In todays development diary, we'll give you the first exclusive AAR of Hearts of Iron 3. I give the word over to King, who will tell you about his recent game as Italy.
Italy – 1938
While Germany slowly dismembers Czechoslovakia and Japan advances in to China Italy has grander plans. Our goal is simple Yugoslavia. The Italian people are ready for war and to we are confident that the Italian army is superior to the Yugoslav one. So unless someone intervenes we are confident of victory. We also do not have enough resources to sustain our economy on a war footing, we can either buy these and have to divert IC in consumer goods production to pay for them or we can simply take these from other countries stockpiles. Yugoslavia becomes a much more attractive target. Will there be consequences from our act of liberation? Most probably but the experience will be useful for our armies.
In 1938 the Italian armed forces are divided into 3 theatres, one covering our recently expanded Italian East Africa, one covering Libya (and Rhodes) and one covering Italy proper. All are put onto defensive stance, but the Italian theatre is given Belgrade as a specific objective. Then we wait.
The theatres start to put their units into defensive positions but the Italian theatre places special emphasis on the Yugoslav border since it knows that Belgrade is an objective. Meanwhile Italy upgrades troops and researches new equipment. We start with 4 battleships in production and we just leave them on. Italy is a member of the Axis, it knows Britain and France are Allied countries and are thus likely enemies, all theatres are crying out for more ships to meet this threat. We also start to build Radar Stations. One in Rhodes to start monitoring the Eastern Mediterranean and one Taranto to do the same in the Central Mediterranean. It will take a while for these to become truly effective but if we are given enough time we will have good monitoring capabilities on Allied fleet movements. When spare IC becomes available a third radar station will be built in Sardinia to give us warning of movements in the Western Mediterranean.
We have also increased our peacetime draft level; this is part of the formula for a quick victory over Yugoslavia. Our gamble is that the Yugoslavs will have a much lower draft level meaning that even if we hit them without a proper mobilisation our divisions will have a much high strength and organisation than the Yugoslav divisions. However this is a trick we will probably only be able to pull off once. Neighbours of Yugoslavia will see us an increased threat will probably mobilise their own armies at the thought of having Italy as a neighbour. Hopefully Yugoslavia will provide us with enough loot to sustain us until the next campaign.
This is sadly going to have to be a winter campaign, not a lot we can do about this. We want Yugoslavia out of the way before the war in Europe begins. Although things aren’t going to quite ready by then we set D-Day for the 1st of December 1938. We are going for the limited war because we do not want to share any of our conquests with Germany. This is going to be an Italian only show and we are going to show the world the power of the Italian army.
The Italian theatre is set over to Blitzing stance and the assault begins. The battle of frontiers goes exactly as planed. The Yugoslav divisions are heavily under strength as they had yet to mobilise and they shatter under the weight of the initial Italian assault.
So now it becomes a race. The Italian army needs to seize as much of Yugoslavia as possible before the shattered divisions are rebuilt enough to slow us down and fresh reserves appear on the frontline. 20 days into the war and already Yugoslavia is collapsing.
The glorious march continues, but it looks like future victories will be less easy. The Swiss have mobilised and we suspect that new neighbours we gain when we finish with Yugoslavia will probably do the same. However in the mean time we enjoy the victory. We are going to score practical war experience to help with doctrine research and also gain experience for units and leaders. This will help in future wars that we know will be much tougher. Basically our troops are advancing quick enough to prevent a new line of resistance forming. This was a war won by a combination of surprise and preparation. The Yugoslav army has its last stand around to Belgrade the troops are already so weakened that they will not stand for long against the Italian army.
With that out of the way Belgrade falls and Yugoslavia has been ‘liberated’, after 3 months of fighting. So ends this little AAR. What would of happened next with Italy? Well I would of activated the decision to annex Albania next and then looked to do something about the over all mobility of the Italian army. The troops will need to be faster when taking on better opponents like the United Kingdom or France.