In Sandstorm, the upcoming new expansion for Order of Battle, the Italian army obviously plays a very important role.
As commander in chief of the Axis forces in North Africa, you will be leading a joint army of German and Italian troops. Today we'll look at some of the new units available to Italy coming with Sandstorm.
In the first years of the war, Italian tanks are lightly armored and undergunned to complete with their heavier British and American counter-parts. By bringing some more modern tanks designs into production however, you will have access to a number of effective medium tank types.
- L6/40: While useful for reconnaissance and attacking unprepared infantry positions or lightly armored vehicles, its armament and armor is inadequate for dealing with tanks or entrenched positions.
- M14/41: A minor upgrade over the M13/40 medium tank, but still lacking the armor thickness and gun calibre to compete with all enemy tank types.
- P26/40: The first tank design with decent armour and a capable 75mm gun, roughly comparable with the Panzer IV and M4 Sherman.
- P43 bis: This vehicle forms the pinnacle of Italian tank design, inspired by the German Panther tank and armed with a powerful 90mm anti-tank gun.
- CR.42: While maneuverable in dogfighting, this biplane fighter cannot compete with boom-and-zoom attacks by more modern monoplane fighter designs.
- MC.200: In the hands of an experience pilot the Macchi C.200 Saetta is a match for the British Hurricane fighter it will frequently meet over the deserts of North Africa.
- MC.202: With the "Folgore" fighter the Italian Airforce has an excellent fighter design capable of matching enemy aircraft in combat.
- G.55: The "Centauro" is probably one of the best fighter aircraft available to the Axis, with powerful armament and excellent flight characteristics.
The Italian Army has access to a large variation of towed and motorized artillery units.
- Obice da 75/18: This light mountain gun can be moved quickly and through difficult terrain, allowing short range artillery support in all environmental situations.
- Semovente da 75/18: Carrying the same gun as above, this self-propelled gun offers good firepower and protection for its crew in a fully enclosed casemate.
- Semovente da 105/25: Effectively a heavier version of the previous SPG, this unit carries a powerful 105mm gun and thicker frontal armour.
- Semovente da 149/40: This machine does not offer much protection to its crew but can keep its distance from the enemy thanks to the powerful 149mm artillery gun.
The Italian Navy has been expanded in Sandstorm with a ship type of every class to match the enemy fleets in all types of engagements.
- MAS torpedo boat: These fast and light boats are armed with two torpedoes for hit & run attacks against enemy warships, and one machine gun to defend against enemy aircraft.
- Soldati destroyer: Ideally suited for reconnaissance, shielding larger warships from enemy torpedo attacks and engaging enemy ships with its own torpedoes or battery of four 120mm guns.
- Bolzano cruiser: This heavy cruiser is armed with a powerful array of guns, capable of providing fire support during naval battles and coastal attacks.
- Littorio battleship: This class of battleships is the most modern and powerful available to the Italian Navy. It is equipped with impressive primary and secondary gun batteries.
Hotwheels & Bersaglieri
Besides the common lines of unit classes, the Sandstorm campaign also adds a number of more unique units to the game:
- Bersaglieri: These units are composed from above-average recruits and have received intensive physical and marksmanship training. The Bersaglieri form the elite of the Italian infantry arm.
- AS.42 Sahariana: Similar to the transport vehicles of the British "Long Range Desert Group", the low-profile Sahariana reconnaissance vehicle is easily concealed and can track enemy units undetected to strike vulnerable targets at the right time.
- AB 41: Armed with a 20mm autocannon and two machine guns, this reconnaissance vehicles is effective at harassing enemy infantry and light vehicles. It can also be converted to run on railway tracks for even faster but more restricted movement.
- QF 2-pounder Portee: This British truck carries a 2 pounder anti-tank gun in the back. While vulnerable to infantry, air and artillery attack, it does provides a mobile platform to rapidly set up defenses against Axis armor.
Sandstorm has many more new units to offer: we're looking forward to releasing the expansion and hearing your thoughts on them. Until then, stay with us, for we have more stuff to show you!