Battlefield 1's upcoming DLC In The Name Of The Tsar will open up the Eastern Front with the addition of the Russian Army. In doing so, it will bring an underrepresented group to the battlefield: women. Who will kick your ass.
In a tweet yesterday, the official Battlefield Twitter account confirmed that the Russian Army’s scout class would be represented by members of the 1st Russian Women’s Battalion of Death. The Women’s Battalion was initially formed as a propaganda initiative to raise morale. They were commanded by Maria Leontievna Bochkareva and fought most prominently during the Kerensky Offensive, Russia’s final offensive campaign of the Great War.
With an estimated 6,000 Russian women combatants in World War One, their addition to the multiplayer campaign makes sense in spite of commenters who object to their historical immersion being broken.
“[You’re] kidding me,” one Twitter poster said. Having never read a history book, they added: “Barely any women fought.”
Adding women soldiers fits with Battlefield 1’s tone, which included a single player campaign featuring African American soldiers from the Harlem Hellfighters infantry regiment, a woman Bedouin protagonist, and soldiers from various fronts across the world. The first DLC, They Shall Not Pass, added the French Army.
World War One was, as the name suggests, a global war that touched everyone’s lives regardless of race and gender. If representing that more accurately means a few curmudgeons getting sniped by powerful women when the DLC releases, I’m definitely in favor. The addition of women into the multiplayer comes also comes as Call of Duty: WWII announced women soldiers in their multiplayer. In all, it’s a banner year for women on the digital battlefield in major historical franchises.
EA promised to share more detail about the expansion at the upcoming EA Play event, running from June 10-12 in Hollywood. I’ll be attendance at this event and will tell just how awesome it feels to storm the trenches as a tough gal then.