Graviteam Tactics: Operation Star

Graviteam Tactics: Operation Star

307 ratings
Tips for GTOS newbies [Game Guide+Tech Help]
By pelcowa and 1 collaborators
A Game Play Guide for new players with Tech Help
  • Games core logic as a Sim vs wargame RTS is covered along with some historical data.
  • Guide covers buttons, right-click-menu, icons & animated feedback from units & command bar.
  • Tactics, command & control & victory conditions are also introduced.
  • Tech help for common errors on game loading, GFX problems & DLC, Patch & Mods compatibility & installation.
Thought I would collect a few of the various pointers on the game & dump them in a single spot to help the newbies. Not an exhaustive 'manual replacement' just something to help with the learning curve.
I have added a few bits of my own to chunks of In-game help & forum posts. I will try to update & clarify things as time allows. Patches often add new features which are not fully documented, I will also try to add details for these.
[Thanks to the experts for their posts that have made this possible - you know who you are - Dane, Flashburn & friends]

For those migrating from things like Combat Mission, ToW or non-Sim type Red Alert-style RTS - God-like micro-management in GTOS not only doesn't work but can actually work against you.
When things hot up you will naturally want to give more orders but this may 'confuse' your troops. If in doubt use the 'Clear orders' button & either switch to AI control for the selected units or issue a more simple order.
Be prepared to lose battles & campaigns as part of learning. The game never plays the same twice so it isn't a boring game-killer to reload a map/campaign & try again.

Many war-games play
1) like chess - i.e. pieces have skills/abilities, fixed ways of moving.
2) like rock/paper/scissors - certain types trump other types

Whilst these factors do appear in GTOS they aren't so 'basic'/obvious in their roles.
GTOS attempts to simulate real war. People not doing what they are told, weapons being temperamental, bad weather, no supplies etc all feature in the game.
It's important to recognize the need for a good plan, & the need to make use of what is actually available - there is no infinite spawn/clickfest to play in GTOS.

You are Commander-in-Chief. You must devise a strategy, employ your resources wisely & give the necessary orders to your chain-of-command.
Your aim is to control the strategically vital areas of the map & keep as many of your units alive & as intact as possible.
The setup phase in the battle mode is critical, careful deployment can turn the tide of an engagement.
Your officers & men will try to obey your orders
But unlike chess pieces they are designed to think for themselves & make decisions based on their unique situational awareness, resources & ability.
This awareness means they won't blindly obey orders.
The quality, quantity, type & morale of each unit impacts performance as does any units ability to communicate with it's superiors & subordinates.

Unit AI can produce quite a few surprises, just like real troops they can be dumb, but equally they will do some great things - saving you the click-fest - & allowing you to focus on watching the action & planning your moves.

Battle mechanics & tactics are best practiced in Quick Battle mode. The 'Pause' command is your friend.

The same planning principle applies on the Strategic Map, range of supply units & reinforcements to units requiring replenishment is critical. The strategic map allows player-selection from multiple battle sites & the interaction of things like resupply & adjacent units will have long term effects. Picking battles from multiple possible battles on the strategic map has a knock-on effect to adjacent squares/battles.
e.g. if there are 3 possible battles, selecting & winning the 'right' one of those may make all or some of the others untenable/irrelevant & they can disappear from the map as the enemy AI adjusts.
Making sure your units are appropriately deployed/balanced on the strategic map helps the campaign, just as in real war.

The Eastern front was a huge physical battle-field & GTOS simulation of that means often you will be in the 'wrong' place just as happened in real-life.
Try to balance fixed positions with mobile fire-teams, try to keep comm-links hooked up to call/manage available support.

Newbies N.B - .Sokolovo is probably the toughest campaign in the game, probably best not to try it for your first game!
Pavlovka is often seen as the easiest campaign for beginners.
The unit & GUI icons report what is happening to your units & you then use this sit-rep to react/plan your moves.
Any icon/button modifier (top corners of selected unit information panel bottom of GUI) is reporting a status - generally: - red-bad, blue-good, etc (But this depends on the icon as to context & what colors will actually mean.)
No comms means little to no command.
If a comms link is broken then the unit loses any immediate guidance &/or orders take forever to arrive, if at all.
In game this means:
- you cannot directly/quickly control a unit out of comms range.
- they cannot share target or threat info.
E.g. - You can have what appears to be a healthy unit sat in the middle of nowhere doing nothing - because it has lost HQ contact & someone has to re-establish contact to get some response or activity going.

Unit response when out of comms depends on experience & situation etc. Issuing a chain of orders early on, can mitigate loss of comms later in the game.

Comms are relevant: -
- within a unit
- between units
- to overall C&C within the whole chain of command.

Having acting lines of communication means:-
  • command & control (from your safety on the other side of the screen) can reach your units & they can then try to react.
  • inter-unit actions can occur - sharing information on a fluid battle-field is vital to success. Targets, movements by either side, unit status, sit-reps etc can all be shared throughout your forces. The AI can react better & more effectively with this shared information.
  • Morale can be impacted by comms. Will conscripts stay & fight if they believe they are alone? Will Fanatics fight on regardless? Being able to talk to adjacent units &/or HQ can make a difference.

"\" is the hotkey to see the command radius/connections

<100 meters is a good guide for distance of direct communication from the immediate commander. Beyond 100m it becomes more difficult especially if engaged/under fire. Presence of wire or radio comms extends this radius.

The game simulates runners between units (No gfx for them unfortunately) & time has to be allowed for these troops to make their journey & relay info back & forth, once you have sent your orders.

Before the battle starts you are allowed to give some orders that are outside direct communications range (this represents the pre-battle briefing)

Not everyone will get a comm-link (Radio or Wire). Wire (field telephone) will normally only connect officers & the attached heavy weapons crews. For the other squads within a unit - LOS, distance & action intensity between each unit is important for keeping squads connected.
A unit command squad has 5 attached squads of infantry. No wire or radio.
Each unit needs to be able to hear or see signals, or use a runner (this will normally be within 100m at max.).
However squads will pass orders along to adjacent squads within their local command. This means the most distant squad could be <500m away from the commander & still maintain its comms connection. In this case :-
  • The time taken to transfer info along this grape-vine of squads is important.
  • Breaking the chain of squads will cut off the comms of distant squads from the commander.
  • Moving a squad between other squads to close a gap of >100m can re-establish comms.

Troops laying field telephone wires act automatically to link officers to appropriate squads. Keep them on AI control & near their officers at initial deployment so they can get started.
They can be killed - this means no more wire-laying/repair - so look after them
Moving from a fixed position with established wire comms means the wire-layers must re-lay all wires to re-establish comms.

N.B. As in real-life, units are designed to obey their own internal command structure.
Taking a squad from one unit & placing it away from it's commander will create a comms problem.
A detached squad will always try to talk to its own officers of the assigned group command & not those of another group.
This means -
  • You cannot mix & match squads between groups. E.g. a platoon from company A placed with company F will still try to talk to A company commanders, & will wait for those comms to be established if possible.
  • You shouldn't deliberately isolate squads from their officers or send them way beyond command range (Scouts are an exception as they are trained to move independently, but it helps to give them order sequences which also lead them back &/or to a group meeting point.)
The only time a detached/isolated squad can benefit from the presence of an allied commander that isn't from its local chain of command, is if all it's own leaders have been lost. This benefit is weighted in morale terms.
Comms Icons
Example showing active wire & voice comms symbols on the unit UMB icon.

Control is exercised by means of the various types of communications: voice, radio or wire. The presence and type of communication with the commander is displayed by '(o)' '...' 'Y' and 'phone' indicators of different colors:
black - commander online (Can also show optimal comms range active)
blue — link estabilished (Can also show limited comms range active)
red — link broken.
If the platoon is set to defensive stance at the beginning of a battle, wire communications are automatically established with subordinates (i.e. providing commander controls signals squad(s).
(NB The actual icons won't display on this forum - I've used text versions instead)
Symbols attached to a unit icon shows level of communication by any available means.
Blue (Y)  shows targeting messages are relayed throughout the squad.
Yellow (Y) shows targeting messages are being relayed to neighboring units. Indicators (dots/phone/Y) show receipt by unit of targeting information from another unit or commander, via voice, wire or radio respectively.
Separate white dots shown above the vehicles and soldiers of a squad, means they are receiving targeting information from the vehicle or squad commander.

Enemy units or artillery barrages can also break wire links.

[ symbols  = voice [dots], wire [phone] & radio [Y] icons in-game]
Comms icons - animated symbols
1) - orange 'eye' = disabled/warning - Unit can act, but limited under "AI control" option.
2) - cyan/blue 'eye' = processing - Unit can act - wire laying, indirect fire, etc ("AI control" option unblocked)
3) - white telephone - Send order/info through wire
4) - 'Y' antenna - Send order/info through radio
5) - cyan (( | )) - Receive info/order from high commander
6) - Yellow (( | )) - Receive info/order from subordinates (or commander of the same level)
7) "..." Receive info through voice (or internal phone - eg in vehicles) channel
8) "." Receive info/order through voice (or internal phone) channel within squad/crew bounds
Target designation can be signalled with white and blue flares at night and black smoke at day, each commander and vehicle crew has a limited number of these signal flares.
N.B. This type of communication is inaccurate and unreliable.
- Red flares are used by the enemy to signal the end of an attack.
- White & green flares signal the start of an attack or movement.
- Magenta flares are used by forward air observers for signalling targets to air support.
Blue Command Bar - Player command level indicator.
The way this works can be thought of as an economic function:-
Each officer generates command points. These are then assessed as a ‘transaction’ with the command bar fill-level -‘bank’; & the orders being given -‘cost’. These 2 factors are affected by -
  • The rank & quality of an officer = more or less points banked
  • The chain of command state = transaction possible or not possible
  • Difficulty of delivering the command = more or less cost in points
  • Condition/situation of sending unit + condition/situation of receiving unit(s) = more or less cost in points
These values allow simulation of probability of an order being issued; being sent/received; being understood; being obeyed; + the time required for all the 'transactions' to occur is also calculated & modeled by the game-engine.

Rate of increase in the players level of command is dependent on the command levels of the units under player control. (This is part of the improved orders system - enable/disable with (4.12) in the game settings.)

Range or value of the required command level to control selected squads and vehicles.
  • Bar fills with blue to the right. Marker tag indicates required command level to control selected unit
  • 2 Markers show range of command level required for commanding multiple selected units simultaneously.
  • Different unit types, situations, range to/from commanders & order types impact required command status/level.
This is the 'cost' of giving orders. It is dynamically calculated for each unit & their unique situation. The orders given have different 'costs' based on the probability of success in each situation.

Basically Blue fill should extend past markers to the right, for optimum command.

Command Bar Color/Flashes: -
  • Red at the edges when orders cannot be executed. (eg because unit has broken etc)
  • Black means that some or all units cannot execute their orders (their icons flash black).
  • Blue means the selected units are ready to execute their orders.

The Command Bar Indicator thus shows not only the fluid required command level (If 'cost' is affordable) but also when a player is losing control of selected units. (Shown when the command 'cost' for the player gets too high.)
  • A unit in trouble - heavy fire, loss of unit commander, few friendly units nearby, low ammo, etc - needs more command points to control = the markers move further right along the command bar.
    E.g. A unit that is in trouble & out of radio or wire link, might listen to an order to retreat if a runner can deliver the command, but orders to assault will very probably be ignored.
    = Cost in time to deliver orders & see a reaction + cost in command points is high.
  • A strong unit that has commanders present (& good links to the main chain of command), has good morale, good supplies etc. - needs less to control = the markers move further left along the command bar.
    E.g. An elite unit that is winning & has a great commander with good comms, will react favorably to commands.
    = Cost in time & command points is low.

The required level-of-command value is also dependent on how well the player-commander manages his squads & vehicles. Quality of management is partly determined by the existence of communication between squads & commanders.
As in real life - Spamming units with crazy commands will leave them confused & shaking their heads :)

Number & quality of available officers directly affects the chain of command, the start value of the command bar & the speed of command bar regeneration.
Better communications = fewer command points required to have orders relayed/obeyed.

Orders marked with a blue dot:-
  • unit management commands; sector (position);
  • hold fire orders;
  • calling in arty barrage,
- significantly reduce the level of req'd command.

Orders not marked with a blue dot, such as movement orders, minimally reduce the level of req'd command.

Command level points are not required for execution of these orders: -
  • Priority target setup,
  • Time delays on execution of orders
  • Transfer of AI controlled troops

Command Bar Regeneration Settings can be adjusted with option 5.04
LOS Icons [dots; triangles; & figures/tanks icons etc]
dark blue icons = the enemy is sighted.
Light blue = enemy being engaged,
yellow = no longer in sight but last seen in that vicinity.
Grey = knocked out.
Red = player units.
LOS & unit+position Elevation
Determining visible area & the elevation of units & their placement can be done using the Area of sight (Hotkey - Area of sight - Ctrl+~) & LOS tools.
The green overlay shows what can be seen & therefore also shows what is too hgh or too low to be seen as well as obstuctions like buildings & trees. With the game paused you can look around & get a good idea of what your units can see & their cover as well as the areas that can shield the enemy.
Using the facing command (mouse drag) you can see the effects of each position relative to terrain height & POV.
The LOS tool will give pin-point LOS relative to elevation, use zoom in & out/up+down to see different readings for POV & point of intersection with target (e.g. head or legs)

These deployment Hotkeys may also help in deciding elevation of units
Place on uphills (highground) - U
Place in lowlands - J

Also see the the video I put at the end of the guide @3.00 mins+ you can see how I use the green area overlay for field of view to determine elevation & LOS relative to terrain. Using the facing command (mouse drag) you can see the effects of each position relative to terrain height & POV.
Weapons Impacts Text (Statistics view)
White font = penetration and damage.
Grey font - No penetratration
Pulsing color filled "circles"
These appear on the 2D-map during tactical battle & indicate event location and type (by color):
- Red: Enemy contact
- Green: Artillery firing on area
- Yellow: Problems - eg order cannot be executed, commander is dead, heavy weapon damaged or abandoned, etc
Orders Delay
In the dialog box set the required delay duration with the + & - minutes buttons. The delay is always added after the last order is given.
This allows a plan of action to be made at the initial orders stage. Delay times are displayed at waypoints. Setting a delay order doesn't affect the players level of command.
Give an order, then right click on 'delay' (Cancel Orders) button to set delay, then use shift-click to add next order etc. White bracketed numbers appear above each set point. This will show the times relative to current game time-of-day.
This allows you to give a timed mission sequence to each unit:-
  • #a move to x wait 10; scout to y wait 5; attack z.
  • #b hunt to y wait 15; attack z.
This uses the options historically available - ie a wristwatch & a set of commands given by HQ.
Terrain & situation will need to be carefully examined to co-ordinate units properly.
As commander you hope that the units will meet up in good shape & move on to the next objective in unison.
Unit Management Bar (Icons at Bottom of Screen): - The Squad info Icons
[See screenshots below at GUI Info for images of these icons.]
From Left to Right on the UMB :-

Heavy Weapons Status.
Hover mouse over this icon to view extended information about weapon condition/availability.

Personnel Status.
Hover mouse over this icon to view extended information about personnel. A red sign next to the icon indicates some soldiers are wounded & unable to comply with orders.

Personnel Experience.
Higher is better

Higher is better
A low value means soldiers stop running, their responses are slower & their fire less accurate.

Morale level.
A red arrow  on this indicator or on top of a unit icon shows that soldiers are suppressed by enemy fire.

Anti-Armor Capability.
Higher is better
Clicking brings up the armor penetration charts.

Armor Level.
Higher is better
Clicking brings up the armor penetration charts.

Rotate / Change Facing.
Click to use.

Squads Filter + Hide/Show UMB Toggle
(2 Small icons in centre)
See Below Squads Filter for details on filter.

Retreat Command.
Vehicles - using reverse command makes the vehicle back up approx 50 meters.
Infantry units will retreat approx 50 meters and crawl/use stealth if in sight of enemy units.

LOS & Range Tool.
Click to use, Change tool with LMB & RMB.

Area LOS.
Click to use.

Munitions Level.
Hover your mouse over this icon to get more information about ammo. A vertical arrow on this icon indicates weapon overheating.

Fuel Level
Higher is better.

Level of Commander.
The higher the level, the better troops cope with conditions, enemy fire, and carry out orders. Also shows comms (e.g. phone icon) & command (blue bar) status for a selected unit at top. The blue bar shows selected units officers command level, ( i.e. how well this units officer is 'coping'. This also ties into the Blue Command Bar status. Officers with poor local command will cost more player command points, be less able or likely to control their units & may be harder to motivate.)

Fire intensity Indicator.
Shows weight of incoming fire & possible suppression. The scale on the top left of this icon shows the platoons' condition.

Support Indicators
Shows status of off-map fire-support. The game/unit icons for gun & plane show the presence of artillery or air spotters in a platoon.

The small box/square at the top corner shows the presence and condition of heavy weapons:
  • black — OK / Ready
  • red — disabled. (This could be because of no ammo left, no aircraft available etc.)
The small circle/dot at the top corner shows the presence and condition of artillery or air support:
  • black — expected
  • blue — processing
  • red — in action.

The color coding & symbols are common GUI elements, e.g. the support icon shares the square & circle marking with the unit icon.

Example of arty spotter unit icon showing these markings in black

LOS Tools
In addition to the buttons these keys give LOS tools -
1)ctrl+tilde (~): this shows you a horizontal plane relative to your unit and whether it is obscured by objects at the units elevation

2)tilde (~): this shows your unit's LOS - you point the cursor somewhere and if you see an ORANGE range number, your unit has clear LOS to this point. Elevation specific - i.e. point at ground or point at enemy head will have different results.

When a Unit Icon is selected :-
  • A red horizontal bar under the squad or vehicle icon, shows that the squad or vehicle cannot hold territory.
  • A squad or vehicle icon with yellow or red color indicates decline of combat effectiveness.

GUI info
Some HD screenshots with info on what buttons mean, LOS & comms effect etc
Steam limits the image size to 2mb, if you want the full-size file to read the text entries or zoom in etc grab the PDF below
Access the in-game helper 'encyclopedia' via left side bottom panel buttons ? or F1 & then the 'page' icon or alt+space. Info can be browsed & clicking on the links in the helper should run the selected segments of the tutorial.

Active Communications

Deployment Field of View / LOS (This should be supplemented with the LOS/LOF tool. Remember that the LOS/LOF tool is altitude/elevation sensitive. e.g. Viewing a soldiers head may be more likely than seeing his boots.) This Area View gives an indication of the immediately visible area.

Mortar LOS
Use the LOS/LOF tool to draw a specific line to show visibility/targetability of distant objects, e.g.units moving between trees, around buildings etc. The change between green & red on the LOS/LOF tool also shows when the enemy will become visible. Knowing the range of the obstruction can help with setting fire-arcs, calling & timing fire-missions, & also for using those obstructions to hide friendly units from the advancing enemy.

Movement Modifiers - An alternative to the Right-Click Movement Menu.

GTOS Button Info.pdf
41.5 MB

CRC32: CA65C78F
MD5: F3E6D95F056D95FF7D6E3645C938F7B3
SHA-1: 9D116EA276F3ED75D08CBD4EDD143D3BE5010BF1

Tactical Icons
Color of Tactical Icon shows Unit Condition
  • White :- Good
  • Yellow > Orange > Red :- condition worsening - red is worst, (may also be underlined on UMB to emphasize problem / severe condition).
  • Gray (may also be underlined) - No longer combat effective (KIA / Broken etc)
  • Flashing :- Either Hold Fire status; Or problems such as Exhaustion; Out of Ammo, Broken communications, Loss of Commander etc
Unit Icons - Soviet, Wehrmacht, Warsaw Pact & NATO Symbols
Explanation of the unit icons can be found on pages 44 & 63 of the tactics manual in
install dir\docs\support\
NB the 'Flamethrower' icon also signifies Pioneers/Engineers.
Option 4.21 alters unit signs/symbols - standard/NATO/Soviet/Red Army/Wehrmacht

Pages 25 of the Game Manual shows 'standard' & pages 52-3 shows Soviet/Warsaw Pact Military Symbols, for more info see -

If NATO symbols are used explanation can be found here-

For Wehrmacht tactical signs
1941 Copy of Akte 62. Muster für taktische Zeichen des Heeres, der Luftwaffe und der Kriegsmarine
AI Allies
Allied units (normally yellow in the GUI) are AI controlled but can be set to player control with Option 4.13.
It must be noted that there is a penalty to Command & Experience points if you take over control from the AI.
Impact Damage Legend
  • light - illumination devices
  • sight - sighting and observation devices
  • dr - driver
  • gn - gunner
  • mg - machine-gunner
  • ld - loader
  • 2l - second loader
  • cm - commander
  • FCS - fire control system
  • eng - engine
  • * - internal fire
  • ammo - ammo storage
  • transm - transmission
  • carpet - chassis
  • radio - radio set
  • acc - accumulator (lead/acid) battery
  • fuel - fuel tanks
  • GM - gun mechanism
  • HM - turret mechanism
  • pil - caterpillar track
  • wheel - wheel
  • stab - stabilizer
  • weap - weapons
Suppressive Fire
Generally, Platoon leaders, commanders & artillery/AFV commanders can order area-targeted fire.
Mortars & field guns can also provide indirect fire.
Infantry will not normally 'waste' ammo on an area unless they identify a target, using the priority target tool (click & drag-select a location) & firing arcs can set an area to 'force fire'.

Issuing a 'defend' order to infantry upon the target zone will cause infantry to advance by bounds, leap-frogging & providing fire cover alternately.

Off-map arty, HMGs, mortars, vehicle weapons are the most readily deployed area-targeted weapons. Once a commander has been selected & the area chosen, units will fire on areas that have a clear LOS. Indirect weapons without LOS will try to hit the designated area but will be less accurate without solid co-ordinates from a spotter/unit with a comms link.

Smoke rounds are also useful as suppression ordnance. It obscures LOS but also is toxic & burns due to the presence of phosphorous or sulphuric acid in the rounds.
Movement Modifiers Use
(Ref. the top section of the right corner menu, buttons for spacing etc are selected here (also see GUI Info above))

The selection of Random|Column|Line (3rd row down) can be a big help when it comes to moving units (especially vehicles) over varied terrain.
If you see a crazy dance going on & vehicles getting stuck, wandering & turning round, check that you haven't issued an order that requires a line or column in difficult terrain. If you have, the units will attempt to form up (& perhaps allow themselves to be killed in the process). Note they will have a preset march order in column formation, which can mean units head in 'illogical' directions trying to find their place in line.
It is best to use the Random modifier to get them moving when there are obstructions, then in a place suitable for the required formation issue the Column or Line command. These orders can be daisy-chained with <shift>.

E.g. Using the 3 different modified commands+<shift> on appropriate spaces on the battlefield you could 1. advance by road in column; 2. switch to random to go through some woods or houses; 3. form a line on an open slope ready to attack.
Right Click/Space Bar Menu (Movement)
Attack - attack movement + dispersed line formation
Assault - attack movement + condensed line formation
Covert Move - Use terrain for concealment + move by bounds (short rushes)
Recon - a movement order which has movement priority
Hunt - a movement order which has fire priority
Defence - move defensively & take up defensive positions
March - Use roads if possible, column formation. Movement is the priority & this is good for troops traveling distances quickly without rapid stamina loss.
Fast Move - Move as quickly as possible, units will try to take what they think is the quickest route. For infantry this is likely to cause more rapid fatigue; for vehicles it will cause increased fuel use.
Seek Cover - Make use of available cover as a priority. Can be useful for ambush or avoiding incoming fire.
In General
Initial placement of guns & spotter targeting zones is vitally important to effectiveness & survival, but you can’t be everywhere, so choose carefully. Try to give your units the best chance of killing targets by checking - range/target type & penetration charts/ammo type & availability - before opening fire.
It is the units’ officer (or spotter for off-map support) that calls the shots, individual weapons crews will only act independently in time of need with LOS.
LOS & range to target will have major effects on gun effectiveness.
Target type is equally important - penetration charts are provided in-game to help.
Setting fire-arcs helps with ammo usage as does the ‘hold fire’ button, adequate infantry support to protect gun emplacements & mortar pits is also important.
LOS & comms are vital for accuracy & speed of response. If the spotting officer is up a hill 50+ meters away make sure there are telephone troops or radio men with active comms links back to the guns.
Losing spotter &/or comms means losing fire control.
Better comms between units means sharing of target information & increased accuracy, this applies all the way up the chain of command, linking up comms between the front line & the HQ units will help overall. This happens automatically - if you can keep the units alive.
It is often necessary to watch how much ammo is being used & issue ‘hold fire’ orders.
Troops with low ammo can try to conserve ammo (& thus slow rate of fire) to try & make the rounds count. AI controlled assets will tend to be LOS dependent - they don’t have the battle-field view of the player.
Ammo use can have serious effects on subsequent battles esp. if the supply troops are distant on the strategic map. This applies to both on & off-map assets.
Re-laying guns, on- & off-map, takes time. LOS, communications + accuracy of spotter reports (e.g. if suppressed accuracy drops) will impact fire accuracy & ETA of shells.

Resiting Artillery
Avoid this if at all possible once the combat phase has started!
It is essential to find good positions during the deployment phase.
As an example of real-world difficulty, consider that a PAK 38 weighs 830 kg (1,800 lb) & is 4.75 m (15.6 ft) long; the ZiS-2 weighs 1,250 kg (2,756 lb) & is 7.03 m (23 ft 1 in) long. Moving these guns & their ammo etc isn't easy.
In-game, the effort req'd is modified by the difficulty of the move, if the terrain/weather is hard or they are engaged/under fire they aren't likely to be able to handle the extra effort without critical stamina & morale impact.
Additionally guns & mortars can lose some or all ammo if forced into moving once the combat phase is started. (Given time they may recoup some from its' initial dump but this is not shown by any animations).

Ammo loss can apply to mortars when they've been deployed/emplaced, rather than when attached to a unit that is left free to move during the setup phase.
You willl see crews get exhausted fast when moving with other troops (same with HMGs) & start to lag behind so it pays to deploy them carefully/consider where you need them & how long they will need to get there.

Indirect Fire: -
On-map assets such as mortars & field guns/howitzers that do not need direct Line Of Sight get fire missions from their attached officers who act as spotters
The spotter can be placed forward of the guns & then relays back targeting info. (Use the 'barrage' button - this is only active when you have selected the correct unit).
There will be a delay whist targeting orders are received & actioned, this is affected by how great a change there is in target area (& how long it takes to move the hardware, + the effects of unit fatigue, morale, casualties etc).
Moving on-map assets can take forever & may result in loss of ammo – because it is too much work to move everything – esp. if fatigued or under fire. Initial placement of units helps & checking the ranges of possible targets before requesting fire will save you having teams try to move to engagement range!

Approx. Ranges for Mortars
Russian 50mm = 800m; 82mm = 3100m.
German 50mm = 500m; 80mm = 2400m
A minimum distance of >50m should be allowed. Effective range will be impacted by conditions just like any bullet or shell. Increased distances reduce accuracy & lengthen flight times.

Direct Fire: -
On-map arty is LOS dependent but can have target area (fire-arc) & target type preset.
This helps reduce problems with e.g. :-
- AT guns firing on infantry – possibly using up all ammo that they will need later.
- An AT team wasting all their AP firing on distant targets with limited effect.
Off-Map Fire Support Assets
This is your heavy artillery & air support. These strikes require directions from on-map spotters. Each spotter gets 3 target zones. The numbers shown within these zones give time to arrive (mins) & accuracy (%) of the barrage.
(These numbers may also show time to arrive & the radius of spread. E.g. 1:46/155 = 1:46 mins:secs / 155 meter radius from target point for falling shell dispersal. This latter value is dependent on the weapons & munitions & will normally be an estimate not a guarantee so watch for friendly fire! + WW2 weapons were not as accurate as modern weapons.)
LOS for spotters is vital for optimal results. It pays to keep these units safe & quiet where possible.
Make sure you set these up on likely avenues of attack before battle commencement. If you need to move them, the distance from the starting point will increase the delay before arrival of fire support & may include a loss of accuracy.
E.g. A preset zone may need 1:00m for fire to arrive & be 80% accurate; shifting that zone 500m could increase that to 7:00m & be 50% accurate. LOS of the spotter is again critical for calculating these factors.
An initial optimum dispersal of the target zones means you can keep adjustments small & arrival times/accuracy loss lower.
Fire missions can be cancelled mid-mission (via the arty support/area fire buttons). I.e. to conserve ammo or to stop wasting shells on a targeting error etc

The operation will define which off-map assets are available, + when & for how long.
Off-map assets availability is modified by certain conditions.
  • Per scenario (e.g. historically defined types, numbers & ammo);
  • Weather - esp for aircraft.
  • Time Requirements (i.e. time to get orders back & forth + refueling, rearming, loading times & re-laying of guns. )
  • Materiel, e.g. Ammunition stocks.
  • Aircraft range & flight times. Those that are damaged or get shot down will affect future air support.
The off-map Artillery Support button menu displays flight time & the number of shells available for off-map arty - remember that those guns may not get resupplied during the whole operation (this is an example of historically defined supply & tasking of support elements) so 'budget' your shells.

Air Support - aircraft attack vectors depend on the spotter giving correct co-ordinates & having good field of view of the enemy. Aircraft can hunt around the designated area though. Spotters use signal flares to guide aircraft once they have arrived. Air support button displays ETA for aircraft, & counts down when activated.
The spotters have a certain number of sorties they can call (like arty has a fixed number of shells) per operation. It can be possible to call several sorties in one battle or choose which battle to use them - subject to weather; ETA etc. Once they have used their strike allowance for the operation, the spotter team is just basic infantry.
Infantry vs Armor
In-game availability of AT grenades varies subject to squad & scenario availability. AT Rifles & AT grenades can be present & capable if used correctly. Best Infantry vs Armor practices are:-
- withdraw from direct assault
- ambush (& use hold fire etc to optimize ranges; ensure troops have something that will actually hurt the target.)
- immobilize
- call in heavy support
Give your troops the best chance to find & exploit weaknesses & stay clear of defensive fire from the target. They auto-select what is available & will attempt to execute the orders given.
Targets vary in toughness - the penetration graphs will help with choosing tactics.
Disabling a vehicle (mobility kill) is often the best to be expected from infantry vs armor.
(In normal GTOS style - no micro-management req’d, just the right plan, the right units & the right supplies!)
Infantry-anti-tank weaponry in early WW2 is not super-effective or widely available. Things like Panzer-fausts etc do not begin to appear until 1943 & users still need to be relatively close & exposed to the target because of accuracy.
- The German bundled grenade (Geballte Ladung) can knock off a track, but is not sufficient for penetrating anything except very thin armor. Again short range to target is required.
- Regular Frag grenades will not normally even break a track.
- Satchel charges used by Pioneers can be effective.
- Molotovs are useful especially as the vehicles engine bays etc are often vulnerable to liquid, fire thus can spread into seams & channels & ignite the components of the vehicle.

1940-41 saw the German Panzerwurfmine(L) issued, like the Geballte Ladung, it needs to be on the thinner armor (top of vehicle) or tracks. This HEAT grenade was only used by specially trained squads.
Russians developed the equivalent RPG-40.
Russian AT Rifles of 1941-42 can penetrate an armor plate up to 40 mm thick at a distance of 100 meters. But Spalling can cripple a tank crew so penetration is not always essential. Effective range is considered to be 300-400m. Use in ambush on flanks & rear is best.

Historically, killing armor was HARD! The following are excerpts about tanks vs infantry based on historical data/accounts. The tanks mentioned are modeled in GTOS.
The last excerpt shows a useful German tactic using armor & AT guns.

MEN AGAINST TANKS - A History of Anti-Tank Warfare - JOHN WEEKS the end of 1941 the Wehrmacht was finding that it
needed a large number of uncommonly brave men if it was to sur-
vive at all. The drive into Russia had gone well for the first few
months but with the fall of winter the Russians were showing
signs of counter-attacking, and attacking with large numbers of
tanks— good tanks at that. Some of these were KV is, slow, very
heavy, not well armed but so heavily protected as to be almost
impervious to any gun except an 88mm Flak. For various reasons
the KV 1 did not last long, nor were there ever very many of
them, but the ones that the Germans did meet gave them a most
unpleasant surprise.
The first encounter came in Lithuania where a KV 1 interposed
itself between a German bridgehead over a river and the re-
mainder of the force some miles back down the road. The tank
simply stood still in the middle of the road, and when the Ger-
mans brought up a battery of six PAK 38 guns, their shells
bounced off the armour. The tank then traversed its 76.2mm gun
and at a range of 900yd knocked out two of the guns, damaged all
the others and caused severe casualties to the crews, whilst re-
maining apparently unharmed. That night twelve German engi-
neers crawled up to the KV 1 and put satchel charges under the
suspension. These failed to cut the tracks or cause any obvious
damage and the engineers were lucky to get away with their lives.
The next day an 88mm Flak gun from the bridgehead worked its
way slowly towards the stationary KV 1 and positioned itself
about 800yd from it, seemingly without being seen. Just as the
88's crew were putting the finishing touches to their position, the
Russian tank swung its gun around and blew the 88 into the ditch.
The situation was becoming serious: one tank was holding up an
entire divisional advance.
Next day six German tanks manoeuvred in the woods and fired
on the KV 1 from different directions at the same time. Their
shells did no harm, but the Russian kept up a continual return fire
and failed to notice another 88mm Flak gun that was pulled into
a position behind it. This gun finally knocked out the KV l, firing seven
shots to do it. Even then the crew was still alive and had to be killed
with hand-grenades thrown through the loosened ports.
On examining the Russian tank, the German gunners were a little
shaken to find that only two of the 88's shells had penetrated, the
others leaving only deep dents in the plating. The 50mm shells
from the tanks had done no more than make blue marks. Much
sobered, the German division moved on, having been held up for
forty-eight hours by one tank.
The Russian T-34S were quite impervious to the PAK 35/36
which was all that the companies had, and the anti-tank rifles
were so useless that the troops simply left them behind as they
moved up to the front. The only really effective way to knock out
a Russian tank was to get so close to it that it was possible to
throw a large explosive charge on to the rear decking, or to drop a
Teller mine under the tracks, or to throw a fuzed Teller mine
under the overhang of the turret. These were desperate measures
and the losses in infantry who tried them were very high, but
there was no other way until some better guns could be issued
and these were some way off. Some brave men remained in their
trenches until the T-34S were only a few yards away and then
stood up and fired their rifle grenades into the side or rear ar-
mour. Sometimes it worked; all too often it didn't and an in-
furiated tank turned round and destroyed the infantryman.
One expedient which was quite successful was a revival of a
method of attack developed in World War I. Five or six stick gre-
nades were made into one charge, and the fuze from one was
used to set off the entire bundle. The resulting explosion was
enough to penetrate the engine deck of a T-34 and stop the en-
gine, but it took a brave and determined man to do it.

Account by Brigadier Douglas Pratt in The Tanks by Basil Liddell-Hart,
relating the events of 20 May 1940 near Arras:

During this time we played hell with a lot of Boche motor trans-
port and their kindred stuff. Tracer ammunition put up a lot in
flames. His anti-tank gunners after firing a bit, bolted and left
their guns, even when fired at from ranges of 600 to 800 yards
with machine guns from Matildas. Some surrendered and others
feigned dead on the ground! None of his anti-tank stuff pene-
trated our Is and lis and not even did his field artillery which
fired high explosive. Some tracks were broken and a few tanks
were put on fire by his tracer bullets, chiefly in the engine com-
partment of the Matilda Is. One Matilda had fourteen direct hits
from one of his 37mm guns and it had no harmful
effect, just gouged out a bit of armour!
The main opposition came from his field guns, some of which
fired over open sights. Also the air dive bombing on the infantry—
this of course did not worry the tanks much. One or two bombs
bursting alongside a Matilda turned it over and killed the com-
mander; another lifted a light tank about fifteen feet in the air!

Heinz Schmidt's With Rommel in the Desert
...We had now developed a new method of attack. With our
twelve anti-tank guns we leap-frogged from one vantage point to
another, while our Panzers, stationary and hull down if possible,
provided protective fire. Then we would establish ourselves to
give them protective fire while they swept on again . . . The
tactics worked well, and despite the liveliness of his fire the en-
emy was not able to hold up our advance. He steadily sustained
losses and had to give ground constantly . . .

Infantry vs Infantry
In a stand-up fight on open ground superior fire-power should win.
However troop quality (e.g. conscripts vs. veterans), level & quality of command, weapons available & the amount of ammo all make a difference.

Entrenchments, bunkers, buildings, trees, etc all provide vital cover & advantage over & above base terrain type (hills, fields, rivers etc).

When dealing with troops advancing on friendly positions, setting overlapping & interlocking fire arcs with relatively close ranges (100-300m) maximizes effect of infantry weapons (rifles, MGs). The closer the target - the greater chance to hit the enemy + less ammo is used getting results. If a unit has only pistols, MPs/SMGs & grenades the effective range will be less (10-50m).
For example: - A German Kar98 rifle can fire a round 2000m+ but assuming it stays on target, it is unlikely to do 100% damage, its effective range is 500m, or 1000m with optics. You also need soldiers who are good shots!

You are looking for a ‘sweet spot’ where enemies are :-
• Exposed with minimal cover
• Unable to get clear LOF on your troops
• Out of range for weapons like grenades with an area effect
You need to pick the right troops for the job e.g.
• An HMG dug-in overlooking a wide plain
• A close assault squad with SMGs & grenades to clear buildings or trenches.
Allowance must also be made for the weather – visibility & ballistics are affected.

Assaulting Trenches – Trenches have been used since the Romans to get clear of incoming enemy fire & force an attacker into exposing himself completely to the defenders weapons.
Indirect fire weapons have best results on dug in positions– arty, mortars or lobbed grenades.
If possible, try to sneak up on defences like trenches & bunkers, use bad weather, night-time, natural blind-spots, suppressive fire & if available, soften up with arty/mortars just before the actual assault.
Moving carefully & setting ambush/close assault options will be far less costly than a charge / frontal assault
Setting a ‘Return Fire Only’ stance (‘f’ key) can be useful for stealth & munitions-use control.

Unit Commanders
Proximity of commanders to squads impacts morale & galvanization.
This effect is multi-layered, (in line with the chain of command), having 2 primary levels:-
1 Squad leaders e.g. NCOs
2 Officers e.g. COs (Junior/2nd Lieutenant or higher).

The presence of a squad with a higher ranking commander near a squad that has lost its commander can boost the damaged squads morale & stability.
Link-up of commanders to units can be checked with the 'o' button lower left (Commander Radius Mode - '\' key).
Comms links help to increase the reach & weight of command influence. Re. also the <100m radius discussed in the Communications section.

The No Commander warning that appears for damaged squads refers to the squad leader, as opposed to related more senior platoon or company commanders. A squad losing its' NCO for example, will be flagged as having No Commander.
The loss of these 'internal' squad commanders can be critical but is reduced if there are other commanders nearby (in comms range).
If the quality &/or rank of a nearby commander is high, it should improve the response of all adjacent squads.
  • A squad has lost it's NCOs but the unit HQ squad is nearby, reducing the probability of the damaged squad resisting orders or breaking;
  • Several squads have lost their squad leaders but close proximity to each other reduces overall morale damage. But strength in numbers will only go so far...
  • A conscript squad makes contact with enemy units = mess & a lot of casualties.
Conscript squads are normally without any commanders. Having an experienced unit nearby will reduce the likelihood of them fleeing/being massacred as soon as enemy contact is made, but they are best kept away from action. They can then be used for replenishment of existing squads within radius, via unit management, on the strategic screen.
Reinforcements & Supplies
This is set via the strategic map screen.
Units in the reserves, & supplies of ammunition, fuel etc (e.g. supply trucks, conscripts,depots etc that are shown on the strategic map) will issue supplies & fill gaps in depleted infantry & armor units automatically.
The normal range for reinforcement/re-arming to occur is 1-2 squares.
They must be able to reach the unit requiring reinforcement.
Clicking on these resupply units will show a circle overlay, giving the radius the supply chain can reach.
An encircled unit cannot receive supplies or new troops - it must be broken out first.
When moving your supply units:-
  • try to get them close to the units that need supply most
  • try to encompass as many needy units as possible at any given time in their operation radius
  • avoid moving them into areas where they can easily be destroyed by enemy action

When in the unit management screen - available reinforcements/replacements will appear in the left column.
(If a unit is selected on the strategic map first you will jump straight to it in the unit management screen, when clicking the unit management button.)
In this screen you can prioritize or block supplies & manage troops within units.
This will not allow mixed groups/random selections (e.g. as the old ToW series unit management system did).
You can swap elements with similar & available units that fit the TOE & historical conditions.
You can disband units. Any 'free' men & materiel is shared out between remaining squads.

[N.B. the game manual (section 4.3) shows screens from the games original release. The online tutorial will give a basic walk-thru of the current screens however.]

Balancing your Supply Budget

Strategic level supplies are automatically distributed to units in supply range.
However, as in reality, your supplies are finite, so it pays to know there is a method to control who gets what when.
This is done via the Unit Management Screen (use F3 or the Unit Management button in the Strategic view.)
You have a right-click menu which allows priority, locking & shuffling of supplies within units as well as disbanding etc. The ammo column of the table shows a decimal value for each element of the selected unit.
Simple Examples -
  • a) You have 10 crates of ammo & you have 10 units each needing ammo @1 crate each - auto-supply will fill each one up (providing they are all in range & your trucks survive.). That will empty your stockpile. (10-10=0) Every element of each unit is completely 'refilled'.

  • b) You have 10 crates of ammo & you have 15 units each needing ammo @1 crate each - auto-supply will fill the first 10 it can reach & that will be all your current stockpile gone. The other 5 units needing ammo will get nothing. (10-15= -5)

This is where the padlock & exclamation mark switches in the unit management screen come in.
You can lock a units supply - preventing resupply or you can give priority (!) to a unit being supplied.
In example b you can all lock the units which have some ammo, allowing the ones which have nothing to get supplied.

Locking elements of a unit so that when supplied, only some of those troops will get resupplied enables you to balance your supply budget.
E.g. This could mean 0.5 instead of 1 crate is given to a unit.
When in the field, troops will share their available ammo amongst themselves but now the supply unit will have something left to give to other units.
With example b this means you could give all 15 units 0.5 crates each & still have some ammo left over (10-7.5=2.5 crates) for the next round.

You must decide who really needs to be supplied first & what the effect of giving them 100% means for other units.
Who you think is most likely to get the heaviest contact is often a defining factor here.
It is generally good practice to give arty & mortars priority supply status as heavy weapons can make a critical impact on battle flow. But you also have to consider the overall state of the battle, who is under fire, where the next assault is coming from, the possibility of risks in supplying key units & the loss of your supply train.
Troop Transport
It is possible for infantry to hitch rides on vehicles (like tanks), use enter vehicle/exit vehicle commands/button. This helps with fatigue & morale particularly in bad weather.
Squads Filter
the small icon of a soldier/gun/vehicle in the centre of the unit management bar (bottom of screen) allows the squad to be filtered e.g. - this means APC mounted troops can be ‘separated’ from their APCs to allow separate orders to be given to either the troops or their vehicles. Normal ctrl + # (number) allows quick select numbers to be set to these now sub-divided units.
At the minimum, weather conditions affect LOS.
Bad weather can remove the chance of air support. Planes can't fly in a blizzard.
Climate conditions directly affect troops, being too cold or too hot (hypothermia & heat exhaustion) makes stamina & strength reduce more quickly.
The resulting reduction in resilience makes the ability to obey orders drop, cognitive skills begin to fall off, motivation fails.
This kind of exhaustion means basic tasks such as firing & reloading become slower & less accurate, movements become less precise & situational awareness is cloudy.
These reductions of capability are compounded by physical stress (maneuvers, combat, types of enemy faced etc). Any orders given will suffer because the troops are not physically able to respond at 100%
Night Battles
Some of the historical campaign battles are fought at night. This can be a difficult environment.
To make things easier use one or more of these: -
  • Use IR binoculars, select on bottom left panel & right-click to activate IR night vision.
    Option 8.17 allows choice of IR vision display color - Green, Red or Black & White
  • Set the game to fully illuminate the battlefield when paused - Option 4.14 enabled.
  • Disable night battles - Option 4.05
    If you have started a campaign, & choose this option, you must restart the campaign for it to take effect.
    Don't forget mortars & artillery can fire illumination rounds, if available.
    N.B. Playing using IR night vision brings a whole new level of immersion & is a lot of fun.
Retreat (Flee a Battle)
If you are overwhelmed it is possible to 'flee'. This will withdraw any surviving units from the current battle radius. You will lose control of the map square completely.

During the battle the 'settings' button (cog - top left) or 'esc' key takes you to an options menu where Flee is listed.
Once this is clicked the game will run its calculations & decide on an outcome. You will then see the statistics screen.
Units successfully fleeing will appear on an adjacent square on the Operations Map.

This is not always a 'defeat' - perhaps you saved a lot of men & equipment from certain destruction - this means they may be resupplied/reinforced/redeployed.

Positions & strength of enemy forces will affect where your units can flee to & how many can actually escape. This applies both to local battle conditions & adjacent Operations Map squares under enemy control.
It is important to remember that when & where you choose to flee will affect how many units can survive.
The range to the enemy vs the range to escape the battle area & the terrain type is important.
  • your units are 500m away from a border & are screened by the terrain = increased chance to escape with minimum loss & disruption.
  • your units are 500m away from the enemy & have no significant cover = increased casualties & loss of equipment.

It is sometimes necessary to sacrifice a rear-guard to ensure other more important units escape.
During this process loss of ammunition, communications breakdown, panic, loss of weapons are all considered by the games calculations.
Units that are not destroyed but do not make the border in time are routed. These units can filter back to your forces & recover given enough time.

The impact on the Operations Map will be critical to your overall campaign success or failure.
  • Losing a major keypoint with few turns left means it may be impossible to retake it.
  • Losing a square of minor value may not damage the overall chance of victory.

A Cease-Fire (left click 'Clock' on bottom left) can be preferable to fleeing as it means the map square is not totally lost. The enemy must agree to the cease-fire however.
Campaign Victory Conditions-Area Control & Victory Points
A commander shouldn't be applauded for throwing away his men & resources. Clearing a map with no thought of consequences or optimum strategy in actual war is an obvious fail. GTOS aims to enforce that logic.
Given that this is a game this concept is reducible to balancing the books:-
Using X resources objective Y must be achieved. You will get no more & time is limited.
Winning a strategic operation requires control of the map.
This is not a blanket occupation of everything.
As in life, it is the control of the most strategically vital areas.
The Operational Map shows these vital areas as key-points ('dots') placed in map-grid squares.
The most valuable key-points are the bigger 'dots' on the operational map. These should be captured/held to ensure overall victory in a campaign.

The large red dot on this operational map view shows a vital strategic point that is mission critical.

Grid squares are controlled by the side whose troops have superior overall effectiveness inside that grid square.
Overall effectiveness is defined by:
  • The number of soldiers and vehicles in that grid;
  • Condition of the men and vehicles;
  • Morale of those units and the unit type.

Capturing key-points helps to determine grid control by increasing overall effectiveness on the battlefield.
Simply capturing flags is often not enough to award area control to a player - this may require multiple battles to achieve. You may take a flag but can you hold it? The game calculates if your men can effectively resist the enemy it knows is nearby.

Each flag (key-point) in a grid square is worth a certain amount of victory points depending on its flag size and whether or not the square is encircled.
Grid squares that are encircled are only worth 1/3 of the sum total victory points that may be awarded for that square.

  • White flag-1 pt.(encircled 1/3 of a point)
  • Small flag-2 pts.(encircled 2/3 of a point)
  • medium flag-4 pts.(encircled 4/3 of a point)
  • Large flag-8 pts.(encircled 8/3 of a point)

These points contribute to the games overall calculation of victory & thus to the effectiveness of the control exerted over the area by the forces in question. This then has a knock-on strategic-level effect at the Operational Map level..

The Victory Points in any operation are set depending on terrain actual strategic value & the historical conditions.
This means:-
  • A stretch of desert with a white flag may be 0 VP as it has no actual strategic value.
  • AI forces can be given extra points or a handicap to make the campaign balance more realistic.
  • Key-points that have most genuine &/or historical strategic value have most VP value.

Generally - Key-points need to be quickly captured & held to assure success.
But - In practice this can cause many problems.
Just as in reality blitzkrieg doesn't always pay off :P

Ultimately, even with many victorious battles you can lose the campaign if the enemy still occupies the terrain with the greatest strategic value.
The AI doesn't mind you seizing & fortifying 'useless' squares & hopes you will waste time men & materiel doing it :)

Game Calculation of Battle Results
This has confused a lot of players. However, the game tries to model reality.
The losses suffered & the value of the gains made, are essential factors in a real conflict. Pyrrhic victories need to be avoided.
  • Winning a battle doesn't necessarily win the war. (+ Cost is especially relevant here.)
  • Superior numbers of elite troops wiping out a handful of conscripts isn't really a victory.
  • Capturing every flag in a useless corner of the map doesn't give you an empire.
The assessment of battle Win Draw Lose conditions, takes account of the actual challenge & the 'cost' in materiel, men & time.
3 basic examples: -
  • 1) a platoon is wiped out but holds up a company advance on a key map square.
    This is a tactical Victory for the heroic platoon, but most importantly it's a Victory at the strategic level (ref- the Operational Map) - The total strategic control hasn't been dramatically changed & the cost in men & supplies has been low.

  • 2) 2 units of comparable strength & quality fight back & forth over the same areas; key-points change hands; casualties & materiel losses are similar.
    This is a tactical Draw. It has little impact on the strategic level so is a Draw there also.

  • 3) A company is held up by a platoon who is eventually wiped out & their key-points taken.
    This is a tactical Loss - took too long & used up too many resources without forging ahead to the main strategic goal - a Strategic Loss.

In general terms: - more high value units lost; units side-tracked & delayed; wrong key-points seized; vital artillery shells used up etc can all reduce the value of a 'victory' & can lead to ultimate defeat.

Modding Battles - Use of the game editor allows players to modify existing operations & missions, VP values can be modified by mission authors to alter mission balance & direction.
Casualties Stats in Battle Analysis
  • Forces before battle = Total of your assets
  • Forces after battle = Remaining total of your assets
  • Casualties = Total number of killed + heavily wounded + captured / MIA (i.e. unavailable to fight)
  • Casualties (Bracketed Value) = Known Kills & thus Enemy estimate of your casualties. (This will affect how the enemy plans it's next action.)
    The difference between the two numbers e.g.:- 10 (6) reveals the game engines knowledge of what has been lost versus the commanders perception of what has been lost. Troops lost to indirect fire, friendly fire, etc (i.e. if not witnessed/reported) make up the missing quantity:- 10 - (6) = 4. This 'unknown' is modeled in-game because uncertainty & perception are important to AI commanders as they plan ahead.
  • Killed = Number killed
  • Wounded = Lightly wounded (i.e. still able to fight)
  • Captured = Number Captured by the enemy
Restarting Campaigns
There are a couple of ways to restart from scratch
  • Create a new in-game profile - all campaigns & achievements will be set to starting values for the new name. This will leave all your old profiles achievements & saves untouched.

  • Scrap the operation in the Stats screen - Click the red X (see page 18 in the quick start manual). You are then given the opportunity to restart from the beginning of the campaign in the Campaigns screen.
Operations & Campaigns
Wondering where the DLC campaigns are hidden? Clicking on the appropriate Operation should reveal them -

Fall Blau

Operation Star
-Taranovka (Feb 43)
-Krasnaya Polyana

Kharkov Defence Operation
-Taranovka (March 43)

Modern conflicts are given their own 'Operation' bar in the campaign menu.
Technical Help
In-Game Tutorial
Enable/disable with option 4.06. This automatically runs as you play. Not a high-budget production but it helps, especially in tandem with the online help (bottom-left buttons on bottom-left button panel - ? & ‘page’ icons)

Manuals (PDFs)
These are located in install dir (e.g. steam\steam\apps\common\GTOS) \docs\support\
Some of the details have been superseded by patches that include upgrades & makeovers, but they do still contain some useful content e.g. Hotkeys.

Game & Patch Version
Top right of start menu screen shows core (game engine) version, next is the patch version for game assets.
Versions for all assets - DLC Mods & patches versions are displayed in the Updater window.

Updater & DLC Installer
This is how my Updater looks as of Jan-15.

The order of DLC, Patch & mods is important for correct loading of assets. (otherwise something may not activate – this is especially relevant to mods - See Mods section)
The updater is reached via Update in the opening menu in-game or by double-clicking the update.cmd file in the games root dir.

As a general rule DLC is loaded in Date-Of-Release order - newest at the top, oldest at the bottom. The exception is Mods which require different load points to replace default assets.

N.B Because of the way Steam installs updates the Updater window can appear without you asking for it.
If this happens always click save & play

DLC Compatibility & Installation
DLC from any vendor is compatible with the Steam version.
To install : -
  • start the updater (as above),
  • Click install to open the file browser.
  • navigate to the folder containing the DLC,
  • select the *.gt2extension or *.addpack (or *.* all files) in the file-type drop-down (bottom right corner above open/cancel)
  • select the DLC, patch or mod file,
  • Click open & wait for the clock icon as the game does the install.
  • Click save & play.

Also note the DLC order in the above screenshot if you have problems with assets loading.

Auto-install of Non-Steam DLC Patches & mods
  • Place files with *.addpack *.gt2extension into the steam game dir\!steam_cache folder.
  • Start the game.
- If necessary, additionally
  • Run the Updater (Steam will also auto-launch this if it is updating/installing, so check the list has your stuff & then save).
  • Save & Play

Re-Install method c/o Technopiper

1. Uninstall. Delete game folder.
2. Reinstall. Don't start game yet.
3. Disable auto update by doing this:
Go to game folder. Rename folder "!Steam_cache" to "XXX".
4. Start game, try playing any scenario.
If game doesn't work, I can't help you. If game runs fine, trying the following.
5. From menu, click update. At the popup window, click install. Point to folder "XXX".
Pick the update file. Click save and play.
6. From here on install each DLC one at a time. Click save and play everytime.

MD5 File Hashes for Current Patches & DLC
(To check your file integrity before trying to install it.)
  • gtos_c u_581c1_eng.exe 2537f2f312861d6ccfc78c7bfb46f4a9
  • gtos_patch_may14_eng.gt2extension 0facf5439f67ff13203e3c16ae0c1651
  • gtos_patch_dec14_eng.gt2extension CA70AD8FFB86EF2B4AB2136BEE235088
  • apos_upd_tar_rak_mar13_eng.gt2extension 5a784145275e8e20a5c0fee373addb12
  • apos_kr_pol43_mar13_eng.gt2extension 14745c25582373f69ef3a5e11d8143e4
  • apos_sokol43_mar13_eng.gt2extension 74f12eb378b6701c370edeb767a0eec9
  • apos_volokon42_mar13b_eng.gt2extension 6808f03adb85dc8f1c96781f2e353b37
  • gtos_hir_tex_01_jul13.gt2extension fe381380449a2e73eb5ee3619355b406
  • gtos_hooper88_mar13_loc_eng.gt2extension 004d481502e880c2fbfdaffe021c98b7
  • gtos_prophet79_mar13_eng-prefinal.gt2extension db6794c43a1bfec3588fca07e6b1841c
  • gtos_sh42_sep13_int_rc4a.gt2extension b9d890a1d62cfd835be8b999eefa6da7
  • gtos_zhal69_jul13_int.gt2extension a0ba2af505389d7ead686829cc7c42f0

Graphics & Display Errors
Mouse & cursor mismatch, screen magnified:-
If Windows desktop has been customized with 'make text & other items larger or smaller' - change this setting to, or closer to, 100%

Mismatch of desktop resolution with game menu.
If the menu & setup cannot be accessed because it is too 'zoomed-in' on screen: -
  • Try altering your desktop res before launching the game to something low like 1280 that the game can easily interpret.
  • Launch Game.
  • Go into the Options menu & set the in-game resolution to desired levels.
  • Ensure the 2.01 & 2.02 options are set to the same values.
  • Exit the game & set your desktop back to what you want.

With Resolution & Screen Positioning issues on HD displays this can help
  • Right-click on the games desktop icon, (Or go straight to the game exe - starter.exe in the steam folder e.g. in C:\Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common\Graviteam Tactics Operation Star\).
  • click Properties,
  • click on the Compatibility tab
  • tick the box marked "Disable scaling on high DPI settings".
Also see Microsoft Technet[]

For Black Screen, gfx artifacts & loss of terrain textures -
turn off force AA to on in GFX card settings.

Alternative Fix for Screen Artifacts etc c/o Technopiper

1. Uninstall game then reinstall. Don't run!
2. Go to game folder "\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Graviteam Tactics Operation Star", rename folder "!Steam_cache" to XXX.
3. Run game, click Update. In the new window, click install. Point to XXX folder and install the patch and all DLC one by one, clicking "save and play" each time. Do not do it all at once.

N.B. No native multi-montor support in GTOS
Common Errors & CTDs
Critical Errors are most often related to issues with the files/installation. Manually installing via the updater, &/or running the Verify Files routine will usually solve any issues.

Game won't start at all & gives error
"failed to start game"
Try re-installing the redistributable assets from the game dir e.g.
C:\Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common\Graviteam Tactics Operation Star\docs\support\redists\
N.B. If you want/need to search for these redists, the required Visual C++ 2015 installers are called vc_redist.x64.exe & vc_redist.x86.exe

Error 001
Error 001 has been reported several times in the Steam GTOS release since December 14
  • a) - related to game speed alterations
  • b) - possibly caused by a 'bad install'
Nothing definitive on root cause or 100% solution has come from the Devs yet.
Instance a) - is possibly avoided by limiting/reducing the level of acceleration when in-game.
Instance b) - a total re-install solved it for 1 user of the Steam GTOS release. (This included a registry clean.)

But you can help find the solution.
The devs need to see the contents of the file Common_engine.log to help identify the cause of this error.
When the game crashes do not continue playing or go to the Operational map. Exit GTOS. Go to the game dir & open this file before it gets over-written.

The file is in the GTOS dir - eg: -
C:\Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common\Graviteam Tactics Operation Star\out\common_engine.log

It can be opened with notepad.
Post the contents of the file so the devs can examine it. You can add it to a forum thread or at & provide the URL.

Critical error 002 Solution #1
Critical error 002: An error has occurred while initializing objects []
002 errors are generally caused by a failure during file installation. (e.g. Interrupted download or something)
Easily fixable by running the updater from Update in the opening menu in-game or by double-clicking the update.cmd file in the games root dir. (Useful if you cannot launch the game).
Click ‘install
Navigate with the updater to the steam cache folder (or where you have your patch or DLC), load the *.gt2extension file & hit Save & Play.
This process applies to DLC & patches.

Critical error 002 Solution #2
Critical error 002: An error has occurred while initializing objects []
In the Steam client right click on the game icon, select Properties.
Click Local Files tab, then click on Verify Integrity Of Game Cache.
Steam will redownload & install as necessary if errors are found.

Critical error 003
Critical error 003: Unable to create Rendering Engine
Verify integrity of game cache as above, it may also be necessary to restart the Steam client & /or PC if you update/reinstall DirectX &/or the Redist packages.
Using Mods
When using mods that have global impact - e.g. sounds or textures that should appear in all or most campaigns, ensure they are pushed to the top of your Updater list. This forces the game to load them first.

Mod Packing & Directory Structure
For a file containing a mod, the assets are compressed using zip format (7-zip is free & works fine). Once zipped the extension is changed to .gt2extension
N.B. directory names are all CAPS
mod.gt2extension contains :-





Making Mods Tutorial

Current Popular Mods

These are tested working on current game version as of Dec-14 patch.

Blood Mod + Skins Mod
Links in this post
2 Mirrors of Skins Mod by Nightpostman on 4shared & depositfiles
Updated files for NightPostman's skins
If you already have the >1gb file of textures you should only need the small 78kb configs file to get it working with the GTOS July 15 patch - links here - >
Mods thread on Devs site[]

File Mirror for NightPostman's skins
Both new config & skins in one file
Nightpostmans Uniform Mod - Update for Jul 2015 Patch.rar
File hash = 9B3FBA47D4DCAF52273E9BA51DD57C54

1.06 GB

New links & <faster> download speeds than old links :)
Should be compatible with DL managers like JDownloader.

Name, sfv checksums, filesize & download links [Working/Updated Nov-14-2020]
APOS - Nightpostmans Uniform Mod-Updated for Jul 2015 Patch.part1.rar 3bfe7cc5 400mb
APOS - Nightpostmans Uniform Mod-Updated for Jul 2015 Patch.part2.rar 84ca4df7 400mb
APOS - Nightpostmans Uniform Mod-Updated for Jul 2015 Patch.part3.rar 6ef52c24 285.19mb
OneDrive Mirror for Nightpostmans Uniform Mod-Updated for Jul 2015 Patch!AnQEfuCgimkQgY5RxNIiVAE72nPebg?e=gYW0P4
Adding the Zippyshare links or this folder link to a download manager eg JDownloader, should grab the lot automatically. Extract .rars to temp dir. Install via the Games Updater; configs first then DB.

APOS Nightpostman uniform mod add-on -
APOS Support Infantry with Greatcoats.rar C5688792 9.13mb

Sound Mod by Whiz
ABSM 1.2.gt2extension
File size: 10.56 MB
MD5 - B97AC4E900A9B56780AACC8925743C95

Chieftain Tank Mod (For Shield of the Prophet DLC)
See this forum thread for link/discussion -
Latest build is v.3.0 <!AnQEfuCgimkQg2EizsnnznNovnmK > uprated defense values for the Chieftain
Quick Battle 'Walkthru' video.
This is based on a QB which I have already been messing with, I add some units & some avenues of attack for this demo.
Watching the mouse cursor yellow hi-lite will probably be useful for newbies as it shows a sequence of actions.
I have tried to focus on set-up of positions, comms, use of LOS/LOF, calling in mortar fire, & basic movement & fire-focus. This should help newbies with no idea what does what.
I could have used pause more for looking at details but didn't want to build up too much footage.
N.B. :
  • The audio didn't get picked up, so I titled it. You can use pause when you need to read things.
    Hopefully this won't deter people from giving it a look.

    Arch Warhammer has done a good series on playing GTOS that should help newbies get familiar with the way the game works & the historical problems faced by WW2 troops that it tries to simulate. (These vids are in English)
    Arch Warhammer GTOS Playlist
PDF & ebook versions of the Guide
This is a downloadable PDF version of this guide posted on OneDrive

Use F3 to search & jump between sections.

epub mobi & azw3 (zipped)!AnQEfuCgimkQg2KG9PyICoi0eyt6

It makes offline access possible & you can edit it etc so it may have it's uses!
Thanks to jcmiller101
I did not make this guide, jcmiller101 did, but his doesn't have the game on steam, so he couldn't make a guide for it, so all the glory goes to him

Link to he's original post:
< >
Frisko [VL] Sep 23 @ 4:53pm 
still awesome! thank you!
jcmiller101  [author] Mar 28 @ 1:32pm 
Jens Heika - probably best to ask this on the board & see what everyone thinks...
Depending on situation I'd probably try to reorganize what was left on the strategic/squads screen. Add or disband - the choice relies on what is available.
Jens Heika Mar 22 @ 12:56pm 
In a campaign, what should you do if a platoon (or higher) command squad is completely wiped out?
I was moving some half-tracks through an urban area my troops had occupied, and the half-tracks seems to have collapsed a building atop the platoon command squad... Now it has complete causalities, no ammunition, etc. And I don't know what to do with the "squad".
einrocker Jun 5, 2021 @ 10:04am 
Big Thanks for this awesome guide!:steamthumbsup:
jcmiller101  [author] Dec 3, 2020 @ 9:16am 
Just noticed that some awards appeared on the guide. I want to say thanks a lot to all those who have given awards.
Greatly appreciated :lunar2020hearteyesrabbit:

....and of course thanks to all who took the time to comment & give it star ratings :steamhappy:

Makes the work worthwhile. :lunar2020halodragon:
Lahma1988 Sep 9, 2020 @ 12:04pm 
Thank you for this very helpful guide fine sir!
Tjaka Erasmus May 10, 2020 @ 10:46am 
Thanks jcmiller101
jcmiller101  [author] May 10, 2020 @ 7:48am 
TjakaErasmus - I've updated the guide to reflect variations of commander level etc at squad level & above, as this isn't always clear without having a specific no CO or no NCO type warning in place. PDF also updated.
Tjaka Erasmus Apr 24, 2020 @ 7:31am 
Every squad has a commander - the icon is always to he left, a triangle with a flag. I deploy the commanders close o the rest of the squad. Yet I still get "No commander" and "Panic" notifications. Why?
dwh9992001 Jan 24, 2018 @ 4:25am 
apologies please ignore last - I did not see the previous post !!