One of the options is an encyclopedia where you can, at your leisure, review every one of the thirteen land vehicles, the sole helicopter, and the two fixed antitank guns that populate the T-72 world. The first three tanks shown are player-controllable in game. These are the T-72B medium tank, the T-55A medium tank, and the T-34/85 medium tank.
Take a look at the game’s star, the T-72B. Nicknamed the “Dolly Parton” T-72 for its up-rated glacis armor, it is the Russian army variant of this famous combat vehicle. Developed basically in parallel with the infamous T-64, it boasts the smooth bore 125mm “Rapira-3” D-18TM combined gun and missile launcher, and in game you have access to sabot, HEAT, and HE-T ammunition for it, as well as the 9K120 “Svir” variant of the missile system known to NATO as the AT-11 “Sniper,” a dangerous laser-guided antitank missile. All Russian main battle tanks since the T-62 have been equipped with the capability to employ antitank missiles and I’m glad to see that modeled here. The export variant of the T-72, such as the type in Iraqi service prior to the current conflict there, does not have missile capability, however. The T-72’s final version is still in service with the Russian Federation, as well as armies of a myriad of former Soviet republics and Second and Third World client states. It is the rough equivalent of the German Leopard 1A4 or the American M-60A3 tank. It is being superseded in Russian service by the T-90, built along the same lines. As you can see, the encyclopedia gives a good data entry that only a Russian-speaker can read, but even if you don’t read Russian you can still glean some useful info from it. You also have one 12.7mm coaxial machine gun and one 12.7mm AA gun atop the turret.
The next player-controllable tank is the good old T-55A, which served the Soviet army from the early 1950s through the mid 1980s and is still in production to this day in various forms. It has a 100mm D-10T gun and in game you have access to AP ammunition, HEAT rounds, and high-explosive as well. This tank has two machine guns, as 12.7mm coaxial, and a 7.62mm turret mount.
The final player-controllable vehicle is the World War II T-34/85, with its D-5T 85mm gun and two 7.62mm machine guns you can control, and a bow-mounted one you can’t.
AI ground combat vehicles include the three player-controllable tanks, along with several other vehicles. The first is the MT-LB armored personnel carrier, in two variants. The most deadly, the “Shturm-S,” boasts a 9K113 (AT-6 “Spiral”) command-guided antitank missile system mounted atop its low-slung hull. It can do-in every tank in the game but is thin skinned and can be killed with HE rounds from all three player-controlled tanks. The second variant carries an RPG infantry team and has a 7.62mm machine gun. You will also encounter the World War II SU-100 tank destroyer, a dangerous opponent in open country, the laughable M-50 Super Sherman, the deadly Leopard 1A4, and the BRDM-2 scout car.
There are plenty of non-combat vehicles as well. You will see the Land Rover Defender jeep, the IVECO EuroCargo cargo-hauler, the highly explosive KrAZ-265 tanker, and the weird BTM-3 entrenching vehicle. In several missions you will see the BTM actually in operation, dirt clods flying as it digs a trench. The terrain in T-72 is fully deformable, and you will see shell-holes appear after explosions and tracks from your tank treads.
There are two deadly antitank guns in the game. One is the 2A45M, the stand-alone version of the Rapira-3 aboard your T-72, and the other is the infamous B-11 107mm recoilless rifle that American troops learned to hate in Vietnam. Expect to see the B-11 hiding in buildings in game. It is often used in ambush tactics.
You only have to deal with one aircraft in game. Remember: this isn’t a conflict where air power made a difference. It’s a third world brushfire war. There are not a lot of opportunities for air strikes when neither side has an air force to speak of. The aircraft is the venerable and dangerous Mi-8 “Hip” helicopter, and you’ll learn to hate it. It carries troops and supports them with rockets and missiles. Kill it before it gets you.