In the next step, we want to assign somebody to fire the MG. It's a German MG-34, but that doesn't matter, as units can capture and use enemy weapons in the game, provided that they have a Gunner skill which is high enough to make them use the equipment (the requirement is low for something like an MG, but much higher for capturing and using an anti-tank gun or tank for example). As you can see from the interface above, the MG-34 requires a two-man crew to be fully operational, a gunner and a loader. This
is indicated by the two empty "card" slots to the right of the ammo slot. You can use the gun with just one crewmember, but at a slower rate of fire, lower accuracy and other disadvantaged usually, depending on the type of weapon you're using.
Select two soldiers to man the MG! This is done by selecting two guys (e.g. by holding the SHIFT key and left-clicking on their icons) and right-clicking on the gun. The cursos changes to a "door" icon to show that you are about to man the MG.
Choose good supporting positions for the other members of the squad. In TOW, soldiers will use the best cover available at or near the position they're at automatically, but they will not move very far usually. There are two exceptions to that - when they're panicked and disobeying your orders, or when you assign them a target to shoot at. Once you do that, units enter "attack" mode and will automatically move towards the target to improve their aim or get a line of sight.
As you can see in the screenshot, a German squad appeared down the road. Without needing any orders to do so, the Russian squad and MG open fire, as their "behaviour" has been to set to engage all units in sight. You can also instruct soldiers to hold fire if you want, of course.
The squad leader and one other soldier take cover behind the sandbags while I order one soldier with a submachinegun to run towards some tree cover on the left and engage from a shorter distance. Since TOW is using realistic battle distances and not, like most RTS games, shortened distances to compress the action into what is visible on the screen at any one time, it can be important to keep an eye at the abilities of the weapons your soldiers are using. In this example, a submachinegun is much less accurate
at a distance over 50 meters than a rifle or mounted machinegun.
Distances, by the way, are shown in the upper right hand corner of the mini-map window, and indicate the distance from the selected unit to whereever the cursor is pointing to (in the above screen, the birch on the left is 13 meters away from the selected submachinegunner).
The Germans have no chance against the MG in the open...
...and within literally seconds it's all over.
With the first task completed, a couple of snipers appears on the scene. Leaving the squad at the MG post, the next task is to sneak the snipers forward on their own and take out a German anti-tank gun located in the "tank graveyard" further down the road.
Covered by the stone wall, the snipers are ordered to move down the road quickly.
The enemy AT Gun comes into view briefly in the distance but soon is lost from view.
The snipers are passing the bodies of the unfortunate German squad (unfortunate to have been selected as cannon fodder for this training mission).
Approaching the T-intersection, I order the snipers to split to be able to attack the gun from two sides. That's important because the anti-tank gun has an armored shield to the front which would make picking off the crew at a distance from the front a nearly impossible task. Even for a great sniper.
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- Theatre of War Walkthrough 1 Page 1
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