“So we went south, toward Chile. I guess Aguire had some friends in high places cause there were US tanks waiting for us. We hadn’t had support in a long time, so it felt a little like Christmas, except our present was a crazy Russian colonel. Truth is, I’d had worse holidays.” ― Preston Marlowe
The squad starts along the road in an M1A2 Abrams, callsign Kodiak One, with several HMMWV’s and M1A2 Abrams’s on each side. With Preston at the wheel, they are told by the mission commander, Riverguard, to take out two ECM radar stations that are jamming radar signals for the A-10s when the tank reaches the intersection with another road. The first ECM radar is on a hill to the left and the second is further back to the right. Once both ECM radars are down, the tanks advance down the road, where they encounter two houses with 9M133 Kornet launchers mounted on top. One tank, Kodiak Four, is hit and immobilised, and the rest (including the squad’s tank) return fire. Once the Kornets are down, Preston is told to commandeer a UAV-1 station, and then uses it to take out BMD-3 AA tanks and Kornet Launchers in a small town. Upon completion, Preston returns to the tank. The task force now advances towards the town, but is attacked by three BMD-3s. The task force swiftly destroys the tanks, but is attacked by three more as they advance upon a farmhouse, this time armed with Kornets as well as their main cannon. After destroying the tanks, the task force then advances towards a town, which is “full of TOW launchers.” Preston is told to target four launchers using his binoculars, which A-10s then destroy with their GAU-8/A Avenger cannons. Once the last Kornet is down, the squad advance into the town on foot with the Marines, but witness Russian troops withdrawing from the wreckage of the town. They are then attacked by a KORD HMG, but Preston manages to destroy it quickly. However, as Bravo-Two breaches the house where Kirilenko was supposed to be, they find that he has disappeared. In the end cutscene, a US Marine informs the squad of a prisoner that knows where Kirilenko is, who agrees to share the info in return for his freedom. Redford lets him free, after the prisoner said that he had family in Texas, and Redford requisitions some Marine HMMWV’s to advance towards Kirilenko.
- High-explosive anti-tank rounds are the only type of ammunition available in this mission. Typically, HEAT are made of an explosive shaped charge that creates a very high-velocity partial stream of metal in a state of superplasticity that can punch through solid armour. Early HEAT rounds were overwhelmingly effective against armour, leading to the development of new armour types, such as composite armour and reactive armour elements, reduce their effectiveness against modern MBTs.
- The tank shells follow a slight arc; by compensating for gravity, it is possible to hit the radar stations at longer ranges. The capacity to alternate between first person and third person when operating the tank is remarkably useful: first person allows for shots to be placed more accurately, while third person gives the operator more spatial awareness.
- This isn’t just a tank mission: players also get to operate a UAV. It is remarkably convenient that there happens to be a random UAV station lying around in the middle of nowhere, but the next phase of the mission involves clearing out a cluster of BMD-3s and TOW launchers: I imagine that it would be more complicated to go into the town with the tank and try and clear it out manually.
- All of the ground targets are marked out clearly: there shouldn’t really be any reason to bring the UAV too close to the hostiles and risk having it damaged. The missiles the UAV fires will lock onto whatever the targeting reticule is hovering over, allowing for one to make minor adjustments to the missile’s course.
- Battlefield 3 brings back the tank mission, but gives the player kinetic penetrator rounds for anti-tank combat, as well as access to the co-axial machine gun for anti-personnel roles. However, Bad Company 2 has one feature: destruction of environmental elements. The wooden fences and power poles can be destroyed by driving through them, and the M1A2’s main cannon can collapse a house in a few shots.
- The BMD-3s have a high firing rate and can quickly damage the player. I prefer engaging them from a long range, trying to hit them on the sides, where the armour is weaker. Despite this, it takes a few rounds to take them down (whereas in Battlefield 3, a single kinetic penetrator is all that is required to take out the T-72s).
- Upon reaching a hillside town, Marlowe is asked to paint the positions of several TOW launchers. A-10 Thunderbolts arrive for a gun run. During this time, Marlowe cannot swap to different weapons to engage the targets.
- Battlefield in general reminds its players that the battlefield is multidisciplinary in that combat operations proceed where the different divisions of the army work in concert to accomplish a goal. Thus, we cannot apply real-world military strategies and tactics to things like Girls und Panzer, since these things ignore the presence of other military divisions (namely, air support and ground infantry).
- I hope players did not waste their ammunition on the scenery during the UAV scene earlier: this is the part where there will be a firefight at relatively close quarters.
- There are collectable weapons on this mission: I’ve found the MG3 here, a LGM with a smaller 100-round magazine but an incredible rate of fire.
This mission does indeed feel like Christmas, since I’ve been itching to drive a main battle tank after seeing Girls und Panzer. However, throughout the course of the mission, there were mainly soft targets like radar stations and foot mobiles rather than hard targets. Contrasting Battlefield 3, I’m stuck with HE rounds and no coaxial machine gun, meaning that the main cannon would be required for everything. In particular, the lack of kinetic penetrator rounds mean that the BMD-3s encountered later in the mission are somewhat of a challenge to engage compared to the T-72s seen in Battlefield 3; despite the BMD-3s being modified light-infantry vehicles with weaker armour, they nonetheless take multiple shots to destroy from a distance. Their auto cannons can rapidly chip away at the player’s health, making it imperative to take them out as soon as possible.The short section with the UAV-1 proved to be quite fun, and by the mission’s end, the players find themselves one step closer to solving a piece of the mystery behind the scalar weapon, even if the tank combat is itself is somewhat underwhelming.