Welcome gentlemen, to a very short explanation of the different land doctrines available in Darkest Hour. This will clarify all 5 different land doctrines to explain which country should take which and why. I wont go all out with detailed graphs and the like, but i will delve superficially into them, explaining both what the doctrine does, how to best use it and what countries can benefit from it the most, as well as finally doing a bit of hypothetical work on doctrines and countries.
(Please note that is is for WIF2; there might be slight differences in the inner workings of them in Vanilla but the main formula remains the same)
PART 1, MOBILITY FOCUS:
- Mobility is the starting doctrine of Germany. In terms of GDE (Ground Defense Efficiency, a percentage that states how well your units fight in regard to their total strength) it is the only doctrine to give you 100% from the start. It gives the most bonuses to Armored divisions and Mechanized divisions, as well as large HQ Event Bonuses (This means the chance of a positive combat event occurring in your favor when in proximity to an HQ). It also gives the biggest bonus to Organization in the entire land doctrine tree, but the lowest in morale (Organization is the total number of points a unit has to fight with directly until they are forced to retreat; Morale is how quickly that unit can regain lost organization).
- The doctrine is based on hard offensives, meant to break enemy defensive lines and most importantly, exploiting said breaches. The main weakness of it is the low morale, which means that if you capture a territory and you dont push the advantage, you will eventually get overwhelmed by counterattacking forces. This means that won battles need to focus on destroying enemy divisions rather than simply take and hold operations. Another weakness is its terrible bonuses for fighting in poor infrastructure and on bad terrain. Additionally, since it relies so heavily on armor and mechanized, TC consumption will be high, and removing fuel will kill the army. The counter land doctrine for MOBILITY is MANPOWER FOCUS.
- The best countries for using Mobility remain the classic ones: Germany and the US. Germany will suffer due to the low oil it can acquire until at least Hungary and Romania are puppeted, and even capturing Baku will not be enough to satisfy a hungry german war machine. The US can safely switch to Mobility due to their huge IC and titanic amounts of oil safely, but they might be better served with FIREPOWER, which we'll get to later. Even UK can switch to mobility, as their own DEFENSIVE focus is... bad, to say the least. It will suit them for hit and run operations against the germans. Italy can go with it if only to benefit from german blueprints, but this means forfeiting a large force of infantry to purely defensive focus instead of offensive ones and a small elite force of 12 or 15 armored divisions to push the UK out of North Africa. SU can potentially go with it, but by the time it gets it it would have an army far too small to tackle the german attack, and the much slower production would prove fatal as they could not properly defend against german focussed offensives, not to mention the poor defensive bonuses or bad terrain/infra.
Ill continue with the other ones for the next couple of days. See you soon!
PART 2, MANPOWER FOCUS:
- Manpower is the starting doctrine of Soviet Union (and China ). In terms of GDE, it is the lowest one with a measly 50% at the start and even lower as the doctrine gets more advanced. It gives all of its bonuses to land armies, but mostly to morale and not Org. They do get a slight bonus to ARM and MECH later on the doctrine but getting there is slow, their main asset is, was and will always be their manpower. This doctrine gives a lower build time to infantry, which becomes its main focus, and a smaller yet still significant decrease in buildtime to land units in general. The real essence of this is the manpower usage, as they can afford horrifying losses and terrain being lost.
- The doctrine is based on attrition, meant to weaken and blunt an enemy's offensive, rather than to stop it on the first territory, before finally launching a counterattack and either cutting off or forcing away the enemy's attacks. The main weakness is their tremendously low org stat and their poor GDE setting, which makes them fight terribly (even their main doctrines REDUCE their infantry's hard and soft attack), but their main bonus is how low cost their units are, as the lower the build time of a unit, the faster it is repaired or reinforced (there is a mathematical formula based on IC days to build, but i dont remember it), and how quickly they recover their morale, allowing for nearly constant attacks, draining enemy manpower and organization faster than they can recover it. Additionally, they get some very decent defensive and offensive bonuses in bad terrain as well as bad weather. This means that defending a single territory is impossible, but getting pushed back and not destroyed allows for constant counterattacks not meant to win, but to slow down and stop the enemy attacks. The counter doctrine for MANPOWER is MOBILITY.
- The only two countries which should ever use manpower are SU and China. Dont even bother with it as other countries. SU and China can use it, as it plays to their main ability, which is to launch constant attacks, suffer constant defeats and outlast their opponents. A decent SU player can produce nearly 700 divisions by '43 of infantry and a small core of armor as firefighters to prevent deep german blitz attacks, and by then they can either launch frontwide attacks to retake territory or deep penetration thrusts with masses of infantry and tanks to slow down enemy counterattacks, all the while filing down the german's panzer divisions. China is all about their manpower, as even 3 Year Conscription gives them a whopping 9.5k manpower pool, more than enough to defeat Japan with a horde of Militias interspaced with some well equipped infantry divisions. As someone pointed out below, SU cant really afford to go with mobility or any other doctrine, as it would slow down their production numbers too heavily with too much terrain to defend, leaving them as easy pickings to german thrusts, and China would barely be able to pump out some infantry units before getting bumrushed by Japanese divisions.
PART 3, LIGHT INFANTRY:
- (As far as im aware) LI is the starting doctrine only of Japan. GDE wise, it is tied with Defensive focus at 71% starting, which is at least higher than Manpower, and by 1941 they can research 100% GDE. The main fighting power of this force is bad terrain; yes, bad terrain (swamps, mountains, hills, even urban fighting), night fighting and specialist units. They dont get any kind of ARM bonuses, though they do get some MECH bonuses later on at the cost of infantry. They are the absolute best units to defend and fight in low infrastructured poor terrain and muddy weather and they get the absolute best bonuses to their specialist units such as paratroopers, mountaineers or marines. The only weakness of their tree is a lack of defensive bonuses, which can affect them when defending.
- The doctrine is based on surgical strikes, meant to infiltrate, defeat and leave as quick as you came, hit and run and capture. With their doctrine strengths their units are, bar none, the best units for quick lighting strikes onto bad terrain, attacking fortified cities and cutting off and destroying large amounts of divisions by way of clever usage of units. Their main weakness is similar to Mobility, however; if no real damage is achieved and a stalemate occurs, their units will slowly be made mincemeat out of. Night fighting is one of their specialties, as is night movement. This can devolve into retreating from slower marching enemy armies and flanking them with ease in well suited terrain, allowing you to choose your fights rather than pushing the whole front. Jungle fighting is something that no other doctrine encourages more than LI. Watch the enemy try to waste armor and infantry on suicidal offensives onto thick brush before breaking them with a swift rear naval landing and a paradrop on their rear. The biggest problem that you will face as LI is that your army might end up smaller than usual, as those specialist units needed to take advantage of the enemy are not cheap and they are not fast to produce, and if you lose them it will hit you hard later. Another perhaps more serious problem is that without any kind of ARM bonuses your units are gonna be slower than the enemy's and fighting in plains against armor will butcher your infantry unless they are well equipped with arty and AT or AA. Their final problem is situational: there is only so much bad terrain to fight in ingame. Once the poor terrain and infra is skipped, you better pray that you have weakened the enemy enough to face them in the open or risk losing half your army to tanks.
- Though i cant say what countries should use it more than Japan, Japan remains the only one which can fully exploit it. They are against the Chinese early game and fighting with Mobility in China is a death sentence; sure, you will take territory but if you're trying to move you will get stuck there for hours and possibly get outflanked. Their entire doctrine is based on fighting in China, India, Africa (which you dont want), Siberia and the Dutch East Indies/Pacific isles, with a special mention given here to the US West Coast, which is harder to defend due to the low infra and high amount of mountains and hills there. An aggressive Japanese player can very quickly get a foothold there after conquering Pearl Harbor and with enough Mountaineers and well Hard-Attack managed infantry can eventually force a truce with the americans. Sadly, if fighting ends up spreading to Europe as previosly mentioned then the Soviets/Germany will counterattack hard, but this can still be taken advantage of if making them fight in the Middle East or even in India, allowing for some good naval landings and airborne drops to cut off the snake's head.
PART 4, DEFENSIVE FOCUS
- Paradoxically enough, most minors start with this doctrine, but the main players are France and UK. In regards to GDE, it is the second worst doctrine ingame, with 71% base GDE and only getting 75 deeper into it. The main staying force of it is the large (2+) bonus to all artillery, except SH Artillery which only gets 1+, pretty early in the tree, with a choice of either going towards a more defensive route or a more offensive focussed one. Their only other bonus is on attack, but they get it pretty late into the doctrine. Their weakness is a total lack of bonuses to all of their other units, their main focus being infantry and no specialist infantry.
- The doctrine is based on take and hold, which translates to mass a large number of forces, attack and take a position, and hold it against counterattacks before rinsing and repeating. The doctrine has a decent amount of ORG and a decent level of Morale, which theoretically allows you to take any position with constant artillery barrages, failing an attack then trying again in a few days. Im not gonna sugarcoat this, the doctrine is the worst one in the game. The problem with Defensive focus is its lack of focus; there is absolutely nothing that the doctrine stands out at and it has a lower-than-average GDE which will really affect it later when manpower starts to become an issue. The very small attack bonus on different terrain does not make up for the terrible 'averageness' of it all. Worst of all, the bonuses it grants to artillery, the only sad point in favor of it, are only soft attack bonuses, so armored and mechanized are gonna have a field day vs the sad french infantry and their peashooters. Of course, you could go with AT, but it doesnt even have the goddamn courtesy to give you a bonus to AT, thus denying the bonus of the doctrine itself. The only way to truly take advantage of this is to build land fortifications across the entire french border, build up your entire manpower pool unto infantry with artillery + SH artillery and grind the germans down 1 province at a time until you run out of manpower or they run out of oil.
- Remember how i said paradoxically in the first paragraph? I said it because its the worst doctrine in the game, and France doesnt get anything good out of it. This is the only doctrine that no country should use. Not even micro, 5 IC countries or minors should use it. The idea behind using it is that its the 'cheapest' doctrine to use, giving a fighting chance to smaller countries without the IC or the resources to build anything other than infantry.
(This is not a biased report, this is legit the worst doctrine)
PART 5, FIREPOWER FOCUS
- As most people might or might not know, the only major player to have this magical doctrine is the US. In regards to GDE, it is the third most plentiful one with a decent 77% going towards the late tree to 90%. This doctrine is the godsent when it comes to bonuses to everything, as their units get very respectable ORG as well as adequate morale, but the real kicker starts with their mass of bonuses to their artillery (+1 soft), motorized bonus and Mechanized bonus, in addition to their very good attack and defense bonuses across the board and being the only other doctrine to get bonuses to their airforce in CAS, fighters and Tacticals, the other being Mobility, of course. Though they can fight on bad terrain they are not meant to do so for extended periods of time. Their only 2 main weaknesses are the lower-than-average GDE and the titanic IC and manpower requirements to get them going.
- The doctrine is based on overwhelming firepower, which translates to a steady methodical frontline, attacking everywhere at once to never allow the enemy a moment's rest while constantly bombing them and strafing them to finally after weakening them allow for a deep thrust to cut off and destroy the enemy's forces or grind them to dust. Their main source of strenght remains a ground element of about 40% infantry well equipped with artillery and engineers/AA, mechanized with engineers, armor with SPArt or engineers and an overwhelming airforce to both keep air superiority and allow deep bombing operations, or as you might know it, combined arms. As previously stated, they possess the most bonuses to most of their main forces, bar armor, and the effect takes precedence only after they combine their forces in the frontline; no firepower army will win with less than full concentrated effort. This is, paradoxically, their biggest and grandest failure; if they do not have a significant advantage over the enemy in regards to divisions and superiority, their units fail to shine.Terrain wise, they can fight mostly everywhere except in the badlands of jungle or mountains, but this is something they can get around quite simply by making Marines with artillery and engineers, since mars suffer
less in jungle terrain than normal infantry and infinitely better than tanks (tanks get i believe around 60% malus from jungle fighting, perhaps more), as well as with mountains allowing for masses of mountaineers to fight there. Again, its important to stress that for this doctrine to work, you need to have titanic amounts
of IC, a very large advantage in manpower and also overwhelming air superiority, as well as to never fight the enemy's main force man to man. Finally, though not necessarily in my opinion obvious, to man such a force will require a huge, constant source of oil that, if drained, will render your army into puppets with cut strings.
- United states, nuff said. While Manpower focus allows a country to use its manpower for its advantage, Firepower is all about taking advantage of IC advantage. US has the biggest IC potential of all other countries and a pretty large manpowerpool as well, so remains the only doctrine that can use it to its fullest potential. All other countries will have to go with other doctrines to palliate for their lack of IC or lack of manpower or oil, but only America can start to flex it. I hear you say, if its so good, why doesnt the US ever seem to get stuff done? Simple, diversion of effort. US needs, at minimum, 3 to 4 years to get enough of an army going out, a massive airforce and a massive fleet to move it around. Even if invaded, US can be defended relatively well, but the loss of any significant cities or terrain will cut deep unto their ability to rebuild their forces.
Ok, final part coming up, the matchups and the best doctrine!
For the context of these battles, we have to set up a few ground rules:
1.- 3 fighting areas: Europe (good infra and little terrain, medium), Russia (Low infra and marshes/rivers, big) and Asia (mountain/jungle and very low infra, big)
2.- All armies will have a focus on their main unit advantage (Manpower will have more divisions, LI will have specialist infantry, Firepower will have a force mix, Defensive will focus on infantry and artillery, Mobility will have a focus on tanks and mechanized. All airforces will be assumed to be of equal size)
- LI will likely lose a lot of forces in european fighting, due to the lack of bad terrain and specialist units being brushed aside generally unless fighting in their specific terrain. Manpower would do pretty well if they get enough of a force concentration, but a sudden mass counterattack and push by Mobility would be potentially deadly. Firepower could do a pretty good matchup to disrupt Mobility armored formations with their and quickly mobilized mechanized infantry to counterattack their armored thrusts. Defensive focus would likely get annihilated in any kind of shorter conflict but a protracted one with an extremely well focussed front and 2 or 3 territory deep defensive positions behind the front lines might stall and allow for counterattacks against Manpower, Mobility and Firepower. Firepower would cause horrendous losses to the more numerous but less trained Manpower doctrines.
Winner: Its a close matchup, but this one probably ends up going to Firepower. The closest second is Mobility, which with its higher GDE can still punch through a defensive area, but cannot contend with mechanized mass counterattacks. If equally led, it would probably be a draw, but this is assuming Firepower can stall a tank blitz.
I wrote a new section to it, but the fucking thing erased itself. To sum up the ending:=
In Russia, Mobility wins and second is Manpower, due to Mobility being made to breach lightly defended sectors and destroying encircled units.
In Asia, LI wins due to all other faction's lack of ability to fight in bad infrastructure terrain.
BEST LAND DOCTRINE
In the end, the award for best doctrine goes to MOBILITY, for different factors. First, its not the most expensive when it comes to IC, at least not as much as Firepower needs to exploit its full advantages. Second, it allows for encirclements and destruction, which means that you can exploit weak sectors better than any other doctrine can. Third, it gives the highest GDE possible out of all other doctrines, up to a maximum of 140, while all other doctrines can reach around 115 or 120. To conclude, the best doctrine in the game is MOBILITY.
Thank you for your time, gentlemen, and sorry about the delay.