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Thread: A Kinder, Gentler Germany: Avoiding War for Fun and Profit.

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    Covert Mastermind Demi Moderator Secret Master's Avatar
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    A Kinder, Gentler Germany: Avoiding War for Fun and Profit.

    This AAR is meant to serve multiple purposes. It is partly a repository for information on how Germany can avoid a war with the Allies under current (3.06) AI and threat rules. There is a lot of misinformation that gets passed around the HOI3 forum, and by making this AAR I can just link to relevant posts rather than retyping the same thing over and over again.

    It is also an exploration of the benefits and consequences of spamming IC and a demonstration of the value of IC construction in an environment where you can roughly approximate when the war will actually start. It also is meant as a kind of demonstration of how much impact late game techs make. Furthermore, it is an exploration of the diplomacy AI and the threat system. The system is pretty good and the AI isn’t too bad, but we will see how the system starts to break down as the years roll by.

    And finally, the AAR will contain some story elements (usually bookends to gameplay elements) and will attempt to present a Germany that had something resembling ethical and rational leadership. With all of these things in mind, there are a few house rules at work in the game.

    1) No DOWs by Germany: Germany will never act as an aggressor during the entire game. (This has a ton of pleasant and unpleasant consequences.)

    2) No bullying of other nations: Germany will never generate threat by enacting decisions prior to the outbreak of the war. Once the war is started, Germany may freely enact decisions that generate threat. (Which leaves just the Anschluss at the outbreak of the war and intervention in the Spanish Civil War, actually.)

    3) Germany cannot add anyone to the Axis if they will declare their own wars or bully other nations. That means no Japan at all (they’ll DOW the USA) and no Italy until the Albania/Greece decision chain is broken.

    4) Germany may use spies in any way she sees fit. (Less interesting in practice than you might expect.)

    5) Germany may influence anyone she wants. (Not as interesting as it appears.)

    6) Germany can and will utilize guarantees to protect its interests in Europe.

    7) Germany will not antagonize partisans in occupied lands with either partisan increasing ministers or harsh occupation laws (we’re the good guys, remember?)


    And, in case you were wondering, the game has already been played out, so advice on how to play is welcome, but futile. I’ve also run the late war scenario as Germany a couple times before this particular game, so I already know kind of how to work the system before doing a game “on the record.” It’s not really about bragging so much as demonstrating.

    Chapter Index:

    This is for gameplay chapters only, since players looking for tips will want to reference those quickly. The story posts are always one post above gameplay posts.

    Chapter 1: Enriching the Reich IC build, initial political appointments in the cabinet, and plans on army and air force builds

    Chapter Two: Gameplay: We built this city on IC, RADAR, and airbases Build up to 39, law changes to reduce threat, and special forces build

    Chapter three: Fascism spreads via democracy, and StuGs look way cool (Gameplay) Diplomacy and spies during the 36-40 build up. Division builds. Consequences of low German threat on the world at large.


    Chapter 4: The Road to War 1941-1943 Gameplay



    Chapter 5: It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad, mad world.


    Chapter 6: Poland is lost, but the United Kingdom is gained

    Chapter 7: Endgame

    Chapter 8: Wrap up and analysis of failures
    Last edited by Secret Master; 03-07-2012 at 17:18.
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  2. #2
    Covert Mastermind Demi Moderator Secret Master's Avatar
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    Chapter one: Achieving Rational Leadership

    “So, is it true?”

    The blank stare coming from the Führer did not change as Dr. Morell injected him with another cocktail of substances best left to the imagination. The right side of the leader’s face drooped uncharacteristically, making him appear grotesque.

    “Yes. There’s no doubt it’s a stroke. He would probably be dead if I wasn’t here to tend him.”

    The men surrounding him looked at the doctor for a moment, ignoring one another as they pondered the future. It would be Raeder who broke the silence.

    “Goering will arrive in a few hours. What can we tell him?”

    Goebbels let an evil sneer cross his face.

    “That the last act of the Führer was to order him shot as a traitor.”

    “Tempting, but unlikely to make a difference in any case since our leader is not really dead. Besides, we should wait to discuss matters of policy until the doctor leaves.”

    Gesturing towards the door, Raeder hoped that Morell would take the hint. It took a moment before anything registered in the doctor’s face as he contemplated medical practice without his generous patron. In a haze, he wandered out of the room, leaving the four men alone.

    “Goering may have enjoyed Hitler’s favor, but I am his official deputy. Deputy Führer. It even says that on my office door. It is my position to help the Führer set and enforce policy. Since the Führer is not dead, I shall help him. Goering cannot do or say anything to gainsay that.”

    “Sure, but that only makes sense if he doesn’t have powerful friends. And the only thing we can all agree upon is that we all hate him.”

    “Not true, Schacht. We all also agree on something else. That the Führer’s rearmament plan he was just about to order us to implement was clearly a product of his stroke and needs some, how shall I say it? Substantial revision.”

    “I’m listening. What do you have in mind, Deputy Führer?”

    “Gentlemen, it is clear that the Führer’s actions were clouded by his illness. The rearmament plan, as he envisioned it, would only bring us into conflict with the British, our natural ally against the communists. But it is also an unreasonable plan as you tried to tell him. We simply can’t afford to rearm to those levels. But what if we took your alternate plan, Schacht, and combined it with your naval plan for a blue water force that complies with the Anglo-German Naval Agreement, Raeder? What if we, in fact, enriched the Reich first and then rearmed?”

    The three men stared at Hess for a moment, weighing the potential costs and benefits.

    “Goering won’t buy it. He’s not a moron.”

    “Oh, I’m sure he will suspect something, so we need to throw him a bone. A big bone. Something to feed his ego.”

    “What do you have in mind, Dr. Goebbels?”

    “How many aircraft would it take to completely darken the sky at 10,000 feet?”

    The Minister of Economics puffed on his cigarette for a few moments as he thought about it.

    “140,000 operational aircraft.”

    “Then we promise him that. His personal military force, the Luftwaffe, will have 140,000 operational aircraft by 1945. I will sell it to him as a propaganda coup and a triumph of technology. Only the German people could accomplish such a feat.”

    “But we can’t build and support that many aircraft. No one can. I mean, the amount of steel required would bankrupt several smaller countries…”

    “Not right now, and he knows it. But that’s what the further industrialization of Germany would allow us to do, right? And furthermore, if he has been promised so many aircraft, he won’t mind turning over naval aircraft operations to the navy. You know, those aircraft that would fly from those ships Raeder keeps talking about. And in a couple of years, after he has made his plans and simmered in his egotistical grease, he will have to argue with the army over who gets the lion's share of the country’s industrial output.”

    They all looked at the Propaganda Minister with shocked expressions for a moment. It wasn’t a good plan, or a sane plan, or even a credible plan. But it was just the sort of bombastic bullshit that the bastard would buy into. And sidelining Goering would result in the freedom to pursue a policy to which all of them subscribed. Except for Dr. Goebbels, who was content just to be on the inside track of the regime for once.
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  3. #3
    Covert Mastermind Demi Moderator Secret Master's Avatar
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    Chapter 1: Enriching the Reich (Gameplay)

    Alright, so if I am going to deliberately delay the war until later in life, and if I am going to pursue a policy of not attacking anyone, what should my priorities be?

    The most important thing: neutralize Hitler. No more insane plans to attack European countries. No more impoverishing the German people in order to rearm in the 30s. And no more pointless bullying of our neighbors to steal their wealth and industry.

    Now, with that out of the way, of all, let’s make sure we all understand something absolutely vital: IC generates no threat upon construction. Ships, planes, tanks, infantry, militia, MPs, engineers, and even V-2s all generate threat, but industrial capacity does not. So, I can build IC until the end of the world and it will not harm my position in the world. But you still have to supply it with resources AND the UK’s neutrality drops over time. Eventually, their neutrality will be so low that building even a wing or division will result in a DOW. So building IC forever is not an option.

    Furthermore, both the USA and Soviet AI are spamming IC in the pre-war years. In 3.06, the USA will spam IC until they hit 600 base IC. This means that by 39, the amount of resources I can trade for will be getting smaller. Trades will get cancelled over time just because the USA and Soviets cannot spare the resources, not because they hate me. Add to this that Germany starts with pretty high chemical techs for resource generation and you end up in a situation where the actual IC I can afford to fuel until the war begins is finite. I can’t research my way out of it and can’t import my way out of it.

    There is also the technological angle to consider. Construction practicals will let me research IC techs ahead of time without too much effort, but the industrial production tech will increase my need for resources as well. But I can SAVE IC by waiting on the production of new units because I won’t have to pay for 5 generations of upgrades.

    Then there’s the question of units themselves. With tons of IC, Germany will be even more limited by manpower than it would normally, especially since I won’t be firing some decisions for extra manpower. Based on house rules, I will only fire the Anschluss after the war starts. But I won’t be getting any manpower from Munich (which turns out for the best when you see the war in the east, actually). So, manpower will be limited even if IC is absurdly powerful. How, then, to budget manpower?

    The answer is to actually try to meet the promise to Goering of 140,000 serviceable aircraft by 1945. We won’t quite make it, but that’s because the war gets in the way. As for army, we will not produce a single ground unit until MECH is researched. I will crash-convert the entire existing German army into either special forces (MAR, MTN, and PARA) or my personal favorite mechanized division for a very late war: 2xMECH, 2xSPARTY, 1xTD. We’ll talk about that stuff later, though. For now, suffice to say that lots of aircraft and really expensive MECH based divisions is the most efficient use of both threat and manpower.

    I am not going to go wild with the navy, but the goal is to have a single Death Star CTF of 6 CVs/6 CLs (with a few extra CLs to act as replacements for ships lost in service). This seems wimpy compared to the IC I am making, but since I am not attacking the USA, I don’t need much more of a navy. You will see that CTFs with 1943/1945 techs tend to massacre everything the RN or French Navy brings to the table. And I mean everything. I end up building more when the war actually starts, but that’s because I want floating airbases in both the Black Sea and the Baltic to support the war against the Soviets. Supplying CVs through ports is easier than supplying TACs based in far flung airfields. Again, we will return to this issue when the war heats up.

    Because the Soviet AI wants to make life difficult, I have to plan for a war against both the Allies and the COMINTERN at the same time. The Soviets will DOW Poland within weeks of the UK attacking me. Germany will end up in a two front war and that will have to be kept in mind.

    What shall we do? Based on previous games, I will do two runs of 43 IC with partial runs after that to coincide with some new airfields and RADAR stations. I don’t intend to cook practicals with CVLs or anything else because any units I build will add to my threat. Basically, I won’t be building any units at all until 1939. I will buy all resources I need from both the USA and Soviets (neither one will be able to satisfy my demand anyway). I will buy ahead of my need and buy in big lots in order to stockpile as much as I can. For the moment, I will keep Schacht as my armaments minister until I need a resource industrialist to keep resources flowing. And I will buy crude as well, although we will discover just what the limitations of crude to fuel conversion really are by the time 1945 hits.

    The cabinet in 1936.



    Frick is a temporary appointment until party ORG is high enough to render the fractured government modifier obsolete. After that, Goebbels will take over. Frick’s partisan malus does not violate the house rules because there are no partisans to antagonize at the moment.

    Goebbels as Foreign Minister is temporary. The other ministers either provide useless benefits or have threat increasing traits. Because of how scandals affected me in this game, I end up with no useful foreign ministers at all, but for gameplay purposes, as long as you avoid threat increasing ministers, you're fine.

    I would post a pic of my IC, but building tons of IC looks boring. Just for completeness sake, I will tell you that in addition to queuing up two runs of 43 IC, I've also deleted all ships in the queue. Don't need the threat and the practicals will be obsolete by the time I am ready to build actual ships.
    All Hail Him,

    The Secret Master

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  4. #4
    Private droy75's Avatar
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    Very interesting. Subscribed!

  5. #5
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    Well, well, a Secret Master AAR. I'll try to follow this one more faithfully than your Castille one.

    Interesting premise, I look forward to seeing how it plays out.
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  6. #6
    Lt. General anweRU's Avatar
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    I will be following this one. I have tried games with and without IC builds, and yours will max the IC build beyond anything I've tried.

    Will you do the Reoccupation of the Rhine? Also, will you increase the threat of France to lower your CG goods demand? I discovered, back in SF, that increasing the threat of UK is bad as the UK will DOW.

  7. #7
    President Pro Tempore Jape's Avatar
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    Its a brave AARer who openly admits to pacifist tendencies. Interesting idea to examine the game mechanics, I imagine HOI3 gets a little odd when Germany doesn't play its part.

  8. #8
    Strategy GuidAAR Rensslaer's Avatar
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    Most excellent! Secret Master returns, and it's an interesting premise.

    I tried something very like this in Kriegsgefahr, and I didn't expect this sort of scenario would draw much attention, but playing a peaceful Germany is more interesting than you'd expect.

    Looking forward to seeing more.

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  9. #9
    Field Marshal Baltasar's Avatar
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    Regarding increasing practicals buy building CVL: When exactly is threat generated by constructing units? When you add them to the queue, when they are in the deployment menu or when they are actually deployed?

  10. #10
    Corporal Veugdenmans's Avatar
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    I am very interested to see what the result of this uncommon play will be. Count me in.

  11. #11
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    interesting premise, & it'll be useful to see how the diplomacy/threat system works out with your goals

  12. #12
    Field Marshal sprites's Avatar
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    We'll see something uncommon! i'm in!
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  13. #13
    Strategy GuidAAR Rensslaer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baltasar View Post
    Regarding increasing practicals buy building CVL: When exactly is threat generated by constructing units? When you add them to the queue, when they are in the deployment menu or when they are actually deployed?
    On actual deployment.
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  14. #14
    Field Marshal misterbean's Avatar
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    can't wait to see whether the vanilla game can actually support the premise. count me in as well.
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  15. #15
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    I can't wait to see where this goes! Best of luck, and you've earned my subscription.

  16. #16
    Covert Mastermind Demi Moderator Secret Master's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    Well, well, a Secret Master AAR. I'll try to follow this one more faithfully than your Castille one.

    Interesting premise, I look forward to seeing how it plays out.
    Well, it will be less story intensive than Castile was. But that was a decade ago, so comparisons are perhaps not advised.

    Quote Originally Posted by anweRU View Post
    I will be following this one. I have tried games with and without IC builds, and yours will max the IC build beyond anything I've tried.

    Will you do the Reoccupation of the Rhine? Also, will you increase the threat of France to lower your CG goods demand? I discovered, back in SF, that increasing the threat of UK is bad as the UK will DOW.
    I won't get my IC too high. You'll see why in my next post. As for decisions, I can't take any of the decisions that generate threat. That includes even basic ones like reoccupying the Rhineland. (I intervene in the Spanish Civil War, but as we all know, that is basically nothing.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jape View Post
    Its a brave AARer who openly admits to pacifist tendencies. Interesting idea to examine the game mechanics, I imagine HOI3 gets a little odd when Germany doesn't play its part.
    Don't worry. Neville "Bomb them to the Ston Age" Chamberlain will make sure war happens at some point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rensslaer View Post
    Most excellent! Secret Master returns, and it's an interesting premise.

    I tried something very like this in Kriegsgefahr, and I didn't expect this sort of scenario would draw much attention, but playing a peaceful Germany is more interesting than you'd expect.

    Looking forward to seeing more.

    Renss
    It is an interesting exercise. I hope you like ground attack missions with high efficiency. The Soviets respond well to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by misterbean View Post
    can't wait to see whether the vanilla game can actually support the premise. count me in as well.
    Well, it only supports it in the sense that the UK gets continuously reducing neutrality no matter what I do. I find that highly suspicious from a historical standpoint (a completely docile Germany after 36 would justify Labor's complaints about the cost of rearmament), but it means that WWII will happen.

    And now to the next installment.
    All Hail Him,

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  17. #17
    Covert Mastermind Demi Moderator Secret Master's Avatar
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    Chapter two: Neville Chamberlain and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement

    “…And so, it is the Admiralty’s recommendation that Germany’s good faith proposal to renegotiate the Anglo-German Naval Agreement be accepted in full. I would just like to add that their proposal is actually more in line with the Admiralty’s desires than the original treaty.”

    The Prime Minister glanced up and eyed Duff Cooper critically.

    “Did I hear you correctly? The Admiralty thinks we should accept the proposed renegotiation?”

    “Of course we do. It has been the Navy’s stated policy for two decades that the last thing we want is to face naval forces designed around submarines and other convoy raiders. Goebbels might be an annoying tit, but his offer makes complete sense. Germany will refrain from building any submarines, cruisers, or pocket battleships indefinitely and will instead focus on aircraft carriers and large screens. The tonnage they propose to build is still in line with basic ratio outlined in the original treaty. We will out gun them and out man them on the ocean to such an extent that we can afford to keep an eye on Japan. And let’s face it, Neville, Japan’s continued success in China means they will have more resources and more naval bases with which to threaten us. They are already sitting on the doorstep of Hong Kong. They are literally thousands of kilometers closer to India. Her carriers could send planes to bomb Calcutta right now. In a year, they could be sitting on the border of Burma. Even France is reconsidering their naval policy in light of the threat to Indochina.”

    “Is the navy really suggesting we should appease Hitler?”

    “Appeasement? How can you call a change to the existing treaty that keeps the original intent appeasement? Like I said, this is the kind of treaty the Admiralty would have wanted in back in 1935. We betrayed Italy and France to negotiate the original version of this treaty. Since this version is better than the original version, I’d say they were appeasing us. While I’m not an expert, I suspect that accepting this treaty makes them look good at home. They can claim to have won a diplomatic victory and can ramble on and on about their modern ships, while we get what we’ve wanted all along. Peace in our time, right?”

    “Mr. Cooper, I do not think you understand what is at stake,” Chamberlain's eye twitched, “No, you do not understand one bit. Germany is rearming. Rearming to levels that will make the Great War look like football hooliganism. They are building hordes of aircraft. Bombers. Fighters. Monstrous four-engine planes that have the cargo capacity to move thousands of troops.”

    “But Neville, that’s not the Admiralty’s concern…”

    “No, it is everyone’s concern. You sound just like those whining MPs from the Labor party, complaining about the cost of rearmament. Just like the common Briton out there, going to work and thinking to himself that war will never again happen. But it’s all smoke and mirrors. All of it. Japan is not the real threat, Mr. Cooper. Hitler is the real threat. Germany will rearm. And they will not rest until they have taken our empire from us.”

    The ministers that were present looked worried as Duff Cooper squirmed in his seat.

    “But intelligence indicates that Hitler isn’t even running the country anymore. It’s all Hess and his allies right now…”

    “Mr. Cooper, you will bury that report. You will produce a new one that says that Germany is trying to weasel their way out of the original treaty. Your office will accuse Germany of rearming past their needs. Labor will say you are lying, and for the moment some people will believe them. But I want the Admiralty to be on record as opposing German naval expansion so that, when the time comes, this government can point to that report as one of many justifications for war.”

    “France will not back a war at this time, Neville.”

    “Mr. Eden, I thought I would hear from you. France will back a war whenever, however, we decide to fight one. I don’t care about French willingness to fight. I only care about the willingness of the British people.”

    “They won’t support a war right now, either. You know that.”

    “And that, Mr. Hoare, is why I need this government to lay the groundwork for war now, not later. Rearmament is not enough. We must get the people to accept a war. Germany’s foreign policy course is clear. They are going to milk our lack of desire for war for all it’s worth. We must fight back any way we can.”

    Neville Chamberlain sat quietly for a moment. Then, with a wave of his hand, the ministers left the room.
    All Hail Him,

    The Secret Master

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  18. #18
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    Chapter Two: Gameplay: We built this city on IC, RADAR, and airbases

    Well, building IC is boring, but the AI keeps things interesting.



    I had no trade with them, so this has no gameplay impact. In fact, the AI’s decision in this matter seems odd. What is more relevant is Japan’s success in China. As Japan generates threat, the UK gets closer to enacting better laws. This really isn’t ideal, but I can’t do anything about it. Still, I am sitting at the best laws short of being in an actual war, so I’m still way ahead of the Allies.



    Of course, the AI takes the Great Purge, so as we move from 1936 to 1939, the Soviets have good laws, too. After the two big IC runs, I start CVs, CAGs, and CLs, plus some TACs. Big ticket items are what I want right now (I am waiting on certain techs before building TRA or STR). Threat is uniform no matter how much a unit costs, so getting some of the big stuff out of the way right now is good.

    But I am also waiting for certain techs to come online, so I interrupt some unit production in 1938 to build RADAR. I also build a new, huge airfield alongside RADAR in Lotzen. That province sits right on the border with Poland, but it is also as far east and south as I can put RADAR with Germany’s present borders. It will be absolutely vital to the war effort in late 43. Remember, techs and doctrines will be much higher at the outbreak of the war than they would be in a standard scenario. Some of those techs relate to RADAR and aircraft. The RADAR in Lotzen not only will be able to see some units as far away as Kiev with no decryption, but my aircraft will also benefit from RADAR bonuses until we liberate Poland. And those bonuses are nothing to sneeze at.

    RADAR, airbases, naval bases, and infrastructure generate no threat. In that sense, prepping for the war is easy. They are also not very expensive when you have tons of IC. But I can only fuel so much IC, so building practicals carefully is vitally important. I could have built way more IC, but what happens is that when you go too far past 250 base IC as Germany (pre-conquest), and if you are trading with the USA and Soviets past 1940, then there’s just not enough metal and rares in the world to fuel it all since they are spamming IC, too. I ramped up to a base of 300+ IC in a prior game, and Germany ran out of resources long before the war started in 43! My base IC in this picture, coupled with continued improvements in IC techs, means that Germany never runs short of resources (although we get close before we puppet the UK).

    This is the dilemma of building IC in a late war scenario. Since you aren't stealing rares and metal from the UK and France in 39-40, you can't fuel excessive IC like you can if you start the war earlier. If Paradox rewires the USA to spam less IC, then maybe you can maintain more trade with them for a longer period of time. But right now, I wouldn't go past 250 base IC if you are planning on war in 43. You can't fuel much more.



    Great air force by 39. Not bad. But Germany has built zero ground forces. And I’m not going to build any new ones right now. I have all these lovely INF brigades with hordes of XP just sitting around doing nothing. So, we start some upgrades.



    I didn’t research the right techs as fast as I could, so I can’t make MECH just yet. But that’s okay; I’ll get my special forces in order before I lose any more infantry practical. I won’t be building any more infantry based units after I get all the PARA and MAR I need in place. I’m making a couple of divisions of each, and I will end up with 5 brigade divisions (superior firepower) so I plan accordingly.

    But there is a further problem. Units that come out of the queue add threat, even if they pre-exist. (I think.) So, to minimize threat, we have to do the unthinkable.



    All those special forces brigades will come out of the queue with hardly any staff. When we get closer to the war, I will switch back to three year draft and get my reserves (which is the entire army) reinforced. Volunteer army + reserves = lowest threat from land units. It means that I spend a few years with lower manpower gain AND I turn leadership into officers at the worst possible rate. That means no making officers until I switch back (which means no 140% officer ratio at the beginning of the war).

    My spies have also been busy, but I’ll leave that for the next update.
    All Hail Him,

    The Secret Master

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  19. #19
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    Ooh, I like that version of Chamberlain - he's got foresight and a mind of steel! And this:

    Neville "Bomb them to the Ston Age" Chamberlain
    That mental image put a nice smile on my face.

    Getting a little nervous, seeing how you're in 1939 and you have about as much groundforce punching power as, say, Bulgaria (taking a wild, unsubstantiated guess here). But I know it's part of the masterplan.
    Hollow Little Reign - A brief Crusader Kings tale about family ties in Byzantium.

  20. #20
    I wish Bulgaria had that much troops

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