Edge of Darkness
HOI2 1.3a USSR 1936 on VH/F
The only change from standard HOI2 is that I have processed all the leader files to show the leader traits prefixed to their names. The utility for this is available on the HOI2 Wiki.
Please note that this AAR has now been reset and part way down page 2 restarts with HOI2 version 1.3b, all comments and policy statements up to that point remain correct but events will of course tend to deviate.
This AAR is going to be a detailed report of a game played with the above settings. It is a game report rather than a story and is intended to explain why I am doing things as well as what I am doing. I am setting out to win the game rather than achieve some historical accuracy or role-playing objective. However, I am setting myself some restrictions; specifically I will be conforming approximately to the historical path through the game and not exercising any wild ahistorical strategy. This means the following things
1. No extra adventurous wars except those “expected” by the game
2. No major deviation from historical diplomatic strategy – I won’t be exploring the possibilities of collecting lots of money and trying to subvert any major powers into my camp.
3. I will play a safe game. The objective is to avoid risk of not winning rather than taking risks to achieve a more dramatic victory. This means, in particular, minimising the risk of getting involved in unintended wars.
Note that I am not exploring the value of the above, simply not trying them. I don’t know whether there are realistic viable strategies that I am ignoring but this is my chosen path. Within these limits I will be allowing any tricks that I like to take advantage of the AI since, as far as I am concerned, the AI is already pretty much cheating given all the advantages it receives on VH (and that are standard, e.g. infinite air/naval range).
Since I am following the historical path, this means that I am aiming for a full war with Germany starting in the summer of 1941. Due to the predictability of the AI I can pretty much assume that there is no risk of becoming embroiled in a major conflict prior to this time and I will behave appropriately. This means that my strategy is not multi-player friendly but then you wouldn’t be playing on VH for a multi-player game.
Lazer Kaganovich +5% IC =10% Industrial research,
Yan Berzin +5% research,
Kliment Y Voroshilov –15% supply consumption
Yagoda and Tuchatjevskij will be changed as soon as possible (1/1/1937) for..
Uritskij –10% consumer goods
Shaposhnikov +25% manpower –5% Infantry (time and cost)
Apart from these a care little which ministers are in place as it will make little difference to my game. If minister changes where free then I would take more interest in minor benefits but they are not so I tend to simply keep the same ones.
I will get 3 hawk moves free (Zet offensive, Chasan Lake, Khalkin Ghol) and therefore I will only need 1 manual move to achieve maximum hawk by mid 1939. Therefore I will start with 1 hawk move followed by an interventionism move for 1937,1938 and 1939. Along with free interventionism moves this will put me at full hawk and full interventionism by late summer 1939.
A key benefit from full interventionism is the 0% dissent hit for declaring war. This means that there is no automatic dissent hit from starting the winter war. It also means I can DOW and invade the Baltic States for early acquisition (after the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact) to avoid the often very long and drawn out process of demanding territory off them.
One of the assumptions in the above is that I will go along with the great officer purge. This option costs 10 dissent and lots and lots of officers. If I reject the purges then I will get a 30% dissent hit (note that this is an extra 100 days of dissent reduction) and 2 dove slider moves. The 2 dove moves are a bit of a crisis as this would mean that my unit builds would be at 90% cost and time (81% of list price) as opposed to 80% cost and time (64% of list price). This represents a reduction of about 21% in unit builds, which would be unacceptable. The alternative is to forgo 2 interventionism moves and do them 1940 and 1941. This would cost some ICs (about 30 IC years more on consumer goods) and force me to use diplomatic methods with the Baltic States. There is something to be said for both alternatives but I have decided to try going with the purges. The gain for me is something like a total of 90 IC years, which is enough to build an additional 20+ factories. That amounts to about 8% more IC and TC for the key years of the game.
I will be starting by building approximately 3 rounds of factories. These aren’t all started simultaneously so it’s a little difficult to be definite. They take different times to complete and the slider moves (interventionism) provide some additional IC release so the completion dates slowly spread out. The vast majority of factory builds are in the safe areas of Siberia but some will be done in the only high infrastructure provinces that I have since builds there are more efficient. Also, Leningrad and Moscow will have their infrastructure increased. This won’t pay off in terms of faster factory builds within the game time scales but does make them militarily stronger locations.
The evacuation events for sending industry to Sibiria are worth a look. They remove 6 ICs from Kiev and Leningrad, which actually makes it pointless to build any ICs in these cities. In fact if these cities are left as is then the event will actually increase my IC total by 7. Taking advantage of this cannot be reasonably called an exploit since I have little choice in the matter. With some effort I could build both up to 6 ICs by 1941 but it would require some dedication. In line with my policy that pretty much anything goes when playing VH, I will take full advantage of this anomaly.
I have one definite policy that will apply throughout the game and that is that I will attempt to eliminate dissent as quickly as possible. This means 100% of ICs on dissent reduction when appropriate (i.e. at the start and 1/1/37 after the minister changes and after the purges event).
The truth is that as far as winning the game is concerned all I care about is making my infantry divisions stronger and cheaper. This isn’t all that matters but it comes close. This means that the technology focus is on…
Industrial improvement (including research improvement)
As a supplement significant effort will go into air power but completely focused on fighters (good general purpose medium range air superiority unit) and CAS (cheap ground attack, very cheap). This means fighter and CAS aircraft models and some air doctrines.
I will supplement this technology strategy with other technologies that contribute to the long-term goal of world conquest but the initial objective is to win the Great patriotic War. The penalties for early research as sufficiently serious to delay key technologies until more appropriate times whilst researching long-term goals such as a few steps of aircraft carrier.
I will trade all of my energy surplus (and sometimes more) to acquire supplies and rares. I am willing to trade rares in moderate to small amounts with friendly nations for supplies. I will try to avoid trading oil with the Axis but I am willing to trade a fair amount with other countries since I am following a low oil demand strategy. I can afford to trade some metals but it isn’t clear to what extent my industrial build up will over stress my raw materials base.
The principal objective of trading is to build up large stockpiles of raw materials for my expanded industry and to build up a huge stockpile of supplies so that I can maximise useful builds during the build up to war.