Call of Duty sits in a strange middle ground of first-person shooters. Not wildly inaccurate enough to be truly arcade, and not anywhere near serious enough to be a hit among the MilSim crowd. Yet, it’s always been a hit, and with good reason. It stands its ground, and prioritizes fun over realism, like an 80s action movie. But the team behind them have also always done their best to try and make their games accurate. In the course of developing Call of Duty: World War II, the developers have scouted locations including Normandy and Germany, consulted scholars, driven real military vehicles, and basically done all they can to be respectful and true to life while maintaining fun.
However, they do make some weird, and some understandable mistakes. I know, if I want realism, I should go play Arma 3 or be a real hoary old rocker and play Operation Flashpoint like it’s 1999 and I still have a desperate desire to live out the Cold War. For a series that wants to represent war and how it really works though, some of them have to be pointed out. From muscles of steel that absorb even the harshest recoil, to oddly limited grenade detonations, and full-auto fire that doesn’t end up just shooting into the sky like a western villain, these are some of the things that Call of Duty doesn’t know about war, and you don’t either.
15 Anti-Tank Weapons Can Fry Your Skin Off
In Call of Duty, it’s fairly common to use bazookas or panzerfausts with the kind of abandon you’d use pepper spray. Fire it around in front of you and hope it hits something soft. In reality, the back blast from such a weapon would fry your skin like bacon. If that didn’t get you, the huge amounts of air pressure would. That’s not to say they aren’t hugely useful: most US platoons are equipped with two rockets for any dangerous encounters out in the field (they aren’t typically just lying around for any soldier/marine to grab).
Firing them is highly regulated: the minimum range at which it should be used (no NOSCOPE coolness allowed) is 10m, with troops told to check the back blast area not once, but twice, even in combat.
14 Recoil Basically Doesn't Exist
I know, I know, CoD’s heroes are the digital version of action heroes. Strong, brave, and everything you want from a game like this. They really must have spent quite some time hitting the gym as well as the firing range though — firing a rifle in real life is no easy business, with recoil pulling the gun into the air or back into your shoulder. For our bemuscled protagonists, however, this is no matter, with streams of rifle shots easily absorbed by (presumably) rock hard delts.
As a writer at the New York Daily News found out, firing an AR-15 (an extremely close relative of the M4 weapons family), will bruise your shoulders something terrible at the best of times, if you’re a novice shooter. Soldiers are trained to shoot single shots to control the recoil, else you’d be displaying a desperate desire to murder the sky within seconds.
13 Grenades Aren't Party Poppers
You know how, in any Call of Duty game, the flash of a grenade indicator inspires that little rush of panic (unless it’s because of martyrdom, then it just inspires rage)? Scurrying away a meter or two tends to solve that, in-game. If you ever got one thrown at you in real life, you may as well kiss your ass goodbye. Grenades are almost ostentatiously deadly. They’re tightly-packed balls/sticks/choose-your-favorite-shape of death, with a potentially-fatal (‘oh sh*t’) radius of about 5 meters, or 25 feet. On top of this, the euphemistically named ‘casualty-producing radius’ is defined by the DoD as 15 meters, but fragments can travel as far as 230m, just over 750 feet. Since catching metal in your body is a rare and exotic hobby that most people would rather not get involved with, soldiers are trained to duck down once they’ve thrown the grenade.
12 How Are They All Not Deaf?
Think of any mission in any Call of Duty game where tanks/field artillery/hell, even regular rifles are used without ear protection. All we hear is the crack of the rifle, the boom of the cannon and think to ourselves ‘hell yes, this is awesome!’ You know those videos of people at shooting ranges? Notice they’re all wearing ear protection? Yeah. Yeaaaah. I’m a little surprised our protagonists aren’t equipped with hearing aids.
Troops in the field are issued ear protection which cuts out dangerously loud sounds, while maintaining situational awareness, and with good reason. A small caliber .22 rifle is still 140 decibels, which is enough to damage hearing. A tank cannon? Oh, just a little louder, 190db. For reference to civilian life, a loud rock concert is 120db.
11 Pretty Much Everything About Call Of Duty: Black Ops
"Yeah sure." via mobygames.com[/caption]
Call of Duty: Black Ops is joyfully insane, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Not everything needs to be grounded, and Black Ops makes no apologies for that. From the Nazi base in the Arctic Circle which somehow survived the frigid North despite getting no supplies for over six months, to shooting down a weirdly slow-moving Soviet rocket with a rocket launcher, it is giggling-in-the-corner crazy.
As well as the missions that stretch credibility in ways that even Tom Clancy would have found difficult, it also seems like Alex Mason got a hold of a time machine: several guns such as the M16 and AK74u appear years before they were first made. Maybe he got in touch with Red Alert’s Einstein at some point in his storied car-crash career of lunatic adventures.
10 Full-Auto Fire Is A Crazy-Fast Way To Get Yourself Killed
As well as being a great way to make bullets rain from the sky like confetti, full-auto fire has a couple of other disadvantages. While burst fire is often encouraged, going 100 percent Rambo and simply holding the trigger down until your knuckles are white is still common, in single-player and multiplayer. If you do this in combat, you’re going to get yourself killed. Take a look at this guy doing a 30-round mag dump. The mag is empty in three seconds. Reloading is done in seconds, typically (at least on an assault rifle, LMGs and other larger guns take considerably longer), but those are seconds that leave you totally vulnerable. Full-auto fire is rarely, if ever, used, except for in certain dramatic situations. It’s fun, but semi-auto is what you need 99 percent of the time.
9 Soviet Soldiers Weren’t Sent Into Battle Expecting To Have To Peel A Rifle From A Dead Comrade’s Hands
Call of Duty loves nothing more than to ape epic war movies, and the original is no exception. In the ‘Stalingrad’ mission, the protagonist, Alexei Ivanovich Voronin isn’t issued with a rifle, just ammunition, and is told to follow another soldier, the lucky winner of a Mosin-Nagant. The Soviets, in reality, were largely well-equipped thanks to domestic production and Allied aid, with the myth coming from a mixed bag of sources. There are some very, very rare occasions where it did happen, however, as pointed out on Reddit’s Askhistorians page. To summarize, the occasions where there wasn’t enough equipment to go around largely comes from the very beginning of the Nazi invasion, when large numbers of troops would be encircled with staggering losses. It’s also worth pointing out that Soviet attacks weren’t simply massive human wave attacks of no tactical value. They were actually based on a doctrine known as ‘deep battle’ which focused on overwhelming and enveloping the enemy’s rear echelon troops.
8 Flashbangs Don’t Just Leave A Ringing In Your Ears
There are not many worse gaming experiences than when you’re playing CoD multiplayer, get flashbanged, and turned into an attractive Swiss cheese, especially when you’re on a killstreak. Those few seconds of blindness and deafness pale dramatically in comparison to a stun grenade’s real abilities, though. As well as the blindness (lasting a few seconds) and deafness, which lasts about 15 seconds, it also severely disorientates you. The massive bang disrupts your inner ear, causing dizziness and a loss of balance. For some unlucky victims, the effects can last for days after, with one man even reporting a ringing in his ears months later. If you’re really unlucky and have one land right next to you, the effects can be even worse. You’ll never feel quite so cheated by the comparatively microscopic disorientation in CoD now.
7 The Strange Lack Of Women In Soviet Missions
There were many female soldiers in certain theaters of World War II. In the Soviet military, around 800,000 women served in a wide variety of roles, from pilots to machine gunners, and medics to snipers. While in reality, they made up around 3 percent of the total Soviet military, far from rare, they are noticeably absent in the previous Call of Duty games. Imagine how cool it would be to play as a badass female sniper such as Lyudmila Pavilchenko, a sniper with 309 kills, or a member of the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, known as the Night Witches! It’s a missed opportunity for video games to explore an underrepresented part of history.
6 Ammo Is Made Of Lead And Copper, Not Feathers
So you’ve killed some enemies, and in true video game fashion you’ve sprinted over their bodies and absorbed their ammo into your (apparently highly-magnetic) character. How many rounds are you carrying now? About 300? While soldiers do sometimes carry around this amount while on duty, it takes a noticeable toll while on patrol in difficult terrain. The average 5.56mm cartridge weighs in at around 11.6 grams. Times that by 300, and you’re looking at more than three kilos of weight on top of the already heavy battlefield kit. That’s a lot of weight to carry while sprinting, leaping, and fighting! Let’s add some pistol ammo to that too! A .45 calibre cartridge comes in at 20.9 grams. With 50 rounds, we’re talking another kilo, or just over two pounds of ammunition. Thank god for these guys’ conditioning.
5 Lone Wolves Get Hunted
So in most Call of Duty games, you’re accompanied by a squad or, at least, another guy to help you dispatch enemies while making friends along the way. However, there is always that other option, especially if you’re getting frustrated with the slow progress you’re making. You know the one. Where you tear off into the sunset, silhouetted against the sky like a drunken runaway. You can usually make some great progress like this, but in reality, troops always stay together. Even small squads have got to work together as an oiled machine if they want to stay alive. During the Battle of Fallujah for instance, fighting in tight, cramped, dangerous streets, squads moved together as one, with even their running speed controlled, so that they would stick together. Snipers have, in the past, gone out for missions alone, but today even they’re accompanied by another soldier, working as their spotter.
4 Drone Strikes Are Nothing Like They’re Depicted
There aren’t many things that illustrate the divide between video games and reality as much as drone strikes. In reality, they’re a subject of huge controversy and debate, in video games, a killstreak reward. It has been noted before that their presence in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is likely their most realistic depiction, with the reward providing you with cover fire as necessary. In reality, however, they’re far less black-and-white. Numerous strikes have killed civilians either as collateral damage while attacking a known target, or by mistaken identity. However, there’s also another side: how it affects the drone operator. While in the games, you have one to one control of the missile, in reality, there’s a massive lag of around two seconds, due to the distance and technology involved. This can lead to tragedies, mistakes, and also enhances the strong feeling of guilt and disconnection that drone pilots experience. Which leads on to by far the most serious entry in this list.
3 How War Affects Those Who Fight
Our heroes are pretty much impervious to any damage, mental or physical, just like the movie heroes that inspired them, but among veterans, incidents of post-traumatic stress disorder are extremely high. This was first recognized during World War I as ‘shellshock’ before it came to be known as PTSD. Amongst British veterans around seven percent who had seen active service came back changed by what they’d seen. A total of 12.6% who had seen active service in Iraq admitted to being violent when they returned home. Vietnam, in particular, was a very traumatic war for those who fought in it, with almost 31 percent of them being affected by PTSD. This doesn’t even mention those who return with physical wounds, with Call of Duty combat limited largely to simple sprays of blood and a bark of pain.
2 Raising The Flag Over The Reichstag
We’ve all seen the photo of the Soviet soldier triumphantly raising the flag over the Reichstag, or, as Reznov puts it, wiping the last of the evil fascist Reich from the face of the Earth. When players got to finish Call of Duty: World at War by doing the same, it felt supremely wonderful. The true story isn’t as clear-cut. The photo was actually taken after the battle, on May 2, 1945, the day that Berlin surrendered.
Stalin had intended that the Reichstag would symbolically fall on May 1, International Workers Day. However, the fighting took longer than anticipated, and thus it had to fall on May 2. The Soviets had previously tried to redecorate the Reichstag numerous times, with planes dropping red banners on its dome and a flag being planted onto the statue of Germania on April 30, only to be removed by the last Nazi defenders. The famed victory banner, sewn from three red tablecloths, would not signal the end of the Battle of Berlin until two days later.
1 So Many Things In The Call Of Duty: World War II Trailer
So back when the Call of Duty: World War II reveal trailer rolled out, people were flipping out, and justifiably. The game takes a Saving Private Ryan approach of high drama and incredible graphics, turning it into what should be an amazing experience. However, that hasn’t stopped people picking out the historical accuracies present in the trailer. I’ll take two of them to task here. Take the machinegun fire for example – we see an MG42 raining hell on Allied troops, but all we hear is the standard dakkadakkadakka of a machinegun. The MG42 was a very specific sounding gun, with a report that sounded like cloth being torn, or a buzzsaw. Another pedantic inaccuracy for me to point out is on the Panzer IV tank. In reality, the driver was on the left, machinegunner on the right, in the trailer, they’re reversed. The game looks great nonetheless, but these mistakes are a little weird for a game that’s trying to accurately represent World War II.