So, I decided to play as Finland--this is actually the first time I play DH as Finland. This won't be very experimental or narrative (or even very good AAR) because this is mostly just playthrough; my target is to have an interesting little game, nothing more. Still I hope that some may like reading this, as I'm not going to play exactly traditional game. I'm not sure how well they'll work, but I still have couple of tricks in my pocket! As for the pre-war period there's not much to tell. Everything went as it should and most important events came almost exactly at the historical dates.
I didn't reinforce or upgrade my army. I thought that this would just rise the supply demand, and thus eat available IC from other tasks. Finnish army is in rather good condition at the beginning of 1936. There are over 20 divisions, though all of them have very low strength. That's not an issue, however, as I will get some free manpower from the Lotta Svärd event (where woman volunteers replace men where possible an some 100,000 men are added to the manpower pool). And when the war begins, mobilisation events will add plenty of strength to my divisions.
I have used almost all free IC to money production, which means I've got some 6 moneys per day. I have used them to improve the performance of my generals, i.e. using war games decisions. If I recall correctly, I was able to run these war games no less than five times, and I've been lucky enough for they have mostly given boost for three or four generals, and most often for some of the best lt. generals--thus I currently have very nice amount of capable leaders (though the Finnish generals aren't bad at all in their initial condition). I have also risen my industrial espionage level to ten, which have been good investment as the USSR seems to have high drive to assassinate my ministers.
My research has been focused mostly to industrial technologies giving me more IC. I've, however, also researched 1936 infantry. When this was ready, I pushed for three-year service to get some unused manpower and started to build three series of infantry division (after getting rid of dissent I started two series more). This game me dissent hit of six, which I lowered by one through printing thousand money. This of course gives -1 % hit for my industry, but I think this is acceptable as I have couple of ministers giving very nice bonus to industrial production, and on the other hand, for total industrial efficiency of 21 one percent won't be very remarkable modifier. I used this semi-free money for one War games more, which sadly gave only one point for only one very puny mj. general.
At the very beginning of 1939 I began to slightly reinforce my divisions, so that they won't be completely wiped out at the first days of winter war before the reserves are activated. I used also the newly arrived divisions to make a solid defensive line to my border. Mannerheim (who thanks to war games has respectable skill of five) and his HQ are placed in Mikkeli as then he will be able to give some boost to Joensuu, Sortavala, and Viipuri--well-reinforced troops from Terijoki will retreat to Viipuri in good order but I hope they can delay Soviets at least slightly and thus give time for the eventual reserves to arrive. Same applies for forces in Salla (province next to Kandalaksha--it will be very probably the first province the Soviets will attack. I won't benefit much from defending it as there's nothing important in the province, and when I retreat I don't have to divide my troops as much--now I have to use 7 divisions to defend three provinces. When I leave Salla, the amount of provinces needing divisions reduce to two. But if I can win some time with that, that will be worth it.
Main defensive force is in Sortavala. I don't know if there will be remarkable Soviet pressure, but I hope I will be able to start a counter-attack during Winter War and Sortavala will be crucial in that. Also, Joensuu won't be much threatened as the USSR can attack there from only one province. If it turns out that there's no much use for 5 divisions in Sortavala, they can be moved to north, where I suppose a flexible front will arrive. I hope I will be able to encircle major amount of Soviet divisions in the north Karelia and Kola peninsula. Do these actually matter during winter war, I don't know, but I'm still kind of a role-player and getting a pretentious tactical victory from the superior enemy is still cool, even though it wouldn't have an effect on the final result.
During the summer 1939, when Soviets invited Finland to negotiations in Moscow, it was time both historically and in my game to start partial mobilisation. Mobilising through this event doesn't give the usual dissent hit, so it's very favourable to do so, as it has to be done anyway at some point. I have decided that my doctrine will be defensive focus for several reasons:
- Finnish tech teams are good for researching that doctrine, even though they fit even better to light infantry
- Light infantry and defensive doctrines are much easier (lower difficulty level) than the other doctrines, which is suitable for minors with only one tech slot
- Defensive focus gives somewhat quickly morale and especially organisation, and the latter is crucial against Soviets. As they have human wave doctrine, it is anyway for me impossible to have morale race with them--thus I need organisation to beat them
During september/october my manpower and supplies started to be rather low, due to focusing almost all IC to infantry production. Thus I started to produce masses of supplies is order to be able to mobilise. And thanks to infantry rushing, I have several fresh, full-strength divisions in reserve. Also I have deployed some new divisions to crucial stronghold so that they will be able to fight at maximum power the Soviet invaders. In addition, I have reinforced few original divisions, so that the arrival of the reserve units will for sure boost their strength to 100. In the less important regions it doesn't matter if the initial power is 70 or 80, but it will be useful to have full-strength divisions in places where the major Soviet offensive is probable. Such places are Salla, Terijoki, and Petsamo. And general mobilisation will give me more manpower whenever I need, it will be enacted immediately when the war begins--which is about now!
(November 2 1939)
EDIT: Sorry for the several edits, but after I took a look on the history file, screenies, and save games I noted several slight errors in my text. Now it should describe the same situation as my save game file..