Hearts of Iron 4 (HOI4) – Divisions Guide

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Though Hearts of Iron 4 has become very popular for the ability to choose any political path for countries during the Second World War and have a blast diplomatically and internally, the main focus of the game is still war.

The most important part of war in this game are the divisions. Not because they have troops in them and you need soldiers to win wars, but because they are very complex and require a bit of planning to actually get them to conquer the world.

Recommended Read: Hearts of Iron 4 – Spain Strategy Guide

The starting divisions that countries get at the start of Hearts of Iron 4 aren’t really something to brag about, and you’ll need to understand all of their stats and how to design them properly to win with whatever country you choose.

In this guide, we will go through all the details regarding Divisions in Hearts of Iron 4, helping you learn how to design them, how to deploy them, and how to use them to win WW2.

Table of Contents

How Divisions Work in HOI4

Divisions are your troops in Hearts of Iron 4. On the map, players will see their divisions represented by little men, which they can organize into armies and give orders to.

These divisions can be very different since there are a lot of ways players can customize them.

All divisions follow a division template, which can be edited at any time during the game if the player has enough Army Experience or isn’t stopped by a National Spirit.

All countries in the game start with a couple of default division templates, found in the Recruit & Deploy menu, usually centered around Infantry, Cavalry, Mountaineers, and Tanks.

Players can also unlock new templates by researching new technologies.

Generally, the best way to get the best divisions in HOI4 is to manually edit divisions templates, making some that fit your personal needs and that will likely defeat either the AI or other players.

How to Make, Recruit, and Deploy Divisions

  1. Press the Recruit & Deploy menu button, shown with a tank and an arrow in the upper side of the screen, or U on your keyboard.
  2. In this menu, look to the right to find the Templates column. Find the division template you want to deploy and press the Train button under it.
  3. The division should appear on the left, showing that it’s training. Press the No location set button and left click on a state on the map where you want the divisions to deploy once they’ve finished training.

Now, once the unit gets full equipment and training, it will deploy in the state you selected. Since we didn’t choose how many divisions we want to train, this will happen continuously until you stop it.

If you want to select an exact number of divisions to train, press the + button next to the infinity sign and change it to whatever number you want.

If you want to train more divisions at once, press the Add Unit button to set up more training lines at the same time.

So, if you have 1 single line training with the infinity sign, this means you will slowly train that one division until it’s deployed, then start again from 0. If you have 5 lines of infantry training with the infinity sign, this means those 5 lines will train and get equipment at the same time, likely deploying at the same time.

The second option is faster for getting more troops out, but it will eat your equipment faster. Setting 5 lines with 2 assigned above will result in your training exactly 10 divisions.

How Division Templates Work

If you were to open a division template, you’d see that a division can be made out of 5 combat regiments and 1 support regiment.

A regiment is a column in the division designer. These regiments can be made out of 5 battalions, which are represented by the rectangular boxes.

By spending Army Experience, players can edit these division templates, removing or adding battalions that they want, which will improve or degrade the stats of the overall division.

From the division template menu, players also have the possibility to select how important these troops are to the country, giving them a priority when it comes to receiving equipment, and how much production it will cost the country to produce these divisions.

Each individual change in the template will cost Army Experience. For example, adding 1 Infantry Battalion to a Infantry Division will cost 5 XP.

Adding 2 Infantry Battalions will cost 10 XP. However, adding 1 Artillery Battalion to an Infantry Division will likely cost 20 XP.

The Experience cost will depend on what types of battalions you already have in the army. There are 6 types of battalions:

  • Combat Support Battalions (Artillery, Anti-Air, Anti-Tank)
  • Mobile Combat Support Battalions (Motorized Artillery, Motorized Anti-Air, Motorized Anti-Tank)
  • Mobile Battalions (Cavalry, Armored Cars, Motorized Infantry)
  • Armored Battalions (Tanks)
  • Infantry Battalions
  • Support Battalions

If you have one of the types in the division already, then adding another battalion of the same type will cost 5 XP.

So, an Infantry division with only Infantry battalions will require 20 XP to add Line Artillery. However, after adding the first Artillery, all the new Combat Support Battalions will only cost 5 XP per battalion.

Infantry Battalions

Infantry battalions are the most common battalion in HOI4 that both players and the AI will use. They are the cheapest to train and use in the game, but they are very weak and will often eat your Manpower pool quickly.

Their main stats are HP and Defense, which makes them great for holding the line and making sure that enemies don’t push too quickly into your territories.

They also have decent Soft Attack, which means they can also deal some damage when push comes to shove.

These will be the main bulk of your army at the start of the game, but you should improve the divisions by also adding at least one Line Artillery or a Tank into the template.

Combat Support Battalions

Artillery is the king of WW1 and also a huge part of making your divisions powerful in Hearts of Iron 4.

The main stat of this battalion is Soft Attack, with decent Defense to make an Infantry division a force that most won’t be able to push through.

Artillery are necessary to destroy most Infantry divisions made out of pure 0% Hardness (we’ll go more into Hardness later in the guide) and will likely allow you to push through even some of the strongest units in the game.

Anti-Air will boost Air Attack and Anti-Tank will be there for Hard Attack against Tanks and Armored divisions.

Mobile Combat Support Battalions

These are just mobile versions of the previous battalions, which means they move faster and will require a lot of Trucks to carry them.

They usually have better Hardness and Breakthrough, but they cost more to produce due to the need for Trucks and the Fuel requirements.

Armored Battalions

Tanks have really good Combat Stats in all categories but lack in the Basic Stats department, as they severely lower the Organization of the divisions they join.

Armored Battalions also cost a lot to produce and develop, as they need to be updated with new designs every 2 years, which makes them a bad choice for most minor countries.

Support Battalions

Support battalions are completely separate from most of the division, since they have their personal regiment where no combat battalions can be added.

Every Support Company can be added for 10 XP, and they are all very different from each other.

Support battalions usually fulfill random needs that the division might have, as they improve either Base Stats, Combat Stats, or Terrain Adjusters.

How to Edit or Add New Division Templates in HOI4

  1. Press the Recruit & Deploy menu button, shown with a tank and an arrow in the upper side of the screen, or U on your keyboard.
  2. In this menu, look to the right to find the Templates column. Find the division template you want to change and press the Edit button under it.
  3. If you want to make a new division from scratch, with no battalions in it, press the name of the division next to the icon and then select Create Empty.
  4. Once you’ve added or removed what you want from it, press the Save button.

What All Division Stats Mean

In the division template designer, players will see three columns: Base Stats, Combat Stats, and Equipment Costs.

Under these columns, they can see the division composition, which will help figure out what bonuses the division will get from advisors and doctrines, and the Hardness percentage.

Base Stats

  • Max Speed – the speed that the division will have. The minimum is 4 km/h, with everything above 10 being really fast.
  • HP – number that represents how easy it is to destroy the division. The higher the number, the longer the division will last in a situation where it will likely disappear forever.
  • Organization – the real health of a division. In battles, divisions lose if they lose all of their Organization. Once they retreat, they have to wait to recover it before being at full strength.
  • Recovery Rate – the speed at which Organization recovers out of combat.
  • Reconnaissance – stat that decides if the general of the army will counter the tactic of the enemy. The total is a combination between the division’s stat and the one of the general.
  • Suppression – efficiency when it comes to suppressing occupied territory. Stat only relevant for Garrisons.
  • Weight – determines how many Convoys are needed for transport across water.
  • Supply use – determines how much Supply the division needs in the province they are stationed.
  • Reliability – how likely it is that equipment will break down due to attrition. A low Reliability will result in a lot of meaningless losses of equipment.
  • Reliability Bonus – extra Reliability gained from Support Companies.
  • Trickleback – returns a percentage of lost Manpower in battles to the country’s Manpower pool.
  • Exp. Loss – determines the amount of division experience lost per Manpower lost.

Combat Stats

  • Soft Attack – the main Attack stat. All units that have low Hardness (no tanks or armored divisions) take mainly Soft Attack damage.
  • Hard Attack – the Attack stat for armored divisions. Units with higher Hardness take more Hard Attack damage.
  • Air Attack – lowers damage taken from CAS by up to 75% and attacks planes above them.
  • Defense – reduces damage that enemies deal to the division when defending.
  • Breakthrough – reduces damage that enemies deal to the division when attacking.
  • Armor – if Armor is higher than the attacking division’s Piercing, the defending division loses -50% less Organization and the attacking division loses +50% more Organization.
  • Piercing – if Piercing is higher than the defending division’s Armor, the defending division loses +50% more Organization and the attacking division loses -50% less Organization.
  • Initiative – increases reinforcement rate and Coordination. Relatively useless stat.
  • Entrenchment – increases Max Entrenchment. Every point of Entrenchment gives a division +2% Defense and Soft Attack. Lose the bonus when moving.
  • Eq. Capture Ratio – the amount of equipment the division captures during battles.
  • Combat width – how much space the division takes on the battlefield. Check out our guide on Combat Width for more info.

Equipment Cost

Divisions will mainly use three resource pools: Manpower, Fuel, and Equipment.

The Equipment Cost just shows you how much Manpower and equipment the division needs to be at full Strength and how much Fuel it needs to work.

You can always see all your equipment numbers in the Logistics menu, the one right next to Recruit & Deploy.


There are two types of Attack in HOI4: Soft and Hard.

Soft Attack mainly targets divisions with low Hardness and Hard Attack hits divisions with high Hardness. Here is the exact formula that decides how a division is damaged in HOI4:

Attack = (1 – Hardness) * Soft Attack + Hardness * Hard Attack

Hardness is a stat that represents the number of armored battalions that are part of the division. Infantry has 0% Hardness, while Tanks have 100%.

A normal Infantry division will have less than 10% Hardness, while normal Armored divisions will have around 50% to 70%.

This means that an Infantry division with 0% Hardness won’t receive any of the Hard Attack damage, but 100% of the Soft Attack. A division with around 50% Hardness will receive half of both.

In singleplayer the AI generally uses only division with close to 0% Hardness, which means that Soft Attack is king. Generally aim to build divisions with really high Soft Attack to win most fights.

In multiplayer, most will focus on getting some Hardness on all divisions, with a lot of elite Tank divisions to push the lines while micromanaging. To combat these, you will need a few Tank Destroyers to combat them with Hard Attack.

A single Tank Destroyer in most defensive divisions will usually be enough to also deal damage to the powerful Tank divisions that players use in multiplayer.

That’s everything you need to know about Divisions 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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