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Hawke0

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I'm new to the forums here and chose an... inconvenient time to join, but the forum is working and It's Our Time to start writing. My first exposure to an AAR was when I was looking for strategies in HoI3 for Italy specifically and naval warfare in general, which I had only bought recently (a few months ago) and instead found a masterpiece, Myth's Explorations In Strategy. That first game I played involved a near loss in Ethiopia, a disastrous attempt to invade the British Isles and the Italian conquest of the Soviet Union and France. But I've learned since then, and what I've learned will hopefully be put to good use here, in my second Italy game.

I'll be writing as a history book/gameplay AAR, using the custom start option and assuming that Il Duce suddenly became competent in the 20's rather than in 1936. I’ll limit myself to staying within reason for the most part, and not, say, demolish the navy and build 50 points of IC. Any reallocated research will be reduced to 1918 levels at the most, and units built earlier, like the ancient elements of the Italian submarine fleet, will be left intact since they were built before the assumed point of divergence. The Italian military will enter 1936 as a small, flawed, but fairly capable force and we'll see where it goes from there.

If you've read Myth’s AAR, Explorations In Strategy, you might notice some similarity in strategy or even writing style, and since I've been rereading it lately it might be bit more of an influence than it'd have been otherwise >_> , but I'll try to avoid coming off as too similar.

And I used a similar strategy from the start when I first played Italy as my first game (...and nearly lost to the Ethiopians because I didn't understand supply and org) besides my use of an unfocused naval strategy that left me at a stalemate in the British Isles (how was I supposed to know battlecruisers were useless? :p), at the same time as I stumbled upon his excellent AAR. With that said, I do have a few ideas of my own. Now with that said, let's get on with it, and don't try to crush my spirit too quickly. The first two installments will be a sort of introduction, with the first being an overview of Italy's position and the strategy I'll employ, and the second being a more detailed introduction to the state of the Italian military in 1936. Then, on to Ethiopia!

...

Although Italy had a dominating position in the central Mediterranean, never since the fall of Rome had it been able to exercise its potential for control of this sea; the shortcut to Asia from Europe, and Britain’s lifeline. Italy had been divided, dominated by the new major powers for centuries until relatively recently, and even after being unified it was far from being a great power once again. Its industrial base was dwarfed by that of France and Britain, Austria was protected for the time by Italy and, more importantly, conquering it would bring Italy into conflict with Germany. However, the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the Great War – thanks largely to Italian arms – left a window open in the East.

However, this was barely relevant - Italy’s future as a major power didn’t lay in subjugating neighbors with a vast army, but in the potential of a powerful navy dominating the shipping lanes of the Mediterranean Sea, with the prospect of an Italian maritime focus being made better by the fact the Alps formed a defensive barrier every bit as formidable as the English Channel.

But Italy fared little better at sea than on land – the Italian navy was weaker even than the French fleet, and couldn’t stand against the might of the Royal Navy, who would defend Malta, Cyprus, the Suez Canal and Gibraltar to the last man – assuming the Regia Marina hadn’t been sent to the bottom of the sea before that point. Not only did the British presence deny the Italian navy control of their home sea, but of their freedom of movement – as they controlled the routes in and out of the Mediterranean, Italy’s ability to become anything more than a regional power rested on London. Being able to do so much as keep their East African colonies alive rested on London.

France bore no real animosity to Italy, and when Italian industry was committed to the sea and French to land, the Italian navy would likely surpass the French navy before wartime anyway. Though Germany was a potential world power ruled by an unpredictable madman and a bad author at that, he was a fellow fascist and his primary goals seemed to be defying the status quo and bringing more Germans into the Reich. Not only was he unlikely to be a threat to Italy, but he and Nazi Germany could prove useful. However, the thought that his army would inevitably surpass the Regio Escercito within years of breaking the Versailles treaty was a sobering one.

Beyond those three, the nations of the Balkans were not only unthreatening, but targets that could rectify Italy's economic weakness, and the Soviet Union was unlikely to be any concern for Italy. With any luck, the ‘master race’ would keep their hands full, and vice versa. Italy’s enemy, above all others, would be the United Kingdom.

But how to defeat the United Kingdom was the problem – it already commanded a massive, largely outdated but still powerful Mediterranean Fleet that Italy could never match on a ship to ship basis. And even if it could, as long as England commanded the entrances to the Mediterranean Sea they could cycle out damaged ships with reinforcements from the Far East and Home Fleets. The Regia Marina had no such bottomless reserve of naval power.

The answer to this problem lay in new technology – the airplane. As anyone but the navy old guard could see, one hundred relatively cheap bombers carrying torpedoes could easily sink the battleships that composed so much of the Royal Navy. Large targets – that’s all that battleships were now. Italy lay closer to the key islands and channels of the Mediterranean Sea and enjoyed shorter supply lines than England, so a surprise attack by the army could have a reasonable chance of success in taking the Suez Canal, as well as the enemy airbases and ports.

Depriving the enemy of airfields gave the Regia Marina the means to defeat the carriers of the Royal Navy – carriers could only carry so many aircraft, and control of the airfields on land would give Italy an overwhelming advantage in the battle for air superiority. Without their planes, the carriers could be brought down by bombers or fast, heavily armed cruisers. The survival of the Regia Marina, at least in the first stage of any conflict, would rely upon never engaging the Royal Navy in an even battle, only fighting unbalanced encounters where they enjoyed a clear advantage and could grind the Royal Navy down with a favorable rate of attrition. After the Mediterranean was an Italian lake, it would be time to strike beyond it.

...

Glossary:

Introduction
Italian Strategy And Doctrine


1936
Part I: An Introduction To The Armed Forces Of Italy
Part II: Politics, Technology, And The End Of The Second Italo-Abyssinian War
Part III: A Return To Peace, Preparations For War


1937
Part IV: The Spanish Civil War
Part V: Interlude


1938
Part VI: The Italo-Slavic War, I
Part VII: The Italo-Slavic War, II
Part VIII: The Calm Before The Storm


1939
Part IX: The Storm Rolls In
Part X: War In The Balkans, I
Part XI: War In The Balkans, II
Part XII: War In The Balkans, III
Part XIII: War In The Balkans, IV
Part XIV: War In The Balkans, V
Part XV: Settling Scores


(Still incomplete)

1940
Part XVI: The Order Of Battle And Strategic Position Of The Roman Empire
Part XVII: The Die Is Cast
Part XVIII: The Die Is Cast, II
Part XIX: The Die Is Cast, III
Part XX: The Die Is Cast, IV
Part XXI: The Die Is Cast, V

Part XXII:
Part XXIII:
Part XXIV:
 
Last edited:

Hawke0

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TehDarkMiner: I was afraid no one was going to see this, heh. Glad to have you onboard.
Nicegil: Yeah, I like to keep within the realms of possibility, or at least within the realm of things I can justify. So I avoid massive reserve builds to create an implausably large army and things like that.
Markkur: Watch out for those Ethiopians, they fight well against starving soldiers. ;)

...

The Italian Armed Forces
The Regia Marina

The Italian Navy and naval air force, the Regia Marina, was the key to the security of Italy and would receive the lion’s share of Italian resources. But what would be built? Battleships were powerful floating gun platforms, certainly, but they lacked the ability to project power in the same way an aircraft carrier could and were vulnerable when they left the range of fighter cover. If all that Italy sought was dominion over her home sea, modern battleships supported by fighters based on the various islands of the ocean would be optimal. But Italy had grander designs than that, and so the heart of their navy would be the carrier task force.

The fleet would need escort vessels, to screen the carriers against aircraft and submarines, and had the choice of destroyer flotillas or purpose-built light cruisers – to pursue both could be done and would certainly be nice, but would be a waste of limited resources. Destroyers offered high speed and were more effective against submarines, but the Regia Marina was hardly expected to go against a large submarine fleet. And besides, the carrier air groups could mitigate the comparative weakness of light cruisers against submarines. The greater armament, armor, and range would make light cruisers the escort vessel of choice. Furthermore, design similarities with heavier cruisers meant that improving knowledge of one would improve knowledge of the other, making it a simple matter to produce heavy cruisers to fill the gap in firepower left by the absence of traditional capital ships in the Regia Marina.

While Italy had a submarine fleet left over from the Great War, several of the craft had been decommissioned and no modern designs had been so much as drawn up. Command of the sea was necessary, and direct commerce warfare would have little value for the Regia Marina for some time. Eventually, if all went according to plan there would be a way that even the four outdated Italian wolf packs could make their mark, but that would be some time away, and if an alliance with Germany has been pursued by then, German designs could be licensed out. It was more likely that Italy would use aircraft

The Regia Aeronautica

It’s already been established that Italy’s empire will be built on the wings of its planes, but that focused on naval aviation– what of the Regia Aeronautica, the arm of the military consisting of land based aircraft? While they wouldn’t be as key to the expansion of Italian power, wings of land based interceptor fighters and dive bombers are typically better at their respective roles than their less specialized, carrier based counterparts. What land based craft are built would be used primarily to augment the strengths of carrier planes, and make up for their deficiencies in air-ground attacks.

Due to limited resources, what will be built will be restricted primarily to single engine craft – fighter bombers, dive bombers, and single engine fighters would be sufficient, if not optimal. Twin engine bombers had their place, but due to costs it would be a minimal one. As for four engine strategic bombers, they’re simply beyond Italy’s means, and even if they weren’t they would offer little to the country to make them worth the investment.

The Regio Escercito

At last, the Italian army, the Regio Escercito. It’s already been established that Italy is strapped for resources and has a weak industrial base that will primarily be geared towards naval production, so the Italian army will be small by default, and lacking quantity must be made up for with quality. The doctrine must be the maximum impact for minimal cost. Training will be rigorous and thorough for any offensive units throughout the military, no matter how it might slow expansion, and the investment would be made into maintaining a strong junior officer corps.

Heavy corps artillery will be left out, at least until a cheaper, rocket based alternative to tube artillery is available; In terms of cost, artillery is less efficient than arming more infantry brigades. The strengths of heavy artillery are primarily in concentrating force into a smaller section of the front, and it’s unlikely the Italian army will grow large enough for that to matter, and less likely that it could prevail against whatever opponent it found itself fighting in such a situation.

The terrain that would be incorporated into the new Roman Empire was for the most part dominated by coasts, plains, deserts and mountains – the use of Special Forces, particularly marines and mountaineers fit the ‘investment/return’ doctrine nicely, and the possibilities for maneuver warfare meant an armored force would be pursued. In the realm of armored warfare, Italy would face opponents who would be overawed with ease or who Italy couldn’t hope to match in sheer power. Speed would be the only place where the armored forces of the Regio Esercito could match, or even hypothetically exceed any opponents they might face. Building fast, heavily armed, and lightly armored tank destroyer formations to work in conjunction with them could offset their weaknesses somewhat, and working in combined arms fashion with armored cars and motorized infantry would act as a force multiplier, particularly in the hands of some of the more progressive-minded generals. At first it’s quite possible the divisions would be stuck with cavalry, tankettes, tankettes with big guns and ford trucks with low caliber cannons strapped on, but once the basic Order of Battle is filled out they can be motorized and upgraded using the practical knowledge gained in these fields.

To give the regular infantry an edge they’ll need, the limited resources of the Regio Esercito would go into training a corps of army engineers to be dispersed throughout the army. Their skills would offset difficulties otherwise posed by terrain and fortifications while on the offensive, and improving the ability to dig in and create makeshift defenses when on the defensive. Rivers were no obstacle to Caesar, and they would be no obstacle to the new Roman Empire. While the offensive regular divisions would be in the triangular style with three infantry brigades and an engineer attachment, costs could be minimized by using the old style of binary divisions, composed of reservists or irregular militia, to handle defense in Italy and Libya, mainly to fight holding actions while the core of the army and navy could arrive.

And because Italy already commanded a small fleet of converted cargo planes for military transport, the greatest expense of fielding an airborne force, there would be an investment made into forming several airborne divisions. For relatively little extra training and equipment costs, two or three airborne divisions would add a great deal of flexibility to the Italian Army and open a new dimension to combined arms operations.

Diplomacy and Spies

Italy would pursue an alliance with Germany, and be content to let them draw new allies into the Anti-Comintern Pact, for the most part. But what kind of leader could Mussolini be if he was anything short of Machiavellian? He would foster the growth of spy networks in France, England, Ireland, South Africa, and Italy itself – in Italy, they would work to crush dissenters, strengthen the fascist party and carry out counterespionage work, all rather simple things.

Working in conjunction with those in France and England, they’d make those states appear to be more threatening, perhaps so much as existential threats to Italian independence and ready the people for war – as means to eliminate resistance to military adventures into Spain and the Balkans. In Ireland, everything that could be done would be done to bring the fascist party to power there through a democratic election, be it bribing and threatening influential opinion-makers to writing the Irish NCP a blank check. In South Africa, something similar would be attempted, but the main goal would be to disrupt the unity of the nation, organize a power base for fascism among the oppressed black majority and launch a coup.

Should the armed forces of Italy succeed in sealing off the Mediterranean, then an Axis South Africa would lay right along Britain’s lifeline to the colonies. Even if they didn’t join the war, providing a base for German submarines and aircraft within a stone’s throw of British convoys and so far from any British bases could cripple them. An invasion could, at that point, accomplish the same goals; but, the terrain and position of South Africa made it difficult to reach from any Italian bases. It would be much more convenient to have South Africa on the side of Fascism before the outbreak of war.

...

The next entry will be have gameplay, the introduction to the tiny Italian military and the war in Ethiopia. I left it under AI command, so that it wouldn't be over in a week. I need something to provide commentary on, and "The Italian soldiers walked into Addis Ababa after approximately three days of fighting" isn't all too interesting.
 

Hawke0

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ConnorSpittfire: Thanks.
I originally planned to do one entry every other day, but it's Spring Break and I've got nothing to do and already have two more entries mostly ready, so I'll get a little ahead of schedule on the third part.

May 5th, 1936 – An Introduction To The Armed Forces of Italy

With the German remilitarization of the Rhineland, it was becoming clear that the war Italy had been gradually preparing for until recently was on the horizon, perhaps only five or six years away. But a shift into a War Economy had been ordered some months ago, as the result of the outbreak of the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, that would accelerate the production of the Italian military. As it was, the quality-focused efforts of Il Duce had produced a force that was potent, but all too small to challenge the great powers.

The French border was guarded by the crack mountaineers of General Pintor’s 1a Armata, with two four division corps under Lt. General Roatta and Lt. General Gambara, with 72,000 combat troops in the Alps. The army of Libya commanded the 6a Armata and 7a Armata on the borders with French Tunisia and British Egypt respectively, and each commanded 24,000 soldiers. In reserve and guarding the Italian ports was the 4a Armata, with twelve two brigade, reservist divisions – ultimately a full-strength army, but spread more thinly. Facing the Yugoslav border was General Amedeo Duca degli Abruzzi’s 3a Armata, composed of two permanent corps under Lt. General Aymonnino and Lt. General Ambrosia, with eight infantry divisions of three brigades each between them, roughly 72,000 combat troops in all. There were some 261,000 regulars in the Regio Esercito, in total, and 18,000 at work in various HQ’s.


The 3a Armata, and attached armored corps of the Italian Army

The 3a Amata also commanded a temporary attachment, Lt. General Zingales’ 5th Corps, the mobile corps of the Regio Esercito. With 40,000 men in a mixture of mounted infantry, armored cars, a number of tankettes and two tank destroyer brigades, it was… limited, but only the beginning, and would be the precursor to better things.

This was better than could be said for the Italian marine and paratrooper corps; the basic equipment to arm marines and paratroopers had yet to be designed, and the program for the training of engineer regiments and the designing of their equipment waited for funding.

The Regia Marina composed three main strike forces – two cruiser fleets, each respectable but neither fully modern, with five heavy cruisers and ten light cruisers between them. The fruit of the efforts into the aircraft carrier concept was their single carrier task force, consisting of nine light cruiser escorts, a fleet carrier, the RN Aquila, and two lighter escort carriers, the RN Sparviero and the… RN Aquila. In a mix-up of paperwork each ship was give the same name and a grudge between captains had kept either from relenting ownership of the name they felt was rightfully theirs. But such matters are unimportant. The task force commanded four wings of carrier planes, each a mixed force of fighter-bomber craft and dedicated torpedo bombers. There were also four Great War submarine flotillas that would be of little use for the foreseeable future.

The principle strike force of the Regia Marina

The Regia Aeronautica was in reasonably good shape, commanding three wings of twin engine tactical bombers, three wings of twin engine naval bombers, three wings of interceptors and a squadron of transport planes. With naval and land-based aviation put together, Italy commanded a fleet of 1,200 fairly modern planes.

However, there was one army that had yet to be mentioned – the Armata Del A.O.I, ten Blackshirt and Somali militia divisions that had either been colonial troops or were raised to fight the war raging in Abyssinia, with 98,000 soldiers and 4,000 headquarters personnel. Beginning in October of the previous year, command of the Armata Del A.O.I was handed to one General Guzzoni, and his subordinates were largely some of the more promising commanders of the Regio Esercito, sent to gain experiencing fighting this little war before being given their permanent assignments in the regular army.

The Second Italo-Abyssinian War

The Abyssinian forces were slightly outnumbered and split against the Armata Del A.O.I. on two fronts. The bombers of the Regio Aeronautica were to play the decisive role in defeating the Abyssinians, with two intentions - to display the strength of the Regia Aeronautica to the world, and to make the weaknesses of the Regia Aeronautica obvious to itself, so they could be rectified before the outbreak of a real war. Seven wings of planes, four carrier wings and three tactical bombers wings were committed - the entire air to surface capability of the Regia Aeronautica.

The war should’ve been over by this point, however – Guzzoni had brought a division within striking distance of Addis Ababa, guarded only by a militia division that had been attrited by the tactical bombers of the Regio Aeronautica and past battles against the Italian advance, but failed to take action before the Imperial Bodyguard arriving to reinforce the southern line prompted him to withdraw the division.


Italian naval aviation prevents Abyssinian militias from reorganizing effectively, and the southern prong of the attack stops at the outskirts of Addis Ababa

However, the move did draw troops away from the northern prong - in the following weeks, the Abyssinian northern line, stripped of troops to counter the move in the south, buckled under the offensive. Before any Abyssinian reinforcements could arrive to stop the newly emphasized northern attack, 36,000 soldiers were marching nearly unopposed to within a province of Addis Ababa with reinforcements behind them.


With three Abyssinian divisions drawn south, Guzzoni's northern forces advance nearly unopposed across much of the front
 

Hawke0

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Well. I think I need to find a different way to get screenshots.
 

ConorSpittfire

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Seems good so far (other than the ai failing to take the capital before reinforcements arrived) but anyway, in the next post could you please show a screenshot of your production and research?
 

Hawke0

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I actually ran ahead of this point by a few years while i was waiting for the forums to get working again, but I periodically took screenshots of my production and always took screenshots of new unit deployment, and I can probably find and reload an older save to find the details of my research.
 

sebas379

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This looks like it is going to be fun, I'll follow along. Italy is always a fun country to play, so many options yet lmited abilities. Good luck!
 

Hawke0

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April - July 1936
Politics, Development, Production and the End of the Second Italo-Abyssinian War
While Italian militias clawed their way forward, events were taking place elsewhere, on the home front, in South Africa, Ireland, and the home front. The South African fascist party had seen some real gains up to 14%, and although it remained weaker than the liberal parties it was easily the third most popular. The Irish political scene wasn't neatly divided into two real parties, as in South Africa, so while the gains of the Irish NCP (9%) were less impressive than those in South Africa on paper, they brought them closer to being a serious contender in the next election.

The popularity of Irish political parties; the hardcore Irish Nationalist Socialist Party had leeched off the growing popularity of the NCP, growing dramatically from <1% to 2% in polls.

In Italy, production was underway for a new fleet carrier which had, yet again, been dubbed the RN Aquila. When Il Duce questioned the Chief of the Navy on this he pointed him to the espionage service, saying the minister told him it would conceal the strength of the RM from Entente spies, but the Minister of Intelligence denied anything and said it was the captains of the ships who insisted on using the name. The captains assured Mussolini that they were only low ranking officers and that their superiors issued the names, and each admiral questioned had no idea why the name was reused and suggested asking the Chief of the Navy. After being sent in circles by the bureaucracy, the Duce gave up on fixing the problem and decided that so long as his admirals did their jobs and the bureaucrats did nothing, and allowed him to make all the important decisions that was what mattered.

Also under production were two carrier air groups designated for the third RN Aquila, three new Giuseppe Garibaldi-class light cruisers, and the Freccia armored division, consisting of one light armor brigade, two mounted infantry brigades and one armored car regiment. Research was underway to modernize the armored cars and tankettes that made up half of the armor units of the 5th corps, improve on the anti-tank ammunition in use, field a new rifle and mortar, and design equipment for storming fortifications and fighting in rough terrain for engineer regiments for the army. The projects underway for the navy and air force were improving carrier designs with the goal of increasing hull integrity and decreasing their visibility to enemies on the open sea, and designing a dedicated close air support craft that could share parts with the Italian single engine fighter.


In Abyssinia, the division within range to attack Addis Ababa from the south was coming under attack by two Abyssinian divisions, including the Imperial Bodyguard, but were succeeding in holding their ground while reinforcements came up from the rear. When they arrived the Abyssinian's were forced to break off their attack, as they soon found themselves under attack - the northern and southern spearheads had met at the border with English Somalia, and the Imperial Bodyguard was caught between them as a simultaneous attack was launched against Addis Ababa. As it was, the attack on the capital failed, but the Abyssinians found themselves in an increasingly untenable position against a newly united Italian front.

Guzzoni was slow to make use of his advantage, however, and didn't favor a direct assault on the concentration of Abyssinian troops at Addis Ababa. In the middle of May, following some minor raids and troop redeploying after the union of the two fronts, he launched an offensive at the area just west of the city, driving off possible reinforcements and threatening a complete encirclement. The threatened garrison launched a counteroffensive in the next weeks, breaking out of Addis Ababa late in June - that is to say, taking the the bait.

Forty five thousand well rested Italian soldiers attacked the 18,000 men of two disorganized divisions left for the defense of the city along a wide front. They broke and ran after a brief, lopsided battle that saw Italian casualties in the dozens and Abyssinian casualties in the hundreds, and an Italian puppet government was installed to administrate the new Italian colony, the first province of the new Roman Empire.

(In my attempts to make the pictures smaller, I made a... minor mistake that led to me replacing every screenshot with the Ireland one, after already deleting all the others. I hope my descriptions are enough for this entry)
 
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Hawke0

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You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.
 

Mindmeld_me

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Good looking start so far. Interesting approach with the navy. The custom option really gives you a chance for a fun what if. T.F.H. has real emphasis on hard attack against armor so keep working on your at and tank destroyers. You might want to read my are for that lesson, though I played with the black ice mod. I am really interested to see if you can turn south Africa fascist. Good luck.
 

Hawke0

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Mindmeld: So far, South Africa seems to leap up and down unpredictably, as opposed to most democracies where I've brought a totalitarian regime to power having popularity gradually rise. I'm a few years ahead of the AAR, and not sure whether or not it'll work. But hey, if all else fails there's always puppeting.
ConorSpitfire: Nein sprechen Deutsch. Well, sprechen klein Deutsch.
 

ConorSpittfire

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Mindmeld: So far, South Africa seems to leap up and down unpredictably, as opposed to most democracies where I've brought a totalitarian regime to power having popularity gradually rise. I'm a few years ahead of the AAR, and not sure whether or not it'll work. But hey, if all else fails there's always puppeting.
ConorSpitfire: Nein sprechen Deutsch. Well, sprechen klein Deutsch.
I don't speak it either, Google Translate does though...
 
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sebas379

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Looking good, Abyssinia should soon be yours. It'll be interesting to see what Italy can do with carriers, considering she gets into the war earlier than Japan and early war CAG aren't very powerful. IT does give you more flexibility outside the Med though, so that's nice. and a huge airforce too ofc.
You could try uploadin the images to www.imgur.com, or if that doesn't work www.photobucket.com. If your current imagehosting site is giving problems:)
 

markkur

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(TFH only) I'm waiting to see when you engage the Allies. I believe I blew my current game when I decided to try to nab the Med when Germany engaged Poland. I took Malta and both sides of the Canal but lost half of my fleet doing so. I think I already see your reasons for your navy/air build in CGM. I suppose I could have kept with it and may have been able to take Gibraltar but I completely doubt that I could survive the RN likely based there plus the BB fleet in the Med, when I cannot now move very far from Italian shores and my 4 Hunter groups (1CL+3DD) were shot to pieces.

Btw, I decided to try a what-if CGM and keep the original fleet but upgraded to 36, minus the 800km subs,, keeping the Air-Wings untouched. I will try to be very careful and forget any notion of a "Med-Day."

PS I'm new to the forum and if adding a related side experiment is not cool just say the word. My gut-hunch was it is a good idea...but my 1st thoughts are not always correct.<L> You're doing a wonderful job with the AAR and I do not want to take anything away from your effort.