“Some talk of Alexander, and some of Hercules;
Of Hector, and Lysander, and such great names as these;
But of all the world’s brave heroes, there’s none that can compare
With a tow, row, row, row, row for the British Grenadier.”
-The British Grenadiers
Introduction to the military and the army
Running the military is an important aspect of a successful game of Victoria. Given the aggressiveness of the contest between Great Powers, the military can often mean the difference between a successful game and one of total annihilation.
Things to keep in mind when dealing with the army
When looking to build a strong standing army, several variables have to be kept in mind:
This represents the amount of soldiers that can be currently sent to fight. Manpower allows you to raise new divisions and reinforce existing ones. This number depends on the number and size of soldier POPs you have in your country, their rate of growth, and the level of defense and maintenence spending you have. The higher the spending, the faster your manpower rises and the higher the maximum level becomes. There is always a maximum manpower, but never a minimum. If your country gets screwed in the war manpower can go negative, possibly even very negative. You get no monthly growth then until you convert additional soldier POPs or dismiss existing military units.
Leadership points represent the strength of your country’s officer corps. The more Officer POPs you have, the higher your leadership points. These are useful for two things: Colonies and producing generals. Defense spending influences leadership points in much the same way as it affects manpower points.
One of the most under recognized tools in the military arsenal by new players, generals can make or break an army. For more information, see War#Leaders
Building military units
To build a new military unit, click first on the cannon icon in the top right hand corner of the task bar. This takes you to the military management screen. Here you can train new generals, commission new ships, or recruit new divisions. To build a ship, click on the “Commission new ship/flotilla” button”; to recruit a new division, click on the “Setup a new division button”. Each division, fully reinforced, can consist ten thousand men.
Types of units
In the recruitment of divisions, you will have various choices to make regarding their composition. The first is the type of unit. In Victoria, there are four types of units:
These are troops that represent pre-modern forms of military technology. These cannot be built by civilized countries, but for many uncivilized countries they will be the only troops you can build at the outset. The weaknesses of irregulars are many. It's possible for twenty thousand well-equipped Regular troops to defeat upwards of a hundred thousand irregulars.
These are the basic, gun-wielding ranks of men who march into battle. These are the staple of every modern army and should form the backbone of every substantial military force in Victoria.
These are the men who ride on horseback, useful for breaking lines, scouting operations, or quick maneuvers behind enemy lines. Cavalry are noted for their speed, which is their greatest asset.
These are a type of soldier trained to fight both mounted and on foot. These move faster than infantry, but not as fast as cavalry. They are good supporting units for clearing up the partisans that develop after an army has occupied enemy territory.
Once you have selected the type of unit you wish to build (infantry, cavalry, or dragoon), you must select whether it will have any attachments. Attachments modify the variables of the division itself. For example, divisions with engineering brigades attached will be able to dig in more substantially. Divisions with artillery brigades attached will receive a bonus in offense and in defense. Of course, these divisions tend to move more slowly, but they also add two thousand more men to the total count of the division. For a complete list of attachments and their modifiers, see below.
Next, you must choose the quality of the unit. There are four quality levels in Victoria:
These soldiers are the standard, well-trained troops produced by civilized countries.
These are the troops raised from the colonies of a given country. The men come from the stock of your national culture in that colony, and are based there as well. If the colony has already been granted statehood, these soldiers will be of Regular quality.
These are troops coming from the conscription and mobilization (see below) programs of civilized countries.
These troops are the result of native populations being trained by trained, civilized professional soldiers. These soldiers are equal in quality to Regular quality troops except for a penalty of negative two towards reliability (see below).
The cost to maintain a native division is 10% of that of a regular quality division. The build screen does not say this, but if you look at the ledger, you will see that a native division is 10% of the cost of a regular quality division. The implication is that if you think your army budget is too expensive, then you might want to train native troops.
If there is no attached brigade, The fire power of a native division is the same as a regular quality division. If an artillery brigade is attached, the native division will have somewhat less fire power than a similarly equipped regular quality division.
For most military production, you will not be able to select the type of quality. Rather, it will be assigned to the unit based on its home province and the culture from which it was recruited (see below).
Next, you must choose the culture of the men forming the division. Recall how in the “POPs” section, it was described that each POP has a specific culture attached to it. The game records how many of each of your soldier POPs pertain to particular cultures, and reflects those numbers in your ability to build troops.
Cultural limitations on number of divisions
Each division, recall, is ten thousand men. Recall also that you have a limited number of soldier POPs, each of a given size. Each time you build a division you use up a certain number of these soldiers in the process. There is, therefore, a limit on how many divisions of that culture you can build at any time. The limit reflects the amount of soldiers in your country (note: actual soldiers, not soldier POPs. The larger the soldier POP, the more soldiers it contains). If you cannot build any more divisions of a particular culture, that culture will not be selectable from the dropdown menu.
Nevertheless, there is a way to get around this restriction. If you can build any soldiers of a particular culture at all, you can avoid the restriction. To do this, amass a large amount of manpower and resources to build divisions. Once you have built up large enough stockpiles, enter the military screen and go about the process of building a new unit. As long as you can build even one division of the culture you want, you will be able to select that culture from the dropdown menu. Once it has been selected, simply increase the number of divisions as high as you can afford. Even though you may not have the proper amount of soldier POPs to pull this off, the game still allows all the divisions to be built. Though this is an exploit, it is a way around a rather restrictive part of the game. As far as is known, it is useful for any amount of divisions as long as you can build at least one division of the culture.
Finally, you must choose the home province of the unit you are building. The game not only keeps track of the cultures of the various soldier POPs, but also their home provinces, and you must select the one from which the men will be recruited. This is important because if you sell or lose in war the province from which the men are recruited, the men themselves, as well as the divisions they constitute, will disappear. For example, if Great Britain recruited most of its army from Ireland, and then granted Ireland independence, Great Britain would lose all the troops it had recruited from Ireland, as they would now be citizens of another country.
Similarly, if the province from which the army is recruited revolts, the units from that province can join the rebels. For example, any Irish military units Great Britain may have recruited could throw down the Union jack and pick up the Irish flag if their homeland rebelled.
Lastly when creating a military unit, you can examine the specific traits it has. These come in as qualities:
This is the amount of damage the unit can take before it is destroyed.
This represents the efficiency of the unit’s use in battle, as well as how fast its morale regenerates. Note that, unlike in previous patches, 1.03 has removed the bonus to province occupation time for high organization armies. Instead, there is now a bonus given to armies which share the same culture as the province they are occupying.
This determines how resolute the troops are. This is important because a unit’s morale decreases as a battle drags on, and if it runs out of morale it will retreat, even if it has not yet been destroyed.
This determines the likelihood that the unit will desert or mutiny in the field. This stat also impacts attrition, the loss of manpower while in hostile territory. Generals who receive bonuses to reliability, therefore, also reduce attrition in their command.
This is the strength of the unit in terms of actual damage-inflicting power. This represents how strong the unit’s offensive capabilities are in doing damage to the enemy’s Strength modifier.
This represents the unit’s ability to destroy the morale of the enemy.
This shows, quite literally, how well the unit can defend itself.
This shows how quickly the unit can move across the map. Speed has no meaning in a battle situation.
This determines the cost of the unit, calculate yearly, which is fed into your overall Military Spending budget slider.
As mentioned above, you can select brigades to attach to a military division. Attachments add two thousnad men to the standard division.
These are brigades of higher-trained standard soldiers. They give a bonus in the areas of fire and shock attack.
These are brigades made up of the largest soldiers, and they are highly trained. These give good organization and morale benefits, as well as the same bonuses to shock and fire attack as regulars.
These brigades improve the ability of divisions to fortify themselves by digging into the surrounding earth (entrenchment). Engineer brigades give a high morale and organization bonus, as well as a modest defensive bonus.
Artillery units were used to pummel enemies into submission from a distance. These give a high fire attack and modest shock attack bonus, but they also take a modest speed hit. On top of the bonus they give to the division itself as an attachment, artillery also give a combat bonus to any army that has it.
Fast-moving light cavalry divisions, Hussars give a high morale boost and a modest speed bonus to a cavalry division.
Known for their strength and ability to break through enemy lines, these heavy cavalry give good morale and organization boosts, as well as a decent shock attack bonus, to cavalry divisions.
Field headquarters for officer staff, these provide their divisions with a hefty organizational bonus.
Named for the tanks in a series of alternate history books by Harry Turtledove, barrels were useful for breaking through heavily fortified enemy positions. Divisions with these attached receive an extremely large shock attack bonus, but also take a good sized hit in speed. They are also supposed to have an advantage against entrenched troops, but, as of 1.03, the feature is still inactive.
Hiding your military strength from (would-be) enemies
Here’s a tried and tested little trick for those who’ve managed to read this far:
The combined strength of your army and navy are the factors that determine your overall military score, visible at the top of the main task bar to the right of your flag. This number is visible to all, and it helps you determine if you will defeat a county you are thinking of declaring war on. Now, when you build a new military unit, that new unit gets added to the calculation for your military score—but only after you deploy it. In multiplayer games, you can lull your human opponents into a false sense of security by building huge numbers of military units, but leaving them undeployed and in limbo. Then, just when your opponent thinks he’s got you over a barrel, deploy those three hundred divisions you’ve amassed and crush him before he knows what hit him. This has been tested and still works under patch 1.03.