The Italian Job (Yes, Another HOI2DD AAR)

Walt’s conquest of Europe with Czechoslovakia was quite impressive. Really, there’s only one proper response: to try to win World War 2 with the one country in a worse position than Czechoslovakia in Europe. Namely:

That’s right. ITALY, biyotches. Laughing stock of the Axis, punching bag for the Allies, my challenge is to lead Italy to greatness and global domination… without the usual expedient of “allying with Germany and letting them do all the heavy lifting.”

This game will be fought using the EmKeiEn mod, which does a number of interesting things. It reduces the number of units generals can command, vastly nerfs global resources (so that oil is actually something you fight over, and start to miss when you run out) and, most importantly, was made by Italians, so I expect a “raise effectiveness of Italian airborne 4x” event to be snuck in. (Actually, it’s one of the more stable HOI2 mods, but it does ramp up the difficulty quite a bit. Which is fine, since I’m already playing ITALY.)

The very first thing Italy did is abandon Trench Warfare. Come on. World War One is over already. Those untrustworthy Germans might have something there with all this talk of tanks and Blitzkriegs. (What is “Blitzkrieg” in Italian, anyway? THE WORLD WILL LEARN THIS.)

1936-00-07 : 0:00 January 8, 1936 : We abandoned doctrine Trench Warfare Doctrine.
1936-00-07 : 0:00 January 8, 1936 : We abandoned doctrine Grand Battle Plan Doctrine.
1936-00-07 : 0:00 January 8, 1936 : We abandoned doctrine Firepower Focus Doctrine.

Our new doctrines (which, to be fair, we have not actually learned yet) worked well against the Ethiopians (which, to be fair, do not actually fight back).

1936-00-07 : 7:00 January 8, 1936 : We won a battle against Ethiopia in Âdwa.
1936-00-07 : 7:00 January 8, 1936 : We won a battle against Ethiopia in Desê.
1936-00-09 : 21:00 January 10, 1936 : We won a battle against Ethiopia in Denakil.
1936-00-09 : 21:00 January 10, 1936 : We won a battle against Ethiopia in Dirê Dawa.
1936-00-27 : 9:00 January 28, 1936 : We won a battle against Ethiopia in Addis Ababa.
1936-01-17 : 0:00 February 18, 1936 : Ethiopia are now part of our nation!

We then formed the Axis of Rome. Germany was not invited to the party.

1936-01-21 : 17:00 February 22, 1936 : The people of Somalia declared independence from Italy.
1936-01-21 : 18:00 February 22, 1936 : Italy have made Somalia their puppet state.
1936-01-24 : 23:00 February 25, 1936 : The people of Ethiopia declared independence from Italy.
1936-01-25 : 0:00 February 26, 1936 : Italy have made Ethiopia their puppet state.
1936-01-28 : 11:00 February 29, 1936 : The people of Libya declared independence from Italy.
1936-01-28 : 12:00 February 29, 1936 : Italy have made Libya their puppet state.

(I did this for three reasons. One - Africa is essentialy a sideshow, even for Italy. No resources, no IC and huge ESE penalties all over the place. I don’t plan on paying a lot of attention there. Two - by releasing the African possessions as puppeted states, Libya and Somalia both get “ghost IC” that does not otherwise exist; they can use this to build some infantry, which wouldn’t be spectacular but is better than nothing at all. And Three - Italy now has its own alliance, seperate from the Allies and Germany. As I said, there will be no leaning on German military and technological might this game…)

However, thanks to the money crunch (EmKeiEn makes money an issue as well) we couldn’t immediately form the alliance (hey, diplomatic processions are expensive). It did eventually happen, of course:

0:00 November 15, 1936 : Ethiopia joined our Military Alliance with Somalia and Libya

Meanwhile we organized the Regia Marina into one fleet discarding many useless submarines and WW1-era PT boats, and called the Italian army back home.

:00 July 28, 1936 : Rodolfo Graziani has developed ‘Mobility Focus Doctrine’.

Oh, and the Italians are starting to learn to fight, again, as well.

Meanwhile, there was trouble to our West.

0:00 July 18, 1936 : Republican Spain had Spanish Civil War .
0:00 July 18, 1936 : The people of Nationalist Spain declared independence from Republican Spain.
0:00 July 18, 1936 : Republican Spain declared war upon Nationalist Spain.
0:00 July 18, 1936 : Republican Spain had Spanish Civil War: Mobilisation .
0:00 July 18, 1936 : Nationalist Spain went with Fascist nation in Spanish Civil War.

Spain… Spain… No, actually, it’s called Hispania. You remember. The Roman Empire? BACK IN EFFECT.

14:00 December 5, 1936 : Italy declared war upon Nationalist Spain.
11:00 December 25, 1936 : I Corpo d’Armata has finished unloading in Barcelona.

My devilishly sneaky plan was to seize a foothold in eastern Spain while the Nationalists and Republicans duked it out over Madrid, then come from behind to impose a Roman peace.

0:00 January 1, 1937 : Nationalist Spain annexed Republican Spain.

Whoops. OK, Plan B: Kick The Crap Out Of Spain The Hard Way.

It was a fairly long slog.

7:00 February 4, 1937 : V Corpo d’Armata has arrived in Tarragona.
18:00 February 30, 1937 : I Corpo d’Armata has arrived in Saragossa.
1:00 March 6, 1937 : II Corpo d’Armata has arrived in Bilbao.
2:00 March 23, 1937 : II Corpo d’Armata has arrived in Oviedo.
14:00 April 12, 1937 : III Corpo d’Armata has arrived in Castellón.
11:00 April 22, 1937 : VIII Corpo d’Armata has arrived in Sigüenza.
2:00 June 13, 1937 : I Corpo d’Armata has arrived in Burgos.

At this point, Italy has a fairly concrete advantage over the Nationalists, which are pretty obviously suffering manpower issues. The remainder of the war went by fairly uneventfully…

17:00 March 14, 1938 : Nationalist Spain are now part of our nation!

Meanwhile, our army continued its training regimen.

0:00 May 29, 1937 : Rodolfo Graziani has developed ‘Spearhead Doctrine’.
0:00 January 18, 1938 : Breda has developed ‘Basic Infantry Division’.
0:00 March 15, 1938 : Rodolfo Graziani has developed ‘Schwerpunkt Doctrine’.

However, trouble was brewing on our northern border…

0:00 March 12, 1938 : Austria went with Become part of a Greater Reich in Anschluss.
0:00 March 12, 1938 : Germany had Anschluss: Annexation of Austria .
0:00 March 12, 1938 : Germany annexed Austria.

We might have to do something about this.

Couple of questions-

  1. With that kind of early interventionalism, how much of the first two or three year’s worth of IC were you able to throw at industrial expansion? I can see this being a big problem against Germany, whom you are bound to butt heads with, even with the Spanish acquisition.

  2. You’re sporting a new icon pack versus last time-I like the sterile NATO symbols. Linky?


Check “Use counters” in the options menu?

He’s talking about the icons in the left hand unit list pane. They are very nice!

The NATO symbols for units come with the EmKeiEn mod.

IC investment? Whuzzat? Almost our entire development budget is devoted to replacements and supplies. And thanks to EmKeiEn’s resource tightening, money and resources are both serious issues - the reason it took me till 12/36 to attack Spain was because it took me a few months just to earn the 300$ needed to form the alliance with my puppet states. Much of my economy is devoted to keeping my research teams up and running (which will be absolutely critical if Italy’s infantry army is going to be at all useful).

New ICs will have to come through conquest, not build orders. Italy’s starting IC total is… rather low, to say the least.

Having never played HOI, I’m a bit lost by some of the acronyms…

What’s IC? Industrial Capacity?



Correct. IC is the most important stat for production rates.


Will Italy attempt a quick invasion of Germany to avenge our Austrian brothers?

Are you kidding? Germans are scary. Let’s make friends instead. Ah, sweet non-aggression pact and free slider bonuses, how I love you so.

So instead, Italy aimed for a more suitable target in the restoration of the Empire:

10:00 August 12, 1938 : Italy declared war upon Yugoslavia.

Quickly, Europe let it be known that they were quite, quite cross at Italy and their 68 Belligerence score…

10:00 August 13, 1938 : Turkey broken the non-aggression pact they had with us.
10:00 August 14, 1938 : Greece broken the non-aggression pact they had with us.
10:00 August 17, 1938 : France broken the non-aggression pact they had with us.

That last might be a problem if they decide to intervene.

10:00 August 25, 1938 : Greece declared war upon us!
10:00 August 26, 1938 : Romania broken the non-aggression pact they had with us.
10:00 October 8, 1938 : Turkey declared war upon us!

Eh. They’re on the way. This is not really a problem.

10:00 October 9, 1938 : Germany broken the non-aggression pact they had with us.

OK, that is a problem.

We had better finish this war quickly before Germany decides to join the fray. Luckily, our troops are doing better than expected.

In fact, our estimate of subduing Yugoslavia by the end of 1938 was, if anything, conservative.

15:00 December 17, 1938 : Yugoslavia are now part of our nation!

But, the Fulmineguerra (I told you the world would learn this word) was not yet complete - after all, Greece and Turkey had had the temerity to declare war on us.

The Greeks put up even less of a fight than the Yugoslavs; the most difficult part of the battle was the amphibious invasion of Crete. Concentrated air and naval bombardment softened up the defenders nicely.

0:00 January 27, 1939 : We have engaged hostile armies in Crete.
10:00 January 27, 1939 : We won a battle against Greece in Crete.
3:00 January 30, 1939 : Greece are now part of our nation!

One of the most beautiful sights you will ever see playing Italy. (Their miniscule IC at the start allows them only three tech teams.)

Oh, wait, a minor sideshow:

0:00 March 26, 1939 : We went with Send an ultimatum to Zog in Annexation of Albania.
0:00 March 26, 1939 : Albania went with Never! in Italian Ultimatum.
0:00 March 26, 1939 : We went with Declare war in Annexation of Albania: Zog Refuses.
0:00 March 26, 1939 : Italy declared war upon Albania.
21:00 March 28, 1939 : II Corpo d’Armata has arrived in Tirana.
2:00 March 29, 1939 : Albania are now part of our nation!

Turkey was nearly undefended, and its occupation a mere formality.

16:00 February 10, 1939 : XV Corpo d’Armata has arrived in Istanbul.
1:00 April 6, 1939 : VII Corpo d’Armata has arrived in Ankara.
23:00 May 5, 1939 : XV Corpo d’Armata has arrived in Gaziantep.
22:00 May 11, 1939 : III Corpo d’Armata has arrived in Trebizond.
5:00 May 12, 1939 : Turkey are now part of our nation!

And the world witnesses the restored Roman Empire.

It is now May, 1939… Europe may be about to get interesting.

I’ve never played this game, but I am nonethless riveted and can’t wait to see how things turn out!

So, some interesting possible choices here, none of which seem to be the “right” one.

The main problem is that Italy is still industrially weak. It has 150 IC now, and will improve to about 180 or so next year with the last slider switch to Central Planning and a Prince of Terror interior minister becoming available. Which is awe-inspiring compared to Italy’s original IC of 50 or so, but… Germany, the US and the USSR all have over 300 IC each. Time isn’t on Italy’s side.

So the choices:

  1. Dig in. Build industry, research, wait for WW2 to finish, attack the winner. This is probably not the best option since Italy’s research teams aren’t very good. (I suppose an alternate version of this would be simply to never enter the war. In which case I suppose I could declare victory now!)

  2. Follow history and join Germany in attacking the Allies and the USSR. The benefits to this are obvious - annexing the Middle East and possibly moving through Iran to India. When Germany attacks Russia, Italy can easily grab the Caucasus and through aggressive amphibious assaults probably a good chunk of the Ukraine as well. However there are short term and long term problems with this. The short term problems: Italy HAS to take Gibraltar before the UK reinforces it. If the UK manages to land a significant garrison, it will be effectively invulnerable and the UK will be free to invade Italy. Even without Gibraltar, the UK and eventually the US will begin landings on Spain, which will be difficult to defend thanks to Vichy France being in the way of any strategic redeployments. And the long term problem with that strategy is that it will essentially ensure a German victory… and Germany victorious will be completely impossible to take down.

So… the third choice. Wait for Germany to entangle itself in Russia, and then stab it in the back. A very Mussolini thing to do, but fraught with danger - Russia will probably not be strong enough to follow up when Germany moves troops from Russia to blunt my attacks, and Germany will be able to blunt those attacks. It’s a gamble.

Decisions, decisions.

Tough call, but you knew it had to come up at some point.

I’d go for an open ended “option” combination of 1) and 3). Wait for Germany to become entangled with Russia, use the opportunity to consolidate, and then join the allies when they’re in good and deep and aim to pick up as many pieces as possible. Not sure if it’s possible to get the Germans to attack Russia without an alliance though…

Also, what about France? If you could take it instead of the Germans, how much IC would you gain?

I agree that an ascendant Germany must be avoided at all costs.

I’m going to go with ‘Assemble everything you have on the Austrian border and stab Germany as soon as they attack Poland’

Looks like Hungary is part of the Axis as well? they might be easier to slap around first.

I’m playing a Italian game of HOI2DD that’s turned out MUCH MUCH like Lum’s and was at exactly the same kind of crossroads.

The problem with attacking France was that darn pesky Alliance with the UK. I just couldn’t seize France quickly enough even with a few tanks added to the largely infantry army that Italy comes with. Add in that Germany and Russia BOTH declared war on me in the middle of the fighting, and it looks to be a session I will abandon after all :(

I dunno why I play Italy so often. They really are not good for the middle and late game in HOI2DD with the low IC and the terrible research teams. But they get to do stuff early so they get to the fun so much sooner.

That proclivity and reading Walter’s Czech AAR made me realize I am really not very good at the game. It’s just so darn … engrossing to think about all the POSSIBILITIES!

What if you had waited to release the African nations until after your conquest of the Balkans to get take advantage of the belligerence drop? To late now I guess.

Waiting for Germany to take France and then declaring war of Vichy might be interesting and solve your isolated Spain problem. Especially if Japan get Indochina. You could release Tunisia and such as you move through Africa if you wanted to. Madagascar might be a problem though. And I’m not sure of the conditions for German occupation of Vichy, although I think the USA needs to be involved in Africa. Not much IC in the south of France though.

Of course a DoW against Vichy will push your belligerence score to the point that everyone could declare war on you.

You got me poking into the event files for HOI2 again. Glad I keep it installed.

Hungary isn’t in the Axis… it’s difficult to see in that shot thanks to color scheme but Germany liberated Slovakia.

However I seriously doubt that I could distract Germany from annexing Poland, at which point my infantry army would be slapped around like a rag doll. Waiting for the USSR to join in is probably the best bet.

The next in the series of dominos to fall: France, in August of 1940. Well, the parts left not being run by that odd General off in Africa or somewhere.

The real danger here of course, is Germany intervening. They guaranteed Vichy France’s independence, and I sunk quite a bit of funds into keeping them supposedly happy. Which of course could mean nothing at all with my 110+ belligerance score. If that goes much higher, heck, Switzerland may intervene.

Continental France was swiftly subdued. An amphibious invasion of Morrocco was next; during which the entire Italian fleet was wiped out by a French carrier flotilla. Huh. Who knew. Still, by ferrying troops quickly across the divide between Spain and Africa, a bridgehead was established.

20:00 October 22, 1940 : French State are now part of our nation!

And, as is inevitable, the march towards Roman restoration continues.

Shortly after this shot, the African territories were given putative independence, in a flurry of diplomatic ceremonies which managed to lower my belligerence score to… uh… 75. Double that of Germany’s. Yeah, I’m so dead when the US wakes up.

3:00 November 28, 1940 : The people of Corsica declared independence from Italy.
3:00 November 28, 1940 : The people of Morocco declared independence from Italy.
3:00 November 28, 1940 : The people of Algeria declared independence from Italy.
15:00 December 15, 1940 : The people of Tunisia declared independence from Italy.

1941 rolls around, and Germany fails to invade the USSR on schedule.

1942 rolls around, and Germany fails to invade the USSR on schedule.

Italy currently is out of manpower from building CAS air fleets (around 12) and infantry divisions (over 100), and may start on a program of deploying armor. Will that be enough to defeat an undistracted Germany? (No.) Should Italy attack the Allies instead? (without a navy? No.)

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s thrilling continunation: Please Hitler, Russia is JUST SITTING THERE!

What’s your dissent like?

I’m seeing some Turkish provinces just itching to rebel.