Xibei San Ma
The Netherlands are sitting next to a potential, violent country called Germany, so they should better be prepared. They start with a nice amount of IC, relatively advanced research at start and very good tech teams. Besides the starting position the main problem will always be exactly one: manpower. The Dutch colonies are some of the very best in the game and that´s the reason why this guide suggests to play a game where you try to hold them. So the two goals are:
- Survive in Europe
- Hold and/or retake the colonies against Japan.
Another viable strategy is to concentrate on Europe and grab as much land as possible from the Germans when the Allies or the Soviets are near your borders in ´43-´45.
First: The usual industry techs (of course including all the manpower techs), infantry, land doctrine, DD´IV. The two most important things are: The third construction tech must be ready in mid ´37 and you should have fighters II researched in time (~early to mid 40), so they can be built when the fortifications are finished. I suggest to go for fighters as the interceptors have the extra rocket techs and also worse range and worse ground/sea attack.
If there is spare research time air doctrines should be researched. From ´40 on, with fighters II researched, air doctrines should become a priority.
When Germany DoW´s the Netherlands they will join the Allies. According to the forum it is possible to join Axis instead of being attacked, obviously the game will develop a bit different then.
There are no free moves. Move towards full free market. Then try not to be Market liberal. There are too many events that move the free market slider away from full free market when the government is ML.
Early on the Netherlands can profit from stolen blueprints but the IC is needed for building the fortifications. Later, the UK will deliver enough blueprints for free, so stealing blueprints is neither necessary nor advantageous.
The Netherlands can trade away rares for anything they need with nearly everybody they want. Oil will be needed later, so it is important to build a stockpile.
The "Fortress Netherlands" only works one way: At first two rounds of IC, then with the third construction tech ready switch to fortifications completely. Only with the additional IC the Netherlands can build the needed four runs of fortifications as soon as the third construction tech becomes available and the needed infantry as well. If the Netherlands build this way, all border provinces should have level-10 fortifications by spring ´40.
AA is a good idea to build as well as it protects against strategic bombing effectively, but also uses much precious manpower. As the Netherlands will loose IC in Indonesia some IC should be build in ´41 and ´42 as the third research slot is needed.
By ´40 the Netherlands need three infantry divisions in every fortress. As the AI loves to land at unprotected beaches also place militias at the Dutch ones. With your production on fortifications it will be hard to build much, but there is enough IC (due to the IC building) to build enough troops. Save manpower for later, don´t build all in infantry.
Early in the game there is not enough IC, but from mid 40 on the Netherlands can build a few DD´s that come in very handy against German subs. Not a top priority, but one serial of DD-IV´s eats up only a bit IC and after a year the Dutch fleet can hunt German wolfpacks.
From ´40 on most of the IC should be used to build planes. First fighters (at least eight are needed), then, when research is done and IC available, CAS. In order to be able to sink enemy convoys and ships the Dutch Air Force should include fighters to CAS-groups.
The land war in Europe is, hopefully, boring. There is not much the Netherlands can do but sitting in their fortifications and watch France fall. But there is one problem that needs to be addressed: Convoy losses. As manpower grows slowly, there has to be done something against the Germans. Luckily subs are not the main threat but enemy nav bombers. And against those bombers the Dutch have built fighters, so the threat for Dutch convoys can be banned. Subs also hurt, but not as badly as those navs. The Netherlands should be able to hunt and kill all enemy nav bombers. It will take some time - mainly because the Air Force is too small at the beginning - but it is possible.
It helps to micromanage the convoys to minimize losses. Use one, and only one, convoy at any time with all available convoy ships and escorts. Switch the islands you fetch the resources from every few days. This way all the important stuff from the islands is delivered to the capital, but there is only one potential target for enemy navs and subs. That minimizes the convoy losses significantly.
Send as many troops as you can afford to Asia for the next war, hopefully there are some Belgian/French expeditionary forces, so you can spare a few.
When the convoy losses are under control, the fighter force big (for a medium power) and when the Netherlands finally get bored and start to build CAS as well then, most likely, Japan will join the war. In Armageddon, Japan comes with massive forces early and fast, there is no chance for the Netherlands to hold on against the onslaught the direct way. What does work is to send as many troops down as possible and send down the complete air force and hold an air base/harbour. Choose a province with terrain that helps the defender. Still, the planes are not strong enough to fight the Japs directly, so hit the convoys. It takes time, but it works effectively. Only then, when the Netherlands managed to hold a bit of Indonesia and sunk all Japanese convoys the Netherlands can start to sink enemy ships and start to retake the lost islands.
It is micromanagement to use the air force to spot enemy fleets and squeeze through it with Dutch DD´s and transports, but it is fun if it works. If you are lucky you get a manpower event. In that case, the Netherlands can even take the Japanese home islands with a relatively big DD-fleet and air force and a few ground troops.
If the war develops relatively historical the Netherlands can grab some land from Germany before it collapses. Watch the map carefully as soon as Allies or Soviets move next to the fortress and try to move out at the right time to take some land.
This guide is based on a Netherlands game played in Armageddon 1.2. I did it nearly the same way in Doomsday, but never lost most of Indonesia and was able to go on the offensive earlier.