Codename: PANZERS War Diaries – A Look
Behind the Battle Lines (Part 3)
CDV Releases a Continuing Look into the
Lives of Soldiers Whose Story Plays out in PC Title
Codename: PANZERS is a pending PC release from
CDV and Stormregion that thrust players into the heady battles of World War II.
Sporting real-time combat with 3D graphics, players are thrown into the role of
a commanding officer, creating a combat force from more than 100 finely detailed
units in three armies. (For more details on the game, also see
In support of the title, which is slated for
release in early October, CDV has released diaries from the soldiers whose
stories play out in the game. In
Part 1, the story of
a German officer was detailed.
Part 3 tells the story of an American soldier:
Sergeant James Barnes of the British Army and
Lieutenant Jeffrey Wilson have been friends since discovering a cache of German
beer in the trunk of an overturned Kubelwagon eighteen months earlier in North
Africa. Barnes was a college boy; his education earned him an immediate
commission in the army. A snooker hustler from Bristol, Sergeant Barnes had to
earn his rank the hard way, and had been in Africa longer than Monty himself.
Throughout the Italian campaign, their paths
crossed several times, and what began as boastful banter over a few drinks
turned into a heated competition to see who could be the biggest hero. Their
accomplishments did not go unnoticed, and each was recruited into the airborne
corps of the respective countries.
Sergeant Barnes landed via glider with a
platoon of commandos charged with securing two bridges crossing the Caen canal.
Lacking any armor or vehicles at all, the platoon had to rely on surprise to
seize the bridges. While his units were unprepared to meet any organized
counter-attack, the timely arrival of several bazooka units from an adjacent
landing zone halted the panzer-led patrol that attempted to retake the western
Not to be outdone, Lt. Wilson dropped with the
82nd Airborne behind Utah Beach. His unit was to seize a small
village behind the beach and intercept any vehicles transporting supplies to the
coastal defenses. The coastal sea breeze scattered his squads, however, and he
soon found himself in a firefight with a German machinegun team.
A neat little landing. No one hurt, we trust.
Once his platoon was rounded up, the first
objective was to eliminate an artillery emplacement upon a hill overlooking the
town. The battery was lightly held, and the gun was captured intact. The
German units in town were mostly still asleep when Wilson arrived in force.
Three anti-tank guns were accosted from their rightful owners, and positioned to
attack anything that came rolling down.
At 0600, the invasion began with a wave of
infantry backed by tanks.
“Let’s get those guns facing the beach, men!
Before our boys get here, we can expect a whole load of Germans looking for
shelter in OUR little town that we worked so hard to secure!”
This is why you never leave an unguarded AT gun in the back
You never know when some enemy squad is going to point it at your house.
Wilson’s prophecy would soon come through.
The Lieutenant was wounded in the leg when the house he was using as a command
post collapsed under fire from several panzers. The AT guns gave the Germans a
little pause, checking them just enough for the American armor to catch them
from behind. Once the threat to the village was diffused, two coastal batteries
were neutralized and Utah Beach fell to the American assault.
As the airborne division was extracted for use
at a later day, Wilson receive a note from his dear friend Barnes, bragging
about a promotion to Master Sergeant. Informed that the Airborne would not be
dropped again until all of the beaches were secure, Wilson accepted a temporary
reassignment to the Caen sector, where allied troops were struggling against a
determined armor resistance. Rumors suggested that Tigers were present; and
Wilson was given a platoon of Shermans along with some support units to
Hit the beaches and run! No point waiting to get shot!
No sooner did he arrive on the scene did the
German counterattack begin. A self-propelled artillery gun did not survive the
sudden attack, although the ford and bridge over a nearby stream was quickly
secured. Once across the river, the first of the Tigers made its appearance.
Impervious to Sherman fire from the front, Wilson took his Firefly around to
attack the rear of the great tank. The Shermans were taking a great deal of
damage and had to be withdrawn one at a time or the entire operation would have
been dead before it started. A direct hit by a British dive-bomber disabled the
Tiger for good. Among the survivors was a Colonel – one Oberst Hans von Gröbel.
The sweep of the town was slow and dangerous.
Taking time to be meticulous paid off. Just prior to the operation, Wilson
talked his way into a couple of artillery pieces – a lovely British 24 pounder
and a 6-pound AT gun. With a slow expansion of the perimeter, the artillery was
able to assist with maximum effect.
Death of a Tiger. Note Lt. Wilson’s command tank just behind
the brewing beast.
Just as it appeared that the last German was
rounded up and the last Tiger caged, a sudden counter-attack hit the town.
Deadly Jagdpanzers accompanied German tanks and support vehicles that assaulted
the town from multiple directions. Long-range artillery was quite effective at
whittling down the spearheads, although spotting vehicles needed to be cycled
out rapidly under heavy fire. The repair and ammo trucks needed to be moved
uncomfortably close to the action to keep the pressure on the German advance,
which at first sputtered, then collapsed.
For a 3:1 kill ratio, Wilson received a hearty
pat on the back. For turning in a German colonel with the reputation of Oberst
von Gröbel, he received a promotion to Captain. Time to send a note to Mr.
Barnes and get down to some serious bragging before tacking the German
resistance among the famed bocage of Normandy…
Will Wilson outwit Wittmann? See for yourself
in Codename Panzers!