Newbie needs help countering Russian Black Sea Sub Build



  • Hey Guys,

    This is my first post here to the forums, although, I’ve been skimming some of the articles here for about the past week or so. I’ve been able to consistently beat my friend while playing as the axis, usually through a German strategy that focuses on capturing Africa first and then leveraging that economic advantage to crush the USSR (it also has the added bonus of effectively castrating the UK) the Japanese then link up with them in Transjordan after conquering india, and that’s game. However, I’m having issues countering the Russian Black Sea Sub build. My friend plays with the UK and USSR focusing on the Germans, while the Americans contend with the Japanese.

    Normally my friend likes to play with an aggressive attack against Ukraine and West Russia. While he usually buys inf and artillery or 3 art 3 armor as russia, this game he built 3 inf 1 art 1 armor and 1 sub.

    I did my normal German purchases of an AC and transport build off the coast of Italy, coupled with a mixed buy of inf and armor in Germany. While this normally places me a little bit short in terms of troops in Europe, it normally works out in the end, due to the fact that I’m crushing him in Africa. The play started out with the usual G1 German assault on Egypt with 1 fighter 2 inf and 2 armor. Egypt was captured with 2 armor remaining.

    Other moves included a successful capture of Karelia with one inf (he left it open) and destruction of the British seazone 2 fleet with only loss of the zone 8 sub. The entire British Atlantic (except the seazone 1 tranny) and Med fleets were destroyed.

    As the UK he went with an all bomber purchase bombers and retook Egypt with an amphibious assault from India supported with the inf from transjordan and cruiser support shot and fighter. He captured it with 2 inf remaining (I got some really atrocious rolls).

    I won’t go over the Pacific theater, because I have a pretty good grasp of the situation there, even with all of the US funds going to the pacific, I find that the Japanese can easily match any US fleet build coupled with their overwhelming initial unit advantage means that Japan actually is really quite difficult to take down.

    For R2 he destroyed my battleship with 2 fighters and 1 sub, losing only the sub. G2 I retook Egypt with the inf and art from libya (initially from algeria) and 1 tank and 1 inf transported from southern Europe (Results 1 inf, 1 art, 1 armor remaining).

    UK 2 he purchased a South African IC and 1 bomber saving three. He sunk the carrier 2 fighters and transport off the coast of egypt with his three bombers, landing  the surviving single bomber in transjordan protected by one inf from persia.

    R3 nothing particularly unusual or exciting happened in the European Theater. G3 I opted not to purchase more navy b/c i was starting to get concerned that I might be a little bit shorter on inf than I’d like in Europe. I sent my Afrika Korp to destroy the bomber and the inf, suffering no casualties.

    In the end, ultimately, I got kicked out of Africa b/c his SA factory was dropping 2 tanks a turn, with no corresponding German investment. Any new naval builds would be destroyed by his UK bomber command.

    Do you guys have any suggestions for possible counters, or should I just adopt a different German strategy altogether? I’m actually rather fond of my current German African strategy and am somewhat reluctant to abandon it.



  • I’ve never really been fond of German navies because a good Allied player can make you pay in Europe and should still be able to retake Africa without much trouble. You’re fortunate the US was in the Pacific and Japan was able to match all their purchases. Has Japan been helping in the German attack on Russia? They should have some excess income to roll through Asia and start breathing down Russia’s backdoor.

    The Black Sea sub build is an iffy move in my opinion. It eliminates Germany from Africa or forces them to build naval units if they want to contest Africa beyond G1. However, the sub build costs them more than you might think in Europe. If Russia takes West Russia and Ukraine with that build there is a great chance that you can stack Karelia. That move might come at the expense of attacking the British in the North Atlantic(because that requires defending Norway), something I haven’t tried skipping yet in this edition. I think it’s viable to skip because Germany will often lose 2 fighters in G1 attacks leaving them with only 3 fighters and a bomber. The trade is UK keeps a battleship and transport, Germany doesn’t lose fighters, possibly keeps their sub, and gets a forward position against the Soviets. If Russia takes only West Russia, then either West Russia or Caucuses will be weak if they build a sub so you can pick one to smash. If Caucuses can be taken, that means no Russian fighters and the med fleet lives.

    If the UK was off buying bombers and building tanks in South Africa, did they have an Atlantic shuck? If not, Germany should have had a field day with Russia.



  • You’re right to say that the UK was late in setting up the Atlantic Transport chain due to their turns 1-3 purchases. Japan actually wasn’t able to get any further in Asia than Sinkiang, India, and Yakut due to US pressure forcing more naval builds than I usually pull off. (I tend to favor transports over factories when playing with japan) That being said, those three IPCs taken from the USSR coupled with the lack of UK presence in the North Atlantic, meant that Moscow fell before the US was able to make any serious gains in the South Pacific. (They managed to destroy my first Japanese fleet, but it turned out to be a Pyrrhic victory, the remnants of their fleet were picked off by Japanese air the next turn.)

    My main concern, is if the Black Sea Sub build is accompanied by a UK north atlantic strat as opposed to the UK South African IC build and bomber strats, how can Germany remain competitive economically or positionally? I find that with appropriate deadzoning, it’s really hard to push into Russia without a massive piece advantage, which is why I normally favor a strong German African strat.

    In a sort of unrelated question, how should the Japanese counter a strong US push? I think I ended up getting lucky, as the US player pushed out a little too early and exposed their fleet to counter attacks by the Japanese airforce. What’s the best staging area for a Japanese fleet stack? I think controlling the Solomon Islands in key, but stacking there seems problematic for supply reasons.



  • Hmm…Its interesting, I just finished a game and a reletivly similer chain of events happend throughout. My counter to a black sea sub is a simple mediterain destroyer. More often than not, the destroyer wins in combat, espeically on the offensive, so the sub wasnt able to inpact beyond me burning those 8 IPCs.

    On the other side of the world, in the pacific, the US had been mostly fighting there early in the game, though I too was able to hold him back, while grabbing control of india, austraila and new zealand. Eventually I managed to force his navy to the north and south parts of the pacific, allowing me to sneak a transport in to capture Panama, effectivly stopping him from retreating out of the pacific. After a grueling fight with some awful roleing on my part, I had won the pacific, and was able to launch amphibous attacks against Los Angelas. At this point I had eight-8-victory locations. Supprising enough, My overwhelming forces couldnt breach The eastern States, so I bunkered down on the West Coast, building a factory.

    My only chance of losing was if The Russians or British Managed to take one of my Germany Cities. It wouldnt be too huge or a loss if France or Italy fell, but if Berlin came crashing down, the other too would follow suite, at least, in this situation. After a few turns of mobilization and massing of troops, I realised my defense in Europe wasnt going to be able to hold out for much longer, but Washington wasnt going down anytime soon.

    My last strategy was to launch my excess Japanese ships into the Atlantic. I changed my scheme of production at LA to more defensive  choices, because I was not going to try taking down Washington again. After  Two turns battle in the Atlantic, I finished off his British Fleets, and Launched the amphibious attacks onGreat Britain. The forces there were more focused on offensive purposes, so, with combined armies from france I was able invade and capture London. Game set and match. No thanks to his black sea strategies or Pacific assaults.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017

    I haven’t even played the game yet, but I was wondering about this Russian sub strategy anyway.  And:

    @russellkid:

    My counter to a black sea sub is a simple mediterain destroyer. More often than not, the destroyer wins in combat, espeically on the offensive, so the sub wasnt able to inpact beyond me burning those 8 IPCs.

    In that case, what do you do on G1?  I suppose you just leave the battleship and the transport where they are and do not attack Egypt?



  • “My counter to a black sea sub is a simple mediterain destroyer. More often than not, the destroyer wins in combat, espeically on the offensive, so the sub wasnt able to inpact beyond me burning those 8 IPCs.”
    -russellkid

    “In that case, what do you do on G1?  I suppose you just leave the battleship and the transport where they are and do not attack Egypt?”
    -KaLeun

    I think that’s what his strategy called for. In general, I’d be leery of skipping out on the African G1 attack. If I were the UK and saw that move, I would evacuate the Indian ocean fleet into the Med, use the transport to pull over 2 inf from India, and drop them in Anglo Egypt. I would couple this move with a transfer of 1 inf from transjordan. Depending on the exact deployment pattern of the Luftwaffe, I would consider moving the fighter from Egypt onto the AC or vice versa. In either case, the UK fleet menaces Germany’s southern flank, and forces the German player to devote far more resources to Africa/the Med than he normally would. Either he has to divert fighters and bombers to destroy the med fleet, or attempt attacking 4 inf and 1 armor with 2 inf 1 art and 1 armor with air support.

    Opting not to destroy this new UK med fleet G2 raises the specter of a UK Egypt IC, which, if executed properly can cause a number of headaches for the Axis player, as after it’s used to kick the Germans out of Africa, it can be used to snipe either territories in southern europe, reinforce the russians via stacking tanks in persia, or opportunistically going after the East Indies if Japan empties them.



  • If Germany doesn’t attack Egypt on G1, you give the UK several opportunities they would not have otherwise –  Each of which will cause serious headaches for the Axis.

    Not only can they retreat the Indian fleet into the Med, and reinforce Egypt as mentioned above, but they could also opt to pull the tank and fighter off of Egypt, the fighter from the carrier, and the 2 infantry from Jordan/Persia into India and place an IC there on UK1.

    There’s no possibility that Japan could take India on J1 if the UK chose to do this (India would have 5 inf, 1 tank, 2 fighters, and 1 AA gun defending it), and 3 new British tanks in Asia every UK turn (which could be used to aid Caucasus quite a bit, or to threaten Japan’s Asian territories), is something the Axis simply cannot allow.

    If I’m playing as Germany, Id much rather risk losing my Med. BB and AK, opposed to giving the UK a well-defended IC in India, or a formidable Med fleet and a significantly strengthened Egypt.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017

    I do think that with the Russian Black Sea Sub, the idea of buying a destroyer and not attacking Egypt on G1, is viable.  The main thing I dislike about it is basically that the UK Egypt fighter lives.

    On G1, Germany can move 1 tank 1 inf from Southern Europe to Libya.  Now if the UK stacks Egypt and moves the India fleet to the Med, Germany can still take out both.  In that case, as Germany I would also not attack the UK fleet in SZ 2, and use the atlantic sub and a few planes to take out the cruiser in SZ 13.  So I can have plenty of German planes handy to attack either the fleet or Egypt or both on G2.

    The India option as mentioned by Incline has me slightly more worried, but it does imply that the UK will split its resources between Asia and Europe.  Spending 15 IPC in India in each turn to make that strategy work can become troublesome once the UK income will start to fall as Germany conquers Africa, so IPC-wise the UK may be forced to choose between either cutting back on India, or not being a factor in the Atlantic.



  • @KaLeun:

    I do think that with the Russian Black Sea Sub, the idea of buying a destroyer and not attacking Egypt on G1, is viable.  The main thing I dislike about it is basically that the UK Egypt fighter lives.

    On G1, Germany can move 1 tank 1 inf from Southern Europe to Libya.  Now if the UK stacks Egypt and moves the India fleet to the Med, Germany can still take out both.  In that case, as Germany I would also not attack the UK fleet in SZ 2, and use the atlantic sub and a few planes to take out the cruiser in SZ 13.  So I can have plenty of German planes handy to attack either the fleet or Egypt or both on G2.

    You’d better be attacking the UK destroyer in the East Med otherwise the British can hit your reinforced med ships with a destroyer, 2 fighters, and a bomber. Even if you did take out that destroyer, I think I’d still consider the attack as the UK knowing that the Russians can follow up with their sub and two fighters.

    Not attacking Egypt is unacceptable so as Germany I would make the Egypt attack and do what I can to capitalize on the Russians being short $6 in units and that they won’t use their fighters on R2. If Germany has fewer units in Africa, in this case probably just an inf and art TOPS at the end of G2, the temptation for the Allies is to send less units into Africa. Japan in a few rounds can really make the Allies pay if they make the mistake of going in too lightly.

    @bigmac3000lbs:

    (I tend to favor transports over factories when playing with japan)

    I preferred transports in Revised and probably will in 42 as well. They were best in supplying the Northern route to Moscow for Revised but if you’re facing a Pacific campaign in this Edition, they aren’t so easy to guard.

    @bigmac3000lbs:

    My main concern, is if the Black Sea Sub build is accompanied by a UK north atlantic strat as opposed to the UK South African IC build and bomber strats, how can Germany remain competitive economically or positionally? I find that with appropriate deadzoning, it’s really hard to push into Russia without a massive piece advantage, which is why I normally favor a strong German African strat.

    Germany can’t try to do it all. At some point in the early rounds they should abandon Western Europe and work to secure a forward stack in Ukraine or Karelia. If Russia fails to liberate a border territory, Germany can land their fighters there and advance. If they can spare the fighters, Japan should position them in range of Ukraine to support a German advance to Ukraine. Every purchase of every turn Germany must evaluate how many tanks(if any) they need to build to prevent an Allied advance to Ukraine or Karelia, remembering that if the UK takes Karelia, then the US and Soviet fighters, and Red Army can also reinforce. It’s so much easier for the Allies to defend together than to attack together and Germany must make things difficult for them.

    @bigmac3000lbs:

    In a sort of unrelated question, how should the Japanese counter a strong US push? I think I ended up getting lucky, as the US player pushed out a little too early and exposed their fleet to counter attacks by the Japanese airforce. What’s the best staging area for a Japanese fleet stack? I think controlling the Solomon Islands in key, but stacking there seems problematic for supply reasons.

    In Revised when Japan was faced with a US Pacific push they positioned most of their ships at the Carolines because it was adjacent to the Solomons and one move from Japan. The reason for basing at the Solomons is that if Japan stays in z60, then they can be blocked by a sacrificial destroyer while the US safely advances. Then they kept their transports(which then hit on a one and were legal casualties) in z60 with enough defensive navy to deter an all air attack. Japan had to purchase enough so that they could kill any American advance to Wake or the Solomons. There’s a whole article on this for Revised, many concepts still hold. http://www.axisandallies.org/forums/index.php?topic=13764.0

    Now in Spring 42 with defenseless transports Japan can’t reasonably defend z60 and sufficiently stack the Caroline Islands unless the American player is crazy and doesn’t buy a couple carriers. So this may mean that Japan funnels units through the Manchuria and French Indochina seazones instead so that the Japanese navy isn’t tied up defending transports.



  • Just throwing out an idea, but how well would an Alaska IC work as a USA1 purchase?

    If from every turn from then on, the USA purchased 2 subs per turn and placed them in SZ63, you could become a real pain to the IJN, and force the Japanese player to spend a lot more cash than they’d like to on fleet defense (which means less tanks on the ground in Asia) – Especially when combined with attacks from the air. And you could still focus a majority of your income in the Atlantic.

    An Alaskan IC could also serve as a launching point for counter-offensives to liberate the northeastern Russian territories were the Japanese to invade, and it could also set the stage for an eventual landing on Japan itself.

    I’ll have to mess around with the idea and try it in a game or two I guess. Not really sure of all the pros/cons of such a purchase at the moment.


  • '16 '15 '10

    The Black Sea sub is an interesting move, and definitely has a big effect on how the game plays out.  It’s huge for the Allies to knock out the Med fleet before G2.  But as Dan has noted, it’s not without its weaknesses.  It’s not just that Russia is spending 6 on r1, it’s that they are committing to using their figs on a naval attack on R2 (instead of hitting, say, Karelia).  In order to survive, Axis need to pounce on Russia’s vulnerability….otherwise Axis is in danger of losing the long game since Allies will have the economic edge once Africa is securely theirs.


  • 2020 2019 2018 2017

    @Fleetwood:

    You’d better be attacking the UK destroyer in the East Med otherwise the British can hit your reinforced med ships with a destroyer, 2 fighters, and a bomber. Even if you did take out that destroyer, I think I’d still consider the attack as the UK knowing that the Russians can follow up with their sub and two fighters.

    Not attacking Egypt is unacceptable so as Germany I would make the Egypt attack and do what I can to capitalize on the Russians being short $6 in units and that they won’t use their fighters on R2. If Germany has fewer units in Africa, in this case probably just an inf and art TOPS at the end of G2, the temptation for the Allies is to send less units into Africa. Japan in a few rounds can really make the Allies pay if they make the mistake of going in too lightly.

    You’re right about the possible British attack, but I still don’t much like to attack Egypt if that allows the Russians to sink my Med fleet.  It’s especially the transport I’d like to keep afloat as long as possible, because it allows me to drop 1 tank 1 inf a round into Africa.
    So suppose I go a bit further as Germany and buy an AC in the Med on round 1 (and land two planes on it)?  Then on G2, I can march 3 inf 1 art 2 tanks from Lybia into Egypt, and at the same time drop 1 inf 1 tank from SEU.  Germany will be pretty strong in Africa and I don’t see what Britain or Russia can do about it.  If the British send their India fleet into the Med, Germany can sink it.  If they don’t, they’ll have to face Japan.
    With the Med in Axis hands, I can put the AC in SZ 13 and threaten the Atlantic from there.

    I agree that Egypt needs to be taken, but is it really necessary to capture it on G1 if that means losing the German Med fleet and therefore, not being able to reinforce Africa beyond what’s already there?


  • '16 '15 '10

    German naval buys aren’t looking good in this game–12$ bombers and defenseless transports make them much harder here than in Revised.

    If Germany buys a Med destroyer, and sits in 14, UK can still muster 2 figs 1 bomb for a UK1 attack by moving the AC up into 15 (assuming Germany committed air to killing the destroyer in 15, which is fairly risky unless Germany uses 2 or more planes).  This is risky for UK, but even if they get diced they will kill enough that Russia mops up the rest on R2.

    If Germany buys an AC, then I guess UK holds off on a UK1 attack.  But what UK can do is buy 2 bombers, and fly its figs to West Russia or West Africa.  Then rally all land forces in Jordan.  So now, if Germany lands Egy G2, UK attacks UK2.  3 figs, 3 bombers attack 2 figs 1 ac 1 bb.

    The Med fleet is doomed.  I’d recommend attacking Egy on G1…at least that forces UK to either counter immediately or lose Africa, and this counter takes some pressure off Japan.


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