If you are patient, this can be a very easy, if long mission. Even if you don't want to take out the enemy base, this mission is not so bad as long as you are not hung up on holding Strategic Points.
- You can hear them even if you haven't located them.
- If you pass close enough you will reveal them, in a similar way that Snipers are revealed when too close to enemy units.
- They only become active when a visible unit (i.e., not a camouflaged sniper) is close enough for them to see, so you can try to skirt around them and engage only when you are ready.
- Be wary of enemy Observation Posts near some of these hidden units, which can reveal camouflaged units.
- Generally only Panthers are hidden on the map, but there is one Stug in the southwest (see picture below).
- There is a Panther to the east, in the swampy area, is hidden in a large clump of undergrowth.
- It can attack if an enemy is revealed outside of their visual distance and within line of sight for shooting; however, in such a case they typically do not move out once the enemy is lost to sight.
- This can happen, for example, if you are shooting the Observation Post nearby.
- When you lose sight of a Panther, your mini-map will indicate their last-known location.
Recommended troops: 1x Riflemen, 4x Engineer, 2x Sniper, 1x Mortar, 3x Sherman, 1x M-10 Tank Destroyer, 1x Pershing. This leaves you 2/75 points.
- Theoretically you are to use M10 Tank Destroyers to flank Panthers.
- But on Expert Difficulty even light German tanks can do serious damage to the M10s unless you face front armor against their attacks, so be cautious about how you deploy them.
- They are useless against infantry as you cannot mount a machine-gun.
- They cannot drop smoke (though this ability is not generally critical or useful if your units are properly supported).
- For these reasons, you may want to lean toward having more Shermans, which are more all-rounded and have greater survivability.
- What helps you win tank-versus-tank encounters are 2-3 Engineer teams constantly repairing the tank that is being attacked. In this way, even a Sherman can outlast a Panther, unless you start losing Engineers through them getting caught in the blast radius of each enemy shell.
- Note that sometimes a Panther will have their own Pioneer teams repairing them, in which case you definitely want a Sherman with a machine-gunner to close the distance and kill the Pioneers.
- If you are repairing your tanks, a Panther may charge in to machine-gun your Engineer squads.
- Having 3-4 Engineer squads means if they come under fire while you are repairing the tank(s) taking point, you can Retreat some squads and leave others to continue repairing. You can also split the Engineers into two teams of two if you end up fighting on two fronts.
- If you don't have enough Engineers or it is too dangerous to field them, remember you have the Field Repair power.
- There is an enemy mortar team from which your riflemen could pick up a mortar.
- But the area is crawling with tanks and there are two Panthers nearby. It is unlikely the Riflemen would survive trying to take it in the early game when you need it to shell the enemy base.
- The M26 Pershing is nice to have, but not critical. If you are focussing on getting Veterancy for tanks, then you won't even use it much. It is nice, however, for its high endurance and makes a great vehicle for taking point or holding ground until more tank reinforcements arrive.
You can destroy wrecks for +1 XP.
Part 1a - Destroy Enemy Base
AVOID all Panthers if you can in the early game until you secure most of the map and destroy the enemy base. Also, once there are only 2 Panthers left, they receive significant off-map tank support and they all charge out toward your base, stopping to kill anything they see. If you are not ready, this can be a big mess.
You can engage any other unit but don't let a Panther sight you. They are passive until engaged or until they sight an enemy. One near the watery ditch approximately in the middle of the map (see below) may come at you, but avoid all other static ones if you can.
Explore the map and inch your mortar safely up the west wide, then toward the north where the enemy base is located. The enemy is quite densely packed in the northern part of the map, so you may have to get creative with how you can snipe safely. For example, in the picture below we have a sniper shooting at a German HQ and ducking behind a guard tower in between, before he can come under return fire.
Initially you can hide your mortar team behind the bushes at the north edge of the map but to get at the last buildings you will have to inch up the nearby ramp to get closer. Once that route is made safe by sniping, mine it and set tank traps to limit enemy tank pursuit.
- Initially, the enemy will clump their tanks around whichever building is being attacked, to defend it -- even against indirect mortar shelling. (see below)
- Once the last building is destroyed, the tanks have no buildings left to defend, so they will charge toward the last known mortar location. See the picture below for what can happen if you have already secured the location with mines.
While you are at the western end of the map, you may see some plane wrecks. Sometimes they will glitch on game reload and you will instead see a static plane (see picture below).
Part 1b - Hold Ground and Mine Map Exits
While you are locating and destroying the enemy base, carefully secure what you can of the map. Use Machine-gun Nests to defend Strategic Points against the Pioneers and infantry that will be sent to retake them. These counterattacks finally stop when you have destroyed the buildings that produce them.
Meanwhile, don't be too hung up on holding all Strategic Points. Instead, keep some tanks at your HQ area to defend against light tanks that will periodically be sent to harrass it. When the enemy structures are finally destroyed, you can recall your snipers to scout for you and you can secure whatever Strategic Points you can without triggering the Panthers.
There are two notable locations:
- The watery ditch area around the middle of the map has tanks around it as well as two Snipers acting as artillery spotters. Until you find and kill the Snipers, they will call artillery on units trying to take that Strategic Point. This is probably meant to be a tank trap as the water slows down all units.
- The large silos to the north of the map middle hide two Goliaths, so you may want to avoid that, but you can often destroy them with tanks retreating quickly and/or forcing them to turn (which they do slowly). There is a brief delay before they actually explode once they reach a target location.
- Note that Snipers can stand right next to Goliaths and locate them, but not be themselves revealed.
Also, you can use the size of a building to keep capturing units out of line of sight -- even when you are capturing an enemy HQ. In the picture below, our Sniper is capturing an enemy HQ that isn't garrisoning any troops. Nearby enemy units did not react.
When you can safely do so, have Engineers mine the roads leading off map. These are locations where the Germans can call reinforcements when a Panther is engaged. These reinforcements often include tanks of as much as Veterancy level 3 (see picture below where two tanks, including a Veterancy level 3 Panzer, were instantly intercepted by mines and destroyed).
Remember that building structures (e.g., mines) can get you XP toward Command Points. It is entirely viable to get enough points to field an M26 Pershing before you control the map.
In the picture below, we have almost total map control -- Only those sectors with Panthers are not secured. Also, the enemy has no more base structures.
Part 2 - Engage Panthers
Once you have cleared as much of the map as possible, it is time to engage the Panthers. Through Sniper scouting you should have located them. Arrange your tanks then draw them out and destroy them. Sometimes when a Panther is engaged, especially if they are sitting in the open, reinforcements arrive immediately. You may wish to retreat your point units into the fog of war and wait for the enemy reinforcements to either settle down, then scout for them and take them out one by one before taking on the Panther.
If you are engaged by a Panther unexpectedly, it is usually best to retreat and let them stop pursuing you once you are out of visual range.
- Against Panthers, M10s should back away immediately until a Sherman can come to draw fire. Even then, make sure you have Engineers nearby to repair your tanks.
- Single Shermans should do the same as well as drop smoke as added insurance.
- This also causes the Panther that is near the storage tanks / silos in the north-of-middle area to move out -- leaving the hidden Goliaths in that area behind and you won't have to deal with them at all.
If you don't care about losses, you can basically blunder around this mission with tanks taking point, since there are no mines to contend with. See below video.