Germany 1936 - First steps.

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Imperium_754

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Hi there, I'm new to Darkest Hour, I have played Hoi2 back in the days and Hoi3 as well (mostly with BlackIce) but I have skipped Hoi4 as I generally prefer a more "historically accurate" playthrough.
Well, looks like DH is another beast :)
I was wondering about some usual first steps you people take when playing the scenario mentioned above?
Playing as Germany, do you keep building all the ships already in the Queue by default? Or free up those IC to upgrade/build new divisions and planes?
I see that also France can put quite a challenge at the beginning.
In general, I tend to build factories (roughly 20 more) while upgrading, and meanwhile build what I can.

In terms of research also, is it convenient to start ahead of time in DH (1 year max ahead), or this slow down the research too much?
 
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Eugenioso

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Use the search function to find strategies for germany.
 

Rifal

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Playing as Germany, do you keep building all the ships already in the Queue by default? Or free up those IC to upgrade/build new divisions and planes?
Naval Germany is surprisingly viable in DH. I was able to keep the ships under construction at the start as well as build 2 Sharnhorsts, 4 Bismarcks, 3 Graf Zepplins and the intended 5 Hippers. Just make sure you expand your industry enough during the early years to be able to accommodate all those extra ships while still managing to build proper land forces.
 
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Imperium_754

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That's something I'll try in the next playthrough.
For now I'm just focusing on industry for the first couple of years or so, and then move to aircraft/infantry/tanks as soon as I can.
First try against France didn't work well :D
I do also tend to research critical techs about a year or year and a half in advance (medium tanks for example).
 

General Mess

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I found the following two 1936 playthrough threads very helpful; they were written for older versions of DH, but contain a lot of helpful info for a beginner (such as myself)
 
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Imperium_754

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Alright, in the end, I managed to beat France by the historical date, more or less.
On the other hand, I found beating the Soviet Union way too....easy?
I have delayed Barbarossa to May '42, straight after the mud went off, I thought I wouldn't have enough divisions myself, as Germany I had something like 140 division, of which about 20 were armored (light and early medium tanks), taking control of Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria helped quite a lot, as fortunately about a 100 Soviet divisions were encircled in a pocket in Bessarabia, plus minor other pockets in the center and in the north.
I thought the Soviets would eventually recover from this initial blow, but after that, it was just a walk in the Soviet lands, Moscow undefended, as well as Stalingrad?
Easy walk to Baku and Urals tho.
 

Imperium_754

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That's interesting, I guess I'll have one playthrough more and then switch to mods.
It was quite surprising to find France and Benelux harder than Soviet Union tho :D
 

Altruist

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It was quite surprising to find France and Benelux harder than Soviet Union tho
Well... we know what and how it happened, that makes it a lot easier and gives a wrong impression at the same time.
Germany conquered the whole of Benelux and France in 6 weeks... so it must have been easy... no, certainly not. And contrary to all those jokes about the French army, the fighting was extremely hard. Just look at the numbers... in terms and scales we are used to for WW2 almost 160 thousand casualties on the German side, the winning side, might not look impressive but then again, put it into relation: all those casualties were in just 6 weeks. And almost a third of the whole Luftwaffe destroyed, also almost a third of all tanks destroyed... in 6 weeks. So, yes, fighting was fierce. No cakewalk.

Both sides, the Allies as much as the Axis, both for their own reasons, spun the myths of the vastly superiour Wehrmacht... but it wasn't. As a matter of fact, especially if taken the British Expedition Corps and the French altogether (and even when leaving out the Netherlands and Belgium), in sheer numbers they were on par with the Wehrmacht but had for the most part better and especially more equipment in terms of artillery, tanks or motorized units in general. What made this war look, afterwards, like the cakewalk (which, as I said, it wasn't) were much better tactics and usage of their equipment on the German side... and, most importantly, abandoning their initial plan how to attack France. That initial plan, very similar to WW1, would had, most likely, utterly failed.

And as good as DH is as a WW2-simulator, there are limits. It is really difficult to simulate how absurdly out of time the lines of communication and command were on the Allies's side in comparison with this new way of waging war on the German side: Mobility, Auftragstaktik, 2-way-radio-sets in every kind of can-like thing the Germans called Panzer Typ 1 and 2 at that time, leaders with the ability to command right at the frontier together with a new kind of combined arms-warfare including Panzer divisions - Luftwaffe/Tac and CAS - motorized artillery... and, of course, a whole officers' corp who had since 20 years poundered the question why they lost WW1 and how they could do better... in comparison to the Allies who won WW1 and thought why improve what worked well enough back then.

So how difficult the so called Westfeldzug or Fall Gelb (Case Yellow) is for you in DH often very much depends on how you wage the war. And, one must honestly say, DH tunes it in favour of the Germans to simulate the failures of the Allies' command at that time. So it is usually possible in DH to win the war going the historic path thru the Ardennes (Luxembourg, Arlon, Sedan) but also when going thru the low lands. The latter would had been a desaster historically. It is also possible to conquere Benelux and France right after Poland still within 1939 and the UK before spring 1940... in DH.

The same problem is true for Barbarossa but on the other side: How do you simulate that the Wehrmacht killed and captured something around 3.5 million soldiers of the Red Army within the first 6 month, about the same number of the whole attacking Wehrmacht.... to see the Red Army completly on its knees and,,, standing up again? Here the mods come into play which I mentioned above which try to somehow simulate the incoming Red Army forces from the far east and the mobilization of the vast number of reservists the SU had by adding quite many Red Army units seemingly out of nowhere... what the vanilla DH, as far as I know, doesn't do or at least not to such an extent as World in Flames, the mod that raises the difficulty level considerably.

(I must admit, until today I shy away from Barbarossa, so I can't say much about it in terms of DH. Sounds weird, I know. DH is just a game but... heck, being a German myself with both my Granddads having been in the war... it is diffcult to explain but I just can't bring it on to win this war in a game. It feels like a sacrilege. So unthinkable brutally hard earned by the soldiers of the Red Army that I can't take it away from them even in a game.)
 
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Imperium_754

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That's an interesting point of view and I agree pretty much with what you said, being passionate about how things went for real in history as well.
Well, communications, that didn't affect the Allies only, think about the Italians, how their comms were organized and how much decisional power leaders had both in the army or navy and so on...
Of course, there are things that DH (or any game that I know so far) cannot simulate, this results in making the game slightly "easier" for a specific country/faction up to a certain point or date if it follows a historical course.

Regarding DH, I was surprised about how "easy" Barbarossa might appear in the game itself if compared to France and Benelux, which as much as it can simulate, in the end it's a software and so there will always be a certain level of abstraction.
So, speaking for comparison, let's say HOI3 (vanilla and ith BlackIce mod), if my memory doesn't fail me, offered a harder challenge against the Soviets, while yes, maybe it may have given the impression of a cakewalk to Paris, which, as you mentioned before, it is not strictly historically accurate.
It's not criticism, just stating what I'm seeing in my first playthrough that actually worked :)
I'll give it a couple of more tries, with Italy as well, and then I believe I'll move on to those mods you mentioned already, and let's see what comes out of this.
I do appreciate the history "insight" anyways ;)
 

SacremPyrobolum

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Now this is all playing the New World Order 2 mod at the 1933 start, so your mileage may very. It is also purely theoretical, I'm on my third ever German playthrough after getting bogged-down in the Low Countries in the first two. This is my gameplan based on the lessons I've learned. Basically I keep being tempted into building an unnecessarily sized navy I won't really use from the start instead of focusing on planes, tanks, and subs.

My advise would be to build a mini-battleships fleet made out of the first tier of ships you research. So 2 Bismark BBs, 4 Hipper CAs, and 6 improved DDs. Start pumping out a line or two of subs in serial indefinitely from the start. Take your starting fleet and put it in the Baltic where all it'll do is provide fire support.

Rush tech to get MOT and LARM divisions as early as you can and start training them immediately. I think a ratio of 1 ARM to 2 MOT is good. Don't bother with brigades cuz this combined with air units will take up a lot of your budget.

Start pumping out air units in serial as soon as you research your first model. Don't start training them right away cuz you'll just have to update them. Have at least 1 serial line of TAC, INT, FTR, and CAS in the green at all times. Do not go heavy into CAS at the expense of TAC like I did first time around, TAC is much more versatile.
 

Altruist

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Concerning Air:
Against Poland as well as vs NL, Belgium, France it really pays off to do some planning where you want to have your airports:
some main airports and some smaller ones. The smaller, size 2-4, along the whole border from Swiss upto and along the coast to place your INT and defend against the incoming allied bombers.

The defending INT are best placed with "air scramble": saves micro, fuel and org.
At least for the regions with the main airports it is also highly interesting to build up the infrastructure which leads to much better reorg of the planes and is rather cheap to do but taking quite a time.

Save the org of your CAS, you'll need it to support important army breakthrus and other important battles.
If planes get damage and loose all their org when fighting Poland, you might want to immediatly rebase them to the west. They can repair and reorg there and are then ready again when you go for the west (in case you are planning to do so right after Poland).

In terms of research also, is it convenient to start ahead of time in DH (1 year max ahead), or this slow down the research too much?
As a general rule of thumb: Always research older techs first as long as they are somehow interesting and important for your strat, much faster and more efficient. And if your tech teams are numerous and good enough you might get automatically into the situation that there are no more techs available except future ones (a rather likely case for Germany with many and good tech teams).
Exceptions, if approbiate and necessary, might be important unit-techs you need time to build or upgrade to like DD-7 (1937), tanks or planes.

Upgrade:
Especially for ARM (armored units/tanks) a smart way is NOT to build them right away but instead to build/upgrade cavalry and, once the target-tech for ARM is reached, then to upgrade CAV directly to your newly researched modern tanks. Can be also done with other unit-types.

Often overlooked, upgrading is a feature in DH available for land- and air-units. And it includes also cross-upgrading like militia not only to newer militia but also to CAV or INF, INF to MOT, CAV to ARM etc.
Upgrading happens at a slow pace automatically, as long as the units are in supply, the planes landed and their upgrade-function NOT manually disabled. It can be sped up by dedicating resources to the upgrade slider in the economy menu. To make certain those resources go really to the intended units and not to all units, set the intended units to "prioritized".
 
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