Monday, October 25, 2010

Follow Me Lads, I've Played Close Combat!

  Back in the late 90's, Atomic Games released a series of strategy games based on WW2.  They were top down, strictly not 3D tactical games highly praised for their gameplay and realism.  I've got the first two which depict Normandy and Operation Market Garden.  If what everyone says is true, I've learned a few things:

I understand why they called it Honey.  When you clue in that it may look like a tank but isn't one, the M3 becomes a zippy little mobile machine gun nest capable of causing much consternation amongst thy foes.  When I get rich, I'm going to buy one.  That, or a Ferret.  (I've got two styles I love:  Retro-Futuristic and Post-Colonial Africa.  Nothing says Afrique Coloniale like a British armored car.)

Forget the trenches; head for a pile of bricks.  It may have been a quark of the game, but if someone was in a pile of rubble, there was no way to dislodge him.  Old Hans, who hadn't held a gun since the Franco-Prussian War, kept the British Army in check while all of his friends ran off the map.

Germans aren't the unstoppable killing machines you see in the movies.  If the odds are against them, they run for it.

The King Tiger is.  Typical morning for King Tiger commander:  Wake at 3:30.  Drink cup of acorn coffee or whatever it was.  Start fueling tank.  3:45  Tell rest of German Army to stay in bed.  4:05  Late Start.  Trundle down to Arnhem.  Check Blackberry on the way.  5:00 Promptly start battle.  Destroy everything that looks British.  5:58  Present rear of tank to PIAT team to give them a sporting chance.  Send loader out to help them cock it.  6:10 Back up over PIAT team.  Return to base with case of Spam for breakfast.

If the 8.8 cm FlaK can see it, it can shoot it.  I understand why the Allies hated it so much.  One minute you are cracking open tanks, next it's the world's biggest sniper rifle.

The Sherman tank isn't so bad.  Unless you bust through a hedge and there is a Tiger on the other side.

No one likes flamethrowers.  Neither to give nor receive.

The ground in Holland is really soft.  Don't know how Michael Caine did it.  If I put tanks on the road, they blew up.  Send them cross country, they get stuck.  If you tell them to produce smoke, you don't know if they are actually doing that or burning up the motor trying to get out.


  1. I used to play Harpoon at lot. It was impressive for an early '90s game.

    Then I discovered it was used to train naval tactics at Annapolis (and still is for an advanced version I'm told.) Surprising what you can discover about a "game."

  2. I loved this game. Interestingly enough, later iterations were used by the USMC to train people in REAL tactics. You know, how to deal when your right flank decides "That's it! We've had enough, and were going hone for a pint now, sod off."

    And you're right, a flamethrower is kinda like a neon sign that alternately says both, "Shoot me first!" and "Will explode and spray fiery doom on my mates for food.".

  3. Actually Harpoon was developed and first used at the Naval War College... :-)

  4. I remember playing the Russia Front iteration of Close Combat, it was a lot of fun, though I think I would get more out of it now with instead of the apply excessive amounts of high explosive until the opponent ran.