Hearts of Iron IV – Recommended Division Templates

The division template system is one of the key mechanics of Hearts of Iron IV. A division is 1 basic unit depicted on the map during gameplay. The composition of each division is specified by its division template. Division templates can be created and modified by the player using spending army experience. The composition of your division can make or break a battle.

Other Hearts of Iron IV Guides:

Where and How to Edit Division Templates

You can edit division templates by going to:
Recruit & Deploy -> Then click “Edit” on the desired division.

Hearts of Iron IV - Recommended Division Templates

Each division has a division template.
Here is an example of a 7 Infantry – 2 Artilery division template:

Hearts of Iron IV - Recommended Division Templates

Reset -> Reset the edits you’ve made but haven’t saved.

Duplicate -> Create another division template just like this one without spending army experience, useful if you want to make a new division template while still keeping this one.

The 3 Arrows -> Red is for backup units, they are the last to receive quality equipment, white is for normal units, and yellow is for elite units, they are the first to receive quality equipement (new weapons or of you’re lacking equipment they will be the first one to be filled). You can manually choose which divisions you consider to be elite, normal or backup.

This is how a division looks like:

  • Each division consists of up to 5 combat regiments and 5 support companies.
  • Each combat regiment is composed of up to 5 battalions.
  • It costs 5 XP to add a battalion to a division, regardless if it is the same or new regiment.
  • Adding a battalion of a different unit type (infantry, mobile, or armored) adds a penalty of 20 XP per additional unit type.
  • A division may have any number of the same unit type for battalions, but only one of each unit type for support companies.
  • A division template may be specified as reserve, regular, or elite. Elite divisions will be prioritized for better equipment, followed by regular divisions and finally reserves.
  • Each division template can receive specific types of equipment if multiple types are available. An example would be elite divisions only using the latest weapons and reserve divisions using the oldest.

The Stats Screen and Base Stats

Base Stats, Combat Stats are Equipment Cost located on the right side of the division template. These are the stats for the 7 Infantry – 2 Artilery division from above.

The stats may change based on your national ideas or completed researches.

Universally speaking, higher values are better except for Weight, Supply Use and Combat Width.

I. Base Stats

Max Speed
-> The base maximum speed a unit can go, this value is usually lower due to terrain and infrastructure modifiers, however certain things increase this such as engineers.

HP (Hitpoints) -> How much damage your unit can take during combat. Infantry and variants have a lot of this because they are many, while armor has very little.

Organization -> This is very important. It’s your unit’s ability to sustain combat. It is important to keep it in the back of your head, but not make it dictate your unit composition. Provided primarily by infantry and motorized or mechanized. It’s usually between 25 and 60.

Recovery Rate -> How fast your units will regain organization. Recovery is as important as organization. However, since most units that provide recovery also provide organization, these values usually balance each other out. It’s usually between 0.30 and 0.44.

Reconnaissance -> High reconnaissance increases the chances of a unit to pick a combat tactic that better counters the enemy’s chosen tactic. It is only affected by 2 things: whether you have support battalions & whether you have Shock&Awe research of the Superior Firepower doctrine or Infiltration in Depth of the Grand Battleplan doctrine. Both of these doctrines are at or near the very end of their trees, thus your recon value is usually equal to your recon batallion’s level with values between 1 and 7 with an absolute maximum of 8.

Suppression -> Whether you’re albe to keep the revolts in an occupied territory in check. Suppression has very few things that affect it, cavalry is good for suppression, providing 2 per cavalry while most other units provide 1 and the Military Police provides a 10% modifier to the unit value. In combat it doesn’t offer anything and is pretty neglectable.

Weight -> How many convoys it takes to ship your unit. Only important for countries that have to ship their units by sea. Very closely related to Supply Use, but then without any actual meaning.

Supply Use -> How much supply use your units use (press F4 in game to see the supply lines), which directly translates to how many units you can have in any given province. As a general rule: Infantry uses very little supply, tanks use a lot of supply, Logistics Company support company is indispensible.

Reliability -> Affected only by the Maintenance Battalion, Reliability is a modifier to the base reliability of a vehicle (such as the effect of a tank designer). This applies to vehicles only. As far as I can tell it affects mostly during attrition, and doesn’t appear to have the same combat effects as reliability does for ships.

Trickleback & Exp.Loss -> Trickleback is how many casualties are returned to your manpower pool and exp.loss is how much experience is lost when these casualties are replaced by fresh men. They only change with the use of a Field Hospital battalion. This makes the Field Hospital support company extremely important for nations with a low manpower pool.

Combat Stats and Equipment Cost

II. Combat Stats

Soft Attack
-> A unit’s ability to deal damage. As a general rule: Infantry has very low soft attack, tanks have pretty low soft attack, artillery and SPG units have insanely high soft attacks. Most people, and especially the AI, build an army consisting 90-100% of infantry, infantry is very soft and thus soft attack is one of the very most important stats you look at.

Hard Attack -> A unit’s ability to deal hard damage to tanks and mechanized units. Tanks and Anti-Tank guns have high hard attack.

Air Attack -> A unit’s ability to shoot at planes. Support AA (Support battalion) is more cost-effective than line-AA for air-attack purposes. Support AA or Line-AA is the most cost-effective (production-wise) AA when you take the researches for this.

Defense -> A unit’s ability to not break under attack. Absorbing damage that would otherwise have gone to a unit’s organization. This value is provided primarily by Infantry and derivatives. For armored units, this alone makes motorized or mechanized indispensible as without it your units are simply unable to defend.

Breakthrough -> A unit’s ability to break the enemy units under attack. Breakthrough is less relevant than defense for the typical player as you want to hold the ground that you take, having enemies bleed off their organization on the attack and counter-attacking to maintain momentum in a push. It’s usually around 150.

Armor -> A unit’s ability to resist the enemy’s piercing. When the enemy cannot pierce, you take 50% less damage, 50% less organization loss and you deal 50% more organization loss to the units you are facing, this bonus is applied to your entire division. Thus, armor alone can make a unit work, even if on paper it seems hopelessly outclassed. Armor values are one of the things that develop extremely quickly between armored vehicles. Not very useful unless you have enough of it.

Piercing -> All piercing does is deny the enemy the bonuses armor could provide him. Units with the highest piercing are tank destroyers followed by regular tanks. Although infantry anti-tank provides good piercing to all infantry units it will prove insufficient if you are facing a clever enemy in multiplayer, as the piercing bonus is based on a percentage value and will have a limited impact on actual stats.

Initiative -> The reinforce rate and planning speed. It is affected only by the signal company, and seems to have very little tangible impact on battles other than the planning bonuses.

Entrenchment -> Affected only by the Engineer Company support battalion, Entrenchment affects how much and how fast a unit gets entrenched. Very similar to Recon, Reliability and Initiative, there are very few things that affect this value, and it is universal regardless of which line units you employ. While Field Marshalls with “Defensive Doctrine” affect maximum entrenchment it is not represented in this stat.

Combat Width -> How much space the unit takes on the battlefield. A typical fight has 80 combat width, thus you could fit 8 units of 10, 4 units of 20, 2 units of 40 or 1 unit of 80. Each combat width range is representative of an approach to the game. When you make many units of 10 combat width, you increase the density of support battalions on the field, effectively increasing your entire army’s effectiveness at no additional cost of combat width. The 40 combat width aims to get the most out of its line units. The 20 combat width is the balanced method. If you get a Field Marshall with Offensive Doctrine, which reduces the combat width of all units under his command by 10%, you can create units of 11, 22 and 44 combat width respectively and have them all act as if they are 10, 20 and 40 combat width.

III. Equipment Cost

-> How many people your division employs. More men in the division means more men on the battlefield and bigger casualty numbers. Typically you want to keep this number as low as possible, but at no point should this be your main aim as it is hard to impossible to balance out. As a general rule, line-artillery units and armor take 500 men per unit in your division, infantry takes 1000 and motorized & mechanized take 1200.

Training Time
-> There are two versions of training time, 120 and 180. 120 is for infantry and 180 for tanks. This is a time listed in days, but since Armor = 180, Infantry = 120, you just have to take this value as it is.

Equipment numbers -> All the individual numbers of vehicles and other equipment you would require to produce this division template. It is here that you can make a good estimate of how to distribute your overall production.

IV. Additional Stats

(the bar below the division template) -> The ratio of damage you take. If your unit has 43% hardness you take 57% soft attack and 43% hard attack. For example, if you are being attacked by a unit with 1000 soft attack and 200 hard attack, you will receive (1000 * 0.57) + (200 * 0.43) = 656 damage.

Estimated Production Cost -> The minimum and maximum estimated production cost of a unit. These values represent the overall production cost in industrial capacity of your unit, and do not represent the material requirements of each division. Naturally a lower cost is better.

Hearts of Iron IV - Recommended Division Templates

Infantry Divisions

20 width 7/2 divisions -> 7 infantry and 2 artillery battalions. Good starter division, but is completely outclassed by 40 width divisions in almost every situation. Still good in low supply areas like Africa or Asia.

Hearts of Iron IV - Recommended Division Templates

20 width 6/2/1 divisions -> 6 infantry, 2 artillery and 1 Light Tank Destroyer of year at least 1936. The goal being to provide an armor bonus against the majority of AI and maybe even player builds while providing piercing to beat up any armor that may be encountered along the way. This does not work with the 1934 Light Tank Destroyer version.

Hearts of Iron IV - Recommended Division Templates

The 40 width divisions outclass 20 width divisions because of how criticals are calculated. The 40 width divisions do more damage at the expense of having half the organization of 20 divisions because they have the same, but it’s only 1 division instead of 2 divisions, however they deal 4-5 times more damage, so the tradeoff for using 20’s is barely worth it. This generally leads to faster fights if both of you are fighting with 40’s. 20’s on the other hand might not do so much damage but will hold the line for longer. This in turn makes your enemy take more attrition damage so don’t underestimate 20’s defensive power, especially in wide theaters. Most people like to have a line of 20’s as the front and then a smaller army of 40’s to do the pushing.

40 width 14/4 divisions -> 14 infantry and 4 artillery battalions. This is preferable to the above division, especially if you’re fighting in Europe.

Hearts of Iron IV - Recommended Division Templates

40 width 13/4/2 divisions -> 14 infantry, 2 artillery and 2 anti-tank battalions. These are good if you’re fighting against tanks and aren’t looking to abuse space marine divisions (see below.)

Hearts of Iron IV - Recommended Division Templates

BROKEN/OP: 40 width 13/2/1 divisions “Space Marines” -> 13 infantry, 2 artillery and 1 Heavy Tank Destroyer battalion. These are usually banned in multiplayer games as they are completely game breaking. The AI basically never builds enough AT to counter the extra armor you have on these infantry divisions.

Hearts of Iron IV - Recommended Division Templates

Tank Divisions

20 width 6/4 division -> 6 medium tank and 4 motorized battalions. Maintenance companies are good on your armored divisions to reduce attrition losses.

Hearts of Iron IV - Recommended Division Templates

40 width 15/5 division -> 15 medium tank and 5 motorized battalions. Higher production cost, but these divisions are nearly unstoppable. Probably banned in most MP games, and will destroy anything they face in singleplayer.

Hearts of Iron IV - Recommended Division Templates

Ending Tips

Maintenance companies & Attrition -> Attrition is mostly caused by terrain not supply. So if you are fighting in the jungle, desert or mountains you will suffer a lot of attrition. Maintenance companies will reduce attrition taken. You can also just accept the losses taken.

AA divisions & Strategic Bombers -> No division AA only protect the divisions they are in and not the province or anything else. They reduce the defense and speed penalty from enemy air superiority. They will also shoot down close air support engaged. But they have to be engaged inside combat.

Breakthrough & Defense -> Breakthrough is identical to defense in function. When you are on the offensive you use breakthrough when on the defense you use defense. These just reduce damage taken. There is a limit as every defense can only reduce 1 point of enemy attack.

Mechanized & Heavy Tanks -> Mechanized are a defensive upgrade for tanks with a secondary role of AT. Hardness greatly reduce damage infantry/mediums can do, defense helps protect from counter attack, and HP reduces losses. The higher the tech and more tanks the better these are. Heavy tanks provide armor, and AT mostly at the cost of speed. You only need 1 heavy tank to get the majority of armor at the cost of speed.

40 width & 20 width -> 40 width is stronger in most situations. It’s less flexible but stronger in combat.

Written by Akfiz


  1. From what I’ve heard, Field Hospitals are generally worthless and it is better to put any other company in its place.

  2. I tried out the space marine and 40 width tank divisions in my last game and I just couldn’t produce enough of the stuff to accomodate for the increased demand. I got beaten by the axis shortly after

  3. Thanks for the guide! I’ve been looking around for one that was in-depth enough for me to start learning how to design better divisions and this one hit the spot!

  4. Neither cav nor armored cars are the best equipment for garrisons. Medium SPAA is.

    The naval section is just hilariously wrong in every way.

    Mechanized is a huge boost to tanks on the offense, it’s not just a “defensive upgrade for tanks with a secondary role of AT”. It greatly increases hardness, diminishes movement/attack penalties, and helps average out the armor to be higher (thus stopping enemy piercing). They’re also as fast as medium tank 2s so why you would suggest throwing in slow heavy tanks is beyond me (especially since they don’t boost the average armor/hardness the way you claim).

  5. Amazing guide. Thank you for putting the time into this. Just started playing the game, and this is a huge help in understanding what’s going on with the division designer.

  6. 40W inf makes no sense.
    it never makes the damage to overcome enemies defense on the attack, so the additonal damage nearly never kicks in. but it has the low-org disadvantage.
    in defense, it has gigantic defense, but it is near never needed, and shots below the defense still do 10% damage.

    a “blocked” attack makes same ORG damage to any division, regardless if 20W or 40W. always 10%, while an unblocked makes 40%. exceeding defense to one million doesnt matter.

    20W inf already has enough defense to block most damage.
    “space marines” make no sense in multiplayer, they are not OP. a single AT pierces it, and 2 AT have more hard attack at lower costs.

    so, 40W space marines have low org, low HA and will get overrun by tanks quite easily, while being quite expensive, 10inf+supportAT will do the same job longer and cheaper.

  7. I was a 40w guy, but if you don’t use signal company with 40w, you can’t hold the front.

    Signal companies increase the reinforce rate, the calculation of the reinforce rate is simple, by the every passing hour, your probability of your division’s joining to an ongoing battle increases. In the 20w infatary, you have 4 divisions in the area, the probability of them joining into a war might seem same, but as it is working as a roll dice, more dices to roll is better than hoping a 1 dice roll to be a good one, generally in 40w your divisions fallback because of the lack of reinforce rate, they will not be deorganized, they simply don’t join the war, and the division holding the area will deorganized like hell while others are watching.

  8. Nah, early game for garrisons I use cavalry, adding MP support actually means that as you add battalions to the template the less manpower overall you need to garrison, so I work my way towards a 50w garrison template. I also start building armored cars early, just 1 or 2 factories is all you need to start with, especially early, armored cars are pretty cheap. Then as the game goes along I gradually convert all the cavalry battalions to armored car battalions based on how many armored cars I’m making and have in storage, if I can get to the point where it’s 25 armored car battalions in the template I rarely need more that 0.15 of a division to garrison smaller areas, and rarely go above 0.5 even for fairly large regions of occupation, I think the only time I went above 1 division required for occupation using that template is when I was occupying large parts of Russia, or some other similarly massive area, this frees up more manpower for other uses.

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