Infantry Guide: Tac Ops: Hathcock's Guide to Everything Infantry WW2OL
Rev A | 4 Jul 2008
Infantry has gone from being probably the least appreciated and used type of unit in World War II Online at its launch in June 2001, to the most heavily used but very poorly understood. There is a major stratification in the player base as to experience and infantry capability. There have been guides floating around on how to sap tanks or disable them with an ATR, but while those help they don’t necessarily make you effective. The goal here is to give more insight into the high-level process and the plan to being truly effective, which then carries over to any infantry weapon. Much of the same thought process that makes someone a great infantry player can carry over and make them a great tanker or great pilot. There will also of course be material dedicated to better shooting.
Most importantly I want to make this as easily digestible and concise as possible, something you can read through quickly and make use of immediately to get out and start kicking ass on the virtual battlefield. I’ll use graphics as much as possible and try to stay away from being wordy, while still providing explanation to key concepts.
The Absolute Essentials
The following are the most important concepts to keep in mind. They may seem simple but are surprisingly simple to overlook or ignore!
- You have to keep moving or be aggressive. If you’re stationary [for very long] you’re 99% dead. By far the #1 thing new guys seem to miss. Checking to observe movement or location of the enemy before you go charging into the fight, is absolutely essential. If you don't, you can bet the enemy is doing it and they will kill you and you won't even know where they did it from.
- You need to know where everything is around you. More importantly you need to know where the enemy is before he knows where you are. In general the guy who gets the first shot off, on an unsuspecting enemy, is going to win. See the first point above. Play smart and get to the rank you need to have binoculars as quickly as you can. You won't believe the advantage they give you, and new players don't get binoculars until they make the next rank up.
- When you accomplish the above and know where the unsuspecting enemy is, you need to be able to drop him… fast! Don't rush your shot. Make sure you understand your weapon over all ranges and how this affects aiming. The small arms (rifles, SMGs, etc..) are not ray guns in WWIIOL. You need to lead your target if it is moving and even when stationary, you must understand bullet drop and how it relates to what range you have your gunsights set to.
- Once you've taken out the enemy MOVE Unlike real life, your opponent will re-spawn, they will come back to look for you. If you're stationary [for very long] you're 99% dead.
Taking the Fight to the Enemy
As I said before, the #1 thing people miss is they are not aggressive enough, do not move or do not take the fight to the enemy.
- Get out of the AB! The Army Base is the enemy’s ultimate kills zone. His end goal is to press you in there and camp/kill you. If you stay there, you just make his job easier. Even on defense, you’ve got to move out.
- Cut them off at the source. If you’re defending a town the enemy has a depot or a MSP at, holding back and defending for any extended period of time just plays into their hand. Lets them deploy more resources, encroach more on you, and defeat you. Given that at the time of writing a brigade can source well over 1000 infantry, just shooting at them with rifles is not going to stop them. You will never attrit enough of that supply to stop them. City flags, RR stations, etc., yeah you will capture them in the end, but your priority needs to be to capture or destroy their spawn point. Once you do that, then it's trivially easy to recap town.
- Likewise when attacking, particularly a “no man’s land” town, capture any of their spawnable CP’s first. Even before capturing your own spawnable. Shut them down before they can start! While the Armybase (AB) remains their primary source of spawn when defending, you have to capture their supply depots so they cannot spawn missions for defenders there. Depots are vital because they allow the defenders to spawn on the flanks of your attack, since they usually (but not always) exist on the outer edges of the town you are attacking. If you are defending, they allow you to be the one flanking the attackers. As their name suggests, they are supply depots and thus they are the far greater target when cutting off the enemy's ability to spawn that supply to stop you with.
The sequence of events in any area should be as follows
- Secure your immediate position/spawn point. If the enemy is in your perimeter, kill them and force them away.
- Go after the enemy’s immediate spawn location. This may be a spawnable depot, or a MSP. Secure the larger area. Do it quickly. Stay in one spot only long enough to kill the immediate enemy, then move.
- Go after their forward base, or defensive FB in a “no man’s land” town. Attack it, press it, destroy it or effectively shut it down.
- Take the fight to the enemy further, AO or not. Force them into a defensive mindset so they don’t bother with you and you can redeploy resources to a feasible attack objective.
- Always, always, always be “taking the fight into their home” or further onto their home turf. If you truly cannot and are hemmed in and honestly stuck (rare, but happens) you have already lost and you may as well redeploy somewhere else.
Getting around is not as obvious as one might think. Things to keep in mind ...
- Stay concealed! With the amount of concealment available there is no reason to be out in the middle of an open field for more than a few seconds. Follow shrub lines, berms, buildings, etc. At the same time, while doing this is basically mandatory for survival, be aware the enemy know this too, and they will be watching these lanes of approach. Be vigilant, always move and stop, try to visually locate the enemy, and move again in a manner that what you have observed makes prudent. Don't just run into his gunsight. you're not Rambo.
- Stay low when moving through “small terrain.” As dumb as it sounds, as the water would through the terrain. Don't crest over terrain features or rubble piles and you’ll stay much more concealed. Keep as good a cover against enemy fire as you can find between you and the point of your intentions, which is where the enemy will surely be waiting for you.
- Even when moving to take commanding elevation, keep in mind people’s attention is automatically drawn to high objects. Stay off ridge lines, don’t silhouette yourself.
- If you have more immediate maneuver options than the enemy, you’re in good shape to win. Fighter pilots refer to this as energy retention, and being able to close with or extend from the enemy at will. Infantry have this option as well, with stamina and the ability to sprint. There’s no need to sprint as much as many people do during the movement to contact phase. When you make contact, you want all that sprinting ability available to either maneuver against someone (get on their side or behind them), close with them, or get the hell away and to cover. You can’t do this if you’ve sprinted yourself dry for no reason. A veteran of the game will not use sprint until they are in the danger zone, and then they will set themselves into prone position, and move with quick sprints from prone and into the next "stopping location" to recover their sprinting ability. That means from cover to cover and concealment to concealment, always going prone BEFORE they run out of all their sprint and wind up stranded and crawling in the open.
- If you do have to sprint across open ground, always assume someone is starting to draw a bead on you to kill you as soon as you pop out from cover. Don’t be up for more than 3 seconds, or down for more than one. “I’m up… he sees me… I’m down… I’m up…” You can exploit the way the predictor code works by toggling really quickly between sprinting and being prone, but I view this as gamey and cheap and don’t recommend it.
- By all means, zig-zag. Don’t move in a straight line, you’re just making yourself an easy target.
Again, you can exploit this by “lag dancing” across the field, which is gamey and cheap.
Easy Places to Find a Stationary Enemy (i.e., an easy target!)
Along the lines of knowing where everything is around you, you should constantly be looking for the enemy. There is really no time you can just jog away and be oblivious. You'd be amazed how ofen that MG34 or Panzer or what have you is sitting out there way in the middle of nowhere. When you are scanning, keep in mind people tend to be very predictable. The following are some places to find easy, stationary targets.
- Church towers – Super obvious. Enemy sticks out like a sore thumb against the sky background.
- Blown-out church stairs – Less obvious. When a church is damaged and the tower walls are falling apart, shooters will hide on the stairs. They are harder to spot since they have a dark background behind them. Keep this in mind.
- Along AB walls – Hard to spot as it’s a small area (usually just their head), but guys like to shoot from the walls of a closed AB
- In the bunker top – Not super popular, but if the enemy is defending a bunker, chances are there’s a guy up there.
- Roof tops – Also very obvious. All rooflines in game are perfectly straight, and tend to contrast heavily against the sky. If there is a shooter laying there they will be obvious along the roofline.
- Depot windows – One of my favorite places to target! For some reason people love to shoot from these. Find a busy enemy depot (typically one that we are trying to capture and they are trying to defend) and just zero in on a window. A guy will pop up and you can drop him in a fraction of a second. And they keep coming up for more!
- Building windows and roofs- Similar to the above. There are a lot of them, but you need to quickly scan them all. Every so often you will be jogging past a building, look up and see a rifle or machine gun barrel poking out of the upstairs window. Free kill up there.
- Clumps of trees – Pretty self explanatory. Enemy likes to sit up on the berms and look around.
- Hedgerows – Same as above.
- Shrub lines – Probably the hardest terrain object to scan since there are so many out in the fields and infantry blend into them fairly well.
Given that anyone with a moderate amount of experience is going to immediately be scanning all those, you probably should not be using them as primary locations to shoot from!
Selecting a Battle Position
There are a few general guidelines for picking a battle/firing position.
- Avoid the obvious positions
- Ideally, have cover in front of you, and shape immediately behind you helps break up concealment behind you. Having a shrub or shome odd shape immediately behind your profile and makes you harder to spot
- Only expose yourself for brief periods of time! A big mistake many people make is to sit there scanning for targets for minutes on end. The whole world can see you, someone will pick you up and shoot you. Stay concealed 75% of the time, pop up briefly to scan (3-10 seconds), find a target and shoot it, and pop back down. The less time you are exposed, the less chance someone will spot you.
- Move frequently. If you kill someone, particularly if they're close, they know exactly where you are and will probably come back with a vengeance. Move, and cover the position you previously occupied. Generally this will be progressively falling back or moving laterally. If you have the numbers it might be a straight assault push, but this is rare to always have at your disposal.
- Only expose yourself to the smallest field of view you need.
- Keep in mind where the enemy will likely come from, and go. People are lazy and like to go in a straight line from where they spawn to where they’re going. Good examples… enemy MSPs straight to town, and enemy AB straight to a depot they’re interested in.
- Since people think so linearly, get after their flanks. A battle position with a flank shot on the enemy’s likely axis of advance will yield heaps of kills.
- Set your shots up so they are as easy as possible. Work smart, not hard. Set positions in a range and orientation that you’re comfortable with so that your first shot will hit.
- “Reverse” positions, when you can set them up, are excellent. In this type of scenario you have some sort of cover or concealment behind you, and you are set up so you have a shot at the enemy’s back when he goes by. Since even good infantry typically have poor rear security, it’s an easy kill.