Ethiopia is a minor nation in East Africa, It is bordered by United Kingdom to the northeast and west, France on the north a bit, and Italy on the northwest and east. It is not weak, but is one of the most difficult nations to play, since, from the beginning of the game, it is already at war with Italy.
Ethiopia was attacked by Italy in 1935, leading to the Second Italo-Abyssinian War (Ethiopia had previously repelled an Italian attack in 1895-1896 during the First Italo-Abyssinian War) which ended with an Italian victory and the annexation of Ethiopia into Italian East Africa. Ethiopia remained under Italian control until 1940 when the Allies launched the East African campaign, which Ethiopian soldiers participated in, resulting in an Allied victory and the Allied capture of Italian East Africa in 1941, allowing Ethiopia to effectively restore its sovereignty. Mussolini's government collapsed and Italy capitulated officially in 1943, with Ethiopia's independence being formally restored in the Paris Peace Treaty in 1947.
Ethiopia uses the generic national focus tree which covers five areas: Army, Aviation, Navy, Industry, and Politics.
As a Non-Aligned country, Ethiopia has a positive relationship with other Non-Aligned countries (+20 and +10) and a negative relationship with everyone else (-10). Ethiopia begins without any alliances at the start of 1936. It starts in a defensive war against Italy.
The nation starts with the following laws:
|Conscription Law||Economy Law||Trade Law|
| Volunteer Only
|| Civilian Economy
|| Export Focus
Ethiopia controls a single state containing 20 provinces. It has 1 airbase, no naval bases, low infrastructure (level 3) and the following buildings:
|2 Military Factories||0 Naval Dockyard||2 Civilian Factories|
The state has 0 free factory slots.
Ethiopia starts with the following resources:
|12Infantry Divisions||0Cavalry Division||1Mountaineer Division||0Light Tank Divisions|
Total: 13 Divisions
Total: 0 Ships
Total: 0 Planes
Strategies and guides
Ethiopia starts at war with Italy, and with Italian troops already at the Ethiopian border. With few resources, a small industrial base, limited manpower and a poorly equipped army, the player will find it is almost impossible to survive the Italian onslaught. Generally, there are two known ways to survive: the first method is attempting to capture Italian-held ports as soon as possible, draining enemy troops of supply and kicking them off the continent. The second method is attempting to defend victory points for as long as possible until foreign help is acquired.
The player will find it difficult to get any kind of construction done as Ethiopia starts with only 1 free civilian factory, so it is recommended that the factory is immediately allocated to importing steel to boost infantry equipment production. Through the national focus tree, Ethiopia can gain more civilian and military factories, which can then be used to import more steel and to produce more infantry equipment. It should be noted that if the player decides to acquire a military factory first, they will find themselves with 0 free civilian factories due to the economic law. It can also be a worthwhile option to assign this factory to build a fort in the state of Addis Ababa if going for the defensive strategy, though after building the fort importing steel is recommended.
Ethiopia gets the default focus tree, and there are a few different ways to go about using it. Generally, it is recommended to focus on the industry tree to gain more factories. Going down the political tree is also beneficial, as the player can gain extra political power to spend and also extra manpower if going down the Fascist branch. Don't go for the infrastructure focus at the start, though, since it really only gives the Italians the ability to put more divisions on your frontline.
Two possible strategies
Capture the ports
With the correct opening troop movements, the player may find that it is possible to capture the port at the southern coast. By locking down the east-most unit and attempting to flank around on the east, the Italian AI will reallocate troops and leave an opening in the middle of their line, allowing the player to quickly move units down and capture the port. Once the port is captured, allocate a few units to defend the port and the rest to the northern line. (Note that even though there is no port at Mogadishu at the start, if the Italians recapture that state a port will instantly appear.) At this point, the Italians can still push through on the northern front due to having superior firepower so it is recommended that the player either looks for an opening to capture the port, or buy time with good defence and build up a strong enough force to repel the Italians through conventional battle plans. Once the Italians have been kicked out of the horn of Africa, the player will then be free to do whatever they want.
It is recommended to keep the two Italian armies in Eritrea and Somalia separate - in order to do this, the player could immediately create a fallback line which stretches from the Harar victory point to the border with the British in the west. These are all mountain provinces, and the two tiles in the west are positioned behind rivers, which makes them extremely difficult to break but easy to defend. The Italian AI usually focuses on attacking the capital, so rotate troops that have low organisation out and move in units with the full organisation to keep the defence going. If the AI is about to break any tile before your reinforcements could arrive, try using the Last Stand command - the extra few hours it can buy may be the difference between capitulating and surviving. Building a level 1 fort in your capital with your 1-2 available civilan factory is also a decent idea, although it may be better to use them to import steel to maximize weapons production as it is likely that the constant assault wouldn't allow any construction anyway. With only 3 Infrastructure, there should be only 2-3 Italian divisions per tile. Take the army advisors to minimize the impact of their assaults. The AI usually gives up on trying to break your national redoubt by mid-1937.
Now for the counterattack. You should have a ton of army XP by now, so invest in creating a division template with line and support artillery (which you need to research); a standard 7/2 template does the job. Gradually convert your weaker divisions into these offensive divisions, and make sure you have enough manpower either by upping your conscription law or by going down the Nationalism branch in your focus tree. Superior Firepower should be your doctrine here, since Italy has more manpower than you and your only advantage relies on breaking their front before they can reinforce it. Once you could mass around 7-8 divisions with artillery, and have sufficient manpower and equipment, you can strike them - usually by early to mid 1938 you have enough equipment for an offensive.
There are two directions you can strike from, north and south. Eritrea only has a single port, so if you capture it there will no longer be any reinforcements and the Italian divisions in the north will start to lose supply. Immediately launch an assault with all your divisions that are not holding the southern front and annihilate their units. Leave a single division guarding Asmara (the AI tends to attempt naval invasions to recapture it), and use your offensive divisions against the Italians in the south. Typically, the easternmost hill tile is the easiest to break compared to the other mountain tiles. Try to encircle the Italian divisions again, and once you've accomplished this it's typically straightforward to push any remaining Italians to the sea and seize the two ports.
Once you've captured every tile, you will be able to click on the decision that will force Italy into a peace with you, leaving you with control over Eritrea and Italian Somaliland. Congratulations, you are now an independent country at peace!
If Together for Victory is enabled, the player can release Eritrea and Somali Sultanate (or form collaboration governments if La Résistance is also enabled). These two countries can gain more factories from their focus trees, and they can be reannexed later if the player wishes.
Once at peace, Ethiopia can choose to join the Axis or the Allies (or the Comintern, for that matter). Joining the Allies would give Ethiopia an opportunity for revenge against Italy, while joining the Axis may net Ethiopia much territorial gain in Africa.