Greece

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Greece is a difficult nation to play, but can be especially rewarding and fun if played the right way. Expect an interesting but tough game!

Summary

Greece, in most of the world, would be quite a military power (of the order of Argentina or Brazil). Although its IC is small, its army can be quite significant. Unfortunately, it's in Europe...

Diplomacy-wise, you're Paternal Autocrat, so you can join either Axis or Allies. You also have cores in both (Cyprus, Rhodes and Dodecanese).

You start with 15 INF-18, 1 CAV-18, 2 ancient CLs, 2 equally ancient DDs, 2 subs that probably saw service with Alexander, and 2 transport fleets.

Greece is poor, which rules out building an air force or tanks. It's also mountainous, which means even less tanks. And it's in the Mediterranean, so that antediluvian fleet will get sunk by Italy (if you go Allied) or the UK (if you go Axis). However, you can make it quite an infantry power. And if you manage to build a small but modern navy (some decent destroyers and a couple heavy cruisers for example) you'll be able to fight the war actively around the Med, and even further if all goes well...

Detailed analysis

Advantages

  • Greece starts with a quite respectable (though outdated) army.
  • A few good tech teams, especially in the industrial and naval construction fields. Decent in land doctrines if you choose the "Grand Battle Plan Doctrine" path.
  • Greece can choose any path between Allies, Axis or non-aligned. Comintern would probably requier an important slider shift though (not play-tested).
  • The many hill provinces in Greek homeland give a notable advantage to the defensor.
  • Two border provinces start with level 5 land forts : Ioaninna and Salonika.
  • A few good leaders with the "offensive" or "defensive" traits. Even the 2 "old guard" generals can progress fairly quickly since their "optimal rank" is field marshal.
  • Good ministers available after a few years.

Disadvantages

  • Greece is located in Europe, at the crossroads of the 3 major alliances. The future is dark if the game plays historically...
  • Limited IC (starts with 15).
  • Thus, only one research slot in 1936.
  • Several traits lacking in your tech teams : under average concerning infantry, artillery and aircrafts, almost inexistant concerning naval doctrines and air doctrines.
  • The fleet you start with floats only because it's trendy. That may not last.
  • A serious flaw in your defenses : Larisa is not fortified.
  • Many beaches to defend.

General advices

All general advices concerning minor powers apply to Greece, but since one major alliance will be after you sooner or later, it's especially vital to manage efficiently every resource you have.

  • Never research ahead of time, excepted if you have blueprints beforehand (and only in vital fields, like infantry).
  • Don't try to upgrade your army to the latest model available (unless it's a matter of life or death) : your IC is limited and it's way cheaper to upgrade them when they are "twice obsolete" (e.g. upgrade all your army to the 1936 standard when you have researched the 1939 standard). Consequence : always research new infantry models as soon as reasonably possible.
  • Don't build more infantry than you can use : if the war is overseas, don't cripple your IC by building tens of divisions if your navy can not ship them safely.
  • Watch carefully your manpower pool. As far as defense goes, good land forts save you lots of manpower.
  • Be especially careful when engaging a country that enjoys a powerful air force, since you probably won't have one. Never let one or two divisions alone in the wild, or enemy CAS will bomb them into oblivion instantly.
  • Use the gearing bonus! While virtue is its own reward, the gearing bonus is the reward of a good planning. Plan things ahead, then run the number of item you want to produce in one row with full IC allowed to the construction. It's a lifesaver for minor countries! For example, after the 7th item produced, you'll enjoy a 35% discount on the build time for the rest of the series. Especially useful for: garrison divisions, land forts (if you want to reach level 10), destroyers, artillery brigades, infantry etc.

And naturally, check your available ministers every year : a few good ones kick in at mid-game...

Tips and strategies to take a good start

Don't be a bully

All countries surrounding you have their independance guaranteed by at least one major alliance (excepted Albania). Put the good old "Warmonger Rampage From The Start Doctrine" (tm) in the closet, you won't need it this time !


Make friends

If you do nothing about world politics from the start of the game, Italy will go to war against you, then Germany. Knowing that, it's better to make a few friends beforehand.

Since you start "paternal autocrat", you can either join the Allies or the Axis. Both will accept you into their alliance even if they are at peace, if your relation with them reaches a decent level, like +140.

To achieve that, trade supplies for money from the start of the game. While you're at it, boost your relation with your future ally to +200, since once you are allied, you will want to buy blueprints and raw materials : a maxed out relation with you new friends will grant you huge discounts on the long run.

You can trade supplies for raw materials until the war starts. If you plan to leave your alliance and wage the war alone, it's vital to have a large stockpile. If you plan to stay with your allies, don't exhaust yourself by buying raw materials : your allies will probably help you for free if you're using more than you're producing. Use the IC for more important matters.


Industrialize

The decent army and land forts you start with will buy you security at home until 1939 or 1940. Use the peacetime years to build 5 factories : by the start of 1939 you'll have 20 IC, and a second tech team will be available. Things are looking better already!


Win the Spanish Civil War

There will be a war close to your home, and you don't want to miss it. It's an excellent occasion to train your troops and leaders while taking no risk for yourself. More over, the spanish navy is not excessively powerful, and you should be able to ferry troops without loosing to much naval battles.

You can choose any side in the war, depending on which alliance you plan to join later on. Note that if you guarantee the independence of Republican Spain, you can declare war against Nat. Spain as soon as the Spanish civil war begins, with no dissent hit. Also note that you can guarantee the Nationalists as soon as they appear and DOW the Rep. with no dissent hit.

Acquier as much experience as you can while loosing as few men as possible : defend rough terrains, or attack week enemy positions... At the end of the war you should have several level 2 or 3 field marshals, and your divisions will have 1, 2 or even 3 "stars of experience".

If the war does not go well, join your alliance. The French won't leave a chance to Nat. Spain if you go Allies (resp. the Germans will land and annex Rep. Spain if you go Axis). Then your new Spanish friends will join your alliance. Rejoice.

Nota: another possibility is that the friendly spanish side gets annexed: your goal then becomes to grab as much land from Spain as possible before your major ally invades and annexes.

Fortress Greece

Once you have discovered Advanced Construction Engineering (not before!) start filling in the gap in Larisa : a level 10 land fort there will probably be your life insurance sooner or later. If possible, expand the level 5 forts in Ioaninna and Salonika to level 9 (max available in those provinces). Once this is done, 3 to 6 Garrison divisions in each province will be enough to deter almost any enemy. Remember to garrison the beaches also : 2 or 3 Garrison divisions (depending if the terrain is hills or plains) should be enough. If you have spare IC, 1 or 2 levels of coastal forts will make the "Fortres Greece" inviolable. Now your homeland is safe, and you still have spare manpower : you can divert your army to offensive tasks!


Don't forget the Navy!

The Navy is an essential element of the Greek strategy.

  • If you're Allied or independent, the Wehrmacht will descend into the Balkans in 1941, and, hopefully, stop at the gates of your home-made Greek Maginot Line... But there is no way that you can succesfully counter-attack against the bulk of the Axis forces in the Balkans - you'll have to accept the stalemate in Greece (for now at least) and fight in Africa or in the "soft underbelly of Europe", Italy (and later, eventually, in occupied France)
  • If you're Axis, you'll want to fight in Egypt and in the Middle-East, or even land in the USSR (excepted if you're content to be Germany's pawn during Barbarossa and only send footsoldiers).

Let's face it: the war will be waged overseas, so, better be prepared. You may have no hope to defeat the Kriegsmarine/Royal Navy head on: basically, what you want is a navy strong enough to:

  • win a minor encounter while suffering minimal losses (e.g. a couple of destroyers or subs marauding)
  • protect your transport during the first few hours of a major encounter so that you can escape relatively safely.

Fortunately, you have a good tech team that will research new ship models quickly - even quicker if you could trade for blueprints. My advice : build 4 to 6 DD-IV (as soon as available) then 2 to 4 CA-IV. Don't forget transports and supply convoys!

Win the Battle of France

Allies

If you're Allied, it's the real crossroads of the game - if France falls, Germany will send its army into the Balkans, and Greece will feel very lonely very soon. That does not mean game over though: if you had time to build your "Maginot Line" with land forts level 9 or 10 in Ioaninna, Larisa and Salonika (and to garrison them properly), you can stalemate the German offensive indefinitely. You will then have to help the Allies on other battlefields until Germany bends under a might greater than hers - this will be a long road but maybe someday you'll have the pleasure to count among Europe's liberators!

But: if you want to take the short way towards victory, you must win the battle of France.

If you already won the Spanish Civil War with Rep. Spain, now they should be Allied, and have sent many divisions to the Franco-Belgian border. The Spanish forces are a nice addition to the French ones, and if you place strategically the 6 to 10 Greek divisions that you can send abroad it becomes possible to win the Battle of France. Or, at least, to stalemate it so that it turns into a war of attrition, effectively neutralizing the German threat (playtested, without any gamey exploit - it works ;) )

If you survive this long, use or create a small navy and move toward Italy. If the have the Libyan coast covered, land in British navel bases close to the middle east and try to grab some southern Libyan provinces. If the italians are beat out in libya or if its looking like it than head south toward Ethopia. once there, grab as much of it as you can. Don't rush it if the Italians won out in africa. ( I have only seen the Italians win out once, so you have great odds.

My advice: place your divisions in Brussels, Namur or Reims, and make them "support attack" against the most likely enemy target. They will take part to battles involving 40+ divisions and earn huge amounts of experience, while saving the Free World altogether. What's not to love? ;)

Axis

If you're Axis, the Germans handle the Battle of France rather well on their own: your aim will be to grab as much land as possible in North Africa / Syria / Southern France before the armistice.

If Nat. Spain is your ally, it may be a good idea to help them take Gibraltar beforehand: that should increase the life expectancy of your navy significantly and therefore increase your gains...

Aftermath

Once this is done, you have almost unlimited possibilities about what to do next...

As Allies, you can push into Germany along with the French, and attempt landings of your own if you want to claim your share of land - eventually you may be able to liberate Denmark or Norway as a Greek puppet, for example. Then, remember that there is a war to win in Asia against Japan!

As Axis, you can prepare Barbarossa, or alternatively try to conquer Africa, the Middle-East and even India from the British.

Whatever path you choose, remember to build enough supply convoys and escorts if you want to be able to hold Greek beachheads anywhere in the world!

A word about land doctrines

You start with the Firepower focus, and your only tech team dedicated to land doctrines is only really efficient if you follow the Grand Battle Plan path.

This path is weak during the early game, but can become really powerful during the late game (after 1944)especially if your choose the Infiltration Assault path, which yields a very high morale score for your divisions (i.e. fast org. regain, really useful for offensives).

A country with a rather small army like Greece would perhaps be better off with the Mobility/Blitzkrieg path which yields higher org values, but the fact that it's harder to research and that your tech team is weaker for this path should make you think twice before you choose this path.


A word about sliders

A clever move is to make 2 or 3 steps towards Central Planning: you'll receive +15% or +20% IC. Then I suggest all the way towards Hawk Lobby to have the production discounts. Finally, move the slider towards Standing Army: since you'll likely follow the Grand Battle Plan path, every little boost to the org. of your divisions is welcome.