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Subject: Barbarossa starting forces rss

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Robert March
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Hi all,

I played a '39 campaign game over the weekend, and my Allied powers were thoroughly stomped. I ended up resigning as the Allies as of Winter '41, because the Ratzis (following a fairly historical progression) had taken both Moscow and Baku, and looked fairly certain to finish the job come spring.

My question is: what are your average starting forces prior to a June '41 Barbarossa? For the '41 campaign game, the Axis has about 29 German blocks plus 4 GSUs. In the game I just completed, the Axis had 46(!) German blocks but only 2 GSUs, and they had maxed out the U-boat track, with the Brits failing to buy their ASW for 1941.

If this is a normal Axis strike force, how do you stop it? If not, what can the western Allies do to knock the Germans back a peg? I tried invading Denmark in the Sept/Oct '41 turn as a diversion, but it wasn't all that diverting. I probably should have been more aggressive in the desert, but when the Italians entered the war, they already had 6 full strength blocks on the Egyptian border. On top of that, the Germans walked through Yugoslavia and Greece in the late summer of '40, so they had plenty of time to max out their force builds for the big attack.

In any event, I would just like to hear some reaction to my experience (to be fair, my skills at the game are limited, and my opponent is very very good...he can even beat Rick Young on occasion).
 
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Enrico Russo
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Pomigliano D'Arco - Napoli
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I'm an experienced Allied player.
To avoid losing the game on 41/42 you have to protect Moscow and Baku.
Moscow is protectable only if you build an heavy fort the Light Mud turn before the invasion (May/June 1941) and obviously fill it with as much armor and infantry you can.
Baku is protectable saturating with cadres the territories between the frontier and Baku (obviously before the invasion). Later you use the 50-pips conscription to build as much 4-pips infantries there and hope.
Mmmm, I forgot to say that it's defendable with scarce resources only if you use the optional rule about stacking limits in swamps and rough terrain.

It's hard to stockpile in Moscow AND saturating with cadre the road to Baku, due to the damn rule that you have to put half of your force near the border. But It has to be done.

If Baku falls, you lose Africa.
If Moscow falls, you'll have so few money and strat-moves you can't possibly resist.


UK is forced to fight Italy as fast as he can. It means demoralizing it before it can build the 4th fleet.
Try to have at least 3 more fleets in the Med (minimum 5). Intercept every time you can. If you use the optional rule regarding GSU in naval interception, use at least 2 GSU (and intercept, intercept, intercept).
Protect Malta with a 4-pip infantry (if Italy conquers Malta it gains additional 3 units in Africa, due to supply increase).

If Italy demoralize BEFORE Germany goes Barbarossa, the Axis has to divert some units on Italy beaches, unless he wants to be invaded easily (demoralized Italian troops has NO HIT BONUS, so no bonus for invasion / rough terrain / Messina strait).

Ah, I forgot to say that you'll need each pip you can send to Africa, and each fleet possible to support them. If you use the optional rule of building spending limit the job is easier (no sub roll can avoid the building of half fleet / a third of ASW).

USA ??
Roll 6s until 1942.


Good luck
Enrico

P.S. Remember. You can't beat the German Jaggernaut in '42, but you can encircle it. So always AVOID being caught in clear terrain with clear weather. Alwais fight in swamp/ rough terrain. Always try to send small groups to flank. You can fight "au pair" only in 1944 (and you'll be forced to do it when the time will come).
 
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Stuart Pierce
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From a semi-experienced Axis player who plays against a very experienced Soviet player a lot.
I have found it impossible to take both Moscow and Baku in '41, there just are not enough Special Actions to make it happen against a good Soviet player. Here is what my opponent does:
Defends 3 hexes with any kind of forces: Moscow, the Ladoga Swamp and Leningrad. Everywhere else (within several areas of the front lines) there are cadres. The forces in Moscow are really only there to bleed the Axis. (Attacking across the river into a fort isn't any fun at all!) Make sure there are cadres around Baku.

Builds: When you have 9 WREP's it is 3 Inf. Cadres and one 2 pip unit. All cadres go into the front lines. Anything larger than a cadre moves back.

1st turn after the invasion. (And let's assume you've lost Moscow)
Your builds: 34-4 (Moscow) -2 Fleets + 20 Conscripts +3 (average US die roll) You are building at 51 (on par with the Axis) you don't have to pay for Cadres and you build on your front lines!

Job #1. Did the Axis leave his supply line vulnerable to Moscow? Cutting those guys Out of Supply really makes his next "happy time" a lot less happy!
Job #2. Dig in around Baku. In rough no armor bonus, and all of your units get a bonus.
Job #3. A cadre everywhere. Let him spend 5 WREP Special Actions to kill 1 pip cadres!
Job #4. Survive. Tie down his troops in the swamps. Concede the entire middle of the board. Who cares? There are few resources and his army and GSU's will destroy any troop concentrations that you have there.
Job #5. Roll Mud.
Job #6. Survive and start wearing him down. Soon he will be stretched too thin to attack.
Job #7. Never Surrender. It may seem dark, but as you gain experience you'll find that it isn't that hard to deny the Axis a Decisive victory.

Try this in your next game and see if you don't get better results.
Stuart
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Robert March
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Thanks for the tips! But, I'm still curious if you found the force levels at the start of Barbarossa to be normal in your experience. With that many boots on the ground, the Germnas had a crazy amount of dice to roll!

As I'm playing this at CSW Expo, I intend to try these tricks for defending the USSR, if I end up playing the Allies (which is my preference anyway).
 
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Alberto Natta
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The 1941 Scenario German army is totally laughable.
Not many infantries, not every avaiable non elite tank fielded, and even a lousy amount of submarines.

Germany in '39 can easily push 8 subs per turn, focus on producing ground units as well, and no need to help italy aside 1 point per turn if needed due to 6 points needed (like 1st step 3 pip armor, 1st step last 3 pip infantry in same turn).

Usually Germany can field 6 GSU, whole panzer non elite force, and all infantries except a dozen of blocks maximum in force pool - plus the 2 elite units still in force pool - and have a very high amount if not top of subs and 6 SA rdy for the invasion.
This unless Germany didn't screwed up in France or suffered a bloodbath by opponent lucky rolls.

As Germany you've 2 options when you attack in Russia, according to enemy deployment. Either go deep and watch your back, using all SA if the enemy has left maneuvering gaps, or use 4 SA out of 6, leaving you 2 + 3 which will be built next turn, and maneuver properly once the enemy fielded up and placed a lot of production points, by either smashing any formation in reach or hit the production points.
I agree a good soviet opponent will prevent you to get Baku or Moscow in '41, unless by overexposing your rearlines.

Remember Moscow as well is a pain to defend, with many swamp areas full of soviets, and hard to secure, thus needing a huge garrison for the whole war, given you've less blocks than soviets.
The true matchup is in '42, when USA is still weak to be very menacing, UK still getting huge strategic damage, and the soviet done with the conscription, and the winter gone as well.
 
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Enrico Russo
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Never tried the '41 scenario, so I don't know how much units the Axis have. I only played "the real man game" (i.e. '39 campaign 'till death do us apart)
In our normal games by July/August '41 Germany has between the dreaded FULL set-up (i.e. also the Elite troops and 60 subs) to the excellent (for URSS) "no Ger Elite / 4 infantry blocks missing / axis minor not fully set-up".
It depends on how well France and UK played (and how many 6's Poland rolled). It depends on Norway / Spain / Jugoslavia / Greece / Africa / whatever.

So don't be afraid. Germany IS a Jaggernout. IT'S unstoppable. But, as stated in the Play book, it may do anything, but can't do everything.
It's your goal to drive your opponent to waste lots of pips in whatever way you can (and when I say lots, I mean LOTS).

Also remember that:

1) there's no "perfect" Soviet set-up. I tried all my force ahead (get crushed easily). I tried few cadres ahead and the bulk in Moscow (got crushed in Baku / Africa). I tried All in the Baltic (got encircled). Tried all in swamps (lost main cities). Tried wait and stockpile (got UK crushed by German bombers !!!!!).
So only experience will give you the "sight" to attack where you can and retreat when you have to.
2) Special Action are the KEY of this game. It's the equivalent of chips in Texas Hold'em. The more you have, the more you can control, be aggressive, push the opponent against the wall.
The less you have, much more you have to be cautious and rely sometimes on sheer luck.
That's why URSS begins to be strong in '44. 2 SA = encircling of Wehrmacht possible.
3) Protect the swamps. 2 4-pips on the border of Finland, 4 4-pips in Onega swamps. If you lose them you lose Moscow. I don't have to tell you what will happen next.
4) Protect Baku. Don't have to tell you why.
5) Forget about the rest of the URSS. It's brown by mistake (should be painted gray) (until '44).

Good luck
Enrico
 
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Kurt Keckley
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As the Axis I usually have just about every Germany block in play (minus a few 3/3 infantry)at full strength and U-boats at 60.

Even with that Baku and Moscow is impossible in 41. You take one but not both.
 
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Steve Sallot
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Both Moscow and Baku in the opening campaign season! WOW!

I will say I do play the initial German Advance rather conservative, I generally take the "Festung" approach--I cant beat Russia but I can hurt her enough too buy enough time to win. I have played, and seen too many games where the German Armor pincer gets seperated and cut off. It makes for a very lively but deadly game.

Anyways, IMO there are only 2 opening strategies for the Germans: Terrain orientated (objectives are geographic in nature (Moscow, production centers) and the other Force orientated (objective is destruction of the Russsian Army(historical) no matter where they are on map). I tend to be force orientated with a keen eye for defendable terrain or good jumping off positions. Especially when considering I only have 3 max 4 SAs after the initial push, when playing with Limited SAs (3).

As far as a Russian Strategy goes, I have no good ideas. Any suggestions? I am not sure I see the value in building HVY Fort in Moscow before I can adequoately defend it. A committed German must capture it on the first round or it becomes very very costly in subsequent turns... I suppose it gives the Soviet player a chance to "fix" German forces and effort. But I am not sure I want the German Player to be obsessed with MOSCOW.
 
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Kurt Keckley
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I believe you can take Russia and have done so on several occasions against experienced players. The key is to stay cautious but always aggressive. Worry more about killing units and less about production centers (though the 2 often go hand in hand). And yes, there's little bit of luck needed here also.devil

It is also important to stop lend lease either by taking Trondheim or Onega.
 
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Robert March
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I'm now in a game with Rick Young, again taking the Allies. Rick spotted me 10 extra steps for emergency conscription, and we've made it through to the start of the Nov/Dec turn. So far, Moscow and Baku are still Red, with both stacked fairly high. Rick did take the Ladoga Swamps, and contest Odega Swamps, but I returned to Ladoga (contested for not too much loss), and look like I won't lose Odega soon, unless he shifts his effort considerably.

We saw Snow in the east for the Nov/Dec turn, so it should be interesting to see what happens for the next few turns. As I said, Moscow and Baku are still Red, with about 18 blocks and a fort in Moscow, and 12 blocks in Baku, with single blocks in every space of the Caucasus.
 
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Kurt Keckley
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Build the Heavy fort in Moscow ASAP
 
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