Core Maneuvre Tactics

By Vapo

[b]Tactical Maneuvre in Total Annihilation

[/b]This article is written from a Core perspective. You can play like this as Arm, but their forces really aren’t designed for this style of play. In this style, your goal is to force heavy and constant contact with the enemy, where core’s superior armor comes into play. Heavy casualties are inevitable; therefore you must have a very solid and constantly expanding economy, producing a stream of units to throw into the meatgrinder. If your production is more solid than that of your opponent, this style of play will maximize that advantage.

Except for a few little comments, I’m not addressing production at all here. That’s been done. What I haven’t seen done is a really detailed analysis of maneuver tactics. People go into all this detail about build orders, et cetera, and that’s great- you need to do that, you have no prayer without it. What I’m going to do is tell you how to win battles, saving your own units, taking possession of wreckage fields, and thereby at least doubling your economic advantage. If you soundly crush a large army on the field, it’s game over for your enemy.


One of the critical aspects of maneuver involves encircling enemy groups. This not only limits their space to maneuver, but it compresses them into a small area, thereby maximizing the effects of splash weapons. This is utter death on weak units like level 1 kbots; many of them pack into a small area and are very vulnerable because of their low armor. Moreover, the packing minimizes the effects of direct-fire weapons as the battle produces wreckage. If the enemy force is composed, say, of hammers, rockos, and peewees, wreckage effectively eliminates the effects of two thirds of the enemy force; peewees and flashes are helpless before wreckage, and the limited maneuver space prevents them from even moving around it to get a shot off. Your wreckage, their wreckage, it doesn’t matter; it will all be yours for reclamation in the end.

There are several types of envelopment.

Type one involves taking your force and moving it into a sort of C shape around the enemy group. This does not have to be very deep; your group will end up in almost a kidney shape

Type two involves taking part of your group and moving it to the flank of the enemy, forming a slightly deeper encirclement. You might use randomly selected units or you might have a special maneuver group specifically for this purpose; raiders are perfect for this purpose because they are rather fast, have very good armor and are artillery units, allowing them to function in a situation involving wreckage. The body of your main force should consist of all of the level 1 attack units, with proportions changed depending on terrain. I usually like fighting on close maps like Greenhaven, so artillery and shortranged directfire units are the order of the day.

A third form involves a deeper maneuver behind the enemy group. This is not an encirclement so much as a rear maneuver; for this you should use a group composed predominantly of fast units. You should keep a flanking group on hand specifically for this purpose. They will have to maneuver deeply behind the enemy, so they should be fast so that they can be relevant to the battle at hand rather than coming in too little too late after your main force has been slaughtered. If the enemy has support units, artillery, VTOL launchers or suchlike, the goal of your rear attack should be to kill these off. Fast units should be able to destroy these quite handily and get away. Your enemy will now be caught in a hotbox. He has four basic choices:

  1. Deal with your maneuver group. If he tries to do this, he will have to move out of contact with your main body, which won’t work very well and should result in a horrendous rout as your main body destroys his force, which is now divested of all its support assets. Your maneuver group is far too fast for his mixed main body to catch anyway.

  2. Ignore your maneuver group and press his attack on your main body. If he does this, he will lose the battle because you are receiving a steady stream of mixed reinforcements to your main body, including artillery units and other support, while your maneuver group delays or destroys his reinforcements. His main group is now effectively isolated.

  3. He can attempt to break up his main force into two groups, one to pursue your maneuver group and the other to deal with your main force. This will probably again result in a victory for you; he won’t be able to catch your maneuver group, and he’s just dislocated half of his main effort. Your main group might be able to entirely surround and destroy his.

  4. He can try to “squirt” out one side or the other. This might work or it might not depending on the situation. If you have a type one envelopment with your main force to begin with, this will be difficult and will result in his destruction.

In this type of combat, area effect weapons matter immensely. In a smallish combat, the type you might see at the beginning of the game, even one or two levellers used effectively can have devastating effect. As the game progresses, goliaths become positively frightening. I see them as mobile punishers. Stick them behind a hummock and fight with your level ones like usual. The advantage to you will be immense. The more you have, the more exponentially bad the situation becomes for your enemy. Let’s say you have one goliath and nine enemy units. One shot might destroy the enemy in the center and damage the surrounding eight. However, if you have three goliaths, the splash damage from the three shots might be more than the surrounding eight can stand, producing mass wreckage. Here, the purpose of your level one units is to squish the enemy group into a nice handy clump for your splash damage weapons.

Make a level two factory, even if you’re not ready to support large scale production there, and pump out a few goliaths. You’ll see the difference, if you can get them early they maul when combined with level1s this way.

This right here seems to be the whole purpose of mobile artillery. Following along with a hitting force and pounding groups of units that are compressed by encirclement, mobile artillery are incredibly brutal. They are cheap, about a third the price of a goliath, they have longer range, and they may do more damage. On the downside, they maneuver about the same as goliaths and they’re armored with papier mache. Use them right, though, and you’ll see massed enemy troops disappear into thin air. The artillery units have low accuracy but that doesn’t matter here because you’re shooting for an area; shoot them right into the center of an encircled mass and watch the carnage. When I evaluate units, I look at the casualty counts I’m getting with a certain type. Generally I get about the same casualty counts with mobile artillery as I do with Goliaths, and they’re far easier on the early economy. Early’s where they make the most difference.

One interesting thing about envelopments is that the closer you try to surround an enemy group, the easier it is for him to escape. If you are trying to surround closely, his force will have x amount of reaction time on your part to start moving before you are able to stop it. Then it’s a race between your surrounding groups and his; more often than not he will be able to force a breakthrough. If, however, you position several groups around your enemy like the “5” symbol on an oldstyle die, with his group in the center and none of yours making contact, he will have to move to force a confrontation with one of your groups. If he does this, you w ill have time to react. Any attempt at escape on his part will involve a longer distance movement than the distance you will have to move to head him off. If he doesn’t force a confrontation, you can increase the number of tanks surrounding him.

When you are dealing with an enemy group, especially an opponent of the “gather them all into one group and rush” school, you should try to lead his forces into killing grounds. Good places for this are valleys surrounded by hills, or the clearing between four hills. If you have a few seconds to prepare, put out a few small groups of rocket vehicles so that they have firing lanes in between the hills into the valley. They will be relatively protected from retaliation and can deal damage for the whole battle, acting as good support for your front line tanks. Another good place for these is on hills overlooking your chosen battlefield.

Now bait the enemy with an attack by a maneuver group. He should see that your group is composed of weaker vehicles than his, and he’ll most likely attack if he has no radar coverage. (Preparing the battlefield also involves using con vehicles to construct radar emplacements, preferably redundant ones: this is very helpful.) Once you’ve pulled him into your firesack, your maneuver group circles around to hit him from behind, and he finds himself in a bad position.

The advantage of using several separate groups is that you have a number of tactical options that a single-group player doesn’t have. Say your three groups are all on a line. They’re all weaker than his single group, if he’s even close to you in skill, so whichever one he hits will have to retreat.

If he hits the one in the middle, pull back until he’s surrounded on three sides by your groups, then consolidate your retreating force and attack with all three. This is essentially a type one envelopment and if you’ve chosen your terrain it should be favorable to you.

If he hits one of the ends, pull that group back, consolidate, and attack with that and the middle group while your third group maneuvers around to hit his support troops. This is similar to what would be a type three envelopment, above.

The article was taken from this thread.