A Battle Plan is an important tool that both help players to visualize how their army will advance, the AI to control the player's army as well give the army a significant combat bonus (if on the offence). Battle plans are tied to army commanders, each army commander can have one battleplan ready and a plan have to drawn for each commander.
To make a battle plan for offensive land operations, the player must first define a defensive front – this is the point from which the army group will begin operations. Select the defensive front button and, on the map, draw a line to indicate where the army group will start. In many cases, this will be a national border or the current line dividing enemy armies. Then, click the offensive front button (a line with an arrow) and draw the front to which the armies should to advance.
Drawing battle plans
How a battle plan is drawn will effect how the AI will execute it. The AI will do what the battle plan tells it to do without question, so a bad plan can have terrible consequences. Here are the tools that the player can use to create a battle plan:
When selecting a naval invasion, the player will be asked to left-click on an origin point. This is where the army will gather for the assault. Right click on the enemy province to invade. Note that the player will need to have some naval intelligence of every sea lane the navy will be crossing, so the player will need to have warships patrolling or controlling those sea areas.
All plans take time, and amphibious invasions take a lot of time to plan. Once the weeks (or months) of preparation are ready, the grey arrow above the army group will turn a faded green. Press that arrow to activate the plan.
Frontline and Offensive Line
A player can either assign a whole country's border as a frontline by clicking on the border or a player can assign a part of a country's border as a frontline by hold an draging the mouse over the provinces the player wants to belong to the frontline. The AI will then place the divisions that the commander controls at the frontline. A player can also create several non connected frontlines and assign divisions between them which may be particularly useful for a field marshal who can command unlimited amount of divisions. Divisions that are stationed at a frontline that border an country will recieve a planing bonus.
From and only from a frontline a player can draw one or several offensive lines or offensive arrow. Offensive line tell the AI how the player wants their division to advance from the frontline. The player can adjust the width and the arc of their offensive line. If the mouse cursor is hold over the offensive line (the offensive arrow) the game will show the exact visualisation how the AI will advance the divisions, step for step.
A frontline can be drawn at the end of an offensive line and from that frontline new offensive lines can be drawn.
At each commander there is big execute button. If pressed this button will activate the offensive line which the AI will then follow to the next frontline. If that frontline have an offensive line the execute button have to be pressed again to continue the advance from the new frontline.
the player can draw fall-back lines in controlled territory and that will tell the AI to place its divisions at the fallback line in the same away as it place its divisions at a front line and hold the line against enemy assaults and counter-attack if the line is broken. Unlike frontlines divisions stationed at a fallback lines can not receive a planing bonus however divisions that are stationed long time in a province will receive an entrancement bonus.
This assign the army to guard a area not a frontline. It is mainly useful for divisions on anti partisan duties or to protect against paratroopers. As the divisions are spread out over an area instead of concentrated over a line of provinces this is ill suited near the frontline.
Each division that is part of a offensive battle plan will receive a combat bonus known as Planing Bonus. This bonus will grow up to a limit as long as the division is stationed at a frontline that border another country. The planing bonus will start to decay if the division is fighting, moving or are not stationed at a frontline. Both the max planing bonus as well as the speed the planing bonus grow at (planning speed) can be increased. The mobile warfare doctrine has a very quick planing speed while the grand battle plan doctrine can get a very large planing bonus if given the time. The closest defensive equivalent to the planing bonus is entrenchment. Planing bonus is also closely related to organization, both grow as the division rest and both decay as the division move or fight.
Manual Control and Battle plan
Manual control follow the same rules for the planing bonus. The battle plan system is not made to be a replacement for manual control but made to take care of much of the tedious tasks such as garrison an area or place divisions behind a river. Divisions that belong to a battle plan and receive a manual order will after fulfilling the manual order revert back to AI control.
Battle Plan and Allies
Players can see their allies battle plans (an option that can toggle on and off). This will help in multiplayer to coordinate with allies. The AI countries will also create battle plans so this is also useful in single player.