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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Corugi

Corporal
Feb 25, 2021
32
31
Hoi3 FtM

Thought I would try a game deliberately set up to provide a challenging level of difficulty. I located an old save game where Germany did the usual world conquest thing, conquering most of Europe and Russia before September 1936. So how would it go to be the UK now? Facing a near invincible Germany? A quick look revealed a UK wallowing in typical AI chicanery. In the short war with Germany it had lost many of its divisions in Europe. Nice. It had no armored or motorised units. Good. Good. The majority of its remaining infantry were facing off against a still neutral Italy along the Ethiopian border. Or else situated somewhere completely stupid. Great. The production queue was lining up an endless fleet of submarines. Because that's exactly what the UK needs most at this dire hour. More subs. Excellent. Okay.

So its looking good. What else to add?

1) Very hard difficulty level.
2) The UK may not voluntarily declare war on any country.
3) Existing forces in Africa may not relocate outside Africa until Italy either (a) declares war on the Allies or (b) is attacked by Germany.
4) Existing forces in India may not relocate outside India unless Japan declares war on the UK. At least 12 British brigades must remain within India , becoming free only if Delhi falls.
5) Garrison forces in Gibraltar, Malta, Singapore and Hong Kong must remain and may not be replaced or disbanded.
6) The UK may build no more than 1 carrier per year.
7) The UK may not build paratroopers.
8) The UK may not amphib land in Denmark, Germany, Poland, or Russia.
9) The UK may not use logistic bombing.
10) Should Japan declare war on the Allies the UK may not invade the Japanese home islands.
11) No leader teleporting. Once assigned to a unit they stay put.
12) The UK may not build more Cags in excess of carrier requirements.
13) The UK may not build 5 brigade strength divisions
14) The UK may not amphib land in North Africa
15) The UK may not amphib in Sicily unless Rome has been taken by UK forces.

I considered removing all leaders and then leaving it to auto assign, but man, that's just going to far I think. The idea of fighting my way across France with some old school skill level 1 Armygroup commander? Ugh. That's just masochistic. ( Hmmm... )

What I can do
1) Reorganize divisions into 4 brigades
2) Disband or upgrade units, with the above exceptions.
3) Manually control convoys
4) Manually control everything else. ( production, diplomacy, etc )
5) Use allied expeditionary forces.

Victory conditions
1) Annex Germany before the end of 1945

The primary intention is to provide a challenging game with the odds stacked against me, yet not insurmountably so. The secondary intention is to remove as much cheese potential as possible.

Now, with the above intentions made clear, do any of you have any suggestions to add to increase difficulty, avoid cheese, and make this a nail biting fight to the finish?

Also:
1) Whose idea was it to make this forum so damned hard to find? Is paradox trying to bury this game?
2) Why is the default text so small? I have changed this post to font size 18 to make it easier to read.
3) !!!6!!!
 
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50shadesofgreen

Second Lieutenant
Nov 5, 2018
104
72
No slowing or pausing the game?

Re hiding the forum.... What bugs me coming back, is trying to remember what in game was bugged, and what was safely fixed in FTM. There's no definite list.

I don't have TFH, and to move across would mean researching what got fixed and what got broke?
 
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Paglia

a.k.a. Asafetida & Otto Steiner (WoT)
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Hoi3 FtM

Thought I would try a game deliberately set up to provide a challenging level of difficulty. I located an old save game where Germany did the usual world conquest thing, conquering most of Europe and Russia before September 1936. So how would it go to be the UK now? Facing a near invincible Germany? A quick look revealed a UK wallowing in typical AI chicanery. In the short war with Germany it had lost many of its divisions in Europe. Nice. It had no armored or motorised units. Good. Good. The majority of its remaining infantry were facing off against a still neutral Italy along the Ethiopian border. Or else situated somewhere completely stupid. Great. The production queue was lining up an endless fleet of submarines. Because that's exactly what the UK needs most at this dire hour. More subs. Excellent. Okay.

So its looking good. What else to add?

1) Very hard difficulty level.
2) The UK may not voluntarily declare war on any country.
3) Existing forces in Africa may not relocate outside Africa until Italy either (a) declares war on the Allies or (b) is attacked by Germany.
4) Existing forces in India may not relocate outside India unless Japan declares war on the UK. At least 12 British brigades must remain within India , becoming free only if Delhi falls.
5) Garrison forces in Gibraltar, Malta, Singapore and Hong Kong must remain and may not be replaced or disbanded.
6) The UK may build no more than 1 carrier per year.
7) The UK may not build paratroopers.
8) The UK may not amphib land in Denmark, Germany, Poland, or Russia.
9) The UK may not use logistic bombing.
10) Should Japan declare war on the Allies the UK may not invade the Japanese home islands.
11) No leader teleporting. Once assigned to a unit they stay put.
12) The UK may not build more Cags in excess of carrier requirements.
13) The UK may not build 5 brigade strength divisions
14) The UK may not amphib land in North Africa
15) The UK may not amphib in Sicily unless Rome has been taken by UK forces.

I considered removing all leaders and then leaving it to auto assign, but man, that's just going to far I think. The idea of fighting my way across France with some old school skill level 1 Armygroup commander? Ugh. That's just masochistic. ( Hmmm... )

What I can do
1) Reorganize divisions into 4 brigades
2) Disband or upgrade units, with the above exceptions.
3) Manually control convoys
4) Manually control everything else. ( production, diplomacy, etc )
5) Use allied expeditionary forces.

Victory conditions
1) Annex Germany before the end of 1945

The primary intention is to provide a challenging game with the odds stacked against me, yet not insurmountably so. The secondary intention is to remove as much cheese potential as possible.

Now, with the above intentions made clear, do any of you have any suggestions to add to increase difficulty, avoid cheese, and make this a nail biting fight to the finish?


This is going to be interesting... I think your list of constraints will prove quite challenging


Also:
1) Whose idea was it to make this forum so damned hard to find? Is paradox trying to bury this game?


I'd say it's on purpose... not old enough vs HoI4 so they buried it


2) Why is the default text so small? I have changed this post to font size 18 to make it easier to read.

3) !!!6!!!


Yeah default size is small
 
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Corugi

Corporal
Feb 25, 2021
32
31
No slowing or pausing the game?

Re hiding the forum.... What bugs me coming back, is trying to remember what in game was bugged, and what was safely fixed in FTM. There's no definite list.

I don't have TFH, and to move across would mean researching what got fixed and what got broke?
"No slowing or pausing the game?"

An intersting idea, but not one that appeals to me. I am too much in the habit of pausing the game, both for tactical concerns and to consider the strategic situation. But thanks for the suggestion.

Re: TFH. I am not even sure what the differences are to FtM, I vaguely remember something about landing craft being added, that's about all I know.
 

Corugi

Corporal
Feb 25, 2021
32
31
This is going to be interesting... I think your list of constraints will prove quite challenging
I hope so. My main concern is that the German AI doesn't make a complete meal of its existing advantage. Since the save is from September 1936 the German army is still nascent. It hasn't had time to build much. I fear it might devote most of its energies to garrison units, subs and various useless infrastructure improvements. Still the subs should give my convoys a run for their money, and considering the utterly pathetic state of the current UK army it will be quite sometime before I can launch any invasion
I'd say it's on purpose... not old enough vs HoI4 so they buried it
Those cold heartless heathen BASTARDS! They need a good rocket artillery barrage.

Yeah default size is small
Obviously a result of the designer's poor upbringing.
 

Paglia

a.k.a. Asafetida & Otto Steiner (WoT)
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I hope so. My main concern is that the German AI doesn't make a complete meal of its existing advantage. Since the save is from September 1936 the German army is still nascent. It hasn't had time to build much. I fear it might devote most of its energies to garrison units, subs and various useless infrastructure improvements. Still the subs should give my convoys a run for their money, and considering the utterly pathetic state of the current UK army it will be quite sometime before I can launch any invasion

Those cold heartless heathen
BASTARDS! They need a good rocket artillery barrage.


Obviously a result of the designer's poor upbringing.

TFH vs FTM ?

If I remember correctly :
  • new units
  • better AI scripts
  • new decisions & events
  • revised OOB
  • either the air battles or the naval battles were revised... can't remember which ones
TFH corrected a lot of bugs
 

Corugi

Corporal
Feb 25, 2021
32
31
Ooooooo...
*stares intently as "better AI scripts" and drools slightly*
I take it then you approve of TFH?
*checks Paglia's signature*
It appears so.

Unfortunately I have become deeply suspicious of the official marketing hype. Ever since I bought GG WitE and therefore added to the world's waste disposal problem. So I will only take the word of established veterans such as yourself, Kovax, and Secret Master. So far its one in favor.
 
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Paglia

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Ooooooo...
*stares intently as "better AI scripts" and drools slightly*
I take it then you approve of TFH?
*checks Paglia's signature*
It appears so.

Unfortunately I have become deeply suspicious of the official marketing hype. Ever since I bought GG WitE and therefore added to the world's waste disposal problem. So I will only take the word of established veterans such as yourself, Kovax, and Secret Master. So far its one in favor.


:p

Yeah, I'd TFH is better than FTM but... well... I never realy did a complete survey of the difference between them...

-----------

ABout Downfall

Lot of work in my mod
I used work done before me by many modders and found ways to combine their work with mine (with their agreement)
I won't pretend that I solved everything but the script proved to be good and provide a challenging AI
So, to summarize, Downfall is stable and AI is less dumb... I wouldn't go as far as saying it is brilliant but I've been working on this since 2013 (almost 8 years already ??? ho boy I feel old suddenly... "veteran" is a better way to put it)
 

Corugi

Corporal
Feb 25, 2021
32
31
I have played the scenario through to late 1938. Essentially consigning myself to a waiting game, to build up sufficient forces to bash my way through western Europe. It was fairly tedious, the usual convoy war. An incredibly slow process of clearing Ethiopia and advancing across North Africa. An equally slow reduction of the Italian Navy. Japan getting slammed by China, but sinking lots of my convoys around the Singapore Straits. *Yawn*

Then Persia joined the Axis. I had completely forgotten about that sort of thing happening. Silly me. So now there is a veritable river of German divsions streaming down from Russia towards Iraq and western India. I have 12 inf brigades in India. There is nothing in Iraq except the mighty Iraq Army. They should be able to hold off all those German armies, surely? I hope so because the 8th Army is utterly exhausted and still in the process of investing Tunis. Mind you, I have just completed building my first armoured corps.

Just to add to the fun the Germans are now building ECVs. It took all of my carriers to deal to three of them in the North Sea, and now another three have appeared. They are not so much a danger but BBs etc are incapable of dealing with the threat, so I will have to keep most of my carriers in UK waters. They are a real "fleet in being" problem for me.

Edit: I should add that I do have 16 infantry divisions ( 4 brigades each ) in the UK. I could eventually relocate them to the Middle East and India but have not done so as it feels gamey, knowing I do not seriously run any chance of an actual Sealion. The question then remains, what is a reasonable garrison force to leave in the UK? I have to conclude all of them. One corps to protect Scotland, two corps to protect the South, one corps to cover the rest of the country (Cornwall, Wales, Northern island) Anything over this limit is free to be dispatched elsewhere. I do need some conditions to reach though so I can release most of those home units eventually. Lets say 4 divisions must remain in the UK at all times regardless, the other 12 become free once the Allies hold Paris. Fair enough?

I also realized the condition about Sicily is open to abuse, as I could snipe Rome, abandon it, and then take Sicily. So I have modified it to:
15) The UK may not amphib in Sicily unless Rome, all provinces adjacent to Rome, and all provinces south of Rome on the Italian peninsular, are controlled by the Allies.
There. That should stop me from cheating. Although I will have to watch myself very carefully.


I did say I wanted a challenging game, didn't I?
 
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50shadesofgreen

Second Lieutenant
Nov 5, 2018
104
72
I was meaning to ask why you were only set on building one carrier per year? Is that purely because you think they are overpowered and to make your game harder? UK ended the war with lots of carriers and many more being built.

How are you combating the enemy subs? Large numbers of destroyers and ASW techs? Massive convoy builds?
 
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Corugi

Corporal
Feb 25, 2021
32
31
I was meaning to ask why you were only set on building one carrier per year? Is that purely because you think they are overpowered and to make your game harder? UK ended the war with lots of carriers and many more being built.

How are you combating the enemy subs? Large numbers of destroyers and ASW techs? Massive convoy builds?
Yes, to make it harder, they are overpowered to the extent that its pointless building anything other than carriers and sufficient screens. They cant be touched by anything else other than other carriers and Navs. They are better for sub hunting, they wipe out enemy surface groups while taking little if any damage, their cags can attack enemy ships in port, and the cags can also be used (albeit inefficiently) for ground attack. This just makes then far too much of a winner in my opinion. Especially considering how the AI is so bad at naval warfare. Since the UK starts with enough battleships to sink a ...umm...a battleship, I choose the limit so the AI would have at least a fighting chance of doing some serious damage to my convoys. Also to slow down my inevitable destruction of the Italian Navy, and allow Japan to do her Japan thing in South East Asia.

As it turned out, this pretty much happened. I suffered huge convoy losses which placed a large tax on my IC through having to build more of them. I had about 500 spare convoys at the start, this was rapidly reduced to zero spare convoys in the course of two years, even with regular builds. So I couldn't just start pumping out land and air units willy nilly. It took much longer to eradicate the Kriegsmarine and Regia Marina as well. However by late 1939 I had created 6 Navs, all teched up, along with two extra carriers, and was able to start systemically attacking enemy ports in strength. This basically wiped out the sub problem and any remaining ships. Should have built those Navs sooner actually. However the IJN is basically untouched.

Otherwise, before that happy event, it was a case of "subs go wild". Early ASW techs and destroyers are pretty useless at catching subs, and even when they do the subs normally escape with just a bit of damage. I didnt see the point of building tons of DDs just to watch them pass harmlessly over the subs. I did build about 9 destroyers but those were more so to replace the screen losses I suffered in BB vs BB engagements.

Actually I think I should have prohibited Navs too. For some reason the AI did a very poor job of defending its ports with aircover, which is something I am sure its not lacking. So anything in range of land based Navs ( basically all of Western Europe ) was dead once I spotted it in port. But its something of a moot point since I suffered a catastrophic defeat in the Levant, basically a war losing event. The destruction of Army Group Palestine. A humilating and degrading defeat. One that shall forever live in infamy. Pass me the Whiskey.
 
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Corugi

Corporal
Feb 25, 2021
32
31
The Destruction of Army Group Palestine: A harrowing story of utter defeat.

TLDR: I screwed up.

By 1939 I had managed to contain the Axis occupation of Iraq. Army Group Persia held a line in western India. Army Group Palestine held a line across from Tel Aviv to the Saudi border. The Axis launched heavy attacks, but by this time most of my units were on good defensive terrain, upgraded, and defending in strength, backed by a RAF which could now hold its own ( albeit with plenty of rotation ). Furthermore the Japanese had showed absolutely no inclination to attack Allied holdings in the SE Pacific. One might think I would have plenty to be satisfied with. The problem was that this effort had taken virtually every spare resource at my disposal. To produce a stalemate which would only hold so long as the Axis didn't declare war on Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.

For most of the year this situation persisted while I continue to produce more infantry and armored corps. The production situation had been somewhat relived by the fact that the Axis submarines had been more or less defeated, as described above, and the Axis now seemed less inclined to engage in prolonged land battles. Therefore a much greater proportion of my IC was not being tasked to convoy production or reinforcement, but rather to producing fresh divisions. Now was the time to consider the wider strategic situation.

The victory condition was the defeat of Germany by 1945. Therefore I should concentrate on that aim alone. However with so much of the existing British army taken up defending Egypt and India my chances of launching a successful invasion against an enemy surely much more formidable than usual looked slim. If only I could somehow free up those two army groups for offensive action in Europe instead.

I considered abandoning Palestine, pulling back across the Suez canal, where a leaner defense would be practical. But not by a huge margin, it might free up a corps or two. I also considered abandoning India altogether and letting the Axis dissipate their massive forces over that large land mass. Burma would also fall, and if Siam joined the Axis then the Malay peninsular as well. That would reduce my rares to virtually nothing and essentially spell economic doom. While examining these options it dawned upon me that the Axis situation in Palestine was actually somewhat precarious. They had huge stacks lined up along a 4 province front. If I could breakthrough to the south, right on the neutral Saudi border, swing north and then head for the sea, while sending a force to land on the Lebanese coast, then I could effectively deal them a Stalingrad. This seemed plausible and did not break any of the conditions I had set. I had several corps coming ready from the production lines. Yes. Yes. I would deal them a mighty blow. Perhaps it would also be possible to blitz my way through Iraq and cut off the Axis forces in Persia. It would doubtless be a glorious victory, the first of many along the road to Berlin... That was enough to roll the dice.

By early 1940 I had set up a formidable concentration in the desert near the Saudi border. Great tank country, I concentrated two armored corps, one motorized corp and two infantry corps there. Axis forces were concentrated more to the north in the hilly terrain near the coast, facing off against my well entrenched British battlers. Many of the Axis units were Persian and, would you believe it, Japanese, who had marched all the way over from Manchuria to join their Germanic allies. The Lebanese coast looked otherwise undefended. Perfect. All was set for the great British military offensive.


CORUGIKREIG!

It went splendidly. The overstacked Axis defenders melted away. My Tacs and Divebombers wrought havoc. Attempts at intervention from the north were blocked by spoiling attacks. I landed a force on the Lebanese coast and the enemy was encircled. I estimate I had trapped something like 25 divisions. In anticipation of a heroic victory I ordered the church bells rung.

Then the counterattacks began in earnest.

I had utterly underestimated the sheer number of divisions at the disposal of the Axis. I knew they would be strong, but at the same time they had all of Europe and most of Asia to occupy. I just didnt think they would would be able to pull together so many divisions into Palestine so quickly. From all corners of the Middle East a never ending flow of Axis divisions appeared and began counter attacking in towards their trapped pocket. At first I was able to fend these attacks off. But with every battle the strength and organization of my units became less. Soon I started to lose battles and give ground. I still held the pocket but time was running against me under this ceaseless assault, constantly wearing my units down. In despair I began to attack the pocket with everything I had left, therefore attacking into hilly terrain where the defenders would have an advantage. But surely they must be running low on supplies by now? The condition about not logistically bombing the enemy came home to haunt me now. No, they were perfectly fine. Not once did I see any indication that they were out of supply, even though they had no port. My attacks all failed. I had wasted the few full strength reserves I had left. Furthermore there were more of the enemy trapped than expected. Nearly all of them in good shape. Now they began to attack out of the pocket and onto my utterly exhausted force.

It was completely untenable. It didn't take long. More Axis formations arrived every day to attack inwards while the trapped Axis units attacked outwards. My already battered corps were defeated and plunged into head long retreat. As the sheer magnitude of the impending disarter became apparent I frantically drew "stop" lines on the map and issued no retreat orders. It was no good. Out of an Army group of 30 divisions all but a couple were at zero organization. Some retreated towards the Lebanese coast, some back to the start line. The Axis pursued them remorslessly now, cutting them down with fresh armoured troops, advancing faster than my guys could fall back. I did what I could, even making pitiful counterattacks with heavily depleted units in the vain hope that their sacfrice might buy enough time to save the bulk of my forces. It was hopeless. Soon they became overrun and wiped out. MY BEAUTIFUL ARMOURED CORPS! WIPED OUT! THE ORGINAL BEF! WIPED OUT! ALL THE NEW DIVISIONS! WIPED OUT!


VARUS! GIVE ME BACK MY LEGIONS!

Actually I did manage to save a few. But a pitiful number. But Egypt was now wide open. There was nothing left in the shop. I had committed everything and essentially lost it all. I was staggered by the sheer detail of the defeat. It had taken two years to build up sufficient strength just to launch this limited offensive and I couldn't even pull that off. There was no way I would be in Berlin by 1945.

It was the greatest Corugian military defeat in all history. I ordered the church bells to be melted down as scrap.

I met with Mr Hitler later that week and he offered me the following terms of surrender. I would permit the German occupation of the United Kingdom and I would waddle around like a duck for a week, making quacking noises at appropriate intervals. It seemed like a fair deal.

Quack.


 

Corugi

Corporal
Feb 25, 2021
32
31
Post Mortein

I confess. I was slightly irritated by this defeat. That night I swiped the Gf's ipad and ceaselessly irritated Siri with pointless and very immature questions. She told me I was rude. In a blind fury I swore a brutal and bloody revenge on all AI.

So I loaded back up the last save and took a peek at the Axis. What I saw staggered belief. The Axis was a monster. I never stood a chance. There were heavy armoured divisions roaming around like packs of stray dogs everywhere. Entire armies of infantry, garrisons and motorized divisions swarmed and multiplied like bacteria in a drop of water. The chances of anything coming from Mars... They littered the steppes of Russia, clung to the river valleys of China, and hung around drinking cheap wine in France, for lack of anything better to do. Crushing my little Middle East incursion must have been a welcome break from boredom for them. The Axis had no resource or manpower problems. The futile attempts of Army Group Palestine were doomed from the outset, literally trying to punch into an ever increasing density of fresh Axis units. It was a Kursk. It was really only the AI's highly cautious nature that I wasn't thoroughly curb stomped much earlier.

Looking at this my bruised and highly fragile ego was somewhat assuaged. Obviously there comes a point where the sheer numerical supremacy of the otherwise brain dead AI can counter low human cunning. Because of the anti-gamey conditions I had set there was no conceivable strategy for accomplishing the victory conditions in time.

To be honest, it felt good to lose for once.
Several factors were apparent for making this enjoyable.
The absence of perfect information
The unique nature of the situation
The inability to simply snowball the enemy AI.

But was this situation winnable from another position? What if I started up again as the USA with no conditions other than the defeat of the Axis. So I could go as exploity as I liked and just see if the monster could be defeated by 1948. Surely that would be easy enough?

I set out to find out.

Incidently, what is the easiest and most secure method to add screen shots to threads in this forum? I have not done so for two reasons. Firstly I am under the impression that its a bit of work and one must first upload the picture to another server. Being a complete noob I am unaware if there is an easy way. Secondly I am concerned about cyber security. Much as I doubt anything untoward would happen here, on this highly niche and mostly unused forum, some of the weird and extremely unsettling shit that has happened to some of my acquaintances in the past has made me very much paranoid about placing anything on the internet, other than just text. Not that I have anything to hide, other than the alien spaceship I keep parked out of sight behind my garage.
 
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