Xibei San Ma
- 1 Overview
- 2 Research
- 3 Diplomacy
- 4 Intelligence
- 5 Economy
- 6 Military
- 7 Events
- 8 War
- 9 Alternative Route
- 10 References
Australia (AST) can be a fun and challenging country to play. Historically, like Canada it has held subordinate role, first to the United Kingdom and later to the USA, but playing that way is rather dull. As with any scenario and country, the goal is usually to conquer vast tracts of territory, and this guide is written with that in mind, particularly for a 1936 scenario.
- Geographical isolation (AI is almost never interested in you)
- Lots of allies that give you blueprints and resources
- Low infrastructure, large home provinces (advantageous because you can give ground in a defensive war, e.g. the famous Brisbane line)
- OK tech teams (not as hot as Germany but certainly much better than Nationalist China)
- Low manpower
- Low IC
- Low infrastructure (this renders mobile-reserves near-useless unless you upgrade your infrastructure)
- Only two research slots in the beginning
- Difficult conquests
- Relatively mediocre leaders
- Disband the garrisons. You won't be policing territories and their manpower is useful.
- Disband at least the old destroyer and light cruiser, even if you want to keep the two CAs and modern CLs.
- Trade some supplies to the USA for money. You can then research, conduct intelligence, and diplomacy, while not using IC for overproducing goods.
- Try to have at least 100 convoy transports. A beachhead in the Balkans requires around 70 transports to support several Corps.
Australia's biggest problem is manpower. Resources and blueprints can be traded for, IC captured, but manpower can only be slowly grown. Annexed territory yields just 10% of the indicated manpower, and non-contiguous territory yields no manpower at all during wartime. This limits growth of every kind by capping military power and so slowing conquest. To maximize manpower you must take every step possible to increase growth. You will start with 25 manpower stockpiled with an increase of 0.10 manpower per day. To increase your manpower growth research the two agriculture technologies, install Sir Cyril Bingham-White, and a Man of the People Security Minister. This greatly benefits manpower growth.
If you're not interested in the reasoning, skip this section. I'm not sure precisely how manpower works as even when factoring in all known modifiers I find a serious discrepancy between expected and calculated values; 13 manpower assuming no modifiers would yield 0.04 manpower per day, not 0.10. All the same, anyone can see the value of the manpower modifiers when the maths is done. Australia begins with -8% growth due to a Dove Lobby, and +10% due to two techs, thus 36.5 is 98% of your base growth. If the player researches the next two Agricultural technologies, which are 5% each, installs Sir Cyril and a Man of the People, we reach 55% additional manpower growth. Once the Hawk Lobby is maximized (which takes years, but is well worth it) we reach a whopping 65% additional manpower. As far as I'm aware this is the maximum until the later Agricultural technologies. Now if we do the maths, our base manpower growth is 37.3 per year. This leaps to an amazing 61.5 manpower per year when all effects are active, or 0.16 manpower per day. Thus it is obviously apparent we can build another pair of infantry Divisions per year with extra left over for other projects. If we average this 1936-9 we see that another six Divisions is nothing to sniff at.
Australia has some excellent Tech teams, but with only two slots to begin with you're limited to whatever you get via blueprints. You can, however, research independently for various reasons. I highly recommend the Agricultural researches as they're easily accomplished, boost your manpower, and you can trade them to France for resources. Any blueprints you complete can be traded around the Allies for some extra change. It's worth the money cost.
Also consider changing your Land Doctrine. Have you noticed that Dudley Lavarck shares four crucial specialties with Heinz Guderian and is level 6 skilled? Blitzkrieg Doctrine is a viable option. Don't be afraid to abandon all those old techs: you're getting better ones. You may want to hold off on this, however, until you've got 9-18 infantry Divisions, thereby utilizing the slight discounts already available from your current doctrines.
Australia as Commonwealth nation starts as member of the Allies. You may want to join Japan and leave the petty Commonwealth. Simply influence and attack all! :D
Australia's initial domestic policy is not suited to conquest, and you'll be wanting to maximize the interventionism, hawk lobby, and probably standing army. All three are pretty far to the right, and it would take you several decades to bring them left manually. Maximizing interventionism is simple however: guarantee the independence of a country you expect to be attacked, such as Nationalist China and Albania. This will kick your interventionism up a lot, which helps equalize the fact that Germany, UK, France, USSR, and even USA have gearing up for war events that Australia doesn't get.
Moving the hawk lobby and standing army isn't as easy, but given that you don't have to fix your interventionism it's a lot quicker. When both your interventionism and hawk lobby reach 5, as a Social Conservative government you have a chance of Defense Policy Initiatives or Attacks. Because your interventionism is boosted by guarantees, you're sure to get the events, and a lot quicker than manually dragging the sliders once per year. Whichever you get, you're given the option of increasing some sliders at the cost of others and a penalty in dissent. If you get the chance to exchange interventionism for hawk lobby or standing army then do it: interventionism is fairly easily gained by guaranteeing countries in the line of fire, but the others can't be moved except by policy challenges and once-per-year shifts. Dissent is easily burned away by brief overproduction of consumer goods.
You may wish to move towards authoritarianism to allow easier DoW on your targets, but as a member of the Allies you should have enough potential targets without needing that. Unfortunately, as a social-conservative government you can't maximize Free Market, which is superior to Controlled Economy, and much easier to attain as Australia, but you may consider going Social-Liberal to make the change to Market Liberal.
Your starting pool of ministers is pretty good, choose those who suit you and stick with them. Unfortunately your conservative HoG will die in '40 or '41 and be replaced by a -5% one. If you choose elect left the next election you get a +5% one, but have to replace nearly your complete cabinet and loose the +10% manpower minister you had before. So consider carefully.
As you get most blueprints you need from your allies there is only one target that may be worth the effort: Japan. They start with a few more naval doctrines and research some very early due to blueprints they have. Maybe that's a reason good enough for you to steal blueprints from them.
Most of the needed resources are delivered for free from your allies, especially after the USA joined. But you will need some extra money to keep your research running, trade that with USA or any South American country you want. Choose democratic ones so relations get up to +200, then you can renegotiate the deal to much better conditions.
Of course, what strategy you use is up to you, but this is Australia and not Germany or the USA - you can't afford profligacy in this austere land. And after all, you're reading this guide for tips on the best management of Australia.
It is my sincere recommendation that anyone playing as Australia avoids spending manpower on additional IC, AA, Radar Stations, rocket test sites, or nuclear reactors. Don't scoff: when you've got 250 IC to your name through conquest you'll be looking for things to build, especially as without any manpower you can't build anything except infrastructure.
Read the Poor man's army guide. It will explain somethings quite well
Airborne, Marines, and Mountain infantry are fools' gold for Australia. The additional abilities, especially Marines, are tempting, but ultimately they're mitigated by the cost. You're on a shoestring budget and for every 2 special Divisions you could have 3 infantry Divisions, or more than four armoured Divisions. I recommend a large armoured Corps for Australia: it's 3 less manpower per Division, it will decrease your manpower losses, and with the Blitzkrieg doctrine they're cheaper. The increased pace of offensives also reduces casualties. Consider armoured cars for your units: they increase the hard value and hence reduce manpower losses. Personally I've always added artillery to my infantry, but in this case I believe it's worth considering any options to reduce manpower losses. I have also read that militia with artillery is exceptional for purely defensive use, as they cost far less, take fewer casualties, and with artillery are nearly as powerful as infantry when in defense.
The Royal Australian Navy starts with Fleet-in-Being, read the Naval Doctrine FAQ for more information. The Royal Australian Navy will have to be royally shafted. You start with seven transports, and by adding two you can move three optimal sized Corps at a time. However, in terms of warships there's not much you can do: Japan is a true naval power, you cannot possibly defeat them directly. Even Italy and Germany, far from first-rate navies, are above Australia's weight class. Australia can stamp out heavy cruisers and destroyers, using British blueprints to save time, but even if Australia musters a full nine CAs and nine DDs against the Italians without Royal Navy support you'll be torn to shreds by their motley collection of battleships supported by a score of their own Heavy Cruisers. From observation, in a standard 1936 scenario the RN can be relied upon to bottle up the Italians and Germans, but Japan is the USN's responsibility. Armageddon may have affected the AI, however, as in the last scenario as Australia I found the RN scattering half the capital ships into ASW packets and the rest patrolling the North Sea, thereby making it all blockade runs against the Italians. If this is an AI change then unfortunately you cannot rely on the AI to assist you in the Med anymore. All the same, unless you intend to strike it out alone against medium powers, forget the Navy. Read the Naval Doctrine FAQ for more information
I highly recommend a tactical air force. If you're not an airpower type, read Effective Use of Airpower and prepare to change your view. I suggest a TAF over a SAF for severals reasons: cost of strategic bombing is higher, Australia can't realistically amass a large enough SAF to cripple a large nation, while a TAF will reduce attrition. Four CAS can easily maul your enemies' Divisions, but costs a mere 8 manpower - less than one infantry Division. For 12 manpower you can assemble four CAS and four fighters. Usually I work with both interceptors and fighters, but Australia can't afford it, and regardless the interceptor's eponymous abilities are irrelevant in this situation. Fighters' usefulness in CAS as a secondary ability makes it far better pound-for-pound. The true value of a TAF is in interdicting the enemy in combat to quickly defeat them, then switching to ground attack to tear them up while they're horribly vulnerable. This greatly reduces your own manpower losses as it's a compounding effect: you speed up combat, reducing losses, then wear the enemy's effectiveness down, further reducing time-in-combat, further reducing losses.
There are only election events.
There are many possible expansionist strategies for Australia, varying from leaving turning on the Allies to make easy killings among their weaker members and their colonies while they're distracted, to blitzing Japan. The only proven strategy I have used, however, is the Balkan route, and I will not cover the other strategies.
The Balkan route has many advantages. When launched in 1941 it provides a five year build up period, which may be too long for some, but is not necessary inactive. You may attempt to stall the invasions of Poland, Denmark, Norway, France and the Benelux, Yugoslavia, and Greece, but even if successful it just means you'll have less prizes after the shooting stops. You can also assist in the conquest of North Africa, but like stalling Axis assaults it's a needless sacrifice of precious manpower that you'll need later on.
It is possible to indefinitely hold Narvik and therefore Norway against the Germans, tying down a handful of Divisions, but I found attempts to stop the other invasions futile. The invasion of France can be seriously slowed by the presence of Australian Corps, in fact as a novice I held out until September. Eventually, though, even with military control of the Netherlands and Belgium, the Allies break. It makes sense to attempt to rescue as many Belgian and Dutch Divisions from the Fall of France to assist your later liberation campaigns. Other armies are unsalvageable (Polish, Danish, Norwegian, Luxembourger, Yugoslav, Greek) because they disappear when their nation is annexed.
I found holding Greece quite easy until Yugoslavia fell; then my handful of Australian and Greek Divisions were overwhelmed by vast numbers of Panzers, German allies, and air superiority. Since that campaign I've learned a lot about combat, and I assume an experienced player could hold Greece against the Axis. However, I don't recommend it.
In 1941, just prior to Operation Barbarossa, the entire Balkan region is in the Axis camp. The Balkans aren't exactly the jewels of Europe, but they're a decent breadbasket for an ambitious Australia. Hopefully the Royal Navy clears the Mediterranean for you, allowing unimpeded landings in Greece. As the Axis will be heavily engaged on the Eastern Front you should have an even chance against the thin but steadily increasing defenders in the Balkans. If you follow my suggestions on army doctrines and composition you should have a highly mobile force capable of repeatedly encircling small packets of enemy Divisions and grinding them down piecemeal. Annexing Hitler's satellites will rapidly deplete the Axis forces against you. You will probably find though, that Australia's small army alone can't face the overwhelming Wehrmacht alone, and require assistance. The New Zealanders, South Africans, and Canadians are largely dormant, allowing you to dragoon them into supporting or spearheading your operations. If you rescued the Dutch and Belgian armies then you can add them to your armies as well.
There's not a lot to be said about strategy after you've landed in the Balkans. In some situations the bulk of Italian Divisions are stuck in Africa, allowing you to lance north along the Dalmatian coast to Trento, isolating the Italians for a handful of units to clear and annex. Alternately a broad front may allow you to prevent the enemy amassing a serious threat on any one flank, and there aren't really any landmarks to aim for; there's no industrial heartland or particular region suited to encirclements. It's probably worth liberating some puppet states, as their manpower is not transferred to you (see below for details) and without additional manpower you can't expand your army, navy, or air force. Puppets, however, can churn out new Divisions to do your bidding via military control. By now you're probably into the early part of 1942, holding a line from the Black Sea to Switzerland. The world is your oyster - go after Germany, or hold the line while they collapse under the weight of the USSR, focusing on the Pacific instead. Once your puppets have build enough forces you can leave the Allies (if the war is over) and strike against them with the Australasian allies.
You don´t want to conquer the Balkans because it´s a long way away from Australia? You want to face and tame the immediate threat in the Pacific? You like naval warfare more than tanks? Then you may want to choose a different first conquest: Japan. Compared to the above strategy you end with a less powerful Australia, but nevertheless you have a fun and challenging game. And you won´t have to fight an excessive land war against the Red Army in World War Three.
The time before the war against Japan
Build some IC to get the third tech team in the first years. To be able to face the IJN you can´t rely on cruisers or destroyers only, the true ruler of the Pacific waves are carriers. Never built carriers as such a small country? Me neither ;), but it works. It will cost you much research time as you have to research the Base Strike doctrine. You won´t have time to research Blitzkrieg or IC to build tanks, so you should stick to your starting land doctrine path. It fits pretty well to your small infantry army.
It is a a very good idea to do an excessive spy campaign against Japan to steal some blueprints. As you are equal or ahead in many research areas and share the same land doctrine path it is *relatively* likely that you steal some of their naval doctrines. Relatively means: you really have to spend some money and time to achieve that goal, but I would say it is definitely worth the effort.
OK, you build up industry, start to build a small infantry force in late ´38 and lay down your first serial run of CV IV´s in late ´38 or early ´39. Oh, and squeeze in some militia. You want to have your air fields secured or be at least warned when enemy troops are approaching your air fields, nothing would ruin your game more effectively than enemy troops capturing your air force. All these "early" production requests mean that you have to build IC a little bit longer but it also means you can do something earlier.
As soon as you researched the ´40 TAC you should start a serial run, you need some air power that can hit the ground and the sea. Move your small army to Egypt to help Britain. In June ´40 I had nine infantry and six militia divisions there and was able to help the Brits significantly without too much manpower losses. As Australia you really want strong Brits, so they can defend India by themselves. In late ´40 all except one last factory was ready and I had built ~15 infantry so I started a series of fighters (of course the ´40 model). To provide a good carrier escort research DD-V in mid ´40 already so you can start to build them early. The next months were relatively easy: The TAC´s started to destroy Italian convoys and ships and as soon as the first four fighters were ready they were sent to Libya.
With air cover in the Med, my second carrier ready in ´41 and enough DD´s for them and a competent Vice Admiral in charge (use the spotter/superior tactician - he gains experience fast and minimizes the risk that an enemy fleet closes the distance) you can send your CV fleet against the Italians. In a long campaign I sunk only very few ships as early carrier warfare is not the most effective way to sink enemy ships, but the Vice Admiral got much experience (very important), many Italian ships were always in port and French and British ships could use the Med nearly freely. Bring your land troops home in ´41, except two or three militia divisions to secure the air fields you use.
From ´40 on I started to buy some transport fleets from allies. With a blueprint and some supplies from you they are really cheap. Oh, and a second carrier serial started after the eighth and last TAC was built.
Finally, in late ´42 Japan started their war.
The war against Japan
So, you have two carriers, eight TAC´s, a growing air force of fighters and a tiny army. What to do with them?!? You still have to wait one or two years until you can hope to challenge the remaining IJN with a larger Australian carrier fleet, but that does not mean you can do nothing. Send your army to Burma and help the Brits to defend it until they have enough troops of their own there. Use your bombers and fighters there.
After the Japs are stalled in Burma start to remove your armies from there and retake Indonesia that is most likely lost to Japan. Use the air field(s) and start to use you air power against the IJN. Use your CTF very carefully and defensively, but you have a good chance to sink many small fleets around Indonesia which try to bring new troops and that´s an opportunity you should not miss, so don´t let your carriers miss this time of the war because you are afraid to loose them.
Reinforce or retake the Philippines if you feel that Indonesia is save for the moment. Do that after you found out where the enemy carriers are by watching the map and/or bombing some ports. Yeah, that´s a boring job, but is essential as you can´t afford to loose your CTF and transports.
Use your fighters and bombers to harass Japanese convoys and to bomb some ships. If you are patient you can starve the troops in Taiwan and Okinawa, your next logical conquests that bring you closer to your goal, mainland Japan. From now it is (active) waiting for the IJN to be weak enough so your carriers (should be five or six by now) are strong enough to defend your transport ships against every resistance. Taking Japan when you finally managed to land there is the easy part :).
With Japan secured the ultimate goal of this alternative route is achieved and Australia now has a very good industrial base to do whatever they want as long as it does not cost manpower ;). Maybe Siam and Indochina are your next targets or maybe Italy is now a more tempting target.