I’m Indy Neidell and here is a Great War Special DICE and Electronic Arts announced that the
next installment of their video game series Battlefield will be set in World War 1. Now,
since the first trailer was published, thousands of people have joined our channel, which is
cool. And to welcome all the new fans and the older ones who are excited for the game
too, we decided to make an extra episode analyzing the trailer. 0:06 – 0:07
What do we see? A German soldier beats a British or US soldier with a makeshift trench club.
The background is hazy and muddy and we see observation balloons and tree stumps. Close Quarters Combat was very common in trench
warfare, and the soldiers often used improvised weapons. The German Soldier: He is wearing a typical
German gas mask – seems to the be M1917 model. Instead of the standard German Stahlhelm,
he seems to wear a metal (skull-) cap of some sort. Maybe the Stirnpanzer was the inspiration
for this. It was part of the armour that was issued to Machine Gun sentries. The other
part was what we call lobster armour. He is also wearing the full marching gear Which is kind of odd to wear in the
field. We see some patch insignia on the shoulder – this is not in line with actual uniform
style. One explanation could be that this is for the Squad insignia in the game. You
can see the red finish on his collar as well, which is the colour of the pioneers or the
infantry. In the close up you see German leather ammo and gear pouches. Looks like he’s wearing
a scarf too. The British or American soldier: He seems
to wear the SBR Small Box Respirator. And the typical British canvas belt and ammo pouches.
And what looks like a trench coat with a turned up collar. This is interesting: When he turns
around you can see a “Geballte Ladung” on his back – charges of multiple German Stielhandgranaten bound together. These were used in WW1 to penetrate weaker armours before real anti tank weapons were available. The Battlefield: The tree stumps, the mud,
and the barbed wire are straight from the classic images of the Western Front. You can
see some ruins too. And at least 5 observation balloons. There are also Flak shells exploding
in the air. 0:08 – 0:12
The next scene is set in the desert and you can see a lonely horse rider. The area covering
Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, Mesopotamia, Persia, Palestine, and up to Anatolia was
an important theatre of World War 1 once the Ottoman Empire entered the war. Horses were
used to cover the distances, of course, as were camels. The rider is wearing more traditional gear
including ammo bandoliers as a belt. And she is notably pulling a sabre. The “stirrup-hilted”
handle is actually more common for European or British Hussars. It definitely doesn’t
look like the typical scimitar that was common in the area. But since the British were heavily
involved in the the Middle East, this would possibly be available, though sabres were
status things and not often lost or given away. In the close up we can see that the women
riding the horse has facial tattoos resembling bedouin tribes. The tribes were notably persuaded
to rise up against the Ottomans in the Arab Revolt with support of the British, notably
T.E. Lawrence aka. Lawrence of Arabia. 0:13 – 0:14
The next scene seems to cover aerial combat on the Western Front again. In the foreground
we see the tail gunner of a plane which might be a Sopwith Strutter 1 ½. He’s firing
the aerial Lewis Gun, according to our friend Othais who made a video about the guns seen
in the trailer. The insignia on the wing indicates that this is a plane from the Royal Flying
Corps, the predecessor of the Royal Air Force. In the background you can see observation
balloons again, there is a river and cutting through the battlefield and on the left you
can actually see some untouched landscape not yet consumed by trench warfare. This is
a nice idea, however the actual distances would be much greater, since behind the trenches
you had supplies, maybe even 1 or 2 more trench systems and so forth. In the far back and in the beginning of the
shot you can see the famous red Fokker Dr 1 triplane as flown by the Red Baron. Of course
the plane in this colour is very noticeable, but Richthofen’s Squadron was called the
“Flying Circus” because the planes all were painted in different colours. Furthermore,
not all pilots choose to do this at all. The scene covers another Plane which looks like
another Sopwith Strutter too. 0:14 – 0:18
This seems to be the same scene again but now we are on the ground. The Sopwith is flying
above and more planes can be seen in the background. You can also spot the fields and the river
again. But of course the interesting part is the
foreground here where 7 soldiers are fighting. Because of the contrast, we cannot make out
a lot of details. But the 2nd and 3rd soldier from the right are engaged in close combat
again. This time the German soldier is wearing the M1916 Stahlhelm and his weapon of choice
is the Grabenspaten. According to Erich Maria Remarque in All Quiet On The Western Front
German soldiers used this instead of bayonet because the bayonet had the tendency to get
stuck in the rib cage of your enemy. The spade however, was so sharp that you could cut through
the whole body. The German soldier is also wearing crutches on his back. Maybe he is
a medic. Of course no one would carry those in a trench assault but this is probably about
recognising the medic in the game. The soldier getting hit with the spade seems
to be an American soldier, at least he is carrying the Winchester 1897 Shotgun. He is
also carrying the bayonet holster which is an odd combo with the shotgun. There is of
course the famous story that the Germans considered this weapon to barbaric in combat and protested
in 1918. Same thing happened with Dum Dum Bullets. In the background of this scene you can see
either smoke or gas. A variety of chemical agents were used during the war. We made a
whole special episode about them. 0:18 – 0:20
The next scene is again a German Fokker Dr. 1 Triplane chasing another plane through the
canyons. He is firing a German IMG08/15. The Fokker Dr. 1 never flew in the Middle East
and certainly not the Red Baron who was on the Eastern and Western Front. Airplanes in
the Middle East had more of an reconnaissance role, but there were Ottoman Aces too. 0:20 – 0:23
We are switching back to the Western Front and see a plane crashing into a windmill.
The fields in Flanders and Northern France probably had those at some point. It’s odd
that this one is still standing though and hasn’t been pulverised by artillery. The
soldier in the foreground seems to be British or American again. You can see his backpack
and spade quite well. The soldier on the left is a bit puzzling. From the colours and gear,
it seems to be a German soldier. Contrary to the other soldiers seen so far, he is very
lightly equipped with a spade, a bayonet, a gas mask container on the back. He is not
even wearing a helmet but the German Feldmütze without a visor which means he is not an officer. 0:24
We see a quick shot of a tank driver. Yes, the tanks were controlled by levers. 0:25-0:26
The desert again: In the quick camera pan, we see a British Mark IV tank and a soldier
stumbling. He might be Ottoman actually, since a few thousand M1916 helmets were issued to
the Ottoman Army. After the pan another Mark IV appears accompanied by a soldier wearing
a German anti tank rifle, the T-Gewehr. But the soldier seem to be British judging from,
for example, the puttees. Does that make sense? Well, yes. Whole books have been written about
foreign rifles in the armies and it was common to try to incorporate captured equipment into
your own army. There were limits to that of course. The gear of this soldier is a bit
puzzling to me, the hood and shoulder patches don’t ring any bell. We see some soldiers charging on horses and
being attacked by a biplane. The soldiers have different head gear from scarves to helmets
and goggles. Pretty sure that that they would not attack a tank in a frontal assault. Actually,
we only found references to a few Mark I tanks serving in the Battle of Gaza. Other lighter
vehicles were used in the desert though. 0:27 – 0:28
This shot is a bit puzzling. Othais says the person we see is firing the classic Colt M1911.
Other than that you cannot really see anything. The architecture of the building could be
as much Paris as it could be Berlin so who knows where it is. 0:28 – 0:30
Then there’s a new scenario. It’s a forest with a ruin in the back. There was heavy fighting
in places like the Argonnes, so this is not unusual. The character whose Point of View
we see is carrying a Lewis Gun. The important thing of course is the green cloud in the
centre which might be chlorine gas, or chlorine mixed with phosgene, called Green Cross. While
the soldier on the left is already collapsing, the one standing right in the cloud seems
to be fine. On the right side a heavy gun is firing. This
could be the French 75 mm field gun which was widely used during World War 1 and was
also used to deliver gas shells. It was also exported to other nations. 0:30 – 0:31
That armour is ridiculous. There were experiments with body armours and masks and stuff like
that, but they looked a lot clunkier than that. The Germans had the lobster armour for
their sentries but it was impractical for movement. Knowing the materials available
at the time, the mask would also be pretty heavy. We don’t know what kind of machine
gun he’s firing. But it seems a bit out of place. The soldiers that get shot by that guy are
Italian soldiers in a valley of the Isonzo Front. Othais says that the weapons models
don’t really check out, yet, but it might be placeholders or unfinished designs. The
Italian soldiers are wearing their version of the Adrian helmet and standard uniforms
with pouches. Interestingly, the soldier in the front seems to have a axe or ice axe Benito Mussolini was a big
fan of knives, for example, and the Italian elite storm troops, the Arditi, also used
them a lot. The axes were the same tools they used to dig shelters into the rock. The soldier
is also wearing the grenade bundle on his back. In the background one of the soldiers is equipped
with a flame thrower. Some pictures of flamethrowers we see in World War 1 show that these
were used by teams, but there were smaller versions too that could be carried by one
soldier. 0:32 – 0:34
We are in the air above the Italian front again. Apart from the planes and balloons
we already know, the terrain is very interesting. It seems more open than the other scenes and
we can see a lot of height differences too. That is of course completely in line with
the actual battlefields of that front. In the beginning there was a stalemate there
too but with later offensives the front was much more dynamic than you might think, especially
in 1917 when Erwin Rommel fought there, for example. 0:35 – 0:38
The shot opens with a Mark IV tank again and then we are in the trenches for the first
time. These seem to be British soldiers which wear Brodie Helmets, the normal uniforms and
equipment, as well as the Lee Enfield .303 rifles – one of the most recognisable rifles
of the war. Some soldiers have their bayonets mounted. One soldier is preparing to go over
the top, he is wearing a handgun and just a cap. The surrounding area is still pretty
much in tact, you can see trees. The tank blasting over the trench is actually right
because that’s what they were invented for. 0:40
Flamethrower guy again. You can see his protective gear pretty well. 0:41- 0:42
An armoured train! The Germans used those at Verdun and the Belgians also had some.
They also played an important role in Eastern Europe in the different wars that broke out
there after World War 1. The ship firing the broadside appears to be
a an Iron Duke class battleship. People usually think that the navies didn’t play a big
role in World War 1, but when you follow our show, you know that there were several naval
battles, most notably the Battle of Jutland. The planes attacking the ship in the next
shot are not seaplanes which is what would have been used in open waters. Airplane carriers
in the classical sense were not used in World War 1, but ships could carry seaplanes very
well. 0:43
The plane crashing into the ground seems to be a German Gotha G.I. bomber. 0:46
We are in a British or American artillery position. The guns firing look like 9.2 inch
howitzers. The shells lying around like that are a nice detail because that’s actually
how it looked like during a battle. Artillery caused 75% of all casualties in the entire
war and was enormously important in all theatres. In the beginning it was less focused, but
throughout the war more sophisticated tactics like the creeping barrage were invented. 0:49
We can briefly see a side mounted scope for a German Gewehr 98. Sniping or Sharpshooting
was a part of striking fear and terror on the other side. Snipers would pick targets
in the other trenches which were sometimes not very far away. 0:55
The final shot of the trailer is an iconic German Zeppelin. The Germans used them for
tactical bombing on the Western and Eastern Front as well as for recon. They were not
very precise for bombing at all, but the Germans counted on the psychological effect. Contrary
to popular belief, these could not be shot down easily because they flew higher than
most fighters or artillery shells and a simple hole in the skin wouldn’t do much harm since
they had many separate gas compartments. Later on more sophisticated tactics were developed
like incendiary bullets. We got asked a lot how “accurate” the trailer is in historical terms. It’s difficult
to say. Some of the scenes feature some unusual or experimental gear and some weapons are
carried by soldiers from the other side. Overall, it is an entertainment product foremost and
you probably won’t get an accurate depiction of the horrors of this war. However, the trailer
already shows a lot of aspects that are usually forgotten when talking about this war. The
different theatres, the vehicles, and different types of airplanes. Another interesting aspect is the close combat which is something you always remember once
you read All Quiet On The Western Front, so it’s definitely applaudable that the developers
took a look at the whole conflict and all its aspects. The trailer itself also shows a product which
is not yet finished and most of the scenes are only seen for the blink of an eye, so
we don’t know for sure how loose or accurate the whole game will be. For example, in a
few shots you see soldiers which appear to wear customised equipment while other scenes
show accurate uniforms and equipment. Could very well be that this is an indication for
the different game modes. Looks like a lot of fun, though. Look forward to playing it.