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S2 Briefing: Infantry Units
J.R. "Careos" Sharp

Since the beginning of time, the infantryman has been the heart and soul of combat. After the terrible trench warfare of World War 1, the role of the infantryman was once again redefined. Mass charges began to yield to smaller, squad level combat tactics.

As combat evolved, these smaller groups of individuals were able to surround and disorient their enemies more efficiently. In comparison to the massive formations of yesteryear, combat in WWII led to more interaction between and infantryman and his superiors.

Infantry combat in Axis & Allies Miniatures can be a smaller factor in tank dominated skirmishes. However, the infantry portion is very important and does have the ability to turn the tide of a conflict if used properly.

In the following document, the reviews of these infantrymen are given as well as their interactions with certain commanders. The views expressed are based upon using commanders from the same country for historical scenario use.

Editors Note: The complete series of S-2 unit briefings will be updated with information from the Contested Skies and D-Day expansions following the release of the D-Day set in June.


MAS 7.5 Rifle

Combat Abilities:
Proficient at close combat with vehicles as well as urban combat.

Close Combat Value: 6

Threat to Enemy:
A fairly good unit with normal infantry attacks and close combat values. The MAS 7.5 infantrymen are adept at urban combat, giving them a +1 to cover rolls in towns. Given this, if the MAS can get inside a town hex, it could prove a great irritant to your enemy.

Preferred Commanders:
None

Preferred Combat Role:
The MAS rifleman in historical scenarios will not have any commanders to rely upon, so you must make it on your own. I consider the MAS as an excellent unit to learn on as you do not have to worry about anything but strict combat and maneuvering. Utilize cover and transports to get these units to the front and deal with the enemy head on, nothing fancy.


Mosin-Nagant M1891/30

Combat Abilities:
Proficient at close combat with vehicles. However the Mosin-Nagant soldier does require the presence of a commander in order to move.

Close Combat Value: 8

Threat to Enemy:
A fairly good unit with normal infantry attacks and excellent close combat values. The Mosin-Nagant rifleman’s strength lies in it’s commanders as listed below.

Preferred Commanders:
Commissar: (Offensive) Gains the ability to move, however it does not gain any regular bonus from the commander itself. However, if you are in position to use the Mosin-Nagant as a Bravery Enforcement sacrifice, do so in order to assist your remaining men.
Cossack Captain: (Defensive) Once again, the Mosin-Nagant soldier does not gain anything from the Cossack, however keeping them close together could prohibit your enemy from making any close attacks in fear of the loss in attack power.

Preferred Combat Role:
Defensive


SMLE No. 4 Rifle

Combat Abilities:
Proficient at close combat with vehicles.

Close Combat Value: 6

Threat to Enemy:
A fairly good unit with normal infantry attacks and close combat values. Without a commander in the area, the SMLE is a standard infantryman.

Preferred Commanders:
Inspiring Lt.: Use of the Inspiring Lt. in conjunction with the SMLE does permit the SMLE soldier to move 2 hexes as opposed to the standard 1.

Preferred Combat Role:
Fast assaults with commander.


M1 Garand Rifle

Combat Abilities:
Proficient at close combat with vehicles. Excellent medium range accuracy.

Close Combat Value: 7

Threat to Enemy:
An excellent unit with higher than normal infantry attacks and decent close combat values. When coupled with a commander, the M1 Garand gains an extra attack die, giving it a huge advantage against enemy infantry. The M1 Garand does not suffer as much from medium range falloff as many infantry units do.

Preferred Commanders:
“Red Devil” Captain: (Offensive) Using the M1 along with the “Red Devil” yields a large advantage over troops in cover. When attacking, adjacent M1’s are able to make holding cover a lot harder for the enemy infantry.
“Screaming Eagle” Captain: The M1 Garand soldiers do not gain anything from this commander being in their area.

Preferred Combat Role:
Assault


Kuomintang Rifleman

Combat Abilities:
No real combat strengths, can be destroyed easily.

Close Combat Value: 0

Threat to Enemy:
A fairly poor unit with low infantry attacks and no supporting values. The Kuomintang Rifleman does not pose much of a threat to the enemy.

Preferred Commanders:
Kuomintang Officer: The Kuomintang Riflemen gain nothing from this commander being in their area.

Preferred Combat Role:
Fodder to slow enemy.


PPSH-41 SMG

Combat Abilities:
Excellent combat abilities as a close range fighter.

Close Combat Value: 0

Threat to Enemy:
A decent unit with strong short range infantry attacks. The PPSh-41 SMG does not pose any threat to the enemy unless it can close to short range. If it can do so, the PPSh is one of the strongest infantry units available. However, its max range of 2 hexes does limit its effectiveness.

Preferred Commanders:
Commissar: (Offensive) Giving a bonus to it’s attacks through Bravery Enforcement only makes the PPSh-41 more lethal. Although the 41 has a lower medium range (2 hex) attack than many of the infantry units, the bonus that it gains from the Commissar eliminates this.
Cossack Captain: (Defensive) Use of the Cossack’s ability along with the strong close combat abilities of the PPSh-41 could spell certain doom for assaulting enemies hoping to overrun their positions.

Preferred Combat Role:
Close combat.


BAR Gunner

Combat Abilities:
Excellent at enemy suppression.

Close Combat Value: 0

Threat to Enemy:
A fairly good unit with normal infantry attacks. The BAR gunner is actually a support unit. If it is able to attack opposing infantry first, the enemy cannot make any attacks. This is a major threat as several BAR Gunners together could completely stop an enemy infantry advance.

Preferred Commanders:
“Red Devil” Captain: Coupled with the “Red Devil” Captain, the BAR Gunner is excellent at assaulting dug in troops.
“Screaming Eagle” Captain: The BAR Gunner soldiers do not gain anything from this commander being in their area.

Preferred Combat Role:
Support and suppression.


“Screaming Eagle” Paratrooper

Combat Abilities:
Able to drop beyond enemy lines, proficient at combating enemy vehicles in close combat. Can not be disrupted in combat.

Close Combat Value: 8

Threat to Enemy:
A excellent unit with higher than normal infantry attacks and close combat values. This unit, like its commander is one of the finest infantry units in the game. Using its paratrooper ability, it can drop in behind the enemy to add another dimension to the assault. Additionally, this unit does not suffer from any disruption effects in the assault phase.

Preferred Commanders:
“Red Devil” Captain: Use of the “Red Devil” with this unit causes the issue of linking the two up during the game. Although there is some benefit to be gained from the pinpointing, it is best to leave paratroopers with their own kind.
“Screaming Eagle” Captain: Use of the paratrooper captain along with the soldier’s he was intended to command nets you 1 extra attack die as long as you can keep them together. This pairing could yield soldiers that are just as strong as the feared PPSh without the range restrictions.

Preferred Combat Role:
Drops behind enemy lines.


Mauser Kar 98k

Combat Abilities:
Proficient at close combat with vehicles.

Close Combat Value: 6

Threat to Enemy:
A fairly good unit with normal infantry attacks and close combat values. The Mauser 98k has no special characteristics.. It is merely a standard infantryman with a decent close combat rating. Without a commander, the Kar 98 acts as basic infantry.

Preferred Commanders:
SS-Haupsturmfuhrer: The SS-Haupsturmfuhrer is definitely the better commander for the Kar 98 soldiers as it allows them to stay at range, yet remove any disruptions to keep them in the fight. The Kar98 is not the most proficient fighter up close, so the use of the Haupsturmfuhrer seems to be the logical choice in commanders.
Wehrmacht Oberleutnant: Being able to use your Kar 98k’s up close in a rush sort of formation make them a larger threat to the enemy, however the cost of this commander might not make it worth your while to use them up close.

Preferred Combat Role: Defense


SS-Panzergrenadier

Combat Abilities:
Proficient at close combat with vehicles. Able to finish off damaged and disrupted units quickly. Excellent anti-infantry fighters.

Close Combat Value: 7

Threat to Enemy:
The bread and butter of axis forces. The SS-PG is one of the toughest infantry units in the game. It is able to swoop in and literally crush weaker infantry units with its excellent close range abilities. Also its abilities against vehicles in its hex cannot go unmentioned. As if this is not a large enough threat, the SS-PG preys upon damaged and disrupted units it attacks by gaining +1 on each die it rolls.

Preferred Commanders:
SS-Haupsturmfuhrer: (Defensive)Using the SS-Haupsturmfuhrer in conjunction with the SS-PG will allow them to stay in the fight at a fairly safe range without a real fear of being eliminated. Although the SS-PG has excellent medium range attacks, this unit should not bear moving forward once it is provided with some easy damaged and disrupted targets. Wehrmacht Oberleutnant: (Offensive) The use of the Oberleutnant will make the SS-PG more powerful in charging and taking objectives. Although the SS-PG is already a very strong, powerful unit, the Oberleutnant is able to further increase their offensive firepower.

Preferred Combat Role:
Elimination of enemy units that have received damage


Fucile Modello 1891

Combat Abilities:
Proficient at close combat with vehicles. Can be very lethal in the opening of a conflict if at full strength.

Close Combat Value: 5

Threat to Enemy:
If you have not lost a unit yet, the Fucile gains two extra dice per attack, increasing its combat abilities greatly. Although its vehicle busting abilities are not up to par and this relegates the Fucile to being a primarily infantry fighting unit. However, this unit is not weak by any means and can deal with the enemy fairly well.

Preferred Commanders:
None

Preferred Combat Role:
Initial contact with enemy in early rounds


Arisaka Rifle

Combat Abilities:
Proficient at close combat with vehicles. Superb at dealing with infantry in its own hex.

Close Combat Value: 6

Threat to Enemy:
Extremely well versed in hand-to-hand combat. If this unit is able to enter the hex holding the enemy infantry, it is almost an assured defeat for the enemy. The Arisaka does have decent ranged abilities, however its main strength lies in their ability to rush and conquer enemy infantry.

Preferred Commanders:
Imperial Sergeant: Coupled with the Hand to Hand abilities of the Arisaka rifleman, the Imperial Sergeant makes this duo a severe threat to overrunning enemy infantry. Giving them an extra +1 on attack rolls, their chances of being able to wipe out infantry on the defense increases greatly.
SNLF Captain: In using the SNLF Captain with the Ariska Rifles, you are able to defeat the enemy easier in cover as they lose -1 on their cover rolls. On the other hand, this ability does not assist the Arisaka as much as the abilities offered by the Imperial Sergeant.

Preferred Combat Role:
Close range and hand to hand combat


Panzergrenadier

Combat Abilities:
Proficient at close combat with vehicles. Can utilize transports to great effect.

Close Combat Value: 8

Threat to Enemy:
Ability to use the transport ability without the drawback of waiting to dismount, giving the PG the advantage of speed over the enemy. Coupled with close assault 8, the PG could be used with a vehicle for a suicide run of sorts to land one adjacent to an enemy vehicle. Proper use of its mobility can yield decent results in combat.

Preferred Commanders:
SS-Haupsturmfuhrer: Giving the Panzergrenadiers the ability to remove their disrupted counters can assist them while closing with the enemy. It offers the opportunity to come under fire yet still survive and move forward into the enemy. Since the PG is more adept at using transports, this may not help the PG’s with their objectives.
Wehrmacht Oberleutnant: Use of the Oberleutnant will help the PG with their close combat and overtaking of enemy positions, however once again the PG will most likely outrun their commanders by using transport.

Preferred Combat Role:
Fast mechanized assaults


Blackshirts

Combat Abilities:
Proficient at close combat with vehicles. Able to finish off damaged and disrupted units quickly.

Close Combat Value: 6

Threat to Enemy:
A watered down version of Germany’s SS-Panzergrenadier, the Blackshirts are capable of many of the same things as the SS-PG. However, since its attacks are slightly lower, it will limit its effectiveness. If you are able to disrupt the enemy with another unit and then attack with the Blackshirt, it should increase the chances.

Preferred Commanders:
None

Preferred Combat Role:
Elimination of enemy units that have received damage


SNLF Paratrooper

Combat Abilities:
Able to finish off damaged and disrupted units quickly. Able to drop behind enemy lines.

Close Combat Value: 6

Threat to Enemy:
The SNLF Paratrooper can be placed at any spot on the map, which is its biggest asset to your force. However, the SNLF Paratrooper does not have attacks that are game breakers. If faced with enemy infantry that is disrupted, it should be able to clear them up without issue.

Preferred Commanders:
Imperial Sergeant: Paratroopers should normally be deployed behind enemy lines, making it very difficult to link up with this commander in order to gain any benefit. However if you decide to deploy your forces via land, you could use the Paratrooper as a fast drop reinforcement next to your commander. In doing this, you are able to create a good close support combination.
SNLF Captain: As with the Imperial Sgt, paratroopers should normally be deployed behind enemy lines, making it very difficult to link up with this commander in order to gain any benefit. If you decided to drop your forces in this commander’s area instead, you can use them to fix the enemy and keep them disrupted while the main part of your force closes in for the defeat.

Preferred Combat Role:
Sneak attacks and dropping behind enemy lines










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