Friday, February 22, 2013

Company of Heroes - Normandy Campaign - Mission 5 - Montebourg

For a list of all our Company of Heroes Anthology walkthroughs, click here.

Montebourg is a fairly easy, but long and tedious mission. Most of it is tank action until you finally get your HQ going and can pull out snipers.

Phase 1 - Secure safe route
Do NOT rush to rescue Dog Company. They got in trouble because they overextended their advance, and if you rush in, you will be making the same mistake.
From your starting position, take the HQ just to the north and get ready to defend it. Leave 1-2 Armoured Cars there (you can substitute the Halftrack if you upgrade it to the quad guns, which I recommend). They should be able to handle any infantry unit thrown at them.
Build the Triage Centre outside the main HQ door so that if you retreat a unit, they will finish their retreat inside the healing radius of the Triage Centre.

You should have at least one fast anti-infantry vehicle to accompany your tanks as they have the speed needed to quickly outflank an enemy AT gun (but if they get shot from the side, an Armoured Car is usually finished in one hit). Follow your tanks with your Engineers to repair them as (on Expert) in the early game, the German tanks are strong until you can get improved cannons.

We assume that the enemy won't magically appear from off-map from the west, so secure the west-map-edge territories as you head up to get Dog Company. Also look at the fields on the east side of the road. In this way, clear your way to Dog Company. Relieve them and rearrange everyone to defend your HQ area and the territories around it that you can capture. Do NOT try to hold the territory where Dog Company holed up. It is too far out and has too many approaches for the enemy.

Phase 2 - Capture territory south to north
At your HQ, prioritize getting your Sherman tank main guns upgraded, then 1-2 additional tanks, then 2 snipers to quickly scout and kill. Take out AT guns and mortars whenever you can; since these teams need 3 people, two snipers killing two squadmembers will destroy the whole unit because the third member dies automatically.
In the meantime, you will have to be careful of running into AT guns while expanding. Either way, you need to expand to get resources or you will be on the defensive for a very long time.

Leave the crossroads strategic point alone until you have captured every territory. For now, slowly capture territories one at a time, focussing on the south and east. Until you have located the enemy HQ near the middle of the eastern edge of the map, make sure your HQ is protected against infantry as the Axis will send sorties of flamethrower-equipped Pioneers and heavy machine gun teams to try to destroy your buildings or retake strategic points.

When the Panzers come (announced in a cutscene), assemble your tanks in a loose semi-circle on the main road to hit them from the flanks as they come in. Keep engineers close by to help repair them. Until you upgrade the tank guns, you might need additional support from an AT gun (get one the Germans have left on the field instead of building your own). Otherwise, on Expert Difficulty, two tanks was fine so long as one was hitting the flank AND you have one or two Engineer repair teams.
In the unlikely case that you have munitions to spare, the panzers do not have anti-infantry guns, so it's somewhat safe to Sticky Bomb them with your infantry.

The initial rush is four tanks from the north in tight formation as they come down to where the road forks. Below that, they seem to split up a bit more. Another four are scattered further north. If you haven't secured the eastern map edge territory, four could assemble there and head over, but not until the initial group on the road has been engaged and destroyed. All remaining tanks typically don't come wandering down until you start inching up the road, whereupon they typically come at you in singles.

Phase 3 - Find enemy HQ
The enemy HQ is on a highly defensible hill to the east. Depending on how long it took to find the HQ, they may have a few tanks accumulated but typically sit a couple there to defend. Do not rush getting to the HQ if it would leave your rear exposed because you haven't captured all territories to the south of it. Boxing them in by planting anti-infantry at the ramps will stop the pioneer rushes, but it won't stop the large clumps of soldier reinforcements that come from off-map.

Once you have found the HQ, put a mortar on the southeast side of the hill, where there is an opening in the bushes. Also put an Armoured Car nearby to engage infantry coming down the ramp, and hide an Engineer team nearby to repair your Armoured Car.
On the southwest corner of that hill are two AT guns. Snipe them, then put an armoured car at the ramp there as well, although there will typically be no enemies coming that way.

On the north side is a road. Where the road goes off map, the Axis receives off-map reinforcements that assemble there with an officer and make rushes. It is not clear what stops them from moving (possibly putting an armoured car at the courtyard where you rescued Dog Company) but in any case, killing the officer makes the remaining forces flee.
You can put an Armored Car at the northwest corner of the hill, on the road, to intercept the enemy there, but tanks could come from the HQ as well as from further north where the Axis have another Panzer garage.
You can also have a sniper team here to kill the infantry, but there are mortars in the northeast corner of the hill that can apparently spot your sniper even if it is out of sight range of the enemy.

To tackle the HQ, send one tank (each followed by an Engineer team) up both of the sloping paths to the courtyard, but not too far. Kill whatever tanks you can then pull back, repair, and repeat until there are no tanks. Then you can charge up with tanks to destroy their tank production and other buildings.

The enemy HQ will pump out Pioneers at an incredible rate when it is the only building left. As the HQ becomes damaged, they will switch to focusing on defending it, then on repairing it. Keep pounding it until it is levelled. It will remain on the map as enemy territory but you will no longer be able to damage it. In any case, once all the buildings there are destroyed, the HQ threat is effectively over and you should see no more Pioneers and machine gun teams.

Phase 4 - Clear mines, finish capturing the map
Remember to NOT capture the strategic point where the road forks. Capture everything else. For mine-clearing, you can use a tank but they are vulnerable as front-line scouts since they can't turn as quickly away from AT guns or other dangers.
Instead, advance with Engineers equipped with a mine detector. Just go slowly. As soon as enough road is clear to access the fields on either side, scout ahead with snipers in the field (which have no mines) before proceeding with your Engineers again. Watch out for enemy rushes (see below) and be prepared to retreat your Snipers and Engineers. When the enemy rushes, watch out for AT guns and get rid of them with light armour racing to flank and machine gun it, or with snipers.

At the end of each road are periodic endless respawns of Axis, including an Officer. Sometimes instead of a horde of soldiers, there is an AT gun. If you kill the officer, they will Retreat. Plant some anti-infantry armour on the sides of the road (not in front where they could get shot by an AT gun immediately) there to handle them without having to babysit too much. Always have a look when they show up to see if it is an AT gun.

Phase 5 - Call the Red Ball Express
When the map is completely clear, take the strategic point where the road forks. That will trigger a convoy from the south that you have to protect. Since you have wiped the map, just wait for the convoy to reach the north end of the map.

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