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Brazil is a South American regional power with potential. It is perhaps the most powerful nation on its continent, with ample opportunity to expand. This provides an opportunity to wage small scale wars against their neighbors,which is useful in mastering the basics of conducting war as with basic grasps on economy,intel,production,technological aspects.
Focusing on infantry warfare and technological progress should see Brazil able to conquer smaller states in the continent and hopefully fend off the inevitable backlash from America (who guarantee the independence of all countries on the continent). Brazil would need to have a strong navy to fend off and attempts to land in a port. Early on in the game it's possible to amass a huge (35,000) stockpile of money by producing a large amount of supplies to trade to the world, which will help counteract the lack of investment in armour by buying production licenses from the more powerful country in the worlds. In general, you would be wanting to hold some of the abundant resources in South America whilst trying to discourage American invasion by securing the ports and preventing them landing.
Another option for Brazil, particularly viable in a multiplayer setting is to focus exclusively on developing a strong armoured force. This route takes advantage of the relatively low leadership and manpower cost of armour in comparison to infantry. If electing to go this path it is recommended to research light armour tech quickly and begin building up armour practical, once medium armour has been unlocked immediately begin upgrading all your LARM to the stronger type. Aside from improving the strength of the divisions for no additional officers this provides armour practical to further speed up production. Using this strategy it is entirely possible to field 10+ medium armour divisions by the outbreak of war in Europe.
Brazilian technology in 1936 consists of Milita level 4, Infantry level 1-2, Destroyer level 1, Light Cruiser level 1, Battlecruiser level 1, Twin-Aircraft w/o Tech, Single-Aircraft w/o Tech, Agriculture and Supply level 4, Infantry Warfare/Mass Assault/People's Army/Assault Concentration all level 2.
Due to the unfavourable terrain in South America, you will generally have much more success by investing in infantry than armour. With a concerted effort you can get all the infantry research up to level 5 by 1942, which will mean you can hold your own against anyone on the continent and most outside it. Especially of interest is the infantry warfare tech, which is essential if you decide to annex a country in South America, since you will soon find America bashing down your port doors. Without this technology, American troops will use their superior organisation to wear your troops down.
You also want to get Education up to at least level 3 to compensate for your initial lack of leadership and get your industrial productivity/efficiency up to level 4 to help the creation of your army.
Distribution of leadership
Brazil has a base leadership of 7 points that rises to 8.40 points with the (already enacted) best education law. To further raise this number you will have to research Education tech and/or start conquering some countries.* To make best use of this average but limited leadership you will have to decide where to set a focus and which areas to leave behind. Try not to research in every area, for you will fall far behind the major powers. Always remember the buy production licence option to counter any low-tech areas as far as possible.
- I shall soon test how much leadership one gets when successfully conquering South America, stay tuned. -malevoiy
Generally, Argentina and Peru will align with the Axis, which should also be your route unless you're going for continental domination (which might outstretch Brazil's resources). This makes alliances unnecessary unless you wish to remain unaligned, in which case it will be a case of 'alliance hopping' between the countries you're not invading.
The biggest one will tend to be whether to align with axis or allies. With the latter, you might come up with issues if you invade other South American Countries due to America's guarantee of independence, so it's suggested to spend most of your diplomatic efforts early on by aligning with the Axis.
Make sure you do not join the Axis too soon, otherwise the USA will join the Allies at the beginning of the war in Europe. If you join the Axis sooner than later, you will likely facing a British assault on the northern border and due to the difficulty of movement in this area, it will be difficult to push it back and conquer the European colonies.
Another option is to follow the historical path, moving towards the Allies corner. It'll take a while, mostly because of your type of government, but you should be able to join the Allies shortly after the US does the same. It allows you to declare war/annex all the other SA countries without worrying about war with the US.
In 1936 you start with Getulio Vargas (Left-Wing Radical) as Head of State and Head of Government. He provides -5 IC and -50% need of consumer goods during wartime and -10% threat impact. The other ministers are either Left-Wing Radicals or Social Democrats which is interesting because the leading party are the Autocrats. The only change in minister comes from changing the foreign minister to one that aligns you to the axis, if you wish to take that route. You can also change the Head of Intelligence but the other ministers are all locked at the beginning.
Lowering your neutrality will allow more IC-based policies. Until then you could switch to Mixed Industry or raise the Troop Experience law, both not advised at the beginning if you plan to increase your army in time.
Brazil starts in 1936 as a Right-Wing republic and even though all the ministers are either Left-Wing Radicals or Social Democrats, the leading party are the Autocrats with 48,40% Organization followed by the Fascists with 30,30% and the Left-Wing Radicals with 21,20%. Although Brazil's initial government does not allow government change in a multiplayer game other nations' spies can be used to trigger a coup. The new government depends on the nation doing the espionage but it is preferable to have France trigger a 'Social Democracy' coup. This government form unlocks elections (which allow you to change your ruling party) and also unlock access to an administrative genius (+10%IC) and later on a man of the people (+5% leadership) both of which are very useful. As a follow on to this, if the Soviet Union is willing to assist, a communist (Stalinist) party can be elected, providing an improved head of state as well as unlocking heavy industry emphasis and total economic exploitation, both of which are tremendously useful in expanding Brazil's production.
Use your spies only if you need to because you do not have enough leadership for efficient spying activities. Fortify your domestic front with 10 spies and then keep balancing between counterespionage, support ruling party and raise national unity as you see fit - there are no immediate needs in your country for the ruling party is strongest and unity is at 70%. Threat raising action among your neighbors might be needed in addition to the neutrality decision. Tip: increasing threat on either France or the UK will lower your Neutrality quite fast. Together with the "Prepare for War" decision, it will allow you to declare war on anyone(0 neutrality) by October.
The US is the obvious trading partner for Brazil, with a high starting relationship (+75). This allows resources to be bought at a discount which is helpful in covering the deficit in resources that Brazil experiences following its economic mobilization. When selling supplies, nations with lower relations should be sought however, as this increases the money gained. The Soviet Union and the UK are often willing to purchase supplies from Brazil.
Brazil starts with a measly 40 Base IC although it gains access to War Economy quite quickly (Generally around April '36 with the "Prepare for War" decision). Aside from building IC (and delaying army production greatly), the only real way to expand Brazil's industry is to conquer other countries. A government switch (discussed in the politics section) could be helpful in providing better laws and occupation policies in this regard. Once most of South America is conquered Brazil's base IC should jump up to something approaching 100, a vast improvement and able to compete with some of the lesser majors (Italy, France).
The South America theater is an isolated one,which makes it ideal in pursuing goals of conquest with minimum interference.This means war can be conducted on the basic scale,mainly with use of infantry based assets. Infantry and Artillery Brigades are your bread and butter,and don't bother with Mechanized/Motorized/Armor Brigades,as the terrain(Jungle/Mountain) is not optimized for swift maneuvering tactics,along with the massive size of provinces(Unlike the European Theater) which renders hour scale assaults useless. Air force and the Navy also have little or no role in the conquest of South America.
Brazil starts with a very small army consisting of three divisions infantry, two divisions militia and one small division of cavalry. As mentioned before,the army should almost be entirely constructed by Infantry Divisions,along with an effective Artillery detachment to max out the number of brigades capable of engaging in combat. Military research should be totally concentrated on Infantry weapon techs(Small arms,Infantry Support Weapons,Light Artillery,Anti-Tank Weapons) although some land techs such as Infantry doctrine(Which gives an Organization Bonus) and theory techs might come in handy.The +1 brigade tech may be useful,but considering the massive number of divisions required for offensive/defensive operations in a vast theater,utilizing the extra slot may not be probable. While constructing divisions and placing them in higher echelons(Corps,Army) keep an eye on the distance between the HQs and the subordinate units,because just one or two provinces away may cause a gap in the communications link(Unlike European/Asian Theaters,where HQs can be deployed several provinces away due to their relatively small size).
The Brazilian Navy in 1936 boasts an interesting set-up. Even though only destroyers, light cruisers and battlecruisers are available to construct (level 1 techs) Brazil owns two pre-era battleships the Minas Gerais and the São Paulo in addition to six transports and two light cruisers. Even horribly outdated (and in history totally useless) these battleships provide excellent cover with their shore bombardment against the minor countries in the South American theatre.
Bear in mind ANY war you start with your neighbours (save the colonies and Equator) will end up with you at war with America, so don't start war until you can defend your ports. The US will send a huge force usually under the command of General Patton. If this happens there is virtually no hope of victory (for me, they landed in Buenos Aires with about 15 divisions, probably more.)
If you take care it's possible to stay alive against the USA - keep an eye on your ports.
Don't try to fight Argentina on the sea - their fleet is simply better. Thankfully, if you invade Uruguay and Paraguay beforehand, your troops will be able to be deployed very close to Argentina's VPs.
Gaming the System
Non-intervention of the USA: If you chose to align yourself with the Allies, you should be able to join right after the USA does the same. Once both are in the faction, you'll be able to conquer the SA countries without worrying - countries inside the same faction can't fight each other!
Pre-WWII expansion in Europe: By enacting the "Prepare for War" decision and keeping spies increasing the threat of France/UK, it's possible to wage war on anyone by October 1936. Your first target should be Portugal - their naval bases will allow your transports to reach Europe(remember that you'll need to invade Africa if you wish to conquer/puppet Portugal). From there, you can easily conquer Ireland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Norway. The other countries(sans Germany and Poland) would need some effort to conquer, but are doable to defeat before '39, giving Brazil a lot of IC and leadership to work with. Remember to keep yourself neutral, though, otherwise you'll start WWII earlier than intended.
Mainland invasion of the USA: It's possible to conquer the USA with as much as three full corps, as long as you invade them before 1940 - the AI doesn't build any land units at all until then, so once you fight off their starting forces(be sure to take their ports quickly), they crumble easily. Only declare war once you have your troops at their doorstep, though - because you have no way to deal with their navy.
Production Licenses: Don't be scared of the price of production licenses. As long as you're near the corner of the faction you want to buy from, you can pay either the minimal price(move the slider all the way to the left), or one tick over that. This makes aligning with the Axis very useful, even if you don't intend to join them - Japan start with Landing Crafts already researched, and Germany has some nice tanks.
|Major Powers||France · Germany · Italy · Japan · United Kingdom · United States of America · Soviet Union|
|Regional Powers||Argentina · Australia · Belgium · Brazil · Bulgaria · Czechoslovakia · Guangxi Clique · Hungary · Manchukuo · Nationalist China · Nationalist Spain · Netherlands · Poland · Republican Spain · Romania · Sweden · Turkey · Yugoslavia|
|Minor Powers||Austria · Canada · Chile · Colombia · Denmark · Finland · Greece · Ireland · Mexico · Norway · Peru · Portugal · Shanxi · South Africa · Switzerland|
|Micro Powers||Afghanistan · Albania · Bhutan · Bolivia · Communist China · Costa Rica · Cuba · Dominican Republic · Ecuador · El Salvador · Estonia · Ethiopia · Guatemala · Haiti · Honduras · Iraq · Latvia · Liberia · Lithuania · Luxembourg · Mongolia · Nepal · New Zealand · Nicaragua · Oman · Panama · Paraguay · Persia · Philippines · Saudi Arabia · Siam · Sinkiang · Tannu Tuva · Tibet · Uruguay · Venezuela · Xibei San Ma · Yemen · Yunnan|