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Posted on Jun 8, 2007 in Electronic Games

Theatre of War (pt.1) – Basic Training

Jim H. Moreno

Moving out!

Timur uses the bush as cover…

…while his partner contnues forward, trying to get the attention of the gun crew focussed on him.

Then Timur moves forward in quick dashes and crawls in position. Can you spot him in the following image?

Awww… the icon gave him away, didn’t it? Luckily for him, the virtual soldiers on the battlefield do not see little icons hovering about their heads…

The trick works and the German gun crew takes the bait, rotating the gun towards the other sniper.

That’s the perfect shot for Timur, and he doesn’t take long. Bam…bam… and two German crewmembers lie dead on the ground. The third guy immediately panicks, crawls away from the gun and breaks for cover.

The only remaining task is now to capture the anti-tank gun.

A Russian gun crew appears on the scene and storms forward. A quick pause to take out the fleeing German…

…and then forward to capture the gun.

This is achieved in exactly the same way as with the MG earlier, except that the anti-tank gun takes a three-man crew – with one gunner, one loader, and one spotter (usually the gun commander).

In TOW, soldiers automatically try to assume the role for which they have the best skills, but the player is able to change around the crew to his liking, as well.

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This completes task two.

A Russian truck towing a ZIS-2 anti-tank gun appears on the scene. The third task is to unhook the gun, set it up into firing position, and take out the two German tanks slowly advancing towards the position. Since this is a training scenario, the German tankers are blind and deaf and do not engage the Russian gun.

Left-clicking on the truck to select it, we issue a “Stop” command, followed by “Unhook” and “Dismount”, all done by clicking on the respective buttons in the commands interface.

The passengers jump out of the truck. Selecting “Dismount” once more would also make the truck driver leave the vehicle. But we don’t want that – he needs to drive the truck away!

By double-clicking on the teamleader, all three crewmembers are highlighted, and a right-click on the now detached gun makes the crew man the gun. The gun icon goes from grey to green, to indicate that it is now an active unit.

Selecting the gun and clicking on the Rotate button, orders the crew to face forward towards the approaching German tanks.

It takes a few seconds to swivel and set up the gun into the firing position, then load a first armor-piercing shell… and only barely longer before the first shots from the gun disable the tank. Flames burst from the vehicle.

The crew from the second tank panics, and dismounts before the gun crew can even take on shot. Even though this is a scripted event in the training mission since the next task will involve capturing the tank, panic and morale of each individual soldier are tracked in detail based on a myriad of factors (e.g. proximity to friendly units, seeing friendly units get killed etc.), so it is a situation which could be seen in the game just as well.

[continued on next page]

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