WSnova

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Nationalist China was how I learned HOI3, its one of the funnest campaigns. You have to do building, reconquering while keeping your threat low and then Naval stuff.

All of this while dealing with Supply problems. And you actually grow from not being a major to being a major, thats a bonus
 

misterbean

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I do remember one HOI 2-game as Communist China, where I used the mountains to protect myself from the Nationalists while I took over the warlord on the other side, followed by the one south of me, and then venture into Natchi itself. It was fun until Japan decided I was in their way :)
 

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I tried Natchi today, and I need to work on my timing. I was still completely scattered all over China after taking down the warlords when Tojo and friends came calling. Better luck next time, but I can see how it makes for an interesting challenge.
 

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9zS3zrE.png


Chapter 37: Draft, War Economy and Money.


I’m going to start this episode by showing you the techs I am currently working on. Note that I have returned to my usual routine of adding them all at once, simply because I prefer to do it this way, as it assures me that I haven’t forgotten something. It is september, 1937, by the way, so I have over a year to get everything done.


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Note that I added Aircraf Carrier Hangar right after taking the screenshot.


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Multiroles will be vital to defens our shipping lanes in the future from German bombers, at the very least. They are very versatile, and, despite not being able to stand up to a true Interceptor in a dogfight, they are always useful to have.


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I am adding the Strategic Bomber doctrines because I think I have enough time to get away with it. If it turns out that I run out of time, I can simply drop them later on. Just because you add something, doesn’t mean that it is written in stone.


A couple of days later, I have 15 IC to spare, which is perfect for adding an Interceptor to the production queu. I am now using 115.21 IC for production, a far cry from what we started with.


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As infantry finish, they are transported to Port Sudan in the Red Sea. From here, they will link up with the other divisions in East Africa. Once the war has started, they will all be given an OOB. For now, all of them are simply attached directly to the East Africa theater.


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Late November. I will need at least 3 Naval Bombers to help me fight off the German subs, so I might as well get started right now, before my Medium Bomber Practical decays too much, and they become too expensive. As a side-note, whenever you’re building something just to build up Practicals, always pick the one that has the least ICdays, since that means they will finish faster and give you more Practical sooner. ICdays are calculated in this way: IC per day * days needed. For items that need months (like Battleships), the game will list time needed as “x amount of months”, so make sure to get the total days needed.


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An early Christmas present. On the 17th of December, we can institute One-Year-Draft.
Sometimes, it can be better to stay on volunteer Army, because reserve land units will require more IC with higher draft laws.
On the other hand, higher draft laws bring in more officers per Leadership point invested in training them. This balancing act is something everyone has to do for themselves, depending on nation and situation.
If officers and Manpower are a higher emergency than available IC, use the higher draft laws. If you don’t have a lot of IC, but plenty of Manpower, you might want to consider waiting before changing this law.
I am using 2.58 LS for Officer Training, which will give me 7.7 officers per day. You need to stay above 100% of Officers during war to avoid penalties (ideally, you should aim for 140%). Using the timeline from the start of the AAR, you can more or less determine how many officers you need to train per day to stay safe, but keep in mind that you may eventually get even higher draft laws, so there’s little point in putting all of your LS into officers 2 years ahead of time.
Changing Draft Laws comes with another little caveat. You will have to divert a certain amount of IC to reinforcements to give the men already in the field some extra training. This too should factor into your decision on whether to implement the higher draft law now, or whether to wait until you can spare the IC. This reinforcement only takes a couple of weeks to finish, depending on how many divisions you have. Any divisions still in the queu will finish with the draft law in place AT THE TIME THEY WERE STARTED. In other words, you might want to delay building those 100 infantry divisions as the Soviet Union until after you have better laws to avoid having to pay IC twice, if you have the time to spare.

Since the UK is not gifted with an overabundance of MP, I implement the better law right away, even though I have divisions in the queu.


Japan wins the war against China on the 31st of December. In TFH, this means they will take most of China’s coastline for themselves. If you’re playing Japan, you might want to add the “conquest” wargoal so that you can finish them once and for all. It will make the US a little more restless, especially if you add the other Chinese warlords to the mix. I have added Conquest wargoals on all of them in the past, and by 1939, US Neutrality allowed them to embargo me, so proceed with caution.
If you’re wondering why PI made this change, it is simply because they have never been able to properly balance the Sino-Japanese war in any version of Hearts Of Iron. This is simply a makeshift solution to the problem that gives Japan the provinces they took in RL.


UK neutrality is now 63%. As a democracy, we will have to get to 55% to get the best peacetime laws, so we still have some work to do, but we’re getting there. Add the Anschluss and the Munich Agreement to the mix, and we are now assured of having War Economy before the end of 1938.


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As UK and France, you could intervene in the Spanish Civil War, if your ruling party is the right kind and powerful enough, but it would only increase your relations with one of them by 20 and decrease it with the other one by 15, so there’s really little point to it.


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The Royal Navy is probably the best trained navy in the world, with the exception of submarine crews. We may have to choose at some point which doctrine to focus on, but our high LS does allow us to do this at least once. Every bit of bonus counts when you’re at war, and naval combat can be deadly.


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January, 4th. Five more divisions are ready to be shipped to Eeast Africa.


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We are going to use the freed up IC to start work on a Tank Destroyer, that will be attached to the 1st “London” division, and another interceptor.


On the 1st of March, we get a new destroyer, and I start building the next destroyer.


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We have so many supplies, that we can easily afford short-chaning the slider for a couple of months at least in favor of production.


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On the 9th, Germany annexes Austria and all our hard work finally pays off. Except for one tiny little detail I lost track of.
The trade AI has not been able to keep enough money in the bank and we can’t make any change since we don’t have the capital.
Whoops.
Well, ok, I saw that coming, but I let it go, because I wanted to show you how simple the solution to this problem can be.

So what do you do in a situation like this? Well, I simply go back to manual trade and end any and all trades that cost us money. We will be short on resources for a while, but we can handle that. The only thing that matters right now, is getting enough money to change our laws.

Spies in Germany could be set to lower their national unity at this point, but I keep them doing the same thing, just in case the rest of Europe needs more time to get these laws passed.


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Of these, War Economy is the most important one and the reason I have been doing all of this in the first place. This is implemented on the 16th.


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With a full War Economy, UK has 221 IC. Germany, with Hess as Head Of Government, who gives extra IC, has 205 IC with a War Economy. What's more, we even have over a year to make full use of it, so I put that IC to immediate good use, building a carrier, 2 CAGs in a serial build, a naval bomber, a tactical bomber and a Close Air Support.

Three-year-draft is added by the end of the month and Specialist training on the 3rd of April. After that, I go back to automatic trade. If you want to trade manualy, I suggest prioritising trade with the US to build up your relationship (+15 per trade deal up to a maximum of 200).

We now have most of the same laws that Germany starts with, more IC than they start with and plenty of time to continue building up our forces. See you next time!
 
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ThatStrategyGuy

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For the Spanish Civil War intervention it does give Rep. Spain a division of 3xinf, so if you want them to win you may as well do it, it'll mean France has less troops on the Franko-Spanish border and if you get Spain in the allies they'll have more troops. The main limit on Spain is IC, so it'll help them out.
 
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misterbean

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For the Spanish Civil War intervention it does give Rep. Spain a division of 3xinf, so if you want them to win you may as well do it, it'll mean France has less troops on the Franko-Spanish border and if you get Spain in the allies they'll have more troops. The main limit on Spain is IC, so it'll help them out.

That's true. They would get some reinforcements from jolly old England. I didn't think about that. At any rate, the point is academic. The Conservatives have neither the poularity nor the organisation to support the Republicans.
 

misterbean

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Eeg0GQs.png


Chapter 38: Munich and Vienna.

We’re back as the UK, and we continue to secure peace by preparing for war. Cookie for the people that know what reference that is.

Anyway, now that we have plenty of IC, I start construction our latest generation of carrier, along with its CAGs and 6 infantry divisions.


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In June, I change the spy missions in Germany. I include “Covert operations” as one of them. Covert Operations cumulates covert ops points in the target country. These points can then be used for a variety of purposes, from sabotaging their infrastructure in a couple of provinces to improving infrastructure in other provinces so that you will move faster to performing a coup. I have never tried that last one on Germany, because I suspect they are more or less immune to it, but the other missions will come in handy when we begin the eventual liberation of Europe, and I will go into more details at that point.


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I also change my armaments minister because we are not getting enough resources to fuel our economy. I am to blame for this, really. I should have kept trade on manual, but I don’t want to deal with it. In HOI 3, we can let the AI do the stuff we don’t feel like doing, so I might as well make use of it.


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The Spanish civil war ends with a Republican victory, which just about ensures a neutral Spain. That is perfect, because the German AI doesn’t invade Spain to get to Gibraltar, like a human player might. The only way for the Axis to get to the Rock now, is through paradrops or via a naval invasion. The first is extremely unlikely because neither Germany nor Italy have the range for it, unless they get military access to Spain or Vichy Africa first. The second one would take a long enough time that I can sick both Home Fleet and the Mediteranean Fleet on them.
That is a small weight off my mind, because in TFH, Nationalist Spain can potentially join the Axis. The prospects are extremely unlikely, but given the right circumstances it would be possible. With a Republican win, those odds go down the drain after a German and Italian intervention, and because Republican Spain is the wrong ideology.


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The Munich agreement is somewhat different in the current version of the game for the UK. You now have the option of opposing the treaty to cede the Sudetenland to Germany. Choosing this option would start the war a year earlier, and makes for an attractive alternate history, but let’s read the fine print first, shall we?
What happens is that Czechoslovakia and France would DoW Germany. Paradoxically enough, UK would stay out of the war until they enter it manually by also DoWing Germany, making themselves the aggressors.
If you want to try this option, you’re going to have to change your build-up. You will need to focus more on your land forces than I have been doing. Germany’s army is not quite the ultimate powerhouse it will be by 1940, but, then again, neither is France ready for war at this stage in the game. Czechoslovakia will put up a brave defense, but will, in all likelyhood, be fully occupied. Note that this does deny the Germans from using the full Czech MP, LS and IC, so it might be a way to weaken them.
The most damaging factor, however, is that this option increases the Neutrality of the US and the Commonwealth, thus delaying US entry into the war (barring Japanese Pearl Harbour) and reducing the likelyhood of the other Commonwealth nations entering the war.
Still, if you want to, this gives you the option to actually put a stop to appeasement right there and then and I have read AARs that use this option to great effect. Just keep in mind that the game is weighted towards a historical path.

Edited to add: It was rightfully brought to my attention that there is something else that is not explicitly brought to your attention when you oppose the treaty. You also suffer a 24 point hit to your NU. This means that it will be almost impossible to get the best wartime laws on the outbreak of war against Germany.
So let's recap: the Czechs will still fall within the month. France will be alone until you join the war. you will be considered the aggressor. The Commonwealth and the US will hate you. You will suffer a crippling hit to your NU.


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I will go for “Peace In Our Time”. The increased party popularity and organisation all but ensures a Conservative victory in the 1940 elections, and will eventually allow us to censor the press and limit civil liberties during the war. Note that, if you go this route, you will have no choice to oppose the first Vienna Award (the full annexation of Czechoslovakia and the creation of the Slovak puppet) later on, and all but locks you into a historical path.

HMS Ark Royal is deployed in december, 1938.

Because we are entering 1939 now, I will show you all my new research for those of you who want to play along.


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Airborne Infantry are always handy. They can do things and go places that no other land unit can. In fact, they are so overpowered, that it is a known exploit to abuse their airdrop ability to mass drop on all of the enemy’s VPs at once, forcing an immediate surrender. If you have read Multiplayer AARs or played Multiplayer games, you will know that most, if not all of them, limit their usage through house rules. My own personal house rule is that I will use them to secure islands or ports or to close encirclements. I will use them to drop on partisans if there’s no other way to get to them in time. I will use them to add a third “province” to a hard fight, thereby adding more frontage to the battle. But that’s it. I will not drop them on Berlin to steal all of Germany’s resources out from under them.
Read that last sentence again, and think about it. If you grab an enemy’s capital, their resource pools are teleported to your own capital and added to your own resource pools. This includes fuel, oil and supplies. Overpowered? Oh, yeah, in the right hands, they most definitively can be.

Note: I will add Jungle Warfare Equipment as well to fight the Japanese in Asia, but this is not an urgent tech. We will need it by 1941, though, so keep that in mind in case I forget to mention it in the future.


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1940 ASW will be ready in a couple of days, a full year ahead of time. Both Small Warship Radar and Large Warship Radar give your ships better spotting chances to find enemy surface ships.


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Carriers are up-to-date and radar is being researched. All is well.


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Again, there’s only a limited use for Strategic planes in this playthrough. You can get some excellent mileage out of them in later techs, but I prefer to focus on planes that I will use just about daily and that require less micromanagement to keep them alive.


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Fighter techs, of course, are always kept up-to-date.


ZnYhrrp.png


Combat Medicine and First Aid. One will reduce battle casualties, the other one will reduce attrition.


5uUo1RS.png


Land Doctrines are almost all up-to-date.


qsLScHj.png

Again, the UK’s massive Leadership pool allows me to make full use of the advantage offered by the Royal Navy. If I had to make a choice, I would go for the Carrier doctrine, along with the destroyer doctrines. I always research Fire Control, Commander Decision Making, Spotting and Basing for all nations with naval aspirations.
In the Carrier Doctrines, the Naval Underway Replenishment tech is only useful if you perform the “sortie” mission a lot, which is a defensive mission,, and to help keep the doctrine "theory" up. With a navy like the UK’s, I like to be more offensive minded.


ICi6QoI.png


The RAF Coastal Command Group is ready. I have based them in Portsmouth, where they will be of great use bombing enemy ships trying to cross the Channel. German subs that have been damaged, will use the shortest route to a safe base for repairs. Until the fall of France, that means that they will be trying to get through the Channel. This allows for a one-two punch between my destroyers + carriers on the one hand and the Naval Bombers on the other, guided by the radars on either side of the Channel, while protected by my own fighters.


XVxjwLe.png


It is 1939, so I am going to put spare IC into upgrades, so that I can be reasonably sure that all my armed forces will be up-to-date when the war starts in September. Just a quick reminder: ships upgrade their anti-air, radar and ASW only after being deployed. Especially my destroyers will need a lot of time get their equipment in order.


EFatWuc.png


March, ’39. Germany has used the “First Vienna Award” decision, which opens the UK to guarantee Poland’s independence. This is probably your last chance to change history, but, by this point, why would you bow out of the war alltogether, right?


TPfISgd.png


This is it. War is now only months away. Will we be ready, or will Germany be able to perform an early Sealion and catch us with our pants down? Come back next time, and find out. See you then!
 
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caffran

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the quote is from the game engine (Mr. Clausewitz), but it was originally a Roman saying? I think?

one downside you seem to have missed in the Munich agreement is if you oppose you lose 24 unity which is a massive hit and will effect what laws you can choose. Heavy Industry is a definite no no, maybe a few others.

Did you miss that or you don't think its that important? I'm still confused if heavy industry is actually better than mixed. could you clarify please?
 

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Hi
I've noticed you don't use any leadership on diplomacy, what's the reason, is it just that you prefer to use it on other things or is there nothing worth doing with it?

In my games as UK so far I've tended to use it to keep Hungary/Yugoslavia/Japan/Romania away from the axis for longer giving me longer to gear up for war in the east and giving Germany more issues in Europe. But not having played a lot I don't know if this is really changing much.
 

misterbean

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the quote is from the game engine (Mr. Clausewitz), but it was originally a Roman saying? I think?

one downside you seem to have missed in the Munich agreement is if you oppose you lose 24 unity which is a massive hit and will effect what laws you can choose. Heavy Industry is a definite no no, maybe a few others.

Did you miss that or you don't think its that important? I'm still confused if heavy industry is actually better than mixed. could you clarify please?

I did not know about the unity hit, to be honest. I will edit the chapter. thanks for the heads up. Just to be clear: during war, Heavy industry is always the best law of the 3, but it should be avoided during peacetime (I believe only the Soviets can institute heavy industry while at peace, but even for them the added CG Needs is too much to carry).

About the quote, Clausewitz may have used it originally, but that was not the reference I was looking for.
 

misterbean

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Hi
I've noticed you don't use any leadership on diplomacy, what's the reason, is it just that you prefer to use it on other things or is there nothing worth doing with it?

In my games as UK so far I've tended to use it to keep Hungary/Yugoslavia/Japan/Romania away from the axis for longer giving me longer to gear up for war in the east and giving Germany more issues in Europe. But not having played a lot I don't know if this is really changing much.

I typically don't put points into diplomacy until I risk running out. I will have some points there until I get about 50 diplomacy points. I'd rather train spies, or officers or do research. What you describe is a good strategy, but it's just not mine.
 

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I have edited the chapter. Again, caffran, thank you for bringing this to my attention.
 

Forster

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It is really interesting to read your tutorials. There is so much I don't seem to know. :(
I didn't realize Britain started with so many advantages in the industrial tech screen. I guess the mechanical and electronic computing techs really speed up research. IIRL Britain would never have denuded all those areas. There was too much chance for revolts, pirates and so on.
 

misterbean

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It is really interesting to read your tutorials. There is so much I don't seem to know. :(
I didn't realize Britain started with so many advantages in the industrial tech screen. I guess the mechanical and electronic computing techs really speed up research. IIRL Britain would never have denuded all those areas. There was too much chance for revolts, pirates and so on.

As the previous couple of posts prove, there are very few who know every detail of the game, so you're not alone.
As for Britain, you have to remember that, before the war, they were what the US is today: the single most powerful empire in the world, although by this time they were being stretched to the limit. If you want to have all the forces available to the UK in 1939, you'd have to add about 20-30 garrisons across the world. They had to patrol the waters from Newfoundland all the way to the Falklands, to name just one theater that we can safely ignore for the most part. So they have it a little easier in the game in this regard.
 

Stuyvesant

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Sounds like you're well-prepared (unless the Germans manage that surprise Sealion). The Poles (and the French. And the Belgians. And the Dutch) will still fall, but in the end Britain looks very likely to prevail. I love a good showing by the Brits and I'm looking forward to it.
 

forummar

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My compliments on your terrific tutorial MrBean.
I’m playing this game for about a year now. I learned a lot of the game the hard way. Like I suspect most of us do :).
I already liked de depth of the game, but your thorough explanation of, I guess all of it’s aspects, made me appreciate it even more.

In one playtrough as France some time ago, I used a somewhat gamey tactic.
I built up my army with corps’ consisting of 2 divisions 3 inf 1 Art and 1 division 3 inf ,1AT
I attached 1 inf, 1AA to my corps HQ’s. I did not build up my air force
When Germany attacked Danmark I transported a corps to Copenhagen and sent it to Odense to guard the straits to the main land.
It proved impossible for Germany to conquer Danmark that way. Every now and then they threw an army agains my forces there. They lost their battles with odds of 10 to 1.
The experience of my troops and commanders went up extremely fast so I rotated other corps’ to put that experience to good use when the invasion of France would finally come.

Strangely enough however the Germans did never invade France, the Netherlands or Belgium
The sitzkrieg went on far beyond May ’40.
When I felt strong enough I decided to take some offensive action. Attacking the Siegfried Line didn’t seem like a good idea, so I invaded Danmark’s main land. The invasion proved quite succesful. I reached Dortmund and even Berlin. It was however impossible for me to win eventually. I ran out of manpower,while Germany stil had most of it’s divisions. A stalemate was the result

All in all I learned a few things in that game:
By preventing the fall of Danmark I almost certainly broke the chain of events leading to fall Gelb and consequently fall Barbarossa. The Soviet Union stayed out of the conflict altogether.
Invading Danmark made all the German provinces French troops conquered in fact Danish provinces. Again because of preventing the fall of that country.
Without Germany tied up in an eastern struggle and a quite passive UK it proved impossible for France’s limited manpower to decively defeat the Germans. Maybe if I’d had put my spies to use in lowering German NU I would have had more succes.
The USA did not intervene in Europe. I can’t remember if they joined the Allies. probably not, because the Fall of France did not happen

It was a very fun game though. I even fought off the japanese invasion of Indochine and chased them out of Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo.

A question concerning the pre defined chain of events: Does anybody know if the fall of France is
mandatory for Barbarossa to take place?

I certainly will play along with your UK campaign as I already did with your USA setup.
Thanks again for this wonderful piece of work.
 

misterbean

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You're very welcome.

As for Barbarossa, the only real requirement is that Germany must feel strong enough to take on the Soviets. If you have part of Germany occupied, or if the continued existence of Denmark or France makes them feel insecure, they will not invade the SU.
 

forummar

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I have another question concerning naval battle.
I can’t remember exactly if you adressed this earlier in your take 3 or take 2 tutorial.

At this moment I create squadrons consisting of 2CV 4 CL or of 2BB 6DD.
Is my assumption that these seperate squadrons will operate independently correct, or will they still operate as one big squadron when I send them into the same battle?
In other words: Do the formerly mentioned negative effects of putting BB and CV in one squadron still apply in this case?

Thanks in advance
 

misterbean

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Chapter 39: Preparations for War!


Now that we’ve entered the final months of peace, I’m going to start getting my forces organised.


Hungary joins the Axis on the 2nd of April, 1939, with Italy following suit on the 24th.

On the 20th of May, my last 6 infantry divisions destined for East Africa board the transports. Like the ones before them, they will each guard one province bordering Ethiopia and Italian East Africa and attached to the East Africa Command Theater.


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Also on the 20th, the rest of the army in England takes up positions to defend the British ports from German invasion. Confidence in the supremacy of the Royal Navy allows me to keep these to 1 infantry division per port.


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As upgrades finish, I use the IC to begin building the British Expeditionary Force.


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The army in India makes its way to the river that marks the border with Siam. The spectacularly poor infrastructure around the border regions of India, allows me to concentrate the army here, at the only real land connection to what will be a Japanese puppet. These forces will be reinforced with troops from East Africa, after that region has been fully pacified.


In June, we finish research of Self-Propelled Artillery Brigades.


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The OOB that will be responsible for defense of the home island. On this screenshot, the 1st Army HQ is still out of position. It is en route for Sheffield, from where it will be within 400 km of each corps HQ. This reduces the number of HQs dramatically. An Army Group HQ, situated in London, will have all sea, air and land forces in Great Britain under its command.


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The 2nd and 3rd Armies have been organised in Africa, while the border with Libya is guarded by two divisions.


The navy is next.


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These are my destroyer squadrons, whose only mission will be to find and sink enemy subs. I have a total of 7 carriers and light carriers, which allows me to use 7 destroyer squadrons. The carrier and heavy cruiser will protect the destroyers from the German surface navy.


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I don’t need a carrier force as such against the Kriegsmarine or the Regia Marina, so the Battleship Squadrons will be my main combat squadrons. I have added 2 heavy cruisers to each squadron to provide a bit of exta hull, thereby allowing me to have 1 extra squadron (12 battleships in total).


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The Battlecruiser squadron will be my fast response team who will attempt to pin enemy squadrons in place until the battleship squadrons can reach the fight. I have added destroyers as screens instead of Light Cruisers because destroyers are faster, which allows me to increase the average speed of the squadron in combat.


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Submarines are deployed in groups of 2. Where possible, I have tried to keep both subs in the same class (so submarine level II with submarine level II and so on).


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The Transport Fleet can carry 520 weight. It will be used to ferry troops across the empire, but don’t forget that these can still be used in amphibious warfare.


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The Landing Fleet can carry 720 weight. It will mainly be used in naval invasions, but you might see it pop up as a simple transport because of its higher weight limit.


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The reserve fleet are all the ones that have not found a place. These will be used to fill out squadrons that have suffered losses and to guard the Northwest corner of Scotland.


I don’t have pictures from it, but the interceptors will be divided in 2 groups of 3 Interceptors each. One will be stationed in Dover, the other one in Portsmouth.

The tactical bombers will remain a single force of 6 Tac for now, so that I can maximize their firepower. I also have 3 Strats, 3 CAS and 3 NAV, each type in its own group.


And then there is little left to do but wait for Germany to pull the trigger, which they do on schedule on the 1st of September, 1939.
 

misterbean

Fumbling My Way through History
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Ladies and gentlemen, we are now at war with Germany. I immediately go to the production screen and prioiritize reinforcements because I don’t want to have to come back here to adjust the sliders every other hour.


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Three hours later, the Commonwealth unites against the common threat. South Africa does not join at this stage, but at least they offer us military access.


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I have carefully given each destroyer squadron an area that will allow it to link up with the ones on either side so that the Channel and the British coastline are fully covered, but don’t be surprised if situations at sea will force some of these out of position at times. For instance, the Bay of Biscay is a favorite hunting ground of German subs and I will send them to try to intercept U-boats where they have been sighted. These are on “patrol” duty.

The red bits are the hunting grounds for my own subs. German convoys from outside Europe will either come through the Channel or to the north of the UK (trades with the US, for example, coming from Boston may take this route if the other one becomes too dangerous). The Battleship Squadrons have been spread out for maximum efficiency. They will patrol for the German surface navy, but will mostly stay in port for now to save fuel.

The Naval Bombers get orders for naval bombardment in the Channel, where they remain within easy reach of both of my interceptor groups.



Germany usually has only a small convoy fleet and a completely inadequate escort fleet, so I fully expect to sink all of them within the first 6 months of the war.


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Radar at work, people. As you can see, the Kriegsmarine tries to avoid going through the Channel and slip across the northern reaches of Scotland to the open sea.


6 Days go by, during which I don’t catch a single U-boat, but manage to sink about a dozen transport ships and several escorts, which is just about enough to cripple the German merchant navy.


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Then, I lose my first transport of the war and send the navy to intercept.


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That night, I catch a group of 3 German U-boats. They will use the darkness to make a quick getaway, but not before being badly damaged. What’s even better is that damaged ships on AI control tend to use the shortest route to their homebase. In this case through the Channel, where I have additional ships and planes waiting for them.
The Battlecruiser Squadron is dispatched to Egypt in response to the Italian mobilization.


And that is the gist of what will keep me occupied for the next couple of months: a game of cat-and-mouse where we must not forget that the mice do have very sharp teeth of their own in the forms of Bismarck, Tirpitz and Scharnhorst. They may possibly have Gneisenau as well. They are few in number but they can do extensive damage when encountered in numbers. Remember the faith of my US squadron that ran into Tirpitz in the US portion of the AAR.

German subs will make an attack, if they are not caught before that, which will make them light up on my radars like a house on fire. I will dispatch the nearest destroyers to that location, after which point it will require a bit of luck how the dice fall.


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A large group of subs get caught by a combined British-French fleet two days later. Assman will barely get away with 2 subs.


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A mere four hours after the end of the last fight, we get another one. This time it’s a cruiser squadron.


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We win the fight but fail to sink anything. However, if you look closely, you can see where they are running to. Since a defeated squadron only runs a single seazone far, you can often engage them a second time before they have time to flee. I give chase into the North Channel and engage them a second time.


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While all this is going on, Cunningham also engages the German Baltische Flotte in the Channel.


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The fight in the North Channel does not go well. My commander has died and the other squadron is led by Raeder. Note that all the German ships are firing, except Emden, while on my side, there are only a couple of ships returning fire. Like I have said before, a pure cruiser force can be very deadly in short battles. Proof of that is HMS Cornwall, who has been hit hard. I immediately dispatch a battleship squadron and a destroyer squadron to reinforce the battle. The chance to kill Raeder is too good to pass up.


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Unfortunately, the Germans run, and we only sink the Köln.


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Two hours later, the obsolete German ships manage to break off combat, but not before losing 2 destroyers, leaving them with a single screen for their two capitals.


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Three hours pass. My 3 squadrons, two of which are in pursuit and the third one who is on his way to Scapa Flow, run into Raeder’s damaged squadron. His ships are not really in any shape to continue the fight by now. Under these circumstances, coming out here with their surface fleet is pure suicidal lunacy on the part of the German AI. The Kriegsmarine cannot win a battle of attrition against the Royal Navy. Only the US and Japanese navies can win such a contest, with France and Italy a “maybe, under the right circumstances”. The result is that of the 4 German ships, only the Admiral Scheer survives. However, she runs the wrong way and ends up in North Channel again, where she is finally sunk, taking Raeder with her.


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The Baltische Flotte almost makes it through the channel and into open waters where they can safely head home, before they are intercepted by one of my destroyer squadrons, supported by a submarine squadron. They get away after a couple of volleys back and forth.


In one dark night time, we have sunk half a dozen cruisers, destroyers and subs. Several of our ships are damaged, but none have been sunk. Overall, a major tactical and strategic victory. The chapter has gone on longer than I intended, so I am going to end it here, but I wanted to show you that handling a nation like UK has one difficulty not usually seen in a Germany game: you have things going on on both sides of the world at the same time, and you have to deal with them simultaneously. It’s easy now, but Italy is not in the war yet, and Japan is really a distant threat at best right now.

On the other hand, a game as UK can be great fun because it can become so intense.


I hope you enjoyed this chapter and I will see you next time!
 
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