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European Continental Alliance
Royal Guard General Willem van der Meer
- Beware the Nice Ones: He is described as calm and level-headed, but his area denial tactics are feared among the Russian forces.
- Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: His likeness belongs to General Peter van Uhm, former chief-of-defence of the Royal Netherlands Army.
- Crowning Moment of Awesome: In-universe example. The Russians expected the Netherlands campaign to be a cakewalk. Then Willem flooded the countryside, getting their tanks bogged in mud and picked them off with robotic turrets while locking them in with minefields. In the end, it took the Russians several months to subdue the Netherlands while most of the Dutch military - along with what seemed to be the entire population - escaped to continue the fight in France. Cheering ensued.
- The Dreaded: The Russian armies have learned to fear this man, as his defensive tactics have have cost them more sweat and blood than any other general
- The Engineer: He's mostly known for his battle fortifications and trickery in defence.
- What the Hell, Hero?: In the eyes of eastern Europe, which found itself on the outside of the massive ECA border wall that he helped build.
Mechanised Assault General Wolfgang-Maximilian von Kuerten
- Blue Blood: Implied with his name.
- Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Clearly based on General Wolfgang Schneiderhan, former chief-of-staff of the German Bundeswehr.
- Field Promotion: Has a Generals Power literally named this that gives the affected unit(s) a free veterancy level.
- Heartbroken Badass: He lost his wife in the carnage of the 2028 insurrection which is likely the cause for his unforgiving hatred towards the GLA.
- Honor Before Reason: He dispatched his entire Panzerdivision to support the Russians against the GLA in Africa without authorization from high command, only to get impeached and suspended from service for his recklessness. Too bad the Russians misinterpreted this as a betrayal that eventually cost them their African territories, pushing them off the slippery slope that eventually led to their invasion of Europe. Nice job breaking it, ECA high command!
- Just Following Orders: Defied. He refused to mobilise his troops against Bavarian secessionists in the final years of the EU before the GLA attacked and calls out Major Voss who played it straight by arresting him in Africa after high command got wind of his unauthorized move against the GLA.
- Leitmotif: He had his troops sing the Panzerlied which also counts as an inversion of its use as a Villain Song in Battle of the Bulge.
- Meaningful Name: He isn't called "The Huntsman" for nothing.
- Military Maverick: He favours ballsy Blitzkrieg-style assaults, ignored orders to move against his own countrymen during his early career, doesn't care much about military formalities and dispatched five full brigades without authorization from ECA high command to save General Orlov in Africa. In-game, his unique power Field Promotion is explicitly described as 'ignore protocol to immediately promote a group of units'.
- Red Baron: "The Huntsman".
- Rousing Speech: Given to his 10th Panzerdivision a month before the Russo-European War.
- Token Enemy Minority: He seems to be good friends with a Bundeswehr Brigadier General called Osman Atalay who most likely has a Turkish background. Justified in that Germany has a sizable Turkish community. The GLA insurrection in Europe created a notable Elephant in the Living Room as to what might have happened to them but apparently, there haven't been any large scale reprisals or other atrocities in the aftermath, much to the chagrin of a few fringe political groups. That said, there are hints suggesting that the Turks in Germany had become much more culturally German, possibly in an attempt to both distance themselves from the GLA's stigma and for social integration.
- The Von Trope Family: His name is "von Kuerten", implying a bit of nobility.
Fire Support General Charles Cutting
- Bayonet Ya: When all hope seems lost, Sergeant Finley orders his troops to fix their bayonets and charge at the attacking Russians. Cue The Cavalry in the form of Challenger Tanks courtesy of the Queen's Royal Lancers.
- Big Badass Battle Sequence: General Aleksandr's failed invasion of England was depicted as an epic three part series of updates. Also doubles as a Decisive Battle because it exposed the actual bone-headedness behind Aleksandr's strategies.
- Break the Cutie: The aforementioned invasion did this to poor Private Mitchell, a 17 year old, somewhat naive medic who got transformed from a cheerful individual into a broken husk over the course of a single morning.
- Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: Hey, it's Sir General Michael David (AKA 'Mike') Jackson.
- Cool Plane: The only ECA General with exclusive access to Harriers and Goshawks.
- A Father to His Men: He is very caring for his soldiers and his soldiers respect him for it.
- Mildly Military: He is known to ignore anti-fraternisation rules and take personal interest in the lives of his soldiers, earning their respect.
- Real Person Cameo: Colonel David Catt, who appeared as a tank commander of the Queen's Royal Lancers during the Russian landing in England, is a ranked-up version of an old-time friend of the mod team.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: His careful, by-the-book support tactics stand in contrast with Wolfgang's preference for risky but decisive assaults. Despite this, their joint-operations produced some of the ECA's most lauded victories in Africa.
- The War on Terror: He served in Afghanistan during his early career.
Rapid Deployment General Yevgeny Romanovich Orlov
- Badass Mustache: He has a mustache and he has seen many battles and survived.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Conscript units in his tech-tree are replaced by Spetsnaz variants, which are superior but also more costly.
- Interservice Rivalry: With General Aleksandr, who sees the Spetsnaz and VDV as inferior compared to his Shock Troopers. Orlov, in turn, despises the man for his brutal and unethical methods.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: Like most Generals, his first loyalty is to his country. But he's greatly disappointed with the current turn of events. He begrudgingly does his duty, vowing to do so only as long as his own concience could bear the consequences.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: His experiences in Africa have most likely brought this about.
- Shocking Defeat Legacy: A dubious honor that was bestowed upon him by the GLA in Africa. We're yet to see how much it affects him.
- Take That!: He put an an end to an ultranationalist attack on Moscow's airport during his first Spetsnaz job, essentially preventing the premise of Modern Warfare 2 in this universe.
- The Worf Effect: His elite forces suffer some very humiliating losses against new GLA which is mainly used to establish their leader Sulaymaan as a powerful adversary.
Advanced Weapons General Nikita Ivanovich Aleksandr
- Bastardly Speech: His second speech after the ECA nuclear attacks a few years later is a rabid, hate-filled total war rant that'd make Joseph Goebbels and the Big Brother proud. He basically gets his followers into a blind hate-frenzy, expressing his wish to exterminate the Europeans by any means necessary at that point. A few days later, Reality Ensues and President Suvorov authorises the saner, more reasonable General Zhukov to deploy Russia's nuclear weapons instead of Aleksandr.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: A dark version. He and his Advanced Weapons R&D Corps are definitely the odd-balls of the Russian military, but their superior weapons get the job done. Unfortunately, they also commit war crimes en masse.
- Crushing the Populace: Being in charge of the Russian invasion and the occupation, this seems to be his standard method when it comes to dealing with protesters.
- Custom Uniform: His public persona is always seen with a gas mask and a grey jumpsuit, making this a rare example of a custom uniform being mostly practical, unflashy and free of unnecessary bling.
- Dragon with an Agenda: President Suvorov by 2048 (and increasingly along with most of Russia's military and public) suspect that General Aleksandr may be more concerned with creating his own screwed-up version of the Motherland than actually helping the Russians win the war.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He condemns the ECA's usage of nuclear weapons against thousands of Russian soldiers, referring to it as cold-blooded murder and a cowardly act. Not like he's any better...
- False Flag Operation: His Shock Troopers attacked a Russian missile base while posing as European spec-ops, thus providing the President with a pre-Text for war. Suvorov wasn't expecting something quite as "graphic".
- Faux Affably Evil: He's generally polite and cheerful, even while observing weapons tests on captured GLA fighters or mocking General Orlov, whose forces tried their best to defeat them and mostly died in the process.
- General Ripper: He has no problem with sending thousands upon thousands of Russian soldiers into the grinder, then steal all the glory when his Shock Troops make the final push. He also uses captured prisoners in life tests for his weapons. Finally, if he had been granted access to nuclear weapons, he would have used them liberally even on Russian soil.
- Kick the Dog: Testing Tesla weapons on live GLA prisoners, razing entire cities (including Brussels after the city's surrender no less!), cutting down protesters, ordering the abduction of Frank Jaeger's family; the list goes on.
- Loners Are Freaks: He spent his dreary, friendless youth in a cadre school and has neither true friends nor family.
- Malevolent Masked Man: His iconic gasmask clearly shows that he is evil.
- Meaningful Name: The man is clearly styling himself like a Russian Alexander the Great.
- The Neidermeyer: While his elite Shock Divisions basically treat him like a God and President Suvorov initially put all of his faith in him, he's loathed by the regular Russian military for his incredible callousness and arrogance.
- Praetorian Guard: His Shock Divisions.
- Rousing Speech: His first speech in Berlin, in which he congratulates the Russian army and encourages them to continue their assault west.
- Soviet Superscience: Well, Post-Soviet Superscience; his forte are high tech weapons and other technologies, which deal incredible damage.
- The Strategist: He likes to present himself as this but in reality, his "grandiose strategic gambits" boil down to throwing Russian Army troops into the grinder, land a decisive strike with his own Shock Divisions and claim all the fame for it.
- Teen Genius: He was intellectually gifted and earned his engineering doctor at age 18.
- Two First Names: According to Russian conventions, his surname name should actually be Aleksandrov, Aleksandrenko or Aleksandrovsky but he was called Aleksandr many years ago and the odd name caught on ever since. While the developers are aware that this is linguistically incorrect, they consider it too late to change it without feeling disruptive.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: Like President Suvorov, he has ambitions of making Russia a symbol for global greatness. Unlike Suvorov, he doesn't hesitate to cross multiple lines in his quest to make his idea of Novorossiya a reality.
- Villain Song: His troops burst into this after he delivered his infamous hate-speech in response to the European nuclear attacks. It's a rather trite, self-indulgent piece in which the Shock Divisions celebrate their own brutality and their legendary victory during the battle of Kurmuk, which seems to be for them what the battle of Camaron became for the French Foreign Legion. Interestingly, most of the troops seen during the battle (i.e. on the shell map) aren't even Shock Troopers but regular Russian Army grunts, which serves to show that the Shock Divisions take full credit for a battle that was merely coordinated by their commander rather than won by themselves. Rather alike to their Leader if you think about it.
- We Have Reserves: He basically treats the ordinary Russian Army troops as this, throwing them against enemy lines to weaken the defenders, then break them down with his Shock Troopers to claim the victory for himself.
Tactical Ballistics General Leonid Vasilyevich Zhukov
- Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: He might was well be an obvious reincarnation of Marshal Georgy Zhukov of WW2-fame.
- Cool Old Guy: Turned 63 in one of the news updates.
- A Father to His Men: They don't call him "Father Leonid" for nothing.
- Knight in Sour Armor: He used to be a pragmatic realist and the death of his son made him increasingly cynical, but he believes in serving his country regardless.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: He's the oldest and most traditional of the Russian Generals and a firm believer in the motherland.
- Nuke 'em: The only Russian General who has access to nuclear weapons in the form of Topol ICBMs and Missile Silos.
- Vodka Drunkenski: The tragic death of his son made him this.
United States of America
Special Forces General Francis "Chessmaster" Thorn
- Character Filibuster: An in-universe one that likes to lecture people about his ideas on history-making and American foreign policies.
- The Chessmaster: His MO, given his emphasis on strategy and the aforementioned lecturing.
- Colonel Badass: He was one during the Global War on Terror when we saw him coordinating a special forces raid on a Russian cargo ship at the coast of Iran in 2024, complete with his trademark mug of coffee and his flying command center inside an AC-130.
- Composite Character: He's basically a sane, non-evil version of General Shepherd from Modern Warfare 2 and Colonel Badass Quaritch from Avatar, right down to sipping coffee while commanding troops from his own gunship.
- Ignored Expert: He was among the few that took Russian President Suvorov seriously at first.
- King Incognito: His uniform is discreet enough that a soldier under his command mistook him for a private (got month's worth of latrine duty for that slip-up).
- The Strategist: He is smart and cunning to the point of coordinating US covert operations in Europe from the US embassy in Berlin. It is also implied that his operators collected much of the evidence on Aleksandr's war crimes which eventually convinced Congress to enter the war in favor of the ECA.
Tank Command General Jeremiah "Threads" Bradley
- Colonel Kilgore: He was regarded as a fanatical warmonger when the US called it quits and against the GLA and withdrew from overseas.
- Everything Is Big in Texas: Born and raised in the Lone Star State. Why do you think he loves tanks?
- Glory Hound/Death Seeker: According to his critics.
- It Runs in the Family: Since the Texan Revolution of 1835, many Bradley men have given their lives in countless American wars.
- The Rival: His collegial but vitriolic contest with Chinese Tank General Ta Hun Kwai of Zero Hour-fame.
- Semper Fi: He's a Marine, representing the rarely depicted USMC tank forces, albeit with an odd mix of equipment due to in-universe budget issues and doctrine changes.
- Tank Goodness: Not a surprise given his tactical focus. He is also the only US General that can field the famous Paladin Tank.
Air Force General Eugene "Guile" Griffon
- Attack Drone: He started out as a drone technician and uses some sophisticated unmanned units such as the WASP Hive, a Stryker that controls several heavily armed attack drones.
- Awesome, but Impractical: In-universe, the FB-40 Aurora bomber suffered from this. The story suggests that it was a half-baked prototype offspring of the alleged Aurora project which got pushed into combat against the GLA as a fast strike bomber, only to suffer catastrophic losses - a reference to its in-game use as a single-use, guaranteed hit suicide plane, which resulted in a scandal that cost the careers of many high-ranking Air Force officers. Griffon eventually used his influence to repurpose the Aurora into something useful which we are yet to see.
- Combat Pragmatist: He's described as cold and very tactical. Rather than risk the lives of his soldiers, he uses unmanned drone vehicles and high-altitude bombing raids.
- Death from Above: Aircraft are also his specialty.
- Meaningful Name: He's an Air Force commander and his name connotes to 'griffin', a mythological eagle/lion creature.
- The Scrappy: An in-universe one. He has never been on a battlefield and has a reputation of coldness, which earns him the ire of the more down-to-earth Army and Marine commanders.
Global Liberation Army
Bio Command General Tahar Ibrahiim
- Commie Nazis: More like crypto-commie fundamentalist gangbanger with a grudge against the 1%.
- Defector from Decadence: A native Frenchman, he joined the GLA to vent his anger against the Western capitalist system.
- Malevolent Masked Man: His face remains hidden behind a shemagh and a pair of goggles.
- Master Poisoner: Having supposedly learned directly under the legendary and legendarily-evil and crazy Dr. Thrax, he has a multitude of poisons in various flavours to kill his enemies with. He even has a bio-weapon called Gamma Virus, which infects enemy infantry and upon their death spreads out in a vicious chain reaction.
- Rule of Symbolism: His Cell is called Black Mamba. Politically, the color black is associated with anarchism, fascism and radical islamism, representing Ibrahiim's odd ideological blend while the mamba is a venomous snake, which fits his passion for toxic weapons.
Terror Cell General Abdul bin Yusuuf
- Appeal to Tradition: He is a staunch traditionalist who's been linked to the GLA for decades, putting him at odds with the "modernist" Sulaymaan who broadened the populist appeal of the organization, and the anarchistic Ibrahiim who doesn't care much about ideology at all and uses an "anything goes" aproach.
- Badass Beard: The reason why the CIA informally refers to him as "Blackbeard".
- Beard of Evil: Naturally, since the GLA rules with terror and war crimes.
- Church Militant: As a former Saudi cleric, he represents the hardline religious wing of the GLA.
- Corrupt Church: His "Brotherhood of the White Falcon".
- Ruthless Modern Pirates: He was in charge of them until the Chinese flat-out invaded and occupied Somalia.
- Rule of Symbolism: His Cell is called White Falcon. White is associated with purity and Islamic pilgrimage which represents his dedication to what he believes to be his cause. The falcon denotes falconry, which is a traditional pastime in Arabia.
- Spell My Name with an "S": His name can be written as either Yusuuf or Jusuuf.
Warlord General Anwar Sulaymaan
- Badass Beard: A close runner-up to Yusuuf.
- Beard of Evil: Again, seeing how the GLA rules with terror and war crimes, this is to be expected. He might be the least horrible of the 3 GLA Generals, but considering their standards, it means very little.
- Dragon Ascendant: He started out as the lieutenant of General Mohmar "Deathstrike", former leader of the GLA, and went on to re-unite the organisation under his banner after his predecessor's death.
- Elite Mooks: His Mercenaries, which are described as the most violent and prestigious fighters in the entire GLA. They also happen to be Scary Black Men.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Pieter Coetzee speculates that this might be the reason why Sulaymaan has issued explicit kill-on-sight orders on woodcutters, poachers and similar criminals operating in his land which is largely lawless otherwise.
- Expy: His idea of a "warrior heaven on Earth" is much akin to Metal Gear Solid's Outer Heaven, albeit much darker in practice.
- Magnetic Hero: To the GLA. The loyalty of his followers was so strong that, after his supporters tried to bail him out of the US Black Sea Prison and only found a doppelganger, he returned from hiding to lead the GLA once again.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Pieter also speculates Sulaymaan has issued explicit kill-on-sight orders on woodcutters and poachers as he knows even China wouldn't risk the PR nightmare that destroying such a large amount of wildlife would cause.
- Ripped from the Headlines: His self-engineered "Stop Sulaymaan" fraud campaign. Kony 2012, anyone?
- Rule of Symbolism: His Cell is called Golden Lion. Gold is the color of wealth and splendor, suggesting that he's primarily interested in his own riches rather than ideology. The lion is a symbol of power and royalty, which stands for his leadership within the GLA.
- Warrior Heaven: His goal is to set one up in Central Africa, turning the origin of mankind itself into the first true "GLA nation".
- Whole Plot Reference: His "Warrior Heaven" in Central Africa is a Wretched Hive of human depravity built squarely around the survival of the fittest where casual murder is treated as entertainment. It's not only a twisted version of Metal Gear's Outer Heaven, but also very reminiscent of Apocalypse Now and Heart of Darkness (the update that provided background on the region was even named after the novel) to the point where the locals perform bloody rituals in reverence of Sulaymaan in his underground fortress.
People's Republic of China
Red Army General "Hammer" Xing Chen
- Based on a True Story: His heroic exploits were later adapted into a war movie trilogy called "The Hammer" in-universe.
- Been There, Shaped History: It is retrospectively stated that he took part in most of the original Chinese missions as a basic Red Guard.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Played with. While his rise up the ranks can be chalked up good deal to propaganda value, the man is shown to really live up to his reputation.
- Had To Be Sharp: How he survived the battles of the Chinese Generals campaign. Though his info card says sheer luck had to do with it as well.
- Patriotic Fervor: He's the best General when it comes to using hordes due to this, being able to inspire units to work harder than any other General. In-game, this manifests in units starting with the Nationalism bonus instead of only Horde, and he can research an upgrade that makes the bonus even better.
- Red Baron: Called "The Hammer" by his peers.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Arguably his entire career as an infantryman. He was part of the rapid response force sent to Beijing after the GLA nuked it, and what he saw left it's mark.
- Zerg Rush: Ironically, he's not afraid to do this despite his own background as a lowly Red Guard.
Special Weapons General Hu Tan Mau
- EMP: He uses plenty of electromagnetic pulse weapons.
- Glass Cannon: His units have powerful nuclear, napalm and EMP effects, but tend to die rather easily and sometimes also messily.
- Improbable Age: Judging by his portrait (which, as with the other Chinese and American Generals, was taken from the unreleased Alpha game) he seems awfully young for a General, which is handwaved by the fact that his career benefitted from the influence of his father, a wealthy businessman with practical relationships to the Party.
- Kill It with Fire: He also likes setting things on fire with napalm.
- Modern Major General: Subverted. He may lack active combat experience and likely had risen the ranks in part due to his father's influence, having previously been a businessman. On the other hand, he's also shown to be very competent at what he does, successfully making General Leang's old department a success story. In addition, he's shown to have an aptitude for command, taking The Art of War to heart and winning in simulated battles against more distinguished Chinese commanders.
- Nuke 'em: When all else fails, he just deploys tactical nuclear weapons!
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections! and Money: Well, his father certainly has.
- Take That!: He took over a Special Weapons unit that was under the command of Boss General Leang and turned it into a proper PLA division as opposed to the silly, half-baked mishmash faction seen in Zero Hour.
Secret Police General Bao Jin
- Big Brother Is Watching: Despite in-universe liberalisations, Jin still represents the authoritarian police state/social engineering side of China.
- Born in the Wrong Century/Disco Dan: His upbringing seems straight from the Cultural Revolution.
- Fluffy the Terrible: His name translates to Treasure.
- Judge, Jury, and Executioner: He was once characterised as "basically a Chinese Judge Dredd".
- Propaganda Machine: He uses even more propaganda than the other Chinese generals, which is exemplified by one of his signature units, the Propaganda Airship.
- Secret Police: Well, duh!
- Sinister Surveillance: He's responsible for a lot of Black Ops activities and getting rid of political dissidents, among other things, and keeps thight tabs on his enemies. For this purpose he even has a specific Generals Power that shows the activities of enemies.
- State Sec: Basicly the military branch of mass surveilance agencies.
- Zeppelins from Another World: His signature unit, the Propaganda Airship, is a futuristic airship with a design that makes it look like a giant, flying carp... with Gattling guns and large propaganda screens that display inspirational pictures. Or in some cases, Trollface images. The Chinese most likely built this thing solely for the sake of showing the world that they could.