• '17 '16 '13 '12

    Any long term advantage of doing giving the Italians a bit more punch on the Russian front?

    These infantries are really nice to get for the Germans, but prospects of forming a potent Italian army that could “can open” two, even 3 territories at once on I3 (Eastern Poland, Baltic States and Bessarabia) is pretty interesting…

    On G4, Germany has the opening to punch through with mechanized units to take any of Novgorod, Belarus, Western Ukraine or Ukraine. That is many option that may create opportunity to divide Soviet forces into two stacks. With greater german mobility, it may be possible to isolate each stack and deal with it individually.

    Say on G4, if majority of Russian forces are in Belarus, than go south and take Ukraine / Western Ukraine with Germans mechanized units.

    If forces are more evenly spread betwen Belarus and Bryansk, then advance German stack to Baltic states and take Leningrad with a light force of mechanized / amphibious forces.

    It looks like the combination of a decent Italian force and decent German mechanized stack takes most initiative away from the Russians on the Eastern front.


  • Smart idea in theory (although I honestly believe giving the Germans more forces is a better idea), but you need to remember that the Germans may not have a strong enough mechanized force even by the too-late date of G4. They’ll still have a LOT of infantry and artillery which simply can’t keep up with the push, meaning they’re fighting at reduced strength.

  • '17 '16 '13 '12

    @techroll42:

    Smart idea in theory (although I honestly believe giving the Germans more forces is a better idea), but you need to remember that the Germans may not have a strong enough mechanized force even by the too-late date of G4. They’ll still have a LOT of infantry and artillery which simply can’t keep up with the push, meaning they’re fighting at reduced strength.

    I think the strategy of using the Italians to open up the Eastern Front on I3 would force the Russian player to divide its forces between Belarus and Bryant (with more forces on Belarus).

    The key, is whether this strategy open oppotunities? Cheap walk to Novorgod for example, while German stacks walk over to Baltic States, negating ability of Soviets to re-take Leningrad by fear of the counter-attack.

    Concerning the late G4, waiting gives +5 to Germany and prevents Russia from getting + 5. Opens possibilities (e.g.,like late sea lion)

    Definitely interested to hear more thoughts on this.


  • Italy can take Yugo and Greece if Germany strafes the two spots, particularly if Germany takes Bulgaria and can use those Inf to support a Tank Blitz from Romania after strafing Yugo on G1.

    Thats better imo use of the entire area for the Axis than the debate over who takes Bulgaria.  Germany can opens for Italy 4 IPC worth of territories by the completion of I2.  With S.France on I1, those 3 territories are hard to take back and Italy has just jumped its economy to 17 IPC / round before NO’s and considering Africa.

  • '17 '16 '13 '12

    @Spendo02:

    Italy can take Yugo and Greece if Germany strafes the two spots, particularly if Germany takes Bulgaria and can use those Inf to support a Tank Blitz from Romania after strafing Yugo on G1.

    Thats better imo use of the entire area for the Axis than the debate over who takes Bulgaria.  Germany can opens for Italy 4 IPC worth of territories by the completion of I2.  With S.France on I1, those 3 territories are hard to take back and Italy has just jumped its economy to 17 IPC / round before NO’s and considering Africa.

    I’ve thought of that, but does not help getting Italians to the front.

  • Customizer

    I’ve never really understood the idea of having Italy “can open” for Germany. I understand the idea, that Italy could take the front territories allowing Germany to blitz through with tanks and mechs to take better territories, especially if one of those is the Ukraine with it’s Minor IC.
    The part I don’t understand is just how Italy is supposed to do this. Italy doesn’t have a lot of ground troops to start with. Even if Italy attacks I3, the most they could have in any one territory is 4 infantry, 2 artillery and 2 tanks. If they build a tank and mech I1, you could add that plus the 2 fighters and 1 bomber. Any builds after I1, unless it’s aircraft, could not reach Russian territories. Also, this would mean that Italy wouldn’t be attacking anything else in Europe unless it was by transported infantry from Southern Italy and that’s assuming the Brits didn’t kill off too much of the Italian navy.
    What if the Russian player decides to defend heavy on the border? Then there is no way Italy can attack all three border territories with it’s small force, they would be doing good to hit just one of them and even that would eat up their force in the process. They might be able to help Germany that first round, but I think after that they wouldn’t have enough units unless you just kept sending mechs and tanks from Italy to Russia.
    Which brings me to another point. If Italy is commiting so much to helping Germany in Russia, they will not be able to make much if any progress in the Med or Africa where most of Italy’s NOs are. So while Italy may end up being some small help to Germany, they will be doing almost nothing for their own economy and the Brits will trash them in the Med and Africa.

  • '17 '16 '13 '12

    If Russia defends heavy on the border, then Germany would attack on G4 to take these units out of action. Therefore the Russian player won’t do that. If force is too strong to attack with Italian units it’s probably a juicy target for the Germans.

    Italian economy being small is a potential issue, wondering if attacking russia on G4 helps with that (e.g., Germany threats sea lion and helps clear the med on G2-G3)

    On your point about Italian forces being too small, have you taken into account taking over bulgaria (adds 4 infantry to what you mentioned)

    @knp7765:

    I’ve never really understood the idea of having Italy “can open” for Germany. I understand the idea, that Italy could take the front territories allowing Germany to blitz through with tanks and mechs to take better territories, especially if one of those is the Ukraine with it’s Minor IC.
    The part I don’t understand is just how Italy is supposed to do this. Italy doesn’t have a lot of ground troops to start with. Even if Italy attacks I3, the most they could have in any one territory is 4 infantry, 2 artillery and 2 tanks. If they build a tank and mech I1, you could add that plus the 2 fighters and 1 bomber. Any builds after I1, unless it’s aircraft, could not reach Russian territories. Also, this would mean that Italy wouldn’t be attacking anything else in Europe unless it was by transported infantry from Southern Italy and that’s assuming the Brits didn’t kill off too much of the Italian navy.
    What if the Russian player decides to defend heavy on the border? Then there is no way Italy can attack all three border territories with it’s small force, they would be doing good to hit just one of them and even that would eat up their force in the process. They might be able to help Germany that first round, but I think after that they wouldn’t have enough units unless you just kept sending mechs and tanks from Italy to Russia.
    Which brings me to another point. If Italy is commiting so much to helping Germany in Russia, they will not be able to make much if any progress in the Med or Africa where most of Italy’s NOs are. So while Italy may end up being some small help to Germany, they will be doing almost nothing for their own economy and the Brits will trash them in the Med and Africa.


  • Italy doesn’t need a large force to get the utility of a can opener.
    A couple infantry - mechanized or not - and 1-2 tanks will do.  You’ll never need to invest more into Italian ground forces once you’ve got that going.

    If Russia stacks the border heavy to stop the Italians, that’s perfect.  Germany gets to kill even more Russian units.  Great!

    Can opening isn’t really done so that German mechanized units can move through and take another space.  If you can, great, but it’s not the main point.  Just don’t do it if it will place your expensive mechanized groups in danger of being killed by Russian infantry.  The advantage to can opening is that your German army gets to maintain its strength.  You don’t lose German infantry in a trade war with Russia.  You can also reinforce those positions with German air, which can let your main army advance quicklier than it could otherwise.

  • '17 '16 '13 '12

    So you’re saying that Italy does not need Bulgaria to take this role?

    How many territories can you reasonably open up on I3 without Bulgaria?

    With several “can opening” options exercised by Italians on I3, the Russian are forced to take into account the potential for a strike at any of the following:

    Combination of Mechanized with troops from Poland / Amphibious assault at Leningrad (assuming italian Planes sink a Russian blocker in 114)
    Mechanized / air strike at Belarus with troops from Poland, with option to strike and retreat (e.g., losing mech infantry in the first round).

    Mechanised / air strike at Western Ukraine with troops from Poland, with option to strike and retreat (e.g., losing mech infantry in first round)
    Ukraine with Mechanized troops from Romania + air

    I understand you can’t leave yourself exposed to a counterattack, but can the soviets have a counterattack ready for all these locations?

    Scenario 1: Soviets are very heavy in Leningrad in R3 (They would need quite a bit there to defend against what’s available to reach this)

    Then bring all German mechanized forces to Western Ukraine /Ukraine (assuming that forces in Bryant and Rostov are not significant enough to mass a potent counterattack). On I4, Italy can potentially open Bryansk and open the door to Moscow, or Ukraine to open Rostov.

    Scenario 2:  Soviet massed up in Belarus in R3

    German push infantry stack to baltic states and take Leningrad "with a moderate force consisting mostly of mechanized infantry. Planes land and baltic states for defence. Soviet cannot commit forces to re-take leningrad because they would be decimated. Can’t hold on in Belarus either because all German power can reach next turn.

    Most likely outcome is that Russians pull back to smolensk or bryansk. Leningrad gets in German hands on G4 and stays there for good. Option to cut off Archangel.

    On I4, Italy talkes Belarus and potentially Archangel.  On G5, can march infantry to Belarus / land planes there. On R5, the soviet is forced back to Moscow.

    From that point on, German mechanized forces and Italian armored forces can spread out in Russia’s  South and Rear while awaiting a steady reinforcement of infantries to take moscow (helped by German complex in Leningrad, potentially Ukraine)

    Scenario 3: Soviet are heavy in Bryansk in R3

    Outcome is similar to Scenario 2, just go take Leningrad

    Scenario 4: Soviets left a medium size stack in either Belarus or Western Ukraine

    Then, attack with mechanized stack, retreat once losses will become tanks as opposed to Mech Infantry. Goal is to wipe out Soviet units with a lot of punch power, but retreat to not be exposed to a counter-attack


  • @Omega1759:

    So you’re saying that Italy does not need Bulgaria to take this role?

    Yes.  It’s so much more important for the attacking force - Germany - to maximize its attacking ability.

    How many territories can you reasonably open up on I3 without Bulgaria?

    I only need one, East Poland.  Germany follows and then Russia is forced to choose a direction, north or south.

    With several “can opening” options exercised by Italians on I3, the Russian are forced to take into account the potential for a strike at any of the following:

    Combination of Mechanized with troops from Poland / Amphibious assault at Leningrad (assuming italian Planes sink a Russian blocker in 114)

    On R4, Russia should have around 30 Infantry, a handful of artillery, a few tanks, and its planes in range of Leningrad.
    Anything you put there will be destroyed, and Russia will only lose infantry.  Great deal for Russia.
    If possible, I’d strafe your mechanized (read: expensive) forces and retreat back, so you can’t hit me with whatever’s in Baltic States.

    Mechanized / air strike at Belarus with troops from Poland, with option to strike and retreat (e.g., losing mech infantry in the first round).

    There will always be a very significant force in Belarus.  Any German attack there will lose a lot more than it will kill.

    Mechanised / air strike at Western Ukraine with troops from Poland, with option to strike and retreat (e.g., losing mech infantry in first round)
    Ukraine with Mechanized troops from Romania + air

    This is more plausible, since the southern stack is usually smaller than the northern one.
    You’d have to have a lot of mechs to make it worth it though.  If I trade Russian infantry for German mechs on a near 1-1 ratio, that’s a great deal for Russia.

    I understand you can’t leave yourself exposed to a counterattack, but can the soviets have a counterattack ready for all these locations?

    A good Russian player will always have stacks in Belarus and Northern Ukraine.  Russian planes/tanks/mechs can swing around and reinforce any weaker points as needed.

    Scenario 1: Soviets are very heavy in Leningrad in R3 (They would need quite a bit there to defend against what’s available to reach this)

    If you’ve got a good naval and mechanized threat, Russia would be smart to leave Leningrad very lightly defended, if at all.  Rather they’d stack up in Belarus, ready to kill whatever you put there.

    Scenario 2: �� Soviet massed up in Belarus in R3

    German push infantry stack to baltic states and take Leningrad "with a moderate force consisting mostly of mechanized infantry. Planes land and baltic states for defence. Soviet cannot commit forces to re-take leningrad because they would be decimated.

    I think this is where I’d disagree most.  If you split your main force between two territories, Russia can attack one, destroy it at the cost of a few Russian infantry, and retreat back, probably to Archangel.  All the expensive mechs you put in Leningrad are traded for very little.

    On I4, Italy talkes Belarus and potentially Archangel. �� On G5, can march infantry to Belarus / land planes there. On R5, the soviet is forced back to Moscow.

    I really think you’re underestimating Russia’s counter-attacking capability.  If Russia moves back Bryansk on R4 - for whatever reason - there’ll probably be upwards of 45 infantry, 5-8 artillery, and 5-7 tanks ready to smack whatever’s in Belarus.  If Russia plays smart tactically, they can make Germany’s advance pretty challenging.

    Scenario 3: Soviet are heavy in Bryansk in R3

    That’s kinda weird; I’ve never seen that.

    Scenario 4: Soviets left a medium size stack in either Belarus or Western Ukraine

    Russia will either put everything together into those two spots, or won’t do it at all.  Placing medium stacks is very dangerous for either side.

  • '17 '16 '13 '12

    I don’t think Russians would counterattack Leningrad if the only thing there is there is 3-4 units, mostly mech infantry. Russians can’t take a significant force and be certain to retreat to Archangel. They would need to go with a moderate force to attack it and retreat. In that case, is it really worth it? The infantry from Finland will be knocking at the door next turn anyway. Plus, retreating part of army to Archangel and other part to smolensk looks dangerous.

    If soviets choose to take back Leningrad en masse, then Germans can pound it with everything they’ve got (including Finland + most of infantry stack, + amphibious + air + mechanized). This should be sufficient to pummell the russians.

    Am I not seeing something?

    I agree with most of your points, but not sure you can have all the counters working in all the different places.

    Not mentioning that Russia may not think that Italy will open up 3 different territories on the same turn, there is a surprise element to this.


  • @knp7765:

    I’ve never really understood the idea of having Italy “can open” for Germany. I understand the idea, that Italy could take the front territories allowing Germany to blitz through with tanks and mechs to take better territories, especially if one of those is the Ukraine with it’s Minor IC.
    The part I don’t understand is just how Italy is supposed to do this. Italy doesn’t have a lot of ground troops to start with. Even if Italy attacks I3, the most they could have in any one territory is 4 infantry, 2 artillery and 2 tanks. If they build a tank and mech I1, you could add that plus the 2 fighters and 1 bomber. Any builds after I1, unless it’s aircraft, could not reach Russian territories. Also, this would mean that Italy wouldn’t be attacking anything else in Europe unless it was by transported infantry from Southern Italy and that’s assuming the Brits didn’t kill off too much of the Italian navy.
    What if the Russian player decides to defend heavy on the border? Then there is no way Italy can attack all three border territories with it’s small force, they would be doing good to hit just one of them and even that would eat up their force in the process. They might be able to help Germany that first round, but I think after that they wouldn’t have enough units unless you just kept sending mechs and tanks from Italy to Russia.
    Which brings me to another point. If Italy is commiting so much to helping Germany in Russia, they will not be able to make much if any progress in the Med or Africa where most of Italy’s NOs are. So while Italy may end up being some small help to Germany, they will be doing almost nothing for their own economy and the Brits will trash them in the Med and Africa.

    This is exactly where I am at. Even if Italy brings the 4 inf from Bulgaria to the Russia Front, Italy needs to devote some high caliber units to get any hits. 1 Italian fighter not in the Med makes a huge difference, and I never really have an opportunity to divert any tanks or hard hitting units to Russia. What can you buy as Italy that will still allow you to maintain your presence in the med?


  • @Omega1759:

    I don’t think Russians would counterattack Leningrad if the only thing there is there is 3-4 units, mostly mech infantry.

    Ah I see.  I wasn’t sure how large of a force you meant.
    In that case, as Russia I would attack it.
    4 Infantry + planes will take it back without losing much of anything to the counter attack.  I’d be happy to trade Russian infantry for German mechs.  The remaining force from Belarus would most likely go to Bryansk to defend the northern and southern routes.

    If the remainder of your army is split at all between Baltic States and East Poland, I’d attack the East Poland stack and retreat to West Ukraine.  Stripping your army of a good chunk of its infantry would be a nice opportunity.

  • '17 '16 '13 '12

    Yes, you are correct that a force of 4 mechanized infantry would present a good counter-attack opportunity (provided that planes are not needed anywhere else).

    A greater force or a AA Gun dropped in the non-combat phase could change that, but pretty tricky to pull off the right balance.

    Too big of a force gives rise to possibility for an attack with retreat.

    In the end, really depends what’s in Leningrad at the time where it would come under attack.

    I need to put units on the board and try this (with various dosage of mech infantry) to see what’s going on.

    7 mech = 1 transport + 7 infantry…

  • '17 '16 '15

    nothing wrong with giving the italians a little more power on the eastern front,but I don’t think I would use  the bulgarians
    they should probably be germanized
    kinda depends on uk
    if they pull back to the home islands you should be able to buy a couple mechs to go with your armour maybe an inf or two that survives greece
    but like alsch says you don’t really need to can open but one space allowing the germans to move their air power with their troops
    even a few italians can make a difference
    I like to have a small force if I can

  • '17 '16 '13 '12

    Thanks for everyone’s thought on this.

    Looks like consensus is leaving Bulgaria to Germany and try to bring a small mechanized Italan force for limited can opening.

  • TripleA

    I like to strafe because  germany has to move toward russia. italy should hammer out the pro allies neutrals, but bulgaria I like to be german. The rest I strafe if I can.

    you only need 2 italy tanks to can opener for germany.


  • @Cow:

    you only need 2 italy tanks to can opener for germany.

    I disagree. As Russia some people put 2-3 or even 5 infantry to stop can opening from a small force.
    Example: I am Russia and I have 3 infantry on defense and you Cow have 2 tanks.

    Let’s use ll rules
    R1
    2 tanks with 3 hit for a total of 6 and u get one hit
    3 inf with 2 hit for a total of 6 I get one hit

    1 tank v 2 inf

    R2
    1 tank no hits
    2 inf no hits

    R3
    1 tank 1 hit
    2 inf 1 hit

    1 inf no tanks - Russia wins

    As you see in my lazy example 2 tanks alone can’t canopen

  • '17

    Germany will net gain every time the Soviets block Italian can-opening in such a way because it can send fewer attacking infantry (compared to Soviet defenders) + planes.  So even the threat of can-opening is useful on the Eastern front.

    Better yet if the Soviets have to block more than one territory.

  • TripleA

    well forcing a guy to use 3 inf to block, is better than 1 inf. He has to pay the cost of doing business. Plus I rather a bigger german stack for the battle that matters.


  • This has been stated before:

    If Russia blocks a 2 tank+ Italian can-opening threat in every territory, it will lose way too much to the Germans.


  • A fairly common move is for Germany to strafe Yugoslavia with units from South Germany and Romania and then retreat to Romania.  Has anyone tried doing the same thing but with Italy, using units from Northern Italy and Albania strafing yugo to retreat to Albania?

    With Bulgaria activated by Italy and those artillery units retreated to Albania, Italy should be able to easily wrap up Yugoslavia and Greece on round 2.  That allows Germany to proceed with Barbarossa earlier instead of mucking around down in Greece.


  • Which would’ve helped IRL…

    Anyways, I’m going to try to do something different today: G1 Barbarossa. But still I’m taking Bul.

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