German Northern Thrust
In the Anniversary edition of the game, especially when playing with the national advantages rule, Germany cannot hold out if Finland and Norway fall to the Allies in the long term. This is a real problem as unless large advances in Russian territory have been made, the only route for reinforcement is via amphibious landings. As your defenceless transport must sit in strike range of Allied aircraft based in Britain, this normally becomes impossible very early in the game. This issue can be easily solved by a odd purchase decision early in the game. In the first round if Germany purchases a battleship to join in with the single protecting cruiser in the Baltic sea, the prospect for England committing its precious aircraft to sinking what is after all only one transport tends to become a little too scary.
This would seem odd, especially after the first round of combat German infantry are a little short on the ground on the Eastern Front. The 'normal' decision is to purchase men, tanks and maybe a sub or other specialised unit to taste. With the initial purchase of a battleship, this is severely curtailed. Only 1 tank and 2 men can be purchased for the remainder of Germany's initial IPCs. This does not seem to be enough.
For a wide front advance it REALLY isnt enough, but why advance on a wide front? The two 'ultra' valuable territories are at the two flanks. Not only is the centre of the Russian Front worth less, it takes longer to transit through and provides almost limitless possibilities for "dead zoneing". This can really cramp Germany's style, no matter how many tanks she has. However,'turning' the northern advance in the real front within the first round alters everything. If German forces make attacks in strength into Ukraine and Baltic states only, putting everything possible into both thrusts, the factory in Caucaus and Karelia SSR is immediately threatened. So the Russian player has a choice, (in the first round Russia has no real offensive capability, with only a couple of artillery and one tank available to her) she can attack and throw away her infantry advantage and hope to crack one or both of the advances, or withdraw and reinforce. To my mind only the latter has any real chance of success as Russia can spend all her income on tanks as she has enough infantry to get by if done right. But if the attacks are on both flanks, they are far enough appart the one force cannot cover both fronts. This is a real problem as Russia does not have the assets to properly protect both factories, and German tanks in Poland can reach both. In this model, Russia must succeed one front or risk defeat in detail with German forces attacking the weaker front.
Although not a game winning tactic on its own, it does negate Russia's main advantage in being able to dead zone German forces to death on the eastern front, an eventuality that experienced players will know to dread. But back to the battleship, why spend so much (20 IPC under the new editions rules) if the split front is so good on its own? The split front is good and the 4 tanks that you could buy instead are useful, but if you loose that Baltic transport to Allied aircraft as you almost inevitably do, the Northern thrust is VERY vulnerable to an English landing on Norway which then cannot be countered unless reinforcements can be produced in Karelia and will then take 2 whole rounds to reach Norway, by which time has been overly reinforced from the sea by the Allies. Amphibious forces make a swifter strike and give more strategic and tactical options. It is effective use of force from the sea that can make a decent attack nearly unstoppable. The transport in the Med can be used in the same way to strike into the Caucaus to add weight getting cover from the resident Italian ships.
Essentially, turn the flanks, particularly the northern one and protect your transports and the German cause is a much much easier one.
This is an excellent strategy. However, I would suggest buying a Carrier instead of a BS. Carries cost only 14 IPC and you can land 2 fighters on it thus providing much better defense than a single BS.
Completely agree. Germany actually has a fair number of 'disposable' fighters early in the game, and positioning them in the AC in the Baltic actually has the added advantage of effectively giving them and extra range movement to go either east or west, actually strengthening passive and active defence on the western front and attack on the eastern front. Great catch. Thanks.
I take this one step further. After the AC is built, I supplement it with subs, defending all of western europe from allied landings (any navy on the coast of France is within range of Carrier Airfcraft, bombers, and subs in the Baltic. Build a BS and another transport. To do this you will need to "dead zone" Russian advances. You will never need to garrison France or NW Europe, you will threaten Operation Sea Lion, forcing the UK and US to maintain ground forces in England, and you shorten your lines of communication to the Eastern Front, and you will easily take Karelia. More than likely, the Russian player will be confused and focus on defense. By the time he realizes that you are going after the UK he will have already spent a turn or two building hordes of infantry. Meanwhile, Alied air attacks into the Baltic will save the Italian navy, permitting the Italians to drive the UK out of Africa, and threaten Russia through the Black Sea (build an AC and another transport there, as well). With the allies completely confused by this ETO Axis naval presence, you will throw their game plan off, and buy a lot of time. A lot of time will permit the Japanese to run amok in the Pacific, and relieve pressure on Germany by weakening the Allies economically, and threatening The Russian rear. If you are playing with NOs, you will be seeing Italy earning aroud 30 and Japan in the 50-60 range VERY quickly. Germany will be the weak link, but if they can survive, the Axis is set for the long grind of a 10 turn game or so.