Skirmishes and Maneuver on the German/Russian front.


  • Several people here have suggested that Russia defend against the initial German assault by leaving one screening infantry in each border territory and hold back a counter strike force.  This will take the German air force out of the equation for the first round of fighting and presumably present an advantage to the Russians.  I present here several moves to counter this strategy.

    There are too many variables to predict what the balance of forces will be between Germany and the USSR at whatever point the Germans choose to attack, so I will predicate all of this discussion on the assumption that the full Russian stack is large enough to counter attack and destroy the full German stack, but that it is small enough that split to cover two territories, the half Russian stack is insufficient to destroy the full German stack (and vice-versa).  (If the Russian stack is smaller than this, then what they do doesn’t matter so much.  If it is bigger, then the Germans probably shouldn’t be attacking yet).

    First off, there are two simple tactics that can be used.

    1. Instead of attacking the screening infantry with one or two infantry, plus a fighter each, instead bring slightly larger stacks (3-5 INF each).  Doing so ups the attrition rate, and does so fairly evenly (you’ll take the first loss, but over time, it works out).  This favors whichever country is committing more forces to the front (hopefully that’s the Germans).  Also, on counter attack, the Russians are more likely to over- or under-commit their forces, leaving you holding the territory, or allowing you to bite off a healthy chunk.
    2. Use the Italians as a can opener.  This will let you do one of two things.  If you are strong in infantry, you can then move into the territory and bring your planes in to defend.  This should shift the balance of the equation.  If you are strong in Mech Inf and tanks, you can drive through the Italians and get that attack after all.
    3. Maneuver.  This is the crux of my presentation.
      a) Ring around the Rosie (AKA, the Pripet Marsh)- One turn before you could plausibly attack, but two turns before you really want to attack, concentrate your forces in Slovakia/Hungary, threatening Eastern Poland.  They will have to park in Belarus or Western Ukraine to cover it (they could also be in Bessarabia or Baltic States, but those would be even worse. 
      If they’re in Belarus, move to Romania, threatening East Poland and Bessarabia.  They can’t move to Poland as you’d attack them directly, so they move to Bryansk (sp?).  You then move to East Poland.  If they move to Western Ukraine, you take Belarus and threaten Leningrad and Moscow.  If they move to Belarus, you take Western Ukraine and race them to Stalingrad.  If they stay in Beryansk, you take Baltic states and threaten Leningrad.

    If they’re in Western Ukraine, move to Poland.  If they move to East Poland, you attack them.  If they move te Bryansk, you move to Baltic States and threaten Leningrad.  If they stay put, you move to Belarus and again threaten Leningrad and Moscow.
    b) If you’re mostly Mech inf and Tanks, then you have the additional option to move your mobile force from Romania, Bessarabia or Slovakia/Hungary (possibly with an Italian can-opener) to the Baltic States, threatening Leningrad if they ever leave Belarus.  Pinning them there, you can then advance on Stalingrad.

    Things will obviously get far more complicated as both sides will have streams of forces joining their main armies, and it may very well be possible to support multiple armies, north and south, plus the Russians may be able to threaten Germany if the German army gets too far afield.  My point is that there is finally some room for a real battle of maneuver on the eastern front, and if my opponent thinks they can scare me by screening and threatening counter strike, then I welcome the opportunity to dance.  😉


  • I definitely see your point and your ideas make a lot of sense, but both times I played, at least, the Italians were able to do relatively little against the Russians, as Northern Italy is 4 moves away from Bessarabia and in order to get a substantial Italian force on the Eastern Front, you need to divert valuable troops from the Mediterranean theater. When I played as the Italians, the only time I attacked Russia was when I had made a Minor Factory in Egypt and had a large army moving through the Middle East, which Russia tried to counter but failed in doing so. The only reason I was even fighting Russia in the first place was because I had pushed all of the British units out of the Mediterranean and Middle East, and the only south of England were a few infantry near South Africa. Russia had tried to make a last ditch effort to stop my advance, but ultimately failed, and if we had had time to continue playing the Italians would have most likely have taken Stalingrad from the South, as the Germans pushed up and around.

    As Germany, my plan to counter the screen was to gather a large army in the South, in conjunction with the Italians pushing through the Middle East, in an attempt to take Stalingrad, which only had a minor and was therefore hard for Russia to hold onto against the advancing forces. The Russian player had a large stack of infantry in Karelia, and so I began to build a fleet of transports to have an amphibious assault with my units produced in Germany in conjunction with my Eastern Front forces (but unfortunately the Russian and English players decided to do a one-two punch air strike which sacrificed their planes but managed to destroy my 7 transports and other ships). I made a feint assault on the Baltic states, which he responded to with a counterattack by about half the forces he had in Karelia. While I took heavy losses, I was able to take it back with relatively minor casualties through landing newly produced units from Germany and my still powerful air force.

    With the whole maneuverability aspect, as the Russian player I made sure to build large amounts of Tanks, Planes, and Mechs so that the situation you described can be avoided. The large amount of infantry I started with, I placed evenly behind the three screening territories, and I situated the Mechanized and Air Forces in positions where they could be sent to any front that needed them, and made sure I had enough blocking infantry so that I would have enough time to deal with one threat at a time.


  • How did the Russians manage to pull a one-two punch on the Sealion fleet if they’re neutral to the Axis for the first 3 turns?  Round 4 for Sealion is probably too late for landing in Britain.  Did the Japs attack Siberia J1 or something?  I guess if they did that means the Russians are free to whomp up on Germany early.


  • It wasn’t a sea lion fleet, it was a Karelia invasion fleet. But the UK player thought it was a Sea Lion fleet, so he just kept making stacks of infantry, which I had no complaint with haha. I had already declared war on Russia the previous turn by wiping out the fleet they had been building.


  • @bennyboyg:

    It wasn’t a sea lion fleet, it was a Karelia invasion fleet. But the UK player thought it was a Sea Lion fleet, so he just kept making stacks of infantry, which I had no complaint with haha. I had already declared war on Russia the previous turn by wiping out the fleet they had been building.

    So Russia wasted money on a navy 😄

    UK wasted money on Infantry 😄

    😄 😄 😄 😄


  • It actually made sense for Russia to spend money on naval units, as they have a pretty big income for the first few turns and with the Royal Navy largely out of the picture, Germany’s free to keep landing guys in Leningrad if the Russians don’t draw them away somehow. Also, the Russian player had placed his fleet in such a way that it was blocking my sea route to Leningrad, so I had to kill it in order to continue my invasion, setting me back a turn.


  • Hey bennyboyg, I can see how the Russian starting navy could hinder the German amphib on Leningrad.  I have three questions.

    1. The Russians are neutral and Germany can move through the Russian navy if in sz 114 then declare war and amphib Leningrad the next turn right?

    2. If the Russians keep their navy in sz 115 (or move it back to 115 because Germany moved through them at sz 114) the Germans can share that sz w/Russia (still neutral). Then on the next turn Germany declares war. If both navies are in the in the same sz (115) at the start of Germany’s turn can Germany amphib Leningrad w/o first attacking the Russia fleet or does it first have to clear the sz that they both share? (Sorry I think Krieghund may have answered this in a similar situation in Pac w/neutral powers).

    3. While neutral can Russia pass through the Denmark straight? I reread the preview that dj posted, and I’m not sure. If they can you could run your Russian navy towards England. The Germans would most likely have to attack you (bring you into the war early) so you can’t back up the UK fleet w/BB. I would think this would be illegal, but I don’t see where it is spelled out regarding straight and neutrals.


  • @WILD:

    Hey bennyboyg, I can see how the Russian starting navy could hinder the German amphib on Leningrad.  I have three questions.

    1. The Russians are neutral and Germany can move through the Russian navy if in sz 114 then declare war and amphib Leningrad the next turn right?

    2. If the Russians keep their navy in sz 115 (or move it back to 115 because Germany moved through them at sz 114) the Germans can share that sz w/Russia (still neutral). Then on the next turn Germany declares war. If both navies are in the in the same sz (115) at the start of Germany’s turn can Germany amphib Leningrad w/o first attacking the Russia fleet or does it first have to clear the sz that they both share? (Sorry I think Krieghund may have answered this in a similar situation in Pac w/neutral powers).

    3. While neutral can Russia pass through the Denmark straight? I reread the preview that dj posted, and I’m not sure. If they can you could run your Russian navy towards England. The Germans would most likely have to attack you (bring you into the war early) so you can’t back up the UK fleet w/BB. I would think this would be illegal, but I don’t see where it is spelled out regarding straight and neutrals.

    If you declare war, you have to defeat the BB to invade Novograd


  • @calvinhobbesliker:

    If you declare war, you have to defeat the BB to invade Novograd

    That’s how I was leaning (if BB is on the coast) thanks.

    Do you have any thoughts on if Russian navy can make a run for it through the straight (while neutral). My first instinct is neutrals can’t pass through a straight, but this would mean US couldn’t move ships to the Med if it wanted to. So now I’m not sure.


  • @WILD:

    @calvinhobbesliker:

    If you declare war, you have to defeat the BB to invade Novograd

    That’s how I was leaning (if BB is on the coast) thanks.

    Do you have any thoughts on if Russian navy can make a run for it through the straight (while neutral). My first instinct is neutrals can’t pass through a straight, but this would mean US couldn’t move ships to the Med if it wanted to. So now I’m not sure.

    It could certainly try to, in order to bait Germany into attacking it.

    As for the US, it doesn’t matter anyway. While neutral, it can’t go to a sea zone bordering Europe, the British Isles, or Africa


  • Yea I just reread that bit about the US in djensens outline. You responded before I could get back.


  • This move by the Russian BB also came up in our game this afternoon. We decided it was not allowed since the rules state that you have to control Denmark to pass.

    However we have to wait what the rule book says and if the rule book doesn’t cover this what Krieghund clarifies.


  • Well at least I’m not the only one to think that way.


  • @WILD:

    My first instinct is neutrals can’t pass through a straight

    Thats what my thinking is as well - based entirely on the requirement that you (or an Ally) need to control the governing tt.


  • I’m not 100% sure about these questions, it’s probably be better to ask Krieghund


  • From another thread:

    @WILD:

    Thanks Krieghund, Russia being able to invade neutrals (and how to do it) before its at war w/Euro axis will be a great tool.

    One other thing, is Russia (when not at war w/Euro axis) able to pass through Denmark straight?

    @Krieghund:

    Yes, if Germany gives its permission.

    Interesting.  I wonder if the game comes with pre-printed permission slips.  😄

    See thread here: http://www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=19609.15

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