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Subject: Soviet Strategy on Turns One and Two rss

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Thaddeus Blanchette
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SOVIET DEFENSE
Here’s the units the Soviet player has to work with on Turn One.


Soviets at start. You can pretty much forget about everything that's not depicted here

All the towns and cities on the Smolensk-Moscow axis should get reserve divisions, with the extra going to back-stop Kiev and into the area around Staraya Russa. I’m presuming that anything to the west of these units is dead, surrounded or otherwise engaged.

Orange balls mark the probable locations of the German depots at the end of Turn One. The solid orange line marks the probable German supply cast from his depots on Turn Two. The lighter-colored orange line is the German’s maximum supply cast using Panzer HQs on Turn Two. Ideally, you’d like your main defensive line to be outside of both these lines. Practically, you can’t give up Kiev or the belt of forests, swamps and rivers screening Gomel, Smolensk and Pskov.

The Russian line should start, then, as far back as it can, certainly east of the depot cast range. Most of it - the second, third and fourth lines – should be outside of BOTH supply casts. Every chit phase you make the German panzers fight east of these lines on Turn Two is one phase closer to putting them out of supply.

TURN TWO

So here’s where you should be at the beginning of Turn Two:



Note that the City Defense markers should go into Vitebsk and Kiev. If you don’t place one in Kiev, you will lose the capital of the Ukraine this turn.

Only a small portion of this line is within the Panzer HQ supply cast radius. When you set it up, you should feel free to adjust it so that none of your units is adjacent to a German unit, forcing him to come to you. Any left-over Mech Corps with ZOCs should set up a screening line in front of this. Do not count on them for defense as they are prime Stuka targets.

Two reinforcing Rifle Armies each go into Smolensk, Kiev and Vitebsk. A seventh is placed in Gomel. The extra reinforcing Mech Corps should go into Smolensk. Resist the temptation to stick in Keiv. It’s really not needed there.

Of course, where your defense should go in Turn Two depends on the chit sequence. However, if you get an early Soviet MOVE, you should try to set up something like this:



The key is to spread your units out, one in each hex. This makes the German fight for every hex and also makes it harder for units to be cut off, as an adjacent friendly unit clears supply lines through enemy ZOCs.
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Dave Langdon
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Superb again, perhaps a little note on how useful emergency withdrawls can be for the soviets.
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Thaddeus Blanchette
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Oh, definitely! You can almost always sneak something out from pockets, often right on to a rail line.
 
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Chris Hansen
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Cage wrote:
Superb again, perhaps a little note on how useful emergency withdrawls can be for the soviets.

I agree on both points as well. Good advice to the Russian player here to be sure, particularly about being aware of the German supply net on the 2nd turn and setting up his defense accordingly. However the chit pull feature of this game can often attract many flies to the ointment.

Case in point; the game I'm currently playing today FtF. In this one, the Russian player has a fine defense much like you depict here thanks to an early Move pull, the 2nd chit of the turn in fact. However it was then immediately followed up with a Counterattack pull where Stalin in a fit of drunken rage demanded no less than 10 attacks on the Nazi invaders, and because he had just moved back from the front, there is almost no contact at the moment with Axis forces. We've taken a break for dinner right now which gives him some time to consider what to do, but I suspect quite a few heroic assaults by his remaining Mech Corps since they can attack alone. At least they will be used as they were historically intended to be used, in counterattacks against German spearheads, though the result of the attacks will also likely follow most of their historical counterparts as well...a trip to the dead pile.

Even with the Mech attacks, he will still come up rather short of the 10 attacks he needs to make which means I either get to choose some 1-4's to remove or he has to move even more units from his defensive line to attack, and he can't fix any potential havoc to his lines any of this will cause until the next turn as he's already moved.

The Counterattack chit can really be more irritating than helpful for the Soviet player even if he does have some good attack opportunities. It is however a great use of the Mech corps. They move fast, can attack alone, and they are expendable since they will all be going away at the start of the 4th turn. As this is how they were intended to be used, well except for the expendable bit but with Stalin you never know, it works out well. It's a nice bit of historical modeling by Ted and yet another reason why I like this game so much.
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Thaddeus Blanchette
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Yeah, the Mech corps are there to counterattack and die.
 
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