CoD WW2 recently released a “firing range” test video from E3 promoting and demonstrating the ‘exciting’ new weapons we’ll be able to see in the newest installment. But there’s a problem… these prove CoD WWII isn’t historically accurate, at all.
It appears Activision and Sledgehammer are at it again. This time showing us the weapons in the game, which prove they couldn’t care less about historical accuracy. With our recent article calling BS on their defense of removing the swastika from the multiplayer portion of the game, they’re just making this too easy for us.
In an effort to show off some of the new features that Call of Duty: WWII players will get to enjoy in their return to last world war, Activision, the game’s publisher, recently released a video showing players the various weapons that will be present in the game as they were tested in a virtual firing range.
As players have been presented with more and more gameplay footage from CoD: WWII, accusations of the game’s designers copying a variety of elements from Battlefield 1 have begun to emerge online. Personally, I had initially found the arguments supporting these accusations to be somewhat lacking. Yet as evidence came forward. It seemed that CoD was pulling lots of weapons and tech that were experimental at the time. Just as with Battlefield 1. If not simply ripping off weapons from World War 1 that had no place in WW2.
The historical inaccuracies in the new CoD should be addressed as that’s their major theme going. Using prototype weapons, and straight up cycling in on non-period accurate weaponry really makes their claims of “Historically Accurate” hard to accept. If your wanting to gain some fans back, or boost your numbers. It’s gonna take a lot more than a copied animation, or a borrowed plot to do that.
Yet, even as I say that CoD rolled out its trolley of ideas which disprove their claims of period accuracy. Let’s take a look at this video real quick so we can set up a preface:
Now a quick note; I’m not going to harp on CoD for “stealing” the bayonet charge function from any game. Let’s be honest here, how many ways can you run at a guy with a pointy stick and ram it into him…I can think of two ways, Battlefield and Gear of War 3. While gratifying, it’s a fairly uniform design. You can make a shovel a million ways but the design is mostly the same. This also goes for reloading animations, as you can only load a shotgun or bolt-action rifle so many ways before your start looking stupid. That’s just digging a low trench with a long shovel. Speaking of shovels;
Trench shovel melee
Yes, CoD does, in fact, allow you to use a trench shovel as a melee weapon. In place of a pistol, you get a folding trench shovel, which is completely out of the time period. According to some quick research, the model presented in the game came about in the 1970’s. Now before we say “coincidence”, stop and ask: was there really that much Trench fighting in WW2? I mean, aside from digging a foxhole, and a latrine. Did guys really need shovels? No, no they didn’t.
Hell in WW1 there were very few times trench shovels were used as weapons. Germany and Austro-Hungary deployed their troops with Clubs, Bats, and knives. France and Britain used the shovel more than anyone else, and mainly as a last resort when nothing else could be made usable. In WW2 melee combat was usually avoided by all factions, as Urban combat emerged. Now while I’m sure someone’s Grandpa probably bashed a Nazi’s skull in with a shovel in WW2. That doesn’t mean we have to pump out the shovel as a melee weapon. Also, since I got on Battlefield for this historic faux-pa’ all the same. Take some time to Google why trench shovels didn’t make good melee weapons and why so many improvised tools littered the front lines.
Pseudo-Red Dot sights
Speaking of shots on point, the firing range also showed the B.A.R (Browning Automatic Rifle) adorned with a sort of reflex sight. Now I got on BF1 for the fake-red-dots too, but CoD should know better. While certain prototype scopes were being tested at the time, they were mainly for sportsman. None ever made it into warfare for three reasons:
- They were usually delicate, expensive, and or required fine tuning.
- They were usually not compatible with standard issue weapons.
- Prototypes were used for testing and were usually needed back for refinement and alteration. If you’re in a warzone. Your lucky if the thing comes back in one piece.
BF1 had a thing for pseudo-civilian based weapon bits and that’s ultimately what’s been ruining that game. Weapons that ultimately never saw combat, or were even developed yet being used on the battlefield, due to user-friendly play style.
CoD shouldn’t be needing this lesson either. I’m willing to let a few parts slide in Battlefield 1 since they had a bit of a lackluster weapon selection. You can only have so many bolt-action rifles. However, CoD has the entire arsenal of WW2 at players fingertips. Which has been much more preserved in their past games. We don’t need them going for the bits and pieces that existed at the time but weren’t actually in the war. For a game being touted for its ‘historical accuracy’, they should be sticking to the hardware that was actually used. Pumping in these bits into the game just to satisfy the desires of certain players is something we aren’t going to give them a pass on.
Browning A12 Shotgun
Speaking of things that existed, but never saw combat in the war zone. The Browning A12 takes a vacation over in the CoD Court, as it wasn’t treated very well in BF1. While the Browning A12 did see some use by the French mostly in WW1 as it was a great trench clearer. It was marketed and sold as a Sporting Shotgun at the time. When the French ordered around 20,000 of them, they found out quickly that sporting guns aren’t built for combat. The gun had two main issues that plagued it to its final days of production around May 2001:
- It jammed a lot in the mud due to the shells and loading port often being caked in grime. From fingers, debris, general environment, and the shells themselves.
- It had extraction issues due to a change in design. Browning wanted the weapon to fire a shorter cartridge than most hunting rounds. As it turns out, such a conversion would ultimately lead to the weapons poor sales alongside expensive production costs. So further design changes were made to sell more common length 12 gauge shell.
In the game, we see more inaccuracy with a Browning A12 with a drum magazine attached. This is a special “riot gun” version only sold to police in America. Initially designed to aid in prison riots, and for large crowds charging banks during “The Great Depression”. The Way it would work is you would load up the five shells with one in the chamber and four in the tube. Then the magazine adapter was put on which would plug the tube to stop the shells, and a 16 round snail-magazine was loaded into the loading port and you were all set. When the magazine ran out. The adaptor would kick its plug down and then the tube shells would load in.
The Browning A12 never saw combat after WW1 as the jamming and extractor issues gave a winning victory to the M1897 Trench Gun in weapons testing. The French were even rumored to have their shotgunner trade or sell their A12 Models to locals for old double barrel shotguns, or even hunting pump actions because of the A12’s poor performance. Why CoD would even think to add this to the game is beyond me. It’s likely they only added it for people who like have a shotgun with a large, spammable reservoir of shells before each reload. A shotgun that has no premise, no point, and no attendance to the source material. This is where we see some blatant copying of its direct competitor, BF1.
Now we get to the unforgivable breaches in “Historical Accuracy”. If CoD chooses to keep these next few entries in Game, anyone who called up histrionics in my article on CoD Swastika fiasco will be weak for words. These are blatant breaches in historical accuracy.
The Lewis gun
In the game, we see the Lewis gun aircraft variation (a Lewis gun minus the water jacket, and a larger mag) as an LMG option… Not a Bren, machine gun, or a Chatellerault Machine gun. A Lewis gun. A weapon that weighs 23 kilograms (~56 pounds) being carried by a man with no speed penalty. It wasn’t okay when Bf1 did it. You can’t do it either CoD. Not only that, the Lewis Gun was never used in WW2 because they were almost all phased out for the Bren machine gun. Many of these were already melted down and scrapped to build the Bren’s.
The weapon suffered heavily in infantry combat as the machinegun was rather delicate, not to mention heavy. If the rotary point that spun the magazine was broken, it would render the weapon completely useless. Then the water jacket made it extremely heavy and actually caused more barrel warping than expected. If nothing else, the magazines were difficult to reload even in times of calm. The Bren Machine Gun and its two sisters Type .95 for the Japanese and the Chatellerault for the French all borrowed from the Swedish Madsen Machine rifle design. The Bren was more maneuverable,
The Bren was more maneuverable and even allowed for aircraft mounting or infantry use. It had few Jamming issues, and several parts that could be removed to disable the weapon if capture was inevitable. The gravity feed rounds also prevented salvaged magazines from working in other weapons.
The MG 15 Aircraft
Another relic so freaking old and obsolete it’s ridiculous to even consider this as an option in the game. It never even made a year in combat before being replaced and phased out. The failed story of the MG15, for those who don’t know, this was an early attempt by Germany/Austria-Hungary to outfit their planes with some real firepower. It’s basically a tube with a weird saddle bag magazine on top. Seriously, just take a hard look at the image above and try to understand it. The thing looks freaking hilarious. It was later changed to carry larger calibers on boats, but as a Machine gun it’s was a piece of junk. CoD, however, has you firing it with no problems. Not an MG 34/42 or a DP-28. Hell, I’d be okay with the Type-25 Japanese knock off Bren. Nope CoD wants historical accuracy. The MG15 was a weapon that about three months into its adoptions was phased out for the Bergmann MG15. When the weapon was mounted to Patrol boats and didn’t do well with water and salt. It was attached to some German bombers near the end of the war. But was ultimately a commercial failure. Why it’s in this game I do not know. It would have been long since abandoned by the German military back in the 1920’s and I doubt production would have ever resumed.
Hell, I’d be okay with the Type-25 Japanese knock off Bren. But nope, CoD wants “historical accuracy”. The MG15 was a weapon that about three months into its adoptions was phased out for the Bergmann MG15. When the weapon was mounted to Patrol boats and didn’t do well with water and salt. It was attached to some German bombers near the end of the war. But was ultimately a commercial failure. Why it’s in this game I’ll never know. It would have been long since abandoned by the German military back in the 1920’s and I doubt production would have ever resumed.
Mauser C96 fully automatic w/ Detachable Box mag
So this one took some deeper researching. But according to all my books and searches, all my gunsmithing manuals. The Mauser C96 was never fully automatic with a detaching 10 round box magazine in WW2. Several automatic versions were made by civilians; converting the receiver and or removing a trigger mechanism pin to allow fully automatic fire. In the 1930’s a detachable 20 round box magazine was made in a few Italian and French models. In 1956 the Chinese made some versions chambered in .45 ACP with detachable box mags of 8 rounds, they weren’t fully automatic. In fact, of the 32 some odd copies of the Mauser c96 and the 27 variations on the original, not a single one fit CoD’s profile. Not one report, document, or book shows this model.
No Historical evidence showed me a fully automatic C96 pistol, with a detachable 10 round magazine ever seeing combat. Now, the German Navy did still employ the C96 as their standard issue pistol. They, however, actually fused several parts of the weapons together post factory production to avoid automatic fire. The idea that a bullet could ricochet about a U-boat demanded strict trigger discipline. The weapon was eventually phased into the Luger P08 by 1942, and the Walther P38 by 1944. This just screams that CoD wants their auto pistols to pander to what players want, not any sort of historical accuracy. Since Black Ops 2, several machine pistols in every CoD since have been a primary weapon choice. This is hands down CoD going for Style over substance.
Colt Carbine M1911
Another previous sin committed by BF1. The Colt Carbine M1911 pistol was the same as its standard partner. With a few modifications, it came with a 10 round extended magazine and a folding wire grip stock. With a wood/cloth fire grip and an extended barrel, this weapon never saw action in WW2. It WAS planned, but it was quickly replaced by the M1 carbine as a paratrooper weapon. In all my readings on WW1 and WW2 weapons. The best I can find on this carbine was that about 5,000 were ordered. Only 1,000 were made, and only about 50 of them every got to the front lines. Before it saw any real combat, their greater parts were removed and the weapon was changed back into a standard pistol format. I couldn’t find any photos or references to this gun in either World Wars. A few Museums and collectors have them. But most have no paperwork on them. Yet here it sits in a “historically acurate” Call of Duty: WWII.
Now, onto some positives?
Vehicles and Killstreaks
There has also been a lot of talk about vehicles in multiplayer. It’s not exactly new to the CoD formula, but it hasn’t been in one for quite some time. This isn’t the traditional Battlefield style wherein one man drives, operates the main cannon, and the secondary weapons. This model uses multiple players to operate all the guns, with a player in the driver seat, gunner position, and turret operator. This is the same design as BF1 tanker, while this is more historically accurate. In practice playing with people online, it works about as well as trying to cram fish in a tube of butter and soap… but with machine guns sticking out of the sides of a vehicle. Now this is merely speculation from the trailers in CoD’s multiplayer, it really isn’t possible for CoD to have such things without looking like Battlefield. CoD always has been a ground war game about boots on the ground. However, I personally would like to applaud CoD for bringing something new to their table with vehicles. While also showing them as team-based vehicles and support craft.
In the end, regrettably, it’s clear to me that CoD doesn’t want a “Historically accurate game”. They want another CoD, and their changing things just enough to avoid “pumping out the same game” is so obvious it hurts. Automatic pistols, drum magazines, riot guns, red dot sights, and ugh…. shovels. It’s all so disappointing. Not to mention a Thompson M1 can have the 50 round drum magazine: however, CoD WAW had the same thing so I’m letting that go.
What’s sad is there’s more to harp on them about, but that’s when it starts to get petty, and I already said I wouldn’t move into those realms.
There used to be a time when I was so excited for CoD. I used to plan out better playthroughs and strategize missions in advance. I used to follow fan theories and the like. Now, I go into every CoD WWII news article not full of pep and vigor and expecting to walk away angry, while tired and rubbing my temples. I’m a history buff at heart, I know “Historical accuracy” is hard to accomplish and while keeping things fun. However, if war was legitimately ‘fun’, well it wouldn’t be war. Yet as a historian, I at least know that CoD WW2 is going to be historically accurate in two respects. Both are just extremely drawn out exercises in attrition. Both are just excuses by the rich and uncompromising, to steal the lives and money of the young and willing.
For anyone who is miraculously still interested in this game, head over to its official website for more info.
This opinion piece is written by Park Robinson and doesn’t necessarily represent those at Coin-Drop.com