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Jul 01

Battlefield 1: Vehicles Of The Great War

Vehicles Of Battlefield 1

What we have so far:

Light Vehicles:

Armored Cars:

Rolls Royce Armored Car — a widely use light armored vehicle in WW1. One Vickers machine gun in a turret mount, could do 45 mph (72 km/h), which wasn’t all that slow.


Motorcycle (with Sidecar for passenger).  Likely a Harley-Davidson or Indian, both of which were widely used by American forces in the war.



Heavy Tank:  A7V German Heavy Tank (note that in the war, Germany captured many British tanks, and repainted them, and actually had more of those than their own A7)

Landship Medium Tank:  British Mark IV/V tank – medium tank with asymmetrical gun turrets. The model shown in the game so far is the Mark V, with two side mount cannons, and a front mount driver-seat controlled machine gun.

Renault FT-17 Light Tank (French, but used by other allies, UK and USA). Largest class of tanks, more built than all others combined.

Tanks were completely new vehicle types in WW1, and there simply were not that many different models built.  Each nation naturally tended to use its own designs.  In the game,  however, unless we are going to see tanks only on one side of the battle (which was the case for much of the war), we have to bend history and let both sides have models in each class.




Scout: Fokker Dr.1 Triplane

Attack: Halberstadt CL.II 2-seat fighter

Bomber: Gotha G.V biplane bomber (could be G.IV, more of those were built, but the in-game model and text say G.V.)

Note that in the Alpha/Livestream, these planes are used by both sides.  The trailers show other airplanes, however, and unlike with tanks, each faction had its own models of planes in use.  In fact, the field of aviation saw an amazing amount of innovation during this period.

The early war saw lighter monoplanes in wide use, and pusher (propellers facing the back) biplanes were also widely used.  It was during this era that armed air combat really game into being, and the “Fokker Scourge” started when the Eindecker Fokker E.III monoplanes were equipped with synchronized machine guns, able to fire through the propellers and thus make air combat a matter of aiming the plane at the target.


The next era was the dominance of the new, improved biplanes, where both sides fielded more powerful aircraft and all sides had synchronized machine guns.  The Triplane era was brief, and only two models actually saw serious use –  the Sopwith Triplane, fielded first in 1916, and the Fokker Dr.1, introduced late in 1917.   It lasted only about a year before improvements in engines and designs made better biplanes available, like the Sopwith Camel and the Fokker D.VII.

Only 320 Fokker Dr.1 were built, and 147 Sopwith Triplanes.  Compare this with 5490 Sopwith Camels and 3300 Fokker D.VII, the successors to these, or 1770 Sopwith Pup (Scout) and 1866 Albatros D.III, their predecessors. The triplanes were a short term solution to the problems of insufficient engine power and lack of understanding of aerodynamics.  Too fragile and hard to maintain compared to biplanes, even at the height of their popularity there just weren’t enough of them to make them see wide use.

Will we see aircraft from more than one era in the game?  We miss out on some of the interesting models if we don’t do that.  But will players care about such things, or only want models they can easily recognize in their role?

You can’t emulate Snoopy vs the Red Baron if you don’t have a place for the Sopwith Camel to go up against the Fokker Dr.1.  But how would you go about assigning the aircraft by era to the maps?  Have the aircraft set fixed for each map, to fit the situation?  Or allow the aircraft era to vary, either randomly or by a server/game option?
Other armored cars:
Minerva Armored Car — Belgium, top gun emplacement in back, slower than the Rolls at 25 mph
IAG1 Crossley (or Chevrolet) Armored Car, has domed turret with two machine guns. Its dual wheels in the back could have made it handle better, but it wasn’t a 4 wheel drive.  Didn’t actually see service until after the war.  Its armored turret and door design were intended to go against lightly armed infantry, but it was useless in mud.

Autocar Armored Car — a partially enclosed car with one mounted gun.

Ehrhardt E-V/4:  German armored truck, with a high top turret and more ground clearance than others of the war.  Speed about 35 mph.

All of the armored cars started out as regular automobile chassis with armored components attached to them.


Other tanks of WW 1
Medium Mark A Whippet — British Medium tank, tracked with a turret, no heavy gun originally (but that is true of many others as well, not all the Mark series tanks had big cannons).  Faster than the Mark series tanks, not as heavily armed or armored.
Schneider CA1 — early French tank, one larger cannon on right side only (similar with the Mark IV), and two machine guns. In size, I’d guess this to fit the medium tank role.
Saint-Chamond Tank — a heavy tank, one large forward-mounted non-turret cannon, 4 machine guns on sides.  Could also be implemented as French medium tank with two side machine guns.

Tanks were new, and there wasn’t a lot of actual variety. The British Mark series had a lot of models, all fairly similar in appearance, the classic landships.  The late war saw development of larger Mark series, but none saw service which offer much difference compared to the Mark V.

Air Power in WW1: 

There were roughly four eras of aircraft design in WW1, and though I think that the early era has some nice looking planes, I doubt we will see them in Battlefield 1.  For one thing, the early models were not balanced against each other at all, and the German aircraft dominated, requiring greater numbers from their opponents in order to even the odds.  But also, the earlier aircraft didn’t perform nearly as well as the later models, and might be harder for players to effectively use in game.

Bombers are sort of a special case.  They were mid-war to late war innovations themselves, and though there were improvements, I think that one per faction for the entire war will suffice.


Bomber:  Handley Page Type O/400 for 3 seat bomber

Scout: Sopwith Pup (official name: Sopwith Scout (Scout), single seat counterpart to the 1-1/2 Strutter

Attack: Sopwith Type 9400 1-1/2 Strutter — earlier two seat fighter, first British plane to have synchronized machine gun (so pilot could shoot forward through propellers).


Scout: Sopwith Triplane.  A Canadian UK unit got a special reputation using these, and was known as the Black Flight from their distinctive black paint jobs.

Bristol F.2B – 2 Seat Fighter

End War

Sopwith Camel (shown in trailer video)

Attack: Royal Aircraft Factory R.E.8 — two seat fighter/scout

Scout: Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5 — a competitor to the Sopwith Camel, same role, scout-attack

The S.E.5 was a popular alternative to the Sopwith Camel, and might be used by allied pilots


Bomber: Gotha G.V biplane bomber (could be G.IV)



Scout: Albatros D.III — this plane preceded the Triplane as the lead attack fighter, while the Fokker D.VII was the later war version.  The plane the Red Baron used the most, despite the going out in the Triplane.

Attack: Albatros C.III


Fokker Dr.1 Triplane
Halberstadt CL.II 2-seat fighter


Scout: Fokker D.VII – biplane fighter, counterpart of Sopwith Camel

Halberstadt CL.IV — improved version of CL.II


Hannover CL.III – 2 seat, ground attack

Notes: The Sopwith Triplane was introduced as the first combat triplane, and used by the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) rather than the Royal Air Corps, and it took some time for Germany to respond with its competitor. By that time, the British were well on their way to the development of the superior Sopwith Camel. The German counterpart to that is the Fokker D.VII biplane, which was the premier single seat attack fighter at the end of the war.

Do we get both the Triplane era and its successors? That could be interesting, but it leaves open a lot of questions about how many sorts of aircraft we will see.


The Americans entered the war in its later stages, but some enlisted with French or other forces in order to fight in the war before that time.  The Lafayette Escadrille is especially noteworthy


Caudron C.23 – good candidate for the bomber role, a large late war twin engine 3 seat craft.  Earlier bombers were two seat aircraft.


Scout: Nieuport 17 – early single seat fighter, first one with synchronized gun.  Nieuport biplanes were technically  sesquiplane designs, with the lower wing not as wide as the upper.

Attack: SPAD S.XI


Scout:  Nieuport 27

Attack: Salmson 2 – 2-seat


Scout:  SPAD.XIII.  Very popular with US pilots.

Attack: Breguet 14


The US forces used French and British aircraft. Despite the Wright Brothers success in inventing airplanes, the USA did not keep up with the wartime development and had none of its own to speak of in WW 1. Russia and Italy also used French fighters.  Thus, there were no American models of combat aircraft deployed during WW 1.

Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire used mostly German aircraft designs.
They did of course use their own markings on most, though it wasn’t uncommon to see German crosses on them along with their new paint.
Scout: Phönix D.I — single seat biplane fighter, only one produced specifically for Austria-Hungary. Also known as Hansa-Brandenburg D.I, it is comparable to the early war Albatros D.I, but remained in service with upgrades until the end of the war for Austria.

Italy used mostly French designs

Ansaldo A.1 Balilla – only Italian single seat biplane to see much service in war. They otherwise used mostly French aircraft.  This plane was comparable to the Sopwith Camel, but with a narrower streamlined engine cowling and one of the fastest planes of the war.



Voisin III.  A French design used early in the war, two engine pusher design with two crew (which means only one machine gun, if we stick to its historical configuration).

Russia’s own innovation was the Sikorsky Ilya Murmomets (S-22/S-23) 4 engine biplane bomber, the first heavy strategic bomber in the world.  But with a crew of five (but only two gunners plus a pilot with combat roles, and an enclosed protected cockpit, it is in a different class from the Gotha G.V and similar bombers.


Sikorsky S-16.  Only a small number of these were built.  Otherwise, used mostly French designs.


Zeppelin:  L 30 on the kill feed. (LZ 62, 62nd Zeppelin built,  first of the same super-Zeppelin class as L 32). , used for bombing operations over the UK. About 196 meters long.
Note : No other nation made anything quite like the Zeppelins. The British made a handful of airships, but the Zeppelin companies turned out over one hundred.

Blimps and balloons were made in much larger numbers, but they were harder to steer, more fragile, and less useful as military attack vehicles. As reconnaissance craft, though, they were excellent. So far, we can’t actually shoot any of them, but perhaps that will come later.

Other Aircraft:

Ground attack planes and the first heavy bombers also saw some use.

Heavy Bombers:

There are none of these shown so far in the game, but they played an important role in the war, and also stood out as remarkable innovations for larger aircraft.

Russia’s Sikorsky Ilya Murmomets (S-22/S-23) 4 engine biplane bomber with an enclosed cockpit, could have a crew of 5 or so.  Significant as the first long range 4 engine aircraft of the war, and used to good effect in what was otherwise a losing war for Russia.
German Zeppelin-Staaken R.VI Riesenflugzeug – “giant aircraft” saw a fair bit of service, open cockpit but again a large crew. It had a successor, the Zeppelin-Staaken R.XIV, with a large enclosed cockpit, but saw very limited use at the end of the war.
British Handley Page V/1500 – another 4 engine bomber, was deployed but didn’t see action during WW 1.

Italian Caproni Ca.3 – 3 engine bomber. Italy

Note that all heavy bombers were used largely for night air raids, rather than daytime attacks, just as Zeppelins were. They had guns, but were not maneuverable enough to really dogfight. Russia used them to good effect.

In game use, they could perhaps be comparable to the Airships, a special unit reinforcing the battle.  It would take two or three of these “giant” airplanes to be equal to one Zeppelin.

Night bombers — two seat attack planes with heavier loads — also saw service, but I’d think that these four engine giants would be more interesting for game play. Would they fit for all maps and missions? Probably not, but they were still a major factor in the war, along with airships, creating the whole category of strategic bombing.
Germany pioneered the ground attack plane, with a metal fuselage.  Will we see them in Battlefield 1?  Not all maps would fit their role, a tougher two seat attack craft intended to hit ground targets rather than fight in the air.
Junkers J.I crew of two, notable for being equipped with a radio for its observer/gunner. First of the type.
AEG J.I crew of two, notable for giving the pilot fixed machine guns pointing down, for strafing action, while the rear gunner took care of air threats.
Albatros J.I — a competing craft, used near the end of the war, similar design and role.

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