Special Operations are a kind of tactics commanders may use in order to win over the enemy. Special operations are concentrated around the use of infantry units that operate behind enemy lines in order to achieve a specific objective.
Before any special operation can be launched, the commander must have a clear objective in head and prepare for it. A clear objective is perhaps the most vital element for the success of the operation because it will dictate what type of infantry are to be used. The ideal objective should not be something very large, such as destroying the whole enemy base, but should instead be something that will support the commander's rush into victory. Here are some example of objectives:
- Neutralizing field artillery pieces: if the enemy is constantly annoying you with artillery (such as the M2 105 mm howitzer or the 25 Pounder), it might be a good idea to send in a small group of infantry with the sole objective of neutralizing it.
- Softening the enemy force: if a commander is preparing for a major offensive, it may be a good idea to send in some skirmishing infantry to destroy some enemy vehicles.
- Capturing a strategic point:
Special operations should mainly consist of infantry, ideally with a high level of veterancy. The commander must know what type of enemy they are up against in order to be able to ideally prepare and equip its soldiers. The commander must acknowledge the fact that their infantry will not benefit from the support of heavier units such as tanks and must equip their soldiers to deal with all situations. The only way for these units to survive is through heavy firepower and high mobility. Never should a commander send only one squad of infantry behind enemy lines and expect that unit to deal any significant damage. At least 3 squads of infantry should be used. Ideally, all units are either equipped with automatic weapons or anti-tank rocket launchers. Automatic weapons can make short work of enemy infantry encountered and the team has less chances of being bogged down in prolonged firefights, which can take away the element and surprise and let the enemy commander counter the operation. Weapon teams (such as mortar and HMGs) aren't suggested because they take time to set up, which hinders mobility.
Here are some ideas for good infantry special ops team:
- Volksgrenadiers and grenadiers: Although the former is often looked down, they can be equipped with MP40s, which can provide a lot of firepower while grenadiers can be equipped with up to 2 panzerschrecks, dealing serious damage to enemt armor. Ideally, 3 MP40-equipped volks squads and 2 panzerschreck-equipped grenadier squads form the special ops team.
- Panzergrenadiers: they form perhaps one of the best special operations teams as they can be equipped with a various amount of weapons. It is suggested that all teams be equipped with MP44s or panzerschrecks. Group zeal and increased squad sizes should also be purchased as it will increase their survivability.
- Fallschirmjaeger (only if using Luftwaffe Tactics) : Fallschirmjaegers can be directly inserted behind enemy lines, which means that the commander doesn't need to find a way to insert them (insertion will be delt with later). Their passive camouflage ability will also make them harder to find, hence increasing their survivability and time of operation. FG42s will make short work of any infantry encountered. However, they lack heavy anti-tank firepower to counter any real threats to armor (panzerfausts aren't ideal as they tend to cost munitions and a have a slower reload time).
- Stormtroopers: stormtroopers are also great soldiers for special operations because they can be equipped with the dreaded MP44s and panzerschrecks. Plus, their camouflage ability lets them sneak behind enemy lines or disengage, hide and rest. This ability will also let them directly sneak up to the enemy without anyone ever noticing before disappearing into the shadows again.
- Rangers: Rangers are both equipped with automatic Thompson SMGs and M1 bazookas, which make them very flexible and useful in the special operation role. Their "fire-up" ability will also let them break free of suppression and keep on fighting.
- Paratroopers: U.S. Airborne troops have the advantage of being able to be directly dropped anywhere on the map. Their recoilless rifles can also let them counter enemy armor with relative ease. They can also throw satchel charges, which give permits to destroy enemy buildings and fortifications. However, their lack of automatic weapons can be a problem.
- Commandos: Being commandos, they are the most suited unit for special operations. However, it takes seven command points before the commander can unlock the commando's full potential. For more information about using commandos, refer to this article.
- Engineers/pioneers/Sappers: most of these units have very low combat value, but they have one major advantage: the ability to build emplacements. These emplacements can be used to harass the enemy and create roadblocks (imagine how would the enemy commander feel if there was a huge MG bunker in his backyard).
After the commander has fixed his objective and deemed special operations a viable solution to his plan, it is time to insert his men. Insertion has a very important pre-phase: force build-up
The commander must find the appropriate units that will compose his spec-ops team. If a squad is designated to play a spec-ops role, than the commander must not use it for other purposes during the force build-up (unless it's really necessary). Remember that one squad is rarely enough to accomplish a mission. If the unit chose has the ability to be sent directly behind enemy lines (such as paratroopers), than the commander must make sure these units remain hidden until enough of them are together (e.g. wait for 2-3 paratrooper squads to be assembled before launching the mission). If the units selected cannot be directly inserted, than just make sure they remain at the base.
When a team is travelling to reach an objective, it is best if the enemy commander has no idea that such a thing is happening. This can be done by avoiding strategic points (don't get too near them as they reveal a small portion of the map).