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Letters from the Front

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The U-Boat campaign of the First World War was in many ways very similar to the Battle of the Atlantic during World War II. It was fought mainly around British waters, off the French coast, and the Mediterranean. The German Empire relied on imports of food and water; meanwhile, Britain also relied heavily on food imports and required materials for the war effort. The two nations aimed to block each other, the British had the upper hand as the Royal Navy which was superior to that of the German fleet and could operate anywhere at any time as opposed to the German fleet was restricted to Heligoland Bight, and used raids and submarine warfare elsewhere.

Since the beginning of the Great War broke out in 1914, the German Empire pursued a heavily effective campaign against merchant shipping and that came in the form of U-Boats. This U-Boat campaign intensified over the course of the war ultimately ending in 1918.

In April 1918, the Royal Marines and the Royal Navy decided on an operation to block the Belgian port of Bruges-Zeebrugge. The British intended to sink useless ships in the canal entrance, to prevent German vessels from leaving. The port itself was used by the German Kaiserliche as a base for their U-Boats and light shipping, which was a threat to Allied shipping and their control of the English Channel and southern part of the North Sea. Several attempts to close the port by air failed and Operation Hush was aborted. As sinkings of Allied boats increased, finding a way to close the port for good became urgent and a raid was considered.

An attempt to close the port was made in early April but was cancelled at the last minute due to weather. Another attempt was made on April 23rd, 1918, with a simultaneous attack at Ostend. Two out of the three ships were scuttled and one out of the two submarines rammed the viaduct and the mole, to encircle the German garrison. The blocking of the ships was done in the wrong place and after a couple of days, the German garrison had reopened the Bruges canal to U-Boats at high tide. The raid was considered a victory in England but the truth is that it was an indecisive result for both sides as the Germans lost only 8 men while the British lost a total of 275 men.

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Zeebrugge is an absolute gem of a map, it has become one of my favorite maps in this whole entire game. Zeebrugge takes place at midnight or shortly thereafter with the British conducting a night-time raid on the U-Boat facility and the Germans obviously defending their U-Boats from sabotage, this map much like Heligoland Bight brings out the naval warfare aspect of Battlefield 1 and it truly becomes an epic experience with the brand new airship and the brand new destroyer that both teams have.Much like that map, Zeebrugge is a true naval experience that the first half didn’t have.

Zeebrugge is very similar to that of Heligoland Bight in terms of the game-mode, Zeebrugge utilizes the “Conquest Assault.” variation mode of the original mode in which the Germans have all the control points secured and it is up to the British to secure the control points to catch up and ultimately win the day. Much like Heligoland, Conquest Assault doesn’t work here at all and just isn’t a fun mode to play like Frontlines or regular Conquest. The mode doesn’t work at all and I’m not sure why DICE decided on bringing back Conquest Assault when it’s clear that the mode isn’t very good in the first place. The map design is probably one of my favorite designs in the entire game, it not only holds true to the actual raid but also resembles the real life place of the Zeebrugge port but also it is very spooky and creepy when you’re on your own exploring the map.

Zeebrugge is a fine map, one of my favorites. It’s immersive, it’s haunted, and it’s an all-round fantastic map. Stay tuned for my review of Turning Tides.

 

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