The Battlefield Environment – By 2Coats
A commander’s appreciation of the tactical objectives will only go so far in helping to attain victory. In Galactic Assault: Prisoner of Power, the environment will play an important role in how each battle unfolds.
Understanding how terrain, the weather and the day-night cycle affect the conduct of combat may be the difference between victory and defeat. Terrain impacts units in different ways, depending on whether the unit is attacking or defending.
In defence, an outnumbered force can seek to keep impassable terrain such as mountains or deep-water rivers on its flanks. This ensures no attempt by an enemy force to maneuver around the frontline and cause havoc in the army’s rear. If no mountains are present, then swamps or hills can restrict any possible enemy attack to just infantry.
While all units can entrench on open ground in order to increase protection, doing this on roads can restrict enemy movement to the point of stalling their attack. This is especially effective when a vital road or bridge travels through restrictive terrain such as mountains, swamps, forest or deep water. Indeed, the entire attack can be stopped dead in its tracks or at the very least the number of weapons trained on your units restricted to fewer than what would otherwise have been. Unable to bring to bear more than few formations against entrenched defenders will take a longer for the attacker to smash through to their objective.
Furthermore, infantry units defending in an urban sprawl will fare much better if occupying the interior of structures. Provided with additional protection, defenders can cause more damage against encroaching enemy forces, while the attackers cause fewer casualties. The best structures are purpose-built fortifications that can be found pre-made within certain missions. Not only do they provide a significant defence bonus they reducing the visible profile of the unit within.
Unseen units deep inside enemy forests can lay ambushes by camouflaging their profile from prying eyes. When the unsuspecting enemy force moves within range, the trap can be sprung. Only when an enemy unit moves adjacent to them or if a reconnaissance unit is in range will they become visible.
Just as important, friendly artillery can be placed on sheer heights to gain additional range to fire upon approaching enemy forces below. Only enemy infantry can scale those heights and thus the enemy will find it difficult to remove them from the heights, unless a flanking maneuver is mounted or enough infantry cab mount a sustained frontal assault to drive out the howitzers.
Conversely, while most environmental elements provide additional defence, some terrain can be used just as effectively as part of an offensive strategy. Roads increase the move rate of infantry and artillery, enabling these units to reach tactical objectives quicker and seize vital ground.
If a defending force believes that its flank is well protected by a river, its may prove to be a costly assumption. Using engineers, pontoon bridges can be erected to allow an army to cross where it was not possible before. Or a nearby ford may be shallow enough to do the same.
The bottom edge of steep heights can hide units from the attacks of enemy artillery on the higher slopes. Until that is, enough units are massed to launch an uphill assault.
While forests can aid a defender, they can also cover an attackers flanking maneuver rolling to cause havoc in the vulnerable rear echelons housing bases and airdromes.
Just as terrain plays a significant role in combat, so does the time of day.As the clock ticks on, dawn turns into day; day turns to dusk, dusk to night and night back to dawn. So goes the cycle.
Each change in time will hamper or aid both attackers and defenders as failing or no light, hampers the spotting ranges of all units. Planning an attack by moving units into positions just outside the sight of defending forces can mean surprise is achieved.
This works especially well if it can be timed so that attacking units are in position by the end of the night, ready for a dawn raid.
Weather in Galactic Assault: Prisoner of Power can also assist an attacking or defending force. During fine weather, enemy air forces can operate to the detriment of opposing armored forces. When the weather turns nasty, enemy air forces are less effective and can be grounded if a blizzard descends upon the battlefield
Fine weather also keeps the spotting range of units to their maximum, while bad weather severely restricts it.
All in all, a commander must be mindful of the changing environment and understand how to get the best of the elements, if victory is to be assured.