In this guide, you will find details about the units available to you and those units' significance in a Czech deck.
Thanks to the national availability bonus, veterancy choices will play an important role here. To aid in your unit picks, here's a handy chart that displays the actual accuracy bonus from veterancy.
Feedback and conflicting well-explained perspectives are very welcome! Check the bottom of the guide for some sample decks.
- The Czechoslovak Socialist Republic
- (in Red Dragon)
Velitelsky Stab command squad – A regular ordinary command squad. Use it how you would use a command squad. Useful and versatile, but potentially expensive depending on the transport and only comes at 3 per card. Good for securing contested urban sectors or large forested ones.
Wheeled command units
These light and fast command cars will let you rapidly secure territory for relatively few points. The usefulness of this class of command units is currently a point of contention, but they do come with more per card than command squads and command tanks.
Velitelske UAZ command jeep – Some players really like command jeeps because of their bargain bin pricing and high availability. I personally wouldn't touch them with a 10-foot pole because they die if you so much as look at them funny. One stray artillery shell trying to counterbattery your artillery and there goes your deployment zone. They'll even die to a near miss from a single 5 HE mortar round. I'd rather spend the few extra points for a unit with some armor — it's more cost-effective in the long run to not have to constantly replace dead command jeeps.
VSOT-64A/R2 command APC – The command variant of the OT-64 infantry transport, the VSOT is my go-to general-purpose command unit. It has 10 HP and 1 armor all around, so it can typically survive blind artillery barrages unless it gets super unlucky. It's also faster than the jeep and amphibious, so you can use it to secure just about any zone but the most hotly contested ones. While it's not the most cost-effective points-wise, it is cost-effective card-wise, as you get 5 per card as opposed to only 3 squads/4 tanks.
VSOT-64A/R2M command APC – Too expensive. The KPVT HMG isn't at all worth 15 points, and if it's able to use it, it's probably already dead anyway. Use the unarmed one instead.
Tracked command units
These command units are slower but generally hardier for the points than the wheeled options. They also carry more weapons for self-defense.
BVP-1K – The command variant of the BVP-1 infantry transport, the BVP-1K is honestly even worse than the KPVT-armed VSOT. The Grom cannon and Malyutka missile are just all-around terrible, and it doesn't even have significantly more armor than the VSOT. Use the unarmed VSOT-64 or command T-55 instead.
T-55K1 – The command variant of the T-55 tank, this guy looks like a really good value on paper. For only 120 points, it's got a lot more armor than the VSOT and a tank cannon. Unfortunately, it's very slow and only has 1 top armor, meaning it's very vulnerable to cluster munition attacks, and the cannon is exceptionally poor. For this reason, I still prefer the VSOT, which can use its speed to try to escape danger.
T-72M1K – A fairly solid medium command tank, the T-72M1K has 2 top armor, 14 front armor, a relatively accurate cannon, and greater speed over the T-55K1. Focused cluster attacks will still take it down, but you can usually escape a volley for repairs and it's resilient to most normal HE shells. Use this to pin down heavily contested frontline sectors that lack urban cover for command squads. Keep the main gun turned off so that it doesn't reveal itself if an enemy happens to get into range, and only turn it on for self-defense.
Mi-4KK command helicopter – No. Use command infantry in a helicopter instead.
FOB – It’s a FOB. You’ll probably want one if you’re using ONDAVAs or ferrying supplies to the front for your KUB-M4s.
Tatra KOLOS supply trucks
Both supply trucks here are 10 HP heavy haulers with fast offroad speeds. They aren’t cheap, but one truck can repair a lot of tanks by itself, which definitely has value.
T-813 – The more affordable of the two, the T-813 carries 1750L of supply — more than twice as much as the American M35 and Soviet Ural-3750, and much faster than both. I prefer this one so I can get supplies to the front with fewer points.
T-815 – Still in production today, the 2400L T-815 ingame carries as much supply as the American HEMMT and more than twice as much as the Soviet Ural-4320. To put it another way, the T-815 carries 15% of an entire FOB in one truck, and at 7 per card in a national deck, has more supply per card than the FOB, too. It’s pricy at 40 points per truck, so I recommend it only if you’re in it for the long game.
Mi-4 supply helicopter – The Mi-4 follows the opposite strategy as the T-81X trucks. Instead of big, fast, and expensive, the Mi-4 is small, slow, and cheap. I actually quite like it because despite its low airspeed, it’s still faster than wheels on large maps and provides a cheaper alternative to the heavy trucks. Bringing them in pairs helps offset the low tonnage.
Motostrelci – The basic Czechoslovak mechanized line infantry. While their disposable RPG arguably makes them slightly better at close range than their Soviet counterpart, Motostrelki ’75, they have no updated 1990s version and are not overly spectacular in their own right. Unless you are determined to put your rifle infantry in mechanized transports, there are far better options. For this reason, I would stay away from them when you can.
Vysadkari – Paratroopers are the bread-and-butter rifle squads of the Czech deck. The 1975 version of this unit is a mere five points more expensive than Motostrelci for a huge upgrade in potency: while Motostrelci only have regular training, paratroopers are shock units and have all the appropriate upgraded weapons and veterancy that come with that title — including a machine gun that can be used in close-quarters (fighting within the same city sector as enemy infantry).
For 15 points, they pack an exceptional value. For five more, Vysadkari ’90 get their hands on a rocket launcher that can punch holes clean through just about anything. Both variants make an excellent backbone to your infantry tab.
Their transport options include motorized OT-64s and a handful of helicopters. You won’t be spearheading any assaults with any of them, but they provide the rapid transportation that is crucial for taking and holding ground. The only downside is that the cheapest transport available starts at 15 points, which cuts into their cost-effectiveness.
Lehka Pechota – One of the very few shock-trained light infantry squads in the game, Lehka Pechota (a very imaginative name on Eugen’s part, literally translating to “light infantry”) suffer from the same overpricing plague that all light infantry do, but not nearly to as extreme of an extent as most others due to their superior training.
Capable of running at 30km/h — the fastest an infantry squad in the game can move — and equipped with an SMG, a close-quarters machine gun, and a long-range recoilless rifle, these guys make for excellent urban combat squads. They can use their recoilless rifle to destroy enemy infantry transports attempting to enter the town from a long range, and use their speed and close-ranged weapons to swiftly engage enemy troops at point-blank. SMGs get a bonus when fighting in close quarters, so use that speed to get right up in the enemy’s face. Just be sure to keep them out of forests, because their recoilless rifle will be exceptionally weak there.
Transport options are the same as those available to Vysadkari, with the addition of the Mi-25 gunship helicopter. This transport will provide significantly increased speed and protection for your squad in addition to some respectable fire support, but it comes at a dramatically increased cost and reduces the number of available squads.
Zeniste – The almighty flamethrower. These guys generally take a back seat to the AGS-17 fire support team, but they do have a couple key advantages: they’re much more durable in a stand-up fight, and they have a lot more ammo. Though they suffer from a short range, they can be a force multiplier in urban combat, dishing out more suppression and damage than any rifle squad could hope to. Putting a platoon of flamethrowers between two rifle platoons makes for a much deadlier force than simply having three rifle units.
At only 15 points each, they’re a good deal in a close-range urban brawl. Unfortunately, they’re much more situational than normal infantry since their main weapon only reaches out to 350 meters, and they can complicate forest fights when they set everything on fire. In my opinion, they’re not generally worth the deck slot unless you’re using an infantry-focused specialization; otherwise, bring the AGS-17 instead.
Transport options include a smattering of everything — OT-64 motorized transports, Vydra mechanized IFVs, and helicopters are all at your disposal. However you want to send your troops into battle, Zeniste can be there with them.
Fire support teams (FISTs)
Granatomet AGS-17 – A fire support team unique in that not only is it one of only two dedicated grenade launcher teams in the game, it was also the very first crew-served weapon in the franchise. These guys serve a very similar role to a flamethrower squad, but with some differences. The weapon has a much, much longer range than a flamethrower, and can even shoot over buildings in some situations. Damage per second and suppression are both very high, as well.
The downside is that they only have 5 men in a squad, so they aren’t able to survive a stand-up fight as well as a 10-man flamethrower team. Hence, they will be favoring more of a fire support role from the back (imagine that, a fire support team providing fire support) to your rifle squads rather than bearing the brunt of the assault right with them. They also run out of ammo pretty quickly, so keep a supply truck on hand.
I strongly advise against using them as individual squads; I almost always put them in groups of three or four to maximize both the damage output and the number of men in the group. Squad AI in buildings will automatically try to rotate around to evenly distribute incoming damage, so the more squads in a platoon, the better the odds that any given squad will survive an engagement. This is invaluable for fragile units like this one.
Transport options are identical to the ones available to Zeniste, so they can travel in any mode you wish. I like putting them in Vydra-IIs for double the rapid-fire high-explosive fun.
Pancerovnici – Like the Granatomet AGS-17, Pancerovnici are a 5-man fire support team. Unlike Granatomet AGS-17, they are completely pointless. They come with only a rocket launcher loaded with high explosive rounds as their “fire support weapon”. With only 5 men and at such a limited range, this accomplishes very little. You would honestly be better off with just a Motostrelci squad; at least they can take some hits and have a machine gun.
Zaloznici – The Czech reserves squad is one of the very few in the game that can kind of be useful because they have access to a 5-point transport, meaning you can deploy a full platoon for only 40 points. They also have a rifle, which is the best weapon type for militia because of the accuracy (though that doesn't say much). They aren’t useful for much other than as a meat shield, and with the suppressive power of flamethrowers and grenade launchers at your fingertips, in my opinion, they’re wholly unneeded.
Edit: An alternate opinion from HardlyCriket:
HardlyCriket wrote:They're cheap, plentiful, and available to most decks. Your main method of dealing with the Minimi/MG3 horde is the AGS infantry, whom have poor HP value. Might as well screen them with these guys, and hey, their RPG has the highest suppression of any other in game (tied with the Panzerfoust 3), so they also make a good support element for hunting tanks. They absorb the shot, stun or ruin the moral of the tank, then your other infantry finish the job with little risk.
They also have a weapon that has decent accuracy, so they might kill something from time to time, and if they do, they instantly paid for themselves.
Anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) teams
PTRS Fagot – Not worth the time and effort it took to code. Avoid like the plague.
PTRS Konkurs – With good range and decent armor piercing power, the Konkurs isn’t a bad missile. Some Soviet players prefer it over the more modern variant because of the higher availability.
PTRS Konkurs-M – However, we aren’t playing as the Soviets — we are playing as the almighty Czechoslovakian War Machine, and because of that, we perfectly logically get more of the most modern kit available than the big brother Soviet Union does. The Konkurs-M is one of the best infantry-portable ATGMs in the game, but with the Czech availability bonus, you get enough of them to scatter about as if they were a medium-tier ATGM. The Czechs are also the only Eastern Bloc nation with access to this weapon system, just as they were the only one in AirLand Battle with access to the Konkurs.
All transport types are available to these missiles. I suggest either wheeled ones to get them into position quickly or cheap tracked ones to keep the price down.
Man-portable air defense system (MANPADS) teams
PLRK Strela-2 – Not worth the time and effort to come up with the idea of adding to the game. Avoid.
PLRK Strela-3 – Also pretty terrible. With a comedically high availability, it can be comedically effective in comedically large groups in very urban areas, but only really for the sake of comedy. CSSR has some other excellent AA options, so don’t waste your infantry slot on this. Avoid.
OT-62 APC variants
Co-developed by Czechoslovakia and Poland, these armored personnel carriers ingame are barebones troop transporters — pay the minimum, get the minimum, get your guys to where they need to be.
OT-62A – A basic 5-point lightly-armored lightly-armed tracked transport. There isn’t really much to say: use if you want to move men around for cheap. Just remember that tracks are slower on roads than wheels.
OT-62B – An OT-62A with a recoilless rifle stuck on. This weapon is really not very good mounted on a vehicle — if you want a transport unit that can fight, you’ll want to just shell out the five or ten extra points for anything worth a damn. Avoid.
OT-62 IFV variants
These infantry fighting vehicles based on the OT-62 chassis carry slightly more armor and an autocannon in place of a machine gun. These guys are victims of the 5-point increment system working poorly at the lower levels — both of them have peers in other decks that are outright better for the same price, like the West German Marder 1 or Yugoslavian BVP M-80A. Still, there are also worse options, and the 15-point class of IFVs in general is very useful for providing cheap, cost-effective fire support for infantry.
OT-62 Vydra-I – The autocannon mounted on the Vydra-I is far from stellar, and neither is the armor. Since the Vydra-II is better for the same price, you're going to want to go for that first.
OT-62 Vydra-II – The Vydra-II has improved armor and carries a superior autocannon for the same price. Although it doesn't have as much armor as the Marder 1 or BVP M-80A, it does have one subtle advantage that is relatively uncommon at this price tier: the autocannon has a longer max range. The obvious benefit here is the ability to outrange other enemy IFVs and provide support from safer distances. The less obvious one is that, because of the way range scaling works for armor piercing weapons, the Vydra-II actually deals 3 AP instead of 2 AP when it reaches the same range as other cheap IFVs.
Overall, don’t worry too much that a handful of standouts like the M-80A are better for the price — the Vydra-II is still solid in its own right, and while it’s not the hardiest IFV around, it delivers good firepower at a great price.
Do note that the Vydra-II has an irregular availability penalty for Motostrelci compared to other IFVs, so I recommend using this unit for other squads, like the AGS-17 fire support team.
BVP-1 IFV variants
The BVP-1 variants’ hallmarks are a bad cannon paired with a guided missile launcher with low ammo count. On the positive side, they have good availability and increased armor over the Vydra line.
BVP-1 – Bad cannon, abysmal Malyutka missile. The Grom and Maltyutka are both legendarily terrible and will kill approximately nothing, defeating the point of an IFV in the first place. Even though it has 3 armor, you would be better off with the more lethal Vydra-II — otherwise, avoid.
BVP-1P – Bad cannon, okay Konkurs missile with low ammo count, otherwise essentially the same stats as the base model. Again, you're probably better off with the Vydra-II if available. If not, carefully manage your ammo — a platoon of four gets 16 missiles between them, assuming none of the vehicles die. This has the potential to be devastating, but easily also the potential to be totally wasted.
BVP-2 IFV variants
The BVP-2s are slightly faster with a little more armor than the BVP-1s, and come with an autocannon instead of a regular main cannon. Pretty much all-around better, but also costlier. Both give a minor availability hit, but with the Czech availability bonus, it's essentially negligible.
BVP-2 – With autocannon stats similar to those of the Vydra-II, the same Konkurs missile as the BVP-1P, and increased armor, the BVP-2 is able to do a little bit of everything. In my opinion, it's a little pricy for a unit that can do a little of everything but doesn't really excel at any of it. I would rather either save some points and go for either the Vydra-II or BVP-1P, focusing on using either the missile or the autocannon to its fullest effect, or go all-out for the BVP-2 vz.86.
BVP-2 vz.86 – The CSSR’s top IFV has the more armor than all the rest at 4/3/1/1, a better autocannon than the Vydra-II, and the modern Konkurs-M missile (still with the low ammo count, but it’s really a threat now — just manage it carefully).
If you want a badass IFV to really bring the hurt as part of a larger assault force, this is the best in the whole Eastern Bloc. It's no BMP-3 or Marder 2, but it still packs some powerful fire support against both tanks and infantry.
OT-64 APC variants
Co-developed by Czechoslovakia and Poland, the OT-64s are the only armored motorized transports available in the Czech armory. Like the Vydra-I and like every other vehicle armed with the KPVT heavy machine gun, it suffers from being necessarily overpriced due to the 5-point price increments: it’s too good to only be 10 points like most wheeled units with a machine gun, but it’s not good enough to really be cost-effective at 15. That’s not to say that the KPVT is weak, though — it’s a decent gun, and in large numbers can really dish out some hurt. The chassis itself is also one of the fastest in the game. It’s just a shame that there are no cheaper wheeled APC options.
OT-64A – While the Poles have access to a lightly-armed 10-point variant, the Czechs sadly do not. It’s a solid vehicle, though, and it’s the only option — it will get your troops to where they need to be and it will do it fast.
OT-64C – The same price as the A variant, the only difference for the OT-64C is an added Malyutka missile and an availability penalty. Technically a straight upgrade for squads that already have low availability, like Lehka Pechota; otherwise, stick with the A version. The Malyutka isn't worth taking fewer squads.
Mi-4T – This is the essence of budget. To get a 6-hitpoint transport helicopter at only 15 points, you have to make a concession somewhere — in this case, it’s speed. At 180 km/h, the Mi-4T is abysmally slow. Use only if the unit you’re putting in it won’t ever have to rapidly meet at the front line or make any other fast maneuvers. I just avoid it completely, but it’s not totally devoid of use. Probably.
Mi-8T and Mi-17
Mi-8T – The Mi-8 is the workhorse transport helicopter for pretty much every REDFOR nation. It boasts 8 hitpoints, moderate speed at 250 km/h, and 32 57mm HE rockets. It’s not cheap at 25 points, but you get what you pay for — a sturdy transport with the ability to lay down some solid fire support. This will probably be your main airborne transport.
Mi-17 – The export version of the Soviet Mi-8M, the Mi-17 features armor plating to protect the crew and much-improved fuel efficiency. Ingame, it also ups its rocket caliber from 57mm to 122mm, which gives it dramatically improved killing and suppressing power for only 5 more points. Unfortunately, it also brings with it an availability penalty to most (not all, most) of the units you can deploy in it. Consider its use carefully — it’s a nice upgrade over the Mi-8T, but in my opinion, not worth it on any of the units that incur the penalty (which is why I don’t use it). Keep in mind what you plan to do with it — its upgrades are only useful on the front lines, so don’t pay the extra 5 for nothing.
Mi-25 – All four of the USSR, DDR, Poland, and CSSR get this gunship helicopter transport. With its hefty price tag comes the fastest top speed on a helicopter in the game, armor with 10 hitpoints, and an array of weapons to protect/support the infantry it carries. It does come with the same availability penalty as the Mi-17, but it only applies to Lehka Pechota, as they are the only non-recon unit that can use it and recon units have low availability already.
Whether or not you use it is up to your play style; I personally think the Mi-8 does a fine job and is expensive enough already, and would rather buy a real gunship helicopter with better weapons to support my troops instead. The Fleyta missile it carries is pretty bad, being outranged by just about every AA unit. Some players do like them for really aggressive opening deployments, though.
Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs)
The KUB missile’s role is the backbone of your long-range anti-plane AA net. As a heavy SAM, it has a very long range and high HE power. If you get lucky, you’ll get a critical hit and that 9 HE power will 1-hit kill a plane. Don’t count on it, though — always bring at least two, and keep them spread apart in case of artillery because they're obscenely slow. Also don't forget a supply truck to keep them gassed up and armed.
KUB-M – A long-range SAM that can’t hit the broad side of a barn on a slow chassis that will run out of gas halfway to the front. Don’t bother, use KUB-M4 instead. Avoid.
KUB-M4 – Now we’re talking! The KUB-M4 serves literally as the poor man’s BUK-M1. The missiles have identical stats (and they’re very good stats), but the KUB-M4 only has three of them as opposed to four, and the chassis shares the same shortcomings of the regular KUB-M. As such, it’s 10 points cheaper, and you get lots of them. The KUB-M4 is arguably the best long-range SAM available to all of Eastern Bloc, mainly due to its lower cost and higher base availability versus its Polish competitor, the NEWA. With the Czech availability bonus, you’ll find yourself with a very comfortable eight KUB-M4s per card — compare to only five NEWAs and four BUK-M1s! Pretty good deal, right? Just keep a supply truck close by for fuel and ammo, and this system will serve you well.
The OSA series are some of the most cost-effective and capable SAMs around, with six fast medium-range missiles ready to go without stopping to reload. This, combined with its fast amphibious chassis, gives it a big leg up over comparable systems like the Roland, which has to reload every two shots, or the Tracked Rapier, which is incredibly slow. Alongside the STROP 2, they fit very nicely in a high-mobility Czech deck.
OSA-AK – Weighing in at only 45 points, the OSA-AK is a bargain anti-plane SAM. It doesn’t have the longest range in the world, but for the price, it’s very capable at over 3000m with 50% accuracy and 7 damage. I find that they make nice supplements to a larger AA net and good sentinels for sneaky helicopters that attempt to make wide flanks — that 7 HE power will 1-hit kill the majority of BLUFOR helis.
OSA-AKM – The more modern AKM is where real fun is: few things in Red Dragon are able to shut down an early-game helicopter rush faster than a pair of two OSA-AKMs and two STROP 2s. They use their wheels to arrive on the scene quickly, then their range and high damage output (remember — that 7 HE kills most blue helicopters instantly, and OSAs don’t have to reload to use all six of their missiles) will dismantle the capitalist tin cans faster than you can shout “Yankee engineering”. The AKM’s extended range against airplanes also makes it a useful asset in your air defense net. A dirty trick you can do with them is to use their amphibious trait to hide them in rivers — enemy ground units will be unable to shoot at them without getting very close that way.
This is especially helpful because they lack any armor — their biggest downfall. Make sure to protect them, and they'll pay for themselves in no time. In a Czech deck, both variants are some of the very few anti-air units I take at hardened instead of trained: with the availability bonus, I have enough STROP 2s and KUB-M4s to take the reduced availability on the OSA and give that 50% accuracy a little bump. Up to you.
These ubiquitous infrared SAMs are available in almost every REDFOR deck. Only Finnish and Chinese national decks don't have at least one of the two. For the rest, they’re available in all or almost all specializations. They’re simple, short-range, fire-and-forget infrared missiles, one of whom is the popular kid at school, and the other is the ugly stepchild.
PLRK S-1M2 – The ugly stepchild. I really want to like the Strela-1M2 because I love wheels. Sadly, the range, accuracy, and damage are all just too low to be useful. Pay the fifteen points more and get an OSA-AK. Avoid.
PLRK S-10M – The popular kid at school. It’s got decent range against helicopters, fair accuracy, good damage, and a fairly high rate of fire for 45 points. 5 HE is generally the minimum threshold for effectiveness against planes, because it means that only two hits are needed to score a kill. However, with its short range against aircraft, it won’t be shooting down very many of them unless a plane manages to fly right over it.
Strangely, the Strela-10M is the only infrared platform that loses accuracy when firing on the move. Still, being infrared does mean fire-and-forget tracking and immunity to SEAD, so it can make a good supplement to an AA net when enemy SEAD is giving you hell. However, in its niche of a mobile anti-helicopter platform, the faster, gun-equipped, longer-ranged, better-armored STROP 2 is much more capable. The only real leg up the Strela-10M has over the STROP 2 is being amphibious; otherwise, the latter is a better choice.
Self-Propelled Anti-Air Guns (SPAAGs)
M53/59 Praga – The Praga is an interesting unit. It’s an old AA gun mounted on the back of an old, lightly-armored truck that is actually pretty slow by wheeled standards, but has a surprisingly fair range against helicopters and still gets the full 150km/h road speed bonus that all other wheeled vehicles get. Its downfalls are its low 15% accuracy and inability to fire on the move, but the combined suppression power of multiple trucks helps make up for it.
If you want a unit to protect your frontline ground maneuvers from helicopters, the STROP 2 is a much better option. However, at only 20 points for a wheeled gun unit with good anti-helicopter range, they can make very cost-effective rear guards in groups. If you bring them, use them in hiding spots to protect command vehicles and wide flanks. Remember to spread them out a bit so they don’t all get stunned and killed by helicopter rocket pods — their strength is numbers.
STROP AA guns
STROP 1 – Literally meaning “Ceiling 1”, this SPAAG looks decent on paper, especially for only 30 points. Sadly, it’s crippled by low autonomy. The KUB-M4 is able to get away with this shortcoming because of its long range, but AA guns need to maneuver a lot to engage helicopters, and the STROP 1 simply cannot do this. The Praga makes a more cost-effective sentinel that can get into position faster, and the STROP 2 makes a more lethal and maneuverable frontline AA system. There’s just sadly no place for the STROP 1. Avoid.
STROP 2 – Oh baby, here’s one of my favorites. The STROP 2 was one of the big units that got me hooked on the Czechs back in AirLand Battle. It’s lost its ability to fire on the move since then in the name of realism, but its raw killing power has been dramatically improved at the same time. Using a combination of an indigenously-developed passive radar system, laser rangefinder, and TV optical tracking all fed into a computerized fire control system, the STROP-2 was capable of achieving high levels of accuracy without a significant radar signature giving away its presence. This is represented ingame with one of the highest accuracy stats of any non-radar SPAAG, and grants it immunity to SEAD missiles. Combined with a high rate of fire, long anti-helicopter range, secondary independently-firing Igla missiles, and very high mobility, the STROP 2 sits proudly in the company of the very best medium-range air defense units.
Just remember that the main cannon can’t fire on the move, so when preparing to attack, either use the attack-move ability (click the attack button on the bottom right and then click on a spot to move to — it will automatically stop and engage targets as they come in range) or carefully pay attention to its range as it closes in on targets. If you see the Iglas opening up on an enemy while the vehicle is in motion, that’s a good cue that you've gotten way closer than you really need to be. The gun is perfectly capable of ripping the Western papier-mâché copters to shreds own its own.
2S1 Karafiat – Soviet players will recognize this as the 2S1 Gvozdika. Old medium howitzers are almost across the board in a bad spot, and low-end ones like the 2S1 Karafiat are in especially poor shape. Many moons ago, when medium-caliber guns had a medium aim time between light mortars and heavy 203mm howitzers, they were very useful for saturation fire. Those days are, for the most part, gone, and I can’t say I miss them because it was infuriating trying to deal with a dozen of these things all focus-firing your troops in a city. They now take the same amount of time to aim as the heavy guns — 30 seconds — and as such have no real benefit to show for their lower caliber. The low-end ones like the Karafiat are of especially little use because, between the poor accuracy and long aim time, you’ll have a hard time actually hitting anything with it.
Avoid, unless you want to be that jerk who plays the coalition support deck and stuffs their support tab full of dozens of these things to try to re-live the glory days of the medium howitzer.
2S7 Pivonka – Soviet players will recognize this as the 2S7 Pion, a.k.a. the gun that’s completely overshadowed by the Malka. Yes, it’s true, the Pivonka is not a Malka — however, as a 100-point 203mm heavy howitzer, it’s still very good in its own right and is superior to common M110A2 of shameful American design. It has a little bit of a wider spread than the M110A2, but this is more than compensated for by a much longer range and firing four shells in a volley instead of two. This means that the gun has a much higher kill probability from a safer distance when firing a corrected shot volley. The ONDAVA is usually preferable, but as that is not available in every deck, the Pivonka makes a good second option in its absence due it its raw killing power.
DANA – The DANA and the Swedish BKAN 1A were, in AirLand Battle, the two most feared howitzers in the game, thanks to their decent accuracy paired with sheer volume of fire. They were capable of both wide saturation fire and concentrated obliteration of individual targets. As medium howitzers in Red Dragon, these two guns have suffered the same crippling that all the others have; however, I consider them to be two of the very few old medium howitzers left in the game that are still worthwhile. By medium gun standards, the DANA has both above-average accuracy and rate of fire, and shares a similar variant of the highly-mobile lightly-armored chassis used by the STROP 2, allowing it to complete its fire mission and quickly relocate in order to avoid enemy counterbattery. Big brother ONDAVA is still preferable in limited deck space, but the DANA comes in cards of five and can make your opponent’s life a living hell as he tries to hold onto a city with infantry.
ONDAVA – The ONDAVA of glorious Czechoslovakian design is one in a small handful of howitzers in the game that features a modern advanced fire control system. This cuts down its ready-aim time ingame by a whopping two-thirds, letting it start lobbing its shells downrange in only 10 seconds instead of 30. It’s based on the same chassis as little brother DANA and shares in its mobility benefits — compounded with the quick aim time and long range, trying to counterbattery well-microed ONDAVAs will be little more than a waste of ammunition. The closest analogue on the capitalist side of the curtain is the modern and very lethal French Caesar, but it lacks the armor that the ONDAVA and DANA enjoy, and thus is toast at the first slip-up.
The catch to the ONDAVA is the same as all other modern howitzers: only having one card of two available. However, with the Czech availability bonus, we get three — which spells a really bad day for the enemy, because these things hit hard. Every howitzer has a different firing pattern: for example, the British AS-90 (another modern howitzer — watch out for it) fires off three shots in quick succession, allowing it to rapidly conduct multiple fire missions on different targets. The ONDAVA, on the other hand, fires out a steady stream of shells over a long period of time. This lets a well-placed volley deal out some serious hurt on a single area, but be careful — the longer the gun stays in position shooting, the easier it is for the enemy to get a fix on your location and launch counterbattery. You also might end up wasting a bunch of ammo firing at a target you already killed in the first few shells if you don't pay attention.
This is where the careful micro comes in. Every time you order a fire mission, hold down the shift key and give a move order to somewhere else out of the way. This will have your guns move immediately after they send out the last shot. At the same time, watch out for enemy shells incoming on your base and be prepared to move your ONDAVAs before they’re done sending out the 152mm love — seriously, it’s a really long volley.
Finally, I strongly recommend splitting the guns apart — three separate units, as opposed to one platoon of three. Set them to a hotkey by holding down the Ctrl key with them selected and then pressing a number key (I use 0 as it’s out of the way from the numbers I use for frontline units). Now, every time you press that key, it will select all three howitzers, letting you issue orders to them as if they were one group. However, since they are not actually tied together, they will automatically maintain a wide distance from each other, making it much harder for enemy artillery to hit all of them! Being split apart also lets you set multiple targets at once — for example, to saturate a wide area in a forest, or to hit multiple different AA pieces simultaneously.
The above is very good practice for all howitzers, but you especially want to keep your ONDAVAs alive — they can be a real game-changer, and you only get three.
RM-70 – Recently inexplicably changed from HE rockets to 3 AP cluster rounds, this unit is bad and will neither kill nor stun anything.
ShM vz.85 PRAM-S – As a 120mm mortar available in a deck with a 30% availability bonus, the ShM vz.85 PRAM-S is one of the best mortars in the game (the top dog award would go to the Swedish double-barreled AMOS). It comes in a pack of 8 in a single card with the Czech availability bonus, and at 81 shells, it carries more ammunition than any other 120mm mortar, giving it the ability to dish out some serious hurt for as much as twice as long as some of its competitors before needing a resupply (e.g., the Soviet 120mm Nona only carries 39 shells). Don’t let the higher rates of fire on some of the lower-caliber mortars fool you — 5 HE power 120mm mortars are the outright best. If you plan on doing a lot of urban combat in your upcoming match, be sure to bring a card of these along and they will serve you well.
T-55A – Extremely old tanks like the T-55A are generally in a poor spot. They compare similarly across the board in their mediocrity in a 1990s battlefield. In comparison to old T-72s and their BLUFOR competitors, the T-55A and many other Soviet tanks of its age are just not that cost-effective. If you want a unit whose single, solitary purpose is cannon fodder, then okay, sure, but even for that there are better ways to do things in today’s meta. Such extreme min-maxing for tanks isn’t what it used to be. I would avoid.
T-62cz and T-55AM1B – Choosing between the T-55AM1B and the T-62cz can be tough. The T-62cz has a better chassis with more armor and better optics (the difference between medium and poor is the difference between a tank being screwed in the absence of recon or being relatively self-sufficient), while the T-55AM1B has a better gun. Neither one is super amazing, but I would probably go with the T-55AM1B.
This is the type of tank that should never be by itself and will be serving a support role for heavier ones, so worse optics is not a big deal. The higher accuracy and rate of fire on the T-55AM1B’s gun mean that this tank is better able to contribute to the firefight. The CSSR also historically never operated the T-62, so there's that. Either way, the Czech armory still carries some special units higher up in the ranks that can do the support and filler roles better. You’ll know when we get there.
T-72 – For Soviet players, the basic T-72 model is completely overshadowed by the T-72A. Such is the case here for the Czech T-72M over the base model. The main thing that kills this unit is the short range on its gun. Even though it has stabilizer, rate of fire, and autoloader advantages over the cheaper T-55AM1B and T-62cz, it doesn’t matter if it can’t get in range to engage the enemy. For 45 points, one would expect better. Avoid.
T-72M – Although the Czech T-72M is slightly worse than its Soviet counterpart, the T-72A, it fills the same role of obsoleting the basic T-72. The only difference between the Soviet and Czech versions are one point of armor and one tier of optics — otherwise, they are both much more capable with significantly higher accuracy and range. It’s a good entry-level tank for armored decks, but today’s meta favors heavy armor, and my personal baseline has yet to appear. If you bring this, use it at closer ranges where its autoloader and greater numbers will be an advantage.
T-55AM2B – All three of the USSR, DDR, and CSSR have access to this unit (technically the Poles get it too, but its points go into the cannon instead of a missile). For 55 points, I’d call it a much better deal than the T-72A. While it’s true that it lacks an autoloader and good stabilizer, wears less armor, and isn’t exactly an indie car, the gun has more AP power and, more importantly, it packs a Bastion missile. If you want a less expensive tank to support your bigger ones, this is the kind you should really be looking at. The Bastion is by no means the most impressive missile in the world, but it’s competent; a platoon of four T-55AM2Bs carries 16 of the things firing in volleys of four, which is no joke.
This on an armored chassis makes it a good standoff weapon, intimidating your opponents from coming close in the first place, as opposed to just standing in the way of tank shells like a T-72A. It can engage opponents far above its weight class from outside the opponents' range, and smart target prioritization and ammo management can go a long way in a firefight. When the missiles are gone, there are certainly worse cannons in the game. However…
T-55AM2 DYNA-1 – The Czechs have a homebrew upgrade to the AM2 that outclasses even its Soviet upgrade counterpart. For ten points more, the AM2 DYNA-1 gets a huge upgrade from the Bastion missile to the fearsome Arkan, and extra hull points thanks to its DYNA reactive armor. The Arkan features significantly improved accuracy and armor piercing power, but more importantly, it has a range of 2800m, meaning it outranges every ground-based BLUFOR anti-tank missile, Israeli magic missiles notwithstanding. This enables the AM2 DYNA-1 to provide your armored column with invaluable protection from the enemy Bradley TOW-2 horde, and will give you the edge you need to take on the heaviest tanks the West can throw at you.
With an identical cannon to the basic T-55AM2B and improved armor, this tank can still dish out some decent damage and take a hit or two in return after the missiles run dry. It’s also got 3 top armor to help it resist cluster munitions — a very uncommon feature for its price point. I strongly recommend never leaving home without a card of T-55AM2 DYNA-1s in your deck if you can help it — and they’re even available for motorized players! It’s easily by far and away my favorite tank in the game (after the Moderna, of course — love you, girl), and it’s what I use for my entry-level armor — very few other tanks can play a support role as well as this one for so few points. Just remember to use the cannon stationary at maximum range to avoid the poor stabilizer.
T-72M1cz – At 75 points, we’ve finally reached a tank that has 2275m range on the main cannon. There isn’t anything particularly special about the T-72M1cz — it’s pretty much just all-around okay. Decent gun, decent speed, decent armor, decent price. The paper stats on the gun could be better, but it does have an autoloader. Personally, I think a combination of the T-55AM2 DYNA-1 and T-72M1M render the T-72M1cz a little unneeded, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with it.
T-72M1M – Before the content additions of DLC 1 and the massive tank overhaul, the T-72M1M (or the T-72B for the Soviets, who are also fans) used to be the top-tier tank for the Czechs, and really for the Eastern Bloc in general. Since then, it’s only gotten better with a huge price reduction and stats boost for the cannon (and let’s not forget the autoloader) — it now makes for a great well-balanced workhorse medium tank.
It’s got the speed to keep pace with the top-tier tanks from both friendly and enemy sides, and the Svir missile, while lacking some of the range of the T55AM2’s Arkan, still gives the tank a nice leg up when it would otherwise be outmatched. The frontal armor also lets it take a hit in a duel with an enemy TOW carrier of equal range — not a very efficient way to deal with enemy missiles, but in a tight pinch, it works. It’s also got a whopping 4 top armor, which will let it shrug off just about any cluster attack shy of an ATACMS or Mjölner bomb. Great unit.
T-72S – I tend to favor very heavy tanks, so while many players will find a workhorse in the well-rounded T-72M1M, mine is the T-72S. It shares pretty much everything that makes the M1M attractive, just with more of it at a higher price. It of course has lower availability per card than the M1M, but using two cards easily compensates. Heavy tanks are the flavor of the month, so be sure to bring some.
T-72M2 Moderna – Here she is, the pride and joy of the mighty Czechoslovakian War Machine. The T-72M2 Moderna was actually developed in the Slovak Republic after Czechoslovakia split at the end of the Cold War, and combined a lot of both Eastern and Western technologies. It also never actually entered service, but I’m not complaining.
Weighing in at only 160 points, the Moderna still manages to pack in 21 frontal armor, 23 armor piercing, and, best of all, an autocannon. I went on a whole big spiel about why the Moderna completely outclasses the Polish Twardy in every important way in the general Poland discussion thread, which you can read here, but I won’t copy-paste the whole thing, because you’re not here to read about the Poles.
In a nutshell, the bang for the buck with this tank is fantastic. Its AP power, autoloader, armor, and speed put it on great footing against NATO heavy tanks, but where it really shines is its ability to engage hard and soft targets simultaneously. The autocannon doesn’t just kill infantry — it dismantles light vehicles with the swiftness of an arrow, and will automatically prioritize them while the main gun engages other enemies.
Additionally, because the autocannon doesn’t have the aim time penalty that tank cannons do, it can prowl through the forest and eat just about anything it finds alive (of course, you’ll still want to always keep infantry with it to keep it safe from being flanked, but it’s a monster even without them). The autocannon can even ward off or shoot down helicopters that happen upon it inside its range. Users of the West German KPz 70 Keiler will have a lot of fun with this one.
Unfortunately, with only 55% accuracy on the main gun, the Moderna is pretty inaccurate for a tank of its price, which can be a struggle at maximum range. By the time it’s close enough to use both the autocannon and main gun, however, this problem is completely absolved. Armored decks also help in this regard.
Only three are normally available, but in a national deck, you get access to four for maximum disassembly of BLUFOR vehicles of all shapes and sizes for the glory of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. A+ Mister Maf Seal of Approval.
More under the cut.