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

  1. #201
    Captain Sethanon's Avatar
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    Very interesting developments!
    I hope we get news very quickly!

  2. #202
    Major TKFS's Avatar
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    Dang. I come back from vacation and THIS happens! Haha. It will be exciting to see how this all pans out.
    Faugh a ballagh!

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  3. #203
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    Chapter Twenty Six: Lightning Strikes (3/24/42 - 3/30/42)

    Believe, obey, fight. -- Benito Mussolini
    [IMG][/IMG]


    Chapter Twenty Six: Lightning Strikes (3/24/42 - 3/30/42)


    Mussolini looked at the old photograph of himself. It had been taken back in 1923 for propaganda purposes. He was so young, rather rash, and, in many ways, foolish. However, so much had happened since then. The posed photograph had been entitled by the photographer “Due Aquile” -- Two Eagles. However, Mussolini could not help but notice that the great bird was a vulture. He smiled a sardonic smile and said to himself, “So, be it!”

    The events of March 24, 1942 happened quickly and were momentous. Hitler, when he learned of Mussolini’s declaration of war on Vichy France, swung from one polar extreme to the other. Before, Hitler was inclined to ignore the warnings of his advisors concerning the growth of the new empire on his southern border. He chose to believe that the similarity in the economic systems of the two nations made them brothers in the eternal struggle against Bolshevism and Democracy. However, after the Italian declaration of war on Vichy France, the treachery (as he perceived it in his mind) caused him to throw caution to the wind and to seek vengeance. Once again, Hitler ignored the recommendations of his advisors, who were now counseling caution. Germany’s forces were occupied elsewhere and not currently situated to either attack or defend from the south they warned. They particularly saw no sense in adding a new foe to their already long list on behalf of the French. However, Hitler’s mad hatred immediately became implacable, and he demanded that Rome be destroyed brick by brick.

    On March 24, 1942, Germany vowed to enforce the guarantee of the independence of Vichy France and declared war on the Empire. Mussolini was disappointed, but not unprepared. Once war is inevitable, it must be waged relentlessly to its ultimate conclusion. In this struggle, it would either be Fascism or Nazism. One will ultimately prevail, while the other will be relegated to the dust bin of history.

    In all of Europe, only one nation had agreed to stand with the Nazis -- the puppet state of Slovakia, uncomfortably situated between German occupied territory and the Empire. So, on March 24, 1942, Mussolini immediately declared war on Slovakia.



    As a result, a state of war was declared to exist between Italia and all of the world wide Axis powers.

    The Italian forces all along the frontier immediately advanced into enemy territory.



    On the furthest eastern portion of the front between Romania and Russia, Mussolini had pulled an infantry corps to serve as a reserve in Northern Italy, and the remaining divisions in the area advanced into Moldova to form a continuous front with the German-Russian front. However, the Russians failed to hold Illichivs’k on the outskirts of Odessa, and a Panzer division managed to flank the Italian line. The Infantry divisions under Gens. de Catiglione and Navarini were given urgent orders to shift their line southeast to Cetatea Alba and Rozdil’na, but to remain on the defense, while Fautili’s mixed mountaineer divisions moved forward to fill in the gaps.



    In Eastern Slovakia, Gen. Clerici’s infantry corps were instructed to advance into Slovakian territory as fast as the terrain would permit. However, they were also instructed to halt their advance on the border of territories claimed by Russian, even if that territory was at the time occupied by the Germans. Once the border was reached, the Italian divisions were to assume defensive positions. The Bear would need to do its own heavy lifting.



    In Western Slovakia, the divisions of Gens. di Benedetto and Pignetti were ordered to streak north as fast as possible gobbling up territory until they came into contact with the enemy. Meanwhile, Gen. Carboni’s mechanized divisions were to occupy the apparently undefended Bratislava in what was hoped would be a coup de main.



    In German annexed Czechoslovakia and east Austria the corps of Gens. Parini and Filberto Duca di Pistoia were to advance northwest as fast as possible.



    In the Austrian Alps, Gen. Scatinni’s four pure Alpini divisions were tasked with the immediate assault on Innsbruck. This important alpine town had the only air strip in the area, but was being defended by a full German infantry division. The mountaineering skills of the black feathers would be put to the test at the very outset of the war, as the town needed to be captured quickly. Meanwhile Gen. Messe’s four tank divisions, Gen. Umberto Principe di Piemonte four infantry divisions and Roatta’s four mixed mountaineer divisions all slowly struggled through the undefended Alps. The mountain range, that Mussolini had always viewed an an invaluable military asset of his country, was now proving an ally of Italia’s enemies.



    Scatinni’s assault on Innsbruck had been well planned months in advance, and Gen. Berti executed the plan with precision.



    On March 25, 1942, the first full day of the war brought Italia its first victory. Scatinni’s corps overwhelmed Innsbruck, and Gen. Hilpert’s infantry division was forced to retreat. The casualty ratio for the attack, made against the vaunted Wehrmacht on defense in difficult terrain, was encouraging.



    Two days later on March 27, 1942, elements of Carboni’s mechanized corps entered an undefended Bratislava,



    and the Slovakian puppet government promptly fled the country. Its lands and people were incorporation into the New Roman Empire.



    As the slower infantry arrived to relieve Carboni’s mechanized divisions, they were immediately ordered to advance on towards the city of Wien to deprive the Germans of yet another air base in the theater of operations. Gen Bergonzoli noted that the surest way to establish air superiority was to park an Italian half track on all their runways.



    On the Spanish front, the corps of Gens. Pintor and Aymoninno struggled through the Pyrenees, sought out the enemy, and advanced on Toulouse. Closer to the Mediterranean coast Mancinelli’s Alpini quickly descended the mountains. Gen. Beraudo di Pralormo’s division encounter a French infantry division that offered little resistance. However, on March 29, 1942, other elements of Mancinelli’s corps stumbled upon two German infantry divisions that seemed to have quickly materialized on the scene to make good on Hitler's guarantee to the French. This was the start of an epic seesaw battle on the plains of Carcassonne.



    On the southern portion of the Italo-Franco border, Gen. Grazioli’s corps was tasked with assaulting the daunting fortifications of Monaco. The troops and generals were inexperienced, but fortunately, two of his divisional commanders Gens. Amico and Brunetti had specialized in officer candidate school in defensive fortification assault techniques. They put their training to good use, and their assault was greatly aided by the Regia Aeronautica. The Reggiane Re.2001 Falco II’s dominated the skies of Southern France.



    While the fortifications of Monaco were pounded by IMAM Ro.57’s



    as well as the positively sexy fighter bomber, the Reggiane Re.2005 Sagittario.



    On March 28, 1942, Monaco fell and was finally returned to its rightful owners.



    From the kill ratio, it appeared that the French were not putting up very stiff resistance or were distracted by the beauty of the Sagittarios flying overhead.

    The first days of Mussolini’s invasion were all going according to plan, Slovakia was knocked out of the war, Air fields were seized, Monaco was taken, but the most important early objective of the French campaign was seizing the unoccupied mountain fortifications in Albertville. If these defenses could be seized while empty, Gandini’s mechanized divisions could race across the French plains towards Vichy before the Germans could react. However, if the French could man those fortifications, the advance would be slowed and the breakthrough to the plains prevented. The assault on Albertville was entrusted to Gandini’s four mechanized divisions and two of Gen. Gonzaga del Vodice’s infantry divisions. These troops and generals were untested in Mussolini’s prior wars, but intelligence suggested that Albertville was empty and there were no French troops in the area. Mussolini was confident that Gandini and Gonzaga del Vodice were equal to the task of occupying an empty province.



    By March 30, 1942, Gen. Du Pont’s infantry division had managed to advance over the mountains and occupy the empty fortifications in Briancon, but Gandini and Gonzaga del Vodice failed to achieve their objective. With six divisions and five days with which to do it, these generals failed to advance into the unoccupied fortifications of Albertville. It was not the French, but rather the Germans, that had managed to transport via train Gen. von Roques’ infantry division with near miraculous speed all the way from occupied France into defensive positions on the Italian border before Gandini and Gonzaga del Vodice had advanced at all. Soon, a second German division poured into the mountain defenses, and other German elements started to appear in theater. Now, Italian troops were going to have to slug through the fortified mountains. Mussolini was besides himself. If he had any hair, he would have pulled it out. He thought, "how many Italian boys are now going to die as a result of their failure?" He immediately fired his Chief of Staff Francesco Grazioli and replaced him with Ugo Cavallero, who promised to whip the troop faster into battle if necessary. But that was not enough. There was now going to be a major battle in Albertville. He called for Messe.


    Last edited by tommylotto; 21-02-2012 at 01:33.
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  4. #204
    Mechanised attacking a fortified mountain. Not the best plan, better off pushing through Embrun and attempting to encircle some units.
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  5. #205
    Basileus Romaion Nikolai's Avatar
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    When you have won(which you ofc will do ), it will be interesting to see how the Allies will react. France will be touchy...
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  6. #206
    Field Marshal King50000's Avatar
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    when in doubt, call Messe, and bring in a few of those sexy fighter-bombers while you're at it

  7. #207
    American Union State President SovietAmerika's Avatar
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    And it begins! Best of luck against the Jerries.

  8. #208
    Major TKFS's Avatar
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    Like Churchill said, you are on Germany's soft underbelly.
    Faugh a ballagh!

    "A mans got to know his limitations" -Dirty Harry

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

  9. #209
    Lt. General tommylotto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TKFS View Post
    Like Churchill said, you are on Germany's soft underbelly.
    Wait till you see the Nazi start popping out from every weed!
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  10. #210
    At last, the two giants of Europe clash.

    Also, how is the front with America doing? Seems from one of those screenshots that they're still in the continent at least.
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  11. #211
    Second Lieutenant JOR2010's Avatar
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    I have to say, I'm absolutely LOVING this AAR, my campaigns as Italy have been similar, although I must say, you run the risk of having war declared on you by the Soviets? You don't want a two-front war!

    How is your manpower situation? Surely after years of relative inactivity, the Regio Esercito has built up great reserves of men?

  12. #212
    Mwahahahahaha s1234567890m's Avatar
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    am loving the AAR

  13. #213
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommylotto View Post
    Wait till you see the Nazi start popping out from every weed!
    Haha, this is true!
    Faugh a ballagh!

    "A mans got to know his limitations" -Dirty Harry

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

  14. #214
    Great, Germany won't be able to support so much fronts at the same time !

    Good luck

  15. #215
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    Chapter Twenty Seven: Germans In Albertville (3/30/42 - 4/8/42)



    Chapter Twenty Seven: Germans In Albertville (3/30/42 - 4/8/42)

    Five days into the war, Mussolini faced his first crisis. The rapid defeat of Vichy would only be possible if his forces could swiftly move through the mountain defenses. Numerically small forces in those strong positions could slow an offensive down for months.

    On March 30, 1942, Mussolini received the first report that the Germans had occupied the empty French defenses in Albertville. German soldiers defending French fortifications -- Mussolini did not relish the thought, but he progressed from denial to acceptance. It was an obstacle that must be overcome. Albertville must be taken with all speed.

    Mussolini first fired his chief of staff, Francesco Grazioli and gave the job to Ugo Cavallero. Cavallero realized that speed was of the essence in this war, and Grazioli, though a great manager of logistics, was too stingy on supplies to keep the troops moving at the fastest possible speed. Meanwhile, Messe was leading his experienced tank corps through the undefended Austrian Alps. They were not involved in heavy combat at the time, and were merely counting the Mountain Avens and the Meadow Buttercups as they slowly advanced through mountain passes. Mussolini instructed him to surrender the command of his Corpo d’Armata Celere -- the loyal soldiers that he had led through Yugoslavia, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, and Spain. He was needed elsewhere. He was given immediate command of Corpo d’Armata Centauro with instructions to storm Albertville and break through to the French plains beyond.

    __________________________________________


    At the outset of the war, on March 24, 1942, Gens. Gandini and Gonzaga del Vodice had confidently advanced five divisions, three mechanized and two infantry, towards Albertville, assuming that the fortresses were empty. However, their troops were ambushed when the Germans started firing from the supposedly empty bunkers.



    Before they knew it, all five of their divisions were embroiled in an unwanted battled. Fortunately, to the south, Gen. Bennati of IV Corpo d’Armata had Gen. Du Pont advance his 11a Divisionne “Brennero” from Savigliano to Briancon, and Du Pont, despite the French sounding of his name, occupied those French defenses for the Italians. The Germans, once they arrived in Albertville immediately launched an assault on Du Pont in Briancon.



    Messe, assuming command in mid-battle, took immediate stock of the situation.



    His new Centauro corps was inexperienced, but blessed with three mechanized divisions equipped with the best military equipment that Italian industry could produce. However, those mechanized divisions were far better suited to sweeping infantry from the plains than digging out entrenched infantry from mountain fortifications. He needed more infantry. He requested it, and Mussolini provided. Previously, Mussolini had ordered a corps of infantry from Romania to be repositioned to Trieste as a reserve, and Mussolini did not hesitate to commit his reserve, even though the war was only 5 days old. Gen. Guillet, with another suspiciously French sounding name, was ordered to load his corps on to trains headed for Briancon.

    Meanwhile, to the South, the offensive against the French positions continued. The corps led by Gens. Grazioli and Bennati, after storming Monaco, turned their assault on Barcelonnette. Gens. Amico and Brunetti had been in a supporting role on the assault on Monaco. Now, it was their turn to storm the trenches, supported by Gens. Crea, Emilio, and Tricoli.



    On, April 1, 1942, the attack on Barcelonnette commenced.

    Meanwhile to the north, two additional infantry divisions from Gen. Gonzaga del Vodice’s corps led by Gens. Montemurro and Bettoni advanced from Torino into the on-going battle of Briancon.



    Once these reinforcements arrived to man the already stout defenses, the Germans called off their attack.



    Briancon was defended, and the Germans wasted much of their strength on assault that would have been much better if preserved for the defense of Albertville.



    On April 3, 1942, the battle of Barcelonnette was won, and Gens. Amico and Brunetti’s troops started moving into the fortified positions.

    So, Albertville remained the last fortified mountain position between the Regio Esercito and the French lowlands. Messe called in devastating ground attacks from 4 squadrons of IMAM Ro.57’s and 4 squadrons of Reggiane Re.2005’s. Then, realizing that there was no time or room for maneuver, he urged his mechanized units forward, knowing full well that the terrain was unfavorable.



    However, he called in additional foot infantry to help with the dirty work.



    Soon Guillet’s four infantry divisions were thrown into the battle, and the narrow concentration of firepower of the support brigade laden Italian divisions paid dividends.



    More German divisions were pouring into the theater, but on April 8, 1942, Albertville fell. The Germans would not be defending fixed fortifications in mountain passes.
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  16. #216
    Field Marshal King50000's Avatar
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    And now the tactical advantage switches from Germany to Messe. Even if those new mechanized troops can't push fully into Vichy, those fortifications will never fall back into their hands again. No matter what, the war for Vichy has been won in those forts and passes. Now the true war will begin, in the passes of the Austrian Alps.

  17. #217
    Lt. General tommylotto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry v. Keiper View Post
    Also, how is the front with America doing? Seems from one of those screenshots that they're still in the continent at least.
    They are enjoying spring in Aquitaine. Here is a picture of American GI's assaulting a flower garden.
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  18. #218
    Lt. General tommylotto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JOR2010 View Post
    How is your manpower situation? Surely after years of relative inactivity, the Regio Esercito has built up great reserves of men?
    At the outbreak of the war, it was at 805. I'm sure it will be going down here soon, but after a year of fighting the Russians, I'll bet the Germans are lower.
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  19. #219
    American Union State President SovietAmerika's Avatar
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    Well, war is never easy, but I have faith in you. Just hope the Soviets don't gain too much power. Stalin apparently didn't like it when you took over the Balkans.

  20. #220
    Field Marshal King50000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tommylotto View Post
    At the outbreak of the war, it was at 805. I'm sure it will be going down here soon, but after a year of fighting the Russians, I'll bet the Germans are lower.
    Unless Germany happens to have already conquered some nations and are recruiting from them... *cough* France Poland *cough*

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