The Lepanto opening

Italy has limited options in the beginning of the game. It could either attack France (difficult, limited gains) or Austria. However, attacking Austria might be perceived as cumbersome and within three years either Russia or Turkey walks away with the majority of the gains.

The Italian side

There is however another option, which requires cooperation between Austria and Italy, and could hence be the start of an alliance, it is called the Lepanto opening. The main plan is to get an Italian army (!) into Syria as soon as possible.

The moves are as follows:

Spring 1901:
A (Ven) holds
A (Rom) – Apulia
F (Nap) – ION

Fall 1901:
F (ION) c A (Apu) – Tun
A (Ven) holds

Spring 1902:
F (ION) – EMS
F (Nap) – ION
A (Tun) holds
A (Ven) holds

Fall 1902:
A (Apu) – Syr
F (ION) c A (Apu) – Syr
F (EMS) c A (Apu) – Syr

This opening is greatly helped if Austria conquers Greece with a fleet in fall 1901. This fleet can then move in Spring 1902 towards AEG, as Turkey usually builds a new fleet in Smyrna.

The ideal position starting 1903 would include: an army in Syria, Italian fleets in EMS, and ION. On top of this an Austrian fleet in Greece. These three fleets should always be capable of conquering AEG in Spring 1903, and the Syrian army will cause problem by either going to Smyrna directly, or going to Armenia first.

The Austrian side

As Austria this strategy does not require a lot. It is mainly Italy doing the work, but the Italian army in the corner could later cause problems for you, this is something to think over. Furthermore, it is your job to make sure that Turkey and Russia do not build an alliance quickly. If you see in Spring 1901 a Turkish fleet moving to Constantinople, forget about the whole Lepanto opening.

The Turkish side

The best way to prevent this from happening is to move your fleet from Ankara to Constantinople in Spring 1901. However, you might not trust your Russian neighbor sufficiently for that. Another option is to make sure somebody will start attacking Italy (France perhaps) or create distrust between Italy and Austria in such a way that in Spring 1902, Italy decides to move against Greece or Albania (convoy Tunis to Albania) for example.

If you see the Lepanto move coming late as Turkey, you could decide to guess and block Italy out of EMS in Spring 1902. However, this leaves the risk of Austria entering the AEG and putting huge pressure on your home supply centers.