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Theatre of War - Basic Training

=0A =0ATheatre of War=0A=0A Walkthrough 1 (of 4)=0A=0A Training Mission 1: =
BASIC TRAINING=0A=0A =0A=0A This is the first in a series of articles base=
d on the training missions included in Theatre of War. The goal is to expla=
in the general game interface but also to highlight some of the tactical pr=
inciples fundamental to understanding and enjoying a tactical WW2 ground co=
mbat game which, unlike so many other RTS games, involves more strategy tha=
n just "who can click faster wins".=0A=0A This first article covers some ba=
sic game mechanics such as how to select and move units, while the followin=
g three articles will dig deeper into tactical problems and how to solve th=
em using realistic WW2 tactics (and how to execute them in the game).=0A=0A=
The series will cover the following four training scenarios:=0A=0A - =
that all screenshots are taking from a beta version of the game, and do not=
necessarily represent the final release product. This is especially true f=
or a lot of the english language in the beta at the time when the screens w=
ere taken.=0A=0A =0A=0A =0A=0A The Basic Training mission consists of 5 in=
dividual mission objectives which the player has to complete one by one, wh=
ile in the meantime learning and applying basic game functions, such as cam=
era control, unit selection, movement and other commands. Since this is a t=
raining mission, none of the opponents really poses any threat, and in most=
cases they're either only weakly armed or even entirely unarmed (or have n=
o ammo).=0A=0A Objective 1: move a small squad of Russian infantry soldiers=
to a machinegun emplacement, man the MG and issue firing orders to fight a=
ttacking German infantry.=0A=0A Objective 2: sneak into position with two s=
nipers and take out a German Anti-tank gun crew=0A=0A Objective 3: Setup an=
anti-tank gun and destroy an approaching German tank, then capture an enem=
y tank and destroy an enemy recon element=0A=0A Objective 4: order an artil=
lery strike on a German trenchline=0A=0A Objective 5: order an air strike o=
n a German gun emplacement=0A=0A =0A=0A We're starting off with Lt. Dorofe=
y Blokhin and his infantry squad. The goal is to move the squad to the MG p=
osition ahead and man the MG. Obviously that's not too difficult to do sinc=
e they just need to walk over, but again the goal in this training mission =
is to first teach the ain interface functions and conventions.=0A=0A In The=
atre of War, each soldier is principally moved individually by left-clickin=
g either on the soldier figure, or also on the hovering icon above him. But=
this can get difficult to do in the heat of the battle for each individual=
soldier under your command, as there can be quite a lot of units on the ma=
p at the same time, so there are some additional group selection options av=
ailable. You can click-and-drag a selection box around the units you'd like=
to choose for example. Or you can hold the SHIFT key and click on the unit=
s you'd like to group select one by one. Or, a special form of selection fo=
r infantry squads, is that you can double-click on the squad leader's icon,=
thus selecting the entire squad (no matter where the individual soldiers a=
re). After you select a group of units, you can also assign such a group to=
a specific Group key, and can then select the entire group, regardless of =
their location on the map, buy hitting the number key of the group.=0A=0A =
=0A=0A After selecting the soldiers soldiers, simply right-click on the des=
tination you want them to move to. As soon as you have more than one unit s=
elected, the game is treating your selected units as a "formation", and you=
can use any of the formation keys visible at the bottom of the user interf=
ace. With one click you could order the selected soldiers to advance in a l=
ine, or wedge, or no formation etc. By right-clicking and holding the mouse=
button you can change the facing of the formation at the target waypoint.=
=0A=0A =0A=0A =0A=0A =0A=0A Formations automatically adjust to the terrain =
they travel, too. If a wall or house is in the way, the formation is adapte=
d accordingly.=0A=0A =0A=0A In the next step, we want to assign somebody =
to fire the MG. It's a German MG-34, but that doesn't matter, as units can =
capture and use enemy weapons in the game, provided that they have a Gunner=
skill which is high enough to make them use the equipment (the requirement=
is low for something like an MG, but much higher for capturing and using a=
n anti-tank gun or tank for example)=0A=0A As you can see from the interfac=
e above, the MG-34 requires a two-man crew to be fully operational, a gunne=
r and a loader. This is indicated by the two empty "card" slots to the righ=
t of the ammo slot. You can use the gun with just one crewmember, but at a =
slower rate of fire, lower accuracy and other disadvantaged usually, depend=
ing on the type of weapon you're using.=0A=0A =0A=0A Select two soldiers t=
o man the MG! This is done by selecting two guys (e.g. by holding the SHIFT=
key and left-clicking on their icons) and right-clicking on the gun. The =
cursos changes to a "door" icon to show that you are about to man the MG.=
=0A=0A Choose good supporting positions for the other members of the squad.=
In TOW, soldiers will use the best cover available at or near the position=
they're at automatically, but they will not move very far usually. There a=
re two exceptions to that - when they're panicked and disobeying your order=
s, or when you assign them a target to shoot at. Once you do that, units en=
ter "attack" mode and will automatically move towards the target to improve=
their aim or get a line of sight.=0A=0A As you can see in the screenshot, =
a German squad appeared down the road. Without needing any orders to do so,=
the Russian squad and MG open fire, as their "behaviour" has been to set t=
o engage all units in sight. You can also instruct soldiers to hold fire if=
you want, of course.=0A=0A =0A=0A =0A=0A =0A=0A The squad leader and one =
other soldier take cover behind the sandbags while I order one soldier with=
a submachinegun to run towards some tree cover on the left and engage from=
a shorter distance. Since TOW is using realistic battle distances and not,=
like most RTS games, shortened distances to compress the action into what =
is visible on the screen at any one time, it can be important to keep an ey=
e at the abilities of the weapons your soldiers are using. In this example,=
a submachinegun is much less accurate at a distance over 50 meters than a =
rifle or mounted machinegun.=0A=0A Distances, by the way, are shown in the =
upper right hand corner of the mini-map window, and indicate the distance f=
rom the selected unit to whereever the cursor is pointing to (in the above =
screen, the birch on the left is 13 meters away from the selected submachin=
egunner).=0A=0A =0A=0A =0A=0A =0A=0A The Germans have no chance against th=
e MG in the open. =0A=0A =0A=0A .and =
within literally seconds it's all over.=0A=0A =0A=0A With the first task c=
ompleted, a couple of snipers appears on the scene. Leaving the squad at th=
e MG post, the next task is to sneak the snipers forward on their own and t=
ake out a German anti-tank gun located in the "tank graveyard" further down=
the road.=0A=0A =0A=0A Covered by the stone wall, the snipers are ordered=
to move down the road quickly.=0A=0A ...=0A=0A =0A=0A =0A=0A The article=
doesn't end here! Download and read the full article at:=0A=0Ahttp://www.c=
ombatmission.com/public/tow/tow_walkthrough_1.doc=0A=0A Part two, titled "C=
ombat Tactics Primer", will be posted tuesday, March 6.=0A=0A=0A=0A=0A=0A=

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