This article is designed to give you an understanding of the "origins and inspiration" for a few of the units in the game. It's designed to tell people the history of a few of the more obscure units, rather than give them a brief history of the Humvee corporation. Onto the units:
The Aurora in all it's badly-renderedness
The US Aurora Strike Aircraft
Ah, conspiracy theorists. Where would we be today without the insights of David Icke and his seven-foot lizards taking over the globe, or the people telling us Aliens shot JFK? Truly the lifeblood of our society. Away from the madness of Elvis and the Loch Ness Monster living with Saddam Hussein however, another popular topic is of the so-called "Aurora" aircraft. A Top Secret Mach 6 (2000mph) recon plane, which obviously, should they be correct, isn't very secret anymore.
Rumoured to exist but routinely denied by U.S. officials, Aurora would be the most advanced plane in the world. The name "Aurora" is used because a censor's slip let it appear below the SR-71 Blackbird and U-2 in the 1985 Pentagon budget request. Even if this was the actual name of the project, it would have by now been changed after being compromised in such a manner.
It may exist, or it may not. This is not unfamiliar though, the F-117a stealth fighter was kept a secret for over ten years after its first pre-production test flight. The project is what is technically known as a Special Access Program (SAP). More often, such projects are referred to as "black programs." So, in reality, these would-be exposits of the black budget have little to work on. A few dodgy videos, the odd scrambled sound recording, and perhaps a few shaky photographs.
The Aircraft's proposed role is as a hypothetical replacement for the SR-71A "Blackbird"; which although originally retired, has been re-introduced after the US Military realised the in-flexibility of satellite-based images.
But taking photos doesn't really stir our mind when a war's on, does it? So EAP have taken the Aurora and strapped a large missile onto its underbelly. Much better I would say. It really is perfect gaming material: take a myth, expand it, and you've got some prime material. No matter whether the Aurora, or whatever it may me called does exist, it'll still be whooping ass in Generals.
The GLA "Technical"
Look familiar? Apart from the guy without a tea-towel ontop of his head..
The picture opposite is the closest thing to a picture of a "Technical" that I could find. Photographers tend to dislike trying to photograph something that is pointing a magazine full of .50 calibre bullets towards you. Made infamous by the US Army's horrendous intervention to Mogadishu in 1993, one of the world's most Elite army units was stopped by a pickup truck with a machine gun mounted on it. No matter how comical it may sound, its lethality cannot be under-estimated.
The simplicity of these weapons make then ultra-effective in close quarters urban combat. The incident in "Black Hawk Down" showed how the Technical's manoeuvrability, and most importantly it's adaptability, proved it's ground. While the US Army packed into their armoured Humvees, the Somali militiamen armed themselves with Rocket Propelled Grenades, and "hitched a ride" along with the heavier mounted guns. The result was a quickly mobilised and highly adaptable anti-personnel and anti-tank group.
We can see why they call it the crocodile. Or can we?
The effect of these units in Generals remains to be seen; but we've heard from the previews that the Technicals will be able to salvage parts and then upgrade from the remnants of enemy tanks and vehicles. I doubt it'll be shooting down any US Helicopters or doing severe damage to the Chinese Tanks, but perhaps it will be able to hold it's own against light infantry and armoured cavalry divisions.
The Chinese "Dragon Tank"
The original Command and Conquer revolutionised the RTS genre forever. The Flame Tank didn't really do very much to the genre, but I needed a quick and easy link. The unit the flame tanks are based on originated from the Second World War. Modified versions of tanks such as the Sherman or Churchill would be fitted up with a highly lethal and long burning flame-throwing turret, and nicknamed "Crocodiles". They were most commonly used in the Pacific, where fanatical Japanese would rather be burned alive than surrender. Rather than risk soldier's lives against such suicidal and barbaric opposition, the jets of burning fuel would truly "Smoke them out", saving both time and life.
Since these units fought on the Allied side against Nazi Germany, and were then featured on the GDI side; it seems rather peculiar to attach them to the Chinese army in Generals. Unless EAP are planning a plot twist where the Chinese find naturally occurring napalm deposits in the hills of Sichuan province, I'm struggling to find any relation.
Is that the Bible?
Flame based weapons have been all but discarded in recent conflicts, with modern battlefield technologies extinguishing the medieval throwback of the flame. I don't see anyone introducing flame-throwers into their arsenals on the advice of EAP, but hopefully it'll expand the fictional arsenals of China
The Chinese "Propaganda Blimp"
National Stereotypes are lovely. The Germans are efficient, The English drink too much tea, and the Chinese bombard their population with hoards of pro-government propaganda. Have you spotted the odd one out? No matter what they protest, it is well known that since the Communist take-over of mainland China in 1949, all the way up to the absorption of Hong Kong and Macao in 1999; that the Socialist Chinese government loves its propaganda. I'm not talking "Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Euro" here, we're talking about your classic "Strong Workers" posters originating from the USSR.
EAP have good reason to include a "Propaganda Blimp" in Generals. Famously in the Korean War of the fifties, China would sacrifice a few tons of explosive in its shells for a few leaflets advertising the virtues of life in a despotic shit-hole. Ironically, the majority of troops could read them, but someone in Beijing probably got a promotion for his idea.
The pictures shown are of real Chinese propaganda, in the form of posters and leaflets. If the Propaganda Blimp is to shower these booklets onto the troops, we could be in for cool special effects. If it's some party member shouting things in Cantonese, we'll just have to remember to pack our earplugs in the style of Jason and Argonauts.