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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Amoral

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Was anyone else having a lot more fun with the tech tree and division builder before they read this AAR? Ignorance is bliss, obviously.
 

CharlyFox

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sure

Was anyone else having a lot more fun with the tech tree and division builder before they read this AAR? Ignorance is bliss, obviously.
:)

Bliss is suboptimal, we are borgs...

Seriously I really enjoy this analysis, and it is still possible to play the game with one's own feeling ... Whether I ll apply all the teachings hereby demonstated or not e.g. decide for RP reasons that our soldiers need panzerfaust (HA inf tech= bad), is still up to me and how fun I want the game to be.
 

Kanitatlan

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CharlyFox, reis91 The deployment supply problem is easily dealt with by moving units to their wartime positions in reasonable time. The issue to watch out for is that during this period your supply "consumption" will temporarily increase as supplies are drawn out to fill the supply net. There is then a short period after deployment whilst the net settles down to fully filled. None of this is a problem unless you have your supply stock minimised and aren't expecting to have to commit the IC to producing supplies.

Amoral, CharlyFox You need not consider this AAR as an optimisation for all possible games, this is just optimisingh a country of Poland's size for Poland's particular problems. Other countries have different strategies which can involve a variety of units. For example the HA infantry tech is not valueless, it is just less valuable than some other things but once you have 1 point of leadership permanently dedicated to researching infantry SA the question arises of what to spend your remaining leadership on. For a major this will often raise questions like "is infantry HA tech more valuable than heavy armour techs" and other similar questions.
 

Kanitatlan

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Moving On​

There doesn't seem much point in further discussion of issues leading up to battle so I'm going to move on to discuss battle. We don’t get to the fighting just yet as there is a great deal of analysis about the units built and their capabilities which can provide insight into the game.

In particular the following issues affect my army and will be examined

  • Combat width and stacking
  • How do brigades form divisions
  • Combat modifiers
  • Armoured effects - what to be afraid of
  • Attack delay
  • Officers
  • Command hierarchy
I am going to post standard military FAQ style posting s for the issues so everyone is familiar with the background of game mechanics before moving on to examine the impact of these issues on my forces.
 

Kanitatlan

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Combat Width and Stacking Issues​

As soon as a battle commences we need to look at the issues of stacking and frontage. Whilst the game applies no restrictions on the number of units that may be present in a province it does limit how many units can take an active part in a battle and unlike HOI2 the same limits apply to both attacker and defender. All brigades have a property called combat width - as follows
Armour - width 2 until spearhead doctrine researched - then 1
Militia - width 1 until large formations researched - then ½
Other frontline brigades - width 1
Support brigades - width 0​
The width of a division is the sum of the width of its component brigades. Theoretically you can have a zero width division consisting entirely of support brigades but a division with zero width will not fight (immediately loses) and hence is irrelevant to this discussion. This means that in practice the narrowest division possible is a single militia brigade possibly plus support units. In theory you could deploy 21 divisions consisting of 1 militia plus 4 artillery into a single standard width battle although, in practice, this might be a little foolish (see stacking)

Any battle that is in progress will have an active combat width which is shown in the battle display. The width for a battle is a base of 10 plus an additional 5 for every additional province that the attacker is attacking from. Note that this applies even if the units attacking for a province fail to join the frontline and are stuck in reserve. There is no rule insisting that the battle width is filled by divisions from the province that generated the additional width, the whole combat is pooled and units may be from any of the attacking provinces.

At the start of a battle those units assigned to it will be automatically assigned to the frontline until the combat width is exceeded even if the last division assigned does not fit in the space available. This means that the width of the units in combat may exceed the width of the battle but never by more than the width of the last division added.

I have observed situations where at the start of a battle units from one direction are assigned to the reserves rather than frontline as if they joined the battle after it started even though their orders were issued simultaneously. I'm not sure why this is but it does seem, on occasion, to occur. I believe it is more common when the units in question are assigned the support attack mission. Further information on this would be useful. I haven't seen this effect recently so it may no longer apply.

Any units assigned to a battle that don't fit in the frontline are assigned to reserve. These units have a chance each hour of moving forward into the frontline if the combat width has not been exceeded. If additional units join the battle after it starts then they are added to the reserve pool and if they introduce a new direction of attack the battle width increases appropriately.

The combat width of battles can be modified by combat events. If the width shrinks this can push units out of the frontline and into reserve. After the event ends they will take some time to return to the frontline and a significant difference between the two sides in terms of rates of reserves moving forward may give a significant advantage. If the width increases it will take time for both sides to commit more forces and they will be pushed back to reserve when the event ends. See combat events for more details.

It can be seen that there are some advantages to having units with high values per unit of combat width but only if the combat zone suffers from some congestion. There are no known direct benefits of having wider units except for the fact that they often consist of cheaper brigades.
 

Kanitatlan

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Stacking

When reviewing the dynamics of combat width it is clear that having lots of narrow divisions is helpful and that having lots of reserves in the battle can also be a good idea for responding to combat events but there is also a downside. In any battle the whole force will experience a negative combat penalty for each division over the stacking limit that is assigned to the battle including both frontline and reserve divisions. Any divisions not taking part in the attack or any defending division that is now retreating does not count towards this total. The stacking limit is 1 + 3xattack_directions. That is a base of 4 plus 3 more for each attack direction. The same stacking limit applies to both sides.

For over stacking by N divisions a penalty of 1 - (0.95 ^ N) applies adjusted down by 5% for Human Wave doctrine and by 1% times the skill level of the theatre commander.

Note that the (0.95^N) formula appears to be subject to some rounding errors making the penalty very slightly larger than would otherwise be expected. This is only a fraction of a percent but can be slightly confusing if you are trying to reverse engineer the stacking penalty shown in the combat tooltips.
 

Kanitatlan

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Analysis of division sizes

I don't know how obvious it is to the general audience but bigger divisions are simply better when it comes to combat and I find it intuitively obvious so I'm not going to investigate further than showing a few examples and explaining the pattern of effect. This is most easily illustrated by running some examples based on splitting a set of brigades into different size divisions and pitting them against each other. For the purposes of fairness we will have attacking in both directions for each sample since def/tough have significantly different values

Test One

12 1940 infantry brigades

1) 6 x 2 brigade divisions: SA = 7.6, Def/Tgh = 15.5/9.6
2) 4 x 3 brigade divisions: SA = 11.4, Def/Tgh = 23.2/14.4
3) 3 x 4 brigade divisions: SA = 15.2, Def/Tgh = 30.9,19.2

1 -> 2 : 24% advantage for (2)
2 -> 1: 6% advantage for (1)

1 -> 3: 45% advantage for (3)
3 -> 1: 1.6% advantage for (3)

2 -> 3: 32% advantage for (3)
3 -> 2: 1.6% advantage for (3)

As you can see attacking or defending stance makes quite a difference due to the significant difference between defensiveness and toughness scores but putting your units into bigger division also makes a significant difference. The important point here is that bigger divisions are always better and that this can amount to a significant difference.

The actual advantage is obtained via the random process whereby each division chooses a target. By having your attack and defence points come in bigger chunks you gain an advantage in this random process that results in you enemy ending up using less of their total defensiveness/toughness whilst you end up using more of your defensiveness/toughness and the overall effect is a combat advantage. The pattern of benefit is most clear when the two sides are roughly balanced so my example shows quite a strong effect. When there is a significant imbalance between the opposing sides the division size effect becomes significantly reduced but is never completely eliminated.

Generally speaking for general operations you will obtain a significant combat advantage from using fewer bigger divisions. This is always the case although it is not necessarily the end of the story.

In a low density theatre the added flexibility of smaller divisions may be sufficiently useful to overcome the benefit from larger divisions. Also, in a medium density theatre you may have, for example, a position where you can assign 6 brigades to defend each province, which clearly doesn't allow a balanced defence with large divisions. This has an impact on division size choice but wherever possible try to have bigger divisions because it makes a difference and gives a real combat advantage.

It is worth noting that the larger attack values are relative to defence values the more larger divisions will help. Just think about it in terms of the average number of defence points each side will manage to involve in the combat.
 

unmerged(186212)

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I apologize if it seems obvious, but playing as Italy the biggest advantage I noticed from merging the 2 brigade divisions into 4 brigade divisions is that you can make the best use of your top commanders. Otherwise as Italy, and I presume Poland, you'll be stuck using zero skill generals.
 

dertechie

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I see Kanitatlan has moved up to HOI3. Pretty soon we'll have the mechanics so thoroughly teased out that a disassembler could not be more precise and a Luxembourg WC.:rofl:

Speaking of precision I think your supply math is off a bit. 23.5 + 15 is 38.5, not 48.5. Hope it doesn't affect your planning. I tried a Poland game back in DDA, got my rear end handed to me pretty well when I couldn't take East Prussia to shorten the front.
 

unmerged(53911)

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Just found this AAR and caught up; unfortunately, it appears as though this is another Kan-AAR that is "resting." Hope to see it awaken as I have yet to invest in HOI3 and am curious about its gameplay.
 

Alojzius Pend.

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Kani please go on. Very informative, very inspiring.
I'am playing Poland now. I planned to attack Lithuania at the end of 1938 and conquer it before Germany attacks me. This way I will have my army mobilisation completed and ready for September 1939. What do you make of it?
 

Kanitatlan

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I apologise for the extended hiatus, I've temporarily moved on to playing Vicky2 which is proving rather more accessible than Vicky1. I intend to come back here one day but not sure when. It is likely a full re-analysis will be needed
 

unmerged(35723)

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Thanks Kani for the kick start. I gave Poland a go a few days ago.

I had only about 800 MP due to a prolong period on voluntary army in order to pump out troops. I fielded 100 Inf('38)+3Art('40) divisions, literally, with these MP. German offensive came to a halt after 11 days. By 31st May I took all German Silisien right to River Oder. I did give up Danzig corridor, though, without a fight. I depleted MP to reinforce the troops. Nonetheless, almost all troops were still in good, if not full fighting strength. The weakest two corps were on high 80%.

Using existing troops, I took Berlin by June and got a massive MP boost . Later I pocketed and annihilated all German troops between River Vistula and River Oder, about 50 divisions. I then quit the game because it was clear that Germany had lost. A victorious parade would be held in Warsaw no later than 1st September 1939, a day to remember.
 

Immped

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I'm relatively green with HOI3. I've tried out some minor powers in this game to get a better understanding of the nuts and bolts within HOI3. I would consider Poland a wonderful challenge. I did a preliminary trial up to 1938 over the weekend and was struck with how inefficient my buildup was.

My preconceived plan was to:
1) Build IC through factory buildup
2) Build Infantry/Anti Tank Gun divisions (2 INF to 1 AT)
3) Build an Interceptor Airforce

This plan did not work at all. When 1938 arrived I had a handful of Infantry divisions, 1 factory improved and 1 Interceptor. Knowing the nature of the battle ahead I knew that this wouldn't have a chance against the German might.

As I was weighing options I found this thread yesterday. I appreciate Kanitatlan's nuts and bolts approach to building a force strong enough to repel the German army.

A lot of things intrigued me. For one he pretty much downplayed the armor effect; instead he concentrated on his ground troop soft attack ability.

Infantry divisions of 2 INF combined with 2 ART seems to be a great way to go. I like how the Tech research was minimized through eliminating entire phases of tech research.

I see the error of my method of raising Supply level as a way of gaining money to pay for the resources in deficit as it uses up precious IC points.

I applaud Kanitatlan's very well done approach to solving the Polish problem by best utilizing the resources that were available to this country. This approach could be used for managing other minor countries as well.

I've modified my thoughts about how I would like to defend Poland.
1) Build the Infantry/Artillery army
and either
2A) Build a static defense of Forts and AA to hold Danzig and several non-river squares west of Warsaw.
or
2B) Build an Interceptor force to hold these hard to defend areas.
3) Go on the offense to take out the Prussian land holding.

I would like to fall back to a defendable position without giving up Danzig or Warsaw while I attack the Prussian land mass.

Several questions pop up in this quest.
1) What would be the initial build order if I was to build Artillery brigades and Interceptors as I believe Kanitatlan did? (I find that I can build 12 ART brigades at the beginning but that doesn't leave room for Interceptors)
2) I already know that forts are good for defending ground, but do Anti Aircraft instillations do well at repelling Tac Bombers?
3) I already know where I want my fallback position to be; is it better to face the enemy at the borders and slowly fall back or just allow the Germans to make a land grab until they face my prepared defense?
4) Is there an easy way of paring down infantry squads of 3 INF (to 2 INF) as well as placing newly constructed ART brigades into each needed infantry division?
 

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Immped:

Thanks for the necro-bump! I thought this was in honor of its one year anniversary. Regarding your post - now you must run trials and test out your theories to get answers to your questions. Kan would expect nothing less!
 

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4) Is there an easy way of paring down infantry squads of 3 INF (to 2 INF) as well as placing newly constructed ART brigades into each needed infantry division?
Ha, I was just doing this as Germany and the best ways I found were:
1 - deploy the newly built artillery into the corps or army - brigades will go into the HQ itself, then when there's enough there to bother with go into the OOB editor and drag and drop them to rearrange your divisions. The annoying bit here is that pulling the last non-HQ brigade out of an HQ will remove the leader, so you have to re-add him. Advantage is that corps/armies are nearer the top of the deploy list, so not a lot of fiddly scrolling to find where to deploy.
2 - drop the new artillery into the province, then merge them into divisions of 4, attach to the corps and then drag/drop brigades using OOB editor.
3 - the best, when doing in bulk: build artillery as divisions of 4, deploy to a corps/army and then drag/drop brigades in OOB.

In the sprit of crazed micro-optimization, it (slightly) pays to leave the artillery in separate divisions so you can assign spare LOG leaders to them as they consume 33% more supply than infantry (in the mod I'm currently playing, anyway(HPP) - pretty sure it's similar in vanilla). So do the reassignments as late as possible :D

Unfinished corps stay in/near Berlin attached to "Home Army" so I don't have to remember where to deploy. And get moved out when finished to make it easier finding stuff in that huge stack. If it's not going to be to the capital, then hover the mouse over the province to quickly see if #inf brigades = #art brigades.
 

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Ha, I was just doing this as Germany and the best ways I found were:
1 - deploy the newly built artillery into the corps or army - brigades will go into the HQ itself, then when there's enough there to bother with go into the OOB editor and drag and drop them to rearrange your divisions. The annoying bit here is that pulling the last non-HQ brigade out of an HQ will remove the leader, so you have to re-add him. Advantage is that corps/armies are nearer the top of the deploy list, so not a lot of fiddly scrolling to find where to deploy.
2 - drop the new artillery into the province, then merge them into divisions of 4, attach to the corps and then drag/drop brigades using OOB editor.
3 - the best, when doing in bulk: build artillery as divisions of 4, deploy to a corps/army and then drag/drop brigades in OOB.

In the sprit of crazed micro-optimization, it (slightly) pays to leave the artillery in separate divisions so you can assign spare LOG leaders to them as they consume 33% more supply than infantry (in the mod I'm currently playing, anyway(HPP) - pretty sure it's similar in vanilla). So do the reassignments as late as possible :D

Unfinished corps stay in/near Berlin attached to "Home Army" so I don't have to remember where to deploy. And get moved out when finished to make it easier finding stuff in that huge stack. If it's not going to be to the capital, then hover the mouse over the province to quickly see if #inf brigades = #art brigades.
Gimlet: Hey; thanks a lot for your approach to building brigades into the divisions. I will definately give this a try. I do have the division builder downloaded so this should work decently.

WhisperingDeath: Yes, this is a bit of an old post but I love the build approach taken by Kanitatlan.

I still would like to get an idea of how to balance my build between Interceptors and ART/INF. The Interceptors dominate the IC.
 

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Ah, that savegame Army Organizer is pretty good but I meant the in-game OOB editor that I guess came with Semper Fi.

And yeah, Poland is a tough one to start with - every decision has to be focused on the big hammer that is coming, and it takes 3 3/4 game years before you find out if you screwed up. Plus there's a lot of units to manage, more than usual for a 50ish IC country I think.

Anyway this AAR inspired me to play a quick (probably too quick) HPP mod game as Poland and Germany crunched me nicely. One big part of it was I was playing late and too cocky and watching air battles and attacks up north when Germany managed to open a gap and blast a few motorised units behind my lines and almost next to Lodz before I noticed. My line was otherwise holding fairly well most places for the 1st 3 weeks, but by then they were knocking some back especially where they could converge from 3 provinces and used armor. It took longer than I thought to crush the Konigsberg troops (damn forest) and then redeploy south to cover the holes, especially since more than I expected was coming up through Slovakia and I never quite got that covered as well as I should.

I only built 1 IC and even that was 1 too many, and I only just managed to build 2 more interceptors just before the war after I thought I was about out of manpower and actually had IC to spare. I sure didn't have time to research much of the air techs, and what I did was almost certainly another mistake as I didn't quite finish '40 artillery or Small Arms in time, or a couple of the infantry doctrines that would have been handy.

Other flubs: I misplaced the garrisons (should have had infantry defending in the forests/woods and garrisons in the urban areas (HPP gives garrisons a decent defense boost in urban, and a malus in woods, even worse in forests), didn't have a real 2nd line in place (I was thinking the Konigsberg troops would take up most of that task but they didn't get there in time. I underbuilt too - I had a lot more manpower than I though left after I did the "mobilize for war" (another HPP mod thing), I could have upgraded half of the garrisons to full inf, built another 30-35 full 2 inf+2art divisions and still have a bit left to replace casualties.

At war start I had 95 inf, 53 gar and 147 art brigades. And 32 cavalry - again almost certainly too many. I was trying to keep the mobile practical from zeroing out, and I had fantasies of upgrading nicely experienced cav to armor/motorized in the future, but that presumed survival of course :D In HPP I have found cav pretty handy if you can't afford armor - it has decent attacks and speed, moves/fights pretty well in woods and forest, and uses infantry techs so there is no extra to research. I had the cav + 2 full corps of pure infantry swing up from the east through the woods and crush the Konigsberg forces - looked like about 15 divisions.

Germany was pretty brutally ready though, about 330 combat brigades: 111 inf, 48 Mtn, 6 Light Armor, 18 medium armor, 16 TD, and 105!!! motorized inf. Oh plus another 40 or so inf that I killed in Konigsberg. Most of the plain inf was in the Siegfried line, but nearly all of the armor/motorized was beating on Poland. No wonder it went downhill so fast when it opened a couple of gaps and started shoving that stuff through. Nicely done, HPP production AI + SF military AI :D

I was too tired to do a fighting withdrawl so I let the AI run with it, and it lasted another month before Warsaw fell. Oh well, maybe this weekend I can give it another whirl - I think another 2 divisions per front province - a 2+2 division + a 1+3 division, plus another division backing up as 2nd line just might make enough difference. And this time I'll get the techs right and watch my rear :p

Anyway, here's another good AAR I saw mentioned above with an even more artillery heavy approach: http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum...d-Fights-On-The-Side-With-The-Best-AARtillery - needless to say he managed a bit better than I did :lol:

But really, for 1st games I would select another country, probably Italy - for not much more work you get to attack, select your targets, build a more diverse army and have a navy and air force and the whole Med to play in. Or Romania or one of the other Balkan countries - beat on your neighbors a bit, but on your own schedule...
 

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Gimlet: Thank you for a very good description of what to expect. Since the weekend is here I'm hoping to dive into the Polish developement problem. I see you had a similar experience when you developed 1IC. I was hoping that this might open up the production throughput, but it just takes too much time for what Poland actually has and squanders other vital production. Another mistake I made earlier was that I didn't produce my units as reserves as suggested earlier in this thread. You did quite well in your artillery production on top of the IC, Interceptors and Calvary that you built. It does appear that this is something you want in large numbers. I actually repooled the manpower (as suggested earlier in this thread) from my Calvary. I also repooled the Armor Train manpower. I think for my 1st go at this that I'd like to try something static with my defense. I'll use the river to defend myself, and the area in the open I will build Forts and AA. I am really hoping that I will be able to slow down the Motorized Infantry that will be coming my way; by your description there are many numbers to be concerned with.

Yes; perhaps Poland is a tough assignment to take on as a relative beginner. I do however like some of the simplicity of the decision making as you are basically land locked, and there isn't much decision to make in regards to armor or airforce as your options are somewhat limited. I did try Romania and was pummeled by the USSR. I've learned much from this thread, so I believe I will have a more efficient approach than when I tried Romania. Perhaps after this I will want to try them once again. I looked heavily at Italy but I would rather not try a power such as this right now where there is just too many decisions to be made in terms of oversea conquests, overland conquests, navy, airforce, special forces etc... This game is so complicated that I'd like to understand things at the grass root level before I move on to greater challenges.