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Thread: Explorations in Strategy - Italy at War

  1. #61
    Field Marshal JASGripen's Avatar
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    I am in. Nice to see what HoI3 will do to the truly [sic] modernistic Italy.
    Don't build any industry Myth, you got enough for the 10 000 bayonets already!
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  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myth View Post
    At the same time as this ongoing campaign, Mussolini was known to have read the three books mentioned previously: On War, The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1789 and The Command of the Air, by Carl von Clausewitz, Alfred Thayer Mahan and Giulio Douhet, respectively. What is also evident is that in early 1936 Mussolini began ponderously shifting Italy’s grand strategy.
    Quote Originally Posted by Enewald View Post
    Why no Sun Tzu?
    Cornerstones of Western military thinking: I wonder how Il Duce will apply them to realities of the Italian situation.

    As a sidenote Sūn Zi and the Chinese military theories in general are really interesting stuff if you have a new translation available somewhere: I will definitively use them in my future AARs.

    Excellent updates, keep up the good work and hopefully you get down to actual gameplay soon.
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  3. #63
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    stnylan: It is a bit amusing, isn't it? Maybe he got stung by a general's snide comment or something.

    NilsS: Yeah...it remains to be seen how much Mussolini will actually be able to accomplish.

    Enewald: Having written a dissertation on decisive battle, I can safely say that it's much harder than it looks.

    takishan: I hope so! This sort of thing is my line of study and future line of work.

    Cpt Crash: Welcome aboard! I hope you won't be disappointed!

    JASGripen: Welcome! Though Mussolini doesn't demand 10,000 bayonets but 8 million! We may need a bit more IC for that...

    Karelian: I have indeed read Sun Tzu, Ralph Sawyer's translation which AFAIK is considered the best one available at the moment. I've also actually read an interesting book entitled China's Military Theory by Chen-Ya Tien, which traced the development of Chinese strategic thought from Sun Tzu up through the present day. And my next update will begin the gameplay!

    I have a question for my audience, however. Given the bugs in 1.1, should I put this on hold till the consumer goods hotfix or further to 1.2, or just forge ahead with 1.1?
    Last edited by stnylan; 08-08-2009 at 22:27.
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  4. #64
    Black Hound of Han Enewald's Avatar
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    Forge ahead.
    The next patch still leaves some bugs open probably, so one must enjoy what one haves rather than keep waiting.

  5. #65
    A bunny with a hat Moderator Nikolai II's Avatar
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    I can say that for Italy the beginning of the game is not a problem - being at war means that laws and the like can be set to make CG not a problem.

    I can also say that I am playing Italy right now, and it is lovely. (Slow, though, but that is more about me )

    Finally I love how many chairs I could give (and did give) to Mussolini. I felt I had to make him the Minister of Industry as well, even if he was perhaps not the best option there - just to have him meddle with everything
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  6. #66
    Admiral of the Ocean Blue brisduv's Avatar
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    Wonderful history and great potential for Italy in HOI3, I think even more so than in previous editions of HOI2. Looking forward to following your progress!

  7. #67
    General Lordban's Avatar
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    I too am amazed by what you're doing with Mussolini. How a bombastic man allergetic to hard work may turn into an intuitive strategist might prove... surprising, to say the least.
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  8. #68
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    Enewald: Check. Played through the first year and have written tomorrow's update.

    Nikolai II: Yeah, Italy is fun. In fact, HoI3 is fun. I was playing yesterday and only at the end realized that I should have been reading, it ate up my entire morning and wrecked by discipline for the rest of the day. I did no reading. And it's true about war negating the CG bug; I didn't even know there was a bug until late yesterday when I was checking the HoI3 forum.

    brisduv: Thank you, and welcome aboard!

    Lordban: I thought it was a good way of explaining my own input into his (my) decisions. There are numerous ways to justify a sudden change in strategy from 1935 to 1936 when many players take over and immediately, if maybe unconsciously, break with the past in one way or another. I chose this way, unlikely as it would be.

    The next update will be tomorrow morning!
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  9. #69
    A bunny with a hat Moderator Nikolai II's Avatar
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    A hotfix will apparently come in a couple of days, so if you don't play too fast, the AI won't suffer the bug very long. (And you might miss it, if Ethiopia takes long enough )

    I think my Mussolini is headed towards a land-based army. At least so far.
    He probably got the idea from looking back at ancient Rome and saying "Poor navy, good army - worked for them, will work for us"
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  10. #70
    Land based armies rock. o.o

    Oh, wait, Italy? Italy sucks.

    Good huntin', though, Myth.

  11. #71
    Contra-Vice-Double Colonel Alexus's Avatar
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    Hurray!

    Avanti! You've been such a good reader of my AAR

  12. #72
    Not a Turk Chamboozer's Avatar
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    This is really good so far, i'll be reading.
    I should go.

  13. #73
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    Nikolai II: Land-based armies are good, and certainly more practical than air-based armies. And the thing about Rome is that they had a good navy too--otherwise they'd never have won against Carthage. Only problem is that after Carthage, no one else had a navy for the Roman navy to fight!

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    Update coming up in a moment!
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  14. #74
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    The First Year of Renaissance
    Part 1: Abyssinia, The Generals’ War, January 1 – January 24, 1936

    From the beginning, Abyssinia was the generals’ war in its entirety. In exchange for the high command of the Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana, or AOI) headquarters, General Grazioli had pleaded for a complete abstinence from Mussolini on any interference from on high. Mussolini resisted at first but eventually gave in, on the condition that if he asked then Grazioli would have to release to him AOI air and sea assets. Grazioli easily agreed to that, and suggested that the Abyssinians were such a small threat that an air force was completely unnecessary. Mussolini would by and large hold him to that promise, for he was already beginning to conceive of his new strategic ideas and had already determined to revise the organization of the Italian armed forces on the mainland to that purpose.

    Grazioli commanded considerable forces in East Africa, though they were divided between Eritrea and Somalia, with the majority in the former region. The fourteen infantry regiments in Eritrea and the two in Somalia were envisioned as the Armata dell’AOI’s main offensive force, along with the two mountaineer regiments in Eritrea. Secondary forces consisted of nineteen Blackshirt and Eritrean militia regiments in this area, and another ten Blackshirt and Somali militia regiments in Somalia. In total the Armata dell’AOI totaled some 162,000 soldiers, including the 87,000 militiamen and some 21,000 in various headquarters. The core of the force was obviously the 48,000 trained infantrymen and the 6,000 crack mountaineers. Abyssinian forces were unknown but not anticipated to be particularly troublesome by anyone involved in the theater. Grazioli’s objective with this force was the Abyssinian capital of Adis Abeba. However, in a remarkable turn of events, he began pleading for reinforcements even before his offensive began, asking for two armored brigades and a medium bomber squadron.


    Italian deployments in Eritrea and Grazioli’s requests for reinforcements.


    Italian deployments in Somalia, and the first known deployment of Abyssinian troops.

    Grazioli had evidently forgotten his boastful suggestions of late the previous year, of which Mussolini was quick to remind him—in an effort to goad him on. Late on the 1st of January, Grazioli began ponderously shifting his forces forward. Most units were far away from the border and had to march to reach it, many soldiers’ first real experience with marching in the desert. Attrition was already becoming something of a problem. Nevertheless, Grazioli was sufficiently confident to march the 5a Divisione Alpina ‘Pusteria’, the elite mountaineers under Major General Tellera, toward Afrera Terar, within the Abyssinian borders. Though reduced to an observer of this colonial war and despite Grazioli’s initial wavering and pleading for reinforcements, Mussolini was confident in the abilities of his generals.


    Grazioli’s first movements toward and into Abyssinia.

    By midday on the 5th of January, the area around Afrera Terar had fallen to Tellera’s mountaineers and the 26a Divisione ‘Assietta’ under the command of Major General Nicolosi had come up to join them. These two divisions then began broadening the front. Tellera was sent toward Serdo, Nicolosi toward Maych’ew. Confident reports radiated from Grazioli’s headquarters outward toward the higher Tarabulus headquarters at Tobruk and further to Rome. No Abyssinian opposition had yet been met and it was anticipated that the Abyssinians would not put any significant resistance either. Given the humiliating defeat in 1897 at Adwa was still a living memory, it is astonishing that the Italians could have been so overconfident.


    Grazioli pushing deeper into Abyssinia.

    On the 14th, the Abyssinians gave battle around Serdo, which Tellera had reached with his mountaineers. His six thousand well-trained men were put upon by nine thousand Abyssinian militiamen. Though poorly trained and equipped, they knew the desert and the mountains well and fought enthusiastically.


    Set upon by the Abyssinians!

    The Abyssinians fought, but without any real success. Italian victory at Serdo was inevitable, though their good progress was not. It is generally accepted by historians that Tellera was delayed for a considerable time at Serdo due to the battle. Due to Grazioli’s penchant for issuing short marching orders, perhaps a side effect of the desert attrition, Tellera’s final assigned destination was Serdo and he was not to receive another marching until until he reached it, much as at Afrera Terar. The battle delayed his march by a considerable amount of time.


    The Abyssinians never came close to victory.

    The battle at Serdo was still raging five days later, on the 19th, when Nicolosi occupied Maych’ew and began marching toward Dese. By this point, the majority of the Eritrean portion of the Armata dell’AOI was marching across the already violated Abyssinian border and toward Maych’ew. Some seventy or eighty thousand men were marching thin dustry roads across the desert and through mountains to reach that obscure settlement, even as the vanguard division was leaving it.


    Grazioli’s offensive building momentum, despite the delay around Serdo.

    Despite the success of the northern thrust from Eritrea, the Corpo d’Armata Libico, under the command of Lieutenant General Bennati, was still in Somalia. There seems to be a dearth of evidence on the reason why. Either orders had not gone out from Grazioli to Bennati, or Bennati had become insubordinate and refused to pass the orders on to his division commanders. Some of what little evidence exists points toward this latter conclusion, as Bennati was on record multiple times for requesting from Grazioli up to four regiments of armor! Given the Italian binary divisional system, this amounted to an entire two armored divisions. This at a time when Italy barely had two motorized infantry regiments and an armored car regiment, all in different divisions! It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that if Bennati had merely concentrated his forces—and, indeed, not keep his division of trained infantry behind at Muqdisho—he could clearly have broken through the thin lines of Abyssinian militia that confronted him and would have been on the southern road to Adis Abeba.


    Inactivity in Somalia and Bennati’s demands for reinforcements.

    By the 24th Nicolosi had also met resistance on the road to Dese, in the form of another division of Abyssinian militia. Despite the mountainous terrain and a lack of training, Nicolosi caught them in an unfavorable situation and was pushing his advantage; the militia was being steadily pushed back. Tellera was still embroiled in low intensity combat around Serdo, hunting down militiamen employing hit and run attacks against his columns and supply lines. He had already lost ten days to a force stronger in manpower, though inferior in every other way. Despite this ongoing setback and the fighting in front of Dese, Grazioli’s reports still seeped confidence and infected all who read them. He had cause; only two divisions of twelve thousand men total had engaged the enemy, they were winning, and Grazioli had another 120,000 or so men marching up to the front as reinforcements. It was inevitable that the Abyssinians would crack and then shatter under such pressure.


    The battle of Dese, the fighting around Serdo being sidelined and reinforcements coming up.

    On the 24th, confident of continuing success in Abyssinia, Grazioli flew back to Rome for a personal report to Mussolini. Landing at the airport outside Rome, his entire journey into the center of the Eternal City and Mussolini’s palace and offices was hindered by a rapturous reception by the Italian people, who had heard of the great exploits and many successes of Italian soldiers in Abyssinia for the past month. Mussolini must have taken note of the elated hero worship his one active general was receiving and must certainly have disapproved of it. What passed between the two men upon Grazioli’s late arrival at Mussolini’s offices is still unclear, but there does not seem to have been a falling out and both men appeared to have left the meeting quite satisfied.
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  15. #75
    Contra-Vice-Double Colonel Alexus's Avatar
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    GLORIOUS COMRADE MUSSOLINI HAS ORDERED NOT ANOTHER STEP BACKWA-

    Wait, wrong paranoid dictator.

    Still. Avanti!

  16. #76
    General Lordban's Avatar
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    Nasty, leaving the AI mess up its job and then use it as a pretext for a complete overhaul of your army
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  17. #77
    Compulsive CommentatAAR stnylan's Avatar
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    The AI is delightfully idiotic at times
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  18. #78
    Black Hound of Han Enewald's Avatar
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    never let the AI take command.
    It usually ruins the war.
    And also all your plans.

  19. #79
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    Strategic AI seems to be doing its job without any major surprises.
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  20. #80
    Corporal takishan's Avatar
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    Diggin' the format.

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