The Italian theatre of the Second World War is often overlooked by wargamers, which I think is a real shame. I think there’s a perception that it was a “boring” front, as there was never a dramatic breakthrough but the truth is it was an immense struggle over several years, lots of different terrain, and involving a huge variety of troops. Chances are you can find something there to pique your interest.
There’s a lot of dramatic inspiration for wargaming, such as:
- Tiger tanks attacking the Allied beachheads in Sicily.
- Paras jumping in to capture Primosole Bridge and the ensuing farce.
- The bloody uphill battles for Monte Cassino.
- Allied tanks trying to battle through intense German defensive lines bristling with concealed Paks and Pantherturms.
- Loads of unusual troops such as Gerbirgsjager, Morrocan Goumiers, the Jewish Brigade (who would go on to form the cadre of the IDF) the US army’s only all African American division to see action and a regiment of Japanese Americans, plus the Brazilian Expeditionary Force!
- Battles from the blazing sunshine to deep snow, and from the beaches up into the mountains. Troops wore everything from shorts to snowsuits.
Whatever scale you’re playing at, and whatever type of game you want to put on, Italy can provide an example. So without further ado, here are some Chain of Command lists for platoon level skirmish stuff in Italy:
Sicily to Salerno: The early Italian campaign
“One Tough Gut”: German defensive lines on the Italian peninsula
Please feel free to comment and make suggestions on these lists if you see any omissions or errors.
The support lists are a bit different; not everybody has access to everything. This especially affects things like armour: in the later lists only Panzergrenadier units can call on tanks and halftracks, and the lighter troops like Fallschirmjager and Gebirgsjager don’t have heavy weapons such as Pak 40s and sIG 33s. This might mean you can’t put your favourite all-conquering toy on the table, but please do consider sticking to the restriction of what the real troops normally had available. CoC is a game where you don’t need heavy metal to succeed, and all the German infantry units had the tools they needed to win.