Recommend
4 
 Thumb up
 Hide
9 Posts

Paths of Glory» Forums » General

Subject: Entry of Italy? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Geoffrey Wilson
United States
Rochester
New York
flag msg tools
I don't mean to talk about the topic in a game-strategy sense (needing to play replacements same turn as Italy, SRing British armies etc) but in the historical sense connected to PoG.

Often, unless harshly pressed on the Russian front, the CP player will send AH armies and not uncommonly a Germany army to be poised on the border ready to attack as soon as Italy joins.

I've heard this called gamey, and it kind of feels it, but is it?

I've been trying to find information on this and find it difficult:

When Italy joined the Allies in 1915, how big of a surprise was it to the CP?

I know Italy had already failed to live up to its Triple Alliance obligations, and was cozying up to Britain, but did Germany and AH EXPECT Italy to enter eventually, and send extra troops besides minimum border defenses there to counteract this?

(PS- Were there ever any ambitions/fears (fears on the AP side) of CP attacks through northern Italy into southern France? This happened a few times in games I've played.)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles Kidwell
United States
St. Louis area
Missouri
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The Austrians were not suprised at all by the Italian entry into the war against them. But the front lines were not built up to attack Italy, and ther were no German units until 1917, if my memory serves me right. So it is in my worthless opinion, it is a bit gamey to load up the front before the Italians enter the war. When I played as CP the Russian front was always too active to spare anything guard the Italian frontier.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
James Pinnion
United Kingdom
Peterborough
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I like the historic variant whereby no German armies can go via Italy until total war. That said there is always going to be a lot of ahistoric gameplay in a game like this. In this case, I think the major push for building up on the Italian border from 1915 is the fact that it's very difficult to transfer armies from the Russian front to the Italian. I imagine that this is reasonable (what general is going to release even a corps from such an active front without attempting to pull political strings, let alone a couple of armies?) but players reading the rules find it far easier to pick up this restriction than politicians worrying about the most recent Russian invasion of Galicia.




My pet ahistoric peeve is a German "Defend the Rhine" strategy. Not that I object to it as a game strategy, just that I dont think it would have been politically possible for Germany at any point in the war, let alone before the nature of trench warfare became clear.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
D Hansey
Canada
Winnipeg
Manitoba
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
COKII wrote:
The Austrians were not suprised at all by the Italian entry into the war against them. But the front lines were not built up to attack Italy, and ther were no German units until 1917, if my memory serves me right. So it is in my worthless opinion, it is a bit gamey to load up the front before the Italians enter the war. When I played as CP the Russian front was always too active to spare anything guard the Italian frontier.


I agree that it is gamey but only because the CP player knows exactly where the Italians units are going to be deployed. If the Italians saw the Germans and Austrians building up forces on their borders, they may be less likely to deploy their under strength armies in the same manner as the game indicates.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jack Smith
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
Smurfy6 wrote:
COKII wrote:
The Austrians were not suprised at all by the Italian entry into the war against them. But the front lines were not built up to attack Italy, and ther were no German units until 1917, if my memory serves me right. So it is in my worthless opinion, it is a bit gamey to load up the front before the Italians enter the war. When I played as CP the Russian front was always too active to spare anything guard the Italian frontier.


I agree that it is gamey but only because the CP player knows exactly where the Italians units are going to be deployed. If the Italians saw the Germans and Austrians building up forces on their borders, they may be less likely to deploy their under strength armies in the same manner as the game indicates.


With games on this scale I consider units to not just be fighting formations. They could represent a state of readiness or allocated supplies or simply training (such as the Turks being given German Corps)

But I agree POG can be gamey but as it's such a good game and well balanced any changes would lead to a heavy rule set I'm not sure I could be bothered with. Such a rule set exists, there should be a link here.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jack Smith
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmb
Smurfy6 wrote:
COKII wrote:
The Austrians were not suprised at all by the Italian entry into the war against them. But the front lines were not built up to attack Italy, and ther were no German units until 1917, if my memory serves me right. So it is in my worthless opinion, it is a bit gamey to load up the front before the Italians enter the war. When I played as CP the Russian front was always too active to spare anything guard the Italian frontier.


I agree that it is gamey but only because the CP player knows exactly where the Italians units are going to be deployed. If the Italians saw the Germans and Austrians building up forces on their borders, they may be less likely to deploy their under strength armies in the same manner as the game indicates.


I'm not so sure, the Italians suffered from extremely incompetent Generals which they may not have realised until too late. I also think that where they deployed was supposed to be the best defensive position (mountains) although this is not reflected in the game to avoid giving the Italians too much defensive ability.

But I've lost games when the US ran riot all over Italy which would never have happened. On the other hand the overstating of US combat values is explained by the fact they brought a lot of new equipment to supply the AP.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
D Hansey
Canada
Winnipeg
Manitoba
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Hi Jack.

I agree that a unit may represent more than just fighting formations. Though, the stats on the piece does represent it's fight capabilities, which for the Italians, is relatively poor.

The Italian set up is based on some historical information, I'm guessing, however, historically, the Germans and/or Austrians did not have a massive build up of forces on the Italian border. If they did, perhaps the Italians would not have deployed in the same manner or maybe not even join the war. We don't know what they may done had there been a build up.

Having said that, I have no problem with "Vanilla" version of the game. I don't play with the historical set up.



If the Germans and Austrians where running amok in Italy, then, it wouldn't be a surprise if the Americans deployed there instead of France. Historical, this really didn't happen so we do not know what the Americans would have done. If you have A-historical behaviour from one nation, you can certainly have an A-historical response from another.

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Warren Bruhn
United States
Roseburg
Oregon
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My take on this is that the map and both the standard setups (original and so called "historical") for Italy are just wrong. Ted Raicer may be hard to argue with, as he is the most well known designer of WW1 wargames in the world. He has explained his design philosophy and opinions about Italy and other topics on Consimworld. However, some knowlegeable Italian tried to argue some points based on greater access to Italian sources and he was treated with disrespect on CSW.

Here's my take on the Italian situation:

1. Upon the Italian DoW in 1915 the mobilization was about as fast as that for the original powers in August 1914. Two Italian armies were at full strength within about 10 to 14 days. The other two Italian armies took a bit longer to come up to strength as more reserves were mobilized. Proportion of artillery and machine guns in these first two armies was about what it was in the armies which took to the field in August 1914. I would start them with two full strength armies.

2. As with most armies, except for the Germans, and to a lesser extent the Austro-Hungarians, the proportion of heavy guns in the starting Italian army was small. That put them at about the level of heavy guns that the Russians, French, and British started with. The same can be said of artillery ammunition supply. However, as with all other major powers, Italy was able to start producing many more heavy guns as the war progressed, and also developed strong production of shells as the war progressed. In this respect, Italy caught up with or at least kept pace with other allied nations over the course of the war.

3. Ratings for Italian armies are a bit low. Over the course of the war as a whole, Italian armies performed about as well as Russian or Austro-Hungarian armies. Italian armies quickly contained an Austro-Hungarian offensive in the Assiago area in mid-war, driving the AH back. There was only one Italian army nearly destroyed at Caporetto, and then only after 11 suicidal offensives earlier in the war against AH mountain defenses. Even then the rest of the Italian armies quickly formed a new line, stopping the Germans and AH well short of Venice, and the 10 divisions or so of French and British which had been rushed to the front were put into a second line behind the Italians. And several months later the Italians were able to go on a counter-offensive and gain all the lost ground back, and then some. This helped hasten AH collapse.

A solution that has been proposed by another player is to rate a full strengh Italian army located in a space in Italy with 3 firepower instead of 2. I agree with this. Both the Assiago offensive and the recovery from the disaster at Caporetto demonstrated that the Italians could quickly use their interior lines to build an adequate stopping force on their own home territory, and then switch over to the offensive themselves.

4. Italian higher leadership, while bad, is arguably not much worse than that displayed in most other armies. 11 suicidal offensives on the Isonzo front that didn't gain anything are matched by massive slaughter and suicidal offensives elsewhere. Yes, the Germans were better. But were the rest of the powers really so much better than the Italians? In my opinion, not really...

5. I don't think the PoG map of northeast Italy works correctly. The only paths that were really available for real offensives in northeast Italy went through Assiago and Udine. It's not that there weren't other mountain passes, it's that these two spots are the only ones where there were railroads available which could supply a WW1 army with all the ammunition it needed. There were three railroads which crossed the AH/Italy border in the east, but they all came together at Udine. While skirmishes occured between companies and battalions and sometimes brigades along the front, the only real offensives into Italy were attempted through Assiago and Undine. Others have eliminated the connection between Trent and Verona, but I would go further and eliminate the Maggiore box and all of its connections.

6. I'm not sure that mountain terrain is hard enough to fight through in PoG. Mountainous terrain breaks up attacking forces into small frontages which are easier to defend against. Some have argued that the spaces in Italy itself should have been mountain terrain. But I think that the effect of mountain terrain could have been put into the connections rather than the spaces themselves, which would have allowed Italy a better and more historical quality of defense. One thing I want to experiment with would be to use the corps combat table for combat on the connection between a mountain space and any other space. Haven't had time to playtest that idea, however.

Raicer seems to have a very low opinion of Italy, and I don't think that he fairly compares Italian performance with the performance of other powers.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents worth...

Warren
5 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Yan P.
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
Might be more interesting if AP could place italian armies where it wanted (1/space just like RO, BU entry) in order to not place them in silly areas such as is currently.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.