Here is how you set up the most optimal defenses in The Great War: Western Front, tested by me, suggested by your fellow players, and proven to work by dozens of successful defense battles.
First thing you have to do is to pick which objective is more likely to be attacked. Usually this is the one which is closer to one of the enemy objectives and which has fewer trenches in front of the objective flag / capture point.
Of course you can also use the save scamming approach, play the battle once, see which is attacked, quit, load up the save game before the battle and play again.
Now that we know this information we need to set up proper defenses using the best tactics currently available. As I mentioned, this isn’t just my advice, this is from multiple other players who have left comments on my previous guides.
First rule is NOT to use communication trenches between the first and second line of your own trenches.
This is because once they are taken over by enemy infantry they can use those to move down to your second and third line of defenses safe from your artillery, machine guns, mortars and most importantly you can’t shoot them with your own infantry from the back rows of trenches.
You can set those communication trenches between your second and third line of trenches and you can also add them free form on the edges for example to create open slots for adding in gun emplacements.
Second rule is to use barbed wire and lots of it in front of your first line of trenches so that you slow down enemy advances and give your infantry more time to shoot at them.
You will find the optimal setup yourself and I have seen some success even when placing barbed wire between the first and second line of trenches, but be careful as that will slow down your own units. Investing in barbed wire tech will reduce its supply point cost.
Third rule is optional, upgrade your trenches in the second and, or third line of trenches, depending on how much supply you have, to the more advanced types.
This will reduce how much damage your units there receive and it will also prevent tanks from rolling over them.
Fourth rule, add more cheap trenches at the front line and also back lines to have room to place units, as well as for units to move from one trench to the other when they are suppressed under artillery barrages as they are useless like that.
This also makes enemy artillery less powerful as it has to cover more trenches at the same time letting some of your units fire at the enemy and not be suppressed.
Observation balloons are necessary as always but keep them behind the second line of trenches, pull them down when enemy fighter planes attack, but expect them to get destroyed at some point so don’t invest too much into them.
As for light vs heavy artillery, the exact use of them in defense battles is still debated.
I like to use light artillery or a mix, as it can suppress enemy artillery positions if you have detected them, deal damage to enemy infantry, reduce their morale, and prevent them from shooting as they move into the attack.
Now we come to the most debated part, Rule 5. The use of machine guns and mortar emplacements.
I still think they cost too many supply points, but the latest patch has reduced their cost, have too limited ranges of fire and are too easily swarmed by infantry or destroyed by artillery and enemy bombers. But you can get more use out of them if you follow this setup.
Add them to the back rows of trenches, preferably onto slots available on communication trenches as that way you can pick the best position for them while when they are under artillery fire that enemy volley will suppress your infantry in nearby trenches less often.
I would advise adding them to just one objective, because they would cost you too many supply points to spread them on both the secondary objectives, let alone on the main objective, your command trench. Usually the enemy AI attacks close to the edge of the map, so try to have that part of the front lines covered the most with gun emplacements.
Now lets see all of these rules in action and let me explain how to best use this defense setup. I prefer to have only one infantry company per front trench as they will get hit by artillery anyway and that way they can move to the next trench over where they won’t take damage and can fire from.
While the second row of trenches should be manned by two infantry companies as they will be the ones dealing the most damage to enemy infantry as they attack the front trench and also when they attempt to attack the second line. Because they lack communication trenches they now have to climb out of the first trench line and run to the second line exposing themselves to deadly infantry rifle fire. This is basically the most powerful weapon you have and the one which deals the most damage to enemy units.
Now in case the enemy changes tactics, and actually attacks the other objective, which you have not fortified as extensively as the one you expected him to attack. Don’t despair. Pause the game and move your infantry from one objective to the other. Fill up those two back rows of trenches and suppress the enemy infantry with your own artillery so they don’t shoot at your infantry as it moves.
Yes, you will get your front line overrun, but this is by design, the enemy AI uses up units to do so, and then you shoot them to pieces from your back rows of trenches. When you have repulsed the first wave, send your not so damaged units to the front trenches to occupy them again, withdraw most damaged units using SHIFT+W command, and call in reinforcements to take their place in the second and third line of defense where you want your best troops to be at.
You shouldn’t expect your gun emplacements to survive to the end of the battle in anycase, but with this kind of a setup, they should be hit by artillery far less often as the enemy AI will focus on suppressing your infantry in front or back rows of trenches as he advances.
Bombers will keep being a problem, and you will have to spend supply points on fighter planes to take them down. One hit from a bomber takes down a gun emplacement’s health by more than half so they are very vulnerable to those kinds of enemy attacks. If you happen not to have any fighters in that region where you are defending, it is going to be a problem, but it doesn’t mean you have lost. It just means you have to be extra efficient with your infantry and your counter artillery fire to prevent enemy artillery from additionally damaging your gun emplacements.
If you have followed these rules I have outlined here, if you have set up a good defense, and used your infantry companies well in taking out enemy infantry companies the AI will run out of supply points before they manage to capture your objective and call for a cease fire. The discussion is still hot on whether the AI cheats and has infinite supply, but I and other players will tell you, no it doesn’t cheat. It is just ultra efficient at using its supply points and will usually attack where it has a lot of them because of supporting regions under his control on the main map.
This is how you should be attacking too, and it is what I explained and showed in my how to attack guide.
Peter is a YouTube content creator and game Guide writer with a love of strategy games spanning decades.