Monday, March 2, 2015

Company of Heroes Walkthrough - Invasion of Normandy - Mission 2 - Vierville (Expert)

Company of Heroes Walkthrough - Invasion of Normandy - Mission 2 - Vierville (Expert)

Click here for the index of our Company of Heroes Mission Walkthrough Index and our gameplay paradigm.
You need to secure a number of guns and points. Leave at least one mission-critical Strategic Point unsecured so that you can take your time to clear the rest of the area.
Your priorities in this mission are:
  • Get an AT gun to extend your sighting range.
  • Get a Mortar to bombard enemies without being fired upon.
    • On higher difficulties, two mortar teams can be useful to out-shell the enemy: One repositions to avoid return fire while the other continues shelling.
    • Turn off free-fire for your Mortars or they will exchange fire with enemy mortars and probably get your mortar team and nearby squads blown up without you realizing it.
  • Get a Sniper to scout and do long-range kills.
Clearing the rest of the map is pretty straightforward except:
  • Almost every time you take a Strategic Point (sometimes if you even just get within sighting radius of the strategic point), enemies magically pop out of some bushes nearby.
    • If you don't want to pre-mine where they magically pop up, capturing the point with a Sniper is an interesting option as you can immediately Camouflage, tell them to hold fire, and move out of the area. You then immediately have a unit spotting for mortar to bombard the area while the Germans recapture the point.
  • There are enemy mortars.
    • If you hear the distinctive "poomp" of mortar fire, you have a few seconds to move out of the area or risk being bombarded.
    • If you were at a Strategic Point held by the enemy, releasing enemy control of it will also blind them in the area so you should not then have any more bombardment unless your own mortars decided to exchange fire.
    • Every time a mortar fires, they can be located briefly (like when Snipers shoot).
Part 1 - First AA Gun
  • The plan, based on the dialogue in the cutscene, is for one unit of Paratroopers to take the "middle" while the other flanks. What it doesn't talk about is how to approach the enemy.
    • Swing wide to the east and try to use the big bush on the right for concealment for both units. You know if you've blown this when a unit starts firing. If so, rush the exposed unit for cover and to grenade the opposition.
    • On Expert Difficulty there is no guarantee a grenade will kill anything 
    • Once both units are exposed, split up to flank and whichever unit is being fired on less, move closer for hard cover.
  • Reinforce your two squads to full 6/6. You may not be able to do it later because you will start pushing the population cap.
  • There is a very small window of time (before you kill the last gun crew member) to capture the first AA gun (see picture below) and save it from being destroyed by script, but since it cannot be moved and there will be no enemies in range afterwards, it is really pointless to take the risk to do so.

Part 2 - Rescue Baker Company (See image below)
  • Once you are close enough to hear gunfire Baker Company is under attack and slowly loses health.
  • When you approach the farm, before the cutscene head north behind the big bush and keep to your right as much as possible. If you are too close to the stone wall, your units may be positioned there and fighting or pinned right after the cutscene. The green circle on the right is approximately where you initially want your troops to head toward before the cutscene.
  • Wait until the Germans finish shifting position so you know where to toss your grenades. Note the facing of the machine-gun since that will pin your troops quickly.


NORMAL Difficulty (picture above):
  • Drop the paratroopers far behind the barn (A) -- Click at the two German Panzerschreck in the field to target your drop. If you click too close to the farm buildings, the paratroopers may drop in view of the Germans, who will obviously start firing on them.
    • This is not total disaster since they will turn from your Paratroopers rushing from the south if they haven't been spotted yet. Rush in with your initial units and grenade.
    • Do not pick up the Panzerschreck yet as they aren't that great against infantry.
  • Once the paratroopers have landed and are ready, have them surprise the Germans at (B) from behind and grenade their machine-gun. Since the Germans are clumped there, theoretically a single grenade can kill most of them.
  • While the Paratroopers are moving up, simultaneously rush your initial two units from the southeast, using Fire Up if necessary to avoid being Pinned.
    • Send one unit to the low wall (C) on the right side for cover and to engage the enemy.
    • The other beelines toward the machine-gun and the perpendicular wall (D) -- on Normal Difficulty. On Expert this is too risky unless enough enemies have been killed.
      • The reason you can do this on Normal Difficulty is because grenades will reliably kill enemy infantry, and as the Riflemen approach they will clear the way with a grenade. Also, the paratroopers from behind the barn will also have blown most of the Germans at (B) with a grenade.
    • On Normal, no casualties and 24/22 Unit Capacity after Baker Company joins.
EXPERT Difficulty (picture below)
  • On Expert Difficulty, tactics are the same except you will probably have to use Satchel Charges and you generally won't have more than two to toss based on resources (and they take longer to detonate).
    • Grenades won't reliably kill anything on Expert Difficulty -- Not even infantry caught in the middle of the blast.
    • Instead of rushing position D, two Riflemen will have to either share C, or one team will have to hang back and go up the main road after the machine-gun crew is blown.
    • We tried this a few times but always lost at least 4 units total on Expert Difficulty.
    Part 3 - Road Patrol / AT Gun
    • Strangely, a patrol will NOT stop even though fired upon unless they spot your units. Otherwise even disabled vehicles try to continue their route.
    • Go get a Pak38 50mm AT Gun gun first from the SE corner. It has very good sighting range, which will help you spot (and later shoot) the road patrol without them spotting you.
      • At the depot, there are ammunition piles that can be picked up if they didn't get destroyed in the firefight.
      • If you manage to kill the officer before he goes into the bunker, there will be no reinforcements continually coming out from the bunker.
      • To get this sighting range without firing at the patrols, make sure to point the gun away from the road.
      • A unit in the tower can also watch patrols go by (and a machinegun can even shoot at them), but the view is very limited.
      • Once two half-tracks leave, you know the way is clear to rush out and build some mines.
    • Start by building a row of Mines OFF the road, on the farmland. This lets you blow up any survivors that happen to crawl toward you, as well as any disabled but not destroyed vehicles that veer your way. Ideally, however, you want to blow up the vehicles at range and spot the survivors from range to pin/suppress them with machinegun fire and safely kill them with attrition.
    • Once your farm mines are ready, mine the road. To rapidly retreat from an oncoming patrol, use the Retreat command, which will race your units behind the barn. Partially planted mines do not explode and can be completed later.
    • The Pak38, positioned with a view radius that includes the width of the road, can get first strike on vehicles before they notice you. Support it with a machine-gun crew to pin infantry that survive their vehicle blowing up, but it is actually quite safe while shooting from outside the sight range of the enemy, and infantry have a shorter sight range than the AT gun (see below for sample placement).

    Part 4 - O'Malley's Squad
    • If you go for the Strategic Point across the street from the farm, you will trigger the O'Malley's Squad event. Instead of rushing to cover them, you have two options:
      • On Normal you can order a Retreat with only light damage and no losses to O'Malley's squad, but it may be too risky on Expert.
      • Instead, move the squad north a bit, behind the bushes, and wait there until you can handle the situation. They should be safe indefinitely.
    • Afterwards, bypass the southwest corner because from your approach you will have open swamp that exposes you, plus you may come under mortar from from further north. Instead, wait till you get a mortar and/or sniper.
    Part 5 - Get a Mortar

    Your first mortar will probably be from the plane crash to the north, near the east edge of the map. There are plane crashes on either side of the map, farther to the north. Choose carefully from the selection of weapons on the ground since you can't force a unit to dump a weapon.
    • If you go for the bazookas, a Paratrooper team can have FOUR bazookas (see below)--Which would make them good against vehicles but nothing else because of the low fire rate and inaccuracy against infantry.


    An earlier and easier place to get a Mortar is just to the West of the AA gun O'Malley's squad was attacking (see picture below). However, it appears that the Mortar must be allowed to at least start setting up. Otherwise, killing the crew won't drop a mortar for you to capture.



    Part 6 - The Main Road Block

    Once you are close to the road block, the entire area is revealed and stays revealed.
    • This lets you see the single enemy mortar that won't leave its position that is not really vulnerable to long-range sniping because it is in a depression.
    • With a mortar of own, we got first strike with our bombardment and took it out. This made the entire north half of the map safe from that mortar, which would otherwise start shelling whenever we were close to one of the enemy-controlled Strategic Points.
    As you head north, you will have to make a decision at the main road block where the Germans have a heavily fortified and garrisoned position.
    • You can mortar the lot of them quite safely once you take out their enemy mortar.
    • You can take them on but they have a lot of machine-guns.
    • You have a lot of Manpower, however, so if you are the kamikaze type, leave one squad safely at the farm and throw the rest at the garrison. Then magically call for more airdrops even though the area is full of AA guns
    • You can try sneaking around their left, but there's less cover with which to do so.
    • You can go around to the right but you'll have to run past the blockade. Which is actually doable because you really only have to run past the machine-gun bunker's arc of fire. There will be pursuit shortly headed to protect the northernmost Strategic Point (same sector where the main road goes off-map) but you can easily hide from them.
    The closest exit out of the bushes has a large clump of enemy troops. They can be driven off, if not outright destroyed, by mortar fire. To herd enemy units away, make sure the centre of the shelling radius is between you and all of the enemy you are herding, as in the picture below: The centre of the shelling radius marked approximately with an "X" is between the German Units and our AT gun spotter which initially located the enemy. Once located, the spotter does not need to follow since each time an explosion hits any one model, the entire unit is briefly revealed. And we can shell into the fog of war.


    After the exit is clear, it's time to rush. Keep close to the bushes and follow the path indicated below.



    And we can sneak up on enemies going to defend their Strategic Point afterwards by keeping far enough away, then by using bushes to cover our approach (see below). Lob a grenade or a satchel charge (depending on their spacing), then mine the road up there because you'll have to stop a German convoy later.



    Part 7 - Sniper

    On the north edge of the map, the middle Strategic Point when captured gets you one Sniper that makes the rest of the mission much safer.
    If for whatever reason you couldn't or didn't want to take out the German Mortar team at the main road block, then it'll shell you whenever you get close to a strategic point. You can try to bypass this: Send teams to go for 2-3 Strategic Points at the same time, and watch the facing of the mortar team. Retreat whichever team it is aiming at.

    Part 8 - Riflemen Rescue at Southwest

    The Riflemen squad at the southwestern AA gun are almost impossible to save completely: Even on Normal Difficulty they might lose a model during the cutscene. Retreating them immediately seems to be the best way. If they run right through the AA gun encampment, reload and inch them east along the road a bit before ordering a Retreat. They should then follow the road instead of going through the marsh.

    The rest of the map is straightforward: Clear all enemies, mine the road, capture the last Strategic Point to trigger the final Objective.

    Part 9 - Convoy

    The Convoy arrives in two parts. First, a small contingent appears during the cutscene, and until the cutscene is over they are immune to damage, including mines on the road.
    • These vehicles will drive quite far from the map edge, so mine the road much further, unless you want to stop that small convoy yourself at the road block.
    • They do not count toward the quota you need to destroy to complete the mission.

     


    The second part of the Convoy is a constant stream of vehicles which may offload infantry. You only need to destroy 10.
    • Some of these will stop to attack the Strategic Point, so mine around that too.
    • Behind the bushes to the south, cover the road and Strategic Point with mortars. Since they will pause to capture the Strategic Point, they will basically be idling in the area taking your mortar fire.
    Performance

    Here is a screenshot showing our final mostly Veterancy level 3 troops on Expert Difficulty. No losses after rescuing Baker Company since the Convoy never made it down the road.


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