Hello Hello! My apologies for the neglect. Truth be told, I’d forgotten about this topic until today, and am hence posting the second half.
Rank Carcass is fairy spot on with his summation of what it will be.
- The Somalian Pirate -
Utilizing the Italian Somaliland Naval Base to Axis Advantage.
Warfleet Power Projection.
In Global War, Italy starts with a fairly Warfleet, perhaps the third largest after Japan and Great Britain. The Italian Warfleet in 1936, the Riga Marina, is Italy’s greatest asset.
But a Warfleet by itself has only a few uses.
Of All the Above, a Warfleet cannot capture IPP Producing Areas, it can only protect them from being captured or enable them to to be captured by other units. This is why Italy is weak. It has a strong navy, but cannot replenish losses because it cannot use its greatest asset to capture territory. Italy distinctly lacks these assets, with a small military and few naval transports; Italy needs to produce units capable of capturing IPP Generating Areas, either via Amphibious Assaults or Balkan Expeditions.
This is Italian Priority #1.
TLDR: A Warfleet without an Amphibious Fleet only projects threat to enemy Warfleets.
Italian Political Advantage
Historically in WW1, Italy was Allied to the Entente (Britain, France and Tsarist Russia). In part, it was the dissatisfaction with lack of any spoils of war that pushed the Italians into fairly shakey Fascist State. As the result of this historical fact, the designers of the game have designed the rules so that Italy can remain at peace during the whole war, straddling an unstated position between Axis and Allies, and nobody, apart from the Communists, can declare war on them unless they first declare war against any nation.
Is Italy an Axis Nation? Historical Pact of Steel was not signed until May 1939, one can make the argument that Italy is not even an Axis nation until then, or if Italy takes Albania, or stick with the idea of Italy joining the Axis when Italy declares war on any nation.
In our games we declared that if Italy declares war on any nation, it has gone to far and is part of the Axis.
Does Italy need to join the Axis? Nope, I do not think its entirely necessary to do so. Most Italian War Objectives can be met without having joined in the War! Of course, if it hasn’t joined of the world war, is it part of the Axis? Probably not.
Actually in one of our games, the Italian player dropped out, Germany took control, and for the entire duration of the war, Italy did not go to War until one of the last turns.
So why is this considered a Political Advantage? The Allies cannot go to war against Italy unless Italy allows it to happen. The Ball is in Italy’s Court.
Italy’s Geographical Advantage
_In our games, we have the following house rules:
Peacetime Naval Intent
In Peacetime, all surface Warships must be directly off the coast of the controlling nations territory, or anywhere on the shortest route between two controlled coastal or island territories. This prevents wandering Warfleets.
Ship Operational Range
Ship Operation Range is equivalent to a full move away from any friendly Naval Base.
Navy units cannot Combat Move, Attack, or Amphibious Assault outside OR of a Naval Base. Defending Navy units do not suffer penalty until the beginning of their next National Turn.
Regardless, this has no impact on the following strategy._
The Italians generally have a bad position geographically.
Starting Factories are in Europe.
Extended Homeland Coastlines to Defend.
Attack into Balkans are Mountainous.
Attack into France is Mountainous.
Attack into French Africa is Mountainous.
Potential Enemies control the Gates of the Mediterranean.
Caught between the English and the French Fleets.
The Italians geographical advantages are often not quite even advantages.
Factory in Europe.
Potential Enemies are nearby.
Foothold in North Africa.
Foothold in East Africa.
Naval Base in East Africa.
By far, the BIGGEST two natural advantages is the Italian Warfleet, the Italian Political Neutrality, and a third advantage can be created by building a threatening Amphibious Fleet.
Those are three advantages that play into the Somalian Pirate Strategy.
The Somalian Pirate
Its obvious now what I am working towards. Its in the title after all. But stay on the logic train.
Italian Somaliland has a Naval Base. From there, SZ 83, an Italian Warfleet and Amphibious Fleet Power Projection, its Threat, extends to:
Culcutta. Worth 3 IPP and a Factory.
South African Union. Worth 2 IPP and a Factory.
Cairo, from the Red Sea. Worth 1 IPP and the Suez Canal.
Here we get to an interesting twist. A little Diversion.
After extensive study of the Manual, I approached the designers of the game and pointed out a paragraph at 8.1 in the Manual, including the sub-set example about the German Submarine, and I asked them. Can Italy move through the Suez Canal in Combat move, then immediately after crossing declare war on Britain and attack Cairo.
The answer is Yes.
Italy, from SZ 83 can reach into the Mediterranean Sea. This means the target list extends:
Cairo, from the Mediterranean. Worth 1 IPP and the Suez Canal.
Gibraltar. Worth 0 IPP but controls the Gates of Gibraltar.
This means that from one position, Five Important territories can be threatened.
For every single Naval Transport filled with one Marine and one Infantry (worth 15 IPP) built by Italy, Britain must build 30 IPP of Infantry to match Italian threat projection. Of course, Britain may not do so. But the Power Projection is there.
Stage 2, Option 1.
The Advantage of an Amphibious Fleet is its mobility. That’s why ultimately Germany has such hard time defending against a D-Day attack, USA can project its threat from Cornwall, England, all along the Atlantic-European coast. Becoming the same force multiplying factor that Italy has in the Somalian Pirate.
Can England Counter? Yes.
If the Riga Marina is in off the coast of Somaliland. Where is the Royal Navy?
Most likely in Sea Zone 82, the Red Sea:
Protecting Cairo with their Amphibious Army.
Ready to Counter an attack on Cape Town and Gibraltar.
Ready to Prepare a Counter on Calcutta by landing troops in India.
Threatening Rome and Turin.
To be able to counter, it needs as many British Transports as the Italians have or more, because of Double Casualties.
The Riga Marina can engage an attack.
The Riga Marina can try for Cairo and lock the Royal Navy out of the Mediterranean.
The Riga Marina can shuttle its fleet to off the Coast of Gibraltar. Still at Peace.
What will the Royal Navy do then?
The Riga Marina could move to the Red Sea and try lock the back door of the Mediterranean at Cairo.
The Riga Marina could flip to the other side of the Straits and take Gibraltar, locking the front door to the Mediterranean.
The Riga Marina can detach its Cruisers, Destroyers and Carriers and attack any British Fleet in Liverpool.
The Riga Marina can commence a Special Operation*.
The Riga Marina can move back to the coast of Italian Somaliland.
Italy has many options, and can at the very least tie up a substantial portion of the Royal Navy in cat and mouse game.
Stage 2, Option 2.
Italy remains neutral, but with a threatening posture, and ready to turn if opportunity appears.
I know this sounds really boring for the Italian player.
What happens if Italy goes to War? Not always, but often times this:
Italy captures some territory.
Italy wins a sea battle.
Italy loses a sea battle.
Italy loses some territory.
Italy loses more territory.
Italy loses survives with very little income and very little territory.
The product if Italian neutrality is maintained:
Britain spends resources preparing a counter attack against Italy.
Britain keeps its Royal Fleet in readiness against a Italian Attack.
Britain keeps collecting the resources from its territories (which it may have alternatively only lost for a couple turns).
Italy only collects Peacetime Income.
Italy can win all her National Objectives without even going to War
The Global Impact of Italian Neutrality
Japan benefits from the Italians neutrality. The Royal Navy in the Indian Ocean is merged with the Royal Navy of the Mediterranean, away from the Pacific Theater. A few extra divisions are built in Calcutta, the richest of Italian targets from Somaliland, but drawing troops from fortifying Hong Kong and Malay.
Germany benefits more profoundly from Italian neutrality.
If Italy remains neutral, the soft underbelly of Europe is not soft. It becomes a costly mess.
Germany only needs to fortify along Europe’s Atlantic coast, with perhaps a few troops in Vichy France. The Mediterranean can virtually become a stagnant theater, reducing the amount of troops needed.
Why is this?
Well lets walk through it;
Vichy France, Marseilles, is generally avoided if Vichy France has acquired a Navy. If not, it is the one weak link.
Neutral Italy is not at risk of falling to the Allies.
Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia never needs to be attacked by Germany. Why use resources attacking a stagnant Yugoslavia when an attack into an active Soviet may add equal IPP gain and overall double it by decreasing the Soviets Income equivalently.
The only reason Yugoslavia is attacked, is either for Historical Reasons, or because Italy needs the income.
Greece. Their situation is identical to Yugoslavia. Attacked for Historical Reasons, or because Italy needs the income.
So the weakest link, the only link is Vichy France in Marseilles. This means that the amount of European Coastal Territories needed to be defended by the Axis has been cut in half.
There are Seven territories on the Northern European Coast, Nine territories on the Southern European Coast.
Germany does not need to gain Yugoslavian or Greek Income, but can reap the same harvest from Soviet lands. All while benefiting from not having to garrison the Soft Underbelly of Europe. As we all know, the biggest combat modifier is defending against an Amphibious Assault, by limiting where the Allies can land, it means that a defense on the coast becomes significantly easier for Germany, and the Allies are forced to make tough decisions about if they should be the ones declaring war on Greece.
The Somalian Pirate is a Strategic Option for Italy. Named for the idea of the Riga Marina parked off the coast of Somaliland. Projecting Threat, robbing British resources from other theaters to protect against a number of potential attacks.
It hinges on a few gamey tactics. Which by the letter of the designers is legal.
The ambiguous nature of Italian Alliances.
The Combat Move while still at Peace.
Both these have been tweaked in my own custom game.
Italy is a member of the Allies (played with Axis intent) until it annexes Ethiopia.
Italy joins the Axis if it sends Lend-Lease to Nationalist Spain.
The British close the Suez Canal and the Straits of Gibraltar to all Italian Combat moves, regardless of who the Italian declare war upon.
But even with all that. It is still possible to play the Somalian Pirate in our games. It is just much less effective.
Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed. Please respond and comment if you want to read more strategic guides. They are all in my head, i just need to see if others are interested.