Most Hearts of Iron IV players will agree that Germany is one of the most thrilling nations to play due to its unique national focus tree and advantages it gets in comparison to neighbouring states. In this guide, you will obtain a basic knowledge on the German Reich as well as vital tips that should help you to maximise your gameplay experience and crush your enemies. Please note, this guide is not for the German Empire – that is for another guide.
As with our Soviet Union guide, I will provide some general rules that you should follow even if you decide not to adopt my military tactics. By following these rules below, the chances of securing the fruits of war will dramatically increase and your journey towards global domination will be one step closer.
- In order to have any chance of defeating the Allies (Britain and France) you must focus on building a formidable navy (Battleships, Destroyers and Submarines) and a air force. With regards to your navy, it is worth doing two separate fleets: a battle fleet with battleships and destroyers in; and a sub fleet. In addition, do the Westwall national focus so you can have fewer troops on the French border allowing you to focus on the Belgian invasion.
- In regards to your air force, you need to focus more so on fighters, close air support and naval bombers (try and have the very minimum 1500 of each). A powerful air force is important as it vital you secure air superiority over France and the English Channel.
- Keep delaying the MEFO Bills as they give you -20% consumer goods factories and allow you to construct certain buildings such as military factories quicker helping you build up your air force and navy. The only downside to this, is that if you decide to go to war early with either the Netherlands/Poland, the MEFO Bills will automatically expire.
- Consider invading the Netherlands first (as soon as you get enough political power after the Rhineland focus is complete). Although you will raise world tension, you can satellite the Dutch East Indies (be sure to pass enough times on the peace conference to get the points) giving you a greater supply of rubber, which is essential for the construction of the air force. Alternatively, you could consider invading Poland first as you can concentrate on the Western Theatre.
National Focus And POLITICAL Power
For playing the German Reich you will need to go down the Rhineland focus tree (not Oppose Hitler). With Hitler in power, you get a 25% increase in political power giving you a massive advantage over your foes. Below you will find a recommended list of national focuses:
- Rhineland (justify on the Netherlands after this is complete)
- Four Year Plan
- Army Innovations
- Treaty with the USSR
- Hermann Göring-Werke
- Extra Research Slot
- Naval Rearmament
- Naval Effort
- Air Innovations
After you have completed these, your army (which you should be building up during these national focuses) will be enough to go down the Anschluss path and eventually go to war with the Allies. For your land divisions, try and have 14-16 infantry on the French border; 24 divisions (16 infantry and 8 tanks) on the Belgian border; 24 divisions (16 infantry and 8 tanks) on the main Polish border; and 10 infantry divisions on the Polish border in Ostpreussen (try and build level two forts if possible). Despite this order of national focuses seeming long-winded, it gives you plenty of time to build up your industry before you go to war with the Allies. This will ensure that have a sufficient amount of aircraft and ships in your arsenal.
In terms of political power, go with Industrial Concern (IG Farben) and military advisors that come with Army Innovations and Air Innovations. Moreover, Heinrich Himmler is worth getting as he slightly increases your manpower as well as the Captain of Industry, War Industrialist and Heinz Guderian as a military theorist. However, you need to get to War Economy as fast as you can; you can do this when your war support is high enough or when the German War Economy national focus becomes available (this will also give you more military factories).
Research In Brief
Having an advanced military and industry will give you a vital advantage over your enemies
With this, find below a concise list of the research you should prioritise:
- Electronic Mechanical Engineering (do this part of the tree as you go on, as you get research deduction bonuses)
- Industry (dispersed industry and construction before anything else)
- Land Doctrine (mobile warfare – blitzkrieg side)
- Naval Doctrine (trade interdiction)
- Air Doctrine (battlefield support as it improves abilities of fighters and CAS)
- Tanks (medium tanks as soon as possible, bonuses come from research treaty with the Soviet Union)
- Division equipment (recon company and support artillery important for division templates)
I'm going to split this section into two separate parts as the tactics used against the Allies and the Soviet Union are somewhat divergent.
For the Allies you need to use your tanks and air force to disorganise the enemy and encircle. After you capitulate Belgium you must get into France as soon as possible and your tanks will act as the breakthrough. I prefer not to establish Vichy France as it is quite easy to defend the French coast. Furthermore, consider making an alliance with Italy as this will see a large amount of the British navy distracted in the Mediterranean and often sees Mussolini capture the Suez Canal – cutting the European Allies off from Asia. With this, the British Raj can become a troublesome problem as it can often become a great power, meaning you have to capitulate it before the war ends. So, it may be worth using French Indochina as a place to launch an invasion or consider an alliance with Japan.
However, Britain is usually the biggest problem. As previously stated, it is important that you build a large navy and air force. Once you have successfully invaded France use your troops as a garrison to protect the your coastline and do not deploy your navy straightaway as they will be completely destroyed by Britain. Instead try and secure air superiority over the British and use close air support and naval bombers to destroy British ships. On top of this, you should try and prepare a series of naval invasions in Britain (Dover and Bristol seem to work well for me). Once you have destroyed a large amount of the British ships place your navy (you should have a separate battle fleet and sub fleet) in the English Channel to help secure naval dominance and safely escort your troops in their naval invasion. Once your troops have landed get your army there and move your troops into Britain as fast as you can as the AI will quickly reinforce (be careful not to have encircled units though).
The Soviet Union
After you have completed the invasion of Poland, begin constructing level three land forts across the border with the Soviet Union. Furthermore, you should avoid completing the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact as this will only make the invasion harder. You need at least 180 divisions to pull this off (260 is ideal), with a mix of infantry and tanks. Once you begin the war, you should just let the Soviets attack constantly until there manpower goes to zero on the highest conscription policy. This will mean that once you start the attack the HP of the Soviet divisions will go down making the capture of Moscow inevitable. Having Japan in the war also helps as less Soviet troops will be on the border with Germany. By then you should own a great Empire and will be ready to destroy America! And of course, hear is some Germanic-themed music for you to conquer the world to:
The German Reich is a really enjoyable nation to play as. Due to it's advantages, it is likely one of the easiest as well. As long as you have a large air force and navy, the Allies should be relatively straightforward and building the forts on the Soviet border in good time, will ensure your victory against the Red Menace.