AI Finland not preparing for Winter War?

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goodcigar

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Nov 24, 2020
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Hey guys is there something wrong with AI Finland? I've been observing them in some test runs and it looks like they don't even have enough Divisions to cover their border for the Winter War.
 
That wouldn't surprise me, Finland was the first country I tried in AAT and they have to hit about 3 or 4 specific focuses in order to have enough recruitable pop to train enough divisions to cover their border fully. I seriously doubt the AI path is that well optimised.
 
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From what Ive seen in recent games as the SU, they put most of their troops on the eastern border and station one singular troop on the mannerheim line, allowing you to just walk around it.
 
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They actually fair quite well all things considered, especially if you send them some volunteers. But I think the AI is set to lose if the historical path is followed. Finland is a great small nation to play now.
 
They actually fair quite well all things considered, especially if you send them some volunteers. But I think the AI is set to lose if the historical path is followed. Finland is a great small nation to play now.
Whilst you can get them to successfully hold the line with volunteers, as soon as the USSR start naval invasions they fold like a house of cards since the AI can't defend both the border and ports. Or at least that is my experience when trying to help them..
 
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It's odd, they spent effort developing a proper Historical Finland tree only for Historical Finland to now perform worse historically than they did before AAT. "Soft nudges" indeed...
I can't help but agree. before BBA I would see the event pop up about "jubilant italian soldiers enter cairo" in like a third to 1/2 the games I played. After BBA I don't think ive ever seen that event unless I helped Italy- instead after the free update alongside BBA Italy always gets crushed in North Africa- the only rare thing is when they are able to hold out for more then 1 year.

Overall Finland is still my favorite country from AAT, and I enjoy every path of Finland, but IMO the 2 things unaligned Finland need to make its focus tree and place in the game perfect, is 1. Extensive conscription before Winter War. And 2. The sea freezes during the winter of '39- making naval invasions by the soviets unusuable from Oct 1939-Feb1940.

Ofc, the sea freezing over wouldn't actually be needed if Finland had extensive conscription because then they could actually spare some troops for port guards/reserve units.
 
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Whilst you can get them to successfully hold the line with volunteers, as soon as the USSR start naval invasions they fold like a house of cards since the AI can't defend both the border and ports. Or at least that is my experience when trying to help them..

If you have the extra volunteers advisor (as Sweden I think?) you can actually hold the forts and the naval bases. I think you can send up to six divisions. The SU usually only attack the two nearest ports. If they do decide to attach the furthest then I simply fast move a couple of divisions. It's worked for me so far.
 
Well historically Finland was not ready for winter war. They were surpriced. Luckily to Finland, Soviet did mess up their attack badly and Finland did get time to get their line ready before total collapse. But in reality Finland should not have any chance is Winter war unles Soviet plays historically badly aka play historically also.
 
Well historically Finland was not ready for winter war. They were surpriced. Luckily to Finland, Soviet did mess up their attack badly and Finland did get time to get their line ready before total collapse. But in reality Finland should not have any chance is Winter war unles Soviet plays historically badly aka play historically also.

While certainly not ready for war, the Finns weren't caught with their pants down either when the Russians attacked on 30 November 1939. The Finns had mobilised in October and manned their defensive lines prior to the invasion with the meagre forces they had.

The game doesn't emulate real-life well. In the game if you commit 1.8 million men, 6,600 tanks and 5,000 aircraft against an opponent with 370k men, 52 tanks and 230 aircraft (figures based on the total amounts committed by the USSR and Finland respectively during the 105 day Winter War), the opponent will crumble like a crouton, be it AI or a human player for that matter. The game also simply doesn't allow for the portrayal of historical Russian mistakes or Finnish successes, which were generally on the tactical and operational level. Modifiers only get so far.

Historically the Finnish divisions were concentrated in the south on the Karelian Isthmus, with a couple in Ladoga Karelia and one in the Suomussalmi-Kuhmo area. The rest of the long frontier was held by a collection of separate battalions and companies, holding off entire Red Army divisions. You just can't do that in-game, and the AI isn't even coded to try. Instead it will spread its divisions across the entire frontier and leave the south exposed, allowing both AI and player USSRs to just march into Helsinki. I've said this for years: the game being the way it is, IMO the correct approach would've been to make some of the frontier impassable, similar to how HoI3 did it.
 
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IMO the correct approach would've been to make some of the frontier impassable, similar to how HoI3 did it.
I think a few MP mods do it too like TFB.

On a slightly separate note, for AAT Finland I was really looking forward to taking advantage of Finland's specialised winter troops, with all the buffs they got in various forms.

After playing it, I don't really feel they played that differently in winter to any other nation. I'm sure on paper they do but I can't say it felt that way to play. Did you guys find it different?

The new "winter war" weather events certainly made it harder for the Red Army to push, but I found I still needed an army of fairly proper divisions (10/0 or 9/1s with some support) to hold the line.

I was expecting that some smaller, simpler divisions with the right "support" would hold off the red menace, but in the end the generic template was needed. Just a bit disappointing there wasn't more flavour there.
 
It's possible in game to form one battalion 'divisions' and name them as Separate Battalions, to represent Finnish units in Northern parts of the frontline. But to be historical, these battalions should be able to encircle and destroy full size Soviet divisions that had artillery and armor, since that's what historically happened in the Winter War.
 
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It is hard to make Soviet AI as bad as it was in real life…
But yeah… Winter war is hard to reproduce with current game engine. Most likely would need hard scripts to replivate historical events and hard scripts normally are not fun because they does not allow player freedom.
 
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The main issue here seems to be the fact that Paradox balanced AAT Finland around having a really dire manpower situation at the start of the war (even worse than it was in reality), and making it so that Finland becomes powerful, ridiculously powerful through national spirits that they gain through focuses. Working around that is not that hard for a human player, in fact I’d consider Finland blatantly OP as whole once you start snowballing, but AI is hopeless when it comes to defending such a long border with such a limited amount of divisions.

Properly portraying Winter War with all its successes and failures is obviously beyond the scope of HoI IV, but I wonder if Finland’s performance could still be made more historically consistent by giving it a bit more manpower and then perhaps cutting down the silliest excesses from the national spirits. That way, surviving the initial start of the war would be easier, especially for AI, but Finland wouldn’t get disproportionately buffed up later on.
 
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The most direct and immediate issue is the inability of the AI to sensibly cover the long border. It strikes me that the easy win would be to block sections of the border freeing up divisions that the AI assigns there so it deploys sensible scales of force to Karelia. There is a need to simulate the degree to which the terrain and infrastructure of those areas restricted the scale of force that can be deployed. This could instead be much bigger provinces. Strictly speaking it could be achieved by a special terrain type with a much lower frontage limit but this wouldn't deal with the current issue of the AI spreading its forces much too evenly across the entire frontier.
 
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The problem with Finland now is that it's a glass cannon optimized for human min-maxing. Getting enough units to cover the border, without making those units so weak that they can't hold the Soviets, is the first challenge. It's also the last challenge. If you manage to do it, there is nothing that can stop you except your boredom. Not just against the Soviets, but against the whole world. You can do a WC with Finland without ever suffering a million in casualties across all the wars that you need to engage in.

The downside of this setup is that obviously it's the worst case scenario for AI. Even against another AI there is nothing you can do in a war if you don't have enough units to cover the entire front.
 
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