Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The Heroic Advance of 8 Million Troops! (The Italian Nation Rules)

Hello everyone, Jersey James here again with a discussion on the Italian national special rules! Even if you don’t collect Italians yet, you might find this interesting so when you do come up against them… you’ll know what to expect!

Of course here ends any chance of me winning any game through the use of these rules and tactical skill!

Hope you enjoy!
Heroism is perhaps simplest to ask who is the most courageous in the following situations: the Italian carristi, who goes into battle in an obsolete M14 tank against superior enemy armour and anti-tank guns, knowing they can easily penetrate his flimsy protection at a range where his own small gun will have little effect; the German panzer soldier or British tanker who goes into battle in a Panzer IV Special or Sherman respectively against equivalent enemy opposition knowing that he can at least trade blows with them on equal terms; the British tanker who goes into battle in a Sherman against inferior Italian armour and anti-tank guns, knowing confidently that he can destroy them at ranges where they cannot touch him. It would seem clear that, in terms of their motto Ferrea Mole, Ferreo Cuore, the Italian carristi really had "iron hearts", even though as the war went on their "iron hulls" increasingly let them down.
Walker, I, (2003). Iron Hulls, Iron Hearts; Mussolini's Elite Armoured Divisions in North Africa. Ramsbury: The Crowood Press  (p.199)
Rules Summary:

Heroism is a rule which affects your Italian command teams and gives them a chance to jump in and make a difference to the game! Each time a command team of any type is destroyed you role a motivation test... if you pass it, put the infantry team back... tank command teams replace the crew of another tank.

Once you have an unknown hero through heroism you cannot have another one.

The platoon led by the unknown hero passes all motivation tests for the rest of the game on a 2+ even if the unknown hero dies!

Alpini officers plan their attack in the frozen Russian landscape

 Heroism is an awesome rule representing the skill of your officers and as an Italian player you can really use it good effect in competitive play to influence your opponent’s decision. Especially if you’re defending and have large infantry platoons ready to defend your objectives or push for a final decisive assault!
Let’s say for example; that you had a platoon of 20 odd infantry teams and added man packed gun teams defending the very point your opponent wants to attack and your 1iC is lurking close by…

Now if your opponent shoots at you or places an artillery template on top of your platoon command then i'd advise that the first hit you take is allocated straight to that poor commander!

If the command team dies and passes Heroism Motivation Test he becomes the Unknown Hero and then this huge platoon is passing motivation tests on 2+ for the rest of the game… if it fails… your 1iC doesn’t shoot and promotes another poor sap to take over command of the platoon next turn!
Suddenly, those shots, saves and firepower tests to whittle down the huge platoon at long range seem a little more frustrating for your opponent as in all likelihood; this huge heroic platoon is going to hold in the face of morale checks and might fight on to the last team.
Heroism is also useful on the offence, where platoons of demolishers, tanks or other infantry hurl themselves forward, overcoming pinning, tank terror and other motivation tests to get into assault and use their skill rating to good effect! Considering in mid war almost everyone is wielding a passaglia bomb or better and Avanti gets you there faster, your Heroic platoon is more likely to get to the enemy in good shape to fight.
Italian commanders do need to be mindful though and protect some command teams; I think I might be slightly peeved if the Unknown Hero in my company turned out to be the command team for two, light AA guns more than once… especially if it was because I deployed badly!
All in all, this is a great rule!

Rules Summary: Each turn, during the shooting phase an Italian Platoon my chose to make a skill test before all other shooting takes place. If the platoon passes it may make a 4" Avanti move, if it fails then the platoon may not move in this way that turn. Avanti moves replace any shooting the platoon may have for the turn.

Charging Cavalleria!
Charging Italian Cavalry on the Eastern Front!

I’ve heard this rule described in person and on forums as a poor person’s version of a German National Rule… it’s not… It’s awesome in its own right and I’ve been able to use it to good effect and have plenty of plans for the rule in the future.

Avanti means you’re Italians have extra movement going forward when that four inches of tabletop are more valuable to you than the firepower the teams can bring to bear or your troops are stuck out in the open and need to get into assault.

Infantry gain a potential charge distance (including move, Avanti and assault) of 14 inches and the Italian light tanks and tankettes benefit from this too to either get flamethrowers to range of rush into infantry with poor anti-tank defensive fire or TA ratings. This can be useful right from the first turn as in my first game I was able to use the extra movement on an infantry platoon to charge on the first turn against a target that had advanced forwards whilst attacking, not expecting a counter attack!

Another valid tactic in mid war or with pioneers in early war is to jump on heavy tanks who have moved into their assault range as they advance. Heavy tanks with a total move of 12 inches are outdistanced by infantry who pass their Avanti Skill Checks and whilst defensive fire is likely to be harsh, tank assault or improvised tank assault is one way to worry Allied heavy tanks. It probably shouldn’t be relied on… but as I don’t take PAK40’s as German allies… I will have to resort to such tactics from time to time!

8 Million Bayonets

Rule Summary:

Each Italian Company or platoon has a rating on the 8 Million Bayonets tables. These are found in the Italian national rules sections within the books that the Italians are found within. When an Italian Platoon is deployed onto the table during deployment, or arrives from reserve you must role on the table after you have placed the unit.

(An important note is that you must deploy the platoon as though you rolled the minimum skill rating on the appropriate table. So if the platoon could be rated Conscript, it must be deployed within command distance for this rating.)

For example in my Eastern Front Alpini Company, rated Elite (and using the Elite Table) if I deployed a platoon and rolled a 1-2, the platoon would be rated Confident Trained. If I rolled a 3-5, the platoon would be Confident Veteran and if I rolled a 6, the platoon would be Fearless Veteran! Even if the platoon is Veteran, it must be deployed within command distance for a Trained platoon.
Italian soldiers with Mannlicher-Carcano
Some of the 8 Million Bayonetes... Italian Infantry on the march!
This is the third Italian National Special Rule and it really does make a difference to your games as an Italian player. Variable motivation and skills ratings on important units doesn’t break your ability to be competitive on most tables of variables and on the Veteran and Artillery Tables, mid war there is a very good chance your platoons will have the same ratings as their German allies.
This comes into play in army selection as well as on the table in the game because Italian units are cheaper, probably because of the chance that their morale is variable and could be lower than you as the player were expecting or hoping for.
For example, a mid-war platoon of Alpini have a 3+ chance of being confident veteran or higher. An equivalent sized platoon of German Grenadiers with the same equipment (before platoon upgrades are added) is 15 points more expensive… and the Italians have one extra team of infantry. (This works out as an additional 5 points difference.
20 Points may not seem like a lot… but the cost of the units over a whole company may mean the Italians gain an extra platoon. In the case of my Alpini it allows me to take a Light AA gun platoon as a NINTH platoon at 1485! (The current mid-war tournament points recommended by Battlefront.)
Ok so the Germans have their own special rules that probably play a part in that… they are flexible and have their Stormtrooper move but the Italians are no push overs as I’ve attempted to write about today!
So, Avanti Savoia

and happy hobby everyone!



  1. That was really interesting, thanks.

  2. I'm just getting my Italians based and found this blog. Those are some great tips, thanks!