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Thread: Explorations in Strategy - Italy at War

  1. #3201
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    Cripes, I haven't posted here in a week.

    Rensslaer: Thanks, Renss! I have to find their thoughts fascinating, since I'm getting into the strategic studies field.

    Stuyvesant: No problem.

    My silence is due to a sudden barrage of work. I was already finishing up a number of projects, including final touches to revising article and preparing for a move to DC on Monday (and a third big and tedious thing as well), when suddenly out of the blue came the proposal from one of my professors that I should consider putting together a PhD application since there are studentships available and they don't have any good candidates this year. Well...goddamn. Throwing together a PhD proposal is a bit of work. Hopefully I'll finish up this last update over the weekend, as I plan to have a lot of things done by then so maybe I'll have some time.
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  2. #3202
    Human Enewald's Avatar
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    Last update?
    Good Sir, AARs are not immortal, but you surely are keeping this long alive!

  3. #3203
    Colonel WhisperingDeath's Avatar
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    Curios as to your PhD proposal: Could it have something to do with the value of "gaming" and its effects on the philosophy of strategy and the conduct of warfare?
    Be a craftsman in speech, thou mayest be strong, the tongue is a sword to a man, and speech is more valorous than any fighting.... Instruction for King Merikare of ancient Egypt

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  4. #3204
    General Forster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myth View Post
    <snip>... when suddenly out of the blue came the proposal from one of my professors that I should consider putting together a PhD application since there are studentships available and they don't have any good candidates this year. Well...goddamn. Throwing together a PhD proposal is a bit of work. Hopefully I'll finish up this last update over the weekend, as I plan to have a lot of things done by then so maybe I'll have some time.
    Oh, NO! DR. MYTH, we'll never hear the end of it now.

  5. #3205
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    Enewald: Not entirely by choice!

    WhisperingDeath: Nope. Nothing to do with gaming, though I do anticipate writing an article on gaming and strategic culture in maybe a decade or so, once I'm sufficiently established that people would take that sort of topic seriously.

    Forster: Oh no!

    So, last update coming up! Also, I'm moving to DC tomorrow! A bit stressful. Also, I've been accepted to a graduate student conference at Calgary University, being put on by their Center for Military and Strategic Studies. That should be fun.
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  6. #3206
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    There is a lot of military history out there. There’s even a lot of strategic history out there. What’s the difference? Military history is typically concerned with the conduct of military engagements or operations, or with the personnel involved. John Keegan, David Glantz, Rick Atkinson are good examples of good military historians. Strategic history takes these same elements, but adds in something lacking in military history. This final element is a meaningful discussion of how these military means served, or were meant to serve, the strategic aims of those directing them. It may also refer to literature which details the history of military or strategic thought, or opposition to it. Strategic history as a field of literature is necessarily much smaller than military history because it wrestles with bigger (and generally more interesting) questions.

    A History f Military Thought, Azar Gat
    The most significant tome (and it honestly is a tome) on the development of military thought is this one. Its remit stretches from the Enlightenment to the Cold War. Actually three books compressed into a single volume for convenience, it is an enormously thorough book on the development of European military thought during the two centuries it covers. It is required reading.

    The Leverage of Sea Power, Colin S. Gray
    This book does not really put forward any new arguments, but rather it condenses the history of (primarily European) naval warfare and some of the major strands of naval thought into a single easy to read volume. It is insistent on its argument that while navies do have great significance, and the author notes that in the last few centuries it has been virtually unheard of for the maritime alliance to have lost the war, ultimately it must have an effect on goings-on on the land.

    The Evolution of Strategy, Beatrice Heuser
    I admit to not having finished this book yet, primarily because I have been so incredibly busy lately. However, it is a magisterial work that covers the evolution of strategic thought from before the actual introduction of the work into Western languages through to the present day. The wealth, not just of information but of knowledge, packed into this book is stunning, and the bibliography is on its own possibly one of the longest chapters in the book, at 60+ pages.

    Michael Howard
    It is impossible to recommend only a single book by Michael Howard, when they are all so very interesting. Many are very small, and all are very readable. He was the man who virtually reinvented the concept of strategic history during the Cold War period. He has written on an incredible number of topics—from a critique of Liddell Hart’s concept of the British way in warfare to the Franco-Prussian War to war and the liberal conscience to the invention of peace and the reinvention of war. Go read it all.

    Military Logistics and Strategc Performance, Thomas M. Kane
    Originally a PhD thesis, this is one of the quite few works which examines the link between military logistics and strategic performance. Its case studies range from the Burma and Pacific campaigns during World War 2 through to Communist logistics in Vietnam and the contemporary revolution in military affairs. The role highlighted for logistics as the “arbiter of opportunity” is necessarily a very important one, which puts logistics in its proper place in strategic theory.

    The Making of Peace, Williamson Murray & Jim Lacey (eds)
    This book is a very important book, as it is one of the few that tries to link strategy to peace making, at least to some extent. An edited collection, its essays range from the Peace of Nicias during the Peloponnesian Wars through to the Congress of Vienna, Versailles, the end of the Second World War and onset of the Cold War, and the end of the Cold War. It very importantly notes how messy peace making can be, and how it can also result in new wars further down the line.

    The Making of Strategy, Williamson Murray, Macgregor Knox & Alvin Bernstein (eds)
    The original making of book (to which the previous entry is a sort of sequel fifteen years later), this book makes the important note about how messy strategy making can be, and tends to be. Essays range from the Peloponnesian War to the strategy of Habsburg Spain to that of Louis XIV to the strategies of nearly all major powers during the Second World War to Israeli strategy during the Cold War.

    Williamson Murray
    Murray is clearly an impressive author, and he has written much. He has been acknowledged as one of the foremost military and strategic historians alive today, and his books range from the strategy the Luftwaffe pursued during the war to military innovation during WW1, the interwar years and WW2 (in three volumes), an operational history of WW2, an account of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and much more. His newest book will be another edited volume on the shaping of grand strategy, to be published in the next few months.

    Douglas Porch
    Porch is another distinguished historian, and whose particular expertise concerns the French. He has written authoritative accounts on the French Foreign Legion, on the conquest of the Sahara and of Morocco, and on the French secret services. One of his most recent books is a very interesting perspective on the Mediterranean theater during the Second World War, and he argues that it was a dramatic strategic failure for the Germans to get involved, as it eventually lead the British and later Americans to learn how actually to fight the Germans, experience they would not have otherwise had.

    N.A.M. Rodger
    A major British naval historian, Rodger has taken it upon himself to examine the history of the Royal Navy in three massive volumes. I’ve only read the middle one yet (and the third hasn’t been published yet) but they are packed with so much that they are necessary reads for anyone interested in the RN or the wars it was engaged in. It deals with all aspects of the RN, from its operations to its social culture to the bureaucracy that underpinned it. Nothing has been left out.

    Russell F. Weigley
    A prominent American military historian during the Cold War, Weigley wrote the original treatise on the American way of war (a concept is still the center of a debate to this day, and one of the forerunners of the idea of strategic culture). By the ends of his books he tends to be consistently pessimistic on the utility of war, an opinion which he rarely seems to really support adequately, but his books nonetheless wrestle with big ideas and big timelines and are generally quite interesting.
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  7. #3207
    Colonel WhisperingDeath's Avatar
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    Thank you for those thought and words on the works that have influenced your thoughts on "strategy." I am ashamed to say that there are a large number of these works with which I had no familiarity. I will enjoy (slowly) making my way through some of the books and authors you have recommended.
    Be a craftsman in speech, thou mayest be strong, the tongue is a sword to a man, and speech is more valorous than any fighting.... Instruction for King Merikare of ancient Egypt

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  8. #3208
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    WhisperingDeath: Well that's no surprise that you don't know many. I'm recommending truly specialist works for the most part.

    Back when I made my choice about whether to use the save that ends in 1945 or the one that continue on after, I said that I was discouraged from the latter because the German AI did something totally unforgivable. Here's the screenshot I have of that moment.





    Otherwise, I guess we're done here! Thank you to all those who followed this AAR, persistently or not so persistently, over the past year and a half (almost)! It was all those alarmingly frequent posters who were the ones who really made this AAR popular! Cheers all, and while I think I'll wait for this new HoI3 expansion pack before starting another serious AAR (also because I'm incredibly busy at the moment ), I may plausibly do a not so serious AAR in the meantime just because. Maybe. We'll see.
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  9. #3209
    Lt. General BlitzMartinDK's Avatar
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    What did the German AI do? Declare war on the rest of the world?

  10. #3210
    Field Marshal Baltasar's Avatar
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    It dow'ed Persia while being beaten back by the Russia.

    I think I'll wait for this new HoI3 expansion pack before starting another serious AAR
    IIRC you played this AAR on Vanilla without Semper Fi, may be you should give it a try.

  11. #3211
    Field Marshal reis91's Avatar
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    At least in SF you would be able to nudge the Germans in your desired direction. Of course, sometimes it is over the top, like when I made Britain land 15 motorized and 3 armored divisions in Danzig as Poland in '39 scenario. Better only if they had also sent the RAF to help out...
    Come and hunt your fellow Paradoxians in the Werewolf Forum

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  12. #3212
    is it just me or is harder to play as italy in SF than in vanilla?

  13. #3213
    Field Marshal reis91's Avatar
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    It's harder in the extent that the Allies will focus on you and try to bring you down. And hull rules also benefit CV based navies, which Italy starts at a disadvantage.
    Come and hunt your fellow Paradoxians in the Werewolf Forum

    What this means is that no one technically voted on the first day and we have all been auto-lynched. Since none of us were following ghost rules from that point forward, we are all banned from werewolf for life. - Cymsdale

  14. #3214
    Been away a bit, Hull rules? I've got Semper Fi and I don't recall that.

  15. #3215
    People's Commissar of the Navy Demi Moderator Avindian's Avatar
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  16. #3216
    Quote Originally Posted by SFCShadow View Post
    Been away a bit, Hull rules? I've got Semper Fi and I don't recall that.
    In Semper Fi, every ship with a hull above a certain size gives an innate positioning penalty to the fleet. I suppose this means a CV fleet has a positioning advantage because it doesn't need a lot of big mainstay ships like a conventional fleet does.

  17. #3217
    General Meglok's Avatar
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    I stumbled upon this AAR while lookng for hints on playing Italy. Instead of hints I found a masterpiece. Just spent 4 days reading through this AAR and I wish to add my congratulations on a job well done, both in the game and in the writing.

  18. #3218
    Comte de Purchase Merrick Chance''s Avatar
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    A)Of course Ken Booth would be one of the few to embark on writing about strategic cultures
    B)This is a fantastic AAR, probably the best I've ever read. With that said, the AI really brought the AAR down, even though the bungling of the German AI probably increased the length of the thread by ~50 pages. And I'm not saying this because I'm sad that you aren't some sort of supreme Caesar, but because there are several points where you are reacting more to the insane incompetence of your teutonic ally than to new, not German-made strategic problems.
    C)It is very obvious that you were schooled in Britain, what with the naval fixation =p
    Last edited by Merrick Chance'; 05-04-2012 at 12:20.
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  19. #3219
    Compulsive ReadAAR. Commandante's Avatar
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    Myth, I have to say that I am absolutely amazed by this fascinating AAR. It is, without exaggeration, one of the best I have read in these forums and should be ranked with such great pieces as The Yogi's HOI classic Where the Iron Crosses Grow, Gaijin de Moscu's assorted Zapotec/Aztec and Director's Napoleonic EU2 AARs.

    So how come you abandoned the game in 1945? Was there no challenge left for you? It would certainly have been very nice to see Italian troops enter both Moscow and London...
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