Death on the Danube: Hungary AAR
I’m going to take a crack at writing my first AAR with my country of choice being Hungary. My actions will have the hindsight benefit from having run through several games already trying different things.
The storytelling will be kept to a minimum… usually, when I read an AAR I am looking for guidance on how I might play a country myself. Practical discussions frequently get lost when I have to tease them out from paragraphs describing how unhappy various ministers are. I’ve seen a lot of great fiction written in these forums, but you won’t find it here... however, don't take that to mean I won't try to make this an interesting read.
The game is Semper Fi with the 2.04d patch. My goal as Hungary is to get continental Europe under the hammer and sickle. If that goes well enough, then I would also make a play for the UK. Doing extremely well, the US would be another good target. So far I’ve failed every time. Frequently, it is because the Allies won’t stop influencing me so it becomes impossible to join the Comintern. When this happens, the USSR ends up twiddling its thumbs and never goes to war with the Allies. If the USSR can’t be brought into the fight, then I don’t know how I might be able to win since the odds are low I can take out Germany, France, and Italy all alone.
For army development, I’ve usually been going the Motorized Infantry + Artillery route for the bulk of my troops. However, I’ve been finding out that these troops can’t stop German or Allied Armor. I’ve also been getting manhandled by enemy air. In my last game, Nationalist Spain alone had enough bombers to put a huge crimp in my plans to annex them. I’ve also been buying a lot of Garrison troops to place them on AI control for partisan hunting. This time I will skip that and try to make some troops that I can leave on the border to defend while my spearheads advance. For research, I will focus on getting myself Medium Armor and CAS to give myself punch, and use Militia + Self-Propelled Artillery and/or Engineers for defense and partisan mop-up. I will also go for nukes so that when I end up at war with a major power, I have some chance at getting things over quickly since I am sure to lose an extended conflict. I did get the bomb in my last game and had some fun bombing the French, but I didn’t have enough divisions to hold the line and keep my own VPs out of French hands. As I general rule I’ve been finding it quite easy to conquer an extended empire, but I never get enough divisions produced to defend the extended borders. This time, I will do less annexing and more puppet creation so that I can get somebody else to defend part of the border. I won’t enjoy the loss of leadership, but we’ll see if the trade-off is worth it.
Starting out in 1936, my first goal will be to go to war against Czechoslovakia and Austria. I’ve seen that keeping these areas out of German hands greatly increases French survivability. However this nerf to Germany hasn’t proved to be enough that I can take them on solo… This time, I will also see what happens to Poland. Usually by the end of 1938 I’m in Turkey, but this time I will keep an eye open for some action against the Poles.
Table of Contents
- Chapter One: 1936 - Road to War (this post, continue reading)
- Chapter Two: 1937 Spring/Summer - Operation Czechmate
- Chapter Three: 1937 Fall/Winter - Vienna Coffee
- Chapter Four: 1938 - Operation Clean Sweep
- Chapter Five: 1939 - Final Preparations
- Chapter Six: 1939 Fall/1940 Fall - Not-so-Phony War
- Chapter Seven: 1940 Winter/1943 - My Only Friend, The End
Setup, 1 Jan 1936:
On the political front, Kalman Kanya is out and Gustav Henneyey is in as Foreign Minister since I don’t want any extra drift towards the Axis. I have no idea why anybody would assign Francois Deak to the role. Miklos Kozma keeps his job for now since the KDNP has almost no organization, but he will be out once partisans become a danger. Rezso Andorka goes to Intelligence since the Political Intel bonus is of little value at the moment. Ferenc Szombathelyi moves to the Army job since I plan on having Militia in my future. Everyone else keeps their job. Luckily my laws are also as good as I could do without being at war, so that is a bonus. I would consider dropping Specialist Training since at the moment getting troops out quickly is my main concern, but for some reason I can’t change it (interface says ‘We cannot afford the associated cost of changing this law’).
On the tech front, I have the bulk of my leadership going to spies. I still have some small trickle going into diplomacy since during this beginning period I still need to be able to try and make some deals to fix my resource shortages. This is far less of a problem than it was in the original game: in the original version other countries would only make offers to buy your supplies, in Semper Fi, they will also offer to sell you resources, so you need less diplomacy overall. The tech queue has the starting techs to get Industry going as well as the research-improving ones. I also dumped in the Light Tank and Basic Air techs. You may notice that I have far more things in there than I could possibly research. I like to do that so that I don’t forget what I was supposed to be going after. When I get more leadership, then the longer list allows me to cycle through things naturally. Generally I have 3x more techs in my queue than I can actively research at any one time, how efficient this is overall is up to debate.
On the intelligence front, I will keep generating spies until I have 10 at home plus 10 in Austria and Czechoslovakia. I should be able to attack the Czechs in April 1937. Austria I will be able to attack in Fall 1937 which will give me a very small window to annex them before the Anschluss event. Luckily they usually fold within a week after being attacked. I believe I read that in For the Motherland neutrality will be fixed, which will make this opening move impossible. I’m not sure why they would do that as it just makes single-player games less enjoyable since minors get less and less fun to play. I also have to make sure and set the Spy priority to zero for every other country so I’m not wasting Spies before I’m ready.
On the production front I have some Light Armor, Artillery, and Militia queued up. All are set to be reserves to lower the IC cost (manpower is not a concern to start with). The tool tip says that my Armor practical reduces time and IC cost by 50%, however, my Technology tab just gives a dash where the practical value should be displayed. I also can’t help but notice it will be 9 months before I even see my first tank. My build here is my standard for Hungary except I have replaced the usual Garrison units with Militia. The airbases are there so I can get a trickle of Construction practical in ahead of my ability to produce Industry. Notice that I have 13 convoys for free. Since I have no port, I don’t know where they are hiding. The military pie chart shows me with 37 land brigades of various types. The Poles start with 147 in 1936, so I doubt I can come close to matching them by the start of 1939. What I might do is launch an attack when they go to war with Germany and try to seize the Krakow – Lwow line, if they get annexed by Germany I would then be able to get a small slice of their territory. If Germany makes them a puppet however, I’ll lose it all. Typically Germany goes for the annexation so it seems like a good gamble. One last word on my production, for some reason I have tons of units that apparently need upgrades, but since I won’t be at war for 2 years there is plenty of time to let them trickle in, so 1 IC on that is more than enough to get the job done.
On the military front, the Hungarian OOB is quite simple and I don’t feel the command structure needs to be altered. There are 14 Infantry divisions of 2 brigades each, with 1 Interceptor and 1 TAC. I plan to make 7 of these units into 2 Infantry + 2 Light Armor for the combined arms bonus and the others will be 2 Infantry + 1 Artillery, and maybe possibly an Engineer as well. Once I near 1938 these men will get moved to the Czech border. In the original version of the game, this would cause the Czechs to flood their side of the border with their own army, but in Semper Fi they seem to prefer to keep facing off with the Germans even though you are about to attack. I won’t try to persuade them to do any differently…
With everything set, I’m about to start the clock!
1936 – Road to War
Right off I begin to align to the Comintern. Under the original game, this would wear off after 3 months and I would have to waste a point of diplomacy to renew. Making alignment permanent is a huge improvement.
10 January: Spanish Civil War starts, Germany intervenes.
13 January: I attempt to trade with USSR to cover part of my Energy and Rare Materials shortages. They refuse. Until I can start to sell supplies, I won’t have a lot of money to play around with on this stuff. My Spy report says that the USSR is doing ‘Hostile Action’ on me, what that means in practice I have no idea.
3 February: I get 10 domestic Spies, when I have 5 free Spies I will send them to Austria. I will have to keep an eye on their counterintelligence. I will have to put up with it a little, since if I keep changing my mission there from ‘Raise Threat’ too much I will miss my deadline of beating the Anschluss. Generally I don’t change my mission until I see there are at least 2 enemy spies on counterintelligence.
24 February: The ‘Illegal Printing’ event comes up. Before I even make this choice, which might give me extra dissent, I notice that I already have 1.76 dissent. Why this happened, I don’t know, since I have been overproducing consumer goods by +0.01 since the start of January. I spent the money to track down the troublemakers and apparently succeed, as there is no further increase to dissent. I also have 5 free Spies, so they get dumped into Austria.
6 March: I get the ‘Major Worker Strike’ event. I decide not to arrest the workers. Out of gratitude they allow my first Militia division to come off the line (Militia brigade x2).
10 March: I sell some supplies to France and deploy the second Militia division. I have to wait for diplomacy buildup before I can try and buy more energy.
19 March: Italy makes a puppet of Ethiopia. I have 10 Spies in Austria raising threat, so now I start my buildup for the Czechs. I notice that I forgot to have my own Spies on ‘Lower Neutrality’, which is a huge blunder. We’ll have to see if this means I miss Anschluss.
24 March: The USSR graciously sells me some Rare Materials. I’m down to zero diplomacy.
5 April: I have another 5 Spies, so they go to the Czechs.
19 April: I now have 10 Spies in each of my two first victims, so I start diverting leadership to research projects. I still continue to produce Spies, since I can’t afford to take losses at this point or I risk not getting threat where I need it in 1937.
14 May: Two more Militia divisions deployed. At this stage I’ve had enough countries approach me with offers that I am not longer in the red on resources, but I don’t have enough diplomacy of my own yet to try and negotiate decent surpluses.
5 June: My first Artillery brigade finishes. Dissent is now at 1.03 and I am overproducing consumer goods by +0.2 to reduce it. Luckily my total ICs are so low that this dissent isn’t costing me anything production-wise. Austria must be finally doing counter-espionage since my Spies dropped down to 9, but I still see ‘zero’ in their report.
18 June: I notice that I am not producing enough supply now that I have extra divisions in place, so I have to tweak my sliders to compensate. Since there isn’t enough to go around at this point it means I am under producing my new troops just a little.
23 July: Two more Militia divisions deployed. I start to collect them under Army Group HQs, usually, I have been attaching these types of troops directly to Budapest HQ, but this time I figure the extra 1,000 men in each Army Group HQ might help discourage a Czech assault. Previously the Czechs were leaving my Garrison divisions alone, I don’t know if they will do the same for the slightly weaker Militia. Speaking of the Czechs, our shared border is almost completely empty, where they went, I don’t know. Maybe Adolf is already scaring them. Two months to go before my first Light Armor brigade shows up.
3 August: ‘Government Nationalizes Private Sector’ pops up. Bad for me since I really can’t afford to divert production to reduce the extra dissent this causes.
24 August: The extra consumer good demand from the prior event finally goes away.
24 September: My first tech is researched, Agriculture.
5 October: Another two Militia divisions down, plus my first two Airbases and my first Light Armor brigade is done. I’m definitely seeing a difference in choosing Militia over Garrison, as I already have as many divisions deployed in October 1936 as I would in April 1937. Practicals are up high enough that I am able again to fully fund new troop production, but sadly I am another 9 months away from seeing my second Light Armor brigade. I deploy the existing Light Armor brigade and indulge in a slight moment of whimsy.
1 November: I complete some more technology, E & M Engineering and Construction Engineering. Census Tabulation Machine now goes to the top of the queue. While it is tempting to start building Industry, I will wait until after my 1937 wars are done since I need to get more men on the ground.
7 November: Another Artillery brigade finished. I am back to being deficient in supply and must tweak the sliders.
7 December: Two more Militia divisions down.
8 December: Nationalist Spain is victorious in the Spanish Civil War. And with this I bring 1936 to a close.
My threat gap with the Czechs is 10%, so I will be able to war with them in time to beat Adolf to the Sudetenland, but my 25% gap with Austria worries me. I may be cutting it close on that one. Tune in again for the wars of 1937.