Well, I know this is one of those topics that can be a bit dull since nothing changes before it happens each time… I just wanted to post a few thoughts on Russia 1 for the benefit of the massive numbers of new folks that have joined in recent weeks…
There has been a lot of discussion about Russia’s first build. And most folks like the idea of a “balanced” build of 4 INF and 3 ART to provide both good defense and to maintian Russia’s offensive punch. I am going to disagree. I still favor the traditional 8 INF build as Russia on R1. Part of the reason for this is how I like to use my initial Russia units, so I need some extra pieces for Europe for R2 and forward… part of it is that Russia is still in a war of attrition with Germany, and Germany still has the upper hand in terms of economics… Germany starts out with 160% of the economic strength of Russia.
Because Russia is so much weaker than Germany initially, in both number and quality of initial units and IPC revenue, Russia HAS to strike quickly to get their economy up. In addition, Germany has forces adjacent to Moscow on R1 that HAVE to be thrown back in order to secure the Russian capital.
Combat 1: All land forces from Archangel, Russia and Caucuses attack West Russia. This battle is a solid win for the Russians, and will leave them with a NICE offensive stack positioned dead center of the front. Also, due to the borders of West Russia, this stack of offensive units can be used to strike Caucuses, Archangel, and Karelia (if Germany takes them), and the German territories of Ukraine and Belorussia. West Russia is a key territory for Russia and should be taken in R1, and held at almost all cost.
Combat 2: Use the INF from Karelia to take Belorussia as well as your FIGs from Russia and Caucuses. On average you will take it with 1-2 INF left. It leaves you weak along your northern territories, but with the shielding of the West Russia stack, you have no real threat from that at this point. But by taking Belorussia, you shield the West Russia stack from a major counter-attack in G1, as well as gain some IPC’s for your R2 build.
The Russian Sub makes the traditional move to join the UK fleet. From this point on, all Russia needs to do is keep that sub with the UK fleet, or perhaps later send it to SZ6 as a blocking unit to protect UK forces shuttling troops from UK to Norway/Karelia/Archangel.
The 2 FIGs both land in Caucuses. You need the defense there in case Germany comes at you via Ukraine and possibly even with a BB supported Amphib.
Here is where I tend to differ from others… I think it is essential for Russia to attempt to counter Japan from the start while others just fall back repeatedly and then counter Japan around Novo.
Move SFE and Yakut INF to Bury. This gives you 6 INF divisions in Bury… more than enough to hold it unless Japan throws ALL of their offensive power against Bury in J1. Of course if they do, that means that India and China are still held by the Allies for Turn 2… not a bad trade. But, the reality is that Japan is NOT going to seriously attack Bury in J1 with those 6 divisions there, so you have instead preserved your Eastern IPC’s for another round AND slowed Japan’s advance on Moscow by a round.
Kazakh INF to Caucuses. Remember that threat via Ukraine and Amphib? You need defense in Caucuses. Move the 2 Kazakh INF to Caucuses to help with this.
Novo INF to Sinkiang. This DOUBLES the defensive strength of Sinkiang, which is critical since Japan usually takes China on J1. By making Sinkiang have 4 INF instead of 2, you will prevent Japan from taking Sinkiang on J2. They will need at least one more round to get enough forces to safely attack Sinkiang without risk to their AF. Stopping Japan cold in central asia with just 2 INF is a cheap and effective defensive move for Russia.
Evenk INF. This is the variable. If West Russia went well, send the Evenk INF to Yakut as a second line of defense for after your Bury forces are killed, or to make an even better line of defense if they retreat from Bury to Yakut. If West Russia went poorly, send the Evenk units to Russia.
4 INF in Caucuses (bringing you to 6 there)
4 INF to Russia (you will have 4-6 INF there)
With these moves, you have secured Russia’s main territories for the coming battles in Turn 1, and are well positioned for your own counter attack in R2. You have also increased your income to 28, allowing you to build 4 INF and 4 ART in R2 (a nice improvement!).
Things to look for in R2…
If Japan went transport heavy in J1, then your Bury INF are at risk. In R2, retreat to Yakut to get out of range of BB support shots and to be out of range of any Japan based FIGs, If you were able to send the Evenk units to Yakut, you now have 8 divisons in Yakut to face a Japan attack in J3. Even if Japan hits those units hard, the loses you inflict will still take the teeth out of the intial drive to Moscow.
Where is Germany massing forces? If it is in Eastern, then you will probably be able to do a LIGHT strike on Ukraine, and possibly Belorussia if Germany re-took that in G2. By light strike, I mean minimal INF and air forces… just enough to take it but not leave a significant number of troops exposed to be killed by a German counter. Avoid using your tanks and ART, since those units will have to stay put after the battle, and will be killed by the German counter. If possible, lightly take both Ukraine and Belorussia so that you have 1-2 INF in each after the battle. Send INF from Russia to Archangel (just 1 or 2 as a placeholder to prevent blitzing), and the remainder to West Russia to reinforce the stack.
Also watch Trans-Jordan. If Germany starts sending forces to the Middle East, send INF from Caucuses to Persia to aid in protecting UK income AND to protect your Caucuses IC from attack via the back door.