From Hearts of Iron 4 Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

A commander leads a number of units and provides bonuses to them based on the commander's skills and traits. For a list of commanders by country, see list of commanders.


Additional commanders can be recruited at a cost of 5 Political PowerPolitical Power for each existing commander of the same type (admirals do not count when recruiting generals, or vice versa). Commanders cannot normally die or be dismissed, though some country-specific events will remove particular historical commanders.


Generals can command up to 24 divisions effectively unless they are in "Garrison Area" mode, during which the limit is tripled to 72 divisions. Above this limit, their bonuses and XP gain are reduced proportionally. The traits of generals are oriented towards specialization in different units (e.g., tanks, foot infantry), adverse terrain/climates and tactical situations (e.g., attacking forts). Generals may be promoted to field marshals at the cost of command power and the temporary loss of one skill level.

Field marshal[edit]

A field marshal commands army groups, large formations comprised of several armies. A field marshal initially may command up to five armies; with the Expert Delegator trait, this limit can be increased to seven. Their traits give general bonuses, helping any kind of unit, such as, for example, +10% recovery rate, or increasing maximum army sizes. All armies assigned to the field marshal's army group receive these bonuses. General's traits and the field marshal's skill levels apply to subordinate armies with a 50% penalty. Modifiers from Background traits, such as Cautious or Politically Connected, are passed down to Generals with no penalty.

They can still be used as generals, but their field marshal traits will be disabled when they are not commanding an army group.


Admirals can command up to 10 task forces. Above this limit, their bonuses and experience gain are reduced proportionally.


Commanders have a generic skill level and specialized skills for different aspects of warfare. Only admirals gain immediate benefits from their generic level.

commander skill levels
required experience admiral
level general & field marshal admiral hit chance coordination
1 100 100 +5% +1%
2 300 200 +10% +3%
3 500 400 +15% +5%
4 1000 800 +20% +7%
5 1500 1600 +25% +9%
6 2500 3200 +30% +12%
7 5000 6400 +35% +14%
8 7500 12800 +40% +16%
9 10000 25600 +45% +18%

When leveling up a commander gains three points in specialized skill, randomly distributed (many generals' traits skew the distribution). For generals and field marshals they are:

  • attack, increasing the damage done to enemy divisions
  • defense, reducing damage taken
  • logistics, reducing supply consumption
  • planning, increasing the speed and value of plan preparation

For admirals:

  • Attack, increasing the damage done to enemy ships by your weapons. Attack: +5% per level
  • Defense, increasing ship armor and decreasing enemy damage. Defense: +5% per level
  • Maneuvering, getting ships into and out of combat faster. Fleet speed while retreating: +1%, Positioning: +2.5% per level
  • Coordination, increasing hit chance and improving mission execution. Fleet Coordination: (Level*2)-1%


Commanders gain experience when the units under their command engage in combat. With enough experience, they will advance a skill level. For generals the amount of experience gained in each battle per hour depends on multiple factors:

  • The base value is 0.45
  • The number and size of actively fighting divisions under the general's command: Each division counts as 10%. Small divisions (< 8 battalions and support companies) count proportionately for less, e.g. a division containing only 3 battalions would count only as 3.75%.
  • damage comparison: the side dealing more damage (HP and organization combined) in the last 24 hours gains more XP while the opposite side gets less. The bonus is reduced if the battle lasted less than 24 hours yet.
    • The side that dealt more damage gets up to 400% of normal XP when dealing up to 400% as much damage as it received
    • The side dealing less damage gets their XP gain scaled down by the average equipment ratio and average organization ratio of their divisions (including reserve), e.g. when all division are at half strength and have half of their organization, the experience is scaled to 25%.
    • These two effects do not stack with each other, i.e. each side is only affected by one of them.
  • decay over time: every hour of combat XP gain decays linearly by 0.125% until reaching 10% (after 30 days)
  • If multiple generals fight on the same side, each one only gets 50% + 50% / (number of generals). This results in 100%, 75%, 67% etc. for each general of a total of 1, 2, 3 etc.
  • command limit penalty: A general receives a scaling penalty when commanding too many units. The penalty reaches 100% when commanding twice as many units as the usual limit.
  • modifiers: national ideas and leader traits (e.g. Old Guard and Politically Connected) can increase or reduce the XP gain. They all stack additively.

If the battle matches any traits gainable through combat, the experience also counts towards those.

If the general is under the command of a field marshal, the latter also gains 25% of the experience, including towards their applicable traits. A field marshal does not gain experience from units without a general.

XP type Division-combat-hours per XP
General trait 25
General level 50
Field Marshal trait 200
Field Marshal level 400


Main article: Commander trait

Each commander may have a number of traits, represented by medal icons. Traits are acquired when units do a certain action in combat; for instance, if an army under a general manages to encircle and destroy an amount of enemy divisions, the general may acquire the 'trickster' trait which boosts reconnaissance. Experience gained towards gaining traits is decreased the more earnable traits the General already has.

Politics IdeologyFactionNational focusIdeasGovernmentPuppetDiplomacyWorld tensionCivil warOccupationIntelligence agency
Production TradeProductionConstructionEquipmentFuel
Research and technology ResearchInfantry technologySupport Companies technologyArmor technologyArtillery technologyLand doctrineNaval technologyNaval doctrineAir technologyAir doctrineEngineering technologyIndustry technology
Military and warfare WarfareLand unitsLand warfareDivision designerArmy plannerCommand groupCommanderBattle planCombat tacticsShipNaval warfareAircraftAir warfareExperienceAttrition and accidentsLogisticsManpowerNuclear bomb
Map MapProvinceTerrainWeatherState
Events Events