Hearts of Iron Series

I’ve been playing Hearts of Iron 2 on and off for the last few months, and Hearts of Iron 3 is supposed to be coming out in early August (looks amazing so far, although I hear Paradox’s games tend to be rather buggy at release). I’m taking a break from what is probably my last game of Hearts of Iron 2. I’m placing France, which is actually surprisingly baller, on Normal/Coward (oops on the latter) with full IC and tech team takeover. Here’s roughly how it’s gone down so far:

1936 - Game start. After trading out a few ministers and moving toward Hawk Lobby, I start extending the Maginot Line northwards toward Dunkerque (fuck the low countries). Meanwhile I start building mountaineers with my remaining IC. Midyear, the Spanish civil war begins. Sending volunteers decreases my Isolationism to less than 5. This means… WAR! After I have a few mountaineer divisions, I guarantee the independence of Republican Spain, which allows me to declare war on Nationalist Spain. No more peacetime IC penalty for me!

Also for some reason USA decides to elect Al Landon (fucking useless).

1937 - With the French mountaineers against them, as well as a healthy helping of British bombers, Nationalist Spain is handily defeated. Republican Spain gets all the territory, but France makes off with the tech teams. Yay! Unfortunately this also means the return of the peacetime IC penalty. Boo! So, I guarantee the independence of Nationalist China and declare war on Japan. Yeah, I have no hope of defending Indochina, but Japan was probably going to run over it anyway, and this way I get out of the peacetime IC penalty earlier.

1938 - A relatively quiet year, as I build up a force of infantry and mountaineers. Every province with a beach gets two infantry divisions, and my extended Maginot Line gets twelve divisions a province. I stuff the border with Italy with mountaineers with artillery brigades. I also build up a sizable force of CAS aircraft.

1939 - In the spring, Italy declares war on Albania. You know what this means–I guarantee the indepence of Albania and declare war on Italy. This brings Germany into the war as well, but they can’t touch my Maginot Line. Hell, they haven’t even declared war on Belgium or Luxemburg yet. My mountaineers, supported by CAS aircraft, quickly roll through the Italian mainland. North Africa takes a little longer, but supported by expeditionary forces from Nepal and Bhutan (WTF), I eventually annex Italy. At this point I have piles of IC but little manpower; I stop building as many infantry and start producing interceptors and tactical bombers. Germany annexes Poland, while Britain invades northern China, currently held by Japan. Japan declares war on the USA, which joins the Allies.

1940 - Germany finally declares war on the low countries. The Netherlands (at least the mainland) and Luxemburg get overrun, but my CAS take a heavy toll on the German forces. Belgium manages to survive. Eventually the Germans are whittled down enough that I poke a hole in their front lines and send one armored and two cavalry divisions into their lightly defended interior. Chaos ensues as random German forces intercept my cavalry divisions only to be gunned down by my CAS flocks. Soon my incursions turn into a general advance, and the French flag flies over the Reichstag. Germany moves their capital to Munich. For some reason Bulgaria and Romania decide to join Germany, as well as Japan. The US reelects Al Landon, which means that they’ll pretty much continue to be useless for the next four years.

1941 - I continue on to Poland, then hang a right into Slovakia. Czechoslovakia becomes the first French puppet state, followed shortly by Hungary; Munich and the surrounding areas are completely cut off from the rest of the Axis. When I finally get my troops moved up, I quickly crush all remaining German forces and annex them. Bulgaria and Romania are quickly defeated. The war in Europe ends in September 1941. I puppet all the European countries I can, except maybe Germany (<3 their tech teams… although I might still be able to keep them with puppeting since they don’t form the original Germany when I do so?) Unfortunately, the rest of the world isn’t going so well for the Allies; the British have been pushed out of northern China and most of India and I finally lost Indochina after two years of it being undefended.

The new world order has four superpowers:
USA - Most IC of any nation in the world, however they are hindered by the fact that a) they are an ocean away from any interesting conflict, and b) their president is fucking fail. At least they give me free resources.
USSR - Potentially the most dangerous; Germany hasn’t invaded them so they have hella divisions. Hopefully they’ll declare war on Japan but I’m not going to wait for them.
Japan - Now the leader of the Axis, which consists of it and Siam. Controls all of south and east Asia. Probably my next target, after I figure out what I want to do about the USSR. Invade the USSR? Invade Persia and possibly Turkey for a land connection for an India invasion? Maginot Line II the Sequel in east Europe so I can send more troops to India? Build a navy and blockade Japan’s home islands? An outright invasion of the home islands? Mail-order divisions from the USA? The possibilities are endless.
France (me) - I have the most powerful land and air forces of the Allies, and I own or puppet most of Europe and Africa. I’ve not built any warships but with my low manpower I might look into that. Theoretically I have the other Allies behind me but they’re fucking fail. Especially the USA, who have not made any landings anywhere; at least Britain tried.

1942 - Actually, Britain has not been pushed out of northern China; they are still holding on to a single province. I also decided not to puppet Poland and Romania just yet, although for some reason this means I can’t puppet Germany? In any case it’s necessary to keep them to build Maginot Line Mark II in Eastern Europe. Perhaps I will puppet them afterwards. This would normally be a waste of IC, but I have IC out the wazoo and little manpower to use it on. I start puppeting the hell out of Africa; again, IC out the wazoo, and I’m not going to spend my manpower building infantry to defend those areas, so might as well let them defend themselves. Unfortunately my French home populace is generally not too pleased at puppeting colonies, but whatever. A few months producing consumer goods isn’t going to kill me. I send CAS, tactical bombers, and interceptors to what is modern-day Pakistan, but I have to evacuate them to Baghdad as the Brits and Americans epicly fail at defending the air base. I make my own landing in south India (Madras to be exact), capture the airfield at Cochin, and start a rampage northwards. The Americans make a landing at Karachi but only take two provinces.

Soon I take all of modern-day India and Pakistan from the Japan (sorry Britain) and reach Tibet, which is pretty much the Switzerland of east Asia, forming a sizable neutral hole in the middle of Japanese-occupied territory. I send my armor, accompanied by a couple mountaineer armies, around the top branch, since the deserts there are better for tanks than the jungles and mountains of southeast Asia. Unfortunately they run into a pile of Japanese divisions, and there is no airfield anywhere in the area. So, I order them to hold a chokepoint until further notice.

Most of my mountaineers and regular infantry, on the other hand, take the south branch toward southeast Asia. My plan is to conquer southeast Asia first. After that, I plan to take advantage of Communist China (who are technically at war with us, but are not allied with Japan) and neutral Tibet to cut off the Japanese divisions north of Tibet; thanks to the shape of Communist China’s holdings, I only need to hold three territories to do this.

The southern advance meets remarkably little resistance until I approach Siam. Fortunately the Japanese do not manage to defend the airfield at Rangoon, and soon my CAS and tactical bombers are pounding the shit of anything that moves. My troops advance into Siam, but the Americans make a peace with them before I can annex them. Bastards! At least we still have military access, though. My plan for the area is to crush remaining resistance in the Singapore peninsula, before cutting off Indochina and destroying any divisions I manage to trap there. After that–northwards into China!

At the end of 1942 there are still the same four world superpowers, although Japan’s days among those ranks are clearly numbered. USSR is fucking loaded; everywhere on their border I see huge stacks of divisions. I have more IC than I know what to do with–actually this is not such a good thing since I’m really burning up my Rare Materials. Maybe I’ll give the Netherlands back their country in Europe, they were apparently too polite to ask. I might also sell India back to the Brits.

So, we aren’t going to play a multiplayer match?

Ah, I forgot about multiplayer (assuming we can get it to work >_>). I’m down for that.

More France:

1943 - I basically rampage over southeast Asia. The USSR declares war on Japan, resulting in a land race north of Tibet.

First half of 1944 - I release Nationalist China, but strange things happen with territories, resulting in pockets of French sovereignty within China, and I can’t even trade them to Nationalist China… WTF? Research continues, including a budding nuclear program. By August I have reached the outskirts of Korea. Japan has ceased to be a world superpower, although they still possess a powerful navy with over two dozen carriers. I’ve finally puppeted enough countries to stop bleeding Rare Materials.

From here we can look forward to pushing Japan out of mainland Asia. What follows? Peace with Japan? An invasion of their home islands? What to do about Siam? Will it all end in a war against the USSR?

You don’t want a cold war, do you? You must lead the “Gránd Natión” to its rightful place as Ruler of the World!

I played some Hearts of Iron multiplayer with some mates once - thought it was a blast :slight_smile:. Though I would have found the whole world to be a bit tedious - we played for hours just doing the Spanish civil war!

Edit: Had a good laugh at your description of how the War went in your game :stuck_out_tongue:.

Oh shit son, after looking up this game, I want! The selling point was the ability to play as any one of 175 nations – fucking Irish World Empire, here I come!

Where can I get this? Is it heavily anti-pirate (ie will torrenting it give me a version unplayable online)?

I would advocate getting it through normal means (Paradox is not a large company). It’s not heavily DRMed (if at all?), although of course the Steam version is a little different than the normal version (you have to use different patches for one; Steam doesn’t have the latest patch (probably because it’s labeled “beta”, although IMX it’s more stable than anything previous).

Two warnings:

  1. Multiplayer is rather clunky (again, Paradox is not a large company). Neddie and I couldn’t get it to work when we tried earlier; perhaps it’s because we were behind the same router?
  2. It occasionally crashes on my computer.

If you have Steam and your only other option is to pirate I may be convinced to buy you a digital copy as a gift, because not supporting Paradox is really, really depressing. This ain’t EA Games.


Europe. Note that Italy, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria are all French puppet states.

March on Moscow…just make sure you have sunny skies when you begin.

Asia. In addition to controlling India and Indochina, I also have Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, Siankang, Xibei San Ma, Nationalist China, Yunnan, Singapore, and Malaysia as puppets. Also note the fucked-up territorial borders in China.

The sea of red up north…

So really you need to get the USA to attack Russia via the Pacific, and then invade while those two are fighting it out.

More details on the strategic situation:

Axis consists of Japan. The Comintern consists of the USSR and Tannu Tava (they used to have Mongolia, but Japan somehow managed to overrun them before being pincered by me and the USSR).

Of the remaining countries, it’s probably easier to list who’s [i]not[i] in the Allies:

  • Norway and Albania, despite my saving their asses from the Axis. Ungrateful bastards.
  • Yugoslavia, Switzerland, Norway, Latvia, Estonia, Sweden, Turkey, Persia, Greece, Tibet, and Afghanistan, who never got involved.
  • Finland, which fought the Winter War, but nothing afterwards. I wonder if there can be such a thing as an allied Continuation War?
  • The Americas, except the USA and Canada.
  • The Netherlands, who for some reason I can’t give back their country in Europe. Currently they’re chilling in Indonesia. They are at war with Japan and Siam though.
  • Siam, who used to be allied with Japan until the USA made a peace with them (bastards). The peace treaty has expired, though, so I’ll definitely settle matters with them not too long from now.

Currently, the Allies and the Comintern are both at war against the Axis Japan. Siam and Japan are at war against the Netherlands, although I don’t think anything will come of that. Peru is on-and-off at war with Japan (WTF), currently not.

I’ve been on a puppeting spree, which causes dissent, as well as producing aircraft, so I’ve not been training much infantry lately. As a result I now have a respectable 600 manpower in reserve. I’ll probably return to building infantry soon enough though. Probably self-propelled rocket artillery brigades to go with them too.

As gamey as I’ve been playing, I’ve refrained from using military control, and usually rejected expeditionary forces too. Unfortunately this means my allies are fucking incompetent. Especially the USA.

The first objective is obviously to subdue Japan. I don’t know if I can cause them to surrender simply by pushing them off the mainland. If not, I may have to make a difficult amphibious landing; the fact that Japan has a navy and I don’t makes matters even worse there. Neither their land nor their air forces are anywhere near mine though.

After that, I’ll settle matters with Siam (read: make them my puppet state).

This will bring us to a possible final war with the USSR. Having only participated minorly in the current war, the USSR has plenty of troops; intelligence says they have 300-400 land divisions, whereas I have perhaps half that number. The USSR has a bigger navy than I do, but that doesn’t really say or matter much, since we are connected by land. I have allies and the USSR doesn’t, but that’s not really much of an advantage considering how little my allies have managed to accomplish so far. Rather, I will need to take advantage of my massive air force, which consists of nearly as many divisions as I have on land.

Apart from nuclear weapons, time is definitely on my side against the USSR. My allies are well-equipped with technology, but they have not yet gotten a chance to rebuild their militaries. I have finished my Maginot Line Mk II in Eastern Europe, which runs through Romania and what used to be Poland, which should keep me safe on the off chance that everything goes absolutely south, or that I need to deploy more of my troops in the east.

The land of the USSR itself is mostly forest, plains, and mountains. Therefore I shall deploy my infantry toward the forests, my armor toward the plains, and my mountaineers toward the mountains (I have a rather large mountaineer force).

Some more technical screens:

Intel on Japan:

Nice navy, but everything else is going down hard.

Intel on USSR:

Look at all those land divisions!

Armies of the Allies:

Navies of the Allies:

At least I have lots of transports >_>

Air forces of the Allies:

It’s generally accepted that 1 air division = 100 engines. If so, I have nearly 15,000 combat-ready aircraft (assuming an escort fighter brigade is 50 aircraft). Apparently this is more than twice as many as were in the historical Battle of Britain on both sides combined.

The French Naval Bombing of Japan, Early 1945

By New Years’ Day of 1945, apart from a few inconsequential pockets, French forces had succeeded in pushing Japan off mainland Asia. At its peak in 1941, the Japanese Empire had stretched all the way from its home islands to India. That all changed with the total French victory in Europe. The seemingly unstoppable advance of Japan was stopped and abruptly reversed as tens of thousands of French infantry, mountaineers, and tanks landed in southern India and proceeded to roll back Japan’s conquests of the previous years. If only land forces were involved, than the French advance would have quickly been halted by superior Japanese numbers. However, the French had three critical advantages: technology, concentration of force, and a large, modern, and experienced air force. When combat occured, inevitably the local numbers would favor the French, technology would seal the defeat of the Japanese forces, and strikes from close support aircraft and tactical bombers would ensure that the Japanese forces would never fight again.

If there was one place that the Japanese could take comfort in, it was their navy. In a series of disastrous engagements with the Japanese, the French navy was reduced to only a handful of combat-capable vessels: one light cruiser, one destroyer division, and one sub division, all hopelessly outdated. Japan, on the other hand, could claim the most powerful navy in the world, including nearly a score of carriers and a dozen battleships, as well as hundreds of smaller vessels.

Despite their losses on the mainland, Japan refused to capitulate, and so France was forced to contemplate an invasion of the home islands. The risk of sending thousands of soldiers in unguarded transport ships against such a powerful navy was unthinkable. With no navy to guard the ships, it fell to the French air force to provide a solution.

At first, the French command naturally assumed the Japanese Navy would be based in the home islands. Therefore, as 1945 began, over a thousand French naval bombers and escorts based in Korea began the largest naval bombing campaign in history. Their target: the Japanese ports in Hiroshima, Osaka, and Fukuoka. Ground air defense was light, and air defense was easily countered by the new Dassault Ouragan fighters, and so the French bombers made their way to their targets virtually unhindered. Yet when they arrived, they found nothing but a few submarines and small ships. Perhaps the Japanese battlefleets were simply out to sea? Yet weeks of constant bombing later, not one carrier, battleship, or indeed anything larger than a light cruiser was seen. The French command was puzzled. Surely the Japanese must return to port eventually?

Or perhaps it was all a ruse? Acting on a sudden suspicion, Air General Luguet sent a reconnaissance flight over the province of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan, the only major port the Japanese still controlled off the mainland. The result was astounding: over half of the entire Japanese navy could be seen there! Evidently the Japanese had predicted that their home ports would come under attack, and had tried to conceal their fleet at this unexpected location.

The news threw the French command into a panic. Extra drop tanks and replacement planes and parts were hurriedly shipped to Busan, as the French naval bombers abruptly shifted their target. With so many ships, the anti-aircraft fire was horrendous; then again it was hard to miss, and the wreckage of continuous raids made it almost impossible to escape. In a few months Kaohsiung was an underwater scrap heap. The French air force quickly sank or drove away the remainder of the Japanese navy. As April began, French marines set foot on the Japanese mainland.


Did Japan capitulate after this slaughter, or no?

Well, I had to invade the hell out of the home islands, which actually wasn’t that hard (I think all of their troops were trapped overseas, so I only had to contend with one garrison division at a time). Of course, the USA got to annex them by event.

So of course the obvious next step is to take the long way through Russia, starting with Irkutsk and following the Siberian railway to Moscow >_>

Something like that. I may try to cut the USSR down the middle, then attrite their troops on the home front as they batter themselves against Maginot Line Mk II.

Also I realized I’ve been playing on Coward aggressiveness all this time when I thought I had been playing on Normal. Not that it really matters I think, it’s not like Britain was going to kick me out of the alliance. Although I suppose it was possible that higher AI aggressiveness could have led to early war with USSR. Then again they might also have gotten into a serious tussle with Japan (instead of waiting until the war was already decided) and depleted their strength that way. Too late now anyway, although I think I’ll crank up the aggressiveness to Normal when I continue.

Alright, I “picked it up” (re: not so legally…).

It really is intense, isn’t it? There’s so many aspects, it’s really quite crazy. Sometimes its really fun, other times it’s just god damned frustrating… like when I’m assaulting 10 enemy divisions with 60 of my own from two directions with tons of air support and naval bombardment and yet still am absolutely unable to defeat them, ever, even though they have only one province left and I’ve completely cornered them.

I’ve tried a few campaigns as various nations. Sometimes it’s turned out good, mostly I’ve gotten rocked. My first game I tried playing as Canada – within a year, half the country had revolted and Partisans were running amok. Wtf?

As the Soviets, I lost the Great Patriotic War and Germany has annexed half my country.

My biggest success was as Republican Spain during the Spanish Civil War. I actually really enjoyed that, as it was a very small-scale war within the borders of Spain itself only, something easy to manage.

There are still some burning questions I have, though.

For one, what are good strategies to affect national dissent? In almost every nation I’ve played, my national dissent did nothing but rise slowly and steadily and I could not figure out how to bring it down.

Second, is there any way to strategically deploy non-garrison troops?! It’s aggrivating when as the USSR I’m suddenly attacked by Japan and have to spend two years moving armies from west to east, when strategically redeploying garrison troops can be done within one or two months, which makes perfect sense.

Third, is there any better way to improve relations with a country besides forking over 120 gold every 5 days? It seems ridiculous that they don’t like me more if I give them horribly skewed-in-their-favour economic deals, like GIVING them 5000 oil for absolutely nothing and still they’re -33.

Fourth, is there any way, or does it occur, that you get access to more technology researchers? Seems shitty that, for instance, Communist China only gets a single slot for technology research.

Otherwise, I seem to be grasping the game quite well. I’d consider all my attempts thus far to be attributable to “learning” and so I’m willing/ready to actually start a real game now and see it through to the end.

Who, though? Here are my prospects:

Republican Spain: Going off the good time I had with them, Spain seems like a reasonable choice and is currenly my favorite. Spain is small enough that it will be easy to manage it during the first few years, but also large enough that industrialization would heap great rewards. Spain also has a history of being an international power, so in the future I can become a big player. They’re also politically amicable to me, for obvious reasons; I am thinking of starting a “Socintern” alliance, a more left-wing, democratic alternative to the Commintern, which will be a strong anti-fascist, anti-imperialist and eventually anti-capitalist alliance which I hope, through political war, to fold the Soviet Union into eventually. My designs for this International include all of Europe; a “second wave” of the proletarian revolution erupting on the tide of the great depression of the 1930s.

Canada: Canada is off the beaten track, its only neighbour being the United States, which would allow me to sit in relative safety and build up my economy for the future. However, my first experiences as Canada still haunt me.

Communist China: More politically aligned to them than anyone, however they are incredibly small, deeply overshadowed by the other Chinese factions and especially Japan. It would take a lot of doing to bring them up to power, but perhaps that tiny start will allow me to create a super-industrialized Communist nation slowly and inoxerably expanding outwards.

When I get home later I’ll see what suits my fancy when I begin.