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The Soviet Union is one of the five factions featured in Company of Heroes 2. As a member of the Allies in World War 2, it mainly fights against the Wehrmacht Ostheer. The Soviet Union places emphasis on cheap yet effective units, embodied by units such as the T-34 Medium Tank and the expendable Conscript Infantry Squads. The Eastern Front saw the bloodiest fighting during World War II.
The Soviet army radically differs from the Wehrmacht army. As a general rule of thumb, Soviet units are usually more survivable due to their larger squad size, but less effective than their German counterparts. The Soviet player usually has to employ more units to bring down a single German unit, as their tanks and their anti-tank weapons are generally considered inferior.
The participation of the Soviet Union was essential for Allied success in the Second World War. The Soviet Union joined the war on the side of the Allies after Germany broke the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact (a non-aggression pact between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union) on June 22, 1941 with Operation Barbarossa. Germany stabbed the Soviets in the back and attacked with the largest invasion force ever assembled in the history of warfare. Millions of German troops conquered Russian territory. Overwhelmed, the Soviets suffered heavy losses and entire armies were destroyed. 1941 was thus a disastrous year for the Soviet Union.
The tide started to turn the following years, however. The attack on Moscow failed, and the Wehrmacht was pushed back. The Soviet's scorched earth tactics severely prevented any Russian resources from falling into German hands, causing German supply lines to hyperextend deep into Russia. Soviet soldiers and Partisans then snipped the lines, causing soldiers on the front to run out of vital supplies. Furthermore, the attacks on Leningrad and Stalingrad turned into a long sieges, sapping supplies from pushing further while the Russians encircled Nazi forces. Russian factories were allocated to Eastern Rusland and Allied help, in the form of equipment, poured in, boosting the Russian economy. This led to the massive production of T-34/76 tanks and other vehicles. Finally, the turning point in the war was when the German forces in Stalingrad were cut off and surrounded, eventually falling to the steamrolling Russian army.
From there on, the Eastern Front started to collapse for Nazi Germany. Large swathes of territory were retaken and Germany suffered heavy losses, sometimes even losing entire divisions. A last failed counterattack by the Germans at Kursk marked the definitive end for the Germans. The Russians would eventually advance to Berlin and end the Second World War in Europe.
Basic Force CompositionEdit
The Soviet player can field a total of 14 non-doctrinal units and 11 doctrinal units on the battlefield. Combat Engineers can build a total of four base buildings, each with their own specialty. Note that not all four have to be built. In fact, most Soviet players tend to build only three buildings at most during the game. Unlike their German counterpart, the Soviets don't work with tiers. Instead, only one building, the Special Rifle Command or the Support Weapon Kampaneya, is needed to build the Tankoviy Battalion Command, which in turn unlocks the Mechanized Armor Kampaneya. The Soviet Union has a strong early game presence, but has inferior AT units to deal with the Germans late game. The basic force composition only covers stock (non-commander) units.
The Soviets have access to three kinds of infantry squads. All Soviet infantry unlock the ability to place tripwire flares at veteran rank 1.
- Combat Engineers: A four-man unit with poor combat abilities and tasked with building structures, repairs, laying mines and demolitions. They can be upgraded with a minesweeper upgrade or a flamethrower upgrade.
- Conscripts: A six-man unit armed with Mosin-Nagant rifles. A backbone of the Soviet army, has the ability to combat a range of German units. Once upgraded, they can throw molotov cocktails and AT grenades. They can also build sandbag fighting positions for directional heavy cover.
- Penal Battalion: A six-man unit armed with SVT-40 rifles. These improved rifle infantry have higher damage output than conscripts. They can be upgraded with a flamethrower (2x Anti-Tank Rifles in multiplayer). They can throw a satchel charge at close ranges, which is sufficient to destroy most ambient buildings and inflict considerable damage to anything caught in the blast.
The main infantry regiments for the soviets are versatile, but need support or clever manoeuvring in order to succeed, especially against tanks. The conscript AT grenade does fairly minor damage, but it will damage a tank's engine if it succeeds in bringing the target vehicle down below 75%. Soviet landmines are not particularly spectacular, but they will also damage the engine of any enemy tanks which encounter them. In multiplayer, Penal Battalions can be upgraded to be effective against light armor but must be massed to be able to take on medium tanks.
The Soviets have access to four support weapon squads. The units are a welcome addition to the core Soviet army. They greatly enhance the performance of the Soviet infantry squads and Soviet vehicles.
- Scout Sniper: A two-man unit, one being the shooter and one being the spotter. Each shot kills an infantry model, given that it doesn't miss. They have the ability to become camouflaged while in cover, making them invisible to the enemy until they fire.
- M1910 Maxim Heavy Machine Gun: A six-men unit equipped with a maxim machine gun, tasked with suppressing and pinning enemy infantry squads. Has a small firing arc but fast set-up/pack-up time. Veteran rank 1 will unlock the 'sprint' ability, greatly increasing the team's movement speed.
- PM-41 82mm Mortar Squad: a six-men unit equipped with a mortar, tasked with shelling enemy squads and dislodging static positions, such as buildings. Also capable of using smoke rounds to block line of sight. Veteran rank 1 will allow the mortar team to fire flares to reveal fog of war.
- ZiS-3 76mm Divisional Field Gun: a six-men unit, wielding a long range AT gun capable of engaging and destroying enemy structures, vehicles and tanks. Capable of providing a light artillery barrage for a moderate resource cost. Veteran rank 1 will allow the gun team to reveal nearby enemy infantry on the minimap.
On their own, support squads will not stand up against a versatile army. They are meant to be a supplement to the core army, adding much needed firepower that the Soviet player needs.
Two cars are available to the Soviet faction, both of them are able to load in infantry squads, enhancing their mobility.
- M3A1 Scout Car: A cheap fragile scout car, supplied by the United States, able to carry a single squad. Up to four members of a transported squad can fire at enemies in range from the open top of the M3A1. Veteran rank 1 will unlock the 'overdrive' ability, greatly increasing the M3A1's speed and acceleration for a short time.
- M5 Half-Track Transport: A sturdy lend-lease half-track from the United States, similar to M3 Half-Track, able to carry up to two squads, reinforcing infantry and supporting squads. Can be upgraded with an AA upgrade, improving the M5's performance against infantry and enabling it to shoot down enemy planes at the cost of transport capability. The AA upgrade also allows the M5 to suppress enemy infantry, but only after sustained fire.
The cars on their own do not have a huge role on the battlefield. The M3A1 Scout Car is a very early game unit, which can be loaded with one squad. It is useful as harassment, to dislodge MG emplacements, or to rush towards territory points. The Half-Track is useful for transporting infantry squads and reinforcing them on the battlefield. The M5 is also, once upgraded, the only real AA unit available to the Soviets.
A total of three medium vehicles are at the Soviets' disposal. Their roles all differ radically.
- T-70 Light Tank: A cheap light tank. Its role is that of a harasser, attacking enemy units early on before the dedicated AT units start to roll out. Its main gun is highly accurate against enemy infantry, and it can prove effective in skirmishing on the flanks to seize territory while the bulk of enemy forces are distracted. It can toggle a 'recon mode', greatly extending the T-70's line of sight in exchange for disabling the tank's weapons whilst the function is toggled. Becomes obsolete in the late game, as many anti-tank weapons will outrange the T-70. Overall considered to be the second best light tank in the game, next to the USF M5A1 Stuart.
- T-34/76: A sturdy general-purpose tank, capable of engaging infantry as well as vehicles. The main gun is not as accurate against infantry as the T-70, but it is more capable of engaging structures and light vehicles. Has difficulty dealing damage against tanks frontally and becomes obsolete in the late game. It is equipped with a 'ram' ability, which will temporarily stun a targeted enemy vehicle in exchange for the T-34's main gun and treads being disabled from the impact. This ability has undergone several changes, originally being a guarantee of at least disabling the targeted tank's main gun and engine, but changes to the ram ability make it only recommended for crippling enemy heavy tanks. An arguably better alternative is to directly order a T-34 to drive into the path of an enemy vehicle. This will generally leave the T-34's armaments intact, and have a similar effect of forcing the enemy vehicle to stall while it reacts.
- SU-85: A sturdy, dedicated tank destroyer, very capable of dealing damage to tanks at long range. Lacks a turret and has subpar mobility. It can toggle a focus-vision ability to extend the tank's frontal line of sight, whilst further reducing mobility, as well as sacrificing the tank's peripheral vision.
The T-70 and the T-34/76 are mainly middle game units. Their usefulness is rather limited, but they can help turn the tide since both Soviet tanks usually arrive before stronger enemy tanks start to roll out. The SU-85 on the other hand, remains useful throughout the game. It is the main Soviet anti-tank unit, together with the AT gun, and is of vital importance to prevent the Soviets being overrun by the superior German tanks.
Two vehicles deliver the artillery the Soviets need to dislodge heavily defended positions.
- BM-13 Katyusha Rocket Truck: A fragile truck carrying missiles. Fires four volleys of three rockets from a faraway distance, raining destruction on unarmored targets. In the campaign, Veteran rank 1 allows the platform to make precision strikes, firing a smaller volley of rockets in a tight cluster. In multiplayer however, precision barrage is replaced with creeping barrage, in which the Katyusha fires multiple volleys of rocket in a line rather than within a circular area.
- SU-76M Assault Gun: A fairly fragile and somewhat inexpensive assault gun, armed with a subpar main gun with a fairly short reload time and the ability to periodically fire a light artillery barrage at no cost. The main gun has negligible effect on infantry, questionable abilities against light vehicles and structures, and mediocre abilities against medium armour. The above-average range of the SU-76M means that it can still provide minor support to more adequate anti-tank options throughout the middle and late game if it survives. In multiplayer, it is generally the first mobile vehicle to have good anti-armor power and is a good counter to OKW Panzer II "Luchs" Light Tank rushes.
The Katyusha is a very useful unit against large groups of infantry or static positions. The precision strike has the potential to inflict notable damage of enemy vehicles - so long as the enemy vehicle has not moved by the time the rockets arrive. On some occasions, it may even break the ice underneath enemy tanks, sinking them. The SU-76 on the other hand, has more of an anti-tank use, with a barrage ability for attacking static soft targets. As both support vehicles are mobile, it is a wise choice to queue up movement commands for support vehicles to relocate after completing a barrage, as an opponent will likely attempt to flank or use their own artillery to destroy the support vehicles.
A Commander consists of a specific set of abilities enhancing the Soviet player's performances during the game, similar to the doctrines in Company of Heroes. There are however some very important differences:
- Unlike in Company of Heroes, Commanders do not radically change the Soviet's style of play. In Company of Heroes 2, they are more of an enhancement than a real strategy decider.
- The doctrine tree has been replaced by a linear progress bar, eliminating the need of choosing an ability over the other. Command points (CP's) are needed for unlocking abilities. CP's are accumulated by completing structures, killing enemy infantry and get generated automatically.
- There are much more doctrines in Company of Heroes 2, but they have less depth than their prequel counterpart.
For example, a Soviet player picks the Guards Motor Coordination Tactics, consisting of 5 different abilities. The Guards Motor Coordination Tactics has the ability to call in Guards Rifle Infantry at 2 CPs and the Mark Vehicle ability unlock ability at 8 CPs. When the Soviet player reaches 2 CPs, the Guard's call-in ability will be unlocked. 6 CPs later (late game), the call-in ability gets unlocked. The ability doesn't "cost" any CPs, it just marks the amount of CPs needed before the ability gets unlocked.