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Thread: Explorations in Strategy - Italy at War

  1. #2081
    Livdragon nidaros's Avatar
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    Well, they say that it even might cool the earth a bit, which is good I guess, and thanks to so many planes being grounded there's been a reduction of a bout 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions the last few days :P

  2. #2082
    Lt. General BlitzMartinDK's Avatar
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    Maybe we should ground the a bit more often? -And this is ONLY in our part of the world! -Mind you, did they calculate in the increase in transportation by car? -Ferry and train will not increase significantly, they are not running more trains or ferry's, just a few more wagons on the trains..

  3. #2083
    Quote Originally Posted by nidaros View Post
    Well, they say that it even might cool the earth a bit, which is good I guess, and thanks to so many planes being grounded there's been a reduction of a bout 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions the last few days :P
    I think the volcano is making up for that.

  4. #2084
    Livdragon nidaros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teamgene View Post
    I think the volcano is making up for that.
    Not really, volcanoes don't really emit alot of carbon dioxide, they mostly emit stuff like sulphur and ash.. not that sulphur and ash is good, but anyway :P

  5. #2085

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    It's a very bad news.

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  6. #2086
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    AreoHotah: Unless something drastic happens I think it should be all right.

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    teamgene: Maybe...

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  7. #2087
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    The Year of Returned Hope
    Part 7: The Indirect Approach, May 25 – June 12, 1943

    Strategy is the application of force, or the threat thereof, in service of policy—at least ideally. Strategy is a process, undertaken in a world of naught but ambiguity—in reality. Strategy is about the distribution of one’s armed forces to most effectively further one’s own political objectives, whether this be through threat, also known as maneuver, or through use, known sometimes as engagement. While some theorists, such as Clausewitz and the vast majority of other writers in the later 19th and early 20th century, largely discounted maneuver except inasmuch as it related to the engagement, writers such as Fuller and most especially Liddell Hart attempted to create a strategic counterculture that emphasized maneuver in excess at the cost of battle. Writing theory about a new, or neglected, phenomenon of war can be easy or the unscrupulous or over-enthusiastic: problems can be easily explained and otherwise wished away, particularly creating a counterculture. Problems, enemy action and friction generally are, as Clausewitz noted, the only factors that distinguish real war from war on paper. No emphasis on any one component of strategy can possibly account for real war.

    And in Illyria, it was real war that was being waged, not war in theory. Problems cannot be wished away, casualties cannot be discounted and failure somewhere is inevitable, even if ultimately it is not necessarily. As Vercellino occupied Lamia, with just over four hundred and fifty Italian and nearly eleven hundred Soviet casualties, a crisis erupted on Bastico’s front. The Soviet armored division southwest of Belgrade had been rescued, but in the process an Italian formation had been trapped by the Soviets! In the end it was righted, but was nevertheless a close brush with local disaster. In the south, meanwhile, losses were beginning to mount in certain sectors of the front. The Soviets managed to hold up the Italians at Shkoder for a prolonged period of time, inflicting nearly twenty-one hundred casualties for losses of less than thirteen hundred. The Soviets were striving harder and harder to halt the Italian advance, and eventually they would have to be successful. The paradoxical logic of war demanded it; that eventually one activity would turn into its opposite: that attack would become defense, and vice versa. This logic was particularly cruel to Vercellino, whose attack, though beginning so promisingly, soon stalled despite other Soviet mistakes.


    Vercellino’s revised attempt at encircling Soviet divisions in Greece on the 29th.

    Eventually, Lamia fell to Soviet counterattacks, though unlike most defeats the Italians inflicted nearly two hundred more casualties than they themselves lost; in the end, though a total of about twenty-two hundred men had died. Pintor’s army, however, was pushing onward to the south to rescue Vercellino from his cage. A Soviet division was overrun on the path to Tirane and surrendered, and the way was clear for Gambara’s corps. Those four divisions sides-lipped past the Soviet front in southern Illyria, between it and the sea, and immediately implemented plans for a significant exploitation. Indeed, these plans, if they pan out, would result in the entrapment and eventual destruction of all remaining Soviet forces in Greece. Gambara’s corps was driving right for the Aegean Sea. Roatta’s corps simultaneously hit the Soviet front as hard as it could, largely to keep them occupied. He did not expect quick success, the foundation of this defense rested on two Soviet armored divisions.


    Gambara’s rush to the Aegean Sea.

    As Pintor’s army proceeded to outmaneuver the Soviets in southern Illyria and northern Greece, Bastico and Graziani were engaged in increasingly heavy fighting in the center and north of the front. Kraljevo, Senta, and Belgrade were all Italian victories. The former two resulted in twelve hundred aggregate Italian and nearly twenty-three hundred cumulative Soviet casualties. The third victory, at Belgrade, resulted not only in barely over six hundred and fifty Italian casualties and nearly fourteen hundred Soviet dead but also the encirclement of another Soviet infantry division. By the 3rd of June, both this infantry division and the re-trapped Soviet armored division were under attack. The infantry would be wiped out, though it seems like the armor was rescued at some later point, though this is disputed. In the event, there is no agreement on what actually happened to the armored division. Graziani’s army, meanwhile, was continuing its swing northward to support Bastico’s operations.


    Graziani’s army swinging northward.

    By June 12th, the roll of engagement carried on. Gostivar, Jagodina, Nadlac and Zajecar were all Italian victories aggregating sixteen hundred Italian and over thirty-three hundred Soviet casualties. In the south, unexpectedly quick success on Roatta’s part threw Soviet formations directly into the path of Gambara’s corps, resulting in operational improvisation. Caracciolo di Feroleto’s division was sent directly southeast to the Thessalian coastline to make a more shallow entrapment of Greece. At the same time, however, the rest of Gambara’s corps continued on its previous path, a move which Gambara hoped would catch the Soviet forces deeper in Greece and prevent them from escaping, as well as catching those already on the move northward. In the center, Graziani’s push northward continued with some success.


    The overall situation on June 12.

    Operationally, the Italians continued to be highly successful despite minor setbacks. During this period another two Soviet divisions, at least, were destroyed and the Regio Esercito was setting up to bag many more. But what Italian policy was being served at this stage? Defense of the homeland—certainly. Regaining the eastern empire—it is too early to tell. Engaging the Soviet army in battle and defeating it—yes, with much success in the short term, though in the longer term it was already clear that the Soviets were shoving more and more into the theater and that eventually the Italians would indeed be stopped. And it was exactly that point that was the most important of the operation now.
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  8. #2088
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    Fantastic comeback. How long can Italy engage the behemoth in this manner is the question-forever?

    Galipolli is the key!

    BTW-pardon me if this had been discussed before, but what about beefing up your HQ's with an infantry Bde and some arty? For a relatively small cost you gain extra combat power at or near the front.
    Last edited by Cpt Crash; 19-04-2010 at 01:29.

  9. #2089
    It appears that if you can push the Soviets back to the smallest section between Hungary and the black sea you would not have a whole land mass to cover.It looks like that might be a promising front. That would be awesome if you could eventually link up with the German front.

    I don't know if I would venture back into Turkey. But hey you know what your doing better than I do.

    Nice update. Looking forward to the next one. Do you try to do these weekly?

  10. #2090
    Are the Germans gaining any ground? What with all the extra troops (Even though the SU has plenty of those) being sent to your front, I'm sure the Soviets have weakened elsewhere...

    Also, it seems like you can cut off quite a few divisions in northern Greece and southern Albania from supply, and eventually destroy them. Would you think that the linkup with the 2 forces help push the Russians back further?

  11. #2091
    Lt. General Jemisi's Avatar
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    There is going to be a real race to get the troops on the Greek section of the line up to face the Soviet reaction, but the number of divisions in the bag is going well.

  12. #2092
    Lt. General BlitzMartinDK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nidaros View Post
    Not really, volcanoes don't really emit alot of carbon dioxide, they mostly emit stuff like sulphur and ash.. not that sulphur and ash is good, but anyway :P
    Actually.. Some DO emit quite large amounts of CO2..or other greenhouse-effect gases. Just not that many volcanos do. But WHEN they do.....

  13. #2093
    General Lordban's Avatar
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    The whole theater now looks extremely messy. A successful encirclement & destruction of the Soviet forces in Greece would free up quite a few troops, and considering their apparent inability to break through the sparsely defended northern Italian lines - or, indeed, their inability to stop Italian attacks in that sector of the theater - the Red Army in Illyria and Dacia may be in for a tough autumn. They had better close the breach which permits an encirclement of their army group in western Dacia before the troops tied up in Greece are freed up...
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  14. #2094
    Quote Originally Posted by Myth View Post
    And in Illyria, it was real war that was being waged, not war in theory.
    If you are referring to the Ideal war -polarity of Clausewitz being fought in Illyria, Well, I beg to differ, as you were manoeuvering in Greece in the beginning phase, starting without battle or such intentions (my interpretation), mainly to draw Soviet troops. Thus applying more Liddell-Hart-type of War in the AI reaction of strategic movement (as far as one can expect from AI anyway). It is what we interpret it as, War being a science of the Social realm. (You haven't locked up Gramsci at this point, I hope ) But it makes for good writing Good job.
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  15. #2095
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    Cpt Crash: Why is Galipolli the key? As for arming HQs, yeah its been mentioned but I've decided against it.

    Jonny5tyle: No, every other two days, so two or three times a week. But the past few days have been pretty stressful with the volcano, travel failure and the fact that I'll be missing my first exam tomorrow.

    IFD123: All the Germans do is sit around and pick their noses. As for linking up the two forces, that's the plan.

    Jemisi: Yes indeed.

    BlitzMartinDK:

    Lordban: Yeah the Soviet AI is slightly operationally incompetent. And indeed, they need to do something to save the situation. Hopefully they won't though.

    Juan_de_Marco: Well no, Clausewitz's concept of ideal war was absolute war, but that was basically a politically-unrelated singularity of violence. Hans Delbruck postulated that there were two types of strategy--annihilation and exhaustion, the latter emphasizing emphasis maneuver more than battle but even then the campaign I'm waging is closer to annihilation strategy than exhaustion strategy. While latter-day Liddell Hart might approve of my entire campaign, having by that point associated blitzkrieg with the indirect approach, LH from the 1930s would certainly be aghast at my campaign, save for its inception at Athens. Either way it is by default real war as opposed to war in theory. And who the hell is Gramsci?
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  16. #2096
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    I think that armoured division must have slipped back through your lines.
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  17. #2097
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myth View Post
    And who the hell is Gramsci?
    In this context he postulated two forms of warfare - of position and of manouvre, but neither map onto the direct/indirect construct you're using.

    War of position in his concept is one of relative stalemate, where the balance of forces are even, the goal is to move to a position of dominance (hegemony in his constructs) so as to enable the transition to a war of manouver (ie the decisive phase). Its a concept he applied to the political, social and economic dynamics behind the Risorgimento and more widely known as an adaptation of the model of the insurectionary Communist Party ascribed to (for whats its worth wrongly I believe by both Stalinists and Trotsksyists) to Lenin.

    In his model, the French and Russian revolutions were accidents, where the revolutionary process briefly was almost all a war of manouvre. France in 1789 because the state was centralised enough that capturing Paris meant capturing the state and due to differential historical development this was true of Russia in 1917 (ie capture the centre of government and you have the state). By the 1900s though, almost all other advanced governments were too diffuse and complex for such a strategy (the Paris Commune being a good example) so the focus for a revolution had to be dominance across a wide spectrum of society (hegemony), ie win the war of position.

    His writings also seem to have influenced some theorists of International relations - but reading a post of yours some while back, don't think you're too impressed by them

  18. #2098
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    Ohh, I only knew Antonio Gramsci was one of the founders of Italian Communist Party, and he got jailed around 1926 up to 1937. I didn't know he was a military strategist..

    BTW, he was born and lived in Sardinia, at about 100 Kms far from where I live. So I feel proud to see someone in this forum knows lots of things about him! (Even if I don't agree his theories... )
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  19. #2099
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    Late arrival to this latest update, but still happy to see you are holding the advantage and the initiative.

    That June 12 overview is certainly enlightening. You have a long way to go to reach a suitable defensive line, on the SU-Rom border, but as you found out earlier, you may not have the forces to hold it and a line at Turkey. Time perhaps to decide whether you have a worthwhile chance to encircle any more SU units, or if you need to start planning for a controlled withdrawal, although your units are probably much better supplied, manned and organized than the Red Army.
    Pull back to your former line, or perhaps a slightly advanced front, between Hungary and the Adriatic. Place some more infantry in Greece (if I remember you built some fortresses there that you probably would not want to have to fight through later if you gave them up). Pull your 'mobile' units out to employ later.
    But I've been wrong before.

  20. #2100
    Human Enewald's Avatar
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    I highly recommend setting a line on the Marmara-Konstantinople and one in Dniester-Danube.
    And build then a lot of forts there.
    After that I am clueless.

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