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HOI4 (Hearts of Iron IV): Romania Guide – Dominate the USSR

HOI4 (Hearts of Iron IV) Romania Guide - Dominate the USSR

Hearts of Iron IV (HOI4) stands as an exceptional grand strategy game, entrusting players with the mantle of a nation’s leader, granting them unprecedented control over their country’s destiny. Developed by the esteemed minds at Paradox Interactive, this latest installment of the beloved series aims to faithfully recreate the historical magnitude and complexity of the Second World War. Among the nations poised on a knife’s edge, Romania finds itself in a precarious position, holding abundant oil resources while its neighbors cast covetous glances at its territory. Balancing on the precipice, Romania has the potential to become a significant player in HOI4, provided it treads cautiously. In this article, we shall delve into Romania’s challenging situation, exploring the optimal strategies to secure both Balkan and global dominance in HOI4.

Romania Starting Position in HOI4

With their gains from the Great War, one would think that Romanian hegemony in the Balkans would at least be secure, but this is far from the truth.

To their west, a vengeful Hungary is awaiting an opportunity to recover its lost territory with the help of its new ally, Germany. To the east, the USSR casts its wandering eye on Bessarabia, reclaiming it in the name of the Communist revolution.

Lest we not forget, Bulgarian claims on Romanian territories remain, and the Prussia of the Balkans will not be an easy opponent either. In addition to supporting Hungary’s claim, Germany remains ever-looming, with a quick takeover always in the cards, especially when the goal is to secure Romania’s oil reserve, a vital resource for the massive German war machine.

Technology-wise, Romania is behind the times and relies heavily on infantry equipment in HOI4. The three research slots to start off with do not do much to help catch up with the technological advantage of either the Soviet Union or Germany.

A chronic lack of any resource apart from oil makes Romania heavily dependent on imports to help boost its war production. Its initial industry is small, with 7 military factories, 11 civilian factories, and 2 naval dockyards.

Military-wise, Romania can call upon a decent army with 22 infantry divisions, 4 cavalry divisions, 4 mountaineer divisions, and a light tank division in HOI4. The navy and air force remain woefully outdated and need more investment to be viable fighting forces.

With only one wildcard to worry about, Romania’s political position is fairly safe for now, though extremists are waiting for an opportunity to take over the nation. Though one should be aware to limit the King’s excesses as soon as possible in order to prevent lasting damage from being incurred.

King Carol’s Path for Romania in HOI4

This path will see Romania remain a monarchy in HOI4 as it looks to conquer the Balkans and aid the Germans in their invasion of the Soviet Union. On this path, we will look to establish Romania as the only superpower in Europe by 1944–1945 in HOI4.

Opening Military Moves

Since a lot of the national focuses for Romania in HOI4 require enough manpower in the field, our focus should be on training new divisions. Train at least 20 infantry divisions and set their priority to the highest so that we can rush the focuses to puppet the Balkans. Convert all other divisions to the infantry template and leave them as is.

Create an army group with two armies (the composition is up to you). Set the army group along the Bulgarian border since they will be our first target.

With our limited military production, we should be focusing on the following:

  • 4 military factories for infantry equipment
  • 1 military factory each for artillery, support equipment, and trains

Combine our fighter squadrons into a single one and assign it to the first army. Leave the Navy alone for now since it cannot do anything to even remotely help us.

If we have enough army XP in the future through training or battles, we should go along with the Superior Firepower land doctrine since it perfectly suits our form of warfare.

Opening Economic Moves

We cannot afford to construct any civilian factories, as anything we do will be largely affected by the King’s lifestyle in the early game. Instead, we’ll be fortifying the provinces of Bessarabia, Bukovina, and Southern Bessarabia to keep Greater Romania safe in HOI4. The goal here is to make these provinces a bastion to hold back the inevitable Soviet advance.

Start off by maximizing the infrastructure level of all provinces. Once this is complete, focus on building level 4 forts on each tile stretching from Poland to the Soviet Union. Ideally, it’d be better to start land fort construction after the Fortify the Borders focus has been completed.

Likewise, build the maximum amount of anti-aircraft in the entirety of Romania since our air force will not be able to contest the Soviets in HOI4. After this is done and the King’s lifestyle has been curbed, we can start focusing on civilian industries and military factories.

The ideal goal here is to get 10 free civilian factories to help speed up construction, while the rest should be allocated to military factory construction. You should avoid building in North Transylvania, as the Hungarians might ask for it, warning an early war with Germany.

Opening Political Moves

To start our political maneuvers for Romania in HOI4, our main goal here is to get rid of the King’s lifestyle excesses so that his many events will no longer fire. If you do encounter any of the events pertaining to the King’s lifestyle, take the industrial hit instead of the political one since the latter is greatly needed to modernize and speed up Romania’s capacity for war.

Start off with the focus Institute Royal Dictatorship to turn the nation into a non-aligned one. Following this, take the Revise the Constitution focus to give the King a bonus in appointing new advisors, changing laws, and assigning military leaders. Once this is done and we have enough political power, change the conscription laws so that we can start gaining the manpower needed for our divisions in training.

Take the Royal Foundation focus next to get the extra research slot needed for us to quickly catch up with the rest of Europe. Next, we proceed with Balkan Dominance to open up our conquest path. Once we have conquered new nations, we should opt to annex them rather than puppet them, since the former gives us access to their industries.

It’s your choice if you want to keep Carol or do King Michael’s Coup and get him to power, though that is a longer and more complicated path. Either way, as long as you generally avoid turning to the fascist paths you should be good with either King Carol II or King Michael.

Following Political Moves for Romania in HOI4

Keep saving up PP since we need it for our conquests. If possible, appoint Gheorghe Argeseanu for the extra political power. After this, focus on these political concerns first before stabilizing the country’s stability and providing war support:

  • ROMLOC (Industrial Concern)
  • Limited Conscription (Conscription Law)
  • Free Trade (Trade Law)
  • Petru Groza (Backroom Backstabber)
  • Gheorghe Potopeanu (Military Theorist)
  • Nicolae Malaxa (Captain of Industry)
  • Gheorghe Avramescu (Infantry Expert)
  • Ion Antonescu (Army Offense)
  • PZinz (Tank Designer)

The idea behind this is to focus on building our industry via increasing research speed (ROMLOC), getting more civilian factories (Free Trade), and boosting construction speed (Captain of Industry).

Similarly, the military aspects focuses on increasing manpower (Limited Conscription), increasing infantry capabilities (Infantry Expert), granting offensive bonuses (Army Offense), allowing for easier unlocking of land doctrines (Military Theorist), and making armored vehicles more reliable (Tank Designer).

The Backroom Backstabber appointment is intended to counter Germany and Italy’s fascist influence later on in the game.

Once all these appointments are completed, you can start focusing on increasing the nation’s stability, war support, and ruling party popularity via the decisions tab. Focus on eliminating all democratic, communist, and fascist influence to give extra stability.

Making Our Moves in the Balkans

At this point, our divisions in training should be ready to be deployed. Choose to manually deploy them regardless of their training since we need them for the manpower requirement. Continue placing them along the Bulgarian border since they are our first opponents.

Take the Puppet Bulgaria focus, and if they accept, then we have our first and only puppet (we’ll need them to create a buffer zone between the Soviets later on). Should they choose to resist (which is not usually the case), our strong army should make quick work of them. At the peace conference, opt to puppet Bulgaria instead of annexing it for the reasons mentioned above.

While waiting for the next war against Yugoslavia, be sure to train your army divisions to at least have regular experience. Likewise, if you have any extra manpower, more divisions wouldn’t hurt, especially since our plans include spreading our reach to even the Anatolian mountains.

Take the Divide Yugoslavia focus and be sure to only invite Hungary. They will typically focus on Croatia, so our focus should be on Macedonia, Serbia, and Montenegro. Claim all of Yugoslavia’s provinces so that our occupation will go smoothly.

Once all provinces have a claim, submit an ultimatum. This will work the same way as the Bulgarian one. If they submit, then war can be avoided, but if they don’t, we only need to conquer them once more.

Choose to annex all provinces and not leave any Yugoslav puppets behind since we need their manpower and factories for our future world conquest.

The Hungarians and Czechs

Now we move our focus to the Hungarians. Take the Align Hungary focus to antagonize the Hungarians since they rarely submit peacefully. The most they’ll do is offer a treaty of friendship, but this should be declined at all times.

Invade Hungary and annex them since their armies will not be able to even resist our under-strengthened divisions.

Following this, our next goal is to split Czechoslovakia. Take the Split Czechoslovakia focus once we have met the 500k manpower requirement. In most cases, Germany will agree to this, and Slovakia will become a Romanian puppet.

At this point, our initial infrastructure building should be complete. Finish the Fortify the Borders focus and then start the fort construction along the Polish and Soviet borders.

The Greeks and the Turks

Greece is our next target for annexation, and to this end, take the Secure Greece focus. We should be able to roll over their armies once again, and once this is over, annex the entire nation into our Empire.

We would be moving against the Turks next, but the manpower requirement makes it impossible at this point.

To remedy this, take the following focuses:

  • His Majesty’s Loyal Government
  • Militarize the Sentinels
  • All Parties Must End

The first focus will give us bonus political power that will help us complete our appointments faster. The second focus will grant us a +1% increase in recruitable population and a bonus in division recovery. The last focus will be to get rid of the King’s lifestyle events and give a daily boost to the non-aligned party.

Once done, we should have enough manpower to deploy the 750k needed to take the focus. Complete the focus Secure the Bosporus and start planning for the conquest of Turkey.

Here’s the tricky part: if we are too slow to cross the Bosporus, the Turkish army on the other side will just sit on their buttocks and wait for us to slowly exhaust our men.

To fix this, we need to focus on speed and divide our army group into two. One will advance past Istanbul and towards Izmit. The other will take the land route to Bursa. Both armies will meet up once again in Ankara and combine once again to finally capitulate the Turks.

At the peace conference, annex every province save Trabzon and Van. Give those two provinces to Bulgaria in order to create the buffer zone that was mentioned earlier. And now we are done with the Balkan nations.

Holding Back the Soviets as Romania in HOI4

Before we deal with the Soviets, we have to rearrange our infantry division to have instead 6 infantry battalions, 2 artillery battalions, a support artillery company, an engineer company, and other support companies (like recon or anti-air). Keep training the men until they reach regular experience.

When the war with the Soviets starts, we should have at least four fully stacked armies. Set three of them along the Soviet and Polish borders, with the last one remaining in Turkey, to stop any Soviet naval invasions. Since our navy is incapable of stopping the Black Sea Fleet, we have no choice but to let the Soviets land so that we may encircle them.

Guarantee Finland to bring Romania into the Winter War on the defensive side (for that sweet war defensive bonus). After that, create your own faction with Finland so that they will not negotiate a separate peace with the Soviets.

From here on, we have to hold on against the Soviets until they have at least suffered 2 million casualties. The plan here is to slowly wear down the Soviets against our forts and then counterattack when the time is right. After this, it should be a quick run to Moscow.

Train armored divisions as soon as possible to lead our inevitable counterattack. They should be composed of six medium tank battalions and four motorized infantry.

Do not bring Bulgaria into the war since they are a buffer state and will prevent a second front from opening. If the Soviets open up the Caucasus for an attack, our army will not be able to endure that.

Related: HOI4 (Hearts of Iron IV): 7 Best Tank Designs

Pushing against the Soviets

At this point, time is of the essence, as the Germans will be launching their own invasion soon. Once the Soviet front line is undermanned, launch an attack straight for Leningrad. The idea here is to cut off the Germans from taking any more of the Soviet victory points.

Once done, the Soviets should be easy pickings since much of their army lies dead on the Romanian front. Enricle any stragglers and eliminate them completely before completing the conquest of Russia.

At the peace conference, take all the coastal areas first and foremost to prevent the AI from taking any of the inland states. Of most importance is the area around Vladivostok, since it will be our main base of operations against Japan.

Take Continuous Repairs to quickly bring the Soviet Union’s damaged industry back up to standard, and now we’re talking business. Produce as much equipment as possible and start moving towards armored, motorized, and mechanized divisions, as well as producing the latest fighter planes, close air support, and tactical bombers.

Related: HOI4 (Hearts of Iron IV): 8 Best Plane Designs

Taking the Japanese On

Now we have to deal with Germany, but since their armies are too strong for us to deal with realistically, we need to find ways to look for manpower, and there is an easy path for this: China. With its massive manpower pool, China will be our source of manpower moving forward.

To achieve this end, we need to make sure that China has fully capitulated to Japan. Once this is complete, we need to start justifying against Manchukuo since Japan will be guaranteed by Germany and Italy at this point and we cannot take on all three members of the Axis at once.

Be sure to have researched all naval transport technology at this point. From Vladivostok, prepare two invasion armies (24 divisions each) to land in Northern Japan (Hokkaido or Tohoku) and Central Japan (Kansai, Koshinetsu, or Hokuriku) through the Sea of Japan.

To ensure the invasion plan proceeds, assign all naval vessels (you should have been building convoy units for at least 300 convoys and assigning all other naval dockyards to destroyer and light cruiser production) to Vladivostok and set them on convoy escort duty.

Assign at least an army group to deal with Manchukuo, and once our invasion starts, activate the naval invasion plans. With two armies landing on Japan, the hope is that one of them will be able to succeed and that once we push the Japanese out of their homeland, victory is inevitable. Failure on this front is not an option.

At the peace conference, take all territories from Japanese puppets first, lest the Allies establish their own puppets. After taking all the territory possible from Japan and her puppets, release China (ideally Communist China) as your puppet.

Moving Against the Germans

With China as our puppet in HOI4, we can start to transition the burden of providing manpower from Romania to China.

To do this, simply move to the recruit and deploy tab, view the template of your puppet (this can be found to the left of the division designer button), copy a template from your Chinese puppet, and then edit it to fit your needs.

What this does is ensure that the majority of the manpower of the division will be Chinese, while Romanian manpower will be minimal at best. Start training to bring the total number of divisions to 500–600. Those should be enough divisions and enough troops to face Central Europe.

Continue building up an air force that can support all fronts (especially the German and Italian fronts). Don’t neglect to research the latest technology possible on air power and armored vehicles.

Be sure to counter all Fascist influence in Romania because if the fascist support reaches 70%, the Iron Guard (Garda de Fier) will start a civil war. Try to counter them with the Democratic Crusader advisor and continuous anti-fascist measures.

Once all troops have been trained, set up three army groups (at least 360 divisions) against the Germans themselves: an army group against the Italians in the Alps, an army against the Italians in Albania and Zara, an army against the Dodecanese, and an army against Syria if Vichy France exists and is under German control.

When this is all in play, we may start a war with the Germans already. A good strategy here is to wait for the Germans to start releasing protectorates so that they may no longer have access to the manpower and industrial capacity of that nation.

Related: HOI4 (Hearts of Iron IV): How to Use Nukes

The Endgame

As with the Soviets earlier on, our strategy revolves around exhausting the German and Italian war machines and grinding millions of casualties on their end.

Once most of their army is understrength, send all army groups in Germany and Italy on the offensive (with planning bonuses, of course).

With proper air support and well-supplied troops, it should not be a big deal to push past the German and Italian defenses. If Nationalist Spain needs to be conquered as well, take the route through France to get there.

At the peace conference, take all possible territories, including those of the Allies. Focus first on the puppets and colonial holdings in order to move ahead of the Allies.

Final Victory

With most of the aggressive nations already under our boot, it is fairly easy swimming from now on for the Romanian Empire. Press claims against the United Kingdom and quickly land forces on their mainland to force a surrender.

The United States would definitely be a harder nut to crack, but eventually, they too would capitulate under the mass of Chinese soldiers.

Once all wars are complete and there are no more competitors, we may finally annex China once again into the Empire.

And that is all you need to know about how to dominate Europe as Romania in HOI4. Check out other interesting HOI4 guides and articles:

Based in Santa Rosa, Philippines, Jonathan Ledesma is a Freelance Writer for Raider King.
Jonathan Ledesma
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