— In-game introduction
Taking place late in the war, the player assumes the role of Daniel Edwards, a British recruit joining the crew of a Mark V Landship named Black Bess as their new tank driver. New to the war and inexperienced in driving the unreliable vehicle, Edwards is given a trial by fire with his first mission: punch through the German line and reach Cambrai with a broken tank and a crew that has no trust in him.
Over The TopEdit
— In-game Description
Daniel "Danny" Edwards, a chauffeur, joins the war as a new recruit. He is assigned as a tank driver to Townsend, commander of the Mark V Landship "Black Bess" or "Big Bess". The crew consists of Finch, an optimistic technician and gunner, Pritchard, another gunner, and McManus, a cynical Irish gunner who does not trust Edwards.
The mission is to break through German lines and advance to Cambrai. Edwards starts to get the hang of it, and during the course, the crew captures several German outposts, while destroying field guns and an A7V Sturmpanzer tank. After destroying the Panzer, artillery fire hits the tank, immobilizing it. Finch is sent out to repair the tank, with Edwards guiding him. However, Finch is blasted and killed in the process, forcing Edwards to repair the tank by himself.
After repairing the tank, the crew proceeds to destroy artillery, until they come across a swamp with mud, losing traction and bringing the tank to an overrun. While stuck, German forces ambush the tank and fire into its viewports, killing Pritchard. Edwards grabs the pigeon Pritchard held before dying, with Townsend ordering Edwards to release it, but McManus relents while shooting back at the ambushers. Edwards releases the pigeon, which finds its way back to headquarters. The player takes control of the pigeon on its way back.
The pigeon successfully gets back to HQ, bringing the British Army a new fire mission: one of their own tanks, ordered by Pritchard. Artillery fire is directed to grid 3642, killing the Germans while miraculously sparing Black Bess. Despite surviving, Townsend is wounded from the strike.
Fog of WarEdit
The Germans failed to capture Black Bess, but left Pritchard dead, leaving Edwards, McManus, and Townsend alive. The crew proceeds to a forest near Bourlon, which is covered in fog.
Edwards is ordered to scout the forest ahead of Black Bess, and clear German roadblocks. If Edwards is unable to dispatch the soldiers without alarm, Townsend and McManus assist with Black Bess' guns.
After leaving the forest, the German forces attack the tank on a bridge but are killed by the remaining members of Black Bess. Edwards scouts a hillside trench area and clears waves of Germans, transport trucks, and FT-17 Light Tanks. After clearing the waves, Edwards gets back behind the wheel and proceeds to Cambrai.
Before the dawn of the next day, Black Bess suddenly breaks down. The engine shuts down instantly, and Edwards says that new spark plugs are needed. Townsend, in anguish, tells Edwards to check a village ahead, which is occupied by the German forces and has captured Mark V tanks with salvaged engines. Townsend sends McManus and Edwards to find what Black Bess needs.
McManus and Edwards get out, but McManus expresses his intent to abandon Townsend and Black Bess, angering Edwards. McManus leaves alone, resulting in Edwards going on his own to find replacement spark plugs. After finding four plugs, Edwards returns to the tank but finds a German soldier who is about to stab him with a bayonet charge. While holding the bayonet, McManus shoots and stabs the soldier from behind, saving Edwards.
Edwards proceeds to repair the tank, but upon starting the engine, it doesn't respond. Edwards complains about everything being done right, cranking the engine three times, but to no avail. On the fourth crank, Edwards curses, and the engine starts. McManus comments that Black Bess likes swearing.
Steel on SteelEdit
Sunrise arrives on the same village, and the crew proceeds to destroy German soldiers, light tanks, and the captured Mark V tanks. Upon arriving at the fourth spark plug location, Edwards and the crew head to a railyard, which is a staging area to retake Cambrai. The crew proceeds to destroy waves of soldiers, and waves of tanks. After destroying the final wave, which consists of the Germans' own A7V tanks, they proceed to Cambrai but the tankers are suddenly disabled for the second time by artillery fire. Edwards tries to quickly get out to assess the tank, but an Anti-Tank Grenade that was thrown to his feet detonates in front of him, knocking him down.
The German soldiers let out a battle cry and proceed to capture the tank. McManus proceeds to shoot Germans before being shot from behind. The German that shoots him is soon killed by Townsend. Townsend kills Germans inside the tank, and after being shot, Townsend detonates the tank by a fuel leak, sacrificing himself and killing the German soldiers near the tank.
Edwards survives the explosion, and McManus survived as well, although bleeding from the shot. The two survivors proceed to Cambrai on foot.
It's revealed that 324 tanks took part in the second battle (retake) of Cambrai, and the war ended in November, a month later.
Over the TopEdit
Steel on SteelEdit
Achievements and TrophiesEdit
|Image||Name||Criteria||Achievement Points||Trophy Type|
|Through Mud and Blood||Complete Through Mud and Blood||10G|
|Sound of Thunder||Unlock all Codex Entries in Through Mud and Blood||40G|
|Mightier than the Shovel||Find the hidden Cavalry Sword and take down an enemy on the French Countryside in the Campaign||10G|
- The objective area "Beren's Crossing" is a reference to a character, named Beren, from The Silmarillion, a book written by J. R. R. Tolkien. Tolkien himself fought in World War I in the British Army before he became a writer.
- Throughout the story Townsend refers to Black Bess as "Big Bess". Whether this is Townsend's own nickname for the tank, the original name for the tank, or simply a mistake isn't clear.
- When stealthily moving through the right side of the village in Breakdown, a conversation between two German soldiers can be heard. They talk about their commander, a horrible man named Ziegler who once tried to kill them by sending them on a suicide mission, only for them to come back alive. One of the two soldiers talks about how long it will take until the commander finds the "surprise" he left for him, and that he stole Ziegler's personal notebook, where he "fantasized about all sorts of crazy things".
- In Fog of War, if the player sneaks to the first outpost, they can hear a conversation between two Germans, joking about their buddy, who has gone deep into the forest to urinate. They say he may get caught by trolls if he isn't careful. Later, when their mate returns, they start talking about progress of British offensive. This dialogue can be heard only if player sneaks the outpost from the right flank, as if they go from the left, they'll be spotted by a soldier.
- The opening text states that the British forces attempted to attack Cambrai on October 17th, which is incorrect and contradicts other sources found in game, as the Second Battle of Cambrai started on October 8th in reality.
- After the last tank battle in "Steel on Steel", the tank crew can be heard singing one of the following World War I-era songs:
- While the player can complete the "Destroy Enemy Artillery" objective in "Over the Top" while being outside of Black Bess, Edwards will die immediately when the player attempts to cross the bridge that leads to the end-of-level swamp on foot.