Another “solo co-op” mission
Theater of War Mission Pack: Operation Barbarossa
Mission: Leningrad Approach
Difficulty Level: General
Commander: Any or none. I like the ones with the mortar halftrack.
Covering note: All TOW single-player, non-solo missions with CPU allies are broken, in effect, due to the severe quality/quantity imbalance favoring Russia, the bad coding for CPU allies, and the many cheats including absurdly extreme visual restrictions. Recent changes by the devs also have nerfed the MG42 HMG, the Germans’ most effective weapon in TOW, reducing the number of missions that can be won reliably. Even the winnable missions tend to feel like a chore, and often have only narrow paths to victory (HMGs/Paks), greatly limiting replayability and overall enjoyment.
“Leningrad Approach” is set in winter with blizzards and freezing troops, with less access to fuel/munitions than in previous missions. There is only one muni point near the center of the map.
You can win some of the time as follows: bring in 5 HMGs (left VP, left VP, left fuel point, territory point to the left of your base, building near the SW corner of your base), build a command bunker to support your crews at the left VP, build an HMG bunker (partly behind the building) at the left fuel point, and thereafter bring in 5 Paks to cover the left VP and points eastward, plus whatever else you can manage (mortars, scout car, 251, command tank). Your initial pio caps the left VP and points back to base, then builds the two bunkers. Spam bunkers if you ever reach 100 pop cap. Keep a vehicle on hand that can chase/kill Katyushas.
Micro-everything with lots of pausing. Once you have some Paks out, try to advance your line toward the Russian base–knowing that you may not be able to manage this.
It’s a pain-in-the-ass mission because your units are so weak and fragile in comparison to the Russian units. You’re always going to be one or two unlucky squad-wipes away from losing—and really you should just start over if you lose any squad early-game. But if you can hold two VPs continuously while sometimes helping your ally hold the third, you often can hang on for a victory in the 20-35 minute range. As for almost all of the German Barbarossa missions, though, winning never really feels like winning because of the encoded German inferiority in everything.
I don’t know how common it is, but I have encountered a bug in this mission, in which a Pak became immobile until decrewed/recrewed.
Don’t waste your time trying to play from the left-side base and hold the lower/center VP. Even if you succeed in doing that, you won’t be able to hold any other VP, and your CPU ally won’t do so either.
[updated 29 May 2021]