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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

misterbean

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just caught up! great AAR. Never played as France.
ve3609, welcome! Hope I will be able to keep providing you with interesting updates after WoN comes out.
 

misterbean

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Chapter 24: The Italian Gambit.

I only have little over a year before my claims on Savoy expire, so I did a little math.
Savoy has Brandenburg, Mainz, Trier and Tuscany as allies.
If Austria chooses to defend the HRE, they will bring Riga, Silesia, Naples, Utrecht, the Palatinate and Württemberg to the party.
All combined, I am looking at an army of 139 regiments, with a force limit of 201. They also have 165K Manpower in reserve.
France has 129 regiments out of 132, with 100K in reserve.
If this is going to work, I will need to massively exceed my force limit.

I start building an extra army.




My miltary advisor dies. I have 3 excellent choices and decide to go for the morale bonus.
My diplomacy tech is up-to-date, so I can finally take another Exploration Idea, increasing my colonial range by 50%.
Since I also have the French Ideas filled out, I get a very sweet 10% bonus on discipline.

When my army is completed, I suddenly find myself losing 15 ducats per month, so I lower colonial maintenance and fleet maintenance. This will be a land war, after all.

While I am reorganising my armies, I also manage to get a new Administrative Idea, giving me 25% bonus on coring costs.




With 144 regiments, I am as ready as I will ever be. The plan is to use one army to siege Savoy, one army to ward of Tuscany and Naples and 2 armies (72 regiments total) to use force of numbers to destroy the Austrian army before they can get organised. That is my only chance at real success. If that fails, I will have to go fully on defense for the rest of the war.




As expected, half the HRE answers the call to arms.
It starts easy enough, with victories in Trier and Firenze.

I destroy the army of Savoy in Nice, bloody Naples’ nose in Modena and wipe out Mainz’ army in Steiermark.
And that last one ends up costing me a lot. Possibly even the war. Because this army is delayed, there are only 36 regiments facing Austria’s 30 regiments, with their 6/6/5/3 general. I loose the fight, and about 5 warscore.




I pull back, but am intercepted in Brescia, with disastrous consequences.

I manage to win a couple of minor skirmishes, but again underestimate the speed advantage you get from having a general with 5 Maneuver. At first it seemed to be going my way, too. But then, just as the first army is send packing, their reinforcements arrive on the scene.




I had no idea that I was so short on infantry all of a sudden. When the war started, I had 59,000 infantry men. Where did they all go? So much for following the forum’s wisdom about having half your army as artillery. That is one mistake I will never make again.

I do what I can, and even manage to turn the tables a couple of times. The warscore goes from -16 back to +1. For a moment, it even goes up to +9. But that last point to get peace talks going eludes me. Liguria is sieged out, my Italian vassals are all but gone.




In desperation I try one last effort to get my hands on this Austrian general. Twice the number, more discipline, better morale. By this time, I am using 15 mercs in this battle. It is not enough . In retrospect, it is obvious that the ratio is still completely wrong. Add to that this guy again, and a river crossing, and the end result is clear.




It is painfully obvious that I cannot win anymore (no MP, no more mercs in reserve), so I get out, losing 3 provinces in the process.

So what went wrong?
I think that I made 2 big mistakes. The first was to spend 40,000 MP on an extra army, because this left me with only about 50K MP to start the war. Not nearly enough if you want to survive.
The second was that I was much too offensive-minded in the beginning of the war. Had I fought defensively right from the start, things might have been very different. Maybe I wouldn’t have needed those 40 extra regiments.
Maybe the war would have turned out very differently had Haemrich not turned out to be such a monster, but those are all fallacies. The simple truth is that I should never have gotten into a war under these conditions, and because of that, I failed bigtime.

And with that, I shelve all Italian ambitions for the time being.




The main benefit of having an army of only 21,000 men, is that you have a ton of money coming in. With that in mind, I send my colonist to start a 3rd colony.

A couple of days later, Austria asks me to renew our alliance. I accept.




Great Britain starts a colony right next to mine. They are at war against the Iroquois, which explains the big army. Still, I remember what happened the last time I went to war against Portugal, so I step up the rebuilding of my army. I will have to keep a large number of troops in America if I want to defend myself.




September, 1623. It seems like I might get another shot at that PU with Brabant, but since these things are a complete mystery even to the real experts, I try not to get my hopes up. Notice also the large British colony in South America.

Since I don’t want to mess with Italy anymore, I take the opportunity to ally with both Venice and Savoy, thereby completely securing my south-eastern border.




Von Habsburg reigns over Brabant. He is still very young, so I don’t make a move. Let’s see what happens in the next couple of years. Succession War against Great britain, huh? And they have that army camped right next door from my colonies.

Adding Savoy and Venice to my list of allies, has put me over my Relations Limit, so I start improving relations with my vassals.

By December of 1624, I have an army of 46,000 again. I should be safe enough to send a big chunk of them to America.




I might have read the 3 Musketeers too many times, because this actually had me worried for a while. Still, it might come in handy. After I feel secure enough in my army’s strength, I just might save up for him.
I have enough money coming in, so it shouldn’t be a problem. I have even started 6 Farm Estates at the same time.

Provinces start flipping back to Reformed, so I put my missionary back to work.

Austria calls me to arms against Wurzburg, Frankfurt and Cologne. I accept, but stay home. What happens in the HRE is no concern of mine.




This event chain seems a little broken, somehow. No matter what choice I make in the second Grand Embassy event, the effect are the same: -25 relations. What’s up with that? Oh,well. I will let them study my governmental institutions. Seems safer than letting them snoop around my army, and my navy is not the best in the world.




So Henri has produced an heir. At least the Von habsburg dynasty is secure. And it seems like they have even found their way back to the Archduchy as well.

I grab Land Of Opportunity in July, 1629, giving me +33 Global Settler Increase.




Santee becomes self-sufficient, and that is all I needed to finish my first Colonial nation. Outremer is born as a new shot at eternal happiness, so many centuries after losing the Holy Land to Islam.

January, 1630. I have begun annexing Milan, the last of my Italian vassals. By 1637 they should all be integrated, leaving me with just Aragon.




Austria seems to be in a bit of pickle. I hope they all die in their stupid wars.

At any rate, I am almost at the screenshot limit, so I am going to end this chapter here. See you next time!
 

jsuarez

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First post over here, so hi everyone! (Well, really second post, the first was to ask a question to the devs)
Great AAR. I've been following it for a few weeks but wanted to subscribe. Keep up the good work!
 

misterbean

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First post over here, so hi everyone! (Well, really second post, the first was to ask a question to the devs)
Great AAR. I've been following it for a few weeks but wanted to subscribe. Keep up the good work!
Thank you, and welcome! The more, the merrier!
 

loup99

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Revenge, revenge I say! The alliance with Austria was a good move, but did you really need to ally half of Italy? Also the fifty procent artillery is not a good idea, I would go with atleast sixty percent infantery.
 

misterbean

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Revenge, revenge I say! The alliance with Austria was a good move, but did you really need to ally half of Italy? Also the fifty procent artillery is not a good idea, I would go with atleast sixty percent infantery.
In retrospect, the alliance with Venice was a mistake. I had to cede Liguria and another province to Venice, who were not in the previous war. So I should have just turned around and forged a claim on Liguria. Austria would not have joined the war then. It's not too late, though. I could still break the alliance. The good thing about it, is that I don't have to worry about them for the time being. I was more than a little bummed out about it, and I just thought: "to heck with it."

As for the artillery, most people on the forum say "50% is the optimum number". So I had 50%. Still, even with that ratio (I think 7 inf/1cav/24 arty), I managed to stackwipe Napels who were sieging Nice. Like I said in the update, I will never make that mistake again.

edited to add: sorry about the CN's name being so small.

edit 2: so what should I do about Brabant now that they have a Habsburg on the throne and another one on the way?
 
Last edited:

DennisRoos

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Ouch, that was a painful war. At least you learned a lot from it, though those lost provinces must hurt! Liguria was a nice rich province. Let's hope you'll get it back soon. Good expansion in America too. Outremer is a nice name.

In other news, the pretty borders police is appalled by the state of Lithuania's borders. How did that happen? Did they have to release Ukraine at a certain point and Russia conquered it? Though an even bigger Russia may not be a good thing gameplay-wise, at least it will be easier on the eyes :p
 

misterbean

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Ouch, that was a painful war. At least you learned a lot from it, though those lost provinces must hurt! Liguria was a nice rich province. Let's hope you'll get it back soon. Good expansion in America too. Outremer is a nice name.

In other news, the pretty borders police is appalled by the state of Lithuania's borders. How did that happen? Did they have to release Ukraine at a certain point and Russia conquered it? Though an even bigger Russia may not be a good thing gameplay-wise, at least it will be easier on the eyes :p
Lithuania and Poland have been put through the wringer a couple of times by both the Ottomans and the Russians. For the past 15 years or so, whenever I look over there, they are being sieged. At one point, Russia had a bigger portion, but they seem to have lost some of that again.
 

aldriq

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That monster-general did it for you... and then once the infantry line fell the artillery was left defenceless, so you had no good ratio unless you've had fresh infantry reinforcements to put straight in, which you didn't. Still you may get other chances :)
 

misterbean

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That monster-general did it for you... and then once the infantry line fell the artillery was left defenceless, so you had no good ratio unless you've had fresh infantry reinforcements to put straight in, which you didn't. Still you may get other chances :)
Yeah, and I even showed him in the previous chapter. When the war started, he was still at the head of that same army in Vienna. I knew that my only shot would be to cut that army to ribbons before they could merge up. If I had succeeded, I could have kept 1 army in Austria killing fresh regiments.
He had 4 fire and 1 shock on my best general. Once you start going against someone like that, there is just no coming back from it. I went up against the likeness of Napoleon or Von manstein and got shredded.
 

SDEngineer

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As for the artillery, most people on the forum say "50% is the optimum number". So I had 50%. Still, even with that ratio (I think 7 inf/1cav/24 arty), I managed to stackwipe Napels who were sieging Nice. Like I said in the update, I will never make that mistake again.
It's the optimum composition for a doomstack, but you do need a TON of infantry in reserves for the heavy casualties the front line inevitably takes against another doomstack. Mid to late game, my 36/4/40 doomstacks are followed around by a 40K 40/0/0 infantry army, that I throw into the fray once I start seeing large casualty losses. Sadly, even with a serious doomstack, the grunts at the front still die in pretty large numbers and need to be replenished after a serious fight (or even during a serious fight). In general, while my attacking armies generally are at the 40%/10%/50% mix, for every infantry unit I have in an attacking army, I have another in reserve, making my overall composition closer to about 35% artillery in my force limit.

Unfortunately, that general is definitely a monster, and assuming (based on the description) you were on offense anywhere near the alps when you encountered him, the combination of his +5 additional pip modifier versus your general, plus anywhere from a -1 to -3 modifier for terrain, can be devastating to even a significantly numerically superior force.

One lesson I've learned the hard way is that any time I'm facing an enemy general with 2+ more pips in fire or shock than my own general, is to find a good defensive position and draw him in to attacking you (the area around Tirol or Switzerland is ideal). At least that should negate most of the enemy generals advantages and return it to a numbers fight.
 

misterbean

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It's the optimum composition for a doomstack, but you do need a TON of infantry in reserves for the heavy casualties the front line inevitably takes against another doomstack. Mid to late game, my 36/4/40 doomstacks are followed around by a 40K 40/0/0 infantry army, that I throw into the fray once I start seeing large casualty losses. Sadly, even with a serious doomstack, the grunts at the front still die in pretty large numbers and need to be replenished after a serious fight (or even during a serious fight). In general, while my attacking armies generally are at the 40%/10%/50% mix, for every infantry unit I have in an attacking army, I have another in reserve, making my overall composition closer to about 35% artillery in my force limit.

Unfortunately, that general is definitely a monster, and assuming (based on the description) you were on offense anywhere near the alps when you encountered him, the combination of his +5 additional pip modifier versus your general, plus anywhere from a -1 to -3 modifier for terrain, can be devastating to even a significantly numerically superior force.

One lesson I've learned the hard way is that any time I'm facing an enemy general with 2+ more pips in fire or shock than my own general, is to find a good defensive position and draw him in to attacking you (the area around Tirol or Switzerland is ideal). At least that should negate most of the enemy generals advantages and return it to a numbers fight.
After it had become clear that I couldn't really win anymore, I held a defensive position in the Savoy Alps. That seemed to work for a while, until the AI got smart enough to move around me :eek:
That's the reason behind that fight with Napels and the last fight against Austria. As you can deduce from the screenshot, they were headed for the French interior, where I had nobody. I had to throw everything I had into it.
 

SDEngineer

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After it had become clear that I couldn't really win anymore, I held a defensive position in the Savoy Alps. That seemed to work for a while, until the AI got smart enough to move around me :eek:
That's the reason behind that fight with Napels and the last fight against Austria. As you can deduce from the screenshot, they were headed for the French interior, where I had nobody. I had to throw everything I had into it.
Best response to this is to draw them in. If you have too large of a stack on the province in question, the AI is smart enough not to directly attack. You want an army smaller than theirs, but large enough for them to hold out (without sustaining murderous losses) until your reinforcements next door arrive. Generally, my rule of thumb for the Alps is to have my army be just large enough to field a full combat width of infantry and artillery, or 75% of the size of the enemy army, whichever is smaller.

I fought a war with Austria last night using just these tactics, with inferior numbers (counting vassals and allies) and equal generals. I stationed 26k troops (11k/2k/13k - current combat width assuming mountains), on three adjacent mountainous provinces (in Swiss alps, which were neutral territory - first two were above composition, third stack was 25k infantry as strategic reserves). As soon as his 90k doomstack picked a supposedly "easy" target and attacked, I moved the reserves onto the first, and kept the other combined army as reserves (actually, think I moved it to the Austrian mountain province adjacent to the fight to start sieging it down). I did eventually need to feed most of the third stack into the fray to add new high morale troops, but I convincingly slaughtered the Austrian army (they took more than double the losses I did). Then I just moved the three stacks into adjacent Austrian mountainous territories and repeated, this time with about even numbers. By the fourth fight, I had convincing overall numeric superiority, and my vassals had carpet sieged about half his more distant territory, so I moved a few small stacks to siege the remainder of his more distant provinces during the final doomstack vs. doomstack battle. Due to a lack of distant unoccupied provinces, when he lost that fight, he was forced to retreat to a neighboring province, where I was able to stackwipe him at 0 morale.
 

misterbean

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Best response to this is to draw them in. If you have too large of a stack on the province in question, the AI is smart enough not to directly attack. You want an army smaller than theirs, but large enough for them to hold out (without sustaining murderous losses) until your reinforcements next door arrive. Generally, my rule of thumb for the Alps is to have my army be just large enough to field a full combat width of infantry and artillery, or 75% of the size of the enemy army, whichever is smaller.

I fought a war with Austria last night using just these tactics, with inferior numbers (counting vassals and allies) and equal generals. I stationed 26k troops (11k/2k/13k - current combat width assuming mountains), on three adjacent mountainous provinces (in Swiss alps, which were neutral territory - first two were above composition, third stack was 25k infantry as strategic reserves). As soon as his 90k doomstack picked a supposedly "easy" target and attacked, I moved the reserves onto the first, and kept the other combined army as reserves (actually, think I moved it to the Austrian mountain province adjacent to the fight to start sieging it down). I did eventually need to feed most of the third stack into the fray to add new high morale troops, but I convincingly slaughtered the Austrian army (they took more than double the losses I did). Then I just moved the three stacks into adjacent Austrian mountainous territories and repeated, this time with about even numbers. By the fourth fight, I had convincing overall numeric superiority, and my vassals had carpet sieged about half his more distant territory, so I moved a few small stacks to siege the remainder of his more distant provinces during the final doomstack vs. doomstack battle. Due to a lack of distant unoccupied provinces, when he lost that fight, he was forced to retreat to a neighboring province, where I was able to stackwipe him at 0 morale.
I felt like I had no choice but to keep them together. Haemrich had his Austrians in Liguria, and there were 30K Napolitani soldiers in Nice. Add to that about 20K reinforcements of the HRE minors scattered in Milan. Maybe I should have pulled back to Paris, regrouped and let them attrition themselves to a more reasonable number. Oh well, it's too late now.
You learn best in failure.
 

loup99

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So the 1.6 patch has been released, what is your statement around this game? Will you continue to play on this old patch through beta branch (if there is one) or update and loose a lot of stuff (especially how vassals and rivals now work)?
 

misterbean

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This is what I said in another thread a little while ago:

I have a question for the devs. After getting the patch and the DLC, I fire up the Ironman game for my French AAR, to see if it is still working.

1) Yesterday, I had 2 advisors +2 and one who was +3 and I was still making money. Today, the game starts at -40 ducats per month. Now, after firing my advisors and getting back to +1 guys, I still can barely make ends meet. Why is that?

2) Why did the game (!!!!!!!!!!!) end my alliance with Brabant on MY (!!!!!!!!!!!!!) behalf? After eating diner, I continue, and the game ends my alliance with Venice, on my behalf (!!!!!!!!!!!!) without any input from me?

This is not funny anymore, guys. Seriously. Not. Funny.:mad:
In short, I am too mad right now to make a decision.
 

misterbean

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I am first going to play regular games for a week or two, just to get a better feel for the new balance/mechanics. After that, I will pick this up again.
 

aldriq

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I am first going to play regular games for a week or two, just to get a better feel for the new balance/mechanics. After that, I will pick this up again.
It's always a big leap into the unknown to continue a game in a new patch...
 

misterbean

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It's always a big leap into the unknown to continue a game in a new patch...
I had started it, actually, but then the game started doing wonky stuff, and I didn't want to derail it completely. Lord knows I have had enough trouble already.
 

misterbean

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You will be happy to know that I have played next chapter. (Or, at least, I hope you'll be happy :) )
Depending on the HOI 4 live stream tomorrow, next chapter will probably appear tomorrow or saturday.

edit: I meant live stream today, obviously.

edit 2: pfff...lasted less than half an hour. Ok, that means that the next chapter should appear tomorrow.
 
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