Hello and welcome to Tank on Tank! In this article we're going to talk about those lovable, foot-slogging grunts, the infantry.
"But wait!" you say, "Why would I want infantry units in a game about tanks? Aren't infantry the slowest and weakest units in this game?"
Well, yes and no. The board game does not provide many infantry units, compared to the number of armored units available. Naturally, this limits their usefulness simply due to a lack of numbers. Tank on Tank does include foot infantry and armored (or mobile) infantry, which are also called soft units. We will include AT-Guns and Artillery as soft units that adhere to the rules for infantry units. When used properly, these soft units can make winning much easier. However, when used poorly, they are little more than cannon fodder. Since destroying enemy units is a major source of VP in Tank on Tank, you will do well to minimize your losses.
It goes without saying that infantry are most effective in defensive terrain (woods, hills and towns). They can take advantage of their higher defense value, which makes them harder to kill than many tanks in the game. As much as possible, especially when moving infantry, try to use defensive terrain to your advantage. Of course, this is good advice for all units in the game, not just infantry.
Dismounted infantry units are slow, having only one movement point. But, when mounted on APCs, these units have 2MP. Remember that all soft unit types gain +1MP if they move entirely along a road during their turn. This means infantry units moving on roads can potentially keep up with most armored units moving cross-country. Something to seriously consider when planning your maneuvers.
While it is true that infantry units can only attack enemy units in adjacent hexes, even from hilltops, they have other advantages. Attacking infantry units negate the defensive terrain bonus for defending enemy units. Infantry can also advance after combat, occupying the hex just vacated by a destroyed enemy unit. Only infantry and armored infantry have these two abilities.
When assaulting the enemy in defensive terrain, general military theory states that a minimum of 3-1 odds are preferable for success. If you are planning to do this with infantry, getting enough units to the point of contact is a matter of planning and timing, so use those HQ units wisely. Moving infantry units into contact for an assault is when they are most vulnerable. All soft units can only mover OR shoot on a given turn, not both. This means, once your boys are in position for an assault, they will have to weather one round of enemy fire before they can attack. Chances are good at least one of your infantry units will be pushing up daisies before the next turn, possibly more, so you need to keep the pressure on by advancing as many units into the battle as quickly as possible. Applying overwhelming mass to the critical point of conflict is an important key to success, here as in real warfare.
And now a few words about supporting fire and combined arms theory. Towed AT-Guns and Artillery can typically shoot at ranges from 1-6 hexes. Both type of guns, and all tanks, gain +1 to their range value when positioned on a hill. Use this increased range to make your units more effective whenever possible. Adding the firepower of friendly tanks and guns to support your infantry in the attack will help the infantry succeed. .
So, to sum things up, do not discount infantry units simply because they appear weak or slow at first glance. You should have some idea of what infantry units are capable of in Tank on Tank. Try using infantry in a combined arms strategy with tank and artillery support, perhaps the occasional airstrike, but always strive to use them wisely. Infantry can make the difference between winning and losing.