Based on game version V.12.03.13.182 of the game.
I've seen quite a few discussions around about infantry these days in the forums, So I thought "well, let's share my infinite wisdom".
As a reminder, these are mainly my opinions, they are bound to change, and can be flawed, but I'd be happy to correct myself if proven wrong.
For the PACT infantry topic, follow the link
So here is a quick guide with a rough description of each and every NATO unit, by category.
Categories are, for me:
These have HE 1 and are generally armed with LAW type launchers. They are generally numerous and have average stats. They form the blunt of infantry forces.
These have HE 2 and are generally armed with LAW type launchers. Better against infantry than Rifle squads, they are support for regular Rifle squads.
These have HE 3 and can be equipped to face Air or armour. Very efficient against infantry, they often cost a lot to field.
These have very good optics but generally poor combat efficiency due to being few in numbers.
These are armed with shoulder mounted AA missiles, for occasional air defence.
These are used for long range anti-tank duty, mainly for defence, and generally with poor combat ability.
Special roles teams
Strange multitasking units.
The transports are an important part when choosing your infantry units, depending on the role you want them to have. Never neglect the transports you choose for your units.
- Wheeled vehicles all go at the same speed on roads. All tracked vehicles go at the same speed on roads. Tracked vehicles are slower on roads than wheeled ones. Wheeled vehicles have trouble managing difficult terrains (hedges, forests, etc...) and go very slowly.
- No armour means that anything can damage the vehicle, including rifles. Light armour means that there only is frontal armour. Armoured means frontal and side. All round means... At least one armour on each sides. Heavily armoured means that there is at least one side with 2 armour. Helicopters never have armour.
- Some units have 5 hit points (HP). This means they are rather fragile. All other vehicles have 10 HP. For air units, it is more important as against some weapon systems, it means they can die in one shot.
- MMGs have shorter range than HMGs. HMGs can stun helicopters. Autocanons are efficient against all targets and can stun. They are particularly good against unarmoured or lightly armoured targets.
-VAB (wheeled, fast and lightly armoured, it fields a long range heavy machine gun. Good for fast transport and light fire support and long range operations)
-AMX-10P (Tracked, armoured, autocanon. Good for fire support, for double the price of a VAB)
-B PUMA (Helicopter. Rather fast and good operational range, their big size causes them to be easily spotted)
-H PUMA (Helicopter. Fast and with good operational range, their big size causes them to be easily spotted)
- SARACEN (Wheeled, average speed, 5HP and no armour. Very cheap but average in everything. Features a MMG)
- SPARTAN (Tracked, armoured and fast for an acceptable price. Features a MMG)
- LYNX 1 (Helicopter. Rather fast and good operational range, but only 5 HP)
- LYNX 7 (Helicopter. Fast and good operational range, only armed NATO air transport, but only 5 HP. Can fire two short rocket salvos)
- M113GA1 (Tracked, lightly armoured, with poor speed and operational range, but a decent MMG.)
- TPz FUCHS (wheeled, best speed of all NATO transports, lightly armoured with a decent MMG and good operational range)
- MARDER 1 (Tracked, heavily armoured support vehicle with an autocanon. Acceptably fast and with a good operational range, its only drawback is its price.)
- MARDER 1A1 (Tracked, heavily armoured support vehicle with an autocanon and an ATGM launcher. Acceptably fast and with a good operational range, its only drawback is its price.)
- MARDER 1A2 (Tracked, heavily armoured support vehicle with an accurate autocanon and an ATGM. Acceptably fast and with a good operational range, its only drawback is its price. This version has stabilizers)
- MARDER 1A3 (Tracked, Very heavily armoured support vehicle with an accurate auto canon and an ATGM. With a good operational range, its only drawback is its price. This version has stabilizers)
- DORNIER (Helicopter. Slow and poor operational range, with only 5 HP, it is rather cheap.)
UNITED STATES of AMERICA
- M113 (Tracked, light armoured vehicle, it is very slow and has an bad operational range for cheap.)
- M113A2 (Tracked, light armoured vehicle, it is slow and has an poor operational range)
- M113A3 (Tracked, all round armoured vehicle, it is costly for its worth)
- M2 BRADLEY (Tracked, all round armoured support vehicle, and armed with ATGMs and an autocanon, it costs a lot but has a high damage output for minimal survivability)
- M2A1 BRADLEY (Tracked, all round armoured support vehicle, and armed with accurate ATGMs and an autocanon, it costs a lot but has a high damage output for minimal survivability)
- D HUEY (Helicopter. Slow and bad operational range and only 5 HP, it is rather cheap.)
- H HUEY (Helicopter. fast but poor operational range and only and only 5 HP)
- BLACKHAWK (Helicopter. Fast, it costs a lot)
- CHINOOK (Helicopter. Fast and huge operational range, it is a big target, so easy to spot)
To be used in forests and building for ambushes or denying the opponent critical areas.
Very cheap for 5 points, the chasseurs can come to the battlefield by VAB, AMX-10P and both PUMA variants. With very poor stats (the rifles have poor accuracy and rate of fire and the LAW accuracy) they are not ideal units. They can however be used as canon fodder with 32 units available. VABs are the best choice for them in order not to waste too many points in transports, but I don't recommend using them.
Upgraded version of the Chasseurs, the Chasseurs FAMAS have the best cost efficiency amongst all rifle squads. They can come on the battlefield in VAB, AMX-10P and both PUMA variants. Great accuracy and rate of fire with rifles and accurate LAW, cause them to be chosen over most other rifle squads. A no-brainer choice. Generally used in VABs for fast response, they can be used with efficiency with all of their available transports. However, I don't recommend using them as airborne units: These are main front units, not commandos. Only 20 units can be fielded in a battle, causing them to be rather scarce, and spamming them not a viable option.
Similar to chasseurs FAMAS in rifle ability with a bit smaller rate of fire, they can come to the battlefield SARACEN, SPARTAN or LYNX. Their LAW accuracy however isn't terrible, causing them to die after inflicting some damage to ambushed tank units. Buying them with SARACEN for a cheaper option to Chasseurs FAMAS of with SPARTAN for fast off-road missions. They can be good with all of their available transports. However, I don't recommend using them as airborne units: These are main front units, not commandos. 32 units can be fielded in a battle, making them available as a strong force. Remember though that they can and will miss some LAW shots. Still a good choice.
Reserve infantry, these come for really cheap, however their stats are poor (worse than Chasseurs). They also lack LAW type weapons, instead armed with extremely short ranged AT grenades. They come in either the bad M113 transport or the fast FUCHS. Not a viable choice in any way.
Similar to chasseurs FAMAS in rifle ability, they have the worst RoF of all NATO rifle squads, and they come in either the bad M113 transport or the fast FUCHS. Their LAW accuracy however isn't terrible but slightly better than Fusiliers, causing them to die after retaliation from ambushed armoured units. Buying them with M113 is a really stupid idea, but with FUCHS they are a good choice for fast infiltrations on roads. 32 units can be fielded in a battle, making them available as a strong force. Remember though that they can and will miss some LAW shots. Still a good choice.
With poor rifle stats and bad LAW accuracy similar to Fusiliers, these are often taken as an excuse to field Bradleys. They are not worth their cost, and will often struggle against inferior forces. Fielding them with air transports is a waste of points. Don't take these for now, as they are the least cost-effective rifle squads out there.
These squads are generally here as a support to regular rifle squads, in order to gain an advantage in infantry VS infantry fights. For an acceptable price, they can turn the tips in your favour.
Very cheap for 10 points, the LEGION can come to the battlefield by VAB or AMX-10P. With very poor accuracy (both the SMG and the LAW) they are not ideal when facing other shock troops. They can however be used as cheap reinforcements with 32 units available. VABs are the best choice for them in order not to waste too many points in transports, but I don't recommend using them as shock troops. For the price however, tehy can be a good replacement for regular rifle infantry, for adder anti-infantry power but weak anti-tank ability.
Upgraded version of the LEGION, the LEGION FAMAS have the best cost efficiency amongst all shock troops. They can come on the battlefield in VAB or AMX-10P. Great accuracy and RoF with their rifles, they have an AP 11 LAW, making them efficient support. Generally used in VABs for fast response, they can be used with efficiency with all of their available transports. However, they can't be used as airborne, leaving them as only ground support, and no special operations where they could be useful. I recommend using them with AMX-10P: They might cost a bit, but the added firepower often proves a good choice. They can only come in small numbers however (12 squads).
Similar to LEGION FAMAS in rifle ability,they can come to the battlefield SARACEN or LYNX. Their LAW accuracy however isn't terrible, causing them to die after inflicting some damage to ambushed tank units. Buying them with SARACEN for a cheap ground option is a good idea, making them the cheapest shock-troops available. However, I recommend using them as airborne units: They have access to the LYNX AH.7, giving them the ability to fend off armour, even with their weak LAW accuracy. 16 units can be fielded in a battle, making them quite available for their support or commando role. remember their average/bad anti-tank power though.
Generally very good units against infantry they cost a lot to field on the battlefield. They are best suited for discreet missions where they might encounter light resistance: Infiltrating behind enemy lines in assassination/sabotage missions. They can be used with great efficiency for cutting supply lines, but in that situation should always be supported. They often have better optics than regular infantry, but can come in smaller squads. Their greande range is also better [thank for that gem solvens]
Armed with an average accuracy SAM launcher, these special forces are best used to support other special forces that might be countered with air units. Only available as an Airborne unit with their LYNX transport, SAS are powerful anti-infantry and air units for an acceptable price. Fielding them with AH.7 LYNX can give them survivability of facing armoured foes. As they use flashbangs, they can stun enemy units.
Armed with the AP 12 LAUNCHER, these guys are the best you can find against ground targets. They come for a hefty price however, especially including the transports. They can only come by air with any US air transport, and the one I recommend is the H Huey, with the best balance between price/efficiency. As they use concussion grenades for unknown effect.
Side note: Never face SPETSNAZ units with your Special forces: You will lose many points really fast. Spetsnaz are to be countered with anything remotely armoured, thing lacking in NATO special forces.
Added side note: If cutting a supply line with Special ops, think about sending in a PUMA supply helicopter along: it's acceptably cheap, and will help your units staying alive/not running out of ammo. Retreat it if you capture supply trucks.
Recon squads are small teams with very good optics that, due to their very small size, can see a lot without being spotted. A great tactical advantage, they are often harder to use than regular recon vehicles, and tend to die at every single mistake. Even the ones with acceptable fighting abilities shouldn't be used in an aggressive manner. They move faster than other infantry however.
The pure recon squad, this unit comes for rather cheap, but is poor in every combat aspect. Available in VABs or PUMAS, and armed with short ranged SMGs and grenades in a 6 man squad, these are used for reconnaissance only and can't divert from that goal. If you want recon infantry that only does recon, these are the men you are looking for.
2e REP FAMAS
A LAW armed recon squad, this unit can be used for assassination missions. Available in VABs or PUMAS, these accurate fighters, these are used for "reconnaissance, identification and elimination" missions. They die easily if spotted though.
A LAW armed recon squad, the green jackets are a "lower" 2e REP FAMAS, because of their reduced LAW accuracy. They can be fielded with any British vehicle, so either the SARACENS for short range reconnaissance, SPARTANS for long offroad infiltrations, or LYNX airdrops behind enemy lines (I recommend the AH.1 for reasonable spendings). A bit less efficient than the french 2e REP, they should stick to reconnaissance, but have a slight chance for occasional use of their LAW, and they are able to infiltrate more easily than 2e REP units thanks to the SPARTANS cross country abilities and LYNX's smaller size.
If only the stats were considered, this would be a good replacement for 2e REP, but only available to be fielded with the terrible M113 transports, they are not a viable option.
Infantry carried AA, these units are often rather unrealiable at taking out enemy helicopters, but can create "no man's skies" for cheap, unlike anti-aircraft artillery that is often more reliable but also costs a lot more. They are also a bit less vulnerable due to their immunity to ATGMs.
My personal favourite. 5 man squads with really inaccurate AA, certain to pay back their cost if they hit. They can come with SARACENS, probably the best choice because of the low price, or in SPARTANS, for added mobility. For their price, they can be placed in most strategic places of the maps, denying the whole skies. Any action made to counter them will cost a lot for litte results.
With bad characteristics like most US regular infantry, they come with the same problems as riflemen regarding the transports and overall efficiency. They are more accurate than the BLOWPIPES however, but also cost more.
With better AA accuracy and damage than the other LAAD units, STINGER teams can be a good addition to a deck. Apart from the transports and the overall price (you can buy two units of BLOWPIPES including transports for one unit of STINGERS not including transports) sometimes reliability is more important than numbers.
Long range anti-tank units, with a particular mechanic: They have to keep line of sight with the target and don't move or they lose the missile that has been shot. Always have supply trucks near these infantry units: They eat a lot to keep firing.
Also remember that with the upcoming patch, NATO infantry ATGMs have the same range as T80 and high end T-64 and T-72 main guns.
With the rather low accuracy of 5 with their ATGM and poor rifle stats, ATGM MILAN F1 teams are still rather good due to their relatively low price. Available with VABs or AMX-10P, they can be either fast forward deployment or defensive lines. Due to the ATGMs inability to be fired fast or on the move, I tend to use them with AMX-10P in a defensive role, but they can be used efficiently for ambushes with a bit of veterancy.
With the acceptable accuracy of 6 with their ATGM and good rifle stats, ATGM MILAN F2 teams are good value due to the AP 12 of their ATGMs. Available with VABs or AMX-10P, they can be either fast forward deployment or defensive lines. Due to the ATGMs inability to be fired fast or on the move, I tend to use them with AMX-10P in a defensive role, but they can be used efficiently for ambushes.
With poor accuracy both in rifle and ATGM, ATGM DRAGON teams are a quite bad choice. Better use the DRAGON II.
With the rather low accuracy of 5 with their ATGM and poor rifle stats, ATGM DRAGON II teams are still rather good due to their relatively low price. Available with cheap M113, for a too high price for redundant effect with the Bradley, or air transports, they can be either defensive lines or used in combination with recon units behind enemy bases when air dropped to snipe out high value targets (artillery, commanders...) that would otherwise be impossible to reach with LAWs. Slightly weaker than MILAN squads, this ability to be brought by air in an extremely valuable asset.
Special roles teams.
Out of the box units that don't totally fit an other category.
Weak with their rifles, these flamethrowers armed infantry units aren't worth much. Because of their low speed and small weapon range, these units either die from enemy fire before firing their flamethrowers, or reach the fight after they could have been useful. If they manage to get in range however, they will wipe out enemy squads really fast and stun tank. But their drawbacks combined with their poor rifle skills really make NATO sapeurs a poor deck choice.
These shock troops are a strange combination of Shock troops and ATGM teams. With very good accuracy and HE 2, they are slightly better than other shock troops, but their ATGM accuracy is rather bad. They are the personification of the "jack of all trades, master of none" theory. Because they are good against infantry, they should be used to support rifle squads, but because of their ATGMs they lose a lot of their interest if fighting deep in forests or towns. If they fight by the edges of forests, their anti-infantry ability is wasted and their average accuracy with ATGMs (combined with the small number of missiles) makes them inefficient ATGM teams. This half versatility comes however at a steep price: They are NATO's most costly infantry unit. Only unit able to be brought on the battlefield with the MARDER 1s heavily armoured infantry fighting vehicles, buying them in that transport brings their price sky high, and they never will pay their price back, while remaining as fragile as any other infantry squad once deployed. They an be fielded in FUCHS too though, but that doesn't make them really reliable units. They can be good in ambushes that way though.
Only armed with anti-tank grenades alongside their rifles, the FERNSPÄHER's main advantage is their optics making them a mix between special forces and recon units. Available with FUCHS and DORNIER, these guys are best used as shock troops with their FUCHS or recon units in the dornier. A bit of a jack of all trades, master of none unit, they aren't the best investment around because hey cost a bit for recon and have little AT/AA output. They are however the only Special forces available as ground units, but their rate of fire is lower than all other special forces.
With good combat efficiency, and being the only Stinger armed recon units, rangers are a bit out of the box. Their HE 2 rifles could place them in the Shock Troops category, but their recon skills combined with their AA power aren't best used when following rifle squads. Also, their choice of transports makes them a costly choice for land support. If used with bradleys, they can face any kind of thread, air or ground, while seeing them from far. In that aspect, separate individual units can be spread around the map to create strongpoints, but this is a costly method. If used with air transports, they can be spread all around the map in order to create deadzones for air units, but with air units becoming less popular these days, this method often costs more than it brings. Still, their uniqueness can appeal, especially since they are really accurate with their stingers. They are self sufficient AA, able to spot most targets entering their range, unlike other AA units needing dedicated recon. It can be interesting to youse them instead of SAS to accompany special forces in some missions.
[Special thanks: FLX, solvens, D-M, ...]