It could go without saying that my approach borrows heavily from the thoughtful analysis and hard work of others on this forum.
It could but it won't. Thanks to those of you who took time to share your wisdom. That made it fun to take another look at a game that's changed a lot since I last burdened my browser with it many years ago.
My disclaimer: There is no sure-fire way to survive in this game, and there are plenty of sure-fire ways to get killed. My strategy hopes for the former and concentrates on the latter. However well you do the Pak 88 may eliminate you in the next wave or two. That's why I call it my "Surprise" strategy. I was very surprised to last past wave 800 and get the top score on Mochi (or at least the top score that doesn't seem pretty obviously hacked).
But perhaps that indicates I was also doing something right, hence this guide.
This game started with Proper Planning (not sure if it was a full 20 TP or something less), but I will sometimes use the same strategy starting with Close Protection. The goal is to set up as follows:
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Some general notes:
1) There are no AT units other than the engineers. No Grenades or Rifle Grenades will be used. Remove any grenades your men come with, or get due to Ranger Training (if you ranger train). This is to prevent the possibility of friendly fire incidents.
2) Every post has an engineer, to allow immediate repair of bunkers and camnets (assuming the eng is alive) and to provide replacement engineers to the pillbox when needed (more on that below).
3) Corner posts are sandbagged into segments to increase unit survivability. They are not trenched - trenches may defend against bullets but they make things worse when explosives hit, and that's your bigger concern. The camnet is partially off the screen to minimize target area as shown.
4) Each corner post has, at a minimum, a sniper (right in map corner), engineer (at back beside sniper), shooter (eg starting soldier, in front of sniper right on edge of screen), and medic (in front of eng). These are all in the corner sandbag segment of the camnet. Each post should further have one fifty positioned as shown and one or two shooter/gunners positioned in the next sandbag segment up along the sides of the map.
5) The halftrack provides additional protection to one of the posts (and, while I have not confirmed this, if you have a spare gunner there apparently it can benefit from the back of the halftrack like a bunker). It is to be equipped with the Quad .50 cal. I recommend purchasing the half track last to give your fifties a bit of a head start gaining experience.
6) Center bunker is the usual setup with hitbox below the centerline. Two gunners right on the corners and medic/eng meatshields just up and to the outside of their respective gunner. Your officer will also live here until he reaches 50 experience, at which point you should move him to the pillbox. (Side note: I do not invest in morale until this point, when it's more cost effective. Then I get my gunner morale up to 100+, and increase others as I deem prudent.)
7) Pillbox has a centered LOS blocking area (best as I can make it out) and must be placed no higher than I have it. Use a [ruler] to get it right. I put the bottom edge about 110 pixels from the top. You need enough time to react and eliminate threats before they become protected by your own pillbox, but you want that pillbox as high up as possible. You'll keep an engineer up here at all times, and I'll discuss what to do with him further in a bit.
Here's the set-up as of wave 702:
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What's different? Two additional snipers have been added bringing the total to four. Everyone is over 100 morale, and everyone who can be heroismed to 200 health is. Then, when I had TP overflow I bought a signaler, antenna and radar. Finally I added a jeep to try to give more cover to the right post (and a bit more firepower). I'm not quite convinced the jeep is worth it given how often the crew gets shot out, but I had points to spend.
The bunker medic is still there, I believe he has taken a hit and is hiding behind his gunner temporarily.
Oh and there's a bunch of TNT lying around. More on where that came from below.
Why so late for the signaler? The things he can help with, while nasty, are not the most likely ways you're going to die. The random nastiness has become so bad in this game that the signaler's value is way less in my mind. Why spend the points if you may not live long enough to get any benefit anyway? But in a long game he'll save you at least a few times, and even once makes him worth getting when you've got TP to spare.
What to do in the pillbox
This is a bit of an art form, but here's a guide to get you started.
1) Stay away from the edges of the pillbox. The bottom and left side of the square on the left of the pillbox image are about as far as you'll usually want to go, for example. (There's a diagram on the wiki I believe that shows the safe area of the pillbox - look it up and get a feel for it.)
2) When a flamer appears behind or relatively near your pillbox kill him immediately. Use free TNT if you have it, else use a mine. It's best to immediately pause the game, take him out with the mine, wait until it explodes and he's dead, and only then unpause. If the flamer is behind your pillbox and you somehow miss him, so that he lies down, you may need to wait until he stands up again before you'll be able to kill him with another explosive.
3) When a tank (including a flakpanzer) appears, take it out with a mine. Be as quick as you can. You will sometimes need to move your engineer closer to the sides of the bunker to reach, and the corners are tough - sometimes you have to wait for the tank to move up a bit to get them. Safest method is usually to pause game, lay the mine on top of the enemy unit, wait for the explosions, then unpause. You will often be laying mines right on yourself as part of the set of three, but they will explode without harming you courtesy of the pillbox.
4) Do not allow German Officers or Recon to come into contact with your men in the pillbox. They will CQC you, and you will not be able to fight back (pillbox has some bugs). Typically you can ignore most other enemy personnel. (Some vehicles will fire on you if they get close enough to you, and they can hit you. Sd. Kfz. 222s with intact gunners and tanks you need to be worried about, the others will ignore you. Tanks close to you in the pillbox can end up hitting your back line troops. Seriously. Whether it's a glitch of them trying to hit men in the pillbox or LOS blocking the bunker but they can still see the corners, don't give them the chance.) You can concentrate fire to save your CQC'd men, but it's likely they will then become bugged to be immobile in the pillbox. If that's your eng, you're going to then need to get a mobile eng up to replace him, then retreat the bugged eng to get him out of the pillbox and off the screen. Best to run your bunker eng to the pillbox and a new eng to the bunker as soon as you safely can. Maneuver to put the new eng in the pillbox when you are able. He will level up soon enough, because he will be...
5) Harvesting TNT! Pioneers will drop TNT around your pillbox as they walk through. That's free TNT for you to use. Once in a while a pioneer will get pinned inside your bunker, at which point they become a TNT factory. When you see this happen (often due to an exploding flamer on the screen) drag the game out as best you can (no taunting) to take advantage. I've had over forty free TNT at a time. Which is where the TNT came from to place all over the map in the pic above. Sometimes you can't see the TNT because of the debris - if there's a pioneer by your pillbox start moving your cursor around the area looking for hidden TNT. If you come across some you'll get a "That's not yours" message. You can do this while paused too.
6) In general, if a wave hits and you see you are going to need to use TNT or mines, taunt when you are paused before you place your mine. You'll get more points, and often you can take out multiple enemies with the same explosives.
7) If you don't have the Interdiction Ribbon yet, put some Booby Trapped TNT near the top of the map, just off to either side of your pillbox. Sooner or later a pioneer will come along and blow up.
8) Consider blowing up recon elements if they show up above your pillbox (although if they are on the left or right edges they will probably get taken out fairly quick by your men). They have a habit of stopping in your pillbox and making reports about you, even calling in strikes, while sitting safely in your defenses. Likewise if you don't want extra enemies at the moment taking out an officer that appears above your pillbox is worth considering. He is likely to stand in your pillbox and summon reinforcements for a while.
9) When vehicles show up behind or close to your pillbox you should be quickly moving your cursor around on them to check for flamers, officers and recon. They will sometimes be underneath where you can't see them. Sneaky!
Here are my final screens:
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At the end I pull my 100 experience snipers up, hopefully my pillbox eng is still alive and has high morale, and with no more than 4 men above the center line I can hold on for quite a bit longer.
A comment on pausing: sometimes it can be dangerous to pause. An enemy that's firing can keep firing while you are paused. If there is a 222 or other dangerous unit on screen and already firing (that includes attackers from the bottom and blitzes from the sides) I hold off on hitting pause a bit if I can to allow my men to respond first. Sometimes I have to pause anyway, because that flamer near me is a bigger risk, or I have a tank that looks about ready to fire at my bunker.
Interesting footnote: at high waves, maybe 600+, the pioneers start to become crazy dangerous. I don't know why, but they suddenly become lethal shooters, seemingly the most dangerous enemy soldiers on the field. Save your concentrate fire commands to take them out as needed.
May the 88s pass you by!