Hearts of Iron 4 (HOI4) – Best Defense Templates

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In Hearts of Iron 4, players do their best to change the course of history and achieve great things by controlling one of their favorite nations during the Second World War.

Germany is the most powerful country during that time that has an amazing offensive power which can be very hard to stop. To survive Germany’s incredible offensive power, you will need the best possible defensive units.

Recommended Read: What Is the Best Country to Play in Hearts of Iron 4?

Luckily, HOI4 players can edit their divisions in the game and make special templates that are made only for defense. This way, you can make sure that the Axis powers have no way of conquering your country.

Here are some of the best defensive templates that you can use in HOI4, depending on which country you are playing as and your building and production capabilities.

Table of Contents

Best Defensive Division Templates in HOI4

There are four nations that will face the wrath of Germany in HOI4 that will need some of the best defensive division templates in the game:

  • Poland
  • Czechoslovakia
  • France
  • Soviet Union

Poland and Czechoslovakia are the first minor nations that will have to face Germany by themselves. The only way you can stand a chance in this situation is if you use the extremely powerful defensive divisions.

The problem with these countries is that you don’t have a lot of military factories, and Germany will attack you in less than 3 years, which means you can’t make extremely large divisions.

France will also have to face Germany at around the same time as Poland, and even though they have a larger production output, France still won’t have time to make extremely overpowered divisions.

The USSR, on the other hand, has the capability to make 40 combat width divisions that can sit all along the border with the Axis.

Since these are the possible scenarios you might find yourself in when you need defense divisions in HOI4, we will go through all of them and give you some really good templates that fit your needs.

Most Important Combat Stats for Defensive Divisions

Even though we will list a lot of division templates here that you can use, you can also try to make some yourself that might work even better. To do this, you will need to know which combat stats are the most important.

Of course, Defense is the most important stat since that is the whole point of a defensive division. However, there are some other stats that you should keep an eye out for, such as:

  • Soft Attack
  • Breakthrough
  • Armor

Soft Attack is the most important combat stat for any kind of division in HOI4, as it will make sure that you actually deal some damage to your enemies.

Since most countries use infantry and cavalry, Hard Attack isn’t as important until later in the game.

Breakthrough is very important if you want to use a strategy where you deal a lot of damage defensively to your enemies and then want to advance in their territories.

Armor is what will make sure that your division is safe from most types of attacks, and it is only possible to get it with the help of armored squads.

Best Defense Division Template for Poland (Minor Power)

Poland and Czechoslovakia are similar in power and get attacked around the same time by Germany.

Even though the Czechs are attacked earlier, they have extremely powerful forts in the Sudetenland, so we can use the same division for both of these countries.

Germany will attack both of these countries around 1938, so you will have more than enough time to get this division template.

Here is the best defense division template for minor powers that go to war around 1938, such as Poland and Czechoslovakia:

  • 3×3 Infantry
  • 2 Artillery + 1 Anti-Air Artillery
  • 1 Medium Tank
  • Support: Recon + Engineer
Best Defense Division Template in HOI4 for Poland (Minor Power)

You can also see the division template in the image above. Though most of the minor countries start with horrible technology, you can easily get Recon, Engineers, Anti-Air, and Medium Tanks.

However, you should start researching Medium Tanks from the start of the game in 1936 since those will take a while.

The 3×3 Infantry is the default one you will find for most countries, and you will just have to add the Artillery, the Support, and the Medium Tank.

You only need to add a single Medium Tank to the division to increase the Armor of the squad and add some extra Breakthrough and Soft Attack.

If you also get entrenchment bonuses and also build some forts, you can get over 500 defense easily with this division template.

When you create the Medium Tank design, make sure to put as much Armor as you can on it, since that is the main reason you are adding this to the template.

If you have more resources, you can also add a Light Flame Tank Company to the Support tab to increase Soft Attack or Anti-Tank Artillery to destroy all German Panzers that might come your way.

Best Defense Division Template for France (Major Power 1938)

France will enter the war around the same time as Poland, so it will have to quickly get its military in check.

Here is the best defense division template that you can use for a major power, such as France, at the start of the war:

  • 4×3 Infantry
  • 2 Artillery + 1 Anti-Air Artillery + 1 Anti-Tank Artillery
  • 1 Medium Tank
  • Support: Recon + Engineer + Maintenance + Light Flame Tank

Here is also an image of the division, so you can recreate it easily. The best defensive division template for major powers is very similar to the one for minor powers.

All you need to do is add some extra troops and support to make sure that you can stop the Germans from advancing.

Best Defense Division Template in HOI4 for France (Major Power 1938)

Since you will have a lot of mechanized troops (Medium Tank and Artillery) you will need a Maintenance Company to increase reliability and keep your troops going strong.

We also add another 3 Infantry squads to the division, since you have more manpower to spare than some of the weaker countries.

Adding all of these troops to the division will get your natural defense around 500, which is almost unstoppable. Just entrenching should be more than enough to bump that number to incredible heights.

This division will also bump the combat width from 27 to 34, which will limit the battles a bit. However, this can be excused considering the amount of defense that this division template has.

If you also make sure to build a high-end Medium Tank to increase the overall armor of the unit, it will be enough to have a single division per territory to protect yourself from invaders.

Best Defense Division Template for USSR (Major Power 1940)

If you plan to go to war later than 1938, you will probably have enough time to research different types of upgrades.

This means that you can create one of the huge 40 combat width divisions that should be able to hold anyone back with some entrenchment and forts.

Here is the best defensive division template in HOI4 for major powers in the close to 1940, such as the USSR against Germany:

  • 4 Infantry + 1 Artillery
  • 4 Infantry + 1 Anti-Tank Artillery
  • 4 Infantry + 1 Anti-Air Artillery
  • 2 Artillery + 3 Anti-Air Artillery
  • 1 Medium Tank
  • Support: Recon + Engineer + Maintenance + Support Artillery + Logistics
Best Defense Division Template in HOI4 for USSR (Major Power 1940)

You can also see in the image above exactly what this defensive division looks like. It is relatively similar to the previous ones, as you just need to add and change a few things.

Usually, it would be a good idea to start by building the first template (the one for Poland), and then slowly getting to this one.

For this division template, we give up on the Light Flame Tank and add Support Artillery and Logistics. In general, we add a lot more Artillery to this template, as the whole point is to destroy anyone trying to enter our country.

Since aggressive countries such as Germany will usually have an incredibly powerful air force, it might be a good idea to level up our Anti-Air defense by adding 3 extra Artillery against it.

This template has a flat defense above 500 with Soft Attack over 250, even with horrible technology and underdeveloped equipment.

That’s everything you need to know about the best defense template in Hearts of Iron 4!

Have any input or suggestions for this guide? Let us know in the comment section below.

Adrian Oprea

Based in London, United Kingdom, Adrian Oprea is a Guides Writer. As a professional single-player RPG player, Adrian has often been stigmatized. He has decided to pour his frustration into writing guides!

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