The Classic Lepanto

Black Coffee, 18 April 2019

Venice - Tyrolia
Rome - Venice
Naples - Ionian Sea

The Classic Lepanto is Italy’s second most popular opening coined from the battle in which the Holy League defeated the Turkish fleets which features an effective offensive front against the Ottoman Empire. The usual follow-up with this opening is a convoy to Tunisia (Fall, 1901) then building a fleet in Naples (1901 adjustment) followed by the fleet in the Ionian sea moving aggressively towards the Eastern Mediterranean (Spring, 1902) and lastly the army in Tunisia finally arriving to either Smyrna or Syria (Fall, 1902.)

Performing the Lepanto demands that you obtain and maintain friendly relations with your neighbor, Austria-Hungary. This would put the two nations in a situation with amazing synergy: Austria would control the armies, invading and expanding inland; Italy would take over the Mediterranean focusing on fleets. When to use this opening: Typically, this opening is anti-Ottoman, and is most effective when coordinated with either Russia (to crush the Turks) or with UK and Austria (Germany is a bonus) (to suppress the Juggernaut). Only if you’re sure that you have friendly relations with those countries will you use this opening since it usually leaves the homeland to be vulnerable with only a lone army to defend it. Performing this assault without consulting anyone (including France which is the possible threat from the West) will leave you with a stranded army in Africa with two useless fleets and your homeland taken over.

Due to the opening’s popularity, Turkish players tend to build a fleet in Smyrna to foil the plans of the Italians. Eastern Mediterranean is Italy’s key to this opening, but what are the alternatives? If Austria and Italy truly teamed up, then they could coordinate an attack on the Aegean Sea then a supported convoy to Bulgaria (assuming Austria took Greece). Contacting Russia may prove to be helpful as well as I have previously mentioned. With two nations cornering one, Turkey must decide on which front to defend more. The threat of the opening itself will suffice to cripple the Turks whether the army does land there or not. Now go out there and crush those Turks!