T34 Sherman "Calliope" Rocket Launcher
A Sherman Calliope
|Role||Armored Rocket Artillery|
|Upkeep per Minute||-13.82|
|Prereq.||Armor Company: Calliope Rocket Launcher|
|Produced By||None; Called-in from the field.|
|Primary armament||30x 4.5-Inch Rockets (*)|
|Secondary armament||2x M1919a4 Light Machine Guns|
|Max. Speed||4 m/s|
The T34 Sherman "Calliope", or Sherman Calliope as it is called in game, is a mobile armored rocket launcher fielded by the American Armor Company in Company of Heroes. This is an M4 Sherman tank fitted with 60 rocket-launching tubes in a raft-like array mounted above its turret, rigged to fire in rapid succession at any target up to 150 meters away. The resulting devastation is quite severe, making this a very powerful artillery unit. Its Sherman-like armor also offers it significant protection from enemy retaliation. Only two Sherman Calliopes can exist on the field at any given time.
The American army realized fairly early that its M4 Sherman tank design was capable of providing various services on the battlefield. Even before the invasion of Normandy, several variants of this tank were created, carrying widely different weapons and combat equipment. One such vehicle was the Sherman Calliope, a predecessor to many of the rocket-launching artillery units used by modern armies today.
To call in a Sherman Calliope, you must first purchase the Calliope Rocket Launcher Command Upgrade from the Armor Company Command Tree. This unlocks an ability named "Call For M4 Sherman Calliope Reinforcement", which costs 650, 10. This ability calls in a single Sherman Calliope.
The Sherman Calliope looks identical to an M4 Sherman tank - except for the very obvious raft-like series of tubes mounted on a pair of arms above its turret. These tubes are actually 4.5-Inch rocket-launchers, which can fire in rapid succession when activated. 30 rockets are fired within a period of about 7.5 seconds, making this a very devastating attack.
These rockets have a range of 150 meters - somewhat short for an artillery unit. Nonetheless, the tank's mobility and defensive armor means it can afford to get pretty close to its target. The Sherman Calliope often follows a tank battlegroup, showering an enemy position with rockets just prior to a full frontal assault.
Alternately, the rockets can be used as a direct offensive weapon, thanks to their fast firing speed, large quantity, and good accuracy at close range. A single barrage can take out a Panzer IV quite easily, even from the front, at normal tank-engagement distance (~35 meters). Even heavier vehicles like the Tiger or Panther may not survive this barrage, and lighter vehicles (not to mention infantry) are of course unlikely to escape destruction.
Prior to Patch 1.5, the Sherman Calliope was even more similar to the M4 Sherman, retaining its 75mm General-Purpose Tank Cannon, meaning that the Calliope could engage enemies and pretty much serve as a medium tank for all intents and purposes. However, its rocket barrage attack cost a large sum of Munitions. Patch 1.5 changed this, by replacing the tank's weapon with a dummy barrel (incapable of firing), but making the rocket barrage ability free to use.
This artillery unit represents a serious danger to the enemy, given the sudden devastating power of its attack. The enemy will likely attempt to hunt down any Sherman Calliope he detects, bombard it with counter-artillery fire, etc. As a mobile unit, the Sherman Calliope often needs to keep moving to avoid retaliation. It can also use Defensive Smoke Screens, like a regular M4 Sherman, to reduce damage from incoming direct fire attacks - assuming the proper Global Upgrade has been purchased from the Tank Depot.
You may only have two Sherman Calliopes on the field at any given time. The ability to summon a Calliope is disabled if two units already exists, and only re-enabled if either of them is destroyed. This limit was introduced in path 1.5 - prior to this you could have as many Sherman Calliopes as you could afford.
The Sherman Calliope is fitted with a raft-like set of 30 rocket-launching tubes, each capable of firing a 4.5-Inch High Explosive Rocket to a distance of 150 meters. This is the Sherman Calliope's primary attack, though it will only fire when explicitly commanded to do so.
The vehicle also has two 1919a4 Light Machine Guns, generally poor rapid-firing weapons meant to fend off infantry attempting to assault this tank. One of the LMGs is mounted on the front of the turret, while the other is fixed into the front of the hull.
Before patch 1.5, this vehicle also has an M3 75mm General-Purpose Cannon' installed in its turret, the same weapon found on a normal M4 Sherman tank. The patch replaced this with a dummy barrel that does not fire at anything.
4.5-Inch High-Explosive Rockets Edit
The raft-like structure clearly visible on top of the Sherman Calliope is actually a set of rocket-launchers. When ordered to perform a barrage, the Sherman Calliope will discharge 30 of these tubes, one after another in rapid succession, at an arching angle towards the target. The entire process takes about 7.5 seconds to complete, plus a short time to raise the rocket-launchers to the proper firing angle.
Visibly speaking, there are 60 such tubes on a Sherman Calliope, and in the real-world they would all be fired during a barrage. For balance purposes, the Sherman Calliope only fires 30 of these tubes in each barrage, though the result is nonetheless devastating.
Each rocket delivers between 30-50 points of damage, distributed within a circular area with a radius of 5 meters. Units hit directly by a rocket will suffer 50% more damage (45-75 points), about as much as a small-caliber tank cannon hit. At 1.5–3 meters from the strike point, units suffer 22-38 points of damage. Units at 3–5 meters suffer only 15-25 points of damage from the explosion.
As a (very important) bonus, these 4.5 Inch Rockets have perfect Penetration capabilities. They are guaranteed to penetrate any armor they encounter, even the heavy armor on the front of a Jagdpanther tank. This makes the rocket barrage a terrific anti-tank weapon, as explained in the Tactics section below.
With all 30 rockets fired together, the damage output of this weapon is obviously quite significant. Of course the rockets are not accurate, instead being dispersed over a relatively circular area, so they will normally not hit the same target (and some rockets may miss any target, unless the target area is packed full of enemy units). Still, with the area effect and damage output, anything within that area is bound to suffer serious damage. Infantry are unlikely to escape with their lives.
Note that like all other artillery units, the impact area of the barrage becomes larger the farther away it is from the Sherman Calliope. At close distance, all rockets will land within about 10 meters from the designated target point. This grows to nearly 30 meters at the weapon's maximum range (150 meters).
This is also one of the few weapons that delivers 100% damage to buildings. A concentrated, short-range barrage against a base building can easily destroy it.
Note that this weapon has a minimum range of 36 meters: just beyond the tank's own sight-range. This means that direct attacks against enemy units require the Sherman Calliope to back away from its target first.
M1919a4 Light Machine Guns Edit
This belt-fed automatic weapon is a standard issue vehicle-mounted machine gun. The Sherman Calliope has two such guns installed: one mounted coaxially on the main turret can rotate to engage enemies at any direction; the other is mounted on the front of the hull, and will fire at targets directly in front of the vehicle, independently of the tank's turret. Both of these weapons are identical, except for their firing directions.
The M1919a4 is a relatively poor weapon. Although it fires in long, 5 second bursts, with about 35 bullets per per burst, this is mitigated by very low accuracy values. When firing at anything beyond very close range (5 meters or so) only a few bullets if any will strike the target at all. It also delivers a relatively low amount of damage: 4 points per hit, with a serious damage reduction against most targets (even against most infantry units). It can take upwards of 10 bursts to kill a single infantryman with this weapon, unless the target is very close.
Additionally, the M1919a4 has almost no Suppression ability, despite being a rapid-fire weapon. This makes it even less useful against infantry, the only targets it can actually damage with any reliability.
This weapon is meant only to discourage infantry from approaching the front of the tank, and add some anti-infantry capability to tank's overall firepower.
M3 75mm General-Purpose Cannon Edit
Note: This weapon is only available prior to Patch 1.5. After this patch is installed, the weapon is replaced by a dummy barrel that will not fire at any target, ever. To compensate, the patch removes the activation cost from the Sherman Calliope's main rocket barrage.
The Sherman Calliope is armed with a standard-issue 75mm cannon, firing standard explosive shells. This is a general-purpose weapon that is especially dangerous to enemy light and medium vehicles, and can also do serious damage to Weapon Teams and occasionally to enemy Infantry.
The M3 75mm Cannon's shells are rather accurate up to about 30 meters. Each shell inflicts 87.5 points of damage to any target it hits directly. In addition, the shell explodes in a radius of 3 meters, causing anywhere down to 30 points of damage to targets at the rim of this blast. This enables the cannon to hit smaller targets, like infantry, or kill an entire Weapon Team with a single shot (if it hits close enough).
The Penetration values for this cannon are not too impressive. While it will have no trouble getting through the front armor of a light or medium vehicle (including the heavier-clad Ostwind Flakpanzer), it only has 50% or less chance to penetrate the front of a StuG IV or Panzer IV, and much more trouble against heavier tanks. Against rear armor however, penetration is virtually guaranteed against anything except Tigers and King Tigers.
Accuracy against infantry is slightly lower for this cannon, but it is still likely to hit one or more infantrymen with each shot, thanks mainly to its large blast radius.
This cannon fires one shell every 6 seconds. It has a range of 40 meters - the normal range for tank encounters, slightly outside the tank's own sight-range. At this distance, however, the shells are significantly less accurate and have less Penetration chance than at 30 meters or less.
The Sherman Calliope's main attack requires activation through the combat ability called Calliope Barrage, which fires 30 rockets at any given ground target. The tank does not automatically attack enemies within its firing range, so manual activation is absolutely required.
In addition, the Tank Depot's Defensive Smoke Screen Global Upgrade enables this tank to fire a smoke shell to conceal itself. This helps prevent the Sherman Calliope from being damaged by direct enemy fire if the enemy manages to locate it.
Calliope Barrage Edit
- Costs nothing (*)
- Activation: Select Ground
- Cooldown: 80 seconds
When the Calliope Barrage ability is activated, select any ground target on the map at least 36 meters away from the vehicle itself. The Sherman Calliope will move to within 150 meters of the target, and unleash a barrage of 30 4.5 Inch Rockets at it.
The barrage takes about 7.5 seconds to complete. Prior to the barrage, a few more seconds are expended raising the calliope's rocket launchers to their appropriate firing angle.
The impact radius of the rockets is very small when fired at minimum range (~40 meters or so), with all rockets landing within about 10 meters of the designated target point. This allows the Sherman Calliope to attack a single large target or group of smaller targets at combat range, potentially destroying even enemy tanks. Alternately, a long-range firing pattern can devastate a much larger area (30 meters in radius), though the spread pattern of the rockets reduces the chance of destroying any particular target except infantry in such a barrage.
This ability is the only way to use the Sherman Calliope's rocket launchers. The vehicle will not automatically fire at any target.
Remember to relocate the Sherman Calliope after a barrage, to avoid counter-battery fire from enemy artillery.
Note: Prior to Patch 1.5, this ability had a Munitions cost associated with it, requiring you to pay every time you fire the rocket barrage. This cost was removed in the patch, along with the vehicle's main 75mm cannon.
Fire Smoke Shell Edit
- Requires the Defensive Smoke Screen Global Upgrade from the Tank Depot
- Costs 50
- Activation: Immediate
- Duration: 28 seconds
- Cooldown: 45 seconds
When this ability is activated, the Sherman Calliope will immediately fire a smoke grenade up into the air directly above it. The grenade will explode above the tank, creating a large smoke cloud that will descend upon the vehicle.
The smoke acts as a special kind of cover - it makes any unit inside or behind it much more difficult to hit. Most weapons - especially slow-firing anti-tank weapons - will find it extremely hard to hit the Sherman Calliope while it is concealed by the smoke.
The cloud itself is a sphere, 8 meters in radius in all directions from the position where the tank was when it fired the shell. It lasts 28 seconds from the moment the ability button is pressed.
Smoke can be used in several ways, primarily to protect the tank as it withdraws from combat. This is particularly important for the Sherman Calliope before patch 1.5, when it is often used as a main-line combat tank (see M4 Sherman tactics for more info). After this patch, the smoke is used primarily when the tank is discovered and attacked by enemy units.
Like all other American units, the Sherman Calliope 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 Sherman Calliope 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 the Penetration bonus at level 2 is sadly useless, because the Sherman Calliope's rockets have 100% penetration chance to begin with - and its M1919a4 LMGs are unlikely to penetrate any armor with or without this bonus.
The Sherman Calliope is the only mobile field artillery unit available to the American army - and then only to the Armor Company. The Americans prefer their artillery to stay away from the battlefield. Nonetheless, the Sherman Calliope is a little more than just an artillery piece - it is an armored vehicle that's also capable of making very short-range accurate attacks with its devastating rocket barrage.
Inexperienced players will normally treat this like a regular field artillery unit, and it performs a good job at this task too. The Sherman Calliope will maintain some distance from combat, driving behind an assault group and unleashing a preliminary barrage at enemy positions prior to a battle in order to soften an enemy position. The assault force can then more easily roll over the remaining defenders.
Daring players can attempt to get the Sherman Calliope close enough to the enemy's base in order to launch a strategic bombardment. Due to the increasing inaccuracy of the rockets over a distance, it is often necessary to get the tank very close to the enemy's HQ sector (about 100 meters or less) to ensure destruction of one or more structures. Fortunately, the Sherman Calliope can use its strong armor and relatively good speed to survive the ingress, especially if it can avoid enemy patrols on the way. While risky, this maneuver can sometimes be worth it.
The most experienced players, however, will use the Sherman Calliope as a heavy support weapon during combat. Instead of unleashing a preliminary barrage, the Sherman Calliope will wait until other units have engaged an enemy force and are holding it in place. The Calliope will then drive to its minimum rocket distance (40 meters or so) and unleash an accurate and deadly barrage against the strongest enemy concentration, potentially destroying even powerful enemy units like the Tiger tank with a single volley.
Softening Barrage Edit
In this maneuver, the Sherman Calliope is used as a normal field artillery unit: to soften an enemy position prior to an attack.
To do so, the Sherman Calliope rides at the rear of an advancing force. When in close distance to the target (70 meters or so), the Sherman Calliope barrages the target area with its rockets, pretty much ensuring the death of all Infantry units in that area, as well as some damage to enemy vehicles and structures if any.
The assault force then makes its attack, capitalizing on the sudden reduction in enemy strength. Since enemy infantry are likely to have been killed in this barrage, an attack force working with a Sherman Calliope can put more emphasis on anti-tank firepower and worry less about infantry-based threats. This is an excellent way of taking out threatening anti-tank weapons, especially Pak 38 50mm Anti-tank Guns and 88mm Flak 36 AT/AAs.
Strategic Barrage Edit
The Sherman Calliope's attack range is significantly shorter than that of most field artillery. It can only fire up to 150 meters away, and at this distance the rockets are quite inaccurate and will cover a large area with a lesser concentration of damage.
Nonetheless, the Sherman Calliope can still attempt to make a strategic bombardment of the enemy's base by actually getting close enough to make it count. This is thanks to the Calliope's strong armor - it is, after all, a tank. If it can get to about 100–70 meters from the enemy base, it can unleash a barrage that has a strong chance of destroying any enemy building it's targeted at. Go for the most valuable enemy buildings first - especially tank production facilities. If you can't get very close, select a "softer" target instead to ensure that it is actually destroyed by the barrage.
To increase the safety of the Sherman Calliope during its ingress, consider using Snipers to scout a safe route for the vehicle, and keep tabs on enemy patrols. This can reveal a path through enemy defenses that will allow your tank to get very close to their base without being detected.
After the barrage is fired, of course, the enemy will send everything he has to destroy your Calliope, so you'd best bug out immediately. If the enemy player is not too experienced, the same tactic can work several times.
Remember to capitalize on the destruction of enemy base facilities by launching an immediate attack on one of his sectors.
Combat Support Barrage Edit
The Sherman Calliope can be quite deceptive to inexperienced players, who assume that it should be used like all other artillery pieces in attacking remote targets or softening up positions prior to an offense. In truth, the Sherman Calliope is one of the most powerful close-support weapons in your arsenal.
For this tactic, the Sherman Calliope again rides closely behind your assault force. However, it does not unleash a preliminary barrage at an enemy position. Instead, it will wait until combat has started, and attempt to identify any concentration of enemy units, or any singular high-value vehicle.
When such a target is identified, the Sherman Calliope closes to about 40 meters from that target. At this range, the Calliope's rocket barrage is at its maximum accuracy, and will absolutely devastate an elongated circular area about 10 meters in radius.
Such a barrage is almost certain to destroy any enemy unit caught inside it. Infantry will surely die, and even enemy tanks are very likely to be utterly destroyed. It is possible to knock out a Tiger or Panther tank with a single accurate barrage.
This is one of the best tools the Americans have for dealing with King Tigers and Jagdpanthers. Remember that the 4.5 Inch Rockets fired by the Calliope will penetrate any armor, and a group of 30 such rockets can deliver much more damage than virtually any other weapon in the game. Naturally, you'll want other units supplying their own firepower as well, but the barrage will certainly speed up the destruction of these super-heavy tanks.
Note that on close-range barrages, the rockets will take an almost flat trajectory from the Calliope to its target. Any obstacles in the way (not to mention friendly units) may prevent the rockets from hitting their targets. Do your best to ensure a direct line of fire to the enemy.
As an M4 Sherman tank variant, the Sherman Calliope is a sturdy vehicle. With high health and good frontal armor, it can survive short periods of combat when faced with anti-tank weapons, and is generally impervious to small-arms and machine-gun fire.
Nonetheless, this vehicle is not intended for close combat with the enemy. For starters, its primary weapon has a minimum range of 36 meters, meaning that it must try to keep its distance from enemy units at all times. As a valuable unit, you don't want your enemy to suddenly surround and destroy your Sherman Calliope with anti-tank infantry or some other flanking unit.
Watch out for counter-battery barrages. The enemy will waste no chance to destroy your Calliope, and artillery is often the best way to do so if you keep the tank out of combat (which, as we said, you should). Relocate your Sherman Calliope after every barrage to prevent this from happening.