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ItaliAAR - An Italian Campaign - A tale of Italian scheming and backstabbing

The new Empire, a short Italian AAR



Hello everyone and thank you for reading this AAR. This is the first AAR I've ever written. Feel free to give comments on my style of writing or gameplay

HoI2 Arma 1.2
Normal/normal difficulty (yes easy I know, yet I'm not that great a player)
Normally no cheats, yet sometimes acceptall may be needed for historical plausibility.

The most important goal will be to give Mussolini a corner of the world to call his own :D. No deals with the Boche though.

#######################################3

Index:

The Battleship game - click Here.
 
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1 january 1936

The new year couldn’t have started worse for Benito Mussolini, Duce of Italy. Till last year, the Duce had been the uncontested leader of Italy. The Fascist Grand Council had approved his every move. His subordinates had never dared to refuse his orders. Setbacks in the recent war in Ethiopia had damaged his prestige however.



He had promised the Italians greatness and an empire. Yet these promised had remained mostly rhetoric till last year, when Marshall De Bono, one of the famed quadrumvirs, had started with the conquest of Ethiopia. Yet the Ethiopians had put up more than a fight than expected, and De Bono had to be replaced. The Duce wanted to replace old man De Bono with the experienced, marshall Badoglio. Yet it seemed that Italo Balbo, another ‘loyal’ quadrumvir had alread flown to Eritrea and had taken command of the Italian armies there. He had proclaimed that as governor of Lybia and commander-in-chief of the Italian forces in North Africa Badoglio didn’t have the authority to relieve him from his command. It seemed that the Fascist Grand Council had given their tacit approval to Balbo’s daring move.


Italo Balbo, governor of Lybia and commander in chief of the Armed forces in North Africa

This had been the largest act of insubordination than that the Duce had ever experienced in his life. To make matters even worse, Balbo was too popular with the general public to be replaced as commander without reason. The Duce tried to counter Balbo’s influence in the area by sending the loyal general Graziani, to take command of the troops in Somaliland. A race to Addis Abeba was about to begin.

Yet the Duce knew that he shouldn’t gamble his career on this race between Balbo and Graziani. Most likely it would be Balbo’s troops who would arrive at the capital first, no doubt making Balbo even more of a hero in the eyes of the people. In order to establish his autority once and for all the Duce needed two things: victories of his own and failures to blame on Balbo. A devilish smile started to form on the Duce’s face.
 

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Count Ciano, foreign minister and son-in-law to the Duce could almost taste the tension in the air during the meeting. The Duce had called the complete military staff together, along with himself and dottore Jung. Officially to discuss the current situation in East-Africa, yet everyone present knew of the growing tension between Balbo and the Duce. It was a no secret that marshall Balbo heavily disagreed with the Duce’s pro-German course. Most thought that the Duce would use this meeting to find out who would support him and who supported Balbo. Then the Duce entered the room.

“Gentlemen, I will not mince words here. The current situation in the world offers us both risks and opportunities. I prefer to take advantage of opportunities in stead of fearing some danger like a Frenchman”. “Ciano, give us an update on the current situation in Europe”.

Ciano: “Well, it seems that the new German government is rapidly rearming itself, defying the Versailles-treaty. Neither Britain nor France seemes eager to take action to enforce the treaty though. Both the British and the French are still feeling the effects of the economic depression and have neglected their armed forces. The Entente Cordiale remains intact though, making it unwise to confront either of them unprepared”.

“As for the smaller nations: the low countries and the Scandinavian countries dislike our regime because a ‘lack’ of democracy, while Hungary, Austria, Portugal, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia respect a firm regime when they see one. We have some disagreements with the Yugoslavs on where our borders should lie. The Greeks still make a fuss of our rightfull ownership of Rhodes and the Dannardelles”.

“A potential problem is the growing power of communists, anarchists and other rabble in Spain. We suspect the Soviet Union of destabilising the Iberian peninsula.

“Hmm, Greece”, Mussolini mumbled. “What is the state of our industry dottore Jung?”

Guido Jung, the respected administrative genius, sighted and started: “not as good as our propaganda makes it out to be I’m afraid”. “We are the 7th biggest industria power, just behind France. Our fascist policies make sure we can outproduce Britain and France in times of peace though. Another problem we face is lack of vital commodities, especially coals and other fuels.”
When it comes to technology, we are completely outmatched by most European nations, Macchi, FIAT and Breda have great problems to match the industrial prowess of the British or German industry. Were behind in the latest industrial development too”.

Most of the council held their breath while dottore Jung gave his report. No one gave the Duce such a report and expected to keep their job (or head for that matter). Yet the Duce seemed to take it well.
“Dottore, I respect your honesty. Honesty is another rare commodity besides coals and fuel it seems”. The Duce was looking straight at General Grazioli, the head of the armed forces. “Any recommendations, Dottore”.

“I recommend we focus on a few set terrains of industry, both civil and military”, was the dottore’s short reply. “We can outperform any of our neighbours besides France though”.

Mussolini: “Next I want to discuss the report I received from general Grazioli last week”.

“According to his report our army is one of the largest in the world, boasting 41 regular divisions, 5 specialised mountain divisions and 3 proud cavalry divisions. 19 of our divisions are currently in East-Africa, while the rest is stationed in the Mediterranean.
The Regia Marina is one of the biggest fleets in the world with 18 capital ships, 12 light cruisers, 18 destroyes flotilla’s and 11 submarine flotilla’s. Further expansion is on it’s way. Our airforce exists of 5 interceptor squadrons, 3 tactical bomber squadrons and 3 naval bomber squadrons. Our spies indicate that in Europe only the Soviets posess a larger army. Likewise only the British posses a larger navy, our airforce is equal to those of the other superpowers.”

“According to this report, our armies seem to be all but unbeatable” “So tell me, why can’t this superiour army beat some rag-tag ethiopian rabble?” The Duce’s fury was clearly visible. “General Grazioli, I believe general Graziani needs someone to inspect his frontline troops. A plane is waiting to fly you to Somaliland immediatly. You can leave us now”.

General Pariani, head of the army exchanged some nervous looks with Ciano and admiral Cavagnari. It seemed the Duce was out for blood. Only airmarshall Valle remained cool. Being Balbo’s close associate the Duce surely wouldn’t dare touch him.

“Gentlemen, you see what deceiving your Duce leads to. Unless either of you want a careerchange I recommend telling me the thruth”. The Duce’s uncharacteristic icy demeanour didn’t bode well.

General Pariani nervously started his report. “Indeed our armed forces are substantial in size, yet most of these divisions are biregimental divisions in stead of triregimental. Ten divisions in East-Africaaren’t regulars, but either Lybian irregulars or blackshirt volunteers. And while I don’t question their bravery or zeal, their organisation and armament are below par. Also, our modernisation-programme is far from complete, so most divisions are fighting with the same weapons their fathers fought with at the Isonzo. Our heavy equipment is both lacking in quality and quantity, we don’t posses any armour and our supply-system is horribly lacking”.

“What about the navy, admiral?”

“Our navy is in better shape than the army, of course.” Yet while our navy is the 4th largest in the world, it is also quitte outdated in some areas. The pride and joy of our navy, our four Cavour-class battleships are powerfull, but very old. They need upgrading in order to stand up to the French mediterranean navy, let alone the Royal Navy. Our remaining capital ships are mostly outdated heavy cruisers, only our three Zara-class cruisers are up to par. Our light cruisers are adequate, but nothing special. Of our submarinefleet, only three flotilla’s are equipped with modern submarines. The biggest problem we have is the state of our destroyers though, with most being build in the ‘20s.”

Next it was Valle’s turn.

“Our airforce is not as big as we want it to be. Mostly because army and navy keep hogging resources for themselves. Our interceptor-force is up to date, just as the naval branch of our airforce. Our tactical bombers are outdated though”.

“Gentlemen, this are my orders to you”

“Dottore Jung, I want our industries concentrating on increasing their effectiveness for now. For now Ciano will negociate some trade agreements for coals and such, but I promise a more substancial solution in the near future”.

“General Pariani, I want you to concentrate on increasing the size of our divisions and to complete any modernisations. Also, I want you to develop a more efficient supply system. Also, reorganise our divisions in Italy in corpses near the northern borders.”

“Admiral Cavagnari, I agree that most submarines and destroyers are not worthy of our proud Regia Marina. Have them broken down. I promise ample replacements. Also, have our best cruisers form the escort for our battleships. Unfortunately, I cannot promise you any more battleships in the near furure, but I will authorize the modernisation of the Cavours”.

“Airmarshall Valle, in my opinion the airforce is best suited to assist our army. I decree that you develop some kind of divebomber, upgrade those tactical bombers too”.

“That’s it for the moment. You all may go”

Ciano was about to leave the room, but the Duce stopped him.

“Ciano, there is still something I wish to discuss with you…”


- What does the Duce have to discuss with Ciano?
- Who will reach Addis Abeba first?
- How will general Grazioli rate Graziani’s rough Lybian auxiliaries?
- Will FlyingDutchie find out how to post screenshots?

Find out in the next update.
 

DvD-IT

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Press F11 in game; the game screenshots are saved in the game folder. Upload the image, possibly in .jpg format, on an image-hosting site (photobucket, for example). Select the image's direct link, paste it in the post, and wrap the
tags around the link. Voilà, you have the screenshot.

EDIT - I see you have already resolved the issue.

Good luck with the AAR. I hope "short" doesn't imply the very possible failures the Italian military equiment and leadership is bound with :)
 

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Good luck with the AAR. I hope "short" doesn't imply the very possible failures the Italian military equiment and leadership is bound with :)
Thanks, and contrary to Mussolini I know to pick fight I can win :D.
 

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The second Italo-Abyssinian War (october 1935-march 1936)

Neither Balbo nor Graziani wasted any time in their scramble for Addis Abeba. Even though the race was quitte unfair. Balbo had the four corpses of the Italian East-African Army under his command, plus his own HQ and Eritrean auxiliaries. Graziani only had his small force of Blackshirts and Lybians.

It was Balbo who got first blood. On 10 januari general Guzzoni, commander of I-Corps, defeated an Ethiopian force within hours. The second fight two days laterwould be a bit harder, when Lt-General Visconti Prasca's II-Corps faced off with Haile Selassi's Imperial bodyguard.



It took Visconti Prasca more than a day to defeat them, yet the road to Addis Abeba was open. The terrain seemed to offer more challenge than the Ethiopian army. The overconfident commander decided to march on the undefended capital, only to find the Imperial Bodyguard again. Prasca ordered his small and tired force to retreat. He would concentrate on defending Guzzoni's flank.



It would be Guzzoni who would start a new march on the capital on 1 februari. In the meanwhile Graziani's small force had marched through some of the roughest terrain Ethiopia had to offer. Yet Addis Abeba seemed reachable at last. A last stand of Selassie's Bodyguard was crushed between Guzzoni and Graziani.



12 march 1936 would be the official end of the short campaign, when Graziani's forces marched through Addis Abeba. Unfortunately Guzzoni, one of Balbo's subordinates, had arrived eleven days earlier. The stubborn Ethiopian nobles still in the country had refused to surrender to a man without the proper authority. Graziani, as governor of Somaliland hd this authority.

The Italo-Abbyssinian-war had been a desicive Italian victory. Yet politically it had been a stalemate. It had been Balbo's troops who took the limelight, winning victories and taking Addis Abeba. But it had been Graziani who had signed the capitulation. The Duce and the Balbo-faction within the Grand Council continued their Cold War, unknown to the Italian public.

The next battle would be a political one....

############################

- Who will appoint the governor of this new territory?
- Will Grazioli get along with his Lybian troops?
- What about Ciano's chat with Mussolini?
- Will this epic tale of Italian opportunism become a popular AAR?

Find out in the next episode: of Governors and Generals.
 
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On your last question, i beileve it can be :)
This Duce vs Balbo thingy is it something historical or something you add to spice things up? Whichever it is, it is intriguing. Looking fwd.
 

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This Duce vs Balbo thingy is it something historical or something you add to spice things up? Whichever it is, it is intriguing. Looking fwd.
Historically Balbo was the only man Mussolini feared because of his popularity with the Italian public. Balbo never rebelled against the Duce though. I added this powerstruggle to make the political side of the AAR more interesting. Just writing about the Duce's orders being followed to the letter gets boring really quick:D
 

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Of governors and generals

Rome, 12 april 1936

King Victor Emmanuel III was declared emperor of Ethiopia during a meeting of the Grand Fascist Council. Yet this seemed the only thing the members could agree on. Ciano had spend the most of last months visiting all the members of the council, persuading, bribing or outright threatening them with ‘promotions’ in East-Africa. Yet it seemed that all was in vain. Yet the Duce had one more ace in his sleeve: Dino Grandi, fascist of the first hour and perhaps the most well connected man in the Empire. He was recalled from his post as ambassador in the UK to serve as the new minister of justice. Ciano had always disliked his predecessor as foreign minister, but he couldn’t deny Grandi’s obvious political talents. Perhaps this man could give the Duce his prize: a loyal man as Viceroy in East-Africa.


Mussolini speaking to the Council

Balbo had proposed that Guzzoni, the conqueror of Addis Abeba, should be appointed as the Viceroy. The young Guzzoni had proven to be an able commander and had performed well in pacifying the Ethiopian highlands. Marshall de Bono, still loyal to Mussolini, had proposed the more experienced Graziani, as he had proven himself as deputy-governor of Lybia, by quickly (and brutally) crushing revolts. With the counsil divided, it would be Grandi’s connections and clout that could be decisive. Grandi’s speech was about to begin

“First of all, I want to say that I’m honored to be here and hope to serve the empire well as your new minister of justice. I will keep this short, since there is some excelent Chianti waiting for us after this meeting. First of all, and I know this is a bit unusual, I would like to tell you about two recent military appointments. General Pariani has appointed general Guzzoni as the new commander of the newly formed Alpini-corps. The general was happy to accept this position and is travelling to South-Tyrol as we speak”.

One-nil for the Duce, Ciano thought.

“A second appointment I wouldn’t want to keep from you is the appointment of general Graziani as the new military commander of the Veneto-district. He too was honored to take this position”.

Somehow Ciano doubted that the abrasive Graziani would be honoured. What was Grandi playing at?

“With both honoured generals unable to furfill the post of Viceroy I propose a third candidate, a compromise if you will. Marshall Badoglio has served our great empire since the great war. His tenure as governor of Lybia has been exemplary. I doubt anyone present will have any problems with the marshall becoming Viceroy”.

Interesting to say the least, Ciano thought. Badoglio hated Balbo for stealing his command and resented the Duce for not giving him a second chance, appointing Graziani to Somaliland. It seemed that the stalemate between Balbo and the Duce would continue.

“Ah yes. I appologize, but I have forgotten to tell the council of one more military appoinment” .

Ciano didn’t like the grin on Grandi’s face.

“Marshall Balbo has been appointed commander-in-chief of all our troops in Africa”.

This was a devastating blow, Balbo now controlled a third of the army directly. Yet the Duce seemed to remain calm, almost as if he knew this was going to happen…

##################

- Will Graziani keep calm about his ‘promotion’?.
- Will Grandi get to enjoy his Chianti.
- Why is the Duce so calm.

Find out in the next update: An unexpected plan…
 

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To whomever reads this AAR

Since this is my first AAR I am wondering what you think about my AAR: does it need more gameplay, more narrative or a better balance? Do you wan't industrial updates or can I leave them?

Currently I write the political events from the perspective of Count Ciano to keep everyone wondering about the schemes of the Duce. By doing so Ciano stays quitte bland as a character. Do I need more viewpoint-characters (thinking about dottore Jung and some generals (Guzzoni/Graziani?). Feel free to suggest some characters of your own.

I hope you keep following this AAR:D.
 
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I certainly think that you now have a good balance between gameplay and narration, but you can certainly add industrial updates when you see fit. :)
 

Myth

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Looking good! I think your updates are fine, but it's your project so you can write however and about whatever you want. ;)
 

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I like your style - it's a good mix I find entertaining to read :)
...and listen to Myth. He's right - it's your AAR and you should do whatever you like best (if that means aliens descending from outer space so be it!). I had to understand that, too ;)

...your AAR could use a table of contents in the first post, though :D
 

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@ Onni_Manni, Myth and XHR

Thanks for the feedback, I will continue this AAR as I intended:D.

XHR, I'd like to add an index, yet haven't got a clue how to:confused:, and how did you guess that the Duce will singlehandedly save the world from alien invasion :D
 
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Industrial update
The plane graciously soared through the cloudless Lybian skies. It wouldn’t take too long before it would arrive in Tripoli, the capital of Lybia. These few hours gave dottore Jung, minister of finance, just enough time to review the latest economic and industrial developments. Since the Duce had given him the complete responsibility for Italy’s economic development, the dottore struggled to keep up with the latest reports. His reports where a bit dated, yet still gave a good impression of the situation.

First of all trade: it seemed Ciano’s department managed to cut some deals to gain valuable resources: Swedish steel, rubber and rare metals from the Dutch East-Indies and Soviet coals now fueled the Italian factories. The fact that communist coals fueled a fascist economy seemed ironic. In exchange the Italians offered smallarms and munitions. Jung reminded himself to keep production of these up to prevent the army itself from running out.

Then production:
[/IMG]

Admiral Cavagnari almost suffered a stroke when the Duce announced the scrapping of almost all destroyers in the Regia Marina, but his condition had improved when Jung had approved the commissioning of numerous new destroyers of the modern Navigatori-class. The army got the new mobile headquarters it had been nagging about for some time now. The rest of Italy’s resources went to modernizing the outdated arms of the army and airforce.

The last report was on research:

[/IMG]

The modernisation of italian industry seemed to be on schedule, as was the introduction of more modern artillery. The army couldn’t keep relying on captured Austro-Hungarian guns! The airforce was modernising their fighters too. The most important task was the modernising of the supply-system An important lesson learned from the Ethiopian campaign was that the army had big problems maintaining their logistics.

The plane was nearing its destination. Jung was tired from the travelling around the Lybian desert, inspecting a few small factories and speaking with a crazed engineer who claimed that this useless desert actually contained more oil than the oilfields of Ploesti! Yet these distractions where just a cover for his real mission in Lybia. Jung had the ungrateful task of informing Balbo of the Duce’s latest plan.

###################

- What is the Duce’s latest scheme?
- What motivated Balbo to act against his Duce?
- Will the next update contain some more action in stead of talk?

Find out in the next update: Jung vs. Balbo…
 

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To index, supposing you want to add it in the first post, edit that first post entry. Normally people put hyperlink to the table of content. Hyperlink is the icon adjacent to the insert image icon in message editor.
 

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Thundergate - Thanks, noob-question I know, but my thanks nontheless.

And while I'm at it, in an unprecedented attack of creativity I have completed the next episode:D.
 

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Jung vs. Balbo.

Dottore Jungs plane finally landed in Tripoli. Since most Italian troops where still being redeployed from East-Africa, the dottore’s honour-guard existed from local Lybian troops. The dottore recognised general Grazioli, former head of the armed forces, among them. The general was too busy whipping the rough Lybians into formation to notice Jung’s smile. At the end of the airportterminal he noticed marshall Balbo, accompanied by some of the more notable citizens of Tripoli.



“Welcome to my little corner of the empire dottore, I hope your travel has been comfortable”.

“As comfortable as can be” Jung answered.

“I know that a man of your abilities must be busy, but will you join us for dinner this evening. We have much to discuss”.

Balbo was charming as ever, it was obvious why this dashing aviator had become so popular with the public. Yet it was clear he had some plan of his own.

That evening Jung was being fêted at the governors palace. The food was excellent, just as the wine had been. Balbo had been an excellent host, but Jung was still a man on a mission.

“Governor, I don’t want to spoil the mood, yet there are some affairs I need to speak with you about in private”.

A few moments later, in Balbo’s office.

“Let me get to the point” Jung said “the Duce is troubled by the current developments in the Mediterranean: Spain is being torn apart from the inside, Yugoslavia oppresses fellow Italians within its borders and the Greeks question our rightfull ownership of the Dannardelles.”

“Indeed the situation is far from ideal, yet I doubt you came all the way from Rome to tell me that”

“Indeed, I came to inform you of the Duce’s latest descision: to form a special interventionforce from the troops currently in East-Africa. As commander-in –chief of all troops in Italy, the Duce sees you as the man best suited forming this force”.

“Only to see that warmonger ship them out of my jurisdiction”. Balbo seemed barely able to contain his anger.

“If our Duce commands it to protect our interests...”, Jung retorted.

“Our interests, OUR INTERESTS, you know that I have always loyally supported that man, even now I still admire his ability to rally the people behind him, yet I doubt he purely acts in the interests of Italy.”

“That is not…”

“For me to decide, you mean”, the face of the normally collected Balbo was red with anger, “can’t you see dottore”. “Can’t you see how that Austrian upstart that rules Germany is manipulating the Duce. Just a few years ago he couldn’t stand that man, and now our proud leader is practically kissing his heels. You know what this will lead to, a war we can’t win. That painters ambition will bring him into a war with France, Britain, the Soviets, perhaps even the USA. Youre an economist, you should know the difference in potential between us and them”.

“Even so..”, Jung stuttered, he just couldn’t deny the sense Balbo spoke. Being Jewish , the dottore had never liked Hitler and his brutal policies.

“I apologize dottore, I shouldn’t shoot the messenger. Besides, perhaps this force can be usefull. The Duce is right in defending our interests in the mediterranean at least.” Balbo seemed to have calmed down.

“I will tell the Duce that you agree in forming an expedition force. I will leave now”.

The next morning Jung was on his way back to Rome. His mission had been a succes. Yet somehow he couldn’t get Balbo’s words out of his mind. Perhaps it was Balbo who was right all along.

###################

General Pariani, head of the army was looking at the massive amount of paperwork on his desk. The massive reorganisation of the troops in Italy was taking up all of his time. Besides all of his regular work, now he had to find a capable commander for the newly formed expeditionforce. Both Mussolini and Balbo would probably want their pet-generals, Guzzoni and Graziani, as commander. Choosing one would mean angering the other. A small glimmer of light was offered by minister Grandi, who offered a third candidate…

Help poor Pariani out by electing a general for the expeditionforce:
Option 1: General Graziani, the aggressive favourite of Mussolini.
Option 2: General Guzzoni: the hero of Addis Abeba.
Option 3: Grandi’s mystery general. A cookie to anyone who guesses who it is.

- When will the expedition-force be used?
- Will the Duce really kiss the boots of an Austrian painter?
- Will poor general Pariani receive any help from the readers?
 

Myth

Strategy Cognoscenti
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Is the mystery general Grazioli? Also, I vote for Graziani. Gotta spread the fame and glory around, otherwise one general may get to be too popular and possibly powerful!