Victoria 3 – Land Warfare Guide

When a new diplomatic play starts, a front is automatically created at every land boundary between the two sides involved. Note that new fronts can be created as nations join the diplomatic play while it is in progress. If it comes to war, fronts will dynamically be created and destroyed as fronts move, naval invasions are made and nations capitulate and leave the war.

Guide to Land Warfare


Before generals can be given orders, they must be mobilized. Mobilisation increases the goods required for the support of the troops, and thus puts strain on both the buildings producing the goods required for each barracks and the overall budget. It is possible to mobilise individual combinations of generals, or every general at once.

It is possible to mobilize generals all at once, or one at a time. Mobilizing generals individually provides an estimate of the cost to the budget, which is important to bear in mind, particularly for a long war.

Once mobilized, troops cannot be demobilized until a country is no longer involved as a participant in a war or diplomatic play. More mobilized troops may increase the chance the enemy backs down, but is expensive to maintain.

Orders, Fronts and HQs

Each general can be given one of three orders, all of which relate to either fronts or HQs:

  • Advance Front: This assigns a general to attack along the assigned front. If they are already on that front (previously assigned with a Defend Front order) then this will start counting down to a battle immediately (see below). If they are located elsewhere, they will have to travel to the front first, and when they arrive they will start counting down to a battle immediately. Generals with the Advance Front order will still participate in defensive battles (for example, if the other side also has a general with an Advance Front order).
  • Defend Front: This assigns a general to defend a front. They will not initiate battles, but may regain territory previously-lost friendly if they win a defensive battle.
  • Stand By: This orders a general to return to their home HQ. These forces are effectively ‘returned to barracks’ and act as if they did not have a general – they will participate in defensive battles in their HQ, but without the influence of any of their general’s modifiers.

It should be noted that generals assigned to Advance Front or Defend Front take higher attrition than forces mobilized but on a Stand By order.

Clicking on a front brings up a detailed view of the front, showing the generals on each side and the orders they have been given. Note that garrison forces only take place in defensive battles, as the 12 garrison battalions Russia has here will not be an issue for Austria unless it goes on the offensive.

As battles are fought, the front may split or, if the front reaches the border of the contested area, disappear altogether. If a front ceases to exist, generals assigned to that front automatically travel to another front, usually the one closest by.

Loss of Territory

As frontlines move, one side or another will lose territory. As long as the war is ongoing, this only matters in terms of controlling war goals. Buildings will continue to function and supply their domestic market, even if they’re temporarily occupied by an enemy nation.

Movement Between Fronts

To move generals between fronts, select the general, then select ‘Advance Front’ or ‘Defend Front’, and then select the front either in the table on the left-hand side of the page (which shows the number of troops at a front, but not the number of troops that may be moving towards a front already but have not yet arrived) or by clicking on the front on the map. Accessible fronts will be coloured in green, and fronts that can’t be reached (generals cannot be assigned to these) in red.

Once the new front has been assigned, the general will begin travelling to the front – to see how long this is likely to take, mouse over the circle representing the front, or select the general, and an indication of how many days it will take will be shown. Generals cannot be intercepted travelling between fronts, regardless of the naval situation, so any transit between fronts over land or water is safe. Note that generals cannot be given new orders if they are currently engaged in a battle.

Garrison Forces

Battalions not assigned to a general can still influence a war by providing defensive forces for fronts in the strategic region that corresponds with their HQ. These forces will automatically be assigned to fronts and be involved in defensive battles in the strategic region, but will not initiate or take part in offensive battles.


For each side of a front where at least one general has been assigned an Advance Front order, an ‘advancement progress’ bar will fill up until it reaches 100, at which point that side will start an offensive battle. A number of battalions from each side will be involved in the battle (the exact number can vary quite substantially – just because one side outnumbers another does not mean they will have an advantage in any particular battle) and the battle will commence.

In a battle, the side attacking uses its “Offense” value, while the side defending uses its “Defense” value. The battle UI contains two tabs, with the overview displaying these values, the generals in charge (which can be moused over to see which traits they have) and any modifiers to either side in the battle. The details tab provides more information on the modifiers affecting both sides in the battle.

The battle-specific modifiers can be quite influential, in both directions, to the outcome. In this example, Austria has received a helpful 20% bonus to morale damage, and has also been lucky to have twice as many troops as Russia in the battle.

Battles continue (unless the war ends first) until one side or the other runs out of morale, at which point that side will retreat, and the side that won will advance the front in their favour (the degree to which the front advances is influenced by many factors).

Morale recovery

After a battle has ended, battalions will gradually recover morale over time. It is possible for a general’s forces to begin another battle without having recovered their morale entirely.


Armies that are fighting overseas rely on the supply network to keep them equipped and in supply. If enemy fleets raid the supply network, sinking convoys (or if the supply network is operating at less than 100% efficiency for other reasons), this impacts on the supply of an army, which has a direct impact on the maximum morale of a unit at the start of a battle. For example, if raiding has reduced a supply network’s efficiency by 2%, then the maximum morale of battalions serving under generals overseas will be 98%.


All mobilized troops and raised conscripts are subject to attrition, which leads to both wounded and killed pops. The impact of this can be substantial, and outstrip the number of wounded and killed from battle.

Early in this war between Britain and Spain, the losses to attrition far outstrip those to battle.


Enemy armies moving through, taking and occupying control of a state will lead to an increase in devastation. The amount to which devastation rises relates to the size and number of the battles in the state and the technology used, and also due to enemy occupation. Devastation can also be caused by event-triggered natural disasters, such as volcanic eruptions or tsunamis.

Devastation has an impact on migration attraction, infrastructure and mortality and, if high enough, throughput. Once the situation that caused the devastation has resolved, it can take a substantial amount of time, particularly for high levels of devastation, before it no longer has an impact on the state.

The impact on Wales of French occupation is at this stage relatively mild, but if the French remain in control the situation will continue to deteriorate.

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