Having trouble capturing enemy trench networks and points on the battle map? Let me guide you through the whole process of planning and executing a successful offensive in The Great War: Western Front. I will explain to you how to play this WW1 RTS, where and how to attack the enemy line, which units to use in the real-time battles, how to employ aircraft, balloons, and artillery as well as how to win all your future battles.
Trench warfare is the hard part of The Great War: Western Front, but it is much easier if you have prepared your forces properly and first softened up the units defending the map segment you have chosen to attack.
This was the defining battle in this offensive and it starts by first looking through the battlefield to locate all the objectives which both I and the enemy start with. The only good approach I find towards the top enemy objective, marked with B is a small forest patch.
Forests in this game hide your units from enemy detection and small arms fire but not artillery shells. This means you can use them to get closer to enemy trenches without them knowing your exact unit composition or location.
This is why I have chosen the enemy’s B objective as my first target and will set up most of my units at my nearest objective point which is marked with Y. Since I have a lot of supply points, the resources you can see at the bottom left, I will mix strong, regular and elite units and set them in these trenches.
The limit on these is 30 and since this isn’t my only objective, I have to add some units to the X one as well, but I will not spend too many resources on its defense and this is part of the plan to give the enemy an easy target if he decides to attack.
Now to be able to see more of the map I need at least one observation balloon. I must place it close to my lines but I also need to get the most use out of it which means I have to look at the mini-map to see what area it will observe. Since I want to capture B first and the other ones later, that is the one I need to see the best.
The problem now is that the limit of 30 units actually includes artillery. So If I want those, I have to cut down on my infantry units. Along with infantry, I will remove the tranches I don’t need since I will be attacking anyway and also make more room for artillery to be safe inside my objectives.
As with the observation balloon, I once again have to use the mini-map when choosing where to place it, be it light or heavy artillery battery as the most optimum placement will let them cover all the places I want to attack along with my light-defended X objective in case the enemy gets bold.
You can rotate artillery batteries using the mouse wheel just like the balloon and trenches when placing them. Since artillery has a cooldown between two barrages, you need between 3 and 6 of them depending on the battle, but I would suggest not having less than 4 unless this is just a distraction battle, and I will explain those later in this guide.
Also, make sure to spread apart your artillery so that if it comes under enemy planes or artillery bombardment only one gets hit per enemy strike.
You can reinforce weak positions with some barbed wire and spend some supply points on off-map bombardment which strikes the enemy positions before your attack. For some reason that didn’t really work in my prerelease version of the game, but you probably won’t have that problem with yours.
Once everything is ready we click on the begin battle option. Because the fog of war is now in effect, we have to deploy the observation balloon, and once it is up we can see what the enemy is up to at B.
The AI didn’t totally surprise me with what it did next but I was expecting him not to do so in the range of my observation and artillery. He sent basically all his defenders from B into an attack while I first targeted his own observation balloon deployment vehicle with artillery as I didn’t want to send in my airforce yet.
Taking away his sight is going to reduce his ability to properly target my units with artillery.
You can see the balloon going down in flames as two artillery barrages were enough to destroy its deployment vehicle. The remaining machine gun and mortar emplacements are a problem for my infantry, so I will spend some supply points to destroy them as I attack the B objective.
The enemy AI here uses the forest to get closer to my trenches, but since this isn’t a full attack and there is no artillery support, considering he has no sight from balloons, it is doomed to fail. He did send his air force though, to attack my balloon and instead of lowering it and losing my sight I send my own planes to counter his.
The enemy attackers are already dead and because his remaining units are probably going to my X objective I decide to safeguard my balloon and pull it down until my air force takes care of enemy planes.
Interestingly enough he did send another wing of them to my other objective, despite there not being a balloon there. I then start my own attack at his B objective by sending about half a dozen units there from the trenches.
With no more enemy planes I raise my balloon again, and decide to send my bombers at his gun emplacements at B. This is something bomber planes are great at. His bombardement of my X objective is a clear indication it will be attacked by infantry soon and I try to keep as many of them alive as I can.
Now this attack isn’t perfect, as I don’t suppress the enemy guns before my infantry gets into their range, and my infantry is also quickly targeted by enemy artillery as they have sign on my units now from their gun emplacements.
This is why I advise you to use the time controls in this game, and pause when planning and executing attacks. I didn’t use them and you can see how much that is going to cost me, losing strong units very quickly.
As the grenade infantry was taking the brunt of machine gun fire my regular infantry managed to get to the last enemy emplacement and they quickly blew it up using grenades. That cleared the B objective for my takeover.
Back at X it was already being attacked by enemy infantry, and once again I am late because I am not pausing the game to see all the objectives at the same time. I decide to deal some damage to the enemy infantry despite the fog of war just to slow them down a bit and inflict losses. But I know X is lost and I will not send in new units as I have another target to attack.
That is the main enemy base at the top right of the map which I can now flank from B. There was one more mortar emplacement I didn’t notice at first at B and my infantry will easily deal with it. Again we see the enemy using artillery on my units and it is best to find cover inside trenches not being currently targeted.
Taking over this objective is now only a matter of time before I just lost my own X objective. The enemy is countering my bomber with more planes, and I will protect it and my balloon with more of my own planes.
As B becomes my objective the hard part starts. I need to plan and execute a takeover of the enemy’s main base. First I send what units I have at B already, and then add more units from reinforcements which will spawn right at B. The battle could be ended by requesting a cease-fire but my plan here is a total victory, meaning I have to capture all the objectives
The rest of my infantry force will continue onto the enemy base and so far there is no opposition. I have a chance to destroy all enemy artillery batteries located there.
Of course, as long as I keep my infantry units away from these new artillery barrages being fired upon them. Unfortunately, I end up miss clicking a lot here and to prevent more losses I use the command SHIFT+W which makes those infantry units already low in manpower and morale to withdraw. By doing this I get back some supply points and can reuse them for new units. Do remember this SHIFT+W key combo and use it on units that are already too damaged to continue the fight.
Since I am low on units I need more to come over from the B objective spawn point, and it is only now done. I discover the enemy units inside the main command trench. You can not see units inside the biggest trenches which are covered until you actually go in.
At this point, the AI makes his move to counterattack from A and protect his main base and artillery batteries with a mass infantry assault.
Artillery is the only thing I can use here, and luckily for me, the enemy is bunched up, so a perfect target. This is another mistake you can learn from, just from the AI in this case. There are barely any units left after that massive bombardment and the AI’s counterattack is demolished while my reinforcements are finally here. Unfortunately so are the enemies.
The main thing that helps you defend against counter-attacks as you can see is timely reinforcements and artillery barrages
Of course, combat on two objectives at the same time is dangerous as it can leave you lacking units on one of those objectives but it is the risk I am ready to take right now. Trench warfare is tricky here, as only two units at a time can go into melee combat in a single regular trench, and morale and unit specialty mean a lot here.
Because both I and the AI can call in a lot of reinforcements, and considering there are only 30 active units at a time on the battle map these kinds of battles can have a lot of ebbs and flow with many waves of new attackers.
Shooting enemy units outside trenches with artillery fire or just infantry fire is the best and quickest way to destroy them while melee combat in trenches is not the optimal way to hold or take over objectives.
As my other units reach objective X they find it empty, with no defenders meaning the enemy AI has concentrated all his forces on objective A. The battle’s current situation is shown up here at the top of the screen where you can see the overall disposition of forces and what would happen if you called a cease-fire. Considering my, red bar, is longer, and the indicator is leaning to my side, I would have a small victory at this point. But I want a great victory, so we push on.
After these two unsuccessful attacks, I organized an attack from both sides at the same time while using rolling artillery barrages to keep the enemy units and gun implements suppressed as my infantry advanced toward their trenches.
This was my last chance as I was down to just 50 supply points, and wouldn’t have any more resources to pay for either more artillery strikes or more infantry units as reinforcements. Meaning I had to take objective A or call a ceasefire. I invested those last points in suppressing the enemy units in their trenches and kept on the attack going from top and bottom. Here you have to remain cool and watch what you click on as sending units attacking outside trenches exposes them to enemy fire while keeping them inside trenches and moving through them one by one keeps them safe until they initiate melee combat with enemy units.
My whole offensive was riding on this last push but I was very happy to watch my units swarm the last enemy trench and start the clock on taking over objective A.
Once it was captured it was time to see how I did in this battle. You can see a lot of data on units and spent supplies. As well as which battle honors you earned. This was a great victory for me, meaning the enemy got a huge reduction to their overall war effort called National Will, while I got a boost. And that is one of the ways you win the great war in this game, by reducing the enemy points and keeping yours high.
Now to prepare for this successful offensive I had to do a couple of things. Right before the battle I just showed you, I first did a few attacks on the same region from my other neighboring regions. These attacks don’t have a chance to conquer the region, but what they do is reduce enemy morale and possibly the number of enemy units. You can play these battles, but to save time you can also auto-resolve them.
Another step in the preparation is to reinforce the regions that border the region I want to attack with extra units taken from other parts of the front or my main spawn point.
Another important thing is upgrading the regions from which I will launch my offensive with field hospitals. This helps to reduce not just the cost of replenishing units, but also reduce the loss of National will when suffering casualties.
Now, why did I pick this region to attack? The main reason is that the more regions you have bordering an enemy-occupied region the more supply points you can use in battle and the more attacks you can send in one turn at that enemy region. Another major location like the one I attacked is Verdun where I had four neighboring regions but the defenses there are much stronger and it is a harder nut to crack.
As for the first two tech choices, I would advise wartime taxes from the logistics tech branch while the second choice should be rolling barrage from the engineering tech branch.
Now about that fake, distraction attack, I mentioned before. You want to make a small-scale attack on another part of the campaign map and invest some units into at least capturing one objective before calling a ceasefire. This attack might sound costly as just a distraction but what it does is give your enemy a reason to reinforce that part of the front instead of the one you are really attacking with your main force.
In this battle, you can see just how much use you can get out of a forest to pack it full of your units and close to enemy trenches and then come out in mass and overrun the defenders. Especially when you add in a gas attack to force them out of those trenches in the first place.
Of course, there are many more gameplay aspects of The Great War: Western Front that I would like to explain next time.
Thank you for reading these tips or watching the video.
Peter is a YouTube content creator and game Guide writer with a love of strategy games spanning decades.