The most important asset for any power in Spring ’42 is flexibility. Japan (with her large air force and navy, as well as local production facilities) has incredible flexibility. As USSR I’d opt to preserve as much of my flexibility as possible. That means keeping my men alive.
I agree with the issue of flexibility for both, but the first round is a window of opportunity to harass Japan’s flexibility by giving it a lot of targets to hit so that it can’t focus on everything. If the results of Russia’s opening attacks favored the Russians or just gave out the average losses then those units can be used to throw a few speed bumps at Japan or pressure it.
If you combine all 6 units on Buryatia then Japan has a very big problem to solve, in addition to the usual ones:
And this assumes that the UK didn’t went to attack FIC or Borneo, instead of retaking Egypt. If I’m playing Japan, one option is to attack SZ52, China and Buryatia, but to do so it would mean the Indian advance will be delayed, as well as any reinforcement of the Germans on Africa until round 3. I’ll have to use a lot of the airforce, to prevent any dice failures.
The other is to hit China, SZ52, and get rid of most UK naval units, while reinforcing Manchuria and transporting 1 inf, 1 arm to Indochina, ensuring the fall of India on J2 (and opening the possibility of building an IC on J3). At the same time it positions Japan to reinforce Egypt with plenty of fighters and units carried by the transport, which can also be used instead to bring the 2 inf from East Indies to attack India.
On the first one, Japan will kill 6 Russian inf at the average cost of 2 or 3 of its infantry. It will also have to bring more land forces from Japan if it wants to advance past Yakut. The UK will also have attacked Indochina, taking away the possibility for an IC build there until round 3, the same round that India should fall. Indian IC on built on round 4, produce units on round 5 that can finally be used on round 6. Meanwhile Africa should fall sooner to the Allies, will take more time to threaten/reinforce Africa with Japan.
But… if Germany got lucky against the Russians (the deciding factor for me) and destroyed a large part of their army then this option is a must because it will give 2 simultaneous blows to Russia’s power.
Second one, the 6 Russian inf get away or make a kamikaze against 2 inf, 2 ftr on Manchuria. Usually they are pulled back and can reach Russia by round four. If there’s no Russian threat to retake India then I’ll get that IC for it and by round 5 I can start using its units. Meanwhile, the UK’s production is going down and down (India, Persia, Jordan, Egypt, the rest of Africa, possibly Australia), either forcing the Allies to retake Africa or start facing a losing economic situation, which gets worse as Japan keeps building its attack forces and advancing towards Russia.
Tough call? Yes, it can be.