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Thread: Explorations in Strategy - Italy at War

  1. #1581
    borg in training DanSez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlitzMartinDK View Post
    You only have 48 combat divisions? I sincerely hope you have some garrisons or mil too, just to park in ports around spain....What does your intel say about number of enemy troops? -oh - and remember to keep an eye on Switzerland, diplomatically.. can't have them joining allies unexpectedly..
    He has been building Aircraft Carriers - which means fewer infantry formations.

    Interesting AAR - I've been reading along since the first Year's recap. Using the AI to fight battles just makes a micro manager like me itch but this example gives me an idea to learn the process by playing minors instead of turning over the entire Wehrmacht to morons I don't know how to properly setup. The 1.4 patch coming out soon might be time to experiment.

    Keep up the good fight.

  2. #1582
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    BlitzMartinDK: Well a small army isn't really a surprise, is it? Good point about Switzerland though. I hadn't thought of that. Too used to them being neutral bunnies.

    DanSez: Hehe well the only time I used AI control for my armies was Abyssinia. Needless to say, I was not impressed with the performance.

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  3. #1583
    Major Jorath13's Avatar
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    I'm enjoying these so-frequent updates and I find myself rooting for the lowly Italians in this AAR more and more. However, I think the Russians will prove the more difficult opponent over everyone you've faced up to now.
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  4. #1584
    Lt. General BlitzMartinDK's Avatar
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    A small army would not be a surprise, no. But a Miniscule army? -what is the force comparison nationally between you, soviet and germany?

  5. #1585
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    Jorath13: I should hope that you're rooting for me! And yes, the Soviets will be difficult.

    BlitzMartinDK: Not much - a fair bit - a lot. I don't know exactly, but that sounds about right.

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  6. #1586
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    The Year of Upheaval
    Part 3: The Gamble in the East III, January 13 – January 19, 1942

    The British officer Colonel Charles E. Callwell wrote on small wars at the turn of the century, and utilized his encyclopedic knowledge of small wars across the globe during the 1800s to compile a significant milestone in the theory of such wars. He wrote that strategy was not the final arbiter in war, for in the end the battlefield decides the issue. Whoever is left controlling the battlefield, or in modern high-intensity warfare the area of operations, is the victor. Given the obvious importance of Mussolini’s gamble in the east on the entire Italian strategic situation, it is worth continuing examining it in some detail.

    By the 14th of January, it had become clear to Bastico that Graziani’s army would find it difficult to close the entire gap between the Black Sea and the Hungarian eastern border. With only eight divisions, of which four were assigned to guarding only the eastern half of the northern flank, his army simply was not large enough to succeed in its mission. Thus, Bastico secured permission from Mussolini to launch his own offensive eastward. He and Graziani would meet in the center and provide a united front to the Soviet reinforcements likely to be on the way to Dacia at that very moment. Bastico’s plan was a simple one. One corps would push along the Hungarian border, trying to fend Soviet formations away from the space in between the two armies by shoving them northward. Another corps would push directly eastward, it was this corps which would actually link up with Graziani’s vanguard forces. Finally, Bastico’s final corps would find itself with a limited mission, at least at first: it would encircle the vulnerable Soviet armored division at Ionesti. It was also anticipated that it would be Bastico’s southern flank’s safeguard and begin the actual process of liquidating the pocket.


    Bastico’s push toward Graziani.

    Little news came from the operation until the 17th, when Graziani could report that his forces had finally broken Soviet resistance at Tulcea at the cost of nearly six hundred casualties, albeit inflicting nearly eight hundred and fifty on the Soviets. More importantly, the Soviets withdrew southwestward, leaving the direct path of Graziani’s formations open. At the same time, Bastico’s army scored its first victory of the operation as his middle corps ejected the Soviets from their positions with less than one hundred and fifty casualties, though inflicting over seven hundred and fifty on the enemy. the Soviets withdrew northward. The way was open on both sides. Finally, Bastico’s southernmost corps was by this point nearly halfway accomplished with its minor encirclement of the Soviet armored division.


    The minor encirclement going according to plan thus far.

    By the evening of the 18th Graziani’s position seemed quite favorable. There was no intelligence of significant Soviet formations between Graziani’s and Bastico’s armies, none that were not retreating out of their way at the very least, and while Soviet reinforcements did seem to be drawing closer to the area of operations their numbers were as yet quite small. Furthermore, after some days of extensive air battles, the Soviets seemed to have largely given up its challenge to the Italian carrier-borne air forces, leaving them with air superiority, if not actual, though local, air supremacy. Some few Soviet units were persisting in their southern advance, drawing them ever further away from the more decisive areas of battle to the north. Everything was going well for the operation.


    The complete situation at 2000 on the 18th.

    By the evening of the 19th, Bastico’s northernmost corps had defeated the Soviets around Sibiu. There they inflicted over one thousand casualties, albeit while suffering over seven hundred of their own. Nevertheless, the Soviets were withdrawing northeastward, broadly as the Italians had hoped. Thus, two of Bastico’s corps were doing their work correctly. The third was as well, for by that point it had completely encircled the Soviet armor at Ionesti and had begun the assault. Six brigades of Italian infantry faced a formation that was estimated to have two armored brigades and two infantry brigades, though it was also possible for it to simply have three armored brigades. Regardless, it was bound to be a long and difficult battle, though this fact did not seem to percolate upward to Italian high command effectively. Bastico and Mussolini were already planning to swing La Ferla’s mountain division eastward into Bucharest, hopefully to destroy Soviet planes on the ground at the airport. As the Soviets themselves said in a very true adage: air superiority is our tank on their runway.


    Soviet armor under attack; note the used airfield in Bucharest, and the fact that it was undefended.

    By the end of the 19th, it seemed that both Bastico’s and Graziani’s armies were either breaking through Soviet lines, or about to. The first, albeit minor, battle of annihilation was already being fought by Bastico’s southernmost corps. Italian intelligence could gain no information on how many divisions were still in the closing pocket by this point, nor of how many were rushing toward the onward pushing Italian armies to try to keep the pocket open, but was optimistic on both points. Perhaps about half of all Soviet divisions that had been on the Dacian front a month previously were within the closing noose, and few Soviet divisions were being sent toward the area of operations. A great success was in the making.
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  7. #1587
    Human Enewald's Avatar
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    A great success, but is it enough?
    A small tactical victory, yet not much on the strategic level.

  8. #1588
    Back from the dead FlyingDutchie's Avatar
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    Nice pocket and good use of local superiority.

    Also nice to see that there are more people who have heard of Callwell .
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  9. #1589
    Field Marshal Baltasar's Avatar
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    Good turn of events, though it would be interesting to see what is going in Anatolia as well.

    Did you notice whether or not weather is affecting your troop performance? Dacia in January should not be the greatest of all battlefields although there certainly are worse places to be, the weather should hamper offensive efforts at least a bit.

    Do you plan to shove the Russian Corps HQ north of the eastern bridgehead a bit further east? While it may be an easy enough fight, it's clearly beyound the intended area of operation of Granzini's troops. On the other hand, every little bit counts and every little bit may help in the end. Currently there seem to be quite few Russian formations around his area, so unless there is a strict order to stick to his AoO, he may venture a bit further north, at least giving the HQ unit a beating. Btw, are HQ losses directly calculated against Officer ratio? Those units are supposed to have a much higher officer ratio than other units, so hitting that one would help a little in reducing Russian combat effectiveness across the board, however miniscule that might turn out to be.

    Since I've been lobbying for exactly such a maneuver a while back (although more so in Anatolia than in Dacia), I'm even happier to see it becoming truth

    Imagine how an entry of Hungary into the war might screw all of Mussolinis carefully envisioned plans right now!

  10. #1590
    Looks like most of the Soviet divisions moved north instead of exploiting the breakthrough in the balkans. Appears you aren't going to net many divisions with your manuever. Too bad!

  11. #1591
    Colonel Nazaroth's Avatar
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    Let's hope the same success found in Dacia, can be found in Anatolia.
    At some point or another, but I am glad to see the Dacia-n front undergoing a certain level of success.

    However, I can't help but agree with a previous poster that if Hungary were to enter the war against you, there would be an increased amount of difficulty on the Eastern Front.
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  12. #1592
    Second Lieutenant Ahriman's Avatar
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    If the war in this timeline starts going badly for Germany then you've given their Generals a perfect example to show Hitler of why giving up ground is sometimes a good thing.

    I assume that there's a significant Soviet response on the way, hopefully sucking more troops away from the German front where they're needed most, are you going to try and repeat this operation or do you have something else planned?
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  13. #1593
    Lt. General Jemisi's Avatar
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    So far, so good. I hope there are enough forces there to not only tighten the noose, but keep it tight

  14. #1594
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    Enewald: It's only been six days.

    FlyingDutchie: Of course I've heard of him! I've even read him! I'm doing strategic studies!

    Baltasar: I've actually not bothered checking the weather at all. And yeah Hungary in the war on any side would be bad.

    LuXun: We don't know that actually, given that enormous gap of fog of war that covers the massive central bit of Dacia.

    Nazaroth: But I've already explained that such a maneuver in Anatolia wouldn't work!

    Ahriman: Depends on how successful this one is, really. And how necessary it would be in the future. Remember that I only launched this because it was very probable that the Soviets would launch their own assault on Dacia otherwise, and that'd just lead to defeat.

    Jemisi: Indeed!
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  15. #1595
    Colonel Nazaroth's Avatar
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    Quick question, where does Hungary stand on the crazy triangle?
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  16. #1596
    Couldn't you cut off the Soviet supplies in Anatolia by landing a large force in the Caucuses?

  17. #1597
    Lt. General BlitzMartinDK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbcrackmonkey View Post
    Couldn't you cut off the Soviet supplies in Anatolia by landing a large force in the Caucuses?
    Yes. IF he had a large force... But he doesn't.

  18. #1598
    Lt. General Jemisi's Avatar
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    Yeah, 48 divisions across a vast empire.

  19. #1599
    General Forster's Avatar
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    Well, I have finally finished reading this opus. Remind to start when the aar starts next time.

    I am enjoying your tactics, although I think you probably could have built a few more infantry divisions and purchases a lt arm license fr Germany.

    Actually, a southern pincer might just work in Anatolia. Use your mtn divs and supply with the transport plane that Italy starts with flying from Cyprus or Rhodes. You wouldn't be looking for the mountain troops to be fighting, just to be cutting across behind the Soviets to cut off their supplies. If you attached some engineers, those little buggers can actually be quite speedy in the mountains.

  20. #1600
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    Nazaroth: Just about in the middle IIRC. Slowly drifting toward Axis however, though at a rate of like 1.5 a month or whatever.

    bbcrackmonkey: As BlitzMartinDK says, if I had the forces to spare.

    BlitzMartinDK: Too true.

    Jemisi: Possibly not enough.

    Forster: Congrats on making it through 80 updates! I do think I could have started expanding my army earlier, yeah, though I'm still not convinced of the wisdom of armor for Italy one way or another--it'd just be preparing for a war I'm not particularly interested in fighting. Of course, as this AAR shows, the wars you're interested in fighting may not really be the wars you're going to get! And as for your suggestion, wouldn't that require the use of an airfield? I don't have any of those in southern Anatolia. Would a single transport squadron even supply enough? Also, all my mountain divisions are spread across three or four different armies.

    Also, no update tomorrow as I will be going into London. To Whitehall, in fact, to the RUSI library to do research for an essay. So I'll be gone all day basically. So the next update will only come on Friday evening.
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