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Video Game / Company of Heroes

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Division of Heroes would imply too large of a group, and just doesn't have the same ring to it.
Company of Heroes is a Real-Time Strategy PC game set on the Western Front of World War II. It was created by Relic Entertainment, the developers of the Dawn of War series. Relic's next generation engine, dubbed Essence, was introduced with this game, succeeding the aging Impossible Creatures Engine used by Dawn of War. Originally released for PC in September 2006, was ported to the Apple Macintosh in May 2013 as Company of Heroes Complete: Campaign Edition, which includes every campaign from the original and expansions, as well as skirmishes against the AI.

The campaign follows both Able Company, part of the 29th Infantry Division and Fox Company, part of the 101st Airborne Divisionnote  through the Invasion of Normandy, from the D-Day landings to the closing of the Falaise Pocket. The Band of Brothers TV series has been a major inspiration for the game, even the title comes from a line in the last episode and the last line in the book.

The gameplay builds heavily on Dawn of War's formula (so much so that many consider it the WWII version), focusing on map control and infantry combat. New elements include a third resource, Munitions, that is spent on using special abilities (such as throwing a grenade or calling in an airstrike), instead of the more common Mana Meter. The map is still filled with capturable strategic points, that now control the sector around them. This territory counts as "home terrain" for the owner of the point, which affects several game mechanics. To gain resources, players must capture strategic sectors then ensure a contiguous chain of sectors that leads back to their headquarters. Players can choose one of three specializations for their army, giving them a set of unique units and abilities to unlock with experience points.

A stand-alone expansion called Opposing Fronts was released in September 2007. It features two new armies (The British Commonwealth and the "Panzer Elite"), each with their own campaign, focusing on the Liberation of Caen by the British 2nd Army and Kampfgruppe Lehr's defense of the bridges targeted by Operation Market Garden respectively.

A second expansion, Tales of Valor, mixes up the formula. Rather than adding new sides, the expansion adds new play variations for campaign and multiplayer, most based on controlling one or a few powerful units instead of an army of weaker ones. The multiplayer variations are described in their own section below. The campaigns are "Tiger Ace", which covers a fictionalized version of the Battle of Villers-Bocage from the perspective of the titular Tiger Ace, "Causeway", where several squads from the 82nd Airborne attempt to secure the La Fiere Causeway, and "Falaise Pocket", where the German defenders must delay the Allies from closing the Pocket for as long as possible.

A sequel named Company of Heroes 2 was released on June 25, 2013. Set on the Eastern Front from 1941 onwards, the player takes command of either the Red Army or the Wehrmacht in the midst of Operation Barbarossa, a full scale invasion of the Soviet Union. It received extremely negative reactions from many Russians (The reasons are summed up in this video), to the point that the Russian publisher ceased its distribution.

In the campaign, you follow the wartime experiences of Soviet officer-turned-war correspondent Lev Abramovich Isakovich, who, several years after the end of the war, is languishing in a Siberian labor camp for the contents of his journal, which negatively portray and question the actions of the Soviet Union during the war. Under interrogation by NKVD Colonel Churkin, his former commanding officer, he relives those dark and trying times...

There is also a separate, continuously updated campaign called Theater of War, which covers various battles from all over the Eastern Front that aren't covered in the main campaign. It features co-op scenarios (playable with either other players or an AI partner), solo challenges focusing on certain tactics and strategies, and set-piece battles against the AI. Initially, only the 1941 scenarios are available, with battles from later on available as DLC.

The game uses the newer Essence 3.0 engine, touted as having increased graphical fidelity and new environmental destruction. The infamous "General Winter" plays a huge role, requiring you to monitor your units' temperature and ensure they don't freeze to death. Players can customize their armies with cosmetic skins for vehicles and up to 3 Intelligence Bulletins that provide bonuses to certain unit types. Commanders replace the first game's Doctrines (with its parts being unlocked with subsequent command points received in your total pool instead of being bought with them) and fulfill the same role, though the player can now choose which Commanders they want to bring to battle. Many are unlocked by reaching a certain level with others being sold as DLC, and most Intelligence Bulletins also require the player to complete certain criteria, like using specific abilities a set amount of times or killing certain unit types using another unit type. Further details can be found here.

The UI was changed, most noticeably allowing all units to be selected from a list on the top-right, as well as displaying their status, and a more intuitive hotkey set using the buttons Q, T, Z and B and those between them. Tech trees were streamlined, with significantly less global upgrades being available for both sides in the game. Points became small areas that capturing units could stand or move around in to take or contest the point instead of being forced to stand right next to it to do so. Weapon crews became significantly more distinct and asymmetrical. Smoke was changed to uniformly block line of sight. Veterancy was changed to be earned by both sides in combat, with units first obtaining an ability from their first veterancy rank and then usually getting passive statistical bonuses for subsequent ranks - in addition to killing units, veterancy experience can be earned from doing and taking damage, with less from the latter. Planes called in from commander abilities may stick around longer than in the first game and provide sight while they fly by, but this further risks them being shot down by anti-air methods. Later patching to the game also enhanced the necessity of cover and positioning to infantry combat by increasing the lethality of the game's small arms, and added a new system for penetrating vehicle armor, with most rounds being less effective at penetrating armor as they travel to varying degrees depending on the gun.

A standalone multiplayer expansion for 2 titled The Western Front Armies was released on June 23, 2014, harking back to the original game's setting with the US Forces and Oberkommando West armies. The US Forces emphasize mobility and versatility, with infantry weapon upgrades being available at base to be bought and picked up for all non-weapon team infantry and vehicle crews may disembark from their vehicles to capture territory, repair their vehicle, run for their lives should their vehicle risk being destroyed or, quite rarely, fight on foot - the US Forces' appropriate drawback is a lack of durable tanks (even the faction's one "heavy" tank available from a commander is noticeably more squishy than all the other factions'). The Oberkommando West represent the last major muster of Germany's forces toward the war's end approaching and have hardened and elite infantry at their command backed by similarly rare and advanced support weapons, vehicles and other equipment, and their units are able to gain two additional ranks in veterancy. Their base buildings' equivalents are supply trucks that may be set down (permanently) closer to the front to provide different kinds of aid. They lack the ability to build relevant buildings to boost their resource gain on territory, and so instead must rely on scavenging fuel from abandoned heavy weapons and vehicles.

A standalone singleplayer expansion for 2 named Ardennes Assault was released on November 18, 2014. Set in the Battle of the Bulge with 18 singleplayer scenarios, players will choose one of three unique companies and their options to carry on through the campaign, managing persistent company strength (casualties reduce it, and reinforcing the company costs it some veterancy) and upgrades throughout it with their choices having a permanent impact on future missions and the campaign's story.

Yet another standalone multiplayer expansion pack for 2 was announced on July 9th, 2015. Simply titled The British Forces, which marks the return of (who else) the British Commonwealth.

On July 13, 2021, the third main game of the series, Company of Heroes 3, was announced, featuring a turn based campaign with real time battles, similar to Total War. It focuses on the American, British, and German forces in the Mediterranean (North African and Italian) campaigns. It was released on February 23, 2023.

The 2013 film Company of Heroes is loosely based on the first game. Interestingly, Paul De Meo, one of the film's writers, later wrote the story for 2.

This game contains examples of:

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  • Abnormal Ammo:
    • German Snipers in 2 with a rank in veterancy can shoot an incendiary explosive "B.- Patronen" round that, in addition to killing any one infantryman with one shot, will stun the squad of the recipient, temporarily stopping them from moving or shooting back.note 
    • Both Heavy Machine Gun teams can load incendiary armor-piercing rounds for a short duration, improving their damage and penetration such that they can even damage lighter tanks (if not with the majority of their rounds fired throughout the duration) while it's active.
  • Acceptable Break from Reality: Since all of the tanks in this game have severely-reduced range compared to their real-life counterparts, all flamethrowers are nerfed so that they cannot hurt tanks. It would make flamethrowers unreasonably effective to have both their real-life range and effectiveness while tanks do not. This is especially true for flame tanks, as their range is utterly pathetic in real-life compared to normal tanks which can fire from over a mile away.
    • The Archer tank destroyer in 3 reflects the reality of its historical design (an armored vehicle with its fixed gun facing the rear of its chassis) while simplifying controlling it for ease-of-use by simply making where its gun is pointing count as the vehicle's "front" and making the vehicle move faster in reverse.
  • Achilles' Heel:
    • In 2, the USF and the UKF suffer from a dearth of early anti-light vehicle options. The USF's Riflemen can only use their snare grenade at vet 1, while the UKF's Infantry Section lacks snare altogether and must relies on their weak engineer to do it. This means that certain Axis commanders, like OKW's Elite Armored with his 3 minutes SdKfz 221, can run a train on the USF and UKF for 2 whole minutes until their AT options become available.
    • Ironically, OKW also suffers from this to a lesser extent, lacking any early-game snare unless one selects a Panzerfusilier commander. However, OKW is different in that it can build AT guns early, allowing one to counter light vehicles at the cost of having fewer infantry units to contest the map.
  • Action Girl:
    • Russian sniper teams, pilots and vehicle crews may include woman in 2, with their own appropriate voice-over.
    Female-crewed T-34/76: I will fuck you up!
    • The Russian commissar squad includes a female medic, who wields a semi-automatic rifle and fights just as well as her male squadmates. In Soviet Russia, doctors kill you.
  • A Commander Is You: During a multiplayer match, the player may choose one of three doctrines/commanders that give them access to new map abilities, upgrades and units, the choice of which adds new elements to the faction.
    • America (1): Jack of All Trades, has units that are highly flexible and can perform a variety of roles. Has elements of Economist, since they can build a supply yard to reduce unit upkeep.
    • Wehrmacht (1): Elitist Faction, has stronger but more expensive units that are specialized in specific roles, but can't do much outside their intended roles.
      • Defensive Doctrine: a combination of Unit Specialist and Technical focusing on defense. It can easily repel any enemy assault on their base, at least until the enemy gets vehicles that can stand up to machine gun fire, but doesn't offer as much later on in the game.
      • Terror Doctrine: a mix of Brute Force and Technical, focusing on buffing units with abilities, as well as calling in powerful artillery strikes. It is probably best known for its ability to call in a King Tiger, the strongest unit in the game, which can be extremely deadly if supported correctly.
      • Blitzkrieg Doctrine: a combination of Brute Force and Guerilla, depending on how it's used. Many abilities are focused on going on the offense, and it can call in a Tiger (weaker compared to the King Tiger, but it is better at killing infantry, moves more quickly, and can be replaced should it be destroyed). The Guerilla part comes from its ability to call in Stormtroopers, which are more expensive versions of Grenadiers that can be deployed from any unoccupied building in friendly territory and can hide from enemy units.
    • British (1): Unit Specialist, focusing on defense. Only officers can gain veterancy, but any XP earned by troops near them goes to the officer. In return, the officer confers various effects to the troops within his area of effect. All of their main buildings can pack up and become mobile. While they have the fewest buildings of all the factions - meaning they have to spend the least resources on them - it also makes their bases easier to destroy if an opposing player can reach them. They have lots of powerful defensive emplacements and if they are allowed sufficient time to build up defenses, it can become almost impossible to uproot them. However, they are limited by a lack of armored vehicles and mobility.
      • Royal Canadian Artillery Support: Technical, focusing on calling in artillery strikes and improving their standard artillery units. It also gives the British their only mobile artillery unit. Longest ranged artillery of all factions; don't let them get line of sight on anything important.
      • Royal Commandos Support: Guerrilla and Technical, giving the British access to deadly commando teams and ultra-light tanks that can be deployed by gliders, as well as abilities that reveal the map.
      • Royal Engineers Support: Unit Specialist, focusing on vehicles, which can call in unique variants of the Churchill tank for different situations.
    • Panzer Elite: Poorly named, as they field the fewest actual tanks of any faction. They're really more of a mechanized army, meaning your infantry collaborates with light vehicles or you die. Unit Specialist and Technical, focusing on lighter vehicles with a large variety of different abilities, and have very good mobility. Best used on the offensive, as they have almost no defensive emplacements.
      • Scorched Earth Tactics: Technical, focusing mostly on defensive abilities and a few destructive ones. These consist of things like setting up bombs in buildings and strategic points, and artillery barrages that trigger if an enemy enters an area, and even temporarily disabling strategic points. They can also call in a powerful mobile artillery unit.
      • Luftwaffe Tactics: Technical, with abilities aimed at destroying enemy units and doctrine exclusive units in the form of powerful infantry, artillery, and an AA tank that shreds infantry and light vehicles, but can barely scratch other tanks.
      • Tank Destroyer Tactics: Unit Specialist, focused on anti-tank weaponry and tactics, with many upgrades and abilities to that effect, and can call in Hetzer and Jagdpanther tank destroyers.
    • Red Army (Eastern Front): From the popular mod, the Red Army is a Spammer initially but transitions into a powerful Brute later on, to represent the evolution of the army from the desperate ragtag force of early 1942 to the world's most powerful land army by 1945.
      • Propaganda War Doctrine: Spammer. Mighty Glacier army that allows access to exceptional elite infantry like Shock Guards and Black Coats, and also the powerful Katyusha rocket artillery. Blow your enemies to kingdom come and then send in the troops to mop up.
      • Urban Warfare Doctrine: Guerrilla. Allows you to call in guerrilla infantry like Partisans and the deadly Sniper Ace, but also features upgrades well suited to fighting in urban maps with buildings.
      • Breakthrough Doctrine: Brute. Powerful Lightning Bruiser army centered on tanks. Can call in KV-1 tanks and the almighty ISU-152 tank hunter with a colossal gun that obliterates men, buildings and armour alike. You can also call in air support and get an upgrade for T-34s to perform tank desants.
    • Ostheer (Eastern Front): From the popular mod, the Ostheer is a distinct German faction with many mechanical differences from the Wehrmacht. Ostheer can switch their unit pool for different situations and have a Blood Lust mechanic where units become The Berserker as they gain kills. Their weakness is poor starting troops and a reliance on fuel resources.
      • Support Army Group: Technical. As the name implies this is an army centered on supporting your units in the field and map control. You gain Brandenburgers, elite undercover troops using Soviet weapons and uniforms, as well as the ability to call for air-dropped supplies and fire support.
      • Elite Army Group: Brute. This infantry-focused army offers superior infantry with various bonuses like improved sight range and fighting better when near tanks and buildings, and Jaegers, effectively an entire squad of snipers.
      • Fortress Army Group: Generalist with a dash of Turtle. Similar to a mix of the Wehrmacht Defensive and Terror Doctrines, but with a focus on support defence as well as direct defence. This means deployment of mortar structures and field hospitals to support your units, but later they get 10.5cm howitzers and the mighty Elefant tank destroyer (but like the King Tiger, this is a one-time ability).
    • Wehrmacht Ostheer (2): Balanced Unit Specialist/Turtle. With the addition of the USF and UKF, the Ostheer is no longer the Elitist faction it was back when it had only the Soviet to contend with. Their mainline infantry, Grenadier, are weaker but cheaper than the mainlines of the two Western Allied factions, making them Balanced in the current meta. Where they still shine are their excellent support weapons and vehicles, which are highly specialized and need to work in conjunction with each other. Grenadiers may not do much in an early-game fight, but they can defend the MG-42, which is bar none the best MG in the game and can force entire blobs to retreat thanks to its excellent suppression power. Bolstering the Grenadiers' lackluster pushing power is the 222 Armored Car, which can kill infantry and support weapons but is weak against other armored light vehicles, unlike the multi-purpose T-70 of the Soviet and the Stuart of the US, necessitating support from a Pak-43 or infantry with Panzershreck. Of all the stock Ostheer vehicles, only the Panzer IV can be said to be multi-purpose, as the Brummbär, Ostwind, Flame Halftrack, and Panzerwerfer are specialized against infantry while the Stug and Panther are specialized against other vehicles. The Ostheer also has elements of Turtle, as it's the only faction with non-doctrinal zero upkeep static defense, allowing a late-game Ostheer to convert excess munition into MG bunkers to guard resource points. Ostheer as a whole also specializes more towards defense than attack, given that it has only 4-man squads without doctrines and the MG-42 upgrade for Grenadiers require them to be stationary to fire, making the unit more suited for defending than leading assaults.
    • Red Army (2): Technical Spammer, with a tiny bit of Balanced Brute sprinkled in. Most of the Red Army's units are cheaper and/or larger but are individually weaker than their German counterparts. They make up for this with versatility, as many of them have special abilities that grant them additional roles. The best example of this is the humble conscripts, who are terrible in a straight-up fight, but they make up for this with a mountain of utilities, being an excellent anchoring squad that can quickly sprint toward vehicles to cripple them, being an excellent punisher of static defense with molotovs, and being a mobile reinforcement squad that can merge with other units to save them from getting wiped. However, the Red Army is not exclusively locked to being Technical, having a split tech tree that allows the player to choose between specializing in support weapon or special infantry first. Choosing support weapon further bolsters the Technical aspect of the faction, while going for special infantry transitions it into more of a Balanced Brute with the addition of the powerful Penal Battalion unit, which can beat most Axis non-elite infantry and even pose a threat to vehicles with PTRS upgrade at the cost of being much more expensive and less versatile. Regardless of the path chosen, the final two tiers of the factions are the same, bringing the faction back to Technical with vehicles that are generally weaker than their German counterparts but make up for it with meaningful special abilities (like the T-34 being able to ram and the SU-85 being able to self-spot).
      • In 2, you may also select up to three commanders for your multiplayer loadouts, of which you can pick one once you gain a command point. Each has their own set of special abilities (such as air strikes) and unique units (such as Tiger tanks). There is quite a bit of overlap between their abilities, meaning that there'll generally be a commander for every playstyle.
    • British (2): Elitist Turtle/Unit Specialist. Much like in the first game, the British has a more defensive play-style. Their expensive baseline infantry is bar none the strongest in the game, capable of soloing even the elites of other factions, but this comes at a significant debuff while not in cover and small initial squad side, leaving them weaker on the offensive. Their infantry is also the most specialized, with their units either extremely good at long range or extremely good at short range, no middle ground. They also uniquely lack any sort of snare, leaving the task of doing so solely in the hand of their engineer units. Their one and only light vehiclenote , the AEC, is specialized entirely towards anti-vehicle combat, forcing the Brits to stay on the defensive as they have no all-purpose light vehicles to spearhead assaults like other factions. In place of them, the Brits instead have access to emplacements, which are extremely good at both destroying infantry and light vehicles at the cost of not having much offensive valuenote .
    • Oberkommando West: Balanced Brute. The early progression of OKW is almost an inversion of their Ostheer cousin, with the elite Sturmpioneer being available at the start and team weapons being available only at the 1st tier. As such, while OST is strong in team weapon but lackluster in infantry, OKW is strong in infantry but has weaker and later support weapons. For this reason, the faction is meant to be played aggressively, using their strong infantry to overwhelm the enemy early and keeps them on the backfoot. Thanks to the Kubelwagen, which can rapidly capture territories, OKW can devote their entire infantry force into attacking early on, something other factions must sacrifice map control to do. The faction also has higher-than-average mobility to facilitate their aggressive playstyle, having a fast AT gun that can be retreated and bases that can be built on the field to shorten retreat distance. Depending on how well a game is going, OKW might be forced to transition more toward a Ranger playstyle for a while since their infantry scales poorly in the mid-game, relying on the mobility of their force to conduct hit-and-run attacks. Once late-game is successfully reached, OKW transitions into Elitist Unit Specialist with the addition of powerful but expensive, specialized and manpower-intensive tanks that all have a role, plus a powerful long-ranged infantry unit that can't fight vehicles.
    • United States Forces (2): Balanced Ranger Industrialist. USF units generally come with very high base stats, mobility, and self-sufficiency, though they pay for this with lesser staying power due to lacking long-ranged options. For instance, Riflemen are strong enough to trade blows with other factions' elites at close range, but getting there requires careful maneuvering lest half the squad dies. To aid them in their maneuvering, the USF has ample access to smoke grenades, which can shield their infantry both from enemy fire and MGs without the need for mortars. A major strength of the faction is their non-doctrinal ambulance, which allows for the mobile replenishment and healing of field units. This allows their units to recover everywhere without having to return to base, affording them a much greater range of movement. In terms of vehicles, the self-sufficiency theme of the USF is further emphasized with crews that can disembark to repair or capture territories. Said disembarkment mechanic, in addition to the Captain's production-boosting ability, also pushes the USF to be an Industrialist faction, given that the crew only costs 4 population points while their tanks often cost 12, meaning that the player can simply remove the crew from a tank to lower their current population and gain both lowered upkeep and more pops to build tanks.
  • A Father to His Men: Isankovich clearly values the lives of his men, and this is one of the reasons that he breaks ranks with his commanding officers.
  • Agony of the Feet: Numerous lines delivered by infantry units ordered to move in 2's winter maps complain about their feet or note the poor condition of their boots.
    German MG42 Team: My feet are fucking freezing.
  • The Alleged Tank: The commander of the Hotchkiss Light Tank is dismissive of his vehicle, though more over its armor than its driving capabilities.
    Hotchkiss Light Tank: Grandmother's wagon/wagen note  has more armor than this rusty can.
    Hotchkiss Light Tank taking effective fire: Another shot!? We're still alive!?
    • The Tiger Tank from the Tiger Ace campaign is a more straight example. Even with new parts replacing the old parts, the engine was prone to breaking down. This actually happens in-game and lampshaded in the introduction. This has basis in reality though, with breakdowns even out of combat being an infamous flaw of the Tiger tanks.
    Tiger Ace Crew Member: "Brand new motor and it runs like Scheiße!"
  • Always Accurate Attack: Soviet mortar teams from 2 used to have an ability gained from the first rank of veterancy which will fire a round that will always land exactly wherever you targeted. Excellent against weapon teams, who must be stationary to fire their weapons and require time to pack up if they want to move after deploying.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: In 2, Isakovich has a Jewish name and (due to his relatively upright nature) fits the Jewish "stereotype" of being a troublemaker to his superiors. He has the misfortune of witnessing the many dark sides of the Soviet system during this time period one after another.
  • Amusing Injuries: After a Conscript squad from 2 finishes building a sandbag wall, the squad leader may precede reporting it's done with:
    I think Petrov pulled his groin. But it is done!
  • Anachronic Order: Minor cases with both the original's and sequel's campaigns.
    • The "Invasion of Normandy" campaign starts off with the D-Day beach landings, but the next mission takes place a few hours before during the Airborne drops.
    • 2's campaign starts in the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942, then moves back to 1941 and continues on in chronological order from there. Justified, as all the campaign missions are Lev Isakovich's flashbacks and he remembers Stalingrad most vividly, while the subsequent flashbacks are due to Colonel Churkin's prompting.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • In 2's campaign, Panzergrenadiers are armed with MP 43/StG 44 assault rifles and can be carrying Panzerschreck rocket launchers, even during missions that take place before 1943. Odd, considering their 1941 Theater of War version packs MP40s and Panzerbüchse 39 AT rifles, respectively. That being said, it's possible that those anachronistic assault rifles are actually meant to represent the MKb 42(H)—the prototype for StG44—which did see limited service on the Eastern Front as early as April 1942.
    • A Tiger (first built in 1942) shows up near the end of a Theater of War scenario set during 1941.
    • A German commander in 2 can give the player an Elefant tank destroyer or Tiger Ace in Theater of War Missions set in 1941 and 1942.
    • German factions from the first and second entries of the series have infantry units that may hurl incendiary Stielhandgranates that cause a patch of flame where they land. This concept simply did not exist in during WWII. The second game similarly has some German infantry units able to throw non-lethal "stun" Stielhandgranates which also did not exist at the time.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: A voice for German infantry in 2 talks about how he's glad a dead man's dead while out-of-combat. Subverted Trope when an infantryman goes down and another one responds "He was an asshole, but he was our asshole!".
  • And This Is for...:
    • British Infantry Sections can respond to attack orders with "This one's for Shawn!". British soldiers will also cry "That's for the boys at Dieppe!"
    • Destroying the weather-disabled tanks in the fourth campaign mission of 2 may cause your engineers to yell "That was for Aleksei!" in triumph.
  • Anti-Villain Protagonist:
    • Major General Voss and the Berger brothers, Wolfgang and Aldrich; the protagonists of the Panzer Elite campaign in Opposing Fronts.
    • The "Tiger Ace" campaign in Tales of Valor is the origin story for Hauptmann Schultz, the Tiger Ace from the "Invasion of Normandy" campaign, and Major General Voss. It reveals that they were both part of the same Tigergruppe in the past, before Voss was promoted to his own command. The "Tiger Ace" campaign is the last time that Voss sees Shultz, and it mentions his death at the hands of Able Company during the original campaign.
  • Arbitrary Gun Power: Every weapon has a damage stat which isn't shown to the player, with automatic weapons typically getting lower damage per shot to balance out their rate of fire.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit:
    • There is a fairly restrictive population cap in the first game that increases with the amount of territory the player controls. In addition, some units can only be fielded one or two at a time and some only once per game.
    • In the second game, all players have a fixed population cap of 100, which does not change over the course of a game.note  The limiting factor on army sizes now is Manpower income, which is no longer increased by capturing territory and is reduced if the player's army is large enough. Reinforcing numerous devastated infantry squads at once or replacing an expensive tank while being close to the cap will likely be fairly prohibited by the Manpower income reduction.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted by the Russian Shock Troops and British Heavy Engineers of 2. They're the only infantry units in either game that wears body armor, and correspondingly no other infantry units are as hardy as them.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: Sufficiently-powerful weaponry will be necessary for your units to cause damage against even the lightest of tanks, from another tank's gun or handheld bazookas, to even improvised sticky bombs. Many heavy machine guns teams in 2 in particular have access to an ability which can temporarily allow them to potentially cause damage (if almost certainly barely any) when faced at the rear armor of the most armored tanks.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • Penal Battalions in 2 are all armed with SVT-40 semi-automatic rifles, even though for most of the war it was only issued in small numbers to snipers and sharpshooters. Arming a whole unit, much less one composed of traitors, cowards, and criminals with them would have required direct intervention from the relevant Front (unit of 100,000-200,000 combat troops) commander.
    • The idea of Soviet soldiers being sent into battle without rifles or ammunition is more of a Hollywood construction from movies such as Enemy at the Gates.
    • After Order 227 takes effect in the campaign, it stays like that even in Berlin, meaning if you call in conscripts, you have the risk of retreating units getting shot by the commissar. While Order 227 was certainly in effect during 1942, and a fair bit in 1943, pretty much every single Soviet officer ignored the order right from the beginning and didn't really enforce it, and it was scrapped in 1944, meaning that the order should not be in effect for the final three missions of the campaign.
    • The Volksgrenadier unit in 1 is depicted as a bunch of barely trained militias, which would be correct if the unit was meant to represent the completely-unrelated Volkssturm. The real Volksgrenadiers were professional formations of the Wehrmacht that were simply smaller than normal Grenadier divisions due to mounting losses.
  • Artistic License – Military: T-34s are depicted as being nearly 33% less armored than the Panzer IV, when in reality the T-34's sloped armor actually gave it a slightly higher effective thickness than the Panzer IV ausf. J.
  • Artificial Atmospheric Actions: The game abounds with nice touches to make you care about your men, such as them swapping stories in downtime or making observations of what's around them. That said, every once and again a seam shines right through. Notoriously, American Rifleman in 2 will remark with sarcasm and contempt when near a vehicle wreck about it being a monument to their "brilliant" leaders. Poignant if it's a Sherman that you lost due to carelessness, downright silly if it's a Panzer that very squad nailed less than a minute ago.
  • Artificial Brilliance:
    • Infantry without orders take cover when engaging enemy forces, leap out of the path of enemy vehicles and (try to) avoid incoming mortar and artillery rounds.
    • The AI is actually smart enough to pull off proper hit-and-run attacks: small groups of soldiers will move in, destroy a single target, and retreat from the inevitable counterattack. As you're marshaling your forces to follow them and wipe them out, another group will attack on the other side of the map. Rinse and repeat if you're not good about figuring out how to stop it. Even worse, if you do follow that first group of soldiers and you're not particularly mindful of your surroundings, you will end up being ambushed and forced to retreat.
    • In 2, the AI can be impressively devious in its maneuvering, skirting the edges of the map to outflank positions or otherwise exploiting the new True Sight fog of war system to infiltrate your lines. Unless you're active in your reconnaissance, the AI will figure out a way through your defenses.
    • Also in 2, the AI will send units to search for your camouflaged units or barrage the area with mortar fire if they camouflage while the AI can see them.
    • The AI really knows how to handle its tanks in 2. They'll attempt to retreat under heavy AT fire and will adjust their position if they see your units moving to hit them in the side or rear, forcing you to attack from multiple angles if you aren't packing enough brute force to attack them head-on.
    • If the AI has two medium tanks fighting against a heavy one, one tank will move forward to distract the enemy while the other moves around to flank it.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Contrasting with the above, the AI can be quite dumb at times, primarily in the first game.
    • They don't know how to get through barriers, except on a very broken level of "shoot the sandbags that are in your way until they die" (which will never happen). A broken bridge with tank traps behind it is an impassable barrier for them. Unfortunately, the same applies to those fighting on your team as well.
    • If there is only one way to get to your base, and the other ways been blocked off or destroyed, they will take that way every single time instead of trying to repair the bridge(s) or crush the obstacles and move across them. This allows you to very easily funnel their forces into one area, allowing you to stay static for an entire game.
    • If they get a unit that can be called in from off map, such as Stormtroopers, they will almost never bother with base-produced units and focus entirely on the off-map units, even if this results in massive failure on their part (Matches in which the AI did nothing but call in Stormtroopers have been known to occur).
    • The AI doesn't understand how the territory system works, and will often capture points that are far ahead of their own lines and completely useless to them. While it's possible that they do this in order to cut off the flow of resources from their opponent, in practice, their attempts look half-assed (more so if their opponent knows how to counter them and recapture that territory).
    • While infantry taking cover on their own can be very good and useful, there are still frequent moments when maybe just one suicidal soldier will stay standing between cover and enemy fire even after you've ordered the rest of the squad to get behind it successfully (naturally, he will be killed in action first). Additionally, troops may run away from a single piece of cover and spread out which can be good considering enemy indirect fire... other times, a man will do so and strangely put himself close to an enemy squad bristling with sub-machine guns, or more illogically yet, a tank facing him.
    • Retreating squads will stand about if their retreat path gets unexpectedly blocked (usually simultaneously by terrain and a vehicle in the way) because they can't double back to find another route.
    • A bug can happen when ordering suppressed or pinned squads to retreat - rather than trying to run away immediately like you'll usually see them do in response, they stand about the area for a little while rather than retreating immediately, costing the player more losses or even the entire squad.
    • It's hardly perfect in the second game as well. In the "Kharkov Pursuit" scenario in the "Case Blue" Theater of War campaign, they regularly use Smoke Bombs on your troops, which does no damage and only blocks line of sight... while they have no units anywhere nearby to actually take advantage of this.
    • In the second game's skirmish mode, your ally AInote won't bother to reinforce its depleted squads even if you park an unupgraded half-track close to them so they can do so. It also closes in its ranged infantry squads (those that use bolt-action rifles) against infantry who do better at close range (e.g.: Osttruppen closing in against Shock Troops). It also won't respond to the human player's requests to attack (in this case, represented by an "Attack Here" ping) or recapture a certain point taken by the enemy and has no concept of "luring in the enemy" towards the human player's prepared positions that can easily deal with the threat. What makes the last part Egregious is that the enemy AI can and will do defensive feint traps on occasion, but when the AI is allied with a human player, they go from brilliant to brain-dead—and this happens even if both ally and enemy AI are set at the same difficulty level at the start of the game.
  • A-Team Firing:
    • American Engineers and Wehrmacht Pioneers have pitiful accuracy with their submachine guns from long range (0.10), which goes up to 0.20 at medium range and 0.30 at close range (by comparison, basic rifles are 0.35 at long range, 0.55 at medium range, and 0.75 at close range). Moving cuts their already low accuracy by 85%! - leading to you watching your Engineers pursuing and attacking an infantry squad running away and yelling at them to actually hit something even if they are practically at spitting distance to their target.
      • It's not all bad, though: thanks to their submachine guns, Engineers and Pioneers are much better at suppressing enemy infantry while your rifle squads circle around to flank them.
      • Averted Trope for the Russian Combat Engineers and German Pioneers in 2, the former whose individual marksmanship with their rifles is equal to that of Conscripts, the latter being a less-effective but still usable assault squad when they slip by and get next to non-close-combat infantry.
    • Joked in 2 when Conscripts receive a PPSh-41 upgrade.
    Conscripts: PPShs are here! Now even Yuri can hit something.
    • American Paratroopers in The Western Front Armies have out-of-combat chatter which is basically discussing the trope in realistic terms.
    Paratroopers: Back home I was a crack shot, out here I can't hit shit. I figure it's because the gophers never shot back.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking:
    • Averted Trope by the Wehrmacht Artillery Field Officer of 2, the officer specifically being an weaker unit than his Grenadier bodyguards (he used to the absolutely toughest single infantry unit in the game, even more so than Shock Troopers wearing steel body armor and provided slightly more DPS with his pistol than the rifle-wielding Grenadiers in his squad, but later patching sadly removed those aspects of him).
    • Played With for the American officers in Western Front Armies, which are purchased to advance in tier. The Lieutenant and Captain are combat squads armed with a Thompson sub-machine gun for close combat in addition to a Browning Automatic Rifle and Bazooka, respectively. They also gain experience from other units' experience gains nearby, which can quickly advance them through veterancy ranks to become terrors. On the other hand, the final tier Major is a poor combat unit whose usefulness relies on his support abilities and needs to gain experience from other units to hope to get any at all.
      • Which is a case of Shown Their Work: Infantry captains and lieutenants are expected to go into the fighting alongside their platoon, and as such would be armed to do so and have a squad or section of combat ready soldiers with them. While majors are considered field officers in the US Army, they are generally the Executive Officer of a battalion (meaning they are second in command), and as such would be less likely to be in the thick of the fighting.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
    • The King Tiger is a massive and incredibly tough tank with a gun that can obliterate anything. Unfortunately, it's so slow that the only way to get anything killed by it to stand still and take shots. Particularly vulnerable to American Rangers, Airborne with Recoilless Rifles and Riflemen with Sticky Bombs (close in with Riflemen, toss Sticky Bomb, run away. Repeat until tank is dead.). It also comes incredibly late in the game (its pretty much the last thing you can unlock when using the Terror Doctrine), and can only be used once per match (which means: once gone, its gone for good).
      • The fastest way to kill a King Tiger (a One-Hit Kill that has a good chance of destroying the wreck as well, in fact) is to rig up bridges with explosives, then detonating them as the tank crosses over the bridge. Smarter players will avoid bridges like the plague of course, though this may force them through other, also less favorable terrain, such as the "Open"-type anti-cover, which increases damage taken by all units and significantly hinders their mobility. Also, it's worth remembering that mines have a very good chance of inflicting Critical damage, which can damage a tank's tracks or engine, further reducing mobility, if not practically immobilizing the vehicle. A pair of Calliopes to the rear of a King Tiger will also kill it instantly if most of the rockets hit.
      • The Calliope Sherman tank is very powerful, firing a massive barrage of rockets from anywhere on the map to anywhere on the map. However, the rockets take a while to travel and do little damage singly, and the barrage gets increasingly spread out the farther away it is targeted. In addition, the Calliope is slow and has no direct fire capability, meaning that if you get close to concentrate fire, the tank becomes significantly more vulnerable to counterattack. A squad of Calliope tanks, on the other hand...
      • Averted by the Oberkommando West's King Tigers in the Western Front Armies expansion of 2. They are no longer as slow and ponderous, and can be rebuilt. Proper balancing means that they can only be built when all three of your forward HQ buildings are operational, and they are now more vulnerable to concentrated AT fire. Most medium tanks can still outmaneuver it (and destroy it with some effort), but a properly supported King Tiger adds quite a bit of oomph to a late-game push.
    • The Elefant tank destroyer in 2 has an extremely long-ranged and hard-hitting main gun and has very good armor on the front. However, it's expensive, only available to certain commanders, its rear armor is a fair bit weaker, and it moves and turns so slowly that it's usually unable to return fire on any flanking enemies. Finally, it can't effectively engage infantry due to having no MG mounts.
    • The Oberkommando West in the Western Front Armies expansion of 2 has a commander (Breakthrough Doctrine) that can summon a Jagdtiger tank destroyer. Much like the Elefant it is a long-range menace to enemy vehicles, but ineffective against infantry and fairly easy to flank. Even worse, whereas the Wehrmacht's Jaeger Armor Doctrine commander, who has the Elefant at his disposal, can install spotting scopes on his vehicles to increase their sight range while stationary and allow the Elefant to take better advantage of its long range, the Breakthrough Doctrine commander has no such ability. However, the massive 128mm cannon mounted on it allows the Jagdtiger to shoot through any sort of buildings or cover, as long as there are targets spotted, either by itself or by other units. This makes a properly supported Jagdtiger extremely dangerous to any sort of vehicle, especially in urban fighting, nudging it over to Difficult, but Awesome. It's also helped along by the fact that the Breakthrough Doctrine commander has access to Panzerfusiliers, versatile reconnaisance infantry coming in a six-man squad which, while lacking the one-hit kill ability of snipers, can easily hold their own against enemy infantry if placed in good cover and don't require quite as much micromanagement.
    • The Jaeger Infantry Doctrine for the Wehrmacht in 2. Camo cloaks, Gewehr 43 packages, rapid infantry movement, and light artillery may sound great on paper, but in gameplay this all adds up to a doctrine so munitions-intensive that upgrades that would be a matter of course with any other doctrine (you usually would have enough of a munitions pool by the time you start calling in Panthers that installing turret MGs on them doesn't make much of a dent in your overall supply) can become difficult to obtain even in the late-game. Further, the Jaeger Infantry Doctrine doesn't offer any special abilities that would help you counter enemy armor excepting the Stuka close air support option, which costs 320 munitions per call... munitions you often would not have.
    • A number of higher tier command powers in both games concern the deployment of extremely powerful units, such as heavy tanks, vehicles with special abilities, or prefabricated groups of units. Unfortunately, by the time a player unlocks access to these units, they may be too close to the population cap to be able to deploy them, with, for example, a King Tiger counting as 23 and even a pair of Shermans counting as 24.
  • The Atoner: Colonel Churkin, despite strongly defending his actions, clearly sees many of his actions as horrific now, and he openly tells Isakovich that he has reaped what we have sown. In several instances, he openly agrees with Isakovich that some fighting was completely unnecessary.
  • Badass Bandolier: Worn by heavy-machine gun teams. Illogically, they wear them even in winter maps when the constantly-falling snow and occasional fierce blizzards would ruin the ammunition belt pretty quickly. Good thing they don't have to actually worry about their machine-gun's ammo then!
  • Badass Boast: Many units can deliver one, depending on the circumstances. Here's a couple:
    Who believes in the bogeyman?
    When you're as cold as steel, the rain has no effect.
  • Badass Cape: Soviet Guardsmen wear bulky but somewhat practical-looking (at least for winter) capes. Strangely, they don't provide any protection whatsoever against the cold on winter maps, and you have to wonder why they'd want to wear them during the summer heat.
  • Badass Crew/Elite Mooks: Depending on which side you're on. For the Allies in the first game, the Americans has the Airborne Paratroopers and the Rangers, and the British Commonwealth has the Commandos. For the Axis, the Wehrmacht has the Stormtroopers and Knight's Cross Holders, and the Panzer Elite has the Fallschirmjäger squad.
  • Badass Longcoat: Averted by the Rear Echelon Troops of The Western Front Armies. They wear winter longcoats and are the least threatening infantry unit in the game bar none.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: In the very last cutscene of 2's campaign, Colonel Churkin kills Isakovich's executioner just as he's about to kill Isakovich.
  • Batman Gambit: Players can lay down razor wire or tank traps, not to completely deny the enemy from moving through the area at all, but just to funnel them so that they'll be guaranteed to run into mines instead of potentially passing by them if the area was more open. Indeed, this trope is key to the placement of mines in general - the mines aren't doing much if the enemy never walks onto them after all. Place them on vital territory's or victory points' capture zones, narrow flanking routes on the doorways to garrisonable buildings, behind heavy cover that's on the enemy's side of the map, or even abandoned weapons or vehicles that you don't want (probably best to make sure that they'll be completely destroyed by the damage of the mines in case a second unit manages to try to recrew it, though)! Really sneaky players might even be able to slip in and place mines onto the retreat path of the enemy on some maps.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The German soldiers in the original "Invasion of Normandy" campaign speak accent-free German like native speakers. However, the subtitles aren't an exact translation of what they say.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Victory often comes at the cost of an 80% casualty rate.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: In Company of Heroes 2, the Soviet Union is depicted just as ruthless as Nazi Germany, bordering Evil vs. Evil.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation:
    • In the French version, the AT-button in the gameplay menu is translated as Anti-Tank.
    • In the very beginning of the British campaign, where several soldiers invent fibs about Major Blackmore gunning down a whole squad of Germans, before bayoneting the remains, "while he didn't even loose his pipe [his trademark pipe that he always has in his mouth]". In the German version, it was translated as "Dudelsack (bagpipe)" rather than "Pfeife (pipe)".
  • BFG: Infantry squads in both games can either be upgraded with or pick up LMGs and rocket launchers, which are wielded by a single member of the squad. 2 adds anti-tank rifles.
    Panzergrenadier (picking up abandoned PTRS rifle): Fuck, that's a big rifle. 14.5 millimeter! Scheiße.
    • The British Forces in 2 take it a bit further by having their sniper use an anti-tank rifle.
    • Even the tanks get in on the action with the Soviet ISU-152 bringing a 152.8mm Howitzer as a direct-fire weapon, a gun only topped by the Soviet 203mm artillery piece.
    • And then the Oberkommando had to one-up them by deploying the Sturmtiger with a 380mm naval depth charge launcher.Historical Fun Fact
    • The M 2 HB heavy machine gun team in 2 provides Downplayed example, because while their weapon is mounted on a tripod and fired off of that...the weapon complete with tripod in real life weighs over a hundred-and-twenty pounds, and the machine gun team has one man carry that complete package the entire time whenever it's not set up.
  • Blood Knight: A voice for German infantry in 2 seems to have this mindset toward his job, saying stuff like how he prefers to be an infantryman instead of being in a tank because he wants to see that particular look you get from a man whose gut you put a bullet in when by a tank out of combat, and yelling out "There are quite a few of them! Gooood." in combat with infantry.
    • Said voice got promoted to the squad leader for the Oberkommando West's Jaeger Light Infantry unit. He's more or less exactly the same otherwise.
    "Walking around... when do we get to the shooting?"
    "Retreat? But we still have ammo left!"
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Medium anti-tank guns. They are fragile, ungainly, and could get carted off by the enemy to boot. That doesn't matter, because they will save your bacon against enemy armor. Plus unless the gun itself is destroyed, which rarely happens when they're put out of commission, you can send an infantry squad to man it, an engineer to top off the health, and it'll be back in action.
    • The same applies to mortars, which seem completely useless until you have to break an infantry rush. They're also very useful for defending capture points from scouts without actively engaging them.
    • Plain old riflemen will almost always be useful to have around (if only to screen for other more vulnerable/valuable units), especially with a few upgrades.
    • The British Kangaroo carrier isn't exactly fast or well-armed or pretty, but what it does have is thick armour (equivalent to a medium tank) and the highest troop capacity of any transport. The Kangaroo nullifies the two most glaring weaknesses of the British force; poor mobility, and vulnerability to snipers and flamethrower troops, and is considered far more useful than the Cromwell medium tank it replaces.
    • Laying down mines may not be as inherently fun as upgrading to cool machine-guns or huge artillery fire missions, but they can provide a disproportionate amount of value from the damage to the unit that walks on it since pretty much any infantry unit is about guaranteed to lose a firefight against another full-health infantry unit even if their enemy doesn't get over to them before the suppression effect wears off, any vehicle that lands on one should get repaired immediately lest it risk destruction due to engine damage slowing it, they provide security and an alarm system to the player in locations where their units currently aren't at, or they'll even outright destroy a damaged unit that the enemy risked moving up - all that, just for spending the cheap munition price and tying up an engineer squad for a bit. Indeed, professional players are liable to buy a minesweeper upgrade for their engineers without having run into mines at all out of the expectation that their opponents will inevitably be laying down mines anyway.
  • Bottomless Magazines:
    • Units' weapons require reloading, but they never run out of ammunition to reload with. It gets awkward when that works for weapons which were captured from the enemy.
    • One unit literally has a bottomless magazine - the M2 heavy machine gun on the unlockable British Staghound in Tales of Valor never has to stop firing, ever.
  • Boxed Crook: Penal Battalion squads in 2. While more expensive than Conscripts, their SVT-40 semiautomatic rifles make them much more effective against infantry, they can be upgraded to use a flamethrower that's effective against infantry and destroying/clearing out buildings, and their Satchel Charge ability can heavily damage buildings and armored vehicles while simply tearing apart anything else (though its expensive and has a longer fuse than other thrown explosives).
  • Bowdlerise: German units wearing dotted camouflage (most commonly used by the Waffen-SS) like the Panzergrenadier and Obersoldaten are never explicitly referred to as being part of the SS in-game. Their unit portraits are also scrubbed clean of any SS iconography and have the same collar patches as other Wehrmacht units.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: The Panzer Elite in Opposing Fronts can deploy the Hotchkiss light tank, a French tank designed in 1933 that was outdated when the war began.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Some of the Stop Poking Me! lines.
    American Paratrooper: If you click me one more fucking time...
    American Paratrooper: Airborne, time to kick the shit out of Player 1.
    German soldier: Go back to the main menu, and try out the tutorial.
    British vehicle commander: Gunner, point the turret up at the camera in the sky!
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The third veterancy ranks for dedicated anti-tank units (such as anti-tank guns) of the Americans and the Panzer Elite factions in 1v1 matches verges on this - the amount of vehicles they'll have to kill to reach that rank probably means that the match is already about over anyway due to the opposing side having lost that many vehicles to that unit, and their ineffectiveness against infantry means an aforementioned slaughter of vehicles is the only realistic way for them to get enough experience for that veterancy rank.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: For 2, the Fox Company Rangers in the Ardennes Assault campaign. Almost every guide for the campaign advised that buying the Rangers will make the campaign a lot more manageable. For multiplayer, there are doctrines and regiments available for purchase.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Duffy, an unseen member of a British infantry squad who constantly pisses off his squadmates. For example, when a squad captures a fuel point, one will immediately and forcibly remind Duffy to extinguish his ciga-fucking-rette. If you click on a squad while it's raining, one will rudely ask Duffy if he is in need of a rubber ducky. These are just the nice examples.
      • Upon garrisoning a church, a British infantry section says (from memory): "A church, eh? Be interesting to see if Duffy catches fire."
      • There's also another Duffy in the Canadian Army as well, as the Canadian version of the Infantry Section (only seen in campaigns without modding) has the same line.
    • And Corporal Degnan. He bungles his way through the British campaign, is nowhere to be found, and then killed off in the penultimate mission.
    • There's also Conrad in the American infantry, who can't seem to tie his fucking laces.
    • To a lesser extent, the Panzer Elite grenadiers have a soldier called Deinhardt. Click on the unit in the rain, and the commander will announce that he ordered the rain especially for him.
    • The Russians in 2 have Yuri, who's the butt of his comrades' jokes as a Conscript and a source of annoyance to his squad leader as a Shock Trooper or Guardsman. He, or someone with the same name, was also executed in the campaign for "abandoning his post" to save the main character.
    • 2 has a German soldier in the mortar unit named Steiner. Click the unit, and someone might gleefully announce that his lips froze to the tube in winter time.
    • Volksgrenadiers from the first game as a whole are these. Even their commander is dismissive on them.
      Schwimmwagen driver: No Volksgrenadiers allowed, they cannot swim.
      Hotchkiss Tank Commancer: I much rather drive a Franz-Panzer than serve as a Volksgrenadier.
      Grenadier Squad: This half-track smells like Volksgrenadiers.

    C to E 
  • Call-Back: The idle chatter among German troops in 2 has a number of allusions to the first game, including some Leaning on the Fourth Wall lines like Americans complaining about Pioneer spam.
  • Cannon Fodder:
    • Osttruppen serve this role for the Germans in 2. They're not terribly effective combatants; two Osttruppen squads will lose to a single Conscript squad on even terms, in fact. They don't have any grenades, die in droves, can't fire on the move and are lousy shots. They do, however, have three redeeming features: they're cheap as chips to call in at around half the cost of a Grenadier squad, they gain veterancy quickly and they're a six-man squad as opposed to the Germans' usual four-man squads. They'll hold their own if they have a fortified position, but that's it. Don't expect them to be of much use in an assault except as shields for your regular infantry.
    • Conscripts, especially in the first mission of 2's campaign, where they're going up against tanks and HMGs without so much as a rifle in most cases. Outside of that, the Conscripts' advantages (aside from some commander-specific abilities) are their Molotov Cocktail ability, their ability to instantly reinforce other infantry squads with their own members, the "Oorah!" ability to move quickly to move to cover, flank or help utilize their grenades, and the fact they reinforce at a lower cost rather than the squad having any noticeable advantages in combat over other infantry aside from numbers.
    • The squad leader of Penal Battalion squads encourage you to use them this way, though such a strategy with them would be much more prohibitive.
    Need a suicide squad?
  • Can't Catch Up: The Volksgrenadier unit is very decent early on due to being a five-man squad that's nearly as strong as Grenadiers while being much tankier. However, their effectiveness falls off horribly in the late-game due to their StG upgrade not really packing much of a punch compared to other mainlines. For instance, a single BAR is enough to give a US Riflemen squad as much close-range dps as an StG volk squad, all while having superior long-range dps, costing the same in munition and having the potential to get yet another BAR to completely eclipse them. Also, rather than specializing in long-range combat to sidestep the Allied's close-range advantage like Grenadiers, Volksgrenadiers instead try to beat them at their own game by also specializing in close-range combat, something they fail miserably at due to the aforementioned lackluster StG upgrade.
  • The Captain:
    • Captain MacKay of Able Company.
    • In multiplayer and skirmishes, British Captains.
    • Lev Isakovich from 2 becomes one partway through the campaign, though he gets dropped back down to Lieutenant after Stalingrad.
    • US Forces Captains in Western Front Armies.
  • Captain Obvious: When the Germans arrive in the "Carentan Counterattack" mission, one American paratrooper exclaims "Shit, they've got tanks!" Apparently this guy slept through the briefing that mentioned that the 17th SS Panzer Division was moving in on the town.
  • Car Fu:
    • Heavier vehicles (e.g., not motorbikes or Jeeps) can run over infantry, although it doesn't happen often since most infantrymen will fling themselves out of the way, unless they're suppressed by heavy fire or by the Churchill's Tank Shock ability.
    • The Sherman's mine flail gibs infantry on contact when activated, making it a sometimes effective infantry killer, though the .50 cal machinegun usually does a good enough job.
    • In the second game, both versions of the T-34 can ram other vehicles. This usually immobilizes and stuns the crews of both the T-34 and the target, leaving both vulnerable. The M10 tank destroyer is also so good at running over infantrymen if its user knows how to micromanage it that players tend to joke it's both an anti-infantry and anti-tank vehicle.
  • Catchphrase: Soviet Conscripts not only have an ability called "Oorah!" which speeds them up while active, their in-combat dialogue makes use of the term very frequently as well. Lampshaded by the MG-42 HMG team who can yell out "What the fuck does 'Oorah' mean!?"
  • Casual Danger Dialog: A Soviet Guards Infantry squad who takes a casualty may have one of the men say the following:
    Shit, he owed me money!
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: An infantryman that takes much more damage than they have health tends to die outright instead of being critically wounded. In the first game, this prevents them from being retrieved by a medic station, while in the second, they cannot provide line of sight for a brief period.
  • Civil Warcraft:
    • Averted in the first game, even in multiplayer and Skirmish. In addition, factions also cannot fight other factions on the same side (Americans and British, Wehrmacht and Panzer Elite).
    • Averted for 2's campaign, but possible in custom multiplayer and offline matches.
  • Clown-Car Base:
    • Played straight in the first game, as an infinite number of men and vehicles can stream out of that tiny barracks tent or garage, as long as you have enough resources. The same applies to reinforcing from halftracks and forward HQs.
    • Played with in the second game. Any units "produced" by a building actually arrive from outside the map, but you can keep reinforcing squads from the same tiny command post or halftrack for the entire battle without running out, as long as you have enough Manpower available.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Nary a battle will go without cursing. 2 tends to have even more!
  • Cold Sniper: Every single one of them, when not being shot at.
    American Sniper: I am a rock. I am a stone.
    American Sniper: One shot, one kill.
    American Sniper: Heart or head, either way, Gerry's dead.
    American Sniper: Who believes in the bogeyman?
    • The literal interpretation is averted in 2 - snipers don't get cold even in the middle of a raging blizzard.
  • Colonel Badass: The German Artillery Field Officer of 2, who is apparently a lieutenant colonel as he says in some of his responses. The badass part is by him personally being the most durable infantry soldier in the entire game and doing a bit more DPS with his Luger pistol than the rifles of Germany's baseline Grenadier infantry.
  • Color-Coded Armies: Next to the usual RTS blue/red colour scheme, each faction their own set of identifiable uniform colours (occasionally streamlined from reality):
    • The US is light green and olive in 1, but wrapped in light brown trenchcoats in 2.
    • Both the Wehrmacht in 1 and the Oberkommando West in 2 are uniformly grey and ash-green, the Panzer Elite from 1 has a wilder array of light grey and light brown coats with dark grey trousers, whereas the Ostheer in 2 is dark green and brown green.
    • The British have beige tunics and khaki trousers in 1, but deep brown overalls in 2.
    • The Soviets carry light yellow and beige uniforms with light green helmets in 2.
  • Composite Character: The Wehrmacht from the third installment is clearly a composite of both the OKW and the Wehrmacht from the second game; Most of the unit names are similar to the Wehrmacht in 2, but the new Wehrmacht has a scout vehicle at tier 1 and an elite infantry unit at tier 4, much like how the OKW has the Kubelwagen at tier 1 and the Obersoldaten at tier 4. In addition, the new Grenadier unit has 5 men, much like the 5-man Volksgrenadier squad of the OKW.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu:
  • Conspicuously Selective Perception: Snipers become briefly visible after firing a shot. Tanks that have them in their line of sight will begin to traverse the turret towards them, then return to their original position when the sniper turns invisible again. They will never attempt to search for the sniper unless ordered to.
  • Continuing is Painful: If you lose a major engagement and have multiple units destroyed, the game may as well be over barring a genius maneuver. The way the series works is that resources are gained over time, so if you lose multiple units now, you will need time to recover while the enemy can use the same time grow stronger. Not to mention, veterancy in lost units is irrecoverable now matter how much resource you have, so your newly-rebuilt army will be inferior to that of the enemy, thus incurring even more losses and potentially repeating the cycle. It's for this reason that units like Sturmtiger and AVRE are widely hated, as they can instantly kill veteran units and put the opposing team on a net loss.
  • Cosmetic Award:
    • Each campaign mission in the first game and its expansions has a bonus objective that is rewarded with a purely cosmetic medal appearing in a sub-menu. Getting some of these are the hardest parts of the game.
    • 2 has cosmetic awards for nearly everything, from simply completing a campaign mission on a given difficulty to winning despite losing twice or more as many soldiers than the enemy. These accompany Steam achievements, with over 400 of them. Hope you aren't addicted to 100% Completion.
  • Cosmetically Different Sides: Averted. The factions' units vary in just about every way even with comparable units, right down to basic rifle infantry. The only uniform similarity is the barbed wire, tank traps, mines and sandbag defenses the first game's factions can set up - the second game went as far as making barbed wire the only thing that works the same for both factions.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Played With.
    • Anti-tank weapons like Panzershrecks and AT guns can kill infantry, but since they deal very little splash damage, they need a direct hit, which is a rare occurrence. If they do connect, though, the luckless infantryman is usually gibbed in one shot.
    • Basic infantry have limited building capabilities or can be upgraded with them, allowing them to fill in for the basic worker units.
    • Infantry with anti-tank weapons will still have some soldiers with standard small arms, letting them retain some effectiveness against other infantry.
    • Most units can be upgraded with special equipment after purchase, like additional M Gs for tanks and anti-tank weapons for some infantry squads.
    • Most tanks and assault guns have at least 1 machine gun for anti-infantry work, and some can be upgraded to get more.
    • All the basic worker units have guns and can be upgraded with flamethrowers.
    • Any infantry unit can change roles just by picking up a discarded special weapon, like LMGs or anti-tank rifles. Squads can also mix and match their special weapons, making them effective against both infantry and vehicles.
    • Most heavy weapon teams come with at least three people: two to operate the weapon, and one extra to act as a replacement if one of the other two bites it and to shoot back at enemies while the heavy weapon is setting/packing up.
      • In 2, the weapon teams number in fours (Germany) or sixes (Soviets).
    • Played straight with the non-standard Sherman variants.
      • The Sherman Crocodile cannot fire its main gun, despite Real Life examples being able to do so and being depicted graphically as having both a flamethrower and a cannon in the turret.
      • The Sherman Calliope, for balance reasons, cannot fire its main gun (though it was capable of doing so in earlier patches).
      • The British Sherman Firefly has one of the longest ranges of any tank and can easily take out almost any vehicle, but has absolutely no provisions for infantry defense except a mostly cosmetic coaxial machine gun.
    • The KV-8 flamethrower tank in 2 can swap to its main cannon to attack other tanks... though said main cannon is very, very poor in performance.
    • The Panther tank in 2 does little damage to infantry and is meant for anti-tank combat. However, it's not a regular tank destroyer either, lacking the long range that regular tank destroyers have to compensate for no infantry killing ability. Instead, the Panther is a class of its own specializing in "diving"—the act of using a tank with high speed and good armor to plow directly into the enemy line, take a few hits, destroy one or more high-value targets, then rapidly pull out. The Panther very much excels only in this role, as it would be destroyed rather quickly in a tank brawl against other tank destroyers like SU-85 and Jackson due to its inferior range.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Played With.
    • Tanks can have parts damaged as they lose HP, but otherwise will keep fighting to the last hitpoint.
      • Further toward Averted Trope in 2, with vehicles possibly being abandoned by the crew when its health runs out but remains intact enough for an infantry squad to reclaim it (though the vehicle will need to be repaired quickly to not die instantly to anything which can damage it). Vehicles can also suffer critical conditions such as engine damage (slower movement), main gun damage (tank can no longer fire main gun), gunner killed (light vehicle can no longer fire MG), etc.
    • Members of infantry squads have individual hitpoints, meaning a nearly destroyed squad can still have all its members while another has lost most of them. However, the individual squad members don't get penalized from being damaged.
    • It epically happens for AT and AA guns, as well as artillery, if they drop to one crew member. Since they'd logically and realistically be incapable of moving around the gun by themselves, the game instantly kills the last member. It's very noticeable when using a sniper against them.
    • Happens to all weapon teams if their weapon is destroyed without killing all of the crew. The game will instantly kill any surviving crew members. 2 has the survivors retreat off-map instead.
  • Cut Scene: In-engine scenes at the beginning and end of missions, animated 2D art with narration between them, like Relic's earlier Homeworld series.
  • Damage Is Fire: Tanks will catch on fire to signify damage to various parts.
  • Darker and Edgier: 2 tends to be more brutal overall than the first game, both in cutscenes and actual gameplay.
    • The campaign for instance shows the callousness and the We Have Reserves nature of the Soviet forces as seen by the officers who performs actions straight out of Enemy at the Gates.
  • Deadpan Snarker: This gem from 2:
    Penal Battalion under fire: Yes, they are shooting at us comrade obvious!
    • Another one, this time from when you order a German infantry unit without AT weapons to attack an armored vehicle.
    Understood! Wasting ammo!
  • Despair Event Horizon: Implied with Wolfgang, when his brother Aldrich dies. However, the Panzer Elite campaign ends then, so nothing really comes out of it.
  • Destructive Savior: When you get to sling around artillery in cities, this trope comes into full effect. The "quick" way of clearing Cherbourg will live up to the narrator's comments after the mission about essentially destroying the town to take it. That being said, when taken into consideration with the deformable terrain, it's hard not to try bombing the German positions literally flat with the offshore batteries if you've accrued enough Munitions.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: The British have a highly unusual technology tree and veterancy system (command trucks that can pack up and drive around the map; and a system where only officer units can gain veterancy and gives bonuses to units around them), and they really take a while to come online, with very expensive units (though generally good) that move slowly in territory that they do not control. They have three lines of development: one focuses on heavy artillery, one focuses on Commandoes, scouting and rapid deployment, and one focuses on defences and siege warfare. The British have only one strategy: Slow advance. But they are very, very good at it.
  • Discard and Draw: The M3 Halftrack and the Bren Carrier can sacrifice the ability to carry troops in exchange for More Dakka with the M45 Quadmount and Vickers Machine gun respectively to take out infantry and light vehicles, as well as aircraft for the Quadmount since it was an anti-aircraft weapon from the start. The Wehrmacht Halftrack can also remove the ability to carry troops in exchange for installing flamethrowers or rocket artillery.
  • Disconnected by Death: At the end of "Operation Windsor" in the British campaign, a Royal Scots Engineer calls 3rd Battalion to tell them Hill 112 is under attack. He stops talking and the scene cuts to the engineer slumped over facing the camera, framed in shadow, with his radio in front of him as 3rd Battalion asks for him to respond. For extra deadness points, the engineer gets shot a few more times, with the bullets piercing through his radio as well.
  • Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe:
    • Major Blackmore in Opposing Fronts has one.
    • Used by the Assault Support Doctrine German Commander and the DLC Anti-Infantry Tactics Soviet Commander in 2.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Applies to the American Airborne and Ranger squads.
    • Both are infantry squads obtained from a doctrine tree, have the Fire Up ability to speed themselves up and ignore suppression at the cost of tiring themselves out when the ability ends, are classed as special infantry to make them less susceptible to small-arms (the Rangers are somewhat tougher note ), and both can throw frag grenades when the ability is researched from the Barracks.
      • The Airborne can throw Satchel Charges to destroy buildings, can be dropped anywhere the player has line of sight and can reinforce anywhere - at an extra Manpower cost and a lengthened reinforcement time. Rangers start out with Bazookas, which are good against lighter vehicles. Thus, the Airborne are a bit better against infantry as they have more rifles, while the Rangers are better at destroying light armor. They really become distinct after they get their weapon upgrades - the Rangers' Thompson SMGs will tear through enemy infantry in close combat and they can still use their Bazookas against vehicles in a pinch, while the Airborne's Recoilless Rifles are one of the best anti-tank weapons available for the American side and they can still use their rifles against infantry if need be.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: Moving hurts accuracy, and a number of units cannot fire unless stopped (and may have to set-up while stopped before they can fire). The penalty is particularly harsh to the American Engineers and German Pioneers.
    • Inverted for the Knight's Cross Holders unit which will actually usually cause more damage while on the move - though they lose 25% accuracy from moving, the bursts they'll let out with their StG 44s will be 50% longer which more than compensates.
    • The Panzergrenadier unit from 2 used to uniquely have no penalty for firing while moving (though this was later removed), letting them freely run about the battlefield hounding heavy weapon teams or dodging indirect fire.
  • Driven to Suicide: Colonel Churkin at the end of 2's campaign.
  • Easy Level Trick:
    • Early versions of "Carentan Counterattack" was cheesed by instead of going defensive as intended, you rush offensively and take the top half of the map while you send all of your forces at the northern spawn point. All of the enemy forces will be shot at the moment they enter the map like fish in a barrel. Obviously, this was patched by the time of the physical release, in where enemy troops can fire at your units from outside the map and artillery will rain down on the northern corner sector of map, giving them time to spread out and forcing your units back as intended.
    • The "Mortain Counterattack" mission in the "Invasion of Normandy" campaign requires you to hold at least three of four different capture points spread out across the map while the enemy attacks with waves of armor that will also crush your base if given a chance. In theory, some sort of balanced force rushing between each hot spot as needed might be able to pull it off. Or you can pick the Airborne Company and drop some paratroopers near each point. Aside from the 88s (which they can deal with by getting close and then throwing grenades/satchel charges), their recoilless rifles can handle the vehicles without too much difficulty and they don't need to retreat to base or have a halftrack/Field HQ nearby to replenish their losses. Drop two squads at each of the four locations, another pair at your base, and you've got a defensive force that will take considerable effort to dislodge. This primarily works because the enemy never seems to deploy heavy machine gun squads, the one hard counter to paratroops.
  • Easy Logistics: The game's munition and fuel resources are gained by capturing and holding territory which must be connected next to at least one of your other territories to deliver you their resources - the former are required to use most special abilities (from throwing a grenade to using specialized ammunition to laying down mines) and upgrading units with advanced equipment, the latter is needed to build vehicles and base buildings. However, units' base attacks will never run out of ammunition to fire and none of the advanced equipment, vehicles or buildings require more of their resource to continue functioning.
    Our Tiger, she drinks fuel like it's beer.
    She weighs double their tanks, our fat Tiger.
  • The Empire: The Soviet Union in the second game are portrayed unlike their historical counterpart. The commanding officers have no qualm in sending their troops into the battlefield as cannon fodder, killing anyone who fall back (as per Order 227), disobeying their order (a soldier who helped Lev was executed for abandoning his post to save the Lieutenant) and even their own Polish allies under the excuse of Poland might oppose the Soviets after the war.
  • Enemy Exchange Program:
    • Special weapons drop when the squad carrying them loses too many members to continue holding on to them, and can be picked up by any infantry unit.
    • If a heavy weapon's crew dies without the weapon itself being destroyed, it can be captured using any infantry squad with enough members alive.
    • In 2, all abandoned vehicles (sometimes happens when a shot would normally destroy the vehicle) can be captured in much the same way as heavy weapons. They retain all the damage they had before the crew abandoned them, though, which means they're generally very close to dying again and could have engine damage and/or a destroyed main gun. Make sure to bring a few Combat Engineers/Pioneers nearby to fix it up.
  • The Engineer: All the engineers in the game are at least Support Engineers, and all can be Combat Engineers.
    • American Engineers, Russian Combat Engineers and Wehrmacht Pioneers are initially ineffective in combat, but can be equipped with a flamethrower, making them big threats to any infantry they can get close enough to. They are also demolitions experts.
    • The British Infantry Section can build a number of structures and are also your mainline infantry, and the British Sappers - made for making powerful defences and repairing - are only slightly less effective in combat and can even be more cost-efficient, as outlined by Violent Glaswegian lower on the page.
      • The British Forces in the second game have a similar deal: Infantry Sections can build trenches, sandbag walls, munitions and fuel dumps, while the Royal Engineers repair vehicles and buildings, destroy and plant mines, build weapons emplacements, etc. However, the Royal Engineers are now armed with STENs, making them less effective at range than the Infantry, who also get the ability to heal other units, call in fire support, throw grenades, and throw AT Gammon Bombs if you choose Hammer tactics. They are still effective in combat, especially if you go with Anvil tactics, which allows you to upgrade them to Heavy Engineers, who gain a Vickers K-Gun, which doesn't take up an equipped weapons slot, meaning they can potentially have three different special weapons.
    • All Panzer Elite infantry can construct structures and repair.
    • The Oberkommando West's engineers are the Sturmpioneers, by far the most powerful and expensive engineer unit in the games - their StG44es aren't any good from far away, but they'll tear up pretty much all other basic infantry units at mid and close range.
    • The U.S. Forces' Rear Echelon Troop unit is initially probably the worst of the lot, being liable to lose out against just about all other combat infantry units at the start, but do same some advantages going for them - they have a Volley Fire ability that will suppress enemy squads in coordination with other allied fire, they will (completely uniquely) shoot out rifle grenades while garrisoned in a Fighting Position, and can benefit from buying from the U.S. Forces' weapon racks like other infantry units.
  • Externally Validated Prophecy: A humorous line from 2 has a German soldier Shout-Out Oprah's memetic car giveaway with sturmgewehrs ("We should all have sturmgewehrs, you get a sturmgewehr, YOU GET A STURMGEWEHR, EVERYONE GETS STURMGEWEHRS!"). While funny on its own, the sentiment pretty much actually was adopted into modern infantry equipment.
  • Every Bullet is a Tracer: And if it's a sniper's bullets, it leaves a smoke trail through the air too.
    • Averted Trope by the United Kingdom Forces' Vickers Machine Gun in The British Forces, which just periodically fires a green tracer.
  • Everything Fades: Played With. Destroyed vehicles leave wrecks that can either be used for cover or salvaged for resources. Dead soldiers fade, while wounded soldiers linger on the battlefield for the medics to pick up in the first game, or to provide visibility in the second.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Worn by the DLC Lightning War Doctrine German Commander in 2.

    F to O 
  • Faction Calculus:
    • USA (Subversive) vs. Wehrmacht (Powerhouse).
    • Commonwealth (Balanced - in a very defensive sense) vs. Panzer Elite (Cannons).
    • The Eastern Front mod adds the Russians (Horde early game, Powerhouse late game) and the Ostheer (Subversive but in a more "sneaky" and "technical" sense).
    • In 2, Red Army (Subversive/Horde), Wehrmacht Ostheer (Powerhouse), US Forces (Balanced), British Armed Forces (Powerhouse with heavy emphasis on defense) and Oberkommando West (Cannons).
  • Fire-Breathing Weapon: Flamethrowers are, unrealistically, useless against tanks, but infantry caught by them are literally toast, especially if they're in cover or a building. Though already quite effective in the first game, in the second they received a significant buff, being capable of wiping out entire squads very quickly. Flamethrower vehicles in particular will annihilate infantry squads in the space of a few seconds.
  • Foil: In 2, Pozarsky is one to Isakovich. Much like Isakovich, Pozarshky is a soldier who was stuck in a city torn by war, and it is implied that like Isakovich, he has PTSD. However, while Isakovich becomes a journalist and tries to expose the crimes of the Soviet Union, Pozarshky remains a soldier and remains devoted to the Soviet cause, and is not afraid to embrace some of the practices that Isakovich despises, best shown when he executes Anna. This is best shown when Isakovich condemns Pozarshky as a murderer in his writings.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Averted Trope in 2... because everyone freely swears in both their native language and English.
  • Fragile Speedster:
    • The domain of light vehicles for any faction. Sustained MG fire can punch through their armor, but the vehicles can easily move out of their firing arc and outflank them. Anti-tank weaponry, however, can take them out in just one or two hits.
    • The British Tetrarch (dropped in by glider) in Opposing Fronts, which gives the British an option for hit-and run tactics for the otherwise defensive play-style. It can even go circles around a King Tiger without getting hit. It is, in fact, the fastest vehicle in the game. Combined with its Littlejohn Adapter upgrade, and it can penetrate the rear armour of any vehicle in the game, even the Jagdpanther's. Combining these two traits means that, with enough micromanagement, it can destroy any tank in the game while taking no damage in return.
    • The Russian T-70 in 2 is fast and has decent firepower, but is quite fragile for a tank, though it's still immune to small arms fire.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Played With.
    • Feel free to have your infantry move in directly in front of supporting rifle and machine gun fire, it won't hit them. Be more wary about doing the same while mortars and artillery are firing on the position they're at.
    • Don't put vehicles between a friendly AT weapon of any kind and an enemy. If they miss the enemy, they might hit your vehicle instead.
  • Gag Penis: The boast of a German infantryman while out-of-combat in 2.
    My rifle, a pistol, two knives, three grenades, and my dick. I'm always well-armed.
  • Gallows Humor: In classic Russian Humor-style, the Russian announcer has numerous lines which unironically notes the Soviet Union's lack of care for the individual soldier.
    If your men freeze to death, they cannot die fighting the enemy!
  • Game Mod:
  • Garrisonable Structures: All infantry can garrison buildings, which provide a massive cover bonus and keeps them from freezing in the second game. In the first game, some can even be upgraded into field barracks that can produce and reinforce infantry units. Beware flamethrowers and high explosives.
  • Gas Mask Mooks: Averted with 3's Guastatori unit. While it would seem insane to wear gas masks in African deserts unless one was sure to actually need it to protect oneself from gas attacks, the unit actually has a passive effect labeled T.35 Gas Masks where they move faster and are harder to hit after coming out of smoke cover, apparently using their gas masks to breath more effectively while entering a smoke cloud to facilitate an assault.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • The Panzer Elite's Marder III packs a vehicle-killing BFG and is practically an anti-tank sniper. On the other hand, it dies very, very easily: although it is frontally immune to small-arms fire, it can be killed relatively easily by flanking it with submachinegun-toting infantry, making it the only armored vehicle vulnerable to them.
    • In Tales of Valor, the Wehrmacht Geschützwagen is basically their equivalent of the above-mentioned Marder III.
    • American Engineers, Russian Combat Engineers and Wehrmacht Pioneers can get flamethrowers, which, while short ranged compared to most other weapons, essentially melts enemy infantry, even doing bonus damage against the hardier infantry types in the game. However, it's being wielded by a fragile builder/repair unit, and the flamethrower upgrade makes them easier to suppress as well. Combat involving flamethrower squads tends to be rather one-sided either way.
    • The Russian SU-76 in 2 is currently the only non-light vehicle that's not completely immune to HMG fire, at least on its flanks. It's decent against other vehicles, though, and comes with an artillery barrage ability that can really mess up infantry squads.
  • Groin Attack: Calling in Paratroopers in The Western Front Armies may get you hearing one yell out "Oh, fuck me! Augh...I just cracked a nut."
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The specific unit stats in both games aren't revealed to players, forcing them to either learn through trial and error or look the stats up online or in the game files. Most veterancy bonuses also aren't revealed in the first game, though the second one provides text which gives an approximation.
    • It's not mentioned anywhere in the first game that most units shoot faster and more accurately the closer they are to their target, though the second states this with a loading screen tip.
    • There are three factors that determine whether a unit hits its target: accuracy, scatter and target size. The first one is straightforward, but the other two mean that a shot can still hit the target even if it technically counts as a missnote .
    • The second game has become rather infamous for this among the playerbase, as it's a decade-old game with years worth of patches that has no official Wiki keeping track of all of them. Any information you look up online may be years or even a decade out of date, and even the official steam page lists outdated information (such as the much-lambasted "faction guide" chart that is hilariously off-meta). For instance, most online sources still state that the Sturm Offizier unit of OKW buff enemy soldiers if it use its forced retreat ability, but that has been altered in the latest patch to debuffing itself instead. Serealia, a popular user-made website listing all unit stats datamined from the game, was outdated until it was finally updated in 2024, 3 whole years after the final patch. The closest thing to an official stat page you can find is the patchnotes, but then you have to go through the trouble of remembering which change is patched out by another change down the line.
  • Guilt-Based Gaming: To encourage keeping your units alive, they will sometimes make reports to you over their field radios as they are all killed. Such distress calls can range from Cessation Of Communications (in that case, your aide-de-camp will inform you that due to the lack of signs of life, the entire squad is presumed dead), over Lost in Transmission, to an Apocalyptic Log. It is pretty damn depressing to lose units that way, hearing as some attempt to stay calm and formal as they make their report as they are shot and killed, while others beg for rescue or retreat orders as they die.
  • Hero Unit:
    • The Snipers, the Wehrmacht Officer, and the British Lieutenants, Captain and Command Tanks in the first game follow certain traits of this trope.
      • The Snipers are expensive and are one man in a game that uses squads; have long-ranged, accurate and powerful attacks against infantry; a larger amount of health then most other single infantry units, a powerful "Camouflage" stealth ability; and can be more then worth their cost if controlled well, used for scouting, and retreated when outmatched - though they are ineffective against vehicles and won't exactly curbstomp other infantry. In 2, the Russians use sniper teams consisting of a sniper and a spotter, though this is still smaller than any other infantry squad. German snipers remain lonely - and appropriately grim.
      • The Wehrmacht Officer can be used to speed up a building's production rate, has other useful abilities, is a single soldier and has more health than the average infantryman too, but is an inefficient combatant.
      • The British Lieutenants and Command Tanks provide powerful passive buffs to infantry and tanks, respectively, that are close enough to them. The Lieutenant can take more sniper shots then other infantry - but both are otherwise unimpressive in combat (Command Tanks only have a dummy main gun and two machine guns). The Captain is similar to the Lieutenant, but provides different buffs, and in an entire sector. All of these British units are expensive compared to other choices and are worthless against vehicles. They are also the only British units that can gain veterancy.
    • The Germans of 2 can call-in a Panzer IV Command Tank with certain commanders, which grants defensive bonuses to allied units in an allied sector. However, it's packing a short 75mm gun that's only really useful against infantry, though it can take on tanks if used carefully.
    • The German Artillery Field Officer in 2 is escorted by 3 Grenadiers, but he's personally the toughest infantry unit in the game (his Grenadier retinue is more average) and deals out a bit more DPS with his pistol than his rifle-toting bodyguards. He can also call in artillery smoke barrages, make nearby units shoot faster and more accurately and target an area for a barrage from all artillery units in range regardless of their cooldown.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Some out-of-combat dialogue for Grenadier squads' in 2 has phrases which can be inferred to be said by the same individual. Said Grenadier apparently was hoping to be an artilleryman instead because he's quite good at mathematics, used to teach math, and took a job as an accountant after he got married.
    • Another voice for out-of-combat dialogue claims he ran a bordello before the war.
    Yes really, a whorehouse. The mayor was one of our best customers too, until we called in his credit.
    • The dialogue from the Obersoldaten squad generally has them talk about how War Is Glorious and be entirely confident in Germany winning the war...aside from one line where he admits he's been trying to be in good spirits for everyone and he's really tired of trying.
    • The Welsh Sappers' squad leader from 2 descends from South Wales, and often makes remarks about coal mines, having joining the army to avoid ending up in the coal mines of his homeland, like his father and uncle (who has died in these mines). He is labour-oriented (concerning his political orientation) and quite the unionist, even making a comment about how workers are treated by Stalin in the USSR.
      • Also, his sister is infatuated with an American soldier (a Yank according to his words).
    • A Sturmpionier may lament that he has spent so long at war that he no longer remembers what it's like before.
  • High-Class Glass: 2 has the Jaeger Infantry Doctrine German Commander wear this.
  • Historical In-Joke: In the event an Ostruppen squad manages to get the killing shot against a Soviet unit, their sergeant will occasionally remark, "Better dead than red!" This doubles as both a gag on the well-worn catchphrase of the Red Scare, but also a nod to the fact that service in the Ostruppen was presented under the notion that they were protecting their homelands from the ravages of the Soviet Union.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: The portrayal of the Soviet Union in Company of Heroes 2 centers on their ruthless side, to the point of sometimes straight up inventing war crimes for them to do. The portrayal of Scorched Earth policy stands out as being particularly egregiously over-the-top and clearly invented, where the commanders order their troops to burn down civilian houses with people inside and a field of their own troops. Actual Soviet doctrine orders civilians to be evacuated (they need every man for the war), and no sane commander would consider friendly fire a good idea. Furthermore, with the manpower shortage during the war, Red Army commissars generally would not execute soldiers who went out of their way to rescue a valuable lieutanent either.
  • Hollywood Healing: Wounded soldiers in the first game become perfectly healthy the second the number of the basic infantry squad of their faction of them are together in a medic station. They forget all any special training and become basic riflemen, however.
    • Except for the Wehrmacht, who can have four Volksgrenadiers (essentially conscripts) go down and be taken to a medic station, and then spawn as the later tier backbone infantry unit of the Wehrmacht, Grenadiers (which are better trained and more effective).
  • Hollywood Military Uniform: Units' uniforms in the series are largely based on reality as much as possible with the caveat of also being designed to appear distinctive from each other from a distance for readability for players...though 1's powder-blue Grenadier uniforms and Knight's Cross Holders' black dress uniforms (complete with puffy pants thighs) stand out as the series' most obvious breaks from historical battledress.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Infantry flamethrowers have a drawback in 2 - the flamethrower can explode from being shot up and damage all other infantry near the explosion, which are usually the wielder's squadmates.
    • A real danger when using the satchel charge. Once attached to an enemy vehicle, the charge needs over 3 seconds to go off, during which time the vehicle may plow straight into your units and blow up with them. It's even possible for the enemy vehicle to survive the detonation while your units do not, making this trope hit harder.
  • Homing Boulders: Whether a projectile hits or misses is determined as it's being fired. This being WWII, it usually isn't noticeable, but it can result in the slower projectiles, like those fired by Panzershrecks, curving midflight to hit a moving enemy, sometimes even changing altitude.
  • I Can Still Fight!: Incapacitated Russian infantry in 2 can occasionally be heard saying:
    I can still shoot! Someone give me a gun...
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Colonel Churkin states this a lot throughout 2's campaign. Isakovich doesn't agree with the "Had To" bit, which is why he's in the labor camp. Colonel Churkin is eventually convinced otherwise by Isakovich, and decides to set him free.
  • Immune to Bullets: Like their historical counterparts, if it's called a tank, small arms won't do a thing against them. This being said, it's still possible for a few sources of bullets to affect them - some units armed with light machine guns can hamper tank with a "button" ability, and some heavy machine gun teams in 2 can improve their weapon's penetration with an activated ability to allow them have an almost-minimal chance of damaging even some of the heaviest tanks.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Churkin claims all he did was out of sheer necessity, but there are a few hints that he didn't agree with it. This is shown in the second mission where he looks with a somewhat sad look. He also did agree that some of the battles in the campaign were needlessly fought and a waste of life, and at the end decides to let him go.
  • Hell Is That Noise: You can hear indirect fire shoot through the air or vehicles driving around in the fog of war. Might not be so bad if you're prepared to deal with their sources. If not, sweating is probable.
  • Infinity +1 Sword:
    • The King Tiger, which takes forever to get access to, requires you to select the Wehrmacht Terror Doctrine and can only be called in once per game. It will also destroy everything in sight and has enough armor strapped on to it to withstand more direct hits from 17 pounder guns than almost any other Axis unit.
    • Similarly, the Jagdpanther tank destroyer. It wouldn't be inaccurate to apply all the above remarks to it.
    • The original Tiger Ace, which was replaced by the King Tiger in Opposing Fronts, was basically as good as a Vet 3 Tiger without having to pay for the veterancy upgrades, and even though you only got one at a time, it could be replaced if lost. Not only that, but both versions of the Tiger I tank in the game are surprisingly fast. Having the Tiger Ace replaced by the King Tiger was arguably a downgrade.
    • The American M26 Pershing. They're the heaviest tanks available to the Allies in the first game and are almost equal to a Tiger I. If properly supported, they can even take on a King Tiger or Jagdpanther and win.
    • The Tiger Ace in 2 is only available with the DLC-exclusive Elite Troops commander. It's a Tiger tank immediately at full veterancy; and so it has a high fire-rate, mobility, accuracy, in addition to having an anti-tank Target Weakpoint ability, a higher sight-range, and very lethal machine-guns not normally available to Tiger tanks... but decreases your income while it is deployed. It takes quite a while to unlock it, but if you do, boy is it worth it. It used to instead have double the health and damage of a Tiger tank with the speed-boost Blitzkrieg ability while completely stopping all income when used (even when destroyed), but that was changed because it was a Game-Breaker.
  • Insert Grenade Here: A rather humorous inversion. The Churchill tank has the ability to lob antipersonnel grenades out of its commander's hatch to help deal with enemy soldiers that are too close for comfort.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Snipers can One-Hit Kill most infantry with a single shot, thanks to their high Arbitrary Gun Power.
  • Intrepid Reporter: In 2, Lev Isakovich after Stalingrad, complete with remarks about how the Soviet people need to know the truth. Churkin refuses to allow certain parts of the truth however.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Out-of-combat dialogue has the Volksgrenadier squad leader in The Western Armies say with certainty the StG 44's concept won't ever be successful. Its concept now is, of course, the standard-issue weapon for infantry everywhere.
  • It's Raining Men:
    • The American Airborne. They can drop anywhere, reinforce anywhere, and have a powerful satchel charge, a power-up ability and very fast-firing recoilless rifles. This makes them an excellent multipurpose unit for hunting down tanks and damaging field structures. The recoilless rifles are so effective that the Airborne's success can depend simply on holding out until they arrive.
    • The British Royal Commandos drop from the skies in friggin' kamikazeing gliders. There are few things as joyful as landing one of those babies in an unexpected place right behind a bunker or some Pioneers...
      • The Commandos can also drop light tanks via glider! The Light Tank Mk VII (A17) aka "Tetrarch", to be precise. They're nowhere near a match for other tanks, but still quite punchy by themselves, and finding a trigger-happy Tetrarch or two backed up by Paras or Commandos in your back yard is an extremely unpleasant surprise indeed. Micromanaged correctly, they can drive around enemy tanks too fast for their turrets to keep up.
  • Just Plane Wrong: The Luftwaffe Tactics tree for the Panzer Elite faction in Opposing Fronts grants access to strafing attacks by an Hs 129, depicted with a fearsome 75 mm cannon that makes short work of any British tank. In Real Life, however, Hs 129s were deployed almost exclusively to the Eastern Front, where they would be less vulnerable to enemy fighters... including all 25 or so examples of the extremely rare B-3 model, the only version equipped with the cannon.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: A fairly regular occurrence for tanks knocked out in the second game, interrupted by their tank exploding.
    Sherman tank: AMMO HOLD ON FIR-!
  • Kill It with Fire: Infantry and tanks with flamethrowers. Works best against infantry, buildings and infantry in buildings. Burn 'em out of their holes! Russian Conscripts can also be upgraded to throw Molotov Cocktails.
    • This is taken to the logical extreme by 2's downloadable commander, the Oberkommando West Firestorm Doctrine leader. All infantry units get flamethrowers, the Flammpanzer 38 'Hetzer'note , and an off-map artillery barrage.... with incendiary shells.
  • Land Mine Goes "Click!": Played With. Land mines don't, but Booby Traps do.
  • La Résistance: In 2, Partisans are available in one campaign mission and some Theater of War missions, as well as a call-in unit for certain Soviet commanders in multiplayer and Theater of War. They're light infantry with a variety of weapons, typically stolen MG42s, anti-tank rifles or Panzerschrecks.
  • Last Words: Individual infantry squad members can have some when they get killed.
    Grenadier: Nein! Nein! Not like this...
    • Sometimes the words fit the way they die, which can get pretty horrifying...
    Conscript (burning to death): Oh god please kill me! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD KILL ME!
    • Vehicles being knocked out also like to cry out against fate in 2.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Churkin threw away millions of lives, in some instances completely needlessly, arguing that they were expendable for the ultimate good of the state. He was originally going to be killed by Stalin in his next purge, essentially making him expendable. Unfortunately, this backfires, as this convinces him to let Isakovich go free and expose the Soviet crimes.
  • Leaked Experience: Unique to the Panzer Elite faction, half of any experience their units earn is also granted to nearby Panzer Elite units. This is not mentioned anywhere in-game.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Tiger and the M26 Pershing. Both can move around rather quickly, can wreak havoc on infantry and tanks alike and can still take a beating.
  • Luck-Based Mission: The series' combat uses percentages and odds - general things will happen according to these percentages, but miracles and outliers are far from impossible.
    • With the advent of planes in 2 that can fly around more times subsequently at once from being called in temporarily, players can find they've shot down the enemy's plane and prevented their attack only for the plane to land on and likely wipe out their units elsewhere...or the plane they called in gets shot down without doing much and then lands on their own units.
    • Since destroyed tanks have a small chance to be recoverable, that tank you sacrifice to destroy the enemy tank might be for naught as they'll just fix it good as new again. Worse still, both tanks might be recoverable deep in enemy territory, in which case the enemy not only keep their current tank but also gain yours.
    • Tank combat in general is very much this, as it depends on two very RNG-laden things: armor and accuracy. Accuracy determines whether the tank can actually hits the enemy tank or not, while armor determines if the shot can even do any damage at all. With bad luck, you may miss the enemy tank over and over again, and even once you manage to land a hit, it may just bounce off their armor.
  • Ludicrous Gibs:
  • Macross Missile Massacre:
    • The Sherman Calliope fires a semi-discriminate spread of artillery rockets. A lot of them. The spread template gets bigger the farther it shoots, so firing on the enemy base from across the map won't destroy any buildings, but it is absolutely devastating to any exposed units. And you can have two of them!
    • To a lesser extent, the Nebelwerfer rocket artillery. While each one can only shoot six rockets, they can be fielded in large quantities.
    • In 2, the Russians have their trademark Katyusha rocket artillery, while the Germans get the armored Panzerwerfer.
  • Magikarp Power:
    • The Volksgrenadier unit of the Oberkommando West in The Western Front Armies used to be of this. Initially, it is the least impressive basic rifle infantry squad among the factions, lacking a range it particularly excels in over the others, leaving the unit largely a meatshield to screen and scout for other units that will serve as the real teeth for combat. However, it could reach a 5th rank of veterancy like any other Oberkommando West unit and be upgraded to have a Panzershreck, a weapon that when regularly used against enemy vehicles will quickly turn the unit from just a cheap meatshield into an exceptional meatshield with an above-average sight range that also is armed to threaten even tanks. They were later changed to instead get a few StG-44s with an upgrade and their veterancy bonuses were weakened.
    • Somewhat Downplayed version of this trope in the first game, with the Panzer Elite Grenadiers. Initially expensive, poorly armed and very vulnerable, they can be granted a staggering number of upgrades, including 3 different combat abilities, 3 weapon packages, a squad size increase, and a number of other upgrades through the player's preferred tactical doctrine. Fully upgraded, Panzer Grenadiers are probably the best core infantry choice of all armies.
    • Played straight for the Panzerfusilier. It starts out even weaker than the Volks, but as soon as it gains access to the G43 upgrade, will become one of the highest DPS units (at all ranges) in the entire game.
    • Conscripts bereft of commander options only really have their Oorah! button to improve their speed and their Merge ability to keep more important units on the field to make them noteworthy - their combat ability will quickly suffer by comparison as other factions' infantry gain access to weapon upgrades. However, they can eventually be upgraded after researching Mobilize Reserves (which is available far later than other comparable upgrades since it requires at least the Soviets' third tier building) that causes Conscripts to have a giant-squad of seven men, be reinforced for far cheaper, increases their fire-rate while in cover so much that they'll be able to defeat upgunned-mainline infantry even without considering the cost reduction, and even gain veterancy faster.
    • Alternatively, one may purchase the PPSh-41 upgrade for Conscripts, which turns them into budget Panzergrenadiers that can solo even the real deal while having extra utilities like snares and sprint.
  • Majorly Awesome: Major Blackmore from Opposing Fronts. We overhear some British soldiers talking about an Offscreen Moment of Awesome where he took on seven Germans by himself.
  • Master of All: The Guards Rifle unit for Soviet in 2. It's strong enough to go toes to toes with even the Obersoldaten, the strongest Axis elite unit bar none, while simultaneously still capable of posing a threat to both light and medium vehicles thanks to its AT rifles.
  • Mauve Shirt: The "Invasion of Normandy" campaign's opening cutscene introduces you to a boat of American soldiers about to land on Omaha Beach. A sergeant gives their orders and reassures the other men in the boat. They land and eventually all get killed trying to reach the safe(ish) dirt mound in front of the German-entrenched cliffs. Then, the game cuts to another boat and the cinematic graphics change to the in-game graphics, showing you the first soldiers you'll be commanding for the campaign.
    • Bonus points for the sergeant realizing that he is the only one alive on the beach and dropping to his knees before getting gunned down.
  • Meaningful Name: The protagonist of 2's campaign, Lev Abramovich Isakovich is named for the Biblical story of Abraham and Isaac, in which a reluctant father is told by God to sacrifice his son.
  • Mechanically Unusual Class: The Panzer Elite is incapable of building defenses unless a specific tactical doctrine is selected (Luftwaffe), but the ones they CAN build are the best in the game: a Flakverlung emplacement that has a 360-degree traverse, and an 88MM howitzer with immense range. They can't build Observation Posts, instead deploying a specially-equipped scout car that acts as a turret/ Obs. Post combo.
  • Mercy Kill: Incapacitated soldiers in 2 may sometimes beg someone to kill them to end their suffering.
    • Players are also capable of ordering units to shoot at incapacitated-yet-conscious infantry to finish them off. The tutorial advises this, saying they still grant the enemy vision.
  • Mighty Glacier: Heavy vehicles in general tend to be slow, but very tough and hard-hitting.
  • Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: If you keep clicking on your units enough, they will become annoyed and start to insult you.
    American Artillery Commander: We're FUCKED, crew! Command is DRUNK again!
    American Infantryman: SARGE?! ARE YOU HIGH?!
    German Artillery Commander: Ignoring kommandant! He appears to be the victim of some sort of enemy nerve gas!
    German Tank Commander: I think we should put in for a new kommandant - this one seems to have lost his marbles.
  • Molotov Cocktail: An ability requiring an upgrade for Soviet Conscripts or Partisans in 2 which burns an area it's thrown onto, damaging infantry. It is especially useful at killing or driving out enemies in buildings or cover and attacking static weapon teams, though it is essentially incapable of doing anything against tanks (or pretty much any vehicle) unlike its historical namesake.
  • More Dakka:
    • Suppression weapons in general rely on having a high rate of fire, but they don't do a lot of damage to their targets if they're behind any kind of cover.
    • Anti-infantry upgrades for infantry squads usually give more of this than what they had before, though the Browning Automatic Rifle upgrade for American Rifleman squads is especially worth mentioning, since it gives the squad the ability to temporarily quickly suppress and pin enemy infantry, essentially making the squad a mobile machine gun team for the duration.
    • The Panzer Elite can choose whether veterancy bonuses will increase their defense or offense—a Flak 36 with three offensive upgrades is something to fear.
  • Mr. Fixit: Engineers, Pioneers, Sappers, Rear Echelon Troops, Vehicle Crews, even Panzergrenadiers note  any unit with a "Repair" ability can fix any repairable structure, weapon, or vehicle in its faction's possession, regardless of origin.
  • Mutual Disadvantage: Used in a few abilities in 2 and The Western Front Armies - the Tactical Assault ability on Paratroopers with Thompsons or Stormtroopers with StG 44s greatly increases the squad's accuracy at the cost of making them be easier to hit by the same amount (though the ability also gives the squad an advantage in increasing their burst duration). The Sturmoffizer unit has two which are supposed to have such a dynamic (make one enemy unit be easier to hit at the cost of it being more accurate in turn, retreat an enemy unit at the cost of causing nearby enemy units to do more damage), but in actuality the drawbacks are unimplemented and nonexistent.
  • New Meat: Referenced to with some of the "squad remanned to full strength" lines.
    Hey, new guy! Don't fuck up!
    Yeah, yeah, you'll do, fall in line...
    Airborne! Welcome to France!
    Welcome to the squad. We shit together!
    Get the replacements up front ASAP. I don't want any of our lads to buy it.
    Great, more old farts from the stomach battalion! note 
  • Never Heard That One Before: The Royal Engineers' squad leader from The British Forces have dialogue complaining about since he joined the army, he's heard every joke about coal-mining, sheep and choirs, and they're all bloody boring.
  • Nicknaming the Enemy: The soldiers tend to use the historical nicknames.
    • Germans are referred to as "Jerry", "Jerries", "Krauts" or "Huns", while Americans are called "Yanks", "Yankees" or "cowboys".
    • In 2, Russians are called "Ivan", "Bolsheviks" or just "Rus". In turn, the Soviets refer to the Germans as "Fritz" or "Fascists".
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Played straight in Company of Heroes, but averted in Opposing Fronts and Tales of Valor. The Germans lack a storyline campaign in 2 as well, but they do have their own set of missions in Theater of War.
  • No Dead Body Poops: Mentioned by ambient dialogue out-of-combat with a Grenadier squad near a Sniper, where the speaker complains "Sure, he's a good shot, but he never has to smell the blood and shit."
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: For rescuing a valuable officer, fending off a German attack with armored units in the process, the instigator of the rescue, Yuri, gets a bullet in the head for his troubles, and the rest of the unit that participated gets executed.
  • No One Gets Left Behind:
  • No Kill like Overkill: The Battle of Halbe is addressed at this, and it does make sense since the Germans simply wanted to surrender to the Western Allies. Churkin even admits that fighting Halbe was completely unneeded.
  • No Range Like Point-Blank Range: At very close-range, small-arms will ignore suppression (but not pinning) and cover. Not that the game ever tells you this.
  • No Recycling: Averted. The Wehrmacht (1) and Oberkommando West (Western Front Armies), being tight on resources, can scavenge from vehicle wrecks. There is also a repair vehicle based on the Bergetiger available to the Panzer Elite that can "resurrect" them.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: Order an Ostruppen squad in 2 to attack a Sturmpanzer. To elaborate, it's a heavily-armored assault gun while the Ostruppen squad don't come with anti-tank capable weaponry... and the Sturmpanzer is one of their vehicles, making the order even odder (this can only happen if the Sturmpanzer is abandoned by its crew and captured by the enemy, or if it's a German vs German custom Skirmish battle).
  • Notice This: Artillery and airstrike commander abilities tend to seriously mess up whatever they hit, so players are warned about them incoming to a location by preceding red artillery flares falling onto the targeted spot. By comparison, infantry's handheld grenades or explosives have be noticed by noting one of the unit's models specifically going through the throwing animation - though the larger orange numbers counting the fuse down do fulfill a similar Notice This purpose for the grenades or explosives that don't go off instantly. These flares are absent from the barrages fired by the actual artillery gun units that are actively using up part of a player's population cap.
  • Not the Intended Use:
    • Hilariously, detonating too many Goliath tracked mines at once has been known to crash the game, meaning that OKW players can quite literally win multiplayer matches by crashing their opponents' PCs to desktop.
    • The OKW's salvage ability is considered mostly pointless because you have to devote a squad to it for several seconds in exchange for a paltry 5 fuels. However, it does find use as a mean to quickly destroy abandoned enemy support equipment, which otherwise requires constant ground attack from an explosive weapon.
  • No-Sell:
    • Armored vehicles tend be amused by getting shot at with small-arms. Users of said small-arms tend to wonder you're thinking when you order them to attack said armored vehicles.
    • "Armored Car" class vehicles attacking tanks may find their cannon shots bouncing off the tank's armor. This is especially noticeable with SAS vs. Wehrmacht battles. This is Truth in Television, by the way. Early in the war, the allies were often chagrined to find their shells skipping off a panzer's sloped armor, which is what led to the development of shaped charge munitions.
    • In 2, Conscripts with the "Hit the dirt" ability can go prone and become completely immune to suppression. This allows them to run straight at an MG-42 and kill it while ignoring the suppressive effect (provided that the ability is used just before the MG-42 starts firing). You see, comrade, when love of motherland is great, you can be shot at by 1200 Nazi bullets per minute and not feel fear.
  • No Swastikas: Anything that could have a swastika on them are replaced by Iron Crosses instead.
    • Especially Egregious in 2. During the attack on the Reichstag - in the heart of Nazi Germany - there isn't a single swastika banner in sight.
  • Nothing Personal: Sergeant Pozharsky says this just before he executes Ania.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Weapon teams in 2 will loudly call out when enemies attacking their flanks. They tend to not sound very confident.
    • All foot-soldiers in 2 will similarly call out incoming grenades.
    • Infantry tend to react similarly with enemy flamethrowers in their midst, sometimes adding something to the effect of "Kill them now, anyone!".
    • Infantry also tend to not take it well when attacked by armored vehicles, especially heavy ones.
    • Destroyed vehicles are usually accompanied by the crew calling out that their vehicle " fucked!". While low on health, the vehicle's commander tends to respond to move orders with noticeable fear and anxiety.
    Hotchkiss Light Tank: Drive! I don't care where, just drive!
    • This is the general reaction of American tanks if they get attacked by a Tiger.
    Pershing taking hits! IT'S A TIGER!
    • In general, tank commanders tend not to sound confident when under attack by anti-tank weapons.
    Sherman: Shit! Kraut squad has a Panzershreck!
    • When the main gun on a tank is broken, which only happens when the vehicle is in very critical condition, the commander will let you know loud and clear that he no longer has any expectation of survival.
    We've lost our main gun!! WE'RE SCREWED!!
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • Typically explosives or sniper shots, though sufficiently tough infantry can sometimes shrug even those off.
    • Flamethrowers have a small chance of instantly killing infantry in its area of effect regardless of their health.
    • Vehicles can be instantly destroyed by destroying a bridge while they're on it. 2 adds breaking the ice under them with explosives or the vehicle's own weight.
  • One-Man Army:
    • More like One Tank Army, which played in the 2nd game's Theater of War's DLC called "Tiger Ace" where the player commands a single Tiger Tank to battle against a vast Red Army's garrison troops and later T-34's and KV-2.
    • In an upgraded Obersoldaten squad, the guy with the MG 34 will be the one doing most of the killing. His DPS is nearly 7 times that of his squadmates.
  • Orphaned Punchline: Soviet infantry squads out-of-combat can be overheard saying this punchline to a presumed filthy joke.
    And then, her sister walks in...

    P to Z 
  • Pinned Down: One of the major gameplay elements of infantry combat.
  • Please, Don't Leave Me: Lines stated by infantry casualties lying or crawling on the battlefield can be of the vein of this trope.
  • Possession Implies Mastery: Any squad may take a special or heavy weapon lying around on the battlefield and will use them without any problems, even when the weapon comes from an opposing faction and is particularly rare even for the faction that uses them.
    • Worsened in 2, where vehicles and tanks of all kinds can be re-manned by any infantry squad...
    • A similar effect happens for Conscripts merging with other infantry squads and weapon teams, despite being poorly-trained troops that logically probably shouldn't be relied on for crewing your larger weapons.
    • Engineer-type units can repair any equipment used by their side... including vehicles and heavy weapons newly captured from the enemy.
  • Poirot Speak: German units talk like this when the player plays as them in both games, but not when against them in the first game's campaign. Same thing for the Russians in 2. In 2, they also frequently will use the same subject in both languages, such as German troops referring to a machine gun as such in one line and as a maschinengewehr in another.
  • The Purge:
    • The Real Life event in the Red Army is subtly implied by a line from the Russian announcer when you're winning, where he'll say "You appear suited for command!", implying you're an untested leader as many of the Russians' would have been as a result of The Purge.
    • Colonel Churkin found out that he was going to be killed in the next purge, which influenced his decision to hear Isakovich out and eventually set him free.
  • PvP Balanced: The game doesn't make many glaringly weird concessions in the name of balance, which makes the ones that are pretty noticeable.
    • The Recon upgrade for the British Infantry Section. It gives a speed boost, removes the slow down when in enemy territory and even allows you to spend munitions for the squad member equipped with a scoped rifle to make a single sniper shot... but the upgrade also reduces the squad's damage and accuracy, even the marksman's.
    • If you try to order an Airborne squad to toss a satchel charge onto a bridge, they will automatically throw AWAY from the bridge, to the point where a charge will fly out of the side of the arm of the thrower. It makes sense from a balance perspective but it's so poorly done it can be painful.
    • PTRS-41 anti-tank rifles are pretty inaccurate against infantry, when they would probably just be cumbersome but overkill in actual practice.
      • Made somewhat more obvious by the fact that the British sniper uses an anti-tank rifle to snipe Germans without issue.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: A Conscript squad leader when embarking a vehicle during combat:
    Get. In. The. Vehicle!
  • Read the Freaking Manual: Inverted in 2, as a Panzergrenadier squad leader complains about a squadmate's reluctance to shoot a Panzershreck from a building.
    Panzergrenadier: I know it's technically impossible to shoot a Panzerschreck from an enclosed position. Don't read the fucking manual next time, and you won't care so much!
  • Real-Time with Pause: Practically required on the higher difficulty settings, especially in missions where a whole lot of stuff is going in every corner of the map. Unfortunately, it's impossible to pause at all in multiplayer, which becomes problematic when a long session requires bathroom breaks.
  • Redemption Demotion: The Tiger in the eighth mission of 2's campaign isn't as powerful after you capture it. Justified, since the Soviet crew isn't familiar with how it works.
  • Redemption Equals Death: The Penal Battalions' purpose according to their squad leader (While probably not as explicitly stated by their own chain of command, pretty much Truth in Television in action), who occasionally responds to the squad taking casualties in this manner.
    He has been redeemed in blood, brothers!
    Everyone deserves a chance at redemption!
    The state now forgives him!
    • Churkin has shown to be someone who threw so many lives away, even if he did not always agree with why they were thrown away. He lets Isakovich free and then commits suicide.
  • Recycled In Space: Inverted. Many of the game mechanics are borrowed from or refined versions of those featured in Dawn of War, a game set in space. So, it's Recycled IN WORLD WAR II!
  • Revolvers are Just Better: Averted, the British Captain is armed with a Webley revolver, but his accuracy and damage with it is rather low. In fact, he will actually lose 1 on 1 to the Luger-wielding German Officer.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction:
    • Justified for the Commonwealth from Opposing Fronts, as their buildings are actually vehicle-based command posts that can relocate as necessary. The Americans to a lesser extent, as their buildings are mostly made of tarps and sandbags. Wehrmacht and Panzer Elite buildings, on the other hand, are concrete bunkers that come in crates.
    • Justified for the buildings of both the Russians and Germans in 2, which are pretty much sandbagged trenches of varying shapes, sizes and content.
  • Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue......
    Random German infantryman, out of combat: ...I'm stuck on the Eastern Front, and so are fucking you!
  • RPG Elements: You gain XP as you play the game and you spend it to unlock special units and abilities. The Americans and the Panzer Elite in the first game, as well as the Russians and Germans in the second also have their troops gain XP, and become more deadly when leveled up. The Commonwealth only has their officers gain XP.
  • Rugged Scar: The DLC Elite Troops Doctrine German Commander for 2 has a long scar going down under his eye to his chin on his face, possibly of the dueling scar practice.
  • Running Gag:
  • Salt the Earth:
    • The purpose of the second campaign mission in 2, where the player must hold off the assaulting Germans while destroying anything useful (like trucks or houses that can serve as winter quarters) that can't be evacuated.
    • It's also the point of the "Indirect Fire" Theater of War scenario, where the player must use Katyushas to flatten anything that might be useful.
    • This is somewhat the point of the Panzer Elite's aptly-named Scorched Earth doctrine. It allows you to, amongst other things, Booby Trap and disable strategic points, making up for the army's poor ability to hold on to captured ground.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Russian sniper teams and tank crews are occasionally made up of women. The former has an icon of the sniper's face that clearly indicates their gender, but since tanks have an icon of, well, a tank, the latter doesn't indicate as such until you click on them and hear their response.
  • Save Scumming: Averted in Ardennes Assault. The player cannot save during missions, which stretches them as losses from each mission are carried forward.
  • Scratch Damage: Serious weaponry can still cause some damage to vehicles even if the shot was deflected by the vehicle's armor, though mere bullets won't be capable of causing this against any tanks. Deflection damage was removed from 2.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Isakovich tries to tell the people of the Soviet Union what the war is really like and their government's less than generous treatment of allies and their own soldiers. Churkin stops him the first time, so Isakovich decided to defect. He openly admits he would die to expose the truth.
  • Selective Historical Armory: Very apparent, whether in the name of Rule of Cool or asymmetrical gameplay. Most notably, the games include the Flakpanzer IV "Ostwind" tank as readily available in the base tiers for at least one German faction when only 44 were ever produced in real life. On the allies side, the "Hobart's Funnies" (tanks equipped with a peculiar secondary weapon, such as a flamethrower, light mortar, or minesweeping Epic Flail) are available as semi-mass-produced vehicles, although usually a 6-800 Manpower support ability. While 25 "Crab" minesweepers and 100 "Crocodile" flamethrower tanks were ordered, the war ended before they were produced in such numbers.
    • Despite the bazooka being made in numbers of at least over a hundred thousand (with all of its variants) more than that of the Panzerschreck throughout World War II, the Americans' use of it in the first game is limited to just that of the Ranger squads available from the Infantry Company compared to Panzerschrecks being available to multiple infantry units for the Wehrmacht and Panzer Elite factions - to say nothing of Airborne upgrading to use M18 Recoilless Rifles, which were never even used in the war until April in 1945! The second game portrayed the bazooka's prevalence more effectively with bazookas instead being available to be picked up for all American infantry units after the weapon racks are unlocked.
    • Though they were made in numbers less than half than that off the MP 40 submachine gun, StG 44s are a far more prevalent weapon for German factions than MP 40s in the second game. The Wehrmacht faction has StG 44s in the hands of Panzergrenadiers, while MP 40s are used by their Pioneers (which aren't really intended to be used for combat much anyway) and the doctrinal Assault Grenadiers. Oberkommando West infantry are entirely incapable of using MP 40s without a doctrine. This used to be even worse before the Wehrmacht doctrinal units Stormtroopers were changed to upgrade to MP 40s instead of StG 44s and the Artillery Field Officer also gained MP 40s instead of Karabiner 98k rifles.
    • The Soviet faction lacks PPSh-41s outside of commander options in spite of the fact that six million of the things were made, more than any other submachine gun during the Second World War, and it became a variable-though-not-unlikely possibility that an average Red Army infantryman would be a submachine gunner instead of a rifleman. In general, the Soviet faction's hardware is in many ways more evocative of the Red Army earlier in the war with the use of M1910 Maxim guns and lacking the T-34-85 tank or SG-43 Goryunov machinegun outside of commander options while the Wehrmacht faction can clearly be placed in an at-least-1944 timeframe considering it has StG 44s and Panther tanks.
  • Sergeant Rock: The squad leader of the American Rifleman squad in the first game plays this trope so very straight. There are other squad leaders for units that can be considered this trope as well, but they don't compare to how boisterously the Riflemen squad leader does it.
    (upon being selected) Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!
  • Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: Most of the weapons in the game are shorter ranged than their real life counterparts, with only the largest maps in the game even going out of rifle range - certainly an Acceptable Break from Reality to make the game more visceral. The AI regularly abuses this, keeping their units just barely out of the range of your own.
    • Mortars generally have to be positioned so close to the front-line that the enemy can see and fire at them with some steps toward them. Not quite as bad for the bigger artillery pieces, though any of them should be able to cover the entire map even from a corner.
    • Tanks are in a similar boat, having firing ranges much shorter than would be realistic, instead tending to be just a few meters greater than a rifle's, compared to the hundreds of metres many of them could hit accurately at. The best tank's main gun's range in the series is the Elefant in 2, having a bit under 3 times the range of rifles, when the difference would more likely be at least over 10 times.
    • All but the basic infantry/engineers have firing ranges longer than their sight range. It's helpful to have a spotter of some sort when making an advance.
  • Shoot the Medic First: Doing so is a very good idea, as your opponent gets recycled soldiers for free in the first game or free healing in the second game if you don't.
    • Your units will never engage medics automatically, so you have to actually tell them to yourself. Consequently, this means American and German machine gun nests cannot be used to kill medics.
  • Shows Damage: Vehicles that suffer Subsystem Damage spew flames from destroyed engines and have their main guns mangled into uselessness, depending on which system is broken.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • The Volksgrenadier squad leader frequently berates his squad by derogatorily comparing them to children or old men. The history of the units not made explicit in-game, these insults refer to how the Volksgrenadiers were conscripts commonly made up of boys too young and men too old to normally be considered fit for military service.
    • The Panzergrenadier squad leader in both games sometimes refers to his squad as Schützen, which was what the Panzergrenadiers were called before they were renamed in 1942. It also serves to characterize him as an experienced soldier to stick to that.
    • The prisoners rescued during the Poznan Citadel mission are all Penal Battalion squads. While the reason for this isn't explicitly stated, liberated Red Army units were normally assigned to penal battalions.
    • The Allies specialist tanks, such as the flame-spewing Crocodile and Epic Flail-toting Crab, are a subclass of vehicles known as "Hobart's Funnies," a selection of Sherman and Churchill tanks given field modifications under orders of Major-General Percy Hobart of the Royal Engineers.
    • Wehrmacht tanks can often skip light cannon shots off their hulls, a result of their sloped armor. This is what led to the development of shaped-charge munitions.
    • The bulletins of 2 contain historical tactical information of the unit(s) they apply for, and occasionally some tidbits.
  • Shout-Out:
    • As said at the top, the title is a doozy of a reference to Band of Brothers. To clarify: In the final interviews with the members of Easy Company the real Dick Winters recalls his grandson asking if he was a hero in the war. Winters responded with "No... but I served in a company of heroes."
    • The Airborne unit in the first game also says "We're airborne! We're meant to be surrounded!" while selected in combat much like Winters' "We're paratroopers. We're meant to be surrounded." line.
    • The opening cutscene to the "Invasion of Normandy" campaign is clearly one to the opening battle in Saving Private Ryan, complete with shots of being behind the shoulders of a German machinegun team in a bunker cutting down the Americans.
    • The Stop Poking Me! lines for a few units ask what your major malfunction is. The first game's Airborne unit also has a Stop Poking Me! line where he does a goofy little imitation of Tommy DeVito's infamous "how am I 'funny'?" rant.
    • In the "Market Garden" campaign, a couple of German soldiers are watching the paratroops covering the skies, and one comments "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe..." and then mentions all the battles he's been in.
    • The first mission of 2's campaign has several to Enemy at the Gates. A conscript fresh off the boat says he doesn't have a weapon while being herded into combat. He soon picks one up from a fallen soldier while charging a fortified German line. In addition, around half of the allied Conscripts in the battle lack rifles.
    • The largest multiplayer map in 2 is titled City 17. Considering that it's also an Eastern European community under a totalitarian regime, it's rather fitting.
    • The Grenadier or Guard squads in 2 will occasionally react to losing squad members with this line.
  • Smoke Out: Smoke grenades and mortar shells are available to several units. Their capabilities vary in the first game (mostly severely reducing the accuracy of fire passing through the smoke cloud) and uniformly acts to block line-of-sight in the second game. In addition, vehicles in 2 emit smoke for a short while after being destroyed, which also obscures line-of-sight.
    • United States Forces has some options for using white phosphorous smoke that will damage infantry non-fatally while inside it. Some Oberkommando West infantry have special smoke grenades that will prevent vehicles from firing while in it in addition to damaging infantry within it non-fatally.
  • Some Dexterity Required: In the first game, vehicles would only drive in reverse if specifically faced into the opposite direction while close enough to the target location, otherwise it would turn around to drive forward to a distant location, meaning the only way to get a vehicle to reverse to a distant location would be to repeatedly face it to a spot just behind it continuously as it drives over to the eventual end point...oh, and hits into the rear of the vehicle would cause extra damage, so you better do this if you want your vehicles to leave trouble and survive fights, also we hope you don't have, say, an entire army to micromanage as well. For obvious reasons, the second game implemented a reverse button on vehicles to get them to drive toward any location on the map in reverse.
  • Status Effects:
    • "Suppressed", which results from being shot at too much or big explosions. When under this effect, infantry drop to the ground and crawl slowly, their fire less effective. Some special abilities allow a unit to break it and either charge or retreat.
    • "Pinned" is the same but more - they all freeze completely and worse yet, can't shoot back, use abilities or capture points. Best to retreat them once this happens, because the unit has been rendered useless in every way save from providing sight.
    • British Bren-toting infantry and Russian Guards Infantry squads with DP machine guns can inflict the "Buttoned" condition on enemy vehicles, essentially forcing them to sit inactive as their vision slits are smashed by fast and accurate fire.
    • The Wehrmacht Blitzkrieg Doctrine's Assault ability and the Americans' T17 armored car can both inflict the "Stunned" condition, the former against infantry and the latter against vehicles. In 2, the German Sniper and StuG III Ausf.G's veterancy abilities let them do the same to infantry and vehicles, respectively, and taking AT fire can sometimes stun a vehicle's crew.
  • Stone Wall: Pretty much the British faction's modus operandi. Their play style is catered to defense over offense. Their Anti-Tank and Mortar Emplacements for example are more durable, however they are immobile compared to their American and German counterparts.
    • Their Churchill Tank are also an example. While they have a puny cannon and more sluggish than the Cromwell or Firefly, they make up for it with it's armour. Even their sides and rear are armoured as well, making flanking the tank a daunting task. The AVRE variant is sliding towards Mighty Glacier since their mortar packs a punch that can level buildings.
    • An ability exclusive to the Royal Engineers Support would be the "Hull Down" ability. Which makes the tank immobile, but increases the tank's health and lowers penetration from enemy weaponry.
    • The Panzer Elite gives us the Bergetiger Repair and Recovery Vehicle, which contrasts to their Glass Cannon and Fragile Speedster tactics. While it has no primary weapon and an inaccurate machine gun (the tank turret is replaced with a crane), it has a lot of health to make up for it (it helps that it has a Tiger tank chassis). The high health would allow it to make repairs to a destroyed tank, or make it a damage sponge.
  • Stop Poking Me!: Every single unit has multiple lines if the player keeps clicking them. They often break the fourth wall and insult the player for annoying them. Done to a lesser degree in 2.
  • Strategic Asset Capture Mechanic: The game's entire resource income is based around thge control of various "Strategic Zones," each one granting a per-second bonus to Requisition (a flagpole), Fuel (a fuel dump), or Munitions (an ammo dump). These zones can be captured by Infantry units, and secured by building a Listening Post structure on it. In the Panzer Elite's case, zones are secured by having a Scout Car park next to it, which also allows it to use its machine gun to defend against infantry. Similarly, the Brits can park one of their Trucks in a zone to give you a bonus to the zone's income. In any case, you only get the income if you have an unbroken chain back to your HQ sector.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: A lot, and why you should use as much artillery as you possibly can.
  • Stuka Scream: This sound goes off for the Stuka Bombing Strike commander ability in 2, for a distinct drawback (since it is very loud) for the ability in exchange for the advantage that this ability doesn't have the usual red artillery flares falling onto the target warn players to move their units from the location. No other airstrike abilities use the Stuka Scream as they either do not use a Stuka plane or the Stuka plane isn't actually dive bombing in this different ability.
  • Subsystem Damage: Vehicles can have their engines damaged or destroyed, have their main guns blown up, or have their cupola gunner killed. These can all be fixed by assigning an engineer squad to perform the necessary repairs on the afflicted vehicle. Yes, even the dead gunner; persumably the engineers are merely fixing the cupola itself (which logically has to have suffered extensive damage) while a new gunner is requisitioned.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: Averted. Infantry being attacked by some really scary stuff will be quickly destroyed, Suppressed or Pinned - even taking enough basic rifle fire can suppress or pin them (though highly rare and requiring the unit have constant reinforcements yet never getting wiped out, and it's much more likely the enemy will choose to deal with the source of reinforcement first before your unit gets pinned).
    • Infantry units under attack from explosives, airstrikes or flame weapons will usually dive to the ground and stay there for about a second before getting back up.
    • Units also tend to comment on being attacked by something that can't really hurt them.
      Sherman: Hah! What does that moron motorcyclist think he's trying to do?!
      Panther: Heh heh... they're scratching your paint job, Helmut!
      Tiger: Tiger Tank under infantry attack! Wait, why I am shouting this!?
  • Support Power: Depending on which doctrine/commander you choose, or what the campaign decides to give you. Anything from off-map artillery to paratrooper drops to close air support. Others may be granted specifically to your units or buildings.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: The Volkgrenadiers' squad leader from the first game and the Conscripts' squad leader in the second game have numerous lines where they express frustration with their squad's (in)competence.
  • Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors: Generally Averted with the series' combat emphasizing positioning and coordination so that even some units that generally are countered by another can contribute in helping their army come on out on top against them, but the closest the series has to playing this straight are the mobile weapon teams which are specialized against certain units when they are set up but are lacking against other adversaries even then:
    • Heavy machine guns will outmatch a greater amount of infantry units in its arc of fire by suppressing and killing them, but just about all save for the lightest vehicles will easily avoid the firing arc even while driving straight through that arc - let alone tanks that can't even be scratched by them.
    • Mortars easily barrage static defenses and other weapon teams (who have to be still to fire their weapons) with their indirect fire range, but vehicles can easily avoid being static and it'll take good prediction and some luck for a mortar to hope to cause significant damage to an infantry unit simply running straight into its range's deadzone.
    • Anti-tank guns are a threat that should be respected even by the heaviest of tanks, let alone thinner vehicles, but it will usually take a miracle for them to ever cause damage to infantry units - including the other kinds of weapon teams.
  • Tactical Superweapon Unit: The game has several vehicles that can only be obtained through Support Powers, but the one most applicable to the trope is the Wermacht Armored Company's Tiger II, a huge tank with a monstrous 88mm cannon that can only be summoned once per game. You should only need the one, though.
  • Tactical Withdrawal: All infantry can be retreated back to base, regardless of circumstances, and gain a slight defense and speed buff while retreating to cover for the fact that you can't control them. As reinforcing a squad is many times cheaper in terms of resources than calling in a new squad, and (with the exception of the Wehrmacht in the first game) veterancy bonuses are lost when the squad is lost, you will want to make sure that at least one soldier from your squad makes it back to HQ. An interesting effect is that for certain units, it buffs enemy snipers' accuracy against them.
  • Take Cover!: One of the first RTS games to do so, via the innovative "cover dots" that allow the player to preview troop placement and facing. It's practically mandatory to use this in infantry combat as it reduces damage and increases suppression resistance - though it also tends to increase vulnerability to grenades and other explosives since they tend to be bunched up to use it, and flamethrower will do more damage against units in cover(in the first game)/ignore cover(in the second game). The second game also added letting infantry to take cover behind vehicles.
  • Take That!: The license number on the American Jeep reads 3A5UX5, which translates in letters to EASUXS.
  • Tank Goodness: Yes. Each faction has access to their own set of armor, which tend to have a basic all-purpose vehicle and several specialist vehicles. In addition, each faction has a doctrine/commander with a heavier and more powerful vehicle that can be called in once enough XP is earned to unlock it.
  • Tech Tree:
    • Unofficially, all the factions of the first game have roughly five "tiers". Tier one is usually basic infantry and a scout vehicle, tier two is support infantry and anti-tank, tier three breaks out the light armor, and at tier four the tanks start coming out. Tier five, which technically doesn't count, refers to the late-game superunits like Sherman Fireflies, Panther Battlegroups, and call-ins like Tigers and Pershings. Note that there's a lot of variation here: Wehrmacht anti-tank assets begin at Tier Two, while Americans don't get them until Tier Three. Note also that it's not mandatory and in fact not recommended to go through the tiers in order; it's common to see players jump ahead to Tier Three to get out their light armor for a fast attack, and then back-tech to Tier Two in order to get defensive units to hold the ground they've just taken.
    • In 2, Soviet base buildings have two for early tier - one for mobile light forces and another for heavy weapon teams - and two for late tier; one for frontline vehicles and the other long-ranged support vehicles. Their starting building gives them basic engineers and infantry. The Germans instead start with an engineer-producing building and then have tiers for long-ranged anti-personnel infantry and weapon teams, light vehicles with assault/anti-tank infantry and anti-tank guns, medium tanks, and lastly heavy tanks with mechanized artillery.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • Mainly Not Playing Fair With Resources. The normal AI doesn't cheat (much), but the Hard AI cheats heavily and the Expert AI cheats so heavily that a normal human in a straight up fight, without exploiting the AI's Artificial Stupidity, will never, ever win against them. They just have too many resources (around quadruple the player's for Expert A.I.s) and thus too many forces.
    • The All-Seeing A.I. is employed full force in the first game. Off-map artillery strikes cannot be launched in areas covered by fog of war, a requirement for the player. Also, enemy mortars will be the bane of your infantry, as they always seem to know where they are, regardless if you haven't encountered other enemy units in the last few minutes.
    • In 2, the AI (ally or enemy) will occasionally use DLC commanders that haven't been purchased yet by the player.
    • Also in 2, bizarrely enough, AI units that recrew team weapons can still use all of their old abilities, like a Grenadier recrewing MG being able to use Panzerfaust. Apparently, when a unit picks up a team weapon, the game still treats it as the same unit, albeit with all of the old abilities hidden from the player. This does not affect the AI and that helpless MG you just flank with a light vehicle may whip out a Panzerfaust and shoot you dead.
  • The Unseen: The various main and supporting characters when in normal gameplay. And Corporal Degnan.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Played With.
    • The Germans generally act and talk like normal human beings and banter just like the Allied troops in both games. A pretty notable moment showing this is a cutscene in the "Cherbourg" mission of the "Invasion of Normandy" campaign, which shows German infantry cowering in buildings while battleship shells rain down, one of them having lost it and begging for the bombardment to stop.
    • Clicking on units rapidly, or plain getting them killed will play this trope straight. It's much easier to show than to explain, so here's a video.
    • Played straight with Stormtrooper squads, who generally make remarks about being the elite of the German military and tend to berate the regular Wehrmacht soldiers. What else would you expect from the Waffen SS?
  • Uniqueness Rule: The call-in supertanks for the Axis factions, the King Tiger and the Jagdpanther. You get one per game, and God help you if Allied AT guns knock them out (and you don't have a Bergetiger to revive them).
  • Units Not to Scale: Averted, all units and structures are scaled realistically. The production buildings are all a bit too small to realistically hold more than one or two squads worth of troops, but that's another trope entirely.
  • Universal Driver's License: In the second game, abandoned vehicles can be crewed by any infantry unit. Once obtained, they are indistinguishable from any other vehicle of their type, except that commanding the "crew" to abandon the vehicle will cause the original unit to respawn
  • U.S. Army Rangers: Can be used when playing an American Infantry Company. Fox Company in Ardennes Assault is also a Ranger unit.
  • Veteran Unit: The first game contained various systems for the concept depending on the faction - the American units gain it from killing units in combat (and have global upgrades that will let Riflemen gain experience in this way faster), the British's veterancy is contained in its officer units that are the only ones who can gain veterancy, from killing enemy units or more likely from allied units killing enemy units while being within the officer's aura, Wehrmacht must purchase ranks of it for all units of specific categories with individual global upgrades, and Panzer Elite units gain it from killing enemy units (or being nearby an allied unit that kills enemy units) at which they will spend the veterancy rank on an offensive or defensive bonus.
    • The second game made veterancy much more uniform between the factions - units gain veterancy from killing enemy units, damaging enemies, or taking damage. They usually first gain an ability from the first rank of veterancy and then (almost entirely) gain passive stat bonuses or improvements to their abilities from subsequent ranks. Most of the three factions have three ranks of veterancy, while the Oberkommando West units are unique in that they can gain five.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The Panzer Elite's Scorched Earth tree in particular has a lot of potential for this.
    Valefisk: [shelling British soldiers with incendiary mortar rounds] Holy shit, they're just burning. They're all burning. All of these guys are trying to retreat and the tanks are blocking them.
    Valefisk: [calling a Hummel artillery strike] Bye hospital!
  • Violent Glaswegian: Played with the British Sappers, whose accents are clearly Scottish - but they're Combat Engineers, less violent than standard infantry, right? Wrong. When compared to the Infantry Section, the Infantry Section costs much more (450 manpower) than the Sappers (320 manpower), has only 5 more hitpoints per member and an extra squad member, and they both have the same rifles which they are equally skilled at using; therefore, the Infantry Section gets 65 hitpoints at 90 manpower each while the Sappers get 60 hitpoints for 80 manpower each; for a 1/12 increase in health per member, the Infantry Section gets to cost 1/8 more per member. If they didn't have different upgrades, Sappers would probably be the troops to use for plain More Dakka.
    • Interestingly, the related Brave Scot trope is also played with; while they are quite tough against many anti-infantry weapons (because of their coveted "Soldier" infantry type), they receive extra suppression from most machine guns' fire, which means they can be more easily made to cower in fear by these weapons.
    • In 2, they have Stens instead, and are no more or less violent than the average tommy squad. Until you pick Anvil and turn them into Heavy Engineers with a slotless machinegun, allowing them to be the only squad in the game with 3 special weapons, and one of the few squads with body armor...
  • Worthy Opponent: Hauptmann Schultz, the Tiger Ace in the "Invasion of Normandy" campaign.
  • War Is Glorious: The Conscripts' squad leader attempts to evoke this for his squad, though he's somewhat inconsistent.
    Conscript squad, fully reinforced: Your predecessor died a hero!
    Conscript squad, ordered to attack: They will know they are fighting real men!
  • War Is Hell:
    • Subtly discussed by Aldrich and Wolfgang in Opposing Fronts' Panzer Elite campaign - Wolfgang is dismayed that they are now working with recruits who have never fired a rifle in their life while Aldrich attempts to lighten his spirits with words from their mother to "make Earth your heaven", to which Wolfgang responds that if this is heaven, they'd best stay away from hell.
    • A German attempting to surrender in Stalingrad does not have it accepted and is instead executed in 2. The narration make it clear that happened a fair bit more elsewhere in the city.
    • Allied conscripts in the same battle are regularly herded into frontal assaults on fortified positions and pitted against tanks even though they lack anti-armor weapons ("He cannot stop all of you!"). Retreating ones are shown being gunned down by their own side - Order 227 is even a game mechanic in some missions, depicted by a Commissar at your regimental headquarters who will shoot units that retreat to it.
    • Lev is haunted by the brutality of his war experiences, such as bridges being blown up to slow Germans that are advancing en masse before all his men are able to retreat over it.
    • In 2, one piece of idle banter from German infantry about snipers has one soldier telling his buddies of how his unit was pinned down by an unseen foe for days, and how he took four separate craps in his pants over that time.
  • With Friends Like These...: A number of lines for Royal Engineers of The British Forces has the squad leader encourage his squad on shooting at Germans by telling them to pretend they're the English.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Units usually note the tactical incompetence of sending their small-caliber anti-personnel weapons against armored vehicles immune to such weapons. They also don't like being repeatedly clicked on.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Ania and her Polish partisans in the "Behind Enemy Lines" mission in 2 are shot dead by the Red Army after giving them a German informant, out of fears that Poland would oppose the Soviet Union after Germany is defeated.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Played With. All units always have their basic abilities, but some abilities are locked until the appropriate upgrade is researched. For example, American Riflemen squads can't throw grenades until you spend manpower and fuel to truck them to the front. Perhaps the most extreme example of this is that Panzer Elite infantry need every single upgrade available to... sprint.
    • Russian Conscripts in 2 require a specific commander to be chosen before they can learn how to lie down prone on the ground to avoid enemy fire and they're the only unit that can do so on commandnote , while their Sniper and Maxim machine-gun teams require a level in veterancy in order to sprint and Penal Battalions require two levels of veterancy to be able to yell Oorah! for temporarily moving faster.
    • The American faction in Ardennes Assault and Western Front Armies has "weapon racks" within its base to allow the player to give heavier weaponsnote  to their infantry squads. Not only does equipping a squad cost resources, but the weapon racks either must be unlocked for units to access them or are simply usable only by specific companies within the faction.
  • Younger Than They Look: Isakovich is actually only in his late 20s during the 1950s sequence. Years of harsh treatment in the gulag have made him look at least a decade older.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: You don't need to have Worker Units harvesting them, but you'd better control as many points on the map as possible if you want to win. Consists of Manpower (representing, well, the manpower required to crew vehicles and deploy squadrons), Munitions (representing ordinance and is used by units to power their abilities and deploy heavy weapons, such as assault rifles and rocket launchers as well as construct fortifications), and fuel (representing exactly what it says it does, required to field vehicles).

"Operation" Tropes:

Tales of Valor brings in three new gameplay modes, including:

  • Stonewall, where up to four players must fight off hordes of AI controlled units from a defensive position.
  • Assault, which is essentially Relic's take on the popular Defense of the Ancients scenario in War Craft III, where each side has a massive fortified base with hordes of AI controlled creeps, with the players each taking control of a powerful "hero" character and attempt to assist the AI creeps in breaking through the enemy base and destroying a central building.
  • Panzerkrieg (literally, "armored war"), in which two teams of up to three players each choose from a selection of three different tanks and then duke it out over a specially designed map, supported by plenty of expendable infantry, a plethora of off-map support and numerous special abilities available to the tanks themselves.

Panzerkrieg tropes:

  • Jack of All Stats: The M4 Sherman and the Panzer IV both serve as your "all-rounder" tank choices in Panzerkrieg (for the Allies and Axis respectively), having decent speed, a decent gun and decent armour, but nothing overly exciting.
  • Fragile Speedster: The M18 Hellcat tank destroyer and Hotchkiss light tank (Allied and Axis respectively). Both of these tanks are faster but flimsier than the other choices and are also Glass Cannons. The Hellcat can get powerful upgrades for its shells and also an ambush ability that allows it to fire one high damage shot, while the Hotchkiss has multiple upgrades for its gun and can be fitted with the "Walking Stuka", which is a quartet of frames on the tank's sides from which powerful rockets can be launched.
  • Mighty Glacier: The Churchill and Panther tanks (Allied and Axis respectively). Both are slow but powerful. The Churchill has a short range and requires its abilities (purchased with XP from either getting killed or killing the enemy) to really come into its own, while the Panther is more or less completely lacking in support capability, and focuses on pure killing power.

Assault tropes:

  • Cold Sniper: The "Sniper" is practically identical to those in the normal game.
  • Combat Medic: The "Medic" packs a sub-machine gun and is anything but combat incapable.
  • The Engineer: The "Engineer" who, rather than building defenses as you might expect, is equipped with a powerful "Satchel Charge" which creates a huge explosion when it goes off. However, that's pretty much all the "Engineer" offers, as he's not that great in combat and is unnecessary for taking out enemy structures as the small-arms the heroes carry rip right through them, even though the Axis ones are made of concrete.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The "Heavy Weapons Guy", despite packing a light machine gun and being tougher than any of the other heroes, is not any slower than them (except for the "Recon") and also has a "Sprint" ability, which increases his speed. This one veers very close to Game-Breaker territory.
  • Master of None: The "Commando" is meant to be the Jack of All Stats, but in practice he's just a generally inferior version of the "Heavy Weapons Guy", having less health and a weaker attack, but being no faster, though he does have two versions of the "Sprint" ability.
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking: The "Officer" hero, who provides bonuses to both AI creeps and friendly heroes around him while also being a decent combatant himself.

Stonewall tropes: