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Thread: L'ITALIA DA SOLO -- A non-Axis Italian '36 SF AAR

  1. #181
    Lt. General tommylotto's Avatar
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    Chapter Twenty Four: Storm Clouds Gather (1941)

    Blood alone moves the wheels of history. -- Benito Mussolini


    Chapter Twenty Four: Storm Clouds Gather (1941)


    As the year 1941 dawned, the New Roman Empire had formed an intricate defensive network that at least was able to cover all of its border, though it may have been too fragile if actually put to the test by Germany or the Soviet Union. It also had maniple mini-divisions stationed on all the islands and ports sufficient to thwart all but the most concerted amphibious assault by the United Kingdom. Mussolini felt prepared, but he loathed the reactive posture he had taken. He wanted to build up his forces to enable him to re-seize the initiative. With the help of occupied foreign factories and seized resource stockpiles, Italian industry continued to struggle to keep pace in the arms race with her neighbor to the north.



    By February of 1941, the Regio Esercito was upgrading three regular artillery brigades to self-propelled artillery and raising two others from scratch. These units would be merged with the combined arms units for added indirect soft firepower. It was also upgrading four motorized brigades from trucks to armed and armored half-tracks and raising one expensive mechanized brigade from scratch. It was also raising 11 new infantry divisions. These divisions, contrary to prior practice, had three brigades: one infantry, one artillery, and one anti-tank. These units would be merged with the maniples on the border to provide mighty superior firepower divisions capable of defending the border from attack. The Regia Aeronautica continued to slowly expand the number of interceptor and fighter bomber squadrons. The Regia Marina was constructing two light cruisers to improve the escorts for its two carrier task forces, and was also building two transport squadrons. Mussolini wanted two transport flotillas: one capable of transporting the entire marine army on a moment's notice, and a second to transport troops around the Mediterranean without jeopardizing the marines' rapid deployment capability. The RADAR station in Trieste failed to provide Mussolini with the intelligence he had hoped for. So, the further development of that station was starved of funds.



    The RADAR failed to perform as desired, because further research into Radio Detection Equipment was necessary. Though resources for the station were denied, further research in the area was made a top priority. Small RADAR and a new aero engine were being developed for Italian small aircraft, and techniques were being improved for ground attacks, port strikes, naval strikes and close air support generally. Research was directed at improving the engine, armor and reliability of Italy’s all important tank destroyers. Finally doctrinaire improvements were being developed for mechanized offensives, special forces, assault concentration, and tactical command structure.

    __________________________________________


    The German general staff and foreign diplomats all agreed on the obvious -- the New Roman Empire presented a serious and growing threat on Germany’s southern border.



    But Germany was led by a madman. Hitler could not comprehend the obvious, and he still saw Italia has his junior partner that would eventual take her rightful place under Germany’s aegis. Hitler kept insisting that his diplomats pester Mussolini with incessant offers to join the Axis. Mussolini continued to provide polite demurrers. If repeating the same conduct but expecting a different result is the definition of insanity, then Mussolini had definitive proof of Hitler’s madness.

    And the madness was progressive.

    In April of 1941, the brutality of Axis Japan in Asia was too great for the United States of America to stand by and witness with a clear conscience. The mighty American industrial power roused itself from sleep and joined the alliance with the United Kingdom. Germany was now arrayed against the two most powerful navies in the world. That hardly made Germany’s invitation into the Axis more desirable, even if it was presumed by all that America’s attention would be focused in the Pacific. Nevertheless, Hitler further demonstrated his madness and the blind obedience of his followers.



    In May of 1941, with the United Kingdom still undefeated off its shores and with America having just joined the war, Hitler cast his precious Wehrmacht against the vast territories of the Soviet Union.



    Mussolini had no love for the Bolsheviks and wanted more than anyone to see communism blotted from the earth. However, he had also read his history, and the shambling Soviet Union could not be taken down by invasion. It needed to be isolated and contained, and its ideology needed to be combated wherever and whenever it was exported. Then its vast unsophisticated peasant stock and its degenerate ideology would not be an asset but a burden, and it would eventually collapse of its own weight. It may never collapse within Mussolini’s lifetime, but collapse it will. In the battle between nations and ideologies, patience is sometimes a virtue, and sometimes extra-generational patience is required.



    Nevertheless, Mussolini watched with great interest the advance of Hitler’s armies. If they could quickly sweep eastward and occupy Moscow and Leningrad, then just maybe Germany could pull off the coup de main. Hitler may be crazy, but maybe he is crazy like a fox. If that were the case, Mussolini would have to reevaluate that offer to join the Axis and redirect his covetous eye from southern France to Gibraltar, Egypt and Iraq.



    However, by the end of August of 1941, after more than three months of hard fighting, the Germans had taken the territory occupied by Russia as part of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, but precious little of actual Russian territory. Minsk, Kiev and Gomel all remained under Soviet control. Mussolini deemed this advance too slow. Soon, the long supply lines will slow the German advance, and, of course, the Russian winter loomed.

    If those circumstances were not enough to persuade Mussolini to reject Hitler’s next offer to join the Axis, this was.



    The North Americans landed in France.



    On August 30, 1941, Canadian and American forces launched a joint amphibious assault in Bretagne and Pays De La Loire. The invasion led to scattered fighting, and the Germans managed to push the Canadians back into the sea with grievous loses. The Americans also lost their beachhead, but they managed to attack south with success.



    They occupied the port at Bordeaux,



    and they firmly established themselves in Aquitaine. Most notably, both Germany and the United States were respecting the border integrity of Vichy France and only fighting in occupied France.



    An American armored unit mopping up southern Aquitaine actually came into contact with elements of Mancinelli's mountaineers in northern Spain. Mussolini could not help but notice the friendly nature of this encounter. In fact, the Italian troops seemed to be cheering the Americans on. It was an unmistakable fact that between 1880 and 1914, before Mussolini took the reigns of power, approximately 4 million Italians, mostly from the egregiously neglected south, emigrated to America. Most families from the south had at least one family member living happily in America, and practically every Italian had a very positive image of the American nation and its people. Mussolini believed that he was well beloved by the Italian people, but he also realized that that love would be short lived if he foolishly brought his nation into conflict with America.
    Last edited by tommylotto; 07-06-2011 at 14:39.
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  2. #182
    American Union State President SovietAmerika's Avatar
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    Wow, D-Day in 1941? Either Roosevelt has absolutely no patience here, is bolstered by an early DoW upon the Axis, or can see into the future and wishes to aid Mussolini's new Empire. All 3 of those possibilities would hopefully aid your cause.

  3. #183
    Field Marshal King50000's Avatar
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    Now is the perfect time to attack Vichy France and take out Germany. All you have to do, is move your border forces on Spain back to the border wolith Germany and just leave a small forces to take out Vichy. Fighting on 3 fronts will annialate Germany and prevent a staggering loss of life.

  4. #184
    People's Commissar of the Navy Demi Moderator Avindian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by King50000 View Post
    Now is the perfect time to attack Vichy France and take out Germany. All you have to do, is move your border forces on Spain back to the border wolith Germany and just leave a small forces to take out Vichy. Fighting on 3 fronts will annialate Germany and prevent a staggering loss of life.
    Have to agree with King on this one; if you plan to strike Germany, now would be the time!
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  5. #185
    Baron of Brownies Hearth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avindian View Post
    Have to agree with King on this one; if you plan to strike Germany, now would be the time!
    If not join the Allies outright.
    But yes, I think this would be the most entertaining option!

    (WAR!)

  6. #186
    Hitler kept insisting that his diplomats pester Mussolini with incessant offers to join the Axis. Mussolini continued to provide polite demurrers. If repeating the same conduct but expecting a different result is the definition of insanity, then Mussolini had definitive proof of Hitler’s madness.
    I take it the AI kept offering you to join, again and again?

    Also, two things: 1) Hurrah, go America! 2) My great grandfather actually was part of that big Italian immigration. He came over in 1913
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  7. #187
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    You should have aligned to allies from the start, so now you would have been in the middle of triangle of madness and avoided those annoying invitations. I suggest you wait a bit and see how USA fares, if Germany won't be able to dislodge them, unleash your legions

  8. #188
    Major TKFS's Avatar
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    The Americans and Italians? Sounds like a badass combo to me!
    Faugh a ballagh!

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    "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything thatís even remotely true" -Homer Simpson

  9. #189
    Lt. General tommylotto's Avatar
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    Chapter Twenty Five: The Thunder Clap (1/1/42 - 3/25/42)

    The struggle between the two worlds can permit no compromises. The new cycle which begins with this year of the Fascist regime places the alternative in even greater relief ó either we or they, either their ideas or ours, either our State or theirs! -- Benito Mussolini

    Chapter Twenty Five: The Thunder Clap (1/1/42 - 3/25/42)


    At the beginning of the new year of 1942, Germany found itself at war on many fronts. Its airplanes were still battling the British in the skies over London. Its submarines were still battling the allied destroyers and convoys under the freezing north Atlantic. The Russian front was, after seven months of fighting, developing into a stalemate:



    Although the vast majority of German troops were locked in the death struggle with the Soviets, Germany also had to contend with a western front, though at this stage very minor in size.



    It had been five months since the North American invasion and the Americans were still firmly ensconced in Aquitaine. The front was narrow and guarded by the Garonne river. Mussolini seriously doubted whether the Germans would ever be able to dislodge the Americans. However, he equally doubted that the Americans would be able to break out of Aquitaine any time soon unless something were to disrupt the balance of forces.



    In Asia, it looked like the Americans had waited too long. The Japanese dominated the greater part of the mainland,




    Japanese marines had seized the American fortress on Guam,



    and were well on their way towards the conquest of the American ally, the Philippines, which would surrender on February 18, 1942.



    The Japanese seized Hong Kong from the British, but interestingly, they left Macau in the hands of the Portuguese. The Roman Empire obviously claimed Macau as its own, as part of its Portuguese conquest. However, that part of the world would have to remain for future consideration.
    _______________________________


    Back in Europe, Mussolini continued the Empireís rearmament program.



    In 1941, the Regio Esercito added 27 infantry brigades, 29 artillery brigades, 10 anti-tank brigades, 14 mechanized brigades (4 of which had been upgraded from older motorized brigades), 10 self-propelled artillery brigades, and 4 tank destroyer brigades.



    In 1941, The Regia Aeronautica added 6 interceptor squadrons and 3 fighter bomber squadrons.



    In 1941, the Regia Marina launched no ships. However, it did have four new light cruisers in the dry docks under construction.



    The Regio Esercito was raising five more infantry division which would complete Mussoliniís border build up. Once those forces were deployed, each border province would be defended by at least a division consisting of at least 2 infantry brigades, 2 artillery brigades and an anti-tank brigade. The army was also training and equipping 4 more combined arms divisions, including two new experimental division types.



    The new mechanized division had only one mechanized brigade and one motorized brigade, to save on costs. It also had two self-propelled artillery brigades and only one tank destroyer brigade. This division would possess awesome firepower against infantry and would still perform respectfully against tanks, and, of course, still take advantage of armi combinate.



    The new motorized division was made up of two motorized brigades, two tank destroyer brigades and one self propelled artillery brigade. It was more balanced, more effective against tanks and cheaper and quicker to build. Mussolini began to question whether his investment in mechanization was worth it.



    In mid-February, Mussolini finally felt secure with his borders. It was time to re-seize the initiative.

    _______________________________

    GAUL


    Gaul had historically been a Roman province ever since Julius Caesar strangled Vercingetorix in the Tullianum after Alesia. After the defeat by the Germans in 1940, Petain set up his government, but it was never widely recognized as anything other that Hitlerís puppet. A rival French government had been set up in London, and the French colonial possessions were divided between these vying power structures. Civil war was in the offing. In addition to this unnecessary chaos on the Empire's border, and as a separate but clear casus belli, the Vichy Regime was providing material support to belligerent Portuguese.



    Once again, it appeared that the Gauls were descending into chaos and demonstrating an inability to properly govern themselves. Into this vacuum, Mussolini would propose that the New Roman Empire should step in to provide stability, universal citizenship, and uninterrupted freedom of movement and trade from Iberia to Anatolia. In preparation for the anticipated response, on February 18, 1942, Mussolini quietly sent his legions into motion.



    In Spain, Mancinelliís Alpini corps on the French border shifted their positions southeast towards the Mediterranean coast. Pintorís infantry abandoned their positions around Gibraltar and streamed to positions on the Vichy frontier, as did Aymonninoís infantry corp from the countryside surrounding Madrid. Twelve total divisions moved into position on the Spanish border with Vichy France. In Northern Italy, the divisions on the Vichy border were doubled to 10 full infantry, plus three new mechanized. Mussolini hoped to add Vichy to the territories of the Empire without a fight, but was prepared for one if necessary.

    There was even a possibility that Germany would attempt to enforce its guarantee of Vichy independence. So, preparations needed to be made in the event that Germany declared war. Germany had no border guards. So, in the event of war, the Italians would immediately go on the offensive. The anti-tank brigades, though powerful on defense, would hamper offensive operations. So, along the long front where offensive operations were contemplated, each anti-tank brigade was detached from its division.



    These brigades were sent to corps headquarters where they were joined with spare infantry brigades from around the Empire into specialized tank killer divisions.



    The four regular divisions in each corps would attack and defend as usual. However, in the event that Germany attempted to counter attack with one of their vaunted panzer divisions. This new anti-tank division bristling with lethal anti-tank guns would quickly move into the defensive battle and ruin the panzer commandersí day.

    On March 24, 1942, the Italian forces were in position. Ciano delivered to Petain Mussoliniís invitation to the people of Southern France to join the new Roman Empire. Petain immediately rejected the invitation and vowed to fight. That same day, Italy declared war.



    Simultaneously, Mussolini had a private letter hand delivered to Hitler wherein he personally implored Hitler to not act foolishly and to abandon his guarantee of the corrupt Vichy government.

    The 12 divisions on the Spanish border were immediately given the order to advance,



    as were the troops on the Italo-Franco border.

    Last edited by tommylotto; 03-06-2011 at 12:37.
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  10. #190
    Basileus Romaion Nikolai's Avatar
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    WWHD? = What Will Hitler Do?
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  11. #191
    Field Marshal King50000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikolai View Post
    WWHD? = What Will Hitler Do?
    this seems to be the big question. once vichy is under your control, you should quickly give the Americans military access so they can just walk around their front and into the german rear

  12. #192
    Major Palm's Avatar
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    Exciting developments! Talk about a cliffhanger though...
    For Sweden Ė With the Times

  13. #193
    Lovely update, just a little note on a typo:

    Gaul had historically been a Roman province ever since Julius Caesar strangled Vercingetorix in the Tullianum after Alesia. After the German defeat in 1940, Petain set up his government...
    I believe you meant:

    Gaul had historically been a Roman province ever since Julius Caesar strangled Vercingetorix in the Tullianum after Alesia. After the German victory in 1940, Petain set up his government...
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  14. #194
    Lt. General tommylotto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry v. Keiper View Post
    Lovely update, just a little note on a typo:
    I believe you meant:
    Read what I mean, not what I write!

    Thanks, fixed it. It usually takes me at least 48 hours after posting for me to see all the typos. They seem to be invisible until after I hit the submit post button.
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  15. #195
    Lt. General tommylotto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SovietAmerika View Post
    Wow, D-Day in 1941? Either Roosevelt has absolutely no patience here, is bolstered by an early DoW upon the Axis, or can see into the future and wishes to aid Mussolini's new Empire. All 3 of those possibilities would hopefully aid your cause.
    Maybe Churchill wasn't around to distract him with unnecessary tangents.

    Hi Winston. We're here to help to fight the Germans. How can we help?

    How about attacking the neutral French in North Africa.

    Huh?

    If Winston had his way we would have been invading the Dodecanese while the Soviets rolled into Paris.
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  16. #196
    Ruler of Somewhere else Thandros's Avatar
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    you did invade the Dodecanese and failed the Germans won the Dodecanese campaign.

  17. #197
    First Lieutenant HecNev's Avatar
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    Interesting developments.
    I'm eager to see whether Hitler will declare war upon you, therefore bringing his doom upon himself even faster.

    If he does and your're successful (which i don't doubt) the ROman Empire will hold a territory the historically never managed to tame: Germania.

  18. #198
    American Union State President SovietAmerika's Avatar
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    Time to hang Petain high! He refuses to serve Caesar, aka Mussolini.

  19. #199
    Lt. General tommylotto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thandros View Post
    you did invade the Dodecanese and failed the Germans won the Dodecanese campaign.
    Yes, I know. I read Churchill's multi-volume history last year. And if I recall, he really thought those islands were important and wanted resources earmarked for Overlord to be borrowed for his Dodecanese campaign. The Americans finally stood up to him and refused to allow another one of his tangent campaigns to delay the invasion of France. He was very bitter about that loss, and he swears those resources would have been back to Britain in time for D-Day. However, he was wrong about that before. And who cares about some remote islands in the Mediterranean? Like the Nazi's will retain possession of the Dodecanese after Berlin falls? Churchill was still fighting like Muhammad Ali when it was time to go all Tyson on Hitler.
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