A Weapon Team (or Weapon Crew, Crewed Weapon, etc.) is one of the major unit categories available in Company of Heroes and its expansions. It is defined as any unit comprised of a team of foot-mobile soldiers, at least two of which are tasked with operating a large specialized weapon. This distinguishes Weapon Teams from Vehicles, which are engine-powered, and from Infantry, which all operate their own individual small-arms. Immobile Weapon Teams also exist, in which case they overlap with the Active Defenses category.
Weapon Teams are comprised of two primary parts: the weapon itself, which is the crux of the team's operations, and the crew, comprised or two or more Infantrymen. Although operating together as a single unit, they can each be targeted and killed separately by enemy fire, with interesting results. Weapon Teams are often likened to Infantry, sharing many similarities with that category, but almost totally lack the versatility and self-reliance of Infantry, instead being a specialized unit that provides support to other units on the battlefield.
|List of Weapon Teams by Faction|
|American Weapon Teams|
|Wehrmacht Weapon Teams|
|British Weapon Teams|
|Panzer Elite Infantry Squads|
|Active Defenses share some properties with Weapon Teams, but are generally considered as structures. Read more on this below.|
In Company of Heroes, controllable units can be divided into several categories, the primary ones being Infantry and Vehicles. Weapon Teams, a third category, are akin to both groups in different ways, but consist primarily of large, foot-mobile weapons, operated by a crew of two or more men.
Weapon Teams are unique in that both the weapon itself as well as the men operating it are considered separate entities: they can be targeted separately by enemy weapons, and a Weapon Team can lose its men separately. There are various rules governing the loss of the entire Weapon Team based on the loss of either its crew or its weapon. These rules are the primary factor separating this category from Infantry and from Vehicles.
Unlike Infantry, Weapon Teams are very specialized units. Their use often revolves entirely around the strength of the weapon itself, using its destructive power to assist other units in either defense, offense, or both. They rarely have any special abilities by default, and can rarely perform any other task except targeting the enemy and firing at him. Several Weapon Teams also require time to set up their weapons before any attack, and tear-down the weapon before being able to move elsewhere (or even change direction).
The loss of a Weapon Team may result in the weapon itself becoming "abandoned", in which case it remains on the battlefield without its crew and can then be captured by Infantry units from any faction. This results in the creation of a completely new Weapon Team, crewed by Infantrymen from the capturing squad, and belonging to a new owner. Players are often advised to destroy abandoned Team Weapons (often by shelling them with artillery) if they cannot recapture them before the enemy does.
Many Weapon Teams are foot-mobile, meaning that they move slowly by the power of their infantry crewmen pushing them around the battlefield. Other Weapon Teams are completely immobile, acting as Active Defenses to protect one's territory or to make long-range attacks into enemy territory. In all cases however, these units obey the basic laws of Weapon Teams regarding the relationship between the gun and its crew.
Tactically, it is usually difficult if not impossible to rely entirely on Weapon Teams as one's primary forces, as is often done with Infantry and Vehicles. Weapon Teams are usually not very defensible, incapable of protecting themselves and/or escaping combat when necessary. They either must be constantly protected from enemy attacks by other, more versatile units, or kept back from the fighting as support weapons to assist other units in battle. Nonetheless, some players develop strategies that are centered entirely around the use of these weapons, especially around fielding large numbers of heavy artillery pieces to bombard the enemy into oblivion.
The Weapon Edit
A Weapon Team, as its name implies, is organized around the operation of a single heavy weapon - often larger than any Infantry weapon and thus requiring more than one person to operate it. This is pretty much the defining trait of the Weapon Team.
Team Weapons range from the rather-small (field mortars) to the very large (anti-tank cannons). However these are almost always specialized weapons, useful in a handful of situations but not in others. As a result, a Weapon Team is likely going to be exceptionally good against a few types of enemy units (such as against tanks or against infantrymen) and virtually useless against others.
For all Weapon Teams, the game tracks the weapon's own Health values separately from its crew. Therefore, the weapon itself can take damage from enemy attacks. This is displayed on-screen as a white bar above the unit badge, indicating how much Health the gun has left.
If the gun ever reaches 0 Health, it will be destroyed. This results in the death of the entire unit - regardless of how much health the crewmen still have. Again, this is part of the unique relationship between the gun and its crew in these units - but as you'll learn below, this is not exactly mutual.
Conversely, a Team Weapon can also be repaired like a vehicle, restoring its health back to its original level. This can be done by any repair-capable unit, like an American Engineer Squad etcetera. In this sense, the gun is treated like any Vehicle.
Set-Up and Tear-Down Edit
Due to their size or configuration, many Team Weapons cannot fire at the enemy until they are set-up in a specific direction by their crew. This is a process usually taking between 1 and 2 seconds.
Most commonly, the crew will automatically set up the gun whenever enemies are detected within range, to face in the proper direction. Other guns must be manually given a direction by the player. This is done by right-clicking on the target (ordering the team to set up the gun in a direction where it can fire at said target), or right-clicking on the ground and dragging the mouse in the desired direction. A yellow-colored cone will often indicate the gun's maximum left/right traverse angle, so that the player can see the extent to which this gun can rotate once set-up without needing to be realigned.
Once a gun is set-up, it will need to be torn-down (disassembled) before attempting to move or radically change facing. This process also usually takes between 1 and 2 seconds. Only once disassembled can the crew begin to move it.
The need to set-up and tear-down reduces reaction times for the Weapon Team, causing the unit to have very vulnerable flanks. Enemy units sneaking up to the flanks can begin firing at the Weapon Team for several seconds before it can return fire.
This is one of the reasons why Weapon Teams are exceptionally vulnerable when used on their own, and why most players will always escort the Weapon Team with other units who can mobilize to defend its flanks when necessary. Passive Defenses are also sometimes used to create impassable barriers along the gun's flanks, especially if the gun is immobile to begin with.
The Crew Edit
Weapon Teams are very much akin to Infantry in that they are actually squads comprised of several infantrymen. These infantrymen are called the "Crew" or "Team", and their primary responsibility is to operate and (if necessary) defend the Team Weapon.
Each of these crewmen is an individual entity, capable of moving and dying on his own. However, the Weapon Team is much more cohesive than any Infantry squad, due to the need for cooperation between team-members in operating the team's weapon.
The game tracks each crewman's individual health level separately from the other crewmen or indeed the Team Weapon itself. This means that crewmen can be hurt or even die separately from all other entities in the unit. This has several ramifications explained below.
At least two of the crewmen in a Weapon Team are entirely responsible for operating and moving the Team Weapon. They have no other weapons of their own (e.g. rifles or other small-arms). In some Weapon Teams, all crew-members are required to operate the gun.
However, some units have an "extra" infantryman or more than one. This extra man has his own Infantry Weapon (usually an SMG or basic rifle), which he will shoot at any enemy coming within range, separately from the actions of the Team Weapon and the men operating it. Thus this extra man can return fire at enemies coming up on the gun's flanks, though he will rarely if ever move away from the Team Weapon itself. This extra crewman will also be required to replace one of the Team Weapon's operating crew if they are killed. Note that one man with a rifle is rarely enough to protect the gun from any threat, so do not rely on him to actually fend off anything serious!
Losing Crew Edit
Again we'll reiterate that the crew of a Team Weapon are individual entities, with the game tracking their health levels independently from each other and from the Team Weapon itself. Therefore, they can also die separately.
Most Weapon Teams can afford to lose one or more crewmen without any adverse effect on the operation of the Team Weapon itself. However, there is a limit to the number of men that can be lost. If this limit is breached, the gun will become "abandoned" (see below), and can be re-captured by other Infantry units.
Most Weapon Teams that have lost a man can be "reinforced" - recruiting a new man to replace the lost one. This is done by moving the unit to within close proximity of a friendly base structure, a specialized Vehicle (like an M3 Halftrack), or another reinforcement-providing asset. Some can be reinforced anywhere on the map. Once the unit is within range of the reinforcement zone, click the Reinforce button on the unit's command menu to issue an order to replace one lost man.
Reinforcement for Weapon Teams is often expensive, costing a set amount of Manpower per man. Prior to Patch 2.602, reinforcing an M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun for example cost 75 per man, a very hefty cost.
You may only reinforce a Weapon Team that has at least one man missing. A Weapon Team may never have more men than it would when initially created - usually 3 men.
Note that some Weapon Teams, especially immobile ones, may not be reinforced at all. This adds a dimension of risk to their use, and may require you to replace the crew entirely by having an Infantry unit re-capture the gun when its original crew have been completely killed off.
Note however that injured crewmen may be healed like any other Infantrymen. Each faction handles healing differently. Keeping the crew in good health reduces the risk of suddenly losing them during a battle. Read more about this on the Infantry article.
Innate Abilities Edit
Weapon Teams are very straightforward units, generally relying on brute force and firepower to accomplish their goals. As a result, most of them have no special abilities whatsoever, and are unable to perform many of the tasks that normal Infantry units are capable of.
Some of the more "borderline" Weapon Teams, such as Heavy Machine Gun teams and Mortar teams, may share the abilities of Infantry to capture Strategic Points, retreat to headquarters, or garrison structures and vehicles. Read the Infantry article for a description of these abilities.
For the most part, Weapon Teams lack these abilities entirely.
Special Combat Rules Edit
Depending on its specific type, a Weapon Team may be subject to effects from special combat rules that commonly apply to either Infantry or Vehicles. Larger Weapon Teams will enjoy the protection of Armor-plating, protecting the gun itself from damage. Most smaller teams can enjoy the protection of Cover, which they will need to seek as they move around. Weapon Teams may or may not also be subject to the effects of Suppression-fire.
The larger foot-mobile cannons available to the various factions are mounted on a chassis that also features a frontal defensive armor plate. This armor plate offers some protection to the gun and its crew, by deflecting bullets fired from small-caliber weapons.
When the gun is fired at from the front, any incoming projectile has a specific chance of being deflected off the armor, resulting in significantly-reduced damage from the hit. Due to the light-weight nature of Team Weapons, the armor is relatively thin and thus does not impart much of a deflection chance. However, against small-arm weapons (rifles, machine guns, etc.), it's actually quite likely to deflect at least a few shots per volley.
Unfortunately, due to the way accuracy calculations work in the game, and the ability of units to target the (exposed) crew of the Weapon Team separately, the armor plate does not offer total protection to the crewmen. Nonetheless, it will occasionally stop bullets meant for the crewmen simply by being an obstacle in the bullet's path.
Note that damage to the armor goes directly to the gun itself (remember, the gun's health is tracked separately).
Some of the smaller Weapon Teams can benefit from Cover similarly to regular Infantry squads. This means that a Weapon Team that is adjacent to a piece of solid ambient object, such as fences, walls, Sand Bags or similar obstacles, become much harder to hit and/or enjoy damage reduction and Suppression reduction.
To be able to utilize Cover, the team must be mobile - Active Defenses do not receive Cover. The team needs to move to close proximity of a cover-giving object.
Small weapon teams, such as Machine Gun Teams and Mortar Teams, are small enough to utilize cover in the same way as regular Infantry. Cover is indicated for these units using a small icon that appears next to the unit badge when most or all of its entities are in the correct position to benefit from nearby cover-giving objects. Machine Gun Teams can additionally garrison structures (see above) to gain Structural Cover, which is the ultimate type of cover and grants total immunity to Suppression. No other Weapon Team can do this.
Mid-sized Weapon Teams will find it harder to enter cover at all, because of the size of the weapon they use. In other words, it may be difficult to maneuver an Anti-Tank gun or Nebelwerfer launcher into close proximity to a cover-giving object. Even when receiving cover, it usually goes only to the team's crewmen, rather than the weapon itself. The exception are Anti-Tank guns, both M1 57mm Anti Tank Guns and Pak 38 50mm Anti-tank Guns, which can get excellent bonuses that help protect them when they are in cover.
Large Weapon Teams, i.e. Active Defenses, are often difficult or impossible to place adjacently to cover-giving objects, and thus will rarely if ever be considered "in cover" at all - and obviously being immobile, they cannot move into cover either. In addition, cover bonuses are not defined for these weapons, which means that even when they are somehow placed in a cover-giving area, the weapons themselves (if not the crew) receive no bonuses whatsoever.
The smallest Weapon Teams, being more akin to Infantry squads, also suffer the effects of Suppression fire in the same way as Infantry do. This refers specifically to Heavy Machine Gun teams and Mortar Teams.
Fortunately, like Infantry squads, these teams also have the ability to "Retreat", breaking the effects of suppression as the team runs immediately back to headquarters. As with infantry, the team becomes much harder to kill while it is Retreating, potentially saving the lives of the crewmen (and possibly the entire team).
Note that Weapon Teams do not automatically seek Cover when "Suppressed" or "Pinned Down". They will stick together in the same formation as they were when not-suppressed, but their rate-of-fire and chance to hit the enemy are reduced as normal. Also, the unit badge will flash yellow or red as required, similar to a suppressed Infantry unit.
Abandoning and Recapturing Team Weapons Edit
As established above, in a Weapon Team the main gun and its crew are considered separate entities. The game tracks their health individually, and each can be killed off separately from the others.
When the gun is destroyed by enemy fire or explosions, the entire team will immediately be destroyed (killing all crewmen regardless of how much health they have left). However the opposite is not true: crewmen can die independently of the gun. If at any point there are too few crewmen to operate the Team Weapon, any remaining crewmen are immediately killed off, and the weapon becomes "Abandoned".
An abandoned weapon is essentially a neutral object, belonging to no faction. It will not move from where it was left, and a large white icon will indicate its status as "abandoned" to any player looking at it. This weapon can still take damage from attacks (by any unit) or nearby explosions, and can be destroyed by bringing it to 0 Health like any other ambient object.
Infantry squads belonging to any faction may attempt to re-capture any abandoned weapon they come across. This involves two or more of the squad-members leaving the Infantry squad to crew this abandoned weapon, creating a completely new Weapon Team in the process as explained below.
For these reasons, failure to protect a Team Weapon can result in it being taken by the enemy and used against you. Alternatively, it means that the loss of a Weapon Team's crew does not necessarily mean the loss of the weapon - if you can arrange for another Infantry squad to re-capture it before the enemy does. Some players also prefer destroying any abandoned weapon they cannot afford to re-capture, simply to prevent it falling into enemy hands. This is especially true when an abandoned weapon is a high-powered Active Defense, which could wreak havoc on your lines if allowed to be taken by the enemy.
The Mechanism Edit
When an Infantry Squad is selected, mousing over an "abandoned" Team Weapon will show a white icon of a circular target, similar to the one used when capturing Strategic Points. If the selected squad is not eligible for a Team Weapon capture (as explained below), the icon will be replaced with a crossed-out circle to indicate that capture is not possible.
In order to capture most Team Weapons, the capturing squad must have at least two infantrymen in it. If it does not, capture is not possible, indicated by a red crossed-out circle. You may reinforce the squad and return later to capture the weapon.
Once the capture order is received, the Infantry squad will move to close proximity of the abandoned weapon. When it arrives, two or more men will split off from the original squad to create a new Weapon Team centered around the captured weapon.
The number of men moving from the capturing squad to the new squad depends on several factors. Most captures require at least 2 men, so at the minimum these two men will split off from the original team to make up a new team. The game will also attempt to fill the new team with as many men as possible for its type - usually three men. Therefore, if the original Infantry squad had at least 3 men available, all three will move to the new Weapon Team.
The original squad may disappear during this action. For example, if a squad of 3 men captures an MG42 Heavy Machine Gun, all 3 will move to the new MG42 Heavy Machine Gun Team, causing the original infantry squad to disappear. Contrarily, if the original squad had more than the required number of men, it'll continue to exist with as many men as were left after the split-off. You may then reinforce this squad to return it to the maximum number of men as normal.
Retaining Statistics and Weapons Edit
Capturing an abandoned weapon is not the same as creating a new Weapon Team - there are several very important differences, all depending on the "history" of the Infantry team that captured the weapon, as well as that of the weapon itself!
For one, both the weapon and the new crewmen retain their previous Health values. A nearly-destroyed Abandoned weapon will still be nearly-destroyed after being captured, except now it can be repaired back to full health as normal. The crewmen also retain the same health they had before capturing the weapon, and can only be healed using whatever regeneration mechanism their faction employs.
Furthermore, the new crewmen retain the visual appearance they had before crewing the weapon - and more than that, they retain their original Infantry Type. As a result, these new crewmen may actually be more resilient than the gun's original crew, leading to the possible exploit outlined below.
In all cases, the new Weapon Team will have a Veterancy Level of 0, regardless of the Veterancy of the original Weapon Team or of the new Capture Team. However, for some factions both the Abandoned Weapon and its new crew get to keep whatever Veterancy-related bonuses they have already acquired before joining together. This is handled very differently for different factions, especially when the weapon and the new crew don't belong to the same faction. Individual unit articles explain in detail how Veterancy works in such cases.
Finally, it's important to note that any specialty Infantry Weapons carried by the capture squad will remain with the original squad. The infantrymen moving to the new Weapon Team will revert to their basic weapons (usu. rifles or SMGs), if they even get to hold their own weapons at all as part of the new team. If the capture squad has no men left in it after the merger, the specialty weapons are lost entirely.
- Example #1:
- A Riflemen Squad with 5 men, armed with 2 basic M1 Garands and 2 Browning Assault Rifles, captures an abandoned M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun. Three men move from this squad to create a new M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun team.
- The 3 men moving to the new squad will revert to their basic weapons (M1 Garands), though two of the men will now exclusively operate the 57mm gun and so won't actually use these weapons.
- The 2 BARs will always remain with the original squad, which now only has two men left. Naturally this means that these two men will carry and use the BARs.
- Example #2:
- A Tank Buster Heavy Infantry Squad, armed with 1 Panzerschrek and 2 basic Kar98k rifles, captures an abandoned M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun. All three men move from this squad to create the new M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun team.
- All three men will revert to their basic Kar98k rifles when moving to the new team. Again, two of the men will not actually use these rifles because they need to operate the 57mm gun.
- The Panzerschreck is nominally left behind in the original Tank Buster Heavy Infantry squad, but that squad now has 0 men left. Therefore, the original squad is "destroyed", and that Panzerschrek is lost forever.
- Example #3:
- A Ranger Squad with 6 men, armed with 2 M9 Bazookas and 4 Thompson SMGs (all specialty weapons), captures an abandoned M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun. Three men move from this squad to create a new M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun team.
- The 3 men moving to the new squad will revert to their basic weapons - M1 Garand rifles. Again, two of the men will not actually use these rifles because they need to operate the 57mm gun.
- All specialty weapons (2 bazookas, 4 thompsons) remain with the original squad, which now has only 3 men but 6 specialty weapons in its inventory. Most commonly this will result in a team using the two Bazookas and one Thomspon (though other combinations may occur). However since the unit is still said to be carrying all 6 weapons, any reinforcements for this squad will create a new infantrymen holding one of the "missing" specialty weapons. Therefore, reinforcing this squad back to 6 men will restore the use of all 6 specialty weapons.
Exploiting Infantry Type Edit
When Infantry merge with an abandoned Team Weapon, the new crew-members retain the same Infantry Type they had before the merge.
As a result, they can prove to be superior to the original crew of this weapon, having better protection from enemy attacks and thus better survivability during combat.
A good example of a "naturally-occuring" situation such as this is the American Airborne Company's air-dropped M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun. The weapon itself is identical to the normal M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun produced at the Motor Pool, but its crew are very different: they are actually Airborne infantry (similar to the ones found in an Airborne Squad), and thus enjoy massive defensive bonuses thanks to their "Airborne" Infantry Type. In this sense they are significantly superior to a regular M1 57mm Anti Tank Gun crew.
The same effect can be achieved artificially, by deliberately getting a weapon's crew killed (or killing them yourself, using various methods) and re-capturing the gun using a better infantry squad.
Note that the gun itself is not affected at all - it won't become more survivable or tougher in any way - but the crewmen will, and that counts for a lot during combat.
Note that, naturally, some Infantry Squads have poor Infantry Types, and may be inferior to the weapon's original crew - but since you have no way to recruit a whole new crew, you may sometimes have to deal with this eventuality.
The Machine Gun Team Question Edit
When studying the difference between Infantry and Weapon Teams, it appears that Machine Gun crews, like the American M1917 Browning Heavy Machine Gun Team or Wehrmacht MG42 Heavy Machine Gun Team, can fit either definition. So where does it belong?
To answer this, let's look at these squads' characteristics as they correspond with the two categories.
|Properties similar to an Infantry Squad||Properties similar to a Weapon Team|
Overall, it seems that these units straddle the line almost perfectly. Therefore we need to fall back to the most basic definition of the two categories. When we do this, we see that an HMG team is definitely an Infantry Squad, because each of its squad members has his own weapon. Team weapons are, after all, defined on this wiki as being operated by more than one man - and this is not the case here.
So the bottom line is that HMG teams are Infantry Squads. But if you're not satisfied with this, feel free to consider them a Weapon Team if you want - the definitions are only valid inside this wiki anyway, to make things simpler to understand. As can be seen above, the lines are not so clearly drawn in the game, which actually makes little distinctions between units category-wise.
Active Defenses as Weapon Teams Edit
Active Defenses are immobile units based around a single powerful weapon. They are varied, ranging from stationary Anti-Aircraft weapons to large Field Artillery pieces. However, some of these units share a very strong similarity with Weapon Teams in many regards, which means that they can be considered as both Active Defenses and Weapon Teams simultaneously, fitting in both groups.
These units are essentially immobile Weapon Teams. They consist of a weapon and two or more crewmen operating or defending that weapon - just like a Weapon Team. These crewmen can be killed independently of each other and of the weapon itself, leading to the weapon becoming "Abandoned", and enabling its capture by other Infantry units following the capture rules outlined earlier in this article.
Immobile Weapon Teams include the following units:
- American M2 105mm Howitzer
- Wehrmacht 88mm Flak 36 AT/AA
- Panzer Elite Flakvierling 38 20mm AA
- Panzer Elite 88mm Flak 36 AT/AA
In all four cases, these units conform entirely to the Weapon Team rules outlined above, except for their complete inability to move from their original position. As a result, different players will refer to these units as either Weapon Teams, Structures, or both! This is really up to personal preference, but do remember that regardless of how you classify them, the above units still adhere to Weapon Team rules and restrictions.
All other Active Defenses, which have no distinct crew and cannot become "Abandoned" under any circumstances, are simply considered Structures - they are definitely not Weapon Teams.
Why British Active Defenses are not Weapon Teams Edit
The British can construct a wide variety of Active Defenses. However, despite there being visible infantry crewmen operating these weapons, British emplacements are decidedly not "Immobile Weapon Teams" due to lacking many of the qualities that define Weapon Teams to begin with.
For starters, a British Active Defense structure is not considered to be made up of separate entities for the gun and its crew. In fact, the crew are completely untargetable by weapons, and cannot be killed separately from the gun.
To prove this, use a Wehrmacht Sniper to fire at one of these structures. Against an actual Weapon Team, it would take no more than 2 shots or so to kill the crew, rendering the weapon abandoned. However against a British emplacement, it may take many, many more than this. The reason is that the sniper is not firing at any crewmen, he is firing at the structure itself. He cannot target the crewmen at all.
Artillery is also incapable of killing the crew separately from the gun, such as when a shell explodes near enough and with enough force to theoretically kill any infantry - it will only do some damage to the structure as a whole, with the crew remaining just as alive as they were before.
Astute players will note of course that it is possible for a British emplacement to become abandoned and to be captured by enemy infantry. However this is not a result of bringing its crew to 0 health - instead it results from reducing the structure's health to about 5% of its maximum (but more than 0 health, otherwise it's completely destroyed). When this occurs the game automatically kills off the crew, causing the entire structure to become abandoned.
These mechanisms set the British emplacements very far apart from actual Weapon Teams, so coupled with their immobility they are just better off being considered plain Structures rather than Weapon Teams. Subsequently, this Wiki refers to them as Structures.