Battle Pass: Backstories

Commanders!

This season, Damon Kilmore and Angela Milotova are competing to see who's the best. Both of them are battle-hardened aces, each with their own story and destiny. You can learn about the history of their relationship by checking out the episodes below.

List of Episodes

The Long Road Home

  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Part 3
  • Part 4

Milotova, Badger, and Kilmore's platoon surrounded the burning enemy tank destroyer. This battle would have been Angela's last if not for the Patton's thick turret.

"Mission complete, let's go home. Milotova, we're going to have a word."

"With all due respect, Lieutenant Kilmore, about what?"

"What do you mean, about what? Do you realize you violated orders? You entered enemy territory⁠—alone⁠—without proper intel."

"But I wanted to warn you about a possible ambush..."

"Without orders! Once we're back to base, I'm speaking with your platoon commander!"

"He's gone."

Normally, after each successful mission, the ride back would be filled with jokes, banter, and battle stories. This time, the radios were silent.

Life on the frontline can turn total strangers into true brothers-in-arms. Even the loss of one tank feels devastating. Today, they had lost nearly an entire platoon.

It was clear that, although he wasn't aware of what happened with Angela's platoon, Kilmore had gone too far. "Demon" himself understood it perfectly. He also knew that he needed to support Angela. Even though he was never much of an eloquent speaker, he tried his best to find the right words.

"What happened?"

"We went out at noon, half an hour after you, according to the plan. We were scouting the surrounding area." Milotova had always been famous for her strength and courage, but this time, even Kilmore wondered how she was able to be so calm and collected, despite having lost her entire platoon. "Suddenly, we came under intense fire from the woods. I think they were waiting for us to get close before springing the trap. The lead tank was destroyed right away. It didn't even have a chance to dodge. After the first shot, we split up and searched for cover. Eventually, it was three against four. What took place was a long, positional battle. And in the end, I was the only one left from my platoon."

"Why didn't you return straight to base?"

"I wanted to warn you about the ambush. I tried radioing you, but the radio was damaged, limiting my signal range. By the time I finally managed to pick up a signal, Badger was in my sights. Badger, I couldn't lose you too!"

"I owe you one, Angela!"

"As you were!"

Badger was not in Kilmore's platoon, but he kept silent all the way to the base. "Demon" had full authority to give commands to everyone in the unit.

"Just remember this, Milotova. If my Patton's turret hadn't been so strong, we would have been picking up the pieces of your tank right about now. You wanted to save us from an ambush? You got yourself in trouble instead. You made a dumb rookie mistake. The battle isn't over until the last enemy's destroyed. We'll continue this conversation later."

Debriefing

  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Part 3
  • Part 4

The Company Commander sat in his chair, his gaze shifting between an outwardly calm Angela and a furious Kilmore.

"She was nearly at the receiving end of friendly fire! There's no place for a rookie like this on the front line. She's better off continuing as a medic!" Kilmore was extremely angry about the actions of this "hotshot with no battle experience". Yet again, he was trying to persuade the Company Commander to revoke Angela's combat status.

"A rookie? With all due respect, Lieutenant Kilmore, I've been commanding my own tank for a long time, even if I started as a driver. When will you finally understand that I can be as helpful on the battlefield as your men?"

Kilmore flew into a rage.

Damon's platoon was considered elite. Every tanker on this side of the front line dreamed of joining it. But nobody had ever dared put themselves on par with his soldiers.

"Who are you to think you're as good as my platoon?! Do you even know what my guys can do? They've carried out countless operations successfully without a single scratch! And you? The moment you enter a battle, we have to rescue you. You're not cut out for this, Milotova."

"I only did it to save my brothers-in-arms! You fight each battle like there's no tomorrow. But you're risking not just your own life, but your platoon's lives..."

"It's not the same!" Kilmore abruptly cut off Angela in the middle of her emotional speech. Angela threw him a questioning look, expecting the Lieutenant to continue. But Kilmore had no intention of going into detail.

"I suppose that means you're finished." Having heard both sides, the Company Commander finally spoke. Either he thought he'd heard enough or he wanted to avoid more questions from Angela. "Sergeant Milotova, you really should have avoided taking such an action considering the situation. At the same time, thanks to your effort, Badger's crew and vehicle are intact. So, thank you for your timely help."

"Lieutenant Kilmore, I'll ask you to take into account the present situation. Nearly an entire platoon was lost. Do not put even more pressure on your fellow tank commander. Milotova, all the platoons have already been formed, but let's see what we can do for you."

Kilmore started to argue, "But she may not make it back to base next time!"

"As you were! This conversation is finished. Dismissed!"

Milotova rushed to leave the Company Commander's office first, but before closing the door, she turned and said, "With all due respect, sir, I stopped being a medic a long time ago."

Birth of a Storm

  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Part 3

Angela’s father used to be a talented driver. Following her mother’s passing, he’d always take his daughter to the tank base. He had no intention of teaching Angela the tankers’ craft, but the child’s curiosity and desire to mimic her father were just too strong.

The girl became fascinated with armored vehicles and even learned some decent driving skills. Her love for tanks became so strong, she dreamt of the same career her dad had. But in the end, after hearing countless times “this is no work for a woman”, she followed in her mother’s footsteps and enrolled in medical school. After graduation, Angela rejoined her father and enlisted as a medic within an armored health support vehicle crew. But that desire to drive a real tank hadn't gone away.

Since her early childhood, Milotova knew that she was born to save lives. From the very first day of service, it was her duty to bail out—or even bring back from the brink—those who were short on luck in battle. And she fully devoted herself to her work. This grew into a passion so strong that the desire to take a driver’s seat completely disappeared.

Until, one day, she brought a heavily injured tanker to the infirmary. His state was critical, and no medication or treatment would hold off the inevitable. Barely conscious, he kept on repeating again and again: “We needed just one more tank…” This triggered the old thoughts. What if she could be that ‘one more tank’? What if preventing injuries on the battlefield was better than healing wounds on the operating table?

During yet another operation, Milotova was pulling the crew out of an allied tank, when suddenly, her own vehicle got battered under an artillery salvo. Any other person would have lost their head. But not Angela. She instantly took control and evacuated the wounded crew from the damaged vehicle. She had finally found a proper use for the skills she'd learned all those years ago.

It was a true feat, for which Angela was granted a medal for bravery in battle. But it was also a turning point in her life. Losing the whole team had left her at a crossroads, and she finally decided to follow her father's path. On the back of his reputation, Angela managed to complete training for the tank driver role. And she knew exactly whose platoon she wanted to join, no matter how long it would take.

Hellhounds

  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Part 3

The rehabilitation was long. That battle spared no one but Kilmore and Ramirez, and it was hard to tell whether it was through experience or just blind luck. But compared to Juan Pablo's relatively quick recovery, "Demon" was stuck. He was haunted by the same recurring nightmare. He kept thinking about that battle. A battle where he survived, although he shouldn’t have.

The thoughts of retiring kept on coming, but Kilmore simply couldn't let his fellow tankers down. He decided to go back to the front—the only place where he could dull the pain and sense of guilt.

By an unfortunate coincidence, just a few days later, Ramirez, who had already recovered from his injuries, received a letter from home. His beloved grandmother has passed away, the closest person and the only remaining bond with ordinary life.

— I don't know what to do now. I have no one left on civvy street.

— Take a leave of absence, go get some rest.

— And then what? Live a lame life, drink painkillers, and die of boredom? No, chief, that's not me. I belong on the frontline—war is the only thing I can do. So I’ll fight till I’m done.

This gave Kilmore an idea that would solve both Ramirez’s and his own problem. "Demon" formed a small platoon that included only two tanks: the ‘Pipeline’ and the Sheridan.

Their crews were elite—all natural-born warriors, fighting as if each battle was their last. They didn't care who their enemy was. The most important thing was to wipe out as many enemy tanks as possible.

The platoon’s name was nothing but generic: "Kilmore’s Cavalry". But over time, everyone began to call them "Hellhounds" for their complete fearlessness and ability to take on the most complex and reckless combat missions.

A Frank Talk

  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Part 3

It was hard to imagine a person more private than Kilmore. Short-spoken, ill-mannered, and equally rude to everyone—even the commanding officers avoided confronting him, just in case. The lieutenant, though, could open up and trust people. But not everyone.

In fact, there was only one person he could trust. Ramirez, the closest associate, the right-hand man, the brother in arms. He was the only one Damon could afford to open up to.

During one of their conversations, Ramirez achieved the impossible: making Kilmore talk about that "intolerable girl" Milotova.

— She is good, Damon. Skilled in tactics, stays calm in difficult situations. She’s made for our platoon.

— You know how I select guys for the crew. It’s our common crew, by the way, don't forget that.

— I haven't. And since I have a voice, I must ask.

— You can try.

— How about making an exception?

Kilmore smiled, shaking his head.

— No, no, no. I appreciate your concern, my dear friend Ramirez, but this happening for the second time… I couldn’t handle it. It’s not just about "special criteria". You see...

Kilmore came to a halt in the middle of the phrase. Ramirez saw how uncomfortable his commander had become. But Damon gathered himself and continued.

— It’s her character. She's just like my son. I won't forgive myself if she ends up the way he did.

Ramirez expected anything but such a confession.

— I understand, Pipe. On the other hand, maybe someday she'll save you and me, just like she saved Badger...

Kilmore just sat there looking for an answer, until, suddenly, he stood up as if there had never been a moment of weakness:

— We’ll see. Right, time for the briefing. Get up, fatty.

Storm Front

  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Part 3

Ever since her platoon was eliminated, Milotova and her crew were unable to get back into the thick of the action. All the other platoons were full.

Kilmore was the only one who could take "Storm" under his wing, but he was adamant about not accepting her.

Angela kept trying to learn why he held such an attitude towards her. She even asked the Company Commander's secretary to help her find his personnel file.

At first, the secretary refused to browse through personnel files, but curiosity got the better of him. Kilmore was the best tank commander and his platoon had become a living legend, yet no one knew what happened before the platoon formed.

Why was he rejecting so many great tankers, especially Angela? The secretary soon discovered Kilmore's personnel file was classified. It was the first time he had encountered such a thing.

In the meantime, so Milotova didn't have to sit around doing nothing, the Company Commander formed a new platoon under her command.

There was only one condition: the two other tanks were rookie crews she had to train and command.

That meant no combat missions. This didn't please Milotova, since it prevented her from keeping her promise to save lives. But on the other hand, at least it would keep her busy. Besides, she now had her own platoon and could prepare the kids for the real thing.

This had another consequence: Angela stopped requesting a transfer to Kilmore's platoon. Damon was furious. Not only did the Company Commander not disqualify Milotova from service, but he even gave her a platoon to command!

Eventually, he calmed down and came to terms with the decision. Angela was no longer able to get in his way during combat missions. And she was relatively safe working with her "nursery".

Skeletons in the Cupboard

  • Part 1
  • Part 2

Milotova was starting to go stir-crazy. She was being sent on missions even less often than before. So, she used the free time to find out more about Kilmore. There had to be a reason for him to reject her transfer requests. But all her attempts failed. Damon's personnel file was classified.

Angela started to ask around about Kilmore's past. Some people knew nothing because they joined the unit after the Hellhounds were formed. Others didn't want to talk about it. Badger was the only one who knew something. When he joined the unit, there were still rumors circulating about "that" battle.

The rumors were that some Mikey Branson, a young and promising tanker, took the driver's seat of a vehicle the day before the mission.

Kilmore was restless. He couldn't sleep as he was trying to foresee all the possible scenarios of the operation. In the end, everything went wrong because of bad intelligence. Only Kilmore and Ramirez made it out alive.

"Now, who was that Mikey? From what I heard, he was some relative of Kilmore's. But I don't know for certain. The last names are different and they didn't look alike. Anyways, Milotova, what's in this for you? Us mere mortals will never make it into his platoon. Just deal with it."

Lunch Briefing

  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Part 3

The "Storm Front" that people had jokingly referred to as the "Still Front" was starting to live up to its original name. The young members of Milotova's unit had become increasingly skilled with each battle. The Company Commander noticed and began to assign them more difficult missions.

Kilmore understood that Angela would one day receive a truly difficult combat mission. It was inevitable. At some point, Damon took a seat near Angela in the mess hall.

"How was your latest battle?"

Milotova sat frozen with surprise. A man who had never said anything good to her had suddenly spoken first. A short pause followed.

"Not bad. Got home with no casualties."

"I saw that Storm now has two scratches on its turret. Was it a Grille again?"

"Wait, you haven’t been there."

"I didn't need to. Among the folks we’re dealing with here, no other vehicle could leave such a mark. You're lucky it hit you at that angle. Did you expose your turret?"

"I had to draw it out while the guys were flanking it…"

"Angela, you’re not on some recon training missions anymore. I can use my turret to deflect shells. You can't, not with your 'Czech'. You've got a magazine full of shells and excellent speed. Wait until they start to reload, then race forward and engage them, guns blazing. Got it?"

"Got it."

"Good... Hey! Ramirez! Stop right there, amigo! Where do you think you're going without me?"

With that, Kilmore left just as suddenly as he'd arrived. Milotova sat there for a while, reflecting on the lieutenant's behavior.

Promotion

  • Part 1
  • Part 2

Milotova's platoon was being assigned missions of every difficulty level except red. It was less because of Angela and more because of her subordinates. They needed to prove they were ready for such missions.

Angela's reputation in the unit grew together with the skills of her platoon. Previously, only Damon Kilmore wielded absolute authority. But now, there were two such commanders. And while Damon was respected and feared, Angela was respected and loved.

The Company Commander's service was coming to a close. A seasoned veteran of tank battles, he was preparing for retirement and a long-awaited homecoming. His main goal was to find someone from the unit to take his place. And only two people were suitable for the position.

Angela understood it would be the most important battle of her career. To earn respect, she had to surpass her teacher who she had always looked up to and who had never noticed the achievements she earned during her career.

Kilmore was ready for it. Most importantly, he was on a first-name basis with the Company Commander, and they had come to an agreement beforehand.

Storm the Front!

  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Part 3

The situation at the front was getting worse. The Company Commander decided to deploy Milotova's platoon there. Angela was happy. She was worried about the large number of casualties during recent operations, and hadn't shared the battlefield with her comrades all that time. Now she would be there to help them.

Milotova went to the Company Commander to receive her combat mission. But then, suddenly, Kilmore rushed into the room and demanded the order be canceled.

"I insist! She must not participate in the operation!"

Milotova, who in her mind was already saving her comrades, flared up in anger at these words.

"Stop patronizing me! I've proved several times that I can fight. Why are you the only one who doesn't believe in me? You can't make decisions for everyone. …Or is this about 'that' operation? I heard about that battle. It wasn't your fault it turned out that way. It could have happened to any..."

"He was my son! I lost my son there! He died because of me. Don't you understand? Because of me!"

For the first time, Angela understood Damon’s true motives. It was neither condescendence nor arrogance. It was a father’s care. But she couldn't back down now.

"I'm not your daughter," she stated before saluting, taking the mission dossier, and leaving.

Kilmore found out that he and Milotova would have to fight together in the same area of the front. Damon couldn’t change this, so he went back to his room, studied the map of the area and intelligence reports, re-read everything several times, and then fell asleep at his desk—just like he did before "that battle".

Ramirez woke him up in the morning. Kilmore was furious at himself for falling asleep, thinking that he could have spent the time calculating everything down to the smallest detail.

A Decisive Battle

  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Part 3

During the battle, Kilmore was constantly distracted. Every now and then, he looked for Milotova, hoping that she was fine, and listened to the radio to hear whether she needed help. No wonder he ended up making several tactical mistakes and finding himself in a critical situation. The enemy was pushing at him and Ramirez.

They needed assistance, but if he called for help, Milotova would be the first to respond. She was closer than the others. On the one hand, he couldn't put her at risk. But on the other, he was putting his entire platoon in jeopardy because of his personal concerns.

Something had to be done, so Kilmore called for help. Milotova responded and rushed to Pipeline's position, but she encountered two enemy medium tanks. Kilmore was already regretting his call for help. He sent his platoon on a suicidal counterattack to draw the enemy's fire towards himself.

The forces were unequal. Ramirez's vehicle is damaged. Kilmore sees Milotova's vehicle take a hit. Kilmore's vehicle is hit. Kilmore tries to contact Milotova.

Silence. A few remaining enemy vehicles are still intact, but all allies are disabled.

The enemy is preparing to finish them off.

Kilmore climbed out the hatch and, limping, walked towards Storm and the enemies. He draws his gun and starts firing at the enemy in desperation.

One shot.

A second shot.

A third.

Then an explosion. A jet’s shadow sweeps over the ground next to Kilmore. Both enemy tanks are destroyed by an airstrike. Everyone survived. But Storm and Pipeline received significant damage and needed considerable repairs.

Laying the Cards on the Table

  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Part 3

Kilmore and Milotova met at the workshop where the repairs of their vehicles were just being completed.

"So now you understand why I didn't accept your transfer request?"

"Yes, because of your son."

"That's not all. I swore to myself that I would never write another death notification again. You saw my guys. They have nothing to lose, every one of them."

"But I have no one to return to either. My father is dead. My ambulance crew was killed. I have no one! No one will mourn for me!"

"First of all, no one will mourn for you because nothing will happen to you. You are a top tanker, Milotova. You’re reckless sometimes, but you’re an ace. And what's this about 'mourning'? Don't talk nonsense. Everyone here loves you. You're dear to them."

"What about you?"

"You’re dear to me, too."

At that moment, Karl Vojtěch, an engineer and a friend of Angela's father, emerged from the garage.

"Lieutenant Kilmore, Pipeline is good to go. The fuel tanks are full."

"Thanks, Karl. I'm on my way."

"On your way where?" Angela asked, not understanding what was going on.

"We're being transferred. This is your unit now, Milotova. Well deserved."

Kilmore patted Angela on the shoulder. But before she could form a coherent sentence, he had already walked to Pipeline, climbed in, and driven out of the garage.

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