[Top 10] Hearts of Iron 4 Best Defense Templates That Are Powerful (2024)

Hearts of Iron IV has a lot of nuances, and one example of this is using the right division template for your plans. Having the right unit in the right place can make all the difference in the world, and as such, we’ll rundown three of the best templates you can use in each scenario or strategy (in no particular order).

Do note that if you played before the No Step Back DLC, the best templates for you would be 20 and 40 width divisions, but with the change, there’s no singularly best template, though the best and most flexible would be 10, 15, 18, 27, and 41-45 combat widths.

But beforehand, let’s go over the statistics and their explanations.

Base Stats Explanation:

  • Maximum speed - determines how fast your division moves. This is always based on the slowest battalion or support company, so you have to determine if you prefer units that can easily outflank others or if the sacrifice in speed is worth it in terms of other stats.
  • HP - stands for hit points and basically represents how much damage the division is capable of taking before it is destroyed. This is tied to the battalions and support company you put out, as each one can increase the HP of the entire division. Having a reduced division will result in your units performing poorly.
  • Organization - is the average organization of your total units and is also known as morale. Infantry (whether leg or motorized) will generally bring organization up, so it is ideal to keep some battalions in your division. Organization can also be increased through land doctrines, support companies, and properly supplying your troops. It should be noted that organization is lost at a rate of -0.2 per hour every time it is moves.
  • Recovery rate - refers to the rate organization is recovered per hour. This can be increased by having a strong infrastructure, having the charismatic field marshal trait, and properly supplying your troops.
  • Recon - is short for reconnaissance and is particularly useful in battles, as having a higher recon value will allow your commander to pick a better tactic compared to the opponent. This can be increased by adding recon companies in the support company tab or through some land doctrines.
  • Suppression - is the sum of the entire division. This statistic relates to the division’s ability to suppress resistance in your occupied areas, thereby keeping said states/provinces much calmer and better able to provide for your nation.
  • Weight - relates to how many transport planes or convoys it would require to transport a division via either air or sea to another location.
  • Supply use - Determines how much supplies that division would require to keep itself running. Having a logistics company will reduce the daily demand on the division.
  • Reliability - refers to how sturdy the division’s equipment is, and a high reliability percentage will reduce the amount of times a piece of equipment breaks down due to either combat or attrition. Having a logistics company or a design company can bring this value down.
  • Trickleback - is how much of a percentage of casualties can be saved and returned to the manpower pool. This can be increased by adding a field hospital support company.
  • Exp. loss - is how much unit XP is lost every time the division suffers casualties. This can be increased by adding a field hospital support company. It should be noted that reinforcing units with new men will also lower their XP.

Combat Stats Explanation:

  • Soft and hard attacks - are how much damage the division can do against soft targets (infantry and cavalry) and hard targets (tanks and mechanized units), respectively. Artillery and SPG units will increase soft attack greatly while for hard attack, tanks and anti-tanks will have a similar effect. As the AI generally builds infantry units, it’s wise to have a lot of soft attacks in order to punch through the enemy lines.
  • Air attack - is how much damage the division can perform against enemy planes, reducing their aerial superiority and effectiveness against your units. This can be increased by AA battalions and support companies.
  • Defense - is how much damage your unit can take before cracking. This is usually boosted by the number of infantry (both leg and motorized) you have in your template.
  • Breakthrough - is how much damage you can deal against the enemy’s defenses. A higher breakthrough will allow your units to pierce through enemy lines better.
  • Armor - represents how much defense your unit has against an enemy breakthrough. Should the enemy be unable to penetrate your armor, you will gain a number of buffs. This can be increased by adding tanks and researching new technologies.
  • Piercing - is how capable your unit is of penetrating the enemy’s armor, thereby either giving you buffs or granting them to the enemy if your efforts prove unsuccessful.
  • Initiative - dictates how fast the reinforce rate and the planning speed of the unit are. Having a signal company will be able to help increase this value.
  • Entrenchment - represents the unit’s ability to prepare defenses in its current location. An idle unit will naturally entrench itself, and should it be fully entrenched, grant the unit a large bonus in defense and other stats. Moving a unit will reset its entrenchment progress. Having an engineer support company and researching some land doctrines will be able to increase this value.
  • Combat width - represents how much space it would take to bring the unit to the battlefield. Having a large combat width may result in debuffs, but having a small combat width might also limit the maximum effectiveness of the unit. Battlefield combat widths are determined bythe terrain fought on.

Now that’s all out of the way, let’s go with the top 10 best divisions to use, what their pros are, and an explanation of their use and effectiveness.

1. The Cheap Infantry Division

[Top 10] Hearts of Iron 4 Best Defense Templates That Are Powerful (1)

Having tons of infantry will ensure that your troops are able to repel any amount of attacks on your position. Remember, attacking forces will always take more casualties than the defenders.


  • It is cheap to produce as it requires only infantry equipment, artillery, and support equipment
  • Can be added with more support companies or artillery batteries
  • Excellent for holding the lines as it has a high HP and organization value.
  • Is at a relatively low combat width, allowing more units of this template into the battlefield
  • A high defense (for its template) will ensure that the enemy bloodies itself whenever attacking said template.


This unit is what I call the basic of the basic, as against the AI, it will be able to defend your frontlines should an early war start. Its main selling point is that due to its cheapness, you can mass produce this template without needing much in terms of industry. This is very important if you’re playing a minor nation and need troops right away to help plug the line or if your industry is lacking at the start.

Can also be used in defensive duties on ports in order to repel enemy attacks as the AI, more often than not, will not launch with marine divisions, thereby giving their units a huge debuff and making the naval invasion more of a battle of will (in which your units will win easily).

2. The (Cheap) Garrison Division

[Top 10] Hearts of Iron 4 Best Defense Templates That Are Powerful (2)

Considering that the enemy AI will attack with non-marine forces, this division will serve as an effective stopgap while you redirect your faces to eleminate the enemy's beachfront


  • Mass production is very inexpensive
  • Good defense for holding ports against enemy (AI) naval invasions.
  • Good entrenchment will provide strong defensive bonuses to this unit
  • Stationing this unit at port states will provide a big boost to its defensive capabilities
  • High organization ensures that you will almost certainly win in a war of attrition


Now, this is an unlikely pick, but trust me, the AI is quite fond of launching naval invasions, and surely you wouldn’t want your fun ruined by some pesky enemies approaching your capital, right? This unit is the basic template to go with for defending ports or air bases and preventing the enemy from making any flanking maneuvers.

The fact that it’s cheaper than the previous template is an even bigger selling point, as you can rush this unit out if you want and get them to their respective areas as soon as possible.

3. The All-around Mountain Division

[Top 10] Hearts of Iron 4 Best Defense Templates That Are Powerful (3)

Utterly dominant in the mountains, the mix of special forces and artillery will prove to be deadly against any enemy attacks espcially if it's a frontal only charge


  • Extremely good in mountainous terrain (think Italy or Turkey)
  • Can take and deal damage against any foes that dare attack
  • Good soft attack value will easily tear through any attacking armies’ organization
  • Can be reduced in case equipment is not enough and needs to be conserved
  • Strong defense will negate most of the enemy’s breakthrough


A pricey pick, for sure, but in the right meta, it can prove to be a juggernaut. In mountainous terrains, the huge drop off for any non-mountain infantry can be quite a nuisance to your efforts to subjugate that area.

In this build, you can both launch attacks and defend your position against enemy attacks. Defending in mountainous areas will also grant you a bonus, leading to an easier sweep of the entire thing.

4. The (Cheap) All-Around Infantry Division

[Top 10] Hearts of Iron 4 Best Defense Templates That Are Powerful (4)

Capable of responding to any situation, this division template aims to gives you a cheap but effective jack of all trades


  • Flexible in dealing with any attacks by the opponent
  • The organization can go higher with the right land doctrines (but in case it doesn’t, you can wipe the floor with any attacks)
  • Adaptable in most terrains as it should be able to fit all possible units with only a small penalty in cases where it exceeds the combat width
  • Easy to produce, as well as AA and AT being both support companies instead.
  • Should be able to negate most of the enemy’s air superiority and armor


This all-around pick can be the initial backbone of any of your core armies, as it gives you options in dealing with any of the enemy’s attacks. The low production cost of the equipment will allow you to constantly replenish said equipment and even upgrade them as the days go by.

While unable to deal with heavier tanks, it should be more than enough to negate the armor of light tanks and reduce the effect of the enemy’s air power on your troops’ organization and HP.

5. The Fast Motorized Division

[Top 10] Hearts of Iron 4 Best Defense Templates That Are Powerful (5)

With the fastest speed out of all templates, you have the ability to reposition units quickly to fill in gaps or reinforce any existing battles


  • Really fast, can redeploy anywhere across the line to meet new threats
  • Rocket artillery has one of the strongest soft attacks in the game
  • Enemy infantry will be reduced to rubble should it try to attack this division
  • Its breakthrough is good, allowing you to retake any lost ground should the enemy take it
  • Will run riot on plain terrain, giving it a huge advantage over other units


If you want your army to consist of fast troops, it’s best to aim for the top of the pile, as with this build, you’ll not only end up with speed, but you’ll also gain a formidable soft attack against any possible enemy attacks.

If there was any con to this, it’s that rocket artillery (motorized) takes quite a while to produce, and as such, this is a pretty considerable investment should anyone attempt to take this template along.

6. The Infantry Division plus a Tank

[Top 10] Hearts of Iron 4 Best Defense Templates That Are Powerful (6)

Embedding an armored unit in your infantry division will increase its piercing and armor, giving you to ability to push back any enemy soft attacks


  • Will beat back most of the enemy’s piercing attacks (unless they attack with multiple AT or tanks)
  • Solid defense will ensure that your unit holds on longer than their attacks
  • Can be equipped with rocket artillery in order to boost the soft attack as well
  • Hard attack and anti air do most of the heavy lifting against any potential attacks
  • Combat width still allows for some width, so more units can fit into a battle


Imagine the infantry division template from a while ago, but add in a tank? You got bonuses from the enemy being unable to pierce your armor. That’s a huge win in my book. You’re going to get excellent defenses from enemy infantry and armored (mostly) attacks with the stats you’re putting up there.

7. The (better) All-Around Infantry Division

[Top 10] Hearts of Iron 4 Best Defense Templates That Are Powerful (7)

One of the most capable divisions, their high organization and soft attack lends well to the abilities of the unit in general.


  • Combat width is balanced and should fit in most terrains
  • Adaptable against any enemy attacks
  • Very strong soft attack once doctrines are unlocked
  • High organization, which will go up higher when doctrines are unlocked
  • A large HP value should keep it in the fight for as long as it possibly can


Okay, this is an adjustment to the first template, but it’s definitely more suited to defense from multiple attacks, be it tank attacks or even an infantry charge. A fair production cost should ensure that supplying said template won’t prove to be an issue in the future.

8. The 42 Width Infantry Division

[Top 10] Hearts of Iron 4 Best Defense Templates That Are Powerful (8)

When one rocket artillery isn't enough to emulate the Soviet Union, why not have more?


  • Loads of HP, making it very hard to fully destroy
  • Superb soft attack, which can easily wear down any enemy attacks
  • Excellent defense value, ensures that the unit can endure for a long time
  • Its organization can take a higher step once the proper doctrines are researched
  • Covers a lot of areas with its diverse list of support companies


As the absolute juggernaut in terms of combat width, you can be sure that utilizing this template will ensure that you’re properly compensated, as despite the high production cost, you’ll see immediate returns as your units push back every attack from the opponent.

9. The Easy to Produce 40 Width Division

[Top 10] Hearts of Iron 4 Best Defense Templates That Are Powerful (9)

A very strong division as the exceptionally high soft attack means ugly business. Well, for them.


  • All equipment is easy to produce or acquire from other nations
  • Soft attack is a strong factor, as it will burst any enemy attacks into nothingness
  • Its organization is actually one of the strongest among the entire list
  • Defense remains a strong factor, easily beating the ones seen in other templates
  • Incredible HP will keep the unit from being destroyed easily


To be fair, the cheaper option of the 42 width template is a strong choice as long as you replace the pricier rocket artillery with normal instead. The drop off isn’t very large and you’ll still be able to push out a strong template capable of handling itself on any battlefield.

10. The (Better and Pricier) Garrison Division

[Top 10] Hearts of Iron 4 Best Defense Templates That Are Powerful (10)

Should the enemy prove smarter in their division organization, one working strategy is to provide your garrison troops with even more equipment as to send them home as soon as possible


  • Fantastic organization will allow it to endure all attacks
  • A better version of the garrison division as this should be able to push back all possible naval invasions
  • Defense value is at a high level, thereby reducing the enemy’s attack
  • HP remains at a good level, allowing this unit to fight longer than others
  • Overall, it remains cheap to produce, allowing the unit to be trained as much as possible.


A better garrison pick, this one will draw a fair share of criticism, but if your opponent is way too good at naval invasions or you want extra reassurances, you can up the ante by giving a larger coastal division to defend ports and air bases.

The excellent defense, organization, and entrenchment will all be the hallmarks of this unit’s ability to push back naval attacks from the most experienced players.

You may also like:

  • Hearts of Iron IV Ultimate Guide for Beginners
  • [Top 10] Hearts of Iron 4 Best Infantry Templates That Are Powerful
  • [Top 10] Hearts of Iron 4 Best Countries That Are Powerful
  • [Guide] Hearts of Iron 4 Best Air Doctrine - What To Choose
  • [Top 15] Hearts of Iron 4 Best Division Templates That Are Powerful

You may also like:

  • [Guide] Hearts of Iron 4 Best Air Doctrine - What To Choose
  • [Top 15] Hearts of Iron 4 Best Division Templates That Are Powerful
  • [Top 25] Best Hearts of Iron 4 Mods For A New Experience
  • [Top 10] Hearts of Iron 4 Best Countries That Are Powerful
[Top 10] Hearts of Iron 4 Best Defense Templates That Are Powerful (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Dong Thiel

Last Updated:

Views: 5903

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (59 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Dong Thiel

Birthday: 2001-07-14

Address: 2865 Kasha Unions, West Corrinne, AK 05708-1071

Phone: +3512198379449

Job: Design Planner

Hobby: Graffiti, Foreign language learning, Gambling, Metalworking, Rowing, Sculling, Sewing

Introduction: My name is Dong Thiel, I am a brainy, happy, tasty, lively, splendid, talented, cooperative person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.