With my time spent in A&A Anniversary and glancing at post after post on the forums, it feels as if a specific mindset has been given to the Soviet Union and overall the struggles and hardships that come with it. Some will say it takes pure luck to survive and come out swinging as the Soviets and others will say it can be done with intuitiveness and an open mind to thinking outside the box. Yet, all the same, it seems as if a handful of players believe the Soviets have an inability to preserve themselves as a whole against the wrath of the Axis powers from the West.
To start, I think it’s important to discuss the problem that lays before us on the board before talking about the solution. As the Soviet Union you’re faced with overwhelming odds stacked against you when facing Germany, sure you have a surplus of infantry but what does that mean when you lack an inner core in the form of moving steel and ammunition? A lot of what people misconceive with the Soviet Union I typically think comes in two parts.
The first part revolves around the prospect of what ‘preservation’ looks like and how it’s done. As a nation scraping the barrel on armor and supporting equipment to start the game it seems like a standard principle can be built upon this very fact to conserve your units the best you can. What this may look like can involve retreating your units back, keeping them out of the fight, and saving them for ‘the big battle’ that is presumably Moscow or Stalingrad. This above all else is the first and last mistake Soviet players ultimately make in their endeavor against the German War Machine. Paving the way for the Germans to walk to Moscow and swipe away at your IPCs will only make the fall of Moscow quicker, which is why it’s important to understand the means to be aggressive.
The second part lies within the very premise that many players have an overall reluctance to engage with German troops. Touching back on the concept of preservation, the second thought on “What if I get bad dice rolls” or “What if the battle goes South for me”. An overall lack of aggression and taking risks is the other problem that causes most Soviet players to die out. It’s what’s gotten many to believe that the Soviets can only hold out until turn 4 or turn 5.
To summarize, both of these parameters have hindered the player’s ability to find success as the Soviet Union. Some may think the Soviet Union can only survive for 4 to 6 turns which is precisely what describes a fixed mindset. As an Allied Nation, especially the Soviet Union, it’s important to think outside the box and step out of your comfort zone of always preserving units and not using them. Now with the alternative of being aggressive, are you going to lose land? Yes. Are you going to take heavy losses? 100%. Though it’s all with the intention and core concept of truly bringing the fight to Germany and making them fight for the victory that they desire. That’s not to say the UK and America won’t play a role in stopping Germany and Italy either, they absolutely will.
From a more technical and open-ended approach, yes it is possible for the Soviets to hold out against even the likes of both Germany and Italy, and yes, it is very possible for the Soviet Union to beat back the Germans through brute strength and carefully played tactics. What it comes down to is the way the player wishes to think. Conservatively, or aggresively.