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Horn of Africa axis deployment


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Nupremal's mod had a nice map of the "Horn" with a deployed Italian HQ and 3 corps, along with a small naval contingent but there wasn't a lot of action in that theater.

The question begs, "what is the attraction to that area?". Best I could envision is a base to disrupt UK supplies coming to Egypt around the Cape, but with the RN escorting, not much of a chance.

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There's an interesting account of the Italians in East Africa, The Civilizing Mission: A History of the Italo-Ethiopian War by A. J. Barker. It came out in the late 60s, which was when I bought my copy and read it so, unfortunately, I've forgotten a lot of it, will probably read the book again because, like The Washing of The Spears (the Zulu War) or Winston Churchill's book The River War, about the British in the Sudan (he served as a cavalry officer in the campaign), the Civilizing Mission is an interesting look at a apart of history that isn't much covered elsewhere.

Anyway, the recently unified Italy was invited in the late 19th century to grab Abyssnia because, other than Liberia, it was one of the last remaining totally independent African states. Italy already had Eritria, north of the three Somalia colonies, the southern part of Somiland on the coast, with Britain having the central portion and France the north. Both countries had already swallowed so much of the continent that they could hardly have handled more, and Italy would make a good balance while getting rid of the last large, independent, African nation. Unfortunately for all of their plans the Italians, in the 1890s, suffered a collossal defeat at the hands of the Ethiopians, as the British had against the Zulu at Ishandwana. Unlike the British the Italians waited forty years to return, long after the original colonial invitation had become an embarrassment.

The reason Britain and France were willing to let someone else take Ethiopia was because, like the Sudan, it had almost no economic value, would be a difficult military objective -- the Ethiopians, considering how hopelessly ill equipped they were, including an unarmed one plane air force (that was wrecked in an unrelated accident by an American pilot), managed to put up a very credible fight even in 1935-36; Italy, despite having what at the time was one of the most modern air forces in the world, wound up resorting to poison gas to finally ensure the conquest.

No doubt the other reason the French and British were willing to see Italy in East Africa, as SeaMonkey mentioned earlier, was because once at war with the UK it would be impossible for the Italians to supply, or reinforce the place -- unless it took Egypt, and the Suez Canal, as it attempted to do from Libya shortly after entering the war.

I've often wondered if there might have been some better military use for Italian East Africa than what was actually done there historically, so I'm glad Skrivebordsgeneralen came up with this idea for a possible campaign in SC-Global. It ought to be interesting, if only the place had a better supply situation, but as it was historically I can't help but think it was pretty hopeless. As was the case in North Africa for the Axis, the more troops and aircraft that would have been placed in East Africa the more severe the supply problems. I'm sure things like fuel and ammunition could have been stockpiled before hostilities, but without being replenished when the fighting started the Italians would have been in the same situation as the Americans in the Phillipines, or as they actually were in the real war, having to fight counting every cartridge, shell and gallon of fuel, all of them irreplacable.

Still, an interesting idea for hypothetical scenarios, especially if France is neutral, and allowing supplies and reinforcements to pass through it's own colonies to the Italians. A very hypothetical situation.

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Haven't played any of the global mods actually available. In SC2 Global, will there be a possibility to deploy italian troops on the horn of Africa/Ethiopia prior to Italian entry? Backed by axis air units and possibly paratroopers, this could open some interesting options.

Italy is a minor in this release so while they will not have units in the Horn of Africa at the start of the game, as soon as they are activated the applicable Italian units will appear on the map including in the Horn. Needless to say expect some interesting battles down there for control of that area :)

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Nupremal's mod had a nice map of the "Horn" with a deployed Italian HQ and 3 corps, along with a small naval contingent but there wasn't a lot of action in that theater.

The question begs, "what is the attraction to that area?". Best I could envision is a base to disrupt UK supplies coming to Egypt around the Cape, but with the RN escorting, not much of a chance.

As the Allies, I like to use the Red Sea as a safe area for wounded naval units from the Med where they can sit out of harms way protected by the canal while they repair. Once they get < str 3 or 4, I like to run them through the canal and hide until repaired.

An Italian bomber at the Horn could put those units at risk. Other than that, I can't see much use for the Horn.

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Italy is a minor in this release so while they will not have units in the Horn of Africa at the start of the game, as soon as they are activated the applicable Italian units will appear on the map including in the Horn. Needless to say expect some interesting battles down there for control of that area :)

In August of 1940 the Italians conquered British Somaliland, but lost all of their East African colonies by the end of 1941. The British conceded that it wasn't a picnic, that many of the Italian units fought hard and well, but ultimately they can't do much due to being cut off from supply and reinforcement.

As you say, there can be some interesting battles, but all in all with the Italians unable to either reinforce or ressuply the area they have to fall to the first determined push.

Before the war the British were worried about a simultaneous push by Italy from East Africa through the Sudan and up the Nile while also advancing from Libya through Egypt, to the Nile, both forces linking up to take the Suez Canal. It was worth worrying about because, on paper, the Italians had a lot of troops in both areas, but the whole thing was a logistical impossibility, and the Italian generals knew it even though Mussolini didn't.

Unless he was a complete fool, which he wasn't, Mussolini's reasoning was the war would end almost as soon as Italy entered, and the matter of supplying East Africa would become a nonissue. And he'd have been right; perhaps Italy would have been able to take French and British Solialand before the peace treaty; a comparatively meaningless triumph, but at least a couple of trophies to hold up to his people. But in any kind of protracted war I can't see how this they can do much in this theater.

As far as Italian aircraft attacking the Red Sea and Indian Ocean etc -- were they capable of anything like that? And how long would they have been able to fuel those bombers, assuming they had them in any significant numbers?

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