The Russian Expiditionary Force in Iraq



  • When answering this question, assume Japan is busy taking territories in the Pacific and not threatening Cairo, the Middle East or India.

    Arguments in favor:

    -In a Moscow push scenario, it’s better to have 5 IPC’s a turn in infantry coming out of Moscow than 2 IPC’s a turn in Britain’s hands

    -The Allies overall have +3 IPC’s per turn for as long as Russia holds Iraq, which is good for the long game

    -The possibility is open to use the units to bolster Cairo’s defense and/or turn Russia into a beast with 4 Italian territories in Africa at +3 each

    Arguments against:

    -Russia can also profit by just using all 5 units in counterattacks and the final Moscow battle

    -If Moscow falls, Germany gets +5 and Britain won’t have income or an IC there

    -Britain needs every territory it can get so that it can project power across the board


  • 2017 '16 '15 '14 '12

    You risk losing Moscow and then UK can’t get the income or place an IC.


  • TripleA

    Easy if you do this, get units to Russia asap. US bombers from scotland make it to Russia, fun fact 🙂



  • No, I never had done this but I admit I have thought about it. UK India usually makes the most sense. I tend to produce mech infantry in India just for that purpose and have them take Iran and then Iraq so India if need be can reinforce Egypt. Let’s say G1 DOW on USSR happens, then this makes even more sense for USSR NOT to do it because they are weak and need all they can get.


  • 2019 2017 '16

    Caesar is right. Earlier German DOWs give the investment a shorter pay off period, unless the Germans are repulsed. You can’t assume that will happen.



  • @simon33:

    Caesar is right. Earlier German DOWs give the investment a shorter pay off period, unless the Germans are repulsed. You can’t assume that will happen.

    I disagree, if the Germans are coming G1/G2 you will be losing land/income faster. Russia getting Iraq will help replace the income lost. It is up to the allies to get ftrs to Moscow asap to stall the Germans in an early attack IMO.


  • 2019 2017 '16

    Are you saying that you should assume the assault on Moscow would fail because of all the UK reinforcements?



  • The assault on Moscow must fail. That is the top priority of the Allies - it’s more important than holding London. For an early German assault, I can see no other path for the Allies on the European board than to get aircraft to Moscow. Britain needs to build mostly fighters after B1. They can swarm the med, but they have to pull out and get to Moscow in time to save it. If the Russians are maxing out their infantry purchases, they will still be one turn behind the Germans when the Germans reach Bryansk. The fighters will give them the odds they need to survive and force the Germans to hold off.

    If the Allies are going KJF, they are just holding on for dear life in Europe, which means keep Moscow and London at all costs. They may need to keep building fighters and infantry. Cairo will fall. The Germans will likely get frustrated with Moscow and spill down into the Middle East. If they do that, the British will be kicking themselves for taking Iraq for 7 turns at 14 IPC’s instead of giving it to Russia for 6 turns at 30 IPC’s. That’s 1.4 British fighters that could have been 10 Russian infantry.


  • 2020 2018 2017

    Points against;

    Russia can’t spare the attack units or face an odds battle
    Russia has so few units in general that even a measly 4-5 can’t divert
    Russia can’t determine the timing and has to pass through East Persia
    If Moscow dies, all this extra income you secured goes to Germany

    UK has 2 chances before Russia has 1 in most games
    UK can use the expendable troops from Persia and bombardments, (which are sometimes wasted)
    The UK will probably want to have a rescue force forming up here in all versions so they’re already on site
    UK can build a factory there, and in Persia.

    Points for;

    Russia needs the money badly and gets a sweet bonus
    Russia can do it (its fluffy fun)
    UK doesn’t need the money really, and has a harder time deploying its money into the key battleground

    Above all, it goes against the mantra of “don’t try anything fancy with Russia or you lose” but that’s no fun.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Just to add a potentially interesting footnote to this discussion: in real life, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom teamed up in late August 1941 to invade Iraq’s neighbor Iran (Persia on the A&A map board).  The invasion, called Operation Countenance, was partly motivated by a wish to keep open the Persian Corridor supply line, due to worries that the ruling Reza Shah was a little too sympathetic to the Axis in the opinion of Moscow and London.



  • My group has actually done this a few times and from what we have experienced, it is better to use those forces in the defense of Moscow and for small retaliation forces. It is more important for the UK player to take Iraq or prevent the Axis from getting there. If Germany is totally focused on Sea Lion or Moscow, chances are that they won’t be assisting Italy in the Med. This makes it easier for the allies to control Africa and the Middle East. Russia can’t do anything strategically with Iraq other than gain a few IPCs. Use the Russian pieces for more than their value. The mech and the infantry will defend at a 2. Why waste their value going for a territory that provides no strategic value for Russia? For example, lets say best case scenario you gain 15 IPC as Russia taking it. You can use that for 5 infantry in the defense of Moscow. You have 2 infantry (if they lived through the assault on Iraq) That can’t make it back to Moscow. So now you are only up 3 infantry. Lets say Germany does their small excursions for low IPC amounts, and you want to take it back. Well now you would be using the infantry that you gained. If you didn’t want to take them back, then Germany has that many more infantry for fodder. The UK however can use Iraq for many different things. A forwarding base to India, a minor IC, and it prevents an Italian control there. Lets say Russia takes it and the UK is not doing to well in Africa and Germany is on their way to Moscow. Is Russia going to put a minor IC there? No because they cant afford it. Due to all of these reasons, it is better for Russia to avoid these Middle East territories.

    I suppose all of this is just my opinion based on the games that I have played though. Has anyone ever taken Iraq with Russia and had it go successfully?



  • @taamvan:

    Above all, it goes against the mantra of “don’t try anything fancy with Russia or you lose” but that’s no fun.

    Actually I think it’s the opposite: you have to get fancy with Russia or you lose. Russia is in a good spot to attack Germany and Japan’s flanks while they are busy shielding themselves from the western Allies. If the western Allies sacrifice income and initiative to increase Russia’s income and get more planes to Moscow, then Russia can spare a few units to increase their income in Africa or make a difference on Pacific board. When the Allies come for Germany, the goal should be to divert German resources from the eastern front so that Russia can spare units to attack the flanks again, maybe even going into Scandinavia.

    I believe that people who are voting no in this poll are doing so because they are following the traditional wisdom that holding Africa and the Mediterranean is Britain’s job and they need units and income there to do it. In this game the Axis powers have the potential to push so hard in one direction that the Allies need to be prepared to react to that and drop whatever strategies they had in mind when they started the game. A hard German push for Moscow is so common that Britain’s traditional role seems less important to me than working together with Russia.



  • @WILD:

    @simon33:

    Caesar is right. Earlier German DOWs give the investment a shorter pay off period, unless the Germans are repulsed. You can’t assume that will happen.

    I disagree, if the Germans are coming G1/G2 you will be losing land/income faster. Russia getting Iraq will help replace the income lost. It is up to the allies to get ftrs to Moscow asap to stall the Germans in an early attack IMO.

    @simon33:

    Are you saying that you should assume the assault on Moscow would fail because of all the UK reinforcements?

    No surely not (it’s a dice game LOL), but the whole idea is to defend Moscow making it a tough nut to crack. Maybe you can’t save it, but make it cost the Germans much more then they would like is my philosophy. As the allies (UK) I know that Moscow is going to need help in most cases. If the Germans attack early the UK is on the clock quicker to get some air power to Moscow. Also the Russians are losing territories earlier so the 5 IPCs for Iraq can make up some of that loss. The allies may not be able to stop the inevitable, but could very well delay it for a couple rounds. That extra time allows the Russians to buy more units. The delay might also allow the UK to get some ground units heading into the Caucasus (all depending on what else is going on in the game)

    As a side note:
    I see (from the other thread) that some are saying that Russia should take Persia and use those units to aid in the Iraq attack. Not too sure about that because the UK can active Persia on UK1, and I personally like the UK to have Persia for the income boost and a possible IC placement. Some say to never take Iraq w/Russia because you are sending units in the wrong direction, or that the UK might want to place an IC on both Persia and Iraq. I’m not too sure how often the the UK could build and support 2 Mid East IC’s, plus you might also have to defend both ICs against say a sea invasion by Japan.

    Anyway I’m not advocating that Russia takes Iraq in every game, but I don’t see a problem taking it with a G1, G2 or G3 attack.  In a G3 attack the UK can open up NW Persia to allow the Russians to blitz through if you set it up.



  • @Requester45:

    I suppose all of this is just my opinion based on the games that I have played though. Has anyone ever taken Iraq with Russia and had it go successfully?

    I have, but my strategy was as I described it in my previous post. Admittedly it did leave the UK weaker and losing ground in Africa and the Middle East, but this was more because they were pumping everything into the Moscow defense than because they didn’t have Iraq. Still, I can’t figure out why everyone seems intent on holding all that stuff at the cost of making things easier for Germany in Moscow. If Moscow falls what are you going to do with the Middle East and Africa? Whatever it is I don’t think it’s winning the game.


  • 2020 2018 2017

    Most of the triple AA saved games I’ve seen show gigantic plodding stax on Moscow, like 80+ men.  Its pretty conservative play, even if Russia gets totally cut away, Moscow stays alive keeps the last of the $$ out of Germany’s hands.  Most of our house games end up with a suffocating $$ crush on Russia, though in a minority of games the Moscow stack is so gigantic that a punched-out Germany can’t realistically even step up on turn 8 or just goes for wild luck to finish the game.

    The “don’t try anything crazy…”  speaks to how hard it is to come up with creative but practical ideas with the Allies  Its hard especially because they are dependent on the Axis action and luck, so Italians in Syria can make this a better or worse plan.    You should definitely have this one in your playbook, say for situations where the UK plans to take a money island or horn of Africa rather than amphib into Persia/middle east, they only have 2 transports.



  • Ok, so let me try and consolidate all of this into two possible courses of action for the Allies

    1. Britain leaves Iraq for Russia and takes Sumatra and Persia. This is better for an early German DOW and late Japan DOW because Russia gets Iraq earlier and the British transport can survive. The British probably devote more resources to holding the line in the Pacific. This effort will make more of a difference if the US also puts pressure on Japan. In this case the British are sacrificing units and initiative in Europe, and the Americans aren’t there, so they are playing defensively. Moscow will require a powerful stack. Russia benefits from the extra income and the British build a bunch of fighters to send over there.

    2. Britain takes both Iraq and Persia in the first round. They are pulling units from the Pacific, meaning that they have more of an advantage in Europe. They must take advantage of that and get control of Africa and the Middle East. The plan is to eventually divert units so that India doesn’t fall. Moscow is in a lot of trouble so the western Allies must keep pressuring Europe. A strong Britain combined with the American fleet attempt to divert German resources away from Moscow to make up for the extra income they aren’t getting from Africa and the Middle East.

    Does that sound about right to everyone?


  • 2020 2018 2017

    If we do either plan, I think we leave an Italian force in Somalia.  I like getting my Persia factory early, but is it going to be safe?  Italy  can have little chance of taking Egypt but have forces nearby.    Either way you go with taking Sumatra or java early, japan is going to take that away so it feels like a bad trade early in the game when you could keep that stuff alive for some later juncture.

    Most vanilla Barbarossas are a KRF G2.  Early relief from the south is better, threat on UK lower.    On the other hand, if Germany is threatening UK home, then all the UK money has to go on that side and there is nothing left to power our 3 MiCs anyways and all of the planning has to go farther down the road.  UK already has tons of extra factories, so building them isn’t always the best move–unless it saves India.

    I like the transport shuck (SA builds a TT and trades off, reinforcing Egypt every round.  Homeland gets 21 to spend UK1).  I also like keeping the CV alive instead of dumping into Taranto, but that’s probably not a good plan unless you get a bid of 12 or more.



  • @larrymarx:

    2. Britain takes both Iraq and Persia in the first round. They are pulling units from the Pacific, meaning that they have more of an advantage in Europe. They must take advantage of that and get control of Africa and the Middle East. The plan is to eventually divert units so that India doesn’t fall. Moscow is in a lot of trouble so the western Allies must keep pressuring Europe. A strong Britain combined with the American fleet attempt to divert German resources away from Moscow to make up for the extra income they aren’t getting from Africa and the Middle East.

    Why are they pulling units from the Pacific? It is possible that Britain Europe takes Iraq T2 with the Inf from Persia, plus the inf dropped by the tranny off of the coast of Egypt T1 and a plane or tank. This is the better course of action. Why would you pull from the Pacific theatre?



  • @WILD:

    @simon33:

    Caesar is right. Earlier German DOWs give the investment a shorter pay off period, unless the Germans are repulsed. You can’t assume that will happen.

    I disagree, if the Germans are coming G1/G2 you will be losing land/income faster. Russia getting Iraq will help replace the income lost. It is up to the allies to get ftrs to Moscow asap to stall the Germans in an early attack IMO.

    I don’t see how diverting critical units when the Red Army is at its very smallest to possibly lose them in Iraq just to get 3 dollars ( I think Iraq is worth 3, not too sure) is going to be worth the diversion when Germany can already beat USSR on its own and even more of a nightmare if Italy and Japan join the invasion.



  • I will say this, it might be fair for USSR to take Iraq if the Allies dump units in USSR but then again, I still think USSR needs every unit it can muster.



  • @Caesar:

    I don’t see how diverting critical units when the Red Army is at its very smallest to possibly lose them in Iraq just to get 3 dollars ( I think Iraq is worth 3, not too sure) is going to be worth the diversion when Germany can already beat USSR on its own and even more of a nightmare if Italy and Japan join the invasion.

    Iraq itself is worth 2, but to the USSR it is 5 because of the spread of communism objective



  • @Elsass-Lorraine:

    @Caesar:

    I don’t see how diverting critical units when the Red Army is at its very smallest to possibly lose them in Iraq just to get 3 dollars ( I think Iraq is worth 3, not too sure) is going to be worth the diversion when Germany can already beat USSR on its own and even more of a nightmare if Italy and Japan join the invasion.

    Iraq itself is worth 2, but to the USSR it is 5 because of the spread of communism objective

    Yeah, you’re right however is it worth it if you have to lose 5 dollars because you have allies on your territory.



  • Caesar, I’m pretty sure that objective only applies to original Russian territory, but I’m not completely sure.



  • @MEANWHILE:

    @larrymarx:

    2. Britain takes both Iraq and Persia in the first round. They are pulling units from the Pacific, meaning that they have more of an advantage in Europe. They must take advantage of that and get control of Africa and the Middle East. The plan is to eventually divert units so that India doesn’t fall. Moscow is in a lot of trouble so the western Allies must keep pressuring Europe. A strong Britain combined with the American fleet attempt to divert German resources away from Moscow to make up for the extra income they aren’t getting from Africa and the Middle East.

    Why are they pulling units from the Pacific? It is possible that Britain Europe takes Iraq T2 with the Inf from Persia, plus the inf dropped by the tranny off of the coast of Egypt T1 and a plane or tank. This is the better course of action. Why would you pull from the Pacific theatre?

    The reason why I pull India and have them attack Iraq is because Japan is NOT going to sack India on turn 1 or 2 so you can rush units over to help while if you use your forces in Egypt, which seems logical no doubt, that will come down to what YOU DO against Italy and thus reflect what Italy and Germany does to Egypt hence why I say if you’re going to invade Italian colonies, do it with Egypt from the get go. A lot of players for some reason under attack Iraq with UK and ANZAC or France cleans up Iraq. And I know I’m not the only one who builds mech infantry on India, have them convert Iran into the allies and then take their infantry and just hit Iraq.



  • @Elsass-Lorraine:

    Caesar, I’m pretty sure that objective only applies to original Russian territory, but I’m not completely sure.

    Yes, you lose national prestige which is a 5 dollar lose. The reason for that is because you’re diverting critical forces to take Iraq. I said one should not do this if Axis DOW turn 1 and it doesn’t make sense if Germany rides no aggression until turn 4 as you should of already been massing defense forces and UK should already have the advantage of taking Iraq. The only way I can see USSR even remotely taking Iraq is if Axis outright ignores USSR like Germany just goes for Sea Lion and left its right flank weak. Plus with spread of communism, I tell the allies to let me move one infantry to their transports and take it to capture the Italian colonies that doesn’t have value. I think it’s called Italian Somalia for that 5 dollars.


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