“平時就牙刷刷, 依家出埋清都攪唔掂條𡃁仔, 抵佢死!” –九叔, 半斤八兩
With a muzzle velocity of 1575 m/s, a single 120 mm M829 APFSDS round slices through the air and slams into its mark, a Tiger I tank, from a distance of two kilometres. In a single shot, Sumeragi is unceremoniously removed from the fight as the M829’s stopping power kicks the Tiger I back like a child’s toy, flipping it onto its side. Had this APFSDS round been live, it would have torn through the Tiger I’s 120 mm frontal armour as though it were cardboard, turned the Tiger’s interior into a hell on earth as the penetrator vapourised metal and created molten shards that instantly perforated the crew. However, this is a friendly Panzerfahren match; on impact from a shell, a microprocessor in the Tiger I’s armour quickly determines that this round far exceeds anything the Tiger I can handle, and instead, Sumeragi’s Tiger I is simply rendered impotent, immobile. A white flag pops up to signify that this tank has been taken out of the fight. Six seconds later, the report of a distant Rheinmetall Rh-120 gun can be heard. Sumeragi had been leading the Panzerkiel formation in keeping with the Nishizumi Style, and the remaining eight Mädchen und Panzer Tiger Is reform their line, intent on maintaining formation as they travel through an open field until they reach their foe, a lone M1A2 Abrams designated “Icarus”. However, a second shot from Icarus punches into Leo Xiao’s Tiger I. The platoon’s commander, Tak, orders smoke to be launched as the surviving Tiger Is retreat into a forest and disperse to escape the enemy fire. Two kilometres away, Icarus’ commander calmly orders for the FLIR camera’s polarity to be changed from White-Hot to Black-Hot. The Tiger Is, hidden away behind a cloud of white smoke, suddenly become visible, as clear as day. Icarus’ gunner takes aim and fires again, disabling Hooves’ tank. With the Tiger I formation now behind cover, Icarus begins moving: while the Abrams enjoys seventy years of advancement over the Tiger I, including NGAP composite armour that gives the equivalent of an estimated protection of 900 mm Rolled Homogenous Armour equivalent (RHAe) against armour piercing rounds and 1320 mm of RHAe against HEAT rounds from the front, all it would take is one lucky shot to the Abram’s engine block to bring about a mobility kill. Sitting still is the one surefire way that a lone M1A2 could lose to six Tiger Is, but this is provided that the Abrams is daft enough to allow for this: with its Honeywell AGT1500 gas turbine engine, an M1A2 is capable of a maximum off-road speed of 40 km/h, giving it enough mobility to run rings around the slower Tiger I, which plods along at a paltry 25 km/h on a good day whilst off-roading. Minutes later, Icarus’ commander spots two of the remaining six Mädchen und Panzer Tiger Is that have exited the forest, in a not-so-subtle attempt to launch a pincer attack. The Tiger Is fire, but their 88 mm shells travel wide of their mark. Icarus responds in kind: its stabliser allows the gun to track moving targets and hit them reliably even when the Abrams is on the move, and in this way, RRW is taken out of the fight. Ascaloth’s Tiger I attempts to back up and flee, but its heavy tracks get stuck in the mud. Ascaloth too is immobilised from a single round to its front. The four Mädchen und Panzer tanks left belong to willx, Myssa Rei, Kimidori and Tak, and predictably, they’ve attempted to flank Icarus: Myssa Rei and Willx come from the rear, while Kimidori and Tak are approaching from the side. Icarus’ driver hits the gas and accelerates into a turn so the Abrams can face its foes: the four Tiger Is that are now coming in head-on. With a lurch, the Rh-120 sends its sixth M892 shell down range. Capable of penetrating an estimated 540 mm RHAe at two kilometers, this round hits Kimidori squarely on the turret, and its immobilised flag pops up: the Tiger’s armour is simply inconsequential. During the exchange of fire, a stray 88 mm round from Myssa Rei’s Tiger I glances off the Abram’s front turret, scratching the paint and marking the first time Mädchen und Panzer had hit anything during this match. Moments later, Icarus’ gunner lands yet another kill with grim accuracy. This time, platoon commander Tak is taken out; only Myssa Rei and willx remain. The gunner trains Icarus’ turret on willx’s Tiger I, pulls the trigger, and after the smoke clears, willx is downed. Seeing this, Myssa Rei orders her driver to stop, and closes her eyes while allowing the inevitable to happen: one Tiger tank is no match for an M1A2. Within the space of ten minutes, all nine Tiger Is are immobilised, and the only sign that the M1A2 had gone through combat is several superficial scratches on the turret’s front armour. The match is over; Icarus’ commander climbs out of the cupola and surveys the carnage, reflecting on how seven decades’ worth of technological advancements meant today, this was no victory – this is bullying.
Such a scenario has lingered in my mind for the past nine years, ever since Girls und Panzer had finished airing: I’d finished writing about a post on Battlefield 3‘s seventh mission, Thunder Run, and AnimeSuki’s Wild Goose had stopped by to read about my impressions of Thunder Run, one of Battlefield 3‘s most impressive missions. After I destroyed a group of T-72s and commented on how this would be the result were I to solo Mädchen und Panzer “on skill alone”, Wild Goose remarked that using an M1A2 to beat on World War Two era tanks would be cruel and unnecessary to the point where the mere suggestion would earn me a Vlad Tepes award. My original assertion had been that if given an era-appropriate tank, such as the Sherman Firefly or Centurion MBT, my patience and strategies would have allowed me to overcome Mädchen und Panzer, an AnimeSuki World of Tanks clan that had prided itself on using the Nishizumi Style. The me of nine years earlier was plainly less learned with clarity, and I had mistakenly given the impression that I wanted to solo Mädchen und Panzer with a modern MBT. However, the thought of trivially mopping floor with Mädchen und Panzer (and proving the weaknesses of the Nishizumi Style as I’d known it then) remained. Over the years, I’ve had the chance to become more familiar with simulated armoured warfare through an option superior to World of Tanks, and this is how I come to greatly enjoy how the Battlefield franchise handled armoured warfare. Nine years after completing Thunder Run for the first time, Battlefield Portal has arrived, and while both Battlefield 2042 and Battlefield Portal have seen considerable difficulties following launch, the latter has come the closest to allowing me to experience something that had, until now, only been possible as a thought experiment. Battlefield Portal allows for custom matches to be created, where different factions and eras can go against one another, and the revelation that the Wehrmacht could be made to fight the modern US Army had been intriguing. So far, Battlefield Portal allows one to effortlessly pit the two factions against one another in a match of conquest, and with a bit of tweaking to vehicle rules, tanks can be made to reflect the vast disparities in their performance, in turn allowing me to definitively answer the question of whether or not a number of Tiger Is could, in conjunction with the Nishizumi Style, defeat a single M1A2. The outcome shouldn’t surprise anyone: it’s “not a chance in hell”. Battlefield Portal plainly offers the base for satisfying a nearly-decade old question, but with the flexibility and versatility DICE had advertised, the question inevitably becomes, is it possible to re-create Panzerfahren with Battlefield Portal in order to create a more thrilling, fail and tactical experience? Unfortunately, the answer for now remains a resounding no – game modes and the logic editor remain quite limited in functionality. Similarly, the small number of factions and maps means that iconic Girls und Panzer Panzerfahren matches cannot be easily remade. However, the elements are all here for Panzerfahren modes to be created: Battlefield 3 had introduced the idea of Air Superiority, in which players would spawn into jets and fly around the map to capture points. In this mode, players could only spawn into jets, and could not bail under any circumstances. With this in mind, opening Battlefield Portal‘s mode editor to accommodate this behaviour for tanks, and generally increasing the number of tanks one could spawn onto a map at any given time would be the first steps. Subsequently, to facilitate the two Panzerfahren modes (elimination/annihilation, and VIP/Flag Tank), the rules editor would need to be extended. Elimination matches are the simpler of the two to create, requiring that one set the match up such that downed players cannot respawn in, and then, when a team has no more players, the match ends. VIP matches would require randomly assigning a single player the role of “flag tank”, and on this player’s defeat, the match ends. Cosmetics, such as a visible flag or unique tank camouflage, can be utilised to denote a flag tank. To provide win/loss logic, one would need to set things up such that score is counted only if the flag tank is killed. It becomes clear that a more versatile logic editor and larger option set would easily accommodate for Panzerfahren matches to be conducted purely from within Battlefield Portal, which in turn would highlight just how powerful Battlefield Portal and the Frostbite Engine are.
Screenshots and Commentary
- The idea behind pitting a single M1A2 against World War Two tanks came about when Wild Goose first mentioned that, when confronted with a Panzer VIII Maus, the M1A2 would be his preferred weapon of choice – in Girls und Panzer‘s penultimate episode, Black Forest brought a Maus to the fight, and its armour was so heavy that not even the Tiger I’s KwK 36 had a chance of punching through its front. Moreover, the Maus rocked a Pak 44, which could defeat any armour any World War Two era tank had (even the T28 Super Heavy tank the Americans had built). However, the Maus’ biggest shortcoming was its slow speed: thanks to its sheer bulk, it was only capable of reaching a top speed of 20 km/h. This is something Miho exploits during Girls und Panzer‘s final match, but in its first appearance, it was a terrifying foe. For the average Abrams crew, however, a Maus would be a joke at all ranges: modern ammunition can burn through 540 mm RHAe at two kilometres, and between a computer-assisted fire control system, plus gun stablisation technology, and a superior engine, an M1A2 would simply out-drive a Maus and disable it before the Maus even had time to blink.
- Furthermore, even if the Maus could hit the M1A2, the composite armour would allow the tank to survive and keep fighting. In short, the Maus stands no chance at all against the M1A2. This hypothetical match-up remains unlikely, and in reality, had the Maus been deployed, the Allies would’ve likely targetted it with artillery strikes or bombs rather than waste any tanks on it, using combined arms approaches instead of attempting to take the tank head-on. Combined arms is a doctrine in which multiple disciplines are used to strike an enemy in a way as to be complementary, such that if an enemy were to defend against one measure, they would be rendered vulnerable to another. For instance, if an enemy were to defend against attack by tanks and places an emphasis on armour, they would leave themselves open to attack from the air. Today, air support is a vital part of warfare: ground forces designate targets for air and artillery assets. Had Panzerfahren included combined arms, the entire sport would disintegrate, since all one would need to win was to send out spotter helicopters like the Kiowa, and then Hellfire missiles can be launched from a distance. In this way, an entire column of tanks could be rendered ineffectual in a matter of minutes.
- However, since Panzerfahren only allows for tanks, Wild Goose had wondered what it would be like, and I myself began wondering if a single M1A2 or modern equivalent would be able to solo Black Forest. After doing some reading, I found the answer to be a decisive yes, to no surprise. Battlefield Portal allowed me to, after a minor bit of modification to the game rules, re-create this experience. By default, all tanks are balanced against one another so that it takes three solid hits to take one another out, but this actually creates a jarring situation where it takes the M1A2 three or more shots to take a Tiger I out, whereas the Tiger, which would have no way of harming an M1A2 besides hitting it in the back, could also take an M1A2 out with three good shots.
- Once things were fully configured, I would describe the match ups as “boring”. Even assuming a fully competent foe that utilised everything in their environment and arsenal to its fullest, the disparity between a modern tank and a World War Two tank means in effect, the latter has no solutions against the former save overwhelming numbers. In Battlefield Portal, after everything is set up, every engagement with a Tiger I or Panzer IV entailed lining up the sights, pulling the trigger and watching as the tank exploded. There was absolutely no skill involved in this, and the conclusion here is simple: had I actually been given a chance to take on AnimeSuki’s Mädchen und Panzer in a “M1A2 vs Nishizumi Style” showdown, the results would have been indisputable.
- As a bit of background, Mädchen und Panzer is a World of Tanks clan for AnimeSuki’s players. Founded in late November of 2012, the group was intended to allow AnimeSuki members to live out their Girls und Panzer fantasies – clan members created a tightly knit clique and spoke of their exploits fondly at the height of their activity, swapped advice and compared their experiences to what was seen in Girls und Panzer. Although Mädchen und Panzer generally maintained a low profile, things changed when Akeiko “Daigensui” Sumeragi temporarily joined their tanks and used his premium perks to help them to a few wins here and there. These premium perks supposedly came as remuneration for Sumeragi helping Wargaming.net to research Japanese tanks. For the Record, a World of Tanks fan blog, translated an interview Sumeragi had with the Korean World of Tanks community regarding his contributions to the game’s Japanese tank line. This post painted Sumeragi as “the mother of Japanese tanks” because Sumeragi considers tanks as his “daughters”, a strange term of endearment, and here, Sumeragi alleged that he had access to original Imperial Japanese Army documents through family contacts, and was exposed to military hardware from a young age for similar reasons. While I am skeptical that Sumeragi has connections of this level, it is plausible that Sumeragi could have simply been a shade more skillful than the average person at finding information pertaining to World War Two Japanese tanks.
- This interview also gives insight into how Sumeragi reached the conclusion that he did pertaining the Nishizumi Style: when the interview had asked Sumeragi what he thought the main appeal of World War Two era tanks were. Although Sumeragi did not elaborate further, his respect for the older weapons of war appears to come from the fact that without technology to guide and manage things, everything people did boiled down to their own skill:
If we look at the tanks of [World of Tanks], they are from an era before computers started fighting wars. These tanks are what humans, men, would control and fight with. A man controling [sic] directly the large metal, a man directly aiming and firing the gun, a man directly looking for the enemy…in a way the tanks of [World of Tanks] from an era where the last romances of war still lingered. It’s similar to how [Girls und Panzer]’s Hana felt the thrill of firing the gun. The vibrations passing onto your hand, the vibrations of a live engine…it’s a feeling only people who worked with such machines can feel. That is what I think of as the appeal of a tank.
- Aiming and firing the main gun accurately came down to knowing the marks on the sights and using one’s experience to estimate distance to determine how much one should compensate for gravity. Smoke and poor sight lines forced commanders to position themselves smartly. Thus, from a certain point of view, tankers of old did have to cultivate a large number of skills in order to be effective in their roles. However, this, in no way, shows that modern tank crews are inferior to World War Two crews in any way: modern crews simply train for different modes of combat and under different conditions than crews from the Second World War.
- It should be evident that, given how wide the gap is between modern tanks and World War Two tanks, Mädchen und Panzer would not have likely accepted the match against a single M1A2, no matter how strongly members agreed with what Sumeragi had said about traditional values and the romance of fighting with older ways. The march of technology would’ve resulted in what netizens colloquially call a “roflstomp”. Whereas I have no moral qualms about reducing Sumeragi’s “daughters” into scrap metal with a single well-placed 120 mm round, I cannot imagine that I would have accepted this match, either. This wouldn’t be on ethical grounds, but simply because, if Battlefield Portal is anything to go by, it would’ve been so one-sided that there’d be no fun in things.
- In a hypothetical match with Mädchen und Panzer using Panzerfahren-sanctioned tanks (which would make things more interesting), I would likely go with a Sherman Firefly if engaging any clan member in a one-on-one: the 17-pounder would give me enough firepower to deal with heavy tanks, while the fact that the M4 is a medium tank would afford me with additional mobility, which I’d use to evade shots rather than attempt to absorb damage. Conversely, if soloing Mädchen und Panzer, the Centurion would be my pick: the 1945 Centurion also has a 17-pounder, while at the same time, possessing armour traits rivalling that of a heavy tank despite maintaining the handling traits of a medium tank, making it suited for me to appear, hit my foes and move to a better spot before retaliation can be dealt. One other factor affecting my confidence is Mädchen und Panzer’s average win rate, which is around 51.23 percent. Of its members, RRW has the best performance at 54.08 percent, while Sumeragi holds a win rate of 52.02 percent, and willx’s win rate is 51.10 percent.
- On virtue of skill alone, my odds against Mädchen und Panzer should be quite good; to put things in perspective, my win rate is 61.3 percent in Battlefield V, so I am reasonably confident that when push comes to shove, I could hold my own against Sumeragi and the remainder of Mädchen und Panzer to an extent as to set them straight. This comes about because I adapt to the situation and do what I can for my team, whether it be playing the objective or supporting teammates, rather than worry about playing in a specific way. The numbers alone indicate that contrary to talking a big game, Sumeragi could be proven wrong where skill is concerned – this is what lends itself to the post title and page quote. The latter is a line taken from Sam Hui’s 1976 comedy, The Private Eyes: when one of the minor crooks get stomped by Lee Kwok-kit, Uncle Nine remarks that the guy normally swaggers around, but gets beat by some random kid here even though he’s got a knife, and that this serves him right for being so arrogant half the time. Although Sumeragi’s poor World of Tanks performance is amusing, my dislike of Sumeragi stems from the fact that, despite being wrong more often than not, he still had a large number of people supporting him.
- Longtime readers may be familiar with my long-standing grievances surrounding this individual: Sumeragi would put on an act as the mature onee-sama, doling out advice to people and acted as the kawaii “reliable older sister” figure with those in his good graces. However, whenever Sumeragi was challenged, even in face of overwhelming evidence, he would become a foul-mouthed, vehement and unyielding individual who would defend untenable positions vociferously. Whereas some praised Sumeragi for these attitudes as being “sharp-tongued, quick-witted, and knowledgeable, and impatient with the ignorant”, my dealings with Sumeragi found an individual who was not only unknowledgeable, but outright unqualified to discuss matters ranging from what the essence of martial art is, to romantic relationships. Frustrated with Sumeragi’s refusal to respond to my counterarguments regarding topics like Girls und Panzer, I dug a little further and learnt that Sumeragi was actually someone from Vancouver, British Columbia, going by the name Kang Seung Jae.
- Kang Seung Jae had claimed to be a very intelligent, overachieving individual who graduated from both Tokyo and Yonsei Universities, worked at a Fortune 500 company his parents owned, possessed a net worth exceeding ten million dollars and was distantly related to the Japanese royal family. The reality was very different: I’ve long known that Kang was an ordinary citizen, albeit one with a history of self-aggrandisement and holding contrarian perspectives of history that would lead to his getting banned from virtually all online communities of note. It was ultimately by fabricating a new identity in Sumeragi, that Kang was able to continue propagating such perspectives – Kang found that his Sumeragi identity allowed him to accrue credibility. However, even then, as Sumeragi, Kang crossed numerous lines, eventually becoming banned from both AnimeSuki and most recently, from Sufficient Velocity. This was because Kang espoused highly revisionist claims regarding the second Sino-Japanese war, in particular, suggesting that Imperial Japan won a decisive victory over the Chinese and operated under the (incorrect) belief that Kwantung Army were a paragon of combat excellence.
- In reality, China lost their early battles and opted to retreat inland, giving up port cities in the coastal region in preparation for a war of attrition. In doing so, Imperial Japan was drawn into a protracted war they could not win, and even in areas they captured, they were frustrated by resistance efforts to the point of committing atrocities: their actions meant that the Kwantung Army stands among one of the most barbaric and ruthless armies to have ever existed. Even without American intervention, and despite the lack of capacity to mount as counterattack on the Japanese home islands, over time, the Chinese forces would have bled dry the “crack” Kwantung Army and forced a ceasefire. A Chinese victory was not possible, but it was also not possible for Imperial Japan to win out, either. Kang’s ignorance and arrogance meant he understood none of this, and the technique that he used to persuade people of his harmful beliefs were, in fact, are the precursor to the sorts of behaviours that dominate social media today, especially where politics is concerned, and is informally referred to as the nekama phenomenon (i.e. males assuming a female persona online).
- This approach has gained popularity in recent years, with many people utilising this as a means of garnering approval (especially regarding political opinions) in social media. Psychologists agree that a desire for approval and validation is precisely why the nekama phenomenon exists, and for me, learning about this actually ends up invalidating everything Sumeragi/Kang Seung Jae stood for, lending this post its title. While most of AnimeSuki’s user-base have gone inactive, a few of the remaining users did end up learning the truth – one user indicated that any apparent reverence and respect the AnimeSuki community had for Kang was strictly role-play, which is telling, being akin to a total disavowal of any association the community may have previously had with this individual: Kang himself was kicked from Mädchen und Panzer shortly after Girls und Panzer ended. While I am unlikely to see how Kang’s most ardent supporters, like willx and Leo Xiao, respond to this news, it gives me some closure that at the very least, the sorts of perspectives that Kang held were not accepted at AnimeSuki.
- The fact that Kang was ejected from Mädchen und Panzer means that the beatdown I describe here will permanently remain within the realm of the hypothetical. With this, I will not make further mention of the name Akeiko “Daigensui” Sumeragi here in the future, as I believe that I’ve now said everything that needs to be said of the matter: a quick search for some combination of “Sumeragi”, “Daigenui”, “World of Tanks” and “Girls und Panzer” finds this blog at the top of the results, with the implications that no one will be reading about, or agreeing with, whatever Sumeragi had to say. This leaves me with the reassurance that my arguments alone will be what people find. While the technology has long accommodated for Panzerfahren-style matches since the Battlefield V days, and Battlefield Portal, with a bit of elbow grease and care, could also prove to be a good Panzerfahren venue, even if I were to play on their terms, I doubt that Mädchen und Panzer’s members would switch over to Battlefield owing to the price tag and system requirements.
- In the nine years since I’ve entertained thoughts of soloing Mädchen und Panzer, both with period-appropriate hardware and something like the M1A2, Battlefield‘s system requirements have increased to the point where, if one were still running a PC from 2010 that had been geared for World of Tanks, they’d almost certainly need an all-new new system to keep up. On the topic of newer hardware, circumstances have led me to move up my plans to put a machine together, and earlier today, I ended up going in and placing the order for my parts. While my current machine is just holding together, I’ve caught wind that hardware prices could spike in the near future owing to current events: SSD prices are expected to jump 10 percent in April, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company announced a similar increase in price owing to rising manufacturing costs. In conjunction with the fact that the conflict between Ukraine and Russia puts neon gas and palladium exports in jeopardy, building a computer could become even more challenging.
- As such, while the local retailers still have microprocessors and SSDs on discount, the time seemed prudent to expedite things and pull the trigger sooner, rather than later. I’ve been saving for a new build since this time year, and while the ongoing GPU shortage meant I was unable to pick up a current-generation video card, the remainder of my build is solid. With a new computer, I should be able to handle things like Battlefield 2042 and DOOM Eternal without worrying about the CPU approaching its TJunction under load. Conversely, no matter how powerful my hardware becomes, I adamantly refuse to set foot in World of Tanks. The reason why I never got into World of Tanks was precisely because the game was very beginner-unfriendly: there are no respawns, so if one is destroyed in battle, that’s it for the match. Moreover, destroyed tanks require a certain amount of in-game currency to repair, but if I’m being destroyed in battle often enough, I wouldn’t be accruing the funds to repair my tanks, leaving the game quite unplayable unless I were to go the Premium Account route (which is what Mädchen und Panzer ended up doing). I’ve always found that the best games out there punish players for making a bad decision and then encourage them to learn from said mistakes by giving them opportunity to try again.
- This is precisely why Battlefield has always been something that appealed to me: if I made a mistake and died, I would be allowed to respawn and try a different approach. Dying costs my team tickets and impacts my KDR, but I have as many attempts as I need to get things right, so over time, I’m able to improve my movement and strategies to help my team out. Conversely, if I were allowed to just drop money on a Premium Account and get perks that offset my lack of skill, I’d never improve in the game. My reasons for staying away from World of Tanks are, in short, about as strongly-held as Mädchen und Panzer’s refusal to play on fairer terms (i.e. within Battlefield, where there is no Premium ammunition), and for this reason, my facing off against Mädchen und Panzer remains quite unlikely even though the technology now exists to do so.
- While many will disagree, I have found that Battlefield 2042 and Battlefield Portal, despite dropping the ball in key areas, remains a superior game to World of Tanks because the game’s paid content is purely cosmetic. All of the skill-based components in Battlefield are available to players, and those who buy cosmetics are not conferred a performance advantage over others. Similarly, while playing Battlefield allows for one to unlock customisations for their weapons and vehicles, and some customisations favour certain play-styles more than others, the stock configurations that weapons and vehicles come with are quite viable. This ensures that experienced players can customise their vehicles and weapons to fit a specific play-style, but even in the beginning, the stock setup is sufficient for even a moderately skilled player to hold their own while learning how things work. Moreover, Battlefield Portal overcomes this barrier outright: all weapons, vehicles, attachments and customisations are available to players right out of the gates.
- Altogether, I’ve found that the foundation for Battlefield Portal is solid, and as such, what’s really needed is additional content. However, for the present, it is difficult to ascertain where Battlefield 2042 and Battlefield Portal will end up. This is a shame, given that Battlefield Portal had, when it was first announced, sounded like it was exactly what the series needed: it was intended to give players the ability to tailor Battlefield experiences to their liking, and the potential for this was immense. In fact, had Battlefield 2042 just released with Portal, but at least eighty percent of the maps, weapons and vehicles to each of Battlefield 3, Bad Company 2 and 1942, it would’ve proven massively successful for bringing back everything that players had come to love about the series. While I’ve been able to partially recreate the scenario in which I solo Mädchen und Panzer in a single M1A2 using Battlefield Portal, the mode creates the tantalising potential of allowing me to recreate Panzerfahren matches. I’m not confident that such a possibility will ever be realised, but as it turns out, a few more additions to the logic editor, and the addition of new content is all that it would take.
- Playing proper Panzerfahren in Battlefield Portal would be considerably more fun that curb-stomping World War Two tanks with modern hardware, and despite the doubt surrounding Battlefield 2042, it is of some consolation to me that, nine years after Girls und Panzer finished airing, we’re the closest we’ve ever been to both recreating iconic Girls und Panzer experiences and messing around with outlandish scenarios like seeing if Mädchen und Panzer could indeed live up to their claims that Sumeragi’s interpretation of the Nishizumi Style is a match for decades of technological advancement. I’ve long held that operator skill trumps hardware performance, but I accept the reality that, when two competent operators are separated by hardware differences, the superior machine will win out. I’ve been running my current desktop for nine years, and while this machine has performed very admirably during its run, its twilight is also here. This desktop saw me through graduate studies and everything else for the past nine years, so I will be sad to see it go, but at the same time, I also recognise the need for an improved desktop that will continuing assisting me over the next several years.
Assuming that the logic editor and options provide freedom of modification to this level, DICE would then need to greatly extend the factions available and vehicle customisation choices in Battlefield Portal. At minimum, the Soviet Union and United Kingdom would need to be added, along with their corresponding tanks (T-70, T-34, IS-2 and KV-2 for the Soviets, Crusaders, Matildas, Churchills and Valentine Archer for the British), and additional tanks for both German and American factions are required, as well. Bringing such as the 38(t), StuG III and Panther to the German faction, and the M3 Lee, plus the M26 Pershing and M18 Hellcat, would provide enough variety for players to kit out their tanks in an authentic manner. Since Battlefield V already had assets for Japanese armour, it would be nice to bring tanks like the Type 89, Type 97 and Type 3, into the game, too. Once the appropriate factions and their corresponding tanks are present, a deeper customisation system would need to be added for each tank. Currently, tanks offer limited modifications to their primary and secondary weapons, as well as two slots for equipment. Allowing players to switch out the Panzer IV’s KwK 37 L/24 for a KwK 40 L/48 would increase firepower and accuracy at the expense of blast radius, or adding a turret skirt would increase damage resistance at the expense of top speed, could offer meaningful ways of altering the way one’s tank handles. To provide aesthetic customisations, limited cosmetics should be available, altering one’s tank cameos, hull logos or accessories like flags. Battlefield V had actually done a fantastic job of armoured warfare, introducing limited turret traversal rates, and simulated deflections through its ricochet mechanic: if players hit an enemy tank from a shallow angle, the shell would simply bounce off armour and head in a different direction, dealing minimal damage to the first target hit. With its variety of vehicles and a relatively involved upgrade tree, plus deeper tank mechanics, armoured warfare in Battlefield V was the best it’d felt in any Battlefield game. The variety of what was seen in Battlefield V, in conjunction with an expanded version of what Battlefield Portal allows, show that it is very much possible to, with a little creativity, re-create Panzerfahren in the Frostbite Engine and do something that Bandai Namco Entertainment continues to lack the courage to do: Girls und Panzer: Dream Tank Match has been out since 2018, and to this day, only is available for PlayStation 4. DICE has the perfect opportunity to demonstrate that the Frostbite Engine can step in and fill this void by providing players the power to create their own Panzerfahren matches. At present, the fundamentals are all in place – a little bit of elbow grease and creativity could very well allow DICE to do something that Bandai Namco Entertainment refuses to, and a Panzerfahren mode in Battlefield Portal would confer one the ability to experience Girls und Panzer in a novel way. In the meantime, having spent a few matches trivially blowing Tiger Is and Panzer IVs away with the M1A2 in Battlefield Portal, the word that best describes this experience isn’t so much cruel, as it is unnecessary, from my end – as formidable as the Tiger I is, and as revered as certain interpretations of the Nishizumi Style is, there comes a point where reputation alone cannot carry a battle; one must learn to adapt and embrace change as Miho has, or risk being rendered irrelevant by the times.