Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
33LIMA

Iron Warriors - Balkans on Fire

Recommended Posts

Campaigning in the Balkans - in a tanksim with a storyline!

 

shot_2014_06_08_15_08_50_0006.jpg

 

For my first tanksim campaign to get its own set of mission reports, as a ground-based counterpoint to the concurrent IL-2 campaign reports, I thought I'd start with something slightly different - one of the few tanksims that will let you fight in Cold War era Soviet tanks.

 

It's none other than IDDK's 2005 release, Iron Warrior - T72 Tank Command, also sold as T72 - Balkans on Fire. I've had this for a while but never really got to grips with it. Now I've made a start and I'm glad I did. You won't get big all-arms battles between NATO and the Warsaw Pact on the North German Plain. But what you do get is an impressive simulator of the T34, T55 and T72 with an unusual and engaging backstory, which reminded me of Operation Flashpoint - Cold War Crisis - or perhaps more appropriately, the Red Hammer expansion. For Iron Warriors casts you in the role of a former Soviet Army tanker and Afghanistan veteran who's volunteered to fight with the Serbs in the Yugoslavian Civil War of the 1990s. You'll fight vicious little battles in rolling countryside, with both sides making the best of whatever kit they can get hold off.

 

As well as playing the Russian volunteer's campaign, there are some training missions; plus you can play some of the campaign missions singly, from the other side. Furthermore, there's a good selection of user-made single missions still available online, here. At the time of writing, the sim itself is still available; for example from Steam, and at a very good price.

 

Iron Warriors is highly configurable and my DVD-cased version came with a small but decent manual. Like any good tanksim, it takes practice to pick up on all the controls and become reasonably proficient at fighting your tank. In many respects the sim is reminiscent of Steel Fury - Kharkov 1942 (I believe some of the dev team moved on to work on the latter sim) with a map interface which allows you an element of control over any units attached to yours and the ability to cycle through and inspect the units after a battle.

 

The first mission

In keeping with the Russian volunteer backstory, when you kick off the campaign, you are presented with your diary, in a military-style notebook. This is nicely crafted and it certainly helped me get 'in character' for the campaign.

 

IW-5.JPG

 

Turning the pages, my sim persona has added a little more detail, reminding me who I am, where I am and what I'm doing here. And now we also have the basis for the first mission - basically, my crew and I must get some war booty - in the form of an abandoned but functional T34 tank - back to our local base.

 

IW-4.JPG

 

IW-3.JPG

 

Starting the mission itself, here's the actual briefing and map. Information is a little sketcky, notably on the strengths, dispositions and equipment of both sides, but the job is clear enough. Looking at the map (which you can expand) it's good that the contours show the lie of the land, as well as the location of an enemy oupost or ambush, apparently covering the road that would take me back to base.

 

IW-2.JPG

 

I quickly decide that I will not follow the road. Instead, I will attempt to by-pass the enemy, to my right. I can see from the countours and spot heights that if I keep far enough right I will be in dead ground, with the enemy the other side of a hill. If the Croats are mobile and have someone watching their backs I might still have to fight my way through. But as in that old Scots saying, no wise man rushes to a market where there's nothing to be bought but blows. My orders are to get my trusty old tank to our base, not go looking for trouble when I can avoid it. Plan made - time to get busy!

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_14_32_0001.jpg

 

...to be continued!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The scenic route?

 

Our 'rescued' T34 is evidently ex-Yugoslav Army reserve, and has a US .50 calibre MG mounted on the turret as well as an improved (zooming) gunsight. One or both might come in handy, soon! I pop the hatches open and roll off down Main Street - or at least, what passes for it in this neck of the woods. Some of the houses in the little village are burned out and the only sign of life besides ourselves are a couple of armed men in camouflaged clothing, standing by the roadside and watching us go.

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_13_24_0000.jpg

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_22_16_0000.jpg

 

But I know there's believed to be a Croat ambush overlooking the road, where it winds past some hills up ahead, and I've already decided I'm not going there. I pause briefly and scan the terrain ahead through the gunsight, before turning off the road to the right and speeding up across open country. I will bypass the enemy position, keeping to the opposite side of that hill.

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_20_04_0007.jpg

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_24_12_0005.jpg

 

I rattle on for a bit, telling the driver to keep up his speed. So far, so good. I keep to lower ground, coming around behind the suspected enemy position and keeping the hill to my left between us.

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_26_38_0008.jpg

 

Coming level with the ambush site, I order hatches closed but keep up my speed. I can see that the country is very open; the areas of vegetation shown on the map are little more than patches of scrubland and stands of widely-spaced, spindly trees. It's pretty desolate, but there are enough dips and folds in the terrain to provide cover, should I need it.

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_27_30_0009.jpg

 

Suddenly I see a tracer round zip past, well off to my left. I can't hear anything, nor can I see the shooter or the target. I'm tempted to investigate but my orders are to get this tank to our base and I'm not going to screw up on my first day. I carry on. A smoke trail, likely from an RPG at extreme range, flashes past over my tank, from behind, seemingly coming from that hill and very possibly aimed at me. Stopping to spot the shooter seems likely to result in me being shot, so I keep going, as fast as my old T34 will carry us.

 

The firing stops. Well past the ambush point, the high ground to my left drops away and I halt and traverse in that direction, scanning towards the road, a stretch of which I can now see again, several hundred meters away.

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_31_28_0017.jpg

 

And this is what I see. As I watch, a vehicle emerges to the right, on the road. I identify it immediately - it's a BRDM2 armoured car. But is he friend or foe? Problem is, nearly everybody in this war zone is using ex-Yugoslav Army or Soviet kit. He's coming from the direction of our base so I turn my frontal armour towards him but give him the benefit of the doubt and watch, widening my scan at intervals so as not to be caught by surprise.

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_34_00_0021.jpg

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_33_48_0020.jpg

 

As I watch, the BRDM turns off the road and goes cross-country, heading roughly towards me. However, from the direction his turret is turned, I can see that he's concerned about something over to my left, back in the direction of the Croat ambush.

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_34_56_0023.jpg

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_35_22_0024.jpg

 

Finally the BRDM swings around and heads back over towards the road, dipping out of sight over a low crest. I make a decision: I'll drop down and go after him. He seems to be on his own. If he's a friendly I can perhaps help him. But if he's one of the bad guys, I can put him out of business, without seriously risking my own mission.

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_36_05_0026.jpg

 

Unfortunately I am a bit too quick to move off without checking what lies immediately the other side of the convex slope in front of me. Too late I realise it's a scree slope with a rather sharp incline. Too late to call a halt, I turn slightly right to make sure we go straight down the slope, as anything else will certainly cause us to roll...and keep on rolling.

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_36_56_0027.jpg

 

...to be continued!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A mystery...and a result

 

Reaching the bottom of the hill without mishap, I looked around for the BRDM...but there was no sign of him. Guessing that he made it back onto the road while I was occupied negotiating that slope, I headed over that way, swinging my T-34's turret left and right, looking for threats...

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_39_20_0029.jpg

 

...but it was a case of 'nothing doing'. I was soon on a deserted road. Eerie. Not only the road seemed deserted, but the whole landscape was still and empty, as far as the eye could see..our eyes, at any rate. I halted and had a good look around, just to be sure.

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_40_39_0031.jpg

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_40_51_0032.jpg

 

Nyet. Not a Croat in sight. Nor a Serb, for that matter. Perhaps there was a big World Cup soccer match on the TV? If so, the sooner we delivered this tank to our base up the road, the better. Hopefully we would at least be in time for the penalty shoot-out, a near-inevitability if it was England playing. 'Go!' I told the driver. Off we went. 'Faster!'

 

Getting there in one piece was more important than the 'footie', though. Coming to a big dip in the road, we stopped again, then crept forward. A wrecked vehicle lay by the roadside, propped up against the rising ground on the right, like a dozing drunk on a bar. A casualty lay on the road, nearby.

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_41_46_0034.jpg

 

At first I thought it was the BRDM but I quickly realised it was a tank, on its side, with its long gun pointing in the air, like an oversize marker on a field grave.

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_42_18_0035.jpg

 

The tank was a Sherman. The intelligence people had told us that Israeli Super Shermans were in use here, though to my eye, this one looked more like a WW2-vintage British firefly 17 pounder-armed model. Whatever he was, for him, the war was clearly over. I crept cautiously down and past him and a second casualty who lay a short distance uphill.

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_43_13_0036.jpg

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_43_43_0037.jpg

 

Once past the wreck and not having drawn any fire, I speeded up again. I knew from the map that our base was just beyond the next crest...that is, if it hadn't vanished, like the BRDM, or been mysteriously trashed, like the Sherman.

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_44_43_0038.jpg

 

I crossed the crest carefully, not sure what to expect. It looked like I needn't have worried. The base was there and all was quiet, apart from a BTK tracked digger which seemed to be busy preparing some field defences.

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_48_23_0041.jpg

 

Nevertheless, I approached cautiously, scanning left and right, not wanting to come a cropper at this late stage. The Serbs in the base must have thought I was a bit of a lemon, but I didn't care. As I rolled to halt at the entrance to the camp, my first mission's success was confirmed.

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_49_29_0042.jpg

 

Using the post-mission review facility, I tabbed around the other units in the mission. The ambush was still in place, manned by these three desperadoes and their recoilless rifle. I'm not too disappointed that I didn't make their acquaintance.

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_50_34_0043.jpg

 

The vanishing BRDM appeared to have gone over the edge of the road and into a gully. Calling up his 'vital statistics' (labelled 'Markings' in the screenie below) I saw that he had done some shooting but not been hit; so it looked like an accident.

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_51_55_0046.jpg

 

I can't recall what got the Sherman but he too was very dead.

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_52_31_0049.jpg

 

I daresay all would have been revealed, if I had followed my instructions to the letter and driven up the road. But in my book you tell your subordinates what you want done, and let them work out the best way to do it, within reason. If it works, don't knock it.

 

Apparently the missions in the Iron Warriors campaign increase in difficulty, as you go on. Myself, I'm hoping to find that my success in getting the T-34 safely to base is not rewarded by making me her permanent commander. If not the T-72, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my next ride will at least be a T-55. Fingers crossed!

 

shot_2014_06_14_00_53_25_0050.jpg

 

...to be continued in a following Campaign Mission Report!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

33LIMA, Keep on going with your reviews of Tank games please. Am keen to see more, as I am on the look-out for a decent Tank sim myself - not to complex, plenty of different Tanks to drive, Mods availavble and a good shooter. Cheers, and thanks for the reviews so far - most interesting! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@ 33LIMA, can you tell me if you had any problems getting from the opening mission screens to actually playing the game?  Every time I click Play to go from the Map/Briefing to the game, it blows up with "Unknown Error".  From what I can gather from the Battlefront and Steam forums this is quite common.  Any ideas how you navigated past that situation?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@ 33LIMA, can you tell me if you had any problems getting from the opening mission screens to actually playing the game?  Every time I click Play to go from the Map/Briefing to the game, it blows up with "Unknown Error".  From what I can gather from the Battlefront and Steam forums this is quite common.  Any ideas how you navigated past that situation?

Never had that problem. I have Vista 64 and avoided installing the sim in Program files or Program files (x86) as is often recommended for pre-Vista sims. Maybe that helped. I recall that the same team's later sim, Steel Fury, could sometimes fail on loading, with a blacked-out screen for example, if there was something the sim didn't like, selected under 'Video options'; so maybe some trial and error there, would help. Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your response/encouragement.  It's really peculiar to me, though, that the Demo works perfectly fine, but the Game itself keeps blowing up, all with the exact same PC/video setup.  Oh, well......thx, anyways.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm no expert but this does sound like some kind of video problem. May not help but here are my settings in the Video section of the IW config program (the one you run separately from the game, and which can configure may options more than are available, in game. If these work for me, maybe they will work for you...failing that, maybe try uninstalling, deleting any leftover folders manually, then re-installing.

 

IW config - video.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PS another long shot but worth trying - if you have a recent version of Windows maybe the sim needs components of an earlier version of DirectX? I have this installed already as I play some older sims but it may be worth installing DirectX9:

 

http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=34429

 

Apparently, multiple versions of DirectX can co-exist happilly, you don't lose anything by installing an older version.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And I nearly forgot - I think there's a DivX codec you need to install, during the installation process - the game won't run without it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@ 33LIMA: FYI, I tried the game just yesterday after leaving it alone for a bit, and, Voilà, it works!

 

Do I know why it works now, but not the half-dozen+ times before? NO.

 

Do I care? NO.

 

So, there you have it! I appreciate your multiple replies on troubleshooting the probs, truly do.

 

Now, to try the mission you were discussing, above......FINALLY.

Edited by dmh0667

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

33Lima I really like both the IL-2 reports and now this T-72 TC reports as IL-2 is one of my favorite flight sims, but this one I'm really looking forward to as I got this game for like 1 buck or so on sale at Steam and want to see how your missions play out!!! I've had it for a while never really dabbled with it as the impatient kid in me always gets games/sims going without reading the instructions, so of course I couldn't even get the tank going forward, until I finally read the instructions and took the hand brake off!!! DUH!!!

 

Either way I'm looking forward to reading more of both IL-2 and T72-TC reports!! Thank you!!

Edited by snachito

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

33Lima I really like both the IL-2 reports and now this T-72 TC reports as IL-2 is one of my favorite flight sims, but this one I'm really looking forward to as I got this game for like 1 buck or so on sale at Steam and want to see how your missions play out!!! I've had it for a while never really dabbled with it as the impatient kid in me always gets games/sims going without reading the instructions, so of course I couldn't even get the tank going forward, until I finally read the instructions and took the hand brake off!!! DUH!!!

 

Either way I'm looking forward to reading more of both IL-2 and T72-TC reports!! Thank you!!

Thanks Snachito! I'm sort of dreading the next Iron Warriors mission 'cos I just know they're going to stick me back in that T-34 I delivered...and that next time, there'll likely be no going the long way around and avoiding getting shot at! Good mind to report sick, by the time the T-55s arrive, I'll be feeling much better :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..