In Company of Heroes, a Vehicle is the term used to refer to any mobile unit propelled by an engine. This category of units includes anything from the light, fast Jeep to the hulking, armored King Tiger tank, making them the most varied unit type. Vehicles have a wider variety of uses on the battlefield than Infantry, and are often much tougher against incoming fire - though there are several weapons that are far more dangerous to them specifically. Vehicles are always controlled independently, may be repaired when damaged, and leave a physical wreck behind when destroyed. Almost all Vehicles can run over at least some types of obstacles and other ambient objects.
Both the game and the players make a clear distinction between the various types of units available in Company of Heroes. Vehicles, being the most numerous of all unit types, are defined as any unit that has mobility thanks to an engine. This distinguishes them from Infantry and crewed weapons (which are man-powered) and Active Defenses (which are immobile).
The variety of Vehicles in the game is largest among all unit types. Vehicles can be very small, fast and lightly armed, such as the American Jeep, or they can be huge, slow and extremely powerful, like the Wehrmacht King Tiger. A vehicle's weapon (if any), combat properties and abilities determine its specific use on the battlefield, which can differ greatly from one unit to the other.
Vehicle Damage Edit
Due to the way the game works, Vehicles are always individual units. Each Vehicle is controlled separately from others (though they can be grouped for easier control), and is considered a separate unit for purposes of destruction. In other words, when a Vehicle is lost, a new one has to be built from scratch to replace it. This is contrary to Infantry and most weapon crews which can be reinforced to return to full strength.
Unlike Infantry, damaged Vehicles can be repaired by engineering units to return them to full combat strength. This can be done as long as the Vehicle has not been destroyed in battle. Most destroyed Vehicles turn into a "wreck", a physical obstacle which can usually provide Heavy Cover for infantry, but is no longer an active unit. Wrecks can often be destroyed by further combat damage, or driven over by heavier Vehicles. Some factions have the ability to restore a Wreck to working condition.
Vehicles are often individually tougher than Infantry, thanks to their solid metal construction and/or armor plating, meaning that they can take more (sometimes much more) damage before being destroyed. Depending on the amount of armor installed on a Vehicle, it may be impervious or at least resistant to some forms of damage, especially small-arms (standard Infantry weapons). However, Vehicles are often easier to hit than Infantry, and will suffer extra damage from weapons specifically designed to pierce armor - such as Anti-Tank guns.
When a Vehicle is hit, it may receive "critical" damage: specific damage to one of its components, rendering that component useless or partially-useful. For example, most vehicles' engines can be damaged or destroyed, causing the Vehicle to become slower or even completely immobile. Repairing said Vehicle will also restore the function of these damaged components.
Vehicle crews, whether visible or otherwise, are not considered independent entities, and cannot be killed separately from the vehicle itself. This rule is only ever broken with secondary-weapon operators (such as the .50 Cal gunner on an upgraded M4 Sherman tank), who can be killed due to special Critical Damage suffered by the vehicle itself. Nonetheless, replacing these crewmen does not require reinforcement or any resource expenditure - they'll automatically return to life when the vehicle is repaired.
Although most Vehicle are faster-moving than Infantry, some are still very slow, especially when turning.
Many Vehicles' weapons are fitted on rotating turrets, which can engage enemies at different directions than their actual heading. This allows the Vehicle to point its hull in one direction while its weapons fire at another direction. This is very important for larger vehicles, which are slow to turn and are more vulnerable to fire coming from behind.
Most vehicles can drive through obstacles, destroying these obstacles in the process. The larger the vehicle, the larger the obstacles it can drive through - though some vehicles have additional abilities that may allow them to destroy obstacles in their path regardless of size. The smallest vehicles must drive around any obstacle, in the same way as infantry do.
Tank Traps are a type of obstacle specifically meant to stop Vehicles, though again the heaviest Vehicles can even drive straight through these. The only obstacles that will stop all Vehicles are sheer cliffs, buildings, large trees, and the Panzer Elite's Road Blocks.
Most Vehicles are expensive when compared to Infantry, especially since they tend to cost Fuel in addition to Manpower. Again, since they are individual units that cannot be reinforced, each Vehicle is worth the full amount of resources paid to recruit it, and once it is destroyed the same amount of resourced must be paid to replace it.
Battle Effects Edit
Vehicles benefit from Cover in a different way from infantry, primarily gaining resistance to Penetration. The type of cover a Vehicle is in at any given time is not shown on screen, making it harder to tell whether the Vehicle is in any cover at all. However, all Vehicles receive a major speed bonus when driving through Negative Cover: major roads.
Many units' combat abilities can only be targeted directly at enemy Vehicles.
Vehicle Categories Edit
Vehicles are often divided into three sub-categories: Light, Medium and Heavy vehicles. This helps distinguish between them in generalized terms.
Although vehicles in the same sub-category can have radically different uses, they often share similar combat properties such as their toughness, armor, speed, and the potency of their weaponry, among other things.
In general, these sub-categories refer mainly to the types of weapons that can harm a vehicle, with "Light" vehicles being vulnerable to all weapons, while "Medium" vehicles are resistant to infantry small-arms, and "Heavy" vehicles are totally immune to small-arms. However, the exact distinctions are harder to put into words.
The sections below describe each "sub-category" of vehicles as it is defined by this Wiki. In casual conversations, different sub-categories may be used. Uniformity, however, is key to understanding why some vehicles behave as they do.
Light Vehicles Edit
Light Vehicles are the earliest and cheapest type of Vehicle available to most factions. A Light Vehicle is defined as any Vehicle that can be easily damaged by small arms fire, such as Infantry standard rifles, due to carrying light or no armor at all.
Light Vehicles benefit from increased speed, and are mostly fitted with wheels (though some have treads or, more often, a combination of wheels and treads). The extra speed often makes them much harder to hit while moving, and their small size may or may not make them harder to hit while standing still.
Costing few resources and consuming only a small amount of Population Cap points, it is often possible to field these Vehicles early on in the battle, and in large quantities if required. Many Light Vehicles are unarmed, serving logistical functions rather than providing any substantial firepower. They can be excellent for reconnaissance, and may even have the ability to capture Strategic Points, whether by default or requiring an Upgrade to do so.
The most easily recognizable Light Vehicles include the American Jeep, the Wehrmacht Motorcycle, the British Bren Carrier and the Panzer Elite Kettenkrad, all being the smallest Vehicles available to their respective factions. The Panzer Elites have a very large variety of Light Vehicles available, including many different kinds of halftracks and light armored cars, on which they rely for mobile defense and rapid hit-and-run attacks on enemy territory.
Occasionally, the smaller Light Vehicles are further sub-categorized as "Very Light Vehicles". This both denotes their extreme vulnerability to small-arms, as well as their general inability to drive through Barbed Wire - which all other vehicles can do easily.
Medium Vehicles Edit
A Medium Vehicle is defined as any Vehicle that is resistant or immune to basic Infantry weapons, but not tough enough to reliably resist fire from Heavy Machine Guns, especially to its rear armor. Better-armored and slower than Light Vehicles, these Medium Vehicles are used primarily for support roles.
Medium Vehicles tend to be well-armed for their size, and are often intended to provide significant firepower against one specific type of enemy unit - commonly Infantry, Light Vehicles and other Medium Vehicles.
Some Medium Vehicles are equipped with weapons meant for anti-tank combat, but can't actually stand up to a tank in one-on-one combat due to their relatively weaker front armor. These Vehicles are intended to flank enemy tanks and attack them from the rear, while a heavier unit (i.e. another tank) engages the enemy from the front to keep him occupied.
Though slower than Light Vehicles, Medium Vehicles are nonetheless quite mobile. Most can also ram through basic obstacles, including Barbed Wire and Sand Bags with ease, though most cannot drive through solid stone or brick walls.
The front armor of a Medium Vehicle can usually deflect enemy machine gun fire, and is resistant to most types of explosive weaponry (except those explosives large enough to hurt tanks). They are often much more resistant to mortar fire than Light Vehicles, and are unlikely to receive any damage from flamethrowers.
Unfortunately, Medium Vehicle Maximum Health amounts are often low, and as a result they will not survive long against any weapon that can reliably pierce their armor. The greatest threat to a Medium Vehicle is any rapid-firing medium-caliber gun (20mm and larger), and although they are somewhat hard to hit with anti-tank weapons, a single dead-on hit may cripple a Medium Vehicle or destroy a damaged one. Infantry-carried AT weapons like the Bazooka or Panzerschreck are often deadly to them.
The most easily-recognizable Medium Vehicles include the American M3 Halftrack and M8 Armoured Car, the Wehrmacht Puma Heavy Armoured Car, and the Panzer Elite Marder III Tank Hunter. The British have no Medium Vehicles at all.
Heavy Vehicles Edit
A Heavy Vehicle is just another name for a Tank: a Vehicle with sufficient armor to withstand all forms of small-arms, including infantry rifles and Heavy Machine Guns. Although there are many varieties of tanks, this unifying quality serves to define them as being vulnerable only to anti-tank weaponry.
All Heavy Vehicles are fitted with treads, since wheels would sink into the ground under the weight of the Vehicle's armor.
Heavy Vehicles are further split into three sub-categories: Light, Medium and Heavy tanks.
Light Tanks Edit
- A Light Tank is a small armored tank designed for mobility. Light Tanks are often very fast, very nimble, and carry sufficient firepower to present a threat to any unit that's smaller than they are (i.e. Infantry, Weapon Teams, Light and Medium Vehicles).
- Being tanks, their armor is heavy enough to stop all forms of small-arms fire. While they are endangered by medium-caliber weapons (20mm rapid-fire guns), they can usually destroy these weapons in short order. Anti-tank weaponry, however, can easily rip through a Light Tank's front armor, and will destroy it in a few hits.
- Light Tanks are expected to provide combat support for heavier tanks, protecting their flanks against infantry and other, lighter Vehicles. However, these tanks can also perform reconnaissance in force, scouting enemy positions and harassing enemy troops, capitalizing on their high speed and relative toughness to stay alive.
- The most notorious Light Tanks in the game include the Wehrmacht's Ostwind and Panzer Elite's Wirbelwind. The British have two such tanks available: the Stuart Light Tank and Glider-borne Tetrarch Tank. The only American Vehicle that might fit this description is the M10 Tank Destroyer, though it can also be said to straddle the line between Light Tank and Medium Tank, especially due to its powerful main cannon and relatively low speed.
Medium Tanks Edit
- The core unit of any modern army, the Medium Tank is a well-armored and well-armed vehicle with average speed, capable of handling almost all types of combat, usually thanks to having more than one weapon installed.
- Unlike Light Tanks, a Medium Tank's front armor is largely impervious to medium-caliber shells (like 20mm guns) and can often deflect shots from larger 75mm cannons as well. While their rear armor is often significantly weaker, these units are still quite tanky and are a definite foe to reckon with.
- Medium Tanks are often tasked with fighting each other, and are a major threat to all smaller Vehicles. In a large group, Medium Tanks can circle and destroy any unit in the game, including Heavy Tanks and buildings.
- Medium Tanks have average speed, about twice as fast as Infantry, which allows them to maneuver around one another during battle to gain that upper hand by firing at other tanks' rear armor.
- Most Medium Tanks possess more than one weapon: a primary cannon, and one or more Machine Guns. The cannon is usually 75/76mm in caliber, and can fire either high-explosive shots (useful against smaller vehicles and infantry) or armor-piercing rounds (against Medium Tanks and other tough targets). Most Medium Tanks have their primary cannon mounted on a turret so that they can present their front armor to the most dangerous target while the cannon itself engages the most valuable target. The Machine Gun(s) are meant to fend off infantry attempting to attack the tank from the front or rear, though it is often less effective than an infantry-carried MG, primarily due to its lack of suppression.
- Medium Tanks are expected to lead a battlegroup, soaking up enemy firepower and exerting its own, while other units flank the enemy to encircle and eliminate it. Nonetheless, even a lone tank is dangerous to most other units, as it has enough firepower to do serious damage.
- Some Medium Tanks, called "Tank Destroyers", are equipped with specialized Anti-Tank Cannons which are excellent at piercing enemy tank armor. These are dedicated tank combat units, and are often less effective against Infantry or other small targets. Other Medium Tanks may be equipped with specialty weapons, including anything from flamethrowers to artillery launchers. The point is still the tank's armor, which will keep it safe from most enemy attacks so it can maximize its firepower potential.
- While Medium Tanks are expensive and consume many Population Cap points, most commanders will field as many of these as they can afford, due to their general-purpose usefulness and comparative strength. In large groups, Medium Tanks are very hard to defend against.
- All factions have more than one Medium Tank available to them. The Americans field their M4 Shermans and M4 Crocodile Shermans. The Wehrmacht rely on the Panzer IV and lighter StuG IV. British tanks include the Cromwell Tank, Sherman Firefly and several varieties of Churchill Tank. The Panzer Elite initially rely on just one such tank, the Panzer IV IST, which is an anti-infantry tank, but can augment it with Hetzers given the correct Command Tree.
Heavy Tanks Edit
- The largest and most expensive units in the game, Heavy Tanks are the epitome of firepower and protection rolled into a single Vehicle.
- Heavy Tanks are extremely tough. The lightest of these have no less than 700, the heaviest have 2,000 or more - making them 4 times more survivable than the best Medium Tanks.
- In addition, all Heavy Tanks carry a large 88mm (or larger) anti-tank cannon, which can reliably pierce any armor encountered - even enemy Heavy Tank armor. A single shot from such a cannon can often kill a Light Vehicle, though they are somewhat difficult to aim. Heavy Tanks are also equipped with one or more Machine Guns for extra anti-infantry protection. As above however, it should be noted that such tank-mounted MGs are far less effective than infantry MGs.
- The Heavy Tank is dedicated to destroying enemy armor. By fielding such a unit, the player is committed to performing a massive frontal assault on the enemy in the hope of destroying most or all of their tanks and thus opening the way to destroying the rest of their forces. Unless the enemy can quickly mobilize, surround and destroy the Heavy Tank, the battle may already be lost for them.
- The Heavy Tank's primary weakness is its speed. Most of these tanks are very slow to move, or slow to rotate their massive turrets. This means they can easily be flanked by smaller units, especially anti-tank infantry and light anti-tank vehicles. Although their front armor is almost impervious to most weapons, their rear armor is significantly weaker and thus vulnerable to such flank attacks. For this reason, Heavy Tanks operating on their own without support from other units are considered much easier prey for enemy tank and anti-tank groups!
- All Heavy Tanks can drive through any sort of obstacle except totally indestructible ones (like the rubble of collapsed buildings, which will always be there), in addition to Road Blocks. They can crush any wrecked vehicle they come across.
- Heavy Tanks are extremely expensive, and can consume over 10 to maintain. The heaviest Heavy Tanks can only be fielded once per match, and if they are lost they can never be replaced.
- Among the most famous (and most powerful) Heavy Tanks are the Wehrmacht's King Tiger, the Panzer Elite's Jagdpanther, and the Jagdtiger. Notable mentions are the Wehrmacht's Tiger tanks and the Panzer Elite's Panther tanks, as well as the American M26 Pershing. The Jagdtiger was by far the heaviest tank fielded in the war (in fact a record still not broken even today), and as such they have a corresponding commanding position within the game as a single use tank. Same goes for the King Tiger. Some players consider them super-heavy tanks. The Panzer Elite's Panther tank is a more powerful version of the Wehrmacht's Panther. The Americans have only the M26 Pershing. And the British can field three varieties of Churchill Tank. Their Churchill tanks can be considered to be somewhere between a Medium Tank and a Heavy Tank, though its offensive firepower is significantly lacking compared to the other behemoths. Another Heavy Tank is the Panzer Elite Bergetiger. Built on a Tiger tank's chassis, it is a heavy tank completely lacking a main cannon. Instead it can quickly repair other tanks, and can also restore vehicle wrecks to combat functionality, all while being able to safely carry out its operations protected by its heavy armour.