IL… why not stop a hair short of a “fully independent” Italy, which would, based on the previous posts still be pathetically weak compared to the other 5.
Make Italy QUASI independent. They control 10 IPC’s: Southern, Balkans, Libya, and give them control of the Vichy French fleet in SZ14.
Italy works in conjunction with the German player, and can either move WITH Germany, or immediately after Germany. This gives that Axis a “1-2” punch the same as the Allies get with USA/USSR. And even though it is the same income… it creates some VERY interesting possiblities…
Germany could take 1 Russian fortified frontier territory in G1, then Italy could blitz through it and hit the lightly defended territory behind in I1.
It forces Russia into defending TWO territories deep, instead of stacking on the perimeter, in case Germany gets a break through that Italy could then exploit.
For starting units:
Add 1 FIG to Southern, 1 INF to Libya.
As For National Advantages:
If you are concerned about Italy being too weak, give them Industrial Tech to start. May not make historical sense, but it makes their 10 IPC’s worth far more to start AND makes Africa a much juicier target for Italy, and a much stronger need for the Allies to keep it.
Other Possible NA’s:
Piggy-Back Tech: On the turn after Germany obtains a given technology, Italy gets it also (if Germany gets HB in G2, Italy has it in I3)
Mediteranean Express: Like the Tokyo Express, but allows Italy to move 1 INF on ANY surface ship in non-combat movement
Desert Tracks: Allow Italian ARM to move through Sahara. They must both enter and leave Sahara in same turn and cannot retreat there (any Italy units in Sahara at end of Italy’s turn die)
Afrika Corps: Allow any German units sent to Africa to become Italian upon landing, and be immediately usable by Italy.
I think Africa just went into play far more than ever before… US now has even MORE reason to go there first, and UK has even more reason to fight to secure it (and a harder fight too) instead of quickly heading for Archangel.
Now your “little” Italy with 10IPC just became a serious risk to the Allies, despite Germany being weaker with the loss of 10 IPC’s to start.