How to Beat Large Army of Militias in Darkest Hour: A Hearts of Iron Game

This guide details on how to fight with a crappy but large army of militas against (mainly) British imperialism.

First things first

I assume you already know the basics of the game, so no need to go into those. Someone might know an even better strategy, but here’s how I fought the imperialists and won.

When you start the game, pause and go to Decisions. First select ‘Minimum wage’ and then the ‘none’ option, then set Taxes to ‘minimum’. This will give you a nice IC boost. I recommend changing your policy as much towards Free market as you can since we will be upgrading our forces a ton. When you get rid of the 3 dissent you get from the decisions made earlier, choose Indoctrination from the Decisions page to get 1 policy point towards Hawk lobby. Again, this will help with the upgrades to come. Finally, prolong Terms of service.

Economic policy

I chose not to produce anything, because you already have an ample force of 32 divisions and you don’t have too much time if you wish to gain anything from the Great War. Try to allocate as much IC as possible towards upgrades while still producing enough supplies that you can make money by selling them before entering the war. I used all spare change to spam Invest in national research, because your tech teams are quite wimpy and of course there will be some dissent. You could invest into National development plan also to get more IC, but that’s more expensive and the starting TC modifier will probably be fine since we won’t be attacking on all fronts simultaneously.


I initially researched 1870 construction engineering, the two tabulating machines, all the logistics techs and infantry tech until 1914. Try to time your investments into National Research in times when both techs are under 50% researched if possible to maximize efficiency.

I suggest not to research any of the Great War doctrines since they will hinder the movement of your troops. The local infrastructure is minimal and as mentioned distances are quite long, so you’ll be wanting your army to be as mobile as possible.

Creating a proper army

Next step is upgrading some of those militas to infantry, but not all of them at the same time. Choose a few armies that will be attacking initially, prioritize their upgrades and of course select INF from their upgrade menus. The militias may be crappy, but can defend your territory well enough when dug in, especially since there are a ton of rivers nearby. You should avoid attacking with them whenever possible and let only the selected units that will become Infantry do the dirty work at first. That way you can do with less IC in Reinforcements.

Once the attacking armies have been upgraded to infantry you can start gradually uprading the remaining militas to INF. You might considering researching and building some engineers at some point, but I did OK without them. Just avoid attacking over rivers for starters, unless you use 2 armies against inferior enemy numbers.

War, war never changes

When you have upgraded your initial attacking armies to mostly infantry, it’s time to attack. Consider aligning yourself with the Central Powers: joining Germany’s alliance won’t give you nearly as much dissent as declaring war to the Entente. Additionally, when Germany hopefully wins the Great War, the events will automatically ensure there’s peace and you won’t have to deal with UK forces all alone after the war ends in Europe. And you can always leave the alliance after the war if you like.

First objectives should be Assab, Massawa, Djibouti, Mogadishu and the rest of Somalia. You shouldn’t have too much trouble capturing Somalia, the couple of times I played as Abyssinia the Italians sent only a couple of divisions to defend their possessions. The British however are another story, they usually send numerous divisions to the north, west and south borders. But since hopefully you joined the war at a point when the Ottomans haven’t been defeated yet, those dirty Imperialists should have their hands full at other fronts.

At the same time, you could send some forces to the west in order to claim some Sudanese territories. If the British deploy enough forces that your still mostly militia-based western divisions can’t deal with them in some provinces, just abandon attacking in those and focus on defense until more troops are upgraded to Infantry. At this point, you can also prioritize some of the western divisions for upgrades.

Keep an eye on the European front while attacking. If the Austrians manage to enter Northern Italy, you should create puppeted Somalia immediately, or else you won’t get any territories. Same applies to Sudan, if the Germans are approaching Paris, puppet Sudan immediately. Since you don’t yet stand a chance against the Entente alone, even a couple of small puppet nations are a better gain from the war than nothing at all. They will share their research and give you supplies etc.

If you’d like to build some other attachments than engies, consider armored cars. They take only about 72 days to build, are relatively cheap IC-wise, don’t hinder your mobility and give your otherwise inferior troops some edge.

An air force of 3-4 tactical bombers would be a fantastic way to add offensive capabilities, but you’ll have to research several doctrines, the bombers itself and the 1910 construction engineering in order to build them and air bases. And since distances between provinces in the vicinity are quite long, you’d get only limited use from those. So don’t bother with an air force yet.

Out of the war

Hopefully the Central Powers won or you’ll be kicked in the arse by the British Imperialists by the end of the war. When the war ends you should focus on spamming IC, building any attachments you like (engineers would be helluva useful) and becoming a powerhouse nation. You’ll be left wanting those territories you couldn’t capture in the Great War, but take your time to become more powerful and wait for a suitable opportunity, such as any major war the Entente gets sucked into. I’ve yet to play into the Interwar period and beyond, so this concludes the guide for now.

Good luck bringing the Imperialist to their knees and creating a new order in Africa, commander!

This guide about Darkest Hour: A Hearts of Iron Game was written by Jormakives. You can visit the original publication from this link. If you have any concerns about this guide, please don't hesitate to reach us here.

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