masterD wrote:We've all been there- sitting on the outskirts of Russia and staring at a huge stack of men, tanks, and/or figthers. The question I have has anyone developed some kind of strategy in dealing with that. In a previous game, I was staring at 26 men, 10 tanks, and 8 fighters in Russia. I had a total (Japan included) of 27 tanks and 18 men but that did not seem like enough to pierce that fortress. The game was stagmenting along as every turn I added more tanks and some men, but my opponent landed more fighters and deposited more men there.
Has anyone developed an efficient counter to the big stack problem. What kind of strategy do you guys utilize when trying to overrun an impressive stack? Are cannon faughter units a necessity or do you want all striking power?
As the Axis, if you are clever (or lucky) enough to force the Russians into a turtling position, but are not gaining strength on a turn-by-turn basis, there is something wrong with your strategy. Germany has to not only be able to stack Ukraine/Caucasus well, but it has to pose a significant threat up north in order to dissuade the UK from counterstacking, or landing in order to reinforce Moscow from Archangel. Japan has to not only be able to stack Persia/Caucasus well, but it has to have an efficient use of transports in order to counter a push through Africa (typically by the Americans).
The best thing you can do as the Axis is develop your long-game skills.
The key here is to perfect your buys. You must make the correct purchases, and in the right order too. Both Axis players producing large quantities of infantry not only tip the scales heavily in their favor (especially after they control most of the IPCs on the board) unit-wise when comparing sheer quantity in attacks, but provide plenty of fodder when properly backed by correct amounts of artillery, followed by tanks and air. Germany needs to early on, either produce a couple of tanks a turn to help their early stack of Karelia, or go several rounds as all infantry, followed by sporadic purchases of artillery and infantry, tanks and infantry, or all tank buys. Japan needs to do the same thing. Unless you're rushing Moscow, Japan does not need to buy tanks for its Asian ICs at all. Firstly, it's a waste of money, as tanks eat up your budget faster, and second, you can't get heavy fast enough. Russia typically produces more infantry alone than Japan does tanks, usually ever, and if properly reinforced by Western Allied air, will stand up very well against Japanese tank hits. As it behooves both Axis players and Russia to trade deadzones early on, infantry are of utmost importance. They heavy stuff must follow near the beginning of the endgame jockeying for position.
The next step is properly pushing and stacking the right territories.
Germany must be able to hold Karelia. In the beginning of many games, Germany can very easily stack Karelia on its first turn. The key is holding it. Holding Karelia not only keeps the UK out, but opens up more Russian territory to trade, further depleting the Red Army faster than normal. Once the Allies are heavy, Germany can just as easily stack Belorussia, and avoid double-taps on its possession, defending a heavily invested in stack of troops. If the Western Allies stack Karelia with Russian help, Germany needs to assess whether or not it can force the Allied stack to split, or make a careless mistake like hitting a large German stack (in which Germany can typically shred in sequential order if properly developed. Germany has to counterstack Ukraine at the right time. If the Allies split improperly, it opens up the possibility of stacking West Russia, or crushing the weaker Allied stack, essentially cutting them out of the game, if only for a few rounds. Japan must be able to hold Persia. Persia is the key territory for Japan that not only keeps Russia from shoving a bunch of units down through Sinkiang, or sneaking around the northern tip of Siberia, but it also keeps any Allied stacks massed in Africa from reinforcing Caucasus. A similar stack by Germany against Caucasus forces Russia to either one, take a double hit in that territory, or give it up. Usually, a good Axis team (or player) will allow the more flexible Axis power to produce there after taking it. A Russian player who leaves his entire stack in Caucasus allows for Germany to not only stack West Russia, but Japan to stack Kazakhstan as well. This forces Russia into making almost the same decision: "Do I retreat to Moscow, or hit one of the Axis stacks to either attempt to crush it, or strategically strafe it?"
The final step is holding Caucasus with enough force to allow you to focus on other objectives for the time being.
Once the Axis powers stick enough manpower into Caucasus, Russia taking it back becomes a non-issue for both Germany and Japan. What then needs to happen is Germany starting to produce closer to home in order to either whip up is flank against the Western Allies, or work to restack Karelia in order to keep Allied units from reaching Moscow to reinforce it. Japan here can focus on taking African territory in order to not only weaken the UK in unit production, but also beef up its ability to produces tanks to support its large masses of infantry, or bombers the turn before it considers hitting Moscow.
Research some of the Egyptian/African fortress strategies as well as the Karelia stacking strategies in the Axis forums to brush up on the tactics used in the overall strategy to build and maintain heavy force (and thus, swinging stack potential). All in all, a Russian army hunkered down should in no way pose a larger threat to a competent Axis, or an impenetrable barrier. If the overall Axis strategy is correct, the UK and US should not have to ability to get sufficient reinforcements to Moscow. Therein lies your issue.