Hearts of Iron IV: By Blood Alone DLC Guide

Having trouble defending the kingdom of Solomon on your own? Well don’t worry this guide will help you turn the Italians into pasta. A basic step by step guide after choosing to defend Ethiopia on your own.

This guide covers the “Rally around the Emperor and the Emperor Stays” focus paths up until you kick them out of your country by around 1938. You will have to hold for 2 years while you set things up for your eventual counter attack and it’s important to time it right with a certain event that triggers on escalation 8 (Mass Desertion) in the Italian army.

The basic defensive setup can also work for the other focus paths for where you hold the line, but some changes will obviously occur depending on which focus is taken and that is not covered in this guide.

 

Game Setup

The first thing you will want to do is choose your first focus tree and research.

Focus Tree Choice – The Second Italo-Ethiopian War.

Research Choices – Support Weapons 1 and Electronic Mechanical Engineering

Put all military factories on basic infantry equipment and keep producing that through the entire war. Do not switch weapon tech mid war continue producing basic equipment until you drive out the Italians.

If you just keep producing guns you will have a small surplus by the time you start your counter attack and you will be able to modify and add additional troop width to your mountain and infantry divisions later.

Army

After this you will want to create two armies one for the north and one for the south but don’t move any of the troops just yet. You should have 14 in the north army and 7 in the south similar to the image below

The only issues you will have is the south front where you will have to micro manage a little bit but not much and sometimes when the AI force attacks you (North or South) there might be times you have to trigger a last stand but this depends and will vary from game to game.

Generals

Once this is done you can choose whatever general you want for the two armies and here are some suggestions

Imru Haile Selassie or Ayalew Birru for the north army and Mulugeta Yeggazu of Illubabor for the south but as an alternative you can also use the general you get for 10 political power after you start the game or the hill fighter for the south army named Nasibu Zeamanuel (That way you don’t loose 10% exp gain from using Mulugeta)

What general you choose in the very beginning is mainly for setting up your future forces and is entirely up to you but you will have an easier time by using one that has higher defensive stats in the terrain you are in.

You will not gain a field marshal until you finish the Rally around the emperor focus a little later but you can use him if you so wish later, or simply promote one of your better generals further into the war or after it.

Mountains in the north and Hills in the south.

Defensive Lines

Take note to switch from fallback lines to Front-lines once the Italian troops have moved to the new borders in the south and for the north you can wait with that until they Annex Aussa as i explain further below and you can setup the defensive lines

North

You put the 3 bottom troops along the Aussa border as in the image while the 11 north troops you pull back to a fallback line this will be your initial starting line but will be moved slightly once Italy annexes Aussa.

Make sure to move the troops manually once you start the game and force a retreat back to the defensive line or they will get stuck being attacked by Italy.

South
The southern line will go between Harar, Gaba and the south riverline as in the image below, this line will not change throughout the entire war.

Make sure to move the troops manually once you start the game and force a retreat back to the defensive line or they will get stuck being attacked by Italy.

Game Start

Once you start the game you can play on whatever speed you are comfortable with but using this defensive line you should be able to just put it on 5 speed and simply pause if you need to do that.

However for the start of the game make sure to look out for Italy annexing Aussa the country that is your neighbor in the north once Italy does this pause the game and just move it a little slower until Italy takes the land and move your troops in to Aussa city which will be explained a little further into the guide.

Events

Sometimes there will be events that pop up that can give you extra political power / stability or factories / units. The best choice here is usually factories and units that you will want to use to reinforce your weaker defensive lines

Balance of Power Mechanic

Click on the Black square with the Icon below the Focus Tree to find the balance of power mechanics and follow the sequence of events below for how to use the initial political power you gain

You can go down either the Mesafint or Mekwanint balance of power and still win either path but this guide covers mainly going straight for Mekwanint to unlock a focus Tree later.

Opening moves
  • Save up 10 Political Power and Recall Balcho Safo from retirement – Put the 1 troop you get on the southern line and either use the general or don’t it’s up to you
  • Important Be ready to pause the game once Italy Annexes Aussa start moving 2 troops into Aussa itself once Italy has it annexed and if you time it right this should be very easy and this will give you 1 mil factory make sure to put all factories on guns
  • Save up 25 political power to go either Mesafint or Mekwanint in the political balance section this guide covers the Mekwanint side, Mesafint can also work but you will loose access to good military focus tree’s until later in the game.
  • Once you have 25 political power click on the Increase the power of the Mekwanint
  • Choose your second focus – Ecole Militaire Haile Selassie 1er Once this is finished you will get a pop up event, i recommend choosing defensive to get better stats to make things easier while defending but you can choose the others if you want.
  • When you have another 25 political power choose Support local road development
  • Do not choose any Political power people or focuses that increase the Mesafint side as that will ruin your ability to progress into the Expand The Mehal Sefari Focus once 90 days have passed
  • You will get some free political power during an even spend it on Imru Haile Selassie (Infantry specialist)
  • When you have another 25 political power you can also choose to increase research by 5%
  • Choose the Scavenging Tactics Focus once it’s done Choose Rally around the emperor and then The Emperor Stays Focuses
  • Use the next 150 political power on the political advisor Empress Menen Asfaw (This is to get enough percentage towards Mekwanint for the next focus and she also gives some nice bonuses for the troops
  • Once the Mekwanint have enough political balance and have been swayed you can choose the Expand The Mehal Sefari Focus

After this initial starting phase you can follow my focus, research and political power guide sections for the rest of the war.

Annexation of Aussa

When Italy annexes Aussa you will need to pause the game to make sure you enter the city of Aussa before Italy does. This is very important so you can gain an additional military factory

Once you have started moving into Aussa pull your troops from the one tile in the north further back to create the new defensive line as shown in the images

When the front has stabilized your new line should look like this

Defending until 1938 and Fighting back

Focus on building up political power, command power and completing the focus tree until 1938. Micro your forces whenever necessary to make sure you hold the line.

Research, Political and Command Power and Focus Tree

Look at the focus tree and political and command power segments on this guide for the order of what you should be choosing things and the various focuses, they are covered there.

Equipment Reserves

If you have put all factories on guns and gone through the research tree as described in the guide you should be making about 12 guns per day and have a surplus of about 2-3k guns before you start the counter attack.

This can be used to improve your division templates for infantry and mountain units or to create new unit divisions for the eventual push later

Fighting Back

Once Italy receives level 8 war escalation they will receive a massive temporary debuff leaving them without organization and equipment temporarily. This will be the time you will want to push.

You will want to time a specific focus tree called Northern Thrust or Victory in the desert when this escalation has 25 days remaining (10 days saved up in your focus)

Once the mass desertions event hits you will want to push your units either into the north or the south depending on where you want to attack and what focus you choose.

You can also attack both fronts during this event if you wish but it is recommended to put most of your forces on one front to push it out first leaving a smaller force to defend the other front while the Italian army recuperates.

Retaking a Front north or south

Defend the sea-line with 1 soldier on each tile around the ports (north or south) and put the rest of the soldiers onto the next front to push out the rest of the Italians.

Italy will try to naval invade if you push them to the sea and out of either the south or north before you have made peace

Once you retake a certain amount of land an event will trigger for peace, you can either accept this or keep pushing.

If you accept it you won’t be able to Annex the two Italian colonies so i recommend denying this event and pushing on but if you don’t feel comfortable being able to push out further simply accept the peace and you have now won the war against Italy.

Claiming all of Ethiopia + Italian Colonies

Once you have retaken all of the land and Italy is no longer in the Somali Sultanate or Eritrea make sure to use the Fait Accompli focus to force a peace and you will annex all of the land you have taken from Italy

From here it’s up to you how you wish to proceed!

Focus Tree

This will be a basic list of what focus tree you should pick first and in order after the first one.

You are free to pick whatever you want yourself after Expand the Mehal Sefari but i would recommend at least going down towards The junior officer corps to remove research penalty and your army will be slightly weaker if you don’t follow the below guide to instead pick up the research slot.

Just make sure that you are prepared by the time the 8th Escalation hits as explained in the guide for Victory in the desert or Northern Thrust to time those together.

The list below should time the 8th Escalation together with the Northern or Desert push

  • – The Second Italo-Ethiopian War
  • – Ecole Militaire Haile Selassie 1er
  • – Scavanging Tactics
  • – Rally around the emperor
  • – The emperor stays
  • – Expand the Mehal Sefari
  • – Standardized Tactical Training
  • – The junior officer corps
  • – Camouflage
  • – Old Reliable
  • – The Lion stands firm
  • – Heroes of Ethiopia or Learning from the enemy – Heroes will give you better stats on your military staff
  • – Volunteers
  • – Renewed Offensive
  • – The Abuna
  • – Downtime before you prepare to sync up the 8th Escalation with Northern Thrust or Victory in the desert focuses
  • – Lessons of War make sure you pick this one up before you make peace with Italy or you will not be able to pick it anymore
  • – Mercenaries this one is not as important and will just give you some extra troops to push with and usually by the time you pick this Italy will be already kicked out of their own colonies
  • – Fait Accompli Pick this only when you are ready to make peace with Italy and you have already done the focuses that get locked when you are no longer at war with them.

Anything after this is your choice as you should have won the war by now.

Political and Command Power

Political power and Command power should be used in a specific way.

The first 80 day’s before you get to war Escalation 3 you will be spending Political power as already described in the opening moves

It’s important you do not deviate and pick an advisor that gives Mesafint political balance or you will loose access to Expand the Mehal Sefari for a long time.

    Opening Political power usage

  • – 10 Political Power to Recall Balcho Safo
  • – 25 Political Power to Increase the power of the Mekwanint
  • – 25 Political Power to Support local road development
  • – 25 Political Power to Increase research grants
  • – 150 Political Power for Imru Haile Selassie (Once you hit War Escalation 3)
  • – 150 Political power for Empress Menen Asfaw

Political power usage after activating Expand the Mehal Sefari can be completely up to you, fill the Military staff and get the advisors first then add the Theorist, don’t spend military exp unless it’s on army command before you get the reduced cost focus for Doctrines later.

Lastly get War economy and Extensive conscription once you have gotten the focus Expand the Mehal Sefari while you are still at war.

That way you will have a lot more manpower after the war and still be on war economy after it.

Research

Research is pretty straight forward you only have 2 slots unless you go down the route for the extra slot but that will weaken your army so i don’t recommend it until the war is over.

Things that help your basic weapons and Radios will be the most useful with the machine tools for extra production efficiency.

  • – Support weapons 1
  • – Electronic Mechanical Engineering
  • – Radio
  • – Basic Machine tools
  • – Improved Machine tools
  • – Weapons 1 Don’t switch to guns 1 or you will lose production mid war.
  • – Improved Infantry Equipment 1
  • – Support Weapons 2

Anything after this should be after the war with Italy and will be up to you to decide, of course you can try different combinations this is just what i have found to work best and give your basic infantry upgrades.


Thanks to AgentSmith for his excellent guide, all credit to his effort. if this guide helps you, please support and rate it via Steam Community. enjoy the game.

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Post Author: Robins Chew

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