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Italia at War: An Empire on ICE

Discussion in 'Hearts of Iron' started by Mussolini, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    My name is Benito "Il Duce" Mussolini and this is my story.

    The year is 1936 and Italy, my beloved Italia, is a shell of what it once was. I have already enacted steps to regain the glory of the Italian Empire but the task is going to be monumental. One might ask why I am doing what I am doing, with Italian presences in Libya and East Africa. I tell them that the Roman Empire once covered all of the Mediterranean Sea - why can the Italian Empire not achieve such a feat? It is our right, it is in our blood, to regain Mare Nostrum!​


    The Political Situation at the beginning of 1936:
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    What can one man do, you ask? One man can change the world! The first thing to change is the heads of the government. Once I can control them and what policies they pass, the rest will fall into place. The first step is rather quite simple, actually. A few changes in the present Cabinet and I gain greater control over National Security and the Foreign Ministry.

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    With the Cabinet reorganized, I have also taken it upon myself to allow the construction of a Light Cruiser to be completed, to further improve our Naval Power, while also taking the first steps to improving Italy as a whole - improvement of its Industrial Capacity! The War in Ethiopia is just a precursor for things to come in Europe. In order for Italy to compete - both Militarily and Economically - with its friends and goes, one has to have a solid Industrial Basis for the country to grow upon.

    Research in the field of Industry is also a high priority for me this year. If I am able to improve resource gathering and refinement, the Italian Industry will be able to produce more for less. In times of war, with the threat of blockades, this will be very important as it is foreseeable that some Resources will be lost in transport. But I have time to prepare - at least 3 years with the current Political Climate in Europe - so will do as as fast as I can.

    Two other things of importance have also come to my attention. Both the Navy and the Airforce are going to need improvements if they are to keep up with the rest of the world. A quick first step in regards to the Navy is to upgrade its armaments and sea-plane capabilities. The Airforce will also be able to focus its research on improving Engine Performance and Fuel Tanks. This should enable the Italian Airforce to compete with the enemy.

    The Infantry, especially Special Forces (like the Alpine Divisions) are also something that will give myself the edge in combat over enemy forces. I know that Italy will never have the Industrial Strength of larger Nations but I am a firm believer that the Elite will always triumph over the Many!

    But I digress. With the Political, Technological, and Production Blueprints all laid out, there are more important things to talk about. Part of rebuilding this Italian Empire means expansion, and expansion in East Africa seems to be the best way to get some combat under our belts! War has already been declared against the Ethiopians and Italian Blackshirt Divisions already march towards victory!
     
  2. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    Chapter 1:
    January 1936 - July 1936


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    The Abyssinian Campaign was going to be the start of things to come. Italian troops in East Africa and Somalia poured in across the borders of Ethiopia. It did not matter that the terrain was steep and mountainous. Italian troops had been prepared well for this war and it did not take long at all before reports of victories began to pour in. I even recalled the Italian Airforce in the region to return to Italy for some major reorganization of the Armed Forces!

    The majority of Italian troops involved in this War were Blackshirt Militia Units, fiercely loyal to the Italian cause. They would take no quarter and were quickly rewarded with success all along the front. By March they had taken well over half of the country and could have easily taken the Capital of Adis Abba if I had so ordered. But I held them back, letting the success of the battles filter back into Italy, raising morale and keeping the War Industry going at full force.

    Ethiopian Campaign, March 1936
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    The War Economy allowed me to focus on building up my resources, allowing me to trade with dozens of countries around the world to build up a solid economic base for Italy. It also allowed me to complete and deploy the latest Light Cruiser of the Italian Navy (Deployed to the Reserve Fleet for future operations). The excess in supplies allows me to also trade with juggernauts like the United States in exchange for Money, which I then send to countries like Venezuela in return for much needed Oil.

    But alas, all good things must come to an end, and in May I gave the order to take the Ethiopian Capital. The results were very predictable and Ethiopia became the latest puppet of my great Nation! Establishing a Puppet Regime allows me greater control of the area with out the threat of Rebellion by the local peoples. It also creates some 'friendly' Ethiopian units in the area to keep the border secure.

    End of Hostilities, May 1936
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    At this point, I made the tough decision of switching Italy from a Full War Economy to a Consumer Goods Economy. This switched the focus back onto providing goods for the people. I also commissioned the construction of a half dozen Garrison units or so, to occur in a serial, in order to better defend Italian assets, especially Ports on the home front, thus freeing up units for future wars where they will be much needed.

    I also completed the restructuring of the Italian Combined Forces at every level. Several generals were reappointed and the structural organization of land units was reworked into a better, more cohesive front. The Air Force also saw similar restructuring, but it also saw a much greater change.

    The battlefields of World War I taught me on one great lesson (amongst many others): Control of the Skies was paramount to success. There is so much information to obtain from Aerial Observation and you can strike at your enemies from a distance! Of course, modernizing the Italian Air Force is a high priority fro me. The current model of Fiat Cr. 42 Falco's are too aged for my liking.

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    My Scientists and Engineers have been hard at work, however, and have come up with a much better, much more improved design for my Interceptors. While the war in Ethiopia wore on, the Cr. 42 Falcos were scrapped and were replaced by the new Fiat G.50 Freccias! This presents the latest in Italian Aeronautical Engineering! Much more streamlined, much faster, with greater range and firepower - exactly the sort of plane needed to dominate Italian skies!

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    Not to be left behind, the Navy also saw major reorganization. Four Battle Fleets were created out of the 4 Battleships in the Italian Navy - the Andrea Doria, di Caviour, Cesare, Duilio - each accompanied by 2 Heavy Cruisers, 3 Light Cruisers, and 4 Destroyers. A reserve fleet of 1 Light Cruiser and 2 Destroyers was also created for when Battle Fleet Ships are damaged. A Motor Torpedo Fleet was also created out of the Motor Torpedo Boats, ready to engage in coastal actions against enemy transports. 3 Wolfpack Groups, stylized after the German Wolfpack Fleets, were also organized out of the 11 Submarines in the Italian Navy, while a Transport fleet of Transport Ships was also reorganized.

    In light of the Major Reorganization that was taking place, I decided to crown the RN Andrea Doria as the Pride of the Italian Fleet!

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    June saw the deployment of the first newly commissioned Garrison to the port of Livorno. I decided that the next Garrisons would be deployed further from Rome and troop buildups, deploying them instead to the Island of Sicily and then to Southern Italy. This will allow me to shift troops to the North and areas where combat is expected to take place.

    An Illegal Printing Press was also discovered, as was reported to me, spreading false rumors and Anti-Fascist Propoganda. This was causing a small level of unrest amongst the Italians and also greatly angered me. I immediately had my Security Forces forecefully shut down the Illegal Printing press and arrest its conspirators, greatly increasing the love and wellbeing of Italians.

    While I was reviewing the new garrison in Livorno, some urgent news was brought to my attention. It was well known that Spain was experiencing some internal strife but the outbreak of Civil War, between Nationalists and Republics, caught me off Guard. I quickly called short my review of the Garrison of Livorno and headed back to Rome where more information on the rising conflict was already being compiled.

    The Great Spanish Civil War had started!
     
  3. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    Chapter 2:
    August 1936 - December 1936

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    News of the Spanish Civil War has taken Europe by storm. The public outcry of my Italian conquest of Ethiopia has quickly subsided as the latest war, this once much closer to home, rocks Western Europe. I am not about to get into the Politics over why the Spanish are killing each other, but it is clear that Europe is as divided on the matter as the Spaniards.

    On the one hand, you have Franco and the Nationalists, whose ideologies and thoughts mimic my own, and those of my good friend Adolf Hitler. On the other hand, you have the Republicans, the Communists, who are more in tune with the Bolshevik hordes to the East and - to a lesser extent - the British and French. The Nationalists of Spain control more of the military then the Republicans, according to my initial reports, and the country is virtually split down the middle.

    Spanish Civil War
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    Unsurprisingly, there are many in my own country who wish to go and fight for the Nationalists of Spain, to help their brothers in arms face down this new threat. My initial thoughts are to agree with them as well as having another Nationalistic country in Europe would only strengthen our control. Germany is already growing into a powerful friend and I often meet with the German Ambassador. We both agree that we would prefer a Nationalist Spain over a Republican Spain.

    Calling a meeting with my ministers, we began debating a course of action to take in regards to the Spanish Civil War. Do we sit idly by and let them duke it out? Or do we send supplies, men, and vehicles to help the Nationalist cause? It was in the middle of one of these meetings that my foreign minister came up with a brilliant plan: A Pact with Germany to unify our two countries and solidify our place in Europe. This idea was warmly welcomed by the Germans and on October the 2nd, the Rome-Berlin Pact was signed!

    The Rome-Berlin Pact
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    A trip to Berlin let me get a first hand view of the new Germany and their own rapid militarization. I could only be envious of what I saw taking place and quickly signed by name to the Pact. It did not solve the thought on Spanish Intervention but it certainly pushed me towards making a decision. Adolf made the case for it too, pointing out that Spain would be a great 'testing ground' for new warfare doctrines and equipment. It certainly made sense to me, especially now that the Rome-Berlin Pact had been signed.

    Upon returning from my trip to Germany, I quickly made a public appearance in support of the Nationalists in Spain. Italy was going to help their brothers in Arms! My people where euphoric with the decision, eager to strengthen the Italian Empire even more. Supplies were quickly sent to aid the Nationalists and public unity after a poll had shot up!

    Italian Intervention
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    I also decided it was time to shift some research focus on better Armor, Artillery, and Anti-tank guns. I was beginning to get a better picture of how things were going to shape up in Europe and wanted to make sure the entire military had the best Italian equipment possible!
     
  4. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    Chapter 3:
    January 1937 - September 1937

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    As I look back on things now, it is ironic how quiet the first few months of 1937 were compared to the last few months of the same year. The early months of 1937 were quite on all fronts to the point where there was virtually nothing to report on. Nationalist Spain was making huge grounds on Republican territories of course but most of the World was watching from afar. The one thing I did focus on during these months was trade, securing the Italian position in the world market.

    It was not until April that anything of note is to be reported. The Four Factories, designed to help the Italian Economy, were finally complete. Two were built in Bologna, with the other two built in Roma and Milano. These will help improved the industrial output of each province and provide more rare materials.

    At this point, with some freed IC to use from the factories, I decided it was time to start building up the Italian Armed Forces. I gave the go ahead for 6 x 3-Regiments of Motorized Infantry to be produced (congruently) along with 2 x 1-Regiment of Alpine Artillery (for the Alpine Troops). I felt secure enough that these would not stretch the Italian economy too much and additional troops will be needed in Libya in order to reclaim the Roman Empire lands in neighboring Egypt (don't tell the British!).

    As June came around, new Infantry weapons meant an outfitting of the entire Italian Army. This was beyond the capabilities of my current industrial output so I prioritized certain units along the Yugoslavian Border to receive these upgrades first before handing them out to the rest of the Italian Army.

    Another keen point of interest reached my ears from the Far East. War had finally broken out in China once more, but not between the split Chinese Factions. Instead, the Japanese had launched an invasion in Shanxi from Manchuria! I was greatly intrigued by this massive feat undertaken by the Japanese, especially due to their friendliness towards myself and Adolf. Japan could prove to be a powerful Ally in the East.

    Japanese Advance, September
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    August finally rolled around and brought to Italy a very important new technology - the Escort Carrier Technology. This - if I choose to do so - will enable the Italian Navy to start building the very first Escort Aircraft Carriers! To dominate the Mediterranean Sea, this will be a very useful and powerful technology!

    No sooner had this new technology wet my lips then some truly brilliant news reached my ears from Spain - on August 10th, the Republican Spanish Forces surrendered to the Nationalist Spain Forces! This was a great victory for the Axis powers and proved that our technology was superior to our enemies!

    Nationalist Spain - WIN!
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    This was a great way to end the first half of the year and was only topped off by gaining the ability to build Elite Italian Infantry in September. This was good news as War was looming on the horizon once more, this time much closer to home!
     
  5. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    Chapter 4:
    October 1937 - December 1937

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    In constant need of resources I decided it was time to further expand the Italian economy through conquest. Conquering new lands would allow me to rebuild the Roman Empire and gain access to more resources. But where to expand? The French are too powerful at the moment to the West, Switzerland and Austria hold no real value, and any sort of African Expansion would pit me against the UK or France - wars that I am not prepared for right now. So where to expand?

    The simple and obvious answer is Yugoslavia. They share a large border with me and have inferior troops. Their navy is negligible as is their air force while their territory is large. It was with this in mind that I gave the order to Mobilize my troops. The Yugoslavians would not see it coming.

    Octotber 9th - WAR!
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    The initial plan of attack was quite simple. Special Forces units in the South would seize the neighboring Port and surrounding area, tying up enemy troops in rough terrain. In the North, the Italian Cavalry units would spear head across the country and cut off the North - and enemy units - while Infantry secured the lines and Mountain Troops took out the troops in the north. After ten days of fighting, these goals had been met. Northern forces had also linked up by land with the isolated southern forces.

    October 19th - Advance
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    Surrounded units
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    The quick movement of Italian Cavalry managed to cut off Northern Yugoslavia along with a few divisions. Italian Air Force quickly achieved Air Superiority and Tactical Bombers flew at will against assembling Yugoslavian forces. Things were going most well indeed!

    Fighting in the south was fierce, with Italian Special Forces holding their own against larger Yugoslavian forces around the port of Split and the neighboring mountains.

    Special Forces South
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    October 31st - Front Lines
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    By the end of October, nearly half of Yugoslavia had fallen under my control. My forces had yet to face defeat and were making great gains towards controlling the main cities of Yugoslavia. The suddenness of the attack had completely caught the Yugoslavians off guard and I had not suffered any set backs yet.

    The Month of November was weighed down as Yugoslavian forces started to put up a fight as Italian forces continued to march south from the now empty North. Another encircling movement was initiated as the Yugoslavian Army was not able to defend its flanks, in the hopes of cutting them off from supply, even as an attack on the Yugoslavian Capital was underway. Yugoslavia surrendered shortly afterwards and was annexed!

    November 22nd
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    Surender!
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    Italian Empire
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  6. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    Chapter 5:
    January 1938 - December 1939


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    The first month of 1938 saw the Nationalist Chinese surrender to Japan. This was a great victory for the Japanese and would surely send shock waves through the Western European Powers. War was certainly coming to the World and through genius political maneuvring, Germany annexed Austria a month later. This was great news to me as it would now share my Northern Border with my great allies, the Germans!

    Not long after that did some great news from the home front as some Italian Desert Special Forces units were trained, excelling in all types of terrain and combat in the Desert. I was not sure how to use these troops quite yet as there were not very many of them. By Special Forces Mantra however would mean that they would come in use in the future.

    The rest of 1938 was a relatively quiet year. Two great new additions were added to the Italian Armed forces however - the multi-role fight MC. 200 Saetta and our first (if not German in origin) tanks - PzKpfw Ausf. IID! These were quickly used to upgrade current forces (and saw the establishment of the first two Armored Divisions - 2 Regiments of Tanks with 2 Regiments of Motorized Infantry).

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    Things were starting to look good for myself and my country. Our Allies were making good progress and in early 1939 Germany continued its political campaign of expansion and annexed Czechoslovakia, creating a smaller puppet state of Slovakia in the process. All of Europe was beginning to tremble under the might of Germany!

    But I was not to be outdone. Oh know, I had my own political gains to make too. Albania, for instance, had once been part of the Great Roman Empire and it was rich with rare materials. King Zog saw the might of the New Italian Empire and caved into my demands, relenquishing control of his country and returning it to Italia! This was great news and I moved forces in quickly to put down any unrest that might arise.

    No sooner had these troops settled in then I was signing papers with Germany and Japan, welcoming the victorious Japanese into the fold as they joined our union! An Anti-Commitern Pact was also signed against the spread of Communism. Between us, we would make sure the Bolsheviks wouldn't be able to spread their influence anywhere else.

    However, in September of 1939 the Polish refused to grant the Danzig Correigdor back to Germany and German - and Russian - Troops began to pour across the borders. Poland would soon fall but its Allies declared war on Germany. This was the most interesting of developments. I am not quite sure if my Armies are at their full potential but time is certainly running out. I will soon be forced to join my German Allies in combat against the Allies, upholding my end of the Agreement I had recently signed.

    War had come to Europe at long last and the Italians were ready to answer the call!
     
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