Italian “Starter Army” I

Units used

This “starter army” uses a mix of plastic and metal models including:

  • Italian Army & Blackshirts Infantry box (30 Infantry) – Plastic
  • x1 Medium Mortar – Metal
  • x1 Medium Howitzer – Metal
  • x1 Anti-Tank Rifle Team – Metal
  • Autoblinda AB41 – Metal & Resin
  • Carro Armato/Semovente – Plastic

The We Are Out of Options List

Standard Reinforced Platoon
1st Lt (Rifle) – Veteran – 90
x1 Buddy (Rifle) – 13
Forward Artillery Observer – Veteran – 115
x1 Buddy (Rifle) – 13
Regular Infantry Section – Regular – 8 men – 80
LMG – 20
Regular Infantry Section – Regular – 8 men – 80
LMG – 20
Blackshirts Militia Section – Regular – 8 men – 80
LMG – 20
Non Testati
Anti-Tank Rifle Team – Veteran – 3939pts
Medium Mortar Team – Regular- 50
Spotter – 10
Medium Howitzer – Regular – 75
Spotter – 10
M14/41 Medium Tank – Regular – 135
Pintle MMG – 15
Armored Car
Autoblinda 41 – Regular – 105
Pintle MMG – 15
Recce (Duel Direction)
Total10 Order Dice985pts


  • Rifle – 25
  • LMG – 3
  • ATR – 1
  • Medium Mortar – 1
  • Medium Howitzer – 1
  • MMG – (7)
  • Light Anti-Tank Gun- (1)
  • Light Autocannon – (1)

(x) denotes a vehicle-mounted weapons.

Notes and Analysis

We received a request for 1,000pt Italian force that makes use of the Warlord Plastic Italian Infantry and the Autoblinda. As there is no Warlord Games Italian Starter Army, I added a few additional units to round out the army list.

I struggled to create this list. The struggle stemmed from two points – 1) I wanted to use as many of the new Italian plastics as possible 2) Italian Army options are not good.

I wrestled with this list because there are truly, only three options for units. Regular Infantry Sections (boring, uninteresting), Inexperienced Infantry Section (boring, uninteresting, not good) and Blackshirts Militia (interesting rules but unreliable). I know it seems like I hating on the Italian forces, I’m not. I adore my Italian collection and I’ve been very successful with them. But the force I have is a mix of Colonial Troops and Vet Cavalry – unique and interesting units. My struggle creating this army list is not a fault of the Italian unit options, it’s a fault of the Italian Army & Blackshirts plastic infantry. Because I wanted to use that box of 30 men as the core of this army, we are incredibly limited in the options available to us. All of this sets the stage for why I picked the units I did and the misgivings I have. Will this army list work? Yes. Are there many unexplored options for the Italians? Oh you better believe it. Now, let’s take a look at what we’ve got.

I went for a generic North Africa army list that uses all 30 of the plastic infantry. I wanted to include a plastic tank, as well as the incredible Autoblinda. However, this was not enough to hit 1,000pts. Not even close. So, I’ve added in additional support teams and a Med. Howitzer. This army list has all the components of a competitive army (except the infantry). The infantry needs support. And that’s where the Artillery Observer, ATR, Med. Mortar and Med. Howitzer come in. Basically, we want all the other parts of the list to do the heavy lifting. The Regular Infantry Sections and the squad of Blackshirts are only there to capture and hold objectives. Sadly, the plastic infantry box does not include the support weapons (sniper, ATR, light mortar, etc.) that many of the new plastic infantry boxes do. Thus, we will have to pickup those units in metal separately. Not a big deal, but a bit of a disappointment for a new plastic kit.

For vehicles – both are fantastic. Well, the M14/41 is good, and the Autoblinda is great. If I had the chance, I’d take two Autoblinda any day. This little Armored Car is a beast. Light Autocannons are overlooked constantly and a wheeled vehicle with Duel-Direction Recce can be a massive pain for your opponent. Use it to guard the weak sides of the M14/41 (which should be blazing away with it’s four MMGs at enemy soft targets).

Use the combined firepower of the Howitzer, Mortar and Arty Observer to both flush out and box in your enemy. If you can pin some targets down, you’ll be able to zero-in without too much trouble. I picked the Forward Artillery Observer to use up points and to make use of the Defensive Strategy Army Special Rule. And speaking of – don’t forget to make yourself a set of hard cover emplacements on the off-change you play as Defender.

All in all, I do like this list. It just needs some extra spice and flavor. Rumors regarding the future Italian releases from Warlord are flying all over the place and include possible plastic Colonial Troops, new Bersaglieri, Paracadutisti and even Alpini. I’m sorry to say that the weakest part of this army is also the newest kit. I love the look of those plastic models, I just wish there were rules to justify building an army around them.

I don’t mean to sound down on the Italians. Trust me, I love this army. It’s just the core building block of this “Starter Army” – the plastic infantry box – is sadly underwhelming. There are more exciting options out there.

What’s Next?

Thoughts and musings on where to go from here:

  • Add some specialists – Colonial Infantry, Bersaglieri, Paracadutisti, something! This Italian army list needs some spice and these elite infantry picks are spicy indeed. Really the one thing this list lacks is a dedicated assault element. A couple of Tough Fighting Colonial Units or Paracadutisti with SMGs will do the trick.
  • Add More Mobility – A Truck or a unit of Cav will do the job nicely. You’ve already got the Autoblinda but it needs some company flying up the flanks to attack the enemy.
  • Get Campaign: The Western Desert – Like minor of the ‘minor’ powers, Italian options are pretty thin in Armies of Italy and the Axis. Luckily, a the very solid Campaign: The Western Desert provides a bevy of new options. Not only is there an completely new set of Army Special Rules, there are Tank Platoons, special forces platoons and all kinds of new units. This book is a must have for any Italian force based in North Africa .

– Andrew

2 thoughts on “Italian “Starter Army” I

  1. Just a question on the list.
    Would you add a squad of Italian army Guasratori Desruction group to the list, instead of the artillery?


    1. Hi Steven! I wouldn’t add a Guasratori Desruction Group instead of a Med. Howitzer. The two units serve different purposes and battlefield roles. The Guasratori Desruction Group can be an incredibly powerful assault unit if given two flamethrowers but clocks in at 128pts for six Regs (or 146pts for six Vets). I’d certainly worry about getting them into flamethrower range without a dedicated transport.

      It’s certainly an interesting unit choice. Especially if you are playing a mission that calls for an Engineer unit. But no, it’s not a 1:1 switch.


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