Last post for reals? For this subject for a while anyways? Hm . . . 🙄 I’ll see how I feel at the end of this post.
USSR. Stack building/bleeding is fundamental. You can do multinational defense, but only one nation can attack at a time. What does that mean in practical terms? If Germany walks up to USSR and USSR wants to push Germany off, USSR needs a lot of power to do it, especially if Japanese fighters reinforced, which they can and really often should do even against KJF.
So what happens if USSR is sending a chunk of its power to east Asia? Those units are way out of position to push off any German pressure, and even if they turn around and head home immediately, they still used valuable turns just moving around. Some players like to claim you can “feint” or other clever-sounding phrases, but the fact is, out of position means out of position; your opponent can clearly see when you’re out of position and should play appropriately.
So when USSR sends stuff at Japan, it should be with the realization that it’s a big commitment, it’s a big problem for USSR. It might not SEEM like four or five infantry is a big deal, but think about what happens if you position seven infantry in the north and one or two infantry in China. That’s nine infantry, that’s 27 IPCs. If you lost all of northeast Asia, it’ll take how long for that to add up to 27 IPCs? A long time.
And if you put up a “token resistance” that’s often just silly. Japan wants to trample USSR anyways, all you do is stick a valuable 3-IPC unit where Japan probably has an odds-on attack to destroy it with no losses and take control of the territory anyways. Japan doesn’t even need to go out of its way, it just grabs the unexpected bonus and rolls on.
But then you look at all the problems KJF faces, especially in the 1942 Online implementation, and think “I need something extra”.
But remember again - the more USSR sends east, the less it has west, the earlier USSR in Europe collapses. It’s not enough that USSR units can race home and reach Russia right before Germany hits. If USSR units were pushed west instead of east, they could deter Germany from even advancing in the first place, without that deterrent Germany can come on fast and hard.
The takeaway here is - if USSR is bleeding out its Europe stack to push Asia, there had better be a real nice reward in there, and regardless USSR’s push can only be temporary - USSR just doesn’t have the time to use a chunk of its forces to mess about unless the Axis are wildly incompetent. Which I suppose you could say usually they are in the 1942 Online meta but still.
By extension, if you’re using just slow infantry then you’re not going to be able to redirect at speed at all. Your infantry will be trudging home after having trudged deep into east Asia and will be totally too late to do anything useful in all likelihood.
So if you want to push KJF, there’s two things to remember for USSR that you don’t need so much in KGF - tanks and bombers.
Yes, USSR tanks, you can use against Karelia, it’s a whole thing. But you need infantry/artillery for unit count and to threaten the big strafe - you hit a German territory, deplete its infantry, move your infantry up. Germany lost infantry, you lost infantry, but Germany can’t really just pull more infantry out of its pocket, it takes a long time to march up. Your infantry, on the other hand, basically just rolled out of bed into action. So then when Germany hits, its infantry shield is a lot weaker, it can’t shield its tanks, it gets messy. If you do USSR tanks, you have much better flexibility but you lose out on raw hitting power for the strafe, and that’s why if you’re greedy and think you can get away with it, you push USSR infantry/artillery as a rule and tanks only situationally.
But USSR tanks in KJF are much different. The application probably isn’t just that you’re trying some sort of counterthreat against Karelia and/or Ukraine. Centrally located tanks along with a small infantry contingent and a bit of air coverage can be a big headache for Axis to deal with.
Imagine you have two tanks on a West Russia stack. You defend West Russia - but you also also threaten Kazakh if Japan tries to push and hold. Imagine now you have six infantry on Russia that can hit Kazakh. Say you can use those six infantry and two tanks to hit and weather any Japanese counter. But then, you need six infantry ready at Russia, which means they’re not at West Russia, which means USSR is splitting its forces.
But now imagine you have four tanks on West Russia and two infantry on Russia. Your defense on West Russia is stronger, as are your potential attacks against nearby European territories. Your ability to hit and hold against Kazakh is reduced. And you might think that’s a tradeoff that means it isn’t so great. But not quite.
If you correctly understand and apply stack building and bleeding you’ll remember - you can only use one nation to attack at a time, but multiple nations can defend. So what seems to be a worse position at Kazakh isn’t necessarily so, as UK can reinforce USSR’s position.
I think even newer players should understand that Germany’s tanks are valuable to Germany, especially against KGF. But in KJF, USSR tanks assume similar importance. They are very very good for threatening multiple theaters while also defending and it’s that threat range along with allied reinforcements that make USSR tanks really very good.
So does that mean you should hit West Russia/Ukraine sending only 2 USSR tanks to Ukraine? Or that you should retreat from Ukraine under some conditions?
I could run some numbers and projections but eh, I’m taking a break. But remember, USSR being able to reposition quickly is worth a lot in KJF.