the ground while this unit is selected to order it to use the 105mm Howitzer Barrage on that point.
The further away the target area, the less accurate the shells. However, the particular ballistic properties of this gun will usually put the shells either on top of the target, in front of the target, or behind it. Take this into consideration when bombarding a group of enemy units.
The cooldown period of this attack is 85 second. Assuming the gun doesn't have to turn to attack the selected target, it will take 25 seconds to fire all 6 shells. This means you'll have at least 1-minute intervals between each salvo.
Like all other American units, the M2 105mm Howitzer obtains Veterancy points by killing enemy units. It receives 100% of the experience value of each unit it kills. Once it has accumulated a sufficient number of Veterancy points, it will automatically advance to the next level, gaining the related bonuses immediately.
American units do not share Veterancy points with one another. To receive points, the unit must personally kill an enemy unit.
At each Veterancy level, the M2 105mm Howitzer gains a specific set of bonuses as listed below. These bonuses are cumulative with each other.
|Level 1 Veterancy:
|Level 2 Veterancy:
|Level 3 Veterancy:
Note that these modifiers apply both to the gun and to its crew. This only really affects the original third crewman, who is armed with an M1 Carbine (and thus receives extra accuracy, penetration and damage to his weapon, as explained above).
If the 105mm Howitzer is abandoned and recaptured by another infantry unit it will reset to Veterancy Level 0, losing any Veterancy bonuses it had previously acquired. It can then resume acquiring Veterancy as normal.
For the most part, the Infantry Company has little choice but to construct the M2 105mm Howitzer at some point during the battle, as it is the primary source of firepower available to this company. M2 105mm Howitzers are expected to provide breaching firepower in preparation for an infantry assault.
Construction of a 105mm Howitzer should wait until you have a good defensive position to place it in. The gun is quite vulnerable, and cannot be moved after placement, so it needs to be set up in a position to attack any part of the map. Thankfully, the Infantry Company is a little better at playing defensively and should have no problem establishing such a position.
Once set up, the gun is primarily required for destroying tough enemy positions - especially Bunkers, which could pose a threat to advancing American Infantry units. Enemy Passive and Active Defenses are also primary targets for this gun.
The use of a 105mm Howitzer also relies on good reconnaissance, for identifying targets before committing to a barrage. Basic recon is done with Jeeps, but for truly useful fire you're going to want to insert a camouflaged Sniper into enemy territory - preferably to locate a rally point where enemy units are congregating, and bombard that.
You can also use the howitzer for defensive bombardment, destroying large enemy forces that are attempting to enter your territory. Remember that this gun has great Penetration values, especially at higher Veterancy levels, and thus can be deadly to enemy tank forces - assuming they can be held in place long enough or immobilized by minefields.
Placement and RelocationEdit
Construction of an M2 105mm Howitzer is a very delicate issue, because once the gun is constructed it cannot be moved or scuttled, and eats up 11 - a very large amount. If it is placed in the wrong position, it may be stuck there for a long time.
The first thing you want to make sure of is to place the gun sufficiently forward, so that its firing range can cover as much of the map as possible. If you place the gun too far to the rear, there will come a point where your front lines have advanced so far that it cannot attack anything except your own territory. Therefore, try to place the gun close to the middle of the map.
You'll want to protect the gun's position with plenty of Active and Passive defenses, to prevent enemy units from approaching. An M2 105mm Howitzer is a prime target, which the enemy will definitely want to destroy. You can expect enemy artillery to target this gun frequently - but remember that most Axis artillery is off-map, and requires line of sight. Therefore, prevent enemy units from even coming close to the gun if you can - if they can't see it, they can't bombard it. Additionally, keep Engineer Squads nearby to repair and (if necessary) recapture the howitzer.
Note that it is possible to use a tank or other heavy-firepower unit to kill the M2 105mm Howitzer, by selecting that unit and ordering it to "Attack Ground" op top of the howitzer. When it is destroyed, the 11 it consumes will be freed up so that you can construct a new Howitzer elsewhere. Of course, this means losing the unit and having to build a fresh new one. Remember not to leave the gun intact, or it might get captured by enemy infantry.
Defensive Fire Edit
The M2 105mm Howitzer can be used to provide defensive fire to protect your territory. When enemy units are spotted, attempt to engage them to hold them in place, then unleash a salvo on top of their position. This can wipe out an enemy infantry attack, and can do some serious damage to vehicles.
The use of minefields to hold an enemy attack is potentially devastating, as Mines tend to immobilize vehicles very effectively. Note that an artillery bombardment on top of a minefield will likely cause massive damage as the mines will be triggered by the artillery shells. However, the minefield will likely be destroyed in the process, so do not attempt this unless the enemy force is very large and threatening, or you have ample Munitions with which to replace the minefield entirely.
Offensive Fire Edit
The range of the M2 105mm Howitzer is very impressive, surpassing even the extended range of Supercharged 25 Pounder Gun Howitzers. Therefore, when placed far enough forward, it can easily reach into the enemy's entire territory - if not all the way to their home base.
Therefore this Howitzer can be used to shell virtually any enemy position in preparation for an assault, or provide strategic bombardment to destroy enemy production or even large enemy groups hidden inside enemy territory.
The Jeep's extended sight range means that it can drive along the enemy's front lines, detecting his units and structures without being detected itself. Using this information you can even try to drive the Jeep through unprotected avenues right into enemy territory, though this requires great care and micromanagement. As long as you stay at least 40 meters away from any enemy unit, it is likely that the Jeep will avoid being fired upon. Of course, minefields can always screw up your plans. With the Jeep, you are mainly looking for prepared enemy positions and Active Defenses, as these are easiest to spot and are the most valuable targets the Jeep can probably reach.
The Sniper (American) is more useful for reconnaissance, because it can camouflage itself to move carefully into any position. Players concentrating on the creation of several M2 105mm Howitzers may want several Snipers working on reconnaissance simultaneously, so as to be able to scout several parts of enemy territory simultaneously. The targets you're looking for include defensive positions, but also large groups of enemy units congregating in preparation for an attack (or the rallying point for mobile defense teams). The enemy will usually keep these groups some distance behind his defensive lines, where only a camouflaged Sniper can reach them. Remember to turn on "Cease Fire" mode to avoid revealing the sniper's position.
Once a good target is discovered, you need to determine the best time to fire at that target. Large groups of enemy units - if stationary - should be attacked as soon as they are discovered to avoid losing the opportunity. Defenses should be bombarded only when you are ready to follow up with a powerful advance to take and hold the territory they are protecting - otherwise the enemy will simply rebuild and the advantage will be lost.
If no other units are present, always consider firing directly at the enemy base (a "strategic" bombardment). This may take out a structure and/or some units, and will force the enemy to retreat his engineering units to his base in order to repair the damage. If you have several M2 105mm Howitzers available, make strategic bombardments with all howitzers simultaneously, to increase the chance of destroying one or more structures.
The M2 105mm Howitzer is one of your most vulnerable units. Unlike the 25 Pounder Gun Howitzer, this artillery piece is exposed to enemy fire, having no sand-bags or walls to protect it. Being stationary, it will be targeted by enemy artillery fire whenever possible. Keep the enemy as far away from the howitzer as possible, to deny line-of-sight to the gun - most Axis artillery requires line-of-sight in order to bombard any position. A whopping drawback with this unit is, that it becomes visible to the enemy while bombarding the target location, therefore counter battery fire is unavoidable as it is immobile, making this a pretty bad unit if not the worst.
Additionally, the crew of the M2 105mm Howitzer are exposed, and can be killed independently of the gun itself. This will cause the weapon to be abandoned (assuming it hasn't been destroyed in the same attack), and can then by recaptured by the enemy. If a gun is abandoned, move quickly to protect and re-crew it (or at least destroy it to avoid its capture), otherwise you'll have a serious problem on your hands!
Finally, to reiterate: remember that the M2 105mm Howitzer cannot be moved under any circumstances, and cannot be Scuttled to reclaim the 11 it consumes. If you place it too far behind the lines, it may not be able to reach all the targets you may discover for it. However, if you place it too far forward, the enemy will have an easier time reaching the gun and destroying it with direct or indirect fire. Find the balance, and protect the gun as heavily as possible.