A PIAT Commando unit with its typical weapon loadout
|Role||Anti-vehicular support infantry|
|Men per Squad||3|
|Upkeep per Minute||-1.5 (per man)|
|Prereq.||Royal Commandos Support: Glider Headquarters|
|Produced By||HQ Glider|
|Cost to Reinforce||
|Health per Man||65|
2x PIAT launcher|
1x Mk.II Sten SMG
|Open Weapon Slots||0|
|Max. Speed||3 m/s|
The PIAT Commandos squad is a 3-man Anti-Vehicular infantry unit fielded by the British in Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts. It provides anti-tank fire to assist the predominantly anti-infantry Commandos and other Commando units. The PIAT Commandos have the unique Commando ability to create Concealing Smoke which allows them to relocate without being seen, can plant Demolition Charges and even construct their own defenses. Vulnerable on their own, they nonetheless provide strong firepower on Commando raids.
With the Royal Commandos Support Tech Tree, the British rely primarily on very-mobile attack infantry operating deep inside enemy territory. However, Commandos are primarily useful against enemy infantry and buildings, lacking a primary means to take out enemy vehicles. To plug the gap, the British player can call in an HQ Glider and produce PIAT Commandos.
This 3-man team is essentially a small and maneuverable anti-tank infantry unit. PIAT Commandos are spawned from the HQ Glider, for the price of 325, 3. Naturally, this requires the Royal Commandos Support: Glider Headquarters Command Upgrade, and the deployment of an HQ Glider. Unlike other gliders, the HQ Glider can produce PIAT Commandos (and other specialized commando teams) even when it is in enemy territory.
Two of the three Commandos in this team are equipped with PIAT anti-tank launchers, the same weapon that Sappers receive when they purchase their own anti-tank upgrade. These slow-firing, inaccurate weapons can nonetheless cause massive damage to the rear portion of a tank, and can destroy lighter vehicles outright. In addition, the third member of the squad carries a Mk.II Sten SMG for defensive close-combat firepower, and will pick up a PIAT if one of his team-mates is killed.
Overall, this small infantry team is meant solely for the purpose of flanking and taking out enemy vehicles. To do this, it must be properly supported by other units, who will draw the fire of the vehicle while the PIAT team moves towards its rear. Unlike other anti-tank infantry, this unit can capitalize on the unique Commando ability to pop Concealing Smoke, allowing them to move undetected into a flanking position. It also allows them to retreat once their task is completed or the enemy realizes what's going on.
As their name suggests, PIAT Commandos are armed with 2 Projector Infantry Anti-Tank (PIAT) launchers, which cause good damage to all vehicles and are also quite useful against enemy buildings. The third member of the team carries a Silenced Mk.II Sten Sub-Machine-Gun.
This infantry squad cannot pick up any additional weapons from the battlefield.
PIAT launcher Edit
The PIAT is a hand-held spigot mortar, using a powerful hand-operated spring to launch a heavy warhead at enemy units.
The explosion of the PIAT warhead does about as much damage as a medium tank-gun shell, though its radius is quite small (not enough to kill infantry) and its Penetration lacking. A couple of these warheads are usually enough to take out an armored car, and direct hits to enemy buildings will cause significant damage.
Unfortunately, the PIAT is very inaccurate (though slightly improved in later patch versions), and there are long pauses between every shot. For this reason, PIAT Commandos often require plenty of support from other units to prevent them being destroyed before they can do enough damage.
Note: When an infantryman holding a PIAT is killed, and there is no other squad-member available to pick the weapon up, there is a 20% chance of the weapon being dropped and becoming abandoned. Other infantry squads (friendly or enemy) can pick this weapon up if they have at least 2 Open Weapon Slots.
Silenced Mk.II Sten SMG Edit
This is a relatively poor SMG in terms of speed, with the Commandos taking longer breaks between their bursts than most other SMG-equipped infantry. It is average in all other respects.
Naturally, in close-combat these weapons are still quite fearsome, which gives the PIAT Commandos a small amount of protection for its flanks. However, since the squad is only protected by one of these, it will quickly be destroyed by anything more than light opposition.
PIAT Commandos can deploy almost as many abilities as a "regular" Commandos squad. They can plant high-yield Demolition Charges to mine a road or destroy a building. They can construct Slit Trenches for their own defense, and place down Detectors for Radio Triangulation once the appropriate Command Upgrade has been purchased.
Like all other Commando squads, the PIAT Commandos can use a puff of Concealing Smoke to hide themselves from enemy eyes for a short period of time. This can be very useful for moving behind a target vehicle, or retreating in an organized manner.
The only ability missing from the PIAT Commandos' repertoire is Throw Grenade, which unfortunately they cannot do.
Finally, like all other British Infantry, the PIAT Commandos can retreat to the Captain's position. However, since they are usually placed behind enemy lines, this is tantamount to suicide in most cases.
Withdraw to Captain's Position Edit
- Costs nothing
- Activation: Immediate
- Cooldown: 60 seconds
Like all other British infantry, once a Captain is recruited, the PIAT Commandos can retreat to his current position at any time.
As with the normal "Retreat" ability common to all Infantry, once this ability is activated the PIAT Commandos will leave the player's control and set a direct course for the Captain. The retreat will break any Suppression effects the PIAT Commandos may be suffering at the time.
Retreating to the Captain's position can save the PIAT Commandos from death in battle. The advantage in retreating to the Captain's position is that the Captain is usually closer to the front lines than the Headquarters Command Truck. Once the PIAT Commandos reach the Captain, they'll be on safer ground thanks to the Captain's command bonus as well.
Note that since PIAT Commandos are usually placed behind enemy lines, using this option may get them killed as they try to run through those lines back towards the Captain. Commandos usually prefer to disengage from combat by using the Concealing Smoke ability instead, which basically removes all suppression effects and turns them invisible for a short duration - allowing an organized retreat rather than a mad run for friendly territory.
Build Defensive Structures Edit
Commandos can initially construct a Slit Trench, which will provide them with cover for defending themselves or their Commando Glider from enemy attacks. Once the proper Command Upgrade is unlocked, they can also set up a Detector for Radio Triangulation, in order to monitor enemy movement.
- Costs nothing.
- Takes 20 seconds to build
- The Slit Trench is a defensive emplacement that can be garrisoned by any infantry unit. It does not have any offensive capability on its own.
- Units inside the Slit Trench are considered to be in heavy cover, and are almost impervious to any direct-fire weapons, including small-arms and even tank cannons. They are also impossible to suppress. Nonetheless, they are vulnerable to high explosives and artillery fire.
- Infantry in a Slit Trench can fire in any direction. However, they receive less protection when an enemy attacks the trench from the side, meaning that orientation when placing the Slit Trench is very important.
- When ungarrisoned, the Slit Trench can be occupied by enemy troops just as easily, so make sure to place it in a position where, if captured, it cannot be used effectively against you. Or just make sure that enemy infantry cannot get anywhere near it.
- PIAT Commandos don't usually rely on Slit Trenches, since they are often on the move and cannot risk allowing the enemy to capture one and use it against them. Still, this can be used as a fallback point, in case the PIAT Commandos are being chased by an enemy unit. A good use for these is to protect the glider that landed the PIAT Commandos, though again if the enemy takes this Slit Trench it can destroy the glider and fend off any PIAT Commandos coming to rescue it.
Detector for Radio Triangulation Edit
- Costs nothing.
- Requires Royal Commandos Support: Radio Triangulation Detectors
- Takes 4 seconds to build.
This structure is unique, as it has no defensive or offensive capabilities, but is instead used only to detect enemy movement. Each detector on its own is meaningless - until 3 of them have been constructed.
Once 3 detectors are placed anywhere on the map, they form a triangular area with each detector constituting one corner. Any enemy unit inside the triangle at any time will be shown on your Mini-Map and Tactical Map. Units leaving the triangle will disappear into the Fog of War as normal.
Once constructed, the Detector becomes camouflaged and can only be detected by enemy units passing very close to it. This allows Detectors to be placed behind enemy lines, even close to enemy positions, without risking their destruction.
By creating a large-enough triangle, it may be possible to remain privy to the location of most, if not all enemy units. This allows Commando units to navigate safely between enemy patrols, not to mention react to enemy movement with surgical precision. As an added bonus, your main-line defenses can more properly react to incoming enemy attacks, and your artillery can be used to barrage enemy units discovered this way.
With your Commando units already behind enemy lines, they are often the best troops for building either one or two of these detectors (the third should probably be placed far back in your own territory). Construct detectors in places where the enemy is unlikely to go - far away from patrol routes and main roads, preferably behind some obstacle or otherwise in a location that would not be visited by enemy troops that weren't actively looking for it. Close to the map's edge would be a good guideline.
Commando Demolition Charges Edit
When this ability is activated, select a point on the ground. The PIAT Commandos will move to that point, and take about 7 seconds installing a large demolition charge there. During this time, they are slightly more vulnerable to enemy fire.
Once the process is complete, an icon will appear above the demolition charge with the words "Detonate me!" emblazoned over it. The PIAT Commandos squad will quickly retreat to within 10 meters of the charge. The icon will remain visible as long as the charge is not in the Fog of War. You may click the icon at any time, causing the charge to detonate in a huge explosion.
This explosion causes 200 points of damage to anything within an 8-meter radius, then tapering off to about 30 points of damage to objects up to 12 meters away. The large explosion will easily take out infantry, and can damage both vehicles and tanks. It is most potent against buildings, to which it will cause double or even triple damage.
Command Demolition Charges can be used during a raid to quickly destroy an enemy structure or emplacement. They are also excellent for defensive use, as player-activated mines. If ou set up several of these within about 10 meters of each other, blowing up one of them will trigger a chain-reaction that will blow them all up. This leads to destruction in a massive area, and can be used very effectively to ambush large tank convoys.
Remember to pull your commandos back before detonating the charge.
Concealing Smoke Edit
- Costs nothing.
- Activation: Immediate
- Duration: ~15 seconds
- Cooldown: 30 seconds
When Concealing Smoke is activated, a smoke grenade will immediately pop over the units' current position.
This smoke immediately clears all Suppression effects from the unit, and renders it invisible (camouflaged) for a period of 5 seconds. During this time, the unit can disengage freely from combat, either to execute an organized withdrawal or to relocate to a better position.
For those first 5 seconds, the unit can move away freely without the enemy knowing which direction it was headed in. Of course, if it moves forward it may be detected by the enemy anyway (camouflage disabled), so it is often best to back up instead. Then, once camouflage is over, the unit should be well behind the smoke, allowing it to move without fear of being shot thanks to the smoke cover. The smoke itself will last for a total of 15 seconds - easily enough time to retreat back into the Fog of War.
Concealing Smoke is a very powerful alternative to a full Retreat. It breaks suppression, puts the unit out of harm's way for a few moments, and leaves it completely under your control while it does so, achieving all the benefits of the retreat without any of the downsides.
Use Concealing Smoke whenever disengaging from the enemy, for instance after completing a Commando raid, or in case enemy units have counter-attacked with superior firepower and/or vehicles.
PIAT Commandos become available as soon as you can land an HQ Glider. This usually occurs in the early mid-game, around the time the British defensive line starts taking shape. Attaching a PIAT Commandos squad to your other Commandos will provide them with a reasonable anti-vehicle offensive capability. If there are no vehicles to destroy, the PIAT Commandos can plant demolition charges to take out buildings or mine roads against enemy counter-attacks.
During a Commando Raid, PIAT Commandos will generally wait for a vehicle target, since they have little effect against infantry. When a vehicle shows up, one of the other Commando units will engage it while the PIAT team sneaks behind the vehicle. The use of Concealing Smoke makes sure that the team is not attacked until it can reach the designated flanking position.
Infantry inside buildings can also be tackled by PIATs to some degree, as they tend to cause good damage to structures. However, they are more likely to destroy the structure first. This can also be done with the use of Commando Demolition Charges, though that costs 50 and requires the squad to get really close to the target building.
When the opposition consists of little more than infantry, PIAT Commandos can be relegated to the task of mining any approaches the enemy could use to counter-attack your commandos, with Demolition Charges. This leaves your Commandos available for destroying enemy infantry in the meanwhile.
PIAT Commandos are very strong on the offensive, but only against enemy vehicles. They have little or no effect against infantry, and may have trouble destroying a Weapon Team as well. Additionally, they are terrible at defending themselves, and will be overwhelmed by most enemy units. Therefore, while the PIAT Commandos are attacking a unit, other units are used to draw the enemy's fire and keep its forward armor pointing away from the PIATs.
Like all other infantry, PIAT Commandos are especially vulnerable to suppressive fire, artillery, and sniper fire.
Other Commando TeamsEdit
PIAT Commandos are a support unit of 3 infantrymen with two PIAT launchers, produced from an HQ Glider. Specializing in anti-tank support, they are quite vulnerable to enemy infantry and even to the vehicles they are supposed to destroy. This means they must constantly be supported by other Commando units. Two types of support Commando units can be produced from the HQ Glider once it's landed, but the primary Commando infantry unit is produced by a different Glider called the Commando Glider.
The following Commando teams are available:
- Commandos: A 6-man infantry team armed with Sten SMGs, and possessing several special abilities. They are general-purpose Commando troops that make up the bulk of the raiding force.
- Heavy Machine Gun Commandos: Armed with a Vickers Heavy Machine Gun. This is the same weapon mounted in a Vickers Machine Gun Emplacement. This unit is similar to an HMG team fielded by the Americans or Wehrmacht.
- Mortar Commandos: Armed with a 3" Mortar. This is the same weapon which found in a 3" Mortar Emplacement, and the unit performs similarly to US and Wehrmacht Mortar Teams.
Note that a team of Commandos can capture PIATs or other anti-tank launchers they find on the battlefield, to achieve roughly the same anti-tank capabilities as a PIAT team. Surprisingly, a Commando unit with captured PIATs is actually much better than a glider-bought PIAT team, since it retains its size (6 men vs. 3), retains the ability to throw grenades, can acquire up to 3 PIATs (vs. 2), and retains three SMGs with which to defend itself against infantry. This makes it more survivable and more potent than a glider-bought team. However, this does require finding anti-tank weapons lying around the battlefield. Also, two units of PIAT Commandos can flank in two different directions, while a single team of Commandos armed with PIATs has to move as one unit.