Annexing Canada as the U.S. in 15 years

Author: 5k
Published: 2020-02-02
Guide on how to conquer Canada as the U.S. in 15 years
With a large helping of tactical playing, exploits and luck, you too can annex Canada in under 15 years as the U.S.
A quick annexation can unlock lots of potential as the U.S., as dealing with the only Great Power that can hurt you early on (the UK) allows you to pretty much run free later on. To learn how to do all of this read on.

Note: for this guide I will be using screenshots taken from different runs using this strategy so if the dates don't always match up that's why.
For this game: start researching medicine techs. After prioritize military techs or techs that give you more research points. Researching romanticism for your cores (and the revanchism) is nice but does not need to be prioritized (Canada first, then Mexico!)
Your budget should also reflect you military-oriented priorities. Increase taxes and tariffs to the max as you will need them to fund your military (I'm sorry Thomas Jefferson D: ). Everything else can be set default. To save a bit of extra cash, you can forgo from paying your navy before war breaks out. You should still pay it at least 75% once war does break out though. Lastly, subsidize your factories.
For your army, start by deleting your useless cav units and replace them with hussars and/or artillery. You can also delete some of your regular infantry and replace them with hussars and artillery too (since mobilized troops will be the bulk of your front line infantry). Speaking of which - mobilize right away do you can get your army organized quickly and before things kick off.
Colonization is very important for this strategy. Start by colonizing Oregon ASAP. As soon as that is completed colonize Washington. Don't worry if Mexico tries to colonize Colorado or Oklahoma - that will only produce more revanchism for us later on (which is a good thing).
Then after start colonizing British Columbia. The goal is to compete with the U.K. over it so don't try and actually finish the colonization if you have the opportunity. Do make sure to keep up with the U.K. over the colonization so they don't complete it either. Try to conserve colonization points elsewhere to ensure you have enough to keep up with the U.K. on this. You may have to build a few boats to keep up later in the game.
Diplomatically, the first priority will be dealing with Texas. Use your influence to sphere Texas and try to intervene in their war of independence as soon as possible. Beating Mexico will be easy (especially with all those mobilized troops) so the war should be quick. Afterwards wait for Texas to be annexed to you (it should happen very quickly), if you don't wait, the next opportunity won't happen for annexation for years.
Meanwhile start fabricating a Free People Cassus Belli on the U.K. If start fabricating right away, it will probably be done a few months before you are ready (depending on how quickly the war with mexico happens) thus it might be prudent to wait 2-4 months to start fabricating.
Once Texas has been annexed, move all of your armies to you northern border. Position about 12,000 men (including at least 1 unit of artillery or hussars) near Saskatchewan while place the rest along the western border of Canada.
PART ONE: The First War
Once you troops are in position (or are almost in position) declare war to liberate Canada in Saskatchewan. You can liberate Canada from any territory you like, but Saskatchewan is the easiest as it has the fewest colonized provinces. After declaring war move all of your troops into Canada. The UK only has a home army of 9,000 men so the beginning part will be easy.
In the east, start sieging down Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. The British (and sometimes there allies) will attempt to land troops to stop you but luckily they are extremely predictable. They will either land their troops in Nova Scotia or Newfoundland or Labrador (rarely they will land on Baffin island too). You won't have to worry about protecting you own coasts from foreign invasion, only the coasts of Canada.

Luckily for you, the naval AI in this game is utterly braindead. The U.K. will often send unguarded or lightly guarded transports to send their troops over in. Thus you own navy can make quick work of them. For me, the enemy navy occasionally got by my own due to the distances involved or due to my own lack of attentiveness. Thus I always kept some armies in N.S. and near Newfoundland to trap/destroy any enemy armies that made it.
Meanwhile use your western army to siege down Saskatchewan. The U.K. will occasionally send little armies of 3,000 from the pacific, so once Saskatchewan has been sieged down, use that western army to deal with those little armies. It can also be used to siege down B.C. and Alberta.

As an aside: the U.K. will occasionally try to colonize land other than B.C. This doesn't break the strategy but it does make it more annoying (especially if they colonize SK at this point in the game) as it will force you to siege down more land now and later on.
By sieging down much of Canada,and by winning a few battles against the U.Ks invading armies, freeing Canada should be easily doable for an experienced player. But we don't want to free Canada, we want to conquer it. This is where the exploits come in.
Remember that colonization race with the U.K.? Well its been ready to boil over for a while now but hasn't as you will have been at war. But now that the war is over it will begin to boil over into a crisis. This crisis will let you quickly go to war again with the U.K. without having to worry about truces.
You have 2 options when it comes to this crisis. The first is letting it play out normally. If you plan on doing this then be sure to improve relations with as many GPs as possible beforehand so when the crisis does break out you'll have allies. However if you aren't a fan of letting you AI allies decide the fates of your wars, there is another option...
The second option is to make the crisis war a 1v1. To do this start demobilizing then mobilizing over and over again as soon as the crisis presents itself. If you do this enough, the crisis war will fire immediately without anyone else getting involved. Then mobilize one last time. I always go with this option.

If you wondering how this works - every time someone involved in a crisis mobilizes, it moves the crisis closer to war (to simulate how mobilizing is a sign that you think war is imminent). The exploit comes from the fact that demobilizing doesn't cool down the crisis, so mobilizing over and over again will just heat up the crisis more and more to the point of war - instantly.
PART TWO: The Second War
Execute the second war just like the first, siege down Canada, defend from British naval invasions etc. This time, however you will have to be more thorough. Most or all of Canada will have to be sieged down.
The AI's behavior won't change much in this war compared to the last although the U.K. may be abit more aggressive (no less brain dead though).
Once you have enough jingoism and enough warscore, add a liberate CB for Canada. This CB will requires you to win completely against the U.K. and get 100% warscore, so sieging down most or all of Canada to get ticking warscore is needed.

As a side note: it can be hard telling when you have enough jingo to add a wargoal as it will seem like you can add one (even if you don't have enough jingo) until you click proceed. If the proceed buton is grayed out, you'll need more jingo. You can check using your population tabs (if you have more than 6.99 give or take a fraction of a percentage point you'll be able to add it).
As you win the war against the U.K. you will also start to justify war against the already independent Canada. First remove Canada from your sphere (at the cost of 1 infamy), then justify a conquest CB against it.
This part of the strategy can create a problem. You will gain 11 infamy by adding the wargoal to liberate Canada, and 1 to remove Canada from your sphere. The conquest CB has the chance to give you up to 22 infamy. This means there is a chance you can go over the infamy limit. If you want to avoid this you can always just savescum however.

Violating the infamy limit will make things very hard but not impossible once this war is over. Violating the infamy limit doesn't end your game, but it will require you to be warding off naval invasions even perhaps during the Civil War (which is very difficult). It is still doable however (especially if the ACW kicks off when you have a truce with one of the GPs). Of course if want to play as the Confederacy then violating the infamy limit may be the thing you want to do (but why would go through all of this trouble to do that).
After justifying on Canada, send in your armies to siege them down. You'll win in no time. With both wars won we are ready to make peace and use another exploit to annex Canada.

This involves Guren's annexation trick. In short, wait until the peace terms by Canada are up on the top of your screen. Then go to the U.K. and liberate the rest of Canada. Then, without unpausing the game, accept Canada's offer of annexation. This will instantly release all of Canada to the nation of Canada, but then will result in all of it being annexed to you.
PART THREE: The Aftermath
This strategy takes me around 15 years consistently but I know it can be done in less if the wars are optimized.

The most important reason why you might want to use this trick (besides just the fact that you can annex Canada) is that it secures your norther border. You will be much freer to violate the infamy limit as containing those who want to contain you will become a lot easier. As the AI won't have a long border to invade you from, they can only naval invade you and that is predictable (they always land in either Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Florida or rarely Baffin Island. As long as you garrison those areas, you can be free to conquer what you want when you want.
The good thing about the U.S. is it can have lots of extraterritorial cores. By letting Mexico and Spain keep most or all of your cores until the end of the game, you will then have revanchism and thus a supply or jingoism to help ease your conquests. Alternatively, you can take your cores quickly. If you add a non-core wargoal for every core wargoal you DOW mexico for, you can conquer all of Mexico pretty quickly.
PART FOUR: Other Things
Here is a list of problems or quirks that can happen if you plan on doing this yourself
-It's possible that Mexico DOW's on you before you are done with the strategy. It's not guarenteed but to stay on the safe side you can always wait before researching Romanticism or taking the manifest destiny decision. You should also improve relations occasionally
-The first war will give you a little bit of militancy. This is usually enough to pass a reform. If you get very lucky, the slavery debate won't have fired yet so you can outlaw slavery and prevent the ACW from even happening. This is very rare however so don't count on it.
-If you do violate the infamy limit, be careful about Liberia. While you can easily defend your own borders, it will be harder to defend Liberia. If a Great Power DOW's you and sieged Liberia, they might demand to establish a protectorate over it, which will grant ticking warscore in their favor (up to 75%) and they won't accept peace without containment. Thus if Liberia falls to rebels it might be better just to let them lose so you don't have to encounter this situation.
The end!

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Images: 12, author: MrKlonam, published: 2019-09-22, edited: 2019-09-23