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Finland may be a minor power, but with a focused and skilled player, it can become a key proponent in the war, as well as a regional power. Finland has a decent economy, lacking a small amount of energy and crude oil, but it can make up for this gap quickly, yet Finland has a high neutrality of 100% and a starting manpower of about 110 (of which 100 are needed for mobilization). Its unity is at 70%. Its location is strategic for both Germany and the USSR, so choosing your faction is essential.
Finland's starting technology is not bad for a minor power. Cavalry and Infantry techs are at levels 2-3, Militia tech is at level 3 and they can produce Mountain Infantry. Anti-Air tech is at level, Sub tech at 1-2 and Heavy Cruisers at level 2. Agriculture is level 4, Supply level 2 and the doctrine techs for Infantry together with Assault Concentration and People's Army are at 2. It is advised to focus on infantry weapons (Small Arms, Infantry Anti Tank Weapons, Infantry Support Weapons, and Infantry Support Artillery) and land doctrines, preferably the Grand Battle Plan Doctrine (Mass assault, Infantry Warfare, Assault concentration) is absolutely necessary if the player is to stand up to the USSR in late 1939, early 1940. Researching Anti-Tank and Artillery Weapons would be a good step forward too, as these support brigades would be invaluable in the defense of the Mannerheim line, especially anti-tank because the Sowjets will deploy many tank brigades. Leadership points are few in Finland, the player should keep it in mind that wasting any precious leadership points on researching Naval doctrines and Naval technology would be costly, as Finland's starting navy is weak, and its starting technology is even weaker. You might also employ mountain troops for you will be fighting mostly in woods and forest terrain.
Distribution of Leadership
Finland starts with 5.88 leadership (Base 1.40, +3.50, +20% from laws). This leaves not much choices for technological advance. You will need most your leadership for keeping your infantry and anti-tank units up to date and maybe getting some of the combat techs or industrial techs. As mentioned above, researching air or naval technology is not advised if you plan to fight one of your neighbouring factions. Use most of your leadership for technology, get your 10 domestic spies and just as much diplomacy points as you need. Advance your officer ratings only if you have enacted the three years draft or if you are actually in the war already.
Finland has three options when it comes to alliances and factions, they are:
1. Join the Axis: The most obvious choice since it occurred historically, and strategically it would give great benefits to Germany, and return well needed land, most probably lost due to the winter war. joining the Axis would be the best option for Finland, so aligning to the Axis early in 1936 is essential, so that when the winter war begins, you join the Axis quickly and swiftly, lower your neutrality early in the game to allow this to happen.
2. Join the Comintern: Not your best choice since they would slash your land mass by 11% after the Winter War, but it is not that much of a bad idea, if you join the Comintern, you could declare war on Germany and take Norway for your self, adding essential IC and leadership points, but do not do this if Germany puppets or annexes Sweden.
3. Remain Neutral: If you're too weak or too afraid to go to war with the Soviets or Germans it would be best to sit on the sidelines and watch the two titans clash it out, if you are to remain neutral make sure you attempt to take Sweden at sometime during the war, this would greatly benefit your IC and leadership count, as well as provide you with some well needed manpower and resources as the Swedish iron ore would be invaluable to your future campaigns, doing so may seem odd for a country that wishes to remain neutral, but it would do you good and give you the ability to declare war on either the Russians or the Germans later in the game, a good tip would be to wait until Germany is almost defeated and grab Denmark for yourself.
If you noticed, joining the allies was not part of my plans, this is because Germany would walk straight through you if you did, they would creep into you through Norway and Blitz through the rest of Finland before you could even react, unless you are able to contain them inside the low infrastructure areas of the north, and cut them off from supply.
1939 Winter War:
1. Let them come if they dare!: this is your best option, since the Great Purge will occur in 1937, the USSR would lack skilled officers, so your skilled officers could lead you to cause an unforeseen stalemate and lead to a peace treaty with the USSR without loosing Karelia.
2. Fold to Russian Pressure: this is not your best option, unless you wish to keep the peace, but that is truly not advised, since you will loose 11% of your total land mass, and much needed IC, raw materials, and leadership points.
There are two unique strategic effects for Finland. One is the Winter War that fires when you are at war against the Soviets but not yet in the Axis faction. (Need to check the boni you gain) The other effect is the opposite when you are fighting Germany, though the boni are smaller.
Starting ministers are all from the social conservative party.
- Foreign: Switch to Eino R. Holsti if you wish to align to the Axis, Keep Antti V. Hackzell if you wish to align to the Commintern.
- Armament: Switch to Juho Niukkanen (+10% IC)
- Security: Keep Yrjö W. Puhakka
- Intelligence: Switch to Toivo M. Kivimäki
- Staff: Keep K.L Oesch
- Army: Keep Hugo Österman
- Navy: Keep Väinö Valve
- Air: Keep Jarl Lundqvist
- Civil Laws: Open Society.
- Conscription Laws: Volunteer Army ( Change ASAP)
- Economic Laws: Full Civilian Economy.
- change to Full Mobilization ASAP
- change to Total Economic Mobilization once at war and keep it there.
- Education Investment Laws: Big Education Investment (KEEP)
- Press Laws: Free Press (Keep)
- Training Laws: Specialist Training (Keep or change, your choice)
KoK: popularity: 9%, Organization: 35 *Ruling Party SDP: popularity: 37%, Organization: 75 *Greatest Threat At 1940 Elections
Raise your domestic spies to 10 and increase your unity to 80% so you can activate the heavy industry law. Choose yourself if you want to stick with your ruling party or change them by letting foreign spies to their work.
External Intelligence is not advised because your spies do not have a good chance against the fascist and communist systems. If you plan on taking Sweden, increase their threat so that it is possible for you to declare war on them sooner.
Translations of unit names:
- "Suomen Maavoimat" means "The Finnish Ground Forces".
- "Kannaksen Armeija" means "The Army of The Isthmus".
Finland starts the 1936 scenario with 16 infantry divisions, 1 small cavalry division and 5 garrison brigades.
FM Mannerheim starts out in command of the "Supreme Headquarters" theater HQ. With his 4-skill (highest among Finnish officers), he is a good choice for the "Suomen Maavoimat" army group HQ. The high skill level general in an army group HQ significantly reduces supply consumption. The Finnish player is advised to attach all air, naval and land units under this army group, in order to minimize the amount of supplies and fuel Finland's limited industry needs to support. Check the military leader list so you can employ the leaders with the highest possible level. Finland boasts impressive military leaders their best being; Siilasvuo and Mannerheim both level 9 and Lagus level 8.
Finland starts with two heavy cruisers and one submarine. It has no escorts, and lacks the tech needed to build escorts (destroyers and/or light cruisers). If the Finnish player wants to defend Mariehamn, a transport needs to be built in order to deploy troops. The heavy cruisers are at level 2 and usable. If you plan on getting light cruisers or destroyers license them from your faction.
Finland starts the 1936 scenario with one interceptor, but without the techs needed to build any additional aircraft. If the Finnish player wants to increase the air force (de facto only possible with lend-leasing help), license them from your faction.
Gaming the System
When the pop-up window for the Winter War appears, you can drag it into the corner of the screen and play for however long you want, starting the war whenever you choose. By doing this until the German invasion, the Russian player will send their units down into Eastern Europe, at which point you can declare war and take Karelia unopposed, and potentially Leningrad and Archangelsk too.
NOTE: this only works if the Russians have not lowered their neutrality to the point where they can declare war on you. If they can declare war on you, the pop-up window will only last for about two months before they declare war on you, regardless of the ultimatum.
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