The Flare Path: Shoots And Scoots

There was a young Panzer called Peter,
Who fancied himself a great defeater;
But because of his haste, and his tendency to waste Panzergranate 40 Armour Piercing Composite Rigid ammunition,
He was often disgraced in the War Thunder: Ground Forces beta.

For the past month and a half angry anvils have been trading high-velocity blows in an exclusive corner of the War Thunder game reserve. Until a few days ago, all the anvils were relatively modest in size and weight – Pz.IIIs, Pz.IVs, T-34s and the like. Now tankers – all of whom either purchased their beta places with fistfuls of cold hard cash, earned them with brow sweat and stick skill, or wangled access with press passes – can furrow mud, squash saplings, and puncture plate with giants like the Tiger, IS-1, KV-2 and Jagdpanzer IV.

Lured by the leviathans, I sampled the work-in-progress tank rumbles for the first time yesterday. For four engrossing yet inglorious hours (Currently, GF servers are only active between 02.00 and 06.00, and 13.00 and 17.00 GMT on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays) I…

Darted about, injudiciously.

Tumbled down cliffs, idiotically.

Gawped at AFV detailing, unashamedly.

Obscured the fire lanes of surprisingly patient/tolerant teammates, accidentally.

And was molested by an enemy Pz.VI, quite disgracefully.

Occasionally, very occasionally, I lived long enough to immolate or injure an opponent, or send one scurrying for the cover of a boulder, pillbox or hollow.

With gun sight trajectory aids (a coloured cross tells you where your shell will land and what damage it’s likely to do), glowing target outlines, and rocky maps geared to control-point capture contests, the action has a breezy, stylized, dare-I-say-it World-of-Tanks feel at the moment. As time passes and development continues, those of us that are more historically inclined will be able to temper that breeziness with a host of much simmier options.

Currently, Ground Forces is at its most Steel Fury or Panzer Elite-like when AP, HE, or APCR is colliding with RHA steel. Impressive Graviteam-grade damage and penetration modelling jams turrets, detonates magazines, saps engines and causes tracks to snap, and (invisible) crewman to quietly expire.

Once tank top speeds are lowered, and a comical tendency to roll while cornering is eliminated, the movement physics should be just as persuasive as the DMs.

In future sessions I plan to jump aboard a fleet Flakpanzer I and go hunt the aircraft that spooked me with bombs and bullet on several occasions yesterday. I also intend to engage with the elaborate XP-linked research, upgrade and training dimensions which Gaijin no doubt hope will turn the millions of us that are sure to play and enjoy War Thunder: Ground Forces, into 24-7 turret twirlers.


NorbSoftDev’s Euro Vision

Wargame devs are such wet bedrolls. Instead of donning satin shirts, crocheted berets, and bespangled platform boots, and belting out Abba’s Eurovision winner in front of a camera, ACW obsessives NorbSoftDev decided to announce their next turnless battlefield command sim via a sober Strategy Wargamer podcast.

To be fair, the decision did mean there was ample opportunity to explore the implications of the thematic sidestep. During an illuminating hour-long chat between host Jean Marciniak, and NSD’s Norb Timpko and Jim Weaver, the devs explained that the transatlantic shift is to be a temporary one and will be accompanied by equally eye-catching mechanical changes.

Scourge of War: Waterloo should, if things go to plan, ship with sizeable casks of Context and Consequence. In a series first, the shape – perhaps even the probability – of key battles like Ligny, Quatre Bas, and Waterloo will be determined on a Total War-style strat map, rather than in carefully authored scenario files. You’ll be able to play standalone simulations of the famous engagements too, of course, but arriving at Hougoumont and La Haye Sainte worn and uneasy after a string of unscripted preliminary scraps sounds far more interesting.

For anyone that struggled to adjust to Scourge of War: Gettysburg’s novel approach to command chains (In SoW, subordinate COs can be wilful so-and-sos, modifying or plain ignoring your orders)
the news that a friendlier ‘basic’ battle mode more akin to a traditional RTS, is under consideration, should hearten. Other cheering declarations of intent included highly moddable AI, courier system improvements, garrisonable buildings, and an absurd number of authentic uniform types. When asked if they’d considered swapping sprites for HistWar: Napoleon-style 3D combatants, Jim pointed out that such a shift would be incompatible with a key design aim – putting 50,000 soldiers on the screen at the same time.

The Battle of Waterloo bicentenary (June 18, 2015) hurtles towards us like the cannonball that slew François Antoine Fauveau. NSD’s 24-strong team of part-timers are determined that their simulation will be in our hands before it arrives.


The Flare Path Foxer

The word ‘undefoxable’ is not in skink74’s vocabulary. While others floundered and fled, the wizard lizard pondered and read, eventually figuring out that the last two foxers referenced ubiquitous board games Cluedo and Monopoly. On this occasion Perspicacity + Perspiration = A unique Flare Path flair point made from a rare jackboot Monopoly token.*

*Only present in the German 1938 edition.

A. Delta Force: Task Force Dagger (dagger)
B. China Airlines (Professor Plum)
C. Dijon (Colonel Mustard)
D. White Russians (Mrs White)
E. Avro Tudor (Tudor Mansion)
F. Albert Ball (ballroom)
G. Pratt & Whitney engine (Anthony Eustace Pratt)
H. Field Kitchen (kitchen)

A. Short SC.1 (Short Line)
B. RAF Waddington (Waddingtons)
C. John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough (Marlborough Street)
D. Das Boot (boot token)
E. ‘Brighton Baltic’ locomotive (Baltic Avenue)
F. HMS Kent (Old Kent Road)
G. Regent Airways (Regent Street)
H. Amiens Prison (Jail square)

After the incident with the guide dog, FP’s local supermarket banned him from using his self-built Goliath-based shopping trolley in-store. They don’t mind him wandering up and down the aisles with his strange pictorial shopping lists, though. The one below contains aide-mémoires for eight food items. Correctly identify one or more of the foods to win a Flare Path flair point made from goji berries and goose fat, plus your own body weight in olive-stuffed anchovies.


  1. Gap Gen says:

    Ah, for a War Thunder server where no-one crashes into you and then calls you a noob rammer.

    • Thurgret says:

      When my engine is dying and gliding to a landing site isn’t feasible, I consider myself almost obliged to use what remaining energy there is to fly through somebody’s wing.

      Possibly my favourite moment in War Thunder has to be when I was trying to shake a couple people off my tail, then there was a sudden burst of fire from almost directly above, followed very shortly afterwards by another hostile aircraft flying at high speed straight through the nearest of my pursuers, causing the plane to disintegrate entirely.

      I’m curious to see how they go about integrating the land-based portion with the aircraft.

      Also, I wasn’t especially fond of World of Tanks – something felt somehow wrong about the pacing of the game and the handling of the vehicles. I can see how it might be genuinely enjoyable, but I just couldn’t get into it.

      • Gap Gen says:

        Yes, it was fun when three of my pursuers crashed into each other. Probably their own fault for so many people trying to chase my tail at once. Although I too have stupidly torn through a friendly with a Beaufighter trying to shoot down an enemy.

        From what I’ve heard, they’re going to make some new game modes for the joint forces games; playing the current War Thunder missions as tanks would be zero fun, even if it is semi-realistic for ground targets to be strafed and blown up without warning by dive bombers.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Matchstick says:

    Is the plane in the bottom left the Sopwith Triplane nicknamed the Tripehound or simply the Tripe (thank you wikipedia) ?


    Give me night, or give me Scourge of War: Waterloo!

  4. Zephro says:

    Looks like an M3 Stuart, that tank.

    Also OH MY GOD OH MY GOD Scourge of War Waterloo!!! Rock Paper Succession!

    • Premium User Badge

      Matchstick says:

      And when the British used them they nicknamed the M3 the Honey

    • Zephro says:

      Is the desert ridge the one from El Alamein? Or Al Halfa?

    • FurryLippedSquid says:

      The little black & white pic is a grapeshot canister for ye olde cannons.

      The submarine could simply be a sub, as in the sandwich.

      The other black & white pic is a torpedo, I think. Liquorice torpedo? Or Americans call torpedoes fish…

    • Gap Gen says:

      You guys still playing? I haven’t really kept up since I moved a few months ago.

      • Zephro says:

        I never got Antietem or the other map packs due to the silly pricing Slitherine/Matrix do.

        But waterloo, I wouldn’t be able to resit.

        • Gap Gen says:

          Yeah, we should rally the troops sometime. Also I just noticed the Succession joke. Good work.

          • TC-27 says:

            Hi Chaps,

            We should arrange something again soon!

            Waterlooo sounds brilliant – I cant wait to deliberately mis-understand Emperor Montys orders and launche unsupported cavalry attacks!

          • Gap Gen says:

            I’m just going to reply to every single courier message with “I WILL NOT! NOT NOT NOT NOT!”

            And yeah, we should figure out a time. Hit me up on Steam if I’m around. Sunday could be good?

          • TC-27 says:

            Lets do it – Sunday evening GMT is good for me I am not sure how that translates for you time wise – I will put up a event in the RPS group for 20:00 GMT and see who bites .

          • Gap Gen says:

            OK, sure. That *might* be a bit late for me since I’m working Monday morning (GMT+1) but I’ll bite.

          • Zephro says:

            Should work for me.

            Also for all our quotable needs:

    • TC-27 says:

      Poor old Norb has disgruntled some of the more parochial American Grogs by daring to make a non ACW wargame….

  5. jezcentral says:

    That #7 screenshot is a case of EPIC! TEABAGGING!

  6. INinja132 says:

    The middle picture is of Dragon’s Teeth fortifications – possibly relating to the ‘Pitaya’ or ‘Dragonfruit’?

    • zachforrest says:

      or just tooth paste

      • INinja132 says:

        True, although he does specifically say food. Not sure how general the question is.

        • Smion says:

          I thought it might be referring to the Swiss Toblerone line which consists mainly of Dragon’s teeth and was named after the the sweets.

          Edit: Though, according to this Wikipedia article, the picture is from part of the Alpine Wall link to
          Editedit: The thing in the top right might be a diagram of a Stielhandgranate which were known among Wehrmachtsoldiers as Potatomashers

    • Gap Gen says:

      Those are apparently from the Alpine Wall, which in Switzerland is called the “Toblerone Line”.

      EDIT: Hmm, I think I was just pipped by Smion.

  7. Premium User Badge

    Matchstick says:

    Think the train in the top left is a Class 37 Diesel (possibly number D6700) and the image MIGHT be the box art for their Lima model of it.

  8. jinglin_geordie says:

    June 18th 1815, surely ?

  9. Premium User Badge

    Matchstick says:

    The picture on the right, under the submarine is of some Grapeshot

    Oops way too slow with that one – waves fist in FurryLippedSquid’s direction YET AGAIN ;)

  10. Aaarrrggghhh says:

    I might be mistaken, but wasn’t the tank actually called Thomas?

  11. Dominic White says:

    One thing that’s obvious about the War Thunder tank gameplay is that it’s so much more physics-driven than World of Tanks. WoT has a weird HP-based damage system and they only added physics to the driving relatively recently, wheras War Thunder is full of things that bounce and roll and skid and slide and wobble like you’d expect huge chunks of high-powered metal to.

    Also, high-caliber HE shells save the day:

  12. Premium User Badge

    Matchstick says:

    The submarine is the USS Scorpion SSN-589 and while some people might call scorpions food it was also a skipjack class submarine which seem more likely the link.

    • AbyssUK says:

      Damn it beaten, yeah its the SSN Scorpion, Skipjack Class.. so id say the food link is tuna too. Perhaps a Tuna Sub sandwhich would be more precise.

  13. TheWhippetLord says:

    Top right seems to be a Mark 1, 4000lb High Capacity bomb, aka a ‘cookie’, a treat regularly delivered to the Continent by the generous flyers of RAF Bomber Command.

  14. sparks50 says:

    War Thunder Ground Forces looks fantastic, but all this aiming-at-CGI-shapes-through-cover sort of undermines the simulation aspect.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I imagine like War Thunder: Noob Rammer, it’ll have a realism mode stripped of UI helpers for people who want to feel like they’re in the film Lebanon.

  15. CookPassBabtridge says:

    How fast is turret traverse in most of the tanks?

  16. SillyWizard says:

    Hershey’s Kisses, obviously!

    Also, um. In that Ground Force game at the top: where’s the infantry?

    • Gap Gen says:

      They’re going in order of planes, tanks, ships and expendable meat puppets.