The History Behind Battlefield 5: The Battle of Arras

Of the eight maps which will appear in Battlefield 5 at launch, most are based upon actual events in World War 2. Both Rotterdam and Devastation, for instance, are based upon the Battle of Rotterdam. Indeed, “Rotterdam” is set prior to the infamous Rotterdam Blitz, while “Devastation” is set after the bombs fell. Both Narvik and Fjell 652 are based on the Battle of Narvik. The Battlefield 5 Arras map is one of two set in France, along with Twisted Steel. This map draws its influence from the Battle of Arras, an Allied counterattack which failed to halt the German advance in 1940.

The Battlefield 5 Arras Map

The Battlefield 5 Arras map is a very rural one, set in the picturesque French countryside. Of course, it won’t remain picturesque for long as tanks, aircraft, and explosives wreak havoc in the canola fields and country roads. DICE described the Battlefield 5 Arras map as a “Medium-Large,” map. The Breakthrough, Conquest, Domination, Final Stand, Frontlines, and Team Deathmatch modes are all playable here. Additionally, the final two days of the France Grand Operation take place here; no doubt partially based on the events of the Battle of Arras.

The Battlefield 5 Arras Map is a Medium-Large Map in France

The Battle of Arras

The historical Battle of Arras took place on the 21st of May, 1940 near the French town of Arras. As the German army led by Erwin Rommel advanced through France, the Allied forces massed to launch a counterattack; aiming to break the German momentum. British and French troops assembled under the command of General Harold Franklyn; forming an improvised army known as “Frankforce”; Unfortunately, communication problems ran rampant among the Allied forces in their haste to stop the German assault. As a result, the Frankforce wasn’t able to gather all of the tanks and troops it had planned to. In fact, the orders to attack were changed shortly beforehand. The new orders never made it to Franklyn and his troops.

Because the French forces nearby didn’t receive notification of the Frankforce advance, the battle started poorly; French forces mistakenly opened fire on British troops. The two sides exchanged fire for a short while before the mistake was discovered, and damage was dealt on both sides. Due to this accidental skirmish, the two columns of the Frankforce had no choice but to advance without time to reconnoitre. As a result, they had to fight their way through Duisans, where German infantry were engaging French tanks. Both in Duisans and Warlus, the columns had to leave troops behind as garrisons, depleting their numbers for when they actually reached the German columns.

The Battle of Arras Took Place in 1940

As the Frankforce made its way towards German territory, infantry regiments of the 7th Panzer Division were marching to the town of Agny. The two forces met, and the Frankforce overran the column before attacking the transports of a second regiment too. The column’s attack caught the Panzer Division by surprise and the British tanks broke through, causing havoc among the Germans. A division of the S.S. Totenkopz, the Nazi SS, also came under attack, and troops fled in a panic before the tank assault.

Aftermath of the Battle of Arras

After penetrating 10 miles into German territory, the assault was able to take 400 prisoners and destroy German tanks and war equipment. However, the British tanks also took significant damage. To make matters worse, several of the British tank commanders lost their lives in the attack. Knowing that the Germans would soon regroup, Franklyn withdrew his forces under the cover of darkness. Many of the French troops who remained were surrounded and captured. Ultimately, the attack slowed but failed to stop the German advance; in the coming weeks and months, the Germans would go on to complete their conquest of France. The British forces would be driven back across the Channel.