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TheButterflyComposer

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Chapter 15: Battle of the Western Mediterranean

2 Jan 1940

The radios erupted to frantic chatter. General La Mamora had given the assault order once the New Year's celebration had ceased. Italian artillery pounded the French defensive lines while Italian bombers peppered concentrations of French forces. The French responded with counter fire and launching their fighter planes to intercept the Italians.

While French defences were strong, the Italians were projected to win due to the French battles with the Germans. Yet La Mamora knew that his offensive was a mere sideshow to the Regina Marina was about to experience.

2boYkEj.jpg


8 Jan 1940

Fleet Admiral Fiorzano gave a simple gestured. His aides knew what it meant. The order to attack French and British submarines near Malta was given. Earlier, Italian scout planes had spotted the vessels. Lieutantent Caviglia dumped his cigarette and boarded his plane. After he took off from the newly minted RM Aquila, he pasted a picture of his parents at his dashboard. He may be one of the best combat pilots in Italy, but this time he was up against the Allies.

Despite Caviglia's initial misgivings, the Italians scored a resounding victory, sinking 33 submarines. The Battle of Malta was the first major Italian victory of the war. It was a textbook example on how air power can easily dominate the seas.

The Italians would not be so lucky in their next major engagement.

02X4Nv7.jpg


21 Jan 1940

Admiral Da Zara was grateful that he managed to escape with his battleships mostly intact. The HMS Ark Royal provided superior air cover, and the Italians reeled under the attack of the British Royal Navy. Despite sinking a battleship, Da Zara lost almost all his cruisers and destroyers. It would take a long time for the Italians to repair their warships.

The Western Mediterranean belonged to the British, at least for now.

CaUdj8o.jpg

Yeah, this was what I was worried about. Now the british can land in Portugal and Africa whenever they want...
 

stnylan

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So many good ships now on a permanent tour of the seafloor.
 

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Chapter 16: Grand Theft Egypt

28 Jan 1940

5h1JAA1.jpg


Luigi thanked God, and the relevant saints. Since the war started, he had not been part of any major engagement in the campaign. He had simply directed his forces to hit hit supply depots and transport trucks of the British.

Taking learning points from their experiences in Ethiopia, China and Spain, General Sodudu reduced casualties by moving his armoured forces to cut off supplies and encircling the British defenders. Having invested mainly in their navy, the British armour was too underfunded to mount an effective counter to Sodudu's plans.

In addition, the Turks joined the war and sided with the Italians. They mounted a massive invasion into British Palestine, forcing the defenders to split their forces between North Africa and the Middle East.

To make things worse for the British, they were also involved in numerous skirmishes in East Africa. This further limited their defensive options.

Such information boosted the morale of the Italians. Soon they would be eating pasta next to the Pyramids of Giza.
n3ipY2Z.jpg


2 Feb 1940

Admiral Fiorzano celebrated a massive naval victory with his Turkish friends. A British fleet had aimed to supply the Middle Eastern defenders had been destroyed handily by the joint Italian and Turkish navy. Once again the crew of the RM Aquila played a major role as it launched bomber after bomber against the hapless Royal Navy.

The Battle of Rhodes would almost guarantee the capture of the Suez Canal.
lpBeg3s.jpg


3 Feb 1940

n7eK6Al.jpg


Unexpectedly, there was no major battle for Cairo. Luigi and his men simply entered the major Egypt city with minimal resistance. The locals stared at their new Italian masters but mainly kept to themselves.

The real battle was for the Suez Canal, which fell easily as the British defenders were outnumbered and undersupplied. Hearing about the Battle of Rhodes, the British soldiers were offered an honorable surrender by General Sodudu.

With that, the British suffered their first major blow of the war. They would now be unable to supply their Asian colonies.

urXEnU4.jpg
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Very good work. With the fall of Egypt, even if the British eventually get it back, they'll have to let it go at the end of the war regardless. Which means Italy should start playing nice now, at least until it's clear the UK is or isn't capable of taking the place back.

Still, cutting the British Empire in two isn't end game, but it is a huge win for Italy and the Axis overall. The Med might now genuinely be dominated by Italy for the first time, and if that happens, it's far more likely for the Germans to let Mussolini use it as a private lake and let Italy keep everything they manage to take. Turkey surprises me with their usefulness. Maybe they've been strengthened by new updates, but in any case, their navy and armed forces, though small, have been a big help in keeping the British occupied elsewhere.
 

stnylan

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Doing well - time to head down the Nile?
 

OriginalName240

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Loving the AAR! What are the Italian plans for capitulating the Brits? An invasion of the island still seems many years away, so it’ll be interesting to see what Italian high command will get up to in the meantime.
 

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Chapter 17: Marseille Offensive

March 1940
F0PEEYl.jpg

Unlike the battles in North Africa, the battles in Southern France were indecisive. Even though the French were concentrated in the North defending against the Germans, the Italians had great difficulty overcoming the mountain bunkers.

Yet the Italians were undeterred. Casualties were few because Marshall Balbo ordered a cautious advance. By shelling the Lyon and the surrounding districts heavily, he was forcing the France to redeploy their southern forces around that area. The real target was actually South of Lyon. It was the port city of Marseille.

KLw3eYe.jpg


By disguising his troop movement, French intelligence did not detect the build up of soldiers in the coastal areas. Balbo even allowed the French to have air superiority to allow the French to think that the Italians had a diminished air force. All this for a major offensive in April.

April 1940
The French defenders of Marseille was cruelly awaken to a major offensive. It was estimated that 200,000 Italian soldiers took part in the Marseille Offensive. Heavy artillery knocked out suspected bunkers, while bombers decimated French airfields and key military holdings. The French air force were shocked to find themselves outnumbered by Italians in the air. Within 2 weeks, Marseille had fallen. The Southern coast of France was now open for a quick Italian advance. It was a major victory.

If the Italians managed to press on to capture coastal regions within the next few months, the French Navy would no longer be a threat to the Regia Marina.

4k47RMl.jpg
 

defensedefumer

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Chapter 18: Dispatches to London

Early June 1940

12dDKfW.jpg


Agent Faye silently read the newspapers. Since her deployment in London, she had been disguised as a musician. This allowed her an excuse to travel around the Britain to spot for potential weaknesses in British defences. It was not easy. The Allies were a bit jumpy as the war was not going well for them. Despite being in control of the Western Mediterranean, they lost the Suez Canal, the Middle East, North Africa, Poland, Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium. France was nearing collapse.

Her stop finally arrived. Promptly, Agent Faye alighted the train and asked for directions while displaying her Welsh accent. She already explored the southern coasts of Dover and Portsmouth, deemed an invasion there unfeasible. British costal guns lined the beaches. A naval attack would be suicide.

She was now in Cardiff, with an piano performance schedules in Pwllheli. After thanking her respondents, she grabbed her suitcase and headed towards the coast,

feF9hbf.jpg


Mid June 1940

"The Spanish still would not play ball," an aide reported. So far, Spain had diplomatically refused to enter the war.

This meant that a land invasion of Gibraltar could not happen. Yet, the Italians already foresaw that outcome. Admiral Fioravanzo had been planning a naval invasion for years. If successful, Gibraltar would be kept under Italian hands. Spain would play no role in this.

"We will strike when ready," Admiral Fioravanzo was waiting for France to be removed from the war.

gt7hXoF.jpg
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Time is quickly running out for britian. They can still mess with the Italian war effort and destroy them in the med (thus neutering the rest of their war effort) but they have to do it soon, before Gibraltar falls. If it does, then north Africa should fall as well.
 

OriginalName240

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Things are looking up for the Italians. Once the med becomes an Italian lake, any naval invasion into Sicily would become nearly impossible. I'm assuming some sort of invasion of the USSR is going to happen? Or perhaps undermining Hitler, and fighting the Germans instead? Either way, this campaign is certainty going to have some interesting escalation soon.
 

Forster

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He said that Britain had already lost N Africa. Once the French collapse, he will be able to take over the French areas.
 
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defensedefumer

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Chapter 19: France is reborn

August 1940

E6Nqr4W.jpg


British East Africa was on its last ropes. With the Suez Canal cut off, the British found themselves being attacked from multiple fronts. The Italians attacked from Egypt in the North. The mainly Askari units hit the British from Ethiopia from the South. It would not be long before the vehicle commander Luigi met his old comrade Isaiah of the Askari cavalry. The two embraced upon meeting each other.

After the battle, Luigi shared a bottle of wine with Isaiah as they traded stories with each other. The other Askari were shocked by the friendliness of Luigi, but they did not know that Isaiah had saved Luigi's life several years earlier.

3zNwcId.jpg


Their celebration was soon fortified with the news of the French surrender. With France out of the war, and their leaders forming an interim government with the Germans, a formal surrender by the British was expected soon.

A1T2aOV.jpg


10EKmOG.jpg


September 1940

There was to be no surrender. Mussolini's dreams of an early victory were shattered as the new Free French leader, De Gaulle announced that the Free French would unite with the British to continue fighting. Mussolini called his military officials into his office. Drastic measures would have to be taken.

mDhZi4v.jpg
 

Forster

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I guess you will have to conquer Britain. You would have to to recreate the Roman empire anyways. Glad to see you back.
 

generalis Julius Caesar

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I shall follow this closely!
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Actually managed to complete the new roman empire myself. It's quite a fun campaign, though after 1938, a little dull. Once most of europe is under your control, watching the UK and Germany slowly toe their way to war is amusing, I guess, especially because aside from one Hungarian province, the Italians don't actually need to touch any of the players in that area.

It's interesting watching the AI fight WW2 as a mostly naval one, at least until Germany inevitably invades Russia (hasn't happened yet). I'm uncertain as to whether or not I should join in, and finish the empire compellty by grabbing Egypt and Southern England...idk.

I personally just annexed the cores of the empire. Everything else was either puppeted or given back to someone else (I really didn't want to have a tiny port in China or India). My only big mistake I think was letting France (except the mainland and corsica) go free and form Free France. In my defence, it was to stop the world threat shooting to 100 in 1937, and the UK and US coming after me, but it just left the whole French empire in limbo doing nothing until the German War started and they joined rhe allies (once a country capitulated, they're very limited on what they can do even if they have a whole empire left to devlope).
 

defensedefumer

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Chapter 20: Gibraltar falls
Early September 1940
Lieutenant Caviglia noted his new orders. He did not need anyone to tell him that he and his fellow had an immensely difficult mission. They were to launch an aerial assault from RM Aquila onto the Gibraltar. This was to give the impression that the Italians were to invade Gibraltar from Spain.

The British were already expecting it. They controlled the Western Mediterranean, so an Italian naval assault was unlikely. Furthermore, Spain was friendly to Italian interests, and had allowed Italian to establish camps there. Little did the British know that the Spain was being difficult to Mussolini.

Despite tough negotiations, the Spanish leaders refused to allow an invasion from Spanish soil. They feared defeat would allow the Franco-British Union to invade Spain. Their Spanish military were severely underequipped and undermanned after their devastating civil war. A war which the Italians helped the Spanish win. Yet past deeds counted for naught.

oB849hi.jpg


Thus the real invasion would be by sea.

With Italian planes as a major distraction, the British did not pay much attention to the defence of their port. All fighters were scrambled engage the Italian pilots.

Despite flying the latest Macchi 200 planes and outnumbering the British 50 to 30, the Italian pilots were outclassed by the skills of the British Spitfire pilots.

"On your tail!" Caviglia screamed warnings as he watched another of his colleagues get shot down. Screams of 'aiuto!' (help) peppered the radio. Ignoring the dread, Caviglia expertly made a sudden turn to flank an oblivious Spitfire and shot it down.

The air battle was interrupted with a giant explosion at the port. Caviglia smiled. His distraction worked.

Italian frogmen had entered the port and use their manned torpedos to cause major damage to key ships and facilities. The British carrier, HMS Ark Royale burst into flames and started to capsize.

Appearing out the waters, the frogmen fired green flares in the air, signaling to a hidden invasion fleet.

dTxyhJ6.jpg


Four infantry divisions followed suit, and overwhelmed the base at Gibraltar. Within 10h the base was under Italian hands. A day or two later, the remaining British forces surrendered.

With the Italians controlling both the Suez and Gibraltar, the British navy found itself stranded in the Mediterranean. The balance of power had shifted.

Ptuhcku.jpg
 
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