This scenario is a classic case of why I hate WiF. This final edition came out in 1996 and they are still making errata for this. However, these are not esoteric points. They are the scenario rules. In the first Final Edition, they left out the victory conditions, some units, and never reviewed the scenario.
Here's our clarifications.
Reinforcements. Reinforcements can come in on off map cities and may move or rail move normally into play. Otherwise, the Germans will never have enough cities to bring in units. The rules never otherwise addressed city-based militia.
According to a strict interpretation of the rules, the Russians win an automatic victory on the first turn, since they control all the victory cities that are in play. This is as bad as the fifth edition rules stating you get an automatic victory if one side controls "11 of the following eight cities...".
Are divisions are brigades thought through enough? If flipped, did the designers really mean to add a +1 to the combat. That means a stack of three defenders can have a +3 against them even though one of them is a brigade.
The first version of this scenario didn't list the victory conditions. It was implied that the side with the most victory point wins (which is actually different than the victory conditions from the campaign games). The second version states this.
Which are the victory cities? The scenario states "each city in the East European map portion of the USSR (including Bessarabia)." Does this include the annexed Poland, and the Baltic States? The confusion is that the two scenario versions list 38 and 41 possible victory points (in itself an odd correction) but we could only count 34, 39, or 42 VPs depending how you count cities.
The use of USSR and Russian is not clear. In some instances, USSR means the all the lands the Russian side controls, conquered, liberated, or annexed. In other uses it means only Russia proper.
Do the Russian Siberians get placed after the Russian set up or after the German set up?
The designer notes are much better for the Germans than for the Russians.
To win, you have to break out past Moscow or Rostov and you can't do both. It looks like you have overwhelming strength but consider the task ahead. You just donít have time. If you bypass units, you lose strength and if you kill everything you need to, you lose time. The south looks more promising to me since itís tank country, and if you break out, thereís lots of cities for the grabbing.
Don't bypass too many Russians. The units left behind slowly reduces your strength. Odessa is a good example. Leave it behind and it takes five Rumanians to guard it. Sevastopol, is best left untaken; it'll consume too many units and they'll be in a very odd place.
At all costs stay unflipped until near the end of the turn. In south you can actually ooze and make good progress, in the north, you'll have to attack more often. In those attacks, make them so high you don't flip.
You a few toys to place with. The transport in the Baltic Sea can conduct an amphibious assault. Later, you get a PARA and ATR. These could be used to capture the lone open city, grabbing a supply path, or cutting a retreat. Always try to keep the two units together in case an opportunity comes up. Also the ATR can be used to unflip a unit.
Reinforcements (after turn 1) are difficult to bring up. There are few cities and they'll be flipped. Consider keeping an HQ on a rail line and rail moving the maximum amount each time. In fact, you might to bring the Rumanian and Finnish HQ into Russia just for railing units in. Near the end of the turn, keep in mind, either unit can unflip one German unit, have the unit move and then next impulse, bring one last unit in.
We noticed starting about turn 3 there is a back log of units in Germany waiting to come up. In two games there were an astonishing 18 points units slogging toward the front. You need things that move. Consider fewer but more powerful units. The same 18 points are three armored, or an offensive chit. Breaking Moscow or Kiev is easier when everything is doubled.
Leningrad can be captured, so don't be complacent about it. The secret is to capture it in Snow. Marshes turn to forest and you lose your doubling. The Axis can then do an winter assault with Finnish units (not affected by Snow) and even use Lake Lagoda as another hex to attack from. Consider getting the fleet out to sea for the offensive support.
Odessa. If you're taking it, it has to be as you pass by. The reinforcements coming up can't do it.
Partisans. These are unavoidable and present few problems. If the rail line to Rumania is garrisoned by Odessa, the next goal would be to make sure no flipped planes are by themselves in the open area. Other than that, it may not be worth it to explicitly against them. Your units are needed on the front line.
Weather, more than Russian units, is the problem. The first two turns are the best and expect long summers. After that, you'll assume you'll get almost no attacks. Funny thing is, there's a 30% chance of snow in June.
Snow in later turns is the next best thing. It doesn't slow you down and at that point you'll likely to be grabbing cities rather than fighting for them.
Blizzards and storms are just bad.
The only thing I can agree with in the Designer's Notes for this scenario is that they do refer to the Russians and the game is WiF. Other than that, I can't see how they can make any of those claims.
Starting with the few things I agree with. First, those two summer turns that never seem to end, do really end. You're going to feel strung out and frustrated but the odds are you'll survive with just enough units. Review the victory conditions and you'll see the Germans have to capture more than they're capable of.
Second, you are forced into a horrible set up. Essentially half your army is required to set up in the worst position in Poland and within two hexes of the border. You'll be smashed. At the least, make slow him down. He can overrun up to 5 point units in a surprise turn, but is limited to likely two.
Now on to my differences.
Don't stack. They'll be smashed anyhow but at twice the rate. On the other hand, prevent breakthroughs with a units behind every four hexes. That'll make the Germans unable to gain more than one hex in a movement phase.
Don't make an effort to save HQs. Although handy, you'll likely not use them to reorganize other units. That makes the HQ flipped, unable to move, usually always in the wrong for being stopped, and if they are in the right spot, they'll be ground struck anyway. Supply is not problem for the Russians.
You air force is completely inferior to the Germans. Don't even think of using them in the first turn. They'll be flipped, again usually in the wrong place. Save them for later turns. The Germans should always be able to rebase at least three per impulse to the front lines, so they'll have air cover. Hold out for The showdown between the 3 Russian fighter and 2 German fighter.
Purchases. Buy MIL, GAR, and lastly INF and nothing else. You need as many units as possible. Production on turn five doesn't even matter, turn four is only for one turn units (MIL). That means the last chance to buy INF is turn three. In fact, make sure losses are out of the MIL whenever possible, since you can get them back next turn, and in cities.
Garrison cities whenever possible. Funny thing is that a third unit (a division or brigade) still counts as a +1 if flipped. I'm not sure the designers intended that. Nevertheless, that third unit makes a big difference. That means the city can take a 2 result and still be held.
Avoid garrisoning cities with oil dependent units. They can't unflip at the end of the turn if the city is isolated.
Vitbesk is the key in the north. Many rail lines move through it and most of the German northern reinforcements have to move through it or at least around it.
Odessa is usually bypassed and will likely hold out. If the Germans don't take it when their mob first moves through, they're not going to take ever. The advantage is that, first, it's a victory point to hold on to, second, the Rumanian have to always be adjacent since that is the only other rail and supply line out from the south. The main line through Lvov will likely be cut by partisans.
Leningrad can be captured, so don't be complacent about it. Get three units in there, if not from the set up, by the end of turn 1. The secret is to capture it in Snow. Marshes turn to forest and you lose your doubling. The Axis can then do an winter assault with Finnish units (not affected by Snow) and even use Lake Lagoda as another hex to attack from. Consider getting the fleet out to sea for the defensive support.
The southern defensive line you want to create is Kiev, Dnepropetrovsk to the Black Sea. Consider putting the fort hexsides around Dnepropetrovsk since it's on the wrong side of the river. There's no secret in getting there. You'll have to withdraw as quickly as you can, which is about one hex an impulse anyway. Fall back logically.
Factories. Withdraw factories only if you don't need that build point that turn. It takes two turns to move factories and in a five turn game (four really since production on the last turn doesn't matter), it'll be out for half the game. You need those points more in the beginning anyway.
The Black Sea has a small navy. Always look out for the division invasion. Rumania is a good target if left open.