Assault Company Field Manual

Overlord

Assault Company Field Manual

This field manual outlines the equipment and tactics of a US Assault Company from Overlord. The first section looks at the weapons available to the company and gives a brief analysis of their comparative capability.

Colour
Meaning
Best Best in this role
Good Good in this role
OK OK in this role
Poor Poor in this role
Bad Terrible in this role

 The second section covers the artillery and air support available to the company in a similar format. The remainder of the manual discusses tactics in attack, assault and defensive situations.

The weapons and artillery analyses use a colour coding to indicate the relative capabilities of each weapon on the following scale.

The comparisons are between weapons performing in the given role, not between roles for the same weapon. This means for instance that a M5 3in gun (Green) is better than an M1 57mm gun (Yellow) against heavy tanks. On the other hand, it does not mean that a Mortar Jeep is better against dug-in infantry (Green) than against infantry in the open (Red).

In this case all that can be understood from those ratings is that the Mortar Jeep is one of the better weapons against dug-in infantry, but there are better weapons for use infantry in the open (such as a Recon Jeep with a higher rate of fire).

Weapons

The Assault Company has a wide variety of weapons available to it ranging from M4 Sherman tanks and M7 Priest HMC self-propelled guns to machine-guns and Bazooka anti-tank rocket launchers. The following table compares these weapons against a variety of targets.

Sherman Dozer

Vehicles

Target
M4A1 Sherman DD M4 or M4A1 Sherman M4 or M4A1 Sherman Dozer M4 or M4A1 Sherman OP M7 Priest HMC M16 MGMC (Quad .50cal) M15 CGMC (37mm) M8 armoured car Recon Jeep Mortar Jeep
Dual Purpose
        Art AA AA Recce Recce Recce, Art 
Mobility
Good Good Good Good Good Poor Bad Poor OK OK
Protection
Ok OK OK OK Poor Poor Poor Poor Bad Bad
Range
Good Good Good Good OK Poor Ok OK Poor OK
Infantry
Good Good Good Good OK Best Good Good OK Poor
Dug-in Infantry & Guns
Good Good Good Poor Poor Best Best OK Bad Good
Unarmoured Vehicles
Good Good Good Good OK Best Good Good OK Poor
Light Tanks
OK OK OK Poor Poor Good OK OK Bad Bad
Medium Tanks
Poor Poor Poor Poor Bad Bad Bad Bad Bad Bad
Heavy Tanks
Poor Poor Poor Bad Bad Bad Bad Bad Bad Bad

Guns and Infantry

Target
M5 3in gun

M3 half-
track gun tractor

M1 57mm gun M2A1 105mm howitzer M3 105mm light howtizer M2 60mm mortar M2 ,50cal MG M1917 HMG team M1919 LMG team Bazooka team Rifle team Carbine team SMG team Flame-
thrower team
Dual Purpose
      Art Art  Art                 
Mobility
Bad OK Poor Bad Bad OK OK OK OK OK OK OK Good Good
Protection
Poor Poor Poor Poor Bad Bad Bad Bad Bad OK OK OK OK OK
Range
Good Poor OK OK Poor OK Poor OK Poor Bad Poor Bad Bad Bad
Infantry
Poor OK Bad Poor Poor Poor OK Best  Good Poor Poor Poor OK Poor
Dug-in Infantry & Guns
Good OK Bad Poor Poor Good OK OK Poor Bad Bad Bad Poor Best
Unarmoured Vehicles Poor OK Bad Poor Poor Poor OK Best Good Poor Poor Poor OK Poor
Light Tanks
OK Poor Best Poor Poor Bad Poor Poor Bad Poor Bad Bad Bad Poor
Medium Tanks
OK Bad OK Bad Bad Bad Bad Bad Bad Poor Bad Bad Bad Poor
Heavy Tanks
OK Bad Poor Bad Bad Bad Bad Bad Bad Bad Bad Bad Bad Poor

Artillery

The artillery assets of an Assault Company range from battleships to light 60mm mortars. The following table compares these weapons against a variety of targets.

Target
Naval Gunfire
Support
M7 Priest HMC Mortar Jeep M2A1 105mm
howitzer
M3 105mm
light howitzer
M2 60mm
mortar
P38 Lightning,
P47 Thunderbolt
Dual Purpose
Art Art Recce, Art Art Art Art Fighter
Mobility
N/A Good OK Bad Bad OK N/A
Protection
N/A Poor Bad Poor Bad Bad N/A
Range Best Good Poor Good OK Poor N/A
Infantry
OK OK Good OK OK Good Poor
Dug-in Infantry and Guns
Best OK Bad OK OK Bad OK
Unarmoured Vehicles
OK OK Good OK OK Good Poor
Light Tanks
Best OK Bad OK OK Bad OK
Medium Tanks
Best OK Bad OK OK Bad OK
Heavy Tanks
Best OK Bad OK OK Bad OK

Tactics in the Attack

This is an Assault Company, so attacks are your forte. Because you are an Assault Company, you will always be attacking against infantry companies, but you will be defending against mechanised and armoured companies, looking for an opportunity to counterattack.

Infantry in Assault Kit

Attacking Infantry

Let’s start with attacking against infantry. Here you have a number of advantages. Your boat sections are well equipped for the task. You have good mortars and machine-guns. You have plentiful artillery support, and you have good tanks. As always, the hardest part of an attack is getting through the enemy fire into range to launch an assault. As always, the only answer is combined arms.

Before you even put down one model, you need to come up with a plan. Your force is not highly mobile, so you cannot switch the direction of your attack once it is underway. Instead, you have to choose a target and make sure you can take it. The first step is to take plenty of boat sections. This will allow you to keep the enemy under pressure all along the line and arrive on the objective with enough strength to take it from the enemy. At the same time you have to keep pressure up on other parts of the line to stop the enemy from rushing everything over to stop your main thrust.

Tank Support

The second step is tanks. The army has thoughtfully provided your division with a battalion of Donald Duck swimming tanks, and you should take advantage of them. The choice is between the larger DD tank platoon swimming ashore, and the smaller tank platoon landing directly on the beach with a bulldozer tank. If you are assaulting a beach, both have their advantages.

The DD tanks are less affected by the vagaries of chance as they land individually, whereas the tank platoon is all or nothing if their landing craft is delayed. On the other hand, the bulldozer of the tank platoon can be invaluable in getting off the beach and through some of the enemy’s obstacles. When attacking further inland, the differences are smaller, although the bulldozer can be just as useful—particularly in the Bocage.

Your tanks should accompany the infantry forward using their guns to knock out enemy heavy machine-guns and bunkers, and their machine-guns to pin down enemy infantry ahead of your assaults.

M4A1 Sherman DD
Their ability to get to short range unaffected by most weapons is what makes them so effective. Their biggest problem is the weapons that can affect them. Anti-tank guns and bunkers can knock out your tanks in short order, so you need to keep your tanks far enough behind the infantry that the enemy can’t ambush them easily, and you need to support them with artillery of some sort to engage the anti-tank guns once they have been found.
M2 60mm mortar team

Artillery Support

While knocking out anti-tank guns is an important role for your artillery, it is equally important for keeping the enemies’ heads down while you are advancing and for silencing their artillery. You have a wide range of choice for your artillery with three types of mortars and three types of gun in your arsenal. The boat section’s own 60mm mortar is best used as a grenade-launcher at short range, but can fire a bombardment in an extremity.

The battalion’s 81mm mortars are more effective as artillery. They have the numbers and the speed of response to get rounds down range quickly, although their destructive effect is limited. They are perfect for suppressing the enemy and restricting their fire and for harassing their reserves moving into the fight. Fire smoke for immediate screening of enemy anti-tank guns while the bigger weapons get into the fight.

The 4.2” chemical mortars are a bigger version of the battalion mortars. They have enough firepower to seriously hurt something and are a good choice to consider. Their only real weakness is that they cannot sustain a prolonged bombardment against a single target as well as the field artillery.

The regimental cannon platoon is very similar to the chemical mortars in many ways. Their big bonus in a beach assault is that they come with their own amphibious DUKW trucks allowing them to land without waiting for a landing craft to come available.

4.2" chemical mortar
M3 105mm light howitzer

Their downside is that they aren’t quite as quick to get rounds on the target as the mortars, although their bigger battery causes more damage when they hit.

A field artillery battery also has its own DUKW amphibious trucks, but has the advantage of a staff team allowing it to fire an All Guns Repeat bombardment on the same target as they fire in the previous turn.  

Persistent bombardment like this can destroy any target over a number of turns. The staff team also give them the capability to fire a Time on Target bombardment if they can identify the target quickly. This sudden firestorm forces the enemy to re-roll their saves, making it very destructive.

Finally we come to the armoured artillery. These combine the benefits of the field artillery battery with a bigger battery for more destructive effect, and the armour to operate as assault guns against light opposition.

M2A1 105mm howitzer

Their only downsides are their high cost and the need to tie up a landing craft to bring them ashore, although their ability to fire from their landing craft can make even that disadvantage a bonus.

Of course, there is also the US Navy. They can give you fire support from battleships lying off the coast. Their effect is devastating, but you can’t always count on them as other units might call them away from supporting you at a critical moment, and they lack a staff team.

You will probably need two different artillery options in your force to get the best level of support. Which two you choose really depends on your own style of play.

Boat Sections move up the beach

Tactics for Assaults

This is the good bit with this force. Your boat sections have the tool for every occasion! You have a 60mm mortar to knock out pesky heavy machine-guns as the rest of the section charges. You have a flame-thrower to guarantee that the enemy will be Pinned Down when it comes to defensive fire, and you have riflemen and bazooka teams to finish the enemy off. If you want them, you can even have some light machine-guns to really up your covering fire when you assault and break up counterattacks before they can even hit your lines.

When you advance on the objective do so with several boat sections abreast with another couple in the second wave. Keep moving forward, firing as you go, with all of them. Your opponent will have difficulty bringing enough firepower to bear to keep all of them pinned down, so you will always be advancing somewhere keeping the pressure on. Once you are close enough to assault with one of them, have all of your mortars and light machine-guns in range stop and shoot to help them get amongst the enemy. Then cut loose with the flame-thrower to thin the enemy down a little further and pin them down so that their defensive fire is minimised. After that, it should be a fairly simple matter to clear up the survivors.
Bunkers require a bit different technique. If you don’t pin them down every turn, they’ll rip your force apart in short order. Your tanks (and your ‘triple-A’ anti-aircraft artillery half-tracks if you are brave!) are good at pinning down bunkers, but probably won’t be able to keep all of them under fire all of the time. Don’t worry, your 60mm mortars are outstanding at pinning bunkers and knocking out open bunkers and your bazookas aren’t too shabby either. As soon as your heavy weapons get within range of the bunkers, they should stop and take them under fire while the rest of the platoon closes for the kill. Even without tanks, you can be pretty certain of success this way. German bunker

Tactics in the Defence

If you find yourself facing an armoured counterattack intent on pushing you back into the sea, your tactics need to change. Your boat sections are the main line of defence. Get your infantry dug in near the objectives in tank-proof terrain like woods and villages and your opponent will have great difficulty digging them out, especially with the number of bazookas you can muster.

Assault Company riflemen

Put your mobile elements in reserve, your tanks, recon and anti-aircraft half-tracks. These can move quickly to reinforce the most threatened sectors when they arrive. If they start the game in the line, they’ll die quickly as your opponent focuses on them before advancing. In reserve though, they are safe until your enemy has closed with your infantry and is now facing multiple threats. At that point they can strike and make a real difference.

While they are not so useful when attacking, a tank destroyer platoon can make all the difference in a defensive battle.

Their scouts should be deployed at the start of the battle, moving to the flanks of any tank attack so that the towed 3” guns can make a major impact on the battle getting flank shots from covered positions as the enemy engage the boat sections on the objectives. As with the tanks, don’t get the guns engaged too early, as otherwise they will be fighting alone and will be destroyed.

Your artillery, on the other hand, needs to get into the game as early as possible to have the maximum effect. Once you have enough infantry deployed to hold the objectives, getting your artillery on the table at the start of the game is a good idea. Put your guns behind woods or hills where the enemy can’t see them, but where they can fire on any troops attempting to take the objective. That way they are safe and can pound the enemy remorselessly as they advance.

Finally, never give up. Counterattack with everything you have and hold on to the objectives until the end. 

Phil