In most games of Rise and Decline of the Third Reich there are a few decisions that really determine the outcome. Obviously, one of those decisions was made on the very first turn by the Allies when they decided to invade Bremen. This turn, Fall 1941, is another one of those game defining choices.
Here was the decision to make. I can either do nothing with Russia or declare war. I really struggled with what was the best decision. I struggled because of the BRP consequences of both decisions. Let’s discuss what each option would have meant and then I’ll show why I chose the option I did.
Option 1: Do nothing with Russia
If I did nothing with Russia on the Fall 1941 turn, then Germany would probably declare war (or Italy would) and that would cost the axis 35 BRPs. Russia would spend nothing this turn. The Axis would very likely hold onto London and then on the Winter 1941 turn the Axis would start deploying their army out of GB and to the east.
In terms of long term strategy, Russia’s survival means having as much money as possible. If I don’t declare war that saves Russia 35 BRPs. Russia currently has 132 BRPs. There would be a good chance that on the Winter turn the Axis would declare war, I would delay the Russian winter, and if I lost anything it would be those cheap 1-3 infantry on my front line. I might lose 5-10 BRPs worth of men, which are easily reconstsructed. I would likely end 1941 with 120+ BRPs. That would mean I would grow by 40 (permanently). That’s a HUGE number.
There’s certainly a case to be made to do nothing and wait.
Option 2: Declare war with Russia
He left the opening in Romania. If I declare war with Russia, that will cost me, instead of him, 35 BRPs. Also, I’d need to take an offensive in the Med front this turn, which would cost me another 15 BRPs. I could end this turn (assuming rolls went as expected) with Romania dead and with no way for him to save Bulgaria next turn. Thus, in the Winter 1941 turn, I’d have to spend another 15 BRPs on an offensive option, but I would kill Bulgaria too.
The consequences of declaring war would be to give the Russians an extra 25 BRPs for the 1942 YSS, but I’d lose those BRPs during the year to German offensives. Additionally, I’d deprive the Germans of those BRPs for the YSS. Next, if I defeat Romania and Bulgaria all of those countries’ units disappear. That’s a huge thing. That would mean Germany would only have its own units plus those in Finland, and later Hungary (if he eventually activates Hungary), to attack Russia. Without those cheap Romanian infantry to plug gaps Russia might be able to hold while the USA enters the war and established a second front.
Additionally, I’m getting a huge surplus of units in Spring 1942 at which point, even with the whole German army against Russia, I could hold at least 4 to 5 turns, maybe longer.
Furthermore, since the Axis got BRPs for Romania, if I take Romania out and he fails to recapture it on his Winter turn, then he will lose 15 BRPs. He’d also obviously not get those BRPs at YSS either if he does not have Romania by the end of Winter.
One risk of attacking Romania is that my tanks would be exposed (out in the open). If I couldn’t get them safely back to Russia they would die to either isolation or German attacks. Thus, although I might conquer Romania and Bulgaria (which would cost me 35 for DoW and 30 for two offensive options) but my tanks would die eventually and that would cost me another 20-30 BRPs to rebuild them.
So, declaring war and taking out Romania would cost me about 85 BRPs, possibly more in expenditures. It would save him 35 BRPs because he wouldn’t have to declare war, but it would cost him (temporarily) 25 BRPs for the 1942 YSS for not getting the BRPs for Romania and Bulgaria.
Additionally, if it occupies Germany’s attention for 2 or 3 turns in the Balkans then that’s 2-3 turns of time that I’ve bought with Russia for the USA to get going.
On the other hand, doing nothing would mean I grow by 40 BRPs permanently, but the opportunity to destroy Romania would disappear for sure.
You see the dilemma.
I ultimately decided that taking out Romania and getting rid of its pieces was worth the loss of BRP growth. I was also hoping that Paul would make a mistake or two in the Balkans. All it would take is for one mistake in Paul’s unit placement and I might do a LOT more damage than just killing Romania and Bulgaria.
DoW: Russia declared war on Germany for 35 BRPs.
Russia: Med offensive (15 BRPs), east attrition, west pass. Russia down to 82 BRPs.
GB: west offensive (15 BRPs), east attrition, med pass. GB down to 15 BRPs.
Voluntary destruction of units: YES! The British unit on Malta is destroyed. I should have killed him 4 turns ago, but I kept forgetting. Not that it matters now.
Also, we noticed that the Germans had an overstack of units on hex J24. One of the 3-3 infantry there died.
The British move the 9 fleet from Gibraltar to Portsmouth. Seeing the inevitable fall of GB, the Axis do not want any more losses and decide to ignore the British fleet movement.
The 6 fleet in the USA box was designated for supply. It supplied the following units:
the 3-4 on J25
the 2-5 on harwich
the 1-3 and 4-5 on hex K22
the 3-4 and 1-3 on Portsmouth
I now have units eligible to advance and possibly retake London.
movement of air and ground units
The British 3-4 on the beach at J25 moves directly SW to K24 so it can participate in the attack on London.
The Russian 1-3 infantry move forward towards Poland in order to attrition.
Russia moves to plug the one gap in Persia. The Italians will be able to attack and exploit, but they won’t get super far in Persia (even if they attack).
Meanwhile, on the Romanian border, the two Russian 1-3 infantry move forward and so do the Russian tanks. They are in position now to attack and exploit. Two of the three Russian air force move to Odessa and Kishinev and break down into 3-4s, 2-4s, and 1-4s in order to perform the attacks necessary to defeat Romania.
The entire board looks like this after movement:
*Note: I moved the British stack on Portsmouth out into the Atlantic ocean so you can see it and so it doesn’t cover up other forces. There are a 3-4 and 1-3 infantry there with the 9 fleet. I also moved the Russian stack on Kishinev into the Black Sea so you can see it and so it doesn’t cover up other things.
GB looks like this:
*Note: I moved the British stack on Portsmouth out into the Atlantic ocean so you can see it and so it doesn’t cover up other forces. There are a 3-4 and 1-3 infantry there with the 9 fleet.
Romania looks like this:
*Note: I moved the Russian stack on Kishinev into the Black Sea so you can see it and so it doesn’t cover up other things.
Russia sends a 2-4 to counterair the Romanian air force.
Russia sends a 1-4 to provide ground support on the Romanian 1-3 infantry at U35.
GB loads the 1-3 infantry from Portsmouth onto the 9 fleet and invades Scapa Flow. On the slim chance that I somehow took back London, I would also take Scapa Flow this turn. If all of that happened, then if I also took Rosyth at some point in the future (not sure how that would even happen…but if I did) then all the Axis units in GB would be out of supply and GB might survive.
Attrition combat on the east killed an RC unit at P32.
counterair on Bucharest. Two Russian counters vs. 1 Romanian counter.
Rolls were 1 for Russia (modified +1 for factor advantage), but -1 for nationality. Final Russia roll = 1.
Romania rolled a 4, modified -2 for nationality = 2. Romania wins by 1. Romanian air lives and is inverted. Russia loses 1 air.
I decide that before I attack London I will have my other guys in GB try to do as much damage as possible. I attack hex J23: 3-4 & 4-5 (J22) = 7 vs. two 4-6 (doubled to 16). 7:16. 1:3
But, I rolled a 2 (EX). I lose all my guys. Germany loses one tank. That was the best possible outcome for the allies on that hex.
London. 1-3 & 4-5 (K22) + 3-4 (portsmouth) + 3-4 & 2-5 (harwich) = 13 vs. 8 (doubled to 16). 13:16 is a 1:2 attack. If I roll a 3 (CA) then he would counterattack at 8:13 or 1:2 odds. He could kill himself, but I have to roll a 3 on the first roll or else GB falls. I rolled a 6. My guys all die. GB is conquered.
Hex GG44. I had 2:1 odds in Persia and I wanted to advance one space to make a solid line of infantry for defense. It was 2-3 (FF44) + 2-3 (FF45) = 4 vs. 1 (doubled to 2). 2:1 Def. CA 1:4
I Rolled a 1 (EX). The Italian infantry died, and I lost the infantry at FF45.
Romanian hex U35. Two 1-3 infantry + 3-5 tank + 1 GS = 6 vs. 1-3 (doubled to 2). 6:2. 3:1 Def. CA 1:6.
I rolled a 4 (D). I advance with the 1-3 infantry and the 3-5 tank into hex U35, create the breakthrough there, and my remaining tanks move to the breakthrough hex.
The whole map looks like this:
Romania looks like this after normal combat ends:
*Note: The expanded stack on U35 is covering the stack behind it on Kishinev. I have a 1-3 infantry, 4 unused air, and 1 inverted air on Kishinev.
My first Russian tank moves directly west two hexes to hex U33. The second and third Russian exploiting tanks loop around to end at W32, next to Bucharest.
The 3-4 and 1-4 from Kishinev provide GS on Bucharest.
The battle for Bucharest is 6 tanks + 4 GS = 10 vs. 1 (doubled to 2). 5:1 odds. Unfortunately, I rolled a 1 (EX) which means I had to lose 2 units. I opted to lose 2 air.
Notice that I’ve rolled 3 big exchanges. I tend to do that. In fact, in one game I played against Paul, on one turn alone, out of 6 attacks, I rolled a big exchange 5 times. Every little bit of losses hurts Russia and I’ve lost 6 BRPs worth of air, but Romania is conquered.
Construction and SR
Russia built a 2-3 infantry on R37 and 2 air to bring the air on Odessa back up to 5 air. That brings Russia down to 74 BRPs.
For Strategic Redeployment, Russia sends a 1-3 infantry down to Persia to fill the hole that wouldn’t have been there but for rolling the big exchange. I also sent forces into Romania. One of my concerns was that he has 20 air in Germany and they can get in range of Romania on his turn. Also, he has 3 tanks on the eastern front that could also go down south. If one of them attacks, the other two could exploit. My goal was to make it so that he wouldn’t be able to take back Romania this turn and also so that I’d be able to defeat Bulgaria on my turn. I think I’ve accomplished that by sending in several infantry and re-arranging my tanks in Romania.
The whole map looks like this after SR:
I delay the Russian winter by one year.
The Axis have conquered France and Great Britain. This was all set into motion by the early attack on Bremen. When the allies take a double turn, the axis will almost always get a double turn eventually. When the axis do, there’s a good chance that Great Britain will be conquered. As I showed in earlier posts it is impossible to defend Great Britain from a double turn even if you bring all your units back to GB. There are some exceptions to this, such as if the paratrooper is dead, and/or the British have their fleets, and/or the British abandon Malta (that guy from Malta would have helped defend GB…I should have used him to defend GB).
The axis, however, are far behind the timeline they need to conquer Russia. And, in fact, Russia has taken the bold move of going on the offensive while she still can at the time when the bulk of the panzer divisions are tied up in GB. Romania has fallen to the Russians and Bulgaria looks to be on the chopping block next.
The Russian front line, though, is thin. If Germany wanted to, she could make major inroads into Russia on the axis player’s turn. And, because Russia declared war, that has saved the Axis quite a few BRPs, which will mean very likely the axis grow at the next YSS.
The axis will be able to start attacking in force in 1942, but the USA also enters the war, so the axis will have to divert forces to the west in order to prevent the USA from invading and taking back GB in just a few turns. Also, the northern coast of France will need to be defended, or else the USA could get a foothold there, and then it would be a matter of time until the USA is marching on Berlin.
The axis are still ahead in this game, but the allies still have a chance to win, even though the allies have been playing without the British fleets basically since 8 turns ago.
Did Russia make a mistake by invading Romania? That’s a tough one. You tell me.
Edited: realized I had said Baltic Sea when I meant Black Sea for where the stack of Russian army was. I fixed that.