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Thread: Explorations in Strategy - Italy at War

  1. #3101
    General Forster's Avatar
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    This is getting to be a real nail biter.

  2. #3102
    Colonel NERFGEN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forster View Post
    This is getting to be a real nail biter.
    starting to be?

    I'm out of nails already had to order a box from amazon...
    The USSR produced 57,224 T-34 tanks of various specifications during the WW2 timeline. 44,900 became scrap metal (aka destroyed).
    Total USSR AFV 1941-45 losses were 96.600. War winning tank much?

    Aar Tribute to the classicaar: RISK

  3. #3103
    Colonel rasmus40's Avatar
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    I've been away for a few weeks, but this AAR is always the first thing I check when I come back to the forums.

    I'm glad to see you're still doing well, but then again you already said you were, back when you chose to play to the crash instead of starting 1945 all over again.

  4. #3104
    Field Marshal Baltasar's Avatar
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    I wonder how much different the game would be if Myth chose to re-run his Italian campaign with SF 2.03c instead of HoI3 1.4. Should be a huge difference actually. I'd also like to know what lessons Myth learned from this game, if it ever ends

  5. #3105
    Private Totalise's Avatar
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    Long time reader first time poster here. You've been dreadfully unlucky with the poor German AI. I suspected something was up when you mentioned a while back that their push through France was long and hard fought. It usually means (Personal experience) that the AI is going to struggle in Barbarossa and indeed it has.

    On the plus side you've commanded the Italian military superbly the two operations in the Balkans against the Soviets were well thought out and carried out even though the first failed to achieve your desired outcome. You command the Med bar Tel-Aviv and the stubborn British fleet. It's been a blast to read this far and i find my self hoping that your somehow going to pull this off and save Germany.

    Cannot wait for the next update.

  6. #3106
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    loki100: Maybe, maybe not.

    Stuyvesant: Actual encirclement, actually result in its actual destruction. I like it.

    BlitzMartinDK: Is that a problem?

    Enewald: Maybe...

    walnutr113: My manpower is certainly better than either Germany's or the Soviet Union's, at over 1000.

    BlitzMartinDK: It is indeed!

    WhisperingDeath: Hehe.

    anweRU: Interesting idea.

    AUSTERLITZ: Cheers!

    Surt: Yep.

    Juan_de_Marco: They don't seem particularly keen about this whole war business.

    Dewirix: They have more to spare in absolute numbers, but what about proportionally?

    NERFGEN: Haha, yes, I suppose there would be casualties in Finland, though of course I don't hear about them.

    FrodoB: Damn, you saw through my plan!

    Forster:

    NERFGEN: Hehe.

    rasmus40: Oooh, sneaky of you.

    Baltasar: I assume at least Germany would be a bit more competent about everything.

    Totalise: Cheers!

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  7. #3107
    Strategy Cognoscenti Demi Moderator Myth's Avatar
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    The Year of Ruin
    Part 14: Shadows of Victory, July 11, 1945

    As a concept, the end is a peculiar thing. It may actually be impossible to describe the concept without actually referencing that concept, and as such is one of the basic axioms of human perception and action, wholly born out of human limitations. An end is when there is nothing beyond that point, or at least nothing relevant to the topic at hand. The ideal end is one in which nothing more needs to be said or done. It is ideal, yet as with the Clausewitzian concept of absolute war or the Kantian notions of perpetual peace, can never be attained. Not ever. Particularly not in issues of politics and strategy. After all, the intercourse of nations shall never end save at the intervention of some greater force—such as that of a supernova, evaporating the entire theater upon which politics plays. This leaves the second variety of end. The flawed end, in which statements are left unsaid, actions left undone and paths left unexplored. Frequently, flawed ends are born out of a spirit of “good enough.” This is not an accusation of infamy or negligence. The strategist, after all, aims for the good enough, which perfection may frequently be an enemy of. Equally frequently, flawed ends are the child of circumstance, of constraints external to the tale told or argument expounded.

    In its highest sense, strategy does not end. It cannot end. Yet wars can and do end, and in their aftermath strategy is frequently forgotten. Strategy is often lost even during wars. This loss of strategy may be the result of many factors. Victory may dull the mind, a change of leadership may erase comprehension of the situation. Military history may be, or may become, about the myriad of men who are necessary in waging wars, the multitude rarely creates strategy even if they are frequently an indispensible part of it or have some input into its shape. Strategy remains the realm of the great men. The first great Western strategists were Greeks, pushed into the role of matching military means with political ends either against the Persians or other Greeks. Names such as Themistocles, Pericles, Lysander, Epaminondas, Alexander dominate the history of ancient Greece. This highly individualistic pattern can be traced throughout history, in spite of the multitude. And so it was with Fascist Italy. Benito Mussolini was the lodestar of Italian strategy. Taking the reins all by himself, he failed to foster a succeeding generation of strategists once he was gone. Pintor was his most experienced general, Bastico among his most skilful. All were highly skilled operatives, but few reached even into military strategy, never mind grand strategy.

    Great people inevitably vanish, although their paths of disappearance are highly individualistic. Some, such as Hannibal and Napoleon, reached previously insurmountable heights before being catastrophically defeated. Dizzying success and then shocking failure cemented their legends. Others, such as Scipio Africanus and Ulysses S. Grant, gain similar success but then, often as much by choice as circumstance, whither away from history after their victories and became all but forgotten despite ultimately being better than their opponents at real strategy. Mussolini was different than either of these two basic archetypes. He had still been climbing to the summit of his achievement when he vanished from the scene. He waited only for one final piece of good news. On the 11th of July, Rome received word that Poland had surrendered to the Italians.


    The surrender of Poland, July 11, 1945.

    All Polish soldiers laid down their arms. Soviet formations under Polish operational control did likewise. The surrender of Poland led to the evaporation of potentially most of the Soviet forces in Poland. The future was bright. Germany was all but saved. The defeat of Soviet forces in Poland was virtually a certainty, although it was certain to be somewhat bloody. After all, even on this single day nearly two thousand three hundred Italians and three thousand one hundred Soviets died. Yet the Soviet hammer had been broken, and with seven Italian armies focused entirely upon breaking the Soviet front, the rest of their forces could surely not last long. A new drive on Moscow would surely have resulted, and from a potentially more promising position than earlier in the year. It would have marked the breaking point of the Soviet army. Yet it was at this point, with such astounding success on the horizon, that Mussolini disappeared. The exact circumstances remain unknown. The last reliable sighting was when he received word of the Italian annexation of Poland.


    The Italian annexation of Poland.

    Mussolini’s foreign minister, Ciano, awkwardly stepped into his position as rumors began multiplying faster than the proverbial rabbits. Some raised the issue of assassination. The British were blamed. The Soviets too. Even Ciano, labeled as power hungry and eager to take over the over on the advent of final victory. Some said Mussolini, finally overwhelmed by the task of guiding Italy through the rockiest political waters since before Italy had been reunited, suffered a heart attack and was quietly buried. Or he fled to Argentina. Some outlandish people even believed that he had all his years in office financed a secret rocket program and fled to the moon, to finally be above all the petty wars of human politics and await those who felt similarly, who he would forge into an unstoppable legion and return to conquer the earth and usher in a final, perpetual era of peace and prosperity.

    And so we return to the end, for Mussolini’s disappearance, whatever the cause or reason, is necessarily the end of his exploration of strategy. Challenges remained to be overcome, and yet the final outcome was ever less in doubt. Mussolini’s Italy was indomitable. Upon reflection, is there actually a better time to vanish from the scene than directly on the advent of one’s own greatest triumphs? Others might try to claim them, but the knowledgeable cannot but acknowledge that only one man shaped history to that point and, though the final execution may have belonged to others, the greater task was that which preceded that last moment. There was no final defeat to mar the record, nor any drifting away from the lens of significant legacy.

    Yet human nature cries for more. What after? What happened with Italy? Peace happened. Ciano, if he did not have the vision or dynamism of Mussolini, was nevertheless the right man to determine that it was time for Europe to be at peace. He could not claim victory as Mussolini eventually would have, but he could do the next best thing and that was to cease the warring. To appease the Soviets, Poland was released as an independent state between Germany, the initiator of war, and the Soviet Union. Italy returned the territories of central and eastern Africa to their original owners, the British, Belgians and French. Abyssinia remained an Italian client state, and Spain too became autonomous and a client. Italy retained control of the Suez and Gibraltar, and held onto the rest of its empire as well. The British fleet steamed out of Tel Aviv on Italian oil back to England. Germany was shorn of France and its other conquests, being in no position to seriously resist such results. Italy was left as the strongest state in Europe, dominating the entire Mediterranean basin yet without the geographical position to seriously upset any of its neighbors. Italy had never wronged France, could barely reach Britain from Gibraltar, had never wished war with the Soviet Union. For lack of any other result, the rest of Europe acceded to such a peace.

    An end to war. An end to strategy? An end to its exploration? No, not yet. One must still reflect upon the evolution of Italian strategy across nine and a half years of near constant war.
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  8. #3108
    Major TonyJoe's Avatar
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    Very nicely tied up.

  9. #3109
    Colonel Cpt Crash's Avatar
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    Bravo!- Well done indeed.

  10. #3110
    To bad this AAR has to end, but at least the end came swiftly and suddenly.

    All I can do now is bow my head deeply before the military genius of Mussolini and give you, Myth, a huge compliment for the way you took us along on Italy's journey through these turbulent years!! Thank you very much!!

  11. #3111
    Very well done AAR! Nicely wrapped up!
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  12. #3112
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    Bravo. Bravo, indeed.

  13. #3113
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    As I recall, the game didn't crash until the end of 1945, yet the AAR ended in July.

    Do I detect an embarrassing defeat that we do not wish to disclose?
    "Anything written in quotation marks followed by a well-known name always sounds profound" ~ Thatguy.

  14. #3114
    Second Lieutenant Ahriman's Avatar
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    Sad that it had to end like this, but congratulations on an amazing AAR. Thanks for all the entertainment!

    Are we going to get some wrap up posts? If this was an Exploration in Strategy surely we need some assesment of what was learnt.
    "I am rough, boistrous, stormy and altogether warlike. I am born to fight innumerable monsters and devils, to remove stems and stones, cut away thistles and thorns, and clear away wild forests." - Martin Luther

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  15. #3115
    Lt. General BlitzMartinDK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ahriman View Post
    Sad that it had to end like this, but congratulations on an amazing AAR. Thanks for all the entertainment!

    Are we going to get some wrap up posts? If this was an Exploration in Strategy surely we need some assesment of what was learnt.
    ..and a redo with semper fi..

  16. #3116
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    Took ya 1 1/2 years to finish :P
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  17. #3117
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    Ah, the unfinished symphony, if you will. Annexing Poland was a hammerblow against the Soviets. The fact that they even lost their expeditionary forces commanded by Poland just multiplies the disaster. If you didn't know all that was going to happen, you got very lucky. If you did know (and given the fact your strategy seemed designed to achieve this effect, I assume you did), it was a great way of making use of the opportunities the game afforded you.

    A tidy wrapup of events in Europe. We know where the borders ended up and we don't have to bother with the small details (such as the inevitable insurgencies in Spain and Yugoslavia ). What the future holds? Who knows, and, with Mussolini gone, who really cares?

    An overview of Italian strategic development would be nice, for sure.

  18. #3118
    Alternative Affairs Specialist TekcoR's Avatar
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    Quite an excellent piece of work, and I love your attention to detail.

    I think you will be glad about: this piece of information.

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  19. #3119
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  20. #3120
    Enewald Enewald's Avatar
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    But what of the Roman Empire?
    You are so evil!

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