Going all Italian (well with a few Germans)

Mark G here.  Today I’ll be looking at some sample lists for the Italians and also seeing how they can fit in with your existing German forces.

The Italians

I like to start list building by looking at the key differences between the forces.

  1.  Italians can field a lot of infantry in big platoons, something the Germans can’t.
  2. They can field two platoons of 88s/Lacias, to the German’s one, meaning you can cover most angles with hard hitting anti-tank.
  3. They can field cheap tanks with the armour of a Crusader, 4+ to hit and a 2+ remount!  German tanks are pricey, but better armoured and armed.
  4. The Italians struggle to produce AT9 shots; in fact, AT7 is their bread and butter.  You need to make the jump to 88s to get real firepower.
  5. You can field cheap, massed, mortars which the Germans, limited to single tubes in the infantry platoons, can’t.

With this in mind, let’s have a look at some lists and see if the German support can help.

A bit of everything

Never underestimate the fear a big gun produces

The aim of this list is to provide a balanced list which which provides mobility in the form of an armoured formation, the ability to dig in with an infantry formation supported by some good AT9 allied guns and providing a hard hitting German mobile unit with good AT, as well as a couple of 88s to keep Blue on Blue Tigers and Shermans (as well as Churchills in the near future) honest.  This is accomplished with the 2 German allies slots.

Tank Company 

HQ M14/41
4 x M14/41
4 x M14/41
3 x M14/41

Bersaglieri Rifle Company

HQ 2 x Rifle Teams
Full Rifle Platoon (9 stands)
Full Rifle Platoon (9 Stands)
3 81mm mortars

Support

2 x 88s (Italian)
3 x captured 6pdrs (German allies with Command card)
4 x AB41 (20mm)
4 x Panzer III, 2 uparmoured and 1 with a long barrel.

100pts

AT 9 is a must have to make sure you can bounce those pesky tank assaults.  The Italians need their German allies and the 5cm gun.

As you can see, you get a lot of stuff here and it has an answer to everything, something the Germans struggle to do alone with their high costs.  Twelve tanks being hit on 4+ is not to be sniffed at, even if they have poor armour (read as Crusader armour).  Not being hit is the best defence.  Handily they also have ‘protected ammo’ combined with ‘determined’ so remount on a 2+, that’s massive when normally there is a 4+ firepower coming their way (i.e. a bail half the time).
The points for the 14/41 go up as the platoon gets larger (initially 2 and then rising to 3 points) so i have chosen 4 points as a nice balance to get 3 platoons. Unfortunately to get the mortars I had to take the 3rd platoon as a three tank platoon.

The Bersaglieri rifle platoon has the mass to move and take casualties with 18 stands of 4+ to hit infantry and also has a nice template backing it up with a smoke bombardment.  Nothing exciting but as a German player its great to have a big platoon that can take casualties and soak up fire.

Finally the support rounds out the force.  The 88s are fragile but keeps tankers very honest until they are dealt with and are a constant threat in ambush.  The 6pdrs add a solid AT asset to hold the line.  Finally the Panzer III provides some good armour along with two FA 6 tanks to swap hits to, combined with AT9.

Battleplan wise, I actually want to attack.  I want to limit the amount of fire coming down range at me by forcing the opponent into reserve, then get my tanks assaulting as fast as possible; hit hard and hit fast!
Equally, if facing a lot high value armour likely to choose to attack you, you can try and force a mobile battle and therefore have reserves coming on the enemy flanks to hit their side armour in missions like Breakthrough.

Even defending I would have two platoons of infantry, 88s, 6pdrs, mortars, recce and 4 M14/41s on the table.

Multi-nationalism

The second list is about bulking out the German force.  This list is all about a mobile, cheap, force of Germans, backed up by brutal support and some cheap infantry to mop up and hold the line. We use a German force as the basis adding an Italian Bersaglieri Rifle platoon via the “allied support” formation slot.

Let the flying circus commence.

Armoured Car Company (Command Card formation)

HQ 1 x Sd Kfz (MG)
Light Scout troop (2 x MG and 2 x 2cm)
Light Scout troop (2 x MG and 2 x 2cm)
Light Scout troop (2 x MG and 2 x 2cm)
Light Scout troop (2 x MG and 2 x 2cm)
3 x Captured 6 Pdrs (command card)
Heavy Scout Troop (2 x 2cm 8 rads)

Allied Italian Bersaglieri Rifle Platoon

HQ, 2 x rifle stands
Full Rifle Platoon (9 stands)
Full Rifle Platoon (9 stands)
3 x 81 mm mortars
3 x 47mm guns

Support

1 x Tiger
4 x Marders

Additional Command Cards

Artillery Expert

 

100pts


Let the 47mm guns and infantry hold the line while the Tiger does the lifting.

I think this list is rather cunning. In essence its a Tiger delivery system.  It uses cheap core platoons meaning that your primary force is basically unbreakable, but combining it with two large blobs of Italian infantry along with AT guns (good vs Crusaders and to bounce assaults) and mortars as an affordable template attack. I’ve chosen the command card Artillery Expert to allow them to start on the exact target they want to hit, such as high value, long range AT (88s or 17Pdrs).

The Marders mitigate the poor Italian AT and are a must include in a German army.  The key thing is that list can defend, even managing to place a Tiger, infantry, Marders and AT guns when fighting with reserves.  That’s a very scary prospect to most tank forces; good luck future Churchill armies!  When all on, you have a flying circus of armoured cars and those 2cm guns on mass can really sting.  Also they are hit on 6s if concealed and they didn’t fire, so they are perfect for flanking.  Also, lets face it, you will own the deployment in missions where you can use spearhead!

When attacking you have to be bold with the Tiger, pick an objective and go for it.  You can even assault a platoon protected by 6pdrs with a good degree of confidence. I’d pin them first, there is a difference between aggressiveness and foolhardiness.  With the new win conditions, start a turn contesting and objective and end a turn holding it, the assaulting tank is king.  Don’t underestimate it in defence either.  It can lock down an objective and actually jump out to assault the attacker the turn before they reach the objective as they are unlikely to have close gun support.

Conclusion

At first glance I was a little on the fence about the Italians, but dig into them and look past the low armoured tanks, and lower AT ,and there are some really good lists to be had.  Best of all they combine brilliantly with your existing German force so you can get them to the table faster.

 

Category: Afrika KorpsDesertFlames of WarItaliansList Discussion

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6 comments

  1. 6pdrs are 3 points cheaper than the same number of Pak38s. While they lack HE I don’t buy guns to shoot at other guns and infantry so it’s no real loss. However those 3 points can make a lot of difference.

    1. Ah I understand.

      Apologies, not having the command cards I wasn’t aware of the discount on taking 6pdrs, I thought it was a straight trade like the captured 25 pdrs are. Certainly something for me to think about in future!

  2. But they are from the book the unit is created from. What you couldn’t do is take Artillery expert from an Italian Deck and Artillery expert from the German deck.

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Article by: Mark Goddard