Remember, first and foremost, that although purchase units, combat move, combat, and noncombat are nominally different steps, they are really very connected. If you anticipate that your combat moves, combat results, and noncombat moves are going to, say, result in a severe lack of force in the east in the next three turns, you should probably build some infantry to march east to make up for that lack. (Or you may decide to abandon the east).
Point in case: If you buy 8 infantry, and leave 6 infantry in Burytia (with nothing to support them), attack Ukraine with everything you can, and West Russia with everything else, on the next turn, you risk Germany focusing its attack on Ukraine, wiping out all your tanks and artillery, while Japan may decide to wipe out Burytia. This will leave Russia with infantry either at Russia (which can’t get east in time to slow any Japanese invasion), and/or at Caucasus (which don’t have enough offensive punch by themselves, even including fighters, to necessarily wipe out whatever Germany used to capture Ukraine.
On the other hand, if you bought 8 infantry, moved the Russian infantry back from the coast, and attacked Belorussia with 3 inf 2 fighters, and West Russia with everything else, neither German or Japan would be in position to wipe out Russia’s military. You would then have time to move those 8 infantry into positions where they could complement your other units.
1. Attack Belorussia/West Russia. Attack Belorussia with 3 infantry 2 fighters. Attack West Russia with everything else. At the end of the turn, Karelia and Archangel can be left completely open. Caucasus should be held with at least 2-3 infantry and an AA gun. West Russia should have an AA gun moved in. This is a pretty conservative move, which I would use with just about any build.
This is pretty conservative; it doesn’t leave Russia open to attack, and both battles are minimally risky. Even if the battle in Belorussia goes badly for Russia, Russia can pull out at the cost of no more than a few lost infantry. The battle at West Russia almost never goes really badly for Russia, because of Russia’s overwhelming numbers.
Rationale for leaving Karelia and Archangel open – Germany can easily take Karelia with massive ground forces in spite of anything Russia does. If Russia leaves 1 infantry behind, that infantry has a 1/3 chance of destroying something on its first turn of defending fire, which means that that 3 IPC unit will kill about 1 IPC worth of German units. So, leaving Karelia lightly defended is not a good idea. Leaving Karelia heavily defended is ALSO not a good idea, because that risks Germany focusing its Baltic transport, infantry from Norway and Eastern Europe, various tanks, and air, to crush any heavy Russian resistance (at minimal cost to the Germans). So Karelia really may as well be left open. As far as Archangel, the only unit that CAN reach that territory is a German tank, which means that Germany would be gaining 2 IPC from the territory, but lose its 5 IPC tank (while the tank has a ½ chance of destroying a 3 IPC infantry, for net loss 1.5 IPC to the Germans. That is – the Russians should actually WANT the Germans to capture Archangel with a German tank.
Rationale for AA gun at West Russia – it is extremely unlikely that Germany will decide to forgo all other targets and attack the West Russia forces, but there is that possibility. If Germany does decide to do this, and Germany gets lucky, then the Allies will be in trouble. An AA gun at West Rusia helps prevent this. Moving the AA gun does not really make Russia more vulnerable to German industrial bombing; if the Germans use their bomber to industrial bomb, the German bomber will probably be lost (because after the German bomber lands, it can be destroyed, and the only places the German bomber can land are all very vulnerable)
Rationale for minimally defended Caucasus – the AA gun prevents both industrial bombing, and an early German attack on Caucasus with the German Med fleet plus air. If the Germans DO attack Caucasus, they can take it quite easily, but the Germans will lose the Caucasus immediately, after Russia attacks Ukraine from West Russia, and moves Russian and West Russian forces to retake Caucasus (there’s nothing Germany can do). If the Germans do decide to use the Med fleet against Caucasus, Anglo-Egypt will be far more costly for the Germans to take.
2. Attack Ukraine/West Russia. All possible units (exception: only two tanks) attack Ukraine. Remainder attack West Russia. Russia may choose to stay to capture Ukraine, or retreat. Again, Archangel/Karelia can be left open, but doing so now is potentially more costly, as the Russians will be stretched more thinly, and will not be able to counterattack easily. West Russia should, again, have the AA gun moved in. I would use this with 2 inf 2 art at Caucasus with 2 tanks at Moscow, or 3 inf 1 art at Caucasus, 2 inf 1 tank at Moscow.
This move has the benefit of destroying considerably more German attack forces, as well as possibly destroying a valuable German fighter. However, each of the battles is considerably riskier. There are not nearly as many strong attackers (artillery and tanks) going into West Russia, so the Germans can inflict additional casualties on the Russians. A few bad rolls for Russia and good rolls for Germany can force Russia to retreat from Ukraine (and hence, Russia would not gain the IPCs for that territory). Although both battles DO favor Russia, and Russia gains considerably with a win, it is inevitable that the loss of German units in Ukraine will be followed by a German attack on the Ukraine, wiping out any surviving Russian units (hence the commitment of only TWO Russian tanks). Any German attack into Ukraine can be countered by the R1 build of 2 inf 2 art (in Caucasus) 2 tanks (in Moscow). (But then Germany could counter with tanks produced on G1 and infantry from Eastern Europe, forcing Russia to continue heavy trading for Ukraine).
3. Any other series of attacks in the west, including Norway/West Russia/Belorussia plays out much the same; Germany counterattacks and draws Russia into a prolonged battle.
A. 6 infantry at Yakut. Russia may choose to keep a fighter and/or tank in range at Russia/Yakut, so Russia threatens 6 inf 1 tank 1 fighter against a Japanese attack against Burytia or Soviet Far East.
I do not favor bulking up at Yakut/Burytia/Soviet Far East. Any Russian units sent there cannot really threaten a take and hold against a Japanese-held Soviet Far East or Burytia, because of the counterthreat of Japanese transports and air. The Japanese quickly build up on the coast and force Russia to retreat.
B. 6 infantry at Burytia. This threatens Manchuria, but again, Russia will find it difficult to expand on the Asian coast. Japan also has the option of using Manchurian infantry plus Japanese transport plus Japanese air to wipe out Burytia. I only think 6 infantry at Burytia is a good idea if the Russia player moves forces east – and even then, I think that landing a UK fighter there on UK1 is almost a must. What – is
C. 6 infantry at Soviet Far East. This prevents Japan from capturing both Burytia and Soviet Far East on the first turn. Japan can possibly take Soviet Far East on J1, but doing so is extremely difficult for Japan, particularly if the UK destroyed the Japanese transport off Kwangtung.
D. 5 infantry at Yakut, 1 infantry at Burytia. Threatens Manchuria and bulks up at Yakut.
1. 4 Russian infantry at Sinkiang. Forces Japan to wait a bit longer before pressing on from China.
2. Units moved toward India. (Usually pretty costly to the Russians, because it either involves fighters, which are good for trading land, or tanks, which are mobile and good on offense, or infantry, which take a long time to get there).
Finally, it’s almost a sure bet that the Russian sub should be moved to join the UK battleship and transport. It is initially useful fodder, later, the Russian sub can be used to block off sea zones.