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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 themselves before progressing onto more difficult nations.



While Germany can devote a considerable amount of leadership to research early in the game, it is not possible for Germany to research everything.

  1. Infantry, Armor & Land Doctrines: An obvious priority for Germany is its land forces, which should be largely motorised/mechanised as well as plenty of Light and Medium Armour with Artillery and AT support. Doctrine wise, Germany should focus on Blitzkrieg/Schwerpunkt Armour upgrades as well as Infantry + Motorised doctrines. Combined Arms doctrine is a must.
  2. Industry: An essential focal point of Research, with just about every technology being a priority.
  3. Aircraft: Fighter airpower is essential to Germany's success, particularly in defense against Allied strategic bombing. Researching Close Air Support is advised as it shares the Light Aircraft practical with Interceptors. Medium bombers are also useful, although large aircraft are a heavy investment, some research may be required if the player desires to use Paratroopers.
  4. Naval technology: Germany is fairly weak in naval technology, advanced players tend to go with Battleships & Destroyers if they wish to threaten the UK. Otherwise, submarines are useful to threaten British shipping without engaging in direct naval combat with the significantly superior Royal Navy.



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)
  • Hungary (Early 1939)
  • Romania (1940 after Bessarabia)
  • Finland (1940 after Winter War)
  • Bulgaria (1940 after Constanta)
  • Siam (after the "Fate of France" event)
  • Guangxi Clique & Yunnan (Shortly after Japan defeats China)

Notable possible Allies, when using influence and raising threat on the Allies include:

  • Brazil
  • Mexico
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Persia
  • Afghanistan
  • Nationalist Spain
  • Belgium
  • Netherlands
  • Yugoslavia (High neutrality makes this unlikely: can join during war against the USSR when threat is high enough)
  • Argentina (High neutrality makes this unlikely)
  • Chile (High neutrality makes this unlikely)

Nations that will not join without specific factors:

  • Switzerland (Never)
  • Sweden (After the defeat of the USSR)
  • Portugal (requires Nationalist Spain to be in the Axis)
  • Vichy (Requires Allied DOW)
  • Turkey (Requires German ownership of Soviet border provinces and high USSR threat)


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Treaty of Munich: Available in January 1938. This causes 5 dissent and a large 15 threat gain for Germany. While this does not result in any immediate gains for Germany (only 3 base IC and minor resource and leadership gains), it paves the way for the eventual annexation of Czechoslovakia.
  • 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 IC.
  • 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:
    • June 1940 to December 1940: 200% needed (e.g. Germany must have two times as many brigades as the Soviet Union on the border)
    • January 1941 to June 1941: 100% needed
    • July 1941 - December 1942: 50% needed
    • January 1942: Can break at any time

Furthermore, this event provides significant benefit to the Soviet Union by triggering the Soviet ability to run the decision of the Winter War against Finland, and the annexation of the Baltic states.

  • Danzig or War: Available in May, 1939. This decision will begin WW2. This event will not fire if you are at war.
  • Blitzkrieg: Improves unit speed and re-organization gain rate.
  • Independent Croatia: Croatia will be created but the provinces it controls blocks Germany's access to the Mediterranean.
  • Destiny:
  • Defense:


  • The Vienna Dictate: Occurs in June, 1940, Germany has two options:
    • Force Romanian acceptance: Lose 5 neutrality. Hungary becomes significantly more powerful. Romania's relation with the Axis severely worsen if Hungary is in the Axis.
    • Deny the Hungarian Request: Apparently no in-game effect aside from slight improvement in Relations with Romania.


  • Armaments minister Hjalmar Schacht provides a useful +10% IC bonus.
  • Ministers of Security offers several good choices, starting with the Man of the People (Goebbels: +5% leadership), or the Crime Fighter (Diels, +10% counter espionage).
  • Head of Intelligence Wilhelm Frick provides a +5% espionage bonus as Head of Intelligence (thus Germany can have a +10% bonus with Hitler).
  • Chief of Staff is unimportant in 1936, but should be revisited in 1939.
  • Chief of the Army has Werner von Blomberg, saving -10% on supply consumption.


The primary goal in internal espionage for Germany is to build up the internal spy system. As Germany's threat level increases the player will get increasing research penalties from enemy spies. To avoid this have at least 10 spies in place and counter espionage selected.

There is no requirement for Germany to have spies abroad, however several benefits can be gained from doing so.

  • Spies in England and France can be used to increase their threat which in turn will delay Allied nations joining their side too early in the war (e.g. an unattended Belgium and Netherlands may join the Allies shortly after war with Poland). Alternatively, lowering the national unity of France will cause it to collapse more quickly, which has the net effect of saving German manpower.
  • Spies in the USA can be used to "support our party", which if done as early as 1936, will have the effect of bringing the American-Deutsch bund into power in USA in the 1940 elections. Coupled with diplomatic influence starting in 1936, an Axis USA, or at least a neutral USA, is possible.



From 1936 on Germany can get crude oil from the United States, Persia, and Venezuela, if the player feels the need to trade for it. The Soviet Union and the United States are excellent suppliers of metals and rares. It is best to pick one main supplier and get all of Germany's trade goods from them. This way the player gets the best prices. The United States can be effectively kept out of the war just by improving relations by trading with them. Supplies can be sold to the United States, Soviet Union, United Kingdom, and France. Just make sure to cancel any trade deals that expose Germany's convoys before the war starts unless the player wants to continually rebuild them. Huge stockpiles of resources are generally not needed because once the war starts Germany can get everything it needs from Europe.

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 division, 1 battleship, 1 destroyer or light cruiser, and some IC. Extra IC is always useful for Germany and can be spent in a number of ways even if it is low on manpower.


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.


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 sure to save enough manpower to mobilize (around a 100 with 3 year draft).


Does Germany need a Navy?

  1. If the player's goal is to conquer all of Europe and the Soviet Union, then Germany does not need a Navy of any kind. In this approach, Germany can choose to build a very limited Navy with only submarines. The intention here would be solely to harass UK supply lines.
  2. 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 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:
    1. Be patient in engaging the Royal Navy: it takes time to develop a strong Kriegsmarine even with the best planning
    2. Multiple fleets is 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Air superiority is mandatory to prevent CAGs from ripping the German fleet to shreds.
    5. Lots of research, preferably at least 1 year ahead of time.
    6. Try to find a fleet in port in range of your Naval and TAC bombers and Port Strike their naval base to sink the ships that were damaged by the Kriegsmarine.
    7. The Royal Navy is large, but doesn't have that many up-to-date naval vessels. Their outdated BB's will be easy prey for your more modern fleet, but their CV's are dangerous, and sinking them sets the RN back seriously.

The best fleet leaders are: Raeder, Saalwächter, Warzecha, Guse, Densch, Förste, Marschall, Böhm, Carls. The best submarine leaders are: Dönitz, von Stosch, von Friedeburg, Wolf, Niemand, and Sobe.

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 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.


Historically, leading war is an essential part of Nazi German foreign politics. While you could lower your neutrality low enough to go to war as early as the end of '37, you should consider waiting not only to 1939, but to 1940. In 1940, the democratic powers outside the allies (mainly the United States) have an election. If you hold back aggression, support the German-American Bund via spies long enough and diplomatically influence the US, this industrial super power could join the Axis, practically granting you victory as no one is there to stop Japan and the allies miss important troops on D-Day, on the Invasion of Italy or in the North African war. The following strategies will, if not stated otherwise, an allied USA from 1941 onwards. Note the US could join a bit sooner, a bit later or not at all. This mainly depends on Japan.

Invasion of Poland 1939

Western Theatre 1940-1941


Invasion of the Low Countries

Invasion of France

The Battle of Britain

Barbarossa 1941-1943

Minor Theatres


North Africa

Middle East

Battle of the Atlantic

War in Asia



Communist China

European Assets in Asia

Guangxi Clique





Nationalist China





Saudi Arabia




Tannu Tuva



Xibei San Ma



War in North America, Caribbean Sea, and the North Atlantic Ocean

Other than European Assets in North America and the Caribbean, the United States has proclaimed the independence of every nation. It is the result of the Monroe Doctrine. Odds are that by the time you invade the Americas, you'll already be at war with the US, but in case you aren't, beware of the Monroe Doctrine.


Costa Rica


Dominican Republic

El Salvador

European Assets in North America, Caribbean Sea, and the North Atlantic Ocean

Greenland and Iceland

Greenland and Iceland change hands several times throughout the game. They start off as Denmark property, transfer to the UK after Denmark falls, and then switch over to the US. Either by airborne or by naval invasion, Iceland and Greenland are great places to launch invasions into Canada. There are no resources on either island.
Dutch Assets

The only Dutch (Netherlands) asset in this category is the island of Curaçao off the coast of Venezuela.


Curaçao's only redeeming quality is a small port that can be used to stage for an invasion of the rest of the Americas. Unless you can airborne into the island, you'll have to perform a naval invasion.
French/Vichy Assets

Guadeloupe and Martinique

Guadeloupe and Martinique are islands between Antigua and St. Lucia. They are not worth targeting on their own. Simply take them as you island hop across UK islands.
UK Assets

The United Kingdom has the majority of the European Assets in the North America, Caribbean, and the North Atlantic Ocean region. The UK islands and land assets are great launching points for invasions into North and South America.

The Bahamas

The Bahamas are an important acquisition. Miami is an important American Naval Base. You will find at least 1 US Aircraft Carrier Fleet perusing the area. Holding the Bahamas will offer a great place to knock out the American Navy in the Atlantic. The airfield on Andros is a great place to launch an airborne assault in Northern Florida and Southern Georgia to cover for a naval invasion in Southern Florida. There are no resources in the Bahamas.


Belize is 1 of 2 North American land asset held by the United Kingdom. Belize, located on the eastern side of Central America, is a great place to stage troops for an assault into the rest of North America. It has no resource value other than it's location among neutral nations which defends it from land assault from the American Army.
A naval invasion will successfully take Belize. Staging Mountain Infantry with Anti-Tank Weapons would be recommended as there are a lot of mountains in Central America and southern Mexico.


Bermuda is the first stop to getting into the Caribbean. Holding Bermuda will give you naval and air dominance over the mid Atlantic. It is imperative to capture and hold it. If you can airborne into it, that would be easier than a naval assault as there will likely be a substantial UK or US (or both) navy at Bermuda. There are no additional resources at Bermuda.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador is on the east coast of Canada and makes a great staging point for the invasion of Canada and New England. There is a little bit of metal, but the primary value of the province is the staging area. Hold Cook's Harbor as there will be amphibious assaults by Canada and the United States. It is an effective distraction so you can invade the US elsewhere. You will lose Labrador, but unless you can instantly thrust into Canada before you lose Labrador, it's better to just keep Newfoundland.
A naval invasion from a previously captured Greenland is a great route as it avoids most Canadian and American patrols. The airfield in St. John's is very useful to airborne into the Halifax area to then walk into Maine.


Jamaica is just another island with a port. It's only strategic value is that it's a good staging point to invade Belize. There are no resources.

South Caribbean Islands

The South Caribbean Islands of Trinidad, Tobago, Barbados, St. George, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla, and the Virgin Islands are essential to the invasion of the other Caribbean nations and Central American nations. Make sure that you watch out for American airborne troops. Trinidad does have some oil.







United States of America

War in South America

Every country in South America has its independence guarunteed by the United States. A declaration of war against any of them will bring the USA into the war. Delay attacking any of these nations until the USA is already in the war.











War in Oceania and the Pacific


Territory VPs Port Airfield
Perth 1 Yes Yes
Adelaide 1 No No
Melbourne 2 Yes No
Canberra 2 No No
Sydney 3 Yes Yes
Newcastle 1 No No
Brisbane 2 Yes Yes
Townsville 1 Yes No
Darwin 2 Yes Yes
Port Moresby 2 Yes Yes
Lae 1 Yes Yes
Rabaul 1 Yes No
Buin 1 Yes No
Guadalcanal 2 Yes No
Total 22

If your goal is to defeat Australia, the trick is to do it quickly. Japan, if left unopposed by the United Kingdom, will roll in and obliterate Australia quickly. Considering timelines and how difficult it would be to conquer the Mediterranean, Middle East, and India before the Japanese land in Australia and cut you off from complete domination of Australia, it would be best to accomplish this goal using Airborne.

There are 22 victory points contained in 14 territories (as noted in the table to the right). In order to minimize supply losses, it's best to capture territories with a port.

First, capture Port Moresby, Lae, Rabaul, Buin, and Guadalcanal. These territories are not connected to mainland Australia so they will be easier to capture and then abandon with minimal chance of recapture by Australia.

Next, use Port Moresby as a launching point. If you've managed to sneak a transport to the Pacific, you can use it to transport airborne troops to cities that have a port and an airfield so that you can push more paratroopers into victory points.

Australia starts with a national unity of 80%. If Australia raises it's National Unity and somehow manages to avoid a Fractured government, you can expect to face a National Unity of about 85%. This means that in order to force a surrender, you'll need to capture 85% of the Victory Points. If the National Unity is lower, you can capture fewer VPs. At 85%, you need 19 VPs. The most difficult VPs to capture using the Airborne method would be Perth and Adelaide. Those total 3 VPs, the 3 you won't need to defeat Australia given an 85% National Unity.

The Australian Army isn't very advanced. German Airborne will match any Australian Infantry. If Australia has any Armor (or Light Armor), surround and encircle them.

Defeating Australia isn't difficult. The difficult part of Australia is keeping Australia as conquered territory. Uprisings are a real pain and given the size, it's very inconvenient in keeping Australia free of uprisings as well as keeping France and Poland free of uprisings. If you choose to conquer Australia, maintain four airborne divisions: 1 in Perth, 1 in Geelong, 1 in Brisbane, and 1 in Darwin. You only need one transport plane and simply move it around to airborne into any uprisings.

Given that Australia has a decent navy (that you should avoid when they are your enemy), your Airborne divisions are better used to disrupt Soviet supply lines, and that you gain almost nothing by conquering Australia, it would be best to puppet Australia. The Australian Navy can sink unescorted Allied and Soviet convoys nearby. Australia as a puppet alleviates Japan of attacking Australia so it can focus on the United States and Soviet Union, creates an excellent launch point to defeat New Zealand, and creates an extra distraction for the United States once it joins the war.

European Assets in Oceania and the Pacific

New Zealand

Territory VPs Port Airfield
Auckland 1 Yes No
Wellington 1 Yes Yes
Christchurch 1 Yes No
Dunedin 1 Yes No
Total 4

The defeat of New Zealand is easily accomplished once you've defeated Australia. Whatever strategy you used in Australia will be effective in New Zealand. In fact it'll be easier. Airborne invade Auckland and Wellington at the same time. Wellington has an airfield and can be used airborne assault Christchurch. Without an airfield in Christchurch and the lack of infrastructure in Timaru, you will either need to build an airfield in Christchurch or naval invade Dunedin. The airfield method is far simpler.

There are only 4 victory points shown in the table on the right. New Zealand starts with a National Unity of 80%. Odds are, their National Unity cannot be lowered to below 75% in time for the invasion, so you will need to capture all 4 victory points.

Puppet New Zealand. Do not conquer. New Zealand has nothing to offer and can only be a thorn in your side in terms or preventing uprisings.

Gaming the System

Start war late: if you do not use the first vienna award, the other countries won't do any national decisions. this allows you to attack later and even conquer Poland and then the USSR without any attack from the Allies.

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