1914 Italy's turn by Larry harris

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Axis & Allies 1914
    Reports from the Front.
    A walk through round one


    We all know that Italy ended up on the Allies’ side. How did this country migrate from a full-fledged member of the Central Powers to a full-fledged member of the Great Alliance in May of 1915?

    You might have picked up on the date Italy joined the Allies… 1915. Yep, I took a little liberty to include Italy as member of the alliance a year before it historically actually was. I mean, our game begins in 1914… Thus the name Axis & Allies 1914. Truth be told, I saw no great value in having Italy begin as a neutral or a member of the Central Powers for the first turn of the game, and then suddenly switch to the other alliance. Wow… that blows my mind! I didnt need the 5 extra paragraphs in the rules that would have to explain all this. Sometimes its just a good idea to stretch or expand time in order to make for a smoother flow of the greater story. Ive often said that Axis & Allies is not a simulation game but rather a broad brush approach to history.

    The game bows, respectfully, to all things historical. It wants to, or at least aspires to, educate or be a humble tool that shines a light on some amazing theme or place. If you want or need more than that, youll have to read the words of those who know far more about the given subject than I ever will.

    As the Italian player begins his or her turn it should be noted that Austria already introduced herself earlier in the round and moved forces into Venice. That resulted in making Venice a contested territory. A contested territory is a territory that is not controlled by any single power. It is occupied by units of one or more powers on each side. No one receives the territorys generated IPCs. Be sure to update the National Production Chart when territories enter and leave contested territory status.

    The boot that makes up mainland Italy consists of Naples in the south and Rome and Tuscany in the north, with Tuscany extending further north and bordering Piedmont to the northwest and contested Venice to the northeast. Rome, the Italian capital, is located two territories from the now contested Venice. This two territory count marks the supply line between the power’s’ capital and its major front line. Looking at the map, Vienna, the Austrian capital, is also two territories away from Venice. So no one side has any advantage in that realm of military operations. The Austrians, on the other hand, make a bit more IPCs than Italy. They make more than twice as many, actually, with an income of 26 versus Italys starting 14. Notice I said starting IPCs with Venice being a contested territory, Italy now makes 12 IPCs… It would appear that Austria would have little trouble in pushing its way to Rome. The big equalizer here is Austrias many other borders and commitments. All that, of course, is in the hands of the controlling players to figure out.

    As any power does, Italy begins its turn by purchasing new units. It could also repair any damaged battleships that may have been in the large sea zone (sea zone 17 actually) off Rome, where it has a naval base. Even with Italys loss of Venice, it has 14 IPCs to spend on its first turn. Three infantry and 1 artillery seem to be in order. That leaves Italy with 1 precious unspent IPC that it can use next turn. The new purchased units are placed on the Mobilization Zone located in the Sahara.

    Italian forces begin to march and sail. The navy makes the case that it is critical to damage or destroy the Austrian fleet located in sea zone 18, located in the northern waters of the Adriatic. To let the Austrian fleet sit there, unmolested, would invite an Austrian naval supported flanking action into Tuscany, and if successful would cut the supply lines to contested Venice. Not to give anything away but this is what the Italian Admiral used as his defense argument at his Court Martial just prior to being shot by firing squad. Any damned fool could see that there was no way the Austrians could conduct an amphibious assault against the Italian forces in Tuscany.

    Italy moves its dreadnought and cruiser into sea zone 18 and challenges the Austrian fleet. With this battle being between equally matched forces, the battle can quickly go either way. The Italian player decides to see how the first exchange of battling dice goes before totally committing his fleet to more rounds of danger. At least that’s the idea.

    Meanwhile the Italian transport, also located in sea zone 17, heads for the coast of Libya and picks up 1 infantry and 1 artillery… These forces will be delivered to Tuscany. A transport can carry land units and/or fighters belonging to your power or to friendly powers. A transports cargo capacity is any two land units and/or fighters. A transport can load land units and/or fighters from an adjacent territory while in any friendly sea zone along its route, including the sea zone it started in, as it is in this case. Place the loaded units alongside the transport in the sea zone. Of course, any units aboard a transport are considered cargo until they offload. Your units can offload from your transport in the same turn in which it loaded them (whether or not the transport moves), or the units can remain at sea until a future turn. As with loading, offloading can only be done to an adjacent territory from a friendly sea zone. Once units offload from a transport, the transport may not move any further, and no other units may be loaded onto it in that turn. A transport may not offload into more than one territory in the same turn, but it can offload one unit while the other remains on board. Thought I’d get into some transport rules while we were at it.

    I think it would be safe to say that a debate in the upper levels of the high command in Rome must have taken place. It was probably suggested that these transported forces be moved to Albania. Indeed, if they were transported there they would have been greeted by newly mobilized friendly forces. Three infantry and one artillery to be precise, as per the game’s Mobilizing a Minor Neutral Power rules. The way the map looks, it would appear that Albania was a fairly powerful little nation being worth 2 IPCs, the same as neighboring Greece. I fear that this is a bit misleading. Still, this region had to be represented, and I thought it better to call it Albania rather than say Montenegro or Montenegro/Albania.

    That Italian high command I was talking about decided that only after Venice was liberated should Italy engage in any additional battle fronts. We can debate the merits of of this line of thinking at another time.

    Troop movements continues. The single infantry unit in Naples is moved to Tuscany and the 6 infantry and 2 artillery in Rome are also marched and transported into Tuscany. This brings Italian forces in Tuscany to 8 infantry and 3 artillery. Aah… the idea that Austria could possibly conduct an amphibious assault against this force with only one transport was of course worthy of a Court Martial. Pronti, Puntarte, Fuoco! Or as Krieghund likes to put it… Pronti, Fuoco, Puntarte!
    The large Italian force in Piedmont, consisting of 6 infantry and 2 artillery, are moved to Venice, and yes, they will, along with the Italian units already there (2 infantry and 2 artillery), attack the Austrians in the mountains near and around Isonzo, located in the territory we refer to as Venice.

    What to do with the Italian infantry located in Africa? With the permission of the British Empire, these forces are moved to British East Africa. Where they go from there, if anywhere, will be dictated by the events that unfold in that delicate part of the world.

    Just after all movements have been made and before the combat begins… Two large Italian war ships are seen steaming into sea zone 18. All sea zones that have a naval base symbol are considered to be mined, and guess what… sea zone 18 has a naval base symbol and its controlled by the Austrians. The Italian admiral was aware of the mines. He thought them to be an acceptable risk. The Austrian player rolls one die for each Italian ship that moved into the mined sea zone. Each Italian ship is called out one at a time and one die is rolled.
    Dreadnought! A roll of 1 usually means the removal of the ship, but in this case its an undamaged battleship, which instead of being sunk becomes damaged. It is immediately laid on its side. A second die is rolled for the cruiser… a 2. Close, but no cigar.

    A great sea battle in the Adriatic begins. The attacking Italian ships, one damaged dreadnought and a cruiser, roll their dice (without a battle board). The dreadnought will score a hit by rolling a 4 or less, and the cruiser needs a 3 or less. With a 2, the dreadnought scores a hit. The cruiser misses with a 4. One hit is scored against the Austrian fleet of 1 dreadnought, 1 cruiser, and 1 transport. The hit is noted, and the Austrian player will assign a hit to one of his ships, but first he must answer the Italian dice with some dice rolls of his own. The Austrian dreadnought rolls a 3, which scores a hit, and the cruiser, rolling a 6, misses. Its time to remove the casualties. Starting with the attacker, the players each remove one unit from the sea zone for each hit scored against them. Each player can select any unit in his attacking or defending force as a casualty, including submarines that elected to submerge this round (but not in prior rounds). Of course, there are no submarines in this particular battle, but I thought I would mention them. There is a transport… and transports must be chosen last as casualties, after all warships have been sunk or have submerged (but they may be chosen before submarines that have submerged in the current round). As I mentioned, the Italian dreadnought was damaged by a mine as it entered the sea zone. Dreadnoughts can take two hits. On the first hit, the ship is placed on its side rather than removed. A second hit will cause it to be removed. A damaged dreadnought can only be repaired during the Purchase and Repair Units phase of the owning powers turn.

    The Italian player assigns the hit to his cruiser. The Austrian assigns his hit to his dreadnought and places it on its side. Doing a little headcount … the Italian fleet has one damaged dreadnought remaining. The Austrian fleet has all its ships, one of which is a damaged dreadnought. Its time for the 2nd round of dice rolling. Combat rounds can continue until either all units on one or both sides have been destroyed or the attacker (never the defender) breaks off the attack. After the battle, all surviving units from both sides remain in the sea zone. Perhaps I should repeat that: After the battle, all surviving units from both sides remain in the sea zone. The Italian player calls off the battle. His damaged dreadnought is all that remains of his attacking fleet. This damaged dreadnought doesnt seem to have much of a future, frankly. Before it can move out of the sea zone on the Italians next turn, it may be subject to a Turkish assault (cruisers can move 3 spaces), or certainly it will be attacked by the fully repaired Austrian fleet. Still, there is the remote possibility that the French or British allies can steam into the area and save the day, but with the turn order being what it is, this is probably not going to happen. Nonetheless, the Italian calls off the battle. The rationale being that it has the same combat dice when defending or attacking. With a little luck, or frankly a bloody miracle, it may survive to be repaired in the Roman port.

    Carica! The Italian forces launch an assault against the defending Austrians in Venice. You probably know the routine by now… the Italian places one die for each of his attacking infantry onto the battle board’s Attacking Infantry box. He also places 4 dice on the Attacking Artillery box. This artillery placement will cause the promotion of 4 attacking infantry to the Infantry with Artillery Support box. The Austrian will place 8 dice onto the Defending Infantry box and 4 dice onto the Defending Artillery box. The pot is right, and were ready to go. The Italian player rolls 4 dice for his attacking infantry. As the battle board indicates, he is looking for 1s or 2s. He scores a hit with a 2. The die is placed somewhere where both players acknowledge it to be a hit. Next, he rolls for the eight 3s hes looking for (4 attacking artillery dice and 4 infantry). Four hits are scored! These 4 hit dice are added to the 1 already acknowledged as Austrian casualties. The Austrian will lose 5 units.

    The Austrian fires back. He has 8 defending infantry and 4 defending artillery dice to roll. Both the infantry and the artillery are looking for 3’s or less, so all 12 dice can be rolled together. Five hits are also scored. Both sides remove 5 infantry from Venice. The battle is over. Venice remains a contested territory.

    The Italian player places his newly mobilized units in Rome (3 Infantry and 1 artillery). He also collects his income of 12 IPCs. He takes a look at the map and announces to the group that he will be in Vienna by next spring. Everyone kind of looks at the map and wonders what the hell hes talking about. Sometimes, when playing Axis & Allies, smack talk is as important as 10 divisions of infantry. If you dont have one, you always have the other.

    Its now the US’s turn.

  • Ah the grand Italian Navy… 😛

  • Mines are pretty potent……

  • I really laughed at:
    ‘‘He takes a look at the map and announces to the group that he will be in Vienna by next spring. Everyone kind of looks at the map and wonders what the hell he’s talking about. Sometimes, when playing Axis & Allies, smack talk is as important as 10 divisions of infantry. If you don’t have one, you always have the other.’’
    That’s totally me, when I’m playing! Scare 'em with your flamboyant words! 😄

  • Albania is just a bridge too far for me  😛 . I know it’s A&A & not WiF but still :roll:
    KISS doesn’t mean just make stuff up.
    Let’s hope IL Game sees the light of day or the Flash Man starts selling
    hard board Maps.

  • @Imperious:

    . Its time to remove the casualties. Starting with the attacker, the players each remove one unit from the sea zone for each hit scored against them.

    Now this is intriguing. No battleboard for the naval combat, and no casualties zone for the defender. You remove the casualties after the battle is finished, and one at a time. One attacker, one defender, then one attacker and one defender again, and so forth….

  • Customizer

    So Naples borders Tuscany, have to update the map again.

    I knew that naval attack was suicide, especially now we know that fleets cannot retreat into home waters after calling off the battle. They may as well fight to the death there and then.

    The problem with these reports is that they deal with each country on its own terms; for example my proposed Albanian front involves French and British reinforcements. This is understandably to keep things simple for demo purposes, but just don’t use the reports as a strategy guide.

  • And kudos to Flashman for spotting contested sea zones long before anyone else. Sir, I apologize for doubting you.

  • Moderator 2022 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 '12

    Agreed. Good one Flashman. I did not ever think that would be the case.
    Will change your way of thinking when it comes to Naval encounters.

  • So no hit ships are removed from the sea zone untill both the attacker & defender take there rolls then?and then there chosen one at a time ?

  • Customizer

    I might use my mocked-up naval battle board, with the damaged BBS demoted to “2” boxes.

  • @Flashman:

    I might use my mocked-up naval battle board, with the damaged BBS demoted to “2” boxes.

    I can see a reduction in fire power if damaged, and 2 seems reasonable (1/2). I would be more inclined to go with 3 though. I don’t want to be in a situation where I would choose to lose the BB over a cruiser to get a high dice roll in the next round of battle (if there is one), but to each his own I guess.

  • Customizer

    I once had an idea for a version where hit points were equivalent to firepower, so:

    Battleship 4-4-2 (4 hp)
    Cruiser 3-3-3 (3 hp)
    Destroyers 2-2-2 (2 hp)

    Each ships would have the appropriate number of gun turrets, which can be removed when a hit is taken to indicate damage and reduced firepower.

    Two hits slows down a BB, one a destroyer.

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