misterbean

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I'm tempted to do an East-First game, as we used to call it in my boardgaming days. Probably at some point.

Good point on the Theater. Who do you have in command of it?

Von Blomberg, because he gives an offensive bonus. In later years, Paulus might be a better idea, for his Log Wizard trait.
 

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9zS3zrE.png


Chapter 25: Previously, in Germany…(part 2)


I was going to start this chapter with a detailed look at my research, but that would take up too many screenshots. Suffice it to say, that I am fully up-to-date in infantry, armour, artillery, planes, ships, industry and doctrines, and leave it at that for now, shall we?


oehE6Gj.png

The plan is a almost identical to the one I used before. Never change a winning team. The drawing is a lot clearer this time around than that awfully photoshoped one from Take Two, though. For AAR writers, it is a Godsend.


Germany started mobilizing on the 2nd of August. We fired the Danzig Or War decision on the 16th. We are at war!


Needless to say, I have ended all trade outside of Europe beforehand. New laws come into effect immediately after the declaration of war: Service By Requirement, Heavy Industry Emphasis and Total Economic Mobilization. This last one raises German IC from 270 to 315. It’s not the US, but it’s not too shabby, either. It does mean that we will lose slightly over 30 Rare Materials per day, but by my calculations, we could still keep this going for several years. Add the resource pools we will grab from all over Europe, and it is clear that we have nothing to worry about any time soon.

The Blitzkrieg decision becomes available, but I will hold off on that until the battle of Warsaw has started to maximize the time it stays in effect.


As for the actual war, sometimes pictures say more than a thousand words. Even fuly mobilized since March, the Poles don’t stand a chance.


BKC3Y0P.png


JKSqa9t.png


EQfjifY.png


The Battle of Warsaw starts on the 24th, when Von Hubicki’s 3. Panzer Division begins his initial assault. Reinforcements are on the way in the shape of the Waffen-SS and 2 infantry divisions (the 56th and 61th). The city is defended by 2 infantry divisions. It is home to 5 HQs as well, but they don’t fight, so they just take up space behind the lines. I send Stukas to help in the attack, and they pound the Polish regiments mercilessly.


Now that the attack on Poland’s capital has started, I fire the Blitzkrieg decision, which gives me 200 MP, along with 20% increase on Combat Movement Speed (so the speed with which you enter an enemy province after battle), Organisation Regain Rate and Soft Attack.


After a furious defense, Danzig finally falls on the 25th. This gives us a strategic effect, the Polish Corridor (5% Naval Organisation and 1% Supply Throughput). There are a lot of these Strategic Effects, all of them determined by holding certain provinces. Most of them deal with resource bonuses or naval bonuses, and whole strategies could depend on getting them.


0qasBAf.png


It is the 27th of August. Warsaw is now fully encircled. The deathrattle of Poland has begun.


5JTgP8e.png



The frontline later that day, just before Poland surrendered. I will leave the 3rd army behind (minus the panzer division) to guard the border after the Soviets have gotten their share of the spoils, and begin building 5 garrisons (2 Gar/ 2 MP) to guard the VPs and other important provinces in the area. Three Cavalry divisions (2 cav) will be trained to act as anti-partisan units.


I am also spamming infantry like crazy. It is a race against time to get everything in place for a spring 1940 offensive into France and the Low Countries.


XJHOma1.png


On other fronts, the RAF is still as predictable as ever. Leipzig and Dortmund are still their favorite bombing targets, even though the Ruhr industrial area is a lot closer for them.


We declared war on Denmark on 4 September, to seal off the Baltic Sea. They surrender on the 15th.


MewlRsH.png


In the supply mapmode, you can see where the supplies go towards the Soviet border. The infrastructure of these provinces will be upgraded to level 10, allowing for maximum supply throughput. It will take well until 1941 to complete, but it is worth it not to have our offense stalled when moving into the Russian heartlands.


Februari, 11th. We stop influencing Netherlands and Belgium. Most of our troops are now in place and they are in the middle of the diplomatic triangle. It would be impossible for them to join the Allies right now, and, even if they did, I have plenty of divisions to stop them in their tracks.


Three years of Disrupt National Unity missions in France have really paid off. According to the Diplomacy screen, they have a NU of 25.6%. What does that mean? Well, basically, it means I just have to get to Paris to make them surrender.


I have 17 divisions stationed on the Soviet border. Technically speaking, that’s not even necessary. I have never known the Soviets to break the non-agression pact, unless you go for an early invasion of the UK. But it is good practice to keep some forces in your back pocket at all times.


SW1rdvB.png


In Take Two, I DoWed Belgium, Luxemburg and Netherlands at the same time. This time, on impulse, I decide to show you a commonly used alternate. We declare war on Netherlands alone. Note the large stack of Belgian units sitting in the only border province with us.

This means that they are weak elsewhere. Two options. One is to move fast enough that Belgium can’t redeploy their troops before being cut off and trapped in Verviers (unlikely, with most of my forces still aligned for a Sickelcut strategy). The other one, is to let them redeploy. Yes, they will have troops everywhere, but nowhere in enough numbers to do more than slow us down a little. As since they are still neutral, the Allies can’t send troops in to supplement their numbers.


I did make one big mistake, though. Can you see what it is?


No?


Look at my officer ratio. I only noticed it too late, but I have not assigned enough LS to officer training to account for the huge numbers of infantry I have been training, and my officer ratio is only at 90%.


BIG MISTAKE! Whenever this ratio gets too low, you suffer penalties in combat to simulate there not being enough lieutenants and captains and NCOs to relay messages from HQ. I'm an idiot sometimes, but it does show you that eveyrone makes these mistakes at some point.


1TVYigE.png


Not that Netherlands can stop me. My tech and human advantages more than make up for my low officer ratio. By the 22nd, I have Rotterdam and Amsterdam, Netherlands’ biggest ports on the continent. The Allies are trying to land troops (it will not succeed), but at last Belgium has started to shift their troops around to account for the added threat from the north (which you can’t see on this picture). With the Netherlands all but pacified, it’s time to move the panzers into position.


I have made some changes to the OOB during the Sizkrieg, closely mirrorring the changes made in RL, and have made a panzerarmee that will spearhead the assault.


RCu3y3X.png


By the 9th, there is only a single infantry division left in Verviers. Time to implement phase two of the plan.


az1whoW.png


It only takes me 7 days to fully occupy Belgium, less than half the time the Germans needed RL.


zBgyti2.png


On the 7th of July, the first Wehrmacht forces enter Paris and France is doomed.


As you can see, with good planning, this is a strong strategy. By this time, I still haven’t realised what’s going on with my officer ratio, and my panzers were, initially, not in the right place for a thrust through central Netherlands. But I still carry the day, and the victory is mine. Vichy is created two hours later.


B3xOupI.png


This is very important. In TFH, the UK is a little less suicidal in their naval invasions right after the fall of France, but it can still happen and would be a waste of men and material. I Strategically Redeploy the 1. Armee to cover all the French ports ASAP. They will remain in place until I finish building port guards, after which they will be used for general guard duty in France and the Low Countries.


Time passes. Bulgaria joins the Axis on the 9th of September, Afghanistan on the 20th of December and Romania in January 1941. By this time, the US is still sitting at 66% neutrality. I have not invaded Yugoslavia (remember the domino-effect German aggression has on the US). I think that I could have kept them neutral if I had not let Japan join the Axis.


In early May 1941, Yunnan joins the Axis.


vj0MtI7.png


Here is my infrastructure mapmode. The results are quite obvious.


0EK5NOH.png


The defense of northwestern Germany and Denmark is in place.


b07yxy5.png


Each port has 2 guards (4 Militia brigades each), and I have a full army standing by in case of an emergency. I have placed a level-10 radar in Dieppe to monitor the UK.


nqIMPw0.png


Heeresgruppe Nord (32 divisions headed by Hausser)…


NiIAVCd.png


…Mitte (42 divisions headed by Von Manstein)…


upDc2un.png


…and Süd (60 divisions headed by Guderian) will be the army that invades the Soviet Union.

As you can see, I have given more divisions to the south, because that it always where I end up struggling the hardest.

Next time, I will make the time for a detailed look at my OOB and research. Barbarossa will probably be the chapter after that. See you then!
 
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ThatStrategyGuy

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When playing other countries I always see Germany fail to make any headway against the southern part of the USSR, they'll do well enough in the North that there isn't a Finnish-USSR border but only advance a couple of provinces in the South or be pushed back a bit.

Anyway, well done with that quick work on the Western front. Will you be trying and/or showing us a bombing campaign against the UK or just focus on the USSR?
 

misterbean

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I don't believe in the blitz, or large-scale strategic bombing campaigns in general in the game. In HOI 3, the damage is always repaired in 2 or 2 weeks. Not nearly long enough to make a difference. Add to that the amount of planes you'd need to build to overwhelm the RAF or the Luftwaffe, and it becomes an excercise in futility.
I've said it elsewhere. Strategic Bombers have their uses. It's just the Strategic Bombing mission that has been broken since day 1.
 

KyrionMyrthar

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Looking forward to seeing the OOB. I love when you can get France cheaply, only needing Paris to bring them down.

I may do another Germany game immediately after my current one, to do that East-First strategy.
 

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I don't believe in the blitz, or large-scale strategic bombing campaigns in general in the game. In HOI 3, the damage is always repaired in 2 or 2 weeks. Not nearly long enough to make a difference. Add to that the amount of planes you'd need to build to overwhelm the RAF or the Luftwaffe, and it becomes an excercise in futility.
I've said it elsewhere. Strategic Bombers have their uses. It's just the Strategic Bombing mission that has been broken since day 1.

Yup. Add in the micromanagement required to successfully implement a USA bombing strategy and it's a PITA. You need air fields, which you can't build in the UK. I wish there was a way to do that, short of tagging over to the UK and building them. Which...now that I think about it... isn't a bad idea.
 

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looking at the images of the invasion of France, i cant see a single UK division anywhere. does the AI not send anything to assist?
 

misterbean

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looking at the images of the invasion of France, i cant see a single UK division anywhere. does the AI not send anything to assist?

They often do, but as they are expeditionary forces, they get the French blue and are only recogizable by the Union Jack in the corner, so it's not always easy to spot them. This time, I don't think they send anything. The reason why, might be that I came from the north this time and not from the east. So the ports of Calais and Dunkerque were easy pickings for me. Maybe this threw their timetable into disarray?
 

misterbean

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KyrionMyrthar

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They often do, but as they are expeditionary forces, they get the French blue and are only recogizable by the Union Jack in the corner, so it's not always easy to spot them. This time, I don't think they send anything. The reason why, might be that I came from the north this time and not from the east. So the ports of Calais and Dunkerque were easy pickings for me. Maybe this threw their timetable into disarray?
Interestingly, I haven't seen British expeditionary forces wearing French blue in a few games now. That included one where I let Italy bear the brunt of things down south, just to see what might happen.
 

misterbean

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in that case, they're not send as exp. but as troops remaining under their own command structure.
 

Stuyvesant

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The Blitz in Poland and Western Europe looked deceptively easy (as in: you made it look easy. I'm sure it took a lot of planning and attention to execution). It was like the animated short before the main movie begins. And now the curtains are being raised and the big event is about to begin! Looking forward to seeing if you can demolish the Soviet Union in anything like the speed we saw in the West.
 

misterbean

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I'll be honest. The campaign in the west wasn't all that fast: from may 12th to july 8th. I've seen a lot faster ones in other people's AARs.
 

Stuyvesant

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I'll be honest. The campaign in the west wasn't all that fast: from may 12th to july 8th. I've seen a lot faster ones in other people's AARs.

A) I don't know any better;
B) It looks fast in that you took out Poland, Denmark, the Lage Landen and France in the space of one update. :) Compared to other AARs I read where a single battle can take weeks of writing to resolve, it sure creates an impression of speed. ;)
 

Nicegil

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I don't believe in the blitz, or large-scale strategic bombing campaigns in general in the game. In HOI 3, the damage is always repaired in 2 or 2 weeks. Not nearly long enough to make a difference. Add to that the amount of planes you'd need to build to overwhelm the RAF or the Luftwaffe, and it becomes an excercise in futility.
I've said it elsewhere. Strategic Bombers have their uses. It's just the Strategic Bombing mission that has been broken since day 1.
Granted. Strategic bombing has major flaws but it also depend on the strategy you use.
When playing tha USA, I usually deploy the 8th Air Force in England to start the Strategic Bombing Campaign ASAP. But my first target is the german infrastructure ; once reduce to zero, it takes forever to repair industries, airbases, etc, etc...
I've used this strategy in my current Germany game too, using only TAC, and bombed every british airfields in southern UK. As a result, I barely saw a british airplane in a whole year (ok, micromanagement was tedious and aircrafts casualties tremendous)

I'll be honest. The campaign in the west wasn't all that fast: from may 12th to july 8th. I've seen a lot faster ones in other people's AARs.
Speaking of me ? :cool:
Joke aside, of course it's possible to get faster but the strategy consisting in taking NL, Belgium and then France (the 'Schlieffen' variant) usually takes much, much longer and I must admit that I've been impressed by the speed of your offensive. Do you have an idea on how many french divisions you were facing ?

I also noticed in Poland and France that you wait for the end of the campaign to build your occupation forces instead of having them ready from the very begining. Is there a TFH-related reason for that ?

Obviously, I'm eager to see your OOB and Planning for Barbarossa but won't you make a small detour through the Balkans first ?
 

misterbean

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Yes, it's the micromanagement that gets to me every single time I try it. Same with subs. If you switch their hunting grounds regularly, they can indeed survive long enough to make a difference, but it requires constant adjustments.

Re: France. Yes, yours was the fastest. The only one to have taken the historic route and succeeded in 6 weeks or less that I know of. I will never be able to top that. This man knows more about the real Wehrmacht than I ever will, kids. And about strict timetables.
I was surprised that there were so few divisions to stop me. Only 1 or 2 per province. You can see it in the screenshots that they practically had to empty the Maginot Line to slow me down. Not sure what happened there. Surprised by the speed of my victory over Belgium? Too many in the French Alps and too late to bring them North?

The Balkans, hm? I suppose I can make a bit of an effort for a military expert like you.
Very well, I'll do it. Allons-y!
 

KyrionMyrthar

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In my current Germany game, I DID decide to go for missiles. I placed fifteen in two waves in Caen on an airfield I was upgrading to level 10 along with its infrastructure.

When I launched the first wave, I targeted every airfield in range and bombed the infra back to the stone ages. Ditto for all of the industrial provinces in reach.

Combining strategic, airfields, and infrastructure in one wave, I basically kept the British on their heels for at least six months but more likely close to a year, as Nicegil mentioned. Doing it with buzz bombs requires no micromanagement, so that's something I'll be doing in the future as the Germans. Something to think of for the USA, too. Get those big missiles primed and then go to town.
 

misterbean

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9zS3zrE.png


Chapter 26: Choices.


This is a strategy game. As such, there are always choices to be made. Some of them are obvious, some are not.


In this chapter, I am going to show you some of these choices.


2vXSUI6.png


Some of you may have noticed that there is a garrison regiment attached directly to the OKH. This is the Wachtruppe Berlin (guard troops Berlin). I usually leave them in place to make sure nobody drops paratroopers on Berlin to steal my resource piles. The AI will not do this, AFAIK, but it is still a good practice not to leave your capital unprotected.

However, you may also have noticed the inordinate amount of experience this garrison starts with. The reason for it is simply because, in RL, these boys were turned into a motorised regiment in 1939, that became the basis for one of the most elite divisions of the entire Wehrmacht. After they were upgraded, they were renamed and became known as “Infanterie-Regiment Grossdeutschland”. Over the course of the war, they were turned into a division that saw action both on the Eastern front and in France.

You could do the same thing. Hit “r” on your keyboard so that you can detach them. Then just rename them and upgrade them, as I’ve shown here. Give them some support and you’re good to go.

How long it takes to upgrade them, depends on your Practicals, of course.

I am going to leave them as they were: the most dangerous Garrison Brigade in the world.


If you’re wondering, the rule for upgrades goes like this: a garrison can be upgraded into infantry. Infantry can be upgraded into any number of unit types. So a garrison can be upgraded directly into any of these types. If I wanted to, I could upgrade them to become marines or paras instead of motorised.


almdgRx.png

The other choice, as Germany, is what to do about the Balkans. More wars have been fought over these mountain regions than anywhere else in Europe, probably. In fact, World War I started in the Balkan because some Austrian idiot just HAD to go to war against Serbia.

So, what to do? There are three basic options here. Ignore them, influence them or attack them. If you remember my Romania mini-campaign that I started the AAR with, my army disposition will look familiar. There is just one small difference. This time, we are playing as Germany, and, as such, our ambitions are much bigger. Also to consider is our timetable. What we want is to attack the Soviets, not waste time down here. So, generally speaking, you decide in advance that you are going to attack Yugoslavia and Greece, giving you plenty of time to get it right.

I don’t have that time, so I am going to attack Yugoslavia and Greece simultaneously. In order to do this, I have taken a ton of troops away from the Soviet border and grouped them into this Army Group, commanded by Von Blomberg. I used Strategic Redeployment to get them in place as fast as possible. It still took them 2 weeks before they were ready for action, however.


M4B6s2r.png


The 2. Armee now consists of 2 Armeekorps and 1 Panzerkorps. They will attack from the North and head of Lubljana and Zagreb.


9M2L9lH.png


The 1. Panzerarmee will target the Yugoslavian VPs in the center and south.


qylrgAW.png


I have created a new army, which I have named 12. Armee because I love history. It consists of 3 Armeekorps and 2 Panzerkorps. This army will invade Greece.


Jagdgruppe 4 (3 Int) is stationed in Sofia (capital of Bulgaria), from where they can strike at the Yugoslavian airforce in Belgrade. Kampfgruppe 3 (3 TAC) has been rebased to Vienna to support the efforts of the 2. Armee, and Sturzgruppe 4 (3 CAS) is now sitting in Hungary as support for 1. Panzerarmee.


Uk3Or4o.png


Why should I bother changing a plan that worked so well in RL? This is the real Fall Marita operational plan, and it is the one we will be using, although our units don’t match the ones in the plan, both in numbers or actual divisions.


I declare war on both of them at the same time on the 24th of May, thereby allowing me to engage the Greek army right off the bat.


PjGOQnj.png


In Yugoslavia, I go for a straight VP-rush. This is a standard, if somewhat gamey, tactic in HOI 3 that takes advantage of the fact that victory depends on getting enough VPs.

In this tactic, you simply ignore everything and anything except for making the initial breakthrough and having fast, hard-hitting mobile units to take the VP provinces before the enemy can get his defenses organised. It can be dangerous, however, because of the Fog Of War. Enemies that you ignored might cut off your supply lines after you’ve passed them by. Coupled with the fact that you can’t know for certain what the VPs’ defenses are like, you could find yourself stranded deep in enemy terrain without back-up.

So if you do this, make sure that you can reach all your targets before your divisions run out of supplies and/or fuel.


In Greece, I’m taking it a bit slower. I want to secure my back first, severing Greece from Yugoslavia.


4PUg5QI.png


The Yugoslavian fighters, though more numerous than the ones I have used for this attack, don’t stand a chance against the advanced tech and doctrines of the Luftwaffe, allowing me to bomb at will wherever I want.


uMk5iUU.png


The initial Greek defenses are weak enough that I change gears and send an entire Panzerkorps on a headlong rush to Athens. The infantry will grab Saloniki, the other Greek VP on the mainland.


After only 3 days, Skopje will be the first Yugoslavian VP to fall into our lap.


zWmthH8.png


By 10 that evening, we are halfway to Belgrade. Note my warning earlier, though. There are a motorised unit and an HQ behind us that could very easily cut off the panzers’ supply lines (they will do just that, actually), forcing them to live off the supplies that they brought with them.


RXCKPWE.png


Zagreb falls quickly, and 2. Armee is heading en masse for Lubljana.


t91FfYl.png


Again, ignoring 75% of the enemy’s forces is not always a good idea. In this case, it doesn’t matter. The Yugoslav army is too weak to fight Germany and, by now, it is too late to save themselves.

Note that Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria are in the Axis, allowing me to attack from their turf, but are not actually in the war, precluding Yugoslavia from attacking them in turn. This forces the enemy to turn his troops around and try a different approach, which buys me time.

This is different from Military Access. If a country gives you Military Access, you can station troops in their provinces, but you can't attack directly from them, although you can use the "Support Attack" option to widen the frontage.


Belgrade falls on the 30th, and Lubljana a couple of hours later.


ayFOxIg.png


By the 31st of May, the Yugoslavian government goes into exile. I could, by this time, call 2. Armee and 1. Panzerarmee back to the Soviet border. I could still have made the 22 June “deadline”. But there are 2 Panzerkorps still engaged in Greece, and I need those, since the 2. Panzerarmee in Heeresgruppe Mitte is, at this point, literally an empty box.


UVxpr6N.png


There is but one tiny little problem. One of Greece’s VPs in on the island of Crete, and their NU is too high to force a surrender just from the mainland VPs. I don’t have any boats in the area (and with Gibralter in UK hands I can’t send any, provided they would even survive the trip in the first place). I have no transport planes. No paratroopers.

How will I get to Crete?


BQcCcBB.png


Well, I don’t have to. I “just” have to put my trust in one of my allies. I call Italy in to the war. Let the jokes begin.


mcatFOe.png


On the Province Card, there is a little arrow at the bottom right corner. This opens a checkbox, which allows you to ask any of your allies to prioritise this province for you. Note my use of the word “ask”. That is exactly what you do. The ally in question will then decide whether or not it will follow your advice. They usually try to, but they are free to ignore it if they feel like it’s a bad idea. They never tell you what they decide, so you just have to cross your fingers and pray.

Italy is now at war with the Allies and will try to secure Irakleio for me, since I have no way of getting there.


Yes, I am trusting in the sensible application of power from Il Duce and his AI armed forces. Good plan, heh?


AlJrR0c.png


While I wait, I might as well secure the other Greek ports to ensure no Allied reinforcements will further sour up my timetable. It is now the 5th of June. If I had build transport planes and paratroopers, I would, by now, own Greece (probably).


dolqQbc.png


Another consequence. Under ordinary circumstances, Italy is the one DoWing Greece. Not Germany. If you’ve been following, then you know that an embargo means they are only a hair’s breadth away from joining the Allies. Oops.


On the 20th, Italy lands a single infantry division on the island, but it is repelled. A week later, they try again. This time, they send paratroopers. Irakleio is secured on the 30th of June.


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Greece has fallen, but it is now July. By the time I get my soldiers back where they need to go, it will be mid-August. A good lesson, boys and girls: when attacking Greece, take the island of Crete in consideration, either by building transport planes and paratroopers, or by sending a squadron of transport ships/landing craft to Italy before the war starts.


As a side note, this last option, sending ships to Italy before the war begins, will allow you to send the Afrika-Korps to Tunisia.

Again, choices. Choices.


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Here is another coice to make, and, to me, it is a tough one. After conquering Yugoslavia, a decision becomes available whether to create Croatia as your puppet or to keep the whole country for yourself.


Both have pros and cons.


If you keep Yugoslavia for yourself, you will be responsible for security. Their ports and partisans will be yours to deal with, forcing you to further spread your soldiers, leaving less for the main event.

On the pro-side, however, I have been building an entire squadron (1 BC, 3 CA and 5 CL) that could be useful in the North Sea. Instead, I could deploy those ships directly in Athens if I wanted to, since I have a direct land line between that port and Berlin.


Allowing Croatia to become your puppet, means that they can take care of their own ports, and you don’t have to keep that close of a watch on them, even though it can be useful to station a couple of infantry divisions there in case of an Allied landing.

But it severs your land line with Berlin. Supplies can travel across the provinces of your puppet just fine, but you can’t deploy ships in the Mediteranean to help the Regia Marina.


Of course, there is a third option.


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Going back to my original save, where I didn’t attack the Balkans. I have been spending the better part of the past year secretly influencing Yugoslavia. On the 1st of July, they accept an invitation to join the Axis peacefully. In this timeline, I never had to call Italy in to war, meaning that my southern border is now completely and utterly secure. The US, in this timeline, is still sitting at 60% Neutrality, very much trapped in isolationism until Japan drops a few presents over Pearl Harbour.


Choices are everywhere in this game, and they are part of why I love it so much. You can choose to go historical, or you can go crazy and try to conquer the world as Tannu Tuva. What choice would you make in the Balkans?


See you next time, when I will take you to see my research and OOB!
 
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