When we, History of War Games, talk about games, we want it to be as realistic as possible. And when you take a look at our Real vs. Game video’s, you can see that we did compare in-game vehicles, ships or airplanes with the archive and told you about the history behind all of the chosen models. And next to that we did enjoy the fact that realisme is such a big thing in games nowadays.

So, today we are going to talk about two new maps in the game War Thunder. These maps are beter knows as Stalingrad Tractor Factory and the Cologne Map. So when we take a closer look at the maps we see indeed that War Thunder did a great job on Stalingrad Tractor Factory.

Until 1961, the Volgograd Tractor Plant was called the Stalingrad Tractor Plant named for Dzerzhinsky (Russian: Сталинградский тракторный завод им. Ф. Э. Дзержинского,Stalingradski traktorni zavod im. F.E. Dzerzhinskogo, or СТЗ). The plant was built in one of the first industrial sites that were built according to the plans of rapid industrialization of the USSR, adopted in the late 1920s. The construction of the Stalingrad Tractor Plant was carried out with the assistance of Western countries, primarily the United States. Design of the plant was carried out by “Albert Kahn Inc.” famous American architect Albert Kahn (Albert Kahn) (1869-1942), made in the shortest possible time. Among the builders of the plant – V.P. Martinenko. In the operation of existing enterprises STZ was introduced in 1930.

The plant produces tractors and military equipment. During World War II, the plant was retooled to produce equipment for the Red Army, most notably the T-34 tank. It became world-famous during the Battle of Stalingrad for being the site of fierce fighting.

First let us take a look at the Stalingrad Tractor Factory and see how it looked like right after the battle of Stalingrad (23 August 1942 – 2 February 1943)

Real Stalingrad Tractor Plant

Real Stalingrad Tractor PlantReal vs. Game
In-game Stalingrad Tractor Plant

Real Stalingrad Tractor PlantReal vs. GameIn-game Stalingrad Tractor Plant

We do see a lot of buildings that are falling apart in the game, and if they are still standing you can shoot them down. Also we see a lot of tractors and train wagons on or close to the railroad. Something that we also see in the real photo’s.

In-game Stalingrad Tractor Plant

So, overall this is a realistic map based on the Stalingrad tractor plant. The only thing we are wondering is how the tanks would move though here. Afterall there are a lot of buildings and debris laying around. And that might make it hard for some tanks to move around the plant.

And the second map that War Thunder added is the Cologne map, which is also based on Cologne after the air riads which started on 12 May 1940.

The German city of Cologne was bombed in 262 separate air raids by the Allies during World War II, all by the Royal Air Force (RAF) but for a single failed post-capture test of a guided missile by the U.S. Air Force. A total of 34,711 long tons of bombs were dropped on the city by the RAF.

While air raid alarms had gone off in the winter/spring of 1940 as British bombers passed overhead, the first bombing took place on 12 May 1940. The most notable attack on Cologne was the first 1,000 bomber raid on 30/31 May 1942.
The first ever 1,000 bomber raid by the RAF was conducted on Cologne on the night of 30/31 May 1942. Codenamed Operation Millennium, the massive raid was launched for two primary reasons:

  • It was expected that the devastation from such raids might be enough to knock Germany out of the war or at least severely damage German morale.
  • The raids were useful propaganda for the Allies and particularly for RAF Bomber Command head Sir Arthur Harris, 1st Baronet’s concept of a Strategic Bombing Offensive. Bomber Command’s poor performance in bombing accuracy during 1941 had led to calls for the force to be split up and diverted to other urgent theatres i.e. Battle of the Atlantic. A headline-grabbing heavy raid on Germany was a way for Harris to demonstrate to the War Cabinet that given the investment in numbers and technology Bomber Command could make a vital contribution to victory.

At this stage of the war Bomber Command only had a regular front line strength of around 400 aircraft, and were in the process of transitioning from the twin engined medium bombers of the pre-war years to the newer more effective four-engined heavy bombers such as the Handley Page Halifax and Avro Lancaster. By using bombers and men from Operational Training Units (OTUs), 250 from RAF Coastal Command and from Flying Training Command, Harris could easily make up the 1,000 aircraft. However, just before the raid took place, the Royal Navy refused to allow the Coastal Command aircraft to take part in the raid. The Admiralty perceived the propaganda justifications too weak an argument against the real and pressing threat of the U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic. Harris scrambled around and, by crewing 49 more aircraft with pupil pilots and instructors, 1,047 bombers eventually took part in the raid, two and a half times more than any previous raid by the RAF. In addition to the bombers attacking Cologne, 113 other aircraft on “Intruder” raids harassed German night-fighter airfields.

Cologne was not Harris’s first choice; he wanted to bomb Hamburg. Poor weather made Hamburg a poor choice; in addition, Harris was advised by Dr. Basil Dickins, a scientist who was section head of RAF’s Bomber Command’s Operations research, to choose Cologne, which was within GEE range.

This was the first time that the “bomber stream” tactic was used and most of the tactics used in this raid remained the basis for standard Bomber Command operations for the next two years and some elements remained in use until the end of the war. It was expected that such a large number of bombers flying in a bomber stream through the Kammhuber line would overwhelm the German night fighters’ control system, keeping the number of bombers shot down to an acceptable proportion. The recent introduction of GEE allowed the bombers to fly a given route at a given time and height. The British night bombing campaign had been in operation for some months, and a statistical estimate could be made of the number of bombers likely to be lost to enemy night fighters and flak, and how many would be lost through collisions. Minimising the former demanded a densely packed stream, as the controllers of a night fighter flying a defensive ‘box’ could only direct a maximum of six potential interceptions per hour, and the flak gunners could not concentrate on all the available targets at once. Earlier in the war four hours had been considered acceptable for a mission; for this raid all the bombers passed over Cologne and bombed in a window of 90 minutes, with the first having arrived at 00:47 of 31 May. It was anticipated that the concentration of bombing over such a short period would overwhelm the Cologne fire brigades and cause conflagrations similar to those inflicted on London by the Luftwaffe during the Blitz.

In the raid, 868 aircraft bombed the main target with 15 aircraft bombing other targets. The total tonnage of bombs dropped was 1,455 tons with two-thirds of that being incendiaries. Two and a half thousand separate fires were started with 1,700 classed by the German fire brigades as “large”. The action of fire fighters and the width of the streets stopped the fires combining into a firestorm, but nonetheless most of the damage was done by fire and not directly by the explosive blasts. 3,330 non-residential buildings were destroyed, 2,090 seriously damaged and 7,420 lightly damaged, making a total of 12,840 buildings of which 2,560 were industrial or commercial buildings. Among the buildings classed as totally destroyed were: 7 official administration buildings, 14 public buildings, 7 banks, 9 hospitals, 17 churches, 16 schools, 4 university buildings, 10 postal and railway buildings, 10 buildings of historic interest, 2 newspaper offices, 4 hotels, 2 cinemas and 6 department stores. The only military installation damaged was the flak barracks. The damage to civilian homes, most of them apartments in larger buildings, was considerable: 13,010 destroyed, 6,360 seriously damaged, 22,270 lightly damaged.

The number reported killed was between 469 and 486, of whom 411 were civilians and 58 military. 5,027 people were listed as injured and 45,132 as “bombed out”. It was estimated that from 135,000 to 150,000 of Cologne’s population of nearly 700,000 fled the city after the raid. The RAF lost 43 aircraft (German propaganda claimed 44), 3.9% of the 1,103 bombers sent on the raid. 22 aircraft were lost over or near Cologne, 16 shot down by flak, 4 by night fighters, 2 in a collision, and 2 Bristol Blenheim light bombers lost in attacks on night fighter airfields. A posthumous Victoria Cross was awarded to Flying Officer Leslie Thomas Manser who sacrificed himself so his crew could abandon the aircraft.

And now let us take a look at the Cologne Map and see how it looked like right after the air riads which started on 12 May 1940.

Real CologneReal vs. Game
In-game Cologne

Real Cologne CathedralReal vs. GameIn-game Cologne Cathedral

And also on the second map we do see a lot of detail for the debris on the streets of Cologne. And like you can imagine, with these air raids, there was a lot of damage done to Cologne and it looked like a real war zone. And we think War Thunder did a good job on the surroundings and we hope to see more of these maps in the future.