Italy is a major nation primarily located in the Italian peninsula and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia to the west. It also contains territory in Zara (on the Dalmatian coast)and the Dodecanese (Aegean sea), with African colonies in Libya, Eritrea and Somalia. Its terrain is mainly made of hills, with the peninsula having some coastal plains on the east and west sides of its rugged central spine - important defensive terrain if fighting up or down the peninsula. Its location in the center of the Mediterranean causes Italy to be a dominant force in the region. In game the country has a modest to respectable military, with the navy being its strongest asset. Both branches have immediate adversaries to face, as the French to the west are a constant threat, while the British also vie for control of the Mediterranean Sea, and both powers maintain rival colonies abroad.
- 1 Geography
- 2 Historical background
- 3 Events
- 4 National focus
- 5 Technology
- 6 Politics
- 7 Decisions
- 8 Economy
- 9 Military
- 10 Strategies and guides
- 11 Achievements
Italy is located in Southern Europe and consists of the Italian peninsula and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia to the west. It also contains territory in Zara (on the Dalmatian coast) and the Dodecanese (Aegean Sea), with African colonies in Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia. Its terrain is mainly made of hills, with the peninsula having some coastal plains on the east and west sides of its rugged central spine. It is dominated by the Alps to the north, the Apennine mountains through most of the mainland, and flatlands in the south and Sicilian Island. Italy borders France to the Northwest, Switzerland and Austria to the North, and Yugoslavia to the East. Italy is surrounded by the Adriatic Sea to the East and the Mediterranean sea to the South and west. Italy's location in the center of the Mediterranean causes Italy to be a dominant force in the region.
Italy was a member of the victorious Entente when World War 1 ended in 1918. In exchange for promises of significant territorial expansion, Italy had sided with the French and British. With the war's end, Italy had anticipated its promised reward would be commensurate with Italian losses in the Alps. But at the 1919 Paris Peace Conference the three pre-eminent powers (the US, the UK and France) largely broke with their promises to lesser allies: Italy gained only the provinces of South Tyrol and Trieste, while the British and French divided the colonial world between them and Dalmatia was handed over to the newly-founded Yugoslavia. Regions Italy had long considered as Italian, such as Corsica, Savoy, Nice and Tunisia, remained under French control, while what German colonies there were went mostly to the British. This seeming betrayal outraged Italy as a whole and is today seen as one of the contributing factors to the rise of Fascism in Italy.
Italy conquered Ethiopia and Albania prior to its entry into World War II. Despite the Pact of Steel with Germany, Italy did not join in the war until June 1940, planning to get a share of Allied territory with the defeat of France (Corsica, Savoy and Nice). Later, in 1941, Italy joined Germany and Hungary in the invasion of Yugoslavia and managed to conquer and annex most of coastal Dalmatia along with some other inland regions from Yugoslavia.
Aside from these successes, however, Italy's war effort went beyond poorly, With Italy being unable to make significant gains in France before the french surrender and then suffering a humiliating defeat in Greece later in 1940. Later, Italy invaded British-controlled Egypt with 150.000 men compared to 3.500 British, capturing 50 miles of territory before being forced to stop due to logistical problems. Not long after, they were brutally beaten back by Richard O'Connor during operation Compass, and the Italian army was pushed back into Libya and eventually expelled from Africa completely with huge losses in both materiel and manpower, whether destroyed/killed or captured by the Allies. The Allies then launched a naval invasion of Italy in the summer of 1943 and Mussolini's government collapsed.
The new royal government of Marshal Pietro Badoglio signed an armistice with the allies, but most of the country was quickly occupied by the Germans who established a puppet government under Mussolini's leadership, the Italian Social Republic, in Northern Italy with its capital in the small town of Saló, located between Milan and Venice. Badoglio and the king escaped to Brindisi in southern Italy without giving any order to the army. The royal government remained in control of the south, declared war on Germany, and declared itself as the government of all of Italy shortly before the end of the war in the spring of 1945, sparking a brief but destructive civil war. Significant partisan actions took place in northern Italy. Italy would eventually recover from the war and, along with France, Germany (divided into West Germany and East Germany) and the low countries, would become one of the founding members of the European Union. Italy did however lose the region of Istria and the Dalmatian city of Zadar to Yugoslavia in addition to all of its African colonies.
- Main article: Italian events
- Main article: Italian national focus tree
Italy, as one of the seven major powers, gets a unique national focus tree.
Italy has an interesting national focus tree with five different branches:
- Ethiopian War Logistics
- A smaller tree which focuses on industrial build up.
- Army Primacy
- Strengthens your army research.
- Mare Nostrum
- The big naval strengthening tree.
- Light Ship Focus
- Destroyer & Submarine benefits.
- Triumph in Africa
- The big political and diplomatic tree, where you have lots of different choices on who to befriend and conquer.
Italy starts with four research slots and can gain one from its focus tree.
|Without Man the Guns|
Theorists and designers
By selecting this Design Company it will permanently affect capabilities on all equipment researched while they are hired.
- Acceptance of Communist Diplomacy: −10
- Acceptance of Democratic Diplomacy: −10
- Acceptance of Fascist Diplomacy: +10
- AI Modifier: Focus on Offense: +50%
- Justify war goal time: −5%
With the Man the Guns expansion enabled, Italy starts with an additional national spirit:
Italy starts off at war with Ethiopia, which is something they will be focusing on for the first months of the game. The Italian technological and numerical superiority more or less guarantees that they will win the war, barring player intervention. The new transportation mechanics makes it less of a hassle to strengthen this theater and less of a hassle to move back troops afterward. At the 1936 start date, Italy has no alliances, but is guaranteeing Albania and can choose to either join Germany and the Axis, form a faction of its own with Nationalist Spain, or ally France if they become fascist.
italy is one of the primary Fascist nations and is thus ruled by fascism. The political parties in Italy and their popularity remain the same in both the 1936 and 1939 scenario with Benito Mussolini's Partito Nazionale Fascista ruling with overwhelming support, at 76% support, followed by the democratic Partito Popolare Italiano with a significant 22% popularity and the communist Parito Comunista Italiano with a minuscule 2% support.
|Conscription Law||Economy Law||Trade Law|
| Limited Conscription
|| Partial Mobilization
|| Limited Exports
Italy's industry is quite modest compared to other major powers, at just 50 factories, which is a bit below that of the other European major powers. The country's limited production and construction power will seriously undermine its war effort if not dealt with swiftly.
19 Military Factories
11 Naval Dockyard
20 Civilian Factories
These numbers represent the available resources, depending on trade law a certain amount may be traded away.
Italy has 39 divisions in 1936. Of these:
- Two are Reggimento di Cavalleria with 4x cavalry and no support.
- Five are Divisione Alpina with 6x mountaineers, engineers, support artillery, and high reinforcement priority.
- Five are Divisione Coloniale with 6x infantry, no support, and low reinforcement priority.
- Three are Divisione Celere with 4x cavalry, 2x motorized infantry, 1x light tank, and high reinforcement priority.
- The remaining 24 are Divisione di Fanteria with 6x infantry and engineers.
The land borders of Italy's core territory (France, Switzerland, Austria - later German Reich - and Yugoslavia) are all mountains or hills (except for the city of Nice), and naval invasions will be necessary to control the Mediterranean, so a mix of mountaineers and marines is recommended for special forces expansion.
In terms of technology, Italy's support weapons, armor and artillery are rather outdated, the only special forces available are mountain infantry, and the only support companies available are engineers. Extensive modernization and research will be needed.
|1936||Fiat 626||Motorized I|
|1940||Fiat 2800||Mechanized I|
|1942||Fiat 727||Mechanized II|
|1944||Breda 61||Mechanized III|
|Name||Type||Techyear||Tank Destroyer / SP-Artillery / Armored AA Variants|
|Fiat 3000||Great War Tank||1918||None|
|L3||Light Tank I||1934||L3 cc (TD)|
|L6||Light Tank II||1936||Semovente 47/32 (TD)|
|L8||Light Tank III||1941||None|
|Fiat M11/39||Medium Tank I||1939||None|
|M16 Sahariano||Medium Tank II||1941||Semovente 75/34 (TD) / Semovente M 41 75/18 (SPA)|
|M20/43||Medium Tank III||1943||Semovente M41M 90/53 / Semovente M42L 105/25 / Semovente M15/42|
|P75||Heavy Tank I||1934||None|
|P26||Heavy Tank II||1941||Semovente da 149/40 (SPA)|
|P43||Heavy Tank III||1943||None|
|Il Duce||Super Heavy Tank||1943||None|
Examples of alternative division template names for Italy include:
- Mountaineers - Divisione Alpina
- Marines - Divisione Marine
- Paratroopers - Divisione Paracadutisti
- Motorized - Divisione Motorizzata
- Mechanized - Divisione Meccanizzata
- Armor - Divisione Corazzata
The Regia Marina is sizeable, with access to significant amounts of modern naval technology - Italy possesses all of the 1936 hulls, batteries and armor setups. The one exception is the complete lack of carriers, but given the time necessary to spin up such a project, it may well not seem worth investing in. Most of the existing ships are older models, but there are four battleships anticipating 1940-1941 completion dates, a nearly-completed Montecuccoli Class cruiser and two almost half-complete Duca degli Abruzzi Class cruisers, two half-complete Maestrale Class destroyers, and a half-complete Calvi Class submarine in production. Completing these any time soon will require a bigger investment in Italian dockyard capacity.
|Curatone Class*||Destroyer||49||1922||DD battery I, AA I, TT I|
|Navigatori Class*||Minelayer (DD)||17||1922||Curatone + DC I and mines|
|Maestrale Class||Destroyer||14||2||1922||Curatone + DC I|
|Taranto Class*||Minelayer (CL)||2||1922||CL I, TT I, mines|
|Giussano Class*||Light Cruiser||6||1922||2xCL II batteries, TT I, scout plane I, AA II, no armor|
|Montecuccoli Class||Light Cruiser||3||1||1936||AA I + II, 2xCL II batteries, scout plane I, TT I, no armor|
|Duca degli Abruzzi Class||Light Cruiser||2||1936||2xAA, TT I, scout plane, armor I, 2xCL II batteries|
|San Giorgio Class*||Heavy Cruiser||1||1918||CA I battery, 2xAA I, TT I, 2xSecondary I, Armor II|
|Trento Class*||Heavy Cruiser||2||1922||2xCA I batteries, 2x AA I, scout plane I, Armor I|
|Zara Class*||Heavy Cruiser||4||1922||Trento with Armor II|
|Bolzano Class||Heavy Cruiser||1||1922||Same as Trento|
|Mameli Class*||Submarine||17||1922||1xTT I|
|Bandiera Class*||Submarine||11||1922||2xTT I|
|Sirena Class*||Submarine||21||1936||1xTT I|
|Calvi Class||Submarine||2||1||1936||2xTT I|
|Andrea Doria Class*||Battleship||2||1922||2xBB I batteries, 2xAA I, 2xSecondary I, BB Armor I|
|Conte Di Cavour Class||Battleship||2||1922||2xBB I batteries, AA I, scout plane I, 2xSecondary II, BB Armor I|
|Littorio Class||Battleship||2||1936||2xBB II batteries, 2xAA I, scout plane II, 2xSecondary II, BB Armor I|
|* marks a variant as "obsolescent".|
Without Man the Guns
The Regia Marina is rather sizable, it is however not very modern. The only 1936 naval tech that Italy possesses is the Caio Duilio battleship, though it does possess upgraded versions of the 1922 heavy cruiser, light cruiser, destroyer, and submarine. Italy also has several ships under construction. 2 Caio Duilio Class battleships that are about 20% finished. A Montecuccoli class light cruiser that is almost finished along with two Maestrale Class destroyers and a Sirena Class submarine.
|Soldati Class||Destroyer II||1936|
|Ciclone Class||Destroyer III||1940|
|Medaglie d'Oro Class||Destroyer IV||1944|
||Light Cruiser I||1922|
|Duca degli Abruzzi Class||Light Cruiser II||1936|
|Capitani Romani Class||Light Cruiser III||1940|
|San Marco Class||Light Cruiser IV||1944|
||Heavy Cruiser I||1922|
|San Giorgio Class||Heavy Cruiser II||1936|
|Pisa Class||Heavy Cruiser III||1940|
|Garibaldi Class||Heavy Cruiser IV||1944|
|Caracciolo Class||Battlecruiser I||1922|
|Principe Amadeo Class||Battlecruiser II||1940|
|Conte Di Cavour Class||Battleship I||1922|
|Caio Duilio Class||Battleship II||1936|
|Littorio Class||Battleship III||1940|
|Impero Class||Battleship IV||1944|
|Regina Margherita Class||Super Heavy Battleship I||1936|
|Regina Elena Class||Super Heavy Battleship II||1944|
|Giusseppe Miraglia Class||Carrier I||1922|
|Falco Class||Carrier II||1936|
|Aquila Class||Carrier III||1940|
|Sparviero Class||Carrier IV||1944|
|Perla Class||Submarine II||1936|
|Marconi Class||Submarine III||1940|
|Pietro Calvi Class||Submarine IV||1944|
48 Close Air Support
72 Naval Bombers
288 Tactical Bombers
Upgrading the interwar fighters and bombers to at least 1936 level is a priority for the air force, as is simply expanding the country's contingent of fighters to a size that can achieve air superiority over the home land and sea regions to fend off strategic bombing and port strike missions.(The Allies (AI) can easily send over 1000 bombers and fighters respectively to Italy.) If carriers are to be built, naval variants of fighters, naval bombers, and perhaps close air support will also be needed as a priority, otherwise the carriers are useless.
|Name||Type||Tech year||Carrier variant|
|Fiat CR.32||Interwar Fighter||1933|
|Macchi C.200 Saetta||Fighter I||1936||Macchi IC.200 Saetta|
|Macchi C.202 Folgore||Fighter II||1940||Macchi IC.202|
|Fiat G.55 Centauro||Fighter III||1944||Fiat G.55S Centauro|
|Reggiane Re.2007||Jet Fighter I||1945|
|Reggiane Re.2008||Jet Fighter II||1950|
|Breda Ba.65||CAS I||1936||Breda Ba.65bis|
|Breda Ba.88 Lince||CAS II||1940||Reggiane Re.2001G/H Falco II|
|Breda Ba.201||CAS III||1944||Breda Ba.201bis|
|Savoia-Marchetti SM.79 Sparviero||Naval Bomber I||1936||Savoia-Marchetti SM.79-II Sparviero|
|Savoia-Marchetti SM.84||Naval Bomber II||1940||Savoia-Marchetti SM.84-II|
|Savoia-Marchetti SM.89||Naval Bomber III||1944||Savoia-Marchetti SM.89-II|
|Caproni Ca.101||Interwar Bomber||1933|
|Fiat BR.20 Cicogna||Tactical Bomber I||1936|
|Cant Z.1007bis Alcione||Tactical Bomber II||1940|
|Cant Z.1018 Leone||Tactical Bomber III||1944|
|(No name)||Jet Tactical Bomber I||1945|
|(No name)||Jet Tactical Bomber II||1950|
|IMAM Ro.57||Heavy Fighter I||1936|
|IMAM Ro.58||Heavy Fighter II||1940|
|Savoia-Marchetti SM.92||Heavy Fighter III||1944|
|Piaggio P.50||Stategic Bomber I||1936|
|Piaggio P.108||Strategic Bomber II||1940|
|Piaggio P.133||Stategic Bomber III||1944|
|(No name)||Jet Stategic Bomber I||1950|
Italy's high command picks are an underwhelming lot, only the air force attracts any candidates above "Specialist" level with one exception for a Naval Expert in Military High Command. Army command tends towards the defensive, Navy command trends in the direction of capital ships, only the Air Force command picks exhibit a degree of intense specialization.
Strategies and guides
Italy is an interesting country to play despite being the weakest of every starting Majors. It is unique in that it is the only nation that starts off at war with another nation in 1936, that being Ethiopia. Taking Ethiopia isn't a problem, but the war provides an easy early-game source of military experience for reformatting the Italian army divisions. Timing the end of the war is also important. End it too early and you likely will not be able to earn much experience for your generals and field marshals. End it too late and the war might just drain a large chunk of your manpower and/or equipment and the Spanish civil war might just start and end before you can finish the "Support Nationalist Spain" national focus. While the Ethiopian war and Spanish civil war is ongoing, build up your military and industry, you will need them later.
After Ethiopia, Italy can decide not only the fate of the Allies, but also the Axis. In order for Italy to disrupt Germany (If Italy is going the "Italy first" route), all Italy has to do in the beginning is to invade Austria before Anschluss and then attack Yugoslavia (causing Czechoslovakia to join as well) and then take Czechoslovakia after war with Yugoslavia. This can be difficult to pull off if Czechoslovakia fortifies, but successfully pulling it off will allow you to steal a lot of the low-hanging fruit that is normally meant for Germany, weakening them. Ironically, despite declaring war and making puppets from Austria, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia, this will still generate less world tension than what Germany can produce historically from taking aggressive action against said nations. From here, Italy can choose to expand its alliance by creating further puppets from Hungary, Romania and Turkey. One has to watch the world tension, however, as if it rises to 25% or higher, the allies (France and the UK) will start guaranteeing nations you target, which can easily lead to nasty war with both nations. A war with both the French and British at this stage is likely going to be too much for Italy to handle, even with skilled play, so be careful.
That being said, sometimes Italy can take refuge in audacity. If world tension is below 80% and France hasn't joined the Allies yet through a focus, Italy could complete the national focus "Go After France" (or justify a wargoal on a nation when world tension is over 25%, causing France to guarantee them) and strike them directly. France has a respectable military but Italy can relatively easily build up its own military to match them through superior units, though this might require stretching Italy's manpower pool somewhat. Be mindful, however, of the fact that France's military industry is horribly sloppy, at just 6 Military factories although, France's national focus tree can expand this quite a bit. If Italy builds up its military and industry (the faster the better), attacks France and manages to encircle and destroy enough units to cripple the French military, Italy could conceivably defeat France before 1940, allowing them to more than double their industrial potential if they annex France, or acquire a nice source of manpower if they puppet them.
From here, the path to supremacy lies open; Italy can either choose to strike at Germany or the United Kingdom and once those two are gone, the rest of Europe is within your reach. Only the Soviet Union could theoretically present a threat to you anymore and that will most likely only become a factor towards the late game. Conquer enough land and you might just find yourself surpassing even Mussolini's wildest dreams and be able to restore the Roman Empire.
If playing the more historical Axis alignment its worth noting that Italy is unique among the Axis of being within striking distance of the Middle East with its valuable and abundant Oil supplies. Using its North African holdings as a launching point and its ability to protect supply convoys through the Central and Eastern Mediterranean Italy is able to quickly seize not just the Suez but the entirety of the Allies Middle eastern territory. Just be sure to grab it all or else Vichy France will spawn and cut you off from further eastern expansion. Once this is done you are at your leisure to fabricate and push eastwards grabbing more Oil than you could possibly use from the weak Iraq and Iran. At this point you are then free to advance further into the British Raj and/or open up more fronts with the Soviet menace.
Some suggestions regarding units
A solid, relatively simple strategy is to switch your military doctrine to "Superior Firepower" and place Support and Line Artillery (both Normal, Anti-Tank, and Anti-Air versions) in all of your divisions. Coupled with Fighters (for air supremacy), Close-Air-Support planes (to assist your ground divisions) and Field Hospitals (to conserve manpower, if resources permit) you should be able to both attack and defend against most enemy units without too much of a hassle. Once you can obtain a reliable source of fuel and enough factories to support it, you can also start fielding various kinds of Tanks (supported by Motorized/Mechanized Infantry) to further augment your breakthrough capabilities, allowing you to break stalemates and attempt to encircle enemy units for destruction.
Guard Italy's coast closely! Italy is a peninsular nation and has a very long coastline which, when dealing with a naval enemy like Britain, is a disaster waiting to happen if not properly addressed. To prevent any enemies from pulling a D-Day of their own on italy, it pays off to construct Coastal forts on all naval bases and station units there to man them to repulse invasions. Keep a set of reserve units stationed close by as well, so that if any enemies try to land next to the coastal forts and then assault them overland (to avoid the "amphibious assault" penalty), the reserve units can be brought in to encircle the invading units and contain the enemy incursion away from any naval bases and either destroy them or starve them into defeat.
As for your naval units, Italy is a peninsular nation so maintaining naval supremacy in the Mediterranean will go a long way to protecting against possible naval invasions (something an AI-controlled Italy often falls victim to). In the early game, when naval dockyards are in limited supply, a decent early-game fleet would be a mixture of torpedo-equipped destroyers and gun-carrying light cruisers (both with added armor), with some heavy cruisers added here and there as resources permit. These ships are decently powerful while also being decently expendable and replaceable. In theory, the light and heavy cruisers should engage and destroy enemy screening ships, allowing the destroyers to attack and destroy enemy capital ships once the screen ships are down. Once you acquire more naval dockyards, this combo can be further augmented with the addition of more heavy cruisers and even battleships for heavier ordnance. The Mediterranean sea is small enough that Naval Bombers operating from airfields in coastal states should have enough range to cover most sea zones, allowing you to support your navy. This also makes Aircraft Carrier battleships somewhat redundant early on.
When it comes to dealing with enemy submarines, one could set up specialized "scout fleets" consisting of destroyers optimized for detecting submarines and ordered to "Do not engage". These scout fleets can scour the Mediterranean for submarines and if they find any, they will alert the actual attack fleets, allowing them to make their way over and attack the enemy submarines, damaging and hopefully destroying them. If Italy wants to further assist their navy, they could build ships (destroyers and cruisers) outfitted with minelayers and extensively mine the Mediterranean sea. Mines will cause enemy ships to suffer a speed penalty, making them move slower, which hampers everything from responding to and engaging your fleets, disengaging, and retreating from battles and fleeing from bad situations. Having enough friendly minefields around can allow the Italian navy to do a lot more risky/audacious maneuvers and get away with it, allowing them to punch above their weight against bigger enemies like the British Royal Navy and the French navy.
To avoid issues with fuel, Italy could invest in building fuel silos in peacetime and importing Oil to fill them up. If you manage to puppet Romania or any other nation that has a decent Oil reserve, you can import Oil at a discount. Once war does break out and fuel becomes harder to import, this can be remedied by occupying and/or annexing states that produce Oil. Alternatively, if conquering and/or importing Oil is not an available option, constructing synthetic fuel refineries can help address this. Just make sure to also protect these installations from enemy aggression as both fuel silos and oil refineries can be bombed by hostile planes and captured by enemy troops, so be careful.
A change of heart
Italy is uniquely versatile for a major power in that it can relatively freely decide what ideology to follow. None of the national focuses in Italy's focus tree explicitly require Italy to be of a given ideology and Italy has free access to all three political advisers (Democratic, Fascist and Communist), making it perfectly possible to switch ideology, join the appropriate faction and profit off of it.
Examples of this include: turning Communist, allying the Soviet Union through the Comintern and then backstabbing Germany if they decide to carry out Operation Barbarossa and invade the Soviets. For extra effectiveness, Italy can also (once communist) boost communist party popularity in France until they flip to communism (since they start out with a significant communist minority and will likely gain more through events). This will cause France to not join the Allies and if Germany, attacks them, they will likely instead join the Comintern, granting you an additional ally to work with, at the expense of Germany.
Alternatively, turning Democratic, joining the Allies, guaranteeing nations like Poland, Czechoslovakia etc, to hamstring Germany's expansion or trick them into a defensive war, defeat the Germans (for bonus points, let the Germans beat up the French and British a fair bit before you finish them off), puppet Germany or annex their territory to gain access to their industry and resources, then build up your military, leave the Allies and use your national focus tree to generate a war goal against France or Britain at your leisure, and attack and conquer them as well. Once you no longer need it, you can again switch ideologies to either fascism or communism and continue expanding from there. For maximum switcheroo value, Italy could theoretically drift to democracy, undermine and conquer Germany, then prepare for and conquer France and Britain through its national focus tree, then drift back to facism to conquer the Low Countries ( Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg).
From there, Italy could either;
- A. Stay fascist and continue its rampage throughout Europe and North Africa until they are in a position to form the Roman Empire, or.
- B. Drift back to democracy once again and form the European Union, granting them cores on all of the aforementioned countries sans Britain.