Hearts of Iron 4 (HOI4) – Germany Strategy Guide

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In a World War 2 simulator, players will likely love to try out playing as the main antagonist, Germany, and try to change the history forever by actually defeating the Soviet Union and the Allies.

However, the task is a lot harder than most would think, since both of these factions receive extremely powerful buffs as time passes on and Germany just becomes weaker and weaker, due to lack of Manpower and equipment.

Recommended Read: Hearts of Iron 4 – Canada Guide

Luckily, properly managing your economy and expanding in the right directions at the right time will easily allow you to win the Second World War.

In this guide we will show you how to play as Germany, giving you a general strategy to use alongside step by step instructions to make sure you never lose against Russia and the UK ever again.

Table of Contents

General Strategy for Germany in HOI4

The general strategy here is to do what Mr. unnamed mustache man was supposed to do.

You will completely defeat the Allies first, making sure you don’t have to keep any troops on the shores of France, and then take care of the red menace to the east.

In this scenario, the US will be just some irrelevant country that won’t even interfere in your world conquest.

The main goal will be to become an economic powerhouse first, playing around with the focus tree and the volunteer mechanics to become extremely powerful, and then we’ll use that power to defeat the UK and the Soviets.

Generally, the Allies are a joke if you can fight them properly and defeat them by 1940.

The UK is easy to invade if you use paratroopers, and France always surrenders. The real problem will be the USSR, which you’ll prepare for the whole game.

However, without the help of the Allies, you can use the full power of Europe against them, which will prove more than enough to win if you have the patience to push through Siberia.

The main tools we will use are Fighters, Bombers, and CAS, alongside elite armor divisions that will complete most of the maneuvers to conquer Victory Points and capitulate our enemies.

How to Start as Germany in HOI4

Germany has one of the best starts in the game. With one of the best economies in the game, Germany only lacks a proper army in 1936.

Luckily, you have more than enough time to deploy enough troops to face the Allies by 1939.

National Focuses

The strategy we’ve gone for is doing the focuses in a relatively historical manner. The only difference is that we’ll invest most of our early time into industry instead of investing in the army or navy.

Here are the focuses you will need to complete to win the game as Germany:

  1. Rhineland
  2. Army Innovations
  3. Four Year Plan
  4. Autarky
  5. Hermann Goring-Werke
  6. KdF-Wagen
  7. Extra Research Slot
  8. Anschluss
  9. Reassert Eastern Claims
  10. Demand Sudetenland
  11. First Vienna Award
  12. Fate of Czechoslovakia
  13. Reichsautobahn
  14. Treaty with the USSR
  15. Army Innovations II
  16. Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
  17. Danzig or War
  18. Align Hungary
  19. Around Maginot
  20. Align Romania
  21. Operation Weserubung
  22. Integrate War Economies


Resources will make a huge difference in your game as Germany, so we’ll first start by maxing out the Infrastructure in the Rhineland and Moselland.

After that, fill up those states with Civilian Factories, which should increase your overall Civs by 12.

We’ll also do the exact same thing for Niederschlesien and Oberschlesien. Once those two states next to Poland get their Civs done, repeat with Wurttemberg and Oberbayern in the southern part of Germany.

Your main goal will be to reach 100 Civilian Factories and then start the switch to Military Factories.

However, before building an infinite amount of Mils, create at least 10 Synthetic Refineries in the provinces with maximum Infrastructure.

So, here’s how your Construction menu should look at the start of the playthrough:

  • Rhineland +1 Infrastructure
  • Moselland +1 Infrastructure
  • Rhineland +5 Civilian Factories
  • Moselland +7 Civilian Factories
  • Niederschlesien +2 Infrastructure
  • Oberschlesien +2 Infrastructure
  • Niederschlesien +7 Civilian Factories
  • Oberschlesien +6 Civilian Factories
  • Oberbayern +1 Infrastructure
  • Wurttemberg +1 Infrastructure
  • Oberbayern +3 Civilian Factories
  • Wurttemberg +2 Civilian Factories


Germany starts with the second largest number of Military Factories (28) in Hearts of Iron 4, allowing them to quickly field one of the largest armies in the game in a record time.

The initial way the Production is spread out is very good, and we only need to change a few things.

First of all, we are going to remove 1 Factory from Light Tanks.

If you are sure you never want to use them, you can remove both Factories and use them for some of the equipment we’ll list below. Also get rid of the Basic Medium Airframe.

After that, we’ll need to add 4 Factories to Infantry Equipment, one Factory to Support Equipment, and 2 Factories to Towed Artillery.

Next, we’ll create a few new Production lines: 2 Factories on Towed Anti-Air and 1 Factory on Civilian Trains.

You can also select to preemptively fill out Infantry Equipment to 15 Factories, 5 Factories on Basic Small Airframe (Fighters), and 5 Basic Close Air Support Airframe.

When it comes to Navy, there are a lot of ships already in production with a significant amount of resources invested in them.

We don’t really need them, but we can’t waste that progress. So, we’ll lower the number for all the ships in production to 1 and we’ll max out the Naval Dockyard assigned to all the Production lines to create a cascading effect.

This means that each time one Submarine is done, the dockyards that were building it will go to the next one, helping it finish faster, and so on.

Here’s how you should set up the Production lines:

  • Infantry Equipment: 14 out of 15 Military Factories
  • Support Equipment: 3 Military Factories
  • Towed Artillery: 3 Military Factories
  • Towed Anti-Air: 3 Military Factories
  • Improved Light Tank Chassis: 1 Military Factory
  • Truck: 2 Military Factories
  • Basic Small Airframe: 1 out of 5 Military Factories
  • Basic Close Air Support Airframe: 1 out of 5 Military Factories
  • Civilian Train: 1 Military Factory
  • All ships: Number to produce – 1, Naval Dockyards – 10


Germany starts the game off with 30 divisions, 24 Infantry, 3 Light Tanks, 1 Motorized, 1 Mountaineer, and 1 Cavalry.

Make a full army out of the Infantry and set it up at the border with the French. Why? To intimidate them, of course.

Now, put the 3 Light Tank divisions and the Motorized into a different army, which we’ll send to Spain when the Civil War kicks in.

Convert the Cavalry into an Infantry unit and make an army alongside the Mountaineer, which we’ll send to Ethiopia to fight the Italians. It’s all for the sake of Experience, don’t worry, the Italians won’t mind.

To actually send those 4 divisions to Spain, we’ll need to spam out a lot of troops. We’ll need exactly 61 divisions to send 4 volunteers. So, start training 31 Cavalry divisions and deploy them immediately if the Civil War starts.

Also, start training your Navy. You’ll need to Experience to create the following Destroyer template, which you’ll produce for most of the early game once the other ships are done:

  • Light Battery I
  • Torpedo Launcher I
  • Blohm & Voss Military Industrial Organization

For the Army Command, we’re going to aim for the Bold Attack.


For Research, we will start with the three classic titans:

  • Basic Machine Tools (Industry)
  • Construction I (Industry)
  • Electronic Mechanical Engineering (Engineering)

Since Germany is supposed to be the protagonist/main villain of the game, they also have a 4th research slot right from the start, which we can use to get the Range Improvements (Air) upgrade if you have the By Blood Alone DLC.

The next batch of research slots should be used for these techs especially, in the exact order listed:

  1. Basic Armor Protection (Armor)
  2. Mechanical Computing
  3. Dispersed Industry I
  4. Improved Machine Tools
  5. Dispersed Industry II

Intelligence Agency

The Intelligence Agency will be vital in the war against the USSR. Otherwise, it won’t really matter since you will overpower all the other countries.

The only upgrades you’ll need are:

  • Army Department
  • Naval Department
  • Airforce Department
  • Pills
  • Localized training centers
  • Cryptology Department
  • Radio Interception Group x2

How to Win WW2

Volunteer Army

The first thing we’ll do is profit from the chaos around the world by sending volunteers everywhere. First off, we’ll send Ethiopia our Mountaineer and Infantry 2-division army to help them out against Italy.

Once the troops arrive, assign Erwin von Witzleben to command them. Place them in the mountains in the northern front and just leave them there to protect the line forever.

Gondar and the province south of Macalle are the best to protect, considering the future annexation of Aussa.

Exactly when you get 150 Political Power, hire the Silent Workforce political advisor to boost the Political Power gain and stop using PP for a while after this.

Once you get another 150, hire Franz Halder (Army Offense) as the Chief of Army.

The Civil War should soon start in Spain, and you should send the 4 divisions alongside as many air wings as the game allows you.

You can send something from 1 to 3 air wings, so send wings in this order of priority: Fighters, Bombers, CAS. Also, improve relations with them to send an attache and get extra Exp.

You won’t really need to micromanage your troops. Set up an offensive line and make sure your planes are flying above your divisions. Set them to push and wait for the Exp to quickly build up.

At this point, Germany should have enough War Support to get the War Economy mobilization law, so use your PP to improve the economy for the whole game.

As time passes, Japan will start its war of aggression on China. We can’t allow that to happen, so we send 6 divisions to help them out alongside as many air wings as we can send.

You can do this if you have 101 divisions, which should be the goal by mid 1937. It doesn’t matter if they’re pure Cavalry. You can change them into Infantry at any time for training once they’re deployed.

Anschluss and Prelude to War

The first step to the conquest of the world is the Anschluss. As long as you’re playing historical, they’ll always accept.

It’s usually good not to sprint the Anschluss since Austria can also build some factories before getting annexed and you also have more time to develop your economy.

After that, it’s time to decide the Fate of Czechoslovakia. There will be three choices:

  • Set up Slovakia as a puppet state.
  • Partition Czechoslovakia with Hungary.
  • All of Czechoslovakia belongs to the Reich!

The best choice is to make Slovakia a puppet state since this will result in all of Czechia giving you 50% Compliance from the start.

The other options aren’t good and will cause more problems than advantages. So, going historical is the right way, as always with Germany in HOI4.

Winning the War

Now, to actually win the war against Poland, you won’t even need high quality divisions. Just having 5 armies, or one complete army group, of Infantry divisions will be enough.

You can also turn the 4 armored divisions from Spain into high quality Medium Tank divisions with Motorized help, which will allow you to push through enemy lines.

One 24 division army will stand at the Maginot. Another army will stand next to the Netherlands. One army will be in Konigsberg, and the other two will stand at the border with Poland next to Berlin.

The elite units should push through the western side of Poland and reach into the northern part to unite your exclave with the rest of your territories.

Do not call any of your allies into the war. Slovakia won’t be able to hold its territories and Italy is the worst ally anyone can have in any game.

The border with France will not move until you go around the Maginot. Generally, you should be done with Poland by the time you attack the Netherlands.

Micromanage as much as possible the war with Poland, pinning units at every opportunity and snaking your way around them to get their Victory Points.

Once Poland has capitulated, split one of the armies and put them on the borders with Luxembourg and Belgium. Set up a second army next to Denmark and use the third one to prepare a naval invasion on Norway.

France is extremely easy to capitulate. Once you manage to push through the Netherlands, the Belgian front will be completely undefended.

The French seem to be as unprepared as them, as reaching the Belgian-French border will give you free access to Paris.

Generally, due to their horrible national spirits, the French will surrender almost immediately after taking over Paris.

Always establish Vichy France since it makes everything easier to control, and the southern part of France will always be safe since they won’t be part of the war.

Defeating the Allies

Now, you’ve likely partitioned Poland with the Soviets, which means that the war with them will have to wait. Do not even considering holding all of Poland since you’re not ready to fight Russia.

Denmark and Norway should be extremely easy to conquer. Make them puppets once they surrender since everything is just easier that way.

So, before fighting the Soviets, you will need to defeat the United Kingdom. If you don’t beat the Allies early, you give them a chance to mobilize and prepare annoying D-Days that will destroy your war effort.

You can either launch a naval invasion through the North Sea, avoiding the Channel where the UK always has naval supremacy, or send paratroopers by getting air superiority over Southern England.

The easiest way to gain access into mainland UK is to drop paratroopers right in Northern England, where they usually have no planes.

You can also mess around with them by bombing all the major regions, making them split up their air force.

Either way, Germany should generally destroy the UK in terms of air power, so a paradrop is usually the way to go. But, if you want to fight the mighty British Navy, then the best way to do it is to completely avoid it.

Go around the English Channel, and the conquest of England should be imminent. They usually have absolutely no troops in the mainland, which means you’ll get the easiest win ever just by landing and sending troops to reinforce.

Beating the Soviets

Your biggest enemy when fighting Russia won’t be their armies. It will be the lack of Supply. This is why you need a really good Civilian economy since you will constantly need to upgrade Railways.

Also, make sure to increase the Motorization priority of your divisions to make sure that they can use the Supply Hubs to their full extent.

You can increase the Motorization priority by selecting an army and pressing the little horse button right next to the stats of the general/field marshal.

Your main goal while pushing the Soviets will be Supply Hubs, so, open the Supply map mode and spot where most of the close-by Supply Hubs are positioned. Those are the points you will want to conquer.

The air force will also have a huge job in this war. CAS and Fighters are all you need to win the war. Make sure they are always over the head of divisions that are pushing.

Since the air regions in Russia are huge, you will need really good range on the planes, otherwise they will be extremely inefficient.

Micromanaging will also be quite relevant, since encirclements will be the key to weakening the Union and defeating it properly.

If you are playing a singleplayer game, then you don’t really need incredibly advanced division templates.

A lot of Infantry with good Support Companies, alongside around 10 high quality armor divisions will be more than enough to take on the red menace.

This is also the point your Intelligence Agency will finally prove useful. To easily win the war, you’ll need to get as close to 100% on the Collaboration Government mission to make sure that the capitulation threshold for the Soviets is higher than normal.

Otherwise, you’ll have to walk all the way to Siberia after taking all the important cities in Europe and Russia still won’t surrender.

They are the most annoying enemy you can have in HOI4 since they never capitulate under normal circumstances, and you have to lose all your equipment moving around in Siberia.

What to Do Next

After defeating the Soviets, you’ve basically won World War 2. You could go to the US to also defeat them, but it shouldn’t really be a challenge. If you want to do something more interesting, fight Japan.

In theory, in this world you’ve created, Japan is going to enter a Cold War with you. But, since you’ve already defeated everyone else by yourself, you might as well defeat the only country that could measure up to you.

But, generally, you can stop the game at this point since you’ve won it all.

That’s everything you need to know about how to win WW2 as Germany 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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