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Sd.Kfz. 251 (Wehrmacht) Half-track Guide

By Meow~ :3 - 13th February 2010 - 18:19 PM

The Sd. Kfz. 251 "Hanomag" Half-track is produced from the Krieg Barracks, and costs 220 Manpower and 20 Fuel. Taking up four population with a build time of 30 seconds, it's an easy unit to fit into a Tier Two build order. But why choose to build it? The Wehrmacht Half-track (or just halftrack) is a highly useful unit with a diverse range of roles:
  • Reinforcing troops on the field
  • Transporting units (up to 12 men with a maximum of 3 squads)
  • Suppressing enemy infantry with mounted MGs (when garrisoned)
  • Upgradeable to double flamethrowers or a walking stuka
  • Saving damaged units
  • Aiding Pioneers in harassing points
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The Basics

When the halftrack is garrisoned, a front and rear MG gunner appear. These MGs have fairly decent suppression and will suppress Rifle Squads in the open in one or two bursts. In the event that a gunner is killed, none of the men garrisoned in the halftrack will be lost. The gunners can be replaced for free by simply jumping out of the halftrack and getting back in. It only takes a single man inside the halftrack to activate both MGs on the halftrack. If the halftrack is destroyed it deals 50% damage to every squad inside (in either men or health).


When To build a halftrack

Halftracks are best against the Americans, not so much the British. Button, AP Bren Carriers, and PIATs will all be a challenge against a British opponent. This is not to say the halftrack is useless, just more of a high risk unit. Halftracks do best on large maps; it goes without saying that they need at least some room to maneuver as well. If using the Defensive Doctrine with a heavy emphasis on Bunkers, the halftrack may not be needed but is still useful as a mobile suppression unit. Halftracks are largely capable of being effective on every map except Ruins of Rouen.

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Upgrades

The halftrack can also be upgraded to have double flamethrowers once in the Assault Phase, and stuka rockets in the Battle Phase. The flamethrower upgrade is somewhat useful in that unlike Flamethrower-equipped Pioneers the halftrack can't be suppressed, has two flame throwers, and moves quickly. However it also comes late in the game since it requires the assault phase upgrade. A more practical alternative is to garrison your Flamethrower-equipped Pioneers in the halftrack and then drop them off next to whatever needs to be burned. The "Walking Stuka" rocket artillery upgrade is a much more practical upgrade for the halftrack, as by the time it becomes available the halftrack will be more of a back line unit anyways. The rocket artillery itself fires 6 highly damaging rockets with fairly short range for an artillery piece (a bit longer range than a 88mm FlaK 36). However it is quite accurate if line of sight on the target is available. After either the flamethrower or stuka upgrade the halftrack is no longer garrisonable, but can still reinforce nearby troops.

Halftracks receive vehicle veterancy and all levels are fairly useful. Aside from level three, which only really helps against small arms and artillery.

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Thanks to CoHStats.com for this image


Advanced Tactics

The main advantage of having a halftrack is that it adds variety, mobility, and staying power to a force. The best way to use a halftrack is to have a Pioneer Squad permanently assigned to it. Keep the squad inside the halftrack except to capture points, repair, or use Flamethrowers. The armor of the halftrack combined with this ability to rapidly repair makes it a fairly effective shock unit, especially against the Americans.

The machine guns on the halftrack have fairly poor accuracy and damage, but quite a bit of suppression. Use them to stop flanking squads as a priority. The fact that the halftrack has a rear MG as well means it can be potentially used against two targets at once.

Opponents will often underestimate the halftrack and in some cases not even bother to take cover, use this to your advantage and dish out the pain. When using a halftrack don't be afraid of multiple squads unless they have AT weapons, the incremental accuracy makes it even more powerful against grouped units. When fighting Rifle Squads don't be afraid to take a Sticky Bomb if the halftrack is well supported (which it should be), as it takes three to kill a halftrack. If the American player fails to kill the halftrack, he'll have wasted 35 Munitions as the halftrack can be shortly repaired by its assigned Pioneer squad. Should an opponent decide to charge the halftrack with multiple squads, kite them back towards an MG42 Squad or Mines just like any other vehicle.

The ability to reinforce squads in the field and garrison wounded squads to avoid damage gives a halftrack-supported Wehrmacht army a lot of staying power. However, squads trying to get into halftrack are vulnerable for about two seconds, as getting into a halftrack isn't instant. For seriously wounded squads retreat is still the best option. Like any other vehicle, halftracks can also be used to push squads out of cover. Additionally, If an opponent has an M8 or T17 the halftrack can be used to block his vehicle if it is trying to escape a PaK or Panzershreck round, however this takes some micro to execute. In any case, halftracks are always best when supporting other units.

Halftracks are very vulnerable to Mines. A Mine and a Sticky Bomb with some small arms fire is sufficient to kill it. 57mm Anti-Tank Guns are a hard counter to halftracks, leaving halftracks with 25% health after a single hit. M8s and t17s are a threat as well, as they can quickly kill the halftrack and are mobile. However, these vehicles can also be led into Mines or PaKs if an opponent gets to eager. Never get too close to a .30 Cal. MG Crew, as halftracks are very vulnerable to .30 Cal AP rounds; they will be either be maimed with engine damage and 5% health or destroyed after two bursts. If the halftrack starts taking damage from .30 Cal AP rounds, back it away immediately. Against the British halftracks are less effective; all British armor can take off large chunks of its hit points. 17-Pounders hit it very rarely, but a Bofors can take down a halftrack in short order.

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Replays

To further illustrate the role of the "Hanomag", here are some replays illustrating exemplary use of it:




Conclusion

Halftracks are a versatile unit that can fill a number of roles in any tier two strategy (especially one without Defensive Doctrine Dunkers). Halftracks are great offensively, and defensively, while also retaining usefulness at any stage of the game with their upgrades. The biggest problem with the Sd. Kfz. 251 Halftrack is that it smells like Volksgrenadiers and Klaus never drives fast enough.