I'll have to start this off with an apology to anyone who's been waiting on me patiently for the Naval War AAR, which I've been rather sporadic in updating. I intend to continue playing through and updating that one as well while switching back and forth with this.
Anyway...we've all seen World War II carried out in innumerable variations here, and it's gotten somewhat predictable, especially in matches with the AI. I'm sort of an experimentor, I love testing out the effects of different changes to the world's situation...this time I outdid myself and started changing things all over to create an entirely different World War II.
March 2, 1946 - The Week Before The War
What's Going to Happen?
All-out war between the Allies and the Comintern on a worldwide scale.
Wait...What Happened to Germany?
In 1936, I had Germany declare war on all the nations around it (UK, France, Netherlands, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Denmark, Sweden) so that it would be overwhelmed and conquered. I then tweaked the resulting boundaries to be a bit neater. Poland, Austria, Czechoslovakia, and the Netherlands (and to a lesser extent France and Denmark) got a lot stronger as a result of gains from Germany.
So...What About the Other Axis Powers, Italy and Japan?
Il Duce has gone through a change of heart over the years and has aligned Italy with the Allies. Japan, on the other hand, has made amends with its former rival, the Soviet Union, and joined the cause of world communism.
What Else Is Different?
Lots. The years from 1939 to 1945 have passed by without a major war. The nations of the world have all built up signficantly. Here's a great big list of things that are different:
- Belgium divided between France and the Netherlands. Luxembourg annexed by France.
- Switzerland taken over by Italy. Italy gains territory in southeastern France, as well as Corsica and Malta.
- Yugoslavia divided between Italy, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria.
- Bulgaria took the ill-advised decision of throwing its lot in with Germany during the 1936 war; as a result Bulgaria was conquered by Greece.
- Greece has regained Istanbul (Constantinople!), Rhodes and the Dodecannese, Cyprus, and the Aegean coast, as well as Albania
- Finland taken over by Sweden
- Norway divided between Denmark and Sweden, Denmark gains Scania from Sweden
- Hungary regains former cores and a few additional territories in Yugoslavia, Slovakia, and Romania
- Soviet border with Europe pushed back signficantly to give room for Poland, Romania, Lithuania, and Estonia to expand
- Latvia divided between Lithuania and Estonia
- Turkey gains additional lands in Syria, Iraq, and Caucasus
- Persia conquers Afghanistan and is given parts of Iraq, Pakistan, and Soviet Central Asia
- Saudi Arabia expanded into neighboring British territories, including oil-producing regions
- Lebanon given independence by France and expanded beyond its normal territories
- India given independence by the UK and given Bangladesh and part of Pakistan
- Egypt given independence by Britain
- Major redrawing of the map of Africa. South Africa, Ethiopia, and the colonies of Portugal, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands (former Belgian) expanded, France and the UK reduced/reworked
- Nationalist China expanded by conquests of Guangxi Clique, Yunnan, Tibet, Sinkiang, and part of Xibei San Ma
- Communist China expanded by conquest of Shanxi and part of Xibei San Ma
- Japan allowed to conquer Siam, given Hainan island and northern Sakhalin
- Soviets given Alaska (to encourage a possible front vs. Canadians and Americans later on)
- Uruguay divided between Brazil and Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia conquered by Argentina
This list is by no means all-inclusive but it includes most of the territorial changes I've made.
Who's on What Side?
Here's how it stands currently:
The United States, Nationalist China, and Chile are all intended to go Allies, while Saudi Arabia is intended to go Comintern. These nations have yet to join but should once the war gets started (I will manually DOW them if it takes too long, although I'd like a several month period before the USA gets involved).
What's the War Going to Look Like?
Some predictions I have at the moment:
- Obviously a massive Eastern Front pitting the Soviets and Romanians against the big coalition of the west. Should be epic in scale.
- Middle Eastern/Balkan/Scandinavian front sideshows to the main thing in Eastern Europe
- North African front via Egypt if the Soviets and friends get through the Middle East
- Massive Asian front pitting Nationalist China and whatever help they get from Britain against the Soviets/ChiComs/Japanese. Japanese have three fronts to attack mainland Asia from, with Siam and Hainan added along with Manchukuo
- Massive Pacific war per norm between Japanese and Allies
- Alaska/Canada front if the Soviets reinforce it enough by sea
- South American front with the Allies attacking Brazil and Argentina
- Atlantic naval warfare in the Arctic, Black, and Baltic seas, although the Soviets will be at a severe disadvantage
So Everyone's Just Been Building Up Since 1939?
Pretty much true. I've gone through just about all the intended combat nations and had them Prepare For War/used noneutrality as well, to get them to join their intended teams and to arm up. Research and production has been a combination of AI-directed and manual for all nations; I've directed them down certain paths I wanted them to follow and tried to balance out gaps left by the AI. The results of this arms race have been awe-inspiring in some cases, especially with the European minors that got to expand at Germany's expense. Some nations, however, have not expanded so dramatically because they have not had wartime IC production - France in particular, which gets stays by low national unity.
Worldwide Army Comparison - Total Brigades (50+)
Soviet Union - 1144
Nationalist China - 502
Japan - 437
United States - 405
France - 379
United Kingdom - 344
Italy - 292
Poland - 243
Brazil - 221
Romania - 181
Greece - 154
Hungary - 146
Nationalist Spain - 141
Czechoslovakia - 135
Communist China - 132
Netherlands - 102
Argentina - 94
Sweden - 94
Mexico - 84
Canada - 75
Portugal - 71
Australia - 70
India - 68
Persia - 61
Austria - 56
South Africa - 54
Worldwide Air Force Comparison (10+)
Soviet Union - 117
United States - 95
United Kingdom - 67
Japan - 50
Nationalist China - 38
Italy - 37
France - 28
Poland - 27
Czechoslovakia - 17
Netherlands - 15
Romania - 14
Hungary - 12
Worldwide Navy Comparison (10+)
United Kingdom - 183
United States - 173
Italy - 145
Japan - 135
Soviet Union - 91
France - 58
Netherlands - 53
Poland - 31
Nationalist China - 26
Brazil - 20
Sweden - 16
Argentina - 16
Greece - 15
Romania - 15
Canada - 14
Australia - 10
Worldwide Industrial Comparison - Base IC (25+)
United States - 562
Soviet Union - 150
United Kingdom - 116
France - 105
Japan - 96
Nationalist China - 91
Italy - 91
Poland - 66
Netherlands - 66
Czechoslovakia - 45
Nationalist Spain - 44
Brazil - 43
Hungary - 40
India - 38
Greece - 37
Romania - 37
Argentina - 33
Canada - 32
Australia - 30
Austria - 27
Sweden - 27
Denmark - 26
Communist China - 25
Can I Have More Details About X Nation?
Sure. Here's a quick country-by-country run through of all the significant majors, as well as the nations that will have a noticeably different role or situation from the norm here.
Strengths: Has by far the world's largest army and a manpower pool of mind-boggling size (3400+ even with over 1000 mobilized mobilized brigades) thanks to the lack of wartime losses. Strong infantry, armor, and single-engine aircraft techs. Strong land doctrines in general, good tactical bomber training, excellent supply theories, good cruiser and submarine training. Has strengthened its navy across the board with a few new battleships and battlecruisers, the first of what will be several carriers, and large numbers of cruisers, destroyers, and submarines. Large tactically-focused air force with a growing naval bomber contingent as well. Massive armored and motorized forces.
Weaknesses: Is down a lot of land in the west compared to its normal starting position. Overall navy and air techs are poor compared with the Western Allies. Has five or six different land fronts to maintain. Is running behind on nuclear development compared to the other majors. Not a great officer ratio (112%)
Strengths: Excellent infantry, tank, and artillery techs. Escort and heavy cruiser techs are all cutting edge, carriers have level 8 armor (compared to lvl 5 hangar/lvl 3 engine), aircraft techs all excellent (jet engine research underway), researching Civil Nuclear 3 and Strategic Rocket, strong infantry and motor doctrines, excellent Sea Lane Defense doctrines (others are decent as well) and pilot doctrines. Great navy and good air force. Massive pool of convoys and escorts (600s and 400s). Manpower pool in the 1400s. Has researched Flying Bomb and Radar Guided Bomb and Missile. Excellent officer ratio (139%, other majors mostly in the 120s)
Weaknesses: Not enough tanks and motorized units, mostly infantry-based army. Bad tank doctrines. Many fronts to commit to.
Strengths: Gained new industry and resources from German territory (including Antibiotics and lots of energy). Leading the way in nuclear research (has its first reactor under construction). Excellent infantry and tank techs, including a start on heavy tanks. Strong infantry and motorized doctrines. Has a decently strong navy. Good-sized armor, motorized, and tank destroyer forces and three paratrooper divisions.
Weaknesses: Crippling manpower shortage (currently at 0 and still needing more for full mobilization) stemming from low national unity and ongoing Population Crisis (although it should start improving once at war). Also been shorted industrially by the same. Has only just gotten up to 60% NU. Unimpressive naval and air techs and doctrines. Relatively weak air force.
Strengths: Cutting-edge infantry techs (7 and 8), first nation to get Night Fighting Equipment, actually very strong in the nuclear department (about to finish Civil Nuclear 3), Drop Tanks for its aircraft, very modern air force and carrier techs, great supply doctrines, great submarine techs, Acoustic Torpedo, Carrier Task Force, great doctrines in general. Big navy and carrier air force per norm.
Weaknesses: Has not conquered/been at war with China. Few mobile forces and of bad quality, the usual resource issues, not enough of a convoy/escort buildup, enemies have had more time to strengthen themselves beforehand. Relatively weak land-based air force.
Strengths: Massive IC whoring by the AI, leading or matching the leaders in most tech fields, world leader in rocketry and secret weapons (has Strategic Rockets as well as Radar Guided Missiles, SAMs and AAMs, and Acoustic Torpedo), Carrier Task Force and Commerce Defense, well-rounded army, strong air force and overall strongest navy.
Weakneses: Manpower shortage at the moment limiting expansion of its armed forces. Should go away during wartime. Behind its rivals in nuclear techs - only researching Civil 1 right now (blame the AI, I pretty much trusted it to handle USA most of the time).
Strengths: World's largest submarine fleet (52 flotillas!) with Unrestricted Warfare and Acoustic Torpedoes. Also strong surface fleet all around, including carriers. Good cruiser, submarine, and battleship doctrines. Decent (but not great) infantry and armor techs. Air force with strong NAV and CAS components. Strong specialist infantry forces (MTN, MAR, and PAR). Researching Civil Nuclear 2. Plenty of manpower to go. 137% officer ratio.
Weaknesses: A little behind in many tech and doctrine areas. Army is mainly infantry and light armor/motorized, lacking in heavier strike forces. Experiencing critical metal shortage.
Strengths: Pretty much a full-blown major now, with IC and leadership rivaling Japan's. Strong infantry and artillery techs, 1930s-ish naval techs and doctrines from CA level down. Strong land doctrines in Grand Battleplan and Human Wave. Has started to develop a strong air force, with about a dozen each of INT, TAC, and CAS and its first couple of NAV. Has built up a modest navy of CA, CL, DD, and SS. Huge infantry army with lot of artillery and rocket artillery support and a big mobile cavalry wing. Built its first rocket test site and started to research into rocketry. Well over 3000 manpower.
Weaknesses: Starting from far behind the other majors in naval and air departments and still lagging. Armor and motor techs far behind. Out of rare materials and will be blockaded by Japan when the war starts. Has a western front against the Soviets now as well. Will face combined forces of Japan, Communist China, and Soviet Union in the northeast.
Strengths: Has min-maxed for infantry and militia techs and doctrines well. Has built its land army up to about a quarter of the Nationalists' size and can count on the Japanese and Soviets for reinforcements.
Weaknesses: Has sacrificed development of air force, navy, and mobile forces to keep up in infantry and militia. May have issues with supplying allied reinforcements if too many get sent in.
Strengths: The surviving Poland has built up a large air force of INT, TAC, and CAS, and a navy which includes a BC, 5 CAs, 8 DDs, and 7 SS. Poland has also built up light armor forces and is starting to field medium tank divisions as well. Strong motorized doctrines include Superior Firepower and Combined Arms. Well-researched electronics and radar. Researching Jet Engines and Flying Bomb. Plenty of manpower to spare.
Weaknesses: The generalist approach the Poles have taken to research has left them a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. Infantry techs in particular are behind where they should be. Badly short on metal.
Strengths: Working on reclaiming their long-forgotten status as a world naval power. Large naval buildup has given them a force of 3 BC, 4 CA, 7 CL, 24 DD, and 9 SS. Two full CVs are under construction. Have trained six marine divisions and licensed one modern armored division from the French. Strong naval technologies on par with second-tier navies like France and the Soviet Union. Large convoy/escort pools.
Weaknesses: Development of the navy has left land and air forces bereft. Techs and doctrines are bad in both areas. Disproportionate IC in compairson with Leadership and Manpower.
Strengths: Modern infantry, artillery, and light armor techs. Starting to branch into medium armor. Decent airplanes, good infantry and tank doctrines. Good force of light armor and motorized troops and an air force of INT, TAC, FTR, and CAS.
Weaknesses: Not a lot of manpower to spare (only about 100 right now).
Strengths: Decent light tanks, starting to develop medium tanks. Fairly large infantry forces Modern heavy cruiser tech. Geographic distance from its enemies.
Weaknesses: Outnumber the strengths a lot. Bad leadership in comparison to countries like Poland and Czechoslovakia, which gained more from Germany, has left it behind in many tech areas, including infantry, aircraft, and doctrines.
Strengths: Has min-maxed its way into decent infantry techs. Fields five mountain divisions and a small air force of 3xINT 2xTAC. Officer ratio filled out near 140%.
Weaknesses: Starting from way behind in almost all tech areas and struggling to catch up with limited leadership. Aircraft and light tanks are of minimal quality, doctrines aren't that good, industrial techs all lagging. Out of rares, manpower around 100.
Strengths: Built up a large infantry-based army with a ton of artillery, AT, and AA support. Full officer ratio. Has built additional, fairly modern DDs and CLs. Close to 400 manpower left to spare.
Weaknesses: Poor tech in most areas, bad doctrines, no investment in tanks or mobile forces, weak air force.
Strengths: Has fielded several new mountain and marine divisions. Is starting to work on its air force and on light tanks and has developed radar. Infantry techs partially modern.
Weaknesses: Only 120 manpower, bad doctrines in pretty much all areas.
Strengths: A ton of manpower (nearly 3000). More manpower than it knows what to do with. Modern infantry techs and decent air and naval, thanks to piggybacking off British tech at the start. Strong land doctrines. Maxed out officer ratio.
Weaknesses: Horrific economic issues thanks to puppet relationship with the UK. Britain bleeds them dry in all resources, leaving them able to run only 20 of their IC. Britain's also sucking away all their supplies and fuel. As a result, they have not been able to utiliize their massive manpower pool and fairly good techs to the extent they should have.
Strengths: Surprisingly large infantry-based army with artillery and AT support with a few mountain and marine divisions as well. Small air force of 4 x INT. Has added a couple CAs to its navy. A well-maintained economy (how about that?) has left them with large stockpiles of all resources in the case of cutoff, and they have over 200 manpower to spare.
Weaknesses: Primitive techs, bad officer ratio (lurking around 100%). Right on the front lines against the Soviets in Turkey.
Strengths: Can depend on the Soviets for reinforcements and aid. Has significantly expanded all branches of its armed forces, with a lot of new infantry, artillery, light armor, INT, TAC, DDs, and TPs. Fairly good infantry and tank doctrines.
Weaknesses: Not a lot of manpower left, still has a pretty terrible leadership score, bad officer ratio, poor techs. Long frontier against Poland, Hungary, and Greece.
Strengths: Good infantry techs and doctrines, half a dozen each of both INT and TAC, decent airplane techs and doctrines.
Weaknesses: Only low-quality light tanks for mobile forces, out of metal and short on supplies.
Strengths: Has added a couple of mountain divisions and some basic mobile forcs of cavalry and a binary light tank division, as well as two INT and one TAC. Has worked its way up to semi-decent infantry techs on par with Poland or Spain. Filled out its officer ratio. Can get aid from the Soviets. Solid manpower pool of over 200.
Weaknesses: Had to start from near zero in almost all fields of tech, still primitive all around, very limited in IC and leadership. Very short on rares and steel.
Strengths: Hosting a lot of Soviet divisions.
Weaknesses: Got fucked, in a move that I regret. Had the Soviets invade and puppet them rather than align to the Comintern. Lost most of their starting divisions and their navy and air force, and the puppet economic situation has prevented them from recovering.
Strengths: This plucky little newcomer nation fields one division each of INF, MIL, MTN, and MAR, as well as one CAS group. Good head start on techs from the French, with fairly modern infantry; could theoretically build medium armor divisions and aircraft carriers, if only they had some IC to their name. Maxed out officer ratio.
Weaknesses: The usual puppet resource woes, very liimited IC and manpower.
Strengths: Fairly modern techs thanks to British, one fairly modern armored division and another about to be completed, good infantry doctrine including Grand Battle Plan.
Weaknesses: Resource limitations, mainly on energy. Low manpower and IC.
Strengths: Strong in Central Planning, researching Grand Battleplan. Lots of oil. Can get aid from the Soviets.
Weaknesses: Have only just progresed to being able to build infantry divisions. Weak army has only been expanded with a few militia divisions, one binary light tank unit, and a TAC. Very little manpower or IC to work with.
Strengths: Decent infantry doctrines and artillery and light armor techs, strong cruiser and destroyer doctrines. Ships upgraded with radar and AA. Has added marine, mountain, and light armor divisions, as well as a few new aircraft and escort vessels and a newer BC.
Weaknesses: Behind in infantry techs, not a great manpower situation. Poor infrastucture throughout Finland complicates getting units to the front lines.
Strengths: Decent little navy with a couple new CAs, DDs, SS, a couple of mountain and cavalry divisions added to help defend and police Norway, a couple of INTs, working on getting marines and NAV.
Weaknesses: Small army is basically an internal police force. Limited IC, manpower, techs, and leadership.
Strengths: Has focused on infantry and artillery and created enough divisions to hold its front line with the Soviets.
Weaknesses: Usual minor limits. Not enough IC, manpower, techs, etc.
Strengths: Added a few new infantry divisions
Weaknesses: Same as Lithuania but worse, not enough divisions to hold its full front line.
Why Is America Behind on Nuclear Techs? Why Are China and Poland Building Navies? Why Are All the Minors Researching Their Own Tanks and Aircraft And Stuff Instead of Min-Maxing and Licensing the Rest from the UK/USSR?
Flavor. And sometimes, I've made mistakes or overlooked things. I'm periodically tag-switching through all the countries, there are some that I monitor more closely than others. Part of the fun for me was seeing just how far I could progress countries like Poland or Czechoslovakia with several extra years of not being conquered, and there's a sort of satisfaction that goes with ordering the first Czech medium armor division or Dutch fleet carrier. I'm not playing this game to win, so there are plenty of places where the cool but inefficient option is taken - but these changes are happening in many different countries, so I don't think any one is too screwed.
In general, I've tried to have countries take a balanced approach, trying to have countries diversify their armies and work on air forces and navies as well where feasible. Some, however, are more specialized than others; the Netherlands, for example, is very naval-focused (in fact, largely the AIs doing; it ordered all those destroyers, subs, and light cruisers, and once I'd prompted it to research heavy cruisers up a level, it started ordering those on its own too).
Who's Going to Win?
I'm not quite sure. The Allies have the edge on paper in terms of numbers, but they are a coalition force, which has its disadvantages. Do you have any idea? We'll have to see...