Paddy Field in Wargame: Red Dragon was one of my favorite 1v1 maps when I first started to seriously play. For beginning Paddy Field is one of the easier maps to understand, packing a good balance of space, zones, engagement areas, and intensity, as compared to maps like Mud Fight with its desperate pitched fighting for the middle town, Nuclear Winter is Coming with its huge breadth and numerous engagement zones to cover, Tropic Thunder with its heterogenous urban cover in the middle which makes advancing difficult, or the bloody attrition warfare of Strait to the Port or Death Row. Over time other maps have grown more on me as I've gotten better at the game, such as the previously mentioned Nuclear Winter is Coming, or Plunjing Valley, Highway to Seoul, and Punchbowl, but Paddy Field is still an inviting and friendly map, one which offers multiple options to play while not overwhelming one with anything.
This makes it an excellent point to start from when talking about how to play a map in Wargame Red Dragon, and thus I've created a guide about what tactics, counters, strategies, and general battles happen on Paddy Field to give players a sense of what to do and what they can do to win. I'm by no means a star player at Wargame - I generally consider myself to be better than average, with very poor tank and smoke micro-management being my key weaknesses. But I think that I'm good enough to give a depiction of Paddy Field and how it works. Given how often Paddy Field occurs, both in Ranked Matches and in standard multiplayer games, it is a good map to get to know!
Where, How, and When - The Hotspots of Paddy Field
Wargame: Red Dragon, is all about territory. This holds true in both of the main game modes, Conquest and Destruction. Conquest, where command zones give command points, it is the overriding objective of any player to control as much territory as possible, since this will give him the command points advantage to win the game. Destruction is based upon gaining points through killing enemy units, but since the zones themselves give the necessary points required to buy new units, it is still a necessity to try to control as many zones as possible. If your army is starved of points while the enemy rolls over you and destroys all of your CVs, then your kill ratio doesn't matter - you still lost. Even in a less drastic scenario that doesn't involve all of your CVs being destroyed, an army with more points and more resources still has an inherent advantage over the enemy, one that any decent player can leverage. Paddyfield is a map where total dominion over command zones is possible and a decisive early advatange can be won, in contrast to maps like Mud Fight, where even a decisive early win still requires a lot of work to convert it into complete map control.
Assuming equal skill, and conventional strategy by both sides, the main points of contention on Paddy Field are the forest at Bravo and the forest in the north of Hotel and to the south of Golf. The forest on Golf, and the flanks to the left and right of the map are also areas where fighting occurs, but this is more limited and the overwhelming majority of decisive combat tends to occur in these two zones.
Fighting in Bravo - The Forest Brawl
Despite this surface similarity, the two areas are remarkably different in their fighting, and for various reasons Bravo tends to see less combat in a normal 1v1 game at the beginning than Hotel. Bravo is an extremely dense forest. It is marked by close infantry combat, where tanks have to be used sparingly and carefully due to the close range of enemy infantry, and where bombers and artillery are extremely dangerous force multipliers. Getting vehicles to attack the enemy offensively is hard, since for either side to attack the other they must go through the twin roads on the opposite sides of Bravo, where their vehicles are vulnerable to enemy fire coming from Southern tanks positioned in Golf or in the woodline to the East on Bravo, while the North can easily position ATGM infantry in its town on Alpha and tanks in the woods to overwatch the western road. Any attack by the South north is vulnerable to flanking fire unless if directed on a broad front and with intense usage of smoke, while the North faces a brutal slog through the woods and with the threat of enemy fire support coming from the forest below Charlie.
In general, this combination means that fighting on Bravo is often sidelined, although factions with good and cheap infantry and potent fire support options - Scandinavia, Entente, USSR, Israel - can find it more profitable here. This is particularly the case from the South spawn, Delta - there is only limited space in which the North from Foxtrot can hide their CV and infantry in Bravo, and significant artillery concentrations can effectively neutralize by destroying anything in the little box of woods.Or simply stun and panic it for infantry assaults to move up and mop up the helpless survivors. USSR Buritanos, Israeli napalm artillery, and Yugoslav Plamens are particularly brutal at this, but regular MRLS artillery and tube artillery plays its role too. It is certainly possible to fight in Bravo and it often happens, but one needs to be aware of the faction one is playing - is it one that is good at forest grinds, or one that best avoids them?
Hotel's Duel - Deciding the Game
With Bravo eliminated as the principal field of contention, this leaves the main area where fighting happens as the forest on Golf - Hotel. Although this may like Bravo be a forest, fighting here is dramatically different due to the more open nature. Infantry still play a key role, with high AP infantry operating at close enough ranges to fight enemy tanks, and bombers and artillery are useful for stunning enemy units at the least - but the terrain is just open enough that the real king of fighting here is the tank, and above all else the superheavy. A front with a superheavy inherently requires massive expenditure of resources - a superheavy is at the heart of a combined arms strategy, and it requires mortar support for smoke to retreat into in the presence of enemy ATGMs and tanks, reconnaissance to detect enemy threats, infantry to screen it, anti-air defense to deal with ATGM-wielding helicopters and TG-guided anti-tank missiles from aircraft, and eventually supply trucks to repair, refuel, and re-arm the tank. This all means that fighting in Foxtrot is an expensive proposition.
A typical push in an average game of 1,000 points will involve each side sending a super heavy tank, mortar, air-defense, and a force of infantry to both attack and serve as cannon fodder to draw enemy fire into the forest area from the north and the south. Delta will deploy through its road leading through the woods on the south of Foxtrot, while Foxtrot will come from the road across the river from its spawn-point - although sometimes iinstead it is chosen to bring units through the road from Echo instead, which has the disadvantage of leaving them more open to early bombing runs, helicopters, ATGM plane attacks, and artillery. Both sides will then attempt to push each other out, with a mastery over smoke usage being a requisite - especially for Delta, as the forest is very close to Foxtrot's air spawn, making heavy smoke cover for their tanks a necessity to defend against enemy ATGM planes. They must also smoke off ATGMs in Golf's town.
If the North wins and takes the forest, then pushing them out can be difficult, since it involves crossing significant open ground, with multiple firing positions - three rows of forests, flanking positions to be shot from from across the river, and the ever present threat of air attacks. If the South wins, then their surviving fire support assets can support their infantry to take the town at Golf.
South's Alpha Gambit
But let's say that you don't feel like the boring task of slugging it out in Hotel. Hotel's fight requires massive usage of smoke and excellent superheavy tactics, and that might be dull. Instead, for the South an option is a fast rush up to Alpha to seize control of the territory, garrisoning the town and placing infantry in the woods, neatly seizing control of half of the map and placing your troops dangerously close to the enemy spawn. A bold move and one with the potential to be a decisive one - but also extremely risky.
Enemy troops will generally be arriving at the city on Alpha slightly before your own, although sometimes they are slow on the draw. This means that one needs greater numbers and significant fire support. Even if the city is taken, there are still the woods on the north of Alpha and along the Western part of Bravo/Alpha, which can provide for enfilade fire on your units - in the most nasty situations, getting side shots into and destroying your tanks. Close to the enemy base, ATGM planes and bombers can destroy massed units attacking the village.
Thus a general assault here requires a simultaneous offensive by troops in the forest, pushing up to destroy enemy units in the trees, supporting anti-aircraft artillery, smoke, and armor to push up north. Preferably, there are also bombers or even better MRLS units to weaken enemy morale in the southern Alpha city before attacking, or to lay down napalm on enemy lines of communication.
At the same time as this push happens, there need to be light screening forces of cost-effective units elswhere, like ATGMs in the buildings on the Western side of Foxtrot and recon units to chart the enemy progress. A bold and daring enemy might choose to, instead of simply diverting their forces to attack in Alpha, instead continue their push through Hotel to your base. All in all a risky move, and one that has to be carefully weighed about just how the enemy has positioned their forces and what their reaction will be.
In general this is not as effective from the North, since a rush south happens into woods which can slow down the advance, and the positions to be taken are less favorable unless if the attack is much deeper and longer.
On the surface, the flanks of Paddy Field either appear curiously under-utilized, since there is so much of it, more land there than there is in the center. The reason of course, is that there is absolutely nothing there - no cap zones, no spawns, just land. Wargame is a battle of territory, but that means command zones, not just space. But this doesn't mean the flanks of Paddy Field are useless -far from it. They provide new angles of fire which can pick off enemy units, angles for reconnaissance, positions for anti-aircraft defenses, spread out the enemy, offer the capability for raids, protect your own rear area from enemy raids by giving vision, etc. Control of the flanks nets important advantages - but they have to be weighed against the cost that this holds, since every point spent there is a point not spent on the center.
In general, the most intensely fought battles will occur over the reconnaissance positions on the West of the map, across the river from Hotel. Here, a recon unit in the woods can spot units manuvering for both sides, making it tremendously valuable. ATGM squads or relatively small and cost effective tanks can earn far more than their cost by attacking the weaker side armor of enemy vehicles, restricting enemy room for manuver. So naturally battles develop over this as feuding recon fights it out, and in the largest scale can reach full scale battles over the nearby industrial plant. North has the advantage of that if they drive the South out there is only a single bridge access point by the South across which forms an effective defense barrier. If they are daring enough and the enemy leaves it unfortified, fast raiding forces across there can smash into the enemy lines and perhaps reach as far as the enemy Southern spawn and win the game - thus some base security in the town to the south of Hotel is a good idea. The South meanwhile, if they drive to the North and position themselves on the enemy spawn, have much higher potential rewards to gain.
Since most of the fighting in Bravo happens in the forest, there is less need for recon per se on this side of the map. Nevertheless for the North, recon can sometimes spot units moving from the South into the forest at Bravo - including sometimes highly valuable units, like CVs. This might be an area where exceptional optics recon might even be worth the money. Having pickets is also useful for preventing raids into Alpha - some fast recon units across the bridge could destroy Alpha's CV, air defense, maybe even artillery, so some infantry pickets in the building next to the bridge are useful.
For the South, other than these raiding attacks and denying some recon cover to the North, there isn't much value to be gained by devoting resources to the flank on this side.
Golf's Forest is an important place to hold for both sides, but especially for the South. Holding it gives additional reconnaissance and firing angles to fire into Golf, and if the enemy cannot be totally evicted from Golf, then a CV in it can deny Golf's points to the North. Furthermore tanks in it can fire onto enemy units taking the road from Echo to Bravo, cutting off a potential enemy attack point. Enemy units on the plateau above, can of course hit vehicles and units moving between Bravo and Golf, but they lack cover and are thus vulnerable to helicopter ATGMs and ATGM planes and require constant smoke. South has the advantage that if they lose Golf, it is rather easy to build up fire support and move recon up along the clusters of bushes from Hotel to Golf, and use artillery to clear out enemies deep within the forest.
For the North, controlling Golf's forest denies the enemy this advantage, and gives recon and ability to fire on units which might be moving up from Charlie to Bravo.
Thus for both sides, detaching a force of some fast reconnaissance vehicles and recon infantry, and possibly even regular infantry, is well worth it to gain control of the forest. However, it is ultimately a sideshow compared to either a fast attack through Bravo to Alpha or the fighting in Hotel - there are too many angles of enemy fire for attacking through it directly to either side, and the South would have to deal with enemy infantry units garrisoned in the city if they attacked directly before gaining a commanding position.
Infiltration and Spawn Security
Due to its relatively small size, geography with rivers, and fairly obvious hiding locations for forward recon units, infiltration of special ops behind enemy lines is not as effective as maps like, Plunjing Valley, Punchbowl, Strait to the Por, or some sides of Hell in Small Place/Tropic Thunder. This doesn't mean that infiltration is bad - just it is easier to cover against it. Many people don't however.
For the north spawn, Foxtrot, the logical place to send infiltrators south is to the east of Delta, via helicopters. Presuming the helicopter isn't spotted, and that enemy pickets aren't posted, these units can work their way into the forest to the south of Delta. Here, they can either spot artillery, possibly CVs if the CV is poorly located, detect FOBs, and see incoming enemy reinforcements - or attach enemy ground units as they spawn in. Which recon units one has will dictate the strategy - special elite recon units like Specialni Jednotky can wreak tremendous damage in combat, while 2 man recon units are extremely difficult to detect and make excellent spotters.
For the South spawn, Delta, infiltrators make the most sense to be sent to the area to the north of Alpha, the extreme north, where hopefully they won't be spotted and can land and work their way along the forest to the north of Foxtrot. From here, they can do everything that their Northern counterparts can do, except attack enemy units spawning in - but they can look for an attack the enemy CV, which isn't possible to the South due to the bridge crossing. Sending units to the West of Foxtrot's spawn is a possibility, but they lack the ability to directly attack spawn units given the distance between the spawn and any easily accessible cover due to the river. However, be wary of enemy regular ground units working their way up along the West and gaining overwatch positions at the spawn to kill your units as they spawn in.
For both North and South, the logical solution is either picket units or recon helicopters. Personally I would prefer picket units, especially for the South, where raiding forces overland can run the risk of occupying the spawn.
There is also a need for picket units to guard lines of communication to the front: it is possible for units from the Northern spawn to infiltrate across the bridges on South Spawn's Eastern side and kill units going up the road to Bravo, in the Charlie area. A few pickets covering the bridges might make sense here as well.
Rice Paddy is a map that benefits from a diverse set up of CVs, including at the least infantry CVs but also tank CVs. For the North, an infantry CV is a good idea to garrison in one of the buildings in their home spawn- they are probably safe from enemy artillery unless if it gets incredibly lucky, difficult to detect, and their main worry is enemy assault recon which sneaks through the northern forest. The South has plenty of spots to hide their CV which makes sniping it difficult. For both sides, jeep CVs are generally sufficient in Charlie, Alpha, and Echo, unless if they're captured those territories or things have gone disastrously wrong. Hotel is fine with jeep CVs for the South when it has secured the forest, and even if it hasn't secured the forest command infantry can be positioned either in the southern forest or in the buildings in Bravo, and "soft" CVs work generally for the North in Golf when it has secured the Golf forest and Hotel's forest. The South too can generally get away with "soft" CVs in the large force of Bravo since there are too many spots for enemy artillery and bombers to hit efficiently. The North can also rely upon infantry CVs in Golf even if the enemy holds the forest there.
Exceptions for jeep CVs exist when one knows that one will be facing notoriously effective anti-armor units like Maglans that can spot jeeps and kill them from range, in which case only infantry CVs are probably a better choice.
Things become more chancy when the North has pushed the South out of Hotel's Forest but not into the Southern forest there, North in Bravo, and the South when it only holds the forest in Golf. In these positions, the territory where a CV can be targeted is sufficiently small that a command tank makes sense - it can survive all but the heaviest shelling by the enemy, has enough cover to not be hit by enemy ATGM planes, and there are enough places to hide that it can't be focused too intently. Still, these are luxuries, and most of the time infantry does survive, unless if the enemy is very intent on their artillery and intelligent in utilizing it.
As a rule of thumb, jeep CVs work best for rear areas, frontline areas with buildings can get infantry CVs, large forests enable flexible CV choices, and limited forests in frontline sectors mean places where tank CVs might be cost effective.
Adapting for 2v2s and Destruction
Most deployment tips and advice for this are based around the idea of a 1v1 match in the Conquest mode. Paddy Field however, also hosts larger matches - sometimes extremely large ones up to 10v10 - and destruction.
Larger matches, such as a 2v2 give one more choices concerning offensive and defensive strategy. Resources can be combined together for a joint offensive on one side, ore more commonly each player can take one side. From the South, there are both more resources and even higher resources for a push to Alpha. Personally when playing such conquest matches I generally pursue this from the South, while from the North I purchase CVs to cap as many starting territories as possible to gain a fast point lead, relying on typical enemy passivity and contributing to my ally fighting in Hotel's forest. In destruction, this may also make sense, to gain an early resource advantage with a larger number of CVs.
Find Your own Strategies!
Wargame: Red Dragon is an endlessly inventive and different game. Every match is different and with the opportunity to be unique. What I've written is what I feel is the "meta" way to play Paddy Field. Knowing its strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities is an important thing - and once you've done that, you can experiment and adapt to it to come up with strategies of your own that areinnovative, original, and surprising for the enemy. For whatever the enemy doesn't expect, is sure to have the greatest chance of success. Good luck!
© 2020 Ryan Thomas