Currently, Relic is working on the newest Age of Empires, so as many people have predicted (probably correctly) another Company of Heroes game will not come out for quite a few more years.
So, a new expansion would do multiple things. First, just being a DLC expansion would require much less work of Relic than producing a whole new game. Secondly, an additional Italian faction as well as a couple new desert maps would allow for unique gameplay, finally having a matching 3v3 unique factions, a change of pace in the game, as well as helping revive the COH community.
From what I have seen, people arguing for a third Axis faction tend to want another German faction focusing on the Afrika korps, but I argue that there is much less to be done in a unique fashion when making a third German faction as the other two already cover 1940-1945 in terms of technology. As Italy would allow for a much more unique gameplay than their German counterparts.
So what I would recommend?
-Italians infantry would fit somewhere between Osteer Grenadiers and Soviet Conscripts. As they would not be as good as German infantry, so they would require more models than the Grenadiers, but still be better quality than a conscript. Weapon upgrades could include guns like Breda Mod. 30 for long range advantage. While guns for up close combat could include TZ45 submachine gun.
-Machine gunner crew would carry the Breda Mod. 37.
-Italians could just like the Osteer have a mobile mortar crew with the 45mm infantry mortar.
-Anti-tank gun could be the 3.7 cm Pak 36.
- Artillery: the Italians could have the ability to produce the Cannone da 47/32 as an artillery gun that works something like the American howitzer.
- light vehicles: a good light anti-infantry armor could be the L3/35 tankette. A decent all around early tank could be the L6/40. The early anti-light vehicle could be Autoblinda 41 mounted with the Breda mod. 35 20mm anti-aircraft gun.
- 'Engineer' could either be mounted with beretta mod. 38 submachine gun.
- "Kubelwagen" of Italy could be a single Italian bersaglieri motorcycle used for fast mobility and capturing points.
-Anti-infantry tank: a good fit could be the Semovente M42 Contraereo
-Anti-tank: Semovente 75/32 M41 would be a good fit.
-All around good tank: M15/42 would fit this role nicely.
-Anti-tank: Semovente 75/46 M43
-Anti-infantry: as for good anti-infantry due to lack of Italian designs, but very close ties with Germany, the Italians could get the Wirbelwind
-All around good tank: P40
-Veteran/specialized troops: the Alpini could be a good unit that can be produced like the OKW's Obersoldaten.
Now obviously Italy was not good enough in the armor department to have any late game call in armor, but as stated earlier Italy was very much tied to Germany. Therefore, it would make a lot of since if tanks like the Elephant, Tiger I, and Command Panther were the late game call in tanks for Italy. Though Italy was known in World War II for having good special forces, so good call in close combat infantry like the Frogmen or Blackshirts with good submachine guns could be called in with special traits. Additionally, Italy could have the capability of being a rather flexible faction being able to be both aggressive and defensive, so possibilities to build the German stationary AA flak gun, as well as trenches should definitely be a possibility.
The addition to Italy would be a great addition to COH2 as it would add a unique and different form of gameplay which has not been seen yet, as well as even out the factions and revive the COH community. Italy has many possibilities and opportunities to be a fun addition to this game even if their equipment was not top quality like Germany's or mass produced like America. What are your thoughts on this?