Cauldrons of War - Barbarossa

Cauldrons of War - Barbarossa

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Soviet guide to survive the german onslaught
By tguyon
Playing the soviets in the Barbarossa campaign opening can be cruel experience, you may feel hopeless, being crushed with the feeling you can do nothing about it.
This guide will demonstrate that you have much more options than you have suspected
The crude situation
Playing the soviets in the Barbarossa campaign opening can be cruel experience, you may feel hopeless, being crushed with the feeling you can do nothing about it.
This guide will demonstrate that you have other options than to be slaughtered
Of course the starting situations looks pretty bad :
- You are taken by surpride and many of your armies are not at full strengh
- Most of your armies are massed at the border, ready to be trapped in a pocket
- Your opponent is the best army in the world at that time
- Your generals are not up to the task
- While you may have good equipments, your crews are not trained enough to use them properly

But your opponent also has many flaws, that will reveal themselves during the campaign :
- Its supply line will quiclky get stretched and clogged
- It has very few reinforcements : every lost german unit is a pure lost
- It has fewer armies than you do, sot hey will be overly committed with few resting time

So it appears that you have your chances on the long run.

Now, what are really your options to slow the tide before winter comes.
First week important decisions
Attack or defend?

Soviet strategical doctrine emphasized attack, and your initial plan was to strike back into polish territory. While this seems now to be a joke, you can do that in the game.
Some heavy tank battles occured during the first weeks of the war. While some might say that soviet armor was destroyed during those battles, others might observe that itw as worth it, because the german attack was halted for a precious week.
One of the first events let you choose between an offensive stand and a defensive one.
The defensive one will allow you to entrench your armies, but i usually choose the counter-offensive option that gives the player a one week boost in Command points.
Massive counter-offensive may pin some german armies, and that alone is nice.
But consider using this extra command points to infiltrate your cavalry unit behind ennemy line to conduct raids on its supply lines : your cavalry men will be tired to death, but it is an occasion to derail early on the german logistic.

What to do with your air force?

Surprise airfield attacks by the german destroyed an important part of your airforce. Should you protect the remainding planes or protect them to use them later ?
The best option here is what suits the best your strategy.
I usually keep them busy even if they risk total destruction, because the soviet player keep getting new airplanes all along the scenario.
But if you have a strategy based upon a counter offensive around the 8th or 10th turn, you may want to protect your aircrafts until this moment.
If you use your planes wisely, you will be able to contest german air superiority throughout the game.

Lessons learned
The 20th of July, you will get a lot of events that are important to shape the rest of the campaign.
This events let you choose what you have learned during the first weeks of fightings.

ideology or professionalism

Many events will let you choose versus a higher barbarity score and more experienced generals.
It is important because barbarity levels impact directly the chances of partisans to appear on an operation, but also the chances for your armies to keep a good cohesion. On the other hand, better generals will have better results on the the battlefield, but i twill take time for them to learn new tricks…

I would say that if you feel your are on the verge of collapsing, you should go down the barbarity path, and if you think the odds are more balanced, you can choose to trust your generals more than your political commissars.

Keeping or not giant mechanised corps ?

Your mechanised corps proved to be useless, mostly by lack of experience from the crews and from your generals.
Should you dismantle those corps ?
Zhukov would say yes.
If you choose so, tanks from the mechanized corps will be sent to your reserves, and the maximum tank dotation of your armies will be raised by 2. This is nice because your armies will be stronger, and when later in the game, you will have learnt to use properly your heavy tanks, you will experience a better efficiency of your armies.
Keeping your mechanized corps can also be useful : the german will have more unit cleaning to do to progress. But I admit never doing it myself, so I have not much feedback on that strategy.
The soviet special actions
The soviet has many useful special actions you can take to keep their cohesion high enough to hold their positions.

- Control by the party : brings some true communists and enthousiastic komsomol folks into your units. This will raise the cohesion and the number of soldiers (but lessen the experience)

- Nationality purges : this will raise the cohesion but lower the number of soldiers while suspect nationalities are put appart from the army.

- Shot a general : this brutal action will help you raise the barbarity level (forgot any hope of your generals taking intelligent decisions if you bully them that way)

Later on, you will be able to setup barrage units : your armies will be more efficient at human waves

When attacking seems too foolish and you have nothing better to do, those special actions will help you keep your cohesion high enough.

You now are able to survive the first 2 month of barbarossa!