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Thread: Explorations in Strategy - Italy at War

  1. #2801
    Lt. General BlitzMartinDK's Avatar
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    Damnnn..no update, just a ghost page ..On the up side! -you look good, but decidedly younger than i expected..

  2. #2802
    Major Palm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlitzMartinDK View Post
    Damnnn..no update, just a ghost page ..On the up side! -you look good, but decidedly younger than i expected..
    Not a ghost page anymore though!
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  3. #2803
    Corporal Tribal's Avatar
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    Very Surprised indeed.

  4. #2804
    Back from the dead FlyingDutchie's Avatar
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    Finally had the time to read up again . Looks like the Italians are facing a daunting task, invading the Soviet Union with such a small force. I doubt a tactical retreat like the one in the Balkans will to aid you here, just as naval power projection will only get you that far. Eagerly awaiting the result of the campaign.
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  5. #2805
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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  7. #2807
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    bt910125: For what, the AAR? It's as much for me as my audience.

    Sorry the update is a bit late, I totally forgot about posting it after dinner. But it's coming up now!
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  8. #2808
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    The Year of Ruin
    Part 2: The Great Offensive II, January 12 – January 20, 1945

    The relation between geography and strategic effect is an inverse one. That is, the greater the geographical extent of any one theater, the more difficult it is to achieve one’s desirable strategic effect because, when one is trying to achieve some positive effect, geography is always your enemy’s ally. No terrain is a vacuum; even the steppes of Ukraine impose friction and attrition upon the forces fighting within their endless reach. Italy proved so radically successful in the Balkans because, despite the disadvantages of terrain, it could limit the geography of conflict by closing the Bosporus and the Dacian neck. The operation thus took place within a tightly defined area. Italy had no such advantage pushing into the Soviet Union. The campaign was to be endless, saved only by the possibility of the Soviets breaking. Or, of course, of the Italians reaching their culminating point of victory and being turned back upon Anatolia and the Balkans. The seven Italian armies marching against the Soviets would strain to achieve the former, rather than suffer the latter.

    There was only one place where there was even a remote possibility of imposing artificial constraints on the exigencies of geography. This was in southern Poland and western Ukraine. Here, the Soviets had pushed deep into German held territory and had even conquered half of Slovakia. They, however, achieved no such success further north and so a Belarusian shelf had formed, upon which the Germans sat. Between the Belarusian shelf and Axis forces in Ukraine lay seven hundred kilometers of Soviet-held territory. The Italians in the south faced relatively weak Soviet forces, but incredible concentrations of Soviet formations guarded the Belarusian shelf. Yet if there was any chance of achieving a massive coup, encirclement, it would be here. This was not Mussolini’s priority, however. He was interested in this region only insofar as it contributed directly toward his goal of breaking the will of the Soviets. That is, the major, and even great cities, of Ukraine: L’viv and Kiev. Here Mussolini had dispatched two armies: Guzzoni’s and Pintors. Together, they amassed some fifteen divisions in four corps. On the 14th of January, they went onto the offensive. Pintor’s army moved to encircle a lonely Soviet division, while one of Guzzoni’s corps pushed in the direction of L’viv. They were pushing directly toward the center of the great concentration of Soviet formations that this would-be pocket represented.


    The two western armies going onto the offensive.

    The Soviets were not ready for an offensive in that area. Results were immediate and promising: quick victories costing the Soviets about one thousand casualties against only one hundred and seventy Italian dead. Two days later, the three armies to their east moved. Graziani, Vercellino and Bastico pushed against the Soviets in their turn. Before them, beyond the Soviet line that defended against them, lay the open terrain that beckoned ever northward. These three armies between them fielded twenty-nine divisions, almost double the number of formations the two armies to their west fielded, and undoubtedly more than double their manpower. Graziani, beginning nearly back-to-back with Pintor, was to push slightly eastward and mostly northward. Vercellino’s army was to encircle a Soviet armored division in front of them and use the speed of Cei’s mobile corps to keep a gap in the Soviet line. Bastico also planned on encircling Soviet forces on his front, and at the end of the first leap of his forces, the industrial city of Kharkov would fall. The Dnepr too would be breached. Bastico’s right flank hung into emptiness. Mussolini would trust to the Germans to make sure that nothing overly untoward happened in the rear of the Italian armies. It was a big job for the Germans; Mussolini was not sure whether it was wise to gamble on that—as well as everything else.


    The other three Italian armies in Ukraine on the attack.

    On the same day, Amadeo Duca degli Abruzzi’s army in Anatolia began its own operation against Soviet forces in the Caucasus. Soviet forces opposing him were estimated as being approximately equal to his own army, with the potential to increase due to reinforcements, but, to his advantage, Amadeo campaigned with possibly the most competent Germans in the world. They were not averse to advancing, albeit this seemed to be mostly because the Soviets had not yet managed to achieve an actual coherent front against them. Nevertheless, it aided the Italians by keeping the Soviets off-balance. The first stage of Amadeo’s operation involved capturing Batum and encircling a small handful of Soviet divisions, while thrashing virtually all the other ones in the immediate neighborhood. He had to move quickly, for the Caucasus was not, and indeed never was, a good place to fight. It favored the defender, which the Soviet were, and the Axis in the region had the Persians to worry about as well, thus splitting the front possibly dangerously. Furthermore, the great oil wells of Baku were relatively nearby, and certainly very near to the Persian border, and they were a great prize for the Italians.


    Amadeo Duca degli Abruzzi beginning operations in the Caucasus.

    With so many armies operating across such distances against so many hostile formations, casualties on both sides were quickly mounting. By the 20th, over two thousand four hundred more Italians lost their lives, as did another nearly seven thousand seven hundred Soviets. They were clearly unprepared for the intensity of Italian operations against them, but it was only a matter of time before they shifted their weight and adapted. By the 20th, the last Italian army was finally prepared to move, albeit it was already in the second stage of its operation. Baistrocchi’s army had finally conquered Crimea and had crossed the straits. There were no Soviet formations in front of his divisions, and so Baistrocchi let his corps loose. One began marching northward, toward Rostov-na-Don. The other two marched eastward. With nothing but vast empty terrain in front of him, Baistrocchi could become a major headache for the Soviets. Rostov-na-Don was to his north. The oil refineries of Maikop were to his southeast. Stalingrad and even Astrakhan beckoned his forces, very far to the east. The horizon was the target, and it would only surrender when below it was the blue of the eastern seas.


    Baistrocchi’s army beginning its advance from Crimea.

    The Italian armies were beginning to move, or already were, beyond the range of carrier-based aircraft. The comforting canopy was behind them, even while in some faraway places Italian fighters tangled with Soviet interceptors, as just south of Kharkov. The Italian aviators were grossly outnumbered, but were not to be outfought. Yet here as with everything else, geography was leaving its mark on Italian operations. The tyranny of geography was absolute, and the best the Italians would be able to do is cope with it, for geography was not their friend. It was, rather, the ally of the Soviet Union. More than a thousand kilometers remained between the Italians and Moscow.
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  9. #2809
    Human Enewald's Avatar
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    To Wolga!

  10. #2810
    Lt. General BlitzMartinDK's Avatar
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    Now wouldn't you wish to have just a few tac aircrafts

  11. #2811
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    Enewald: That's pretty far away.

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  12. #2812
    Lt. General BlitzMartinDK's Avatar
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    From the black sea, how far inland do your carrier planes reach? Stalingrad? Kursk? kiev? or...that is overly optimistic..?

  13. #2813

    Lmao

    "The most competant Germans in the world"

    Who is their leader? Any idea?

  14. #2814
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    Any plans for that shiny fleet of yours, while the poor infantry slogs/slugs its way across the mountains and steppes of the Soviet Union?

    I wish I had any insightful comments about your advance into the interior of the Home of Communism, but it's not to be. Oh well. I have a hard time imagining meaningful Italian success, but it will be interesting to watch regardless of the outcome.

  15. #2815
    Quote Originally Posted by BlitzMartinDK View Post
    From the black sea, how far inland do your carrier planes reach? Stalingrad? Kursk? kiev? or...that is overly optimistic..?
    For land-based missions, it doesn't matter whether the CAGs are flying off flatops or from captured Russian airstrips. They can even fly out of German airbases.

  16. #2816
    Lt. General BlitzMartinDK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by womble View Post
    For land-based missions, it doesn't matter whether the CAGs are flying off flatops or from captured Russian airstrips. They can even fly out of German airbases.
    WHAT! So you don't need to build TAC's, you can just use CAG's as if they were TAC's?

  17. #2817
    Quote Originally Posted by womble View Post
    for land-based missions, it doesn't matter whether the cags are flying off flatops or from captured russian airstrips. They can even fly out of german airbases.
    u mad?

  18. #2818
    General Forster's Avatar
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    I was beginning to think we would never see another update. Got to admit, this should be interesting.

  19. #2819
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    BlitzMartinDK: Kharkov is the furthest I've sent them, dunno if they can go further.

    walnutr113: No idea at all.

    Stuyvesant: They can chill.

    womble: That's handy, though rebasing them back to carriers is a bit of a pain.

    BlitzMartinDK: I assume real TACs are more effective at bombing.

    kossmikman: Eh?

    Forster: Oh come now, it was only two weeks.
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  20. #2820
    Field Marshal Baltasar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myth View Post
    Mussolini would trust to the Germans
    That way lies madness!

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