ACHTUNG! If you're reading this article, most likely you're a fan of Company of Heroes 2 and are looking for strategies to use with the Oberkommando West (henceforth referred to as OKW). Today's guide will cover the fallschirmjäger squad's usefulness in a Luftwaffe OKW army. We will cover scenarios, pros and cons, and maximum usage of the unit itself. More after the break.
Fallschirmjägers return from CoH in a similar form: an elite infantry squad that can be deployed from any static building with at least 4 "model" slots available. However, they do differ from their CoH brethren in several significant ways. For starters, the OKW has a 5 tier veterancy. This means the unit will take longer to reach its maximum potential, increasing the risk/reward of maintaining a unit in combat without losing them. However, overall the unit is arguably one of the best units in game, and requires less upgrading to be a formidable foe.
Unlike in CoH, Falls squads start with their FG42s right away (reflecting the late war feeling Relic is attempting with the OKW) and, because of this, can be deployed immediately during battle to catch the enemy by surprise with adequate firepower. Before we go further, let's look to a blog post by the official Company of Heroes website about the unit and it's abilities-
Panzerfaust: Fire a short-range Panzerfaust anti-tank weapon at the targeted enemy vehicle. (25m)
Bundle Grenade: Throws a baled load of seven Model 24 grenades at the target location. (45m)
Blendkörper 2H Frangible Smoke Grenade: The Blendkörper 2H Frangible Smoke Grenade uses caustic titanium tetrachloride to create a smoke screen and harm nearby infantry through acute exposure. Obscures line of sight. (30m)
So, as you can see, Falls are a well rounded unit which has several abilities that, when spent well, allow a falls squad to stay in the field of battle for a long time before needing to retreat.
Let's start with the cheapest ability and arguably the best- the Panzerfaust. For 25 munitions, a Panzerfaust can be deployed against any armored unit. The Panzerfaust allows penetration against most armored units, immediately inflicting a damaged engine status on a vehicle. While this may not take out most vehicles at full health, it can allow your other AT crews/vehicles to quickly surround the crippled armor and finish it off. This is integral to the OKW play style as any fuel you can salvage will get you closer to your AT tanks.
Next up, Bundle Grenades. Bundle grenades are the most expensive ability available to Falls. Best used against garrisoned units or static emplacements/vehicles (will almost wipe an Ambulance), this ability is useful for clearing a garrisoned building. Remember, though, that this is an expensive ability and can be easily baited by the enemy player to waste your munitions. Best used with units that need to be unpacked before leaving a building.
Lastly, let's take a look at the Blendkörper 2H Frangible Smoke Grenade. Unlocked at veterancy 1, this is the closest the OKW will get to a viable smokescreen. Both the Obersoldaten and the Fallschirmjägers have access to this ability. Not only do they break line of site (albeit, in a smaller than normal field), but they will slowly damage over time all infantry (friendly included) and slow down movement in the smoke. You can use this to slow down retreating squads, as well as use it to punish blobs. However, at 30 munitions it's a littleexpensive. Unless you are floating a healthy amount of munitions and are already in a winning position, I do NOT using this ability often. It's just too costly for the small reward. If you need to break suppression, I recommend using the Flak HT or Luchs for harassment.
Along with the active abilities available, Falls also have passive abilities that will be unlocked during veterancy. At veterancy 2, along with increased evasiveness, they unlock their old ability to cloak in cover. This allows you to set up ambushes for enemy infantry in areas that aren't heavily trafficked. Remember, falls do NOT have a hold fire ability so they will fire at oncoming infantry. They are assault units not recon, so they should be assisting in front line combat.
The other benefit you will get begins at veterancy 3. Your squad will unlock the ability to heal over time during inactivity, essentially eliminating the need to be healed. Not only will this save you munitions from Sturmpioneer medkits, but you can safely duck out of combat as opposed to retreating towards your battlegroup hq. Combined with the cloak ability acquired at veterency 2, Falls can spend more time on the battlefield than similar units. This allows them to handle large battles quickly and efficiently, moving from engagement to engagement with little downtime.
So, where does a Fallschirmjäger squad fall into a Luftwaffe army? Available at 3 command points for a cost of 440 manpower they are an Elite infantry unit capable of high dps at all ranges. However, let's get this out of the way: these are not terminators.
Falls, unlike their glorious brethren the Obersoldaten of the SS, are not beefy tank units meant to solo waves of enemies at higher vets (a design flaw of Obers..). While they share similar traits to their elite counterpart, falls are more of a blitz attacker best used as a flanking unit to an existing engagement. When using FGs, I recommend assigning them their own separate control group (ctrl + #1-9). This will allow you to easily select them and move them to an existing engagement to assist.
The squad has 4 FG42s which will shred enemy infantry to pieces. However, unlike obers, they can not go toe to toe with higher squad count infantry without some smart playing. Enemy units to look out for include Paratroopers with M1919s/Thompsons, Shocks at close range, and flanking Penal flamethrower squads. Falls do not have enough defense to combat close range with an enemy elite infantry of higher model count, at least not until higher veterancy levels. It's important to respect your FGs and keep an active eye on them at all times, as a squad wipe can easily happen if you are not paying attention. Learn to retreat at 2 models until you really feel comfortable with your micro.
Since your fallschirmjägers come equipped with FG42s, this means they will NEVER drop their weapons for the enemy! Not only does this give them a slight edge when forcing engagements, but it means you can deny the enemy their equipment. You can equip a maximum of 2 unit weapons. When low on volks squads, in a pinch you can try to diversify remaining Falls squads. Good combinations include picking up a flamethrower (preferably NOT the M2 since it explodes frequently, deadly for a small and expensive squad), Panzerschrecks, and LMGs including the MG34/42 and M1919. You do not want to pick up a bazooka or bar, as they will reduce your overall DPS and handicap your squad. With schreks, you can use your falls as a stealth AT squad, allowing you to force caution on enemy armor. With LMGS, you can already improve their DPS to an even deadlier degree.
Along with their versatility in combat, Falls also enjoy 2 distinct ways of deployment. As mentioned earlier in this article, Falls can be spawned from any ambient building with 4 model slots available. You can spawn even in the enemy's Fog of War, much to the detriment of ally players. You can spawn from buildings even if they are occupied, just as long as there is room.
The other deployment options comes from Airborne Assault. This unlocks at 10 cp and costs 250 munitions so it won't be around in the early game, but it's an EXCELLENT call in. How it works: after selecting an enemy capture point, 2 Stuka planes will arrive on the map to provide 3 strafe runs. This will pin all squads who stay around the point while dropping a fallschirmjäger squad in to mop up any lingering infantry. While expensive, you can use this to save your manpower for a Konigstiger or Panther instead of spending it on infantry. Use this ability to punish blobbers who set up a mini base around a point. Keep in mind, however, that this ability has zero anti-tank, so plan for enemy armor.
As we come to an end in this article let's discuss a few scenarios in which you may choose to spawn an FG squad.
1. If you decide to forgo an early T4, you can use your FGs in place of Obersoldaten to fill out a similar role. Just remember their fragility when making engagements.
2. If an enemy has set up an indirect fire base, use their deploy ability to punish them for not moving after bombing you. This is especially important for OKW as your HQ Trucks are easily punished if discovered.
3. Use FGs to finish off armor that has escaped your line of sight with a Panzerfaust.
4. If you're suddenly attacked by an opposing force that outnumbers your own, bring out an FG squad behind your force for DPS support.
5. Use bundle grenades during high APM moments to catch a costly squad off guard and wipe them quickly. Especially effective if attacking from 2 or more fronts.
Thank you for reading. If you have any questions please leave a comment below and I will get back with you.
Special thanks to the COH2.org community including l4hti and Neo