The Wehrmacht is a German army featured in Company of Heroes.
The term Wehrmacht ('defence force') is used to describe the Unified Armed Force of Germany between the years of 1935 till 1945. It consisted of the German Army (Heer), German Airforce (Luftwaffe) and the German Navy (Kriegsmarine). The Wehrmacht was also referred to as the German Army. It replaced the name Reichswehr after 1935, and was dissolved by the Allies in 1945 at the end of World War II when it was defeated by the Allies.
Although the Wehrmacht has no playable campaign, it is featured both in Company of Heroes and Opposing Fronts as the German 7th Army, 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division, Panzer Lehr Division, 12th SS Panzer Division, and 21st Panzer Division.
Wehrmacht is the most diversified faction, in terms of units. In opposition to the versatile armies fielded by the Allies, every unit has a specific role on the battlefield. Usually, the majority of the units of the Wehrmacht are more expensive or available later, but they are much better at fulfilling their roles than their allied counterparts. The Wehrmacht is capable of fielding 18 different units: 6 infantry support units, 3 infantry squads, 3 medium vehicles, 2 light vehicles, and 4 tanks.
Their early force is very dependent on weapons teams, which are less mobile, but can deliver very heavy firepower for basic infantry squads. Later, they will be supported by medium vehicles and heavy infantry. Finally, tanks will appear, in order to deliver the final blow.
The Wehrmacht has more infantry units as compared to the allied factions. Although volksgrenadiers lose importance in later portions of battle, other units remain useful.
- Volksgrenadier Squad : Basic 5-man infantry unit armed with long range rifles. Can be upgraded with MP 40 sub machine gun, for close range fights. Able to build basic field defenses: wire and sandbags.
- Grenadier Squad : 4-man heavy infantry squad. Can be equipped with the MG42 light machine gun or Panzerschreck anti-tank launcher, in order to improve their combat capabilities.
- Knight's Cross Holders : Elite 3-man infantry squad, specialized in anti-infantry combat. As opposed to most infantry units, these soldiers can survive first sniper shot.
Support infantry is a fundamental part of Wehrmacht forces. Thanks to their heavy firepower they can repel even large groups of enemy infantry. The utility of these units, in creating a defensive line or as support in an assault is invaluable.
- Pioneers : 2-man unit, responsible for building base buildings and field defenses. Can also repair damaged vehicles or structures, in addition to cutting barbed wire and salvaging munitions from wrecks. Can be equipped with a flamethrower or minesweeper.
- MG42 - 3-man unit, operating a heavy machine gun, which can kill and suppress infantry with good effectiveness.
- Sniper : Support unit, able to kill enemy infantry with one shot. Has the ability to camouflage himself, which makes him useful as a scout.
- Gr. 34 80 mm Mortar team - 3 man unit, operating portable light artillery, able to fire explosive shells over long distances. Can fire smoke shells also, in order to provide cover for friendly troops.
- Officer : Support unit. Can reduce unit’s production time by half, force retreat on enemy squads, or call for bombardment.
- Nebelwerfer 41 : Mobile artillery with the ability to fire six incendiary rockets. Very effective against infantry, especially enemy weapon teams.
The Wehrmacht army has only two units which can be classified as light vehicles:
- Motorcycle : Fast moving and cheap unit, perfect for scouting and hunting snipers, thanks to good detection of camouflaged units.
- Goliath : Remote-controlled mobile bomb, able to completely destroy or damage target. Can be camouflaged, when placed in light or heavy cover.
The Wehrmacht has several medium vehicles, which are often useful throughout the entire battle. Some fulfill a utility role, by providing infantry transport and reinforcement, while others are very valuable as part of a mobile defense or assault force.
- Sdkfz 251 : Halftrack, able to fill one of three different roles on the battlefield. Can transport troops, be equipped with two flamethrowers or 6 high-explosive rocket launchers. Regardless of which upgrade is chosen, the Sdkfz 251 able to provide reinforcement for infantry squads.
- Sdkfz 234 Armored Car : Eight-wheeled armored car, classified as “armed recon”. Equipped with automatic 20mm cannon, which is deadly against infantry. Can be upgraded with 50mm cannon, to fight with other medium vehicles and assist in destroying enemy tanks.
- Pak 38 50mm Anti-tank Gun : Basic anti-tank cannon. Useful against vehicles and tanks. Capable of using camouflage, what gives bonuses to accuracy and damage.
Wehrmacht have more heavy vehicles than the Allies, and they are the main strength of the Wehrmacht. As with the rest of the Wehrmacht forces, they are specialized in anti-infantry or anti-tank duty. Veterancy upgrades, available for them in the Kampfkraft center, greatly improve their survivability and firepower. Available only in the later part of the game, they are well-armored and armed, and can be relied upon to deliver a strong punch to the enemy and destroy the enemy's forces very quickly.
- Ostwind Flakpanzer: Light tank, armed with fast-firing 37mm cannon. Very good against infantry, can attack medium vehicles and enemy aircraft also. However, this tank has no chance against enemy tanks.
- StuG IV: Tracked Self-Propelled Assault gun, with very strong frontal armor. Cheap and well armored, is a serious threat for enemy tanks. The StuG IV Is turretless, and without upgrades is helpless in the face of enemy infantry.
- Panzer IV: Most common tank for the Wehrmacht. Armed with a fast firing 75mm cannon, the Panzer IV can fight effectively with enemy tanks and infantry.
- Panther: Medium tank, armed with the powerful 75mm cannon. With the Panther's superior armor, it can defeat almost every enemy tank in one-on-one combat.
Passive defenses consist mostly of elaborate obstacle mazes. Wehrmacht forces can create these at the entrances to their territory, delaying the enemy and receiving early warning before they attack.
- Barbed Wire: The most basic obstacle, blocking movement to all infantry. Gaps are often left in the fence, to lure enemies into a trap or a kill-zone. Enemy vehicles can drive straight through it, destroying the wire. Costs nothing.
- Tank Traps: An anti-vehicle obstacle. Only the heaviest vehicles can pass through this, though infantry move through unimpeded. Used to prevent an enemy vehicle from entering an area, or leading vehicles into mine-fields or kill-zones. Costs nothing.
- Sand Bags: Provides artificial Heavy Cover for infantry. Gives infantry a quick position to defend from in otherwise defenseless areas, while also blocking infantry and light vehicle movement. Tanks will pass through sandbags and destroy them. Costs nothing.
- Mines: A set of buried explosives that will detonate whenever an enemy unit passes over them - causing massive damage. Invisible to most enemy units, and will not be triggered by friendly troops. Costs: Munitions.
These obstacles are often used in unison, creating elaborate traps to lead the enemy into. Although they won't stop an enemy army cold (unless constructed very densely over a long period of time), the delay is often long enough to enable units to respond to any attack.
Finally, another Passive Defense that operates differently from the others:
- Observation Post: A sturdy structure placed on top of a Strategic Point. Protects said point from being captured, delaying enemy attack squads. Also increases production in that sector, and grants an extended vision radius around itself.
Wehrmacht forces have only one structure which can be considered an active defense structure. However, it can fulfill several different roles:
- Bunker: Basic defensive structure. Can garrison up to 6 soldiers, and be upgraded to MG emplacement, medic station, which will collect wounded soldiers and create new infantry squads, or repair station, which will repair damaged vehicles in its vincity.
Wehrmacht units do not accumulate experience points. To achieve higher Veterancy levels, specific upgrades must be purchased at the Kampfkraft Center.
Once an upgrade is purchased, it will raise the Veterancy level of all units from several specific unit types. Both existing and future units are affected - so newly produced units will already have as much Veterancy as existing ones.
There are four upgrades to be purchased, with each upgrade improving one set of units - for example, an Infantry Veterancy upgrade, a Tank Veterancy upgrade, and so forth. Each upgrade has 3 levels, each corresponding with one of the three Veterancy levels. Therefore, purchasing the first infantry upgrade will raise all infantry units to Veterancy level 1, the second upgrade will raise them to level 2, and the third to level 3.
As a result, by the later stages of the game the Wehrmacht's base structures will be producing high-veterancy units. For this reason the loss of a veteran Wehrmacht unit is less important than it is for other factions.
Style and StrategyEdit
With a variety of units available right from the start, there is many ways to play as the Wehrmacht. While the Americans rely on maneuver and speed, the Wehrmacht depends on heavy firepower and is more oriented on defense. Though at the start of battle, the Wehrmacht is not as fast as the Americans, in later parts of the battle they can field many medium and heavy vehicles.
In order to gain more advanced units, the Wehrmacht must research “phases”. After every research, a new building is available to be built. Every phase also unlocks new abilities for units already available. Usually, as the battle progresses, their force changes from an infantry-centric force (based mostly on weapon teams) to a much more mechanized force.
When the battle begins, the Axis commander must decide which units would be useful against the enemy. Pioneers are very cheap, but are unable to effectively fight against any enemy they meet. This usually leads to building the Wehrmacht quarters, which allows the production of four units, capable of fighting with the enemy. Choice depends of commanders strategy, however, earlier mentioned weakness, lack of mobility, should be taken under consideration.
A popular choice is the 'Volksgrenadier' squad, the basic infantry for this faction. Armed with Kar 98 rifles, a Volksgrenadier squad can fight with enemy infantry squads and capture territory. However, they are outmatched against infantry equipped with more advanced weapons (like the American BAR, or British Bren LMG). They should keep distance from the enemy, and use cover always, if possible, because close-range engagements are favorable for the Allies. Later this problem can be solved through the MP 40 upgrade.
Axis commanders will benefit greatly from recruiting MG42 teams. These units can fight even large groups of enemy infantry or light vehicles. Without them, it will be hard to hold territory. They need protection from other units, otherwise, they are very vulnervable to flanking maneuvers and indirect fire.
If resorurces permit, build a motorcycle for providing line of sight and reconnaissance on the enemy, before it is too late. Pioneers and volksgrenadiers should build passive defenses like sandbags, barbed wire, and mines (if possible), to blunt the enemy's attacks.
The last unit available in the Wehrmacht quarters is the sniper. The sniper is very expensive in terms of resources, with the ability to kill enemy soldiers outright from extreme range. However, their fire rate is very low, and they are unable to go toe-to-toe with enemy infantry. Good support is a necessity.
If resources are available, try to build forward headquarters near most important points. This building will provide reinforcement for infantry, without requiring them to retreat to base, and lets you to produce units.
Remember, although MG42 can give you heavy firepower, you shouldn’t overextend. If you do, your positions can be flanked easily and you can suffer heavy loses (enemy might be even able to capture one of your machine guns, and use it against you. Prevent this for all costs!). This is why Wehrmacht should never play too aggressively, at least not in the early stages of battle. The best solution is to capture a sizeable amount of land, fortify it well, and collect resources for units, which can provide a more mobile defense.
Middle stage of battleEdit
When the Wehrmacht has managed to establish a good defensive position, it’s time to produce more advanced units. After researching “Skirmish phase” at the headquarters, Krieg Barracks can be built.
Krieg Barracks enables production of few different units. A Sdkfz 251 halftrack, medium vehicle, which transports and reinforces infantry, Pak 38 50mm Anti-tank gun, basic anti-tank cannon, 81mm mortar team, first indirect fire option available for Wehrmacht's commander, and finally - enables production of heavy infantry unit, a grenadier squad. Most of these units are useful in holding captured ground, however they also offer offensive capabilites - although these are a little limited.
This building is very important for the middle stage of the battle. If enemy has taken the effort to reach vehicle production, you may be in danger from vehicles like the M8 Armored Car or M45 Quadmount, which can tear your infantry apart. Advancing to skirmish phase and recruiting units from the Krieg Barracks is the usual response to that problem.
The Pak 38 50mm guns can effectively fight against enemy medium vehicles. With the camouflage ability and in right terms, they can destroy them in one shot. The 'Skirmish' phase also unlocks a few other anti-tank abilities. Firstly, all Volksgrenadier squads are now able to fire Panzerfausts. Also, a new infantry unit, the Grenadiers squad can be equipped with Panzerschrecks which are deadly not only to medium vehicles, but also to tanks.
Vehicles aren’t the only threat in this stage of battle. Enemy infantry can also be equipped with advancements like the M1A1 Thompson or Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR). Although grenadiers are more experienced and more superior at fighting than Volksgrenadiers, they still can lose to these weapons. To prevent this from happening, consider researching veterancy upgrades for Infantry from the Kampfkraft Center, at least to level 2. That will greatly increase the squad's survivability.
While waiting for that, try to build a bunker and transform it into a medic station, to help you reduce your losses. For every four wounded men, the medic station will create new Grenadier squad, free of charge!
With these units, it is possible to create a good defensive line, which can be broken only by artillery or other bombardment. It’s unlikely to meet artillery emplacements in this part of game, but enemy can have access to command abilities. These however, require line of sight. That’s why you should always patrol to prevent artillery spotters (like Jeeps or camouflaged snipers) from reaching your lines.
This stage is important also from other reason. Wehrmacht forces need to collect resources, which will be necessary to launch an offensive on enemy territory. Each squad of infantry needs to be equipped with advanced weapons in order to reach maximum effectiveness; resources are also needed for keeping infantry in good health. It is advised to build observation post on munitions points which will provide stable income of these valuable resources.
With new units on the field, Axis forces can now start fighting for territory. Grenadiers, supported by mortars and Sdkfz 251 can start making advances. Attack exposed positions on open terrain. With the help of mortar fire, you can quickly destroy an enemy’s defensive line or resistance point. Against those units, the enemy will have serious troubles if he doesn’t have any vehicles.
However, at this stage, Wehrmacht forces still lack mobility. Weapon teams can follow your forces but are very slow and vulnerable to every kind of counterattack (especially flanking). Panzerschreck-equipped grenadiers, can be subdued by medium vehicles, which are able to attack them from greater range. After all, even they need to be stationary, in order to be effective. Every attack on enemy’s territory should be executed with caution.
Alternate Production StrategyEdit
Some players decide to skip the Krieg barracks, and go straight for the next phase, known as 'Assault phase'. This is a risky move, because:
- Krieg Barracks units are the “backbone” of Wehrmacht forces. Without heavy infantry, indirect fire, and reinforcement on the field, you will be engaged in a very uneven fight, without Wehrmacht standby units to support you.
- The threat of Allied vehicles is also high as well, as without the basic anti-tank measures offered by the 'Skirmish phase', you can be overrun by the enemy’s medium vehicles.
However, this move may pay off if the enemy’s forces consist only of infantry squads and weapon teams, as medium vehicles, like the Sdkfz 234 Armored Car, can deliver serious damage to the Allied infantry, and push them back, winning the battle in consequence.
Usually, this strategy is used together with the 'Blitzkrieg' doctrine, because of the Stormtrooper squad. Stormtroopers will replace Grenadiers in most roles. Also, with the camouflage ability, they can simply sneak behind enemy lines and destroy enemy’s valuable assets.
If you have encounter a fortified enemy position, use Nebelwerfers, or have one of your officers call in a bombardment. However, this requires munitions.
If the enemy has managed to survive your assault, and the battle is lingering, it’s recommended to build Krieg barracks. Stormtroopers can’t be your frontline soldiers (at least not for long) because of high cost of this unit. High casualties may leave you without resources, and be a reason for failure.
With a good defensive line, one including heavy infantry and support weapons, the Wehrmacht can now advance to 'Assault phase', which unlocks the Sturm Armory. Units from that building are more mobile and have the ability to attack faster, with greater strength.
Sdkfz 234 Armored Cars can be used as mobile defenses. With a 20mm cannon, they can quickly destroy enemy infantry which is trying to capture your territory. It’s a great attack unit, and works well with infantry squads and other vehicles. With the good speed it possess, it’s perfect for “search and destroy “ missions and recon.
The Stug IV is your main anti-tank unit. Cheap, and with good punch, it can be very dangerous. Its frontal armor rarely can be penetrated by allied vehicles or tanks (which can start to appear in this stage of battle), although enemy anti-tank guns are still a danger. It’s turretless however, and without proper upgrades, defenseless against infantry and vulnervable for flanking maneuvers, so support is necessary for good combat performance. Grenadiers can now be upgraded with MG42 LMG, which helps to fend off any infantry. Armored cars are even better at this job, killing infantry before they are be able to do any serious damage. Such a combat group, consisting of StuGs, armored cars, and grenadiers, is very solid offensive force.
If enemy medium vehicles start to appear, consider upgrading one of your Sdkfz 234 with a 50mm cannon. Then, you will be able to fight against them. The StuG IV assault gun can also be used, but is too slow to chase those units.
Finally, the Wehrmacht commander receives his first real artillery piece, the Nebelwerfer 41. This unit, with the ability to fire six incendiary rockets, is deadly against infantry, weapon teams, and defensive emplacements. In this stage of the battle, should be used against enemy anti-tank measures, like 57mm anti-tank cannon, which are a serious threat for your (still-growing) vehicle-based force.
The Officer is another unit which can be built. Generally, it is very rarely seen on the battlefield, but it has several useful abilities. He may accelerate production, force retreat on the enemy’s squads, and even call bombardment. If the 'Blitzkrieg' doctrine has been chosen, this will be the only “off-map” bombardment available.
Finally, the 'Assault' phase unlocks a few other abilities and upgrades. Your mortar teams are now able to fire smoke cover. This is particularly useful during an advance. Soldiers will be much more resistant to suppression and damage from small-arms fire. Sdkfz 251 halftracks can now be changed into a radically new vehicle, the flammenwerfer for 75. Equipped with 2 flamethrowers, it can incinerate buildings and infantry with good effect. However, because of weak armor and the fact that American infantry is usually equipped with anti-tank weapons, it isn’t very popular. But in heavy-urbanized areas, especially, when enemy infantry is garrisoned, it can be used with good effect.
Combined Arms Assault and Armored CoreEdit
Last available and the most advanced building for the Wehrmacht, is the Panzer Command; able to build after entering into the Battle Phase. That building unlocks most powerful Wehrmacht units - elite infantry and tanks.
Usually, when the Panzer Command has been built, Wehrmacht forces are busy attacking territory through mobile artillery, assault guns and heavy infantry or reppeling enemy infantry and tanks, meanwhile replacing lost defensive structures because of enemy artillery.
Production time of these units is long and may take some time before you will be able to create a solid armoured force. To solve this problem (partially at least), use the Officer’s “Supervision” ability.
These units aren’t only the most powerful in your arsenal, but also the most expensive. Buying each one of them can be beyond your budget, that’s why you should decide which will be most useful.
If enemy forces consist mainly of infantry units (especially elite), you should consider the production of the Ostwind Flakpanzer. This light tank is well armoured and agile enough to fight with them. Another option is producing a Knight Cross Holders squad. Although very small in numbers, a few squads of this type of infantry is tough enough to tear enemy infantry apart. Unfortunately they are very expensive to produce and reinforce, therefore they are uncommonly seen on the battlefield.
If enemy forces are using a combined unit approach, a few Panzer IV tanks will be the great decision. They are reasonably armed and are capable to fight with both infantry and enemy tanks. Their abilities will be strengthened if proper upgrades from the Kampfkraft Center are purchased.
If the enemy has managed to create a solid armoured force, it may be wise move to spare resources for Panther Tanks. Although very expensive, solid, sloped armour will deflect enemy bullets easily while the strong and powerful cannon can wipe out or damage enemy tanks quickly.
The upgrade to the Battle Phase unlocks other abilities and equipment. All infantry squads are now able to heal themselves even in enemy territory thanks to the Field-Medkit. Stormtroopers, if available can finally be equipped with MP44 assault rifles.
Finally, the Sdkfz 251 can now be upgraded to a mobile artillery unit for a hefty 150. Although the cost may be considered high (depends on commander’s ammunition income), it can be worth its price. Halftracks will be equipped with six launchers of high-explosive rockets. Less useful against infantry, but very against enemy armoured forces and buildings. Covered by your army, they can be nearly uncatchable and provide devastating (and spectacular) fire power which will subdue enemy in short order.
The units above, with others already existing on the battlefield can advance into enemy territory almost without fear, destroying enemy resistance points with mobile artillery. Snipers, if you can afford them should scout in front of your force in order to provide early warning. Alternatively, motorcycles can be used in this way, although they are often left in ruins if faced against enemy armour or infantry with heavy weapons.
Remember, although your army is very strong at this moment, it isn’t invincible. If your units are grouped, they can be juicy targets for enemy planes or artillery strikes. Attacks should be executed on a wide scale, if possible. If done properly, large gains of territory and eventual victory will be only a matter of time.
The Werhmacht has three different command trees, which are referred to as doctrines. Each of them put emphasis on other aspect of warfare:
I) Defensive Doctrine- This doctrine emphasizes building hardened defense to repel the enemies. All their structures can be upgraded with anti-infantry defense, and the player is granted a two artillery strike abilities. This doctrine also allows them to construct the most fearsome 88mm Flak 36 cannon. Although powerful and a useful doctrine, its end of the sides of the doctrines are not as powerful compared to the other 2 doctrines (e.g. Tiger I, King Tiger, V1 rocket strike)
II) Blitzkrieg Doctrine- This is one of the most popular doctrines, as it emphasizes fast armored warfare to overwhelm the enemies. This doctrine allowed the Wehrmacht to field powerful tanks which arrive relatively early such as the StuH 42 (a tank well suited to urban assaults, similar to the StuG IV but more anti-infantry as it is armed with a 105mm howitzer) and the famous and fearful Tiger tank. This doctrine also can use special abilities such as Blitztkrieg assault, in which many units are given a large temporary speed boost and all vehicles gain a heavy crush ability perfect for cruching powerful infantry 'blobs' especially with the turretless Stug and StuH.
III) Terror Doctrine- This doctrine is designed to demoralize the enemies with unconventional tactics and terrorizing weapons. The player is granted access to the V1 Flying Bombs, which can totally anhilliate the enemy with a super powerful barrage, and the incendiary Firestorm air strike to scourge the enemies even when in trenches. This doctrine can also call in the Tiger Ace tank (Company of Heroes only) or the mighty and the most fearsome tank King Tiger (if both Company of Heroes and Opposing Fronts/Tales of Valor are installed).