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Letters from the Front

( Played on Grand Operations.)

The Manstein Plan was a counterpart to the Dyle Plan. After the original concept fell into Allied hands in the Mechelen Affair that January of 1940, the Manstein Plan was a plan to push the Allied forces from Belgium to the River Somme but it was changed to what the history books would call, Fall Gleb. An invasion route through the Ardennes and pushing the Allied forces back towards the English Channel and preventing their escape.

The invasion of Western Europe began on May 10th, 1940 with German armored units breaking out of the Ardennes while German paratroopers opened the Belgian border and dropped in the Hague in the Netherlands while German infantry entered the border of Luxembourg.

In Belgium, the Allied armies attempted to halt the German advance. The French sent its best divisions to Belgium while the Germans initiated a dash towards the English Channel in France, cutting off the British and their allies at Armentières and reaching the Channel ports within days, encircling and entrapping the Allied forces in the port cities of Dunkirk, Calais, and Boulogne. The Germans gradually picked off the remaining pocket of Allied forces and the Belgian Army surrendered on May 28th, 1940. The Belgian collapse forced the Allies to withdraw from continental Europe in Operation Dynamo, allowing the BEF and the French along with many Belgian soldiers to escape Europe and continue the fight from Britain.

During the Battle of Belgium, the battle included the first major tank battle of the Second World War. It was the largest tank battle at that point in the history of World War II which it would later be surpassed as the war would truly become a world war. This battle would be eclipsed by the fighting on the Eastern Front and the famous tank battles in North Africa.

Panzerstorm

Panzerstorm is inspired by the Battle of Hannut, the first major tank battle of World War II which took place during the Battle of Belgium. You might remember this map from Overture, the first expansion update to Battlefield V back in December. Panzerstorm returns in Trial by Fire as part of a new Grand Operation that combines both Panzerstorm and Arras in one single operation that focuses on Blitzkrieg and the German armored units that entered Belgium and France during Fall Gleb.

Set in the early morning hours of the German invasion of Western Europe, the Germans begin by dropping into the beautiful Belgian countryside to destroy a set of objectives and then begins Day 2 with the introduction of Breakthrough on Panzerstorm as they make their way towards the Netherlands to regroup.

Arras

Set on Day 3 around the outskirts of Arras, the German forces who broke out of the Ardennes is racing across northern France in the hopes of entrapping the Allies and prevent their escape along the Channel coast. For the first time in the history of the Operations game mode and in the game, the Rush game mode makes a return.

Rush is making its return to the Battlefield franchise in the Battle of Hannut Grand Operation. Much like in other installments of the franchise, Rush is about charging the enemy head-on and planting bombs on their MCOMs and keep pushing the frontline. Rush is played here on Arras but with a twist, the Rush game mode doubles the traditional number of players to 64. In this mode, the attacking team’s objectives are to plant bombs at the defending team’s objectives and keep pushing the frontline and this is where the meat and potatos are when it comes to this brand new Grand Operation.

Rush isn’t necessarily the best game mode for Grand Operations since most of the time it’s a huge disaster since you’re dealing with 64 players. It’s not quite a disaster but it could be better, you have players rushing the bombsite while many of them get gunned down in the open fields surrounding the small village and then its just rinse and repeat. Attempt to plant the bomb, die, defenders defuse the bombsite, and repeat; it isn’t really fun to keep repeating the same thing until you rush the bombsite and get a successful plant.

In general, I get what DICE is attempting to do here. Grand Operations is a large scale battle that comes off as grind-y as possible where the attacking team just pushes and pushes and keeps pushing until final victory is assured. Rush has always been a tactical game mode and its not as tactical here due to the number of players and how grind-y it is and in the end, Rush is only here to give players that 32v32 grindfest around one objective at a time. Is it an enjoyable game mode? Sure. Is it the best game mode for Grand Operations as a whole? Not necessarily due to how grindy Grand Operations is in general.

Overall, the Battle of Hannut Grand Operation is really good. For a mode that I don’t necessarily like nor don’t care much about until DICE goes back and revamps the mode from top to bottom, the Battle of Hannut is one of the better Grand Operations and sits as one of the most enjoyable outside of the Fall of France Grand Operation. Panzerstorm at night is the key feature here and 64 man Rush is the weakest aspect of the Battle of Hannut Grand Operation.

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