KyrionMyrthar

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Oh, here's how I usually go:

A garrison on all Pacific islands plus Panama made up of 2xGAR/1xAA/1xAC.

In ConUSA, I have 5 2xCAV units which I upgrade to armor over time, and the rest are 3xINF units. Anything left over goes to escorts/convoys (in that order).
 

misterbean

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As I've said before, we all play the way we enjoy it the most. That being said, I have to admit that I don't like the custom start. It takes away so much of the challenge each major poses. Regia Marina is never a match for the RN Mediteranean Fleet? Sito Presto, here's half a dozen carriers. Let them come.
Germany can't reach UK because of a small navy? Sito Presto, here's Plan Z for you to enjoy.
When I do use it, it's to test something specific, or to clean up the 1939 or 1940 OOB. Stuff like that.
But hey, don't let me stop you. :)
 

ThatStrategyGuy

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Having never played custom and not planning to anytime in the future, what can you do in it exactly?

EDIT: Are you planning on looking at other countries either in this AAR or in future AARs
 

misterbean

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You can use any of the standard bookmarks (so 1936, 1938, 1940, june 1941, December 1941, 1943 or 1944 start). You can change the diplomatic stance of your nation (so you could move the US closer to Fascism if you wanted). You can change the research levels you start with (so standard Germany has no carrier tech, with custom you can give them up-to-date carrier tech), you can change your entire armed forces, both in terms of what they're made of, how many of them there are and where they are located at the start of the game.

I plan on at least playing through Barbarossa as the Germans. Probably my standard pre-war build as the UK. Other than that, I have not decided. This is a tutorial, so I need to adress everything that makes up HOI 3.
 

Daedwartin

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To me the main advantage of custom start is fixing the utter mess that be several nation's OOB.

Much Easier to do it when you can make units teleport around. Much easier.

Plus, then I can do things like set my starting production lines ,and research queue.

Sure, doing it regardless of custom or not. But it means not having to reinforce those HQs.
 
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misterbean

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On that part, we are in full agreement.
 

facmanpob

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I plan on at least playing through Barbarossa as the Germans.
Looking forward to this!

Is there a possibility you would allow some AI control at, say, the Army level? AI control of the military is one of those ninja arts that some people seem to get and others (like me) struggle with and occasionally achieve a 'Eureka' moment! :)
 

KyrionMyrthar

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As I've said before, we all play the way we enjoy it the most. That being said, I have to admit that I don't like the custom start. It takes away so much of the challenge each major poses. Regia Marina is never a match for the RN Mediteranean Fleet? Sito Presto, here's half a dozen carriers. Let them come.
Germany can't reach UK because of a small navy? Sito Presto, here's Plan Z for you to enjoy.
When I do use it, it's to test something specific, or to clean up the 1939 or 1940 OOB. Stuff like that.
But hey, don't let me stop you. :)
I really only use it to clean up the US land units, nothing more. I never touch technology.
 

misterbean

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Looking forward to this!

Is there a possibility you would allow some AI control at, say, the Army level? AI control of the military is one of those ninja arts that some people seem to get and others (like me) struggle with and occasionally achieve a 'Eureka' moment! :)

You and me both. I'll see what I can do. Maybe I can do that with the Italians. That way, if I get creamed by the British, I can say it's historically accurate and completely the fault of Italy's rubbish generals :)
 
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misterbean

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Rejoice, boys and girls. Japan just declared war on me. The long wait is over.
 

misterbean

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The Pacific Theater can stay as an empty box for the next couple of years.
 

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9zS3zrE.png


Chapter 17: War Is Coming.


It is Oktober, 1941. The entire 1st Army Group is stationed in Hawaii, and that’s when I realise that I’m an idiot.

After going through the effort of doing the research, I forgot to build Landing Craft. You can do naval invasions with just transports, but it’s less than ideal.


QYmTiQW.png


For starters, Landing Craft can carry a weight of 60, where regular transports can only carry 40. That saves a lot of ships to be put right outside enemy waters.

Secondly, because of the way amphibious landings work in TFH (the details are something I will show you when it actually happens), your troops get ashore faster and are better protected while doing so.

The army group weighs a total of 910. Since each LC can carry 60, I will need 16 of them to get everyone on board.

This is one of those instances, where the full might of US industry becomes apparent. Doing this will require 141 IC.


G8dhBQO.png


By placing the tanks at the bottom and transferring the IC from upgrades to production, I ensure that all but one are getting build at full speed. The tanks are meant for Europe, so they are not that high of a priority just yet.

My Light Cruisers are set to be launched in early november. That last Landing Craft will only have to wait a month.

I don’t think there’s any other nation that can just add another 140 IC to the queu without slowing you down.


I also organise the airforce. I have 2 interceptor groups, each with 3 interceptors. Honolulu and Midway each get one. I have 1 Tactical group with 4 planes, that goes to Honolulu.


kmdOu2B.png


Here is a look at my entire production queu.


My research at the moment consists of the following:

All 4 infantry techs, Mechanised Infantry, Assault Weapons and Bridging Equipment (with all those rivers in Europe, Engineers might still be very useful).

Light Tank Guns and Engine (these improve the Mechanised Infantry), plus the 2 artillery techs.

Medium and Large Navigation Radar.

Small Navigation Radar.

Combat Medicine, First Aid, Agriculture, Industrial Production and Efficiency, Radar, Supply Production and Rare Materials Refining Techniques (this last one is 1938 tech, and is just meant to tie me over until I can get full wartime laws, after which point it shouldn’t be a problem anymore).

Supply Transportation, Supply Organisation, Civil Defence.

Mechanised Offensive (1941 tech).

All the Fleet Auxiliary Carrier Doctrine techs except Radar Training (which is 1942 tech and waiting for the next slot to open).

In all 35 techs are being researched, most of them 1942 tech. Since I have plenty of spies and Diplomatic Points, I only have to spend points on increasing the Officer Pool.


TG1vcVN.png


Speaking of Diplomacy, Germany is trying to counteract our influence with the Allies, but they are fighting a losing war. Even without Lend-lease, we would still be helping UK, who are the faction leader of the Allies. As such, they have the full benefit of our Strategic Resources. Keep this in mind, people. Even when a nation is too neutral to join your faction, some of them have interesting things to offer just by keeping them close to you. Only the faction leader will be able to take advantage of this (Germany, UK and SU).

Romania, for instance, has an Oil Refinery, which would be very useful for Germany, but they are somewhere in the middle of the triangle and drifting towards the Comintern.


vdV84vX.png


I really should have appointed this man a lot sooner. Did I mention that I’m an idiot? Still, it’s not too late. I only have an Carrier Practical of 3.5 at the moment, but I have 4 carriers being build, and more planned. He will still prove to be invaluable in this regard.


iuR1ZcZ.png


Another thing I change, is the set-up of my spies.

It is not an election year, so I have taken down Ruling Party Support a notch at home.

In Japan, I switch over from Increasing Threat (which we don’t need anymore at this point) to Decrease National Unity. The lower a nation’s NU, the faster they surrender. By starting now, I hope to at least pinch a couple of points off by the time we enter the war.

As a aide-note, we can see that Japan is building Akagi. You can use the name of this ship as a guideline for how many carriers they have, since the AI will follow the list of names in the game files. If you play often enough with a certain nation, you can sort of guess where they are in the list. From there, it’s a simple exercise to deduce total numbers.
Germany’s list of Battleships, for instance, starts with Bismarck and Tirpitz. So if you see a battleship being build with another name, that means they already have at least build those 2 at some point.

I don’t know the list of Japanese carriers from memory, but I’m guessing that Akagi is not that far down the list. In other words, chances are good that we will have at least even numbers.

There are a couple of “traps” in there, though. The name “USS Wasp” appears twice in the list of US carriers, since historically, Wasp 1 was sunk by the Japanese, after which point the US renamed one of the carriers being build at that time.

Japan is also building a lot of marine divisions, which is standard production strategy for them.


Thirdly, we can see that Japan has high Light Aircraft Practical and Medium Bomber Practical. In other words, they have been building quite a few Tac and/or Nav planes, along with CAGs, Int, M/R and/or CAS. The last one seems unlikely, so we can assume they have a strong air defense in place.

Knowledge is power.


After all that, I let time pass by. Italy has taken the Suez Canal from the UK. Germany has taken Riga and are close to Kiev. Finland, strangely enough, has not been called in yet. They are watching from the sidelines.


EYf04vi.png


Early November. My Light Cruisers are done and are added to the Pacific Fleet. This frees up more than enough IC to ensure that all my ships are being build at full speed.


In December, the M/R are done. By the 7th, we have 9 of them. One group of 4 is send to Wake, another one to Guam. Both of these will almost certainly be attacked at some point. By stationing Multi-roles here, we can both defend our airspace and do strafing runs, hoping to sink some of their transports. We just have to make sure that they are not sitting idle if the islands are conquered, as that would destroy them.


cQyczNA.png


I rebase the squadrons that are ready to Honolulu. This will be a staging area, from which I can reach most points in the Pacific with relative ease. The 4th and 5th navies will follow in late december and in January, once they have their destroyers.


Once they are out of the way, I have enough IC to start a new carrier, and its CAGs. This one will be done sometime in 1943.

I also start training the 2nd Marine Division.


By January, I start researching 1942 Light Cruisers and carriers. These will be last set of naval researches I plan on doing. I only need to bring Japan to heel. The Kriegsmarine and the Italian navy don’t scare me in the least. There’s little point doing research when you don’t need to build anymore ships, is there?


In mid-January, we finish Rare Materials Refining, and our Rares go from being in the red to having +9.31.


On the 24th, I start building 3 more M/R, to flesh out the 3rd Fighter Group, which is sitting in LA with just 1 wing.


On the first of February, we finish the 1st Marine Division, which is send to Honolulu and attached to the 5th Corps, part of the 1st Army, in the 1st Army Group. General Vandegrift will command this division. His combination of skill-3, Offensive Doctrine and Commando traits make him a valuable asset in the coming war.


One day later, the 1st Patrol Group, consisting of 2 NAVs, is created. I have only 4 Fleet Destroyer generals left in the airforce, so I assign Van Rosen (a skill-2) to command them, prefering to keep my 2 skill-3 generals for the CAGs.


htF1B67.png


This frees up enough IC to start production on 2 more carriers. Once they are done in 1943, provided we don’t lose any, our total number would be 12 carriers. More than enough to dominate the naval struggle anywhere in the world.


gWB26nQ.png


I also start building 6 extra CAGs, because otherwise I will forget to queu them up. CAGs tend to de-org rather quickly, so having a ready supply of spares is invaluable if you want to keep your carriers working at full efficiency.


BvPkAvC.png


Romania, now fully enclosed within the Axis bubble, throws in their lot with Germany. I immediately embargo them.


By the middle of February, I run out of spare spies, so I reassign the Leadership from Officer Training to Espionage. Once the next tech is done, I will add that point to Espionage as well. This brings the total number of LS not assigned to research to 4.67. That should be enough to keep us going for a long time.


March, 1942. The LC are done. I group them in 1 massive Assault Fleet, and assign a couple of older Light Cruisers to protect them. Kinkaid will command this fleet. The Pacific Transport Fleet is now no longer needed. I rename them into the Atlantic Transport Fleet and rebase them to Washington DC.

With the IC freed up, I start building a Transport Plane.


5X7SPal.png


April. The Great Patriotic War means that the Soviets have lost 15% of their VPs. The decision adds a ton of Manpower to their pool, so that they can keep up the struggle against the German invaders. This is why a German player has to ensure massive destruction of Soviet divisions early on during Barbarossa. If you have just kept pushing them back (as the AI does), instead of encircling and overrunning them, this decision will allow the Soviets to just keep expanding their army until their numbers become just too overwhelming to handle.


Fi5C3jA.png


My first motorised unit. I wanted to use Mechanised Infantry, but if I keep them “just” motorised, they will need far less ICdays, fuel and supplies, allowing me to build more. I will reserve the Mechanised Infantry for our Armour Divisions.


bs7czQr.png


Due to Practial Decay, the carriers will be slightly delayed. There’s nothing I can do about it at this point, so I accept the delay and move on.

On the 2nd of June, I finally get USS Hornet, Essex and Intrepid, with USS Franklin following a day later. I grab King, from the Atlantic Fleet, and assign him command of CTF 2. My 2 Carrier Task Forces will each be commanded by one of the game’s best admirals.

My carrier Practical goes up to 13, shaving off half a year of the next carriers in the queu.


And with that, we no longer have to wait. We have what we need to wage war, and wage it, we shall, but next time. See you then!
 
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KyrionMyrthar

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I always overbuild my navy as the USA. At some point, you have so much extra IC that even building out massive amounts of aircraft, you are sort of stuck. In my current USA game, I ended up adding radar installations of max value to pretty much the entire Pacific... :)

My big mistake in the current game is I forgot to research Jet Engines. The Germans are flying jets in Russia and I have P-51s in Italy...it's mid-'43 and I'm worried, as Moscow finally just fell, although the Soviets are holding on (likely thanks to the 100 or so IC I'm shipping them). Leningrad and Stalingrad fell, too, but they're holding on in the Caucasus, for one thing.

The USA is a lot of fun and I'm glad you're highlighting them.
 

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I love playing with them, but for some reason I almost never make it to Overlord. Once Japan is taken care of, the KM and RM are not a valid concern anymore, so my main interest is usually to get the Great Airforce modifier before invading. At one point, the Soviets were in Poznan by spring '43. Fastest German defeat I ever saw at the hands of the AI.

In this AAR, of course, I have the luxury of not having to go all the way. I think that the benefits of IC-building, under the right circumstances, have already been proved. And with 600 IC, who is ever going to touch me?
 
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KyrionMyrthar

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I am going to play a round with a focus on strategic bombers. I'm going to build a fleet of them that allows me to pummel ever factory province and every resource province within range. There's no way the Luftwaffe will be able to be everywhere. At that point, you could have a 3xMIL probably walk all the way to Berlin...
 

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On my old laptop, I had every airbase, naval base, IC and VP province, and every province with strategic resources in Axis Europe marked. I think the total was around 75 or so. So you'll have to spam them like crazy.
 

ThatStrategyGuy

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How many planes would you need per province you want to bomb. since you'll want constant attacks you'll need constant air superiority, each 'division' of planes will need time to rest etc. quite an expensive proposition, plus you need air bases so you'll need to invest something in either guarding or re-taking allied provinces with airbases as well as taking enemy provinces for more airbases. some of which you'll need to build. It sounds interesting, you should tell us how it goes.