Panzer Front Ausf. B

Panzer Front Ausf. B

Panzer Front Ausf. B

The full Montgomery.

Heard the one about the new Italian tank? It has six gears: five reverse and one forward just in case it gets attacked from behind. How about the one about the new Italian flag? It's a white cross on a white background. Dubious jokes like these have been circulating in Britain for more than sixty years. Though inspired by real events (the mass Italian surrenders in North Africa in 1941) they perpetuate a myth uncorroborated by the history books. In reality the failure of Mussolini's men at battles like Tobruk and Beda Fomm owed more to poor leadership and inferior equipment than cowardice.

You can get a good idea of just how technologically disadvantaged the Italians were during the Desert War by playing this faithful yet flawed tank simulation. Rather than go down the faux FPS road taken recently by ZootFly (Panzer Elite: Action) and Sylum (WWII Tank Commander), Japanese developer Enterbrain has bravely attempted to model armoured combat in all its subtle, inequitable glory. Here getting a bead on an enemy and pushing the fire button guarantees absolutely nothing. If your steel chariot is a feeble M11/39 or L3/33 (two early Italian tanks) and your target is something big and chunky like a Matilda (a British heavyweight) then chances are you'll have to get behind your foe and within spitting distance of them to have any hope of achieving a penetration and a kill.

Happily all six of the included battles can be played from two or more perspectives (Italian, German, British, Australian or French). Gamers that can't hack the panicky hide-and-seek and desperate charges that are recommended tactics for underarmoured, undergunned underdogs can always switch sides. Further enhancing replayability, there's also the option to toss history into the latrine ditch, replacing every vehicle in a scenario with units of your own choosing. The game includes around 50 controllable war machines including giants like the famous Tiger tank, vulnerable novelty acts like anti-tank guns and motorcycle combinations, and improbable tourists such as the Russian T-34 and Japanese Chi-Ha.

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