• What should the USSR buy and do against the German war machine? (1941)

  • Infantry, and get help from your Allies. It’s often better to get support than retain the 5 IPC bonus for having no allies in your territory.

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16

    It depends what the Germans are doing. If the Germans come in hard with one big stack of tanks then, yeah, buy infantry and scream for help. The British can sometimes march from Norway to Finland to Karelia to Archangel to Moscow in time to be of use; if the British dominate the northern sea zones, then they can unload directly in Archangel, one turn from Moscow. You’ll need to fly in some British fighters, but don’t forget to also build British transports and infantry in Atlantic, or else you are just buying time for a war that you have already lost…you need to bolster Russia’s defense and lay the groundwork for an Anglo-American counterattack with the same pieces.

    If the German player is pinching pennies, trading territories with infantry and fighters while keeping his main stack one step back, you probably need at least one Russian fighter so you can sometimes trade back, and usually you want to keep 2 Russian artillery and 1 Russian tank on the map at all times…replace as needed. If you are trading Ukraine, Archangel, or Karelia they pay for themselves.

    If the German player is doing something weird like Sea Lion or fighting the Americans in Africa with an Egypt factory or a second German Mediterranean transport, buy 4+ Russian tanks per turn and try to get the 10 ipc NO. Usually the easiest territories are Norway, Finland, and Romania. British can help take Norway.

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 '13 Moderator

    I buy a mix of Ground units amd attavk whenever I can. It is annoying not having a Ft, but I don’t buy one on R1 and, usually not, on  R2 either.

  • As Russia you need time to build up your defences and to weaken the enemy. You must pull as much infantry from the east as possible but leave a small rearguard there. I would suggest you buy some tanks or fighters quickly so you have more attacking power. You can trade infantry for losses while keeping those tanks and fighters alive as much as possible.

    It is essential that Russia wears down the Germans as much as possible by giving up territories and then counter attacking. In the meantime the Allies must start knocking on the door of the Germans, so that they are forced to divert troops for defence. This will hopefully slowly give you the chance to build up powerful armies that can kick back the Germans when they really start threatening Moscow.
    Whatever happens, Moscow must not be allowed to fall. You must keep always at least one infantry on the surrounding territories so the Germans cannot Blitz to Moscow with a huge tank stack.

    Playing with Russia is very challenging at first, but once the worst danger is over you can really build a huge Red Army and conquer pretty much all of Eurasia. I very much enjoy playing the Russians because it really is mostly brutal land warfare with huge stacks of Inf. Tanks, Arty and Fighters. Very basic and simple, and very bloody.


  • From the little bit that I have played, I recommend bombing runs by the US and UK to force Germany to spend money to repair their factories. I bought 3-4 bombers for both the US and Britain (over a couple of turns) and unleashed hell on the Germans. I made sure to max out their money lost as much as I could, that gives the Russians a fighting chance in terms of economics. If you invest in tech and can get heavy bombers, Germany is done for.

    If you can do this, the Russians can actually buy tanks to support their infantry and have an offensive threat. Also you can keep Russia’s 5 IPC bonus alive by avoiding sending units into the motherland.

  • For purely defensive purposes, buying infantry cannot be beat. When you can swap in an offensive piece (artillery or tank) without decreasing the number of units you’re putting on the board, this is well-advised. The relative cost of units and their defending capability seems to be balanced such that quantity is quality.

    For example, Russia starts the '41 version with 30 IPC. For that money you can buy 10 inf OR 8 inf and a tank, etc, etc… OR 3 fighters. If you benchmark every 30IPC purchasing combination against an attacking force of 4inf and 5 tanks (nearly a 50/50 battle with about a 2% chance of mutually assured destruction if you purchased 10 inf), the results are telling:

    10 inf - 49% chance of winning [2 * 10 = 20 hit points or 20/6 = 3.3 average hits]
    8 inf, 1 tank - 38% chance of winning [2 * 8 + 1 *3 = 19 hit points or 19/6 = 3.2 average hits]
    5 inf, 1 tank, 1 fighter - 16% chance of winning [5 * 2 + 1 * 3 + 1 * 4 = 17 or 17/6 = 2.8 average hits]
    3 fighters - 0.02% chance of winning [3 * 4 = 12 points or 12/6 = 2 average hits]

    No combination of possible purchases perform better than 10 inf in this scenario.

    However, when playing against a German Goering that likes to over-extend poorly defended fighters or bombers to gain a couple of IPCs, it’s nice to have the offensive capability to wipe them off the board. I have found this is best accomplished by pushing infantry forward (protecting your offensive pieces from overwhelming counter-attack) and keeping a mix of infantry, artillery and tanks within striking distance of the front line.

    For offensive purposes, the best mix of units for the same 30 IPCs, baselined to a 50/50 battle of your 10 infantry against a defending 6inf + 1 artillery (approximately 1% chance of a draw):

    10 inf - 50% [10 * 1 = 10 points or 10/6 = 1.7 average hits]
    8 inf, 1 tank - 60% [8 * 1 + 1 * 3 = 11 points or 11/6 = 1.8 average hits]
    6 inf, 3 art - 81% [3 * 1 + (3 + 3) * 2 = 15 points or 15/6 = 2.5 average hits]
    5 inf, 1 tank, 1 ftr - 42% [5 * 1 + 1 * 3 + 1 * 3 = 11 points or 11/6 = 1.8 average hits]
    3 ftr - 0% [3 * 3 = 9 points or 9/6 = 1.5 average hits]

    For purely offensive considerations, the optimum combination of units in this scenario is 6 inf and 3 art at 81% chance of victory with 4 inf, 2 art and 2 tanks in close second at 80%. No combination of purchases which include a fighter score better than 53% (4 inf, 2 art and 1 fighter happens to be the specific combination in this case). Again, there appears to be a quality in quantity that supersedes just quality. It may go without stating, but if attacking a territory with an AA gun, the numbers will be even worse for the fighter purchases.

    For the two scenarios above, the most balanced purchase (averaging the %won for each purchase in its offensive capacity and defensive capacity) is 7 inf, 1 art and 1 tank. This particular purchase is the second best defensive purchase (next to 10 inf) and only 4% less potent than the best offensive purchase (6 inf and 3 art).

    I’m not against fighters or bombers, they certainly have their place I just haven’t found justification for purchasing them when playing as Russia (or Germany for that matter) - especially in the early rounds.

    Similar conclusion are drawn with respect to naval units - more cost-effective units (subs and especially destroyers) are typically better than fewer high-powered units (battleships and especially cruisers).

    Excepting special circumstances (such as no time to get infantry to a developing hot-spot on the map or needing to sandbag funds for a massive naval build against enemies squatting in your sea-zone) a good rule of thumb seems to be to maximize the number of attack/defend points your are bringing to the board, first, and spread over as many units as possible, second.

Suggested Topics

  • 60
  • 68
  • 2
  • 98
  • 12
  • 32
  • 8
  • 19
I Will Never Grow Up Games
Axis & Allies Boardgaming Custom Painted Miniatures
Dean's Army Guys