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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

superjames1992

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Vive la France!!!

Hello and welcome to my new French AAR, to supplement my Japanese one.

In my time with HOI3, I have never played with a nation belonging to the Allied Faction. I suppose this is because I wish to change the outcome of WW2 and conquer as many nations as I can. However, France presents myself with an opportunity to change the outcome of WW2 by never letting France fall to the Huns! Onward to victory!

I have a few house rules with this one. I will not attack the Germans while they are occupied in Poland. I will let them take the fight to me through the Low Countries. I will not build or improve any fortresses beyond what I already have.

This will be a gameplay AAR with perhaps a little comedy dialog in between. We'll see how that goes, though. I am not sure how able I am to write comedy. :p
 

superjames1992

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I Have a Dream
Chapter One
January 1st, 1936


Nine men met in a dark alley behind a warehouse in Montreuil, a commune in eastern Paris. These men were the most powerful people behind the French government and military. The men were clearly irritated that Prime Minister Albert Lebrun had chosen such a time and place for this apparently confidential and important meeting. It was New Year's, after all!

The nine men were Albert Lebrun (Head of State), Albert Sarraut (Head of Government), Pierre Etienne Flandin (Foreign Minister), Vincent Auriol (Armament Minister), Marx Dormoy (Minister of Security), Joseph Paganon (Head of Intelligence), Maurice Gamelin (Chief of Staff and Chief of the Army), Francois Darlan (Chief of the Navy), and Victor Denain (Chief of the Air Force).

Before Lebrun could open up the meeting, Vincent Auriol began...

Auriol: Why the hell are we here? Why are we not partying it up in Paris with our friends and families?

Flandin: Yeah! And why are we meeting in a nondescript dark ally in a far eastern commune in Paris? Why are we not in a governmental building? I feel like I could get murdered here.

Lebrun: Quiet, gentlemen! I summoned you all because I had a dream.

Dormoy: A dream? You're calling us here and risking our lives for a dream?

Lebrun: Yes, I am.

Dormoy: Preposterous!

Lebrun: Let me finish.

Dormoy: Carry on. You better have a damn good explanation for this.

Lebrun: Well, like I said, I had a dream. This dream was about an invasion of France by the despicable Huns from the east.

Flandin: The Huns being the Germans?

Lebrun: Yes.

Flandin: Interesting. That Hitler character has been carrying on over there. He violated the Versailles Treaty just last year with mandatory conscription.

Lebrun: Yes, well in my dream, which was a rather vivid one, I might add, Hitler reoccupied the Rhineland early this year.

Flandin: BS. I would never let that happen!

Lebrun: No, Mr. Flandin, but we didn't actually do anything about it except protest to the useless League of Nations.

Flandin: Okay...

Lebrun: Yes. Then we turned our back on Czechoslovakia and let that nation be partitioned between Germany and Hungary, with a small amount of land being given to the Germany puppet state of Slovakia.

Flandin: As Foreign Minister, that would never happy under my watch, sir.

Lebrun: Well, it did. And guess what? We didn't do anything about it. In fact, we turned our backs on the Czechs and let it happen.

Flandin: Oh.

Lebrun: But it doesn't stop there, gentlemen. The Germans went on to annex Memel from Lithuania and then demanded Danzig from Poland. After the Czech disaster, we extended a guarantee for Polish independence.

Flandin: It's about time.

Lebrun: Yes, it was. So, anyways, Poland refused the demand and Germany declared war on Poland. This was followed by a British and French declaration of war on Germany on September 3rd, 1939.

Gamelin: Yes! A time for me to showcase my glorious army!

Lebrun: No, Mr. Gamelin. It was a time for our army and air forces to be annihilated.

Gamelin: What do you mean?

Lebrun: Germany invaded the Low Countries in the spring of 1940, much like in World War I. They took out our nation in less than two months afterwards. It was a pathetic display as our static Maginot Line defenses were useless with German panzers pouring through the Low Countries.

Gamelin: So we lost?

Lebrun: Precisely. A regime in southern France, popularly known as Vichy France, was set up under the leadership of Philippe Pétain. Its capital was at Vichy. In 1944, British, Canadian, and American forces landed at Normandy and within a year, the war was over, Germany was defeated, and France was liberated.

Paganon: The Americans? Why would they become involved in yet another European conflict?

Lebrun: Blame it on the Japanese.

Paganon: What?

Lebrun: The Americans decided to cut off Japan's source of oil due to Japan's harsh invasion of China in 1937. As a result, Japan needed oil and the only way to achieve this was to go to war with the United States, they thought. They attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941 and severely crippled the US Pacific Fleet there. However, over the next four years, the US would fight back and apparently dropped some sort of weapon of mass destruction on two Japanese cities in the summer of 1945 which ended the war without a US invasion of Japan proper.

Paganon: And that had what to do with Germany?

Lebrun: Japan and Germany were allied and Hitler declared war on the US a day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Paganon: Interesting. But I don't like the sound of four years of German occupation. That is intolerable.

Lebrun: I agree. We mustn't let this happen.

Denain: I have an interesting question that everyone here is probably wondering about. Why in the hell are we supposed to take your stupid, idiotic dream seriously?

Lebrun: I do not believe it was a dream. I believe it was a foresight into the future if we do not take steps accordingly..

Denain: Why?

Lebrun: I just believe what I believe. I have faith that what I saw in that dream was real and a divine message that we must protect this fine country.

Denain: Fair enough.

Sarraut: I must admit that I had a similar dream recently, as well...

Darian: Me too. Sadly, the British destroyed much of my fleet in order to protect the fleet from falling into German hands. It made me so sad!

Denain: Oh, stop it. Your navy is in better shape than my air force, at least.

Lebrun: Alright, gentlemen. That is all I have for this meeting. It was good having you all here. Over the coming months, we will dramatically increase our industrial production and will began a massive expansion of our armed forces, complete with more infantry, armored units, and airplanes.

All: Au revoir!
 
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superjames1992

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Rearmament
Chapter Two
January 1936


On the 1st of January, 1936, France began to prepare for war. Spurred by the visions of Lebrun and others within the French government, perhaps a diving warning of the future war that would engulf Europe, France began to frantically rearm herself.



The first course of action the government took was the reassessment of the intelligence bureau. French spies were recalled across the world and, instead, were to be focused in only three countries. France had little need for information about insurgent movements in Guatemala or how much industrial capacity Tibet had. Instead, she needed to know as much as possible about Germany and Italy.

As such, spies were to be sent to Germany, Italy, and France itself. In Germany and Italy, spies would focus on unseating the current Fascist regimes there. French spies in Germany would attempt to increase public discontent with Adolf Hitler's National Socialist regime and Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime. In addition, French spies would begin to prop up the Social Liberal Parties in both Germany and Italy. It was hoped that this course of action would result in decreased support for Hitler and Mussolini and, if all went well, result in a coup.

In France, spies were to focus on raising national unity. Their mission would change as time went on, however, as French spies would also engage in counterespionage and lowering the neutrality of the French Republic.



Before we go on about the beginnings of French military expansion, let us take a look at an overview of the French military.















Most French infantry brigades were made up of triangular infantry. It was decided that in order to give these divisions more punch, an artillery support brigade would be added to each French infantry division in mainland France (some French infantry units in overseas territories would not receive this upgrade). As such, on January 1st, two serial orders of 13 parallel artillery support brigades were placed. In total, 26 artillery support brigades were ordered and would be added to French infantry divisions over the next year.



In addition, five infantry divisions consisting of three infantry brigades and one artillery support brigade were ordered. We will need more armor, but as of now we only have the technology to build light armor. I intend to wait until we get the technology to build medium armor divisions before beginning mass construction of tanks.



Also, three cavalry brigades were to be upgraded to motorized infantry brigades. The Battlecruiser Dunkerque was also in the production que. I contemplated getting rid of this, but in the end I kept it in the que as it is already 33% done.

France was lacking in leadership, but this would get better when enough money was accumulated to change to a large education investment law. As it stood, most available leadership would be focused on the development of infantry, armor, and artillery, along with their associated doctrines. In addition, some focus would go towards industrial research, education, and the development of better agricultural techniques.

France did not have the available IC to spare on its air force, navy, or any extravagant projects like rockets or atomic weapons.

On January 2nd, I decided to go with the Grand Battleplan Doctrine, which favored our current army which was mainly concentrated around slow, methodical infantry divisions with artillery support (in the future, at least).



On January 4th, the Social Conservative Party was put down and degraded. We must remain in power in order to unify this nation! We cannot have a nation divided by partisan politics! :rolleyes:

Also, I decided to roll with the firepower infantry doctrine, which would arm our infantry with more heavy weaponry, which would be useful against German armor.



Two days later, I elected to go with the Armored Schwerpunkt doctrine, in which we would use our tanks to achieve breakthroughs in enemy defensive lines. By doing this, we could exploit the breach in order to surround and eliminate enemy units.



On January 9th, we obtained enough cash in order to push through new laws which gave us a new leadership value of 15.68.



On the 10th, the Netherlands offered us a trade which helped to solve our rare materials deficit. I decided to accept, which helps us and improves our relations with the Dutch.



In addition, I noticed that enemy spy activity was reported in France. Apparently, the Germans, Japanese, Polish, Romanians, and Yugoslavs were engaging in hostile activity within our borders. As a result, the French internal spy mission was changed as French spies began to engage in counterespionage in order to eliminate any foreign hostile spy action. Over time, this new focus would prove to be a success as hostile spy action was effectively eliminated within a year.

The rest of January was quiet with the exception of a few embargoes. Germany, Italy, and Japan embargoed the People's Republic of China. Also, Poland announced an embargo of Soviet goods and services as tensions between the Poles and the Russians continued to be as hot as ever. Could a Second Polish-Soviet War be on the brink?
 

superjames1992

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good to see a France AAR, there seems to be a real lack of active ones on the forum
I think France's relative lack of leadership is a detriment to many (including me). Plus, in some ways France's situation seems hopeless. However, with the right preparations and buildup of French armed forces, I believe it is possible to achieve close to parity with Germany's land forces and stop a German offensive in its tracks.
 

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Nice start. France isn't in a hopeless situation, as you can check the German advance through the BeNeLux with the proper planning. The problem afterward comes down to not being able to push the Germans back.
 

superjames1992

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Nice start. France isn't in a hopeless situation, as you can check the German advance through the BeNeLux with the proper planning. The problem afterward comes down to not being able to push the Germans back.
Yeah, I plan on using Belgium's rivers as a natural defense when war comes.

As far as the bolded, the best-case scenario seems to be another Great War with horrid trench warfare. Hopefully, we can keep most of the warfare in Belgium, so at least the French homeland doesn't have to be tarred!

If I can hold on for awhile, I'm sure I will be greatly helped by the British Expeditionary Forces (among others), which could help me bolster an eventual offensive. We shall see.

I could probably invade Italy and then work my way into Germany through the Alps, but in a lot of ways, this seems kind of like an exploit to me. I'd prefer to keep most of the warfare in the BeNeLux countries and Northern France, if possible (with some other warfare in the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Middle East, and Indochina, potentially.
 

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This sounds like it will be a lot of fun. What techs do you plan on going after?
 

superjames1992

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This sounds like it will be a lot of fun. What techs do you plan on going after?
I am researching the industrial techs, all four infantry techs, the light armor techs (with the goal of getting the technology to produce medium armor), and some various land doctrines, such as the Grand Battleplan, ect. I have zero research currently being conducted on naval or aerial techs. I don't have enough leadership available to expend on these if I hope to keep my army up to date. I will depend on the British for their extravagant navy and air force and I will likely buy licensed British planes later on, as well.
 

superjames1992

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Reorganization
Chapter Three
February - March 1936


In early February, the armed forces of France were reorganized. Armee Paris Headquarters commanded two army groups, one known as Army Group North and the other known as the Maginot Line HQ. As the name suggests, the Maginot Line HQ was responsible for fortifying the Maginot Line.

Army Group North was responsible for the border with the BeNeLux countries. In the event of a war against the Germans, Army Group North would advance into Belgium and take up defensive positions there, if possible.

Army Group North consisted of two armies, the 1st and the 3rd. The 1st Army existed on paper, but in reality no combat units were currently placed under its command. Nevertheless, in the future its ranks would fill with French infantry and armor. The 3rd Army, on the other hand, was organized into three infantry corps (the 1st, 6th, and 7th) and one armored corps (the 1st).

The Maginot Line HQ had one army under its command, the 4th Army. The 4th Army commanded the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th Corps. Each of these units occupied the impressive static fortifications along the Franco-German border.

Southern France was under the command of the Marsielle Army. One Army Group was under its command. The Alps Army was under the command of the sole Army Group. Two corps were under the command of the Alps Army. The 1st Mountaineer Corps, made up of specialized mountaineer divisions which were particularly suited for the region, operated under the Alps Army. The other corps under the Alps Army was the 4th Corps.

All North Africa units were under Africa Command. The African Army operated under the Africa Command. Six divisions of infantry were currently in Africa under the Tunsia Army and the 19th Military Division.

The final deployment of French troops was in East Africa. Colonial Command was stationed here. Under Colonial Command was the Expeditionary Corps, stationed along the border with Italian Eritrea and Ethiopia. The Expeditionary Corps contained three mountain divisions. The Madagascar Army, which consisted of only three brigades of militia, and the Zenjiang Garrison, consisting of two garrison brigades, also stood under Colonial Command.

The French Navy was powerful, but still paled in comparison to the naval forces of the British, Japanese, and Americans. Nevertheless, the French Navy was far superior to the German Kriegsmarina. The Italian Regina Marina was a formidable opponent in the Mediterranean, but French naval strategists considered it to be inferior to the French Navy. Besides, with Britain as an ally, France would have the upper hand in any naval engagement.

The 1st Fleet was located in Brest and was considered to be France's most important fleet. This fleet contained France's only aircraft carrier, the Béarn. A heavy cruiser, several light cruisers, and numerous destroyers completed the fleet. The Béarn was produced in the late 1920s and was considered to be outdated, but it was the only aircraft carrier which the French had available and it would have to do.



The 4th Fleet, also located in Brest, consisted of two battleships, two heavy cruisers, a light cruiser, and a destroyer flotilla.

The 2nd Fleet was France's primary Mediterranean Fleet. This fleet consisted of two battleships, two heavy cruisers, two light cruisers, 15 destroyers.

Two submarine fleets consisting of 25 submarines each and a transport flotilla were also stationed in the Mediterranean.

It should also be noted that a fleet of four transport flotillas was currently stationed in Indochina.

The French Air Force was decently sized and could hold its own against most aggressors. However, the German Luftwaffe had undergone recent expansion and it is believed that the Germans have numerical and technological superiority over us now. Nevertheless, pride is taken in the air force.

The 1st Bombardment Group, stationed in Paris, consists of four wings of heavy bombers, totaling around 400 aircraft. This group is ideal for strategic bombing and could be used to bomb German factories in the event of a war.

The 2nd Bombardment Group is stationed in North Africa and only consists of around 100 aircraft.

The 3rd Bombardment Group is stationed in Paris and consists of three wings of medium bombers. These bombers, numbering around 300 aircraft total, are ideal for tactical attacks on enemy ground troops and could turn the tide in many land battles.

The 4th Bombardment Group is stationed in North Africa and consists of around 100 medium bombers.

The 5th Bombardment Group is stationed in Marseilles and consists of one medium bomber wing. Also stationed in Marseilles is the 6th Bombardment Group with two wings of light bombers.

The 1st Naval Bombardment Group is stationed in Paris and contains around 100 naval bombers organized into a single air wing.

Finally, the 1st and 3rd Chase Groups serve as France's air defense. The 1st Chase Group is stationed in Paris and consists of four air wings consisting of 100 aircraft each. In total, the 1st Chase Group is formidable in number with roughly 400 aircraft under its command. In Southern France, the 3rd Chase Group is stationed in Marseilles with 100 aircraft at its disposal.

By the beginning of February, significant Italian progress was seen in East Africa as Ethiopia was folding on both the northern and southern fronts. Italy had advantages over their Ethiopian adversaries both quantitatively and qualitatively and it showed as Italian troops moved across the desolate country with little to stop them on their way to Addis Abeba.



On February 15th, Joseph Paganon replaced Marx Dormoy as Minister of Security and Paul Le Gentlihomme replaced Marucie Gamelin as Chief of Staff, though Gamelin will retain his position as Chief of the Army. Paganon offers a 0.01 loss in neutrality every day he is in power as Minster of Security. Gentlihomme allows our units to reorganize at a 10% faster rate.



On February 22nd, the Social Conservative Party was once against shut up and silenced. The Social Conservative Party must not be allowed to be anything more than a skidmark on the sidewalk!



Nothing much more happened in the next month. By late March, Ethiopia was on the brink of defeat as Italy was flexing its military muscle with Addis Abeba nearly surrounded. It was only a matter of time before Ethiopia kneels before Mussolini now.



On March 24th, Edward VIII abdicated the English throne following his desire to marry American socialite Wallis Simpson, who had divorced her first husband and was seeking a divorce from her second. The prime ministers of the United Kingdom and the Dominions opposed the marriage, arguing that the people would never accept a divorced woman with two living ex-husbands as queen. Also, such a marriage would have conflicted with Edward's status as head of the Church of England, which opposed the remarriage of divorced people if their former spouses were still alive. Edward knew that British Prime Minister Stephen Baldwin would resign if the marriage went ahead, which could have dragged the King into a general election and ruined irreparably his status as a politically neutral constitutional monarch. Rather than give up his desire to marry Mrs. Simpson, Edward abdicated. He was succeeded by his younger brother Albert, who chose the regnal name George VI.



On March 27th, we went ahead and signed the Second London Naval Treaty. In truth, we feel that the treaty is useless and restrictive, but we would like to maintain good relations with Britain and the United States and, as our navy will not be very important in our likely future conflicts, we may as well bite the bullet and sing the papers.

Italy and Japan did not sign the treaty, however, resulting in decreased relations with the Western Powers.

 
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superjames1992

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The First Units Arrive
Chapter Four
April - June 1936


On April 1st, 1936, Ethiopia surrendered to Italy and was annexed, further emboldening Mussolini and his dreams of conquest. Ethiopia was a backwards state with a weak military, but nevertheless, this victory was hyped in Italian media propaganda to espouse how great the Kingdom of Italy was.

And it should be noted that this was no April Fool's joke! ;)



Also on the 1st, I ordered two new infantry divisions, each consisting of three infantry brigades and one artillery support brigade.



On April 9th, an unnamed rogue politician was about to speak out about the supposed corruption in our government, but we did not support him. This caused a minor drop in national unity and some loss of our Party's popularity, but it was better than the alternative. The public mustn't know the truth!



On the 23rd of April, 13 artillery support brigades were ready to be deployed. Over the coming month, these brigades would be added to all infantry divisions in Army Group North and some divisions on the Maginot Line. The remainder of Italian infantry divisions would receive their new artillery support brigades later this year.



On May 22nd, Germany reoccupied the Rhineland. Hitler was getting serious. Perhaps Lebrun's dream was real, after all. This provocative move served to lower French neutrality by 3%.



The remainder of May would see new technological improvements in artillery, infantry warfare, and armored vehicles.



On May 28th, two new infantry divisions were ready to be deployed. These units would be deployed into Army Group North along the Belgian border.



With free IC to expend, four more infantry divisions were ordered in mid-June.



Also, a new light tank division was ordered, consisting of two light armored divisions and one motorized divisions, giving the division a combined arms bonus. I had little desire to build many light armored divisions, but I decided to push this one out to keep practicals up until I could build a medium armored division later this year once I achieved the required technology.



In late June, a left wing radical party was silenced and shut up. Once again, though the proletariat may not understand because they are uneducated and stupid, I tell you that these moves are only for the good of our people. In a crisis like we find ourselves in, political divisiveness is intolerable and we must seek to create conditions which will foster a one-party state for the collective good! Vive la France!

Also in June, we figured out how to produce and engineer brigade, which could be useful in order to bust up fortifications and cross rivers. Improvements were also made in infantry training and artillery carriage and sights.

 

Cybvep

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Subscribed. There are not many French AARs around (especially the ones that utilise HPP mod). What difficulty are you playing at?
 

superjames1992

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you're making steady progress in preparing for the coming storm ... do you have an 'ideal' establishment of front line divisions for the start of the war?
Not really. I am just trying to build as much as I can as fast as I can before the war begins.

I will also begin to produce more planes in the near future, as well. I do not want the Luftwaffe having complete dominance of the skies.

Subscribed. There are not many French AARs around (especially the ones that utilise HPP mod). What difficulty are you playing at?
I am playing on Normal right now, though I may up it if this gets too easy. From what I've read, it is best to keep the HPP mod on Normal, though, to balance the game and keep the US from getting 700 IC and the like.
 

superjames1992

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Laying Down the Law
Chapter Five
July - September 1936


After an uneventful July, in early August, five more infantry divisions were ready to be deployed. These infantry divisions were deployed all across the borders with Belgium, Germany, and Italy. At the moment, no French divisions had massed along the Swiss border and there was little reason to as Switzerland would likely be decisively neutral in the coming conflict.



On the 8th of August, with free IC as a result of the completed infantry divisions, two more infantry divisions were ordered.



Also, two more mountain divisions were ordered. These two new units would give the 1st Mountaineer Corps five mountain divisions to use in the Alps in southern France.



On August 10th, the final 13 artillery support brigades of the original 26 orders were ready to be deployed and all mainland French infantry divisions would get their support brigades in due time. A few artillery support brigades were also sent to North Africa for use there.



On August 14th, some members of our party clamored for a drafted army. Currently, our army is a standing army and I intent to keep it that way. Nevertheless, with the conversation coming up and some unnecessary divisiveness uprooting itself, as a result, our party lost a small amount of organization.



Later in August, a parliamentary scandal caused a rise in dissent among the populace, which forced the French government to spend more on consumer goods in the coming days.



In August and September, things were relatively calm, though the Liberal and Social Conservative Parties had to be silenced and slandered to keep them from becoming too popular.





 

loki100

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since I've not tended to play the democracies in recent variants of HOI, I've not paid much attention to the domestic politics model. How important are those 'minor party' events - mild irritant or do they really hamper your plans?
 

superjames1992

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since I've not tended to play the democracies in recent variants of HOI, I've not paid much attention to the domestic politics model. How important are those 'minor party' events - mild irritant or do they really hamper your plans?
To be honest, I'm not too sure as I have not played much with democracies, either. I know in one game I fooled around with Romania and it was a pain in the butt to keep the current government in power. Finally, we had a fascist coup and my other government fell. Nevertheless, Romania lived on only to be defeated in a three-front war against the Germans, Bulgarians, Yugoslavs, and Hungarians when I refused to cede North Transylvania to Hungary in 1940 (I also refused the USSR's claims, but they did nothing in response). This was the only game where my government has been overthrown in HOI3 so far.
 

TheBromgrev

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Due to France's divisive political situation, if you're not careful Germany will try to fund a coup and put Action Francais in power :) The coup mechanics aren't the same as the ones in FtM, because we had to write them from scratch for SF. Regardless of which government type you are, in the HPP if your internal politics aren't stable (low NU, low ruling party support, large opposition, etc.) you'll be hit with destabilizing events similar to what EU 3 has for low-stability nations. France will probably get some of these if you ignore your politics screen too long ;) Japan is also a good country to play to see examples of what happens when you have a ruling party with very little popular support. I don't remember the AAR's name off-hand, but there was an HPP Japan AAR where the player decided to join the Allies by making Japan a democracy, and he shows what happened due to internal turmoil as a result.
 

superjames1992

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Due to France's divisive political situation, if you're not careful Germany will try to fund a coup and put Action Francais in power :) The coup mechanics aren't the same as the ones in FtM, because we had to write them from scratch for SF. Regardless of which government type you are, in the HPP if your internal politics aren't stable (low NU, low ruling party support, large opposition, etc.) you'll be hit with destabilizing events similar to what EU 3 has for low-stability nations. France will probably get some of these if you ignore your politics screen too long ;) Japan is also a good country to play to see examples of what happens when you have a ruling party with very little popular support. I don't remember the AAR's name off-hand, but there was an HPP Japan AAR where the player decided to join the Allies by making Japan a democracy, and he shows what happened due to internal turmoil as a result.
I have been paying pretty close attention to the political scene and my Social Liberal Party has stayed either first or second in popularity and first in party organization the entire time, so I don't think I have too many worries there as of now, but I must watch.

This is the Japanese AAR you are thinking of; it was quite a good one! :)

http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum...y)-A-Japanese-HOI3-SF-(HPP)-AAR&daysprune=100