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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
Mar 17, 2004
HQ Units and Planning in HoI 2 (The Invasion of Poland)

This AAR is more a discussion of the use of HQ Units in HoI2.

It began as a more general AAR and that will still be completed at a later time.
(Link to be posted here)

However, while writing the AAR I realized that this particular element could easily stand alone as a discussion of HQ Units, their influence and their effect on operational planning.

HQ units are new to HoI2 and many people (myself included) are still coming to grips with their correct use. Some people still doubt that they are even necessary. Well, perhaps not, but I replayed this scenario several times and at first I tried to “HoI” it. That is, I played the HoI way – no HQs.
Let’s just say that things did not go well. This is not HoI.
If you want to do well at HoI2 you have to be prepared to use the new tools at your disposal; HQ Units and the ‘Support’ command. Using these new tools I found that I was much more successful and the time taken in this particular case was much more ‘historic’.

First of all it is probably worth restating some of the Rules with regard to HQ units as kindly posted by Fiendix


Unit - The smallest element - a tank, infantry, motorized, mech.. etc.
Formation - All the units grouped under a single leader.
Stack - One or more formations located in the SAME province (zone).
In battle, a stack of formations is commanded by their most senior leader.
Div list - The list of divisons that appears in the combat window

1. Command Penalty Capacity (i.e. the -75% penalty)
1.1 This is a parameter for each stack. It is worked out separately for each stack.
1.2 For each attacking & defending stack, it is is the capacity of the most senior
leader in the stack.
1.3 This capacity may be doubled by an HQ adjacent or in the same province.
The HQ does not have to be present at the start of the combat - as soon as
the HQ becomes adjacent to or present at an existing combat, the combat eff
values alter accordingly.

1.8 There is a limit to the number of attackers in one stack - 24 per territory (under an
FM with a HQ present).

3. HQ penalty
3.1 All units that have a HQ unit next to them or in the stack get a bonus to attack (?)
and defence efficency.

Please note that there are many more modifiers that have an effenct on the final outcome.
ESE is one of them.

So, HQs provide a bonus to the number of units a leader can control; a bonus to the attack and defence efficiency; HQs provide a boost to a units ESE (Effective Supply Efficiency) by an HQ adjacent or in the same province.

Look at the next screen shot. I have placed an HQ we will call “Red Command” in Oppeln:


What it shows is that a HQ unit based in Oppeln provides direct support to allied units based in Kustrin, Brealau, Poznan, Czestachova, Cracow and of course Oppeln.
Now obviously some of these are Polish provinces so that means that the HQ will assist any units attacking from Kustrin, Brealau and Oppeln into Poznan, Czestachova and Cracow.
Mar 17, 2004
But, that is not all. In HoI2 movement is attack, so any unit inside Kustrin, Brealau, Poznan, Czestachova or Cracow attacking into a neighbouring province still gets the bonuses! That means that with an HQ based in Oppeln units get a bonus for the following attacks:
Kustrin to Bydgoszcz
Kustrin to Poznan
Oppeln to Poznan
Oppeln to Czestachova
Oppeln to Cracow
Brealau to Cracow
Poznan to Bydgoszcz
Poznan to Lodz
Poznan to Czestachova
Czestachova to Poznan
Czestachova to Radom
Czestachova to Kielce
Czestachova to Cracow
Cracow to Czestachova
Cracow to Kielce
Cracow to Przemyal

And that is all without the HQ even having to move!

This shows the Polish provinces which may therefore be attacked with the aid of a HQ unit stationed in Oppeln.


8 provinces!
By now I hope you are beginning to understand how useful HQs can be.

Cavalry said:
HQ give more supply eff (so your unit regain org faster) and some combat bonus (from supply eff) and big combat bonus (for waiving the 75% penalties for overload commanded units). And if you research more of doctrine, it will give you some nice chance of combat event!

The small combat bonus (ESE bonus) may be not small if used for dozens of divisions! The combat event chance is hard to value. So use HQ if you are one of the major nations and have numerous divisions or often attack with more than 12 division in a province!

But there is something else to consider here; where is the attack coming from?
This is important because only units attacking from provinces adjacent to the HQ get the attack and ESE bonuses – so the direction and origin of your attack is critical. So while an attack from Cracow to Przemyal would be aided by an HQ in Oppeln –an attack from Kielce to Przemyal would not.

This fact actually encourages something new in HoI2: Battle Planning.


As you can see, the plan takes advantage of the HQ by making sure all the attacks come from provinces within the HQ influence. In some cases the furthest provinces can be attacked from multiple directions (Bydgoszcz, Lodz and Kielce) but in others there is only one possible province the attack can be launched from (Radom and Przemyal).
Mar 17, 2004
OK. This is all very well. But can we do better? How about introducing a Second HQ unit?
Alright. But where will we put it?
Obviously we want it to cover as many new provinces as possible – so let’s try Elbing.

We will call this new HQ unit “Blue Command” and this shows the area of influence of the two commands combined:


And from that information we can build a Battle Plan:


What this plan shows is the attacks we intend to make and where we will make them from.
The BLUE arrows show the attacks that can be made with HQ support without moving the HQs.
The GREEN arrows show the attacks that must be made without HQ support unless we move the HQs
There is certainly nothing wrong with doing that, so in this case:
Blue Command should advance from Elbing to Torun
Red Command should follow behind the front advancing from Oppeln to Czestachova to Kielce and finally to Zamosc.
By doing this all attacks shown can be made with HQ support.
The RED line shows a rough demarcation line between the area each command is responsible for.

It is a workable plan at this point and certainly adequate to complete the invasion of Poland.

But, let’s look at the plan with a critical eye and see if it has any weak points.
The strongest Polish resistance is expected to be around Danzig, Bydgoszcz, Lodz and Warsaw.
The plan calls for many of the attacks on these areas to be controlled by Blue Command.
The attacks on Danzig must come from Elbing and Bydgoszcz to have HQ support.
In fact, looking at the plan, a lot of attacks must come from Elbing!
(That means we must transport the units there to begin with.)
Also Stettin has no HQ support at all – what if the Polish attack there? Will we be at a disadvantage?
So is there a better way?

Moving the HQs ?
If Red Command is moved away from Oppeln to either Kustrin or Brealau it immediately becomes apparent that it is less effective.
However moving Blue Command to Konigsburg however presents some interesting new options:


(There is no battle plan for this one. Readers are invited to design their own.)

But again, many of the same weaknesses exist.
And now ALL attacks on Danzig must come from Elbing if we want HQ support there.
What is more, now units attacking into Bydgoszcz have no HQ support if they attack onward to Lodz.
Mar 17, 2004
The solution is to introduce a third HQ! (Assuming you have one)
This map shows “Green Command” in Stettin.


There is some overlap with Red Command here, but now it is possible to attack Danzig from all fronts and units in Bydgoszcz also have HQ support when attacking into Lodz.
Green Command should advance from Stettin to Bydgoszcz on to Lodz and then Radom While Blue command now advances from Konigsburg to Suwalki.

The plan now looks like this:


Now obviously, Poland is mostly flat. With the exception of a few rivers there is not a lot of difficulty advancing and capturing most of the key centres. Any country which includes swamps, jungle, mountains or large low infrastructure provinces will complicate the plan. In those cases your HQ placement may be dictated by the possible routes of advance (rather than the other way around).
Still, that’s the challenge of being a Strategic Commander, isn’t it?

So, how did it go?

This is Poland on the 5th September 1939 (5 days into the fighting) using the final plan.
(The Slovakian units are supporting German attacks, but are not advancing themselves):


You be the judge.


Jan 3, 2005
Production queue:5HQ RIGHT NOW IN MY GAME

Thats like...woa.My comprehension of the HQ unit is total,full,i got the full conceptual meaning of it.Thx,you just answered probably one of my biggest question about the HQ unit

Now could you teach mathematics like that to me?or teach my teachers how to teach like that?


the bad Santa
Dec 6, 2002
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That was one fine strategical analysis! ..two thumbs up ;)
I just like when people prove that it really helps to "think" when playing HoI :D

some more deep thoughts to be expected?
Mar 17, 2004
Draculin said:
some more deep thoughts to be expected?

Wot? Like don't eat wheat products without milk? :rolleyes:

Well, this forms part of a larger AAR dealing with Air and Naval Commands as well.

I am a little too used to HoI and not yet totally familiar with HoI 2 so it is as much a learning experiance for me as anything.
It also occured to me that the War in the Pacific would present it's own unique problems when dealing with Command issues. :rolleyes:

Thanks for the positive replies. :)


CatAARstroph1c moderator
Apr 26, 2002
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I moved this discussion to GD as it has more to do with the game and is not an AAR.


Feb 1, 2005
I thought everyone did that allready :s
Nice work on the battle plan, though you don't know wich units/armies are going to wich province.


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Jan 28, 2005
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Draculin said:
That was one fine strategical analysis! ..two thumbs up ;)
I just like when people prove that it really helps to "think" when playing HoI :D

some more deep thoughts to be expected?

I specifically play games like HOI2 for the thinking. I could care less if there were a way to play the game in a point and click mode were you just mass your forces and go. I want to plan my attack in a war room atmosphere. Its the "reason" to playing at all. Winning is important, to win without the planning and execution is either by luck, cheat, bug or bad AI.


Crusher of Dreams
Aug 7, 2003
Nicely done, Tsar. Now where is the missing #3 pic?


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Very good post for the newbies, I would "Sticky" this one with a title like : how to use HQ in combat or something like this. Two thumbs up on this one !


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Dec 19, 2004
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Hizarv said:
Very good post for the newbies, I would "Sticky" this one with a title like : how to use HQ in combat or something like this. Two thumbs up on this one !

Genuinely welcome analysis. I'd appreciated the points, while invading Poland, with 3 HQ units; but not given it so much thought (or written it down)!

And in my game - yes, the attack on Warsaw *was* held up while Von Rundstedt's HQ moved to a province where it could control all the forces I had for the assault. A bit of planning and I could jsut have launched myself into it.

Well done!


Oct 31, 2003

This was quite useful! I hope your AAR will do a simlar breakdown for France, or dare I say it the Soviet Union.
dumb question though, what provinces do you have to take in poland as germany to trigger russia taking its part under the pact? It happens before annexation currect? how quickly can this be done?