Italian Can Openers



  • So I’ve heard people talk about a strategy where Italy supports the Germans in Russia instead of focusing on it’s NO’s. I was wondering if someone could explain how exactly can openers work, and how and why they are useful.


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 '14 Customizer '13

    Hamilton Beach ?  😄

    I like to use them to take territories ahead of the German ground troops so on Germanys turn they can can move 2 spaces to attack Russian ground. Italian Paratroopers work good for this too if you have in your games.


  • 2018 2017

    First, its just a convenient name for using combined forces, turn order, and the rules to your advantage.  It has multiple permutations.

    The general rule that a single unit can block COMBAT movement through any land or sea territory
    There is also the consideration that you can liberate a straight or territory with one power, then pass through it or land airplanes there with the power following in turn order before the enemy can react.

    Lets say we have 2 Italian tanks and 2 Italian Mechs in Poland, with 15 Germany Tanks. 
    Russia has 1 infantry in each of Baltic States and Poland.

    If its Germany’s turn, he can’t simply pass through these blockers, he has to eliminate them and stop.  But lets say that UK has just taken its turn, and its Italy’s turn.  Because Italy is near the end of the turn, and Germany at the beginning, the Germans will get to go before the Allies do, and the Axis players will act twice in succession (interrupted only by France).

    So, you declare war with Italy, attacking both Eastern Poland and Baltic States with 1 armor and 1 mech each.  If you kill these blockers, even if you don’t take over the territory, when the German turn comes up, they can blitz straight through these spaces and attack any Russian stacks hiding in Novogrod and/or  Belarus.  The Russian player may have assumed that these units are safe, but once Italy destroys them, Germany can move through.

    This has many permutations, and it can be done with air, sea or land units in various ways.  However it is done, it is an example where one power “opens the door” (for example, USA taking Denmark), then a power that follows in turn order “walks through the door” (then UK invades Germany).

    Most people when they are referring to the “Italian” Can Opener mean that they have got a force of mobile units that roam around threatening these blockers, so that the defending player cannot stand in force on the front line, and he is also afraid to stand in force behind it, either.    The Italians only start with 2 fighters, 1 bomber and 2 armor that they can use this way, but they can build more (tanks and mechs)

    The tactic can be used in many situations, for example, an USA bomber could blow up the single destroyer blocking SZ 16 so that ANZAC can move through and attack SZ 6 on ANZAC turn, since ANZAC follows the USA in turn order but Japan does not go between.

    This is entirely based on the turn order, because if the other side gets to go between your teams, they can simply replace the blocker or adapt to the changed situation.  It is a set of moves and tactics that takes advantage of the separate turns of each player to kill blockers and make the back lines of your enemy vulnerable, which forces them to play more conservatively (making them stack in the backfield, rather than leaving SZ 6 empty knowing it cannot be entered by blocking SZ 16)



  • taamvan’s explanation covers everything pretty well.

    It helps to realize that certain powers basically go in right after each other… Italy is followed by Germany (I know, I know, ANZAC and France are in between, but…).  U.S. followed immediately by UK, and, on the Pacific side, ANZAC will go, too, before Japan gets a chance to go again.

    This can also help on defense.  Example: in the Med, you might move your Italian ships so that on Germany’s turn they can put ships in that same seazone and not let the UK/US sink them.  Or, maybe U.S. ground forces take a territory because they know that the UK will then land planes there to help keep it.



  • I think that on Italy’s first turn, if Italy is really serious about can opening, they should but an artillery and tank in Northern Italy and send it east. They should try to capture Ukraine. Plus, if they won in Cairo, they can try to attack Caucasus via the Middle East.


  • 2018 2017

    You can can-open with slow units (1 movers), but they can’t really leapfrog with their buddies and they can’t get in position fast enough before G3-G4 assault to make the total speed of your advance increase compared to simply G2ing.


  • 2017 2016 2015 '14 '12

    Italy can opener gets good when you have the communists bottled up in their hole and you turn south to grab that oil.



  • Italian canopening is even more effective when combined with the Germany “Dark Skies” option with lots of bombers.  The tanks+mechs+bomber attack options means that the Allies cannot place moderate-sized stacks within two spaces of the German/Italian main stack.  Russia ends up cowering in Moscow with a few minor exchanges each round.  UK ends up with a strong stack near Iraq, never daring to move it too close to the Germans.

    Meanwhile the huge range of the German bombers give that power flexibility to find opportunistic attacks:
    *Allied ground forces in W. Europe
    *Allied ships in the Atlantic
    *Allied ships in the Med
    *Push into Siberia
    *Mid-game Sealion or Egypt attack

    I am not saying that this plan guarantees victory, but it allows League players to aim towards eventual victory in G13-17.  Most face-to-face games end up with a Moscow attack on G5-8 when the Axis players just decide that the numbers look close enough.  With the battlecaculator and more time on PBEM/PBF games, Germany can comb through the options every turn and patiently wait for the right opening with a big TUV swing.


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