Italy in Russia



  • I continue to hear about how the axis should use Italy to punch holes in Russia’s lines and reinforce with Germans, but I don’t see how you can get any Italians into Russia, when Italy is having a hard time in the Med. I can see the Italians possibly going through Iraq, but the UK usually kills off that Italian army before it can move anywhere. Can someone please layout a specific strategy for getting any Italians in Russia?



  • Built a couple mechs and a tank in North Italy.  Move them east.
    Sometimes I like to move the 2 infantry in Albania through Bulgaria, and attack East Poland on I3, in time to start a heavy G4 Barbarossa.



  • I would like to hear viable strategies for Italy going in any direction, the new setup kills Italy when you consider the flexability the UK can focus in the Med.



  • Yeah, UK can certainly stunt Italy’s movements in the Med/Africa hard.
    The investment to help Germany in Russia is small enough, fortunately, the amount of resources that you need to get that can-opener started is pretty small.  So you should be able to accomplish it every game, so long as you try to.



  • Italy could attack through Yugoslavia and Romania to attack the southern Russian spaces. If Italy takes a Russian space German planes can now land there making it harder for Russia to make counter attacks on their turn. Its more effective to attack with minor IC’s in Iraq and Persia and give Russia a second front or third if Japan has made an attack. Italy would need control of the Meditteranean Sea to open a third front.


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    AIR POWER, and the odd inf or mec unit, is the best way for Italy to accomplish this feat.

    They already start with a strategic bomber.  If you can make 2, that not only gives you naval prowess,  but if you can get just 1 or 2 ground units to the east, even if you intend to NEVER use them,  it forces the russians to consider the possibiliy of can-opener tactics, which can be a real nightmare to predict.

    The THREAT is more often useful, than the actual can-opening.  But if your opponent makes the mistake, you get the chance to hammer them hard.



  • If Italy declares war on Russia, does that mean Russia an declare war on Germany or just Italy?

    I see the potential on G3 of having all of Germany’s units in Eastern Poland while Germany not being at war on G3 and being able to land its Aircraft on top of its stacks there.  Added bonus of collecting a 5 IPC NO for Germany by making Russia declare war.

    And you still have the potential for Italy to “open the can” once more into either Smolensk, Bryansk, or Ukraine for G4.



  • i would build a tank with italy on I1 and move the existing one in northern italy and albania to romania and move in behind the germans, sometimes the soviet player might leave one or very few units blocking the way to moscow, for which i use those unites to remove any obstacles and allowing the german player to do a blitz (sometimes even to moscow), the russian might still have many units and can take moscow back but most of the time if pulled off properly you can cripple the russian.



  • I’d add something to the previous:

    And the Russian doesn’t see it coming.

    Any smart Russian can see 2 Italian tanks moving with the German stack, possibly clearing blockers, and will devote say 4 inf. to the blocker to ensure they’re safe.



  • Course blocking can-openers has a draw-back as well-
    Italy won’t attack your 4 Inf, but Germany will then send 2 Inf and a bunch of planes, clearing your blockers with very little cost.  Trading small stacks of Russian Inf every turn in order to stop can-openers gets expensive.  As Germany I’d like to bleed Russia of infantry each turn, even if I’m advancing a little more slowly because of it.
    It’s a tough decision for Russia to make.



  • As long as when Germany shows up on Moscow’s doorstep, Russia has 12 IPC to spend to replace those 3-4  Infantry that delayed Germany a turn from getting to Moscow, it was worth the investment.



  • But that leaves you with a net gain of 0, while the German stack is growing.
    Germany will still be reaching Moscow at around the same time, all that changes is how quickly and how much the economics will swing.

    Delaying them by blocking the can-opener will let you hold on to a couple territories for an extra turn, but I don’t know if that justifies the extra infantry that were lost to block.

    Not disagreeing with you, but I think it’s a difficult decision.  I know I’d prefer to only block with 1 Inf - or none, if I know the can-opener is coming - and just accept that Germany will get to advance.  I’ll save my infantry for a later battle that way.



  • OK. Here’s why you sometimes NEED a blocking force:

    Your retreating northern stack is 1 space away from Moscow. The German mech/tank stack is 2 spaces away. You NEED a blocking strategy strong enough to hold off the Germans so your stack can get there.



  • @Spendo02:

    As long as when Germany shows up on Moscow’s doorstep, Russia has 12 IPC to spend to replace those 3-4  Infantry that delayed Germany a turn from getting to Moscow, it was worth the investment.

    The flip side is, germany has had another turn to bring more shinny toys to play with russia.



  • Well Russia has another turn of builds.

    And those extra land units are going to mean less in the west.



  • @techroll42:

    Well Russia has another turn of builds.

    But your net gain is much less than Germany’s because you lost several infantry and Germany didn’t.  That’s still bad for you.

    And those extra land units are going to mean less in the west.

    Er…this doesn’t follow at all.  Germany’s always going to be devoting resources to both fronts.  Being delayed in advancing in Russia doesn’t affect how much Germany will put in the West at all.  This doesn’t really make sense.



  • Sure it does.

    Say Germany realizes Italy will can-opener. So they don’t build ANYTHING in the east and go for the west.

    If Italy can’t can-opener, Germany will build something for the east, meaning less for the west.



  • With Italy, try making attacks of opportunity in the Med/North Africa, but at the same time make a steady march of 3-4 infantry per round to the east a priority. Add a naval unit every turn, if you can.

    Never stop the flow, unless they’re needed for defense. You’ll see the possibilities.

    I believe the issue is - people instinctively make the same mistake made by the Axis in the real war - adventuring in North Africa/Middle East while the real war lies with Russia. Every unit matters against the Red Army!

    I like to wait until the last minute, then pull my forces out of Africa, not throw good money after bad. Build a constantly replenishing naval shield in SZ95, backed by a few German fighters, and with a few Italian fighter purchases while your economy is flush from NOs (and a credible Kriegsmarine in SZ112), you can hold off the Allies just enough to set up a chain of cheap infantry/artillery. They can handle the southern flank of Russia for a time while Germany assaults the north and keeps Russia’s attention.

    Because Italy takes and Germany reinforces on the front, Italy can maintain an economy in the low 20s even with all of their NOs taken away. That buys 4 - 5 infantry and a destroyer or sub every round. If I get a little extra cash, I get an extra naval unit or fighter.

    This works - especially when your opponent isn’t prepared for it. I play against an experienced player who knows exactly what I’m up to, and it’s still hard for him to stop. The sheer volume of German/Italian forces is just overwhelming.



  • @techroll42:

    Say Germany realizes Italy will can-opener. So they don’t build ANYTHING in the east and go for the west.

    Okay, I see what you’re saying.
    Germany can’t really afford to not spend heavily in the east though. � If there’s a turn where Germany doesn’t send another wave of troops east, that gives Russia quite a bit of breathing room. � Can openers are great, but they don’t improve your German army’s offensive power - they just make it more safe to counter-attack. � Germany needs to increase its army’s offensive power every turn to make Russia’s growing stack feel that it is in danger.

    @Stalingradski:

    With Italy, try making attacks of opportunity in the Med/North Africa, but at the same time make a steady march of 3-4 infantry per round to the east a priority.

    I don’t quite understand this part.  Once you’ve got your can-opener set up effectively (I like to use 3-4 Inf/Mechs and ~2 Arm) why keep adding Italian troops?  The can-opener’s main purpose is to take blocker territories that the Germans can reinforce.  Against large Russian forces, the Italians are useless on offense, so all you’re doing is making your German/Italian army a bit harder to kill.  Surely there are better uses for the 9-12 IPCs a turn you’re sending east from Italy?



  • Good question Alsch -

    #1 Don’t forget the Italian bomber! Combined with just a few infantry and an artillery here and there, it’s a credible threat to most small stacks (2-4 Russians). Russia can’t afford to lose 2-3 infantry per turn to Italy - they need every available unit against Germany.

    #2 I head for the north with Germany, invading through the Baltic States/Scandanavian countries/Baltic as a general rule, which allows for the maximum concentration of firepower possible. So, Russia has to choose between defending north or south. If they expend the resources necessary to deal with the small flow of Italians through Bessarabia/Nothern Ukraine/Ukraine, it bleeds off enough to allow Germany to keep moving forward.

    That being said - your use of Italian mech and armor, reinforced by large German forces is brilliant - it keeps the mechanized forces alive, captures the territory for Italy, and preserves German infantry. That’s a win-win-win.

    I just find in games I play that I have a very limited window in Africa and the Middle East. I’d love to play against someone who left Italy alone to go adventuring, because I sure would. My strategy is how I’ve adapted to an opponent who dedicates to holding Egypt/Iraq/Persia as well as SZ91. The Allies can be amazingly strong in the center of the board, if they choose to be.



  • I’ve found that if Germany adequately threatens Sealion on G1 - standard - that give Italy just enough room to take Egypt.
    If Italy builds an IC there and just uses it to hold on to Egypt, I’ve found that Italy can hold on to Egypt against the South African and potential Iraq/Persian UK factories.  Obviously a good US investment can take it back, but it’s nearly impossible for UK to do on its own.

    It doesn’t require too large of an investment to hold on to Egypt.  Everything else can be sent to Gibraltar/SZ 91.
    Holding on to Egypt/North Africa lets Italy retain enough resources to contest the Western regions longer, and requires constant UK output to keep Italy from running wild.

    That’s what I go for when I expand into Africa with Italy.  If UK is smart, you probably won’t get much of a foothold in the Middle East, but it’s certainly still worth it.

    And with Germany in Barbarossa, I like what you’re saying there.  Concentrating forces is essential.
    I do it a bit differently though.  When I invade, I take East Poland with Italy and move the entirety of my German forces to reinforce.  Now Russia is forced to decide what to defend, as you said.  Typically they’ll pull back to Bryansk and might move the Novgorod forces to Archangel.  Maybe not.

    Either way, in this situation, the northern path is defended more heavily than the southern.  Thus I’ll move my German/Italian forces into Ukraine together, preserving both of their strength.  This gets me the greater cash rewards of the southern regions.  I’ve found that Russia is usually forced to pull its northern forces back in the face of the combined Scandanavian and Naval threats.  So I’ll get Novgorod inevitably, whether I dedicate significant resources to taking it or not.



  • Germany is Eastern front
    Italy is Med.



  • I like what you’re saying, Alsch. I’ll consider it pretty strongly next time I’m the Axis. I especially like the point about going south in force on the East Front and Germany being able to pound away at the north anyhow.

    Plus, it makes me less predictable  😄

    The issue for me as Italy is that my opponent as the UK hits both SZ97 and 96, every game. I start by having to make some tough choices as Italy. I feel good about the fact that in that situation, I’m usually still able to get as high as 30 IPCs (or more) by I4 or I5, which then drops back to the mid to low 20s as the US gets involved and starts helping to take away NOs. At that point, Africa has become a non-factor for me, and Med defense/pounding on Russia becomes everything.

    Do people you play use the UK so aggressively in the Med? Or do you often find yourself with two transports? That makes a huge difference. If I have any semblance of an Italian fleet that can protect two original transports, I’d go after Egypt, absolutely, and work hard to get a German land unit there as well.



  • Also, I always posture for a potential Sealion to force UK economy to stay home.


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