I’ve been thinking about this one a while, and I just had to tap it out.
This is one of the cutest little Strategic Options. Its so adorable.
- Mare Bambino Nostrum -
The Safest Place
This Idea goes fairly hand in hand with other Italian ideas, Power Projection, Operation Key, the Somalian Pirate, but if it is implemented, it must be played before all else.
Let us begin.
Regardless of how you play the Italians, you’ve probably come across the fact that losing the Riga Marina is a body blow. I think I’ve said enough about that elsewhere. That once you lose the Riga Marina, you lose Africa, and it seems not far away from losing a territory, followed by a general invasion.
What is the best way to protect the Italian Fleet?
Create the safest harbor, from which you can project threat to Cairo and Gibraltar.
Move into the Black Sea.
The Legal Foundation
I addressed this in my previous Strategic Option, so I shall copy paste it here:
"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."
I study the Rulebook fairly religiously, and I see the Designers made an error in their latest edition.
I believe it used to be written that the Bosporus & Dardanelles Canal close when “Any nation declares war against any other nation.”
Now, the current iteration appears that “Turkey, while neutral, closes [the canal] to any nation at war with a Major Power.”
The Laughable Outcome
This means that Italy is no longer constrained by time.
Italy can choose to wait out the war as a Somalian Pirate until Barbarossa. Then, at the opportune moment, capture any territory in the Black Sea. From Istanbul, to Transcaucasia, to Crimea. Or all three! The Soviet territories are not defended strongly, and Istanbul (If played without the Turkish Expansion) can be captured without much bloodbath.
Amphibious Assaults can can wreak havoc in Soviet lands and are effectively behind enemy lines.
The only issue is that once within the Black Sea, the Italians cannot leave without Istanbul being in Axis hands.
The Italians do not need to capture Istanbul immediately, Turkey being a stagnant player. But once they do, the Riga Marina can again project its threat from Cairo to Gibraltar, and seek another opportune moment dash out and capture another crucial territory.
A Realistic Modification
I’m not sure why the Designers changed the rules on the Dardanelles. But I recommend switching back to the old rule.
That put a huge time constraint on Italy, because Japan usually goes to war in 37, meaning Italy only had two or three turns in which to prepare a Black Sea Fleet. And even then, attacking Soviet Russia or Turkey was out of the question, because it would mean the Allies where free to attack Italy.
My own group avoids the issue altogether with these 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._
Even with my own modified rules, Italy could still coordinate with the Axis to capture Turkey from inside the Black Sea. Perhaps Japan could delay attacking China for a few turns using the Refusing the Dragon idea.
Or Italy could attempt to capture Istanbul from the Aegean Sea and hope the Royal Navy wont pounce on their backs.
The Black Sea would be a wonderful port for Italy. Protected and safe, with the Istanbul Factory to produce the odd ship, being able to Project Power across the Mediterranean Sea and reduce the risk of a Southern European invasion.
Its something I may try some day. This is where the Turkish Expansion is actually quite nice. Strengthening Istanbul and also giving a option to be influenced into all factions.
Thank you, I hope you enjoyed reading.