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Thread: Explorations in Strategy - Italy at War

  1. #1
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    Explorations in Strategy - Italy at War



    My first Hearts of Iron 3 AAR! Unlike most of my HoI2 AARs, this one will be purely vanilla, but that’s only because my modding for HoI3 has only just barely gotten off the ground so far.

    As can be inferred, this shall be an Italian AAR. It’s actually a funny parallel: may first AAR (for HoI2) was also an Italian AAR. I guess some of the lessons I learned from that my be applied here, but we’ll just see as the game develops, eh? That game was a long time ago, after all, and I've learned a lot since then from other experiences. The AAR will start with a couple non-game updates before I get to the game proper and actually begin playing. A good thing too, as the game’s not released yet! I’ve not much else to say, so I guess I won’t. I never really know what to write for these first posts anyway. I'll try to update on a semi-regular basis, at least twice a week. First update will in an hour or so!

    *

    Table of Contents
    IntroductionChapter 1: The First Year of Renaissance
    Part 1: Abyssinia, the Generals' War I, January 1 - January 24, 1936
    Part 2: Drastic Measures I, January 1, 1936
    Part 3: Drastic Measures II, January 1, 1936
    Part 4: Drastic Measures III, January 1 - January 17, 1936
    Part 5: The Generals' War II, February 4 - March 29, 1936
    Part 6: Trade, Technology and Procurement, January 2 - June 30, 1936
    Part 7: The Fall of Somalia, June - November, 1936
    Part 8: Technology and Procurement, July - December, 1936
    Part 9: Conclusion
    Chapter 2: The Year of Development
    Part 1: Shaking Up the Generals, January 1937
    Part 2: The Generals' War III, January 1 - February 20, 1937
    Part 3: Technologies I, January - June, 1937
    Part 4: The Fall of Abyssinia, February 23 - March 15, 1937
    Part 5: Politics, Domestic and Foreign, January - October, 1937
    Part 6: Technology and Deployment, July - December, 1937
    Part 7: Cracks in Europe, November - December, 1937
    Part 8: Conclusion
    Chapter 3: The Year of Preparation
    Part 1: Operation Gaius Laelius, January 1 - January 25, 1938
    Part 2: Operation Scipio I, January 25 - January 31, 1938
    Part 3: Operation Scipio II, February 1 - February 11, 1938
    Part 4: Operation Scipio III, February 12 - February 20, 1938
    Part 5: Operation Scipio IV, February 21 - March 18, 1938
    Part 6: Redeployments, March - December, 1938
    Part 7: Technology and Procurement I, January - June, 1938
    Part 8: Foreign Politics, February - November, 1938
    Part 9: Technology and Procurement II, July - December, 1938
    Part 10: Conclusion
    Chapter 4: The Year of Aggression
    Part 1: Technology, January - June, 1939
    Part 2: Foreign Politics, January - June, 1939
    Part 3: War over Danzig, May 1 - June 9, 1939
    Part 4: War Comes to the Low Countries, June 10 - July 23, 1939
    Part 5: Operation Anicius Gallus I, June 26 - July 23, 1939
    Part 6: Operation Anicius Gallus II, July 23 - August 10, 1939
    Part 7: Operation Anicius Gallus III, August 11 - August 25, 1939
    Part 8: Operation Anicius Gallus IV, August 26 - September 10, 1939
    Part 9: Operation Anicius Gallus V, September 11 - September 22, 1939
    Part 10: Operation Ariarathes I, September 20 - October 21, 1939
    Part 11: Operation Ariarathes II, October 22 - November 3, 1939
    Part 12: Technology and Procurement, July - December, 1939
    Part 13: Conclusion
    Chapter 5: The Year Italy Joined the World War
    Part 1: Operation Titus Quinctius Flamininus I, February 8 – February 10, 1940
    Part 2: Operation Titus Quinctius Flamininus II, February 11 - March 5, 1940
    Part 3: Operation Titus Quinctius Flamininus III, March 6 - March 23, 1940
    Part 4: Operation Trajan I, May 3 - May 25, 1940
    Part 5: Operation Trajan II, May 26 - June 28, 1940
    Part 6: Operation Trajan III, June 29 - July 15, 1940
    Part 7: Operation Trajan IV, July 16 - August 6, 1940
    Part 8: Technology and Production, January - June, 1940
    Part 9: Operation Maximinus Thrax, August 30 - September 10, 1940
    Part 10: A Call to Arms, October 3, 1940
    Part 11: Operations Hercules and Caesar Augustus, October 3 - October 16, 1940
    Part 12: Operation Caesar Augustus II, October 17 - November 15, 1940
    Part 13: Operations Caesar Augustus and Vespasian, November 22 - December 5, 1940
    Part 14: Operation Vespasian II, December 8 - December 31, 1940
    Part 15: Technology and Procurement, July - December, 1940
    Part 16: Conclusion
    Chapter 6: The Year of Strategic Crisis
    Part 1: Cleaning Up the Mediterranean, January 1 - January 14, 1941
    Part 2: Operation Valeria Victrix I, January 15 - January 26, 1941
    Part 3: Operation Valeria Victrix II, January 27 - February 19, 1941
    Part 4: Operation Valeria Victrix III, February 20 - March 22, 1941
    Part 5: Operation Valeria Victrix IV, March 23 - April 6, 1941
    Part 6: Graziani's Crusade I, April 7 - April 16, 1941
    Part 7: Crusade and Safeguards, April 17 - May 1, 1941
    Part 8: Cleaning Up Dacia, May 2 - June 16, 1941
    Part 9: Graziani's Crusade II, May 2 - June 16, 1941
    Part 10: The Defense of Anatolia I, May 2 - June 16, 1941
    Part 11: Operations in the Med and Black, April 7 - June 15, 1941
    Part 12: Technology and Deployments I, January - June, 1941
    Part 13: Littoral Expeditions I, June 15 - August 31, 1941
    Part 14: Littoral Expeditions II, September 1 - November 30, 1941
    Part 15: Enemy Countermoves, October 6 - November 10, 1941
    Part 16: Littoral Expeditions III, November 20 - December 31, 1941
    Part 17: Technology and Procurement, July - December, 1941
    Part 18: Conclusion
    Chapter 7: The Year of Upheaval
    Part 1: The Gamble in the East I, January 1 - January 6, 1942
    Part 2: The Gamble in the East II, January 7 - January 12, 1942
    Part 3: The Gamble in the East III, January 13 - January 19, 1942
    Part 4: The Gamble in the East IV, January 20 - January 28, 1942
    Part 5: The Gamble in the East V, January 29 - February 10, 1942
    Part 6: The Withdrawal Westward, February 11 - February 28, 1942
    Part 7: The Wider War I, March 1 - May 16, 1942
    Part 8: Technology I, January - June, 1942
    Part 9: The Wider War II, May 17 - August 5, 1942
    Part 10: The Small War in Africa I, July 1 - October 29, 1942
    Part 11: The Wider War III, October 1 - December 31, 1942
    Part 12: Technology II, July - December, 1942
    Part 13: Conclusion
    Chapter 8: The Year of Returned Hope
    Part 1: Technology and Procurement I, January - June, 1943
    Part 2: The Indirect Approach I, January 1 - March 29, 1943
    Part 3: The Indirect Approach II, March 30 - April 11, 1943
    Part 4: The Indirect Approach III, April 12 - April 21, 1943
    Part 5: The Indirect Approach IV, April 22 - May 6, 1943
    Part 6: The Indirect Approach V, May 7 - May 24, 1943
    Part 7: The Indirect Approach VI, May 25 - June 12, 1943
    Part 8: The Indirect Approach VII, June 13 - June 27, 1943
    Part 9: The Indirect Approach VIII, June 28 - August 2, 1943
    Part 10: The Indirect Approach IX, August 3 - August 30, 1943
    Part 11: The Retreat, August 31 - November 10, 1943
    Part 12: Continuing the War in Africa, 1943
    Part 13: Technology and Production II, July - December, 1943
    Part 14: Conclusion
    Chapter 9: The Year of the Masters of War
    Part 1: Technology I, January - June, 1944
    Part 2: The German Campaign in Finland I, January 1 - March 19, 1944
    Part 3: Distraction in Palestine, March 20 - May 31, 1944
    Part 4: In Preparation of Gambling, January 1 - June 26, 1944
    Part 5: The Great Gamble of the War I, June 27 - July 6, 1944
    Part 6: The Great Gamble of the War II, July 7 - July 10, 1944
    Part 7: The German Campaign in Finland II, March 20 - December 29, 1944
    Part 8: The Great Gamble of the War III, July 11 - July 23, 1944
    Part 9: The Great Gamble of the War IV, July 24 - August 6, 1944
    Part 10: The Strength of Italian Arms I, August 7 - August 28, 1944
    Part 11: The Strength of Italian Arms II, August 29 - September 24, 1944
    Part 12: Alliance Warfare, September 25 - December 31, 1944
    Part 13: Technology II, July - December, 1944
    Part 14: Conclusion
    Chapter 10: The Year of Ruin
    Part 1: The Great Offensive I, January 1 - January 11, 1945
    Part 2: The Great Offensive II, January 12 - January 20, 1945
    Part 3: The Great Offensive III, January 21 - February 1, 1945
    Part 4: The Great Offensive IV, February 2 - February 14, 1945
    Part 5: The Great Offensive V, February 15 - March 1, 1945
    Part 6: The Culminating Point of Victory, March 2 - March 13, 1945
    Part 7: Withdrawal I, March 14 - March 25, 1945
    Part 8: Withdrawal II, March 26 - April 16, 1945
    Part 9: Teutonic Action, April 17 - May 29, 1945
    Part 10: Operation Save-Ze-Germans I, May 30 - June 14, 1945
    Part 11: Operation Save-Ze-Germans II, June 15 - June 27, 1945
    Part 12: Operation Save-Ze-Germans III, June 28 - July 3, 1945
    Part 13: Operation Save-Ze-Germans IV, July 4 - July 10, 1945
    Part 14: Shadows of Victory, July 11, 1945
    Reflections and Suggested Reading
    Last edited by Myth; 17-01-2011 at 00:26.
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  2. #2
    GunslingAAR coz1's Avatar
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    Nice. Looking forward to this one, Myth! Good luck.
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  3. #3
    Not a bad nation to start with.

    You have a few little wars (like Greece) before starting the bigger wars...
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  5. #5
    Corporal takishan's Avatar
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    Good luck, looking forward to reading this.

  6. #6
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    coz1: That was fast! Glad to have you on board, coz!

    Middelkerke: Indeed. Italy has plenty of possibilities open to it, and plenty of time to get acquainted with forceful coercion before shit really starts to fly.

    Enewald: So you are!

    takishan: Thanks, and welcome on board!

    Update coming up!
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  7. #7
    Glaring at the HOI3 icon Exterous's Avatar
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    Looks interesting - although your table of contents is a bit empty for my tastes

    You might want to keep a keen eye on the French. It seems like they may be vulnerable to a strike in the South!
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  8. #8
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    Introduction
    Part 1: Italy and Geostrategy

    Italy holds a unique geographical position in the Mediterranean. In fact, its overall geostrategic position may even be likened to the position of the British Isles in the North Sea. For, as the British Isles commanded all traffic between that sea and the Atlantic Ocean by virtue of its position controlling both the narrow body of water between Scotland and Iceland and its position controlling the Narrow Sea between itself and France, Italy too found itself in a potentially controlling situation.

    It commanded the Adriatic Sea somewhat by default, its only maritime neighbors being the weak state of Yugoslavia. So too with the Ionian Sea, which was easily accessed from the major naval base of Taranto and the only local state which could attempt to dispute such control is the inconsequential state of Greece. It also commanded the Tyrrhenian Sea by virtue of that sea’s placement in between the mainland of Italy and the two islands of Sicily and Sardinia; the Tyrrhenian Sea was veritably ensconced by Italian land. The Ligurian Sea, however, was not commanded by the Italians; a French presence encroached upon it by virtue of their naval base at Toulon and the island of Corsica. Such presence was counterbalanced, however, by the major Italian base at La Spezia. In the end, that sea was disputed.

    But what of the wider Mediterranean? Italy controlled only minor seas. What use was the Adriatic strategically? Or was it, as the German admiral Wegener believed of the North Sea, a dead sea? It was well known that the British view the Mediterranean Sea as their lifeline, as their own sea, a shortcut to India and the greater imperial Southeast Asian crescent spanning from India to Burma and down the Malay Peninsula to the great crown colony of Singapore. The Royal Navy base at Valletta, on the well-placed island of Malta, controlled the very center of the Mediterranean. Gibraltar and the Suez Canal locked the Middle Sea up.

    Italy’s traditional tragedy has been its unrealized potential, not fulfilled since the age of Rome. Never since those days of glory had Italy been powerful enough to exert commanding influence over more than secondary tracts of water. By the middle ‘30s its lag behind the great powers of the day was more marked than ever. Italy’s ambitions lay effectively thrall to whatever goodwill emanated from London. Outwardly, Italy bore such limitations stoically despite being repeatedly thwarted ever since the end of the Great War. Within, however, Italy’s strategic analysts boiled with frustration and vented their displeasure by dreaming up vast schemes to lay Britain low, to dismember France and to gain sway over the Balkans and across the littoral of the entire Middle Sea.

    It was at about this time, however, that the Fascist leader of Italy, Benito Mussolini, read three books that caused a revelation in his mind. It is impossible to determine what combination of words and concepts came together in such a remarkable way but there was a clear break in strategic thought and practice in Italy at this time, as will be examined later. These three books were On War, by the Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz; The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783, by the American admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan; and The Command of the Air by the Italian theorist Guilio Douhet. Together, these three books changed his outlook on strategy. It can even be said that perhaps these works transformed Mussolini into a competent strategist. It was a very clear break with the past.

    This work will chronicle Mussolini’s explorations in strategy.
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    Why no Sun Tzu?

    Italy has had potential but so has had every nation.
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    This should be good.
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  11. #11
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    Sounds exciting so far.

  12. #12
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    Looks good already.
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  13. #13
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    The association of Myth with Italy couldn't fail to read promising
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  14. #14
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    Myth + Italy = must read
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  15. #15
    A bunny with a hat Moderator Nikolai II's Avatar
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    Neat.

    My second game will be Italy, probably. (First is supposed to be Germany or Japan in '44)

    Seems as if you are going to do the naval approach? I think I might do an airborne approach and see where that takes me in comparision. (Also in comparision to the landbound approaches of HoI2.. if I don't do a landlubber this time as usual)

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  16. #16
    General truth is life's Avatar
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    Hm...interesting. I assume Italy is turning towards a more maritime/airborne strategy? (OTOH, Mussolini is reading books relating to all three branches)

  17. #17
    GunslingAAR coz1's Avatar
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    Looks like Maritime to me...and if allied with Germany, they can do the land lifting while Italy works the sea (at least for a little while - eventually, you'll need an army. )
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  18. #18
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    Where did you get italy??? BETA?

  19. #19
    Major Jorath13's Avatar
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    Very interesting...I dislike playing as Italy myself, but I will read this post voraciously as I plan on playing Japan and need to see how you deal with the navy and air force of Italy. Their ground troops aren't actually too bad, as apparently in other demo pictures I've seen and posts I've read, Italy with little help from Germany rolls up into southern France quite easily.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Phoenix View Post
    Where did you get italy??? BETA?
    Note the distinct lack of actual gameplay: he's merely setting the scene while he's waiting for his game to arrive.

    This should be interesting. I haven't really played Italy myself, so it should be interesting as A) an exercise in HOI3 and B) specifically for this stretch of the world. Having Italy's historical performance in the back of my mind, it shouldn't be too difficult to surpass my expectations.

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