I just wanted to share some stuff I looked into over the last week. This has nothing to do with mechanics or weapons. It is simply some observations I made when looking into the ‘regiment’ of the British players in Battlefield 1.
Thanks to some high quality pictures, I finally managed to read the shoulder patches on the British soldiers, featuring in both the Singleplayer and the Multiplayer footage. It says ‘Railway Bn. 17’. This means the 17th Railway Battalion. When I googled this, it came up with the 17th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers.
During the First World War, there were a series of military groups known as ‘service’ battalions, most of which were formed by independent British corporations. These were designed to recruit people from specific skill sets in civilian life in order to assist with logistic duties essential to a newly industrialised army. The 17th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers was one of these such ‘service’ battalions, formed by the North Eastern Railway Company, and officially known as the ‘North Eastern Railway Pioneers’. Their job was to assist in establishing a military infrastructure for the British Expeditionary Force, specifically railways, so that the ever-changing front would always have a fast supply line. Eventually, the N.E.R. Pioneers were reassigned to frontline combat roles and fought in various battles as infantry, including the First and Second Battles of the Somme.
My theory is that the BF1 ‘17th Railway Battalion’ is a fictional Service Battalion that, by 1918, was integrated with various commonwealth units (such as the Indian, South African and West Indian Regiments), and placed entirely into a combat role, hence their appearance in multiplayer.
What do you chaps think? Am I overthinking it, or do you think there’s merit behind this in speculating Battlefield 1’s storyline?