Communist China

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Good GDP and IC to manpower ratio. Plenty of land leaders and reserve manpower. Very high neutrality but moderate Unity. Operating in a region of fairly low infrastructure. Good metal, rares, and energy for a small industry.

Communist China is one of the toughest small countries to play, you'll need a lot of luck to have any success.

And, if you're trying for an historical outcome, then you'll absolutely need this strategy guide.


Don't wait to upgrade at the end, instead, upgrade each Corps as they are deployed, and before the next corps is placed in the build queue.

Must have at least level IV infantry before campaigning. Can fudge a little on militia, by upgrading only their defensiveness.

The army will need Blitzkrieg 1, Mass Assault 1, Infantry Warfare 1, and Assault Concentration 1 before setting out to do battle.

Once war breaks out, research combat medicine and first aid to help reduce casualties.

Keep Production Efficiency in the queue or at the top of the queue until your down to your last Corps.

Distribution of Leadership

Split leadership between diplomacy and espionage until you have ten (10) domestic spies and 40-50 diplomatic points.

Focus like a laser on technology during the build cycle. During periods of upgrade (in between building corps) switch all leadership to officer recruitment (using the 3-yr draft), until reaching 140% officers while still growing the army (at least 100% later on). Switch back to technology once the upgrade cycle is complete (or reaching 140% whichever comes first).


Don't go to war with Japan Japan in 1937. Instead, become a ruthless war profiteer and trade with both sides. You'll not be going to war until you:

a) Have sufficient forces in place, AND

b) Have a reason to do so.


Communist China starts in an alliance with Nationalist China Nationalist China, which you should break immediately because it will only serve to deplete your resources.

Also, don't give transit rights to either side, no matter what.


If you elect to war with Japan as a Nationalist China ally, the chances of success are not that bad. However, it would be better for Japan to knock the Nationalist's down a notch or two if you plan to "reunify" all of China. This is the larger goal sought here.


Communist China should flirt with the Soviets for much of the game, but maintain a separate stance in order to "keep what you conquer."


The armament minister is most important. When not building or upgrading, use the "Resource Industrialist." When in the build cycle use "Military Entrepeneur," and while in the upgrade cycle use "Administrative Genius."


While in the build cycle use Heavy Industry and Volunteer Army. Then, for the upgrade cycle, use Consumer Product Orientation and three-year draft (or the highest level draft available).

Go no higher than Full Mobilization until you solve the energy problem, then go with War Economy.

When actually at war use Universal Conscription. If you are no longer building anything, reduce to Full Civilian Economy to save on resources and money.

Political Parties

Communist China is, in a word, Communist. Make sure it stays that way.


After the Japanese DOW in 1937, use spies to raise the Japanese threat levels. This should eventually induce Shanxi Shanxi to join the alliance with Nationalist China.

After the fall of Beiping, send agents into Shanxi to reduce their Unity and speed their demise. Then, after the fall of Nanging(sp) use spies to keep Nationalist China on pins-and-needles.


Go with resource industrialist and use no higher than full mobilization at first. Get all energy from Sinkaing, and once they join the Comintern, you can switch to War Economy.


Asia has an energy crisis. To solve this problem, work with Sinkaing, and make them a trading partner. Once Sinkaing joins the Comintern, they can get energy for free and sell it to you for a profit.

Heavy industry is supply intensive, so use your Military Entrepreneur for Armament Minister, and buy supplies from Japan. Sell fuel and use the money to buy crude. Buy and sell metals and rares, insuring your own pools stay in the green. Look also to the Netherlands once their capitol shifts to Asia.

Industrial Production

Keep Industrial Efficiency always in or at the top of the research queue.

Go with Heavy Industry while building units, then switch to Consumer Product Emphasis while upgrading. Upon building a corps, switch to upgrade cycle and top-off your officer pool. While upgrading, switch to 3-yr draft, then change back to all Volunteer force for the next build cycle.


The standing army provided is not made of volunteers, and will take all your ICs simply to maintain. So, if playing from the '36 scenario, disband this force entirely and reconstitute it using volunteers.


Avoid use of mountain troops, go with Mountain Warfare Equipment instead.

You will need four full corps to begin campaigning. Build one (1) regular infantry corps and three (3) corps of Infantry & Auxiliaries. Be sure to include light panzers.



Air Force



War with Japan

Just getting the Communist Chinese into the fight without getting wiped-out in the process is a major endeavor. Don't bother holding Shanxi territory unless you can hold Taiyuan and Hohhot. The attrition will drain your manpower, even though they're core provinces.

The best time to make your move is when the Nationalist Chinese eventually begin to push the Japanese back. If you start too soon, the Japanese will get you, but if you start too late the Chinese will take all the prize objectives.

Strike due north with the objective of reaching the Mongolian Frontier. Hohot is a key transportation hub, you must get there before the Nationalists to have any hope of success.

(V1.4: You can now join the Comintern and gain transit rights in order to exploit the back door through Mongolia and create havoc in Manchuria. By War's end you'll want to control a province right on the Soviet border in order to insure trade from the USSR as its "neighbor.")

Use your light armor to maximum advantage. The panzers will gain territory and outmaneuver both the enemy and your “allies.” Be sure to replenish organizational levels before moving on offense, because the Japanese will counter-attack, and counter-attack hard.

Keep to the flank, always the flank, especially the western flank. Meanwhile, use your “allies” to cover your flanks.

Keep fighting until the Japanese are defeated. If the Nationalist's cut you off, then get transit permission and get back into the fight, taking as much territory as you can.

Reunification of China

There are many important aspects of the Reunification effort that should be considered individually and pursued concurrently.


When playing HOI3: Their Finest Hour, you will not start in an alliance with Nationalist China. This will save you the step of breaking that alliance. The first thing you should do is accept the 'Prepare for War' decision (available to all nations with an effective IC of less than 30) which will lower your neutrality by 0.2 per day. Lowering your neutrality with this method is the best possible method for declaring war on unsuspecting neighbors.


The next thing you will notice is your lack of size and IC. But what Communist China lacks in size, manpower, and IC it more than makes up for in leadership. Use your leadership to upgrade your infantry. In Hearts of Iron 3, whenever given the choice between quality and quantity, always choose quality. Also focus your effort in upgrading artillery, which you might not yet have, but you will soon. Also, after maxing out domestic spies set to increase your national unity, send spies to Shanxi to increase their threat. Shanxi will ultimately be your first target. You should focus the vast majority of your leadership into research. Diplomacy will get you very little (further elaboration is available in the Trading section)

Military Composition

You need to focus in on land units, primarily infantry and artillery. You can expand into motorized divisions later in the campaigns, but in the beginning, focus in on infantry and artillery. Previously it was mentioned that Mountain Equipped Infantry brigades are better for Communist China, however, Mountain infantry is far superior to Infantry in the mountains. Given that the majority of China is mountainous, it is highly encouraged that you utilize Mountain Infantry if you can. Even if they aren't as good on plains as Infantry, the well-equipped Mountain Infantry of Communist China can still easily take on the pathetically weak ground forces of the Japanese Imperialists.

When you begin the campaign, you will have several militia brigades. First, upgrade those (strategically, of course) to regular Infantry (or Mountain Infantry if you want to build a professional Army). Next, build your divisions with 3 Infantry/Mountain Infantry brigades and 1 Artillery brigade. When starting the war, you should be able to procure approximately 10 divisions (in 2 corps) of the troops I just described.

As time goes along and you conquer your neighbors, you should make your way through the research to get to Superior Firepower. This will allow you to put another brigade in each of your divisions. Once you've researched it, add a brigade of Anti-Aircraft to each division of Infantry/Mountain Infantry. This will go a very long way when taking on Japan, as Japan will use bombers.

If you choose to invest your precious resources in an Air Force, focus on Interceptors and Naval Bombers. The Interceptors will intercept the Japanese Bombers, and the Naval Bombers will do wonders against Japanese Convoys and the Japanese Navy in the future war against Japan.


You will start with a deficit in power and oil. You can try trading for these deficits, however, it is unlikely that you will be able to make up for everything you are deficient. Obviously, you will want to research resources, and you should, but I suggest you don't worry about it. You'll ultimately run out of power after approximately 10 months. This will reduce your IC down from the 12 it will be at (given the laws you will enact) to 11. This is very negligible. And given that your war with your neighbors will start in early 1937, it's worth waiting it out.

Initial Strategy

Wait for the Marco Polo Bridge Incident before beginning any sort of campaign. Leading up to the campaign, defend your southern border with one of your 2 corps and use your second corps to defeat Shanxi. Once the Marco Polo Bridge Incident occurs, Japan goes to war with Shanxi and Nationalist China. You divide your corps into 2 groups and head north and east and quicky capture the 2 victory points at Hohhot and Taiyuan. Since Japan didn't exactly prepare for this war very well, you should be able to conquer Shanxi without Japan taking a single territory.

Once Shanxi is defeated, sweep your troops south and to the east to the Japanese Border and draw an imaginary line up and down, lining it up with the eastern border with Japan that you now share. Don't take any territories east of that line. Let Japan keep Nationalist China busy while you push south and westward until China is defeated. Make sure to set a war goal to conquer Nationalist China right away, otherwise the game will get all wonky about victory points and surrender progress. After the Nationalists are defeated by Japan and Japan seizes the Chinese coast, it will take around a month for the game to let you conquer the territory of China. I'm not sure why, but for the entire time, it will show Nationalist China with 100% surrender progress. It's annoying, but they eventually surrender.

Then, move your forces around Guangxi Clique Guangxi Clique and quickly conquer it. After the first is complete repeat the same process with Yunnan Yunnan. Xibei San Ma Xibei San Ma will be the most difficult and you will need 2 and a half corps to take them out without screwing up your supplies and organization.

If you are familiar with modern Chinese geography, you will notice that, if you conquered Tibet Tibet and Sinkiang Sinkiang, and then the Japanese Territory followed by Mengkukuo Mengkukuo and Manchukuo Manchukuo, it would look exactly like China does today. I admire your keen observation skills. But don't do it. Declaring war on and conquering your neighbors will make you the predominant threat around the world until the Fall of France. Any higher and the Allies will declare war on you as they have territories on the Chinese Coast that you are threatening. That will screw everything up, especially if you are a Comintern member, because then the Comintern is at war with the Allies. Finland will probably join the Allies if that happens, and, given your lack of navy, you won't be able to project any power against their over-powered navy, let alone land troops in Europe or North America. Bottom-line: leave Tibet and Sinkiang alone.

The only thing left is to take on Japan. Use Infantry, and then Guard your ports with Garrisons (2 Garrisons Brigades per Division, one Division per port). Manchuria and Menguoko are easy, the Japanese won't have an as-upgraded Army as you. Especially if they are busy with naval engagements in the Pacific.


Obviously you should join the Comintern, but wait until the last moment. You don't want to get dragged into a war against Japan before you're ready.

Gaming the System

Mini Guide

(NOTE: Below is what happens if you lack experience in running a small country. The regular army requires consumer goods in peacetime, and Heavy Industry reduces consumer goods. So dissent level constantly hangs in the balance, and there are no extra ICs for production. The choice is to use only Consumer Product Orientation, or to decommission the standing army and build anew using volunteers. In peacetime the volunteers go home, so the army doesn't require much in the way of consumer goods.)

Before anybody cared to fill in the information above, I decided to post here a mini guide for people who think about playing as Communist China. Remember: This is just an example, you may decide to try another way.

C.China is a country that needs patience, but don't be lazy, there is a lot of work to do!

Economy: Your economy is a disaster! Don't produce anything that has to be finished before 2030 (game time). You should make sure that every citizen has more Mao Zedong shirts than he actually needs, because there will be quite a few events that will raise dissent, which has to be kept low. With low I mean 0%, because the smallest penalty can be crucial.

Military: For such a small country you have quite a lot of soldiers, not only 3 hands full of militias but also enough Mountain Infantry. Because they are all stacked together in a small area, research shall be the key of improvement instead of producing more units without having any spare IC or space.

Intelligence: Keep your spies at home and start to lower neutrality immediately, you'll have to be below 60 around 1941.

Research: Now read carefully, this is the most important part! Increase education to level 2, supply production to level 2, Invent the radio, research 1 level of Industrial efficiency, 2 levels of coal to energy, 2 levels of IC increase. Research 2 levels of Guerrilla Warfare, Human Wave and Mass Assault, Increase operational level to level 2 or 3. Then you may improve your Militia weapons.

You should easily gain enough Officers to cover 200% (140% capped at in 2.04) of your army. Diplomatic points are barely needed. Invest a little bit into Intel. until you have 10 domestic spies. You research should be 2 at the beginning, but soon enough you may increase that to 3. Later you may put all your LP into research, since other areas are not needed anymore.

Diplomacy: At the beginning you start aligning yourself to the Soviets. Soon your alliance to N.China will be forgotten, which is good because you won't get steamrolled by the Japanese. (Since you don't follow N.China to war you will be save) When Russia starts mobilizing so should you, the war against the axis will start soon and you'll find out soon enough if you can make a stand against Japan. With the help of the Comintern and the Chinese league you may even be the one who will teach the Japanese a lesson!

What happens now? That is up to you! I hope I made you interested in playing as C.China. I hope this mini guide was helpful for you. I personally did not find anything on the net, except of one article where someone bragged about having conquered Japan and all Chinese states ;)

See Also

Country Navigation
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