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Thread: TutAARial, or How I learned to Stop Fearing Hearts of Iron 3 (Semper Fi)

  1. #1
    Captain mankle30's Avatar
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    TutAARial, or How I learned to Stop Fearing Hearts of Iron 3 (Semper Fi)

    There was a request in the forum for a tutorial AAR for Semper Fi and, though I might not be the most experienced player, I think I can offer some people a little insight here.

    I'll also use this AAR to point out some other great AARs that a new player can gain valuable tips from.

    This AAR is designed to get new HOI3 players going, right from the beginning of the game. I will make every attempt to show off the different aspects of the game, but will make no attempt to be comprehensive. I will do my best to point the reader to helpful articles on the message board where applicable. I also recommend reading the manuals for both HOI3 and SF, as well as Rensslaer’s excellent Strategy Guides. However, these documents take a thorough and systematic examination of the games systems and don’t actually walk you through how they actually can be implemented in a game itself.

    I plan to do this AAR in sections and discuss a major portion of the gameplay in each one. I may not use the same game and same country to do so, as some countries will have less ability to engage with certain parts of the game than others. I’ll start with a simple build up and early combat tutorial. If enough people are interested with getting my take on other aspects of the game, I’ll be happy to move on and tackle something else. Alternately, if anyone else has any hints, tips, or want to take on a section of this tutorial, I’d be more than happy to give way!

    EDIT (December 10, 2010): I'm having problems with the original photobucket account I was using. Something about exceeding bandwidth. All updates after this date will be with a different one, and shouldn't have any problems. However, I don't have the time or energy to re-upload all the screenshots throughout the entire AAR, and put the new URLs into the old posts, so I'm afraid if you're coming across this AAR between December 10, 2010 and January 2, 2011, you're not going to see screenshots until the most recent posts. Thanks for understanding!

    Index
    Section 1: Set up
    Set Up
    Set Up Part 2: General Screens and Politics
    Set Up Part 3: Diplomacy and Intelligence
    Set Up Part 4: Technology
    Set Up Part 5: Production
    Set Up Part 6: Order of Battle and Upgrades

    Section 2: Build Up
    Build Up Part 1: January - April 1936
    Build Up Part 2: May - July 1936
    Build Up Part 3: August - December 1936
    Build Up Part 4: January - July 1937
    Build Up Part 5: August - December 1937
    Build Up Part 6: January - June 1938
    Build Up Part 7: July - December 1938
    Build Up Part 8: January - September 1939

    Section 3: War - Ground War
    Ground War Part 1: Tactical Principles
    Ground War Part 2: Tactical Principles II
    Ground War Part 3: The Attack Begins!
    Ground War Part 4: Opening the Gap
    Ground War Part 5: Gaining Ground
    Ground War Part 6: The Critical Juncture
    Ground War Part 7: Withdrawal, part 1

    Section 4 - Anti-Climax
    Anti-Climax part 1
    Anti-Climax part 2
    Anti-Climax part 3
    Anti-Climax part 4
    Anti-Climax part 5
    Last edited by mankle30; 18-09-2011 at 06:05.

  2. #2
    Private Totalise's Avatar
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    Dr Strangelove, great film!

    Sure your up for doing two AAR's? or is Italy's strategic explorations ending prematurely?

  3. #3
    Captain mankle30's Avatar
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    Set Up

    The first step in any game of HOI3 is to choose a country. For this tutorial, I’m going to go against popular wisdom and choose France. I do agree with many of the users of the forum that Germany offers the most possibilities and the fewest encumbrances when playing the game. Playing as Germany also gives you the ability to go to war when you’re ready, plenty of IC and leadership (if you’re not sure about what this is, I’ll get to it soon).

    (Vive Le France!)

    The second step in the game is usually to figure out your grand strategy. Usually strategies come after exploring in this huge game with fairly limitless possibilities. Most good AARs involve exploring a particular strategy. Some, like “Numbers are not Everything” by mnplastic or “Explorations in Strategy” by Myth explore specific military strategies. Others experiment with smaller countries. For example, my currently ongoing AAR as Italy, is based on Myth’s with some tweaks to the overall strategy. In it, I explore the use of naval force projection as a strategy in order to achieve the goals of dominating the Mediterranean Sea. The strategies can be as simple or as complex as you might like.

    In fact, by choosing to use France as an intro to the build-up phase of the game, the initial strategy is as simple as they come: survive (if we can achieve this, later on, we can figure out where we want to take things). Other positives for choosing France means that the fight is going to come to us, and we will be fighting on our own soil, making supply not an issue (more on this later).

    Now that we have a grand strategy, we need to think about how we’re going to achieve this strategy. To stand up against the German steamroller that is going to bear down on us, we’re going to need troops. Lots of troops. Once our troops are trained and equipped, we’re going to have to figure out where to put them. But more on that later.

    So, already, before we’ve even loaded up the game, we have a grand overarching plan, and one way of how we’re going to get there. Sounds like a good start to me!

  4. #4
    Captain mankle30's Avatar
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    Italy's still going strong. I have Sunday and Monday off of work, so the next update is coming soon. I've played up to 1944, and things get pretty interesting!

  5. #5
    Captain mankle30's Avatar
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    Set Up Part 2: General Screens and Politics

    So, we’ve chosen France and started up the game. As you can see, most of our troops are along the German Border along the Maginot Line (a series of forts and defenses), and in the south, along the border with Italy. We have 195,000 soldiers in Paris HQ and about 33,000 in Bordeaux HQ. We also have almost 60,000 in North Africa under the Tunis HQ, 21,000 in Beirut HQ, 21,000 in Saigon HQ, and none in the Dakar HQ. We’ll take care of our troops and our Order of Battle (OOB) a little later.



    The important thing about this screenshot is the collapsible interface in the upper right corner. With it, you can get a lot of information at a glance, including Land, Air, and Naval units. It will also show you places of land, air and sea combat, bombings, and objectives. Just click on the unit or HQ, and the map will snap to that spot.

    (Tooltips (the info that shows up when you mouse over something) are very handy!)

    In the bottom centre is another interface with your message box. Any important messages come up here. You can choose which messages you want to come up as pop-ups or just in the message box, and even which ones will pause the game in the “Message Settings” menu accessible through the main menu (hit ESC). I’ll leave the map for now, and we’ll get into the nitty gritty of starting the game.

    Before we click “Resume” (I tend to just hit the space bar to pause or resume rather than clicking on the button), there is a large number of things that we need to deal with. Let’s take the screens one by one. I usually start with Politics (also accessible with F4).



    Why start here? Because some of the decisions we make will affect how our country runs, and what we do on other screens.

    Ministers: These guys give different benefits to having them in your government’s cabinet. As you can see, we can only replace 5 of them if we choose to.



    Our Foreign Minister is fine. We’re already in the Allies, and we’re not going to drift. Our Armament Minister is also the best choice. We want that extra IC (Industrial Capacity, more later) he gives us. While Albert Sarraut offers 2.5% less Consumer Goods (CG), 10% more IC is more useful than gaining only a fraction of that on 2.5% less CG.



    Our Minister of Security is also the best choice, seeing as our National Unity is low (50%), any additional help raising that will allow us to enact better laws for our production. We want to get it to at least 60-70%. I’m going to leave Paganon as Head of Intelligence, and keep Gamelin as the Chief of the Army. We’re going to be building a lot of infantry units. Our infantry practical level is at 10.0 right now, and that decays while we’re not cranking out new ones. With Gamelin as the Chief of the Army, that number is not going to drop as quickly. We could also use Bourgeois, who gives us 10% less supply consumption, but we’ll keep Gamelin for now. If our supply consumption goes way up (more on this soon!), we can always put him in the job. One final note on ministers – new ones become available every January 1, so make sure to check back in every year to see if someone better can be used. There’s no penalty for hiring and firing ministers, so change as often as you like.

    Laws: Right now, we can’t enact any new laws. There would be an indicator in the upper left where you see the available research, available IC and out of supply indicators. Unfortunately, we’re a democracy, which means that it’s not easy to mobilize our economy for war production. To put in stronger draft laws, which will help feed our manpower (indicator at the top about 2/3 of the way to the right – ours is 832), or stronger Economic Laws which will allow us to exploit or IC to the fullest, we need to have to have our country unified, and our population needs to feel threatened and not want to stay neutral (more on neutrality soon).

    Below are the economic laws choices with the tooltip showing what is necessary to enact the better laws. Thankfully, the 2.03c patch for Semper Fi allows you to see everything clearly, instead of seeing some code!



    One reason we can't change any of these laws is because we don't have the prerequisite national unity and neutrality levels, but another is because we don't have enough money. As you can see just to the right of the law name is a number in red. This means it takes 68.8 dollars (or Francs if you're in France) in order to change the law. We only have 38 right now.

    Since we don't have the money to change any laws at the moment, we're going to move on to the next screen: Diplomacy.

  6. #6
    Captain mankle30's Avatar
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    Set Up Part 3: Diplomacy and Intelligence

    The next screen is the Diplomacy screen (F1).



    There’s not much to do here yet, except we can see our Neutrality here, which is 90%. For better economic laws, we need to get that way down. Germany will do some of that for us by their threatening ways, but we can help out with…..

    The Intelligence Screen (F5).



    On the left is our internal Intelligence panel.



    Right now, we have 4 active spies in the country and they’re assigned to “counterespionage,” which is basically having them kill any other countries’ spies operating within France. Support Ruling Party will help support the party in power, but we don’t really have any reason to increase that right now, since we don’t have elections for another 4 years, and even then, who is in power is not all that important to France right now. Basically we have two real choices. Raise National Unity, or Lower Neutrality. Both are important, but I’m going to go with Raise National Unity, mainly because it’s really low, and we need to get it up to at least 60 before we can enact any better economic laws. We’re going to want to get that number of 4 domestic spies up to 10, we’ll do that through the Technology screen soon. I’ve also changed all the other espionage priorities to 1 or lower, and ours is at 3. This will prioritize new spies going into our internal espionage agencies.

    Next to the Internal panel is the External one.



    Here we can assign spies to different tasks. It’s important to note that if you choose any other mission other than “none,” your spies will be much more likely to be killed off by the other country’s counterespionage agents. Right now, Germany has 1. I won’t go into too much detail on this now, you can read about the missions in the manual, but needless to say, since France is going to get attacked, we don’t really need to use spy missions too much, and won’t allocate too much leadership to espionage once we get our internal number up to 10.

  7. #7
    Captain mankle30's Avatar
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    Set Up Part 4: Technology

    Here’s where our preparation and strategy is important. The Technology Screen (F3).



    As you can see in the left-hand corner, we have 13.20 points of leadership to allocate to four areas.



    They’re pretty self explanatory, and you can read about them in the manual. Since we have 24 diplomacy points already, we’ll leave a small trickle of .25 leadership into Diplomacy so that we won’t run out of points when we need to make trades.

    Since we’re not a faction leader (the UK is the leader of the Allies), we won’t need to influence too much, and therefore the points are only important to make sure we can get enough resources (more later) and money. Our laws aren’t too restrictive in terms of officer training (we have 2 year draft already), which means that we can put a couple of points into this. Most players agree that you want to have the officer percentage (the little boxed flag – we’re at 96% right now) as close to the maximum of 200% as possible. However, some see this as being too “gamey” (exploiting the quirks of the game to the point that it’s not fair, or not historically accurate, although a high officer ratio was practiced, at least by western armies, knowing that many officers would be killed or wounded when the shooting started. The US Airborne started D-Day with 2 lieutenants in each platoon for this reason). We’ll discuss the ramifications of this later when we get closer to combat. For now, we’re going to assign 2 points to officer training. I’m going to leave the other two sliders where they are for now. This will help fill our 10 internal spies as soon as possible, and then we can raise the research slider when that’s done.

    Now comes the fun part. What to research? We have two main priorities. The first is industrial techs. We need to increase our IC production and efficiency, so we’ll load those in the queue. Our resources are all in the green (we’re stockpiling surpluses), so we’ll ignore the resource techs for now. I’ve also queued up education and agriculture techs, since these will be helpful in increasing our leadership and our ability to get new men to throw in the war. Playing as France is not too bad as far as research goes. While the bigger majors like Germany, US and UK have more leadership and can research a much broader range of techs, France's early game situation is much better than a lot of other countries'. Thus, when you look at the industrial production and efficiency techs, we're already researching level 4.



    Since the backbone of our army is going to be infantry, we’re going to want to build up our infantry’s techs. It’s quite expensive to upgrade all 4 elements of the infantry (6 if you count the doctrines) in terms of leadership, but it’s worth it, since these are most of the guys who are going to take on the Germans. Eventually, we will want to upgrade our planes, however, we can do this by buying production licenses from the UK to build our own versions of their planes when we’re closer to war. I’m also putting “Infantry Warfare 2” into the research queue because it increases the organization of our infantry by 10.0. This number is REALLY important because it when the organization of a unit is gone, they flee from a battle. I’m also going to concentrate on artillery, which can really add punch to a unit, especially against infantry, so I’ll research “Assault Concentration 2” which will increase the organization of the support brigades (Artillery, Anti-tank, Anti-Aircraft, and Rocket Artillery brigades, and self-propelled versions of them). If the organization of the support brigades hits 0 before the combat brigades do, then the division will also flee from the battle. Finally, we’re going to research the two artillery upgrades. That gives us 12 techs that we’re researching at the moment, and once we lower our espionage allocation, we’ll still be between 10 and 11 points. That’s ok. There’s no penalty to having more in the queue, it just won’t get researched until something above it finishes. We will be researching Armour techs, but we’ll wait until we finish the first round of industrial techs before we replace them in the queue with armour techs. When we talk about defense strategy a little more, you’ll see why.

  8. #8
    Captain mankle30's Avatar
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    Set Up Part 5: Production

    Now to the Production Screen (F2).



    If you haven’t figured it out by now, every screen has information that informs every other screen, and the production screen is no different.

    (IC Corner)

    As you can see, the Upper Right Corner tells about our Industrial Capacity. We have 72 available, and we need 53.58 for upgrades, 0.0 for reinforcement, 16.41 for supplies, 8.51 for production and 31.32 for consumer goods (CG). Meeting CG needs are very important. If you don’t, you’ll increase dissent, which takes away from your IC. So I’m going to click on the number (and it will automatically lock into the right number, and take away evenly from all the other sliders that are gold (as opposed to white – white means locked).

    Eventually, we’re actually going to go back to the politics screen. Because the upgrades need is so high, I’m going to use one of the laws to our advantage.



    Consumer Product Orientation (CPO) will lower the CG amount we need and it will free up our IC for upgrades. Notice I don’t say production, because when we use CPO, production takes 5% longer than what we have now (Mixed Industry). Notice, we can’t change laws, not because of our neutrality or national unity, but because we don’t have enough money. The 68.8 number in red next to the law name is how much money we need to change the law. We’re going to do this immediately when we have the money.

    Back to Production. You can see that all the resources (Energy, Metal, Rares, Crude Oil) are in the green. We are gaining surpluses, which means we don’t need to trade for them (for that, we’d have to go back to the diplomacy screen)! We want to meet our supply demand and we don’t need any reinforcements, and that leaves us about 24.25 IC available for upgrades and production.

    Since we’re going to concentrate on our infantry, we’re going to stop production on the Battlecruiser Dunquerque. Our navy is fine for now. If we need help, the Brits have one of the most powerful navies in the game. We can also more than hold our own against the Italian navy in the Mediterranean.

    Now what I like to do is build artillery. We already have lots of infantry, mostly reserves, but that’s not an issue. While the German Panzers are fearsome, if we upgrade the infantry enough, we should be able to stop them, especially considering that the defenders almost ALWAYS have the edge in combat. We will also be building units that are a little more effective against tanks, through tank destroyers, our own armour, and anti-tank units, but let’s get some artillery support brigades in the production queue first.



    Ok, I’ve put 18 artillery in the queue, 6 parallel and 3 serial. They’ll be done completely around early 1937, which will give us lots of time. Notice that I’m producing them as reserve divisions. With so little IC to spare, it’s a necessity right now. Because our draft laws are for the 2 year draft, all of our units are actually at 50% mobilization right now. What this means to production is that producing a reserve unit costs 50% of the IC that a regular unit would cost.

    The other problem with training too many troops early is that they will also contribute to our consumption of CG and supplies. This is the other reason for building them as reserves.

    I’m actually going to dump the rest of our IC into the upgrades. They’re going to take a while, so we’ll just build our artillery for now.


  9. #9
    Most excellent. Very informative for new players, learned few tricks myself. I wondered only on one thing: are you going to zero naval production?

    Otherwise, keep up the good work.

  10. #10
    Captain mankle30's Avatar
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    Thanks Ruunu. The answer is yes. As France, Naval production is absolutely useless! Our navy is fairly powerful already and the Germans won't attack by sea. As I mentioned above, strategy to France is to survive. To do that we need as many boots on the ground as possible. Taking up valuable IC at any point, but especially at the beginning of the game (where, as I demonstrated, if you satisfy the CG need and the Supply need, you only have about 25 IC for both Upgrades and production . . . but in the next part I'll show you how to free up a couple of more IC points) with Naval production is a huge waste. I think I'm going to play through on France until mid-way through 1940 to demonstrate ground combat mechanics and tactics, and then use another country to discuss Naval tactics.

  11. #11
    I know this is probably asking a lot, but would you be willing to do an optimal set-up tutorial for Germany as well?

  12. #12
    Captain mankle30's Avatar
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    Hi Omniglot.... What I'm doing is give a general tutorial on the game mechanics in general that can be applied to any country depending the strategy that you're playing. All the decisions that I made when setting up policies and things of the like were for France, but I hope that I was clear in the reasonings for each of the decisions. Sorry to say that I'm not going to do another one for Germany, BUT, if you check out nightraid3r's Video AAR on Youtube, he plays as Germany, so you should get some idea. He is using the ICE Mod, but except for extra techs to research, the ICE doesn't play any differently for the initial set up (the HPP mod has some VERY different quirks, particularly in the Laws). He takes you through the entire buildup and has gotten to around 1940.

  13. #13
    Captain mankle30's Avatar
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    Set Up Part 6: Order of Battle and Upgrades

    We’re done with the screens for now, and it's time to discuss something that is highly personal.

    Everyone has their own philosophies about their Order of Battle (OOB), or the military organization and hieirarchy. While the system I'm using in this game is by no means the "best" one for the job, it's a system that will keep things clean and clear.

    In fact, there's actually only one reason to bother with this army reorganization now before we start the clock on the game. Here's the

    You can read a lot more about OOB in the strategy guides or on the wiki, and also read about what the leaders (generals) do at each level of command (here). The most important for our purposes right now is this: The higher skill level that your general has at the ARMY GROUP level, the fewer supplies your troops require. It's quite a significant reduction of 5% per skill level.

    We take our highest level General and put him in command of an Army Group – the HQ with xxxxx (5xs). If they have the Logistic Wizard trait, so much the better. France only has a level 3 general as the highest, so that will have to do.



    I look under the “Statistics” Screen (F6), and click the “MISC” button. Then I scroll with the “Next” button until I get to Army Leaders. I rank by skill (click on the word Skill), and I find that Maj. General Martin is the only Level 3 General with a Logistics Wizard trait (the “Old Guard” trait is irrelevant for what we’re going to do). He’s in charge of the 18th Infantry Division.



    I search where that division is through the interface in the upper right and find him. I promote him to 4 star general and replace him with Priou (also unimportant right now).



    Now, I go into the Paris HQ and select the 7th Army, and create a new army group (the button with the big “+”and the xxxxx after it) and Martin is automatically assigned (because he’s the only available general with a high enough rank to fill the position). *** Note: Rank and Skill level are different. You can raise and lower a General's (or Admiral's) rank just by clicking on the up or down button. Skill can only be raised by gaining experience through combat.





    Now I detach all of the armies from Paris HQ and attach them to 1st Army Group. Since you can’t have more than 5 armies in an army group, I might decide to disband some of the HQs in order to get more of our troops into fewer armies in order to get as much as possible into our 1st army group, which has our best leader for supply control. Now, there is NO limit to the amount of ships and planes you can attach to an army group. So I attach EVERYTHING I CAN to it – Navy, Air Force, Army. EVERYTHING.



    Looking at 1st Army Group right now, I’ve got 4 armies attached to it, but you can see that there are only 19 divisions in the four armies (this is OOB examiner is new to Semper Fi, and makes things really simple to see). Each Corps maxes out at 5 divisions, and each army at 5 corps, therefore, you can get 25 divisions into 1 army, and 125 divisions into 1 army group, meaning our organization isn’t very efficient if we’re going to maximize our IC by minimizing our supply consumption. Notice, we don’t have any corps at all. Here, all of our divisions are directly attached to armies. Again, this doesn’t bode well for bonuses from commanders that we get when we have a full chain of command.

    I’m going to consolidate some of these corps to streamline things. I’ve created in the 7th Army one corps for Armour. This is going to play into my defense strategy eventually. I’ve also removed another armoured division and put it into the new 7A (Armoured) Corps.



    Since Armour consumes supplies heavily, we definitely want them in a proper chain of command. I’m also giving the 7th Army two corps for the infantry divisions. I’m calling these 71 Corps and 72 Corps – the 1st and 2nd corps of the 7th Army.




    If you notice, in our new 72 Corps, we have a cavalry division. I’m going to upgrade this to a light armoured division by clicking on the tools .



    This will be put into our production queue and automatically returned to this division when it’s done. Eventually, we’re going to add a brigade to this division, but for now, we’ll just let it be. Since it’s going to be an armoured division, I’m going to attach it to the 7A Corps. * note: in the screenshot above of the 7A Corps, the "cavalry" division is already attached.

    The 9th Army has only 3 divisions, so I’m going to just dissolve that altogether, and put the divisions into another corps that I’ll create nearby. Nearby is a magic word. If the units are out of radio range, they won’t get the supply bonus from the Army Group Commander. I’m also dissolving the 1st Army, and moving the amoured division in to 7A Corps, and creating 72 Corps which I’m filling with the rest of the divisions from 1st Army and 9th Army. For now under the 7th Army, we have 3 corps and 12 divisions. We’ll leave this army like this so that we can expand to fill it as we get more divisions coming out of production.

    Let's look at the 3rd Army. Under the 3rd Army, we have 7 divisions. One of these is the 3rd Light Cavalry Division which we’ll upgrade.



    We’ll also add this division to our armoured corps. I create 31 Corps and other 3rd Army divisions to it. I’ll do the same with 32 Corps and now each corps in the 3rd Army has 3 divisions.



    Now we have 2 armies attached to the 1st Army Group, with room for 3 more. I’m going to now add ALL of our naval vessels on the Atlantic coast and most of our air power to this army group. I’m also going to move the 2nd Army and 8th Army from the Maginot Line HQ to Paris, mainly because of the slightly better leader (having a Logistics Wizard trait, rather than not).

    Maginot Line HQ is an army group of its own, and the leader, Georges is a Level 3 General, so I don’t need to do so much reorganization.



    Bordeaux HQ only has Armies, so I’m going to create a new Army Group (the 2nd Army Group), find another level 3 general and attach the armies, the Mediterranean Fleet (at Marseilles), and planes to it.




    I’m not going to do a massive reorganization of the Tunis HQ, which is our last HQ that has any significant amount of men and material to it. This already has an Army Group (African Army HQ) so I’ll just detach the ships and plane from Tunis HQ and reattach it to African Army HQ.



    So what does all this do? For comparison, we needed 16.41 units of supplies right now before this reorganization. Now, we need only 14.49.



    It doesn’t sound like much, but when we only have 72 IC to use right now, we need to squeeze out everything we can. Also, when we have more men and material to supply, it will definitely come in handy. As some of our generals gain more skill levels, we’ll be able to promote them into these key positions.

    Is everyone set? This concludes the "Set Up" portion of the tutorial. Everything that we've done so far has served to gear us up to be able to use the maximum amount of IC for production and upgrades, and also to be able to enact better laws to get more IC for the future.

    In the next chapter, we start the clock and begin the "Build Up."

  14. #14

  15. #15
    Captain mankle30's Avatar
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    thanks muchly plastic . .. .i've definitely been enjoying your AARs and recommend all readers to check them out!

  16. #16
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    Build Up Part 1: January - April 1936

    Now, we start the clock! In order to make sure we get going on upgrading our cavalry divisions, I’m actually going set the upgrades to 12.0 and dump all of our new IC (from reduced supply demand) into production. (I’m also upgrading the 3rd light Cavalry division to light armour. It was in the 2nd Army which is now in the 1st Army Group).



    On January 22, we got lucky. We got the Economic Boost Event.



    Since we’ve stopped, and we have enough money, I’m going to change laws to Consumer Product Orientation. This is going to significantly drop the amount of CG we need, letting us funnel more into production and upgrades. How much more? Let's just see!



    Our situation before changing laws (and approving the “Economic Boost” event) was that we needed 31.68 for CG, and were putting 12.0 and 12.24 into Upgrades and Production respectively. (Note – “upgrades” only upgrades standing units with better equipment. By Upgrading our cavalry, we actually disband the cavalry and build new light armoured units in their place.) Also, the first batch of artillery would be finished on April 22.



    After we change laws, we only need 20.16 consumer goods, giving us over 11.0 to use for our production. Our artillery only takes 5 days longer to finish (although the first 3 weeks were produced using the more efficient “Mixed Industry”), making a nice tradeoff. I’m going to allocate the rest of the newly available IC to production which almost lets us fully fund our production. Also notice that we have 1.3 allocated to reinforcement. Because of attrition of our troops even in peacetime, you’ll need to reinforce from time to time.

    With our “economic boost,” we need .12 more for consumer goods, but we gain 6 IC units, which we’ll use to top off our production, and increase our Upgrade budget.
    If you notice our resources, we could use some crude oil. It’s not a big problem right now, as our fuel stockpile are doing well, but since we’re making lots of money, we’ll be able to buy from a country like the US who has a lot in the future.



    Now, it’s January 31, and we’ve got our 10 domestic spies. As you can see we’re raising our national unity until we get to 60%. Now I’m going to go back to the Tech screen and lower the leadership allocation to a trickle.




    When we look at the tech screen, you can see that our first round of Industry techs will be finished in May (Production, Efficiency and Agriculture). Education won’t be done until October. If you notice the numbers in circles before the year of the tech, Agriculture is a level 1 tech, and Industrial production and efficiency are level 2. This means they’re easier to research. Education is level 5, which is why it takes twice as long to research it. Our 4 infantry equipment techs will finish from early April to late May, and our doctrines (not shown) (Infantry Warfare 2 and Assault Concentration 2) will finish in late October. The Artillery tech at the bottom (also not shown) is yellow which means it’s getting partially funded. It will get more funding as other techs in the queue finish and move to the bottom.



    You might notice in the production screen our supply numbers keep increasing. This is because we are reinforcing troops lost through attrition. Again, it’s not a problem, but this is the reason I like to manually handle the sliders. The AI isn’t good at getting these micro-fluctuations.



    Now we wait. Nothing much will happen for a while, at least until our first round of artillery is finished.

    On February 12, we got a "Rigged Elections” event. TThere's nothing we can do about these events. Unfortunately the result was that we lost 1 unity .



    Feb. 16: Siam wants energy. I’m going to say no, even though we don’t have use our own convoys to ship it to them (the buyer supplies them in a transaction). I really don’t have any need to be friendly with Siam, and we don’t need the money, and when we ramp up production later, we need all the energy have to power our factories. Each 1 unit of IC (a factory if you will) requires 2 units of Energy (or Coal), 1 unit of Metal and ½ unit of Rare materials to function. Keep this ratio in mind as you play countries with higher IC or are building IC.

    The reason we’re not building IC as France is that we really can’t spare any to build it, as building new factories ties up the production cue for a long time until you build up your construction practical. At the beginning of the game, it can take a major country like France about a year to build one more IC unit. Some smaller countries need to research the Construction Engineering tech just to be able to build IC, and when they can it will take over a year and half.

    (France starts the game with Construction Engineering researched)

    I'll explain a little bit about "practical" and "theoretical" tech knowledge. You can find a bar at the bottom of your Tech screen.



    Green icons are "theoretical" knowledge, and blue icons represent your "practical." Theoretical knowledge is increased by researching more techs in that particular area. Consequently, the higher your theoretical knowledge, the faster you can research more techs in that area. Practical knowledge is increased by building units or buildings. Let's keep an eye on our numbers as we progress through the first part of 1936. If you notice our Artillery Theoretical and Practical (the bottom of the "land" section) are both 7.5. Let's keep an eye on it as we build more artillery units. You may not remember this, but in the production screens (see "brigade attachment screen below), when you select a unit to build, at the bottom, underneath where it says how long it will take to build it shows one of these icons and gives a number. In the case of our artillery build, the number is 0.3. This means that each additional artillery brigade we build will add 0.3 to our artillery practical. However, there is a decay (you can check the Wiki for more accurate information about exactly how much decay there is), so if you don't build units or buildings of a particular type, the number will decrease over time. The higher the number, the less time it will take to build those units or buildings.



    In the middle, in the "Doctrines" section, there is one difference. The blue numbers represent Air, Sea, and Land combat experience. This will reduce the amount of time needed to research the corresponding doctrines. As you can see, we have no combat experience.... yet.

    It’s February 26. The Brits want to buy supplies. However, I’m also going to decline because increasing the amount of supplies we have to produce (both for our own troops and for export) will tie up more IC.



    March 4: I’m going to open negotiations with the USA to buy some oil. Oil is pretty expensive, so I’m not going to buy much. Once our relations, which are only 10 (of a maximum 200), are better, we’ll probably be able to get a better price. So we got 4 units for about $2.20,or 1 for $0.55. Not a great deal, but it’ll do for now. We still have a cushion of over $2 a day so that we can build our cash stockpiles and lower the hit our oil stockpiles are taking. As a point of comparison, I looked at how much money Persia would want for 1 unit of oil, which was $0.56, and we have worse relations with them than with the US.

    (Sorry, no screenshot for the US Trade)

    On March 29, you’ll see that our required amount for upgrades is down to 51.78. It’s going to go down slowly, and once we research the next techs for infantry, it’s going to jump up again, so it’s not coming down to manageable levels for a while. We’re going to continue or slow army build up starting with support brigades, and building to full infantry divisions probably around early 1938.



    I’ve also initiated another trade with the US for crude oil. This time just for 1 unit. It’s a whole cent cheaper than the last one was! When we start to need more, hopefully we’ll have more IC to sell supplies. As long as people like us and aren’t threatened by us, we’ll have plenty of trading partners. Also, crude oil isn’t as essential as fuel since it’s not used directly. Crude oil is converted into fuel, so our tanks and planes and ships will still run even if we run out of crude oil. We will eventually research techs to make the coal to oil conversion process more efficient.

    Making trades is easy. Just go to a country's tab in the Diplomacy screen, and click "Offer Trade Agreement." Move the sliders to where you want. It's a little confusing though. The "buy" or "sell" on the slider is the OPPOSITE of what it tells you below. It's hard to see because we're only buying one unit of oil, but the slider is slightly to the "buy" side of the middle. This is saying that WE want to buy one unit of oil. Below, it says "We offer the USA to SELL 1.00 Crude Oil". Basically, they're selling, we're buying. Yes, it's confusing. Be careful!



    They accepted the trade.



    By April 24, Our Upgrade needs were down to 45.83, but on that day, we finished researching our first infantry upgrade – small arms. Interestingly, there wasn’t a corresponding jump to upgrade our infantry. Hmmm… I’ll take it. The pop up tells you what the advance does for your units. Some advances will actually contribute negative effects, for example, Tank Engine advances will increase speed, but also increase fuel consumption. You can see that at the bottom, it says Infantry Theory +1. This means that we've added one to our infantry theoretical knowledge.



    On April 27, our first artillery brigades were finished, with one more coming the next day. I add them first to the Maginot Line infantry divisions, and work my way north and west as more become available. Then I’ll take care of my southern France divisions.



    The first division is in Belfort, so I’ll select an artillery brigade, and select my target division in Belfort.



    Voila! That division now has 4 brigades.



    This will be repeated with each of the artillery brigades, moving north until we've added them to all of our divisions in the north of France.

  17. #17
    Captain mankle30's Avatar
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    Build Up Part 2: May - July 1936

    On May 3, our second infantry upgrade - light artillery - is finished researching.



    Also, one of our cavalry units has been upgraded to light armour. If you look at our tech bar at the bottom, our infantry theory is up to 11.2, while our practical has decayed to 9.4. Our artillery practical is up to 7.7, but the theory is down to 6.9. This is after producing 6 brigades of artillery, and no techs researched, and for infantry researching 2 techs and producing no infantry.



    I also do another trade for 1 crude oil with the US. My price is now down to .52/unit.
    In the Tech screen, I now have some free space. I’m going start researching light armour for one round, and then medium armour for the next. Light armour is fast and mobile and can have some good punch against infantry, but medium armour will give us the real good defensive stats against the German armour. Some players tend to only upgrade certain components, but I tend to upgrade the whole thing. We will eventually research some of the armour doctrines, just to make sure our armour organization keeps pace with the infantry organization.

    On May 17, Our 3rd Infantry upgrade finishes researching.



    Another cavalry division finishes. Once the third one is done on the 21st, I’m going to put another 3 light armour brigades (separate brigades) into the queue. These three brigades are going to bring up those cavalry brigades to 3 brigade strength.




    You’ll notice that our Armour techs aren’t going to finish researching until April. This is because our armour theory and practical numbers are much lower than our infantry. The more we research and build in this area, the faster subsequent builds and researches will go.



    May 21. Oh happy day. We finish researching 3 techs, and finished upgrading our last cavalry brigade.



    I’m going to move the industrial techs back to the top of the queue so that we keep building them. Industrial Efficiency will help things that we produce (production) take up less IC than they had before, and Industrial Production will allow our base IC (the middle number in the top) to be translated into more available IC (number on the right). Notice, even though our base IC (108) hasn’t changed, we now have 75 available, rather than 72.



    Now, eventually, I’m going to bring all the troops that we have in Africa and Asia back to France. Part of my grand “survival” strategy is that France must be protected at all costs. If we can hold France and push back the Germans, then we can begin to project our strength to the former colonies and take back some of our land. But France is priority one. I’ve set all my troops in North Africa to use the “strategic redeployment” function (CTRL+Rt. Click) to go to Tunis, where I’ll pick them up with my transports and bring them back to France.



    I’ll bring the navies back as well (attaching them to the 2nd Army Group in the French Riviera), and have subs and other ships available to harass the Germans in the Atlantic, and defend against the Italians if they attack. I’ll also dissolve the HQs, which will return those officers into the officer pool. I’ll do the same thing in East Africa and in Asia.

    May 25: Infantry Support Weapons are ready to upgrade!

    As we go along, our national unity continues to rise, and our crude oil situation has stabilized and our stockpiles are rising. I don’t pretend to know anything about the way the system works, but just because the number is red, just means that more is being converted to oil than you are getting. At a certain point, the system may stop converting oil to fuel and stockpiles will rise for a while before a bunch gets converted again.

    July 4: Artillery Barrel and Ammunition Advance! I add “Blitzkrieg” and “Schwerpunkt” doctrines to our build queue, which will add to our armour’s organization and morale (morale determines how fast a unit regains organization). Speaking of which, I’ll also add “Mass Assault” which raises infantry morale.

  18. #18
    Captain mankle30's Avatar
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    Build Up Part 3: August - December1936

    August 3, we accept a trade deal with the UK. It’s good for relations, and they’re not asking for too much…



    August 18: Spanish Civil War! It doesn’t really affect us much, but since we share a border with the Spanish, we should keep an eye on their war. It looks like the Nationalists got screwed by the division of the country!



    August 24: Another batch of artillery brigades. We’re actually using less IC on production now that the new Industrial Efficiency techs have taken effect (the last artillery brigades were being started before we finished researching the techs), freeing up more to try to bring down the big pile of upgrades, which is now down to just under 30 IC.



    August 26: Another Artillery Advance!



    September 11: I buy another unit of oil from the US, now at .51/unit.



    On October 4, we simultaneously got hit with a Major Worker’s strike, and we finished researching the next level of education.



    I’ve decided to play hardball – to find and arrest the strike leaders, which only gives us a Daily Dissent Change of 10.0% until November 13. To deal with this, we’ll have to pump more IC into CG (up to 27.68) in order to not gain dissent. If dissent goes up, and it can skyrocket in a hurry if you don’t keep an eye on it, you lose a corresponding percentage of IC. However, the other option, to do nothing, would leave us with the same situation and the possibility of losing 1 unity, which we’ve got up to 54%. We're not going to let that happen.

    While we’re stopped, I’m doing two things in the tech screen that I’ll note. First of all, I put Education back into the queue. Second, I added “Operational Level Organization 1” into the queue. This is a VERY important doctrine to research. It lowers the delay that your troops have to wait after commencing an attack before attacking again. Each level lowers the waiting time by 24 hours. While I plan on defending, and thus, the delay doesn’t matter, as they say, the best defense is a good offense, and when we’re in the position of counterattacking, we’ll be able to do so more effectively.



    I’m also going to put Marine Infantry into the queue for the same reason. Marines have a lower penalty for attack across rivers and amphibiously (off of a ship). If (and when) we end up pushing the Germans back, it will be very important to be able to efficiently do this over the many rivers that steam across France and Belgium. Having the ability to attack across rivers with a lesser penalty will keep this war from degenerating into a war of attrition, which was what WWI became.

    October 10: Infantry Warfare, and Assault Concentration Advance!

    October 18: I’ll accept a British request for Supplies. Our Supply need jumps from 16.89 to 17.72.

    November 18: Our CG needs are back to normal, and we’re within about 4IC from getting on top of the Upgrade needs.

    November 20: Just when you thought we were out of the woods…. We get a parliamentary Scandal. Giving us a 20% leadership and 10% Dissent malus. More IC for CG, and less research ability for the next 3 weeks. But good news is that our 3 light armour brigades are ready! The available IC is being used to try to kill off that Upgrade need.



    Notice the little white icon just above where it says "No order." This is the "combined arms" indicator. I'll tell a little bit more about that if you keep reading just a little bit.



    Dec. 1: 2 more units of Crude Oil from the US



    December 13: The last group of artillery is ready! I put another 6, since we’ll need some to add artillery to the African units when they get to France, and there are at least 5 other infantry divisions without artillery. Mountain divisions are different. Artillery gets huge terrain penalties in mountains, so they’re pretty useless there. I still have about 6IC left over after the artillery divisions go into the queue, so I’m going to start building another armoured division. I won’t be able to fully fund it (even as reserves), but as the upgrades eat up less and less IC, more will be available to build the unit. When the light armour upgrades are finished researching, I’ll be able to research the Self-Propelled Artillery Brigade. This is important to add punch to armour without taking away from their speed and mobility.

    I’ll stop here to discuss the Combined Arms (CA) Bonus. When building units, each brigade has a certain percentage of softness. The higher the softness, the more vulnerable the unit. Infantry has a softness of 100%. If your total division has a softness between 33 and 66%, there’s a 20% (I think) combat bonus to your division.



    Always keep this in mind, because if you go for a super hard division – just armour – you won’t get this bonus. I’m going to build a medium armour division (or just armour), using 2 armour brigades and a motorized brigade. The motorized keeps the speed up (the division moves at the speed of the slowest unit – 6kph for medium armour), and raises the softness into the combined arms bonus range. Don’t be too concerned with the stats for armour being low. The techs will be upgraded at least once before the war. This is going to be an infantry stopping division with high “soft attack.” Once I can build SP Artillery, I’ll add that brigade to the division, and it will raise the softness, but keep it in the CA range. I will also build some “tank buster” divisions with armour, but instead of the S.P. Arty, I’ll add a Tank Destroyer. We'll eventually research the Anti-tank techs (that upgrade both Anti-Tank and Tank Destroyer units), which, like artillery, only require two techs to fully upgrade, as opposed to the four that armour and infantry require.

    December 29: I’ve added my medium armour techs to the queue. They won’t start researching until around April, but I won’t have to manually put them in the queue anymore. I’ll probably start researching the 1938 infantry techs in mid 1937. It’s a little late, but I’ll still be able to get one more round in before the shooting starts.


  19. #19
    Thanks very much for this AAR! It clears up a lot of ambiguities in the HoI3 system that had puzzled me. I only hope you can manage to deal with Germany's air superiority at Blitzkrieg, both for your sake and us readers' - coordinating that stuff is challenging.

    I'd also like to see an in-depth on why you position units where you do in your lines, to go along with coordination, at some point. The advanced military system of HoI3 is one of the hardest parts for us EU3/V2 players to wrap our heads around.

    I may just have to break HoI3 out again this weekend...
    1 Clerk............................................. ........................1 Angestellte
    Nationality/Culture: Yankee /
    North German...............Nationalität/Kultur: Yankee-Amerikanisch / Norddeutsch
    Religion: Orthodox.......................................... ..........Religion: Orthodox
    Ideology: Reactionary....................................... ........Ideologie: Reaktionär
    Issues: Protectionism (Mercantilism), Pluralism.............Probleme: Protektionismus (Merkantilismus), Pluralismus
    Current Work: Student (Germanistik / Linguistics)......Arbeit: Student (Germanistik / Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft)
    Cash Reserves: Low, but steady..................................Geldreserv en: Niedrig
    Revolt Risk: 7.5%.............................................. ........Revoltenrisiko: 7,5%
    Militancy: 3.00 (-.01).............................................. ....Militanz:
    3,00 (-,01)
    Consciousness: 7.00 (+.02).........................................Bew ußtsein: 7,00 (+,02)

  20. #20
    Colonel NERFGEN's Avatar
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    nice tutorial.. however me thinks you're putting too much money into buying oil. but that's just me maybe

    Actually looking forward to see how you do against ze germanz when it happens.
    The USSR produced 57,224 T-34 tanks of various specifications during the WW2 timeline. 44,900 became scrap metal (aka destroyed).
    Total USSR AFV 1941-45 losses were 96.600. War winning tank much?

    Aar Tribute to the classicaar: RISK

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