PANZER FRONT - PlayStation FAQ (RUSSIA Missions - 2 of 3)

by J Woodrow  <jonjon132002@yahoo.co.uk> 

Version 1.0  -  08/08/2002

_________________________________________________________________________




   MIIIIIII      IIII    MIIIIIII   MIIIIIIIII MIIIIIIII MIIIIIII
   MIIIIIIIII  MIIIIIII  MIIIIIIII  MIIIIIIIII MIIIIIIII MIIIIIIIII
   MIII  MIII MIII  MIII MIII  MIII      IIII  MIII      MIII  MIII
   MIIIIIIIII MIIIIIIIII MIII  MIII    IIIII   MIIIIIIII MIIIIIIIII
   MIIIIIIII  MIIIIIIIII MIII  MIII   IIIII    MIII      MIIIIIIII
   MIII       MIII  MIII MIII  MIII MIIIIIIIII MIIIIIIII MIII  MIII
   MIII       MIII  MIII MIII  MIII MIIIIIIIII MIIIIIIII MIII  MIII



        MIIIIIIII MIIIIIII     IIIIII   MIIIIIII   MIIIIIIIII 
        MIIIIIIII MIIIIIIIII  MIIIIIII  MIIIIIIIII MIIIIIIIII
        MIII      MIII  MIII MIII  MIII MIII  MIII    MIII
        MIIIIIIII MIIIIIIIII MIII  MIII MIII  MIII    MIII
        MIII      MIIIIIIII  MIII  MIII MIII  MIII    MIII
        MIII      MIII  MIII  MIIIIIII  MIII  MIII    MIII
        MIII      MIII  MIII   MIIIII   MIII  MIII    MIII



                                 *
                                ***
                               *****
                              *******
                             *********
                 ***********************************
                    *****************************
                      ************************
                        *******************
                          ***************
                          ***************
                         *****************
                        ********   ********
                       ******         ******
                      ****               ****
                     **                     **



                   R U S S I A   M I S S I O N S
                   _____________________________


        Show them your bravery! Show them your guts! Forward!

_________________________________________________________________________

PANZER FRONT - PLAYSTATION

  Released: April 2001 (UK)
Developers: Enterbrain
 Publisher: JVC

[This game was first released in Dec 1999 on Dreamcast in Japan]
_________________________________________________________________________


C O N T E N T S 
_______________


   INTRODUCTION
   THE LEAST YOU NEED TO KNOW

R U S S I A   M I S S I O N S
-----------------------------

    1:  Training
    2:  1941/12/ 9  Strike Army
    3:  1942/ 8/27  Gaytolovo
    4:  1943/ 1/18  Poselok No.5
    5:  1943/ 7/12  Swch. Oktjabrskij
    6:  1943/ 7 22  Junction
    7:  1944/ 1/19  Krasnoe Sero

   'TACTICS'
   MISSION 5: Swch. Oktjabrskij (REVISITED)
   CONCLUSION

_________________________________________________________________________


I N T R O D U C T I O N
_______________________


This FAQ is the second in a three-part guide to playing through the 
nearly 30 missions in the tank battle simulator PANZER FRONT, this time 
playing as the Russians. 

The first half-dozen missions, undertaken when playing as the Allies, 
were covered in Part One, together with a full explanation of the 
controls and menus and a step-by-step guide to moving your tank through 
the first Training missions. That part of the guide assumed the player 
would be an absolute beginner, so if you are playing PANZER FRONT for the 
first time and looking for help getting started then I suggest you play 
through that guide before commencing this one. (You should find it at the 
same place you got this document or visit <www.gamefaqs.com> for the 
latest version.) 

There is no more than the briefest mention of controls and so on in this 
guide. You should already be familiar with the various features such as 
opening the Map screen and handling all the options in it, as well as 
being able to effectively direct your Blue units and knowing of course 
how to look after your own tank. Especially you should know how and when 
to switch ammo and be able to aim properly. Accuracy I can't help you 
with! This guide can then be taken as just a few suggestions which may 
assist you through your first attempts at the RUSSIA Missions. (If you 
are an experienced 'Ace' then there is really nothing here that you do 
not know already.)

You have gained experience by playing through the USA Missions, and now 
you can improve your skills and enjoy more tank action against the same 
determined enemy in a very different scenario - the brutal Eastern Front.


_________________________________________________________________________


T H E  L E A S T  Y O U  N E E D  T O  K N O W
______________________________________________


Ideally then, you will have played through all the USA missions as 
outlined in Part One. If you haven't, then don't worry as these Russian 
mission outlines can stand alone. As with the USA missions, there is no 
storyline and all missions can be played in any order.

As far as controls go, this is the least you need to know:


  ,-----------------------------------------------------------------.
  |                  T A N K   C O N T R O L S                      |
  |=================================================================|
  |                                                                 |
  |                                                                 |
  |               L2 + R2 = move FORWARD    { lift off either side  |
  |               L1 + L2 = move BACKWARDS  { to turn in motion     |
  |                                                                 |
  |    L1 + R2 or L2 + R1 = TURN stationary                         |
  |                                                                 |
  |   LEFT ANALOG / D-pad = rotate turret                           |
  |                                                                 |
  |                 START = enter Map mode                          |
  |                CIRCLE = return to Battle mode                   |
  |                                                                 |
  |                CIRCLE = enter Sight mode                        |
  |    TRIANGLE or SQUARE = set Range                               |
  |                CIRCLE = Fire!                                   |
  |                     X = return to Battle mode                   |
  |                                                                 |
  |                SELECT = change ammo type                        |
  |                                                                 |
  '-----------------------------------------------------------------'


As you know, the game choice is between 'TANK SELECT' and 'TACTICS'. 

These follow exactly the same scenario, but the option is to play using 
fictitious tanks in TANK SELECT or the 'real' ones modelled in TACTICS 
mode, where there are also other more advanced options available. This 
part of the guide is written for either of the Russian tanks in 'TANK 
SELECT' mode. For your first run through it may be best to play in this 
mode and choose the sturdier and more forgiving tanks available to you 
there. Try the NC-152 first as this is immensely strong (but very slow). 
The CY-122c is faster and probably more like the T-34, although with 
better armament. Try them each on a test mission and see how you get on.

If you feel confident, play 'TACTICS' mode straight away for a much 
tougher challenge. For most of the missions you get a T-34, which is very 
strong (authentically enough, as the frontal armour on some models was 
nearly 2" thick) but surprisingly fast despite that and the wide tracks 
give good mobility on the varied terrain, so in these respects playing 
through in TACTICS mode gives a more realistic experience. Most of the 
methods outlined in this guide will still work for you, but others will 
be problematic. Remember that this guide is written with beginners or 
less experienced players in mind, so the tips described here are really 
enough simply to get you through the missions first time in TANK SELECT 
mode. When you play 'TACTICS' you will have to approach most of them a 
little differently anyway, so it's up to you but you might as well try 
both.

The default mode for either version of the game is 'Veteran' which should 
be suitable for the first few times you play each mission. As with the 
first part of this guide, I suggest you make just one change to the 
default settings: set 'Double Loading Speed' to 'on'. The Russian gunners 
are maddeningly slow to load the next shell and on nearly every mission 
you are swamped with targets. When you have a better idea of what is 
going on then you can set yourself the higher challenge of normal (and 
therefore more realistic) loading time.

You know how to select the mission you want (press X in the 'SELECT MAP' 
menu and then DOWN to choose from the list), and it makes sense to start 
always with 'Training' to get to know each of the different Soviet tanks.

Get used to the ponderous 'Russian' theme music. Try to like it or you 
will go potty after a couple of missions! You can return to the 'OPTIONS' 
and use R1 to get the sound options menu and set the volume down (using 
the 'Audio' bar) if it gets too much. Leave the 'Music level' bar on 
maximum because this actually sets the volume for the superb Sound 
effects (which you can scroll through just underneath and listen to one 
by one). For the full experience those should be LOUD.


_________________________________________________________________________


R U S S I A  Mission 1:  T R A I N I N G

-------------------------------------------------------------------------



       T r a i n i n g  S u m m e r  1 9 4 1,  R u s s i a
    ____________________________________________________________


              Don't let the enemy's attack scare you!
        Take careful aim, and destroy them from long range!

        You have seven enemy vehicles to destroy. Move out!



By this stage, you will probably find the handling of the tanks second 
nature. There is one particular difference about all the Soviet tanks and 
that is the appearance of the rangefinder system, but it works in just 
the same way as you are used to. This training mission gives you the 
opportunity for lots of practice.

Whichever mode you choose, you play as Vostok. If you have the NC-152 
then as well as being equipped with a fairly useless Machine Gun (the 
Blue 'ammo type' icon) your shell types are AP, which destroys tanks, and 
HE which is best used against Fire Points and Anti-tank Guns in later 
missions. The CY-122c has only AP or HE, which is really all you need for 
completing the missions in 'TANK SELECT'. When playing in 'TACTICS' mode 
you are in command of a T-34, 1941 model for this training run. In 
addition to the standard AP (Armour Piercing) shell, this has APCR which 
you remember to be a more powerful shell in most situations, and so while 
you have an unlimited supply you should mostly use that for all missions. 
Like the CY-122c, this tank is very fast but skates around wildly if you 
are too heavy on the steering. 

Close by is Kirov in an older but equally sturdy KV-1. Ranged against you 
and all around are an assortment of Panzers and Assault Guns. The one 
immediately ahead is within range at 1000m, which is a nice round figure, 
so press CIRCLE to get the view through the gunsight. It is pretty 
obvious how to set; in fact it is even easier than for the Allied tanks 
you have been used to, since the crosshair aligns precisely. All other 
controls are the same and it is very clear what to do. 

Shoot!

Also like the CY-122c, the turret on the T-34 barely rotates, but the gun 
itself swivels. The 'outside of gun movement' message will frustrate the 
heck out of you. Thus you should get used to the 'turn on the spot' 
manoeuvre: press L1 + R2 or L2 + R1 and she pirouettes like a ballerina. 

Whichever tank you are practising with, you can simply rotate at the 
start and move forward slightly to pick off every one of those in range 
because the terrain is so barren that there is nowhere for them to hide. 
Turn to the left to knock that one out after the first, and then the rest 
will all be off to the right. The gun is quite weak at long distance - 
expect a lot of shells to ricochet. Sometimes you will see a succession 
of shells bounce off, even if you are quite close, in which case you are 
wasting your time - the angle is wrong and the computer seems reluctant 
to let you get lucky. Return to the Battle screen and check the range 
again and move forward a little or perhaps turn your tank slightly and 
then have another go (unless you are directly head-on). That should do 
it. You might see the message "We should be able to destroy him at this 
range", which is a hint that something is not set right and occasionally 
it can help to switch ammo type. If you only have AP and HE then the 
commander will give you a gentle reminder if you choose the wrong one!

The targetting is pretty forgiving but as mentioned (and especially if 
you stay with the defaults), the ammo is very slow to load. Which is not 
a problem on this training level because the enemy are equally slow to 
return fire. Make the most of this luxury because not all the missions 
are so simple! 

You have the shooting skills, so like he says - Move out!


_________________________________________________________________________


R U S S I A  Mission 2:  S T R I K E  A R M Y

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is a hard mission for anyone fresh out of basic training to 
complete. If you are playing through this game for the very first time, 
perhaps you should skip ahead a mission or two and come back when you are 
well used to your tank - the barrel will be red hot. The rest of you 
follow me.


    1 8  D e c e m b e r  1 9 4 1 ,  S t r i k e  A r m y 
    ____________________________________________________________


    Strike a definitive blow against the enemy on the 
    east bank of the Volkhov and wipe them out!

    Our advancing rifle division has issued a request:
    "Enemy's defensive center well-armed. 
    We need reinforcements!"
    Comrade, it's up to you! Support the rifle division's 
    efforts to capture the rail line!



This level is typical of the Russian missions, in that it involves a 
determined assault against seemingly overwhelming odds, but "Strike Army" 
has a definite constricting time factor added in. If you attempt this 
mission in the manner you have developed through playing the USA missions 
- proceed cautiously and knock out each target before carefully assessing 
the next - you are likely to find that despite your prowess, the 
Leningrad Commander will report:

   "Wiped out? That's impossible! Comrade! This is an enormous
   responsibility!"

...as the mission fails. Well I wouldn't like to be in your shoes when 
you report back. What went wrong? 

The first few times I attempted this, I tried everything possible (as you 
might also); charging forward or creeping along, and either got hit time 
after time or battled through with apparent success yet still found the 
'MISSION FAILED'. Then I noticed that all the action seemed to be going 
on without me some distance ahead...

The primary concern is to get to and knock out the Fire Points (marked as 
"Two houses with MGs" on the Mission Briefing map), which are cutting 
your infantry to pieces somewhere up ahead. Of course this is the stated 
mission objective, but they forgot to say NOW! If the troops are wiped 
out then the mission fails, regardless of your own exploits. Therefore do 
not become tangled up with trying to knock out every enemy ranged against 
you - leave them to your Blue units as they trail in your wake. A full-on 
charge ahead can pay off, but just as often you and all your Comrades 
will be blasted in short order. We need a bit of caution and some 
straight shooting, a lot of speed and a little luck. Let's roll.

From the start set one Blue tank to move steadily forward between the 
stands of trees, heading south. You know there are two enemy tanks behind 
there, and he will eventually attract their attention. You can turn 
around quickly and speed around the back (if you have a speedy tank), and 
soon enough you see them waiting through the trees. By the time your 
comrade has shown himself to the Nazi invader, you will have caught them 
cold; with their attention to the front, it should be easy for you to get 
very close and hit them with a single shot each. At once a nearby Anti-
tank Gun has your range..! Speed towards it, twisting side to side to 
throw his aim and at the same time load up the HE and close until you see 
the whites of their boots and then belt one in. Now you find how tense 
those few seconds are before the next shell is loaded! You may like to 
switch to MG if you have it, to polish off the crew while you are 
waiting. Better still, make that first shot a good one. These A-T's are 
just feeble PAK 38's and not 88's thank goodness, so they won't trouble 
you much head-on and they don't take much punishment, but there are lots 
of them. When they get you it is almost always from the side or behind.

You need to clear this area first to prevent attack from the rear, so 
that you can turn your attention the other way, at all the targets now 
springing up to attack Star (that bizarre 5-turreted T-35), who is 
advancing south under his own initiative. Quickly open the Map screen and 
make sure both Eagle units are OK back at the start and if so, send the 
other Blue tank now to cover him and the first one can move ahead with 
you. The easiest way to do this is to set 'FORMATION' on (choose any 
pattern and press X) and then use X to select the other tank to break him 
out of this formation, and lay down his own path in the way you are 
familiar with. Now just the other tank will follow you faithfully. (But 
slowly.) The benefit of choosing 'FORMATION' is that you won't have to 
set the exact path for this tank and he will shoot at what you shoot at. 

Two enemy tanks have appeared, and they make the best targets of the many 
open to you as you speed towards them, so a careful AP shell will knock 
each out before switching back to HE and homing in on the trickier Anti-
tank Guns. These are difficult to spot among the scrubby patches, but 
properly targetted they only take one hit. (Speaking of scrubby patches, 
try to steer a course around them, as they slow you just like the boggy 
areas you are familiar with from the USA missions.) Don't be distracted 
by all the 'DINT!'s going on, as your tank is quite sturdy and you can 
stand a fair number of hits from in front; use the Map screen to see who 
has you targetted from the sides and tackle them first. Take a moment to 
aim carefully because (with 'Double Load Speed' off certainly) those 
shells come far too slowly for comfort. Use the time to close in for a 
better shot, and aim slightly down so the blast takes them out. Try to 
keep moving or someone will have you targetted for sure, and so you might 
like to test yourself by firing on the move. A hit will be more luck than 
judgement, but it certainly feels good when you get one! If you can 
manage to get three A-T guns one by one along the first line of defence 
then it is probably a good idea to hurry along to those Fire Points now 
and try to dodge the rest.

[A risky but rewarding alternative approach is to load up the HE right at 
the start, move forward a little and angle facing south (the start point 
is a little further to the east in 'TACTICS' mode) and then set your 
sights to about 2000m and start launching shells at the points from which 
you see tracer emanating, dead ahead on the horizon. With a bit of luck 
you will demolish all those active Fire Points (two buildings with two 
MGs in each - watch for the faint flying debris to let you know you are 
on target). Check the Map screen whenever you score a hit and see which 
Point got knocked out and alter the angle accordingly for the rest. Keep 
checking the range or you will hit your own comrades, and don't spend too 
long on this, or the mission will fail anyway. Three or four careful 
shots into each building should be enough to do the damage. The risk is 
that you can't find the range and spend too long firing shells into space 
while your allies are under attack. Fingers crossed, but once you know 
where to aim this method is nearly foolproof. Now that the Rifle Division 
are not likely to be so quickly annihilated, this will take the pressure 
off a little timewise, and you can advance at your own steady pace and 
carefully eliminate each opponent, as you are used to.]

Whether you are in a hurry or not, your objective still lies straight 
ahead through a hail of fire. Whenever you stop give Eagle 3 further 
short directions - Eagle 2 is still coming with you along the west side 
while Eagle 3 should continue to cover Star to the east, and all at good 
speed if you can. You probably already noticed that if you pause the 
action to look in your Map screen, you must start from a standstill when 
you return, so if you have a head of steam and are under fire don't pause 
just yet! It seems that as you clear one set of enemies another springs 
up, and because those PAK's are small and mobile you can expect a good 
many to bar your way. There is only one route ahead to get to the railway 
line because of the impenetrable belt of trees reaching to either side of 
the battle arena.

Star seems to be about as much use as concrete underpants and always gets 
knocked out about 15 seconds after the mission begins, so don't leave 
Eagle 3 exposed over there. His job is to draw the attention of the A-T 
guns, at least while you home in on them. The ground is very uneven, and 
you may already have found that sometimes after aiming down (as you will 
frequently have to do on this mission) the camera view can track with the 
gunsight but remain a little lower than the normal view and you can't see 
ahead properly. In this case, press TRIANGLE to get the Binocular mode 
view and then switch back and the camera angle will be reset to the more 
comfortable middle-back view.

Next direct all surviving Blue tanks on a full-speed charge through the 
narrowing funnel dead ahead between the woods. ("Cannon to the left of 
them...") Stick close by and they will draw the fire while you make 
frequent visits to the Map screen to assess the safest path. As 
mentioned, those PAK's pop up everywhere, so do your best to knock out 
the nearest ones but don't get distracted - maybe concentrate on clearing 
just the west side so you can stay facing mostly forward as you fire - if 
you head down the middle then you will be under attack from all sides and 
have to turn side-to-side all the time. If you are really unlucky, two 
more tanks will materialise back where those first two were, and you will 
take fire from directly behind as well. No matter; press ahead and leave 
them for later. When you play through in future as an 'Ace' and with 
damage 'on' this level will test your patience to the limit most likely, 
so consider right now that things could be worse! Once you punch through 
the second line of four or five Anti-tank Guns, the hail of fire quietens 
a little. The A-T guns give up unless you trouble them or they are 
pointed at you already, but the tanks will come looking for you. Don't 
hang about.

The object is to get to those wooden buildings now just ahead and knock 
out all remaining Fire Points inside, as well as the two Anti-tank Guns 
next to them which seem also to be delaying your infantry. One tactic is 
to charge straight at an A-T gun (the crew will evaporate mysteriously) 
and just sit on it until you have cleared the other nearby targets. That 
one won't be able to hurt you and when the way is clear simply back off a 
little and shoot down at point-blank range to destroy it! It's not 
cricket, but quite within the bounds of acceptable military conduct I'd 
have thought. 

About now an Assault Gun will make its presence felt off to the west, and 
there will be another over there waiting a little further on, so 
hopefully you have a Blue unit left to cover you while you deal with the 
A-T guns. Perhaps move forward and use the wooden buildings to shield 
yourself from some of the fire coming from those targets left behind you 
if not. Simply hammer in the High Explosive at everything you see nearby 
(to protect the infantry), then load AP to turn your attention on the 
tanks by the tracks (to protect yourself!) With the way clear, you can 
press on with the surviving infantry gathered close behind you to capture 
the rail line. Make speed to destroy the last Fire Point around the 
corner overlooking the final approach and nothing can stop them. There is 
a tank waiting to greet you as you tumble over the rail line in support. 
Make sure every tank around that area is knocked out, and that you don't 
simply race to the railway line ahead of the infantry leaving them 
exposed. The crucial factor is that the troops must make it through with 
you. Look out for any stray German infantry by checking the Map screen, 
as just one soldier laying on the track at the finish could scupper the 
mission if he picks off the very last of your men - why not try out that 
nice Machine Gun?

You might think that finally helping the infantry take the rail line 
would accomplish all objectives, but reports may come that there are 
still tanks left around, and if so then you can be sure that some of your 
infantry are trapped back to the north somewhere. The idea is that ALL 
the surviving infantry must be able to advance to the objective. If any 
are pinned down back there you will have to go and get them out of 
trouble; ironically this means that it is better for you if only a couple 
of units make it through, or you'll be chasing round like a sheepdog and 
facing danger all the while. Edge cautiously back towards those first 
Fire Points and most likely once you hit the nearest tank or a couple of 
A-T guns, several units will spring up out of hiding near those buildings 
and start to trudge towards the woods. (I might be imagining it, but 
there seems to be a sound like a distant cheer.) Cover them as best you 
can - notice that sometimes you will be told there is a 'tank' at X 
o'clock which proves to be an Anti-tank Gun. Take them out anyway. When 
the last of your men make it through to the other side of the woods (or 
the last weapon preventing them from doing so has been destroyed) then 
the mission is over. 

There is certainly an unpredictably random element to this mission, and 
tanks and guns will appear in different places according to which you 
knock out and when, so precise directions for the mission are impossible, 
and perhaps by now unnecessary. Eventually all the survivors will have 
plodded through the snow to the objective and then (even if there are 
many guns left unsilenced), there comes welcome news:

   Tank Commander: "Horoso! It's a great victory!"

Da. We have come very far, very fast. But do you know at what cost?


[As to the scoring, the mission ends only when you get to the railway 
line with ALL surviving infantry units. I have finished this mission with 
15  Green infantry markers safely through but received a lower score than 
with just a couple of platoons because of the time wasted bailing them 
out and waiting for them to plod home. Strangely enough this means that 
if the score matters to you it can be better to take longer in arriving 
to knock out the Fire Points, in order to let the infantry get thinned 
out a little first... Heartless, I know - watch those comical little guys 
go through their 'doubled-up walk, lay down for a bit' and 'kneel down, 
wait a bit, go for a doubled-up wander around again' routines and you 
begin to feel quite a soft spot for them.]


_________________________________________________________________________


R U S S I A  Mission 3:  G A Y T O L O V O

-------------------------------------------------------------------------



    2 7  A u g u s t  1 9 4 2,  G a y t o l o v o
    ____________________________________________________________


    Break through the enemy forces surrounding your position!
    Your first objective is the enemy forces at Gaytolovo.

    Destroy the enemy's special fire points and support the 
    advance of the Rifle Division!



As always, take a look at the Map screen to assess the task. (As a great 
soldier observed: "Time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted".) You 
play as Comber 1 and have command of Comber 2 in a T-34. Far to the north 
is Neva 1 and nearby are Vostok 1 and 2 and a little further south are 
Comber 3 and 4, none of which you control. Ranged against you are three 
tanks and three guns that you know of. Two of these are deadly 88's. 

The terrain is a little different from what you have seen previously. 
There are the usual belts of woodland to limit your advance, but between 
them are stretches of marshy bog which will hinder you further. The 
Engineers seem to have laid duckboards across the worst of it, but it is 
still something to consider, especially when you advance your Blue units.

Set Comber 2 a path along the boards at a steady 3 and then point him up 
the dry slopes ahead in the direction of Neva 1. Make your advance with 
the others, who will engage the first Panzer on the ridge. Have a go at 
about 1600m to help out. There are other red triangles appearing, but 
they are a little out of range just yet. As you crest the hill in support 
of the infantry a whole load of Fire Points spring up, so get ready with 
the HE and try to keep a steady aim as they will pile in the ordnance at 
you alone if the others haven't caught up yet. 

[Many of the reviews of PANZER FRONT which I have seen criticise the look 
of this game, although the only unconvincing aspect for me is the hedges 
which seem to be made out of fragile green polystyrene cubes! I can't 
imagine what these people expect or how anything much better could be 
achieved on the PlayStation with so much else going on in the game, but 
there are many compensations for the slight imperfections. One small 
example here is the 'wave' of tracer which sweeps out from the Fire 
Points like a whip in your direction, and you certainly feel it when it 
hits you! That is a superb piece of programming, and one of the many 
little details which can make this game utterly absorbing.]

Some careful shooting at 7-900m will clear the front line and allow the 
infantry a fighting chance. You can try a frontal assault with the foot 
troops and the Greens, but it is a hard slog. Instead turn your attention 
to the north where the other Fire Points are, and direct Comber 3 around 
the woods, where Neva should be arriving soon.

There is a Panzer tucked around the west tip of those woods, but your 
usual crafty 'creep-around' won't work here as there is a deadly 88 
waiting to pick you off from the south-west if you try it. They have had 
to learn fast, these fascist Invaders! This time you should go with your 
comrade and of course the Panzer can't get you both if you rush him. 
Stick to the flowers by the copse and there will be a bank to shield you 
a little from the Fire Points over there. Turn to them when the tank is 
ablaze.

Meanwhile, those Vostok tanks are certainly mad for it, so try to keep up 
with the vanguard:

   "The vermin are retreating! After them!"

It is quite exhilarating as you hit the crest and see all those Fire 
Points spring up in Gaytolovo. Lose no time in slamming in some HE but 
aim very carefully and don't waste a single shot - there are too many 
targets waiting. Keep an eye out for that 88 (or even the much less 
troublesome 76.2mm) as you skirt around below the ridge and come up from 
behind to pick the Fire Points off one by one. Stay away from the tank 
over there and leave it to the Green units if you can, as you will have 
your hands full with the Fire Points. Since these are so densely 
concentrated, instead of charging up here this may be the best time to 
investigate a new and very useful option. 

Press X in the Map screen and scroll right to 'FIRE SUPPORT'. You see you 
have '2Call remaining'. Press X and you will see a grid. This can be 
moved with the D-pad, and notice that a nice touch is that it deforms to 
reflect the contours of the terrain. Move it over your intended target 
zone and press X again to set the co-ordinates wherever you want the 
barrage to be (a cluster of bunkers in this case). The grid 'sticks' to 
that place, but if you want to you can move it if you choose FIRE SUPPORT 
again. Press X when you have it exactly over the place you want the bombs 
to land. You can use just one artillery call on each visit to the Map 
screen; if you try to place another it will remove the first instead. 
Once you have placed your grid, if you exit and return immediately then 
the 'FIRE SUPPORT' option will read: "Can not use", and this is obviously 
because the artillery already have their orders, so you must wait for the 
first call to be delivered before arranging a second. Exit the Map screen 
and look out in the distance as the bombs rain down. Lovely. You want to 
see those yellow fireballs in there which means a target - preferably 
more than one - has been hit, and then gradually the barrage dies down. 
If you return now, you see that you will have '1Call remaining' so you 
can place the next somewhere else if you want to. This is quite fair, 
because you can only expect the artillery to deal with one target at a 
time. Since the barrage consists of HE, it will not be effective against 
tanks. 

Don't forget there is other action going on elsewhere, so once you have 
cleared Gaytolovo of Fire Points turn your attention to the south and 
direct Comber 2 to skirt around the slope in front there, and hope all 
the other Green units have not been wiped out by the time you arrive. If 
they have, then hang fire for a little while as replacements from Star 
and Gorky squadrons come up from the start point. There are way too many 
88's in evidence over there to risk a Rambo.

Move between the stands of trees to the rear of Gaytolovo, dealing with 
the other tank that is waiting, and see if you can come up behind the A-T 
gun parked around the corner and then move a little forward to help the 
Greens deal with that 88 that has held them back, but stay tucked into 
the island of woods running north to south. Watch for the fire coming 
from south of Gaytolovo now; there are a couple of 88's over there and 
they will have a clear shot if you stand around and can easily get you 
from up to 2km away before you have a chance to reply. Keep the HE loaded 
and ready yourself for a couple of shots at about 900m as you edge 
cautiously toward the Fire Points which now become active. It is not 
necessary to destroy all visible targets, but your aim is to approach the 
bunker defences, and some of those guns may prevent you from doing it. 
When some of the Greens arrive to distract the Anti-tank Guns (and one or 
two Assault Guns) then you can pour in some fire on those bunkers. 
Although it has to be said that these appear no different from all the 
others, these are the 'Special fire points' mentioned in the briefing. 
Look for the three red triangles which appear, and when they do you know 
what to do, so do what you do so well.

   Tank Brigade: "Special fire points destroyed!"


_________________________________________________________________________


R U S S I A  Mission 4:  P O S E L O K  N O.5

-------------------------------------------------------------------------



    1 8  J a n u a r y  1 9 4 3,  P o s e l o k  N o.5
    ____________________________________________________________

    
    Our tank brigade has arrived on the outskirts of Poselok.

    Cooperate with our comrades of the 18th Rifle Division 
    to secure the residential section and cut the enemy's 
    Schlusselburg forces off from the front!

    Support the advance of the rifle division until they 
    reach their objective!



Something a little different this time - it's dark out there! This will 
make it more difficult to see the targets, but they will light up nicely 
when you hit them. 

Appropriately then, you play as Torch 1 in command of Torch 2, 3 and 4, 
and October squadron are waiting in reserve should you need them. Pennant 
1 and 2 are in close support to the south. Sunglow and Eagle comprise the 
Volkhov forces over to the east, and your first objective is to support 
your respective infantry units in their attempt to link up north of 
Poselok No. 5. (I can't help wondering what happened to No. 4.) 

Make your advance at speed with the Blue units in formation alongside 
(Formation 3 looks very pleasing). There are already a couple of red 
markers onscreen, but they are faint and therefore well out of range just 
yet. With Pennant units picking off the targets to the south, move ahead 
as fast as you can and watch out for the first Fire Point to open up dead 
ahead and deal with them to give the infantry some space. Hopefully, some 
of the distant targets are now also within your firing capabilities, 
since a glance at your map tells you these are tanks moving to block the 
advance from the east. Ominously, one of these is identified as a Tiger.

Turn to the south-east and close with it to a distance of about 1800m and 
you should pick him up in the distance looming out of the dark. If he is 
engaging the eastern targets then he will have his flank invitingly 
exposed... Tigers are a menace if they come head-on, but from the side 
they are vulnerable (in TANK SELECT mode anyway) even at this distance. 
Remember that.

Press your attack and lay into those annoying Fire Points so that the 
infantry can continue to move up, and pick off the enemy infantry if they 
cross your path but watch also for any Panzers or (if you haven't tackled 
it yet) that Tiger to arrive. You will know when one has you targetted 
because your tank will be covered in flames for a moment on the first 
impact and your Dual Shock is almost knocked from your hands. The next 
hit may be the end of you - hit back or move on fast! Remember that Fire 
Points won't be identified on your map, even when they show with a red 
triangle on the Battle screen, but the location is usually a building or 
purpose-built and very obvious bunkers which appear on the Map screen as 
black squares connected by wavy trenches. The tanks can be identified by 
the red numbers above the triangle marker even at long distances 
(anything up to 2km) whereas the Fire Points have no numbers above the 
triangle until you get below 1km. So the tanks are always the targets 
with the high numbers, but be aware that those numbers can get smaller 
very rapidly! Remember to use the correct ammo for each, although your 
exasperated Commander will let you know bluntly if you launch the wrong 
type:

   "Be careful! You can't take out a tank wit"

Well, that's literally what it says, so maybe he's calling his gunner a 
half-wit? Of course, as you may remember from the USA Missions, he means 
you "won't even scratch a tank with HE". AP always.

Send a Blue tank at speed to cover the northern approach where several 
Panzers put in an appearance one after the other from the Schlusselburg 
forces. You don't want them firing on your rear. There is one already 
active around there, and if you advance too far then he has a good shot 
at distance straight into your flank. See if you can get that Blue unit 
up there fast enough to knock that tank out before he attacks the Volkhov 
forces from around those trees, and then your man can stay there and 
cover you while you deal with the other tanks to the south. After that 
first enemy has gone, keep your Blue tank tucked in to the trees just 
where the first line of Fire Points was and set him to 'DEFENCE' and he 
should sit there and pick off anything coming down the road from the 
north-west. Good man, that Torch 2.

By now you should be close to a link-up with the Volkhov forces 
approaching from the east, so turn your attention south and keep a couple 
of Blue units close, so you can spread the fire among the last few Fire 
Points south of Poselok. This may be a good time to call in some field 
artillery. Check the last mission again if you have trouble arranging it.

As you move with the infantry to retake Poselok, some of them will report 
that the enemy has been spotted, and this proves to be another Tiger 
somewhere to the west but heading north. You've had this date from the 
very beginning. If you have a spare man left at the start point, now 
would be a good time to bring him at speed to the south to attract the 
attention of the Tiger. If you swing around that wood from the south-east 
then you will catch him cold - no 88 to cover this one! With luck you 
will come up from behind, and even if he turns back to you, there is 
plenty of time to hit him broadside, and that is the last action of this 
round. If you have done a good job in clearing the way for the ground 
troops, it is even possible that the very act of encircling the Tiger is 
enough to end the mission (cutting the last German unit off from the 
Schlusselburg forces).


_________________________________________________________________________


R U S S I A  Mission 5:  S W C H.  O K T J A B R S K I J

-------------------------------------------------------------------------



    1 2  J u l y  1 9 4 3,  S w c h.  O k t j a b r s k i j
    ____________________________________________________________

    
    Warning!
    An elite enemy unit has deployed directly ahead of you!

    Summon all your patriotic courage and wipe the enemy out of 
    this sector, crucial to the defense of the Motherland!



You are Volga in close formation with Hawk, Buzzard and Tornado units, 
part of the 181st Tank Brigade all set for the rapid advance south to 
meet the crack LAH Division. You notice that you have no Blue units to 
look out for (or look out for you) and sadly no 'FIRE SUPPORT'. You'll 
have to work your own gun hard. The way ahead looks clear but inevitably 
not for long.

   Tank Commander: "Attack the Tiger tanks at close range! Charge!"

Well this is pretty thrilling! It would be nice to have a sabre that goes 
'ker-schwinggg' as you gallop across the steppes but it is hard enough 
just to keep up, as you do indeed charge for the horizon. Angle yourself 
more to the south and head straight toward the distant explosions, and 
let the rest carry on south-east.

Pretty soon a host of Red triangles pop up, so take a look at the Map 
screen and get some idea of the forces now ranged against you. There are 
three troop carriers ready to flee and four Tigers who aren't. Notice the 
terrain you are about to traverse. There is a sunken road leading from 
the town of Swch. Oktjabrskij which bisects the map, immediately beyond 
which is the enemy. Behind them is a deeper depression which looks 
ominously like a tank trap. There is just one narrow route across, and 
those Tigers are plainly defending it.

The Germans have the range well enough by the look of things; in short 
order your fellow attackers are pretty well thinned out. Time to get 
stuck in. Find the range at something around 1200m and you should get a 
good look at those Tigers side-on as they lay into the nearer targets of 
the brave Green units, leaving you able to check the range very carefully 
to ensure a direct hit every time. Even as the heroic Greens give up 
their lives, replacements appear from Deer, Kite and Star units. It is 
just as well for you that one thing the Red Army was never short of was 
manpower.

Stick to the task of hitting those tanks and Uncle Joe expects no less 
than four perfect hits. Give those Tigers credit - they stand their 
ground. Distinguish between the tanks and the lesser targets before 
loosing off a precious round, as your gunner will be extremely busy. 
Emerge from that first action without a scratch and notice that the APC's 
have scarpered, and now there are a couple of Assault Guns guarding the 
far side of the crossing point. It doesn't look too bad but for some 
reason Star wants to call off the attack. Mother's milk! Advance!

Cross over the road and then as the other units close in there is a 
barrage of artillery fire all around. Hell's teeth! It's a trap! (Notice 
in your Map screen that there was a barrage grid laid down in this area - 
Friendly Fire? It doesn't look too friendly to me.) Press on and try to 
stay away from the central area and see if you can pick off one or both 
of the Assault Guns, which is quite tricky because of their low profile 
over the crest as well as the explosions shaking your aim. Make it 
through the barrage and when the last tank is destroyed that will be 
Mission Complete. (If you wipe out the Tigers AND the APC's it will be 
over even sooner than that.)

In the present 'TANK SELECT' mode this is one of the easier missions in 
PANZER FRONT, but be warned that in 'TACTICS' mode it becomes one of the 
hardest! There is plenty of life in this game yet.


[By now the score system has become mystifying as well as frustrating. I 
know (from Ludendorf Bridge) that there are severe penalties for not 
getting through the missions promptly, but I'm not sure what you can do 
when the tally of scores is six with your legion of comrades contributing 
zero, with no hits and (an admittedly poor) 42% Hit Ratio all at brisk 
speed but which is worth less than 3000 points. What do they want? Unless 
you are achieving 100% Hit ratios every mission, perhaps you should 
forget the scoreboard and perfect your techniques instead.]


_________________________________________________________________________


R U S S I A  Mission 6:  J U N C T I O N

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

There seems to be a little confusion as to the date of this battle... 
perhaps someone is using the Gregorian calendar? No matter; today is a 
good day for fighting.


    2 3  J u l y  1 9 4 3,  J u n c t i o n
    ____________________________________________________________


    As part of the total liberation of our country, we must 
    recapture the Kirov railway.

    Advance your tanks to the rail junction to the southeast 
    and support the attack of the Rifle troops!



Now you are Flash 1 commanding Flash 2 and 3, close behind Thunderclap 1-
4 with Tornado 1 and 2 off to your left. Some Green (i.e. Red Army) 
infantry units are among the woods some distance ahead, with others even 
further off to the east. The enemy is nowhere to be seen.

Head off in the direction indicated by the Mission Briefing map. There 
are soon plenty of Anti-tank Guns which spring up in your path, and 
shortly afterwards a tank comes into play with some long-range sniping. 
Get used to switching between HE and AP. Soon there are also Fire Points 
coming to life in the south.

You will need to attack on a broad front, but your path is somewhat 
restricted by the terrain. Of course you know that you cannot penetrate 
the thickly wooded areas, but also notice the areas of sparse trees 
around them and especially the dark green soft ground that can slow you 
down considerably. Be careful where you direct your Blue tanks because of 
this. Notice too that these will sometimes break off their advance to 
confront an A-T gun (much as the Green units do) so keep an eye on any 
that go astray. The only solution if they seem to be 'stuck' is to give 
them new orders such as 'MOVE BACKWARD'!

If any of your men get knocked out (highly likely as there is a Tiger in 
the mix), then replacements from Kite and the appropriately named Hero 
squadron arrive back at the start point.

Make your way to the south-east, following the Tornado units along the 
road there for a speedy advance past the woods and facing up to a couple 
of Anti-tank Guns and a Panzer along the way. Take out the first A-T gun 
to the right quickly, as otherwise he will halt the right arm of the 
advance, and then get the one on the opposite side of the road if no-one 
else has. Bring one of your men with you now and send the other southwest 
with Thunderclap squadron, utilising the rail road for speed this time. 
Let Tornado 1 and 2 engage that troublesome Panzer on the far left, and 
see if you can hit one of the Fire Points over there before turning your 
attention to the south where there are already three Panzers in evidence. 
As you move forward around the trees where the pylon is, one of these 
shows itself just around the corner. Deal with him and then try to spring 
your Blue unit from the other side of the woods (with the Thunderclap 
attack) at the same time, to engage the other one back there as you move 
in for an easy kill from behind. 

This area has many lines of crossfire if you concentrate on just a single 
target (like that distant Panzer for example), and if you advance too far 
too fast you may find that someone else is lining you up at long 
distance. Let the others engage from different areas at the same time to 
keep the all the defenders busy.

You will now have to negotiate a ridge where the railway line is, and 
this makes you highly vulnerable, so use some clever shooting to try to 
clear a few enemies from the other side first. Bring up the Blue tank 
that came with you and point him over that ridge at speed and head up 
simultaneously to split the attention of the defenders. By this time 
Thunderclap units will be pressing from the west and will draw some of 
the fire. Get yourself over that ridge fast and dodge the flak from the 
bunkers and first concentrate on the tank out there in the open. Of 
course the tanks are mobile but the Fire Points aren't going anywhere! 
There may still be that first Panzer off to your left and probably the 
Tiger will be moving up as well, so try to be quick. Wipe out all visible 
targets and finally turn your attention to the south. 

This spread attack will give you several options when that Tiger makes 
its appearance. It is very simply dealt with when its attention is 
focused elsewhere (in TANK SELECT mode at least) so try to sneak up from 
behind or to the side for an easy knockout. If he turns his attention to 
you then move to safety and hold your fire (they get angry like bees if 
you annoy them) and bring in a decoy so it turns away again. Get as close 
as comfort allows and slam in the AP. 

Finally there are a couple of Panzers down at the foot of the map 
covering the rail line, so send a Blue unit to help the Greens clean up 
over there, or go all the way round the trees to join them and do it 
yourself if they haven't sorted it before you arrive.

You may like to experiment again with the 'FIRE SUPPORT' command when you 
expose the concentration of Fire Points to the south and east. You 
remember that when this option is chosen a grid appears, which can then 
be moved around to place the 'zone' for your artillery to aim at. It 
doesn't seem to be necessary to knock out every single Fire Point, but 
when the last tank has been hit down in the south the mission is over.


_________________________________________________________________________


R U S S I A  Mission 7:  K R A S N O E  S E R O

------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

If you are already playing through in 'TACTICS' mode you have a different 
vehicle for this level - the very light and speedy CY-85. That is a bit 
ironic because speed is the last thing you need for this mission, and it 
is probably the only one in which the lumbering NC-152 is a decent 
choice. This battle will be slow and hard fought.   


    1 9  J a n u a r y  1 9 4 4,  K r a s n o e  S e r o
    ____________________________________________________________


    Bury the invaders!
    We must liberate the city after years of occupation!

    Don't let a single one escape!
    Wipe out the enemy!



It couldn't be much plainer than that. Thank heaven it's only a game.

For this last Russian mission you are playing as Salute 1 and have the 
full complement of Salute 2, 3 and 4 at your disposal. You hold the 
centre of the advance and to your left is Storm squadron and on the right 
flank is Lightning. Gotterdammerung!

Notice that for this mission you have a generous 4 calls to the artillery 
at your disposal. Use them well. Call up a barrage straight away, and 
then soon after another one to tackle each of those two sets of tank and 
A-T guns facing east, which might also demolish a couple of Fire Points 
in the buildings behind them. The tanks won't be destroyed but maybe you 
will loosen the Commander's fillings. 

This barrage will ease the pressure on Storm units closing from the east. 
You can leave the advance from the north to Lightning squadron, as they 
will have plenty of support from Star and Novgolod units who have 
appeared from the north, moving down and to the west. Gather your own men 
in formation and make speed to attack from the east - aim for the second 
large building in the north-east corner and watch for the tracer as usual 
so you spot the Fire Points. You can pick off the Panzer that is sniping 
from that area at about 1600m and then as you cross the rail line you can 
knock out the A-T gun lower down if your barrage missed it. Since you 
have the HE loaded, you can bring the house down on the two corner Fire 
Points which show themselves at 900m or so, and then make your way up 
into Krasnoe Sero. 

As dawn breaks you will crest the rise and be met by lots of annoying 
fire from the buildings further in. You could call another barrage down 
on this area beforehand, but it is not likely to knock all these targets 
out, so it is as well to know what is facing you. Take out any that are 
easy shots, but don't waste too much time before heading into town. If 
your squadron have caught up then give them the command to HALT while you 
make a quick detour. See if you can come up behind the Panzer that is 
giving Lightning squadron such a hard time. No doubt he will turn towards 
you, but that only makes an easy shot easier. If you move along to his 
position one block north and then west, you can also knock out an A-T gun 
at point-blank range, and this allows Lightning to move up and into the 
city from the north. Since there is another Fire Point holding back the 
infantry on the corner between these two targets, it is simpler to plan 
ahead and bring another artillery barrage down on the A-T gun and knock 
the Fire Point out too, so that you are left with just the tank to 
scupper. You can then turn your attention to the south.

Now it is a game of cat-and-mouse among the streets of the ruined city. 
Break your Blue units out of formation before they reach the outskirts 
and fan them out to move slowly down parallel roads. You need lots of 
eyes to spot those Panzers because if you blunder around a corner you 
could find you are in their sights before you know it. Fire will rain 
from every other building but don't allow yourself to become bogged down. 
Take out the easy Fire Points to allow the infantry to move in further 
but be aware that the biggest threat is the Panzers, which will fire at 
you from behind while your attention is elsewhere. That means that it is 
not a good idea to go chasing every red triangle until you know what it 
is and how best to deal with it. 

Have a definite plan when making your way across town. Don't charge 
around like you own the place because you don't. They do. Every inviting 
open space will be subject to deadly crossfire, so be patient and advance 
cautiously. Marshall your forces and just keep pace with the infantry to 
let them spot the enemy for you before you proceed. Whenever a Panzer is 
sighted, move your Blue tanks along another block to keep him interested 
and try to spring two units on each target simultaneously so that someone 
has an easy shot. Once in a while your comrades may even take one out for 
you, but it is as well to use them as a honeytrap and do the shooting 
yourself. These guys will be indispensable on this mission, so go easy on 
the risk.

By this time Storm forces should be on the eastern outskirts of the town. 
They will be pinned down by a Panzer which commands the heights, but your 
progress through the ruined city should create a pincer and then he's in 
trouble. Watch out for another Panzer covering him from an adjacent 
sidestreet - and a Panzer in the open fields covering him! Blimey. When 
these are gone there are only Fire Points left in the city itself for 
now. Once you have linked along the eastern fringes, leave the advance 
from the north through to the west of the city to Lightning squadron and 
you should leave your Blues safely parked in the centre and cut across 
the main square to try to take out those tanks on the open ground. 

There are first two or three, and eventually a total of four or five 
Panzers lying in wait for anything to stick its nose out from the ruins, 
and they have the intersections covered too so they can halt the advance 
through the city. Wait for Novgolod units to move in from the open ground 
to the north to attract their fire and by now Lightning units will be 
arriving on the western edges of town, so creep out gently to zero them 
one at a time. Any that you target will turn their attention to you, so 
either way someone is going to be offered a side shot. When their ranks 
have been thinned you will no doubt be feeling mighty pleased with 
yourself, but all this was just the hors-d'oeuvre...

Now that the Green tanks and infantry have made their way across Krasnoe 
Sero the Germans play their trump card. Panthers - fah'sands of 'em!! 
Well, half a dozen are more than enough to deal with, and these appear 
from the south-west and look set to throw you right back where you came 
from! 

Bring all surviving Salute units across town now (there are no 
replacements) and hope there are lots of Green units left to back them 
up. Pull back yourself to the relative safety of the buildings because 
you already know that those Panthers are much deadlier than you at long 
distance. Your puny shells will bounce harmlessly off anything over 1km 
whereas (inevitably) a single clear shot is enough for them at any 
distance. That makes a fight in the open a fools game. You'll have to 
lure them into the ruins and sneak up from behind one by one or wait for 
them to trundle past and broadside them at point-blank range. Be brave 
but not foolhardy. Take the best chance to hit them as they appear from 
around corners and perhaps look for routes to cut across the debris, as 
sometimes you can tumble down right behind them before they know you're 
there. On the other hand, don't get 'stuck' out of gun movement! 

This is what it has all been leading to. You will have to prove that you 
are an 'Ace' at last, as you juggle three or four potential targets at 
once, keeping tabs on their movements (they are surprisingly fast) and 
not leading yourself up a blind alley or leaving a clear shot from behind 
or the sides. Keep moving if you blunder into an open space with a gun 
trained on you, and watch that ammo - the seconds go by very slowly if 
you miss with a hasty shot. You must become a crack shot because there is 
sometimes barely time to aim, so you have to judge every other shot as 
best you can and pray that it penetrates before that big old barrel 
swings slo-o-ow-ly in your direction! 

Your skills at moving your Blue comrades will be crucial. Once you have a 
grasp of the situation, this might be a good time to try out that 'FIRE 
BY SIGNAL' command. (The one with the yellow arrow in the 'FIRE' part of 
the Blue tank's Map screen menu options.) This will set the selected 
tanks to stop and hold fire until you shoot. Lay them in between 
buildings - the group with 'hollow squares' at the western edge of town 
is a good spot - and wait for a pigeon to pass by. Stay close by and line 
up ready for the same target and fire as normal and BOOM! everybody opens 
up and let's hope they hit something. Take a leaf from the German's book 
and set up lines of cross-fire. You know that the Panthers have to come 
up from the south-west, and they will try to move up through the city or 
cut across the clear ground to the west, so set your Blue tanks facing 
south along the main avenues. Tuck them in tight so that they have the 
first shot while the enemy has to manoeuvre to see them (not up on the 
ridged pavement though, or they may be out of gun movement) and maybe 
pointed diagonally across the open areas so they get the drop on anything 
pushing forward. 

[One astonishing feature of the game which is not even mentioned in the 
manual is accessed by inserting a second controller in Port 2 of your 
PlayStation. You won't believe it.] 

By now it is quite likely that most or all of the Green tanks have been 
knocked out (they are brave but not bright), so it is doubly important to 
protect your Blues - you will need some help to lure those Panthers into 
deadly cross-fire. The amazing thing is that if you set a trap just 
right, tank after tank will wander into it! 

The battle among the ruins is tense and exciting and just a bit scary 
(Where did he go? What is around this corner? Aaargh!! Two feet away and 
turning towards me and my shot just bounced clean off!) Persevere and you 
will get your reward.


   Tank Commander: "We have freed them by our own hands!"


Hot and sweaty hands, quite possibly! Nice shooting.

This battle is unlike any of the other Russian missions, but it has a 
similarity with the stealthy creeping around the French countryside which 
you experienced in the USA Missions. There are so many targets and areas 
of attack that it may seem impossibly difficult at first, but keep trying 
and stick to a plan and you eventually get to anticipate the direction of 
these attacks and can move your men around accordingly. To keep a handle 
on your progress, perhaps think of the battle as having stages 'A-B-C-D': 
Attack - Breakthrough - Consolidation - Defence.

1: The Attack you are well used to. Gather your men in formation and help 
the other forces by knocking out troublesome defenders. This is the time 
to bring in your artillery barrages, so you can do damage in two places 
at once.

2: Breakthrough is when you knock out the Panzer holding back Lightning 
and gain the ability to move your Blues into the city.

3: Consolidation is the game of cat-and-mouse through the ruins. Take it 
slowly and move your men in short stages to a definite plan - move one up 
and move one across. Head from north-east to the south, clearing Fire 
Points as you meet them to allow the infantry to move up with you. Knock 
out the two Panzers in the streets to the south-east to relieve Storm, 
and then pick off the targets in the western open space as you see them. 
When you have cleared the city then prepare for the counter-attack.

4: The Defence is ironically the hardest stage, as by now your forces may 
be depleted and it isn't easy to judge where the biggest threat is. Try 
not to let the Panthers make your decisions for you (don't go running 
around after strays). Wait for them to come onto your ground but prepare 
solid lines of defence and be ready to adapt the plan should conditions 
dictate (for example if your Blues get knocked out). Maybe take a gamble 
such as darting out into the open for a quick rear shot, but definitely 
do not stand around in that open ground to the west. Grind them down one 
by one, and remember that they have to come in if you won't come out!

Eventually you can add 'E' for End.


_________________________________________________________________________


T A C T I C S
_____________


As a quick reference, take a look at the default tanks in TACTICS mode 
and think about setting yourself a challenge with weaker Blues/stronger 
enemies and these Russian missions need never become dull:



             |     Player      Blue units     Green units     Enemy Tanks
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
             |                                                          
  Training   |   T-34 (1941)        -         KB-1 (1940)     PzIIIJ/L42
             |                                                StuGIII E
             |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
   Strike    |   T-34 (1941)   T-34 (1941)       T-35         PzIIIJ/L42 
    Army     |                                                StuGIII E
             |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Gaytolovo  |   T-34 (1941)   T-34 (1941)    KB-1 (1940)     StuGIII E 
             |                                                PzIIIJ/L42
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
   Poselok   |   T-34 (1942)   T-34 (1942)    KB-1 (1942)     Tiger I E
    No. 5    |                                                PzIIIJ/L60
             |                                                PzIII n
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Swch.    |   T-34 (1942)       -          T-34 (1942)     Tiger I E
 Oktjabrskij |                                KB-1 (1942)     StuGIII G
             |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
  Junction   |   T-34 (1942)   T-34 (1942)    T-34 (1942)     PzIIIJ/L60
             |                                                Tiger I E
             |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
   Krasnoe   |     CY-85          CY-85       T-34 (1942)     Panther A
    Sero     |                                                PzIV H s



Just as with the USA missions, most if not all of the strategies adopted 
for 'TANK SELECT' will not work as effectively in 'TACTICS' mode. Whilst 
still fairly sturdy, the T-34 cannot take the same levels of punishment 
and the shells are much weaker, especially at distance. For example, you 
cannot just sit on the far side of the road in the "Swch. Oktjabrskij" 
mission and pick off all those Tigers with one shot each - you will have 
to get in close, and don't be surprised when one hit from them knocks you 
out first!

To give you some idea of the very different approach sometimes needed 
when playing TACTICS let's take a look at that particular mission again.


_________________________________________________________________________


R U S S I A  Mission 5:  S W C H.  O K T J A B R S K I J  (Revisited)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

There are at least two very different ways of completing this mission in 
TACTICS mode: the Hard way and the slightly Less Hard way.

The hard way is the one probably intended by the game designers, and that 
is to follow the onscreen orders and - according to standard Soviet tank 
practice - charge en masse to get in close and shoot fast, but keeping 
your fingers crossed. Russian soldiers apparently had a 100ml ration of 
vodka every day, so I hope you kept yours from yesterday! Dash forward 
and try to stay in the pack but use a couple of others to screen you from 
the fire when it rains in from those Tigers. Sorry Comrades, but this has 
to be a team effort and your sacrifice will not be in vain... It seems a 
matter of luck whether any of them hit you. (If you move too close to the 
brow of the slope or get ahead of the others you will be a target for 
sure.) Keep to the extreme left of the advance and go with Buzzards 3 and 
4 to outflank the defenders. Make your way directly south until you hit 
the road at the point where it bends north-west and then check your Map 
screen to see if you have them approximately in a line with you at one 
end, and if you are in the right place then change direction to charge 
straight for the nearest Tiger. 

He should have his hands full with the frontal assault, so get to 500m 
(if you are trying the Ace challenge later on without the range indicator 
then just get in Close!) and give him a round of APCR full in the side - 
aim at the joint of the turret. You'd better hope this hits him right, 
because it is a lo-o-ong time before the next round is loaded, with that 
big turret turning... turning... turning your way! If you got him, then 
close in tight and line up the next one along, hopefully also being 
distracted by the frontal charge. Even if he is lining you up, the 
blazing hulk of your first victim should provide cover as you just need a 
glimpse of him to score another hit. That is your second kill and 
remarkably easy! You might think this is too good to be true and of 
course it is...

Two Assault Guns appear from the other side of the tank trap and they 
have YOU as a prime target. Even as you engage the Tigers, try to sneak 
an occasional look in your Map screen to check on the departure of the 
APC's because shortly afterwards these StuGs arrive. With them firing on 
your blind side, you have to leave the safety of the shelter given by the 
smoking wreckage to target them fast. There is now an element of luck, 
because you must hope that none of the other Tigers has you in their 
sights, as you have to concentrate on those two for a little while. The 
gig is up if - as is suspiciously frequently the case - all remaining 
tanks decide that you are the most interesting thing for miles around. 
There is that moment when the game sound CUTS abruptly and you know that 
someone has bought it because there is about to be a cut-scene, and just 
for a tiny fraction of a second you hope that somehow you have hit 
something but no - that is somebody else looking at YOU and sure enough 
here comes the shell... Bggr.

The first rule is: Fire and Move - fast. Because of their low profile, 
and especially if they are facing you, the StuGs take probably a couple 
of shells each at distance, so move towards the land bridge to try to get 
closer with each shot. You can bet someone else is lining you up when you 
pause to lay into them, and I don't know what all those other T-34's are 
playing at but they rarely hit anything it seems. If there is even just 
one Tiger left and you are engaging the StuGs, then you can depend on the 
fact that he will clonk one into your side even though there are all 
those others to worry about. I mean, honestly... At least if the rest are 
still occupying the remaining Tiger's gunsights then probably just as the 
barrage starts shaking everything up you can close in from behind for a 
couple more tense but skilful shots. 

Relief.

When that method works, it works beautifully. Those are anxious moments 
when you come charging toward that first Tiger, hammering the trigger and 
frantically willing your gunner to get a move on - where's-that-shell-
where's-that-shell!? - before banging in another and hoping desperately 
that this one cooks him up because the next Tiger along is turning slowly 
your way already... The other 95% of the time you get unceremoniously 
tanked in two minutes. It is quite funny if you see one or more turning 
your way and you must just keep moving in a circle, round and round like 
an Injun circling the wagons.

The slightly less hard way is to leave the others to their mad glorious 
charge and risk a one-way trip to Siberia by doing your own thing and 
heading off to the right to speed along the track there. You can get some 
Big Air if you angle yourself nicely at speed into the tank trap, which 
is not so much a hazard here as your saviour. If you sweep along the foot 
of the trench then you might be in time to see the APC's fleeing the 
battlefield, so angle upwards and take a couple out at about 1500m for 
the hell of it. Their departure triggers the arrival of the Assault Guns, 
so lay low and use your Map screen to get their direction and guess the 
range and pop a couple of hopeful shots their way over the gentle curve 
of the horizon. The angle is usually too steep to aim over the crest, but 
a little trial-and-error will let you find the right spot. If you get 
really lucky they will be as surprised as you when they brew up. 

If not, then you have to get even luckier. Wait for them to move toward 
the land bridge and hope they have found something more interesting than 
you to shoot at (if you hold your fire and stay low then this should be 
the case). Unfortunately, your profile with the turret is higher than 
theirs, so if they come looking for you over the crest they will Do you 
time after time while you squat there helplessly waiting for something 
more than 1/2" of tank top to shoot at. Needless to say, if you try to 
take them on in the open then one of those flaming Tigers will get you 
for sure, just when you have the upper hand. That's what RETRY is for.

With those StuGs eventually out of the way, now comes the tricky bit. 
Sneak along under the very tailpipes of the Tigers, who are hopefully 
still fully occupied. If all the green targets disappear then the mission 
fails, so all this needs to be done swiftly. If they have noticed you, it 
may be curtains, but if they are facing the front it should go well. Use 
the Map screen to check which way the Tigers are facing and angle 
yourself with the first in line and then REVERSE up the gentle slope with 
your gun raised expectantly. When you see the turret, let one rip -Ka-
BOOM!- and drop back down again. (Just like Marshall P. Knutt in "Carry 
on Cowboy"!) That was too easy - I wonder if it will work again... three 
times?

   5th Guards Tank Army: "lead us down the road to victory!"

I'll see what I can do.


_________________________________________________________________________


C O N C L U S I O N  
___________________


These relentless and frantic Russian missions have a very different 
flavour to the steady but no less exciting pace of the USA ones. Of 
course there are other tactics to consider than all-out assault, but 
generally the open terrain is best suited to that method. Not for nothing 
are Soviet tanks so sturdy and fast!

Take the time to experiment with the different tanks available. If you 
complete all missions using the sloooow KV-1 then you are indeed an Ace. 
Just to be sure, step back to the 'OPTIONS' menu and set yourself up now 
as an 'Ace', but also put Range Indicator 'off'. Now there are no red 
triangle markers to let you see where the enemy are shooting from. (Use 
the Map screen frequently.) Of course if you have played each mission a 
good few times then you will probably remember the location of each major 
target and experience will allow you to judge the approximate range of 
these. It is very satisfying to home in with just a couple of shots, and 
if you can only do without the Map screen then the experience is becoming 
ever more realistic. 

If you didn't play the USA Missions yet as an Ace, then notice now how 
the shell is removed and replaced when you change ammo type (not simply 
switched as before) so be quick if you need to swap before confronting 
the next target, or face an even longer wait! Probably the major 
impediment on this level of difficulty is the limited stock of ammo. You 
need to reckon the shells carefully or face a long trek back to the 
Supply Point, as perhaps only in Krasnoe Sero is this in a readily 
accessible place when you need it. Keep a steady trigger finger and you 
should be OK.

In addition, with the damage 'on' you will often be surprised although 
maybe exasperated at how much more difficult these battles become. 
Suddenly there is a random element that means your routine path through a 
favourite Mission becomes something of a challenge again, as disaster can 
and often does strike at any time. Even at the very moment as you are 
about to knock out that final Fire Point..! 

Are the Germans so good, or is it that they have command of better 
machines? Find out in Part Three - GERMANY Missions.


_________________________________________________________________________

PANZER FRONT - PLAYSTATION

  Released: April 2001 (UK)
Developers: Enterbrain
 Publisher: JVC

_________________________________________________________________________


(c) J Woodrow 2002

<jonjon132002@yahoo.co.uk>