Mobilization and the Reserves
“The people will save their government, if the government itself will allow them.”
Introduction to mobilization
Mobilization is the ace-up-the-sleeve of every country in Victoria. Mobilization is the process of taking large numbers of POPs and conscripting them to serve in the armed forces.
The mobilization interface
Every country can create a mobilization pool. To do this, open up the military screen and look at the bottom right. There you should see three buttons:
This increases by the number of divisions you can mobilize by four. Increasing mobilization can be accomplished once every 6 months of game time.
This calls all your marked POPs for draft duty. Mobilization takes a full two months from the day the button is pressed, so plan ahead.
This reduces by five the number of divisions you can mobilize. This can be important to do if you find that you’re spending way too much money on military costs, but it is a rare button to find yourself in need of pressing.
Cost of increasing mobilization
The cost for creating four new mobilization divisions is only fourty small arms and fourty canned food. Most importantly, it costs no cash or immediate manpower, meaning that you can build up large mobilization pools to use if someone ever becomes brash enough to try to invade you.
Limits to size of mobilization pool
There are a maximum number of divisions that any country can mobilize. This is tied directly to the size of your population, and prevents, for example, Sardinia-Piedmont from having eight million man armies unless they’ve conquered or grown enough to support it.
What happens when you mobilize?
When you mobilize, wait three months, and you should be able to deploy all the divisions you can mobilize. They will appear in provinces across your country, reflecting the location where their supporting POP lives (or you can deploy them manually to a specific province). These divisions can be full-strength, ten thousand man armies (though the actual size depends on your level of army maintenance when you hit the “Mobilize” button), and immediately armed and ready for action. You also receive a huge temporary boost in manpower in order to reinforce any losses your mobilized troops may take in combat. This boost disappears after you have demobilized. The size of the boost is determined by your defense spending level at the time of mobilization.
One thing you can do is use that extra manpower to build new units for your standing army, but this should only be done in emergencies because once you have demobilized, the extra boost is taken away. Recall that there is no limit to how far manpower can drop, so if you use up the boost on anything other than the already existing army, upon demobilization you will most likely have a large negative manpower.
Benefit of simply having a mobilization pool
Mobilization potential is what can prevent small countries like Switzerland or Denmark, which may have problems supporting a large standing army, being swallowed up by the larger powers, since the mobilization pool is taken into account when evaluating military strength.
The back-side of mobilization
But, like many seemingly wonderful abilities in Victoria, mobilization does not come free. When you mobilize your troops, the game will draw on the POPs it has assigned to the draft. These will be the men working your economy—Craftsmen, Clerks, Farmers, Laborers—and their jobs will be vacant until they return, unless you have other workers who can fill them. Therefore, in heavily industrialized countries, mobilizing troops for long periods (ala First World War) can tank an economy. Also, the POPs supporting your mobilized troops absorb the combat losses suffered in wars, so the POPs returning to the factories and farms after the conflict is over will be smaller. Some may even have been eliminated altogether.
Most importantly, all POPs that have been mobilized do not return to their original jobs or development levels. In fact, Clerks and Craftsmen, when demobilized, reappear as Farmers and Laborers. This feature can really tank an economy.
Restriction on when you can demobilize
Remember one more thing about mobilization—it is effective for the duration of the war. You cannot demobilize while still at war.
Reserves as in "newly constructed units"
Reserves are a strange little position somewhere between mobilized troops and a standing army. There are two areas that generally fall under the title “reserves”. The first is the place where all your newly constructed standing army units go, awaiting deployment. To look into the real, click on the box surrounding the “Recruit new division” and “Commission new ship/flotilla” buttons.
Reserves as in "newly mobilized units"
The second area, more often referred to when somebody mentions reserves, is the place where all your mobilized troops go after the two month period has passed but before they have been deployed. This is accessible by clicking the box around the section of the military screen that deals with mobilization. Joining them here are other troops—cavalry, infantry, or dragoons—that come to you through events. Occasionally, an event will fire telling you that “young nobles join our army” or “recruits rally to the flag”, giving you a free division. These are available in this reserve pool.
Reserves as in "units I had to withdraw all of a sudden"
Also appearing in this reserve pool are any military units that may have been in lands you sold. If you have a division in land that you give to another country through a diplomatic action, you will find that it disappears. Fear not, it is hiding in your reserve pool and can be redeployed to its home province after a short amount of time has passed.
Reserve troops can be deployed at any time, and you do not have to mobilize your pool in order to do so. To deploy your reserve troops, simply click the “Deploy all to home” button at the bottom of the reserve screen. To deploy manually, click on the specific unit and then on the province to which you want it deployed.