Fire-Brigade: The Battle for Kiev - 1943

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The Battle for Kiev - 1943
Panther Games Fire Brigade boxart.png
Developer(s) Panther Games Pty Ltd
Publisher(s) Panther Games Pty Ltd
Designer(s) David O'Connor
Programmer(s) Tony Oliver
Ben Freasier
Hugh Fisher
Steve Adam
Platform(s) IBM PC DOS 3.0
Mac OS 2.0
Release Version one - 1988
Version two - 1989
Genre(s) Computer Wargame
Mode(s) Single player, Multiplayer

Fire-Brigade: The Battle for Kiev - 1943 (commonly abbreviated Fire-Brigade) is a Computer Wargame developed and published by Panther Games in Australia in 1988. The game is set around the historical WWII Eastern Front battle for Kiev in 1943.

Fire-Brigade was a pioneering computer wargame as it was one of the first wargames to take advantage of the new graphical mouse driven interfaces that 16bit computers were making available on both MAC II & IBM PC. It was also one of the first wargames to enable network game-play for head to head multiplayer battles.

Fire-Brigade required a huge amount of hard drive space and RAM for the time of its release to take full advantage of the development of 256 colours. For colour Fire-Brigade required 2MB of RAM and 640KB of hard drive space, while for mono the game only required 1MB of RAM.

Historical Synopsis[edit]

Early November, 1943 and the war in Russia is at its height. With the capture of the strategic city of Kiev imminent, Soviet General Vatutin unleashes Rybalko's elite 3rd Guards Tank Army. "Drive like hell" his orders read, "and we'll split the entire German Front!"

With the fate of the Army Group South in the balance, Marshall von Manstein must commit Balck's 48th Panzer Korps, the fire-brigade, to save the German Army. Receiving the Soviet attack will be fierce, delivering the counter-attack could be decisive... for one side or the other!


Fire-Brigade is a turn-based strategic & tactical computer wargame that allows players flexibility and advanced functions. You can play either by yourself against the AI or against another person in any of four scenarios networked via modem or cable. You can play either as the Germans or the Soviet Union in any of the scenarios and you have at your command a comprehensive reporting system and realistic staff support.

Players can set combat, logistics and air commitment support values to direct the allocation of supplies; reinforcements and combat support assets. Gather intelligence on enemy forces and assess information on friendly forces before issuing movement and attack orders to units in either a micro (individual units) or macro level (subordinate headquarters). You can then set the frontage of your unit's formation to either narrow, medium or broad, all while you 'confer' with the games' AI which will use artificial intelligence routines to execute the orders within set variable parameters such as morale, troop quality, fatigue etc.[1]

Players are given a 15 step recommended sequence of play list in the game manual for Fire-Brigade and is as follows:[2]

1. Examine victory/progress report

2. Examine air activity report
3. Examine battle report
4. Examine specific friendly and enemy HQs/units
5. Examine unlocated enemy (if required)
6. Examine overall supply status
7. Assign objectives
8. Assign orders
9. Force-march selection formations
10. Commit air assets
11. Allocate combat support
12. Allocate logistic support
13. Determine frontages
14. Transfer/detach units

15. Add replacements


Apple Developer Award 1989 for Best Entertainment Package for Fire-Brigade

Computer Gaming World called the game "a milestone for computing wargames in terms of sophistication" and "Fire-Brigade is meant for the thinking man, the sophisticated player who wants to learn and make the absolute most out of his computer playing time".[3] A 1991 survey by the magazine of strategy and war games gave it three and a half stars out of five,[4] and a 1993 survey of wargames gave the game two-plus stars.[5] The magazine gave Fire-Brigade a score of 70 out of 100 and ranked the game the 4th Top Sleeper of All Time in its November 1996 15th anniversary issue.[6]

Fire-Brigade currently forms part of the historical collection of software; hardwere; trade and promotional materials that document the history of Apple Inc. and its contributions to the computer industry and society. This collection is currently housed at Museum Victoria, Melbourne.[7]


Fire-Brigade won the 1988 Charles S. Roberts Award for Best 20th Century Computer Game[8]
Fire-Brigade won the 1989 Apple Developers Award for Best Entertainment Package


  1. ^ O'Connor, David (1988), pp.4-77, Fire Brigade Player Manual, Panther Games Pty Ltd, Retrieved 2013-04-15
  2. ^ O'Connor, David (1988), p.22, Fire Brigade Player Manual, Panther Games Pty Ltd, Retrieved 2013-04-15
  3. ^ Vannoy, Allyn (July 1988), pp.40-41,"A 16-bit Eastern Front Game" (PDF). Computer Gaming World. Retrieved 2013-04-15. 
  4. ^ Brooks, M. Evan (November 1991). "Computer Strategy and Wargames: The 1900-1950 Epoch / Part I (A-L) of an Annotated Paiktography". Computer Gaming World. p. 138. Retrieved 18 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Brooks, M. Evan (September 1993). "Brooks' Book of Wargames: 1900-1950, A-P". Computer Gaming World. p. 118. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  6. ^ "Fire-Brigade: The Battle for Kiev - 1943". MobyGames. Retrieved 2013-04-15. 
  7. ^ Reg. No: HT 13672 "Apple Macintosh Software Game - 'Fire Brigade The Battle for Kiev 1943', 3½" Floppy Disk, 1989". Museum Victoria. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  8. ^ Best 20th Century Computer Game "CSR 1988". Charles S. Roberts Award. Retrieved 2013-04-15. 

External links[edit]