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Letters from the Front

Battlefield™ 1 (4)

( Played on Conquest.)

In 1914, the Belgian Government announced that if war came it would uphold it’s historic neutrality. However, the Belgian government began to mobilize forces and a state of heightened alert was proclaimed across the border in Germany. The German government sent an ultimatum to Belgium, demanding passage through the country and German forces invaded Luxembourg. Two days later, the Belgian Government refused the demands and the British guaranteed military support to Belgium. On August 4th, German troops began to cross the border after war was declared and began to assault the city of Liège. It was the opening engagement of the First World War.

Two years later, things hadn’t changed since the beginning of the war at least on the Western Front. Minor operations took place around the Ypres salient, some being German raids to distract the Allies from their secret preparations for Verdun and later attempts to divert Allied resources from the Somme. Other operations were begun by the British to regain ground or to push the Germans out from their positions. Engagements took place around Boesinghe, Hooge, and Sanctuary Wood. In January 1917, the British alongside the Anzacs held the Western Front in Flanders from Laventie to Boesinghe, there was alot of trench mortaring, mining, and trench raids in between the months of January and May. In May, reinforcements arrived in Flanders alongside the British II Corps heaquarters and 17 divisions.

In late October 1917, after the first battle of Passachendale which was a German success but as a result of that failure, the British had gained ground. The Second Battle of Passachendale was the culminating offensive during the Third Battle of Ypres. The British attack captured German-held defensives along the Passchendale-Westrozebeke ridgeline but the campaign was forced to end on the heels of the Germans.

On October 24th, the Austro-Hungarians  defeated the Italians at Caporetto. The British and French governments out of fear that the Italians might be pulled out of the war promised to each other that they would send six divisions to Italy. All troops were transferred between November and December, due to good preparations made by General Foch. The third battle of Ypres came to a close, as Haig being forced to end his campaign just on the heels of the retreating Germans but the British gained a victory and the situation on the Western Front changed, it was the beginning of the end.

Battlefield™ 1 (7)

Passchendale is a large and hellish map that encompasses a soldier’s worst fear: Hell itself. Passchendale is the definition of hell, it’s a hellish landscape with trenches dug across the map, bunkers, a sunken town, and much more. Passachendale is the type of map that Battlefield 1 should’ve had since the beginning, this is World War I, this is what World War I was all about.  Hellish combat in a place where nobody should go, a place where it’s frightful, a type of warfare that not only changed a soldier’s life but also changed the world. This is the type of warfare that nobody should have the pleasure to see, it’s the type of warfare that made the Western Front so recognizable during World War I. This is World War I. Battlefield 1 should’ve had this type of maps since the very beginning.

I’m not ranting about it, I’m impressed by this map. It’s what the Western Front encompassed, it’s a true trench map unlike St. Quentin Scar or Nivelle Nights; there’s trenches dug everywhere and bunker emplacements on each end of the map, Liven Gas Projecters which are mini gas bombs that can be launched by pressing a detonator. It’s hell on earth.

On Passchendale, it’s regular conquest so each team has to capture the flags and hold them in order to win; in other words, regular good old Conquest and not Conquest Assault, a mode which I hate. Flags are spread out across multiple areas around the map unlike on Conquest Assault, it’s much more easier to tell who’s winning and who’s losing as opposed to Conquest Assault where the defenders has a leg up against you and your team. Flags are spread out from the German spawn to the British spawn where the A flag is set in a church and the map is unlike anything in Battlefield 1.

For the first time, Passchendale much like the Somme, is playable in a videogame and for the first time, players can experience one of the most well-known battles of the Great War.

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