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Thread: A Most Unlikely Outcome - An Italian AAR

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    Major Smut Peddler's Avatar
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    A Most Unlikely Outcome - An Italian AAR

    This is my first AAR.

    I used Armageddon '36 GC as Italy on Normal Difficulty, Aggressive AI, Full Tech Team Takeover, and NO Full IC Takeover. I had planned to write this early last year; i had all the screenshots taken and had gathered a bunch of photos to complement the story (because it really was an amazing game...), but then HOI3 came out, and i kind of forgot about it.

    In any case, i did not use any cheats or mods; however, i did tweak some of the province tiles (adding a few more urban areas and adding cropped photos to take the place of the stock urban pic) to areas that i thought should be represented as such.

    Anyway, here goes.

    A Most Unlikely Outcome

    1936


    Mussolini’s approach was instantly recognizable to the members of the Commando Supremo, better known as the Italian general staff; the methodically-repetitive echo of his heavy boots against the marble hallway betrayed the restrained hurry of a man impatient to reach his destination, yet careful enough to preserve the prestige of his lofty position. Two aides, accustomed to his methods and patterns, moved to open the heavy oak doors leading into the war room without allowing Il Duce to alter his distinctive gait.

    Mussolini dropped a black leather-bound folder from his gloved hand onto the large rectangular table around which his various ministers and deputies stood at attention, their right arms raised in salute. His apparent disgust over the contents of the folder was clearly evident by the manner in which he held himself; a palpable look of petulant disgust was plastered over his face, and his glowering eyes ranged over those in attendance as if searching for prey, though he stood without the audible grunting and seething anger of a more barbaric man. No, Il Duce clearly intended to make an example of someone, but neither raw emotion nor petty rivalry had anything to do with his decision. After a few moments of bitter unease among all present, the fascist dictator’s unflinching gaze lowered and fixed on the leather-clad black folder before him, his furrowed brow and swelled chest seemed to suggest that he would erupt at the first noise to shatter the uncomfortable silence hanging over the room. In fact, it was almost as if he was hoping someone would do just that.

    The fascist ministers knew their place, however, and after a suitable amount of time had passed in his mind, Mussolini moved to pull his own chair out from the table, to which his dazed attendants belatedly rushed to assist him. After sitting and opening the leather folder, he proceeded to methodically lambast the current cabinet for their failure to adequately prepare Italy for impending conflict.

    Despite the success that the fascist movement had fermented throughout the post-Depression nation (relative to its neighbors, of course), the Kingdom of Italy still remained a minor power in the eyes of the world, and this was something that Mussolini had long intended to rectify. While the Regia Marina (the Italian battle fleet) still held sway over most of the Mediterranean with its modest complement of WW1-era battleships, the combined force of Italian arms in regards to the Air Force and Army were grossly inadequate to Il Duce’s perception of the glorious Roman Empire reborn. It was the destiny of the Italian Empire to dominate the shores of the Mediterranean, and enemies encroached upon its many beaches threatened to restrain and subdue that glory. The military review for 1936, as detailed in the leather folder now strewn open on the table, served to only further weaken Italy’s position through decreased military spending and additional support for pressing social reform, and for one, Mussolini could not dismiss the possibility that foreign agents had corrupted some of his own cabinet in hopes of further denuding Italian military capability.

    But the news was not all bad, at least in regards to Italy’s potential resurgence. Several members of Mussolini’s government were widely-regarded as pioneers of sorts in their respective fields; all were shrewd politicians capable of cementing their positions within the cutthroat fascist hierarchy, each with their own sycophantic deputies that would ensure (sometimes even with the threat of physical force) that things got done. Mostly raised in the wake of the Risorgimento, or the Italian unification of the 1870s, most believed to varying degrees in the righteous ascendancy of the Italian nation, and as such fervently believed in the reclamation of the far-flung Irredenta (or ‘unredeemed’ Italian lands) and in the regional Mediterranean dominance akin to what their Roman forefathers had accomplished two millennia prior. Nevertheless, regional schisms in the recent additions to the country (notably in the Veneto and in Dalmatia), ecclesiastical meddling in supposedly temporal affairs, and a wide range of differences across the political spectrum (especially from the recently-squelched yet ever-popular socialist faction) threatened to mire Italy in the doldrums of global insignificance.



    Moreover, Italy’s modest population growth and nascent industrial base, coupled with its substantial need for imported coal and other vital raw materials, and a chronic need to update its outdated military tactics and officer training methodology, led to a widespread belief within the Commando Supremo that any effort to resurrect the old Empire was simply out of the question for the time being. This was the conclusion outlined in the leather folder in front of Mussolini, and the reason for his apparent rage; he had not struggled for 15 years against enemies both foreign and domestic to be told that the future was bleak and would only get worse.

    By the time the afternoon’s meeting ended, there had been striking alterations made to Italy’s national goals. A program of rearmament was initiated, including the raising of 20 new infantry divisions, to pacify the rebellious natives of the Italian colonies in Tripolitania (and to form the veteran officer cadres that, it was hoped, would become the backbone of eventual armies that would force the British and French out of North Africa). Research was also started into the field of new models of armored vehicles that might prove useful in the featureless terrain of the northern Sahara desert; Minister of Finance Guido Jung was tasked with forming a collaborative relationship with officers in the German Wehrmacht in an attempt to develop vehicles that might be of use to both nations. As Germany had apparently enjoyed significant good luck in elevating their economy via nationalization and investment in war industries, so Mussolini believed that Italy could replicate the fortune that had blessed their fascist brothers in the Reich to the north, and he demanded that efforts be made to emulate many of their more effective examples. Guido Jung was also authorized to conduct trade agreements with German Minister of Economics Hjalmer Schacht, in hopes of establishing beneficial trade agreements and new technology collaboration.



    One area in which Italy would strike out on its own without the help of the Germans would be in the area of naval operations. Mussolini desperately wanted to modernize the Regia Marina, knowing that his navy was the key to dominance in the Mediterranean Sea. Though desperate to increase the fleet in both size and power at the earliest opportunity, Mussolini was pressured by his admirals and industrial ministers to grow slowly but deliberately, thereby taking advantage of new technologies and equipment that would arise naturally. After several hours of bitter arguments, Mussolini eventually relented and signed off on a single series of modern battleships, which would be christened the Littorio class, and which would easily be the equal of any ship in the world currently afloat. The Littorio class would incorporate faster engines, better armor protection, rudimentary radar, lavish anti-aircraft armament, and the largest canon ever designed for a warship at 15 cm. Construction of the lead ship of the class, the Vittorio Veneto, named after a northern Italian village triumphantly recaptured in the waning days of WWI, would be started immediately. Furthermore, Mussolini planned to use the existing battleship fleet (which he presumed would not see much use for some time) dispersed among the transport fleets; as the old WW1-era Cavour-class battleships, in particular the Andrea Doria, Conte de Cavour, Giulio Cesare, and Ciao Duilio, had a flank speed roughly equivalent to the transports, and would be able to provide close in support from surface ships, aircraft, and also be able to support beach landings immediately with fire directed from forward observers (as opposed to fleet battleships, which might range miles away from the landing forces). Communication improvements between the battleships and amphibious assault command and control systems would be improved to this effect, though the ships themselves would not receive additional weaponry or other modifications.


    RM Vittorio Veneto


    Side and Above View of Littorio Class

    But Mussolini had even more sweeping ideas for control of the Mediterranean; with a mark of a pen, 10 of the oldest WWI-era destroyers in the fleet were slated for decommissioning, and work was begun on a new class of faster, longer range destroyers with improved detection capabilities. Several squadrons of new, land-based naval attack bombers were also ordered of a 4-engine type, giving them greater loiter times, increased payload, and increased range. Airfields around the Tyrrhenian Sea were to be upgraded to accommodate the new bombers; runways were expanded near Cagliari in Sardinia, Taranto around the great naval base, and near Palermo along the north coast of Sicily. Perhaps most significant, however, was Mussolini’s directive that research be directed into creating a class of fleet aircraft carriers capable of extending Italy’s domination throughout the region and beyond; with no willing partners in this enterprise, Italy would have to blaze a new trail in this area, starting from scratch with no guarantee of results despite a high level of investment and time necessary to develop the project. The Cantieri Navali Riuniti shipyards in Trieste were tasked with the design and development of a prototype fleet carrier within 3 years.



    Despite the material shortfalls, heavy industrial growth was needed to support such a wide range of intensive projects, and it was thought that political and technological endeavors would only partially compensate for the lack of resources. Though advances in industrial technology would help offset some of the inherit inefficiency (i.e. masses of unskilled labor) of Italian production, Mussolini felt that direct involvement was necessary and directed the Kingdom to directly fund plant expansions for the existing Beretta complex in Brescia (outside of Milan), and to fund additional manufacturing complexes at the FIAT plant in Turin as well. Despite the already disproportionately high concentration of heavy industry in the Northwestern region of the country (roughly a triangle formed between Turin, Genoa, and Milan), Mussolini reasoned that the new developments would have a greater effect if placed in close proximity to other heavy manufacturing centers, thereby taking advantage of well-established infrastructure and of closer proximity to large ports and resource concentrations. However, wary of the blooming target that he was creating, Mussolini further strengthened anti-aircraft defenses in both Milan and Turin; many would call his industrial concentration reckless, and further, needlessly rigid. Many locations in the South, some of his ministers argued, had comparable access to resources and transport, and would benefit far greater than the already-prosperous northwest, but he was not to be swayed by petty local loyalties.


    Mirafiori FIAT plant, Turin

    Before additional disparaging remarks could be made, and more importantly before he agreed to any additional concessions, Mussolini closed the folder and stood up, compelling his compatriots to do the same. The groundwork had thus been laid for the resurrection of the Empire, and many things across the peninsula would soon be changing; many harbored genuine excitement and optimism about the future, though there were a roughly equal number of ministers that felt that the price in blood would be far too steep to justify.


    Mussolini addresses the masses
    Last edited by Smut Peddler; 03-06-2012 at 20:53.

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    Most unlikely outcome? Certainly curious to see that.
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  4. #4
    Paladin General SwordOfJustice's Avatar
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    Great AAR so far. I look forward to more updates.

    Cheers,
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  5. #5
    Paladin General SwordOfJustice's Avatar
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    Congratulations, Smut Peddler, I've nominated you the next Best Character Writer of the Week. I love playing Italy in HOI2. May you recreate the Roman Empire around the Med!

    Ciao,
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    Major Smut Peddler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexon47 View Post
    Italiarr! Shows promise, so i've subscribed!
    Thanks! When i went through the AAR archive the other day, i was surprised that there were so few other Italy AARs--i've always enjoyed the options that a HOI game as Italy offered, and just figured that more people would have written them.


    Quote Originally Posted by Thundergate View Post
    Most unlikely outcome? Certainly curious to see that.
    Only because i know how it ends

    There are some definately unique circumstances that happened in this game, from a 150 division horde of US troops invading Italian-held Nigeria, to an Italian 'Stalingrad', to Allied airstrikes on an Italian nuclear facility, to a very strange UK surrender event...

    Quote Originally Posted by SwordOfJustice View Post
    Great AAR so far. I look forward to more updates.

    Cheers,
    Sword
    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by SwordOfJustice View Post
    Congratulations, Smut Peddler, I've nominated you the next Best Character Writer of the Week. I love playing Italy in HOI2. May you recreate the Roman Empire around the Med!

    Ciao,
    Sword
    Awesome, i'll have to remember to keep up the pace!

  7. #7
    Major Smut Peddler's Avatar
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    War in Ethiopia


    Though it was not directly addressed in the meeting, Mussolini’s meeting had the effect of lighting a fire underneath his African generals, who had heretofore been evidencing a lackluster effort in the war against the under-equipped Ethiopians. By the early morning of the 6th January, Field Marshall Badoglio had issued attack orders to each of his commands in the horn of Africa, and the lingering conflict there (which had been ongoing since early October 1935) suddenly erupted in an avalanche of violence as forces converged from multiple fronts on the mountaintop capital, Addis Ababa.


    Mountaintop Citadel of Addis Ababa


    Though fielding outdated equipment and massed into poorly-disciplined units, the Eithiopians nevertheless fought with a fanatical determination, and their unpredictability proved a constant nuissance to the Italian and allied Colonial forces fighting their way into Abyssinia. Total Italian air superiority helped matters immeasurably, as the Regia Aeronautica’s presense formed a mobile reserve that often turned any surprise Eithiopian ambush into a deathtrap for their irregular forces.



    Marshall Badoglio’s 1st Italian Army marched south from Eretria and into the mountainous region between the coast and the capital; simultaneously, General Grazioli’s 3rd Corps advanced northwest from Italian Somaliland, with orders to feint towards the capital and infiltrate Ethiopia’s border outposts, in hopes of drawing off forces from the main thrust coming out of Eretria. Grazioli’s force was not equipped with the armor or aircraft necessary to defeat Ethiopia’s estimated 670,000 man army in open combat, and he therefore relied on extensive use of multiple night raids all along the front in order to give the impression of a much larger force; however, beyond local victories against inferior forces, Mussolini did not expect decisive action from the Southern front.

    By mid February, Italian 1st and 2nd Corps of 1st Army had fought their way into the crossroad town Dire Dawa with only light causalities and were poised to strike at the Emperor’s main army outside Addis Ababa, which was now massed and entrenched along a 40 mile front along the pass leading into the capital. In rallying his forces into the defense of the capital, however, Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie removed the tactical mobility that gave his troops their sole advantage over their supply-dependant Italian foes.

    Surprising progress in the southern deserts had brought Grazioli’s forces to within 200 miles of the northern Army, but it would still be some time before they would be in position to directly assist Badoglio, and Mussolini made the decision on 16 February to commence the attack immediately before additional Ethiopian reserves could reinforce the already formidable defenses of the capital.



    Despite fighting at a tremendous disadvantage in the rugged mountains of Central Ethiopia, Italian soldiers, supplemented by elite Alpini mountain
    troops and artillery, were able to dislodge the densely-packed Ethiopians and send them fleeing after several weeks of bitter fighting. The Ethiopians lack of an air force and artillery of their own allowed the Italians the freedom to maneuver their own artillery at will, and the lack of counter-battery fire allowed ammunition carted laboriously overland to be stowed near the guns without the need for cumbersome dispersed stowage.



    As Badoglio commenced his pursuit, additional Ethiopian deficiencies became apparent; forced to use non-standardized ammunition due to the wide variety of firearms the government was able to cobble together for its army, the Ethiopians soon realized that even if they could get ordinance to the troops, that it might not even be the correct type. Matching firearms to their supply of ammunition became a logistical nightmare, and one for which the Ethiopians had no hope of rectifying. Many Ethiopian units reverted to using more reliable weapons such as spears, bows, and arrows. More ingenious natives took advantage of their natural hunter instincts and created elaborate ambushes, some of which included rolling large boulders from great heights at Italian armored vehicles, which all too often became immobilized in the rough terrain of Central Ethiopia. However, as the Italian armored cars fell back to more of a support role (instead of fulfilling their designed role as a shock weapon), the Italian infantry gradually pushed the Ethiopians back into an ever tightening noose in Addis Ababa.



    Making matters even worse for the Ethiopians as the fell back towards their capital was the near constant presence of the Regia Aeronautica; in addition to their usual role of strafing and bombing troop concentrations and busting fortifications, Italian pilots were also able to radio enemy positions and forewarn of ambushes, thereby saving Italian lives and shortening the duration of the conflict.

    Though outdated even by Italian standards, the single-engined CR.32 biplanes wreaked havoc over the sprawling city, terrifying enemy civilians and soldiers alike. With non-existent anti-aircraft defenses and no interceptors to challenge them, the RA had a field day.


    FIAT CR.32


    By the end of the first week of March, 1936, the war in Ethiopia was over. Though Emperor Haile Selassie had somehow managed to disappear into the hills, Mussolini had his victory, and more importantly, the political capital necessary to continue his military expansion. Many advisors tried to tell Il Duce that it would require decades, millions of colonists, and more lira than Italy would produce in 3 years to convert the AOI (or Africa Orientale Italiana, better known as Italian East Africa, as the colony would soon be known) into a producive area. But Mussolini had trouble hearing their pleas over the cheering of the crowd.

    Last edited by Smut Peddler; 18-08-2010 at 17:09.

  8. #8
    Major Smut Peddler's Avatar
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    Abyssinian Aftermath


    Excess Italian stores in the port of Massawa are reloaded for transport back to Europe


    Transition from Kingdom to Empire happened seemingly overnight. Newly-minted Abyssinian Campaign veterans, flush with well-deserved swagger following a tough if relatively-short campaign, trampled vigorously up the gangplanks to their ships almost as soon as the transport flotilla had docked in the port of Massawa on 14 March, 1936. Soon, the amenable Eritrean and Somali colonial contingents left behind would take over the primary occupation and garrison duties of the new Ethiopian colony (under Italian direction), freeing these front-line Italian divisions for duties elsewhere; for many of the infantry units, additional training and refitting in Tripolitania and Cyrenaica awaited, with a distinctive change in focus, from fighting loosely-organized frontier bandits to preparing for combat against a modern, mechanized enemy in the British. New weapons and tactics would be essential for future conflicts, and these troops could be refitted and rearmed much easier from bases in Libya than they could in the Horn of Africa.


    Estimated Combatant Strength, early 1937


    The departure of Badoglio and Grazioli’s Italian troops left approximately 8 under strength militia divisions with which to defend a very large border for the AOI. Realizing that his position would become increasingly vulnerable in a sustained conflict, the appointed viceroy of the AOI Amedeo di Savoia, the Duke of Aosta, positioned his forces with two primary motivating factors; most important, he had to maintain order the capital, as the loss of Addis Ababa would ferment increased rebellion and foster uprisings in the restless, disorderly colony. By keeping 2 divisions in the city to maintain a semblance of Imperial power, di Savoia also had at his command a strategic reserve to field in case of nearby insurrections or enemy incursions from British Somaliland or French Djibouti (though this was not expected, as intelligence reported that no sizable enemy formations existed in either of these areas).


    Insurrectionists were widespread (particularly in remote regions to the west) in the immediate aftermath of the Italian victory in Abyssinia


    The Viceroy also realized that, despite to the small number of maneuver regiments under his command, he would be able to deftly swap land for time in any future conflict. As a result, he position only a single division in the south of the country (more for regional policing than tactical positioning), which, in the event of conflict with the British or their allies would fall back towards the main defenses in Addis Ababa rather than engaging in prolonged combat. The bulk of his forces would be placed back in Eretria, along the Red Sea coast in close proximity to the main supply depots. Realizing that any combat with the British would inevitably mean that the Suez Canal would be closed to supply transport, all effort must be made to force a passage north as quickly as possible to meet up with Italian units charging east from Cyrenaica. Fortunately, di Savoia’s militia units had significantly reduced material requirements than standard infantry divisions, with only token artillery and fewer types of small arms, and as such would be more resilient to the inevitable difficulties of being out of supply. In the interest of reducing supply consumption as much as possible, all air and naval forces were re-stationed to European bases as well.


    Staging Ground for the North African Front


    Peace festered palpably for the remainder of 1936 and through the next year. By the end of 1937, Mussolini had 18 Infantry Divisions prepositioned in North Africa, with most units dispersed throughout the vast arid expanse between Ajedabia and the fortress of Tobruk; logistics and command-and-control administration were further enhanced by the two HQ units (5th and 10th Army HQ), which included signal intercept and enhanced supply units. Badoglio, now acting as theatre commander for the entire North African Front from his headquarters in Tripoli, purposefully kept the bulk of his forces far from the Egyptian frontier in order to deceive British intelligence and border reconnaissance aircraft. The 5th and 10th armies were formidable formations, and were prioritized over all other existing units for improved weaponry and specialist training. The Italian Order of Battle for North Africa consisted of:

    North Africa Theater HQ – Gen. Badoglio @ Tripoli
    61st Inf. Division “Sirte”

    5th Army - Gen. Gariboldi @ Tobruk

    40th Corps @ Fort Maddalena
    25th Inf. Division "Bologna"
    60th Inf. Division "Sabratha"
    40th Inf. Division "Africa"
    11th Corps @ Derna
    17th Inf. Division "Pavia"
    27th Inf. Division "Brescia"
    61st Inf. Division "Sirte"
    23rd “Blackshirt” Corps @ Mechili
    1st CCNN Div. "XXIII Marzo"
    2nd CCNN Div. "XXVIII Ottobre"
    4th CCNN Div. “III Gennario”
    Army Reserve @ Barca
    2nd Libyan Division “Pescatori”
    10th Army HQ- Gen. Graziani @ Ajedabia

    41st Corps @ Benghazi
    62nd Inf. Division "Marmarica"
    63rd Inf. Division "Cirene"
    21st Grenadiers Division "Granatieri di Savoia"
    43nd Corps @ Msus
    64th Inf. Division "Catanzaro"
    27th Inf. Division “Brescia”
    55th Inf. Division “Savona”
    Army Reserve @ Agedabia
    1st Libyan Division “Sibelle”
    In addition, other scattered African Imperial outpost garrisons totaled the following:

    Italian East Africa Command (AOI)- Amedeo of Savoy, Duke of Aosta @ Addis Ababa

    3rd Corps @ Addis Ababa
    40th Mil. Division ”Cacciatori d’Africa”
    48th Mil. Division “Taro”

    Eritrean Corps @ Massaua
    44th Mil. Division”Cremona”
    30th Mil. Division “Sabauda”
    15th Mil. Division “Bergamo”
    14th Mil. Division “Isonzo”
    32th Mil. Division “Marche”
    4th Corps @ Moyale
    58th Mil. Division “Legnano”

    Italian Generals survey the landscape of the new AOI


    By all accounts, Mussolini believed that he had a significant quantitative advantage over his British neighbors as 1938 opened; Italian Intelligence (in particular Servizio Informazioni Militare, or SIM) believed that the British fielded approximately 6 divisions in the Middle East, evenly divided between regular British formations and colonial levies drawn from India and Southern Africa, and in all likelihood they would be concentrated around the great naval base in Alexandria; battle thrawls such as Australia, South Africa, and Iraq were also expected to contribute some irregular forces to the North African front in the event of hostilities. At least one British armored division was expected, as were at least 3 squadrons of 2nd-line combat aircraft. As a result, Armaments Minister Guido Jung was tasked to somehow find a way to prioritize the production of several brigades of medium-caliber anit-tank and anti-aircraft canon to augment the infantry’s firepower and increase its survivability. Given that Italy’s precarious allocation of resources to the anticipated 4-ship battleship fleet (the first of which, Vittorio Veneto, was nearing completion), new squadrons of naval bombers, defensive fighter interceptors, and provincial manufacturing expansion, it would not be an easy task to introduce new material requisitions.


    Vittorio Veneto prepares for shakedown sea trials, Jan 1938


    Helping matters immeasurably for all concerned, however, Mussolini had decided unilaterally that at the current time, Italy could realistically expect to field a 50-60 division army (albeit binary divisions); given the 18 in North Africa, 8 more in East Africa, 16 in Savoy, 6 in the Veneto, and 7 more scattered throughout the peninsula (1 each in Sardinia, Palermo, Catania, Taranto, Naples, Genoa, and La Spezia), Mussolini had suspended production of new divisions indefinitely, preferring instead to concentrate those resources on re-fitting the existing army and keeping supply consumption to a minimum, not to mention keeping available manpower available for future, more advanced divisions (such as the planned armored and mechanized divisions that were still being researched). As a result, Jung was able to squeeze four brigades each of 75mm 75/46 M34 AA guns and 47mm 32 M35 Anti-Tank guns into the production queue with minimal disruptions to the economy.


    Designed in 1934, shells from the 75mm 75/46 could reach appx. 25,000 feet



    The dual-purpose 47/32 M35 could fire on both tanks and infantry


    There was another problem, however, that needed to be addressed, that of the anticipated wartime stockpile of petroleum. Mercifully, (in a morbid sort of way), no units of the Regio Esercito were effectively motorized; granted that left a pronounced deficiency on the battlefield, but it did free up the Italian ground forces from the cumbersome gasoline leash that tethered many more modern armies. More so, the petroleum issue revolved around the other branches of service, the Regia Aeronautica and Regia Marina. Ever-increasing numbers of planes and ships were anathema to Mussolini’s plan to have at least a year’s reserve of petroleum for conducting a future war; given Italy’s dearth of domestic production, to say nothing of the vulnerability of the trade routes bringing in imports and the political instability of many of its sources, immediate and decisive action was needed to prevent the inevitably grounding of the Air Force and Navy. Worse still, stagnant or declining stocks of oil would result in curtailed training, which in turn would lead to deficiencies in joint operations, group coordination, nighttime maneuverings, and unit readiness. Count Ciano was immediately dispatched on an extended foreign expedition, traveling to Riyadh, Tehran, Sofia, Bucharest, Buenos Aires, and finally Madrid with orders to pay almost any price in order to keep the oil flowing in. Concurrent to and complementing Ciano’s trip, Guido Jung would travel to the ever-strengthening 3rd Reich in an attempt to alleviate Italy’s chronic lack of coal and other energy resources, to ensure that Italian industry would be able to keep up with Mussolini’s plan; even more important, Guido was personally instructed by Mussolini to probe the Fuhrer's cohorts to determine Germany's willingness to entertain the possibility of an strategic alliance.


    Argentinean POL Supplies being offloaded in La Spezia
    Last edited by Smut Peddler; 21-02-2012 at 14:11.

  9. #9
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    Go go Italy .

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    Paladin General SwordOfJustice's Avatar
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    Great AAR!

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  12. #12
    Field Marshal Nathan Madien's Avatar

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    You have a cool AAR going.
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  13. #13
    Major Smut Peddler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duce02 View Post
    Go go Italy .
    Right on.

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    God I've almost missed that one. I'm in !
    Welcome!

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    Great AAR!

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    Appreciate it!

    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Madien View Post
    You have a cool AAR going.
    Glad you like it, thanks for reading!

  14. #14
    Major Smut Peddler's Avatar
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    1939



    The first days of January, 1939 began in a similar fashion to almost every other January that Il Duce could recall; hunched forward over his desk, the only sounds echoing through the vast, empty salon were the ruffled leafing of newspaper pages and the occasional sip from the porcelain demitasse of espresso dangling precariously from his left index finger and thumb. After a few minutes of reading reports and articles, Mussolini abruptly let the newspaper slip through his fingers and fall to the desk below. Reclining backwards in his luxurious red leather chair, Mussolini stared blankly towards the ceiling of the magnificent Palazzo Venezia and wistfully reflected upon the nearly two decades of service he had given to his country, reliving his political maneuverings, hardships, gambles, plots, lovers, enemies, failures and successes through a succession of snapshot memories, all blurred by the passage of time. Though he visibly quivered when thinking about how close he had come to losing everything during the March on Rome, his demeanor quickly recovered after his memory drifted to Margherita Scarlatti, even forcing a laconic grin to corkscrew up his face when images of their clandestine yet unrepentant rendezvous rose to the surface. Gradually, and not without some reluctance, Scarlatti soon receded into the recesses of his mind after a few pleasing moments, and apparitions of Clara Petacci and Anita Page fluttered to the forefront, each dazzling in her own way, suggestive in pose and strikingly beautiful.


    Clara Petacci, Mussolini’s newest consort


    Hands interlace behind his head, Mussolini continued staring upwards and briefly considered the possibility that he could sit comfortably in his chair and reminisce about the past all day; after all, it was New Year’s Day in Rome, and he was literally the only one working that morning, despite a magnanimous New Year’s Eve celebration the night before, a party so large that one would have to travel back in time almost two millennia to find its equal.


    Throngs amass for the Eternal City’s triumphal New Year’s Eve celebration, 31 Dec, 1938 outside the Palazzo Venezia


    But tucked well beneath his nostalgically jubilant (if only temporarily) facade, and even further below the pensive ruminations of someone who silently rued the fact that they could just as easily be another out-of-work newspaper editor had one card fallen in a slightly different way, Mussolini was deeply troubled by something else altogether, a demon of sorts that always seemed to be lurking just around the next bend in the road, and it was the reason Il Duce was in the office on a day when his countrymen were all still soundly sleeping off their epic hangovers. Above all, he feared that all of his accomplishments to date would be shattered when his military went toe-to-toe with the armies of the Western Allies.


    British mechanization and combined-arms tactics tormented the dictator considerably


    The comfort that came from knowing that Italy’s strategic position in January 1939 was tremendously better than it had been in January 1936 was small comfort to Il Duce; indeed, even a well-equipped army of some 60 divisions and a naval armada of nearly the same number of major surface ships did little to qualm his fears. It was easy to convince himself on paper that the winged legions of the Regia Aeronautica patrolled the skies over all of the Italian Empire, and easier still to delude himself that the propaganda posters of Bersaglieri regiments enforcing the Pax Romana throughout the Mediterranean were truly something to behold, but Mussolini knew that everything hung on a knife’s edge, and that the entire Empire could unravel overnight with the right amount of pressure.


    A Bersaglieri Regiment parades through Milan


    Mussolini knew that Italy was not like its neighbors; Italy was predominantly a nation of small towns with regional (or even familial) loyalties, with comparatively few of the natural resources necessary to create a modern state. The Latin Siesta work ethic reigned, tax collection was lax, and punishment for serious offenses (like profligate squadronism, lynching, and clan reprisals, which persisted despite Mussloini’s orders) usually resulted in a curtailed term of Confino (or temporary exile to another part of the country) at worst. These aspects further exacerbated the popular sentiment that Italy had no legitimate reason to go to war against their Mediterranean neighbors; though slighted in some respects by the Paris and Locarno treaties, Italy had not suffered anything like their fascist neighbors to the north, and had even benefitted in the acquisition of the Veneto and other formerly Austria-Hungarian regions.

    Something about the collective anger over Versailles and singular purpose of the German people both impressed and inspired Mussolini. Though he had long since ceased calling the Germans “Little Fascists” and had learned to appreciate their particular and unique style of Fascism, Il Duce was now stung with the unwelcome thought that German Fascism may have altogether surpassed Italian Fascism, even to the point where Nazism was now the proper example to follow. Naturally, Mussolini had mixed feelings about this; on one hand, he felt that Italian Fascism had many aspects that seemed more in-tune with Italian people, and that it was truly the better option for his citizens. However, the more he thought about the stagnate pace of rearmament and his nation’s timid willingness to wage war, the more his mind raced through images of burning Italian battleships, smoking Italian planes plunging from the sky, and sun-scorched Tuscan skulls littering the swirling sands of the North African desert. The aging dictator shook his head violently, knocking his empty demitasse to the floor where it shattered into countless pieces; he could not let this come to pass. He had to prepare his nation for war. Perhaps with the right motivation, or with the right subject to emulate…

    It was noon before a disheveled and slightly askew Count Ciano stumbled into the salon. Within an hour, Mussolini’s son-in-law was in a transport plane climbing out of Ciampino Airport, bound for Berlin. In his pocket, he carried an official petition to join an alliance with Germany, along with the following personal note scribbled to Hitler on a torn segment of featureless newsprint:

    “In five years, Rome must appear marvelous to all the peoples of the world; vast, orderly, powerful, as it was in the time of the first empire of Augustus.”
    – Benito Mussolini



    Mussloini directs press chief Ferretti to broadcast the news that Germany and Italy are now allies
    Last edited by Smut Peddler; 18-08-2010 at 17:11.

  15. #15
    Captain thatguy's Avatar

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    It's probably not a good idea to join the axis so soon. If you do you'll end up losing a sizeable chunk of Yugoslavia to Bulgaria and Hungary (they have cores so it's unavoidable) and quite possibly Germany.
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  16. #16
    Field Marshal Nathan Madien's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by thatguy View Post
    It's probably not a good idea to join the axis so soon. If you do you'll end up losing a sizeable chunk of Yugoslavia to Bulgaria and Hungary (they have cores so it's unavoidable) and quite possibly Germany.
    Not to mention the fact that France and Britain can easily squeeze Libya out of Italian hands (whereas waiting for Vichy France buys Italy time to focus on Egypt).
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  17. #17
    Captain thatguy's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Madien View Post
    Not to mention the fact that France and Britain can easily squeeze Libya out of Italian hands (whereas waiting for Vichy France buys Italy time to focus on Egypt).
    Not nessecarily. In my Italy games I'm able to push into both Egypt take everything up to Cassablanca at the same time. It's just a matter of keeping about six divisions on the Libya/Tunisia border and making liberal use of anphibious capability to encircle the odd French division in West Africa and grab the Suez canal at the earliest oppertunity. The only problem is that when France surrenders Tunisia is given to Vichy by event.
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  18. #18
    Field Marshal Nathan Madien's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by thatguy View Post
    Not nessecarily. In my Italy games I'm able to push into both Egypt take everything up to Cassablanca at the same time. It's just a matter of keeping about six divisions on the Libya/Tunisia border and making liberal use of anphibious capability to encircle the odd French division in West Africa and grab the Suez canal at the earliest oppertunity. The only problem is that when France surrenders Tunisia is given to Vichy by event.
    That's pretty good.

    Actually, when I was writing my post, I was thinking more about the AI in North Africa than a Player in North Africa.
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  19. #19
    Dauphinois à la Noix Karaiskandar's Avatar
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    We'll see but yes against the AI the African front is quite manageable.
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  20. #20
    Paladin General SwordOfJustice's Avatar
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