Russia Round One–How to justify anything but inf?


  • If Germany pursues an Eastern advance from turn one with any seriousness, then I can’t see how it’s possible for Russia to do anything but buy inf only from round 1 til Germany stops being able to effectively attack. But is this not the consensus? If not, why not?

    It seems to me that if Germany begins with pressure against Russia and keeps it up, then the US and Britain can’t really get an invasion force up fast enough to make much of a difference to Russia’s chances in the east of Europe. Russia must simply defend against Germany’s advance, and the best unit for the job is infantry.

    This is especially so if Japan is pursuing naval dominance in the Pacific, as the US must then divert resources to her West, making an invasion of Germany take even longer. Germany’s advance on Russia, ISTM, makes a Russian attack on a Japan infeasible.

    But how little am I showing I know?


  • Others more experienced than I can go into detail, but the gist of it is this: The Allies usually pursue a Kill Germany First (KGF) strategy, and the Axis usually pursue a Kill Russia First strategy. In that context, the game is a race. The US and UK focus on the Atlantic and concede the Pacific. Germany tries for Africa, the US returns it to the UK, and then Japan tries to take it back.

    On the Eastern Front, Russia must be able to take/trade territory with Germany. A defense only strategy for Russia allows Germany a significant economical bonus that will allow Germany to win before the US and UK can land troops and take the pressure off Russia.

    Basically, Russia has two tasks: Survive until its allies arrive, and pressure Germany enough to prevent an economic situation that supports Germany.

  • '16 '15 '10

    Buying all inf plays right into Axis’ most effective strategy–to build up big defensive stacks and move them forward to Ukr/Kar and eventually to Cau/WR.  A Russia without enough artillery or tanks will not be able to attack stacks on its border.  This way, Russia will be forced to sit on Moscow to protect it.  In no time at all, Moscow will be surrounded by enemies, and Russia’s income will be practically nil.

    But if Russia buys sufficient tanks, it can “deadzone” the territories surrounding it–using the tanks to threaten both German armies and Japanese armies as they try to surround and pressure.

    So for me, buying sufficient tanks and other offensive units is absolutely critical to economic success as Russia.  Good Russian strategy is just as concerned with counter-punching as it is with pure defense.


  • Hrm… I’ll do my best to try this again in my next game, but it seems like I just get steamrolled if I do anything but pump infantry to the front… Russia doesn’t have any money.

  • '12

    Getting the balance between offense and defense is the key.  Some tanks are key, both for punch and maneuver.  A few artillery are key but not too many, if you have 1 extra IPC left over, upgrade 1 Infantry to an artillery during builds.  Spending IPCs on only Inf and Art sounds like the way to go as you get more pieces, but its critical to threaten multiple positions with tanks and be able to move them to reinforce positions other allies may move to and moving 2 spaces gives much flexibility to that end.

    If the Germans are pushing the Soviets around too much early, then perhaps you are diverting too much attention to the Japanese or the Germans are not being pressured themselves.  With some navy in good position with air power also in position the germans must account for landings in several territories including a direct invasion of Germany.  If the germans cover all their bases, you keep a flow of forces helping the russians and the germans are on a bit of a leash.  If the germans make a mistake, perhaps you hit Western Europe and take out some expensive planes and divert German attention.


  • I would agree that inf should be your primary purchase as Russia, especially during the early rounds.

    As long as you keep your tanks and planes out of harms way, I wouldn’t see anything wrong with pure inf as your R1 buy.

    After R1 it depends on the situation at hand, keeping in mind the faster Germany falls the less risk of japan kicking in your back door.


  • I think it R1 purchase also depends on R1 combats. If you tend to attack WR+Belo, you won’t lose too much infs so that some arms buying sounds good to maintain the ability to threaten multipul front line. If you tend to attack WR+Ukr or even WR+Ukr+Belo, you might lose a considerable inf base so that probably you need to buy more inf to solidify your front line. Or, if you want to do the Norwegian Gambit, in case of a failure, you could not afford to be aggressive. In case of a success, some degree of conservativeness doesn’t matter. In either case, all inf buy is not a bad idea.

    My aggressive buy is 3inf+3arm and conservative buy is 6inf+1arm and save 1ipc. I do not prefer art, my understanding is that the initial 2 art is enough. From R2 onwards, all USSR could do is trade territories to gain ipc and slow down G’s stepping forward. inf+intial 2 ftrs are effective to trade. inf is cost effective to defend crutial territories like WR. arm is effective to generate threats. art is inferior than inf to defend and in most cases, art is no more effecient to attack than arm. The only reason I would like to buy art is that I’m considering a light attack to trade units with G to disturb his plan and probably to snip some net ipcs both from and after the combat. Sure G will counter attack, but I would only lose some art instead of expensive and important arms.


  • How do I justify anything but Russian infantry?

    Because when I play Russia, I do not want to sit back and wait for death.

    Let’s say you only built infantry, and have a fat infantry stack on West Russia.  OK, I have German infantry and tanks that I push to Ukraine.  Sadly, your infantry stack has very little attack power, so you have to retreat to Caucasus instead of being able to kill my Ukraine stack.  Next turn, I take Karelia, West Russia, and Belorussia, then I proceed to start grabbing Archangel and West Russia.  Now Russia’s income is lower, and Germany’s income is higher, so Russia can produce less infantry, and Germany can produce more tanks.

    Then Japan comes in from the east, and Russia is forced to retreat to Moscow.  Caucasus is abandoned, and that’s usually the beginning of the end.

    Probably UK and US have some tricks to play, but if Russia starts losing IPCs early while Germany gains them, it’s not good for the Allies.

    Suppose Russia just bought a few artillery.  Suddenly, it’s attack power jumps, and Germany has to think twice about leaving its valuable tanks where they can be destroyed.  So Germany has to stay back.  Russia can get more IPCs, which it can use to continue to produce more offensive units instead of just infantry; Russia can use those IPCs to continue to create offensive units to keep Germany and Japan back.


  • I don’t think it’s justified to buy anything but INF round 1. West Russia and Ukraine are very unpredictable battles. If they go bad, you’re going to need INF reinforcements. If they go good, then you can buy more armour to keep the heat on Germany. But you don’t know. INF is the safer bet. Plus, let Germany come to you. Instead of buying ART making 1 inf attack at 2, on D they all defend at 2.  You always have to think about stalling JP too and INF buys can afford you to send a few troops to annoy JP.

    That doesn’t mean I don’t think a good offense is the best defense for Russia. It is. But if you get bad dice when you’ve been mainly buying hardware as Rus you can collapse pretty quick. Heavy INF buys makes you a tough nut to crack, at least until the other allies arrive.


  • Thanks for the advice so far.

    I always play low-luck. Does this affect your Russia strategy?

    Does low luck simulate the average normal dice roll pretty well? Or does it tend to skew in a particular direction relative to the average dice roll?


  • Speusippus,

    You may be interested on this strategy article: http://www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=23032.0

  • '12

    Low luck is pretty accurate when its a huge battle between two very large forces.  Low luck is a terrible for small battles, but more predictable.  Personally, I love it when my 2 infantry fights off 2 attacking infantry backed up by a tank, or when its 3 Inf+Ftr attacking 2 Inf, attacker gets 1 hit, I get 2, now there is a 1/3 chance I keep the territory unless the attacker chooses to lose the fighter to occupy the territory.

    If you leave a valuable territory lightly defended, say your capital or a stack of airpower and have 3 avenues/neighbour territories an enemy stack of armour could blitz through.  Those 3 territories contain 1 enemy infantry each.  If you do not occupy all three territories, the enemy will blitz and destroy your bomber force or capture your capital.  So, low luck its easy, from what I understand, you hit them all with 2 infantry and a bomber and you are 100% certain you win all 3.  Now with real luck, there is a pretty good chance you can miss on the first round and the lone infantry has a 1 in 9 chance of hitting both times in 2 round of combat.  So, even if you hit in round 2 of combat, you will have to take off the bomber as you MUST occupy that territory.  So to be safe you now dedicate 3 infantry each.  Yeah ok, the odds of losing both infantry against a single infantry when supported by attacking bomber is about 3.7% if you are not willing to go bomber versus infantry.  Not a huge risk, but if you have 3 of those scenarios per round you are getting upwards of a 10% chance of disaster


  • @Speusippus:

    Thanks for the advice so far.

    I always play low-luck. Does this affect your Russia strategy?

    Does low luck simulate the average normal dice roll pretty well? Or does it tend to skew in a particular direction relative to the average dice roll?

    You might have bothered to mention that.  Low luck completely changes the game.

    As far as large battles being pretty well predicted by Low Luck, that’s completely not true.  Dice and low luck are completely different.

  • '12

    Large battle imply many dice, many dice tend to smooth out the averages.  I bet if you did a 300 Inf versus 300 Inf, after 1 round, the offense is going to be dang close to 50 hits and the defense pretty close to 100 hits.  Don’t let anyone tell you that large numbers of trials don’t smooth out deviations of dice.  You are NEVER going to miss when you attack with 100 units.  When you attack with 1 unit, even a tank, you will miss completely 50% of the time.  Basic statistic facts.


  • It isn’t a question of letting anyone tell anyone anything.

    Set up a simple dummy battle of 64 tanks battling 64 tanks.  Under Low Luck, the attacker wins 25% of the time, everything’s destroyed 50% of the time, and defender wins 25% of the time, because second round is 16 vs 16, then 8 vs 8, 4 vs 4, 2 vs 2, then 1 vs 1.

    Now try 64 tanks vs 64 tanks in dice and come back and tell me how low luck is a great predictor for dice, and how low luck is a great predictor for dice battles when large numbers of dice are involved on both sides.

    I have a funny hat I wear for just such occasions.  :lol:


  • @MrMalachiCrunch:

    Large battle imply many dice, many dice tend to smooth out the averages.  I bet if you did a 300 Inf versus 300 Inf, after 1 round, the offense is going to be dang close to 50 hits and the defense pretty close to 100 hits.  Don’t let anyone tell you that large numbers of trials don’t smooth out deviations of dice.  You are NEVER going to miss when you attack with 100 units.  When you attack with 1 unit, even a tank, you will miss completely 50% of the time.  Basic statistic facts.

    The key word is tend. Or how it may not. Because dice have no memory of previous throws.

    Statistics should be considered like meteorology: climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.

  • '12

    I bet in a battle of 1000 tanks versus 1000 tanks, you probably won’t win with more than 25% of your forces in a pure dice game.

    I bet in a battle of 2 tanks versus 2 tanks you will win with 100% of your forces often enough to be statistically relevant.

    Low luck is probably going to imitate that 1000 tank dice battle more accurately than it would a 2 tanks versus 2 tank dice battle game was my point.


  • Instead of 8 inf, I prefer 5 inf, art, arm. Having a few artillery pieces around really helps out in some occasions, and it is not THAT expesive.
    IMHO, the typical trading territories assault package is 2 inf 1 ftr vs 1 inf. If I want to trade a territory but have no ftr to spare though, I would either have to dedicate 3 inf (and risk utter failure), or 1 inf 1 (precious) arm to the attack. Not to mention that trying to trade vs 2 inf gets even more complicated and risky. Artillery solves the problem. If no ftr is available (p.e. if a ftr has to be lost to a Norwegian Gambit, or dedicated to an attack against some Japanese frontmen in Novosibirsk) an art can fill the gap just fine. 1 inf 1 art vs 1 inf is good odds and the cost is minimally higher. When trying to trade vs 2 inf, a 1 inf 1 art 1 ftr assault package is way better than 2 inf 1 ftr and less expensive than 3 inf 1 ftr.
    So imho some art pieces must lay around in order to get the russians out of a low-chances trading scenario.
    As for the armor, I agree that it is better for the russians to try and do more than wait for death.
    So, I go for a 5 inf, art arm R1 buy.


  • I usually do buy all infantry for the whole game, but reading this topic and through past defeats, I believe I will change this practice!


  • R1 I purchase 1 bomber and 4 infantry.


  • @Coldwarrior1984:

    R1 I purchase 1 bomber and 4 infantry.

    Yeah me too: sometimes a bomber, sometimes a fighter.

    Some air force is perfect, no need to sacrifice tanks and you got strength + distance (and great defence later in the game in case of fighters), and turn 1 is ideal for this since after R1 there shouldn’t be any threat.

    Only reason i would buy a few tanks with Russia is to have units that can drive into India and China fast. If USA buys an IC in China they need Russian support.

    Edit: and now and then an ART of course


  • @Coldwarrior1984:

    R1 I purchase 1 bomber and 4 infantry.

    G1 Buy 5 inf, 5 arm. Take Karelia with 9 inf, 5 arm (if Ukraine was attacked on R1)


  • I like 3tank 3inf Build
    better attack,defend early


  • @Hobbes:

    @Coldwarrior1984:

    R1 I purchase 1 bomber and 4 infantry.

    G1 Buy 5 inf, 5 arm. Take Karelia with 9 inf, 5 arm (if Ukraine was attacked on R1)

    Ideally (for me), Ukraine should be taken with not too many land units (using the existing fighters, because tanks will die there anyway), while everything else slaughters West-Russia (and should be a stack that is too strong for Germany to take out unless the Ukraine attack fails miserably), fighters land in Caucasus to discourage amphibious assaults. next turn the W.Russia stack should retreat, no matter what Germany does (but yes, Karelia is about their best choice).

    In case of a US IC in Sinkiang, 4 russian INF should have walked in turn 1 and in turn 2 they can do an attack on China, joined by the fighters (and bomber if you bought one) since the air force won’t be needed against Germany that turn. Landing in Sinkiang they are within reach to hit Ukraine / W.Russia again if desired.
    (tanks retreating from W.Russia to Kazakh can reach both fronts (but still face certain death after they have actually attacked…) and india).

    Edit: a bomber is useful, but a fighter is usually enough since it is a small map and with careful positioning they can reach most fronts (and are great defence for when things get hot). Also buying a fighter instead of a bomber allows to buy some ART instead of INF, which is useful for  small counter attacks as well.
    if germany slacks, then a bomber later on is still an option 😉


  • @special:

    next turn the W.Russia stack should retreat, no matter what Germany does (but yes, Karelia is about their best choice).

    As long as Germany controls Eastern Europe, Russia should keep a stack on West Russia as long as possible. With it, it can trade 7 IPC worth of territories with the Germans and keep their advance in check. If it pulls out the stack then Russia is effectively allowing a ton of IPCs to the Germans: Karelia, Belorussia, Ukraine, West Russia.

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