Combat lies at the heart of Steel Division. The goal of the game is to conquer the enemy, either through physical destruction of their forces or achieving battle objectives - the requisite Conquest points in Conquest, for example.
- Every weapon is defined by several characteristics, which dictate its performance and application:
- Caliber: Indicates the weapon's caliber (in millimeters). The acronym HEAT next to a weapon's caliber indicates a shaped-charge weapon: This means it deals the same amount of armor-piercing damage regardless of distance.
- Accuracy: Indicates the weapon's stationary accuracy, on a scale of 1 (least accurate) to 10 (most accurate). Except for planes, accuracy is greatly reduced while moving, while some weapons can only fire once stationary. Self-explanatory.
- Rate of fire: How fast the weapon fires. It shows how fast the unit depletes its ammunition supply.
- Armor-piercing value: Indicates the weapon's armour piercing value at max range. It needs to at least equal the target's armor in order to penetrate it. The higher the AP value is in contrast with that of the armour, the greater the chance to penetrate it and the suppression inflicted.
- AP values scale with distance: For every 100m under maximum range, the weapon's AP value increases by +1.
- Armor piercing rounds are useless against infantry units.
- High explosive value: Indicates the weapon's effectiveness against soft, infantry targets. Armor greatly reduces damage received. The higher the HE value and the closer it stands from the point of impact, the higher the physical and suppression the target will receive.
- Range: Indicates the maximum range of the weapons.
- Area of effect: Some weapons also deal area of effect damage. Large AoE saturates the target area and deals minor damage and suppression to all units in range, while small AoE has the opposite effect.
- Weapons are directed against targets and the effect of an attack entirely depends on the target type.
- Soft targets, namely infantry and crew-served weapons like mortars, anti-tank guns, and so on, have a specified Strength (see units for more details). This statistic indicates the number of soldiers in the squad or gun crew, representing its hit points, and eliminating the unit is a matter of bringing that number to zero. These can only be damaged by weapons dealing high explosive damage.
- Hard targets are vehicles and have their own damage system and can be damaged by both high explosive and armor piercing weapons. Armored vehicles, like halftracks, armored cars, and of course tanks, are resistant to high explosive damage. As stated above, a weapon's armor piercing value needs to be higher than the target's armor in order to have a chance to penetrate (for example, a QF 2-pdr will generally bounce off a Panther's frontal armor, since it has 8 AP vs. Armor 12).
- However, while the anti-tank round may bounce off it, it might also stun the crew or injure one of its members. If an anti-tank round pierces through a tank's armour, it might destroy it on the spot or cause a status effect, like damage to the engine (stopping it), transmission (slowing it down to a crawl), or other effects.
- These include: Ammo explosion, fuel explosion, crew killed, transmission damaged, engine destroyed, weapon damaged, tracks broken, shooter knocked out, driver knocked out. Some effects clear up in time, other are permanent.
- Maneuvering and position is vitally important when facing down armored threats. Tanks are usually thickly armored in the front, with thinner sides and a weak rear. In the Panther's example, that 2-pdr could cause some major damage when hitting it from the flank, as a Panther only has 5 Armor on the side.
- Infantry equipped with grenades can deal major damage to open-topped vehicles if it gets close enough (provided it does not have anti-tank launchers that are extremely effective thanks to their HEAT warheads).
- The most important part of fighting is the state of mind. Units suffer stress as they come under fire, which can eventually shake them up, suppress, and then rout. Infantry is prone to suppression when subjected to weapons with high fire rates or HE damage (machine guns, anti-air automatic weapons, artillery), while vehicles usually rout more easily when shot at with AP weapons.
- A unit that's been routed will be pinned down and won't do anything until it get's the order to fall back towards its side of the map. Vehicles fall back on their own. Notably, if you close into 100m range, the units will surrender and be removed from the battle. That is, unless:
- There's a leader unit nearby, which not only halves suppression damage received, but also prevents surrendering.
- A friendly, unrouted unit is just as close.
- The unit is still in territory if its team (for example you get close with recon units that dont push the front line
Lines of sight
In order to kill the enemy, you need to first see the enemy. Recon is crucial in these situations, especially if you see the enemy from far away and gain the first strike. Below are a couple of screenshots comparing the different situations.
A lone tree in the middle of the field. Long lines of sight make it perfect for recon, less so for infantry or guns.