A&A Global 1940 Essays: The Pact of Steel: Assisting Italy (Germany)



  • In Global 1940 and AA50, Italy is a playable Axis power. But, although it’s in a better position than in AA50, Italy in Global still faces major challenges. Therefore, it will require at least some German support to survive and meet its objectives.

    Italy will receive its own series of articles later on, but briefly, here’s a few things Italy should do during the game:

    #1: Capture Cairo. This is one Victory City that Germany doesn’t have to worry about, and it means that the Axis can win by capturing Moscow, Stalingrad, Leningrad, and Paris.

    #2: Either neutralize or capture the Industrial Complex in South Africa. UK Europe has a fairly small income, but if it can produce a tank in South Africa every turn, that can pose a threat to Italian goals in Africa.

    #3: Increase income by as much as possible. Italy only starts with 10 IPCs, so something has to be done to increase income.

    So, what can Germany do?

    The Deutsches Afrika Korps

    How can Germany help the Italians take Cairo? Germany shouldn’t go all out in North Africa, for two reasons. One: Germany should focus on Moscow, and two, Italy can take care of most of the war in Africa. So, what should Germany send? The best thing to send is not land units, but aircraft. Again, Germany shouldn’t send lots of aid to Africa, so what planes should they send? Well, Germany starts the game with 4 fighters, 2 strategic bombers, and 4 tactical bombers, all within range of Southern Italy on G1. Obviously, Germany shouldn’t send all of that, or even most of it. 2 fighters and 2 tactical bombers is more than enough. Since there’s an AA gun in Paris, sending air units in is simply too risky, meaning that there’s not much to lose in sending these air units to Italy. So, what should Germany do with these air units? In the event that the British attack sz97, the fighters and one of the tacs can scramble. Right there, two Italian fighters have been saved for future use. Now, you can use these air units in two ways. One: they can be used to help clear the Med of Allied ships. Two: They can be sent to Tobruk to assist in defense. The advantage of keeping them in Tobruk is that they can hit almost anywhere in the Med and return. I don’t recommend sending them against Malta, because the AA gun could wipe out 3 of the 4, and the fighter defends on a 4. Other than that, though, send them anywhere!

    Unless you�re having really above-average luck in Russia, you shouldn�t send any more units to Africa. This is especially true if you followed the advice below and didn�t occupy any of the Mediterranean territories, leaving them for Italy. Beyond those air units, the only way you should really move to aid the Italians in Africa is this:
    If you�re doing exceptionally well in Russia, and have captured Leningrad, Stalingrad, and either captured or fatally weakened Moscow, there is one option. Send some of your units south through Caucasus to Egypt via the Middle East. The advantage of this strategy is that the Middle East will largely have been untouched by either side. The only exception to this is Persia. The Far East Command has 1 infantry in West India on UK1, and they will likely use it to activate Eastern Persia. On UK2, they will move into Persia, gaining 2 IPCs and 2 extra infantry. On UK3, they may attack Iraq, and on UK4, they can reinforce Trans-Jordan and/or occupy Syria. However, the Iraqi army defends on a 2, while the British attack on a 1. There�s a good chance that Iraq can hold out. So, if you do choose to attack the Middle East, you�ll be faced with 3 UK infantry (it�s unlikely that any reinforcements have arrived). So, your chances of capturing Syria, Persia, Trans-Jordan, possibly Persia, and activating Iraq are good. From there, you can work with the Italians to take Cairo. However, it�s unlikely that Cairo will still hold out. That means that you have to focus on the Med. Sea to really help Italy.

    What sea units should you invest in the Med. to help the Italians? Not many. The Italian and Allied fleets are more or less equal, so just a small commitment on Germany�s part can go a long way. The easiest thing to do is conquer Normandy/Bordeaux on G1, and build 2 destroyers in sz105 on G2. That�s it! Even if the Italian fleet is crushed, it won�t prove fatal to your war effort, or even the Italian war effort. Besides, you need to focus on Moscow, not Cairo.

    The easiest way to help Italy is by leaving some territories for them. On G1, to boost the Italian IPC gain, don�t:

    Attack Yugoslavia. The Italians have the strength to take this territory, and it�s two extra IPCs for them.

    Attack Southern France. Italy can take this territory with minimal effort, and it�s three extra IPCs for them.

    Activate Bulgaria. Bulgaria only gets you an extra IPC and four extra men. That has a far greater effect on Italy than it will on you.

    On G2, refrain from attacking Greece, as the Italians can also take it themselves.

    Right there, you�ve just increased the Italian economy by 8, at little loss to you. One idea is to refrain from attacking Normandy/Bordeaux on G1 or G2, and to let the Italians capture it themselves on I2. This strategy is very risky. Although it will greatly increase the Italian income, the UK and France will be able to land plenty of reinforcements, including 4 fighters, over two turns. In addition, the Italians may not be able to defend the territory adequately. If the Italians can take and hold Normandy/Bordeaux in force, great, but if not, take it on G1.

    Next time, AxisAndAllies1940 will turn to Russia, and discuss ways in which to prepare for the storm that will surely be unleashed against you- Operation Barbarossa.


  • 2020 2018 2017

    You have some good points, and understand Italy well.  Its a weak power, primarily because the two most obvious things to do (rebuild your fleet and fight for Africa) are not very practical unless you’ve altered the game or bonuses.

    We as a group have tended to concur that the best role for Italy is to send a small, mobile force to follow Germany around and “can open” or threaten to do so all over the Russian line.

    The Italian Air force can also operate either with that, or separately, to hit varied targets that are either blockers, or that Germany fails to kill despite your odds.

    One place I disagree with you on is the money, while it would be nice to give Italy a boost, structurally the money spent on Italy is pretty weak.  Germany can deploy each dollar far more effectively because it is bigger.  Unless Italy gets a pretty big heap of money and a sweet fleet, small increments of money and infantry don’t help much.  If you need that stuff, create it with Germany then send it to Italy, its still more flexible because it can choose whether to fight with the Italians (on the defense, or the next turn), or do something completely different.



  • I don’t play as the Axis much, but from an Allies standpoint I have found that usually Italy tends to get off to a hot start, then once war is declared on America, it is usually game over for Italy if they aren’t past Cairo or close to taking Cairo. From then America usually has enough planes to harass whatever the Italian player attempts to build as a Navy. So when I play as Italy I tend to be as aggressive as I can in North Africa.



  • The easiest thing to do is conquer Normandy/Bordeaux on G1, and build 2 destroyers in sz105 on G2.

    If your plan is to put boats in the Med why not take Southern France turn 1, then you can build right into the Med without risking your destroyers to Allied ships in the North Sea where you have little to no naval superiority. Then you can give Italy Normandy-Bordeaux, sure they get it a turn later than they would Southern France but that 2 fewer bucks probably isn’t gonna make that big a difference in the long run. Additionally, it’s not like Italy is going to be using the Southern France factory, they have more than enough production in their homeland.

    Activate Bulgaria. Bulgaria only gets you an extra IPC and four extra men. That has a far greater effect on Italy than it will on you.

    I would much rather add 4 more men to the German army in Russia than add 4 more men to the Italian war effort which is usually limited to defending their coast & Germany’s important territories.

    I like to let Italy get at least Yugoslavia and Greece, sometimes I will take Southern France as Germany, sometimes I won’t. Either way, Italy is gonna be weak unless the British player does not do a good job of keeping them in check.



  • Without major German help, the chance of Italy taking and holding Cairo is less than 10%.  A huge number of UK forces can get there in the first few rounds, and the number of Italian transports should quickly drop to zero.  I have only lost Cairo when the dice gods decided to curse me with massively bad luck.  If Egypt falls from Italian forces alone, I usually forfeit the game.  That is like Germany failing in Paris.



  • Germany should take S. Europe if you want the option for German help in the Med (or, at least, a German transport to put an inf in Cairo and achieve an N.O). 
    Yugoslavia can also be useful in German hands… put an airbase there and now 6 planes can scramble into the zone (though I’ve only done that once).

    Bulgarian infantry aren’t that useful to Italy, really, unless you use them to help invade Russia.  Those 4 inf and 2 tanks can open up some blockers for Germany.

    I am a fan of getting Italy some money, but, in the end, the easiest fast money for them is to get one or more of their N.O., especially no enemy ships in the Med, Roman Empire (Greece, S. France, and Gibraltor)



  • @weddingsinger:

    Germany should take S. Europe if you want the option for German help in the Med (or, at least, a German transport to put an inf in Cairo and achieve an N.O). 
    Yugoslavia can also be useful in German hands… put an airbase there and now 6 planes can scramble into the zone (though I’ve only done that once).

    Bulgarian infantry aren’t that useful to Italy, really, unless you use them to help invade Russia.  Those 4 inf and 2 tanks can open up some blockers for Germany.

    I am a fan of getting Italy some money, but, in the end, the easiest fast money for them is to get one or more of their N.O., especially no enemy ships in the Med, Roman Empire (Greece, S. France, and Gibraltor)

    You could do a naval build G1 and keep your BB alive.
    Then sail that fleet G2 to gibraltar and G3 your in the med while at the same time you pose a credible sea-lion threat.

    With a carrier-destroyer-cruiser-BB that fleet can also take a hit later.


  • 2019 2017 '16

    @Arthur:

    Without major German help, the chance of Italy taking and holding Cairo is less than 10%.  A huge number of UK forces can get there in the first few rounds, and the number of Italian transports should quickly drop to zero.  I have only lost Cairo when the dice gods decided to curse me with massively bad luck.  If Egypt falls from Italian forces alone, I usually forfeit the game.  That is like Germany failing in Paris.

    That is true so long as Taranto is successfully done. If Tobruk is done successfully instead the odds might rise to 15%.

    If neither is done and SZ98 isn’t blocked out nor planes flown towards Egypt, the odds are >50%. Land on T-J, hit Alexandria and Sudan, goodnight Egypt I2.


  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    Not enough people talk about Italy supporting Germany in Russia.

    Italian mechanized/armor units in russia is the single most critical component of a successful Russia push by the axis.



  • @Gargantua:

    Not enough people talk about Italy supporting Germany in Russia.

    Italian mechanized/armor units in russia is the single most critical component of a successful Russia push by the axis.

    What do you use for that?  Do you buy tanks for Italy?

    Tomorrow morning I’m in a fact-to-face game and will have to make a choice about this… Bulgaria, Greece on I1, then move to Russia.  But what to buy on I1 and I2.



  • Tanks and mech are a powerful tool on the axises belt in gerenal. If italy gets smashed turn one AND has no chance of recovery,  then tanks, mechs, and the occasional plane. Just dont let italy take ukraine. Germany needs those for a few extra tanks and some slow movers


  • 2017

    Great points above. Highly unlikely that Italy ever takes Cairo. If so, it’s due to lots of German investment and it may not come to fruition in time to be worth it. I think Italy bringing the can openers is critically important to win the game. There may be a time that Germany has to land their airforce after an Italian can opener due to allied landings (Ger spends a lot on ground in the west while using air to hold a critical spot).

    If you plan to stack Tambov, don’t let Italy take Rostov. If you plan to stack Bryansk, then don’t let Italy get Ukraine AND w. Ukraine and Cauc or Rostov. Either case Germany needs to be able to build an mIC on Rostov or Caucasus.

    Also, the original poster said something to the effect of giving Bulgaria to Italy. Disagree with that. No need to elaborate. Also, Italy should not be hitting Yugo and Greece (however many rounds later). I think it too much for little ole Mussolini to handle if he thinks he’s got great aspirations. I guess if you give them Bulgaria maybe.



  • 100% correct that Italian canopeners is key in the European theater.  They give so much mobility to the Axis forces.  Italy takes a territory and Germany can reinforce it with both land units and planes.  Allied forces must be very careful of coming within range of blitzes after Italy removes any blockers.  Key to this plan is buying 1 tank + 1 mech on I1.  They reach the front in time for crucial I3 and I4 moves.  Don’t get too distracted about capturing Egypt unless there is a disastrous UK1 turn.



  • Bulgarian Italy will change the italian canopener in russia from bad, to a monster. Italy will then be able to canopen with 2 pz, 2 mech, 4 inf , 1 bomber +2-3 ftrs. This means that the soviet will never be able to actually block the canopener for one turn. The soviets would have to commit at least 10 infs to block it.


  • 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15

    @Kreuzfeld:

    Bulgarian Italy will change the italian canopener in russia from bad, to a monster. Italy will then be able to canopen with 2 pz, 2 mech, 4 inf , 1 bomber +2-3 ftrs. This means that the soviet will never be able to actually block the canopener for one turn. The soviets would have to commit at least 10 infs to block it.

    This is why you should not attck southern france with Italy. As many as possible of the Northern Italy units should start marching east right away, add a couple of artillery to Kreuzfeld units and you are good to go.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017

    Isn’t that a bit slow?

    I1: take Bulgaria
    I2: units move to Romania
    I3: can-opening into Bessarabia and/or Eastern Poland

    So in that scenario, the German followup will be as late as G4.


  • 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15

    @Herr:

    Isn’t that a bit slow?

    I1: take Bulgaria
    I2: units move to Romania
    I3: can-opening into Bessarabia and/or Eastern Poland

    So in that scenario, the German followup will be as late as G4.

    I think the important can-opening happens around (I4), I5, I6 in order to break through into volgograd and caucasus and later to threaten middle east by italy taking NW persia


  • 2019 2018 2017 '16

    With Bulgaria, Yugo and Greece given to Italy, what punch will Germany have?
    Any Allied player will be happy to harvest Italy…


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017

    @oysteilo:

    @Herr:

    Isn’t that a bit slow?

    I1: take Bulgaria
    I2: units move to Romania
    I3: can-opening into Bessarabia and/or Eastern Poland

    So in that scenario, the German followup will be as late as G4.

    I think the important can-opening happens around (I4), I5, I6 in order to break through into volgograd and caucasus and later to threaten middle east by italy taking NW persia

    The idea of can-opening is, to take the territory with Italy in order to allow Germany, and especially the German planes, to reinforce it against a Russian counterstrike. So I don’t think that any Italian drive to the south servers the purpose of can-opening because Russia is unlikely to have sufficient forces to strike back at either Volgograd or the Caucasus anyway in case the Germans would have taken it without Italian assistance. Which doesn’t imply that going that way is bad for Italy because there’s a lot of bonus to be had. But if you’re talking can-opening, then I’d say Bryansk on I5 would be the way to go.

    @aequitas:

    With Bulgaria, Yugo and Greece given to Italy, what punch will Germany have?
    Any Allied player will be happy to harvest Italy…

    Agreed. I’d much rather give Bulgaria to Germany to assimilate those troops and add some punch to the German drive into Russia.


  • 2020 2018 2017

    The best thing about that mobile force of 4 tanks 2-4 mechs (plus 2 fighters and an SB) is that you can threaten all up and down the line, and just placing 2, 3, 4 infantry in the block still won’t be enough to ensure no-breakthrough, so they just keep falling back.  If Russia did try to defend the squares in depth, they lose too much to attrition.

    You can break it into two or more groups, and drive them anywhere on the Russian front so your options remain open.  The bomber can blow away blockers by itself, so you can even threaten to open multiple blocks/backfield areas.

    After you use the can-opener, the units usually die, and the threat of future uses is gone, which was the biggest advantage.

    Dave’s Rescue
    I1 = Use the TT to take your Tank in Africa to Greece or Italy, now you have 4 at the end of your turn (1 bought, 1 NI, 1 Albania, 1 Tobruk)


  • 2019 2017 '16

    @oysteilo:

    @Herr:

    Isn’t that a bit slow?

    I1: take Bulgaria
    I2: units move to Romania
    I3: can-opening into Bessarabia and/or Eastern Poland

    So in that scenario, the German followup will be as late as G4.

    I think the important can-opening happens around (I4), I5, I6 in order to break through into volgograd and caucasus and later to threaten middle east by italy taking NW persia

    I suppose you can reach Rostov by I5 which is still useful in some cases but still too late to allow planes to land on Bryansk when the German main force moves in.

    I’m with Herr KaLeun. These forces going to Italy weakens the German spearhead and does little for Italian can opening that can’t be done by buying a mech or two.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017

    I disagree with a good chunk of this strategy. There’s a lot of factors here that I think are being forgotten or overlooked.

    As others have stated, giving all those territories to Italy doesn’t do a lot of good. Yugoslavia, Southern France, Bulgaria. Those are all much better used for Germany for two reasons. 1) Germany is the one who will ultimately dictate victory or defeat, they can much more effectively utilize that money. 2) The units from Bulgaria/money gained from European territories is not essential to Italian playability. The money they make is still so small, that you wouldn’t be able to ferry all of those units you’ve now activated to North Africa. It would take a few turns just to do that. Not an economical use, in my opinion.

    Also, you mention the need to neutralize South Africa. While I understand your point on the UK building a mix of tanks and/or mech’s there, that is largely contingent on what Germany is doing up in Europe. If pressure is being applied, the UK will not be able to afford to divert a large some of money to the South Africa factory. That said, to play devil’s advocate, if the UK isn’t being harassed or threatened in any way, then yes, they can pump three units a turn down there. I think if that happens though, you’ve already lost the ability to “neutralize” it anyways.

    I don’t fully agree that the Middle East will be untouched by that point either. If I’m ever the UK, I always immediately sent the infantry in West India west toward the Middle East and North Africa. I don’t divert too much UK Pacific money to this venture, but with the activation of Persia, and maybe a tank sent, that force and an aircraft within range can easily overtake the Iraqi standing army, thus robbing the Axis of that boost if they reach the area. The survivors of this small force, along with anything from South Africa, seem often to then reach/reinforce Cairo around the same time.

    For German help, I tend to immediately build a destroyer and transport off of Southern France. I’ll then increase that naval force slowly as the game dictates in other areas. Germany, in my mind, is perfectly set up to attack/hold/reinforce Gibraltar when/if the Axis take it. I usually have the Germans defend there, while the Italians build up a defensive force in Morocco. Again, this is assuming they reach that far before the US comes in. But that’s also why I build a German transport right away. They can assist in getting west in North Africa more quickly, while other Italian forces can marshal strength for an assault on Cairo.

    I’ll admit, I don’t do it often, but I fully realize and understand the large benefits of Italy can-opening the USSR as well. It’s a well versed strategy. Even if you don’t commit 100% Italian effort to it, even an initial wave early in Barbarossa can pay huge dividends to Germany for the first couple of turns in the assault.

    The Italian NO’s are Italy’s best option to see real money come in. And the Italian NO’s seem to me to be something that have to be moved on quickly. Gibraltar, Southern France, and Greece are the obvious three to take and hold for the one NO, Cairo will be harder. Taking essentially all of North Africa also requires some speed. Land troops along the coast to take them all quickly. This is all assumed that the UK navy has been dealt with after Taranto as well, which it should be. If those can be achieved relatively early, it helps to get the strength needed to assault Cairo. German defense of Gibraltar will help alleviate the strain of Italian resources to help make this happen as well.

    All in all, I generally see Italy as an Axis stall tactic. While it’s hard to win the game if Italy has done terribly, it also isn’t essential for Italy to go ham over the Mediterranean/Middle East/Africa to assure victory either. By getting NO’s and staying somewhat aggressive, you make the Allies respond. Every IPC spent by the UK and USA that goes toward the Mediterranean is that much less being focused on Germany as it attempts to smash through to Moscow.



  • Hi.

    Gib/greece/ sth france is easy to get but hard to hold once us is in the game.

    Active uk building in sth africa or factories in iraq or somewhere like that will shut down any hope of getting egypt.

    Morrocco cant hold against us led invasion around t3 -5.

    So for long term i either see italy as guarding france with 5 inf a turn or something or providing can openers and fodder to russian front.

    If going for a combined crush on turkey things can get interesting as this can open the door to a lot of ipcs but a hard nut to crack without major diversion of forces.


  • 2019 2018 2017 '16

    You nailed it Chris_Henry!

    Nuff said. 8-)


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017

    @Chris_Henry:

    For German help, I tend to immediately build a destroyer and transport off of Southern France. I’ll then increase that naval force slowly as the game dictates in other areas. Germany, in my mind, is perfectly set up to attack/hold/reinforce Gibraltar when/if the Axis take it. I usually have the Germans defend there, while the Italians build up a defensive force in Morocco. Again, this is assuming they reach that far before the US comes in. But that’s also why I build a German transport right away. They can assist in getting west in North Africa more quickly, while other Italian forces can marshal strength for an assault on Cairo.

    Gibraltar in Axis hands, will force the US to respond even while still at peace. Axis transports in SZ91 and to some degree even in SZ92, pose a direct threat to America itself and/or to the lightly defended southern parts of Africa. So the US will build a fleet in SZ101 that will at least match whatever the Axis has around Gibraltar, simply because they have to. Once that fleet is there, the obvious thing to do is to add a few transports to it and aim for an amphibious assault. I really can’t see Germany and Italy defending Gibraltar and Morocco against the US.


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