The battle to retake Europe started with Operation Overlord and D-Day in June 1944, but that fall, the Allies launched Operation Dragoon to hit the Germans on France’s southern coast. Half a million troops invaded and had to fight tenaciously to overcome the German fortifications.
But the pictures of those soldiers showed only white French soldiers. They weren’t the only ones who served, said one surviving veteran who happened to be black. Tirailleur is named after a type of light infantry from France’s Napoleonic days. The black soldiers arrive, eager to fight the Germans. But they are relegated to filling sand bags. The narrator says, “You won’t find the story I’m going to tell you in the history books. That makes you disbelieve my words. But remember: Not everything that is written down is true, and not everything true is written.”
When the Allied soldiers had trouble taking a German-occupied château with an antiaircraft battery, an ambitious French captain sent in the black soldiers. Two of them, Deme and Idrissa, are the main characters of Tirailleur, pressed into the fight into a horrible battle in the woods. Their column of trucks (oddly, so small that each carries about four soldiers) gets attacked by German dive bombers. They are thrust into battle, and you’re forced to take on the Germans with a primitive automatic weapon. As soon as I could, I grabbed a German submachine gun. But it also didn’t have a good range. So I was forced to get closer than I preferred to the enemy in the intense firefight for the fortification in the woods.
I found I had to take cover, but the battle was fairly easy to win on the normal level. I managed to get lost looking for the exit, but once I did, I ran down a hill to a mortifying scene. There was a giant row of concrete fortifications, machine gun nests, artillery, and barbed wire. Our unit charged straight into the trenches and fought fiercely, killing one German at a time. It took me several times to reach the German trenches, but once I did, it became easier to survive. I had to blow up a few artillery pieces. Every now and then, I ran into a German with a flamethrower, and my task was to shoot the tanks on his back before he could burn me with his flames.
Once we advanced beyond the first trenches, we kept going further into the German fortifications. We reached a large redoubt with ammo caches and an elevated position. There, we waited for the German counterattack. I had a heck of a time surviving this battle. Elite German machine gun troops showed up. One of the nonplayer characters took over the mounted machine gun, to my great annoyance. So I had to switch between short-range machine gun fire and a one-shot rifle. The rifle had longer range, and it could take down a soldier with one shot. Annoyingly, the sniper rifle often required two hits to bring down an enemy. That made it worthless because the enemies came in too fast.
The small German trucks would come in and drop off four soldiers at a time, and then drive off. That seemed quite silly in terms of a way to attack an elevated fortification. But it was still a tough battle because I had to shoot most of the enemies with the single-shot rifle, or just wait for them to come within the extremely short machine-gun range. After a long battle, a German tank finally showed up. Fortunately, reinforcements arrived and took out the tank for me. Surviving that wave of attackers was such a pain, but I felt good when it was over.