Novelties aside, the Soviet Union is one of the most entertaining nations to play as in Hearts of Iron IV. With the potential for massive industrial expansion, and perpetual manpower, the following tips should help you to make the Soviet Union an unstoppable force. However, I use a somewhat different tactic to a lot of players, so the advice I provide may not be your cup of tea, but I have found it gets effective results, particularly against the Axis forces. With this, you may be wondering what the guide is actually about? Well, the tips will provide you with the basic knowledge as to how the Soviet Union works, and some strategies that I have found effective, which you can attempt to apply during your games. Therefore, lets proceed into the guide.
When playing as the Soviet Union in Hearts of Iron IV, there are some rules that I recommend following, even if you decide not to adopt my military tactics. These rules will help your game run smoother and increase your chances onto securing world domination. Please note, this guide focuses more so on the defeat of the Axis forces in Europe, and only touches very lightly on Japan. I plan to do a future guide, giving tips on how to defeat Japan in Hearts of Iron IV.
- The Soviet-German Research Pact, Great Purge, and Molotov-Ribberntrop Pact must be followed, as you obtain a higher national unity, research bonuses on medium tanks, and take Eastern Poland after the Germans invade Poland in 1939.
- In your national focus tree, you should go down the ‘Positive Heroism’ root as opposed to the ‘Collectivist Propaganda’ as you get Konstantin Rokossovsky (Armor Genius) and higher research reduction times, making you more advanced by the time you go to war in 1941.
- You must rival the German Luftwaffe (air force) to ensure you have air superiority, which is important no matter what land doctrine you go down.
- You must focus on the construction of civilian factories before military factories to ensure your construction speeds of other buildings are speedy.
National Focus and Political Power
As previously stated, I highly recommend that you go down the ‘Positive Heroism‘ side of the national focus tree, as you get access to Konstantin Rokossovsky, and lesser research times. Although, you miss out on 15% national unity, the ability to research technology quicker will give you a significant advantage over your foes. In terms of the order you should do your national focus tree, here is what I have found works best for me. But, not the picture of course.
- Stalin Constitution
- Finish the Five Year Plan
- Armament Effort
- Positive Heroism
- Progress Cult
- Socialist Science
- Extra Research Slot
- Transpolar Flights
- Great Purge
- Improve Railway Network
- An Ocean Going Navy
- Found the PCDI
- Anti-Facist Diplomacy Root
- NKVD Primacy
- NKVD Divisions
- Lessons of War
I think when playing the Soviet Union in Hearts of Iron IV, it’s best to leave the Great Purge till a little bit later, as it essential to get some technology researched and a strong industry built up. This is so you’re not totally unprepared when the Axis invaded you in 1941. Additionally, I have decided to go down the NKVD root, instead of the ‘Rehabilitated Military’, as the NKVD root gives divisions greater organisation, which is important for the military tactic I will explain later.
Moreover, here is a list of how you should spend your political power, on advisors and laws etc. The following recommendations are based on my military tactics, which you can find a little bit further in the guide. I will not list every single one, but the ones I feel you should go for first.
- War Economy (as soon as you can as world tension needs to be at a certain level)
- Captain of Industry
- Stalingrad Tractor Factory
- Free Trade
- Tula Arms Factory
- Morozov Design Bureau
- Konstantin Rokossovsky (do the rest of the military staff after the Great Purge)
Overall, if you follow this procedure for your national focuses and political power spending, you cannot go wrong; you build up a formidable industry and have a modern army by the time the Axis invade you. In addition, it is very important to note that you cannot leave the ‘Great Purge’ to late, or else it will ignite a civil war, which allows you to bring Leon Trotsky back, which I will try and explain in a future guide. I will explain what you should do during the ‘Great Purge’ below.
The Great Stalinist Purge
Unfortunately whilst playing as the Soviet Union in Hearts of Iron IV, you have to deal with Stalin’s Great Purge. Once the purge is completed, you will suffer some penalties such as longer research time, due to purged officers, but once that runs out you can capitalise on the military might of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Here is the three choices I recommend choosing during the Great Purge:
- Khrushchev dabbled with Trotskyism in the past. He must go (this choice is the easiest as Khrushchev is pretty irrelevant).
- Tukhachevsky refuses to confess, but cannot be allowed to live (if you decide to go down the Collectivist Propaganda root, I’d recommend choosing the first option).
- The navy and air force have been getting off easier so far (navy and air advisors not very important in comparison to division recovery).
Research in brief
By having an advanced military, this will give you an upper hand over the enemy. So, here is a list of priorities for your research:
- Electronic Mechanical Engineering (do this part of the tree as you go on, as you get research deduction bonuses)
- Industry (concentrated industry and construction before anything else)
- Land Doctrine (superior firepower – see next section for more details)
- Air Doctrine (operational integrity as it minimises your plane loss)
- Tanks (medium tanks as soon as possible, bonuses come from research treaty with Germany)
- Artillery (important for my recommended military strategy – see next section for more details)
- Division equipment and different divisions (logistic company useful)
Dealing With Hitler and the axis
This is where my military tactics come in. Unlike many other players who will focus upon ‘Mobile Warfare’ or the ‘Mass Assault’ land doctrines, I favour ‘Superior Firepower’. As stated previously in the guide, you should place a lot of emphasis on civilian factories. This is so you can construct level-four land forts across the entire border (including the border with Japan and her puppet states), once you have secured Eastern Poland from the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and the Baltic States from the anti-facist diplomacy. Although this may seem a bit odd, placing these land forts will mean the Axis forces will attack you with no luck. Therefore, their manpower will massively deplete, causing divisions to simply disappear due to losing all of their HP. Be careful though – if you build to higher level land forts, the forces will simply not attack, defeating the object of this strategy. But, I do recommend building level five land forts on the southern part of the front-line, particularly around Romania, as the Axis sometimes break through.
Furthermore, you must make sure you have artillery units in your divisions (or support artillery at the very least). This is the main reason I go down the ‘Superior Firepower’ land doctrine as you get these vital bonuses, which help in your victory against the Axis.
Alongside artillery, this is where your air force is particularly important. You must ensure that you have air superiority so that the Axis forces do not break through your front line. It is important to note that, that once enemy divisions start to break through your front line, it means only one thing – defeat – as your divisions will god onto tiles with no forts constructed on them. However, if you build a considerable air force before 1941, focusing more so on fighters and close air support, you should be totally fine.
Before you proceed your main attack, you need to ensure all of the Axis forces nations have their conscription policies on the highest possible. With this, your divisions will simply progress immediately, seeing the Red Army waltz straight into Berlin. Moreover, be sure to have your plans drawn up early, so your Generals can plan their attacks in plenty of time. In addition, this is one of the key reasons I recommend going down the ‘Positive Heroism’ root, as you get access to the tank genius Konstantin Rokossovsky, which allows you to make better use of your tanks; by accepting the German-Soviet Research Treaty, you get access to research bonuses on medium tanks, which you must research as soon as possible! During your attack on the Axis, make use of your tanks by pushing deep into enemy territory and cutting off divisions, which allow you to encircle enemy troops, making your attack more efficient. Oh yes, how could I forget? Here is some music for the destruction of the Axis…
Well, that’s my military tactic in a concise nutshell. It’s pretty straightforward, but guarantees you an easier victory and minimal casualties, saving your manpower. Like I say, having artillery in your division templates, air superiority and waiting for the Axis manpower to deplete is the key to success whilst using this strategy.
To summarise, the Soviet Union in Hearts of Iron IV is one of the easiest, but most enjoyable countries to play as. Once you get past the Great Purge, the Axis should be no bother at all – particularly with my military tactic. Of course, the Allies will be a lot harder, so it may be worth making countries in Eastern Europe puppet states to help with the future conflict.
For more guides on Hearts of Iron IV, be sure to check out its game page.