Leave No One Behind: Czech game depicts the legendary Vietnam battle at LZ X-Ray even in VR
"I will leave no one behind. Dead, or alive, we will all come home together." These words were said by Lieutenant Colonel, and later Lieutenant General Hal Moore, the legendary commander of the 1st Battalion of the 7th Cavalry of the US Army before the unit's departure to Vietnam back in 1965. His statement was chosen by the Czech developers of the Gaming 301 company as the title for its computer game called Leave No One Behind, which will be released on the STEAM distribution platform in September this year. It should be the most faithful concept of the LZ X-Ray battle - in which American soldiers under the command of Hal Moore defeated the Vietnamese army - in the gaming industry yet.
Picture: Computer game called Leave No One Behind will be released on the STEAM distribution platform in September this year. It should be the most faithful concept of the LZ X-Ray battle - in which American soldiers under the command of Hal Moore defeated the Vietnamese army - in the gaming industry yet. | Gaming 301 / CC BY-NC-ND
Battle of the Landing Zone (LZ) X-Ray, in which soldiers of the 7th Cavalry, US Army, under lieutenant colonel Hal Moore successfully faced heavy odds of the North Vietnamese army and local Vietcong forces, is one of the most significant and well-known episodes of the Vietnam War. This clash was popularized by the excellent book We were soldiers once... and young by Hal Moore and war reporter Joseph Galloway and later by the film of the same name starring Mel Gibson.
The battle took place between 14 and 19 November 1965 and had far-reaching consequences for the course of the war. The ratio of casualties between the Americans and the Vietnamese, somewhat overstated at 1:10, convinced the US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara that if the manpower of the adversary, the North Vietnamese Army and Vietcong guerrillas, was to be consistently eliminated with minimal losses on the US side, North Vietnam would have to give up the war with its southern neighbor. The North Vietnamese Command, led by General Vo Nguyen Giap, on the other hand, concluded that even with a technically advanced U.S. army, it was possible to successfully fight, and that close combat could largely eliminate America's superiority in firepower.
The result is known: Although the Americans never lost a single battle of the Vietnam War, they suffered a strategic defeat and had to withdraw in disgrace, with far-reaching consequences for America's reputation in the world and the domestic political situation in the US. However, the series of battles of autumn 1965 at LZ X-Ray, LZ Albany and the Plei Me Special Forces camp (which preceded the whole campaign in the Ia Drang Valley) remains an interesting subject not only for military historians, but also for writers or filmmakers.
The most famous work about the battles in the Ia Drang Valley is the aforementioned book We were soldiers once... and young, written by Lieutenant General Hal Moore and war reporter Joseph Galloway, who took part in the battle alongside Moore. In the genre of world war literature, it is a unique book that describes an intense multi-day battle literally minute by minute, and key events are described by the eyes of several direct participants, not only from the American side, but also from the Vietnamese side. Moore and Galloway managed to literally build a monument to the heroism of American soldiers, but also of their former enemies. After all, Hal Moore made several peacetimes visits to Vietnam and concluded a personal friendship with the commander on the other side, General Nguyen Hu An. The authors of the book do not forget the broader political-military context of the Vietnam conflict and the view of family members of American soldiers is a very strong aspect of the story.
The computer game will come on the market in September
However, Moore's book inspired the Czech team of gaming developers from Gaming 301. They started to work on the game called Leave No One Behind in 2019, and after two years their project is approaching the finals. The sale is expected to start this September on the Steam distribution platform. The genre will be a 3D real-time strategy for PC and PC VR (virtual reality) platforms. The 3D terrain is quite realistically processed according to satellite images and historical maps. In the case of the LZ X-Ray, there is recreated also such a detail as the dry creek bed, which played a pivotal role in the defense of the landing zone. In the PC interface, the game will be controlled by a combination of mouse and keyboard, in the case of the virtual reality version, the player must master battle management through special hand controllers.
Although it is a game, Leave No One Behind will also include some real and original mechanics in its genre. The basic unit for both attack and defense will be an infantry platoon, from which a patrol can be separated, which is faster in movement and, thanks to its far-off vision, is suitable for reconnaissance and guidance of artillery or air support. And without that, a player who faces the pressure of a much stronger enemy in most missions cannot survive. In order to fulfill the motto of the game "I will not leave anyone behind", the player will have to evacuate the wounded and dead from the battlefield.
Battlefield logistics will of course depend on helicopters, namely the Bell UH-1 Iroquois, which will be present in both the transport version (so-called slick) and the combat version (gunship). Douglas A-1 Skyraider and B-52 bombers will be another example of aviation technology in the game. In accordance with historical reality, there will be no land vehicles in play, but the infantry will have a wide arsenal at its disposal, from Colt 1911 pistols to M-16 assault rifles to M-60 machine guns and M-79 grenade launchers. Artillery support will be provided by 105mm howitzers and mortars. Lighting ammunition will also play a role in night missions.
In addition to the battle for LZ X-Ray, the game will also depict the ensuing battle of LZ Albany, which turned out to be much worse for Americans as they were caught in an ambush. The third battlefield will be the Plei Me Special Forces camp, which the player will have to defend with the help of air supplies (ammunition and other supplies were dropped into the camp and sometimes outside its perimeter by transport aircraft). Interestingly, the game's creators explored the location of the special forces camp on its real replica, which is built in the tankodrome complex in Milovice.
Leave No One Behind will not contain a multi-player and will focus only on the American side. However, the plan is to prepare a follow-up title, Leave No One Behind: Year in Vietnam, which will include an extensive campaign with the possibility of fighting for both sides and a wider range of land and aviation technology.
At the moment, the Czech developers have created a profile on Steam for their project and an impressive trailer is available. To sum up, this is a promising project that will confirm the qualities of the Czech gaming industry and at the same time remind you in a dignified manner of the fateful battle of the Vietnam War.