Battlefield 1 just added a really, really, really, really big tank

Among the maps, guns, and other stuff added this week in They Shall Not Pass, Battlefield 1 players got a hunk of French armor called the Char 2C.

70 tons fat and 10 meters long, the Char 2C is such a big tank that Battlefield 1 doesn't actually categorize it as a tank. It's a new Behemoth, one of the mega-vehicles that spawn into a match under the control of the losing team. That means it's an intentional counterweight meant to tip the match back toward a competitive, close fight.

I don't think I've seen a behemoth reverse the tide in BF1 by itself, but the Char 2C has an impact in every round I encounter it in. Its main gun is ludicrous. It can two-shot all other tanks, and the first of those shots seems guaranteed to disable the vehicle or one of its weapons, which might as well be a death sentence in most situations. As shown in the video below, it can sling this damage at shockingly long range.

That absurd 75 mm gun is well supported by MGs. Five people can ride in the Char 2C—one driver, who aims the main cannon, plus a forward gunner, a ball turret on each side, and a rear turret position that can rotate 360 degrees. For reference, that's one fewer than the number of people who can pile into BF1's giant war blimp and armored train.

The Char 2C looks and feels like a wounded Godzilla.

But unlike the airship behemoth, the Char doesn't simply feel like an enormous box of hitpoints in the sky that everyone shoots for awhile until it pops. The Char 2C's cannon can be disabled. Infantry can fight alongside it, picking off enemy troops who are making suicidal charges with grenades. It's more tangible, threatening, and fun by far.

And unlike BF1's other tanks, when you're inside the Char you get to experience the tension of being absolutely peppered with AT, rocket gunned and grenaded dozens of times, until the thing goes up in a half-mushroom cloud. When you're inside, there's a constant question of "How long can I keep this enormous, armored plate spinning?"

That durability works well with the Char's weakness: mobility. It's slower than a manatee on a glue road, and it can only turn a degree or two while moving forward or backward. Its treads will disintegrate most barriers and objects, but it also gets hung up on plenty of other scenery, often putting the Char in the awkward position of making a 30-point turn in a tight space while being continuously shelled. In these moments the Char 2C looks and feels like a wounded Godzilla, tangled in powerlines or debris, harassed by infantry who are suicidally throwing every explosive in their inventory at it to chip away.

Following years of disagreements about its production, the Char didn't see major action in WWI, but interestingly, 20 years after their manufacture, some of them were used in WWII as French propaganda. "By the end of the 1930s they were largely obsolete, because their slow speed and high-profile made them vulnerable to advances in anti-tank guns," reads the tank's Wikipedia entry, sourced from Steven J. Zaloga's French Tanks of World War I. "The giants were kept carefully out of harm's way and did not participate in the September 1939 attack on the Siegfried Line. They were used instead for numerous morale-boosting movies, in which they were often shown climbing and crushing old French forts. To the public, they obtained the reputation of invincible super tanks, the imagined dimensions of which far surpassed the actual particulars."

Thank you, France, for having de Gaulle to create something so absurd so that I could shoot some people in a video game 100 years later.