Storm of Steel
An unnamed Harlem Hellfighter serves as the frame narrator of the War Stories, as well as narrator of the prologue, Storm of Steel.
- The Idealist: The final narration in the epilogue "Remember Us" seems to show him as this. Despite all the destruction and suffering of all the man involved in the god-awful war, even if only 1 out of every thousand of soldiers survive, it will be the proof that the soldiers will be remembered throughout the history of mankind.
- Made of Iron: As the last soldier playable in the Prologue, he survived a bash in the head from a shovel by a German, and then survived a total-saturation of artillery fire, only to get up among the destruction along with one other German soldier.
- Narrator: He serves as a narrator for the beginning of each war story.
- Not So Different: After said artillery bombardment, the Hellfighter aims his weapon at a German soldier, who does the same. After a tense standoff where neither of them dared to fire, the German lowers his gun first, with the Hellfighter doing the same. This brief yet poignant moment shows that in spite of their opposing sides the two men are really the same; they're both just young men drafted to fight in a seemingly pointless war that no one wants to fight.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran:
- His voice carries a weary tiredness, a byproduct of having survived the war.
- His grandfather, who fought in the American Civil War, is also hinted to be one.
- The first shot shows him sleeping on his bed, listening to Jazz music. However, the song comes from after the war, so he's not reminiscing about his experiences during the war, and more likely having a flashback in his dream.
Through Mud and Blood
Daniel "Danny" Edwards is the Protagonist of the War Story "Through Mud and Blood". A British chauffeur before volunteering to join the war, the inexperienced Edwards is placed in the role of a tank driver and assigned to a Mark V tank "Black Bess" under the command of Townsend.
- Badass Driver: He was a driver before recruited, and ended up to be a tank driver.
- Badass Normal: For someone who's never been in combat before, he sure figures out how to kick arse pretty fast.
- The Engineer: After Finch bites the dust, Edwards serves as the mechanic of Black Bess.
- Expy: Of Norman Ellison from Fury (2014), with both being inexperienced New Meat volunteers who get assigned to a tank crew that is initially distrustful and annoyed by their presence.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: Edwards in the story is supposed to be an inexperienced New Meat tank driver who was previously a chauffeur, yet throughout the war story he is regularly pushed into gameplay situations that have him become a One-Man Army. It is just barely Lampshaded by other characters.
- The Hero: Of Through Mud and Blood, naturally. He's the tank driver, which means that he carries the most responsibility of keeping Bess and the crew alive.
- Heroic BSoD: Suffered this a few times, usually cleared by Townsend but not by hitting him physically, but with Precision F-Strike.
- New Meat: Is new to the crew of "Black Bess"—specifically, its new driver (fitting, as he was a chauffeur before volunteering).
- One-Man Army: He raids an entire village filled with Germans. By himself. And all just to find some spark plugs for Black Bess. Lampshaded by Townsend once after he cleared a German checkpoint almost all by himself.
- Percussive Maintenance: While angrily yelling at Big Bess after his repairs seemingly fail, Edwards punches and kicks the engine block out of frustration.
- Rage Breaking Point: After fixing up Bess' engine and it failed to start, to say that he's pissed is an understatement."All I've done is live my life by the manual. BY THE MANUAL!!"
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: In a short-lived flash-forward, Edwards is seen staring blankly at his greasy, blood-stained gloves while surrounded by the carnage of war. It turns out to be him outside of the trainyard, at the end of the story.
- Universal Driver's License: Averted with driving a tank; presumably having some training with the basic operation of a tank due to his previous job, but subverted later with the possibility of riding a horse when he spends some time on foot.
- Weapon of Choice: His default sidearm in gameplay and cutscenes is a curiously a German-made Mauser C96. Although, the weapon was cool enough to be bought by many British officers before the war, his particular pistol could possibly be a hand-me-down from a relative. The C96 had been commercially available for 17 years by the time WWI rolled around, meaning that many were in circulation outside of Germany (you can even find photos of some in use by cowboys in Arizona and Texas.) Winston Churchill himself was quite fond of his Broomhandle, which he used extensively at the Battle of Omdurman (though that relationship eventually ended when he met a new American gun called "1911").
- White Gloves: Danny sports these to denote his former occupation as a chauffeur. He leaves them all bloodied and muddy on the burning wreckage of "Black Bess" at the end of the campaign.
- "Remember boys - Do your jobs, take care of each other, Big Bess will take care o' you."
Townsend is the level-headed commanding officer of the Black Bess crew.
- The Captain: Commands the crew of Black Bess.
- Cool Hat: Wears a British officer's peaked cap.
- Famous Last Words: "Sorry, Bess."
- Heroic Sacrifice: He lit a match against the leaking fuel line and blew up the tank, killing himself along with the Germans swarming Bess.
- Incurable Cough of Death: While you can't see it because your view is from outside the vehicle at the time, it is implied that he is coughing blood in the final part of the mission, presumably after he was wounded early on during the ambush. It's not what kills him, though.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Is seen with a flask (Pritchard's?) after Edwards' mission to acquire spark plugs for Bess.
- Mortal Wound Reveal: Downplayed. He was seen wounded in the first mission, but it didn't get extremely serious until after defeating the counterattack in the last mission. It also ended up not having any real bearing on his actual death through Heroic Sacrifice.
- Taking You with Me: He ignited Bess' leaking fuel line to prevent capture and to take out the Germans attempting to seize the Black Bess.
- Trial by Friendly Fire: Orders Black Bess' pigeon be released back to their lines, which turns out to have a message with an urgent demand to have friendly artillery guns fire on their position. McManus is telling everyone it's suicide to send the pigeon out long before the pigeon actually lands and this trope is clearly revealed to the player - quite a fair belief given field gun rounds landing on the top of WWI tanks would almost certainly blow up the vehicle's fuel and incinerate its crew...but instead, the fire mission just kills off the tank's swarming attackers, leaving it and its occupants no worse for wear.
- "Jesus, are we in safe hands or what, boys?"
McManus is one of the two gunners of Black Bess, and the most cynical man out of the bunch.
- Badass Boast: "Look upon Queen Bess, ya Jerries, and despair!"
- Changed My Mind, Kid: He backs out during the mission to raid a village full of Germans for spark plugs because of the losses they incurred. However, he returns at the right moment and saves Edwards from a German soldier, deciding to put some faith in Edwards.
- The Cynic: He's got a bad attitude about every situation, until he starts putting a bit more faith in Edwards.
- Disney Death: Is shot several times by a German soldier during Black Bess' last stand, but miraculously turns out to be alive at the end, albeit badly wounded. Its even played terribly straight when both him and Edwards limp off into the sunset together.
- Fighting Irish: Has the accent, the last name, and the belligerence to fit this trope.
- Hidden Depths: Despite his sharp tongue, he's audibly depressed that Finch (and, to a lesser extent, Edwards) is seeing the desolate no man's land for the first time, and is upset when Finch dies. Later, while Black Bess is stuck in a mud trap and Germans start trying to get in, he instinctively warns Edward of the enemy soldier reaching his pistol in.
- Off-Model: After being shot a few times through the chest in the ending, he gets up with Edwards' help and nary a scratch on his jacket.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's a short-tempered Jerkass who gets on everybody's nerves, but he still went out of his way to save Edwards from a German soldier who nearly kills him.
- The Lancer: McManus serves this role to Edwards. He's older and has more war experience, but his angry, cynical demeanor puts him at odds with Edwards.
- Meaningful Name: McManus is a bit of an asshole, but later he becomes a McManus and returns to help Edwards.
- Multiple Gunshot Death: Averted, he got back up afterwards.
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Tries to do this instead of assisting Edwards with finding spark plugs. He comes back later.
- When He Smiles: He gives out a hearty laugh when Edwards manages to get Bess moving one last time.
- "Listen, don't worry—she'll look after you, yeah?"
Finch is the amiable mechanic of Black Bess.
- And Now for Someone Completely Different: You go from a tank crew in deep shit (and mud) to...a pigeon.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Some scenes inside "Black Bess" shows a possible name, written on the side of its cage: "FAITH"
- Meaningful Name: See Freeze-Frame Bonus. It can be interpreted as representing the crew's.
- One-Scene Wonder: Flies through a freshened battlefield to deliver orders to HQ. Possibly justified, since the pigeon likely wouldn't be sent back to Black Bess.
- Unexpected Character: No one expected a pigeon of all things to be a playable character in a first-person-shooter. But DICE pulled it off beautifully.
Friends in High Places
- "My name is Clyde Blackburn. I'm a pilot and a gambler. If you ask me to name my biggest fault, I'd have to tell you I'm just not a very honest person."
Clyde Blackburn is the Protagonist of the War Story "Friends in High Places". An American pilot in the Royal Flying Corps, he gambles a fellow pilot officer George Rackham for his plane, but uses trickery to restrain him and impersonates him instead. He flies with co-pilot Wilson on the new plane.
- Ace Pilot: Proves to be so in combat. Allegedly.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: He does this to the player with his final narration.
- Expy: Of Battlefield 3's Sgt. Henry Blackburn. Both are American, both ended up against something bigger than they'd thought they would have, and both faced court-martial for their crimes, only to escape because an ensuing chaos nearby helped vindicate/redeem themselves. Of course, Henry Blackburn is sincere, honest, desperately trying to avert both a catastrophic terrorist attack and impending war with Russia, but nobody believes him. Clyde Blackburn, on the other hand, is strongly implied to be lying his ass off.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Despite his dishonest and seemingly selfish nature, Blackburn becomes this with his co-pilot Wilson after saving the latter's life by carrying him out of No-Man's Land.
- The Gambler: Said to gamble a lot. Funnily enough, he's only seen losing a poker game and stealing Rackham's plane because he tied Rackham to his chair during their game.
- Guile Hero: His first action on-screen is to tie up Rackham to a chair so he can "borrow" his plane, the Bristol.
- Jerkass: He's a lying, scheming jerk that impersonates an officer and steals a brand-new plane to take on a joyride. However...
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Out in No-Man's Land, he's faced with the dilemma of either leaving Wilson to die (or even killing him) or taking him back to British lines. He actually at first makes the decision to just kill Wilson to get the dilemma out of the way, but decides to save him instead.
- Military Maverick: He's definitely not obliging to most military rules, as told by Wilson.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: When he impersonates Rackham, a British pilot, he didn't even bother to change his accent. Though he does have an explanation to back him up.Wilson: Why does George Rackham, son of the fourth Earl of Windsor, sound like an American?!
Blackburn: I pick up accents easily. Probably be speaking French by the time we've got the Jerry's beat.
Wilson: ...I see!
- Redemption in the Rain: Played very straight - it starts raining after Blackburn drops Wilson back in British lines, and Blackburn then matches the pose you'l see on the main trope page while the camera looks on directly above him.
- Unreliable Narrator: The implication of his final narration in his war story: that the entire campaign was just heroic embellishment that Blackburn created after the fact and that what may have happened was that he crashed the plane on his first flight, killed Wilson, deserted, and escaped his court martial in the ensuing chaos of the attack.Blackburn: [narration] What you heard from me is the truth. I wouldn't tell you if it wasn't. Would I?
- "If we pal up on this, then you need to promise me that you'll get me back in one piece."
Wilson is Rackham's co-pilot, who got stuck with Blackburn and his antics after he impersonates Rackham.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Literally, since Wilson is Blackburn's tail gunner of their plane. They both also manage to rack up an impressive amount of air victories throughout their War Story.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Despite knowing Blackburn's duplicity, they bond and trust one another after Blackburn saves him from No-Man's Land. He even offers to speak in Blackburn's defense during the court-martial.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: Resorts to giving a German Zeppelin crewman a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, to buy Edwards the time he needs to shoot down another approaching Zeppelin.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: After their plane crashed, Wilson is found by the downed plane impaled on a piece of wood.
- The Lancer: To Blackburn.
- The Promise: Before going for a mission, a concerned Wilson make Blackburn promise him to keep them both alive at all costs. After getting injured in the plane crash, Wilson bitterly reminds Blackburn (who was on the verge of leaving him for dead) about this, which prompts the latter to keep it. Well, maybe.
- Uncertain Doom: Given Blackburn's Unreliable Narrator for the story. We never got a clear answer if he actually survived, or is just part of his story.
- You Owe Me: Says this to Blackburn when they team up one last time to save London from a German air raid.Wilson: You owe me a bloody medal!
- "You don't deserve to fly!"
George Rackham is a pilot of the Royal Flying Corps and the son of the fourth Earl of Windsor. Blackburn impersonates him after locking him away in a shed.
- Blue Blood: He's the son of the fourth Earl of Windsor.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Killed by a German airstrike while he was on the ship.
- Failed a Spot Check: Manages to not realize Blackburn somehow tying up his legs while playing a game of poker with the same guy.
- Informed Ability: He's said to be a skilled pilot. Too bad he gets locked away by Blackburn in the first half of the story and is killed in the last mission.
- Jerkass Has a Point: He's shown on-screen as a jerk, but he's right about Blackburn being a fraud.
- Upper-Class Twit: Subverted; he proves himself pretty handy at poker and is also apparently a skilled pilot too.
- "We were a proud unit. We changed the war for Italy. The Arditi."
Luca Vincenzo Cocchiola is the Protagonist of the War Story "Avanti Savoia!". Luca is an old veteran of the Italian Arditi enjoying a birthday with his family, years after the end of the Great War. However, the old memories never go away, and after reminiscing over some old photographs, he decides it's about time for his daughter to finally learn of his experiences during the conflict, and the battle.
- BFG: Wields an MG08 machinegun at the beginning, befitting his status as The Juggernaut. He later yanks a Villar Perosa anti-aircraft sub-machinegun from the wreckage of a plane after losing his armor to said plane crashing on top of him.
- Brought Down to Badass: Loses his armor and machinegun to a plane crash(ing on top of him), but still manages to press on to invade a fortress.
- Elites Are More Glamorous: Unlike his brother, Luca is part of the Arditi, the Italian shock troops of WWI famed for performing suicidally dangerous missions throughout the war.
- The Juggernaut: From the first chapter, he wears his Arditi Sentry armor, making him much, much more resilient to small arms fire and explosions.
- Knight Templar Big Brother: Nothing, not entire regiments of Austro-Hungarian infantrymen, flamethrower troopers, bomber squadrons or even a fortress will stop him from finding and protecting his brother.
- Made of Iron: Almost literally since he's wearing armor, but he manages to survive being shot at multiple times by infantry, strafed and bombed by fighter planes, and finally had a plane crash on top of him. Even shedding his armor doesn't stop him from storming and capturing a heavily defended fort.
- Mirror Boss: The final assault on the fortress features tons of Austro-Hungarian troops and two Sentry troopers, except Luca has already lost his armor at that point.
- One-Man Army: Though with his fellow Arditi, he stands out since 1) He's the Player Character, 2) He's in a suit of armor, making him nearly impervious to enemy fire. He destroys several Austro-Hungarian outposts and even diverts an entire bomb squadron!
- Rage Against the Heavens: An understated one at the end of the narration.Luca: He never got older. And here I am, still. ...Who decides such things?
- Religious Bruiser: Implied, since he wears a cross around his neck.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: A more pronounced example, as he is still haunted by a certain death: that of his brother, Matteo.
- Survivor Guilt: If his closing narration is anything to go by, regarding his brother Matteo.
- Luca: "He never got older."
Matteo is Luca's brother. Matteo was a member of a frontline unit tasked to retake a vital stronghold held by German and Austro-Hungarian forces. Luca trying to find him in the ensuing carnage is the primary plot for the campaign.
- Living MacGuffin: To Luca, who fights in combat to keep Matteo safe and then searches for him amongst the battle-torn landscape.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: He's not the focus of the Italian chapter and by the time we see him next, he's dead from the avalanche. The only time we see him is in the opening cutscene before he and his unit go off to battle.
- The Faceless: We never got a look of her face.
Frederick Bishop is the Protagonist of the War Story "The Runner". A veteran Australian trooper in the ANZAC, Bishop is assigned Foster as his charge on the second day of the Gallipoli campaign. Though at first he's dismissive, he soon becomes protective of Foster, which leads him to be assigned as a runner between the front lines and the rear command.
- An Axe to Grind: His default melee weapon is a hatchet.
- Anger Born of Worry: When Foster reveals that he'd snuck onto the battlefield despite his orders, Bishop angrily shows the boy the fresh corpses of both Entente and Ottoman soldiers—showing Foster just what he lied his way into.
- Awesome Aussie: He even has the nickname, "The Pride of Australia".
- Badass Boast: Gives one to Foster to reassure him.Bishop: You're Australian. We're impossible to kill.
- Heroic Sacrifice: With the Royal Navy about to rain artillery down on the village and fortress the ANZAC has spent the entire chapter attempting to take, he stays behind and mounts a one-man assault on the Ottoman positions in order to buy the rest of the ANZAC force time to regroup.
- Old Soldier: He is 53 years old, and is still able to volunteer as a runner.
- One-Man Army: He storms the fortress held by the Ottoman alone to buy time for Foster and a group of ANZAC soldiers to retreat.
- Passing the Torch: Implied when he fixed Foster's hat to resemble his own, just before he attacks the Ottoman fort alone.
Jack Foster is a young Australian who lied about his age and joined the ANZAC. He ends up becoming Bishop's charge during the Gallipoli campaign.
- Adorkable: Has shades of this at the beginning, although this begins to wear off.
- Ascended Fanboy: He's heard of Bishop back home and got past enlisted age limits to see him, becoming his charge.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Though he starts off the chapter as seeming fairly over his head, he quickly adjusts to the realities of the situation and manages to make it back to the rear of the British lines alive while safely, leading all of the other surviving Entente troops that attacked the Ottoman fortress there with him. He also saves Bishop's life at one point, scoring a headshot on an Ottoman soldier coming up behind him.Bishop: You bloody well could've killed me.
Foster: Yeah...but I didn't.
Bishop: No, you didn't.
- Naïve Newcomer: He lied about his age to the conscription office in order to get sent to the front, only to get a rude awakening of what the war is really like.
- Stress Vomit: Does this upon seeing the carnage on the beach before going through a small Heroic BSoD.Foster: ....I'm gonna die.
- War Is Hell: Definitely learns this after the initial assault. When Bishop shows him the bodies of the recently-KIA'ed, he falls to his knees and throws up, realizing that he could've been one of them.
Whitehall is Bishop's and Foster's commanding officer during the Gallipoli campaign.
- The Chains of Commanding: He expresses great remorse at losing a lot of men under his leadership during the Gallipoli campaign.
Nothing is Written
Zara Ghufran is the Protagonist of the War Story "Nothing is Written". A female Bedouin warrior fiercely loyal to T.E. Lawrence determined to drive the Ottoman Empire out of her homeland.
- Action Girl
- And the Adventure Continues: At the end of her story it's implied she goes off with Lawrence to continue fighting the Ottomans, specifically to the Suez Canal to fight the Ottoman navy.
- Combat Pragmatist: As Lawrence advises, she has no problems picking up any enemy weapons and equipment she comes across to dispatch her foes.
- It's Personal: Her desire to drive out the Ottoman presence out of Arabia is implied to be the loss of her family to rampant Turkish military oppression.
- Knife Nut: Initially carries a traditional Jambiya knife by default at the beginning of her story. And only that to take on a large Ottoman detail.
- The Lancer: To Lawrence in her war story.
- Mistaken for Badass: Due to her headscarf hiding her face, Tilkici initially mistakes her to be El-Orens, until the ambush and Lawrence himself appearing on top of the train, hammy as ever. Then again, Zara's no less a Badass in her own right.
- One-Woman Army: Single handedly wipes out several Ottoman outposts without any backup during the course of her story.
- The Sneaky Gal: Is one by default, if Lawrence's narration is to be believed, but she can go equally loud and unsubtle as the player wishes to be.
- Samus Is a Girl: In the first mission the game sets her up to be T.E. Lawrence, and she is initially mistaken for him by the Ottomans when she's caught. It might have worked too, if she hadn't been prominently featured in the marketing and she didn't emit distinctly female grunts and vocalizations in combat.
- Tribal Facepaint: Wears traditional Bedouin tribal tattoos over her face.
- Vengeance Feels Empty: After finally destroying the armored train, Lawrence asks if Zara felt sweet or bitter after achieving vengeance. She didn't respond, though the smile she had on her face before he asked suggests it's the former.
- "In the desert, you rely on good planning, but you also hope for a dash of luck."
T.E. Lawrence is a British officer assigned to the Middle East to assist with the ongoing Arab Revolt. Notably the first real-life historical figure depicted in the entire Battlefield franchise.
- Foregone Conclusion: Anyone who has read up on him, or watched that particular movie would know that he would survive anything the Ottomans could possibly throw at him during the war.
- Historical-Domain Character: He is the Lawrence of Arabia.
- Iconic Outfit: Played With. Unlike popular depictions of him, he is only seen wearing the headdress of his iconic white Arab clothes, but curiously a black Turkish-looking uniform and boots underneath. Possibly because it would be nightmare to render flowing Arab robes.
- In-Series Nickname: "El-Orens" (or "El-Aurens"), which is Truth in Television.
- Large Ham: Not exactly Peter O'Toole, but close enough."Actually... I was rather depending on it."
- Mentor Archetype: Is one to Zara, and the rest of the Arab rebels in general.
- "Free is it? You'll be free when you're dead - And I'm happy to tell you: the Empire intends to grant you all this freedom very soon."
Tilkici is a Turkish officer for the Ottoman Empire, and the closest person we have to a main antagonist in the Battlefield 1 campaign.
- Bald of Evil: He is the only bald guy noticeable throughout the game.
- Big Bad: The closest to one for the War Story, "Nothing is Written".
- Evil Gloating: Gives one to Zara about how he will destroy everything and everyone she loves after capturing and dragging her out to the middle of nowhere to kill her, shortly before she overpowers him and forces his own knife down his throat.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: An evil one, across his right cheek and nose, given to him by Zara, arguably one of the good guys.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: See Evil Gloating above, as the knife in question was originally Zara's.
- The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: Lampshades this word-for-word rather calmly to Lawrence after the Arab rebels ambush his security detail.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: A villainous variant. He somehow escapes from under the eyes of Lawrence, locate Zara and even sneak up on her by the end of the second chapter.
- Smug Snake: As his main personality trait, as he still seems to enjoy taunting his enemies even when captured by them.
- Terms of Endangerment: He condescendingly refers to Zara as "my dear" throughout the story.
- Villain Ball: Holds it firmly in his hands when he drags Zara out into the desert and monologues rather than simply and swiftly stabbing her.
- Villain Has a Point: During his breakdown stated below, he foreshadows historical events-to-be regarding the Arab's western allies.Tilkici: "You can never stop against the progress of machines! One day, the world will take your lands, and the precious black gold beneath its sands!"
- Villainous Breakdown: Has one major one when he sees his precious code book in the hands of Zara after being told of the rebel's plans.