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Letters from the Front



Night Raiding, especially Trench Raids was common during the Great War before the stalemate broke in 1918 with the German Spring Offensive.  The evolving nature of trench warfare led to new patterns in combat, the area between the trenches known as “No man’s land.” was the key ground, especially at night for fierce combat between opposing forces as patrols were sent out to gather information.

Trench raids were usually commenced at night and were aimed to get through the enemy’s lines as they couldn’t do it during the day, the main goals were to destroy enemy fortifications. kill defenders, gather intelligence and return to their lines with prisoners. Attackers were outfitted with special ordnance,  like knifes, knuckledusters, improvised clubs, a pouch full of grenades and dynamite. Camouflaged uniforms were often worn by attackers.

Trench raiding took place all along the Western Front up until the German Breakthrough at St. Quentin in 1918, the first ( small-scale.) British raids on the Western Front included local attacks by the Indian Corps in 1914, as the war progressed and the nature of warfare evolved these trench raids would become large scale operations, sometimes involving artillery barrages, covering parties, and even the usage of poison gas.

Nivelle Nights takes place on the Chemin-des-Dames ridge, known as “The Second Battle of the Aisne.” during the Nivelle Offensive in 1917. Set on the hills between La Malmaison and Soupir, the French and the Germans must go at each other in the dead of night. The Second Battle of the Aisne was the main part of the Nivelle Offensive and the majority of the fighting took place on the Chemin-des-Dames Ridge.

The ridge itself had been quarried for centuries before the Great War broke out in 1914, the miners dug a mountain of caves and tunnels that were used by the Germans to take shelter during the bombardments made by the French and the offensive was met massed German machine-gun and artillery fire, which inflicted heavy french casualties and often repulsed the French attacks although the French managed to capture prisoners during the battle, it was an indecisive result for both armies and in result, the battle was a loss of time and resources as the British had to prolong the Arras offensive until the middle of May, while the British captured Messines Ridge and spent the rest of 1917 at Cambrai and the Third Battle of Ypres, the French were bogged down and were doing limited operations at Verdun and at La Malmaison which captured the west end of the Ridge and forced the Germans to retreat to the northbank of the Ailette. As a result, the Second Battle for the Chemin-des-Dames ridge was an indecisive result but by the end, French morale recovered due to new reforms by Phillipe Petain.



Nivelle Nights is the first of the last maps of the They Shall Not Pass, the last map is going to be released in July titled “Pris de Tahure” that sees the French and the Germans go head to head in a city following the events of Nivelle Nights and the Nivelle Offensive.

The map is more like I described in my EA Play article at this year’s E3. The map is filled with trenches on other side and you see historical details like the Germans having trenchlines that are manned to the teeth: Emplacements, Bunkers, Night Lights, and Electricity while the French don’t have that and their defenses aren’t as great as the German’s and this time, the map goes well with Frontlines and Rush. This impression is of the Frontline version of the map.

Frontlines is the new mode that came with They Shall Not Pass back in March and it works surprisingly well here. The trench combat and trench raiding goes well here and this map is perfectly suited for Rush, Frontlines, and Operations although we still have to see this map being transferred over to the Operations mode. The Germans start on their side and vice versa then you have to fight tooth and nail both in the trenches and the fight spills outside to the Church and to the surrounding area, you have to run with the rats and get deep into the mud.

I think this map should’ve been only made for these modes because it works here and it works as I hoped it would. This map brings the trench warfare to Battlefield 1 which was something that the community wanted since the game released back in October, although I hope they bring a Bolt-Action mode to this mode because then it would be perfect.

Stay tuned next month for my impressions of “Pris de Tahure.”


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