German infantry in 1944 present a mix of moderately well-trained troops and good equipment at moderately high costs. Their infantry doctrines revolve around the MG42 machine-gun which is embedded in every rifle platoon. However, their rifle squads are on the small side, making it difficult for a German player to achieve numerical superiority.
=Squads & Teams
* Light Patrol Squad: 4x K98k Rifle, 2x MP40 SMG * Long-Range Combat Squad: 7 x K98k, 2 x MP40, 1 x MG42 * Close-Quarters Assault Squad: 8 x MP40, 2 x Panzerfaust * Machine-Gun Team: 3 x MG42, 2 x Scout * Anti-Tank Team: 2 x Panzerfaust, 1 x Panzerschrek * Sniper Team: 1 x Sniper, 1 x Scout * Mortar Team: 3 x Mortar, 2 x Scout
Like the British and the Soviets, the German soldier of WWII was armed with the same weapon his WWI predecessors had carried in the trenches. The German infantryman armed with the bolt-action Karabiner 98 Kurz (Carbine, 1898, Short) has slightly less range and accuracy than the British Enfield rifleman, but is superior in range and accuracy to American and Soviet riflemen. However, American troops getting close enough to use their semiautomatic M1 Garands will put out lead faster and likely overwhelm an even number of German troops. Like all riflemen they carry fragmentation grenades as short-range secondary weapons.
A simplifed version of the prewar MP38 (standard prop for any German soldier in a Hollywood war movie), the MP40 was one of the war's best submachine guns despite reliability problems with the ammunition feed. Its low recoil gave it greater accuracy than the American Thompson or Soviet PPsch-41; nevertheless like all submachine guns in the game these troops are best suited to close-quarters firefights in terrain, thick woods, or urban areas. Their full-automatic fire allows them to rapidly defeat enemy riflemen if they can get close enough, and like all submachine gun units they carry fragmentation grenades as short-range secondary weapons.
Easily the signature weapon of German infantry in WWII, the MG42 was designed for easier manufacture and a higher firing rate than the previous MG34 - Allied troops likened its bursts to "ripping cloth." The MG42 is the most versatile machine gun in the game; it can be fired prone or dug in as a tripod-mounted emplacement with increased resistance to frontal attack, firing rate, and range, although in the latter form it has a shorter range than the Vickers and Maxim guns used by the British and Soviets. Inclusion of one of these weapons in every rifle squad helps the Germans offset their typical numerical disadvantage, as the high rate of fire and greater range than a rifle allows a dug-in MG42 to annihilate infantry attacks. Several dug-in machine guns pose a real threat to even light vehicles such as halftracks.
A cheap, short-ranged, single-use antitank weapon, the Panzerfaust ("Tank fist") was developed in several variants over the course of the war, most numerously as the Panzerfaust 60 modeled in the game (introduced September 1944). Its heavier warhead compensates for the low velocity, giving it about the same destructive capability as the bulkier Panzerschreck. Panzerfaust troops are less visible than their longer-range counterparts, allowing them to sneak within firing range of enemy vehicles. Unlike the Panzerschrek, the Panzerfaust can be used as a grenade against small groups of enemy infantry.
Postwar, the Russians used the late-model Panzerfaust 150 as the basis for the similar RPG-2 and later the infamous RPG-7 antitank weapons.
In 1942, German forces managed to capture substantial numbers of American-made M1 bazookas. The Panzerschrek ("Tank terror") is essentially the same weapon but in a much larger caliber (88mm vs. 60mm). This makes the Panzerschrek arguably the most devastating infantry antitank weapon in the game, capable of demolishing even heavy targets like the Soviet IS-2 or ISU-152 with one shot to the top, flank, or rear (frontal attacks require 2 hits). Although it has a longer reach than the Panzerfaust, this is offset by being more visible to enemy troops. It is not effective against enemy infantry.
"I was so favorably impressed [by the Panzerschreck] I was ready to take after the Krauts with their own weapon." - Cpl. Donald E. Lewis, U.S. Army
Sniping was a specialty of German forces in WWII. The scoped variant of the K98 rifle has a lower rate of fire than its infantry brethren, but much greater range, accuracy, and damage (accounting for fatal placement of individual shots). A single shot usually kills enemy infantry. Snipers can fire undetected, allowing one to pin down and pick off superior numbers of enemy troops; they are ineffective against vehicles. However, if infantrymen or vehicles get close enough to spot the sniper, he is typically eliminated in a hail of fire.
Armed with the semiautomatic Walther P38 pistol, the scout is capable of defending himself at close range against an isolated infantryman stumbling upon him. However, he's better off sneaking around enemy units and finding a vantage point to observe targets for artillery, machine guns, and snipers; if found he becomes a bulls-eye for anything in the area.
Grw 34 Mortar
An 80mm mortar, the Granatwerfer 34 can rain inaccurate but continuous fire on enemy positions at long range (for an infantry unit). Its projectiles devastate infantry units and can pose a hazard to light vehicles (provided they hit). Like all mortars, they require logistics supply and can fire over terrain, allowing a mortar team stationed behind a hill or ridge to rain explosive shells on the enemy unseen. However, care must be taken that one's own infantry isn't too close to the action; mortars firing on enemy troops engaged in close combat with your own can lead to friendly fire casualties.