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Fighter Dispersal Pens: Some History

If you have had the opportunity to play on the new airfield map, you will probably have wondered about the strange fortifications which look like above-ground tunnels or hollowed-out hills. What are they for? Did our level designer just make these up or did they really exist during WWII? Let’s find out!

The Blitz

In the years leading up to WWII, British generals were expecting strategic bombers (bombers designed to destroy factories, airfields or cities rather than troops) to play an increasingly large role in warfare. Already before the hostilities began, Britain and Germany were engaged in an arms race, building more and more planes and airfields. However by 1940 Germany had gained a clear advantage, having captured France’s airfields. German bombers began crossing the Channel and bombing the hell out of British factories and air bases, crippling Britain’s capacity to retaliate. This is when it became clear that fighter planes were the best defense.

Of course fighter planes were much easier to destroy when they were still on the ground. To make them less vulnerable, the idea was conceived to distribute the aircraft randomly around the air base, rather than parking them in neat rows or clustered together in hangars. Enemy bombers would come flying in straight lines, so it would be harder for them to hit targets that were dispersed in an irregular pattern.

To shield the vital aircraft from bomb blasts and flying debris, blast walls were erected around the fighter pens. These are the above-ground “tunnels” you encounter in the Airfield map. One of the mission objectives is even hidden inside one of them. Because of their complex shape, the dispersal pens are a great place to play cat-and-mouse and lure your enemy into narrow passageways where you can mow them down with enfilade fire.

You can read more about the history of British air bases here.

  1. avatar
    MasterTanker01-02-2014

    Nice history, now i have one for you, those tunnels has a bug, the other day an sniper get hidden inside the earth above those tunnels, he could shoot and not be seen, killed 8 – 0.

    • avatar
      pvt.marcus01-02-2014

      What a pro…

  2. avatar
    patton199501-03-2014

    any new vehicles coming up?

    Stuka dive bombers perhaps?

    • avatar
      Surrakorules01-04-2014

      Wait a minute!Stuka bombers had those anti tank bombs and cannons!They would be op!I mean comon the messerschmicht or whatever is one of the best planes of germany!Stukas would make the game even more one-sided

  3. avatar
    deathmachinept01-03-2014

    I’m a star wars and WW2 nut I love learning about world war 2 thanks for this info , I did not knew about this, WW2 games should also teach about WW2 history hope more stuff like this is added.

    Maybe have a section on the website that focus on this realistic features and ww2 history classes, for some players like me this something worth promoting and reading about.

    One great thing I would like to see is RETO shooting real WW2 weapons and recording their real sounds like brother in arms devs did in Brother in Arms Road to Hill 30 and you could see in unlocked bonus of the game(Brother in Arms 1 weapon sound and handling is one other most realistic I have seen especially the M1 garand.)

What are you waiting for soldier? We need heroes on the battlefield and generals to lead them!