Hearts of Iron IV

Video Games

Hearts of Iron IV will be coming out in a few months. Who here is interested in this game? I know that I am.

WWII - The Resource War, part 1.

Mm. Kinda cool.

From what I'm seeing on the Wednesday weekly multiplayer videos, it's quite impressive. D-Day/6th June release, looks like 9th June on Steam.


Looks like they've put a great deal of effort into alt-history options. Germany can make an unholy alliance with the Soviets, befriend China, demand stuff besides Danzig, and other variants. Each major 'player' has a unique tree of stuff. Everyone else shares a unique 'generic tree' of their own.

During the youtube beta playthrough, for example, Alf Landon won the '36 election and re-election in '40 in the US. Stalin's purges failed to gack Leon Trotsky, who returned the favor and gacked Stalin. The effects of Trotsky's administration were very unfortunate for Mother Russia as the player-run Germany steamrolled them. The player-run US eventually invaded Japan's home islands and forced the Japanese player into exile, although the German player's Soviet Theatre forces hadn't strat redeployed to other concerns.

If I'm reading the in-game calendar right, it's late 1941'ish... with a firm end-game date of sometime in 1948.

Scarab Sages

I am looking forward to this game - yet I still haven't played EUV since the last DLC arrived :-/

The situation for Italy seems likely to be highly fluid as compared to the previous games.

Oh my, an ahistorical game can get very interesting.

The major nations have a number of optional paths to follow. For example, this screenshot from the hoi4 wikipedia shows some of the USA's national focus choices...

All of the major nations have similarly unique paths to choose from. From what the Let's Play videos have been showing, each one of those decisions is 70 days' game time, some have assorted prerequisites before being selectable in addition to their position on the "tree".

Going to be very interesting!

Scarab Sages

I for one am really excited. Love this series of games so very much. I enjoy some of the crazier aspects though... Got nuked as Argentina by America because Evidently taking 2/3 of the continent was a problem for them. As Romania helped the Nazi's win the war... I once held out against sovier russia as Estonia for 20 days! Crazy! *lawls*

Should've made nice with the Finns by '39, eh? :)

HOI 3 play in anticipation:

I'm playing an HoI3 game as Italy with the all-or-nothing strategy of sealing off the Mediterranean and sinking as much of the Royal Navy as possible.

Aiding the Nationalist Spanish in their 'spat' with the Republican Spanish let me grab Tangiers, the Balearic Islands and a rugged patch of mountains adjacent to Gibraltar.

Puppeted Yugoslavia (grabbing all the way down to Split as part of Italy's wargoal addition), Greece (wargoal added to acquire Crete), Albania (freebie by event) and Turkey (snatching up Anaman as an added wargoal, essential in concluding control of the Turkish Channel) preceded a year or so of quiet before siding with the Axis 2 years after Japan signed on in '37. The Tripartite Pact was thusly formed in '39.

Germany declares on Poland right on time as a limited war, the Allies pitch a fit and the war is on in earnest. A limited war leaving all but Slovakia out of the fight against the Allies. The Axis - comprised of Germany, Slovakia, Hungary, Japan and her puppets and Italy and its puppets are left waiting on the sidelines with mobilized militaries with nothing to do.

The variance hits when the French Army et al push the Wehrmacht off the southernmost and northernmost ends of their fortifications facing the Maginot Line. Germany does not issue a call to arms against the Allies nor does the OKW attempt to smash through Benelux to occupy Paris before Christmas '39 like they probably could have.

This Mussolini gets impatient and positions forces to enter Syria, French Somaliland (now Djibouti) and Egypt in the A.O.I. theatre. The west group is tasked with occupying the French in the Alps and if we're fortunate making a grab for Marseilles and its vicinity. Special forces include:

  • Paratroopers positioned to make early drops on Malta, Iskenderun and Beirut.
  • The Italian Marine Corps (with attached shore bombardment and landing craft support) are tasked with seizing Corsica and holding it.
  • Elite Alpini mountain troops led by fortress buster experienced command staff are tasked with seizing Gibraltar.

Once everything was positioned to satisfaction, Italy declared a limited war against France (adding war goals monthly to claim Corsica, Syria and French Somaliland). Since the UK insisted that the Italian military was nothing to be particularly worried about unless you are France, war goals are added/being added against the UK to acquire Cyprus, Malta, Gibraltar and the Suez Canal region.

So far, it's working splendidly. Estimates show that the French lost 3 BB and an assortment of 12 CA/CL/DD/SS. The Royal Navy has lost 1 CV, 2 CVL, 3 BC, 10 BB and an assortment of 82 CA/CL/DD/SS. Yes, I consider heavy cruisers as "miscellaneous" ships, especially early war heavy cruisers. They're adequate for escorting/raiding convoys and taking fire for more important ships.

The Italian Navy that survives (just under a handful of almost-as-good-as-scrapped battleships plus a few escort ships, leaving only the Marine Corps' support fleet and a single wolfpack of submarines seaworthy) is due to ferocious air superiority by way of interceptors and a swarm of naval bombers. Even then the ITAAF is in bad shape, bombers are being built and deployed into reserves at airfields for operations to continue by way of drawing upon the reserve aircraft waiting for them, but there's nowhere nearly enough such reserves that will be available any time soon.

Paratroopers seized Malta, Iskenderun and Beirut.

The Marines landed on Corsica while the motorised and fast light armor have just linked up at the Suez.

Marseilles and its adjacent port have fallen into Italian hands, as has Gibraltar.

What remains of the French navy is moored in the bombed remnants of their harbors in northern Africa with more bombs falling in a steady rain. They can attempt to supply and fuel those poor ships by convoy from Brest or elsewhere in western France, but it won't do them much good due to the vast distance and terrible terrible infrastructure that supply has to get across.

The Royal Navy that didn't escape the Med before the noose could be cinched at the northernmost end of the Suez is being shattered by around the clock naval bombardment at their out-of-fuel-and-supplies naval base on Cyprus. The airfield there is being regularly pummeled by vengeful tactical bomber pilots based out of Turkey. Those Turks and their love of tactical bombers! ;)

Italian intelligence estimates that the Royal Navy extricated two of the escort and/or fleet carriers they had in the Med, leaving the UK a pale shadow of its former Navy from ~4 months previous to square off against the IJN in the Pacific. Italy has no idea where the one French aircraft carrier has gone off to, although the port at Brest seems the most likely harborage.

The Allies have to force the Suez open or dare to face the toothsome fortifications of The Rock and Tangers.

Iraq is doing a very slow dance with my Turkish buddies in the spring of 1940. How the world has changed!

The German Army, without having set foot nor tread in the Netherlands, Belgium or Luxembourg are within 100 miles of Paris as the mud finally begins to dry having pummeled the French Army back into the Maginot Line. Eventually the Wehrmacht cracks open the northernmost end of the Maginot Line and begins to pour through the breech, rolling along to entrap the defenders of the Maginot Line within their forts.

France will fall within a month or so. Italy should receive her war goals against France when Germany forces French surrender, freeing Mussolini to focus on keeping the Brits out of the Mediterranean.

Rebuilding a modern navy is centered around the trio of "Europa" class fleet carriers scheduled for completion mid-June 1941 with final organisation et al likely concluded by the end of August '41, or later. Originally designed to 1938 standards, they will likely be delayed due to recently developed radar technologies. This class of carrier is real world analogous to the USN Essex class of fleet carriers - in particular, the 'variant' "long bow" Ticonderoga class. Building any more fleet carriers seems unlikely before 1943 - and unnecessary in the short-ish term.

Unlike the United States, Italy's industrial capabilities pale in comparison. Despite the regime's best efforts, on a war footing Italy's war-mobilized industrial base isn't even at parity with the starting industrial capability of the U.S. - largely due to raw materials shortages even with the puppet countries kicking everything over a certain baseline to me. Were Italy to seize Paris instead of Germany, that might change things ... or it might mean that the Fuhrer throws a tantrum and a Wehrmacht at Italy instead.

When the U.S. industrial machinery kicks into full gear ... well, we know how that's likely to go unless the Empire of Japan is savvy enough to sate her lust for resources against the Chinese or Soviets. Not likely, but ... one never knows ...

This is by no means a "done deal" game. It takes a lot more than this to get the Brits to talk truces, especially given this Mussolini's particular demands.

And it's critically important to bring the UK to heel before the OKW elects to initiate Operation Barbarossa...

WW2: The Resource War - 2: Lend-Lease

TheNine wrote:
I for one am really excited. Love this series of games so very much. I enjoy some of the crazier aspects though... Got nuked as Argentina by America because Evidently taking 2/3 of the continent was a problem for them. As Romania helped the Nazi's win the war... I once held out against sovier russia as Estonia for 20 days! Crazy! *lawls*

The U.S. does typically guarantee the independence of almost the entire Western Hemisphere. Surprised that it took them that long to deal with you. ;)

Oh ho, they're adding a modding tool to release. One with a debugging tool (hey, dummy, your shiny new awesome state has no people!). At a glance this is something on the order of "super duper awesome" as compared to "figure it out, it's all in Notepad".

Not that modding their stuff wasn't terribly difficult (so long as you didn't get into total conversion monstrosities), but this takes it to a whole new level.

It'll be very interesting to see what mods are done. People are already lining up to do WW1 mods (perhaps even attempting to do a 1908-1948 uber-mod!) and other crazy shenanigans!

Edit: Apparently, the devs will be much appreciative of any nutjob that mods HOI4 for Battletech. o.O

TheNine wrote:
I for one am really excited. Love this series of games so very much. I enjoy some of the crazier aspects though... Got nuked as Argentina by America because Evidently taking 2/3 of the continent was a problem for them. As Romania helped the Nazi's win the war... I once held out against sovier russia as Estonia for 20 days! Crazy! *lawls*

I have to revisit:

20 days as Estonia against the Red Army? Nicely done! I take it you abused tac bombers on interdiction missions thoroughly until they were shot down/ran out of fuel? ;)

Scarab Sages

Turin the Mad wrote:
TheNine wrote:
I for one am really excited. Love this series of games so very much. I enjoy some of the crazier aspects though... Got nuked as Argentina by America because Evidently taking 2/3 of the continent was a problem for them. As Romania helped the Nazi's win the war... I once held out against sovier russia as Estonia for 20 days! Crazy! *lawls*

I have to revisit:

20 days as Estonia against the Red Army? Nicely done! I take it you abused tac bombers on interdiction missions thoroughly until they were shot down/ran out of fuel? ;)

pretty much that yes! I tried very hard to make good enough friends with germany but they werent having any sort of idea of me being in their alliance yet, which was kinda was I was shooting for.

Also I think the cpu soviet union just didnt decide to fully crush me, still it was good times. I think thats what i enjoy about that series of games the most. Not so much playing as one of the big dogs in the yard, but one of the little yapping things trying to be big.

that being said oh my would doing the whole 1908 to 48 uber mod with modded battletech units?!? sign me up for that *lawls*

You want to try lawls shenanigans, take a look at what they're doing with Poland.

They can attempt to form a "central European alliance" (Poland, Baltic states, Balkans, perhaps bits of Scandinavia or Czech/Hungary/Romania?) in an attempt to survive being sandwiched between Germany and the Soviet Union. This element of the Polish National Focus tree is based on a historically considered but not implemented plan. In an ahistorical campaign this might prove to be pretty fun!

HOI4 keeps looking better and better.

A current dev demonstration that began after a one-shot session as Poland in the Aug '39 start (Dan9L survived until mid-Jan '40 as Poland) is a co-op as Communist France. They've subverted Yugoslavia to French-Communist ideology via peaceful overturning of gov't there. At present, they're funneling covert efforts into Belgium and Nationalist Spain in '39 in an otherwise 'historical-ish' campaign.

Hasn't helped world tension much with their short war on Switzerland. Comm-France annexed the western half of Switzerland whilst they puppeted the eastern half.

Apparently, as a new mechanism to HOI4, foreign interests can incite civil wars in other countries and vice versa ...

Perhaps this *might* be effective against the metric-tonnes-o-industry that is the US of A in HOI. Or, it may only result in stirring the sleeping giant earlier than desired.

~sighs~ I broke down and bought this. I am thinking Russia as my first playthrough, after I do ALL of the tutorials. Lets see if we can survive Germany doing it's thing.

Figured out a few tips and tricks since D-Day 2016.

1.) Field Marshals are often very low skill. Depending on the country they're often afflicted with the Old Guard trait. Thus they are good for two things IMO:

  • Managing garrison divisions. Sooner or later a sizeable chunk of your recruitment is going to be invested in some form of garrison division whose sole purpose is to protect your important provinces and states. Assign this field marshal to Garrison duty on all of your states. As he receives divisions he will assign and distribute those divisions as transports and infrastructure permit.
  • At least 1 skill 1 Field Marshall is available that has the principle use of commanding your training center. This is easiest done with a custom 1-battalion cavalry 'division' (costs some combat xp, saves lots of trouble) placed on a defensive 'line' in your 10/10 infrastructure province of choice. Ideally one centrally located or adjacent to/inside of a large naval base. From within this 'army' you can deploy land units directly into advanced training. (This costs attrition over time to improve those divisions from Trained to Regular skill, an invaluable investment provided you have the time to spare.) From within this training army one can select divisions that have completed training and either directly assign them to their new command or separate them out of that army to distribute as you deem necessary.
  • Your ideal Field Marshall for either is a Logistics Wizard, but they seem to be much less common for the Empire of Japan.

A few items to always have at least 1 military factory producing at all times: Support Equipment. Motorized (half of the support companies need these as 'trucks' while your motorized divisions burn through them like candy corn at Halloween). Infantry Equipment I. Transport planes.

Naval Dockyards are Your Friend (assuming you're not landlocked). They ignore production efficiency. I suggest ALWAYS having at least 1 ND producing convoys at all times, more if you can spare. Oddball numbers (ones not divisible by 5) of surplus ND's are best invested into submarine and/or destroyer production. Otherwise, assign NDs in blocks of 5 across your desired classes to be produced. Once your desired productions are queued up, be sure to assign the most important ships at the top of the list. Then fill in all of the grey boxes. Ships can also be toggled to produce a finite number of their assignment.

For example, you can queue up as part of your production queue the NDs for 2 Yamato class battleships, 4 Sohei Sue class carriers, 6 Assignment class light cruisers and 12 Noodle Cup class destroyers.

Each battleship and carrier has 5 NDs initially assigned to get them started. Your next batch of 5 NDs are tasked to begin the CL production whilst the last batch of 5 NDs are making Noodle Cup DDs, using 40 of your naval dockyards. You've assigned them to deliver all output to the Hiroshima naval base since the plan is to give Admiral Yamamoto a state-of-the-art task force with which to crush the enemies' navies.

Now, here's the fun part. You have 52 NDs, of which 40 are committed to the construction of Yamamoto's task force in waiting. What do you do with the other 12? As mentioned above, you're diligently maintaining at least 1 ND on convoys and 1 more on DDs (destroyers) to replace inevitable losses, leaving you with 10 NDs. Assign all 10 to the first ship you want completed, then start filling in the other vessels' production boxes with grey NDs. What will happen is that once the one you 'overfilled' with NDs is completed and deployed, those NDs are distributed down the queue, accelerating production line by line until they pile up into emptiness. (With major queues like these an easy way to not miss out on naval production is to grey in either convoys, destroyers or submarines. I'd use convoys for this as they die like flies.)

Otherwise, unlike aircraft (which deploy either directly into replacements or into the national reserves of aircraft, from which losses at airfields and carriers are drawn), ships have some unique advantages.

As with recruited land units, ships (excepting convoys) are able to be assigned to deploy either to a specific naval base or to a specific fleet upon completion. Unlike land units, ships are deployed to specific naval bases. The enemy can and will make bombing runs on those ports, so choose such things wisely. Preferably by way of maintaining overwhelming air superiority.

Polizei divisions: Purely for keeping the partisans from wrecking your supplies and captured factories, you will need some small divisions trained for the explicit purpose of pressing hobnailed boots firmly to necks. This is where you repurpose any Cavalry divisions you started the game with. 4 battalions (up to six) / division is more than sufficient for *most* provinces. Supplement with an MP company. Additional support by way of engineers and logistics companies are something of a luxury for the first bunch of years.

Poor Man's SP Artillery: Yep, another use for Cavalry, especially when you're strapped for the not inconsiderable resource drain of oil, rubber and steel that better mobile/armored divisions gobble up in production. Enter the archaic CAV divisions. Make it better with (at a minimum in the early game) support companies of artillery, engineers and recon, with an anti-tank support company thrown in when possible.

Why do this? Well, for resource-deprived nations (Japan of the majors) CAV are more than 50% faster than leg infantry regardless of support companies' attachments. If you are able to obtain the tech, rocket artillery companies are surprisingly effective. I recommend either as additional support or replacing artillery support for these divisions.

Research heavy armor and its SP artillery variant ASAP in '36. Horde combat xp to at least pay 25-30 xp to remodel one's infantry divisions. Build up at least 60 of them per division before the retooling of the division template. Once assigned, your command staff will endeavor to distribute your proto-King-Tigers to ALL affected divisions. Those divisions will suffer XP loss, sometimes significantly so, warranting putting them into training to recover their lost xp.

Fun game currently. A-historical normal difficulty, just picked up the 1.0.1 patchette.

It's now spring '39. I'm overlording the Empire of Japan, attempting to not get nuked into submission nor do anything overtly rash.

Industry is robust (albeit resource-starved, slowing production down considerably), the people are happy and life is tolerable for my subjects.

The IJN holds primacy with its striking power of seven fleet carriers, 10 battleships and a gaggle of cruisers, destroyers and now outdated submarines. Aircraft are in good supply as are our tankettes, now formed into specific brigades attached to the striking arm of the IJA's motorized divisions. In a year or so, depending upon how the upcoming campaign against Nationalist China and the petty warlords progresses it is hoped that rocket artillery trucks can be incorporated into those same divisions.

Foreign policy wise, the IJN's plan to seize British and Dutch holdings are the primary strategic planning. A NAP with Stalin is holding, for now, permitting me to leave the Manchurian border lightly guarded.

A dozen crack artillery-reinforced divisions are entrenched along the border with Beijing and Taipan. The nasty incident at the Marco Polo bridge occurred some months ago, failing to get Berlin to recall von Falkenstein's "advisors" home. Sadly, this means the poor bastards will be taken prisoner in the campaign to come unless events back home in Germany change things.

Intelligence estimates that Nationalist China fields some 150 combat divisions. However, they have no consequential navy and a fledgling air force. IJN Marines and Paratroopers are making their preliminary invasion plans all along the coastline whilst the armor-enhanced motorized divisions bivouac at ports along the Yellow Sea and on Okinawa in anticipation of executing a gigantic encirclement supported at first by shore bombardment, then by close air and tactical bombardment aircraft whilst Zeroes clear the skies of enemy aircraft.

Pretty normal stuff, even if the Empire is coming 2 years later than historical to this particular party.

However ...

The rise of fascist sympathies throughout Scandinavia and the Benelux region has the UK greatly concerned. Enough that they have prepared war plans with the intention of installing puppet regimes in Belgium and the Netherlands. Wary eyes also watch over similar fascist sympathies in Iraq, Iran and the United States. Intelligence suggests that preliminary plans have crossed Chamberlain's desk regarding similar plans of 'democratic interventionism' on behalf of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iraq and Iran.

France predictably sides with the UK whilst transforming herself into a turtle. Fortifications extend from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean along the border with Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.

Germany, Italy and Japan are co-signatories to the Anti-Comintern Pact, a defensive alliance of convenience. To her east Poland is attempting to knit together a 'between the seas' alliance stretching from the Baltic to the Black. If successful, perhaps German and Soviet adventurism into the region will be curtailed. Mayhap war in eastern Europe may be averted for a time. Anschluss in Austria and the fortified mountains of the Czech republic have been ceded peacefully enough. Our spies in Moscow caught wind of a secret pact between Berlin and Moscow that partitions Poland between them while giving the USSR free reign in the Baltic.

Italy is rather placid after slugging it out in the Somali highlands. Presently they are expanding their holdings in Libya, including having uncovered significant (to Italy) oil reserves. Perhaps Mussolini will have the cooler head in western Europe in the months to come?

Republican Spain has all but put down the uppity Nationalists, having driven them into the northwesternmost region of Iberia. The communists will finish them off by early summer at the latest. The French would prefer Communists along that border had they not just purged their own Communist party...

Interestingly, Yamamoto's trips to the United States indicates a navy intending to emphasize battleships over carriers. Given the fascist rumblings in the Great Depression-wracked nation, perhaps there shan't arrive a need to awaken a sleeping giant. Unless a civil war should erupt at an ill-timed moment. Rumor has it that Americans are slinking across the Mexican border...

The first Yamato-class battleship has concluded her shakedown cruise and joined the newest fleet carriers of the IJN in a new task force being assembled in Tokyo from the best designs the shipyards have to offer. Her sister ship should be ready for service in about a year, along with state-of-the-art screening destroyers in vast numbers to absorb combat losses.

The Emperor is said to have been most displeased by an IJA General's boast that Beijing can be taken in 3 days, all of China in 3 months. A foolish boast that the Marines and mobile divisions of the IJN feel no pressure to acknowledge.

Recurring border tensions between the PRC and NatChi result in a constant fluctuation of NatChi divisions between the Yellow River and those distant mountain strongholds. If our timing is right, we may yet catch those divisions en route from one to the other.

If the timing is off, the Army entrenched on the other side of the Yellow River will have the dubious privilege of withstanding an assault by as much as 2/3rds of the NatChi Army attempting to wade across that river into months-prepared and meticulously planned entrenchments. They'll die like flies, at least until we run out of ammunition.

Overall the strategic intent is to drive the NatChi Army before us into the western hinterlands, not destroy them in detail. The Guangxi Clique has the most strategically valuable resources within its borders, making them quite manageable after the campaign's conclusion before we turn our attentions south to the Dutch East Indies and Singapore. The planning staff hopes to complete the campaign in China before the impending general outbreak of war across the globe. A united China under a puppet regime sans the Guangxi Clique territory is greatly preferred to installing a military government.

Dealing with the Allies on our terms will be hard enough. If they start trouble first ...

Danged checksum keeps changing, so I keep restarting as Japan.

Soon-ish they're slated to roll out the "Red Ball Express" 1.1 patch. Hopefully this fixes a slew of AI bugs and peace conference stupidity.

In the meanwhile the endeavor is a prematurely militant Japan. China shall fall AFTER the Dutch East Indies are incorporated into the GEACPS
(I think, depending on how the VP math works out relative to the Netherlands' National Unity.)

If there's no good way to simply knock the Dutch out of the Pacific without having to launch an amphibious invasion in Europe, then I'll go the classic China First / Southern Expansion route buddying up with Yermany.

Frankly, given that at present only a small part of China holds any strategic resources that I care about, this Empire's National Foci will do an end run around war with the larger part of China and pick up the war goal for Guangxi Clique.

A direct annexation of that valuable stretch of real estate provides land access to Indochina and southeast Asia plus greatly shortened invasion routes to Singapore, Borneo and the Dutch East Indies. I'll happily ignore the rest of China. Yapan NEEDS those resources far more than she needs the piddling manpower from all of occupied China.

With the juiciest pieces of the south Pacific under occupation, what remains of value is in the eastern part of the Soviet Union - specifically, aluminum, steel, chromium and tungsten. The first is critical for aircraft production. The second gets used for pretty much everything else. Oil and rubber are in PILES in the Pacific.

It's going to be an interesting war, especially trying to pull it off prior to American entry.

Scarab Sages

Just wanted to say im am enjoying your relative play by play Turin. I have purchased the game, but to be honest wont have time to get my hands really into til probably July, Busy month at work and life and all.

No worries. The 1.1 patch should be out by the time you get to play, making the game less annoying to play than it is in its present state.

I'll get more of it running as this campaign holds promise.

7 a.m. 19th July 1940

Chamberlain won re-election in the UK, Nov '39.

Alf Landon is campaigning for re-election in the United States, having beaten FDR in the '36 election. According to Japanese intelligence, they remain isolationist and rather traditionalist, the shiny new capitol ship of the USN being the Montana-class Super Battleship, America's counterpart to the IJN's Yamato.

Daladier is the Prime Minister(?) of France, who outlawed the Communist party in '39.

The Spanish Civil War raged on for nearly 3 years with the Republicans (Communists) defeating the Nationalists (fascists).

FACTIONS and their member states as of July '40:

Allies: UK, France, Canada, South Africa, Australia (exiled to Tasmania), New Zealand (gov't in exile), Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Benelux, India/British Raj, Poland (gov't in exile).

Axis: Germany, Slovakia (puppet), Hungary, Italy.

Comintern: Soviet Union, Tannu Tiva (puppet), Mongolia, Republican Spain.

Daitoa Kyoeiken: Japan, Mengkukuo (puppet), Yunnan Free Empire (Chinese warlord state that petitioned for membership after the wider war broke out).


Axis vs. Allies.
Axis vs. Comintern.
Daitoa Kyoeiken vs. Allies.

Japan seized the Guangxi Clique warlord state in '37, forgoing war with the rest of China. The Dutch East Indies was seized from the Netherlands in '38 well before they joined the Allies in early '40.

Imperial agents provocateur are staging coups in Belgium, the Netherlands, Iraq and Iran. Popular support is swelling for the aspiring fascists in Iraq and Iran in Mosul and Kurdistan respectively. Fascist Dutch are agitating in South America whilst fascist Belgians are rattling sabers in the Belgian Congo at the port city there.

Germany broke the Pact with the USSR in December '39, attacking promptly after Poland's capitulation. As of July '40 the Wehrmacht is outside of Minsk, marching east in good order given the three fronts that the Axis is currently fighting on.

The Soviets, despite breaking their NAP with the Empire of Japan, have removed all but a lone division along the Manchurian border in order to stymie the Axis advance. Whilst the IJA clamors to press the advantage to seize the steel and aluminum rich eastern part of the Soviet Union, the Emperor is adamant that the Empire's offensives remain focused against the Allies.

Since the fall of '39 this focus has paid handsome dividends in combination with not being bogged down in a land war in China. Mengkukuo, after being generously supplied with almost all of our outdated equipment, tankettes and light aircraft, has cobbled together some 40 divisions that they in turn sent to us as an expeditionary force. This force garrisons a defensive line along the border with Mongolia, Shanxi and the relatively narrow border facing Beijing down to the Yellow Sea. There they shall stay, as using this ragtag bunch against them would do little more than kick a hornet's nest open. Some volunteers from Hungary, Italy and Venezuela have elected to tour the world in Imperial service.

The most concerning news comes via diplomatic couriers from Moscow. It is estimated that the Soviet Union will court war with the Empire in 300 days' time: mid-May of 1941. The Manchurian front is prepared and ready for this. The northwestern front via Mengkukuo is not, the chink in our armor so to speak. Making matters worse is that the Soviets appear to be courting Nationalist China to rally to their cause if not their ideology by way of the axiom " the enemy of my enemy is my friend ".

Regarding the Empire of Japan's gains in the Pacific, things have gone swimmingly. Only Portugal holds anything along the Chinese coast. French Indochina is occupied. Singapore, Borneo, Hong Kong, Papua, the Solomon Islands, the Bismarcks, New Caledonia, the Ellice Islands, the Gilbert Islands and Naunu are all under Kempeitai jurisdiction. Australia and New Zealand have capitulated with the former relegated to Tasmania. Tasmania will be occupied before the summer is out to deny the Allies that naval base. Planning aims east to Fiji and Tahiti before turning west once more into the Indian Ocean.

India/British Raj offers a very narrow front against Laos' northwesternmost province. A half-dozen entrenched divisions ensures no Allied access into the Empire by that route.

Siam and the United States remain staunchly neutral which works perfectly to our advantage. Once the mopping up is complete in the south Pacific, the IJA and IJN will operate in tandem to liberate India from British rule. Ceylon has resources of value, India does not, in a manner similar to China.

Regarding the United States, intelligence informs us that they have drawn up War Plan Orange (aimed at the Empire) and are drawing up War Plan Black (against the Axis). The giant stirs fitfully in its slumber, lending urgency to the war against the Allies in combination wi the rumblings coming out of Moscow.

Romania is currently neutral despite being shorn of territory by Hungary and Bulgaria, likely a short precursor to Bulgaria's joining the Axis which should make Mussolini happy.

The war in Europe is at least neat, if not ideal. Germany has made little progress on their western and northern fronts due to their devoting most of their efforts to the Soviet front. The French and Italian mountaineers are butchering each other in windrows in the Alps. Italy is not faring so well heading east out of Libya, but they are making decent progress against France in Northern Africa. They've (so far) managed to reign in their impulses for conquest and have not seen fit to DoW on Albania, Yugoslavia or Greece, instead somehow maintaining adequate supply lines to Ethiopia from where a slow but steady encroachment against the Allies progresses.

The Allies made a crucial blunder in dispatching their navies against the IJN, feeding them piecemeal into the strait between Java and Singapore instead of amassing their fleets into a 'doomstack' or two. There Yamamoto laid a lethal trap of submarines, naval bombers and every bit of the IJN. If the IJN folded, the war was lost.

Fortunately, rotating damaged ships out for fresh/fresher ships and a healthy supply of air superiority and naval bombers prevented all Allied attempts to liberate Singapore. Best guess is that the Allies lost about 80% of their navies to Yamamoto in that narrow passage, often finding themselves driven deeper into the trap to be pounced upon by waiting wolf packs and more naval bombers. Those few that made their escape did not do so unharmed.

This cost the Allies dearly, giving the Regina Maria a fighting chance in the Mediterranean if they are bold enough to execute the necessary strategy. (Doubtful, but they at least have a chance.)

As things presently stand, the combined Royal Navy is estimated at 45 warships with the same approximate estimates for the French Navy and the Italian Navy. If either Allied fleet has any carriers, they are still being constructed. The Commonwealth states have no navies of note whatsoever if our intelligence is accurate. India has two warships, Canada 7, the rest none, having been sunk in action.

Yugoslavia is strongly leaning towards the Allies having sent volunteers to fight alongside the Australians and India/British Raj forces.

29th June, 1941.

The Axis has not fared well. The Red Army stalled the German advance outside of Minsk and has steadily pushed the Wehrmacht west to the outskirts of Warsaw.

Allied forces have invaded northern Germany (British with Danish and Norwegian expeditionary divisions). Spanish troops have established a beachhead around Wilhelmshaven. Of the Low Countries, only poor Luxembourg was ever occupied by Germany. The extensive French fortifications from the Channel to the Mediterranean held off all Axis advances.

Hungary is being bisected by a Soviet spearhead apparently attempting to link up with the southernmost tip of Germany.

Stalin has yet to even glance sideways at the Baltic states nor Finland, focusing the Red Army squarely on the Axis. He has re-established a border garrison of decent strength along the Manchurian-Mengkukuo'an border.

Mussolini was facing his darkest hour 2 years earlier than IOTL with British troops having seized Taranto whilst Canadians attempted to open their own beachhead near Genoa whilst the Yugoslavians approach Trieste. Spaniards have taken previously Italian gains at French expense in North Africa as they close in on Tripoli.

A dark hour indeed for Il Duce ...

The success in Europe has come at a price to the Allies. The Empire of Japan has near-complete dominance of the Pacific save for the western coastline of the Americas asides from the Phillipines and those parcels of land belonging to the United States and Portugal. British and French islets scattered throughout the Indian Ocean are now under Japanese rule. India/British Raj capitulated. The Middle East is either neutral, occupied by Japan or part of the Japanese alliance, precipitated in part by the UK DoW'ing Iraq after losing every scrap of land they owned around the Arabian peninsula.

The Suez Canal is firmly held by Japan along with all non-Italian holdings in eastern Africa. A dozen divisions push the Allies towards South Africa. Another dozen divisions are tasked with pushing the Allies west into French territory north of the Congo. 24 divisions advance throughout the Middle East towards Turkey and west towards Libya.

The United States remains neutral, although reports indicate that they are drawing up War Plan Orange as opposed to merely considering the idea.

Rebuilding the IJN with modern vessels and aircraft takes a great deal of time and industry. Resources are starting to flow, accelerating the build up nicely.

Will the first Carrier Battlegroup be completed in time to defend against American aggression? Will Uncle Joe initiate war against the Empire of Japan when the Red Army finishes roflstomping Germany? Will the Allies or the Comintern fire shots at each other, or will they gang up on Japan when the smoke clears from the rubble in Europe?

Comintern: USSR, Spain. Puppets: Mongolia, Tannu Tiva.

Allies: UK, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Yugoslavia, Greece, Canada, South Africa, Albania. (India, Australia and New Zealand have capitulated to Japan.)

Axis: Germany, Italy, Hungary. Puppet: Slovakia.

Empire of Japan: faction members Mengkukuo and Iraq are active participants in the war against the Allies. Yunnan, Persia, Rexis Belgium (the Congo) and Dutch Rijk (Suriname) are part of Japan's buddy system although they don't equate even to France despite 51 divisions trained and handed over to Imperial command by Mengkukuo. Given enough time this could change.

Time is a luxury that the Emperor is not confident is in great supply.

The schools of thought being considered for continuing the war:

1.) Mediterranean/Africa. Lock up the Mediterranean, forcing the Allies to go around Africa. This is best done by Italy due to the hideous logistics difficulties inherent in operations so far from the Home Islands. Thanks to full cooperation from Persia and Iraq those supplies do not have to be entirely shipped from Japan through the Indian Ocean and up the Red Sea, although such remains necessary due to the generally poor transportation infrastructure in most of Asia and Asia Minor.

2.) Keep the Suez and the Middle East as a bulwark upon which the Allies beat their heads against. With potential war against the Comintern looming large on the horizon, this is a consideration. The risk here is that the Allies are given a respite.

3.) Island hop around the tips of South America and Africa, then up the Atlantic with the goal of eventually invading the British Home Islands and France.

4.) Save Italy's ass and by extension position for land confrontation against both the Allies and the Comintern in Europe. Part of this is already in progress by way of current operations in the eastern half of Africa. This is the riskiest proposition, but perhaps the best bet as it will focus both enemy factions on Europe instead of in the Pacific, providing precious time for the massive infrastructural work that is so desperately needed in the GEACPS.

5.) Above all else, do NOT rouse the United States. The Emperor has made it abundantly clear that the Empire is in no way to act in an offensive war against the western hemisphere (read: the United States). It is possibly moot if the Allied governments-in-exile find their way across the Atlantic to Canada and the Caribbean. It is probable that Italy may flee to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) should Rome fall.

6.) The Allies cannot be terribly thrilled about Uncle Joe's antics, especially their little buddy Spain's seizures of French territory in northwestern Africa. The one possible reason to not advance across the Mediterranean would be to see if the Comintern and the Allies come to blows in Europe.

7.) The UK and France remain the principal foes. To have any chance of bringing the war to a close before the USA enters the fray this must occur. France can probably be done by way of 'liberating' Italy and taking the Brits out of the Mediterranean theatre. From France an invasion can be launched across the English Channel. The question is can this be done with sufficient haste starting from Egypt?

A combination of paratroopers (highly successful in accelerating the demise of ANZACS and India) and an amphibious invasion 'blitz' once the Allied navies have been sunk or chased out of the Mediterranean are the only way to do so, probably by way of invading Greece thence into Yugoslavia. Paratroopers to pick off Malta and Cyprus, then deployed atop Gibraltar seem to be the fastest route to sealing the Med against the Allies.

8.) It is known that the Soviets are not at all happy about Persia and Iraq joining with the D.K. faction (Japan). Persia provides the shortest direct access to their precious oil fields in the Caucasus region.

Glasgow Peace Conference, Scotland, 11th July 1942.

The Axis still grapples with the Comintern albeit greatly bolstered by their spoils of war from this conference. Germany gained most of France, continental Belgium, the continental Netherlands and bits and pieces of other stuff. Italy picked up Corsica, Yugoslavia, most of Greece and vast swaths of Africa that will now be fought over against the Spanish.

The "Allies" are now merely Norway and Lithuania.

Axis roster: Germany, Hungary, Italy, Turkey and their puppets the British 'Empire', 'Vichy France', Dutch Rijk, Slovakia, Falangist Poland and Apartheid South Africa.

Comintern: USSR, Republican Spain, Mongolia, Tannu Tuva.

D.K.: Empire of Japan (much enlarged), Iraq, Persian Empire. Puppets: Mengkukuo, Centrist Australia, Kiwi Empire (NZ), Free India, Kingdom of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Centrist Canada, the North Sea Empire (Denmark) and the National Union of Greece (Crete, the Aegean Islands and Thrace).

Direct Japanese territory of note asides from her Home Islands, Korea and Manchuria: virtually all of modern-day Indonesia, Malaya and southeast Asia with the southern area of China known in-game as the Guangxi Clique.

The British Home Islands. Gibraltar, Malta, Cyprus. Hong Kong. French India and the bit of French land on the Chinese coast whose name I cannot recall. Algiers and the south-central-ish French in-game states of Alpes, Languedoc, Rhone and Provence. Bechuanaland, Rhodesia and Tanganyika. Ceylon. Abu Dhabi and Kuwait. Miscellaneous islets in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, although Iraq, Hungary, Germany and Italy picked up bits and pieces of the Caribbean. Japan took the oil producing Trinidad islands as well as the trio of British/French/Dutch colonies on the northern coast of South America.

Currently neutral are the United States, most of Central and South America, Liberia, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Portugal, the remaining Chinese states, Tibet, Afghanistan, Ireland (who was given North Ireland by Japan despite their pissy attitude towards the Empire, mostly to remove the administrative headache before it even starts) and the free Caribbean states.

All in all a fun game. I consider this one a wrap.

Despite now having a presence in the western hemisphere and souring relations with the Roosevelt administration, the Soviets get along reasonably well with the Empire of Japan, all but eliminating any significant worry about fighting on two fronts. Two modern Carrier Battle Groups are receiving their last few escort destroyers, more than a match for the USN by themselves. Each comprises 4 fleet carriers, 6 battlecruisers and 50 state-of-the-art destroyer screens plus a combined total of 200 Zero fighters and 220 A6M naval bombers. Per battle group. Thousands of replacement aircraft are available. Several aces, veterans of the air war that raged from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean, throughout the Mediterranean and in the mid-and-North Atlantic campaigns, are aboard the fleet led by Admiral Yamamoto. Within a few months nearly 100 divisions could be attacking from all along the Canadian border, with more than enough Kempeitai divisions now available to tend to occupation duties. As of this moment, Imperial production greatly exceeds the worst-case estimated production of the United States. No critical resource is lacking. Any embargo by the US is a purely symbolic gesture as the Empire now domestically sources all necessary materials with a modest export economy.

I'd never hit the point of being able to enact a Closed Economy, which eliminates all exports of strategic resources. Neither did the need arise to enact a Total Mobilization (which eliminates all need for civilian factories to produce consumer goods). At this point economically mandated exports provide almost half of the Empire's civilian factories used for construction projects. While these are legion, they proceed very quickly in the smaller directly controlled territories of the Empire.

One-day game as France going a-historical "Little Entente", forming alliance w/ Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Romania.

War broke out in '38 when Germany pushed the Czechs to give up the Sudetenland. France told the Czechs "we got your back", prompting Germany and Italy to gang up on Czech and Yugo. It took a few weeks to march the Pyrennes Army to the Alps.

50 or so artillery-enhanced infantry divisions were manning the Maginot Line. No worries, unless Germany goes around through Belgium, that approach is nearly impregnable. Or they use paratroopers. Or invade via the Channel. Not a problem. Nope, nope, nope.

I had pulled in every scrap of French navy and army to continental France. The colonies are inconsequential if Paris has Axis troops marching down the Champs Elysee.

All of France's cavalry, light armor and motorized troops were behind the mountaineers manning the Alpine fortifications against Italy. The entire French Navy was ported out of the Marseilles region, eager to trade blows with the Regia Maria. Victory over the Mediterranean would surely be ours, we have a fleet carrier whilst the Italians do not!

When the war went hot, things went south in a hurry. No RAF providing air cover, no Royal Navy prowling the Med, just France and her minor allies. Czechoslovakia lasted about a month against the Wehrmacht.

I did far better than I had expected to considering France's nearly untenable position, crappy industry, shoddy National Unity (got it to 50%, quite good given the circumstances) and oh how screwed she would have been had the Republicans not won the civil war in Spain.

No German boots trod French soil. Not one enemy soldier crossed the border from the Channel to Switzerland.

Instead, the Italians gave me a solid war. The Regia Maria sank over half of the French Navy. Attempting to hole up in Marseilles for repair got a few more ships sunk by Luftwaffe and Italian naval bombers on constant torpedo runs against the southern coastal ports, forcing the French Navy to rebase to Brest in Brittany. I didn't get the carrier sunk, and kept most of the capitol ships (at least somewhat) intact, but the screens were shredded into coleslaw.

The French air force was nearly impossible to grow to any worthwhile size, there just aren't enough military factories, oil and rubber to go around, especially once the Empire of Japan seizes Indochina, France's sole supply of oil and rubber without trading away civilian factories to get them. Said air force gave a decent accounting of itself, with one ace KIA and the other surviving until the end.

The war was bitterly fought in northern Italy. It took two to three months of brutal fighting in the Alps to dislodge the Italian Army. At about the six month mark the French Army, rotating troops from a defensive line in the Alpine Line to maintain organization and combat readiness, were lured into an encirclement aided by Guderian's Panzer II divisions pouring out of Austria while the offensive strength of the French Army under de Gaulle pursued the Italians south of Genoa. Genoa itself was the focus of 2 months' bitter house-to-house fighting by a guesstimated total of ~72 divisions of purely French and Italian divisions.

What was perceived by France's non-existent decoding and signal intelligence apparatus as an Italian retreat revealed itself to be a well-planned ambush with the Wehrmacht slamming the jaws shut. Once the French Army was driven away from its supply port, they lasted less than a week before being completely overrun.

After that, the Germans gamely let the Italians assume the lead in annexing France, ending that game.

Good times, I learned a LOT from that game.

The newest game I'm playing Germany starting in '36, a-historical and pursuing an unusually diplomatic course.

As of 3rd November '39: I send 3 panzer divisions under von Manstein dubbed "Legion Condor" as volunteers to assist the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War. Amazingly, Japan had also sent volunteers in addition to the usual Italian and Soviet volunteers. Legion Condor kicked butt and wrapped up the SCW before Christmas '36.

The Anschluss and Remilitarization went without incident during '36 as well. Having played the French, their consequences for attempting to do something about Germany for the Remilitarization is quite severe, so it is no surprise to see the AI issue a protest and nothing more.

Afterwards things are getting interesting.

Japan has gobbled up nearly all of China asides from a particularly stubborn pocket about Nanjing and a few bits of the Hainan region. I recalled von Falkenstein at their request.

Purely by diplomatic means Czechoslovakia is no more, resulting in ceding Slovakia to Poland in trade for Danzig. Ribbentrop did not make 'the pact' with Molotov. Germany stands alone - Hungary can go fly a kite, they've got strategic resources the Reich needs, it's just a matter of when the Wehrmacht is sent to collect them.

In addition, Raeder's strategem is being followed instead of that pansy U-boat doctrinal nonsense. Whilst the Kriegsmarine barely numbers 36 ships of which only 8 are capitol ships, u-boat production ceased at a total of 28. Impressively, gunboat diplomacy has ushered in an new era of Scandinavian cooperation.

Germany has non-aggression pacts and mutual military access treaties with the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Belgium is quite displeased by the French extension of the Maginot Line along their border whilst the Italians are similarly disgruntled by the Alpine Line. Japan is less than thrilled about Germany's agreements with the Dutch as the Empire greatly covets the Dutch East Indies for its own needs.

Despite the lack of the M-R Pact, currently the USSR and Germany are getting along tolerably well. The rest of the world isn't overly upset at Germany for her aggressive diplomacy as things presently stand, and now Polish-German diplomacy has reached an amenable accord. Even the Americans have their attention focused elsewhere (Sino-Japanese war to be specific). It is possible that the USSR will focus its ire on Manchuria in the coming year.

Italy is preparing to press its claims on parts of Yugoslavia whilst the German diplomatic corps is feverishly working on cementing the arrangements with Poland. ("Befriend Poland" being the specific National Focus.)

Current German designs are on Yugoslavia and Greece, but the staff recognizes that the reality is that the Italians may trigger a war with the Allies in the Mediterranean. A war which Germany will happily ignore as Mussolini is not in the good graces of the mustachio'd Boss of Bosses.

If the timing permits, it'd be nice to snatch Yugoslavia and Greece out from under the Italians by diplomatic means.

If not, a direct war with France (and by extension the Allies) is in the offering. The other direction of work by the 'state department' is with Belgium in an attempt to take advantage of French construction and British interventionism in the Benelux region against Belgium's wishes. If military access and an NAP can be signed with Belgium, that suits Germany just fine. It'll cheese off London and Paris to no end, but that's not the greater concern...

1.1 beta patch went live on Steam today, so I restarted the above Germany game with the intent to see how quickly one can gobble up as much as possible purely by diplomacy.

To get (in no particular order) Czechoslovakia, trade Slovakia to Poland for Danzig, Anschluss Austria, a technology trade treaty with the Soviets, annex Slovenia, split Croatia and the remnants of Yugoslavia into a pair of puppet states and add a few choice bits of territory to Bulgaria and Hungary takes 840 days. Add another 140 days to finalize matters with Greece. All together these 980 days put Germany at a significantly larger land area, relatively low world tension (although Japan is usually the culprit by comparison with the Sino-Japanese War Round 2) and about another 15-ish months from making buddies with Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands with the side benefit of vastly improved naval research bonuses and a decent patch of free naval dockyards with which to build the Kriegsmarine.

A-historical stuff seems to have been tweaked a bit with the 1.1 patch, thankfully. The SCW didn't start until 26th April 1938. Greece should be done basically by year's end, which should see the fun in Europe on Germany's end as an aggressor in early spring of 1940.

There is a good chance that you will have most or all of Scandinavia in the Axis by then, not accounting for Bulgaria, Hungary or Italy. One has decent-ish relations with Stalin whilst the Empire of Japan is not at all pleased about the Dutch East Indies belonging to an Axis state.

A combination of NAP's and mutual military access makes things interesting throughout Scandinavia (less Finland) and Poland. Poland gets to keep her navy in the Danzig port (or any Axis port). This Germany couldn't care less about Memel, so pressing that claim isn't under consideration. As before the M-R Pact wasn't even proposed given the success of diplomacy in acquiring Danzig. If Uncle Joe wants a war, he's going to have to start one.

I had originally intended to paint continental Europe in dark grey. As things are turning out that won't happen, but the Balkans should be stabilized unless Mussolini throws caution to the wind and makes a grab for anything other than Albania.

Puppets give you free surplus strategic resources, greatly reducing the lack of steel, tungsten and some smidges of other stuff. Chromium is going to become a major problem with the late war vessels and armor.

At this juncture, barring Italian adventurism, Germany's sights are squarely set on France. It is hoped that Ribbentrop continues to prove himself useful by way of sweet-talking Belgium into at least an NAP with military access, but it's slow going.

Given the tide of fascism spreading throughout Europe on a mostly voluntary basis, I'm wondering how long it might be worth biding my time to see if the UK/France alliance makes the aggressive moves. Interventionism in Benelux has already been approved by Chamberlain. We'll see soon enough I suppose ....

HoI4's AAR/campaign journal page. Usually with pretty pictures. Currently a great many will feature whacky AI hijinks and dastardly strategic shenanigans. I'd be greatly surprised if at least one didn't feature someone in Europe declaring war on Mexico before 1945. ;)

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Well, this has been a bizarre WW2 so far.

Everything goes reasonably sanely in this early degree of post-release patch-itus. I restart several times to get the swing of Yermany. Settle in today to take a crack at a "see if Poland will swap Danzig for Slovakia" approach. Poland itself is of little value besides Danzig and a land border with the USSR.

Not what I wanted, France and western Europe has gobs more resources and they're far less likely to result in several hundred divisions of the Red Army pouring across what was formerly central Poland.

Diplomatic awesomeness nets Czech (less Slovakia), all of Yugoslavia, annexed Hungary and the customary Anschluss. (I've seen it go pear-shaped once, so it's not *quite* the certainty it was before.) Great stuff, the navy is shaping up to handle limited engagements against the Royal Navy, no allies to open up undesired fronts nor expose any soft underbellies.

The subtle clue that things were about to Not Go According to Plan was that France was not making smoochie-smoochie with England. I was busily raising popular awareness of the benefits and joys of Selfless Nationalism throughout the Middle East and Scandinavia, so this tidbit slipped under the mental radar.

Next thing I know, the army and air force are geared up to stomp on France when my little spies tell me something bad is happening across the river to the west. Taking a look, loh and behold, a Communist coup-d'etat! The Commies march down the Champs Elysee and *pouf*, Communist France is born, complete with a fresh National Focus tree to play with.

Well, it's one thing to have Bolsheviks on the eastern side of the Polish Alliance. It's another thing altogether to have all of France turn Red right next door. Being good Selfless Nationalists, we object the old-fashioned way: drumming up the propaganda machine and fabricating a CB to grab "Yerman Alsace" (which so happens to wholly include the Maginot Line within its vicinity) from Stalin's murderous clutches-by-proxy.

With the coup-d'etat having lit the political world afire (100% world tension and then some - ol' France going Commie added 80+% to a world tension that was hovering at 30%), things got interesting. Nationalist Spain begged for admission for mutual protection while others signed the Anti-Comintern Pact. Japan signed the Pact while politely declining Axis membership. Italy remained relegated to the kids' table while they took six months+ to stomp on Greece.

Not being a Comintern member, Red France should have been easily plucked fruit. Naturally, things definitely did not go According to Plan.

Belgium signed on with the Allies. Gee thanks fellas, and here we'd been building nice relations via trade and a shared hatred of French fortifications since 1936. Fine, fine, back burner time for you. We'll do this the hard way.

Back to the present, Yermany gets the justification approval from the League of Nations and gets to work. Bombers plaster the Maginot Line and several hundred thousand acres of whatever else they could drop bombs on, making the only way into France actually manageable.

Apparently, moreso than anticipated. The Maginot Line gets cracked upon within a week and troops pour across the river, relentlessly widening the gap. 2 Panzerkorps (24 brigades of crack Panzer IIIs with support, equivalent to a reinforced Corps in modern parlance) pour through the breech and begin shoving the French Army around like a 2 DM hooker.

Guderian and company are breakfasting when the decrypted wire comes in: The Soviet Union has admitted Commie France into the Comintern. And agreed to go to war for 'em.


The good news is that there's not a meter of shared land border with them. The better news is that there are a plethora of meat shields between Yermany and the Soviet Union. The bad news is that there's not a meter of land border. And the clock is ticking...

France is mopped up even faster than historically IOTL, the continental / main "part" of France is occupied and the Polizei are given their marching orders along with the Shore Garrison, whose only job is to slow down invaders from the sea.

The Allies rack up a few new members before a flood of Selfless Nationalism sweeps the world, kind of. Norway 'flips', Quisling setting up shop I guess. Asides from Spain, now Japan and Italy want in on the Bear-bashing action. I demur for a bit until the Reds call upon their feeble minions to play.

Heck with it. Italy, Spain, Japan and fascist Norway become Axis members, with Japan being the most crucial of this play. Since the Empire commands the entire Chinese coastline whilst the rest of United China joins with Japan on Special Minion status. Once continental France is policed-and-garrisoned, the line troops are redeployed for ports of departure and along 'still neutral' borders (Belgium, Denmark, Bulgaria, Romania) whilst the diplomats are set to Turkey to see about bringing them around before the Kurds make a mess in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and whomever else.

Turkey agrees to non-combative status, granting us access to the Bosporus Strait through which 1 of 2 Yerman invasion routes are planned. The northern route is through Leningrad from the Baltic. The second is into the Black Sea entering Crimea. If the plans work, transports will ferry more line troops into their starting positions before the dance beings in deadly earnest.

~laughter~ That sounds like a fun game, Turin!

It was. Once the Axis divvied up the Comintern spoils, the Allies sans USA ... well, sat there and went " ah, no ". End of WW2.

Ended up having to bring Romania on-board (which they enjoyed since they didn't lose anything to Molotov's badgering them, nor did anything on my end have them fork over turf to Bulgaria or Hungary) as an active combatant to get a land route.

The naval assault on Leningrad was a complete stalemate. My force was tough enough to keep the assault up. Their force was robust enough to not budge an inch. Guderian drove his Panzerkorps all the way north from Romania to enclose the city. The USSR gave up, being split between Japan (east of the Urals) and as a puppet state loyal to Yermany. (No land connection, so a puppet was much more plausable.)

Yermany's one "colony" is formerly known as French Indochina. And Tahiti, because tourism.

Dallied with playing Nationalist China for a while, I was successful in investing a robust enough set of coastal fortifications and entrenched infantry-with-artillery to utterly stymie the IJN Marine landings all along the Chinese coastline. 24 divisions held the fortifications warding Beijing from assault. The remaining cavalry towing their own artillery, assorted divisions from the rest of United China and a half-dozen divisions from the Soviet Union led by two far better generals than my own eventually pushed Japan off of the asian mainland.

Satisfied with the progress, that game is shelved.

I vote for Panama next. Retake the Panama Canal and show the USA who is boss!

That's going to require a mod that removes the pertinent focus for the United States.

Looked at Panama's population in-game: there's barely enough there to cobble together 2 'light' divisions. They'd get mowed down by American artillery before they farted sideways.

Cuba has a population of 3+ million, enough to kit out about 80 - 90 divisions depending on draft laws and somehow acquiring sufficient equipment. That is, 80 1 brigade (5 battalion) divisions with engineers, recon, support artillery and support anti-tank companies. More manpower could field more, but the 80 brigades (16 division equivalents) will be able to defend the entire length of Cuba against all comers. Especially with sufficient fortifications.

Now, pulling a Viva la Mexico! type of thing might be amusing...

Applying a few mods makes the current game much more interesting. One that 'fixes' (adjusts) the AI's front and deployment priorities to something resembling sanity and another that adjusts the weights on its NF decisions along with some cosmetic mods and one that adjusts the World Tension to something resembling sensibility. There's a cheat mod I use that allows manually adjusting WT up or down as well that I'm using to keep World Tension to reasonable levels so that the US isn't joining the Allies in '39, barring someone declaring war on them.

In '38 with me playing Germany:

Popular movements for communism and fascism throughout Benelux and Scandinavia prompts the Chamberlain administration in the UK to authorize a series of "preemptive interventions for the greater good". As a result, they invade Belgium, installing a puppet government. The UK declares war on Denmark prior to puppeting poor Belgium, to whom I send 2 volunteer divisions, but as of yet has not done anything on Danish soil. In response Ribbentrop is put to work setting up nationalist movements in India and funneling arms there. It will take until sometime late '39/early '40 before that harvest can potentially bear any fruit.

Italy mends fences with Yugoslavia and Greece, forms its own military alliance with Bulgaria and declares war on France after an unfortunate incident between the French and Italian navies during Mediterranean naval exercises. Facepalming was to be had in the OKW.

In the Netherlands their own patriotic movement takes root and comes to power, prompting the UK to declare war on the Dutch. I send 12 volunteer divisions of elite cavalry with the hopes that they don't send them to their colonial territories, which is what the Belgians did with the volunteers I sent them. Volunteers from Germany being sent to the Congo don't do Belgium any good when the enemy is invading Brussels. Fortunately, the Dutch are smarter about it and allow the volunteers to simply march across the border. The Kavallerie Kommando divisions repel the British forces from the Netherlands and in coordination with the Dutch army push the Brits all the way to Paris, resulting in the Danish Rijk receiving French capitulation of the continental elements of France. The volunteers withdraw to continental Netherlands to recuperate.

France at this time joins the Allies (a bit late there fellas!), bringing the UK and Commonwealth nations to her aid against Italy, Bulgaria and the Netherlands. The UK promptly starts gobbling up the Dutch East Indies whilst they start slugging it out in various bits of French, British and Italian territories throughout Africa. Italy has pushed east very close to Cairo and west all the way to Casablanca. Italian marines have taken Corsica - but, as usual, seem intellectually incapable of taking Malta. In response, the Allies have landed forces near Brest, Nantes and Dunkerque. They're fighting in some tight pockets, so the British Army desperately needs to grab those ports or their invasion forces will get slaughtered.

In the meanwhile, Japan is pushing the Chinese United Front west all the way from the Mongolian border to the South China Sea. Chairman Mao has gone into hiding whilst Chiang Kai-Shek is putting up a respectable fight given his circumstances. I do not believe that the UK has elected to establish the Burma Road given their current preoccupations much closer to home. Word is that more than a few volunteer Soviet divisions are fighting with the Chinese against the Japanese. Tensions are definitely simmering along the Manchurian border...

Poland agreed to transfer Danzig to Germany in exchange for Slovakia. In this respect my Germany is proceeding more or less as expected: peaceful Anschluss, Czechoslovakia's "tasty bits" annexed, Hungary brought into the Axis. I need to remember to trade for as much of Hungary's spare aluminum as possible given how vital it is for support equipment and aircraft production. Synthetic rubber and oil facilities throughout Germany are coming online just in time to absorb the loss of said materials that had been coming from the Netherlands.

Amusingly, Germany is not the main source of world tension at this point. That belongs to the hot wars already in place, soon to skyrocket once the Empire of Japan finishes off China and decides whether or not to turn her ambitions either north against the Soviets or south against the British and/or Dutch Pacific holdings.

However, in all of the hubbub Stalin has a civil war of his own in the Ukraine. 22 divisions of German volunteers (250,000 men) have done their best, mopping up Soviet pockets along the Turkish border whilst seizing and holding the Crimean peninsula and the immediate vicinity thereof. It will be for naught alas as the Red Army is crushing the revolt east of the volunteer's area of operations.

I expect a similar result with the 12 Dutch volunteer divisions in Europe. By the time they finish reinforcing and reorganizing, the British Army will likely have forced the Dutch to capitulate, liberated continental France and Belgium and installed a puppet government in Amsterdam.

Hopefully the attempts to bring the Norwegian and Swedish governments to cooperative defensive military agreements with Germany against the English menace will have born fruit by then. Asides from Alsace-Lorraine, there's nothing else currently on the strategic "wish list" for Germany. Memel's a crappy port compared to the rest of them, so the Baltic states are a concern insofar as they are a buffer against Stalin. However, Communism is gaining serious traction in Poland...

Nationalist fervor is heating up in Brazil and Argentina as an aside. Combined with the fascinating Venezuelan disposition to send volunteers all over the globe, well, the number of flags all over the larger battlefields is going to get entertaining.

Oh, and it is 23rd June 1939. I just logged on to find that it is possible to invite Greece, Yugoslavia and Nationalist Spain into the Axis. o.O

Gorrammit. Didn't realize that when mods update they unplug certain things in the relevant save games. My beloved custom-engineered Panzer IIIs went from the engineering benefits they should have had (benefiting from both Guderian's bonus and the design team's bonus) to ... nothing. That 15% speed increase, coupled with an additional 10% bonus to speed from the Chief of Army bonus, jumped the PzrIII base speed to 12 km/h, which is as fast as motorized infantry without any bonuses of their own.


Ah well. It is always amusing to watch the game go squirrely every single time. Some truly Bizarro World grade unfoldings of the early war years. Once the base game gets patched up and the mods themselves get stabilized, things will get REALLY interesting.

As is, I keep plugging along juggling various combinations of things. It has definitely kept me entertained!

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