Welcome, after a long break Hearts of Iron IV nation guides are finally back. In this guide you should a concise overview of how to improve your Hearts of Iron gameplay as Communist China, detailing aspects such as general advice, national focuses, research, and military tactics. This nation came as part of the Waking the Tiger DLC, placing new attention on China and its conflict with Japan. I’ve played Communist China frequently finding them enjoyable, but difficult. Of course, China itself is a historically difficult place to fight, due to its mountainous landscape and poor infrastructure. Alongside this, the Communists under Mao Zedong infamously went on a retreat known as the ‘Long March’ to evade superior Kuomintang forces led by Chinese nationalist, Chiang Kai-Shek. The developers at Paradox took this into account when creating the nation, providing players with some horrid traits that greatly impact your military, industry, war support, stability, and political power. However, these can be quickly countered with the national focus tree, which will be explained in this guide.
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Obviously, the biggest downfall for Communist China is the lack of industry and military prowess in comparison to neighboring states like Japan and China. But they have a massive manpower advantage, meaning you can throw men at the enemy without having to worry about manpower – the traditional communist tactic. Below are the rules I would recommend following, even if you choose not to adopt my other advice.
- Invade Shanxi and Xibei San Ma as soon as possible to further increase manpower and aid industrial growth. You can get war goals from the focus tree (Exploit Weak Neighbours) that I would rush before Japan declares war in 1937.
- At the start of the game, convert all your troops to the reserve template, freeing up equipment giving you more divisions to invade Shanxi and Xibei San Ma (24 divisions works well).
- Agrarian Socialism is best because you can produce firearms easier and Mao stays leader (of course).
- Get additional research slots when you can – will help advance your military rivaling Japan when they invade.
- Once you go to war with Japan, prepare a military coup. Japan will be forced to divert troops making it easier to wipe them off the continent.
- Ban the Opium Trade, as stability will increase – essential to industrial output.
National Focus and Political Power
Communist China have a fantastic focus tree that allows you really to expand as a nation and build up. However, with there being so much choice you must prioritise. This list below shows the focuses you ‘should’ do first:
- Land Redistribution
- The Yan’an Base Area
- Focus on China
- Exploit the Weak Neighbours
- Literacy Program
- Strengthen the Central Secretariat
- Agrarian Socialism
- Rectification Campaign
- Enforce the Three Rules
- Ban Opium Trade
- Infiltration (useful for when you go to war with China)
Communist China have some great choice when it comes to spending your political power, with an order of prioritisation again being required. Unlike major nations in my previous guides, free trade should be avoided as Communist China simply lacks the resources until it fully reclaims the entirety of China. See below:
- Extensive Conscription (more industry over manpower)
- Silent Workhorse
- Ma Jin (army expert – defense)
- Xu Xiangqian (infantry expert)
- Ye Jianying (logistics)
- Nie Rongzhen (regrouping)
- War Industrialist
Research in brief
As with most nations, modernising your industry and military is the most important – especially for Communist China. When you start the game, you only have two research slots, hence why I’ve recommended going down the ‘Literacy Programs’ focus as soon as you have completed ‘Exploit the Weak Neighbours’. However, place no attention on your air force or navy, as it is a waste of time until you have reclaimed China from the nationalists. Find my list below:
- Electronic Mechanical Engineering (research reduction time bonuses)
- Industry (concentrated industry)
- Land Doctrine (Grand Battleplan – defense bonuses useful for war with Japan)
- Artillery (improve division effectiveness)
- Infantry equipment and support companies (engineer and recon companies very useful for Chinese terrain)
Reading comments on previous guides, this seems to be a popular section. The below templates will be different to the ones I recommend for major nations such as France, as Communist China in Hearts of Iron simply lack the resources and industry for an advanced military early-game. As I stated earlier in the guide, you should have 24 divisions at the start of the game in the reserve template to help with the Shanxi and Xibei San Ma invasions. However, these will struggle to attack and defend against Japanese forces/templates. See my recommended below:
- Infantry: 9 divisions, support artillery, recon company, and an engineer company (though not as important).
- Motorized: recommend this when you invade China for speed advantage with 7 motorized and 2 rocket artillery (your industry will need to be well built up for you to use this – infantry most important).
Dealing with Japan
If you play with historical focus, Japan will invade China in the summer of 1937. For some reason, China seems to be pathetic at defending (even though they managed to hold off Japan in WW2). As tempting as it may be, you don’t want the Soviets to get involved as it will escalate a full-blown war with the entire Axis, prolonging the war with China joining the Comintern also. Instead, bide your time and join the United Chinese Front attempting to cut the Japanese front into two halves. This can be made easier by preparing a military coup in mainland Japan, forcing them to send troops back. The strength of your coup can be increased, if you boost communism in Japan (although be careful as you will have less political power to spend). Of course, here a Mao music montage that will further increase the strength of your coup:
When attacking, ensure you have enough divisions to defend your borders and look for gaps in the line where you can encircle Japanese troops. In addition, the nationalist AI love to throw men at the enemy, so let them suffer casualties wearing down the Japanese forces before you attack.
Dealing with China
Once Japan has been wiped off the continent, they will sign a white peace, bringing peace to the continent – but not for long. Now, is the best time as Communist China in Hearts of Iron as you can focus on building up your army and allying with Stalin. Again, you must make use of your manpower and throw your men at the enemy. This conflict shouldn’t be too hard, as long as you have a fairly advanced military and enough divisions (70-80+ should suffice). Then, China will be yours. If you haven’t already, please be sure to check out our previous HOI4 guides on the Soviet Union, France, and the German Reich.