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The Tank General Challenge is a Generals Challenge level that pits the player against tank warfare specialist Ta Hun Kwai.

Walkthrough[]

General! I need that Oil Derrick for my tanks! Release it to me or pay!
- Kwai

Ta Hun Kuai's mass production of armored units is fueled by his economy. He doesn't even need Hackers, because whenever if his resources fall below 1000$ he'll instantly gain another 5000$. He'll begin the challenge with Battlemaster/Gattling Tank rushes or maybe even an Emperor, then send Helixes and MiGs later on; MiGs in particular can be quite debilitating if they knock out a crucial perimeter defense at the wrong time. ECM units are also a common sight. He won't ignore infantry either, and will send steady waves of Red Guards and Tank Hunters that can distract anti-armor units. Additionally, MiGs will be used for harassment air attacks, usually either from the northeast or on the player's northern flank.

Expect Kwai to capture the tech platform in the northwest corner early and then send a steady trickle of tanks from the north against the player. Fortunately, he lacks proper siege units like the Nuke Cannon, and cannot attack the player at range.

As with most generals confronted in the challenge, he will employ superweapons, but he's among the more restrained opponents in this regard, only building his Nuclear Missile if an equivalent is already up and running. Kwai prefers his vehicle assaults over standoff weapons. This allows the player to focus on defensive operations without the pressure of an impending superweapon strike.

The map itself is quite flat, with few obstacles, perfect for both Kwai's tank maneuvers and an opponent's fast hit-and-run attacks from the sides. The Tank General's base occupies the northeast corner of the map. It has three entrances and the base perimeter is guarded by regularly spaced bunkers and Gatling Cannons; the latter make most aircraft attacks impossible. He won't rebuild any Bunkers, but just about everything else will be replaced. There are also Gatling Defenses within the base itself. The rest of the base's perimeter is protected by uncrossable rocks and water obstacles.

Kwai's main ground attack usually comes down a predictable northeast route, often stopping in a large cluster just outside the dried river bed and allowing the player to preemptively strike them as they assemble. This tendency to gather in large groups at predictable points makes them vulnerable to either direct assaults or support powers like leaflet drops.

General Considerations[]

  • It may be necessary to construct a well-defended secondary base early to provide more options for late-game offense. When attacking, superweapons are best used ahead of time to cut down enemy resistance and pave way for the main assault.
  • Expect Black Lotus to attempt to enter the base from the southeast, potentially stealing an unguarded building. Fortunately, she's often the least of all concerns.
  • In addition to his war factory, the player must make an effort to continuously destroy Kwai's airfields. A successful MiG attack can dangerously compromise the player's perimeter.
  • Because of his hard-coded money cheat (see above) it is useless to attack Kwai's supply gathering operations. It is also difficult to destroy enough power plants to slow down his operations. The priority of targets should be his war factories followed by his airfields, unless he has constructed his nuclear missile silo, in which case the nuke must be destroyed first.

Faction Specific Considerations[]

China[]

  • Bunkers and Tank Hunters can create a cheap yet effective source of early-game defense, able to be replaced between onslaughts with their short build time and low cost.
  • Cluster Mines and EMP Pulse are quite useful, since Kwai's tanks follow predictable routes, but don't expect them to do too much with the long cooldown time.
  • Speaker towers behind defenses can be a great aid in strengthening the line. Their Gatling Cannons are great against both infantry and aircraft but are not effective against armor.
  • A few Gattling Cannons can form an excellent AA network to engage enemy aircraft, but they'll need support later on. They should preferably be placed behind Bunkers.
  • A level 3 artillery strike combined with one Nuclear Missile can destroy Kwai's own missile silo.
  • ECM Tanks prove useful against ground vehicles. However, at least 2-3 are required to tackle Emperors in time before they return fire.
  • Spending a promotion point to acquire the Nuke cannon is recommended. When loaded with neutron shells, they can empty large groups of vehicles in one hit and delay or even completely deny an assault. By contrast, the Inferno Cannon lacks the firepower to destroy tanks.
  • Black Lotus is not that useful, given the tight security around Kwai's base. She is best used as a long-ranged scout until a strike force punches inside his base, at which point she can be used to capture a few critical buildings.
  • Start building Hackers and an Internet Center while there's enough resources to spare on them. Hackers will serve as the only viable source of late-game income, and the Internet Center itself can occasionally reveal all enemy activity. They are relatively safe working in the open if placed towards the back of the base, unless the Tank General has deployed his nuclear missile.
  • A secondary base is almost necessary for any use of air power.
  • The ordinary Helix is of little use here, as the Gattling Tanks, MiGs and Gattling Cannons will tear it to shreds. Given the flat nature of the terrain, anything that can be reached by helicopter can be reached by a ground vehicle, and the defenses protecting Kwai's base are too closely spaced together to be flown over.
  • The MiG can play a defensive counter-air role. It is less useful on the offense, as their napalm is not ideal against armor and they are too fragile to survive Gatling cannon defenses.
  • The reinforcement pad may not be worth capturing and defending, depending on what general the player is controlling. It is usually better to simply destroy it, unless otherwise noted below.

Shin Fai (Infantry)[]

China's infantry general can build an adequate base defense, but suffers when going on the offense. Kwai's base defenses combined with his steady production of vehicles make it difficult to mount a direct attack, which can shred Shin Fai's infantry hordes with frightening speed.

  • The lack of Overlords and Battlemasters can easily hinder any attempts at building an offensive force, since fragile Assault Troop Transports and Attack Outposts could not suffice as proper escorts. Artillery is recommended to destroy base defenses, as MiGs will struggle to break through the tank general's base perimeter, and fall too easily to the common gatling cannons. Nuclear Missiles are absolutely necessary to decimate clusters of vehicles and pave way for the main assault.
  • If electing to do a ground assault into Kwai's base, spending a promotion point to acquire the Nuke Cannon is highly recommended. Neutron shells (and mines, for Fai's defense structures) are likewise recommended in order to neutralize vehicles intact so that they can then be captured to compensate for Shin Fai's lack of tanks.
  • Fortified Bunkers are excellent structures for defense, as they can hold up to 10 infantry units and are more resilient in general. The extra space can be saved for Mini-Gunners as an alternative solution to infantry and aircraft, compensating for the lack of Gattling Tanks. Nevertheless, Gattling Cannons should still be considered to support garrisoned infantry units.
  • Attack Outposts' stealth allows them to act as yet another line of defense, preferably when backed by structures. When filled with Tank Hunters and one or two Mini-Gunners, Attack Outposts can easily ambush and tear apart any enemy vehicles.
  • So long as the base perimeter is maintained, Superhackers are quite safe gathering funds in the rear of the starting area, since Kwai does not use his superweapon unless the player deploys one.
  • Despite its vulnerabilities, the Assault Helix, packed with tank hunters and at least one minigunner, makes an adequate defensive unit. It should still avoid Gatling-armed vehicles that are not already committed to an attack.

Tsing Shi Tao (Nuclear Weapons)[]

The nuclear general has very effective counters to the challenge's armor onslaught, and can build a long-range nuclear arsenal to vaporize Kwai's base from afar. It may be advisable to save enough money for multiple nuclear silos so that they can all be built at once. Since he has default access to the devastating Nuke Cannon, that promotion point can be saved for other general's powers. His force is flexible enough that the player can opt for either a standoff nuclear missile strategy or a direct land offensive into the enemy base.

  • Overlords and Battlemasters already come with Nuclear Tanks/Uranium Shells by default, hence voiding the need to build Nuclear Missiles early. When combined with Speaker Towers, these nuclear-upgraded Overlords are a decent match for Kwai's own tanks and can serve as an effective quick reaction force to for base defense.
  • Overlords and Nuke Cannons are always useful when attacking, but it's recommended to clear their way with a Nuclear Missile beforehand. If necessary, they can escort a Construction Dozer to create a secondary base for easier assaults.
  • Most infantry cost slightly more, but that shouldn't be much of a hindrance given they aren't used or replaced much. Hackers however are exempt and stay at their original price.
  • MiGs can pack a huge punch and toss any target airborne once upgraded with Tactical Nukes at the Nuclear Missile.
  • Gattling Tanks can provide some adequate air defense and also attack infantry, but the latter's often ill-advised when they appear with vehicles.
  • Advanced Nuclear Reactors are perhaps the second-best power structures and can help keeping the base online while conserving space.

GLA[]

  • Palaces with RPG Troopers are the only source of defense in the early game. They take quite a while to build, so protect them at all costs. Tunnel Networks are better off used tactically, and Stinger Sites can be quickly overwhelmed if too many vehicles arrive or if a MiG comes around. The advantage of the Tunnel Networks is that they can be used to repair vehicles and shuttle the GLA's less well-armored tanks between endangered sections of the perimeter, although this requires constant micromanagement.
    • Generally, it is better to allow a tank to begin advancing on a tunnel network before sending the defense forces out to hit the tank while it is thus occupied. Workers should be available near the perimeter to effect repairs.
    • Stinger Sites are generally rather underpowered against tanks, and their soldiers are too often burned out by MiG napalm strikes.
  • Reserve some space in the back to build some Black Market to set up for counterattacks.
  • Quad Cannons, while vulnerable to armor, can be micromanaged well to engage both aircraft and infantry.
  • Rocket Buggies and Scud Launchers can be used for assaults or for defense. Buggies in particular are good for hit-and-run attacks on lumbering armor columns due to their great mobility. Both however are vulnerable to the ECM Tank.
  • As for superweapons, a Scud Storm is required in combination with another or a rebel ambush. However, since Kwai only builds his after one is running, there's no need to preemptively construct it. Aggressive expansion is required to make full use of them, as they take up a lot of space,
  • Jarmen Kell's ability allows the GLA to capture his Emperors for the player's own use, and he can also deal with enemy infantry, but it's usually better to use Quad Cannons for the latter instead.
  • A well-placed Sneak Attack tunnel can easily transport a raiding party to wreak havoc inside his base.
    • There's enough room between the Command Center and Air Field for a Sneak Attack Tunnel. As there's often a Dozer parked in front of the Command Center, Jarmen Kell's Sniper Attack ability combined with another infantry unit can be used to steal it, eventually allowing full access to the entire enemy arsenal. The best initial use of the Dozer is to build a Nuclear Reactor for power, which can cut down construction and production times. If the first attempt to capture a Dozer fails, an idle Dozer will always be produced if the current one is lost, so obtaining it is only a matter of returning later with another Sneak Attack Tunnel.
    • A rebel ambush can also distract him by capturing a building or two, although it will invite immediate retaliation and cannot be expected to last long if not supported. There are interior Gatling Cannon defenses that have to be avoided for this tactic to have any effect.
  • Angry Mobs, despite their vulnerabilities, are surprisingly helpful with their associated weapon upgrade. A MiG strike might wipe them, and Gattling Tanks/Helixes can shred them quickly, but several groups will tear vehicles apart with terrifying ease. On top of that, they can slowly heal themselves in between waves, which allow them to act as a line of defense, sometimes surpassing even RPG Troopers or Stinger Sites.
  • If mobility isn't a concern, SCUD Launchers' high range allow them to see use in both offense and defense. They are quite effective against the slow-moving Overlords.
  • The Cash Bounty General Power is recommended. While it isn't necessary for the right strategy, Kwai's large-scale ground attacks ensure a stream of income.
  • Demo Traps are not as useful, since Kwai tends to send Helixes and Emperor Overlords with Gattling Cannons, which can detect them at range.
  • For Thrax and Juhziz, the Marauder Tank promotion is recommended because of its inherent power and its ability to upgrade itself even more with salvaged parts. There should be a reliable pile of destroyed scrap in front of the player's base if defenses are working properly.
  • The GLA will end up with many idle workers once map supplies are depleted. A number of these should be placed directly behind base defenses in order to to effect repairs.

Rodall Juhziz (Demolition)[]

  • In addition to the standard GLA arsenal of vehicles, the SCUD Storm can destroy Ta Hun Kwai's Nuclear Missile in one activation if centered properly. A Rebel Ambush can achieve it with the Demolition upgrade, upgrade and meticulous placement.
  • SCUD Launchers' raw destructive power can single-handedly destroy almost every unit it hits. A few well-positioned ones can quickly shut down even a large attack.
  • Capturing the northwest reinforcement pad will provide valuable Demo Bikes that are quite good at demolishing tanks.

Dr. Thrax (Toxin)[]

  • SCUD Launchers' Anthrax payload can be an effective source of area denial to demolish infantry.
  • Although Toxin Networks still don't stand up to damage well, their Toxin Streams are far stronger than their regular equivalents and can take on vehicles, melting them before they do too much damage.

Kassad (Stealth)[]

Without tanks or long range SCUD Launchers, Kassad must be creative when facing Kwai's hordes of armor.

  • Since all structures can be upgraded with Camo Netting, a stealthed Supply Stash can easily exploit the supply piles lying in the open as it will also hide nearby Workers. Likewise, setting up a remote secondary base is much more feasible as concealed structures face considerably less pressure, particularly when combined with the GPS Scrambler to conceal units protecting them. The southeast corner usually remains quiet as long as the player keeps structures camouflaged.
  • Hijackers tend to be inconsistent when compared to Jarmen Kell, since they need to get within melee range to steal a vehicle. Emperors and Helixes are often equipped with Gattling Cannons to outright deny their impact, and even if they succeed, the captured vehicle must be moved away quickly. It's better instead develop other threats given their very high cost.
    • Kwai will send a force to capture the reinforcement pad in the northwest map corner. Allowing Kwai to keep the pad while regularly stationing a hijacker in guard mode up here can ensure the player a regular supply of Battlemaster tanks, without the necessity of defending the pad itself.
  • As Marauder Tanks, Scorpion Tanks, and SCUD Launchers are not available, a direct assault is often infeasible. It's far easier to destroy some structures and units with the SCUD Storm before tearing the base up from the inside with a Sneak Attack tunnel near the Command Center.

USA[]

  • A Fire Base with Missile Defenders can provide valuable support to base defenses and is better than the basic Patriot against heavy tanks, but they provide no protection for MiGs, whose napalm can burn out the defenders. Firebases should be placed behind said defenses to give MiGs an alternative target and should be backed up with Avenger anti-air defenses as soon as possible.
    • An alternative strategy is to leave the firebase empty and fill a Humvee with missile defenders to drive it up as tanks attack, although this requires micromanagement. Once Avengers can be placed, the firebases can be occupied and this management will no longer be necessary.
  • Humvees are initially necessary to deal with infantry and cut distractions until Pathfinders are available. Later on they can be filled with missile defenders; if combined with a TOW and hellfire upgrade, they become a serious threat even to heavy armor.
  • The spy drone is recommended to monitor the approach routes to the base and warn the player if impending armored columns.
  • On the offense, A-10 Strikes and Particle Cannons can help taking out key structures, but until the Gatling Cannons on Kwai's perimeter are dealt with, most aircraft won't even survive. Alternatively, they can be used to deal with clusters of armored units.
  • Colonel Burton is not very useful in this challenge because the Gattling Cannons will simply spot him and Kwai's base is largely impenetrable. Kwai's numerous heavy tanks are simply too much for Burton's limited armament. Optionally, he can play a very limited security role in the far northwest or southeast of the starting area where gatling platforms are less common and action is less intense.
  • Try to build a few Supply Drop Zones early so they can pay back their own cost and sustain an adequate defense. This is particularly important, given the Tank General's hard-coded economy cheat.
  • Avengers should be kept inside solely to counter Helixes, MiGs and maybe their missiles. It is advisable to place one next to a firebase to intercept napalm rockets.
  • When mounting a land assault, be sure to bring some Tomahawks to snipe Gattling Cannons, and Humvees filled with Missile Defenders for defense. Ambulances can also be helpful for healing.
  • Because the player's defense relies on ground units, a Bombardment strategy is recommended from the Strategy Center to give a boost to missile defenders' firepower. The center itself deploys an artillery cannon when this strategy is chosen; combined with its considerable robustness, the center can be placed slightly behind the base perimeter as a backup defense.
  • While it requires some micromanagement, it is feasible to use Comanches (stealthed, preferably, if playing as Granger) to hit tanks that have already committed to attacking a base defense. Other than that, they are too fragile and expensive to use offensively.
  • US aircraft are superior to MiGs and can provide base air defense, but their perimeter must not edge too far out in front of the base or they will fall to gatling weapons. Avengers are to be preferred once they are available, and the airfield slots used for Aurora bombers.
  • The Microwave Tank can cook infantry in Bunkers and disable Gattling Cannons, but is of limited use otherwise. It can potentially be used if a direct base assault is chosen on one of Kwai's three base entrances, but a particle cannon option.
    • One tactic, in between lulls in the armor attacks, is to take a few by helicopter to just outside Kwais' base. Here they can paralyze base defenses to allow Aurora bombers to destroy them and any targets within the base itself, evacuating once the air raid is over. This is not necessary to win, but is an option if the player has chosen an air strategy and needs to conserve resources.
  • The leaflet drop, which is not often very useful, is a practical tool for this mission, since Kwai's tanks assemble in large clusters at predictable areas close to the player's starting area. Once immobilized, the densely packed vehicles can easily be vaporized by Aurora bomber strikes or Comanches with rocket pods.
    • Similarly, most other US air-based General's Powers are useful for destroying these vehicle assembly areas, as the support airplanes usually arrive in time. The Spectre Gunship is particularly well-suited.

Alexis Alexander (Superweapon)[]

  • EMP Patriot Systems are perhaps the best defenses for this challenge. Their missiles stun vehicles on hit, stopping enemy armor dead in their tracks and instantly destroys aerial units.
  • Aurora Alphas can degrade attacking columns significantly and are almost guaranteed to destroy most buildings. Even one successful hit may utterly obliterate an attacking column or severely weaken it. However, unless there are no Gattling Tanks around, these expensive units might not make it back.
  • With cheaper Particle Cannons and Advanced Control Rods for Cold Fusion Reactors, it is possible to steamroll Kwai's base through devastating precision strikes.
  • Though not necessary, capturing the northwest reinforcement pad may be worthwhile, since she will receive the powerful long range Tomahawk Launcher. Since the occasional Battlemaster coming form the north is not much of a threat, the player can defer capturing the pad until the base defense perimeter is under control.

Malcolm Granger (Air Force)[]

Since he lacks the advanced defense structures of his fellow USA generals, it is somewhat more difficult for Granger to secure his base in the beginning of the mission. On the positive side, his King Raptors are quite capable of destroying MiGs and their missiles. King Raptors can assist against tanks but are vulnerable to Gatling weapons and will have to be micromanaged until the perimeter security can stand on its own. One Comanche can help control infantry before Pathfinders are available; it, too, must be micromanaged. One he gets promoted and unlocked Generals' Powers air strikes, Granger can start regularly knocking out the Tank General's westernmost War Factory, which will slow the torrent of armor.

  • The Combat Chinook works very well when fully loaded with Missile Defenders to destroy enemy armor, and their point defense lasers can neutralize many anti-air missiles, as long as one avoids gatling weapons.
    • Defensively, the Chinook can easily move between endangered portions of the player's base perimeter, taking on armor and even approaching aircraft.
    • Offensively, if a gap can be created along the fringes of Kwai's base defense perimeter, a single Chinook entering can cause great havoc among the structures built along the map edge.
  • Upgrading Comanches with stealth allow them to ambush lighter vehicles and to eliminate infantry, but beware of Gattling Tanks, Tank Hunters and Emperors with Gattling Cannons. They can attack targets of opportunity or simply act as scouts, warning the player of oncoming armored columns.
  • Kwai's base is guarded with many Gattling Cannons. Microwave Tanks, Particle Cannons and Auroras might be necessary to take them out to pave way for an aerial assault.
  • Carpet Bombing armor formations can be a viable response to them, since Granger's bomber arrives quite fast.
  • With their extra missile, the King Raptor is good at assisting base defenses and neutralizing the occasional air attacks , but because of their long downtime while returning to base for reloading and their vulnerability to gatling weapons, they cannot be relied upon alone to stop Kwai's rolling armor. On the positive side, they do not require much micromanagement.
  • While expensive, the Tomahawk Launcher can do real damage even to an Emperor, and their long range allows them to respond to attacks over a wide area.
  • Once there are no supplies left to collect, Granger's regular Chinooks can be stationed behind firebases. Since his standard Chinooks all have laser defenses, they can help stop MiG napalm rockets.

General Townes (Lasers)[]

  • Laser Defense Turrets prove to be extremely devastating in direct action, capable of effective fire against the full spectrum of Kwai's armor, air and infantry threats. Their hunger for power isn't that much of an issue, since Cold Fusion Reactors generate more power as well. Because the Tank General does not have siege units, their relatively shorter range than other defenses is not an issue.
  • Likewise, the Laser Tank has comparable firepower for Chinese tanks, and much cheaper than Emperors. Once protected by rocket attacks by support Avengers, Laser Crusaders are well-positioned for an armored showdown with Kwai.
  • As Tomahawks are not available, the Bunkers and Gattling Cannons must be dealt through other means if Townes desires to invade the enemy base. They can be paralyzed with Microwave Tanks so combat units or aircraft can safely approach them.
  • With a discount on Avengers, they should be deployed earlier to intercept enemy aircraft. MiG attacks tend to come near the eastern and norther flanks and focus on defensive structures.
Generals and Zero Hour missions
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