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Author Topic: All the Russian openings: For Begginers  (Read 16597 times)
Black_Elk
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« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2015, 09:50:28 pm »
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Some people have been asking about how to manage a KJF as the Allies, and what this means for the Russians.

Which Russian opening is best for a KJF set up?
Or What is a KJF anyway?


OK, a brief "Kill Japan First" (KJF) digression from the perspective of the Western Allies, which I will then try to tie back into the Russian situation down there at the bottom grin

First of all, remember that KJF is a "catch all" sort of phase. Whether you're actually trying to "Kill Japan", or just beat them back during the early rounds and then take their money to redirect it, the gameplay is pretty similar. I would say your main goal in KJF is to keep India effective for the British until the USA can bring force to bear, and this is where the Russians come into play. But first lets think about the USA itself, since they are the player that has to do most of the heavy lifting under such a strat. I agree with Baron's plan mentioned on the previous page regarding a Pearl opener, if Japan tries to hit Pearl light in the first round, its better to submerge your sub, and hope for a strong counter attack. Assuming he doesn't attack Pearl though, and leaves you with your carrier, then the first few rounds in the Pacific game are more about building than actual combat moves.

United States Navy (USN) and the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN):

"The Cat and Mouse..." Or is it "the Mouse and Cat"?
Who's moving who here? And who's still playing with that dead mouse!
 grin

The important thing to remember with the USN, is that you don't need to actually move out immediately to still mess with Japan. Just by having a fleet in the Pacific you will be tying the Japanese down, and forcing them to buy ships, and stalling them somewhat from moving on the Med too quickly. This can also be a boon for the Soviets, if you can keep Japan focused more on Tokyo than they are on Moscow, so there is definitely a Russian dimension to all this. I'll get there eventually.

But as the USN you really don't have to move beyond sz 56 to achieve this pressure on Japan in the first three rounds. In fact your chances of taking the money Islands are ultimately much better if you wait until you have 3 or more stacked carrier decks, with enough subs/destroyers to protect them, and enough transports to make them effective.

Until you're ready to fully move out with the USN, there are a couple things you can do to give Japan some headaches without moving very far from sz56. One of them is to launch up to sz 64 Alaska, when Japan goes south. This forces a decision on Japan, by removing their "safe zone" in sz 62, and it is the quintessential "Cat and Mouse" opening maneuver. The last thing the Japanese player wants, is a big ugly US fleet parked in range of Japan itself, that they then have to defend against or destroy. Just by moving to Alaska for one round, you can often hold a lot of Japanese naval units in place. This is what our friend YoungGrasshopper has aptly called a "Yo Yo" play. Where you bounce up and down with your Navy like a YoYo. Maybe you can make it a trick Yo Yo, and "walk the dog"? Wink but basically it's a back and forth, between two large Navies that hold each other in a mutual gravitation pull, where neither side has an attack advantage, so they instead just try to pull the other fleet out of position.

Another thing this cat and mouse threat can do is force Japan to keep their fighters in the Pacific, to deal with the USN, rather than just sending them against the center/Europe. To keep the Japanese player guessing about how committed you really are to the fight in the Pacific, one way to do this is to feint like you're going to dash through Panama in the first round, but then return the entire fleet to sz 56. This might seem like a wasted round of movement, but its really not much different than just parking it in sz56 the whole time. Here you have the advantage of getting to decide in the second round (based on where Japan moved and what they bought), whether a full Pacific commitment is really worth it. I like to buy fighters before Carriers, if you want to bluff, so you can decide whether you want to use them in the Pacific or the Atlantic, without tying them down immediately on decks. Otherwise, if you're going hardcore KJF with no misdirection, then I like to buy a carrier and support ships right away.

My favorite positioning for this is to fly the Pearl fighter to W. Australia, and Pearl fleet itself to sz 41 (then you can choose whether to move to sz 22 Brazil, or remain in the Pacific). Another place the Pearl fleet can go is sz 55, with plans to move to sz 18 W. Indies or remain in the Pacific. For a full Pacific commitment, where you are not trying to feint or bluff, but clearly putting Japan on notice by being all brazen about it, then you can go to sz 64 with the Pearl fleet to pressure Japan/Manchuria.

Another potentially interesting location for the Pearl Carrier, if Japan goes "way south" to Burma push, would be to converge your whole Pacific fleet at Iwo or in sz 58 (with a loaded transport just floating). Here the Szech Flying Tiger fighter can dash off to land on your Carrier deck from sz53. This last move only works if the Japanese fail to buy warships and move all the way down to sz 63/Burma rather than their usual spot in sz 61. And it only works if their fighters are out of range. Its debatable whether carrier duty the best use of the Flying Tiger anyway (since it is usually needed in India, W. Russia or Archangel during the second round) still its another option to put naval pressure on Japan directly, and put some heat on Manchuria at the same time. Again, this move only works if the Japanese player goofs their fighter landings and fleet positioning (landing all their fighters in FIC rather than Kwangtung for example), but it can be a fun way to punish a Japanese player who doesn't yet understand the importance of sz 61.

The primary Objective for the USN is Borneo. It is two moves from sz 56 W. USA, via Solomons. Ideally you want to hold Borneo for a round and establish production there, but this might not always be possible. At the very least you want to take the Borneo money from Japan and put it into your coffers. It may be advisable to sacrifice transports for the taking of Borneo, and sacrifice destroyers to block, while you sail the main fleet further along to position against East Indies. Snatching "the other rich island" often proves a bit easier for establishing production long term, even if it takes a round longer to get there. Its also possible, if Japan has Borneo blocked, to sail south around Australia, and still reach East Indies with your main fleet.

From a purchasing perspective, you're going to want 3 transports, 3 carriers, and 3 destroyers to make your Pacific fleet effective, and many more once you actually establish a foothold. It may be technically possible to snatch Borneo with just 2 of each, but this is very high risk, you face a greater threat of being destroyed by Japanese air. Plus you can end up stalling yourself if you move too early, stuck trying to "re-converge" with newly purchased naval units out of sz56.

Your main attack/defense unit is the fighter, your main fodder unit is the sub (which can then be used with Fighters to deadzone key sea lanes.) And, most critically, your main blocking unit is the destroyer. I say "most critically", because what you'd really like to do is prevent the IJN from ever being able to hit your main carrier group, so you only have to defend it against aircraft. To do this, you'll need to sacrifice 2 of those 3 destroyers in blocking maneuvers to set up on Borneo and East Indies. Again what you'd like to do is take the islands, and block Japan, without having to put your Carriers at risk. Often times it is much better to sacrifice transport units to take the islands, while leaving the main fleet in Solomons until it is strong enough to move anywhere it wants.

USA starts with 42 ipcs, but they will lose China immediately, that leaves them with 39/40 ipcs the following round. (note: Russia can almost ensure that its 40 ipcs and not 39, by sending the Kazakh Infantry unit to Szech.) Assuming that you won't be taking much land for a while as USA, that's basically going to give you  ~80 ipcs of purchased units going into the third round. And ~120 ipcs going into the fourth.

What can you buy with 120 ipcs?


Conveniently you can buy: 2 carriers, 2 transports, 3 fighters, 3 destroyers, and 4 submarines.

Your starting Pacific units are 1 carrier, 1 transport, 3 fighters*, 2 destroyers, 1 submarine, 1 cruiser and 1 battleship.

*Notice that there are 2 more fighters in the US arsenal, the flying Tiger and the E. US fighter, but these will likely be needed elsewhere. Either in Europe or (if you are switching out the sz53 pearl fighter to Australia, then the E. US fighter takes its place on a Pacific deck.) There are also 5 pacific infantry units you can grab (along with the tank or other ground from E. US).

Add it all together, taking no loses until this point and that gives you a combined force of...

USN
3 carriers
6 fighters
5 destroyers
1 Cruiser
1 Battleship

with 5 Submarines and 3 transports to make the USN effective on Attack!

Total Hit point value vs an "All Air" attack by Japan: 16 hit points +1 absorption from the battleship
Total Defense value vs an "All Air" attack by Japan: 44 defense points in the first round of combat

Notice that in terms of defense, that's 7 hits on average in the first round of combat. Lucky 7! Meaning that Japan must commit at least 7 fighters = 70 ipcs at risk in the first round of combat, if they want to take a crack at you from the Air! You'll have 6 hitpoints as fodder (5 destroyer units and the Battleship absorption) before Japan is into your heavy hitting fighters and warships. A very expensive proposition, and the deterrent you'll be counting on.

That's just one build I like. Now if you take away the 4 subs I recommended buying for naval fodder/attack, you'll see that you can achieve an even stronger defensive value vs a Japanese airstrike if you want. 4 subs not purchased, leaves you with 24 ipcs to spend. You can get 3 destroyers for that, or a Carrier deck with 1 fighter on it, or a pair of fighters, or pair of bombers, or a battleship, or more transports and ground etc. I like subs though, since they are good for destroying Japanese blockers, and serving as cheap fodder in case you have to back down the IJN itself (and not just their airforce.) I suggest buying 4 Subs as a good amount, but some will go up to 7 or more purchased subs. It depends how hard you want to gun for the IJN and actually destroy it, or if you just want to defend your own fleet and snatch the islands.

There are plenty of ways you can play with the basic USN force a little bit, a few more subs or few less, one more fighter or destroyer here and there. There are also different ways to think about the exact order in which you buy this stuff, or if you want to save and drop, but basically what you want is a force that has at least 3 carriers at its core!

3 carriers, fully stacked with just a little fodder cover, becomes very hard to destroy.  Even if the last carrier isn't fully stacked, and you're only bringing 5 fighters when you move out initially instead of 6, that third carrier is still worth its weight in gold vs Japanese air attack. Just by allowing an extra fighter in the water on defense it pays for itself on coverage. Now if 3 stacked carriers are that potent, 4 stacked carriers are surely better right?
 grin

 But its a question of managing the rest of the board at that point. Sometimes you can't wait that long to move out, or sometimes a fourth carrier is more necessary in the Atlantic than the Pacific. It can be a hard call, but I say 3 is the minimum for an effective Pacific fleet vs the IJN.

This situation could change if the British elect to hit sz 37, but that is a high risk attack. It is trading the British Pacific fleet for the second Japanese carrier and battleship, and puts the whole KJF strategy down to a single opening battle. I believe it is better to destroy the second Japanese transport in sz 61 and preserve these forces to do stuff later on. But if you do hit sz37 and prevail, then the move out for the USN can be more rapid. Otherwise I think you should stay safe and build up for 3 rounds.

Judging your chances based on the Japanese purchase: If you see Japan buy a factory in Manchuria during the first round round, then KJF is optimal! Take this as a sign that the Japanese player might be somewhat inexperienced. If they don't buy a factory, but buy transports and naval/air instead (which is what they should really be doing!) then you might want to take the KJF plan with America under advisement.

One last thought along these lines, if you see Japan buy a factory in East Indies in the first round, then consider your KJF aspirations carefully! A Japanese a factory here can be a major pain in the ass for the Americans to overcome. This is one reason why some players feel that a sz 37 hit (and taking East Indies) with UK is necessary for a KJF to truly work in 1942.2, especially to prevent this opening buy from Japan. I'm not sure I'd go that far, since I'm not a huge fan of high risk sz 37 hit, but I definitely agree that a Japanese East Indies Factory on J1 can be a nightmare to deal with! This sort of build by Japan means that you will have to forego the Southern route and the Money islands, and instead threaten Japan directly with a dead drop across the Northern route. It can still be done, but its much trickier, and requires the USA to invest a lot more in the Pacific. Just like with Manchuria, it is still possible to "make Japan pay" for buying a factory in the first, but to do this you have to become a fleet destroyer navy. Forget about the money islands for now, you probably won't need many transports, so you can send your starting transport in sz56 to the Atlantic if desired, and just invest 100% in destroying the IJN along the northern route. For that same 120 ipcs I discussed earlier, you can buy another carrier deck instead of the two early transports, and consider more subs as well. Here the goal is to wipe the IJN on attack first, and transport later against Japan directly, instead of the usual method of transport first, and defend, to take the Money islands.

Overall Japanese strength vs USA:
Japan begins the game with a stronger navy and airforce than you do, but is not making nearly as much cash in the first 3 rounds, so if you spend your first 3 rounds on a Pacific fleet, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to match you. Any money Japan has to spend buying warships, is less money they are spending on ground against India/Russia.

This stall means that Japan won't be making as much money after the 3rd round as they might otherwise. Now that's a big investment right there on a Pacific fleet, but the question from here on out is, continue spending in the Pacific, or start redirecting your focus. Usually by 4th round, it is becoming necessary for the Americans to support their British and Russian counterparts against Germany. Africa is critical to the UK economy, and its possible to sweep across it very quickly on a recovery with the USA. Its one move from E. USA to sz 23 with Atlantic transports, and there you can push against Cairo overland in 2 moves, or the rest of the continent down to S. Africa transporting out of sz 23. Its a fairly cheap investment on the part of the USA to keep Africa under British control, and this is something you may consider doing even earlier, if you can stand waiting until after the 4th round to fully develop your Pacific fleet. Allowing Germany to control Africa will totally undermine your KJF. It jacks up UKs income advantage from retaining control of India, and it makes them much less effective in terms or purchasing for a late game entry into the Atlantic/Europe, once the Pacific is plan is underway. That's why it is a good plan for the USA to provide at least some Atlantic assistance even under KJF conditions. This is one reason I really like to shoot that sz 53 pearl fighter down to W. Australia in the first round, so it can be in India at the end of the second. In a similar way, US forces brought into Africa can also push across to India, or sail around to the Pacific side of the board. If sz 23 isn't an option, Brazil can be a good second choice, since you can still cover a good swath of Africa, but you can also sail around S. America if desired. From sz 22 to sz 40, from there to sz 38, and then on to East Indies or India.

Last but not least, whenever you talk about USA, its good to talk about bombers. A US bomber Armada is one of the fastest ways to secure you early gains, in either theater. A couple rounds of solid bomber builds can have you with a major attack force either against Japan itself, or covering the area around Europe, the Med and Africa. And it can rapidly transition back and forth wherever its needed. The bombers are excellent fleet destroyers, and if you plan to actually Kill Japan, it may also prove necessary to run bombing raids against Tokyo. On the other hand, if you plan to just stall Japan, it might prove just as necessary to bomb Berlin, so that Germany doesn't achieve economic dominance over Russia/UK. Either way, its good to have bombers at the ready! These bombers can also be used for "Emergency Defense" of India or Moscow, in situations where every hit point and defense point matters. And on that note...

Lets finally bring it back to Russia...
« Last Edit: March 17, 2015, 07:01:56 pm by Black_Elk » Logged
Black_Elk
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« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2015, 02:04:57 am »
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What should Russia do in a KJF?

Russia has two main jobs in a KJF: priority number one is to hold the line against the Germans, especially W. Russia and Caucasus. Priority number two is to secure India for the British against an early Japanese advance.

This later point is key, because, as discussed above, its very hard for the USN to actually move out before the 4th round. Until the US arrives, Russia is the only Nation that can do much to help the British in India. Since they are under so much pressure to match the USN in the Pacific, Japan will have a somewhat more challenging time getting into position on the mainland vs India. If they don't buy any warships, or if they move too far too fast, the USN can clip their wings, and undermine all the gains they've made on the mainland. A smart Japanese player may want to play it conservatively once they see the US buying in the Pac, and push through Yunnan from sz 61 rather than dropping down to sz 36/Burma. This buys you an extra round as UK to build out of India.

As the Russians, you will have to stack W. Russia very heavily to prevent an all out German drive, but in a KJF set up its always good policy to leave at least one Tank, preferably 2 or more Tanks in Caucasus to protect or liberate India.

Stacking Buryatia against Japan in the first round is generally a poor trade for the Russians. Even if you bring in UK fighter coverage, Japan can still smoke this territory with their own Air. Its better to have 4-5 infantry in Yakut, or else wheel south towards Sinkiang with the units, rather than risking them in the first round. I think the infantry units in Evenki are best used to reinforce Archangel, even in KJF. But some will use the Evenki inf to stack 7 deep in Yakut, or send 3 inf to Sinkiang. Having Russian Fighters or Tanks at the ready (in a territory like Kazakh) can make those moves effective, but otherwise, you need to maintain the line against the Germans.

It will be very important for the Russians to coordinate fighter coverage with the UK, for example, whether the Russians want UK to land in Archangel or W. Russia is a key consideration, and it might help to have a wink or a nod worked out beforehand. Likewise, its important to know whether India is strong enough to deter an all out attack from Japan, or whether its better to withdraw for one round and trade it lightly, in order preserve the Russian position at the center. Its possible to recover India and reinforce it after light trading, but its very hard to recover if Japan takes it with force and destroys a bunch of defensive fighters there. This is something you want to be especially careful about in rounds 2 and 3. After round 4 it will usually be pretty clear, what the situation at the Center is going to look like, and how much aid Russia needs to prevent total collapse.

If USA succeeds in taking the money islands, then they can take over the strategic defense of India, but until then it may come down to Russia. UK will be bouncing their fighters back and forth each round, to cover either W. Russia or India, and it is sometimes necessary to do something similar with your Russian tanks. Bouncing them between W. Russia and Caucasus to cover India.

So given all those considerations, what should the Russians buy and how should they move in the first round to help set up optimal KJF conditions?

I'll that hang for a day, in case anyone else wants to offer some answers or suggestions. Its hard to really appreciate the KJF as Russia, without a full description of everything Japan and Germany can do under these conditions, but that's at least something to get us started grin
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Oddbjoern
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« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2015, 02:29:23 am »
+1

Nice post again! I like your ideas and I think you analyze the situation correctly what to do and why.

The main pressure point in KJF imo is to free the indiastack as soon as possible to move east to help Russia before it collapses, which it will quite fast since Germany can throw everything east. So this means that USA needs Borneo asap (each turn shaved is huge). And imo this can only be done if the british attacks and have insane luck against Japan round1 in sz37. I completly agree that its a bad play but so is KJF to be fair and you need a great deal of luck.
What I mean is there isent a way to do KJF with odds on your side (at least against someone decent).
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Black_Elk
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« Reply #18 on: March 15, 2015, 12:40:11 am »
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I tend to agree. I came at this game out of Revised and AA50 especially, and argued forever on the Larry Boards that India should have a starting factory if a new board came out. Part of the argument though was always to raise the total income of UK in order to make the India factory sustainable. That never happened. In 1942.2 we were given the starting factory, but British income is basically the same, and all the other conditions have changed in a way that doesn't really favor Allies. This makes the India factory more of an Achilles heel than a boon for the British.

Thoughts on India

This board practically has the Japanese Operation "U GO" built in. Meaning that as Allies, if you don't send literally "everything" to secure India as quickly as possible, then Japan will take the territory! They will sail against it from sz 61 or from sz 63 "Burma Push", with just way more aircraft and bombardments than you can deal with as UK alone. I mean, from the very first round, the Japanese are hoping to crush Burma and foment revolution in India, to seize your starting factory and then use it against you! Their whole game is to sweat the UK player in south Asia, and make them guess at whether or not they really have enough force to hold onto this factory. They use India like a vacuum sucking up British IPCs that might otherwise be spent in Europe.

This is another reason why the quick KGF "Kill Germany First" plan doesn't work very well in 1942.2. The fact that UK has to spend a minimum of 9 ipcs in India first round (ideally more) means that it's just a lot harder to get the early line on Europe with Atlantic carrier buys. This ipc drain, combined with a weak UK Atlantic starting fleet, combined with no good Atlantic shuck transport moves for USA, presents a situation that is much different from the older KGF strategies. Those all involved "ignoring the Pacific" and trading India, in order to race across the Atlantic (especially Africa and the North.) In this respect India used to be seen as a mere speed bump, a territory that you could trade with light forces, and withdraw from, in order to set up a stronger position on Europe. Not so much in 1942 second Edition. That India withdrawal plan just doesn't work anymore, because now UK is anchored in India with a factory. You have to purchase and max-place to ensure that it has enough hitpoints to hold for at least a couple rounds. The reality is that you need to "race" or "fly" in many more hitpoints to pull off this India defense..

In older world theater boards like Classic, Revised or AA50, a KJF often involved a factory purchase in India by UK. In Classic and Revised there was an option to be much more forward with the Russians, and then build factories with UK (and frequently USA as well) to split Japan. In 1942.2 this doesn't work, because Russia is in a weaker starting position and the China redesign means the USA is several rounds out from being able to purchase a Pacific factory. China starting factory buy is out, and the Alaska factory doesn't really work that well for the cost, so that just leaves the Rich Islands as possible factory locations. Those are much harder to get to right away with USA.

The key production difference between 1942.2 and older boards, is that now India is just as important to KGF as KJF. No matter what your overall battle plan, India has to hold for at least a couple rounds.

The way I approach India in my mind, is to say that every unit you successfully place in this territory is like a gift. I try to pretend that I'm back in Classic or Revised or AA50, where there was no factory and you had to build one. Back then, if you managed to get a half dozen units out of an India factory, then that was usually deemed "a successful" India factory purchase. You used it well for the money. For example, in Revised, if you could get 6 tanks out of an India factory, then you played your factory opening correctly and patted yourself on the back! Here in 1942.2 the factory can be seen in a similar way. If you can get half a dozen or more units out of it, then you've played your opening hand fairly well. Now given that India is just as critical to a late game Europe focus as a Pacific focus, how do you keep it going? There are 3 ways to hold India for 3 or more rounds, and you need to do all three really, if you hope to get any mileage out of India...

1. Max UK hitpoints and defense points on India:
This means purchasing 3 units in India minimum during the first round, flying in all available aircraft, or transporting in all available ground units to hold the territory against Japan during the second and third round.

2. USA direct aid for the defense of India during the second and third rounds, in the form of fighters or bombers. As well as indirect aid in the form of Pacific pressure against Japan.

3. Russian Tank coverage out of Caucasus.

I think if you don't keep all 3 in mind, India collapse is inevitable, and likely to happen much sooner than you'd like as Allies. So this is my approach, and it's basically the same whether I'm planning a KJF or KGF focus...

UK purchases 3 ground in India round one:
A popular buy is 2 artillery and 1 infantry in India + 2 fighters out of UK, or else 3 tanks in India + 1 fighter out of UK. The fighters from UK will transit either to W. Russia or Archangel. Archangel is more likely if UK wants to hit the Germans in sz 7 along the way. This means that you will have 4 starting fighters in range of India for defense during the critical third round + whatever you bought out of UK in the first round.

Round 1 India defense:
UK has 5 starting ground in the region and the AA gun for your starting stack in India. If you are willing to sacrifice a transport and early Egypt positioning, you can have 7 ground in India, plus whatever you bought there.

So at the end of UKs first turn, after placement that's either 8 ground hitpoints plus 1 for the AA gun, or 10 ground hitpoints plus 1 AA gun, if you are willing to let your transport/Egypt die. But the problem is that Japan has enough units and aircraft in the region to match this, so you need even more hitpoints than this to provide a real deterrent.

Round 2 India defense:
There is a US fighter in Szech that can fly to India for round 2 defense, (if you cover Szech with Russian infantry from Kazakh and ensure that it is not destroyed.)

There are 4 UK starting fighters and a bomber, plus the Egypt tank that can reach India for round 2 defense.

Round 3 India defense:
There is a US fighter in sz53 that can be in India at the close of the second round (via W. Australia) for round 3 defense, and also a bomber in E. US that can be in India at this time as well (via a first round move to Archangel.)

Any fighters you bought and placed in UK initially, can reach India for this round 3 defense, provided they are able to land in Archangel or W. Russia at the end of the second round.

So that's the situation for basic India defense, but here's the thing, if at any point, Japan looks they are gearing up to airblitz India (e.g. attack India with everything and plan to take casualties on their fighters in order to ensure the territory is taken) then you want to be able to rush in a couple Russian tanks to back down the attack. That's the advantage of having Russian tanks at the ready in Caucasus!

Even a single Russian tank, positioned on India, can be enough to make the Japanese think twice, if the battle is narrow.

To answer the question posed earlier about the best buy for Russia under KJF, I would say a Tank buy is optimal for that reason. Unless you plan to strafe Ukraine and return starting tanks to Caucasus after a round of combat. Absent a strong Ukraine strafe, Russia won't have any tanks in Caucasus at the end of the first round, unless you buy them. And a strafe is never a sure thing, which is why I think its a good plan to buy at least 1 tank and place it in Caucasus if you plan to have a Pacific focused game. You might have to sacrifice a little bit of power projection against G by putting the tank in Caucasus rather than Moscow for example, but I think its worth it. The reason you want to have a Tank in Caucasus at the end of the first round, is so it can race down to India in the second round if needed. The same situation thereafter, though ideally you'd like to 2 tanks in Caucasus at the end of the third round, or 3 at the end of the third etc, just to make sure that India is covered by these extra potential hitpoints. After round 3 the Western Fighters should be able to secure India by themselves, and then its just a matter of how many fighters you really need in the area at any particular time, or whether to bounce them back out to cover other territories in Russia itself.

The goal is to keep Japan pushing through Szech rather than Burma, and to prevent a Burma stack, which allows Axis a multi-round set up to take India. If you see Japan drop a major force in Yunnan, then consider keeping all your Western Fighters fighters in range of India, so you can fighter stack in the event that Japan does the Burma push. Otherwise you will need the fighters in W. Russia or Caucasus or even Moscow to defend against G. But the idea is to have as much airpower as possible within on move of India, and as much air power as possible covering the surrounding sea zones. Whether you buy Tanks, or Infantry, or artillery, or some combination out of India with UK, the idea is to stack 3 ground per round, and then fly over fighter support. You should be doing this for the first three rounds regardless of whether you plan to KGF or KJF. USA purchasing and placement will determine which theater gets the real focus, but as long as UK keeps India active, it is possible for Allies to prevail. To ensure that UK really can hold India up to and beyond round 3, Russian tanks are very helpful. India holds the Russian south during the endgame, and is the most direct route for UK support to Moscow on this board.

I really like tanks in India, if you are going for a KGF, and even in KJF if you are trying to hold the center while USA gets into position. It costs 18 ipcs to place 3 tanks in India, which can be in Moscow in two moves. Whereas it costs, way more than 18 ipcs to sail 3 tanks into Russia via the home island UK. This isn't Classic or Revised, where you can transport into Karelia or Archangel right away. Here you have to buy transports and carriers and destroyers, and clear the German subs, and do all the rest, before you can even set up that kind of logistics train. 3 tanks to Russia is way more costly to set up via the UK route, and way longer than two moves. So that is the way I think about it. How quickly can I get that Armor into effective range of Eurasia? The fastest route is out of India, and if you start doing it from round 1, it is possible to get at least 6 tanks in Russia before India is toast. Perhaps many more, if you manage to hold India for longer than round 3. If you haven't tried it before, I'd say its worth a shot. The downside to Indian tanks is that you will have 1 less fighter a round coming out of UK. This can be problematic for coverage of sz 34. I like to try and make up the difference with USA bombers if I'm going with a tank plan. Piggy backing USA fighters off UK carriers takes a round longer than a bomber buy, and requires UK to make a large Atlantic investment, but the Bombers can race into range pretty quickly, especially if you can hold Archangel as the Russians.

Much as I like Tanks though, I think if you're really trying to pull off a Pacific game, 2 UK fighters per round, plus Indian artillery/inf is a bit more flexible. The defensive value of 3 infantry + 2 fighters is better than the defensive value of 3 tanks and 1 fighter per round.

Max Fighter Build: 2 art, 1 inf + 2 fighters UK = 5 hitpoints and 14 total defense per round.

Max Tank Build: 3 tanks + 1 fighter UK = 4 hitpoints and 13 total defense per round.

The first build is better from a purely defensive standpoint, the tanks can be better from a late game attack and movement standpoint. That's the trade off you're looking at if you decide to go max tanks per round instead of max fighters for India.

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One last thought, if you fail to destroy the second Japanese transport in sz 61, it is nearly impossible to prevent Japan from pushing Burma, and taking India early. Given the importance of India, I think it becomes very hard to justify a hit on sz 37. The sz 37 hit without a UK bid, means not attacking sz 61. And for me that's just way too dangerous to contemplate against a seasoned Japanese opponent. If you do decide to take a gamble and hit sz 37 with UK, I think it makes a lot of sense to go North with USA in the first round to split Japan, and make them pay in the North if they move south to push Burma. In that situation plan for the India pocket to collapse fairly quickly. Position UK and Russia to liberate and make sure to hold the Suez canal from transjordan! Even without a second carrier to contend with it takes USA longer to move out against Japan along the southern route in 1942.2. East Indies is a round farther away, and is also problematic for other reasons. If you try to take it with UK, like to prevent a Japanese factory buy, it requires pulling units off India and you need sz37 to work, then you're basically just praying for 4 infantry to kill 2 Japanese defenders. Its kind of a stretch. Or if you think about trying a Revised style KJF opener with UK taking Borneo, that's an even bigger gamble. If you take Borneo with 2 inf vs 1, clear sz 61 (with the cruiser surviving!), and then use your carrier to block at Philippines, it's very likely that Japan will screw you in one of those battles with their defensive rolls. But even if you did pull it off, taking Borneo with UK can still come back to haunt you. Japan can usually manage the loss of 4 ipcs, and while UK benefits on income, they lose out in the long run due to weaker India hitpoints, and the fact that USA really needs Borneo more than UK for production. The Buryatia stack component of that opener is also different here than in Revised. Russia has one less infantry to stack Bury, and while both Soviet fighters and the UK fighter can reach, this put them all terribly out of position. This doesn't leave a whole lot of KJF set up options for Allies, beyond just stacking India as deep as you can, and throwing everything the USA has into the Pacific, hoping for a break somewhere along the way to knock down Japan.

KJF on this board is a challenge. I think you have to really reflect on the Russian opening rolls before you even consider it. A good Ukraine strafe, and a sweep of W. Russia allows for some KJF style action. But take too many hits in either battle and a Japan strategy falls apart before it ever gets started!
 grin

Here is a save showing one possible scenario for a round 3 India defense, using the artillery and double fighter fighter combo with UK....

Fairly standard Axis gameplay, perhaps not the most deadly Axis openings, but still shows how Japan can stack up vs India, even when you're sending pretty much everything towards its defense, and even if you're building steady Pacific Naval with USA. If you take a glance at India under the conditions of this game, you'll see that squeezing the right build out of the India factory in the first two rounds is really critical. Here UK was able to build for a third round. At this point they might have considered switching to max tanks, allowing a quick evacuation the following round. Or they might just continue with the artillery/inf combo in the hopes you prompt Japan to push Szech, overtake them in total hitpoints against Burma and then stack India deeper into the endgame.  Or maybe even 2 fighters at India to secure the solid defense, and later help clear sea lanes for USA or shoot up to protect the Russians. But can they hold India if they do this? Its like a total tight rope walk for the whole early game, and helpful to see how quickly Japan can go south if India is not well covered, or if the Allies have no response set up beforehand. You can see how in this particular game, the British were backed out of India by round 4, on account of Germany pushing south into Ukraine. You can also see how quickly Germany can sweep Africa, if they're allowed to take Egypt, especially when USA doesn't spend any money in the Atlantic to secure it. Again not necessarily the best openings, but shows how delicate the India balance is with Japan, even under a KJF focus when USA is spending heavily in the Pacific to distract them.

« Last Edit: March 17, 2015, 09:32:21 pm by Black_Elk » Logged
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« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2015, 07:45:03 am »
+2

I nominated the first post of this thread for article status on the home page... Great job Black Elk.
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« Reply #20 on: March 17, 2015, 04:00:31 pm »
+1

I asked IL to sticky this thread... Thanks Imperious Leader, and Thanks Black Elk for all these great posts.
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Black_Elk
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« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2015, 04:57:07 pm »
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Wow cool, good looking out guys!

Hopefully it will be helpful for people just coming to the 1942.2 game. I remember when I first started with A&A, getting a feel for the Soviets was one of the more challenging things to wrap my head around, so I thought it might he fun to revisit the subject and see if others might benefit from these ideas.

Thanks again to everyone who maintains this site and participates in the community. And thanks to all the many friends who've helped me to improve my strategies and my understanding of A&A over the years. Most of the material in this thread is just a rehashing of ideas I learned from other people, and of course, from getting worked in game by players with more experience and strategic vision than myself haha. Nods all around to the gang!

Best gaming, and catch you guys next round!
Elk


Ps. Oh yeah and one more thought on the Russians in Axis and Allies, remember to never give up! Even if you're facing down the largest invasion in human history, and even if the Western Allies seem like they're taking forever to open that "second front" there's always a chance at recovery in the Great Patriotic War!

Next time we can discuss some additional rules options. Like how having sz 16 open or closed can tweak the opening, or how having the Intercept/Escort rules in play for Bombing can alter the Soviet situation. Maybe some other optional house rules too, like the Soviet Japanese Non Aggression Pact (NAP). See you then!
« Last Edit: March 17, 2015, 05:23:52 pm by Black_Elk » Logged
barney
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« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2015, 05:53:44 pm »
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Black Elk you are an A&A Savant!

Well maybe not quite Smiley but its a lot of fun to read your stuff. Good work!

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Baron Munchhausen
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« Reply #23 on: March 17, 2015, 07:00:49 pm »
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You should introduce a special course on sleight-of-hands to roll "1" most of the time.  wink

Even in desperate situations, I often found that some Russian attack with Infantry only can do miracles.
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« Reply #24 on: March 17, 2015, 08:21:42 pm »
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Haha thanks guys! I swear everytime I reread these posts, I notice a million spelling and grammar errors. I've slowly been trying to clean it up a bit to enhance the readability, so I'll keep coming back to see if I can improve things. Oh Baron, that's actually a good idea and brings up something that should definitely be highlighted in the Russia thread!
It also ties back to where I started rather nicely...

Infantry: Total Power!

Here's an interesting fact that might not be immediately apparent to new players...

2 attacking infantry vs 1 defending infantry: is better than 66.6% odds (more than a two thirds chance) to the attacker.
1 attacking tank vs 1 defending infantry: is just a little over 50% odds (half and half chance) to the attacker.

At first glance this probably seems crazy! 'How could a pair of units that only hits at a 1, be better than a unit that hits at a 3?'  evil

This battle demonstrates the value of hitpoints and fodder on attack, when compared to just the attack value alone. Even though the tank has a stronger attack value, it can only take a single hit before the battle is over! 2 infantry have a weaker attack value, but they have the chance to prolong the battle, and absorb a hit before they go down, with more chances to roll that lucky 1.

If you are willing to send 2 infantry vs 1 infantry, there is a strong chance you will prevail, and in total unit value this is the same cost as sending a single tank. What does this mean for the Russians? Well for starters, it serves as a counterpoint to my first posts in this thread, where I was arguing for greater attack/movement in the first round purchase, over hitpoints and defense. This simple example of 2 infantry vs 1 infantry, really highlights the power of infantry overall. "Naked" infantry, infantry alone, without a heavy hitting attacker or defender to back them up, are still fairly strong, and infantry is cheap at 3 ipcs - the cheapest unit in the roster! Absent the movement advantage, 2 infantry is basically always better for the money than a single Tank, at least when you are just considering small battles like the one under consideration above.

In previous posts I have discussed these kinds of effects as "magnified" or I'd say a phrase like "the magnified build" of such and such unit. What I mean by that is the way a unit of a given type gains certain combat advantages when it is grouped together with other units of that same type (and especially if you continue to "magnify" for several rounds, by purchasing the same type of unit over and over.)

We should just get it out there right now, the most powerful "magnified" build of all, is the magnified Infantry build!

There is a purchasing phenomenon known as the infantry focus, or Infantry spam, or the overall infantry advantage. The sort of "heavy infantry" building strategy that facilitates a move known as the infantry push, or stack push, or the "infantry push mechanic" in Classic, a type of gameplay described in other articles which you can read on this site. http://www.axisandallies.org/p/infantry_push_mechanic_alive_and_well_or_dead_and_buried/

I guess if we need to update the thinking, what we have now is more like an Infantry+Artillery push dynamic. Where you're still buying predominantly infantry, but now adding artillery into the mix (optimally at 1:1 or at least 2:1 inf per artillery piece.) But the main buy is still infantry here.

Just like Odysseus at Troy, we take our best machinations and mechanics in A&A, and try to put them to use during the War of plastic army men, for total cardboard world domination! The inf push is basically still around, even if altered somewhat by artillery, and the infantry push is acknowledged to be a potent general building strategy. The advantage of infantry, not just on defense, but in hitpoints specifically is huge for Russia. One could say that the whole Russian playstyle or design is geared to highlight this potency of the infantry unit. Russia doesn't have a lot of money, so by default they are forced to discover the power of infantry. Or at least, that's one way you can look at it. Trying to put a positive spin on Russia's lack of cash.
grin

If you are able to out-stack your opponent, and especially if you can stack a huge wall of Russian infantry at Moscow, that is basically optimal purchasing and positioning for the Soviets. The higher you stack the more potent you will be on defense, but there are also some cases where you will need to attack, to maintain at least some kind of income parity, or take a key territory in order to block German or Japanese tanks from blitzing you! Sometimes you have a fighter or two to spare. Sometimes not! If you take my recommendation and add a Russian bomber to the set up, you will at least be able to run 3 battles per round with air support if you want. But frequently there is not enough aircraft available, and in situations like that, always keep this simple rule in mind... Infantry are still ok on attack. And artillery for just a slight bit more invested makes these infantry even better. But infantry alone can get the job done, if you need them too in a pinch.

2 infantry units has a stronger cumulative attack value than a single tank in small engagements. If you double the numbers the effect becomes even more potent, so 4 infantry is much stronger than 2 tanks, in small engagements. The real advantage of buying basically any unit other than infantry or artillery, is just movement. Movement is huge though. In a turn based game, sometimes movement can be everything! The whole game! Because sometimes getting somewhere "next round" or a "few rounds from now" just isn't good enough. Sometimes you need the units there "right now!"

More than any other player nation, the Russians will have to confront this problem right away. Movement into Moscow, out of Moscow, or against Moscow by the Axis, will all highlight the delicate balance this games strikes between movement and hitpoints/attack/defense for the cost. What you pay the most for in the end is usually movement.  Transports move ground across the water, and all other ships basically just exist to protect them. So when players like US/UK/Japan invest in ships, they are really investing in movement across the water. Tanks are movement across the ground, and Fighters and Bombers over the land and sea. But when movement isn't a huge consideration, Infantry will always be best for the cost. That's why so many people say things like "don't forget to buy infantry!" or "the dude who purchases the most infantry will usually win" etc. Russia is unique in that they can remain reasonably effective well into the game, without having to move very far from home. Their core is rich relative to their periphery, and they can just sort of hang out in the zone immediately surrounding their capital and still collect enough to be a threat. So its worth thinking about, when all is said and done, how many infantry units do the Russians really need to stay alive into the endgame?

I'd say if you are playing for keeps, the goal is achieve a stack upwards of 60 or more total units on Moscow.
Lets say about 1/3rd of that force should be heavy hitters, like tanks or fighters, the other 2/3rds is mostly infantry with artillery supporting it when possible. There is just something about that 60 stack, its like a magic number, once you achieve it you'r ability to be effective with a limited number of territories under your control becomes pretty out-sized compared to the Axis. The Axis have to push their units across a much greater distance from their main centers of production, where as you can just hang out in Moscow and stack and stack! This forces Axis to invest in movement, since its harder for them to match you hit point for hit point on the center otherwise. So even a single infantry unit produced by Russia during the late game, is really worth twice or three times its cost to the Russians, given what the Axis enemy has to spend to bring a unit in range that can destroy.

Once you achieve super stack status, whether on Moscow, or on any territory really, the power of infantry really becomes clear. All you have to do is buy a few dudes a round, and your teammates can fly in the rest to help you. (The same principles can also apply to Berlin, or in a territory like Western Europe D-Day.) When you super stack, the idea is to put more hit-points a territory than the other side can match over time, until eventually you have them driven back. You push the defensive value of your infantry out from these core stack zones, and win the war of attrition by putting up more defensive infantry strength (across several territories) than your opponent could reasonably attack in a single round. That's you push out from the core, but the core itself is usually your capital territory (whatever nation you are playing.) You want a wall of infantry either to defend that core, or to march out from it eventually to mess with the other guys core. That's how Russia fights Germany on this board anyway. So its good to remember, as Baron said that sleight of hand! Or pulling a Houdini, and escaping from the capital cage and running wild! That can be fun too. If your stack is big enough, you might not even need to hold Moscow to be a pain for Axis. If your wall is giant enough, it can just start lumbering around in Eurasia while the western Allies try to figure something out haha.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2015, 10:59:27 pm by Black_Elk » Logged
barney
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« Reply #25 on: March 17, 2015, 09:23:48 pm »
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And that one's out of here!

LMFAO reading that Black Elk! A few of my favorites  "a huge wall of Russian infantry", "Once you achieve super stack status", "if your wall is giant enough", "total cardboard world domination"!

That is too good! But yea, I try and keep Russia less than 2:1 infantry, artillery myself. I hate to waste the extra buck(being the cheap *&%$#@! that I am) but it's way worth it.
Good Stuff Man!
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« Reply #26 on: March 18, 2015, 06:01:39 am »
+1

Black Elk - 42.2 arrived today so I had a quick look for advice on the forum and found this post from you.

Having only just benefitted from all your time and help regarding 1941 strategy I am quite simply gobsmacked by your deep knowledge and your willingness to share.

You are a star Black Elk!

 grin
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« Reply #27 on: March 18, 2015, 06:14:40 am »
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Enjoy your new game, Private Panic.
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Private Panic
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« Reply #28 on: March 18, 2015, 06:24:08 am »
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Thanks wittman!

BTW - sent you an instant message - did you get it?  Not showing in my outbox.

Cheers
PP
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« Reply #29 on: March 18, 2015, 06:32:08 am »
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You need to tick the box at the bottom of the message. On the left, I think.
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