Nationalist China

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Nationalist China (China for short) is a nation suffering from internal divisions, but if China reasserts control over its autonomous provinces and regains its stolen land it will have enough IC and leadership to rival most Majors, and the highest MP count in the world. Even without a Chinese Reunification, Nat. China is a solid medium power, short on Rares, IC, and early Tech, but decent in everything else. Overall, China is a nation with world-conquering potential... but it needs to survive the first few years to get there.


China's starting technology can be best described as "Where is it?". They are decent in the Militia and Infantry trees (including having MTN available), and have the ability to make AT, ART, AC, AA, INT, TAC, DD, and CL (though the techs behind those units are all poor). Other than that... no armor of any kind, no radios, no RADAR, no education, no agriculture, minimal-if-any doctrines in ANY tree... not only do they not have Indoor Plumbing, they don't even have the prerequisite.

Also, China's Leadership, while not terrible, is not going to cut it if you want to have a major research base AND get your officer count to reasonable levels before The Marco Polo Bridge incident kicks off the war in July 1st, 1937. Couple that with the fact that China's starting practicals are TERRIBLE in just about every category, and your already strained Leadership will have work overtime just to research anything useful.

Because of this, there are two ways to handle China's tech situation:

  • Dedicate 6-8 LS into dedicated researchers, keeping 1 "main" unit totally up to date (either MIL or INF), and having the remainder spread out over major techs (say, rotate them between Agriculture, Education, Civil Defense, both Supply transport-techs, Supply production, Rare Material production, IC + IC efficiency, and find a small time to get Radios out), leaving the rest of their LS for officer training (after getting 10 spies domestically).
  • Steal tech.

To steal technology, simply put spies in a target country, set their mission to "tech espionage", and start praying. In theory, you can steal up to 1 tech from EACH enemy country per day, every day. In reality, you will find yourself tending to get 1-2/month. If you DO steal a tech, it will be at the start of a day (hour 00:00).

China is almost tailor-made to use the new Their Finest Hour "tech stealing" rules (which boil down to this: the fewer techs you have total compared to the target country you are "tech spying" from, the better your chance to taking one at the start of any given day); they have enough Leadership to have a good spy-base in a fair number of target countries, while still having LS left over to train officers AND have 1 or 2 LS dedicated to research on projects that are simply too important to leave to chance (say, Education).

That said, Chance is a factor; you can easily steal 20 techs in the first game year, and have NONE of them be useful to you in any way. So the way to handle tech stealing with Chinacan be summed up as this:

"In the first game year, I will steal 10ish techs. I should assume that none of these will prove useful to me, and as such, build what I know I can field. Should an awesome tech reveal itself to me, I can deal with it at that time"

You WILL get some tech at *some* point where you think "this is good!", but you won't know which, or when, until it happens.

As such, you will likely want to keep one (or all) of the following on some type of research:

  • Light Armor. Research will probably take you until the end of 1936,and then building those first few brigades even longer, but if you ever plan on using tanks, you have to start somewhere. NOTE: if you luck out and steal M-ARM from someone, go ahead and turn this tech off until later (you'll need it eventually to get SP-ART)
  • 1 type of capital ship. While good use of land-air cover can make even CA+CL-based fleets reasonably useful, it's highly unlikely that you will be ruling the waters with CL as your biggest ship. Which capital ship you choose can be based on any techs you pick off of the majors though.
  • MIL, INF, and AT/ART Morale/ORG doctrines. Your IC will be largely tied up, so these techs will improve your land forces without needing to pay IC for a month or 2 of upgrading.
  • Rare materials Production. Only a person who's played NatChi can fully appreciate just how bad their Rare Material situation is. (Side note: the +5% resources minister will, once he becomes available in 1937, probably be worth more than the -% consumer goods one to you). Every little bit helps... it doesn't matter how much IC you have if it's all turned off.

Tech stealing tip: "dividing up" your Spies' mission will cause a dramatic drop in their ability to steal techs; even if you put 3-bars worth of priority on Tech Steal and only 1 bar on only 1 other mission, that's still cutting your tech steal potential to 75% of what it could be. However, you can't steal ANY techs if your spies all die due to counter-espionage. So while this does require micromanagement (probably want to check that Intel screen at LEAST once per game-week), try and do the following:

  • If the enemy target has 0 or 1 spy, go for 100% tech steal.
  • If the enemy target has 2 or 3 spies, do a 50/50 split of tech steal vs Counterespionage.
  • If the enemy has 4+ spies, go full Counter-espionage until you can bring the number down.

The whole point of tech-stealing is that you don't have to use your Leadership to get the techs yourself; that is wasted if you end up having to use large chunks of Leadership to replace lost spies that were trying to steal blueprints. The best way to avoid this is to make sure your spies aren't dying in droves, which is best done by making THEIR spies die in droves instead. Extra Bonus: you are indirectly costing opponents THEIR leadership for every spy you kill ;p.

Note that the AI likes to batch-build spies. If you notice a target's Spy Count going up rapidly despite your counterespionage efforts, don't despair; unless we are talking about the USA, it will taper off again eventually.

Tech steal Targets

Since tech stealing is more effective vs targets that have more techs (especially more techs than YOU ;p), it makes sense to just target larger countries. Here are my recommendations (remember, as long as you have the leadership to train spies, target as many of these as you want):

  • France (rating: A+). This country is a democracy (penalty to counterespionage), has another penalty as it is part of a faction (I.E. the "neutrality" special effect is not in play for them), has a low LS with which to train spies to counter you, has a boatload of techs to steal (including Medium Armor, if you get REALLY lucky)... this country is more or less a tech-buffet. As long as the Random Number Gods do not frown on you, you should get a fair number (4-8) of techs from these guys prior to the war with JAP (and of course, continue to steal more after it starts).
  • UK (rating: B-). These guys are in the same boat as France, although they have a bit more Leadership to train counter-spies than FRA. The reason for only getting a B- is because "standard" China strategy involves using the Raise Threat mission on these guys from day 1 until your own neutrality reaches zero; as such, you won't actually be trying to steal from them until almost 1937. Once you do reach ZERO NEUTRALITY, however, these guys join France on the buffet line.
  • GER (rating: B). They have a bloat of techs to steal as well, and also don't get the "neutrality" bonus; that said, they do have more LS to train counter-spies, and since they are Fascist, they don't get the Democracy penalty when it comes to stopping your spies. Still, the benefit outweighs the cost in my book.
  • JAP (rating: B-). Until they get into the axis (which is probably when they enact Marco Polo, which starts the war), they get all the same anti-spy bonuses GER gets, AND neutrality. That said, they do have a lot of techs (especially naval and air) for the picking, and since you are going to be putting 10 spies into their country ANYWAY since they are your main opponents, may as well have said spies do something.
  • ITA (rating: C). They are Fascist and get the Neutrality bonus to start, but their LS is so terrible (except compared to France) that they won't be training many counter-spies to take advantage of it. Given their starting techs though, if you are trying to tech steal from ITA, it's because you are specifically desiring techs that have to do with the Ocean. Which certainly aren't bad, mind you, but rather specific.
  • SOV (rating: C-). They are Communist (which, like fascist, does not suffer the Democracy penalty), but have low LS for counter-spies, and no Neutrality bonus. However, as erratic as their starting techs are, you probably will only see 1 to 2 techs from these guys before Marco Polo, which isn't exactly a good expenditure of Leadership on your part. That said, much like JAP, if you plan on putting 10 spies in SOV for combat-espionage purposes anyway, may as well have them do something while there.
  • USA (rating: D-). While they are a democracy, they will also have the neutrality bonus, and a MASSIVE leadership base with which to train counter-spies from. They also have rather poor starting techs to steal from in the first place. If you are following my advice and only try and tech steal from a country after getting them at or below 3 domestic spies, then there's a good chance you will never even end up getting the USA to the point where you can try it. So by all means, put spies in their country for the goal of just killing their domestic spies (hindering their LS spent on research) if you want, but don't target them for tech stealing early (you can change your mind circa 1939 if your own techs are still low-ish, but it's just not worth it at 1936)


As China, your biggest, most painful problem over the first four years is going to be your Rare Material Resource situation. You will get a "slight" reprieve from it when you reunify China, but even with the "influx" of rares from conquering the other states, you will still be running a heavy deficit. Metal you are more or less good on (you will run a deficit, but the deficit vs your starting amount isn't a terrible problem for quite a while), and energy will be in the red a lot, but that's only because you get so little oil that the game is converting energy to fuel; don't worry, the game is smart enough to STOP doing this if your energy gets low. Rares should be your only main resource CONCERN (though if you can trade for a bit of metal or oil on the side, it can't hurt).

As such, as soon as the game begins in 1/1/1936, you should (after spending the time to pump out starting spies), use your Leadership to power-raise your Diplomacy points; what you are going to do with them is open up trades with the USA. your relations with them start out low; and since the "price" of goods is based on relations, what you want to do is to open up a bunch of supply-sales to them to raise your relations to about 100... once you get to 100, then open up more trades with them for 1 energy to get relations to 200. Once you hit 200, THEN start opening up trades with them for the maximum amount of rares they will sell to you (20 per trade, but be sure never to drop them below a 10-per-day surplus, otherwise you may find them cancelling all trade routes en masse). Do not worry about going bankrupt; given this game's mechanics, and China's situation in particular, it is far better for you to run out of money now, then rares later.

The big reason for this is, once the JAP war starts, you will NOT be able to trade with the USA any more; any attempts to do so will just result in your convoys being sunk WAY faster than you can replace them (and you don't have the IC to replace them anyway). you can always "cancel" trades to get money, but once 7/1/1937 hits, you can not get the trade routes with the USA back.

As of 7/1/1937, you will have to shift all of your trade partners to land-connected ones. The major players in the world of Trade that you will be "connected" to are:

  • UK
  • France (assuming the Hu Hamin event has fired, you will have direct-contact with a French port in Southern China. You may wish to start trading with them as soon as you do, to build up relations for when 7/1/1937 hits)
  • Portugal (same as France, they have a port in Southern China)
  • Japan (err..)
  • USSR. Please note: you DO NOT start with a land route to them. Look farther down in the "strategy" section to find out how to handle this little issue.

IMPORTANT NOTE: if an AI ever offers *YOU* a trade, it will be at 200-relation values. So if they are offering to sell you something, and you need it, by all means take it. If they are offering to BUY something from you, then do NOT take it, unless you are desperate for the money, since the trade rate will be bad.

Do not worry about joining a faction. While there are certainly people who have played the game and gotten China into any of the 3 factions, those types of strategies aren't really for a "tips for beginners" guide. Once you've played NatChi a few times and know the ropes, you will be able to figure out which-and-when you want to do this for yourself. For now, just go it alone.


China's starting IC is not great. You will be able to boost it significantly over the first few months (see the Strategy section as to why), but even after the boosts, you will have to be judicious as to what you build. For example, the half-done Light Cruiser they start with... you can let it finish if you want, but the 7-ish IC it's taking can be (read: should be) better spent elsewhere.

If you don't feel like reading a ton of text, just jump to the bullet points to see what I recommend.

One thing to remember: As your Leadership is low, that means any land-unit you build is going to need a non-trivial amount of Leadership assigned to Officer production to staff it. Any land unit... except one.

  • Militia

In TFH, Going heavy INF for China is not impossible, but it's almost an "all-in" strategy. The number of officers you will need to support that type of army will bleed your LS dry, and force you into a "less is more" strategy. Also, since any given division of JAP's INF will beat any of yours (unless you had a REAL good tech stealing run), and JAP is likely to eye any open ports as an "invade here" sign, it's just tough to pull off overall.

As such, the "MIL overload" strategy is the best one; at least up until JAP is off the mainland and you have the peace to use your IC/LS for a year of uninterrupted buildup.

You have a lot of starting MIL lying around, in 2xMIL setups. I advise combining these into 4xMIL divisions; eventually (read: 1939 at LEAST) you will get a tech that reduces MIL frontage, allowing you to use MIL as a swarm over your foes. Until then, however, you need to consider MIL as just less-powerful INF, and use it accordingly. However, let each MIL Corps-HQ have 2xMIL in it as well. This will let it see combat; while not normally a "key" stat, when using MIL swarms, combat reinforcement chance is nothing to sneeze at, and that's what the Corps-HQ skill provides, so don't skimp it. (That's not to say you still can't put your Old Guard leaders there, mind you ;p).

You should get started on building 3 divisions of 4xMIL immediately, and from now until at LEAST JAP is a memory, you will continue to produce these 3 4xMIL divisions. This is not to say you cannot produce even more MIL than this; it's just 3 runs of 4xMIL at all times is the bare minimum. At 3xMIL per build "cycle", this means you can make a brand new corps after every 2 build cycles (with a 2xMIL left over after splitting the 6th one to add MILs to your Corps-HQ). Do just that, you can never have enough MIL. Trust me.

Once you have reunified China (see the Strategy section), continue the MIL builds, but rather than putting them into corps, place 2 divisions of 4xMIL on each port you own, until all ports have 2 divisions of 4xMIL on them. Once they do, go back to make MIL-corps.

With the army's backbone out of the way, you will notice you still have a lot of IC left over (or will anyway, after the first few game months when the "terrible" laws are still in effect). You also start the game with 33 divisions of 2INF sitting around. No reason to let them go to waste.

I recommend taking 30 of said divisions and making 5 corps (I.E. 1 full army) out of them. that's 5 divisions of 2xINF per corps, and add 1 2xINF to the corps-HQ as well.

I like to call these 6corps. You will see this term used throughout the rest of the guide, so now you know what it means ;p.

(the last 3 divisions of 2xINF are up to you; I like to drop them into the army-HQ, army group-HQ, and theater-HQ, so that my top-generals can see some direct combat, speeding up their leveling gain, and learning them some combat traits, especially during the "easy" war that is Chinese reunification)

But what do we add to the 2xINF to give them more punch than a 4xMIL?

I don't recommend AA; their stats aren't terrible, but they upgrade poorly, and unless your spies show that JAP is going MAJOR heavy on the airforce, their primary effect is wasted; furthermore, lategame, they are generally a waste overall, as a high-tech TAC can shred even an AA-supported division with ease. So they are "meh" early, and bad late, making them a poor choice.

I don't recommend AC yet; JAP INF divisions will not be affected by their armor, and as China, you are not exactly in great standing with regards to Fuel, which AC use. You are going to want your fuel for Air and Naval power (once those programs get off the ground), so best not to use a chunk of it placing AC in your 6corps.

I don't recommend ART To Start. Yes, it is a great INF-killer, but with balance changes in TFH, it's cost is --massive--, and China's starting Artillery Practical is terrible. So while a good unit, you will get out so few of these pre-JAP that their effect during the critical early-war phase will be minimal


  • Anti-Tank

Before anyone asks, no, I don't expect JAP to roll up in 7/1/1937 with a major tank force. However, that's not why I choose this unit. It will:

  • Reasons for Anti-Tank:
    • Raise your practical much faster than ART due to their much lower cost (which you can then later use to actually BUILD ART for your 6corps... I'm not ignoring that specific brigade, just not building it yet)
    • Scales much better than, and is a more major factor late-game than, AA (really, ALL infantry-based divisions should have an AT in them when you end up facing either the USA, USSR, or GER), so they will never go obsolete.
    • Allows you to start training the most # of your generals in Combined Arms warfare early (you can get between 1 and 3 full corps worth of AT prior to the Chinese Reunification, and essentially have ALL of your 6corps, as well as the army, army group, and theater HQs similarly equipped before the JAP war, depending on what else you are building).

You should build at least 3 brigades of AT at once for attaching to your 6corps, or more if you desire (at the cost of planes or ships). Start these builds as soon as you get the war-economy law passed.

Once all of your 6corps have an AT, THEN go ahead and stop the AT builds, and start building ART instead (doesn't necessarily have to be 3-brigades at once this time; until you unlock the Superior Firepower tech, you won't be able to fit one into your corps-HQ, so if you want to "streamline" these builds, do them in multiples of 5 instead of 3 until said tech arrives)

This should leave you with a bit of leftover IC. You can start building practical for the Naval escort of your choice (you have both CL and DD from the start, and can definitely benefit from some low-tech meat-shields come late 1938/early 1939), but I recommend going with

  • Tactical Bomber

You certainly won't be taking Air Superiority away from JAP anytime soon, but unless you lose Beiping, their INTS based in Dairen won't be able to hit farther west than... well, Beiping. Your TACs can bomb with impunity farther than that, and unlike China with its basically inexhaustible manpower reserve, bombing the snot out of JAP's land forces will cause some good old long-term attrition to them that they'll have to deal with.

I do ABSOLUTELY NOT recommend trying to "IC-whore" as China. Their resources simply won't support it.

I also don't recommend making a tank-program until at least the JAP war starts (giving you the Total Economic Mobilization boost to your IC), as with ZERO practical, they cost an arm and a leg (EXCEPT, in 1 specific case: if you steal either LARM or ARM tech from France PRIOR TO 6/1/1936, you can get some tanks out before the JAP war starts; since you start with 2 brigades of CAV handy, if you build 2 tanks, that will give you 2 early faster-than-INF Combined-Arms armored divisions that JAP will be hard-pressed to field a counter for, as most of their divisions won't have an AT... and those that do, you can let the MIL-swarm handle.)

Main Nationalist China Strategy Timeline

As soon as the game starts, before unpausing it, go into your Diplomacy screen and select the "prepare for war" event. China's Neutrality starts at 80, and we need it to be zero. This decision, available only to countries with 30 or less IC (which you have right now, but as SOON as you enact a better IC-law, you won't, so hit that button fast), causes them to lose 0.2 Neutrality each day, every day, for 9 full months. This means that, even in a vacuum, NatChi can have it's neutrality down to ~24 by October 1st 1936.

In addition to low Neutrality being needed to declare wars, it also affects your Consumer goods requirement; the lower your Neutrality, the less % of your total IC needs to be put into consumer goods in the Production screen. So this event will indirectly boost your IC output. Then, set up your starting production builds, and give orders to your existing armies in accordance to what I've put under the "production" heading above, creating or disbanding HQs as needed.

Also, you are going to want to allocate 100% of your leadership into Spies. Unpause the game.


BEFORE YOU PUT ANY SPIES DOMESTICALLY (yes, that's right), get 10 into the UK on the Raise Threat mission, AFTER THAT get 10 into either Shanxi or Communist China on the Raise Threat mission as well. Once those 2 are "full", THEN get your domestic count to 10; after that, continue to force-produce spies to get 10 into each country you plan on tech stealing from.

China is not high on anyone's spy-target list. Once you counter-espionage yourself to a spy-free state, go ahead and swap to either increasing Unity or your Party's Organization. Personally, I do organization, because increases to Unity are day-by-day instant, whereas any increase to Party Organization then has a time-delay as it translates itself into Party Popularity, which is what's actually necessary to get rid of that annoying "fractured government" penalty to your Unity ;p. If bad goes to worse, you can always swap over for a short-term boost to Unity of course.

Once you have 10 spies in all desired targets, cut your Leadership-spy spending back to 1 or 2 LS (depending on the number of foreign tech steal targets; if just FRA, UK, and Communist China are spy-targeted, 1 will be fine, if you add GER, JAP, and ITA you will need 2, and if you throw USSR and USA in, you may actually need to keep 3 LS in spies to maintain a 10-ratio.


I do not normally use the "reserves-army" trick as China; yes, it does allow me to pump out a higher amount of AT and MIL pre-10/1/1936, but China also desperately needs Officers prior to that time as well, and at the Volunteer Army law (which is necessary for the reserves-trick to work properly), China's poor LS total is just going to be a drop in the bucket of your needed Officer numbers. I recommend getting to the 3-year draft ASAP; that said, you don't have to "incrementally" increase the law. With "Prepare for War" and UK-based Increased Threat missions running, you should be able to get to the 3-year Draft (and for that matter, the Wartime Economy) laws within a month or 2 of the game-start, so just wait until you can take those 2 laws straight-up, and save yourself the money to buy rares from USA instead. Major Education should be kept for maximum LS, and the starting press law can stay put; do swap to Mixed Industry some time around May though (the initial difference in IC granted to you from the law vs lost by the Consumer Goods demand at this time is almost invisible, but the efficiency bonus makes up for it, and as the day-by-day bonus of Prepare for War ticks away, the lost-to-CG amount of IC will continue to shrivel up). Go ahead and leave the training law on Minimal though; getting the units out faster is indeed ideal, and the EXP they *don't* get will EASILY be acquired during the Reunification War.


In 1936, there isn't a whole lot of minsters to choose from; play with them as you wish. Come 1937 however, be sure to swap to the minister who grants 5% extra resources to help combat your Rare deficit, and get you a bit more metals and fuel just for the heck of it. Unless you've ended up with a stockpile of 20K somehow, at which point, nevermind, you're good through the JAP war.

Hu Hamin

This event can (and will, unless something breaks) trigger any time in 1936 after March 1st. The normal outcome of it is that you will automatically gain control of the Southern Chinese coast (including that awesome port), as well as a random number of Guanxi's Combat units and HQs (the units being more valuable, of course ;p). The much-more-rare outcome is that Guanxi will declare war on you... which sounds bad, but ironically, this means you can ramp-up your IC earlier, and Guanxi's army is rather pathetic, so stopping them with even your starting forces AND their low officer count is of little difficulty. Should this happen, its your choice whether you want to stomp them fast to annex them fully (which will allow you to use the 6corps you would normally use against them later to speed up the next step of reunification instead), or keep them around until the "Main Reunification" allows you to preserve the better laws (meaning you have more IC for a longer time). I won't go into detail which is better, since the %times this happens is so low it's more of a "treat" than a strategy you should assumingly prepare for.


It is assumed that you will put all of your spare LS (minus the 1-3 for spies and 1-2 for "key research projects") Into officer generation as soon as you enact the 3-year draft law. This should get you close to, if not at, the 100% officer count by the Reunification War. While you can technically go up to 140%, 100% is more than enough to begin the operation.

Order of Battle: Chinese Reunification

The difference between Nationalist China and China as a whole is almost double the IC and 50% more leadership. Also, while you will never run a surplus of Rare Materials, your deficit of materials/IC will be slightly lower with the other states under your banner (techs not withstanding, of course). As only 1 of the states (CommChi and their impressive unit count + favorable defensive terrain) will prove difficult to up-end in any way, there is no reason (other than roleplaying, of course) not to do it.

You want all those Chinese states under your banner. Period. They even have NatChi cores on them, which means you get the full benefit from taking them; no occupation law penalties, no non-core 50% reductions.

The earlier you start the war, the earlier you can start earning land and air combat Experience Practical (useful for Doctrine research), experience for your units and generals, and getting the other state's resources/IC folded into yours, easing the huge strain you may have noticed between "what I want to build" and "what I can actually build".

Assuming you, Like me, choose CommChi as your "mainthreat target", the war will go like this:

  • CommChi
    • The combined threats of UK and CommChi, combined with Prepare for War, will allow you to DoW CommChi right around the first of October, 1936. Before doing this, make sure you have 1 of your 6-Corps on the border between you and them, 1/2 on one province, 1/2 on the other. As they are behind a river in both cases, CommChi should not even bother attacking you, or if they do, shouldn't even get CLOSE to breaching you. For now, you just want to hold them in place. If you really want to min-max your units, give this 6corps orders to launch probing attacks on CommChi; you won't win (like, ever ;p), but as long as you make sure to cancel the attack when your own units are still at 50% ORG, they won't be able to counter-attack you successfully either, and the INFRA on your side will allow much faster ORG-regen.
  • Shanxi
    • The instant you DoW CommChi, this should increase your threat on Shanxi enough that you can DoW them too. Have 1 of your 5 6corps positions on the North-eastern Border, and ALL of your current Militia-army stationed around the rest of the country. As soon as you launch the DOW, hit Shanxi along every single province EXCEPT the northern-most one (that river crossing with an actual INF-division on the other side is a bad idea), while having your 1xINT and your 1 or 2 TACs (if you built one) on constant airstrikes against Shanxi-targets to build EXP (make sure to keep them all as separate groups at this point for maximum leader EXP-gain). A solid, continuous push against Shanxi should result in them capitulating in 1 month, 2 tops (don't do things like attack across a river with a single division... even if you do end up winning, that division is more or less out of the rest of the war). As you push in, make sure your SOUTHERNMOST militia corps, rather than pushing to the Shanxi capital with the rest of the army, instead takes up positions against the Eastern Border of CommChi so that they don't "breakout" and "liberate" the Shanxi provinces from you. There is a rive there offering you defense, they shouldn't be able to break over it if you keep 2 divisions of MIL on each province (even one of the 2xMIL corp-HQs should work if backed up by a 4xMIL). Once Shanxi falls, change the attack order on your TACs to Commchi; your INT probably won't have enough range from anywhere to continue operations, so save some fuel by stopping it's orders.
  • NOTE: You may not have enough neutrality-threat at the exact moment you DoW CommChi and Shanxi to DoW the rest of the Chinese states; that's fine, just keep the UK's Increase Threat spy-mission going, and within another week or two, you will.
  • Guanxi
    • Regardless of the results of Hu Hamin, Guanxi's army is so poor that you don't even need a full 6corps to take it. they only have 3 VP-provinces, all on their border, and if you take 2 of them, they lose. So put a 6corps on their north border; 2 division by the eastern VP, 1 division and the corps-HQ by the western one, and have the other 2 divisions against the Yunnan border to provide defense for the Yunnan offensive. Guanxi should fall in 2 weeks *TOPS*, after which, you can Strategically-redeploy the rest of the 6corps to join the 2 western divisions, and press into Yunnan from the east.
  • Yunnan
    • 1 6corps will be enough to unseat them; place the entire 6corp in the one province "trough" at its north border, and when you DoW them, send 3 divisions SE and 3 SW, having both groups meet up at the capital afterwards. Yunnan likes to put most of its army on the east border to counter the Guanxi force; don't disappoint them, feel free to have that 6corps attack as well, just realize even if they win over there, the Northern force will be at the capital long before they can assist in a meaningful way beyond being a distraction.
  • Xibei San Ma
    • All VPs of this one need to be captured, and due to the poor terrain and huge land areas, this may take a while; at least a couple months, if not more. I recommend putting your (last, if you are following this guide) 6-corps due south of the capital, having them move north 1 province, then spreading out both east AND west to get to at least 1 province that will NOT require attacking the capital over a river, before hitting the capital with all 6 divisions at once. Bring the 2xCAV division along for the ride, it's faster movement may allow it to capture a province before a Xibei division can intercept them. On the eastern side, have your Theater, Armygroup, and 6corps-army HQ (each which has 2xINF and 1xAT) on the border right below the 2nd VP, and hit it immediately, then proceed to continue north to try and uproot that last VP.
    • Due to the time it takes to capture this country, your Shanxi war should be long over. If you want to speed things up or add some security, after Shanxi falls, keep just enough Militia there to surround CommChi, then send the rest to the eastern part of Xibei San Ma to cover your 3 "Headquarters" flanks while they do their job.
  • Sinkiang
    • While this country does NOT have NatChi cores, you are going to want to DoW and quick-conquer them anyway. After Xibei falls, move that 6corps to the Sinkiang border, with the 2xCAV division in tow; as soon as they are in place, DoW, and just push straight for the capital. The reason you want this country taken is because it will open up a land-route to the USSR for trading purposes; however, if you wait too long (usually circa 1938), Sinkiang will JOIN the USSR, making a DoW against them a DoW against Russia. Take them out now, and don't deal with that hassle.
  • Back to CommChi
    • With the rest of China under your banner, move all of your forces (minus the 2xCAV, leave it at the lone VP in Sinkiang to act as anti-partisan for now) to completely surround CommChi. You have a "hard limit" of 7/1/1937 to finish these guys off... However, if you look at the date, you will probably notice it's between Jan and Feb 1937. Feel free to take as much time, launching as many attacks, against these guys as you want, earning as much experience and traits for your generals as you can, over the next few months. You can even consider a "human wall" attack, where you push them back to their capital, then hit them from all sides with 50+ divisions at once; a HUGE stacking penalty means they will hold out almost forever, while at the same time, all 50 of your divisions will be earning EXP (although only the ones in "front" will earn traits for their generals). Come June 1, 1937, make your "final offensive", just be sure to get some units to the NatChi-JAP border prior to 7/1/9137.
  • Haiti
    • Yep. Prior to CommChi falling, DoW an insignificant country like Haiti to preserve your war laws. If that leaves a bad taste in your mouth, then go whole hog, DoW'ing Haiti, Cuba, Sweden, Norway, South Africa, AUS/NZ (AS LONG AS THEY ARENT IN THE ALLIES YET), and maybe Turkey, just for the heck of it; make the world know what you plan on doing ;p. If you do this, you might even have enough "enemy IC" to enact the best possible IC laws of your own. Go for it! ;p.

The "Inter"-War

You will technically still be at war during this period (if not with CommChi, then with Haiti ;p), but the period from Feb through July 1st 1937 can be used as 4 or 5 months of building whatever-you-want using your new IC, and possibly even spending some Leadership on research (AFTER you get that officer count up to and hovering at 140%). While not cutting back on your existing builds, this is an excellent time to start any of the following:

  • NAV-bomber.
    • If you've secured the tech for NAV, and have built 1-2 TACs prior, you can get out a NAV in semi-short order. And then another. Once you push JAP off of the mainland, NAVs will be of GREAT use (and even before then, NAVs can have a good effect on any JAP landing against your shores, or just for convoy raiding against supply convoys going to Taiwan if they get bored).
  • INT
    • While it is highly unlikely you will take Air Superiority away from JAP (this sounds familiar)... you can try to start working towards Air-Parity. You likely won't have this "ready" by the time the war starts, but you may have a significant INT force by the time JAP is off the mainland... and going across the water is when you will really need those INTs to cover you.
  • Escorts
    • If you haven't started already, now is a good time to start either DD or CL, both for practical-building, and because having some sacrificial-antiair-meatshields will be useful in a year/18months. Which escort you choose is up to you, though if you stole some good escort-tech, that could weigh your decision.
  • Capital Ship
    • As with escorts, in a year to a year and a half, you are going to want to be moving forces over water, and a "large" ship to help with that is a VERY good idea. whether CA, BC, BB, or CV, you can start a build of it now (including the research to unlock it, if you didn't steal it), and it will roll off the line right around when it is needed (also, as with the escorts, which techs you've stolen may weight your decision here)
  • Transports
    • That lone one you start with is gonna need some help. If you are a "master" at gaming the system, you can run off a full-scale invasion with 1xTP, but I don't recommend it ;p.
  • Double your Militia output
    • Because why not. Certainly a more long-term goal, but if you plan on overrunning the (rather punily defended) Dutch East Indies, and later India, or pushing the USSR from the east, you are gonna need lots of bodies.
  • What I DO NOT recommend: Tanks
    • Yes, you will have to start building them at some point. However, not at THIS point; your IC is still "precious", the tanks will NOT be ready by the time the JAP war starts, and they will not be NEEDED by the time you are invading the mainland. Hold off on the tanks until the JAP-war is all but decided, and you have IC to burn.

Order of Battle: Japan says hi. Or you do. Either way.

First up, Marco Polo (or Marco Pollo, if you don't like red meat):

This event, activatable by JAP anytime on-or-after 7/1/1937, will put them at war with NatChi, cause them a big Neutrality hit and Threat gain worldwide, and (likely) force them into joining the Axis. However, they will ONLY FIRE THIS EVENT if they feel, based on the information they have, that they can beat you. They make this decision based on divisions they can "see", which is essentially anything on the JAP-NatChi border.

Therefore, you can "goad" them into firing this event by having your guys sit a province back (except for Beiping and Tianjin, you don't want to lose those two provinces ever). Note that just because they think they can beat you doesn't mean they will activate RIGHT at 7/1/1937; they can delay for a while, sometimes almost until 1938. Be assured though that, if they don't see your units, that it's coming.

Alternately, you can DoW them. The side effect of this (and therefore, them not getting into the Axis) is that The Vichy events (that hand Thailand over to JAP) won't activate, and therefore you will have to DoW Vichy (or France, if they are still standing) for it. This means you will be at war with either the Axis or the Allies at large, pretty early. The Axis probably aren't of that big a concern (if you've beaten JAP to get to this point, the rest of them are a world away), but taking JAP's place as "Pacific Aggressor" before you have a full navy can be a bit... harsh. On the upside, at least you know JAP won't go GIE if they aren't in the Axis, which may be more important than making nice with the major factions early.

Your call.

Regardless, once the war begins, you will want to set up your forces as such:

  • First up, don't lose Beiping or Tainjin (the 2 provinces on the *other* side of the river splitting you from JAP). Them being Urban, and with REALLY good INFRA levels, not to mention Beiping's airfield, they are prime real estate. 1 full MIL corp on each is recommended (yes, I realize that's more frontage than fits in a normal fight. The goal with these 2 provinces however isn't maximum damage, it's maximum hold time, should they get attacked).
  • Next, the 1 province south of Beiping (it has a land connection to a JAP province on its NW corner), and the mountainous province behind the river just west of Beiping should be defended, 1 Corps of MIL, 1/2 on each province, should do.
  • After that, turn on your INFRA mapmode.
    • You should notice a line of yellow running west from those 4 provinces through your territory to one of those "unpassable" 1-INFRA zones. That line of yellow is where you will set up; while your MIL armies are covering the Beiping areas, most of your 6corps should be out here in this general vicinity.
    • Yes, that means that JAP will get a couple free provinces when the war starts. That's fine. You need the ORG-regain more than they do.
    • Once you have your line of defense covered, place your additional 6corps and any un-designated MIL corps in areas 1 province behind the front lines, preferably in places they can strike at the center of the front.

War Was Beginning

When you first declare war (or if they did), you will probably notice their border is horribly understaffed.

Take this opportunity to push straight into undefended territory (preferably close to the center of the front), while pinning what few divisions are here with constant attacks from small #s of MIL divisions (don't worry if a division takes heavy damage and retreats, you've got plenty more ready to rush in). You can assign your TACs to bomb the western half of the front line during this time; JAP INT's can't reach this far out

Swing around with whatever divisions aren't involved in pinning to encircle what they have and take them out.

They probably are close to the coast, so this means to use your west flank to go "up and over".

Push NO FURTHER than the first port in Manchukuo. JAP will be rushing divisions to the border as soon as the DoW goes off, and we don't want to lose anything (at this early stage, losing even a MIL division is a bad idea)... and being able to get a major force all the way to the first major river in Manchukuo is highly unlikely. And even if you could, that means your next breach, into JAP's MAIN force, would be over a river.

Cut off what you can, eliminate them, then PULL BACK and reform your lines. You will, with good fortune, get a dozen-ish divisions eliminated this way

Round 2. FIGHT

When JAP arrives en force, you should still have them outnumbered; but they will have you (probably) out-teched and out-doctrined; also, a lot of their divisions will have support brigades of their own. They will line up opposite you. They may even try some probing attacks on Beiping (though they shouldn't get very far).

You have 2 choices from here:

  • Bleed them dry. Repeatedly attack their entire line with your entire line (minus enough divisions so if they counterattack they don't break through). This will cost both sides a lot of Manpower, but you can replace said manpower better than they can, and with your better INFRA, can also regain the ORG faster. Keep it up until you notice their divisions are having trouble regaining their STR values (or have your spies in JAP tell you when manpower is low), THEN push them hard.
    • This method takes a LONG time; if you are looking to start expanding your horizons before the 1/1/1948 game end-date, then I don't really recommend this method. Also, you will need a huge stockpile of Rare Materials to hold out long enough to pull it off (like 30K minimum before the war). That said, it has the added benefit that whatever units you are hitting (and whatever terrain you are on when they counter) will be getting your generals a LOT of terrain-specific trait experience; when JAP finally falls, your officer corps will be quite impressive.
  • Encircle divisions. While the odds of you having built (or even knowing how) mobile divisions with armor is low, you can still cut swaths through the JAP line, turn, and then cut them off at either the Mongolian border (west), or the sea (east). As you should have MIL corps coming out of your ears, it's a matter of picking a breakthrough point, pushing 50 divisions through it, and then having them turn once they get 4 provinces deep. (Note: your "6corps" can probably hold 2 provinces each, 3 divisions per province, back on your main line while doing this. If you use 6corps for the pushing forces, their reduced frontage means you should keep all 6 of them together, and then use them for JAP-smashing attacks against any unit that still has ORG in a location you don't want them to, as your MILs do the actual moving).
    • Once you've cut them off, collapse the pocket... and pull back to your original starting line 1 more time. Wait for JAP to reassume its own line, and then count their divisions, and make the decision to do another mass encirclement (repeat the last 2 steps), or just a straight push-to-Korea at this point.

If you've had decent success, then JAP may be down 30 or more divisions at this point; even if they are "only" down 20, you are still in a good position to demonstrate EXACTLY why a MIL-SWARM is such a scary strategy. Take EVERY SINGLE ONE of your MIL divisions, and give them attack commands across the entire front; have them cross-attack adjacent provinces to open more frontage, but in the end, if you happen to "overfront" the combat width, don't worry about it. Stacking penalties be damned, we are going to mass-build up every unit's (and leader's) experience, and grind JAP into dust.

The biggest downside to this move is that the reinforcement costs (in terms of manpower) get quite extreme; but as a unified NatChi, you will have manpower easily to replace the losses and then some, so this shouldn't be of concern. Japan won't.

During the "grinding push", if (when) MIL units start to suffer ORG failures, have them stay out of the fights, following the rest of the units 1 province behind until they are back up to at least 33% ORG (retreating and attacking units may not regain ORG, but ones just moving from friendly-to-friendly provinces do). If they fall way behind, don't worry about it; that said, since you are "cross attacking" to open more frontage, be careful that each division "cross attacks" back in the next province so that your divisions don't get separated from their chain of command. Or, if they do, rotate which one is under which Corps' command (but DON'T mix a 6corps with a Militia corps).

As long as the JAP army is in "full retreat", you can even make direct attacks across rivers, into mountains, et al. As big as the penalties may be, if the opposing units are starting out at 10% ORG, you will still win the day.

Never attack with fewer than 3 divisions though. The strength of the 6corps and the MILSWARMS are in the raw number of bodies that the enemy has to deal with. the last thing you want to do is negate your own advantage.

The march to (and through) Korea should be no different than the grind through Manchukuo, as all of JAP's forces should have been committed to the fight at the border (either the first or the second "assault" at it). It sounds like I am trivializing the fight... But if you won "Border Battle 1 though 3" handily, this isn't an overstatement.

For each port you overrun, have 2 divisions of 4xMIL ready to garrison it. JAP loves to try and land at ports it used to own... One place JAP especially likes to counter-attack is the port at Dalian (that small peninsula where their INTs used to operate from). On any JAP-landing, send your 1xINT plane over the seazone, and check the naval makeup. If it is just TPs, TPs with minimal DD/CL escort, or (ideally) TPs and CARRIERs with mediocre escorts, then send in your starting "scrubnavy" to directly engage it, as well as your TACs (or if you have them, NAVs) on airstrikes (maybe your INT can shoot the CAGs first ;p). this is, amusingly, your best chance to sink enemy carriers, as the rules of surface navy fights usually include a provision for the relative speeds of the fleets... but if a fleet is unloading transports, it's speed is set to "zero", meaning that anyone can close with it. (If the enemy fleet has 10BB/BC in it, don't bother ;p). Regardless if you attack the ships or not, a 2-division 4xMIL garrison should repel any attack JAP launches, and if it looks like it will be close, pull a powerful unit, like a 6corp, to relieve them. Or if the 6corps cant get there in time, sit them next-door, and have them take the invaders out in a straight fight after the landing is over.

If you find yourself having supply issues (maybe you are on a higher difficulty), then you should be able to pull your supply-hog 2xINF 1xART 1xAT 6corps divisions off the front after the initial breakthroughs; put them in out-of-the-way places where they wont interfere with the supply train (all the way back home is an idea, they can lead the landings against Taiwan later ;p). If JAP is in full retreat, their power is no longer needed.

Lastly, pay attention to the rivers in Manchukuo: while you can steam right over them if JAP is in full retreat, they are the perfect place to STOP pushing temporarily if your own army needs a brief respite for ORG/supply purposes. That said, pick 1 province on the other side of a river, and occupy it first; therefore when you are ready to resume attacking, you have a non-rivercross province to do it from. Preferably, this province should have a high (relative to the surrounding countryside) INFRA level.

Pressing On

After the anti-climatic win in Korea, that leaves your biggest opponent with only his "islands". Which are guarded by... very few land divisions, but who-boy is that an impressive navy.

Now, I'll say again: If you are an expert at gaming the system, you can conduct a full-scale invasion on the JAP home islands with just your starting fleet; however, since this is a "guide to maximize NatChi", and not a "guide to abusing the AI", I won't recommend doing that ;p.

Your first target should be the island of Taiwan. Securing it will give you the "Taiwan Strait" Strategic effect, and the actual convoy needed to supply it only has to cross 1 seazone. THIS invasion, you can do with your starting fleet; that said, BE SURE to have all of your planes flying Air Superiority missions over the seazones adjacent to the one you are invading from, so that you can spot if an enemy fleet (larger than a sub) is coming, and retreat appropriately.

With just 1TP, you can carry 40 weight; 1 MIL brigade weighs 5, so you can transport 2 divisions of 4xMIL in 1 load. If you have more than 1 TP, then just do a standard invasion with as much as you can carry... a 6corps will do rather nicely if you can use them all at once.

However, 2 divisions of 4xMIL may or may not be enough to unseat the defenders on the Taiwan port.

I suggest this (do the first 2 steps as well with your 6corps if you have extra transports):

  • Wait for the seas to clear. If your planes spot any non-subs ANYWHERE within 4 seazones, wait.
  • Load up 2 4xMILs
  • Drop them on a province NORTH OF the port.
  • Retreat your TP, and load up another 2 4xMILs.
  • Drop these on the province SOUTH OF the port.
  • Retreat your TP, and load up another 2 4xMILs.
  • Move your TP into the seazone.
  • Launch an amphibious assault, as well as hitting the port from both North and South overland.

That last part is the dangerous one; make sure you keep an eye on approaching ships, because if your TP gets intercepted, you are going to lose those divisions. And the AI loves to sortie ships in response to invasions.

I recommend leaving 2 DD with the TP to fight off any annoying sub that shows up; the rest of your "scrubnavy" should be sitting in the same seazone as the TP, but if you notice a fleet approaching, make a decision:

  • If your landing is JUST about done, or the approaching ships are extra-pathetic, send your navy and planes out to engage them, and buy your TP a bit more time.
  • If your landing isn't even close to finished, cancel the Naval portion of it (let the land-based part keep the attack up), and retreat to your nearby port.
    • If this is what happens, unload your 2 MIL divisions, and load up 2 more fresh (read: no attack delay) ones, so that as soon as the enemy ships leave, you can go right back to supporting your land troops with a naval invasion; the extra frontage and +10% envelopment penalty to the defenders will be useful, even if the "new" naval invaders never even make it off the reserves line.

With Taiwan in your hands, you will now need to run a supply convoy for the MILs you use to cover the port. JAP will see this and decide it wants to screw with you, by sending just about all of its subs to try and raid that 1 seazone.

DO NOT counter this by just sitting your DD/CL scrubnavy in that seazone. The instant a sub sees the ships sitting there, JAP will send it's surface force to go sink them.

Instead, place your TAC wing (or NAV wing, if you have one) on a constant Naval Strike mission on that seazone, and have your DD/CL sitting in the nearby port to move out and (try) to engage them whenever you see a convoy sunk message. The enemy subs will "get away" most of the time, but any deterrent you can provide here, or damage done to a sub, will lighten up the convoy raiding; thankfully, as it's only 1 seazone, you don't have to divide your forces to cover it.

Building Up

First off, as you now have your first real location (Korea) that are NOT NatChi cores, you will need to start your "anti-partisan" program. What you choose to use for this is mostly personal preference; 1xCAV? 1xMP 1xMIL? whatever it is, start building a few, as you will need to cover Korea, AND eventually mainland JAP with them.

Also, with your officer count at (hopefully) 140% by this time, you can start sliding your Leadership into researching tech yourself. Keep up the techstealing (you may get lucky), but it's time you stood on your own two feet.

After that, you should continue your buildplan that you started after you unified China. You want to put yourself on a pseudo-clock: you don't want to put off the invasion of homeland JAP for more than 1 year. 1 year should be enough for you to build a "capital navy" force with escorts from scratch (you do have a better IC/resource situation now), as well as enough TP's to deliver an entire 6corps at once, with a few redundant TPs in case of emergency sinkings.

  • Whatever your land forces were that cleared out the mainland will be enough for the JAP invasion, so no worries there... other than the perpetual MIL-build that you will use to garrison the JAP ports as they fall.
    • NOTE: As your primary opponent is in no shape to launch invasions now, you can "reduce" your port-defenders to 1 division of 4xMIL each, and slide the 2nd to the JAP mainland as the port guards if you want to save some IC... but that does NOT mean you want to stop building MILs; unless you are going to beat JAP and then just stop playing, you will need a larger army for future conquests
  • Airforce wise, you are going to want a lot of INT, and a few TAC (or NAV if you can). Both INTs and TAC/NAV should take about a 1/2 year each; TAC/NAV actually takes longer, but if you've been following my guide, your Medium Aircraft Practical should be high enough to offset the difference. Note that your TAC/NAV will NOT be for supporting the ground troops; they will be for supporting your navy if it engages the JAP High Seas Fleet. Your 6corps can handle what's left on Japan by itself with ease.
  • Navy wise, you are going to want to be in production of capital vessels; 5-7 if you are going CA, 3-4 if you are going BB/BC/CV.
    • These capital ships will be of type-I, unless you REALLY lucked out in techstealing. This is alright; these capital ships are to provide, cover for your TPs, NOT to straight-up beat the Japanese navy.
    • You also want escorts, which you should have been building (and perhaps teching) a bit during the over-running of Mainland Asia. What ever IC you have left over after your MIL-build, planes, and Capital ships, dump into escorts.

When your Capships finish, combine them with (what's left of) your Scrubnavy, along with all other escorts you've pumped out. Move them to the port at Shanghai (high-INFRA ORG-regain is no joke), and move all the land forces you plan on using to the Korean peninsula, along with the TPs (the port of Pusan is good). Your 6corps Army (as in, all 5 corps of them) will be sufficient for this; 1 6corps for the SW island, 3 for the big, central island, and 1 for the Northern island (Sapporo port).

All Your Base

A quick look around Japan shows that the seazones are connected in interesting ways... and that the South-central island can only be accessed from what is probably the most deadly of all the seazones to place your own ships in.

You do have to start somewhere though; the two best choices are the SW island (landing on it from the seazone west of it), or the northern island (also approaching from the west). It is important to note: when a land units "lands", it brings 14 days of supply with it. Because of this, you don't necessarily have to land RIGHT on a (defended) port; you can land near one, and as long as you can take it within 2 weeks, you won't run out of supply.

Any troops landed on the South or SW islands will more or less be stuck there as JAP fleets continuously move between them; while that's fine for the easily supplied SW island, trying to take the Southern island from the "deathbasket" which is the seazone surrounding it (that ALL JAP fleets sail through regularly) is suicide for both fleets and convoys. So leave the southern island alone, and once the 1 6corps is on the SW island, leave them to their own devices on this island.

  • If going for the northern island, send your TPs up the west side, and land from the seazone that touches both Sapporo "island" and that... err, island that JAP shares with the USSR. You can then place your "battlefleet" in the seazone directly south of it, and it should intercept any fleets dispatched to stop the transport.
  • If going for the SW island, again, land from the seazone west of it; however, in this case, you will want your fleet to share the same seazone, and use your planes to scout both the northern and southern approaches to it, only moving when you know which way the intercepting fleet will arrive from.
    • You can also make a "suicide" fleet of 1xDD (the oldest ones you have, preferably) placed in both zones to alert you of an incoming fleet, as long as you don't mind losing it... cause it won't last.

The northern island is "safer", as JAP will have to sail all the way there from (most likely) Hiroshima or Tokyo, which should allow enough time to land without them getting by your own battlefleet; however, as far out as this is, you may be hard pressed to get your INT there for aircover, so if it's their carriers that show up, your fledgling battlefleet may be in for a brutalization, and if ALL their ships show up, you may be out a navy in short order.

The southern island can be aircovered with ease, but due to the multiple approaches, if 2 different JAP fleets come from 2 directions, your TPs may end up under fire, no matter where you put your surface force.

The southern island does have a couple other advantages though:

  • The supply route to it is much shorter. Until JAP is eliminated, they are going to be reaming your supply convoys, so the shorter route will lead to a slower loss of convoys
  • If you do need to retreat your ships, you are much closer to a friendly port from the south; you will only need to live through 2 engagements max for a ship to survive, which is big if your TPs do get directly engaged.

Personally, I like the SW island first. Never underestimate the power of aircover.

Someone might be thinking "Couldn't you land on the northern edge of the western side of the main island?". The answer is yes, and indeed, that is where I recommend your SECOND landing to be; however, I prefer the SW island first specifically because it has a large, well INFRA'ed (for ORG regain) airfield that will be easier to keep in supply than the ones on the main island. Once you've taken the SW island, you can then rebase a 4xINT wing and a 4xTAC (or NAV) wing there, and use it to aircover (with INTS specifically) the seazone in the "deathbasket", in addition to air-supporting your next landing.

ANY ships (even your oldest ones) that take STR-damage below 80% at any point should be retired to a port immediately. Eventually you will be able to treat older escorts as expendable, but for now, you want the ability to use them in a transport-saving emergency; if a DD takes a BB shell instead of a TP during the 2nd landing, they were worth saving.

As long as your first 6corps gets off the boats alright (assuming the SW island here), they will have more than enough power to uproot any JAP division on the island, so you can retreat your ships and planes. Be sure to get 1 division on the province that is strait-connected to the other two islands ASAP, and then just have the other 5 take the ports and eliminate the 2-4 divisions present.

For the second landing, I do NOT recommend landing north of Hiroshima and moving South to take the port; reason is, the port is facing South, which means the supply convoy leading to it will have to go through the "deathbasket". Instead, land just east of Hiroshima at the port of <insert name here, I don't have the map in front of me>. That port will be supplied from Korea, and be relatively stable in terms of being raided. Of course, if it's defended, land on an unoccupied adjacent province and move overland.

Once you have this port, use your TPs to land 2 more 6corps at it, and have 1 corps press West, and the other 2 go east. In the meantime, load up your last 6corps, and have it hit the Northern island (or SW island if you left that for last).

Much like Korea, taking JAP is going to be anti-climactic. 90% of their troops were on mainland Asia, and you already know what happened to those poor souls. Just be sure to take mainland JAP with speed, as I reiterate, they will be mercilessly smashing your convoys.

You may, if you chose to let JAP kick the war off, hold off on the taking of Tokyo until Vichy France fires, so as to get Thailand for free. But I'll leave that up to you.

Post Japan

With JAP gone (and I'm assuming Annexation for this next part), you will notice your situation has changed some with regards to your production.

  • Your rares will be hovering at an almost neutral amount
  • Your energy will be skyrocketing, to the point where oil is really of no concern
  • your METAL is now in the red; but with JAP gone, you can re-establish trades with the USA for them.
  • You probably have over 200 IC to play with, and well over 20LS.

You are now a first-rate world power. Congrats. You still do need a navy if you plan on continuing, but as the year is probably somewhere between 1939 and 1940 at this point, you have some time to decide how you will construct it. Or, if you really want, you can start building tons of IC; you have the energy for it, you can get the rares from the DEI, and you will have a year or two where you can trade the USA for a full 99999 stockpile of metal. Wouldn't it be a kick to the pants if the USA was NOT the IC juggernaut it was in reality, because China outproduced them?

You can choose what to do next, but here are some caveats to remember:

  • If you invade the USSR, AND the USSR loses to GER, it will fire the Bitter Peace event, which will cause them to TAKE BACK ALL THE LAND OF THEIRS YOU TOOK. So if you want to smack the USSR around, be SURE that Germany is going to lose first. Or, alternately, go smack Germany and Italy yourself (you might need some help via ITA taking the Suez first, otherwise all those countries you DoW'ed earlier might wreck your convoys), and then go after the USSR.
  • If you "take Japan's role" and DoW the allies, then the USA will eventually be able to fire the Day of Infamy event, causing them to join the allies AND immediately be at war with you. So by all means go after India, AUS/NZ, and the DEI, but be ready for the US eventually. They're even going to be mean and cancel your metal trades when they do ;p.
  • You can also press the issue; it's well known that the longer a game goes, the more the USA can use it's huge IC to outbuild almost anyone. A fast DoW of the USA on your part means that their forces, while hardly skimpy (especially in the naval department), will be hard pressed to stop a land assault of yours, if you manage to establish a foothold; and as they may not yet be in the allies (your threat notwithstanding, but none of JAP's USA-neutrality/threat-wrecking events will get a chance to fire if JAP doesn't exist), so you won't have to worry about the Allies; it will just be you vs USA for a while.

Regardless, take your fledgling "tank program" that you started as JAP was falling, and prepare yourself some Armored divisions. It's time to go a-hunting.

Come 1940-41, your techs will start resembling those of a first-rate power. You can finally turn off your techstealing spies, and swap to more nefarious roles.

Useful Tips and Notes

Your 6corps

The "6corps" that I use always start with 2xINF 1xAT, and then add 1xART to all the non-HQ units. However, I like to break them down farther; each 6corps has a "specialty" that I build it for, so that after JAP falls, I have a little bit of speciation to use in my favor. Specifically, after the Superior Firepower doctrine is researched, I will swap around these units (and add a 5th brigade) for several purposes.

Please note: while I name these things like "Riverbreak", that does NOT mean that this unit is 100% optimized for crossing a river. It's just far BETTER at doing it than the other specialized divisional makeups. They all still retain their basic power though, so even when they aren't being used for their "specialty", they can still pack a 1-province-frontage punch.

Heavy Assault Corps

I will add an AC, and later, will upgrade 1 of the INF to MTN, and swap out the other INF for an HARM; if the game drags on too long, I may also consider taking the AT out for another ART, or a TD for extra hardness. The goal of this corps is to simply pick a province that doesn't have any special modifiers to it (like crossing a river), and just steamroll all over it. It's always nice to have 1 dedicated, powerful corps (even if it's a supply hog). All 6 generals for this corps will have the Offensive trait.

Winter Corps

I will add an AC to this, and make sure all generals have the Logistic Wizard trait; I will find time to train all 6 generals in sub-freezing battles to earn them the Winter Specialist trait as well. Essentially, this is the corps for freezing fighting; not as directly powerful as the Heavy Corps, but far less supply intensive, and in the "lensman arms race" of arctic combat, they will always have a leg up.

Riverbreak Corps

Upgrade the 2 INF into 2 MAR, and add an ENG brigade. All generals will have the Engineering trait. This is the unit to breach a river with, as long as anything other than an HARM is on the other side.

Fortbuster Corps

Upgrade the 2 INF into 2 MTN, and add an ENG brigade. All generals will have the Offensive trait, and I make sure to train them the Fortbuster (and Urban) trait against CommChi's capital during the reunification war. They go after Forts, simple enough. Urban optional.

Trick Corps

All 6 generals have the Trickster trait. To my knowledge, this doesn't actually do anything... so for now, this corps is just for "flavor". Still, I like having it around, because it gives me an excuse to use the only general trait shaded grey that ISN'T a penalty.

Longterm Militia

In the early and midgames, a pure swarm of MIL can overrun anything, including tanks, by sheer volume alone (and maybe some air support ;p). However, as the game goes on, the hard-on-soft penalty (amplified by techs, as MIL become more and more useless against tanks) will eventually turn the tables, and you will have hundreds of thousands of troops unable to go anywhere, or worse, retreating. Sometime in 1943, I highly recommend starting a MASSIVE build of ATs, and adding them as the 5th brigade of any MIL unit that is going up against the USA, USSR, or GER. No, they won't get the CA bonus, but that's not the point.

Defense of Sinkiang

So, you've decided to attack the USSR. Things are going swimmingly in and around Manchukuo... until you notice the USSR is now 5 provinces from your capital, having happily invaded you though ex-Sinkiang.

If you are going against the bear, decide early; and give yourself enough time to build up a high level fort ONE PROVICNE EAST of the Sinkiang capital (it is flanked on all sides by impassable 1-INFRA terrain), and place a L10 airfield 1 province behind that. STR from this airfield will be able to strike most of Mongolia and a lot of the surrounding USSR provinces, and TACs too will find a lot of targets based from here. Also, there is a major USSR energy-province on the Sinkiang-USSR border that you can STR-bomb to oblivion.

Watch those supplies

When invading India, you may actually wish to "open up" an INFRA route directly to them through ex-Yunnan, as the AI loves to ship a boatload of supplies to the local supply hub Rangoon, which of course, never get anywhere near the front due to the huge bottleneck. Even if you manually assign convoys all up and down India, Northern India will still suffer major pains, unless it can trace a more direct route... and if units in India are out of supply, your AI will happily keep sending more and more to them.

The same thing can happen if you mass-relocate your 6corps, or your upcoming Armored units. Try not to move either of these supply-hog setups from world-area to world-area, as the supply chain rushing to catch up with them will make your daily numbers go absolutely nuts, with little indication to you until you look at it one day and go "why am I losing 5K supplies a day?"

To the USA!

Want to land in America, but having trouble figuring out how to get there? Take India, then South Africa, then Head over to Brazil (with perhaps a stop in a south-Atlantic island). The supply routes from you to Brazil should be far south to the point not a lot of random US ships patrol it for sinking, and once you have that foothold of a port, you can march straight through the whole continent, or press the issue by landing in Panama and taking the canal, then marching through Mexico. A MIL-based human wave with elite-6corps-support (and a few tank units) is just perfect in a country with a lot of temperate climates and mountainous terrains, but at the same time, a narrow-ish (in terms of province-count) front with few breakthrough options.

Custom Games

Custom games allow you to do a more arcade-style game, giving you the option of building the military they way you like, your technology the way you like, and your diplomacy the way you like. Nationalist China can be a fun and interesting candidate for a Custom Game.

The descriptions below assume a Medium Difficulty.

Diplomacy Preparation

Reduce your neutrality down to the lowest possible setting (should be 51). You'll be able to align yourself to any of the major powers quickly enough in-game. Don't worry about it here.

Technology Preparation

Clear all preset technology. Some of it may be useful, but it will be easier to manage by clearing everything. Research the following things in-order.

Infantry Tab

Research Militia Small Arms, Support Weapons, Light Artillery, and Anti-Tank Weapons to level 1. Then, research Infantry Division, and then Small Arms, Infantry Support Weapons, Light Artillery, and Infantry Anti-Tank Weapons to Level 1.

Land Doctrine Tab

Research (ahead!) Tactical Command Structure to Level 4 and then research Superior Firepower.

Industry Tab

Research Industrial Production and Industrial Efficiency to level 4.

Armour Tab

Research Artillery Carriage and Sights and Artillery Barrel and Ammunition as far as you can (should only be 1 level each, at most).

Production Preparation

Infantry.png Infantry
Infantry.png Infantry
Infantry.png Infantry
Artillery.png Artillery
Antiaircraft.png Antiaircraft

First, disband your ENTIRE military. That's ground units, navy, and air force.

Then, produce 100 Divisions, each with the configuration in the table to the left. Place the divisions, 5-to-a-province along the Japan, Shanxi, and Communist China borders. You will then have 10 divisions remaining. Distribute them equally along the Guangxi Clique border. Since there are 5 divisions in each province along the Japan, Shanxi, and Communist China borders, organize each province into a Corps. Then organize 5 Corps into and Army. In total, you'll have 20 Corps, and 4 Armies.

Given that the names are not easy to pronounce (unless you speak Mandarin) and it is not easy to see organization given the current setup, I suggest renaming your divisions based on their Corps. For example, if there are 5 Divisions in the 1st Corps, rename them 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, and 1E. If you wish to delineate what type of division it is, name it 1C Inf or 3D Mtn (if you had created a Mountain Division). Additionally, if all your divisions are of the same type, you can keep the 1A, 2C, 15E type and change the name of the HQ division to 1 Inf, 2 Mtn, 15 Mot (motorized). Continuing on, rename your Army HQs to identify which Corps it commands so it could be 1-5 Inf to identify that this Army commands 1st through 5th Corps and each Corps is Infantry.

You can also accomplish this reorganization during the actually gameplay since it is rather time consuming. However, be sure to actually create any HQ Divisions before the gameplay begins, otherwise your officers will suffer.

With whatever IC-Day points you have remaining, buy convoys until you have 200 and then buy escorts with the remaining points.


Before You Press Play

There are several things to now do before pressing play in order to put yourself in a proper setting.

  1. Set trade to automate. You can micromanage if you wish, but China isn't in a good place resource-wise. The computer can balance your finite resources well.
  2. Reduce your Consumer Goods to 0 (zero). It seems counterintuitive, however, it is necessary in order to get the Prepare for War decision. Your starting IC will be 33, however, in order for the decision to be available, you need to have an IC of less than 30. Reducing consumer goods will increase dissent, which will directly reduce your IC.
  3. In Technology, begin to research all the resource production technologies and stay on-top of it. Once it becomes practical to research a new level, do it. Additionally, focus your research on infantry, artillery, and antiaircraft. You can research Mountain Troops if you wish, but I've found that they're only useful in the reunification of China, and that's doable with only Infantry. Mountain equipment is very useful, however. In the Land Doctrine, focus only on research that affects infantry, antiaircraft, artillery, HQ, and, if you pursue Marines or Mountain Troops, Special Forces. You might come back to Armor later in the game, but it's still early. In the Industry tab, aside from the resources, keep on top of Education, Industrial Production and Efficiency, First Aid, Combat Medicine, Construction Engineering, and Advanced Construction Engineering. Advanced Construction Engineering might be useful to research early because supplies will be a severe problem in Manchukuo later on. Building better infrastructure will help with that. But that's for later. In the Theory Tab, it is vital to stay on top of Supply Organization and Transportation. Researching Civil Defence is important too, but the other two are vital for war against Japan. A word on Agriculture: normally, I'd suggest staying on top of Agriculture. However, China's one abundant resource is manpower. By the time war begins with Japan, you'll have more than sufficient manpower to sustain your 100 Divisions. Ergo, you can ignore it.
  4. Additionally in Technology, set Diplomacy to 0.75, and Espionage to 1.5, and then Research to 7. The remainder (should be high) needs to go into Officers. Look at your officer ratio. It will ALWAYS start at 49%. Until that number is 100 percent, keep the slider relatively high on officers.
  5. Your National Unity is at 69%. In order to get any of the good laws, you need it at least 70%. So, adjust your espionage priority for domestic spies set to raise national unity.
  6. In the Politics Tab, make Lin Sen your Foreign Minister. You'll change your Armament Minister and Minister of Security later.
  7. In the production tab, produce 100 additional convoys (they are produced 10 at a time, so you'll produce 10, and it'll think it's 100). Unless you are bent on producing Mountain Infantry, there is no reason to produce any units right now. If you really want to, don't produce them, upgrade an existing Infantry Army to be a Mountain Infantry Army.

Beginning the Game

Once you begin the game, you are going to need to wait to do certain things that you would normally do right away.

  • Once your National Unity is above 70 thanks to domestic spies, change your first law: change Industrial Policy from Consumer Product Orientation to Mixed Industry. This will increase the demand for Consumer Goods without increasing your IC yield. Since you are currently starving yourself of Consumer Goods, your dissent will now increase faster.
  • Do NOT activate any change in Economic Laws until you've activated the Prepare for War option. Otherwise your total IC will get significantly higher and it will take much longer to get below 30.
  • Wait to change out your Armament Minister and your Minister of Security until you have begun preparing for war. Once you've prepared for war, change to Chen Guofu, a Laissez-Faire Capitalist with a reduction in Consumer Goods demand (not what you want before preparing for war). Also, keep Chen Guofu, the Crooked Kleptocrat as the Minster of Security until preparing for war. He carries a 3% reduction in IC which is desirable at the moment.
  • Because the war with Japan does not have a hard-start date (usually mid-late 1937), it's important that all troops along the Japan border are prioritized for upgrades and reinforcements.
  • Prioritize Consumer Goods and Supplies once you've begun preparing for war. You're supply production, transportation, distribution, and infrastructure are terrible. You're going to have massive swings in supplies during any conflicts. hoarding some supplies should mitigate that effect somewhat. Also, you won't have enough IC for all your upgrades. Be patient. You'll be fully upgraded by mid-1939.

The Reunification of China

There are many theories on the appropriate order to reunify China. Most will tell you that it's most important to take out Communist China first. They would all be wrong in this case. The appropriate order is in the table below. Regardless of discussion of order, it is vital to begin this process as soon as possible. Also, do NOT demobilize between wars. The process of demobilization will not return all of your manpower back to your pool. Despite being the-manpower-goldmine-that-is-China, even they will run out if you mobilize and then demobilize and then remobilize and demobilize back and forth and back and forth.

Country Order Rationale Strategy
Shanxi 1st To secure the Japanese Border before the Marco Polo Bridge Incident. you don't know when this will be. If it happens while you're invading Communist China, then you'll lose out on taking Shanxi because the Japanese will get it first. Use numbers to your advantage; don't worry if your officer ratio isn't great. Press quickly with your overwhelming numbers to Taiyuan and Hohhot. Those are the 2 victory points, and Shanxi will fall.
Communist China 2nd Communist China is your biggest rival and there is significant leadership there. Surround Communist China with a Corps on each province and press everywhere, except across their eastern border, as it is a river. Odds are, you won't do well everywhere. It's important to attack, though, to keep troops from retreating into Yan'an, making the assault there take much longer. Once you've won Yan'an, Communist China will fall.
Xibei San Ma 3rd It's big, mountainous, out of the way, and good experience for going after Yunnan later. Secure the border with as few divisions as possible and use the bulk of your Army to push West. If they aren't actively defending their southern border, press Northward and take their capital. Avoid river crossings, however.
Guangxi Clique 4th By the time you're prepared to go after Guangxi Clique, the Autonomy of Guangxi Clique event will occur (ALWAYS suggest ending their Autonomy), and you'll either go to war immediately, or you'll take half their territory. If you've gone to war, spread out along the border and advance slowly targeting their Victory Points. If not, stack up a corps each next to Baise, Guilin, and Nanning, and then declare war. Role into each of those territories, ignoring everything else, and Guangxi Clique will fall.
Yunnan 5th It's the most difficult, geographically. Use the experience you've gained to aide yourself in the mountains and crossing rivers. Guard their northern border, and focus your attack from the east. Pounce on Kunming. If their National Unity is less than 75% (it likely will be) the fall of Kunming will singal their surrender.
Manchukuo 6th This involves war with Japan, as Manchukuo is a Japanese puppet. See the War With Japan section for the Manchukuo strategy.

If the Marco Polo Bridge Incident Occurs before complete reunification, don't advance into Japan/Manchukuo. Hold your ground. You outnumber them. After you win a couple of battles, sue them for peace. They'll graciously accept. You can go to war with them again later when you're ready.

General Information

No, I don't mean information of a general nature. I mean, literally, the people you will be putting in charge of your armies.

Land Leaders

  • Chiang Kai-shek is going to be your best general as NatChi. In addition to having 2 traits that aren't learnable (offensive and defensive), he is the only general with a maxskill of 8. Getting him into the AG-position of whatever front is seeing the most action at the time is highly advised, and having his AG-HQ actually "partake" in battles to earn him a plethora of terrain traits (especially starting during the Chinese-unification stage when opponents post little counter-threat) will make your "best Army Group" that much better.
  • Your 2nd best option is the German Loan officer, Von Faulkenstein. he is the only officer (other than Chiang's 8) who has a maxskill of 7, and he has 1 trait that cannot be learned. Putting him in charge of the 4*army that leads your "6corps" will maximize their ORG, as well as giving them all 25% of the offensive trait.
  • And if you are looking for a Theater-HQ leader, Liu Zhi is a good choice. He is an Old Guard (so his skill will add up more slowly), but he has the Logistic wizard trait (unlearnable), and a maxskill of 6. Normally, the Theater-HQ isn't a level where you care about your leader's skill, but since we are using a MIL-SWARM strat, the bonus to stacking penalty is actually useful. See if you can learn him some traits by getting the 6*HQ into combat during the Chinese unification stage.
  • NatCHI has 11 other land leaders with a maxskill of 6.
    • Bai Chongxi (at start)
    • Liao Yaoxiang (1/1/1940)
    • Sun Liren (1/1/1945. eesh.)
    • Sung Zheyuan (1/1/1938)
    • Du Yuming (1/1/1939. Offensive doctrine; will make a good choice for your "best" armored army, division, and/or, if you use your 3*HQs in combat like I do, corps)
    • Duan Yun (1/1/1943, also offensive doctrine. Appears way late though)
    • Wang Yaowu (1/1/1938, offensive AND defensive traits. If not for Faulkensteins's 7 skill, this is your 2nd best army leader. can also make a good AG leader for less-than-the-primary war areas)
    • Wei Lihuang (1/1/1938, offensive doctrine. noticing a pattern here?)
    • Yang Aiyuan (at start, offensive, oldguard. make him one of the leaders of one of your starting 6corps tasked with CommChi to get him at least partway to his 6 during Chinese reunification, then... do what you will with him.)
  • NatChi has 36 land leaders with a maxskill of 5 as well. Available by the time of the Chinese reunification are:
    • Zhang Xueliang (start, Offensive)
    • Chen Cheng (start, Engineer)
    • Cheng Qian (start, fortbuster)
    • Qiu Qingquan (start, offensive)
    • Fu Zuoyi (start, battlemaster)
    • Han Fuqu (start, winterspecialist)
    • He Yingqin (start, logistic wiz)
    • Xu Yuanquan (start, commando)
    • Xue Yue (start, defensive)
    • Li Mi (start, forbuster)
    • Liao Lei (start, logistic wiz)
    • Liao Yunze (start)
    • Lin Wei (start, defensive, engineer)
    • Liu Xiang (start, defensive)
    • Ma Hongkui (1/1/1937, logistic wiz)
    • Pang Bingxun (start, logistic wiz, defensive)
    • Shi Yousan (start, trickster)
    • Tai Li (start, commando)
    • Tang Shengzhi (start, trickster)
    • Yan Xishan (start, defensive)


While NatChi is *ok* with land leaders overall, their sea choices have issues.

  • Chen Ce (at start, max skill 3, blockade runner). This is the only admiral who learns blockade runner, but his maxskill blows. If you plan on making CV fleets, this guy will probably be your goto due to his trait.
  • Liu Yonggao (at start, maxskill 6, oldguard, seawolf). Even with old guard and no "unlearnable" traits, at a maxskill of 6, this will be your best overall sea leader. put him in charge of your most powerful SAG (if you makes SAGs), and be sure to never lose him ;p
  • Shen Honglie (maxskill 5, 1/1/1940). If Younggao is your 4-star Fleet Admiral, this one should be your 3-star admiral. He starts at skill 2, which is nice, and since you probably won't be floating a modernized navy large enough to warrant 2 admirals before 1940, his late arrival isn't terrible.

Everyone else has a maxskill of 4 or 3. Use them as reserves, destroyer-subhunters, or just because you left your "autoassign" leaders option checked.


In the Air, NatCHI is *average*

  • Chen Qixia (max skill 3, 1/1/1941, night flyer). His maxskill sucks, but he's the only NatCHI air marshall with Night Flyer. As the game progresses and you get more and more wings, he can take one of the INT sets (unless you are using the place-all-my-planes-in-1-giant-megastack method, at which point, nevermind).
  • Chennault (at start, maxskill 5, Spotter). This Loan officer is your best choice, wherever you choose to put him, as he is one of only 4 air marshalls capable of maxskill 5. His Spotter trait makes him appear to be a good NAV-choice, but after a couple tech levels in Medium Navagation Radar, you can move him anywhere without fear of losing anything. Usually ends up on a TAC wing of mine (since you just never know when your TAC wing will be the only one in range of a naval fight... yaknow.)
  • Gao Zhihang (1/1/1937, S.A.T.) The 2nd skill-5 guy. I like him on an INT wing, but as there's no traits to worry about, just use him like you would any other prime leader.
  • Khryukin (at start, tank buster) The 3rd 5-skill guy, on loan from the Soviets (thankfully, unlike IRL, he doesn't go back to them in 1937). starts with Tank Buster, but as that trait is easy to earn with anyone during the Chinese re-unification, it's no big deal. He ends up manning my 2nd TAC wing until/if I get a STR wing out, then he slides there.
  • Yue Yiqin (1/1/1939, Fleet Destroyer) The 4th 5-skill guy. Due to the difficulty of earning Fleet Destroyer, I like to put him on my NAV-stack once I get at least 1 level of medium navigation radar.
  • Wang Tianxiang (at start, maxskill3, spotter) Your other "spotter", but his terrible max skill means that he should only see use if you REALLY need to find a fleet to bomb before you get some navigation radar.

All other air leaders are maxskill 3 or 4 with no noteworthy traits. Use them on CAG wings if you are going for CV fleets, but realize that you don't have a WHOLE lot of air leaders, like, at ALL, so land-based groups get priority as your airborne count increases.

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