The Project "Mom, when are they going to let daddy go? He never did anything bad to anyone." Six-year-old Suzy had never understood why her dad left home 2 years ago. The italians, hopelessly behind in technology, had hired americans to join their secret research teams. Mussolini had spared no expense, spending 60% of the GNP on the underground labs. None of the scientists were allowed to leave the labs or talk to their families until the project was finished. In return they were promised lives of luxury for them and their families after completion. "He'll come home anytime now, hon. Today we can see what he made!" Suzy's mom sounded re-assuring but her voice wavered with anxiety. Infront of them were the massive elevator doors which would emit the creation of many years of toil. The crowds were held back by thick walls of bullet-proof glass. Infront of the elevators was a hulk from a destroyed american sherman tank. The crowd waited in nervous anticipation as security guards watched over. Cheerleaders handed out balloons to children. Then the elevator doors hummed as they slowly opened. The crowd went silent. Everyone gasped as the Mech Legionary walked out, shaking the ground with each step. Each arm contained a huge chain cannon. Some of the audience started to panic. Movies like Robocop gave robots a bad image. The announcer, a popular news announcer, assured everyone the robot had a human operator inside and the walls could stop bullets. The mech was about 15 meters high and weighed 340 tons. It's mixed-alloy armour could stop any tank or infantry munitions. Equipped with 2x50mm chain cannons with 2000/4000/overload 8000 rpm fire selector speeds. It carried both uranium-depleted and jacketed munition types. It emitted a buzzing sound as the chain cannons targeted the sherman tank. It only fired for 2 or 3 seconds but the damage was horrific. The cacophony of ripping metal could be heard miles away. The tank was shredded and transformed into a jagged caricature. Ricochets took chunks out of the glass protecting the audience setting off a panic. The Face-Off "Kleist, tell us your plans for the deployment." Hitler sat rigid in his chair and the mood in the room was tense for everyone knew what would happen if Hitler didn't like Kleist's plan to invade Italy. Just yesterday, Manstein, the most brilliant strategist in the german staff, the mastermind who planned the blitz's through England and the the arab nations, had his career cut short for being "defeatist". Manstein had planned for attacks all along the long border with the army's strength spread between all the attacks. It was to be coupled with an amphibious assault on 2 Italian harbours. His theory was that the germans up until then had always used concentrated armour attacks called "schwerpunkt" to crush their foes so now the italians were surely preparing to defend against such an attack. This new attack style would throw the inexperienced and obsolete italian army into confusion. The german divisions out-numbered the italians by a factor of 5 to 1 so the multiple attack points would drain the defenders of strength. Hitler exploded with rage saying there must be a schwerpunkt. It was the "proven way to win". Kleist began, "My plan is to have 3 army groups. Army Group A under Heitz will attack in the east with 10 regiments of stormtroopers. Army Group B under Halder with 4 tiger tank and 6 stormtrooper regiments will attact in the center. Army Group C, the schwerpunkt, under Hube, Jodl, Haase, Raus and Paulus will attack in the west with 100 stormtrooper and 50 heavy armour regiments including elite tigers and all of the new tiger II's. The italians have only 20 obsolete tank and 3 cavalry regiments in reserve to face all this with." Hitler looked intrigued and uncharacteristically quiet. Kleist continued, "My logic is, the italians will commit all of their limited reserves into stopping groups A and B. In the west the terrain has not been developed since we exterminated the english so the slower group C will get there just after groups A and B have already engaged the enemy. Under the fog of war they will never see us coming. Our special ops teams will make sure no one is in the area." "What about the air force?" "Stukas will bomb all transportation routes infront of groups A and B to contribute to tying-up the italian reserves. Me-262's will fly recon. The few italian fighters are so old the few serviceable ones will likely be too weak to take out a stuka." Hitler responded, "Excellent. Initiate that plan immediately." The farming people of Aurelianorum and Tarentum had no idea of the storm gathering just north of them. In Rome, Mussolini gathered his generals in his war room. The room was splendidly decorated with legionary statues and pictures of Caesar. This display gave no justice to the sad shape of the obsolete army, neglected for decades. More appropriate would have been a room filled with dust and rusting antiques. "Place all the tanks, mechanized infantry and calvalry on the border ready to invade Germany." Mussolini, obese from a life of luxury and corruption, pompously gave orders which baffled his generals. His heart was set on re-establishing the roman empire as the prime super-power of the world. The mech legionary was his trump card. "Supreme Lord, our reserves would be destroyed by the enemy's bombers and V-1 rockets. It would be better to keep them in a safe area. We have railroads leading everywhere to move them as necessary." Indus was the only experienced general in the war room who had fought in the coalition against the treacherous english. "Why didn't you use a tiger tank hulk for the mech demonstration? It would have inspired the people to see it torn apart." Indus answered,"Too few tigers were destroyed in the coalition's war against the english. Apparently the american sherman was much easier for the english to destroy. We only found 2 tiger hulks left on the battlefield and several dozen sherman hulks. The tiger hulks were already used during testing." Mussolini didn't notice the subtle lesson contained in Indus's answer. "Hmmm. What is your plan for the mech legionaries?" "Supreme Lord, they are necessary for defence but we don't have enough to put one in each city. They require much time and resources to build. The cities in the west will only be defended by grunts as an attack is not expected there. The enemy has vast numbers of elite heavy armour units. They are expected to mass their armour against one target area. Even the mech's may not be enough." "Do I employ you as my advisor to tell me we will lose the impending war with Germany?" Mussolini's arrogance did little to help the advisors. "We will meet again tomorrow. You had better come up with a stategy other than to lose!" But tomorrow would come too late.