• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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First Lieutenant
Feb 1, 2006
226
0
"From Petsamo in the Arctic to Genoa in the Mediterranean an "iron curtain" has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Moscow, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia; all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Fascist sphere, and all are subject, in one form or another, not only to Fascist influence but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control from Rome."
-- Winston Churchill


Introduction
The premise I had when I sat down to this game of HOI2 was "what if Italy repeated its decision of World War I, and fought against Germany?". At the outset of the game this was my only real plan: I would build a land army that I hoped would (in conjunction with the allies) be able to stave off the German assault. What I would do once (if!) Germany was overcome, I did not know. Successful wars against either the Allies or the Soviet Union seemed like it would be beyond Italian capacity: the Soviets due to their enormous homeland and armies, the Allies due to Italy's exposed empire and coastline.

The game's now over and I thought the outcome was worth an AAR. I don't think this will be as long or as detailed as some of the others on the boards: for one thing I neglected to take screen shots in the first few years of the game (though I will 'reconstruct' a couple as illustrations) and for another ... well, you'll see when we get there! :)

This game was played on Normal/Normal using version 1.3b with SMEP. I [heart] SMEP.
 

unmerged(53496)

First Lieutenant
Feb 1, 2006
226
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Fascist Council Meeting, February 1936
Mussolini laughed in satisfaction.

"This is excellent news," he exclaimed, "With the fall of Addis Ababa, the power of the Italian Army has been demonstrated to the world. This is the first step in reclaiming the lost glory of the Roman Empire."

Most of his 'advisors' on the Fascist Council simply nodded their agreement, having long ago given up on contradicting the dictator. For once however, General Badoglio found the courage to speak up.

"il Duce, while I share your satisfaction in our victory, I feel I must draw your attention to the poor discipline of the militia units we employed in our success. These rabble contributed little to the victory, and appear completely uninterested in updating their equipment and tactics in the manner you yourself have ordered. We should disband these units and concentrate on improving the size and quality of the regular army."

"Irregular units are a fascist tradition!" Mussolini banged his fist on the table, and the room waited for the Army Chief to be humiliated. But it did not happen. "However, their refusal to obey my personal directives cannot be tolerated. You have my approval to disband them, and to raise three new divisions of troops, equipped with the latest weapons, in their place."

As always when il Duce made a proclamation, the Fascist Council burst into applause, but for once the acclamation was heartfelt. With a move to a more disciplined and properly trained army, Italy would be better able to adapt to new technologies and military advances.

"Onto other business. Is there still no word from the Germans?" Mussolini demanded.

"No, il Duce." Foreign Minister Ciano shook his head, "Both France and the United Kingdom have protested our annexation of Ethiopia, but the German Reich has made no offer of congratulations to us as yet."

Il Duce scowled, his face reddening in anger,

"I will not tolerate such disrespect from that jumped-up Corporal!" he thundered, "Italy has won a mighty conflict, and deserves the laurels of her victory!"

The Council nodded their agreement, though none voiced any comment until General Badoglio – emboldened by his earlier success on the matter of the militia – cleared his throat.

"Il Duce, perhaps another victory is required. It is possible the other Great Powers see our success in Africa as a mere colonial war."

"I see what you are saying, Badoglio." Mussolini mused, "Only by defeating another European power can we demonstrate that Italy is a power to be feared."

Ciano looked concerned,

"What you say is true, il Duce. But against whom can we make such a move? Every nation in Europe has friends who may aid her, or is too inconsequential to win us much merit by her defeat."

"Every nation but one." Mussolini's eyes began to glow with fervour as his mind filled with images of conquest, "The anarchist rabble in Spain have no friends of any kind. We have been in touch with several dissidents in that country already. It is ripe for rebellion, and there are none who would intervene."

Ciano paled,

"I thought that we intended to aid the Spanish Fascists –" he began.

"The Spanish Fascists? Bah!" Mussolini waved his hand dismissively, "If they were true Fascists they would have marched on Madrid by now, as I myself marched on Rome. We have always had two Spanish strategies available to us. Badoglio, are the plans for Plan Orange up to date?"

"They are, il Duce."

"Then begin preparations for the invasion."


Game Notes
Ethiopia was rolled up basically as fast as Italian troops could march into the capital. The militia were then disbanded and almost all the remaining troops ferried back to Italy (I left one division in Addis Ababa and one on Massua). Meanwhile I began a major upgrading process on my Infantry, as well as the construction of a few new divisions. However most of my production during this year was spent on starting 4 new factories and a great deal of static AA (I set up a run of 99 in serial and just let it churn). I also started forts in Trento and Venice: preparation for the worst if declaring war on Germany went badly.
 

unmerged(53496)

First Lieutenant
Feb 1, 2006
226
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Plan Orange
Drawn up as a theoretical exercise by Generals Badoglio and Graziani during 1934, Plan Orange posited a need for direct intervention in Spain should it fall to a Communist coup. The plan called for an operation in four stages:

First, an invasion of the Spanish coastline at Valencia, securing a major port and airfields for the use of the Italian forces. The initial invasion force would be rapidly reinforced to a strength of more than twenty divisions – almost the entire Italian Army – in order for an offensive strike up to Bilbao.

Once Bilbao was in Italian hands, stage two of the plan would begin: the encirclement and capture of all Spanish forces in the region around Barcelona. Intelligence reports confirmed that Spain's second city would be well-defended, but with the Italian Navy blockading the port, those defenders would soon be starved into submission, and the Spanish military irreparably crippled by their loss.

In stage three of the operation, the Italian forces would complete a second encirclement of enemy forces, this time in the north-western provinces of Salamanca and La Coruna. By the end of this stage, the troops would be in position to threaten Madrid on three sides: north, east and west.

The fourth and final stage of Plan Orange called for offensives along the eastern coast and the border with Portugal, trapping the rump of the Spanish army in a pair of giant pincers and annihilating them utterly.


 

unmerged(47162)

Missing my avatar
Aug 4, 2005
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this is looking pretty good! :)
 

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First Lieutenant
Dec 2, 2005
233
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looks interesting :)

good luck, Italy is one of my favorite countries to play so its good to see another Italy AAR
 

unmerged(53496)

First Lieutenant
Feb 1, 2006
226
0
To clarify: I did take screenies (probably 50 or so in all), I just didn't start doing so until 1941. Oops :)
 

Sir Humphrey

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Interesting concept. Looking nice. :)
 

stnylan

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A different concept. Let's hope those forts do the job, for I fear they'll be needed.
 

unmerged(53496)

First Lieutenant
Feb 1, 2006
226
0
The Invasion of Spain, April 1936
"We can no longer stand by!" Mussolini bellowed, slamming his fist on the balcony as he exhorted the cheering crowd, "We can no longer stand by while an ancient and honourable European nation descends into anarchy and disorder! The people of Spain cry out for the relief and protection of fascism, and we will give it to them! We will not rest until honest and accountable government has been restored to our Spanish brothers!"

Even as Mussolini thundered through his oration, the people of Valencia experienced thunder of a quite different kind. The ships of a large Italian fleet belched flame and smoke as they hammered the Spanish coastline with their powerful guns. Under cover of the bombardment, four Italian infantry divisions splashed ashore from their landing craft to overrun the shell-shocked defenders in a quick but bloody battle.

As the main Italian fleet patrolled the waters around Valencia, a smaller flotilla made several rapid transits between the Spanish port and the Italian city of Genoa, where some eighteen more divisions were ready to embark. Before the stunned Spanish forces could regroup, three more divisions were convoyed to Valencia, with more on the way.



The fall of Barcelona, May-June 1936
By the end of April, more than half the total Italian forces had been landed, and the northward advance began. 6 divisions remained in Valencia to ensure there was no risk to the beachhead, while another 9 headed north into Castellon.

Castellon fell quickly, and – after leaving three divisions to hold it – most of the spearhead continued northwards. The remaining six divisions were split into two equal forces: one of mountain troops, one of cavalry. The plan was for the cavalry to advance all the way to the French border, while the mountain troops came up behind them to secure Saragossa.

Things progressed smoothly to begin with, with no initial resistance to the advancing Italians. However, when the cavalry began their final advance on Bilbao they came under spirited Spanish counter-attack. Outnumbered and outflanked, these lead Italian units were forced back. Only the arrival of the Mountain troops prevented the Italian forces from being thrown back all the way to Castellon.

The setback sent Mussolini into a paroxysm of rage over the "humiliation of Italian arms", but il Duce's anguish was short-lived. More Italian troops had entered Valencia by this time, and now Field Marshall Balbo – the most senior officer in Spain – moved his headquarters up the front line, along with five divisions of infantry.

A renewed assault toward Bilbao was successful, and Spanish resistance melted away against the artillery-supported Italian advance. Italian bombers also made their first significant contributions to the fray, as they shattered the retreating Spanish units.

As the Italians dug into their new positions and re-organised after their advance, the air force and navy began to bombard the Spanish force caught in the 'Barcelona pocket'. A few Spanish planes attempted to contest control of the air, but made little progress in their efforts.

By this time the Italians had 24 divisions evenly spread from Valencia to Bilbao. Organised Spanish forces in the north were now too few in number to seriously threaten the Italian positions, and Field Marshall Balbo felt confident in ordering Six divisions out of the line to make the advance on Barcelona. Early in April, church bells rang out across Italy to announce the fall of Spain's second city.



The fall of Madrid, June-August 1936
Now the only limit on the Italian advance in northern Spain was the time it took to advance across the rugged terrain. As frustrating as these delays were for Mussolini, the mountains and poor infrastructure also prevented the Spanish from bringing up significant reinforcements, and three more Spanish divisions ended up being surrounded and captured in La Coruna.

However, as the advance in the north had been slower than hoped, Mussolini forced Badoglio to step up the speed of operations in the centre of Spain. Tarragona was attacked in late May, and captured on June 1st, while Guadalajara fell by the middle of the month. It was then simply a case of waiting for the northern offensive to end.

The Italian High Command briefly considered investing the capital on all fronts, cutting communications from the government to the Spanish troops in other regions, but ultimately decided that the forces in Madrid itself were too strong to easily keep contained. After a pause for the reorganisation of the Italian armies, a major offensive went ahead on August 1st, accompanied by heavy aerial bombardment.

Well-entrenched and strongly motivated, Madrid's defenders put up a valiant struggle. Ultimately air power proved their undoing: well-guarded by interceptors, the Italian bombers rained down their deadly cargo without respite. Shortly after dawn on August 2nd, the Spanish lines broke, and church bells once more rang out across Italy.



End of the Spanish Campaign, June 1936
With the Spanish capital fallen and much of the nation's industrial strength in ruins or under their control, the Italians advanced at will, capturing Seville, Almeria, and the other major cities of the south.

A few Spanish units still remained, and would occasionally attempt to hold back the Italian columns, but this was by now a vain hope. The defenders were routed within a few hours on each occasion, then bombed to oblivion by the Italian air force as they straggled away from the battle.

By late in June, only two Spanish divisions remained in all of Spain, and these were trapped in the area around Jaen, with no hope of relief. The only other Spanish forces were a pair of divisions in the Balearic Islands, but even had they been ten times that number, Italian domination of the seas was total, preventing any hope of an invasion to help the defenders break out.

Then, as Field Marshall Balbo made plans for the final 'offensive': a process he knew would be little more than collecting the surrender of the enemy commanders, word came from the Spanish camp: they were at last willing to negotiate.
 

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Missing my avatar
Aug 4, 2005
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nooo dont negotiate! victory is sooo close i can taste it! :)
 

stnylan

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Oh I don't know, perhaps they can negotiate about which little hovel (out of what they have left) they want to surrender in?
 

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My friends, you speak as if you believe the French government's baseless accusations that this is nothing more than a war of conquest! Italy has intervened in Spain purely for the good of the Spanish people. They must be protected from the threat of Communist subjugation, and a provided with responsible, respectable government.
 

The Red Baron

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Capellan said:
My friends, you speak as if you believe the French government's baseless accusations that this is nothing more than a war of conquest! Italy has intervened in Spain purely for the good of the Spanish people. They must be protected from the threat of Communist subjugation, and a provided with responsible, respectable government.
Right :rofl:
 

cuchulain

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cool idea for an aar. original aars are easily the best. bit confused over what the outcome is.. is moscow fascist?
 

stnylan

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Capellan said:
My friends, you speak as if you believe the French government's baseless accusations that this is nothing more than a war of conquest! Italy has intervened in Spain purely for the good of the Spanish people. They must be protected from the threat of Communist subjugation, and a provided with responsible, respectable government.
I've rarely read anything more suspicious in any aar on these fora :D
 

unmerged(53496)

First Lieutenant
Feb 1, 2006
226
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cuchulain: All shall be revealed! il Duce has big dreams: can he live up to them?

stnylon: darn, and I typed it with my best "innocent" expression on, too :D