HOI IV Minor Nation Overview: Finland (2024)

The Hearts of Iron IV expansion Arms Against Tyranny, released in October 2023, was probably the largest rework of this popular WW2 grand strategy game to date. Among other things, it added an international arms market, special forces doctrines, military industrial organizations, as well as new focus trees and units for the Scandinavian countries.

The depth and breadth of additional material for Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark is impressive and makes those countries more interesting to play than the major powers. Being surrounded by strong potential enemies and hamstrung by limited resources forces you to adopt innovative and unconventional strategies just to survive.

If you wish to dive in and play as Finland, that plucky country known for giving Stalin cold sweats, all the additions and improvements can feel overwhelming. Here is a brief overview of the new political, military, and economic considerations you’ll face.

Advantages

National Focuses

Finland is a nation of quality over quantity, especially since the release of Arms Against Tyranny. Its new Focus Tree is designed to turn Finland into a regional powerhouse, adding free civilian and military factories, infrastructure, dockyards, naval bases, supply hubs, and more. Certain focuses create new divisions and division templates, give you free military leaders, subsidies to buy foreign equipment on the new international market, and more.

Unit Buffs and Bonuses

Most importantly, the new Focus Tree turns Finland into the perfect country for winter warfare, with large buffs to cold acclimatization and protection against winter attrition. In my opinion, it grants unrealistic bonuses to the country’s armed forces. The Finns were good at fighting in winter, yes, but they’re still human. I don’t have enough space to list out all the bonuses given to its ground, air, and naval forces.

Among other National Spirits is ‘Sisu’, which buffs division attrition, recovery rate, and attack and defense on core territory. Sisu is a Finnish word to express an extraordinary determination in the face of extreme adversity. ‘Finnish Army’, ‘Finnish Airforce’, and ‘Finnish Navy’ are other National Spirits that are modified to provide a long list of bonuses.

Future updates will probably roll these back a little.

Disadvantages

Resources and Manufacturing

Unlike its neighbor Sweden, Finland begins the game with almost no natural resources or manufacturing. Its 13 Steel and 2 Chromium can be increased by a few National Focuses, but otherwise, it is completely reliant on trade. That is unfortunate because it only has 7 Civilian Factories in 1936, 3 of which are dedicated to consumer goods. Completing the industrial focuses adds an additional 38 Steel and 18 Chromium. ‘Mineral Wealth’ in the democratic path, ‘Mineral Wealth Development’ in the non-aligned path, or ‘Indoctrinate the Workers’ in the fascist path adds additional resources.

Manpower Shortage

Finland begins the game with a core population of 3.81 million with Limited Conscription, giving you 6,660 free manpower to create new divisions. That is barely enough to field one of Finland’s six-battalion infantry divisions. This guarantees that chronic manpower shortages will plague you throughout the game. Even with National Focuses that add bonuses to your recruitable population, a prolonged war with a major power will seriously deplete your reserves. If you take the non-aligned or fascist path, Finland has a specific National Focus called ‘Militarized Society’ to offset the negative penalties incurred with All Adults Serve and Scraping the Barrel conscription laws.

Industrial Outlook

As previously mentioned, Finland begins the game in January 1936 with a diminutive industrial base. It has 7 Civilian Factories, 3 Military Factories, and 1 Dockyard. Its economy law is set to Civilian (leaving you with 4 Civs to build with) but you are able to move to Partial Mobilization fairly quickly. The ‘Enhance Southern Infrastructure Branch’ of Finland’s Focus Tree adds free building slots and factories, but you might want to balance that with military focuses if you want to be prepared in time to fend off the Soviet Union in the winter of 1939/1940. Running through the entire sub-focus takes 1,085 days, technically 1,190 (roughly 39.6 months or 3.3 years) because two military focuses are required to unlock the whole branch.

Arms Against Tyranny replaces the concept of Design Companies with Military Industrial Organizations, the mechanics of which are beyond the scope of this article. Players of previous Hearts of Iron iterations will be somewhat familiar with the concept, which replaces the “leave it and forget it” Design Companies with dynamically evolving arms manufacturers that add new bonuses to specific types of military equipment that get better over time. However, you should be aware of the following Finnish Industrial Organizations it added.

DesignerApplied toStarting Effect
Valtion KivääritehdasInfantry WeaponsProduction efficiency cap +3%
Soft attack +3%
Research bonus +5%
Valtion TykkitehdasArtilleryProduction output cost -3%
Research bonus +5%
Sisu AutoAutomotiveResearch bonus +5%
Valtion PanssaritehdasTanksArmor +5%
Max Speed -5%
Research bonus +5%
Valtion LentokonetehdasAircraftProduction output +3%
Research bonus +5%
Crichton-VulcanShipsSurface visibility -5%
Research bonus +5%

Assigning MIOs to research or production accumulates “funds”, which leads to unlocking bonuses in a branching tree. Some Finnish National Focuses unlock free advancement and bonuses to fund accumulation for select MIOs.

Military Overview

Arms Against Tyranny turns Finland’s military into a sleeping giant. It begins the game in January 1936 with 10 under-strength infantry divisions, 7 garrison divisions, and 1 cavalry division. It has no air force, 2 heavy cruisers, and 4 submarines. Though you will always struggle with manpower shortages, the new National Focus tree adds many new units, ship designs, research bonuses and factories to grow and strengthen your military.

Unique Units

The sheer number and amount of detail devoted to new units in Arms Against Tyranny is a testament to the game designers and developers. This DLC adds two unique Finnish support companies and at least eight division templates. The following is a summary of these new units.

HOI IV Minor Nation Overview: Finland (1)
Winter Logistics Company

The Winter Logistics Company is a unique support company that offers bonuses to fighting in winter, and it can be combined with any other support company. It is unlocked with the ‘Winter Warfare’ National Focus. The cold acclimatization gain factor is scaled down as the number of battalions increases. So, for example, the bonus is 300% for a one-battalion unit, but a typical infantry division with nine battalions will receive a 33.4% bonus. It also offers bonuses to movement, attacking, and defending in snow.

AttributeModifier
Defense+28.9
Breakthrough+2.0
Soft attack+7.8
Hard attack+0.8
Supply use+0.05
Organization-7.5
HP+2.0
Piercing-1.8
Reliability-2.5%
Weight+0.1
Cold acclimatization gain factor+300% (scaled by # of battalions)
Production cost+63.20
Manpower+500
Training time+30
Infantry Eq.+40
Support Eq.+10
Snow Movement+30.0%
Snow Attack+25.0%
Snow Defense+25.0%

The bonuses to snow movement, attack, and defense are slightly higher than those granted by Rangers after unlocking the Cold Weather Specialists special forces doctrine. These companies can coexist in the same division, but if you’re looking to get the most out of your five support company slots, you may want to choose one or the other. Remember, it’s only winter for a few months out of the year, and Finland receives bonuses to cold acclimatization elsewhere.

Long Range Patrol Company

The Long Range Patrol Company is a unique Finnish recon support company. It is unlocked with the ‘Long-Range Patrols’ National Focus, and is mutually exclusive with other recon companies, including Rangers. It has the following attributes. Unlocking ‘Utilize the Sami’ focus adds +100% to reconnaissance, +10% to snow movement, and +5% to forest, hills, mountain, marsh, plains, and river movement to Long Range Patrol companies.

AttributeModifier
Defense+22.0
Breakthrough+3.9
Soft attack+6.6
Hard attack+1.0
Reconnaissance+2.0
Initiative+2.00%
Supply use+0.04
Eq. Capture Ratio5%
HP+10.0
Reliability-2.5%
Weight+0.3
Battalion Modifier: Leg InfantryInitiative +0.02
Production cost+60.00
Manpower+500
Training time+30
Infantry Eq.+40
Support Eq.+10
River Movement+10.0%
Snow Attack & Defense+10.0%
Forest Movement
Forest Attack
+15.0%
+5.0%
Hills Movement
Hills Attack
+15.0%
+5.0%
Mountain Movement+15.0%
Plains Movement
Plains Attack
+10.0%
+5.0%
Jungle Movement+10.0%
Marsh Movement
Marsh Attack
+10.0%
+5.0%
Desert Movement+10.0%
Mustapaidat / Punakaarti Division

Mustapaidat and Punakaarti are six-battalion militia units unique to the fascist and communist versions of Finland. Mustapaidat was a short-lived Finnish paramilitary group loosely translated as “Black Shirts”. The Punakaarti or “Red Guards” were active in Finland from 1905 to 1920. Many fled to the Soviet Union following the Finnish Civil War. In game, these divisions also have an attached Engineer Company and there is a recruitment limit of 12.

Suojeluskunta Division

Suojeluskunta divisions are unique to Fascist Finland and activated through the National Focus ‘Take Over the Suojeluskunta’. Suojeluskunta were the White Guard or Civil Guard that fought the Red Guards during the Finnish Civil War of 1918. In-game, it is a four-battalion infantry division with attached Engineer, Reconnaissance, Artillery, and Anti-Air companies.

Kunnialegioona Division

The Kunnialegioona, or Legion of Honor, is an eight-battalion infantry and artillery division unlocked with the National Focus ‘Finnish Legion of Honor’. It is unique to Fascist Finland. The division contains six infantry battalions, two artillery battalions, and attached Engineer, Reconnaissance, and Artillery companies. As far as I can determine, this is an entirely fictional unit based on the French military order of the same name.

HOI IV Minor Nation Overview: Finland (2)
Rannikkorykmentti Division

One of two divisions unlocked through the Finnish Focus Tree naval sub-branch, the Rannikkorykmentti is a small garrison division consisting of three infantry battalions, an engineer company, and an artillery company, set to low priority. Rannikkorykmentti literally translates to “coastal regiment”. This template cannot be modified. It is available to all Finnish governments regardless of their ideology.

Rannikkojääkäritdivisioona Division

The Rannikkojääkäritdivisioona, or Marine Jaeger Division, is unlocked via the naval sub-branch and is available to all ideologies. It contains six Marine battalions and three attached companies: engineer, artillery, and reconnaissance. It is among the strongest Marine divisions in the game. Rannikkojääkärit translates to “coast guard”, also known as “coastal jaegers”. Historically, the June-July 1944 Battle of Vyborg Bay is considered the birth of the Finnish Coast Guard, as a combined force of Finns and Germans repelled a Russian naval invasion northwest of Leningrad.

HOI IV Minor Nation Overview: Finland (3)
Neuvostoliiton Legioon Division

The Neuvostoliiton Legioon is Communist Finland’s answer to the Legion of Honor. It contains the same number of infantry battalions and support companies, but adds an anti air artillery company. If you choose ‘Towards a Red Government’ in the Focus Tree, it will unlock a decision called ‘Infiltrate Soviet Commandos into Finland’. Taking that decision will cause several units of Neuvostoliiton Legioon to appear during the civil war that erupts when the communists seize power. “Neuvostoliiton” literally translates to “Soviet Union.” These units remain after the civil war, adding to your growing military.

Politics

Finland begins the game in 1936 as an authoritarian, non-aligned country led by Pehr Evind Svinhufvud. Historically, Pehr Evind Svinhufvud af Qvalstad (1861-1944) was a notable figure in Finland’s independence from Russia and served as the country’s third president from 1931 to 1937. He led White Finland during the Finnish Civil War in 1918. Svinhufvud was a conservative nationalist and led the National Coalition Party (NCP), or Kansallinen Kokoomus in Finnish. HOI4 abbreviates this as Kokoomus. It is the non-aligned party with 65% popularity.

The other three parties are Isänmaallinen Kansanliike (IKL), fascist, led by Vilho Annala, with 19% popularity; Suomen Kommunistinen Puolue (SKP), communist, led by Aimo Aaltonen, with 1% popularity; and Suomen Sosialidemokraattinen Puolue (SDP), democratic, led by Välnö Tanner, with 15% popularity.

Balance of Power

HOI IV Minor Nation Overview: Finland (4)

In addition to an expanded National Focus Tree, Arms Against Tyranny added a unique mechanic to Finland called Balance of Power, which measures the public trust in your national leader. Low public trust gives penalties to political power gain, stability, and war support. Conversely, high public trust gives bonuses in those areas. It also modifies your Sisu national spirit positively or negatively. Spending political power on certain decisions and taking certain national focuses can raise or lower confidence. Every national leader has their own “Personal Agenda”. Meeting these goals will raise public confidence, but failing to do so will lower it.

National Alternatives

HOI IV Minor Nation Overview: Finland (5)
Fascist Path
White Finland / Greater Finland

Choosing ‘Right-Wing Policies’ in the Finnish Focus Tree sets you on the path to create White Finland. The term “White Finland” refers to the faction of Finnish nationalists who fought the communists (or “reds”) for control of the country in 1918. You can either choose a peaceful transition to power with ‘Discredit the Democratic System’ or fight a civil war by choosing ‘Prepare a Military Coup.’ In my opinion, the peaceful transition is better even though takes longer because it preserves your manpower, which is pitifully low.

Going down this path will allow you to join the Axis or form your own faction called the Finnish Supremacy League. You can also change your nation into “Greater Finland” after completing the National Unity path all the way to the bottom.

Vilho Annala is leader of White Finland. Historically, Vilho Annala (1888–1960) was an economist and co-founder of the nationalist Patriotic People’s Movement (IKL). He served as a member of parliament and Minister of Transport and Public Works during the Second World War.

In HOI4, Annala has the “Economic Reformer” trait, which grants -15% consumer goods factories factor, -33% trade laws cost, and -33% economy laws cost. His personal agenda is “Strong Nation.” Having more than 300,000 manpower in the field and less than 5% surrender progress while at war will increase public trust. Having more than 9% support for democratic or communist ideologies will decrease public trust.

Unlocking the ‘National Fanaticism’ focus will change Annala’s trait to “Architect of Finnish Corporatism”, which in addition to the above bonuses, grants +1 max factories in a state and +15% construction speed.

democratic path
Republic of Finland / Confederated Finno-Russian Republics

Välnö Tanner is leader of the Republic of Finland. Historically, Väinö Alfred Tanner (1881-1966) was a jurist, business leader, and president of the International Co-operative Alliance. He served as a cabinet minister in various roles and was prime minister of Finland from 1926-1927. He was a leading member of the Social Democratic Party and had a moderating influence on Finnish politics. Despite this, he was imprisoned in 1946 for his role in helping lead Finland during the Continuation War, 1941-1944.

Tanner has the trait “Pragmatic Socialist”, which grants +10% party popularity stability modifier, -5% war support, -20% political advisor cost, and -35 acceptance of communist diplomacy. His personal agenda is a “United Nation”. Controlling Karjala and every owned state while having more than 95% support for democratic ideology will increase public trust. Having more than 9% support for fascist or communist ideologies will decrease public trust.

communist path
Socialist Republic of Finland / Red Finland

Aimo Aaltonen is the leader of the Socialist Republic of Finland. Historically, Aimo Anshelm Aaltonen (1906-1987) was a construction worker and member of parliament following WW2. He attended college in the Soviet Union and was arrested upon his return home. He spent 1934 to 1944 in prison.

Aaltonen begins with the trait “Committed Anti-Fascist”, which grants a -15% efficiency to foreign subversive activities, +25% monthly same ideology opinion, +2 max volunteer force divisions, and +50% ideology drift defense. His personal agenda is “Anti-Fascist Crusade”. Having a contribution of more than 10% war participation in all active wars and less than 5% surrender progress while being at war with a fascist country will increase public trust. Having less than 80% support for communist ideology will decrease public trust.

If you join the Comintern using that eponymous National Focus, the Socialist Republic of Finland becomes known as the Finnish Democratic Republic and turns a pale pink color but retains the same flag. Otto Willie Kuusinen becomes your country leader with the trait “Comintern Workhorse”.

Following the socialist path to its conclusion allows you to claim various territories and proclaim “Red Finland.” Your nation’s color turns dark pink and you get a new flag featuring three golden trumpets. Otto Willie Kuusinen acquires a new trait called “International Communist” which grants recruitable population 2.00%, subversive activities cost -50%, war support +5.00%, and same ideology monthly opinion +100.00%.

non-aligned/monarchist path
Kingdom of Finland / Greater Kingdom of Finland

Prince Wolfgang von Hesse is leader of the Kingdom of Finland. Historically, Prince Wolfgang of Hesse (1896-1989) was the Crown Prince of Finland until 1918 when the country achieved independence from Russia. His father briefly held the title of King of Finland but renounced the throne. Wolfgang doesn’t appear to have ever actually held any political power.

In game, as the Crown Prince of Finland, Wolfgang grants +10% political power gain, 2.5% recruitable population, +5% stability, +75 acceptance of fascist diplomacy, +0.10 daily support for Unaligned, and a reduced cost for taking states in peace conferences. His personal agenda is “Dream of Greater Finland”. Occupying Finnish core states owned by an enemy will increase public trust. Having more than 9% support for democratic or communist ideologies will decrease public trust.

Finnish to English Glossary

The following is a list of words you might encounter while playing Finland in HOI IV.

FinnishEnglish
JalkaväkiInfantry
TankkiTank
PunainenRed
ValkoinenWhite
PrikaatiBrigade
DivisioonaDivision
ValtionState
NeuvostoliitonSoviet Union
RannikkorykmenttiCoastal Regiment

Conclusion

Paradox continually updates and adds new content to Hearts of Iron IV and has released many DLCs over the years. I can do without some of these, and to be honest haven’t tried them all. But Arms Against Tyranny adds a great deal to the base game, especially if you’re looking for a challenge in Scandinavia. Finland played a unique role in World War 2, and it’s a lot of fun to explore the “what ifs” that make you return to this game again and again. There is so much new material here, one article won’t do it justice. You have to dive in and see for yourself.

HOI IV Minor Nation Overview: Finland (2024)
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