The history you knew is a lie. There was no Space Race.
The real story is simple... In 1950's, American and Soviet scientists have discovered alien bio-metal that arrived via meteorites. The bio-metal can be quickly and efficiently be turned into amazing weapons and vehicles. Soon all the bio-metal has been "harvested", but neither side have "enough". So the space program is launched to gather MORE bio-metal from the other planets... And fight over the bio-metal deposits.
And now, you are in command of these advanced units. Can you stop the Soviet onslaught?
Battlezone is a first-person RTS where you both command your own vehicle as well as direct other units to fight with you or do other things. You send out harvesters to scavenge bio-metal scraps, which can be turned into units via your Recycler, Mobile Unit Factory, and/or Construction Rig. You then build offensive and/or defensive units that will help you accomplish your mission, all in first-person 3D.
The interface is very intuitive. Put crosshair on unit and hit "command" (defaults to "space"). You then get menu of that unit, with a default command already selected. If you want the default command, point crosshair to target and press "command" again. For example, if you want the tank to attack enemy tank, point at your tank, hit command, point at enemy tank, hit command again. You can issue goto commands the same way, as well as all the other types of commands with this simple and efficient command system.
You can bail out of vehicles that is almost destroyed. You can then use your rifle (with sniper mode) to take out the enemy pilot and hijack his vehicle for your own use. You can even order your own pilot to head back to base on foot so you can grab his vehicle.
You can't expand forever as you're limited by the number of pilots you have, the amount of bio-metal you have, and the number of thermal geysers you have access to. Thus, you have to balance speed, armor, and firepower when you decide what vehicles you should manufacture.