Giving Orders


Mouse and Keyboard Actions

  • Holding the mouse over an army, unit or city reveals the most important information about the army, unit or city below the mouse pointer.
  • Clicking the left mouse button selects the unit or city under the mouse pointer.
  • Double-clicking on an army, unit, or city will bring up the view/edit screen of that respective army, unit, or city.
  • Clicking the right mouse button presents a popupmenu with several options of giving orders. It also sets the destination of the selected unit to the current hex under the mouse pointer.

The next set of mouse and keyboard commands all deal with stacked units.

  • With stacked armies, units, or cities, clicking the left mouse button and holding down a CTRL key will bring the next army, unit or city to the front.
  • With stacked armies, units, or cities, clicking the left mouse button and holding down a ALT key will bring the previous army, unit or city to the front.

Screen shot: giving orders

Giving Orders

What's happening on the screen is that the player pointed to a location where he wants the selected army to move to, in this case the Polish 159th division. Next, he pressed the right mouse button and the popupmenu appeared, giving him a choice between several orders. The player obviously opted to attack. A submenu appeared, which you now see on your screen, giving suboptions for attacking. The player decides to use the frontal attack.

Sounds like a lot of work? Actually it's not that hard. It's simply clicking armies with your left mouse button and right click on their destinations, then choosing the battle tactic and your army's commander knows his job. Of course if you want more detail, read the rest of this page.

Giving Orders is Answering questions

(Where you read 'army', you may also read 'fleet' or 'air force')

When giving orders to armies, or to the individual units that make up armies, you will need to provide the answers to seven questions or accept the default answers:

  1. which army or unit you are giving orders to,
  2. where you want that army or unit to move to,
  3. which battle tactic to use,
  4. the speed with which to move the army or unit,
  5. what to do when the enemy is in sight,
  6. the level of risk taking,
  7. the alert level.

1. Which army or unit you are giving orders to

You'll provide the answer to this question by selecting an army or unit that you want to give orders to. Click on the army or unit of your choice with the left mouse button. Or select it by other means, for example through the order of battle screen.

2. Where you want that army or unit to move to

The next step is to point to the destination of the army or unit by using the right mouse button. The program would then know where you want your army or unit to move to. If you don't want it to move at all, simply right click on the same spot the army or unit is located.

3. Which battle tactic to use

Next you need to tell your commander which battle tactic to use when combat ensues. Again, there are several options, divided into three main categories:

  • Commander decides (default)- basically, this is not taking a decision at all. The commander will choose its own battle tactic. This option is best used when you have human commanders. The computer AI is simply not implemented yet and would merely generate a random tactic.
  • Attack strategy - you need to choose a specific strategy. Here is a overview of ground tactics:
    • Hasty (default) - This is the fastest attack strategy to implement. Within the hour your forces could attack the enemy. However, it is not advisable to use this option when there is time to prepare an attack which is better organized. Only use this option when you want a pre-emptive strike or when your forces outnumber the enemy and you're in a hurry.
    • Frontal - A typical Soviet attack, using massive forces to break the enemy's will to resist by the use of an advantage in numbers.
    • Infiltration - A typical commando raid, the most efficient form of attack, but it can only be used by employing special forces or partisans, who are usually outnumbered by the enemy.
    • Flanking - A Napoleonic attack tactic: a mix of a pincer and a frontal attack. It is therefore more efficient than the frontal, but less than a pincer attack. (Pincer attacks are not battle tactics in Exp:WW2, but can be achieved by attacking an enemy from more than one side)
    • Penetration - This is called Blitzkrieg for Germans and only they seem to know about it and are capable of using it. Other countries can learn this tactic by researching it or by experiencing this German tactic (which for your sake, I hope you don't have to).
  • Defense strategy - you need to choose a specific strategy. Here is a overview of ground tactics:
    • Hasty (default) - This is the basic defense strategy and will be used instantly by troops under attack. It is recommended not to use this option when there is time to employ one of the other defense tactics.
    • Prepared defense - The option to trade time for space. Advisable to those who have enough time to prepare a thorough defensive line to protect a relatively small area.
    • Defense in depth - The option to trade space for time. Advisable to those who have enough space to defend against a fast-moving enemy to protect a relatively large area.
    • Mobile defense - This option is currently unavailable to countries, although rumor has it that the Soviets are developing this tactic.
    • Hedgehog defense - This option is currently unavailable, although rumor has it that the French are developing this tactic.

More information on ground tactics can be found on the page by sergeant Rick Cox.

4. How to move the army or unit

You can move your forces slowly or at full speed. This, of course, could have effects on the chances of your forces being surprised by the enemy. If you move your forces at full speed, the disadvantage is not only that of surprise, but also double the amount of fuel consumption. Here are the options:

  • Stopped (default).
  • Cruising speed: 2/3rd full speed, fuel consumption normal.
  • Full speed: double fuel consumption.
  • Transport: the unit will be carried by another unit, such as a transport plane, a ship, or a train. The unit will move at the speed of the transporter and is very vulnerable to attack.

5. What to do when the enemy is in sight

On its way to its final destination (see 2. Where you want to move to) your army or unit could encounter enemy forces and needs to have orders on whether to attack the enemy or to ignore him. Since the operational turns in ExpWW2 usually take up 10 game-days, it would be too late to wait for your (new) instructions. Therefore you need to set the orders before the enemy is encountered so commanders can act instantly. Maybe you focus on getting your army at the right spot within a given time. Then you would want your army to move along and ignore the enemy. However, you could agree with von Clausewitz and set your priorities to destroy the enemy forces. Then you would give the order to pursue the enemy. There are several options:

  • Stand (default) - your army is ordered to stop marching and will defend until the enemy disappears. It will then continue its movement.
  • Engage - your army will attack the enemy if your army's commander accepts the risks. When the enemy retreats, your army will continue its movement to its destination.
  • Pursue - your army will engage the enemy if your army's commander accepts the risks. When the enemy forces retreat, your army will pursue them until the enemy has been destroyed.This will mean that the army will stop its march to its destination until the enemy is destroyed. Use this option only if you think the destruction of enemy forces is more important than conquering cities or other strategic locations.
  • Follow - your army will not attack the enemy, but will follow it and report back its position. This option is best suited for naval tactics, whereby a weak destroyer could track the movements of a powerful enemy battleship, until your own battleships have reached the scene.
  • Withdraw - your army will move away from the enemy. Use this option when your army is known to be weak, such as a scouting unit, or when you are taking a risk by sending a small force to conquer an area in the hope that no enemy forces are there.
  • Ignore - your army will ignore the presence of the enemy and will continue its movement towards its destination. This option is risky and the oppositie of Withdraw. Use it when you are certain that your army is more powerful than most enemy forces, such as a battleship.

6. The level of risk taking

Another question that needs to be answered is how many risks your forces must take in combat. This also determines how many risks your (computerized) commanders should take in choosing their battle tactics and deciding whether or not to engage the enemy. In practice: at what level of losses should your army withdraw? You have the following options:

  • Passive - Your army should not engage the enemy. If combat does occur, your forces will withdraw immediately. This option is well suited to support units such as engineers or merchant ships.
  • Cautious - Your army should engage an enemy when the enemy is known to be weak. When losses become light, your army will disengage combat and defend or withdraw.
  • Average (default) - Your army should enage an enemy of equal strength. When losses become medium your army will disengage combat and defend or withdraw.
  • Impulsive - Your army will engage an enemy even when he's stronger than you. When losses become heavy your army will disengage combat and defend or withdraw.
  • Reckless - Basically, you are ordering your forces to fight to the death and engage an enemy whatever its strength.

7. The Alert Level

The higher the alert level the busier the army. The amount of leaves granted will be reduced and the number of patrol increased. This obviously is a strain on both men and material. There are five options:

  • Full Alert - All leaves are cancelled; there are around-the-clock patrols. This reduces the chance of surprise to almost zero, but severely strains the men's physical condition and morale. It can also aggrevate neighbouring countries.
  • High Alert - Security measures are increased, no new leaves are granted. The chances of being surprised are reduced. Fuel consumption is increased. Men and material are put under strain.
  • Normal Alert (default) - Normal security measures are taken. The chance of being surprised is acceptable given the reasonable strain on men and material. Typicial for A-class (regular army) units and for units on occupational duty in relatively calm areas.
  • Low Alert - The unit behaves as a typical reserve unit: security measures are low, consumption of fuel and ammo is low. The men's morale is not under pressure, but can slowly reach civillian levels.
  • No Alert - If attacked, the unit will definitely be surprised. This alert level is best for units receiving R&R: the men's morale and stamina can be increased rapidly.


This page covered giving orders to armies and units. It may seem like a lot of work, supplying the answers to seven questions. However, as said before, you don't have to give seven answers if you don't want to. You could simply agree with the defaults. Or if you play in a team, you could leave the military affairs to your human commanders. Don't forget: your commanders are not obliged to follow your orders all the time! If a commander is reckless and disobedient, he might decide to engage an enemy which outnumbers his own forces even though you ordered him to defend (think of Rommel).

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This historical conflict simulation is dedicated to Chanel Stevens

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