Company of Heroes 3: North Africa Campaign Hands-On Mission – IGN First

North Africa in Company of Heroes 3 isn’t just a different campaign structure and sandy color scheme. Compared to Italy, where the might of American and British forces keeps your offensive going, the Deutsch Afrika Korps often have to make a big difference with smaller, undersupplied forces and whatever they can find, sometimes literally. In this brand new exclusive mission, Desert Route Raid, we took a look at the kinds of challenges the dunes can throw at you.

To not have enough time

This storyline, set sometime after the crucial Battle of Tobruk, opens with Erwin Rommel detailing a high-risk, high-reward opportunity to hit British fuel supplies. There is no base building in this one. And worse, you don’t even have real armor to play with. It’s just two armored cars and four squads of infantry, sent deep into enemy territory to clear some depots before a larger patrol returns. Of course, whatever you say, Feldmarschall…

Company of Heroes 3: Unit Spotlight – IGN First

These Sonderkraftfahrzeuge, or Sd.Kfz. if you prefer, are agile and effective at suppressing infantry. But they don’t have a lot of armor and are very vulnerable to AT Rifles and Grenades, so I found I really needed to use them for quick, fast attacks before falling back for repairs. Luckily, this is something the DAK are very good at, as even their base infantry know how to car clip. Losing even one can be disastrous, as there is no way to replace them. And pretty much every step of the way, you’re going to be overwhelmed.

blood on the sand

I found the tactical pause feature very useful here, as every move had to be coordinated quite precisely. But the real key to success ended up being looting every squad weapon in sight. You cannot form new teams, but you can reinforce existing ones. And sending Panzergrenadiers to recover an abandoned machine gun, for example, creates a new HMG squad that can be reinforced on its own, while bringing the infantry back to full strength. You can get pretty decent strength together this way.

Company of Heroes 3 – North Africa Campaign Screenshots

With my ragtag strike force brandishing whatever I could find, I pushed to do as much damage as possible while Rommel shouted at me how close the patrol was getting and how I was running out of time. I wanted to radio back, “Gee sir, it would have been nice if you gave us, maybe, A TANK, but don’t worry. We’ve got that.” The only major advantage I was able to exploit was air support, with both bombers and strafing ready to even the odds.

Taken moments before the disaster

Even so, we never felt like we had the time or the firepower to make this goofy plan work. It’s not the end of the game if the enemy patrol shows up, as you can try to sneak around them to reach the last objective area. But with the British entrenched and lacking any serious ability to push, we felt like we were being sent to our deaths. Not that I have a particular problem watching Nazis get their asses kicked, of course.

You really have to get creative and you don’t really have time to go for anything other than a blitz without brakes.

Tobruk looks like a mission to highlight DAK’s strengths. Desert Route Raid is more of a story about their weaknesses, with a possibility of overcoming them. You can’t take advantage of some of their more useful unique abilities, like driving tanks or scavenging enemy vehicles. The core of your force is a pair of highly efficient but extremely vulnerable motorized units. You really have to get creative and you don’t really have time to go for anything other than a blitz without brakes.

No Exit

Having to rely on spongy infantry, scouring the battlefield and pursuing objectives with a few irreplaceable vehicles definitely highlights the desperate and deadly aspects of the North African conflict. Fighting conventional warfare in an environment that just doesn’t want you there, often with very few supplies you need to fight effectively, was definitely a reality for forces on both sides of the theater. Due to its linear structure, these details come out in the character of the missions themselves rather than at the strategic level.

It also proves that Company of Heroes 3 means business by stretching your skills as a commander to breaking point, if you’re up for the challenge. We are playing against a faction that we know, historically, has been defeated. And there will be no alternate history here. You might win some battles, but not the war. This is the story of a doomed army stranded in a barren land, fighting for the ambitions of a madman. And in that sense, the fact that this mission felt like such a misguided suicide rush makes a lot of sense in its context.

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