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Thanks for taking the time to write your opinion. I really appreciate hearing from you!
In regard to the A/H forces on the Italian front. The Austrians Had totally screwed the pooch in Serbia having failed two seperate invasions all the while they were taking a butt pounding from the Russians which really restricted their manpower. One thing that is not taken into consideration is the mountainous terrain in the Alps and the Plateau/high ground the Austrians enjoyed while the Italians bashed their collective heads to no avail. Clearly, the Russian Front was a major problem to the A/H high command and luckily for the A/H forces, the Italians were just as inept as they were. This manpower shortage was a REAL problem and is the main reason for the Italians greater numbers. Also keep in mind that when the Germans showed up in that 1918 offensive and blew a 61 mile deep hole in the shattered Italian line, it was the French, British, and Americans that held the line. Yep, the Yanks sent in 3 divisions. When the combined forces crushed the central powers in italy, it was as much about a lack of supplies as anything that forced the Central Powers back.
So the question is, what do we do to make Italy stronger. Have you ever noticed that Rome is the only non 6 IPC capital? What would be wrong with raising the IPC value to 6? You could even make Sicily worth something as it is a full province and should be worth at least 2.
Historically at the begining of the war, Albaina is 2/3 occupied by A/H and it produced around 10 Batallions for A/H that fought til the end of the war on that side. I think around 1916 they produced 2 battalions for the Italians. Not very much. In our game, Albania is worth 1 point and has no military. In fact, there is no government other than that of the occupying forces. It was mostly made up of tribal forces seperated by rough terrain. Why Larry made this a place for the Italians to get extra troops is a mystery to me. So this place is kind of worthless in reality. If he wanted to help out the Italians, why not just give them the troops they would get from this territory and put them in Italy and add some points to Sicily and/or Rome?
The neutral thing for Italy is actually good in that they come into the war on their turn in the second round of play. They get to be the aggressor as they were in the real war. And the one turn of building is a nice added bonus. The thing is, A/H was trying to entice their Italian allies to help them and were backstabbed. With the rules the way they are now, they(Italy) get to be victims on turn one. So our gaming group brings Italy into the war on their turn on round 2 allowing them to have the initiative. Does that better expain this?
By the way as a further explanation. When Minor Neutrals join the war, such as Bulgaria or Romania. Their troops just appear and do not need to have troops from their side enter their territory.
Feeling the need to defend Italy again here. Just to be fair, every order of battle ive seen for the Austrian/German offensive had a ratio of about two A-H to one German division, including a young Rommel's Alpine Korps in the October 1917 offensive. The offensive began on the 24th, and ended by the 10th of November when the Italians had reestablished a defensive line. The Italian offensive of 1918 did include three US divisions, as well as a division each from Britain and France and Czechloslavakia, and fifty-one divisions from Italy. I think your combining the two events, as a sixteen day battle would hardly give time to move the Allied divisions into position to stop the Austrian offensive at the Battle of Caporetto. The two things that stopped the Italian collapse was the CP supply lines being so stretched after such a rapid advance. And, the Italian army remained somewhat organized, and avoided a complete rout when their lines collapsed.
As to making Italy stronger, I'm fine as it stands for Italy, as I understand the needs for game balance. I honestly think the two things to change instead would either be a weaker A-H, which would again be a game balance issue. Or, better yet as it is actually historical, would be to deny A-H the ability to declare war on Italy, and allow Italy to make the first attack when they wanted to. So, if Italy wants to attack R1, that's fine. Or, they can wait until R2, build some more forces up, and then attack. Make it slightly different from the US neutrality, as Italy would be considered a Neutral CP ally at this point. So, the CP cannot attack Italy, Italian units cannot move out of Italian territory (or activate Albania, but are free to garrison it if Albania is attacked), their fleet must remain docked, and the A-H fleet can freely move through the sea zone without fear of mines. This would be a balance issue, as it would allow the A-H fleet into the Med, to make up for not being able to attack their ally.
What we do is bump Italy up by 3 IPC's. Sardinia gets 1 IPC, Sicily gets 1 IPC, and Venice gets 1 IPC. We also have Italy working as a neutral CP and building on turn one. On turn two, No CP's may attack Italy which during it's turn declares war on Hungry. This affords them the initiative. Additionally, since Italy had a secret treaty with the French, we allow France to move through Italian waters w/o having to forego the mines. This adds some other interesting things in which the A/H and Turkish fleets may move out into the central Med. We feel Italy should be a bit stronger than Turkey economically. But only slightly. Heck, you could easily give Italy a few more IPC's if you wanted to...
Bump up the armies in Berlin, Hanover, and Munich to compensate. And then, Switzerland really needs some adjustment, or just totally becomes a Munich speedbump.
Montenegro sent around 40,000 troops to fight with the Serbian army and I suspect that part of the albanian portion of the map that Larry made encompasses montenegro. To be real, albania was 2/3 under the control of A/H and provided a Legion to them consisting of 10 to 11 battalions of troops to them. These troops served A/H till the end of the war. In the Italian 1/3, the Eyeties raised about 2 batalions. Not too much for eitther side. In our game, we make Albania worth 1 IPC and it has no forces. Basically it was a lawless muslim emirate with tribal forces that were seperated by the mountainous terrain.
In our games, Austria is stretched to the limit by the Russians and are tenative as they must prepare a defense for the Italian attack on turn 2. Generally the CP's need to advance by turn 2 and it's usually the A/H that takes the hit and the Germans try to follow up. This generally leaves A/H in a manpower shortage. In regard to the historical situation when A/H invaded Serbia, they actually only went in with half of their available forces. Attacking at 5-4 odds resulting in a Serbian victory. Basically, this makes the A/H go in with lots of troops. No one who is a student of this history will make that mistake and our players usually go in with lots of troops. Btw, Bringing Romania into the war on turn 5 further stretches out the A/H forces as they are desperately contesting with Russia and Italy! By the way, we make Bulgaria and Romania seperate economies with differentl colored troops. both of these countries each contributed 1.2 million troops each to the war. So, why do we do this? If Turkey or Russia go down, these forces remain as they had their own objectives and did not rely on their allies to maintain their war efforts. Turkey and Russia still use them as minor allies, but they keep their money seperate and build in their respective countries.
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