A Motor Pool
|Role||Mid-level support weapon production center|
|Prereq.||An existing Supply Yard|
|Produced By||Engineer Squad|
|Production XP||+24 xp|
The Motor Pool is a support-weapon production center for mid-level units, built by the Americans in Company of Heroes. Its only purpose is production, and it makes some of the most essential American units for the mid and late phases of the game: the M3 Halftrack transport vehicle, the M8 Greyhound general-purpose armored car, and the foot-mobile M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun. With these units, the American army acquires important support firepower for both defensive and offensive operations.
Once the battle lines have been drawn and fortified, the warring factions begin the race to produce mid-level vehicles and support weapons to augment their infantry. The American army takes longer to get to that stage, but when it does, the synergy between existing Infantry units and the new support Vehicles that become available through the Motor Pool allows for intricate and very effective combat possibilities.
The Motor Pool is constructed by Engineer Squads for the price of 240, 45. A Supply Yard must be built first, before the Motor Pool becomes available for construction. The Motor Pool is a large tent, within which is a workshop capable of producing various wheeled vehicles.
The Motor Pool has no special abilities: it is purely a production center. Once built, it can produce three different kinds of units straight away: The M3 Halftrack, a fast infantry transport light vehicle and mobile reinforcement point, that can be converted into a powerful anti-infantry support weapon; The M8 Greyhound, a vehicle hunter with awesome flanking capabilities; and the M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun, a slow crewed weapon that is nonetheless essential to American anti-vehicle defense tactics.
At first, these units are expected to support American Infantry in both defensive and offensive operations. While the M3 Halftrack significantly speeds up infantry transportation across the map, the M8 Greyhound is expected to intercept and destroy enemy mid-game vehicles. The M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun is placed on defensive duties at this time, augmenting Machine Gun Emplacements with anti-tank power for destroying enemy vehicles which the emplacement cannot hurt.
Once Tanks become available and take over as the primary American offensive arm, the role of these units change dramatically. M3 Halftracks are converted into Quad .50 Cal Anti-Aircraft Trucks, providing powerful anti-infantry offensive and defensive firepower. M8 Greyhounds are fitted with upgrades and used to protect the flanks of the American armored assaults. M1 57mm Anti Tank Guns can now participate directly in fire-fight, providing long range support fire from behind the advancing tanks.
Note that some players prefer to construct the Tank Depot before the Motor Pool, reaching heavy armored firepower earlier than their opponents in an attempt to win the game early. This strategy is discussed more thoroughly below, and on the Tank Depot's own article.
The Motor Pool is all about production. It has three units available, each being responsible for supporting other units, whether infantry or armor, but less potent on their own.
M3 Halftrack Edit
The M3 Halftrack is a light infantry transport vehicle. Its primary purpose is to ferry infantry units quickly between defensive positions, or drive them into flanking positions during an attack. The M3 Halftrack can carry up to 12 infantrymen (3 squad max), and is rather speedy for a half-track too.
In addition to transport, the M3 Halftrack can also reinforce Infantry units in its vicinity. This makes it a mobile reinforcement point that can follow the troops and ensure that they stay at full combat prowess even during battle. Reinforcement from an M3 Halftrack can even take place inside enemy territory!
While the M3 Halftrack is initially unarmed, if any infantry are loaded into the vehicle one of them will man the gunner's post at the top of the vehicle, operating the M2HB .50 Cal Heavy Machine Gun mounted on the roof, providing good suppressive anti-infantry firepower.
For a hefty sum of 100, the M3 Halftrack can be fitted with a Quad .50 Cal Maxson Mount, and thus be completely converted into an anti-aircraft weapon. The Maxson Mount is a set of four rapid-firing large-caliber machine guns that can absolutely destroy enemy infantry units and even light vehicles. However, this conversion removes the vehicle's transport ability entirely.
M8 Greyhound Edit
The M8 Greyhound is a 6-wheeled medium Armored Car, armed with a 37mm gun on a small open-top turret. It is the only medium vehicle available to the American army, and as such is a good general-purpose weapon with many combat applications.
The 37mm Cannon on this vehicle is rather accurate, and quite dangerous to enemy light and medium vehicles whose armor it can easily penetrate, as well as enemy heavy weapon crews. While it has trouble piercing the front armor on tanks, it can pierce side and rear armor easily, making this fast Armored Car a great flanking vehicle.
To augment its potential, the M8 Greyhound can be fitted with two useful upgrades: A .50 Cal Gunner may be added to man the Heavy Machine Gun at the top of the turret, a weapon that can suppress enemy infantry to keep them away from the vehicle; and a set of Armor Skirts that double the vehicle's health, making it far more survivable in combat.
M8 Greyhounds are normally used for hunting down enemy vehicles and tank crews. They are a good anti-vehicle support unit for infantry during the mid-game, and later on can be very helpful in protecting the flanks of armored assaults, or flanking enemy tanks themselves to hasten their destruction.
M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun Edit
The M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun is a long-range armor-piercing cannon mounted on a wheeled carriage. It is crewed by a 3-man infantry squad, with two gunners and a third man armed with an M1 Carbine Semi-Automatic Rifle for support.
The 57mm AT Gun is a good defensive and ambush weapon to neutralize and destroy enemy vehicles. It fires medium-sized shells that can do substantial damage to most vehicles. It is also reasonably accurate up to 40 meters or so, and has a potential maximum range of 60 meters - well outside the range of most enemy weapons. Unfortunately, it can do little against enemy infantry.
57mm AT Gun shells lack the Penetration values often associated with anti-tank guns, making them more useful against medium vehicles and light tanks. Fortunately, they will still inflict good damage even if they fail to penetrate. In addition, these shells are very effective against a tank's side or rear armor, which is why the gun is often used for ambushes. For 50, the 57mm AT Gun can temporarily be loaded with Armor Piercing Rounds to boost its penetration significantly, allowing it to pierce any front armor - and gaining a good bonus to damage as well.
Thanks to its light construction and wheeled carriage, the M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun can be picked up and moved from location to location by its crew. Although it is very slow, this mobility allows it to relocate to wherever it is needed on the battlefield. Unfortunately it is not fast enough to be a useful flanking weapon, like the M10 Tank Destroyer or other vehicle-mounted anti-tank guns. When used offensively, the gun is often placed behind the advancing force, to snipe at enemy units from afar when they come into view.
By the time the Americans have finished construction of the Supply Yard, the battle will probably have reached its middle stage. The Axis opponents, especially Panzer Elite opponents, are already producing several varieties of light vehicles. While American defenses can stand up to these, they won't be able to make any progress without fielding heavier weapons of their own. These heavier weapons are all produced at the Motor Pool.
Motor Pool units are especially potent when the American player already has a sizeable Infantry force already operating on the field. All three units produced here will augment infantry work, and can then almost seamlessly switch to supporting American tanks when those become available.
Each of the three units serves a very different purpose on the battlefield, so it's important to split production almost equally between them, or bias one unit over the others if the situation warrants it. The Americans have to stay reactive during this stage of the battle, because there's little they can do offensively until they can afford to bring in some armor.
Later on, production of support vehicles remains important because these units will augment and protect your tank force during offensive work. Alternately, armor and infantry can work together on assaults while the Motor Pool's support units remain in a defensive role - patrolling for enemy units attempting to attack your own territory.
Mid-Game Production Edit
If the Motor Pool is constructed early on, the units it produces can be invaluable for supporting all manners of infantry work. Each of the three units has its own way of supporting infantry operations, so they are all pretty much crucial to ensuring that the enemy does not get to make any significant advancements once his own mid-level units come into play.
Use the M3 Halftrack to speed up infantry transportation. Run fresh units from headquarters to the front lines using these trucks, to shorten the time it takes them to rejoin the battle. Try to cut down on using the "retreat" command: instead, have the truck drive up to infantry units who are under attack, to let them reinforce during combat. Only retreat if a squad is about to be completely wiped out. If you have good recon units (Jeeps and Snipers) feeding you information about enemy positions, you can even use the M3 Halftrack to sneak your infantry into enemy territory and grab some sectors, even if you don't intend to hold those sectors for long.
The more expensive M8 Greyhound will become crucial in tackling enemy heavy weapon units - especially the dreaded MG42 Heavy Machine Gun Team and Nebelwerfer 41. It will also be invaluable in repelling enemy light vehicles, which should be showing up at about the same time, and cannot be effectively destroyed by your existing infantry. Don't waste Munitions on planting Mines with this unit just yet - the Greyhound plants powerful mines, which are also a little too expensive for this portion of the game. Do consider grabbing upgrades though - they'll significantly increase the survivability of this vehicle. If possible, attempt to chase down and destroy enemy vehicles when they are spotted.
The M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun may be the most valuable of all there vehicles at this stage, being the only true anti-tank weapon in your arsenal (barring Ranger Squads, if they're available at all). The best use for these is in augmenting the firepower of your Machine Gun Emplacements, as together the Anti-Tank and Anti-Infantry combination can take on pretty much any enemy attack. Make sure to keep the 57mm AT Gun slightly distant from the MG emplacement to avoid them being wiped out. Maximize coverage by placing the 57mm AT Gun in a position where it can support two or more MG emplacements simply by rotating itself. Remember that it has a very long range, and can fire well beyond its own sight-range when other units act as spotters for it!
Late-Game Production Edit
When tanks become available to the Americans, the role of the three Motor Pool support weapons becomes different: they can finally take the battle to the enemy. These units now support your tanks.
If Munitions are abundant, convert at least one M3 Halftrack into a Maxson Mount. Use this to counter enemy infantry during an assault. Drive the vehicle behind and to the side of your main assault force, and then flank the enemy and destroy infantry and light vehicles quickly. You can also use the vehicle to simply protect the tanks' sides and rear against enemy units. Remember however that the truck is fragile, and should not go head-to-head with tanks or other heavy-punching units.
M8 Greyhounds should be fully upgraded and used as flankers as well. Their task is to quickly surround enemy tanks to help destroy them. The 37mm gun on these armored cars can pierce rear tank armor reliably, and although it doesn't cause too much damage, a few Greyhounds firing at an enemy tank will speed up its destruction. Of course, you need to keep the enemy vehicle occupied in a face-to-face confrontation with an M4 Sherman at the time, otherwise the enemy will destroy your Greyhounds easily, even with their armor upgrades installed. M8 Greyhounds can also protect the armored advance's flanks, especially against enemy vehicles.
The M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun is not a terribly good offensive weapon, since it moves very slowly. However it can still lend a good hand, by moving right behind the main force and stopping to fire when enemy vehicles are encountered. It has a very long range, so it doesn't need to get right into the fire-fight: it only needs to get within 60 meters of the battle, and then can simply sit back and snipe at enemy units while they're busy fighting your armor. The extra firepower will help destroy enemy opposition.
If you've got a strong infantry force, consider using infantry as support for armored advances instead of these three vehicles. In this situation, you can use the Maxson Mount Halftracks, Greyhounds and 57mm AT Guns to defend your territory while your other forces are busy advancing on enemy sectors. The mobility of these units allows them to more easily form a mobile barrier against enemy attacks than infantry ever could.
Motor Pool vs. Tank Depot Edit
Due to the nature of resource accumulation, most players tend to construct a Motor Pool once the Supply Yard is on the field, because it is cheaper to construct and produces relatively cheap units. Doing so helps your existing infantry units defend your territory against what will likely be a powerful Axis mid-game assault.
However, some players prefer to build heavier defenses which they can hold with existing infantry, and then save up their resources to construct a Tank Depot and begin churning out M4 Sherman tanks. This is especially true for the Armor Company, which benefits greatly from the introduction of these tanks to the battlefield.
Choosing early tank construction is a risky move, because you're going to have to last longer against enemy vehicles with little more than Machine Gun Emplacements and extensive minefields. However, the payoff is that you'll get powerful medium tanks before the enemy does, possibly allowing you to dominate the battlefield during the mid-game stage. The idea is to push the enemy back as soon as possible with these tanks, putting a wrench in the enemy economic gears. You can then produce a Motor Pool to fill in the gaps in your weapons variety when resources for its construction become available.
This should not be attempted by inexperienced players. Unless this tank-rush skill is mastered, the success rate would be very low. When in doubt, construct the Motor Pool to take advantage of the quick influx of support weapons, and survive until you can actually afford to build tanks. Upgrading the Supply Yard once or twice is also recommended before attempting tank construction.
Like all other American base structures, the Motor Pool is significantly more fragile than other factions' production centers. It is only slightly more survivable than a Barracks or Weapons Support Center, and therefore very vulnerable to enemy artillery strikes. Like all other structures, it is also vulnerable to flamethrowers and other incendiary munitions.
Keep an Engineer Squad near your base at all times if possible, to perform repairs when necessary.