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Setting the Stage

Hey guys,
Having had the pleasure of reading a lot of good AAR's, I figured it was finally time for me to give it a try as well. I have not have the pleasure of playing HOI II until recently, but have enjoyed quite a few hours with EU II ;) I will be playing a quite historic game, which means no funky invasions of Brazil or the like.

I will be playing at Normal difficulty level with AI aggressiveness at weakling, primarily to avoid non-historical DOW's pre 1940. I am playing on version 1.03a and plan to keep that version for the duration of the game. I will be posting roughly once a week, although somewhat more often during the first phase to hopefully catch your attention...

I have not been posting a lot before, so please bear with me in terms of bad layout, screenshots etc. for the first period of time. I will test that everything looks ok after posting and try correcting any spelling errors, linking mistakes etc. Screenies will be linked from Photobucket.com

I hope that you will be enjoying "Mare Nostrum" and look forward to your opinion... Thank you for reading and enjoy - Taswir :D
 
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Mare Nostrum... The Beginning

It was a very cold morning on the 1st of January 1936. Mussolini was in a very bad mood and slightly hung over after having had a couple of glasses of Barolo too much the evening before. Nevertheless, he still had to attend the formidable military parade planned in Rome on New Years day to show the newly restored might of Italy and bolster public opinion. The army would be marching through the city, while Regia Aeronautica would be flying over the city dropping leaflets with Mussolini’s picture and catchy slogans like: “Liberate all Italians from the Yugoslavian yoke!”, Malta – a thorn in the side to be removed! and “Mussolini – the restorer of Italian greatness!”.

Several 100,000 people attended the military parade inspired by public bulletins and the persuaisive abilities of fascist party members knocking on people’s door. The government was also heavily present with the king Vittorio Emmanuelle II, Chief of Staff Francesco Grazioli, Chief of the Army Alberto Pariani and Chief of the Air force Giuseppe Valle.

The parade started well, with the “Aosta” division under the command of Mj. General Messe. Mussolini was openly pleased… “Pariani – promote that man to Lt. General immediately and put him in charge of some of our offensive forces in Ethiopia.” However, the parade soon started to go wrong…, as the divisions passing by gradually started to have clearly outdated equipment. Upon seeing 1918 divisions with horse-drawn Great War heavy artillery brigades Mussolini’s face turned red and Pariani started to fiddle nervously with one of his medals. Three cavalry divisions accompanied by militia divisions finished the parade and was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Mussolini literally exploded and almost assaulted Pariani:

“You fool, are you planning to send Italians to war on horseback and armed with little more than a pitchfork?!? Don’t you realize that Italians are destined to rule the Earth? I will not tolerate your incompetence any longer.” Mussolini waved one last time to the people with a forced smile and then stormed out of the room. “Emergency meeting in 1 hour at my palace!”

When the government convened later that day, Mussolini had regained his composure. “I would like each of you to make a report on the current state of our armed forces”. Grazioli, Pariani and newly arrived Chief of the Navy Domenico Cavagnari looked nervously at each other. Not having witnessed Mussolini’s temper earlier that day and confident in the state of Regia Marina, Cavagnari started:

“Il Duce, Regia Marina is in fantastic shape. We have the fourth largest navy in the world with a total of 59 ships, including 4 battleships, 8 heavy and 12 light cruisers. We have advanced technology enabling us to develop new and more powerful ships in all but aircraft carriers and battle cruisers. Il Duce can remain confident that Regia Marina is ready for battle anytime!” Mussolini kept calm, but responded with a tone full of the outmost contempt. “Don’t you realize, that we are desperately missing aircraft carriers and that most of our “proud ships” are in a miserable state not having been replaced since the Great War? It is clear to me that Regia Marian will never occupy its well deserved place in history with you at the helm. You are fired!”

Alessandrino Ceresa was quickly summoned and appointed new Chief of the Navy, which provided a much more constructive discussion. Over the next couple of days, the new armament plan (codenamed I-plan) was drawn up…

ItalianCabinet1.jpg

The Italian cabinet after Ceresa's designation...
 

CatKnight

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I forsee this thread moving to the HOI2 AAR subforum soon. :D

Good luck, Taswir! Italy could be a challenge. :)
 

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The I-Plan

littorio_sunset.jpg

The impressive sketch of the RM Littorio...

The I-plan made a ruthless assessment of Italy’s current positioning and future outlook with the amount of empty phrases being kept at a hitherto unseen low level only mentioning the grandeur of Italy in general and Il Duce specifically every second sentence. The initial diagnostic leading to the I-plan made three things very clear:

  1. The army, Regia Marina and Regia Aeronautica were all in near catastrophic shape suffering from obsolete equipment and poor training
  2. Although the Italian industry was relatively well performing, it was lacking resources and needed modernization in order to provide the backbone for rearmament
    a. Tough prioritization would have to be done, since the industrial capability would not enable research in every field or development of all types of arms
    b. The lack of oil sources in Italy’s current provinces necessitated a significant stocking up over the next four years in order to keep the war machine running​
  3. War with any major power would have a catastrophic outcome if initiated before mid 1940, since Italy would not be battle worthy despite the formidable strength of the Italian soldiers (at least morally when off duty :D )
Although, the three conclusions was hard to swallow for the normally vague Italian government it was somewhat comforting to know that they had more than 4 years to prepare for major warfare. The I-plan called for the following armament by mid 1940:

The Italian army
The Italian army should be able to field no less than 55 divisions of latest standard and with the following tentative composition:

  • 40 divisions of regular infantry divisions with 15 strengthened by various brigades
  • 5 garrison divisions with brigades of military police
  • 2 marine divisions
  • 5 mountain divisions
  • 2 motorized infantry divisions (ideally)
  • 1-2 HQ divisions
  • 1 paratrooper division (by mid 1941 at the latest)

Regia Marina
In addition to the existing ships, the following ships should be ready to commence operations:

  • 3 new aircraft carriers with latest carrier air groups (CAG)
  • 2 new battleships
  • 2 new destroyers

Regia Aeronautica
Acknowledging that the Regia Aeronautica was already relatively strong and that the three planned aircraft carriers would contribute to air superiority, the plan for new construction of aircrafts was limited. However, the plan called for a combined strength of no less than the following squadrons (all of modern standard):
  • 6 squadrons of interceptors
  • 2 squadrons of escort fighters (potentially)
  • 6 tactical bombers
  • 4 squadrons of naval bombers
  • 1 squadron of transport planes

Truely satisfied with the I-plan, Il Duce leaned back and opened a bottle of Riesling... a present from his friend Hitler in Germany. Now it is just a question of getting my lazy generals to implement the plan, Mussoline thought to himself...
 

unmerged(47162)

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thats good, you have a plan. i dont think your ic is able to handle all that so its gonna be long time before you can get all that...
 

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You got tough schedule setted for yourself.Interesting to see do you manage to run your industry to get all that stuff.
 

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Interesting start, but also a very difficult one... I predict problems with Mussolinis great plans :) Good luck to you!
 

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Nice set up to face Italy's problems and work to solve them. Good luck on this one!

:)
 

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Hey guys,
Thanks for all your comments, they are greatly appreciated. I am very happy of the attention that my AAR has already received and hope that you will continue reading. Feel free to provide any comments and suggestions to the strategy and maybe I will include some of them ;)

Regarding Italy's IC, I feel relatively comfortable that I will be able to complete the I-Plan or be close to by May/June 1940. Before starting on this AAR I did a quick pre-game with Italy (my first ever try with HOI II) and had roughly comparable navy, stronger air force, but fewer divisions by mid 1940. Of course it will be necessary to be pretty stringent on resources, e.g. not building huge stock of supplies and focusing the research effort, but let's see :rolleyes:

Mettermck: Thanks for moving the thread to the right forum. The I-plan should enable Italy to have some real naval potential by 1940 in order to teach those brits a lesson! :D

Stroph1: Happy that you like the setup. I think I can use all the luck I can get! :p

Next update later today!
 

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Le conseguenze del I-plan

Research1.jpg

The research overview on the 1st of January 1936:

The I-plan was put into action the same day and quickly led to dramatic changes to the research effort and composition of the armed forces:

  • Societá Montecatini was put in charge of boosting industrial production by developing “Basic Machine Tools”
  • Pietro Badoglio was to further study the learnings from the Great War to come up with a more advanced doctrine for land combat (Trench warfare doctrine)
  • Macchi would be working on rejuvenating the interceptor force “Early fighter). See historic note on bottom of page...
  • Finally, Cantieri Navali Riuniti was put in charge of starting the research on aircraft carriers (Great War Air Carrier)
All these efforts required a lot of willing hands, which further supported the decision of disbanding the three cavalry divisions in Venice. The horses were distributed among the members of the Facist party except for one exceptionally unintelligent animal, which Mussolini decided to name Cavagnari and keep as riding horse thereby being able to take the pleasure of giving it a whipping once in a while…

Alberto Pariani was also wise enough to disband the 6 militia divisions in Asmara and Assab. After long negotiations in the council, Il Duce agreed to keep the 3 militia divisions in Bardera until the swift end of the Ethiopian campaign. Il Duce decided to launch the production of 2 new battleships of the Littorio-class in parallel production and 2 destroyers of the Navagatori-class in serial production immediately. This would ensure a head start to the I-plan and that production capacity was available for the later production of aircraft carriers. The already planned production of a light cruiser of the Montecuccoli-class and a submarine of the Fieramosca class was continued.

In a newspaper article, Mussolini stated that the Italian people would not tolerate the suppression of Italian minority in other countries and that Italy was prepared to use whatever measures it found appropriate to ensure this (+ 1 interventionism). The people strongly supported in the population, but a few benighted individuals were questioning the strategy, obviously not openly (+1% dissent).

Regia Aeronautica's current fighter force (Fiat CR 42):
FiatCR.jpg


Historical note:
Although the age of the biplane was coming to an end when CR.42 entered service in 1939, Regia Aeronautica had high expectations for their new fighter thanks to the success seen by CR.32 during Spanish Civil War. In spite of the biplane scheme, CR.42 was a rather modern design with steel and duraluminum frame covered with fabric and a NACA cowling around the radial engine. At the same, CR.42 oddly lacked armor and radio equipment. The aircraft proved exceptionally agile thanks to its very low wing loading.

When Italy entered World War II on June 10, 1940, Regia Aeronautica had 143 CR.42 in its squadrons. The aircraft first saw combat during the Italian campaign against Southern France flying bomber escort for Fiat BR.20 as well as strike missions against French airfields. On June 15, 1940, CR.42 shot down 3 Bloch MB.152 and 5 Dewoitine D.520 fighters at the loss of 5 aircraft. On November 11, 1940, CR.42 flew their first raid against Great Britain. However, German Luftwaffe aircraft had difficulty flying in formation with the slow biplanes which also proved to be no match for the modern British fighters and CR.42 were transferred back to the mediterranean theatre. The fighter was widely used in North Africa, although largely in the ground attack role. When production was stopped in 1942, a total of 1,781 CR.42 were built.

CR.42 was exported to Hungary, Belgium, and Sweden. The Hungarian aircraft were used in the ground attack role against USSR until December 1941. Belgium ordered 34 CR.42 in 1939 with only a small number delivered before the war began. It is unclear whether any of the Belgian aircraft actually participated in combat. Sweden received 72 CR.42 which were equipped with radios, 20 mm (0.8 in) armor plate behind the pilot, and ski landing gear. Swedish aircraft were designated J-11.
 
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carriers! those are the way to the future!
 

unmerged(50931)

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was that a diolage of the plane or the actual progress of the AAR? if the AAR is progressing go to the eastern front
 

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MIG 15: Just wanted to give a snippet of historical information on the CR-42, since this plane is probably not known to many. I guess it is still a bit too early to go to the Eastern front, since we have some unresolved business in Africa. The next update of the AAR will be later tonight on the Ethiopian campaign. Hope you will enjoy the update :cool:

Lifeless: Couldn't agree more - carriers proved exceptionally deadly in the pre-game I was playing before and that is also why you will see that no less than 3 carriers are a part of the I-plan. I can reveal that these are going to be CV IV's with latest CAG! :eek: That will hopefully enable me to kick the Brits out of Mare Nostrum :D
 

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Vittoria dentro Etiopia...
Conquering-lion-flag.gif


Il Duce decided that the Ethiopian campaign was a good learning opportunity to test some of the young and hopeful generals of the Italian army. Lt. General Messe was to lead the invasion of Âdwa from Asmara together with Mj. General Trezzani, while Lt. General Gambara and General Guzzoni were attacking Denakil. From the South General Graziani and General Pintor would be invading Moyale and Agadin respectively. Il Duce was sure that the Ethiopians would prove good target practicing for Regia Aeronautica and therefore ordered Air Marshal Balbo to interdict troops in Northern Ethiopia, while Air General Pricolo and Mj. General Fougier would be rebasing to Massaua with each their squadron of tactical bombers.

Ethiopiancampaignstart2.jpg

Italian starting positions on the 1st of January 1936... no need to overcomplicate things :wacko:

The campaign started out easily with no Ethiopian troops in the bordering regions and it was therefore only Regia Aeronautica that saw some action during the first days. The tactical bombers were not proving particularly useful at this stage of the campaign partly due to their outdated planes, and it was clear that they would have to be updated at some point. Regardless, the campaign seemed to be progressing fine.

On the evening of the 9th of January Il Duce was enjoying a private moment with his favorite mistress when his ADC stormed into the room. “Il Duce, Il Duce… great news! Our troops have just conquered Denakil”. Mussolini was so surprised that he wasn’t even able to teach his ADC a proper lesson about his manners. “What the hell… I have not ordered an invasion of Albania”. The ADC looked slightly confused “An invasion of Albania Sir?”. “Yes, isn’t that what you are talking about?”. “Uhhm… no Sir. Denakil is one of the provinces in Northern Ethiopia”. Mussolini started to regain some of his composure. “So you are disturbing me in my private chambers on a late evening to tell me that we have taken some godforsaken piece of land in East Africa? – Scram immediately!”. The ADC nervously saluted and left the room with Mussolini shouting curses after him. Nevertheless, Il Duce was pleased with the quick progress. The victory in Ethiopia would be a much needed chance to boost the morale of the troops. Only question remaining was what to do with these worthless provinces afterwards…

Ethiopiaafter12days.jpg

After only 12 days, the Ethiopian campaign was well on its way….

The Ethiopian campaign kept progressing very well, and after 12 days, Âdwa, Denakil and Agadin were all under Italian control and the troops were meeting almost no resistance. In fact no battles had lasted for one complete hour until now. 6 days later the Ethiopians were getting desperate and offered Âdwa, Denakil, Moyale, Ogaden, Gonder Desê, Dirê Dawa, Ginir, Harar and Jima, which would leave them with only four provinces. However, Il Duce was firm: “I will accept nothing but the unconditional surrender of all Ethiopian forces and the recognition of Italy’s right to rule these lands”

Fighting for the capital started on the 24th of January 1936, but the initial battle lasted for under 24 hours before the Ethiopians decided to retreat. It was clear that it was just a matter of days before the campaign would be over. Irrespectively the Regia Aeronautica kept pounding the Ethiopian troops to train their pilots and leaders for the more serious battles to come.

Following Il Duce’s rejection of the Ethiopian peace proposal, Selassie made one last plea to the League of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, warning the League that Italy was not going to stop with Ethiopia and had its eyes set on the world. Throughout the speech, Selassie had to speak over the scoffing of Italian officials in the audience. "If a strong government finds it can destroy a weak people, then the hour has struck for that weak people to appeal to the League of Nations to give judgment in all freedom. God and history will remember your judgment. It is us today. It will be you tomorrow." However, the League did nothing as a reaction and Mussolini had free hands to continue his campaign. On the 13th of February the proud forces of Lt. General Gambara entered the capital and forced the annexation of Ethiopia. Although, some members of the League of Nations spoke against the annexation, it didn’t have any implications. The Ethiopian campaign was over almost before it had started.

HaileeSelassi2.jpg

His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I, the Emperor of Ethiopia; King of Kings; Elect of God and conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah

The real hero of the war was a young Mj. General from Regia Aeronautica – Fougier. During the course of the campaign he had proven superior skills (gaining no less than 132 XP with Pricolo at 59 and Balbo at 15). Mussolini decided to leverage the magnificent achievements of Fougier to strengthen public opinion and toured around Italy for a couple of weeks with this young man after having promoted him to Lt. General. Following the Ethiopian campaign, Il Duce disbanded all the remaining militia divisions and sent the people back to their farms and factories to boost production. Remaining troops were transported back to Italy effectively leaving Ethiopia demilitarized...
 

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good. leaving troops in eithopia only complicates things. great job!
 

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lifeless said:
good. leaving troops in eithopia only complicates things. great job!

Haven't seen anybody really benefiting from leaving troops in Ethiopia and in my last game it proved nothing less than disastrous! :eek:o Next update in a day or two (promises at least Saturday). I will probably change to a slightly shorter style to allow me to skip relatively quickly over the peace time. I can however promise some great Italian achievements in the Spanish civil war :D