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TheLoneGunman

NO STEP ON SNEK
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titlej.jpg


Introduction

Greetings! I've been following a few AARs over the past few weeks and the naval AARs seem to have become some of the more challenging. This has inspired me to try my hand at my very own. Now I've made a few AARs over in the TotalWar series, but this will be my first AAR based off of a Paradox game, but hopefully not the last.

I'm not the best HOI2 player by far, and this will be my first attempt at Italy. I may very well fail, but I hope that if I do that I shall fail gloriously for your benefit.

The AAR will tell of my struggles to make Italy into a naval superpower. It will be told through the eyes and minds of various minor characters that you will be introduced to throughout the story. You will get to see and experience the more notable figures of history, but not directly.

Settings

HOI2: DD ARMA 1.3 Beta
Difficulty: Very Hard
A.I. Agressiveness: Furious
Share Countris: Off
Democracy Can Start War: Off
End Date: 1964
Full IC Takeover: Off
Tech-Team Takeover: On

House Rules

1. I will attempt to follow a somewhat historical path for Italy. This means that Italy will join the Axis Powers, and Italy will not invade nations without just cause or reason.

2. The Italian Navy will be modelled loosely on it's historical counterpart. So I will not use "gamey" tactics that do not fit with how a World War II Navy would operate. Submarines will primarily be used for convoy raiding duty. Battleships will be the primary force of the Italian Navy, and Aircraft Carriers will be built sparingly after the war as they were not deemed as critical up until that point.

3. Absolutely no military control of allies or puppets. This rule could prove to be my undoing. Combined with my pitiful IC, all of my faith will be placed in Germany to succeed once I have joined the Axis. If not, Italy may end up as a communist puppet far before the end date of the game. I think this will keep things interesting! I hope you do as well.

Prologue

Anche se la costa tripolina non fosse che una landa deserta, anche se non vi potessimo mandare un solo dei nostri contadini, nè stabilire una sola fattoria commerciale, noi dovremmo impa- dronircene per non farci soffocare nel mare nostrum. - Emilio Lupi

flagofitaly18611946crow.jpg


April 6th, 1918

Alberto Matarazzo felt the warm sea spray cover his face as he stood on the deck of the large ship. He was aboard the RM Andrea Doria, pride of the Regia Marina's battleships. He had enlisted in the Regia Marina with his brother Mario on their 16th birthdays only a month ago and they had both been assigned to the Andrea Doria as the Great War continued to rage on. There was not much action aboard the mighty vessel however, and the Andrea Doria's guns had been mostly silent, except for a few firing exercises. Her goal had been accomplished by her presence alone, the Austro-Hungarian Navy had refused to set sail out of the Adriatic, preferring to cower along the coatlines and bombard distant shores rather than face the might of the Italian Navy. Alberto peered around the massive cannons of Turret "A" to see if he could spot his brother, he was supposed to be here already. The admiral was making his rounds shortly, and there would be hell to pay if anyone was missing. He heard a heavy metal door slam shut, and from around the turret saw Mario darting across the deck. When he arrived, nearly out of breath he gasped, "Am I in time?" Alberto shook his head disapprovingly and looked at his brother, "Barely, you do you always tempt fate so much? And look at your boots! Quick clean them up before someone notices!" His brother knelt down and with a bit of spit managed to get the dirt off of his boots. "I just cleaned them yesterday! I swear this is so tiring," He muttered to Alberto as he stood up. Not a moment too soon either, as a number of officers paraded across the ship in front of them. Both brothers snapped to attention and gave a crisp salute, holding there until they were all gone. Mario looked over to Alberto with a sly smile and chuckled, "That was the most excitement I've had this entire week. I think we're going to drill and train right through the entire war." "Be careful what you say," Alberto told him, "I don't think war is supposed to be fun or exciting. Now lets get back to work." With that, the two brothers went their seperate ways.

andreadoria3.jpg

The Battleship RM Andrea Doria.

The War to End All Wars was nearly over, and they would miss out on the last few months of needless bloodshed as their ship sailed across the Mediterranean Sea. At the time many would have considered them lucky to have been spared such violence in their youth, but they would forever possess a longing to have done more with themselves and for their nation. The same longing that would rest in the hearts of other Italians after the Treaty of Versailles showed that the world had turned its back on the Kingdom of Italy, implying in its writing that Italy had not done enough. From the embers of the Great War, this would form the catalyst for a new age in Italy, taking a once fractured country and uniting it as never before. This is more than the story of two boys that would become men, this is the story of an entire nation.

1919treatyofversailles.jpg

The Allies meet to discuss conditions for the Treaty of Versailles.

October 29th, 1922

The streets of Rome were washed in a sea of black. Every city block and every street corner was eclipsed by throngs of people that blotted out the sun beneath them. Looking down from the balcony, Gerardo Peretti was amazed at the spectacle. He was here in Rome to photograph the marchers that had arrived from all over. Just yesterday, the King had announced he would not declare martial law, a move that most feared would have resulted in civil war. Aiming his camera down to the street he took several photographs, as he did so he felt a hand rest firmly upon his shoulder. Without looking over he exclaimed, "I have never seen anything like this before!" The voice he heard reply was a familiar one, "That is because you are witnessing the dawn of a new era." Gerardo looked over to see who was speaking and as he did so he had to practically hold his jaw from hitting the floor. Nervously he responded, "P- Pr- Prime Minister! Congratulations on your appointment sir! May I take your picture please?" Mussolini gave Gerardo large pat on the back and laughed, "Of course! The world must remember today what facism has achieved. Do try your hardest to make it a good picture though." The newly appointed prime minister looked out to the crowd and gave a wave. Down below, the people recognized their leader in his all-black attire, matching their own, and thousands cheered. Gerardo backed away slowly, pulling his camera and tripod back steadily. Mussolini turned to face him and presented a strong stoic face, tilting his head ever so high to slightly offset his receding hairline. The man was naturally photogenic, Gerardo thought to himself as he snapped the picture. Mussolini seemed to eat up the flash of the bulb, and the cheers behind him only made him appear that much more invincible when he posed. Gerardo thanked him and Italy's new leader nodded and said, "Now that the formalities are taken care of, it is time that I address the crowd."

blackshirts.jpg

Facist Blackshirts gathering in Rome.

Down on the streets, Mario Matarazzo was cheering. He had looked up at a balcony and saw their leader, Benito Mussolini look out and speak to his supporters. In his black outfit, Mario appeared to match all of the others on the street. There was a euphoria in the air, they had beaten the socialists, the liberals, the capitalists, the communists. All of them were defeated by those who would put their country's well-being above that of social order or class. After the Great War, he had been discharged from the navy, there wasn't a need for soldiers of any kind now. His brother had been retained, being promoted to a higher rank aboard the Andrea Doria. Out of work and bitter, Mario had learned of Mussolini and went to one of his rallies. At the rally he did not hear the typical ramblings of politicians, but instead, the tough talk of a military man who knew how to help his country and its people. When the Blackshirts were formed, Mario was one of the first to join. There he had once again a feeling of belonging and of hope. His brother Alberto did not understand why he joined the facists, but of course he wouldn't. He was content where he was, the rest of the family was still proud of him, he was the favored son. Mario had decided he would forge his own destiny now, Mussolini's movement had swept the nation by storm, and now he was a true part of history. Mussolini had turned around and disappeared back into the building now, but it was clear that the celebration would not end in the streets. Mario knew that things would be different now. He had marched on Rome. They had marched on Rome. A united Italy had marched on Rome.

mussd.jpg

Mussolini with the Blackshirts during the March on Rome.
 
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great start!

i look forward to see what your naval build scheme is going to be. with the VH difficulty you will be challenged to build littorio and vittorio veneto and still keep an acceptably modern land/air force.

i look forward to hearing your position on whether or not to build RM Aquila!!! the historical debate continues to this very day on whether or not italian aircraft carriers were even necessary. just some appropriate interservice cooperation would have sufficed, according to some )))
 
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“If I had been an Italian I am sure that I should have been whole-heartedly with you from the start to finish in your triumphant struggle against the bestial appetites and passions of Leninism. I will, however, say a word on an international aspect of fascism. Externally, your movement has rendered service to the whole world. [...] She (Italy) has provided the necessary antidote to the Russian poison. Hereafter no great nation will be unprovided with an ultimate means of protection against the cancerous growth of Bolshevism.”

Winston Churchill, January 20, 1927


Just a little encouragement from Winston himself.
And good luck with those nasty settings, I'll be following.
 
Best of luck with the Italian navy. I like the storyline you're setting up with the brothers, I think it has the potential for lots of interesting conflict. As for Mussolini and the Black Shirts, they're good at looking tough, but can they back it up? I guess we'll see. ;)
 
Chapter 1

ethiopia35a.jpg

Ethiopian troops fortifying Addis Ababa.

February 14th, 1936

Today was St. Valentine's day. Yet there were no chocolates, no candies, no flowers, no lovers, there was no happiness as far as the eye could see. Only sand, and the cries of the wounded and dying being drown out by the thunder of artillery. The sun beat down upon Mario as he crawled up over the sand dune. Thirty fellow Blackshirts followed slowly behind him. He had been in Ethiopia for over a month now, having been transferred from Italy. After Mussolini seized power and proclaimed himself "Il Duce", his facist Blackshirts became an official part of the Italian Army, and so Mario had come full circle. The Ethiopians had seemed easy to defeat at first, usually breaking at the mere sight of the advancing Italian forces. However, as they marched deeper into the desert in pursuit of the enemy, their brisk march turned into a slow crawl. Vehicles broke down, horses died from lack of water, supplies were hard to come by. When Mario's division arrived in Harar, they realized that the Ethiopians hadn't been broken, they had been withdrawing to the more inhospitable regions to stage a defence. It would all be in vain in the end, Mario thought, Il Duce has claimed these lands for Italy, and more troops pour in every day, it would only be a matter of time before they crumbled. As he made his way over the dune, Mario pulled out his binoculars. Looking out ahead he could see the machine gun nests that had been keeping the rest of his battalion pinned down. He rolled back out of sight again and turned to one of the men behind him who had a radio on his back. "Inform command that we are in position, the machine gun nests are half a kilometer away." The young radio operator nodded and began his coded message. Now they would wait.

italy2j.jpg

Italian soldiers in the deserts of Africa.

An hour passed, he could hear the machine guns tearing at his fellow Blackshirts on the other side of the dune. They should be here by now, he thought. To his relief, a moment later the sweet sound of aircraft could be heard buzzing in the sky. He knew they were Italian planes because the Ethiopians had no true air force. The Italian bombers flew in low and without fear, they dropped their payload on the target. The concussion from the blast made all of the men sink down into the sand as it was shaken loose. Mario unslung his rifle and rising to his feet for the first time in hours looked back at the few brave volunteers with him and shouted, "Up men! Let us show these Africans how Italians fight!" The men cheered and got to their feet, and Mario let out a scream and rushed over the dune. As he made his way over to the level ground ahead of him, he could see that a few of the bombs had hit their targets and that the Ethiopian bunkers were damaged and smoking. The smoke should help, Mario mused to himself, at least for half of the run. Sure enough no machine gun fire came their way as they advanced. When they were approximately 10 meters from the bunkers he heard a shout from within one of them. "Get down!" He yelled to his men, yet he continued to rush onward. Machine gun fire opened up across the desert on the small group of Blackshirts. Mario could feel the bullets passing by him, he dropped to one knee and raised his rifle. Through his sights he spotted one of the gunners raking his gun across the narrow stretch of desert. The gunner disappeared in a shower of pink and red as he pulled the trigger. They were almost to the base of the bunker, just a few more meters to go. One of the young soldiers behind him cried out in pain, "I'm hit! I'm hit! Oh God!" Mario turned and saw the boy clutching his stomach, blood pouring out into the sand. He grabbed him with one arm and dragged him across the sand up to the walls of the bunker. The Blackshirt continued to shout in pain, but Mario could not do anything more to help him. He removed a hand grenade from his side and look up over the small wall, lobbing it into the nest. After the grenade exploded he could hear the agony of the Ethiopians that did not die instantly, he rose up and put them out of their misery himself. Another one of the men with him ran up to the front of the bunker and climbing up, he hung a large Italian flag from the top of the bunker. Il Duce would have his colony soon.

itacv33mussolini2.jpg

Il Duce celebrating Italian victory over Ethiopia.

July 6th, 1936

Every day the postman came she would ask him if there were any letters for her, and every day the postman would tell Mariana Matarazzo that nothing had come in for her. She was worried about her son. Mussolini had declared victory in Ethiopia on the 30th of March, but she had not heard from him yet. Her other son Alberto, had told her not to worry, that Mario was a brave man and would be fine. To Mariana though, he would always be her little boy. Their father had died in the Great War in 1916 when the ship he served on, the Battleship Leonardo da Vinci had capsized after an explosion. This left her alone to raise her two young boys, and as soon as they turned 16 they left her to join the war and avenge their father's death. She did not like to be alone, but she was proud of them for all they had done. Alberto she did not worry about so much, as he was still in the navy and even though he was based in Taranto, he would make the drive to Rome to visit her every so often. Mario on the other hand, he had gotten himself mixed up with Mussolini's armed mobs, and that worried her. Those facists had killed people that opposed them, she dreaded to think what would happen if they turned on themselves. Then, Mussolini made that whole mob a part of the army, and now her baby was in Africa fighting a war that she did not understand. The postman walked up up the street towards her, and she ran out to intercept him halfway. "Sir," She said almost pleading, "Please tell me you have something for me today." The postman looked down at his bundle and pulled out a single battered envelope. "Here," He told her, "This came in today for you." She snatched the envelope and thanked the postman as she turned to run back into her house. Once inside she tore it open to see what was inside. She found only a government propaganda postcard and was immeadiately disappointed. As she went to throw it away however, she saw that there was writing scrawled on the back.

itp293.jpg

Good Blood Doesn't Lie.

Dearest Mother,
I am sorry it has taken me so long to write you. Things in Africa have been, well very different. Also please excuse the fact that I have had to write this on a government postcard, paper is scarce and they are all we have here at the moment. You will be happy to know that I am safe, and that we are victorious. I am sure by the time this letter arrives at your doorstep Il Duce himself will be singing our praises on national radio. I can't wait to be home and take a nice shower. Word has it we'll be shipped back soon so that Il Duce can have us march in triumphal procession through Rome, just like Caesar! Please give Alberto my love as well, and tell him that when I arrive in Taranto I expect to see him there! Take care.

Love,
Your Son Mario


July 21st, 1936

The dockyard at Taranto was abuzz with activity. Alberto had been overseeing efforts to update the Andrea Doria's fire control systems for the past 6 months. The Italian government had decided that it could not afford to build any new battleships to compete with France, and thus chose to upgrade its aging fleet of ships from the Great War. The new systems would allow the Andrea Doria and her sister ships to fire farther and more accurately, which would hopefully make her the equal of any ship built since. He had been serving with the Andrea Doria since 1918, and was one of the most decorated officers in the fleet. If anyone was going to call the Andrea Doria his own, it would be Alberto. He looked out at the ship from the dock, admiring her beautiful lines and menacing weaponry. "Alberto!" A shout broke the silent moment of reflection. He turned and looked into the crowd of sailors behind him, and as they walked about their business he spotted his brother heading towards him. "Mario," he said, "What brings you back here to Taranto? Shouldn't you still be in Rome celebrating?" Mario shook his head, "Brother, how can I celebrate here when there is a war going on?" Alberto was confused, "What war?" He asked. "The war in Spain," His brother replied. "Every day the communists inch closer to victory over our facist brothers. Il Duce has called on us to volunteer to help!" Alberto could not believe what he was hearing. "Are you mad?" He asked Mario. "You've not even been in Italy for a month and now you're volunteering to fight in Spain?" Mario gave his brother a stern look, "You wouldn't understand," he said, "it's about defeating the communists, how will Italy survive being surrounded by hostile nations? We need good strong allies! Look at what the Germans are doing! Those National Socialists, now they have the right idea, I hear they're even talking of expelling all of their communist problem." Alberto shrugged, "If its what you want Mario, I know better than to argue with you. When do you leave?" Mario smiled and held up his satchel, "Today. Wish me luck brother. I came to say my goodbye to you." The two brothers embraced, Alberto had said goodbye to his brother many times, but this time did not feel right at all.

itp274.jpg

Poster depicting Italian volunteer forces moving on Barcelona.

November 9th, 1936

"Slow down! You're making the boat rock and I cannot get a good shot!" Gerardo Peretti was yelling at the Spanish boat captain. He had been in Spain for 3 months now documenting the Civil War and Italy's forces involved. The pictures had been going back home to a Facist Gazette called "Imperio", but he knew these pictures he was trying to take would not be published there. He had to bribe the boat captain to get him to take his small fishing vessel this close to the Italian fleet harbored at Seville. Months of bloody fighting had cost the Italians numerous lives in support of the Spanish Nationalists. The Nationalists themselves had faired no better, and the decision had finally been made to recall the volunteer army of Blackshirts back to Italy. It was as much a recall as the army was a volunteer one. Only a handful of nutjob facists had actually volunteered, the rest had been tricked or forced to go, and now there was a full-scale evacuation going on. Republican forces were closing in on the port. The war was over. General Franco had already been captured and was presumably in prison awaiting a trial for treason. Finally the boat steadied enough that Gerardo could get a clear shot of a group of wounded Italian soldiers being loaded into one of the boats. He felt bad for the soldiers, just as he felt bad that this loss was a stain upon Italy's honor, but he was a journalist, and all such feelings had to be harbored inside. Ever since his encounter with "Il Duce" his career had exploded, he had received numerous job offers, but the "Imperio" offer was by far the best and he jumped to it. He had been in Libya, Ethiopia, and now Spain on assignments to take photos for Mussolini's propaganda machine. He spotted another small vessel, Italian soldiers hopping on board and throwing the Spaniard off. They continued to pour in, overloading the boat in depseration to get out of the port. He snapped a series of pictures as the boat rocked from one end to another before finally flipping and sending all of the soldiers into the water. A few were picked up by another ship, some were not so lucky and sank beneath the waves. The facists would never let him show these pictures in Italy. He would have to find a buyer for them in Switzerland, he was sure that the French would buy a number of copies. He was out of film, it was time to head back. Many of the Italian vessels were already underway now as well. It was only a matter of time before the Republican forces arrived and captured or killed the remaining troops. The Spanish Civil War had come to a frighteningly quick conclusion.

ganar.jpg

To win the war is to spur the Revolution.
 
The Balbinater - Thank you. So far, my build scheme has been trying to update what I currently have while also increasing my industrial capacity. Italy on VH has about as much IC as Spain. So it doesn't leave me a lot of room to build large capital ships. Ideally, I'd like to get a good set of modern DDs, CLs, and CAs before I move on to any new battleships. As for the Aquila, I have the tech needed to build her, just not the IC.

Dr.Dave - I like them too! Never tried Italy before, so this should be fun!

Ai Shizuka - I'll need all the help I can get, since Winston himself will be gunning for me soon enough.

Paranoid Tsar - Well tough or not, my limited settings mean I'll have to use militia a lot more than I'm used to. If all else fails we know the Blackshirts have no problem asking for help from the Germans. ;)

chefportnen - It's even harder since I did not directly intervene in the Spanish Civil War and take Southern Spain for myself in order to have land access to Gibraltar. My house rules prevented me from doing so. However, since Republican Spain ended up winning, I see no reason why I can't leave them open to invasion in the future. By that point though, I will already be at war with the UK, so we'll have to see how it goes if I ever do.

All - Thanks for the kind words, and sorry for the delay in updating. I will try my best to keep you guys interested. Also, there aren't any in-game shots yet, because I feel nothing exciting enough has happened to warrant anything in-game yet. The 30's are pretty boring for Italy, stomp Ethiopia, stomp Albania. Luckily, the 40's will be here shortly and you guys can see if I'll be able to pull off some good conquests before I join up with Germany.
 
excellent

you have a real talent for writing, keep up the great work!

the regia marina was one heck of a fine navy if we discount the allied propaganda. just wish they had more support from the regia aeronautica!

what happened at calabria was outright disgraceful...if they had just gotten interservice cooperation between the navy and air forces, the battle of the med may had been decided quite differently...
 
Very nice start! I personally love Italy in the game (they are full of potential if and always a good challenge to be). The Regia Marina is also a major interest of mine, especially during WWII as they attempted to defeat the British Mediterranean Fleet and her convoys (despite the fact they failed), I like to look at what they planned, the ships they had in comparison to the RN, etc.

In my opinion the Regia Marina is underrated and looked poorly upon because of the outcome of the war, (ie: Matapan, Cape Bon, and Taranto) but they did accomplish the goals of protecting most of their convoys and had good success like the Alexandria Raid. (Il Duce was a major problem for the Navy, he was to paranoid in lossing his ships).

Anyway Good luck! I'll be following.
 
I'm hooked! :cool:

I'm looking forward to seeing the Regia Marina turning the Med into Mare Nostrum and how the brothers fare through the war.

Keep it up!!
 
Chapter 2

September 30th, 1938

It was almost daybreak, the entire delegation had been up all night going over the documents several times without reaching any compromises. Cristiano could barely keep his eyes open, let alone read over the same text once again. All he could hope for is that someone would grab a pen and sign the damn paper already. He wanted to be back in Rome, resting his head in the comfort of his own home, not here in Munich. No, at this moment he wanted to be anywhere but here in Munich. Yet he was stuck here, until the delegation approved the agreement. As a member of Foreign Minister Ciano's staff, Cristiano's offical duty was to act as translator, but Mussolini could speak French, German, and English well enough that this was not neccesary. So instead, he was looking over the papers to make sure that they were in the best interests of Italy. Surrounding him were some of the most powerful men in the world, Chamberlain, Hitler, Mussolini, Daladier. Three of those men were already willing to sign over a large portion of Czechoslovakia to the Germans. The only person still holding out was Mussolini, he was jealous that the other leaders had allowed Hitler to begin his own personal conquest of Europe without even so much as a fight. Only a short while ago, Germany had annexed all of Austria, and now the Germans even had a border with the Italians. Idealogically, not much seperated Italy from Germany, but Mussolini was adamant that he should see some benefit for himself. While the people thought that the two facist nations were the best of friends, Cristiano knew that this was not the case. The signing of the Anti-Comintern Pact in January had relieved some of the stress, but with Germany ever-growing, and Italy only having conquered some poor region of Africa, relations were strained once again due to Il Duce's ego.

Mussolini clubbed a fist down on to the table and sent Cristiano's nodding head upright at once. "This is outrageous!" Mussolini screamed in heavily accented Germany, "I refuse to sign this agreement!" Hitler, who had been quiet and reserved all night, calmly glanced towards Mussolini and asked him, "What would need to be added in order to make you happy Benito?" This was going nowhere Cristiano thought, Mussolini is expecting too much. Cristiano saw Foreign Minister Ciano lean over, grabbing Mussolini's shoulder and whispered something into his ear. He hoped that Ciano could talk some sense into him, but as Mussolini listened he began to shake his head, "No," he said, "Absolutely not!" Chamberlain and Daladier looked tired and confused by the actions of the Italian delegation, looking over towards Cristiano almost pleadingly to say something to change Mussolini's mind. Then, as if being struck by lightning in a clear blue sky, it hit him. Cristiano cleared his throat and said, "Excuse me gentlemen, if I may be so bold as to make a suggestion to these documents?" Il Duce decided to halt his tantrum long enough to see what Cristiano had to say, and even the blank face of Hitler finally looked slightly intrigued. "After going over the agreement numerous times, I have noticed that there is a lack of recognition directed towards the Kingdom of Italy," he continued. "The Sudetenland clearly falls under the sphere of influence of Italy and there is no mention of this at all in any of these papers." Cristiano glanced over to see Mussolini glaring at him, but he could not read his reaction yet. "There must be some written recognition of Italy's status as a Great Power, as well as a declaration that these lands fall under the Italian sphere of influence, and that without Italy's approval no such agreement would have ever been legitimate or taken place." It was a bold move, speaking out of turn like that while Mussolini was having a tirade was not a wise career move, but Cristiano would blame it on his lack of sleep if he had to justify such a grievous mistake. His worries were for nought however, as Mussloni leapt up from his chair applauding and said, "Yes! This is exactly what has been needed! I want it in writing right now. If you add that clause I will sign your damn paper!" Cristiano let out a sigh of relief, he could finally go home.

munich2.jpg

The Facists leave Munich appeased.

April 8th, 1939

Gerardo was alone on the streets. As far as his eyes could see, there was not a single person in the entire city. The once bustling capital of Albania was nothing more than a desolate ghost town. He had seen the people trickling out yesterday when he arrived, he'd been assigned to document the victorious arrival of the "23 Marzo" Division of the Blackshirts into Tirana. Not that the victory was hard won, Albania had put up no true defense against invasion. In March, Mussolini had demanded that King Zog of Albania cede the country over to him, when Zog refused, Mussolini declared war. The Albanians placed their hopes that Yugoslavia would come to their aid, but the Yugoslavians never came. The League of Nations turned its back on the plight of Albania, and now Gerardo appeared to be the only person in the city that would witness the Italian victory. The reason for the invasion was simple, Mussolini was jealous that Hitler had broken his agreement reached at Munich the year before. Germany had violated the agreement by annexing most of the German-speaking portions of Czechoslovakia, ceding a portion of the country to appease Hungary, and then taking the small remainder and installing a national socialist government there. The world sat back and did nothing, prompting Mussolini to find a target of his own.

Gerardo was happy though, as this meant he would have a good paycheck this month, he had already taken numerous pictures of Italian troops unloading on the coast, and he would be done as soon as he got his picture of the "final victory". Over the radio Italian propaganda was already blaring throughout the capital, "Rest assured brave Italians," the announcer said, "We have liberated Albania for all! King Vittorio Emanuele III, King of Italy, Emperor of Ethiopia, has deposed the Albanian tyrant and is the rightful and legal King of Albania." He wondered if anyone was truly celebrating as the radio seemed to imply. Gerardo knew that even though the war was already over, the struggle would not be. King Zog had fled the capital, and no one knew where he was. Meanwhile, the Albanian armed forces had taken off their uniforms and brought their guns home to begin a resistance. Gerardo was slightly amused, he was not a military man, not in the least, but he had spent enough time around the military to realize that it was almost a waste of resources to try and occupy such an inconsequential little country. Italy would have to devote whole divisions of troops just to keep the locals in line, and Italy didn't exactly have the largest army in Europe, let alone the world. He didn't worry about it too much, as long as he could keep taking pictures that someone back home wanted to see, that was enough for him.

alpini.jpg

Italian Alpine troops arriving in Albania.

September 1st, 1939

It was a beautiful morning, Private Bazyli Olszewski was gathering his things, still groggy from waking up. He double checked his pack one last time, made sure he had his water, stretched and began to shine up his boots. Not everyone in the barracks was up yet, but he could see a handful of other privates doing the same as him. Bazyli's growling stomach made him wonder what the mess would be serving today, hopefully something appetizing. He had just finished cleaning one of his boots when the alarms sounded. What was going on, he wondered, and quickly began to put his boots on. The sleeping soldiers around him rose to their feet and began gathering their things quickly. Bazyli had managed to get only one boot on when he heard the noise.

It sounded like an eery howl at first, but grew louder and higher pitched until it was almost defeaning. Then, he heard nothing, the world went dark and his thoughts no longer were coherent. Bazyli opened his eyes to see the floor directly in front of him. How did he get on the ground? What was happening? He looked up and saw that his bed was overturned and ahead of that the barracks was smoldering. Bazyli tried to yell, but he couldn't hear his own voice. Around him the scene moved in slow motion, he saw bodies motionless on the floor, others writing in pain. He got to his feet slowly and looked for his rifle. He wiped away the debris around his bed and found it laying there, quickly picking it up he made his way to the exit. As he ran he stumbled from a burning pain shooting up his leg. He looked down only to see that his left foot still had no boot on and was badly cut from the rubble on the floor. Bazyli continued to move, ignoring the pain and leaving a trail of blood following him on his way out of the barracks. When he made it outside, he realized he was no safer than if he had been directly under the bomb blast that hit the barracks. He saw men running every which way, scrambling to find some kind of cover, but being torn apart by machine gun fire. He looked up at the sky, he could see the swastikas on the planes, they were Germans. The planes dove down in pairs, aiming first for vehicles and buildings, and then if there were none around for the fleeing Polish soldiers. It was ironic Bazyli thought, everything seemed so peaceful now that he couldn't hear, it almost made the death around him seem tranquil. He stood there at the door to the barracks, soldiers running past him screaming for him to follow, but Bazyli could not hear them. He was no longer scared, the pain in his foot was gone now, and he just stared up at the sky. As the Stukas made yet another dive he reflected on how beautiful the morning was. As the bullets from the bombers began to shred his body he felt no pain, only release as he welcomed the quiet darkness.

stukasoverpoland.jpg

German Stukas over Poland.

October 5th, 1939

The world was at war. Well most of the world at least. Italy was thus far neutral, and Alberto had just heard from one of the other officers that Poland had surrended to the Germans today. It had taken Italy three months to conquer Ethiopia, and the Germans wiped Poland off of the map in one month. He couldn't believe it personally, but apparantly the Germans had excellent leaders and had innovated their form of warfare. Alberto didn't have time to think of German innovations however, he was busy wrapping up work on modernizing the RM Caio Duilio. The upgrades to the Andrea Doria were deemed so successful that Mussolini himself had authorized the remaining three Italian battleships also be updated, as well as a number of the older cruisers in the fleet. Alberto had been one of the critical proponents of the upgrades and was so helpful with the Andrea Doria that Naval Command had reassigned him temporarily to the Caio Duilio to oversee the work. Everything was nearly complete and all of the new equipment had already been installed, all that really remained was some paperwork and a field test to ensure everything was working properly.

Alberto hoped he would never have to use these mighty weapons in anger, but he also knew that the only reason they were being updated was because something was happening soon. There had been whispers of war for a while now, but the biggest fear was the French and British getting involved. Both nations were already at war with Germany, and any agression from Italy might trigger a declaration of war as well. As much as Alberto loved his ships, in a confrontation with the French and Royal navies there would be no hope for the Regia Marina. There was a knock at the door to his quarters. "You may enter," Alberto said, and looked up to see who was there. Vice Admiral Campioni emerged from behind the door and Alberto rose to his feet and gave a salute. Campioni returned the salute and said, "At ease. You have new orders." "But sir," Alberto replied, "My work here is almsot finished, what could possibly be more important?" Campioni handed him a paper, "Command is sending a replacement to oversee the rest of the work, your orders are on that document." The vice admiral turned and left the room, leaving Alberto to look down at the paper. He read it and knew it could mean only one thing, they would be going to war soon.

caioduilio3.jpg

The Battleship RM Caio Duilio.
 
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gianlucad - Glad you're enjoying it!

Dr.Dave - I'll take that as a compliment. I might end up mixing in some other styles, but for now this seems to be working out well.

Atlantic Friend - The Aquila was indeed afloat in 1936, but she was not yet a carrier, she was a conversion, so adding her as a carrier in 1936 wouldn't be fair or accurate. If I can get the spare IC though I will build her!

chefportnen - I had already played up until January 1st, 1940 by now, so unfortunately it wouldn't be possible. Besides, I like a challenge, so I will try to follow Italy's historical invasions first before moving on to new enemies.

The Balbinater - Thanks! I don't know how well the Airforce and Navy will be able to cooperate in my game either, since the Air Force is the most neglected branch of my armed forces in this game. All I've managed to do is upgrade the small force I already have.

volksmarschall - I'm hoping for some similar success raiding and protecting convoys, with my limited IC I've been forced to build destroyers and subs that are cheap and can be produced quickly.

Draco Rexus - Welcome aboard! And that's definately the plan!

All - Next chapter will have the first in-game shots, and the Regia Marina will finally get to participate in some of the action for once!
 
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Hmmm I'll be watching this. Good work so far.
 
great update

gave me something to look forward to after work )))

i was aware mussolini also spoke german, you can see him conversing with hitler in the propaganda films. i didnt know he also spoke passable french and english...interesting

guess all those years as a newspaper man gave him something of an education ))