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Germany

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Invasion of Poland 1939
{{version|Their Finest Hour}}
In [[Hearts of Iron 3]] Germany is one of the [[major powers]] and the key antagonist of the war. Germany is the leader of the [[Axis]], has a prime location for land invasion, and a strong [[economy]] and technological capacity rivalled only by the USA. Furthermore, it has the largest number of diplomatic [[decisions]] and [[events]] of any nation in the game. As a result, it allows the player to pursue a wide variety of strategic and tactical challenges. Germany, while potentially daunting, can serve as a great starting point for new players. It allows the player to jump right into the action, and with its focus on the land combat and a somewhat forgiving nature it allows the player to bloody experience themselves before progressing onto more difficult nations.
==Technology==
===Alliances===
'''Axis:''' Through the regular course of gameplay with no player intervention, the following nations will offer to join the Axis assuming the game follows a historical path:
* Italy & Japan (Summer, 1937; Italy can join the Axis as early as 1936 if they had finished their war with Ethiopia and the Spanish Civil War had begun)
* Hungary (Early 1939)
* Romania (1940 after Bessarabia)
===Decisions===
* '''Re-occupation of the Rhineland:''' This can be achieved in January 1936 by simply occupying the provinces indicated in the decision. This decision provides a loss in 3 neutrality for Germany and a 2% decrease in Dissent, plus a gain to income of $500, as well an increase of 2 to unity. Relations will be decreased; France -15, UK -5, Belgium -10, Netherlands -5. Threat to France will increase by 3. The re-occupation is required if you wish to do the Anschluss of Austria before 1938.
 
* '''Spanish Civil War - Intervention''' This event will become available sometime during 1936. This decision increases relationship with [[Nationalist Spain]] by +20 and reduces relationship with [[Republican Spain]] by -15.
* '''Anschluss of Austria:''' This event can be trigged by May, 1937, if Germany fills Austria with spies on the mission "support our party" from the start of the game. It is also fairly easy to achieve by waiting: early in 1938 Austria will have the "political crisis" event, after which time the conditions for the anschluss are met. This decision is very valuable for Germany as it provides 1 additional leadership, 19 additional ''base IC'' (a great deal more effective IC with modifiers of course), a -5 loss in neutrality, and additional manpower. Conversely, Germany gains 5 dissent, 20 threat, poor relations, and provides France and the UK with lost neutrality.
* '''The First Vienna Award:''' Available in October 1938. This causes 5 dissent and increases Germany's threat by 20 for the world. This allows Germany to annex Czechoslovakia without a single shot fired. 13 total base IC is gained along with resources, and 1.6 leadership. Slovakia will become a puppet nation in the Axis, and if allied with Hungary they will get Ruthenia.
* '''Claims on Memel:'''Available in January, 1939. Lithuania must not be in the Axis. Germany gains the port of Memel and 1 base ICor more depending on how much the Lithuanian AI invests in Memel's industry.
* '''The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact:''' Available in January, 1939. This decision will help prevent a preemptive Soviet attack. The game sets a threshold such that the Germany player must have more brigades on the border with the Soviet Union than they do to be able to declare war, according to the following time-table:
* '''Independent Croatia:''' Croatia will be created but the provinces it controls blocks Germany's access to the Mediterranean.
*'''Destiny:'''Available if you are at war with the Soviets. Gives similar effects to Blitzkrieg.
*'''Defense:'''Available if it's 1943, and you are at war with both the Soviets, and American's, gives supply throughput, and manpower modifiers.
=== Events ===
===Industrial Production===
Early in the game it is important to build up Germany's practicals. The player should build a little of everything for their first few production runs. For example, at a minimum: 1 interceptor, 1 tactical bomber, 1 infantry division, 1 armored armoured division, 1 battleship, 1 destroyer or light cruiser, and some ICIndustrial Capacity. Extra IC is always useful for Germany and can be spent in a number of ways even if it is low on manpower.
==Military==
Re-organizing the German military is particularly important to get the full benefit from Germany's great commanders. For player's who enjoy building a historical Order of Battle (OOB), see the [[Germany OOB guide]]. The German armed forces in 1936 start off with an insufficient command structure as historically some Army's and Army group's were not established yet.
===Army===
 
Germany should focus on modernising its existing army by upgrading all its infantry to motorised and by completing at least one armoured corps (Panzerkorps) before the invasion of Poland. The German advantage is speed: its army should focus around armoured spearheads, self-propelled artillery or rocket artillery, engineers and tank destroyers as these are all fast moving units which can encircle and destroy the old/slow armies of Europe. Special forces, particularly Paratroopers and Mountain divisions will be useful to strike at difficult to reach places including the Balkans and Scandinavia. After Poland falls, it is useful to try to upgrade all existing Light Armour units to Medium Armour before attacking France.
 
Germany begins the 1936 campaign with its best Panzer leaders primarily assigned to I. Armeekorps, IV. Armeekorps. These are Germany's most valuable commanders and should be removed for future use in Panzer divisions. Germany has a large number of Old Guard commanders, some of who are quite valuable (considering traits, starting skill, and max skill potential), including: Hänicke, Bader, Dollman, von Dalwigk zu Lichtenfels, von Berendt, Halm, Fischer H., Fleck, and Köstring. Visit the complete listing of [[Germany military leaders]] for more details.
If the player needs a guide for what to build leading up to the war, load the 39 scenario and build what Germany starts with. The player should have no trouble building the 39 scenario’s army even while building your airforce, navy, and some IC. This will use most of Germany's manpower and the player probably will not be able to start the war in May if they build that many units. Just be Be sure to save enough manpower to mobilize (around a 100 with 3 year draft).
===Navy===
# If the player's goal is to conquer the UK and the world beyond Europe, a powerful Navy is essential. Surface Area Groups (SAG) are the best type of fleet for Germany: a mix of Battleships with Destroyers for screens. A Germany that chooses this route should immediately research naval technologies and begin ship building from the beginning of the game (start with 2 to 3 Battlecruisers to gain practical). A successful naval engagement with the Royal Navy will require no less than 12 modern capital ships (3 BB and 9 DD is a good mix). Ships do not upgrade their main armament, engines, or armor: thus it can be timed so that Battleship technology research is completed once the first set of Battlecruisers is done, which in turn raises practicals for Battleship construction. Dominance over the Royal Navy is a difficult but possible goal:
## Be patient in engaging the Royal Navy: it takes time to develop a strong Kriegsmarine even with the best planning
## Multiple fleets is are essential, because any engagement will damage German ships, at which point immediate relief can be sent via a fleet on standby. This second fleet will typically end up sinking more Royal Navy ships than the first fleet could have done.
## A Reserve fleet of Destroyers is essential: they tend to take heavy damage so rotating them out for fresh ships allows the fleet to get back into the battle much quicker.
## Air superiority is mandatory to prevent CAGs from ripping the German fleet to shreds.
===Air Force===
Since most players will use stacks of three aircraft, the players goal should be to have no less than 12 interceptor wings at the start of the war. The player will need 3 stacks to intercept bombers from the UK and 1 stack to use for air supremacy in Poland. This is the minimum amount needed at the start of the war and the player should be building more when the war starts. Since Germany starts the game with a fairly large amount of tactical bombers, it shouldn’t need a whole lot more. Close Air Support should therefore be the next priority in construction.
==Warwith the Allies== If the player follows a historic route, Germany will typically go to war with Poland and the Western Allies, including the USA after 1941, and with the Soviet Union following 1941 (Operation Barbarossa). German strategic objectives are to gain lebensraum (living space) in the East, reverse the Treaty of Versailles humiliation by invading France and the United Kingdom and seizing their colonial assets, and to defeat the Soviet Union by seizing Moscow, Leningrad and Stalingrad in Western Russia. Later, Germany may end up in a "Cold War" with the United States if it develops nuclear weapons or alternatively invading it directly with Japan.
==Invasion of Poland 1939==
 
The invasion of Poland is quite easy and gives players a chance to try out techniques for later use against France and the Low Countries. Capture the Danzig corridor with Marines (if you have them) for a quick strategic bonus. Use your armoured spearhead units to blitz quickly towards Warsaw and Krakow while backing those up with (mot) infantry. If you have any standard infantry units, keep them for the hills/forest terrains and use your fast units on the plains (the terrain map is useful here). Use your air units to gain air superiority and ground attack units; do not bomb infastructure as this will only slow your own forces down. Invading Poland should take about 1 month for novice players but can be achieved in a week or two if quick movements to victory points are executed. If you have a Navy, use it to blockade the Polish ports and cut supplies.
 
===The Siegfried Line===
Defending the line with France should be done with a ghost force of any unupgraded infantry; it is important not to leave the border empty or France may invade early! The key thing in the West is to defend from incoming bombers. Set your fighters to air superiority missions around Essen, Kiel, Munich etc., and if you have any Naval Bombers use them to harass the Royal Navy in the Skaggerak region.
==Western Theatre 1940-1941==
===Denmark/Norway===
 
Denmark can be quickly invaded by a single or two motorised divisions to capture the mainland victory point; Marines or other forces can capture Copenhagen to speed the Danish defeat but this is ultimately depending on waiting for an opportunity to cross the strait. If the British Navy is patrolling here this can take a while, so hassle them with submarines or naval bombers or keep attempting to move your infantry across until they succeed.
 
Conquering Norway requires the capture of Oslo and Narvik. Both can be captured by a single corps; it is the marine crossing which poses a difficulty. It may be worth using your limited navy to create a diversion while you ship troops across to Norway. Shortly after Norway surrenders, Britain will move to seize Iceland + Greenland. There's little you can do about this without naval superiority in the North Sea.
 
===Invasion of the Low Countries===
To get to France, it is physically inevitable that the player will declare war on The Netherlands and Belgium. This also grants Germany a series of Ports and Airfields from which to strike at the UK.
 
The Netherlands can be conquered in a matter of days. By now you should have left a small force guarding the Soviet border, and moved your Panzer units over to the West. Spearhead for the victory points with your armour and mop up with any remaining infantry. All your air units should be used to a) gain air superiority and b) strike at Dutch airbases/ground troops. You should also invade Luxembourg at around this point. Capture it with a single corps.
 
For Belgium, rinse and repeat. Keep your armour close to the coast where the ground is flat, while your infantry move into the forested region of Liege. French troops will probably move into Belgium, so it's important to cross the Meuse river as soon as possible. With air superiority and tank superiority you should quickly push them back.
 
===Invasion of France===
Hitler anticipated that he would lose 1 million soldiers in the invasion of France. In reality, the French army were vastly underprepared for an armoured assault on multiple fronts.
 
Once you've conquered Belgium, you should deploy your armour near the sea and amass plenty of motorised infantry near the border with Luxembourg. Use your armour to breakthrough towards Dunkerque and Calais to prevent a British counter-attack, while at the same time attacking towards Sedan through the Ardennes. Use the planning screen to highlight VPs and the quickest routes to them. Paris is your key objective.
 
Use the Luftwaffe to strike at French airfields and deny them the air, while striking at logistics around the Maginot line; this will prevent those armies moving to support the Northern front. The key is to overwhelm the French defences before they get time to react. As soon as you've taken Calais, prepare a Level 10 Radar construction there to spy on the British. After Paris falls the Vichy France event will trigger. Now you can utilise the bases secured in France to strike against the UK.
 
===The Battle of Britain===
The Battle of Britain, fought in 1940, was basically a fight for air supremacy in preparation of a naval invasion of Britain. Germany lost the Battle of Britain and didn't have a navy capable of the crossing even if they had have won. But in Hearts of Iron the player has a chance to change history. Winning the "Battle" will require a lot of interceptor fighters and naval bombers as well as a semi-decent navy. Your goal is to secure the Channel by establishing air superiority and driving the Royal Navy back to ports for repairs. This can be done by the following:
 
#Have a large force of interceptors set to air superiority mission over Britain itself
#Use any bomber forces to hit runways in south England and Port Strike missions
#Use Naval Bombers (NAV) to strike at the Royal Navy and defeat it in battle
 
Because of the advantages of Britain in the sea, this may take a few years and Operation Barbarossa may need to be put on hold. Meanwhile, your submarines should be employed to annihilate UK shipping.
 
====Operation Sealion====
The invasion of Britain will require control of the Channel via the means described above. Landings can be made virtually anywhere, although the AI usually leaves Wales quite unattended. Land with Marines and/or Paratroopers and then have plenty of armoured divisions ready to transport into the newly captured Port(s). Alternatively, invade Ireland and use it as a stepping-stone.
 
Defeating the British Army will require perseverance especially as they tend to get holed up in difficult territory up in Scotland. Keep a vigilant look out for transports bringing troops from Africa or India - these will need to be sunk before they get a chance to land. If you have enough bombers you should be able to sink a lot of British warships. But bear in mind this will have crippled your IC to the point where you may have only the starting army to invade with and Barbarossa will be nigh impossible for at least a year or two. It will also be nigh inevitable as capturing London automatically triggers a declaration of war by the USSR.
 
Once the entire British mainland is captured, there is a small chance that the government will surrender. Otherwise, you will need to capture territory overseas to really finish the UK off.
 
It's important to note that the Soviets will object to the player invading Britain and will, at some point during the invasion, declare war on Germany. The player should either prepare for this and use minimal forces to invade, or ensure that the non-aggression pact can't yet be broken by the Soviets.
 
Or, stack your Interceptors and Tactical, (Nav's if you have them) in the Low Countries along with every canoe you can confiscate. You do not have to beat the Royal Navy, just force a landing with a superior will to absorb losses. Typically you will lose most of your fleet and a few transports (possibly a couple Inf divisions sunk) but you will have Wehrmacht on the shore. Use your 30 day supply to smash a port and ferry more troops as needed. Once you have a port GB's fate is sealed.
 
You can game the auto Soviet DoW by surrounding London with a single Corps without taking it. You will starve the Empire too of supplies. Call Italy to Arms and watch them steamroll Africa & ME solo while you finish putting Europe into a German headlock & prep to fight the Bear.
==Barbarossa 1941-1943==
Operation Barbarossa, or the invasion of the USSR, is by far what the German industrial effort is gearing up for and started historically in late 1941. The invasion was split into three distinct army groups each with an objective to capture: Leningrad, Moscow and Stalingrad respectively. The war claimed millions of lives on both sides as the huge Soviet army fought to defend on a front from Finland to the Caucasus against overwhelming German air power and armoured divisions. The attack was ultimately repulsed only miles from each of the key objectives, so with a little more cunning the player should be able to force a "bitter peace".
 
For advice on a German OOB see here.
 
===North Army Group===
North Army Group is tasked with the siege and capture of Leningrad after seizing the Baltic nations (Estonia, Latvia + Lithuania).
 
===Central Army Group===
Central Army Group will advance through Minsk and Smolensk with its objective to capture Moscow, the Soviet capital.
 
===South Army Group===
South Army Group's objective is the oil fields of Baku in Azerbaijan. To do this it will need to advance through Ukraine and the Crimea and defeat Russian forces at Stalingrad.
==Minor Theatres==
===BalkansBaltics=== The Baltic states contain the nations of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. The player may choose to invade the Baltic States shortly after the capture of Poland, or they can wait until Operation Barbarossa. Controlling the Baltic States will give Germany access to several ports and even a few airbases which can aid in the attack on Moscow. 
===North Africa===
While this front isn't as important, it should be noted that unless you help the Italians fight the Brits and win at El Alamein, their southern flank is open and could cause a number of problems later on. Attempt to take some African Colonies for yourself, possibly Sudan or Egypt.
 
===Middle East===
 
A German player may consider deploying their Afrika Korps to Iraq, Kuwait, and the Arabian Peninsula after achieving victory with Italy in Egypt. You can capture this region for Italy by attacking out of their existing territory in North Africa or for Germany by invading enemy territory from the sea. Be wary that infrastructure here is terribly low and capturing ports along the Mediterranean will be essential to keeping supplies flowing to your troops. Even so, the British will likely hound your convoys relentlessly so careful supply management is a necessity.
 
The reward for this territory alone is not incredibly high, save a couple oil resources, and the inevitable partisans will demand you provide a small garrison. That aside, further incursions (or alliances) with Turkey and/or Persia will open a path straight to the southern border of the USSR, a mere stone's throw away from the Baku oil fields.
 
===Battle of the Atlantic===
==Gaming the System==
'''Starting War Later:'''
If you do not use the First Vienna Award, the other countries won't do any national decisions. this This allows you to attack later and even conquer Poland and then the USSR without any attack from the Allies.
'''USA Ally:'''
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