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Tactics Guide: Overwatch
Latest update by CMBF
on Mar 13th 2013
It may seem like it is just a way to not move your soldier at first, but the Overwatch condition is far more than that, in fact it is an integral part of the strategy for dealing with everything from the enemy you cannot see yet to large numbers of mixed enemy types, and everything in between. If that does not makes sense, allow me to explain...
What Overwatch is in essence is a charged state of readiness in which the soldier is primed to react to any enemy movement within their line-of-sight. That means that when the enemy breaks cover to reposition or try to flank your units, they will react to that movement by shooting the enemy. Much of the time with considerable success.
There are a multitude of situations in which Overwatch becomes a tactical element in play, including the following examples:
Lack of Engagement
You know that the enemy is there, but they are just outside of your sight lines and so have yet to be detected by your Squad. Because of that you have no idea what the OpForce is made up of; sending in a soldier to probe the enemy line and reconnoiter their position is one of the best ways to get that soldier hurt or dead so that is not a very compelling strategy...
The smart move is to inch your Squad forward from nearby cover to nearby cover, placing them in Overwatch mode each advance so that once you do get close enough to flush out the enemy, they find themselves taking fire as soon as they move! This can be especially effective if you set up overlapping fields of fire by spreading your units in a tactical pattern.
Outflanking the Flanking Maneuver
Even on the easy difficulty setting the enemy has rudimentary tactics that include flanking by ground unit types, and air-based flanking by air unit types. When you are engaging the enemy and some of your Squad members are not able to directly engage, it is better to leave them in Overwatch so that should the enemy attempt either type of flanking maneuver they will instantly respond to it and, depending on their leveled skills and rank, perhaps even save your ***!
Setting up an Ambush
You can use Overwatch as a tactical and strategic tool when you set up an Ambush by configuring your Heavy, Support, and Rifle troops in a loose crescent around the corridor in which you plan to ambush the enemy, and then using an Assault Trooper, go in to detect and then draw the enemy out. As the probe retreats the enemy units follow and fall right into your trap, where your well-defended Squad shoots them up from cover!
Experiment with Overwatch
There are a lot of ways that you make use of this reactionary tactic, and the fact that in addition to allowing you to set up events, it also serves to allow you some limited impact during the enemy move phase, you should easily be able to work this into your regular strategy very effectively!