HQ Units in Action
HQ Units and Planning in HoI 2 (The Invasion of Poland)
This AAR is more a discussion of the use of HQ Units in HoI2. It began as a more general AAR and that will still be completed at a later time.
However, while writing the AAR I realized that this particular element could easily stand alone as a discussion of HQ Units, their influence and their effect on operational planning.
HQ units are new to HoI2 and many people (myself included) are still coming to grips with their correct use. Some people still doubt that they are even necessary. Well, perhaps not, but I replayed this scenario several times and at first I tried to “HoI” it. That is, I played the HoI way – no HQs. Let’s just say that things did not go well. This is not HoI. If you want to do well at HoI2 you have to be prepared to use the new tools at your disposal; HQ Units and the ‘Support’ command. Using these new tools I found that I was much more successful and the time taken in this particular case was much more ‘historic’.
First of all, you should check out the Land Combat Efficiency FAQ with regard to HQ units as kindly posted by Fiendix.
HQs provide a bonus to the number of units a leader can control; a bonus to the attack and defence efficiency; HQs provide a boost to a units ESE (Effective Supply Efficiency) by an HQ adjacent or in the same province.
HQ Command Abilities
Look at the next screen shot. I have placed an HQ we will call “Red Command” in Oppeln:
What it shows is that a HQ unit based in Oppeln provides direct support to allied units based in Kustrin, Brealau, Poznan, Czestachova, Cracow and of course Oppeln. Now obviously some of these are Polish provinces so that means that the HQ will assist any units attacking from Kustrin, Brealau and Oppeln into Poznan, Czestachova and Cracow.
But, that is not all. In HoI2 movement is attack, so any unit inside Kustrin, Brealau, Poznan, Czestachova or Cracow attacking into a neighbouring province still gets the bonuses! That means that with an HQ based in Oppeln units get a bonus for the following attacks:
Kustrin to Bydgoszcz
Kustrin to Poznan
Oppeln to Poznan
Oppeln to Czestachova
Oppeln to Cracow
Brealau to Cracow
Poznan to Bydgoszcz
Poznan to Lodz
Poznan to Czestachova
Czestachova to Poznan
Czestachova to Radom
Czestachova to Kielce
Czestachova to Cracow
Cracow to Czestachova
Cracow to Kielce
Cracow to Przemyal
And that is all without the HQ even having to move!
8 provinces! By now I hope you are beginning to understand how useful HQs can be.
An HQ gives more supply eff (so your unit regains org faster) and some combat bonuses (from supply eff) and a big combat bonus (for waiving the 75% penalties for overloaded command units). And if you research more of doctrine, it will give you some nice chances of combat events!
The small combat bonus (ESE bonus) may be not small if used for dozens of divisions! The combat event chance is hard to value. So use an HQ if you are one of the major nations and have numerous divisions or often attack with more than 12 division in a province!
But there is something else to consider here; where is the attack coming from?
This is important because only units attacking from provinces adjacent to the HQ get the attack and ESE bonuses – so the direction and origin of your attack is critical. So while an attack from Cracow to Przemyal would be aided by an HQ in Oppeln –an attack from Kielce to Przemyal would not.
This fact actually encourages something new in HoI2: Battle Planning.
As you can see from the Battle Planning image, the plan takes advantage of the HQ by making sure all the attacks come from provinces within the HQ influence. In some cases the furthest provinces can be attacked from multiple directions (Bydgoszcz, Lodz and Kielce) but in others there is only one possible province the attack can be launched from (Radom and Przemyal).
Adding a Second HQ
OK. This is all very well. But can we do better? How about introducing a Second HQ unit? Alright. But where will we put it? Obviously we want it to cover as many new provinces as possible – so let’s try Elbing.
We will call this new HQ unit “Blue Command” and this shows the area of influence of the two commands combined.
And with the information provided in Blue Command, we can build a Battle Plan.
What this plan shows is the attacks we intend to make and where we will make them from. The BLUE arrows show the attacks that can be made with HQ support without moving the HQs. The GREEN arrows show the attacks that must be made without HQ support unless we move the HQs There is certainly nothing wrong with doing that, so in this case:
Blue Command should advance from Elbing to Torun
Red Command should follow behind the front advancing from Oppeln to Czestachova to Kielce and finally to Zamosc.
By doing this all attacks shown can be made with HQ support. The RED line shows a rough demarcation line between the area each command is responsible for.
It is a workable plan at this point and certainly adequate to complete the invasion of Poland.
But, let’s look at the plan with a critical eye and see if it has any weak points. Well… The strongest Polish resistance is expected to be around Danzig, Bydgoszcz, Lodz and Warsaw. The plan calls for many of the attacks on these areas to be controlled by Blue Command. The attacks on Danzig must come from Elbing and Bydgoszcz to have HQ support. In fact, looking at the plan, a lot of attacks must come from Elbing! (That means we must transport the units there to begin with.) Also Stettin has no HQ support at all – what if the Polish attack there? Will we be at a disadvantage? So is there a better way?
Moving the HQs ?
If Red Command is moved away from Oppeln to either Kustrin or Brealau it immediately becomes apparent that it is less effective. However moving Blue Command to Konigsburg however presents some interesting new options.
(There is no battle plan for this one. Readers are invited to design their own.)
But again, many of the same weaknesses exist.
And now ALL attacks on Danzig must come from Elbing if we want HQ support there. What is more, now units attacking into Bydgoszcz have no HQ support if they attack onward to Lodz.
The solution is to introduce a third HQ! (Assuming you have one)
Three HQ Units??
There is some overlap with Red Command here, but now it is possible to attack Danzig from all fronts and units in Bydgoszcz also have HQ support when attacking into Lodz. Green Command should advance from Stettin to Bydgoszcz on to Lodz and then Radom while Blue command now advances from Konigsberg to Suwalki.
Now obviously, Poland is mostly flat. With the exception of a few rivers there is not a lot of difficulty advancing and capturing most of the key centres. Any country which includes swamps, jungle, mountains or large low infrastructure provinces will complicate the plan. In those cases your HQ placement may be dictated by the possible routes of advance (rather than the other way around). Still, that’s the challenge of being a Strategic Commander, isn’t it?
So, how did it go?
The map shows Poland on the 5th September 1939 (5 days into the fighting) using the final plan. (The Slovakian units are supporting German attacks, but are not advancing themselves)
You be the judge.