isonzo key art

New Free Map Set in the Icy Marmolada Glacier Tunnels in WW1 Isonzo: White War

The new free White War update arrives today for WW1 FPS Isonzo, bringing a new map set in and around the ‘Ice City’, an extensive network of tunnels carved into the ice of the Marmolada Glacier. Marmolada is a 10,968 ft (3,343 m) high mountain, the tallest in the Dolomites. Alongside the Marmolada map are new weapons, and a new cosmetic DLC pack, focused on improvised cold-weather gear.

In recreating parts of the Ice City and the Marmolada mountain, our team at BlackMill Games continues to work on highlighting lesser-known parts of the First World War. Conditions on the Western Front of the First World War were grim, with bloody trench warfare exacting a brutal toll on soldiers there. But other fronts of the war came with their own challenges – with cold, snow, and avalanches posing threats in the mountain regions between Italy and their foes Austria-Hungary.

The Austro-Hungarians built the Ice City after establishing combat positions on top of the Marmolada Glacier. It was difficult for them to get supplies on top of the mountain, not just because of the extreme altitude, but also because Italian troops kept a watchful eye over them from their bastion of Serauta, which overlooked the entire glacier. What started out as a simple tunnel to allow passage through the glacier while staying safe from Italian fire, quickly grew into something much larger as soldiers discovered the benefits of living in the ice: no avalanches, protection from bad weather, and cozy temperatures of 0°C (at least much better than outside!). In the end 12 km of tunnels were built, enough space to house more than 200 soldiers.

Isonzo historical map
Source: Marmolada Grande Guerra Museum

So how is this portrayed in Isonzo? The battle begins on the mountainside in the open. At this height there is snow everywhere, and if you’re playing as the Italian attackers you’ll have to advance carefully along narrow mountain trails or utilize small tunnels and gullies carved out from the rock. Your objective is a single point atop a local peak – while many of Isonzo’s battlegrounds have sectors with multiple objectives, in this first sector of Marmolada it’s all about that one point meaning there will be intense fighting. The Austro-Hungarian defenders will be emerging from the Ice City tunnels to contest the ground, and can choose to dig in around the objective itself or employ more proactive tactics to try and pin down the Italians with barbed wire and machine guns before they can close in. Remember that in Isonzo the Engineer class can build new sections of barbed wire, perfect for closing off those narrow paths and tunnels we mentioned earlier.

isonzo battle

If the Italians can take control of the first sector, the fighting moves into the Ice City. As well as the general dangers of narrow corridors and doorways where ambushers can lurk, the attackers will also have to find routes across the many pitfalls and deep drops within the Ice City. There are bridges, but these can be sabotaged and destroyed by the Austro-Hungarians, requiring reconstruction before they can be used again – not always easy to do under fire! The ice all around can give an otherworldly feel to the action here, quite unlike anything you’ve encountered before. On the other side of the Ice City is a small base which must be captured. There are many ways in and out of the Ice City, and many routes through, so the Austro-Hungarians must be careful to try and maintain overview of the fighting and not let significant Italian forces slip through to push on the objective. 

isonzo dolomites

While inside the glacier, both sides will have to do without much support from the call-ins their officers would usually employ. No artillery, gas, or air bombardment will penetrate the thick ice walls. However, WW1 soldiers were already prepared for close combat due to the demands of clearing out trench networks. Many rifles come with bayonets, a number of classes can employ dedicated melee weapons like knives, clubs or ice picks – and if you want to keep a little more distance then pistols will serve you well, making up for what they lack in power at range with handiness up close and rapid fire (at least compared to bolt action rifles!). And don’t forget grenades! You’ll need to throw carefully in the tunnels where they could bounce back or fall down a chasm, but a skilful grenade can hit enemies round corners or behind fortifications!

isonzo soldiers

The new map takes center stage, but it’s not all that comes with the update! Every faction in the game (Italians, Austro-Hungarians, and Germans) get a new rifle, and there is also an optional cosmetic DLC pack available for purchase – the Glacial Units Pack. If you want more visual options for yourself, Glacial Units contains a variety of uniforms and accessories that reflect the struggle of soldiers trying to keep warm without specialized clothing in the frozen mountains. There are a number of greatcoats, a sheep’s wool vest, a lot of face coverings from balaclavas and goggles to rough fabric wraps to keep out the cold. Several new facial hair choices round out the pack.

Isonzo weapons

We’re hyped to see what everyone thinks of the Ice City – it’s certainly one of the most novel environments we’ve recreated so far. And remember, Marmolada is only the first stage of the White War – another new map will be coming…

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BlackMill Games

World War One expands to the mountains of the Italian Front – beautiful but deadly in equal measure. Inspired by the two year struggle for control of the Isonzo river valley and the Alps during World War One, Isonzo elevates the WW1 Games Series, figuratively and literally. From the makers of Verdun and Tannenberg… Take part in historical offensives from the Sixth Battle of the Isonzo to the Strafexpedition. Reflecting the course of the actual battles, as the attackers advance the fighting will shift through vastly different landscapes within a single offensive: from hillside fortresses to mountain trenches and fierce urban combat on city streets. Everything is recreated based on research and field trips, from sound effects and uniforms down to the houses, vineyards and trenches you’ll be fighting over. The new Offensive game mode puts you right in the middle of key historical offensives on the Italian Front. Lead the charge across stunning Italian landscapes as you choose your path to victory – cut paths through barbed wire, flank your enemies by following mountain trails, or man a mortar to blast a way through. Shape a dynamic battlefield by laying sandbags and wire, placing ammo crates, deploying trench periscopes or sniper shields, and more. Call in support with a unique historically accurate flare system: flare guns can mark targets for artillery or biplane flybys, or different colored flares can be used to guide your team. Once the big guns have softened up the enemy, finish the job at close quarters with an Arditi dagger or mountaineer’s pickaxe. Man heavy machine guns, mortars and even mountain guns for more direct fire support. Choose from six classes based on historical combat roles and build your loadout from a selection of weapons, equipment and perks linked to that class, giving flexibility and variety while staying grounded in what real soldiers might have carried. You’ll be operating wire cutters, bandaging yourself and wounded teammates, and blowing the whistle to start an assault. One shot can kill and even lighter injuries can lead to quickly bleeding out. Being an effective soldier in Isonzo is not just about being a good marksman. Mastering the terrain is also key – the mountain can be a friend or foe. Learn how to navigate well to maintain cover and surprise your enemies or support your allies. Finally… watch out for the dreaded poison gas. You’ve never experienced WW1 action quite like this! Isonzo key features include: • MOUNTAIN WARFARE: Assaulting mountain fortifications, battling through ruined towns, and fording rivers are just a few of the challenges you’ll face as you fight your way through numerous enemy positions • TACTICAL MULTIPLAYER FPS: Choose your role and loadout carefully to survive this high altitude combat – play a sniper to pick off the enemy engineers before they can cut your wire, use rifle grenades to clear enemy machine guns, and much more • WORLD WAR ONE GAMEPLAY: Historical Offensive game mode based on real battles and focused on the unique challenges of Alpine warfare. Fight with 30+ WW1 weapons, poisonous gas attacks, and intense artillery barrages • BUILD FOR VICTORY: Place your own wire, sandbags, trench periscopes, and more! Whether you’re digging in or on the attack, shaping the battlefield to your advantage will be key to victory • FACES OF WAR: Make every class your own by picking from a variety of historically class-appropriate uniforms, accessories and headgear. As a finishing touch, you can even pick your mustache from several famous period-accurate styles! • AUTHENTIC WW1 ATMOSPHERE: Accuracy in everything from maps and weaponry to music and the uniforms – fight for the Kingdom of Italy, the German Empire or the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy MORE GAMES IN THE AUTHENTIC WW1 GAME SERIES Immerse yourself in more WW1 action with our other standalone titles Tannenberg and Verdun. Experience trench warfare on the Western Front in Verdun, or maneuver for control of key sectors in Tannenberg on the Eastern Front. These authentic WW1 shooters let players choose from a range of squads from across the war, as they fight for control of the ever-changing frontlines.