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Using Paratroopers in Hearts of Iron IV

Using paratroopers in Hearts of Iron 4 can be a tricky affair. It is something that many players struggle with or fail to understand completely. This mini guide aims to fix that. Below, we will go over the basics of using paratroopers in HOI4. 

To use paratroopers in HOI4 you need to have researched the paratrooper tech, made an appropriate division template, trained that division, have transport planes, and finally perform the airdrop mission over your desired target. 

The Tech

The paratrooper tech can be found in the ‘infantry’ tab in the tech tree. The first tech unlocks paratrooper battalions. Subsequent techs increase their damage and organization. 

The tech that unlocks paratrooper battalions. When researched, it gives a free template as well.
The tech that unlocks paratrooper battalions. When researched, it gives a free template as well.

The Template

Once you have researched the paratrooper tech, you will need to create an appropriate division template to use. After researching the first tech, you will get one for free that you can then modify. Remember that while you can add whatever support companies you want, adding any line battalions other than paratroopers will result in the loss of the ability for the division to paradrop. 

Make sure that this tooltip is always checked. Otherwise your paratrooper division will not be able to perform its primary function.
Make sure that this tooltip is always checked. Otherwise your paratrooper division will not be able to perform its primary function.

The Training

Contrary to real life, paratrooper divisions in HOI4 require no special training. Simply queue them up in the ‘recruit tab’ as you would for any other division and wait for the training to complete. 

Keep in mind, however, that paratroopers are considered Special Forces battalions, and as such, the number of them that you can train is limited by your nation’s Special Forces cap. To increase the cap, increase the overall number of divisions in your army. 

The Logistics

Each transport plane can carry 2.0 units of weight. Each paratrooper battalion weighs .5. and each support battalion weighs .1. 

If you do not have enough transport planes to carry the necessary weight, it means that they will have to make multiple trips to and from the drop zone. This means it will take longer to deploy your paratroopers.

This is not ideal because it gives the enemy more time to react. Additionally, it means your transport planes are in the air longer, thus increasing the chance that they will be shot down, causing significant losses to the paratroopers they are carrying.

So be sure to have enough transport planes to drop them all in one go!

The Execution

Once you have paradrop capable divisions trained and ready as well as transport planes produced and deployed, you are ready to go. 

To launch a paradrop, simply put your paratroopers in an army, and select the ‘paradrop’ mission in the battle planner. Click on an airfield with transport planes and then click on the province where you want them to drop. Remember that you need to have at least 70% air superiority in all of the air regions from the takeoff point to the target. 

Remember that the target must also be in range of your transport planes. So no dropping paratroopers across the Atlantic!

Using Paratroopers is as easy as clicking a few buttons in the battle planner.
Using Paratroopers is as easy as clicking a few buttons in the battle planner.

Strengths & Weaknesses

Now that you know the basics of employing paratroopers in HOI4, let’s analyze some of their strengths and weaknesses. 

Strengths

  1. Using paratroopers allows you to potentially disrupt enemy movement along an axis of advance or retreat. Considering Paradox’s . . . . incredible AI, you can seriously mess with its ability to react appropriately when using paradrop. 
  2. With enough paratroopers, you could potentially get the AI to capitulate in a single day if there are enough unguarded VPs in range. This ‘strategy’ has been viable on and off throughout the game’s development so YMMV.
  3. You can use paratroopers to cut off enemy retreat to complete encirclements faster. This, along with point 1, is the most ‘historical’ strength of paratroopers. When used correctly, you can ensure that no enemy divisions escape the pocket you have created for them. 

Weaknesses

  1. Cost. Paratroopers are very ‘expensive’ when you factor in everything you need to use them. They need their own research as well as the production of transport planes. That is research and production that isn’t going towards tanks or fighters or subs etc. 

Additionally, there is the opportunity cost on your special forces. Every paratrooper battalion trained is one fewer mountaineer or marine battalion you can have. For some countries, it may not be worth the trade-off. 

  1. Paratroopers are highly fragile. They drop without any organization, meaning they can insta-surrender if an enemy unit touches them before they have had a chance to gain some org. This fragility means that they shouldn’t be dropped onto tiles with enemy divisions. Always look to drop onto undefended tiles. (For more info about organization and other stats related to land combat, check out our land power guide here). 

Dropping paratroopers directly into the teeth of enemy defenses is the easiest way to lose divisions. 

As you can see, paratroopers are incredibly vulnerable right after the drop. Be sure to drop them far enough away from enemy divisions to give them a chance to recover some organization.
As you can see, paratroopers are incredibly vulnerable right after the drop. Be sure to drop them far enough away from enemy divisions to give them a chance to recover some organization.

So there you have it. How to use paratroopers in Hearts of Iron IV. Paratroopers are very much a ‘high-risk, high-reward entity in the game. When used correctly, they can produce marvelous results. When used improperly, they can be disastrous. 

Remember that in the game, unlike in real life, it might actually be advisable to “go a bridge too far.” 

Read on: Hearts of Iron 4 tutorial series
HoI4 Attrition tips&tricks
Is HoI4 worth it?

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