PLAYER NOTES on REVOLUTION UNDER SIEGE (RUS)
I started listing notes in games I have been playing (hotseat & pbem Grand Campaign) and finally decided to post them here. A basic understanding of the game system is assumed. These are preliminary notes, loosely organized, and are in no way comprehensive.
WHI = West Whites; WH3 = East Whites; ACW = American Civil War; CW2 = AGEOD Civil War II
MAXIMS BOTH SIDES:
1) Your rail lines are key in this, control them--keep them clear and repaired. Upgrade your RR capacity every chance.
2) Man every town with at least militia.
3) Build up divisions carefully (more specifically "composite units" for the Reds)--elite regiments with first class commanders.
4) Build up industry and tank factories at every opportunity
5) Continually adding to your riverine fleets is critical
6) Carefully examine all strategic options (read the tooltips and Strategic Option notes over and over, it's a complicated model politically and militarily)
RED GAME PLAY:
a) Rail lines are key to exploit your main strength which is interior lines. You have to be able to rail armies around quickly to deal with problems and exploit weaknesses. Note that leaders on their own can relocate very quickly and basically cannot be interdicted whatever their route. Let your RR net go to hell with partisan raids and green uprisings and you will likely lose. With this in mind station Red cavalry units with a KOM (commissar) unit at key junctions to patrol and do seek and destroy missions against White partisans. In game design parlance these small partisan units are called "ants"--deal with them immediately, one by one, or eventually get choked with Sherman neckties.
b) Man every town to 1) prevent easy White capture, regular or partisan, and subsequent units spawning 2) stop or inhibit green uprisings. Crush uprisings asap or they will keep spawning more green units (think Frankenstein films with mobs of peasants at the castle walls armed with pitchforks and scythes).
c) Red workers are the backbone of the Red Army upon which everything else is formed. At the beginning resist the urge to mass Red worker militia cadres in the big cities to train up; instead spread them all over the map from the Caucasus to Turkestan to Vladivostock to create endless problems for the Whites in eliminating these spawning grounds. Make a delayed WH3 control of the Trans-Siberian RR a top priority. With the above accomplished start putting some of these new worker militia units with training HQs to be trained up in Petrograd, Moscow, Tsaritsyn, and any other Higher HQ locations you create. Later on draft workers directly from factories to form brigades and generate more political units.
d) Keep a close eye on Red partisans appearing and employ them to wreck the White RR net. To this end send all your partisans in Orsk (SE of the Urals) north to cut the two main RRs from Omsk to Ekaterinburg. Strong partisan armies appear later on in Siberia and the Far East and are announced in events. Spawn units in Red controlled towns across Siberia and send them out to blow WH3 RRs. In the West you get a plethora of Red partisans when the Ukraine is vacated by the Central powers; in addition use Makhno's partisans and Kuban partisans to conduct deep RR interdiction raids.
e) Every division (The Whites formed divisions as we recognize them; the new Red Army formed "composite units", but are referred to as divisions hereafter for simplicity's sake) must have a political unit as one element or it will suffer activation penalties and the heightened risk of mass troop desertions. Put a motorized KOM Politikom unit (Commissars) in every stack and division as well. Use the less numerous but more useful Cheka units in your best divisions as they give a +5 cohesion recovery benefit. Draft up your workers to get brigades and these political units as often as you can.
f) You only have a limited number of good army commanders. Tukachevsky is your ace and you need a strong force under him to ensure he wins and his ratings increase--keep Trotsky's train with this strike force: apart from its other benefits this is your one mobile medical unit to boost unit cohesion. Boost up armies under Kamenev, Ghai-Khan, Muriev, Frunze, Budyenny, Rahja, Timoshenko and a few others, especially with your artillery reserves in Moscow and Petrograd when they are released. These are your key commanders; play them wisely on critical fronts. Most of your other army commanders are seriously deficient (many 2-0-0s, even 1-0-0s) but can be judiciously built up somewhat at least with good defensive battles.
g) If you defend well, and if your early offensives against WH3 forces go well, you can start going on the offensive with key strike armies. Move Tukachevsky around on his own (with the inimitable powerhouse Trotsky in his train) to take command of strong armies and hit back, hard. Strong division commanders under Tukachevsky will also get stronger and you can make the White right-wing imperialist tools pay for their treasonous proclivities. If you get a national morale surplus start investing in "red terror" (F7) to bring their so-called "liberated" regions under direct threat. It's not a "nice" option but its a game--as well as "c'est la guerre," right? Whatever it takes to win, Lenin would pat you on the back for this.
h) Speaking of Lenin, he had the smarts to support his two most important commanders who in fact won this war for him: Trotsky and Tukachevsky. No surprise that both of them were marked for destruction by the paranoid and malicious Stalin later on. Understand their importance and use these game-winners well. If you can somehow get Stalin killed in battle history will applaud you.
4) Main Strategies East and West:
a) Hang on to the Gold train in Kazan at all costs and send it to Moscow as soon as it can move.
b) Form up your first strike Armies under Tukachevsky and any other stronger commanders (Kamenev, Ghai-Khan and Muraviev) and hit the Eastern Whites hard along the Volga early on. Do this while the Western Whites are preoccupied with taking the Kuban and the Caucasus. Many WH3 units will also be caught up with freeing their hinterlands and the trans Siberian RR. You should be able to overpower WH3 formations and make significant gains but you need to concentrate forces and move fast.
c) You will inevitably lose in the Kuban and Caucasus against a moderately experienced WHI player, but you can profitably slow WHI advances with delaying tactics. After the Armistice and the Donbas is open take control of Makhno's Anarchists and accept the penalty; n.b. or you can wait until the Whites trigger this (see #7 in White Game Play below), in which case they will ask for an alliance and you do not pay the -10 EP penalty--your choice. Raise hell all over the area with Makhno's black flag cavalry, blitz cities and tear up RRs; send his partisans out on deeper raids to tear up RRs. While these wolves on a leash will turn on you sooner or later (Makhno detested Whites and Reds equally) the Anarchists can cause a huge amount of grief for the Western Whites. Historically it was Makhno's havoc in the Donbas and Ukraine in late 1919 that caused the White drive north through Orel towards Moscow (and many felt the Whites were about to win at this point) to falter and slow as they sent substantial troops back to deal with this.
with rear-mounted maxim MGs on fast-moving carriages
d) Be aware that the Whites will want to link up east and west, and the easiest place for them to accomplish this is via the Perm-Viatka-Kotlas route in the north. Connections just south of this corridor will likely be occupied by the Whites early on and this means a very long train ride from Moscow or Petrograd, via Yaroslavl or Vologda, to reinforce Red resistance there. Plan well in advance for this critical defense.
On the other hand they just might try to surprise you and blitz Tsaritsyn for a southern link up. Weaken the formidable defenses in the Volga city at your peril.
If they manage to link up a smart White player will bring the Finns into the war asap and you really don't want this to happen (think 'Winter War 1940').
e) Transfer substantial troops to the Petrograd area before June 1919 to prepare for a NW White offensive here. Seek peace in the NW (Balts and Finns) asap starting with November 1919. Carefully note all the towns in required regions that must be captured.
f) Move substantial troops to man the western front along the Polish border to prepare for the Polish attack late Spring 1920. Seek peace with the West (Poles) starting Nov 1920; again carefully note all towns in regions you must control. Freeing up these fronts allows your armies to move to other critical fronts.
WHITE GAME PLAY:
a) Every turn your top priority must be the control of your entire RR net and expanding it using cavalry and other units to "advance-control" Red RR regions (n.b. a region does not have to have the White flag flying for the RR to be usable; i.e. a certain level of control below 51% will allow you to rail through). The freer your armies are to move around the more success you will have. Form a strong corps of good Terek units with artillery in Armavir as this is where green peasant armies will appear en masse. Control the entire Caucasus to link with Baku by RR as you will receive substantial benefits with this link. Control both SW and W RR lines to Tsaritsyn to keep the Reds wondering whether you will RR in a huge attack force to take it. Stealth control RR regions from the Reds and then clobber them with fast-moving powerful strike armies--this is the key to White success.
b) Besides keeping your own rail net clear, send your partisans and select cavalry deep into Red territories and wreck theirs. This can really hamstring the Reds and can be your key to victory.
c) Man every town to 1) prevent easy Red capture, regular or partisan, and subsequent units spawning 2) inhibit green uprisings starting. Crush uprisings asap or they will keep spawning more green units. Note the strong police factor with Cossack cavalry and use them in towns and stacks to prevent defections etc. Control your hinterlands! Eastern Whites in particular gain major benefits in clearing the Trans-Siberian RR to Vladivostock, and in the West keeping a RR clear to link with Baku. WHI forces must control the Kuban and Caucasus to win--green uprisings and Makhno's anarchists are a direct threat to your victory in the South, do not underestimate this.
d) If Red strength lies in masses of troops ("Quantity has a quality of it's own" as a Soviet WW II general said), understand their main weaknesses: 1) Reds have at least half (perhaps a third, I haven't exactly counted) the number of command generals you have 2) most of them are pitiable as commanders in the field (but at least give command points for a stack) and 3) Reds have no field medical units other than the Trotsky train and a limited number of Cheka units, so their cohesion will recover far slower--keep whacking them and they will break and run. Note divisions that have your elite regiments in them (like the Kornilov and Markov shock rgts and others): set on all-out assault for key battles they will keep attacking, forcing multiple rounds, and finally break the Reds under a top commander. Set elite replacements for these units as a priority.
You can field many more powerful Army (Corps) commanders in the West alone (top of the list Wrangel, then Markov, Kutepov, Shkuro, Ulagai, Mai-Maievsky (a drunk but still an ace), Mamontov, Pokrovsky, Drozdovsky and others), fewer in the East (led by the superb Kappel, Voitsekhovskiy, the Czech generals Svec, Gaida and others). "The best defense is a good offense", to paraphrase Carl von Clausewitz--if you are really defense-minded better to play the Reds in this dogfight, but even then his maxim holds true. As the Whites, especially in the West, your mantra has to be attack, attack, and then attack some more.
e) Understand your officer strength, your ace in this war in fact. Like the South at the beginning of the ACW you have an embarrassment of rich officer material at the start... and the other side doesn't. With a good general and good troops you can assault far bigger Red mobs, and win. Get used to this and make it a habit. Form your best divisions under your best generals and ensure victories to boost their values higher as often as possible. Note Theater limitations (start using that map filter: a lot)--Cossacks in the West and Urals/Siberian/East units for the Eastern Whites. They can fight outside of their theaters on limited forays but plan on returning them to their theater soonish or their cohesion takes a beating. Use the Czechs in the east as your early hard-hitting shock troops as they will need to be sent to Vladivostock after the German Armistice end of 1918.
4) Main Strategies East:
a) It is imperative that you clear the Trans-Siberian RR asap and keep it clear. Not only do you get direct benefits from this (announced in event messages), but it allows you to transfer freed up units, plus arriving British artillery, supply units and tanks, directly west to the fronts--and it's a long journey (the distance from Vladivostok to Kazan is 5,789 kilometers which is more than Montreal to Vancouver in local terms). Capture and convert all RRs to your forward units and keep them clear. Recruit and station local cavalry in their own theaters to hunt down Red partisans.
b) Go after the gold train in Kazan all-out early on. The key to this is realizing that the White Volga Fleet activates sooner than the Red and you can ship a strong force under Kappel and others early on without Red riverine interference to do this. Those two militia units west of Ekaterinograd can be key in breaking RR lines to prevent the Red force there falling back to Kazan, as can blocking White fleet units.
c) Historically the Reds were able to push the Eastern Whites back early on using Tukachevsky retaking Kazan and then a more general offensive to Perm and Ufa. Build strong defensive positions along the Volga. The Reds can simply amass more troops in the East early on outnumbering the Eastern Whites. The only counter for this is hitting hard in the West to divert Red forces there. A built-up WH3 fleet here can work wonders.
d) In 1919 the Reds will likely have to transfer substantial forces west, along with their top generals, to deal with large and potent WHI and NW White offensives. Note these transfers and start exerting maximum pressure to take advantage of this.
An officer at rest from the legendary Kornilov Shock Regiment:
this elite formation advanced closer to Moscow than any other White unit in 1919.
5) Main Strategies West:
a) In 1918 your task is to smash the Reds in the Caucasus and occupy every town, clear the RR line to Baku, and occupy the Donbas after the Armistice. Rock the Reds in the Caucasus on their heels and keep it that way until they are eliminated or dispersed. Their leaders are dismal and you should have a field day. You get local reinforcements when you take Ekaterinograd (which will be your new capital). Novorossiysk is key in getting British aid. Elista in the Kalmyk steppes is important to remove Reds spawning there. Clear the RR line to Tsaritsyn to maintain the threat. Use your Cossack force under Sidorin in Mikhailovka to capture Balashov and cut the RED RR link to Tsaritsyn for as long as you can. Prepare to take Rostov, Taganrog and Donetsk late November 1918 after the Armistice with the Central Powers so you can finally start building artillery, armored cars and support units in those factories.
b) Guard against Makhno and his Anarchists at this point and prepare a strike army to smash through and destroy their supply nest at Huliaipole once they are active. N.B.: you will trigger an automatic, no -10 EP penalty, Red control of Makhno if you enter certain regions (see #7 below). If Makhno remains quiet in the Donbas then good odds the Reds are waiting for you to trigger this. It is perhaps worth holding off and finally forcing the Reds to pay the penalty if possible. Effectively deal with the black wolves somehow (you will never eliminate them completely but with skill and some luck you can decisively cripple them) before you head north or rue the day as Makhno destroys your supply lines far in your rear, as he did historically.
c) Your overarching war aim is your Grand 1919 Offensive north to Moscow and this will likely mark the high tide for WHI gains. Every turn matters--the clock is ticking. You need to rack up some truly huge victories with your best armies, decimate and scatter the Reds, sending them reeling back towards the Red spider's nest in Moscow. I hate to say it, but spreading "White Terror" will assist things here with your Regional Decisions (F7): no quarter for the swarms of godless Bolsheviks. Bring on the Northwest Army under Yudenich asap (in June 1919) and, if you have managed to link up east and west, bring the Finns in on your side at this time as well and really get the Reds scrambling.
d) After this Poland's entry in the war in 1920 will just add to their woes, but note that the Poles are not a White ally as such. Game-wise they are controlled by the Eastern Whites which is a workable, though imperfect solution, as the Poles historically sought their victory against both the Reds and Western Whites. If you are playing with two White players, the honourable thing to do for the history-minded WH3 player is not to use the Poles as a cat's paw to damage WHI victory chances. But that's just my history-driven view and players should sort this out themselves in a three-way game.
e) Note that Voronezh is your must-have staging area as this is the only place a forward Higher Command HQ can be activated (and I strongly disagree with this--Kharkov should also be an option), and it will most likely end up being commanded by Wrangel, although I have seen Mai-Maievski substitute in if Wrangel is out of action or out of country....
Go all-out and take Voronezh early, set up your advanced Higher HQ, and push on; however, if you advance north on just one track you vastly simplify things for the Red defense. Convert multiple tracks forward with lateral connectors for your strike armies--at least the Voronezh-Lipetsk and Kharkov-Kursk routes at a minimum. Keep Trotsky guessing.
f) Tsaritsyn: A critical city you have to take and the Whites did eventually take it (a British Army Officer, Ewen Cameron Bruce, was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his bravery during the June 1919 Battle of Tsaritsyn for single-handedly storming and capturing the fortified city, under heavy shell fire in a single tank--this led to the successful capture of over 40,000 prisoners). Early on you probably shouldn't even think about assaulting Tsaritsyn without a fully promoted Wrangel, as many heavy art units as possible, a med field unit, Transmission Co., planes and tanks and a British Military Mission. Send a large force of cavalry north of the city to completely cut it off. If you can control the Volga with your fleet and occupy the east bank, even better.
6) Main Strategies WHI and WH3:
A tacit coordination between the WHI and WH3 forces can be effected with the above considerations, but you want to make it overt by physically linking the Whites east and west. In the South this means capturing Tsaritsyn but this is a real crapshoot early on, even with your best forces under Wrangel. Why? Well Voroshilov and Stalin (Ni shagu nazad! - "Not one step back!" his famous orders in this war and WW II) are manning level 7 (um, very formidable) defenses in the future Stalingrad. Far easier is the northern link through Perm, Viatka and Kotlas if you move fast early on. Note the uprising Whites that will appear in the very important factory town of Izhevsk to aid in this. Northern White units plus US and British Marines can board ships at Archangelsk and land to capture Kotlas, the northern end of this link, down the Dvina River when not frozen. Once this link is established all sorts of strategic options will appear, like bringing the Finns into the war as a priority. This is your major goal in the early part of the war along with capturing the gold train in Kazan.
7) White activation of Makhno:
The Red Diplomatic Option to ally with Makhno indicates that the Reds will not have to pay the -10 EP cost for this alliance if WHI forces "move to and stay in the Ekaterinoslav area... or attack the base at Huliaipole", which is not completely clear.
Clarification: WHI forces will activate Makhno if they enter any Anarchist controlled region (a black flag on it). In addition to this, taking the towns of Mariupol or Alexandrovsk will also trigger this.
BUILDING UP FORCES
No surprise that along with most AGEOD games you will be wearing the Quartermaster hat in structuring your forces, like it or not. Do poorly at this against a decent opponent and you are doomed from the start. RUS is unique in having so many homeland units that are penalized if they stray far from their theater.
a) As mentioned you must have a political unit in each division, and one in each stack to avoid units becoming inactivated as well as mass desertions by the troops. Very important. Use VOKhR units liberally but save your Cheka units for your best divisions as they give a +5 cohesion benefit as well. Have a Motorized KOM Politikom unit in every possible stack as they give a +3 command point bonus to their stack. Politikoms, 76mm light arty and tachankas, can be added to cavalry units without removing their cavalry status. Extremely useful units. These are one of the major Red Army advantages, use them judiciously.
b) The other main Red Army advantage is quite clear: unlike White factions and their numerous theater limitations, the Reds are mostly free from this handicap (Central Asian Red Turkestan forces excepted). The reasons for this historically are twofold: 1) above all, Red propaganda with Red army soldiers and partisans was highly effective, and 2) all Red Army units knew Cheka police units and commissars were lined up behind their defensive lines or offensive advances, with Maxim MGs set up and quite ready to shoot down any soldiers wavering or displaying a lack of Bolshevik resolve; ergo Red Army units will go anywhere they are ordered to without theater penalties.
c) It bears emphasizing that you can build up a number of strong armies but this will not avail you early on in the war if they are not positioned directly in front of the main White army offensives, particularly in the west in 1919. You don't have many. Position them strategically and wisely in prepared positions. Make the White foreign lackeys and imperialist stooges pay for any advances they make.
a) You have a complicated job here, far more than CW2 for example, which was complicated enough. The reason for this is unit type limitations and the fact that certain units can only be commanded by certain leaders: 1) Czech units which can only be commanded by Czech generals and a few other White generals who can command both Czech and non Czech units. 2) Don Cossack units who can only be commanded by Cossack generals. 3) other theater-limited units, and 4) Komuch units. Understanding the array of leaders you have, and their limitations east and west, can be a bit overwhelming at first and it takes time to "get it"--stay with the tour.
With West Whites a good grasp is needed of all troops who have their own theater limitations and not allow their cohesion to go to zero if they are sent abroad for extended periods. This includes the Don Cossacks, Terek Cossacks, North Whites, NW Whites, Central Asian Whites and Finns if they join the war. The Poles when they are activated (and controlled by WH3) have their own theater limitations as well. Above all the Don Cossacks need careful handling.
East Whites have the same theater units (Urals/Siberia/East) but you also have your Komuch units that can only form under Komuch commanders. Komuch stands for "Constituent Assembly" in Russian and most of their substantial units can only be generated as long as the Komuch (East White) capital in Samara is held (and some across the river in Syzran). It therefore behoves you to build up as many Komuch divisions with the limited Komuch commanders you have asap as a determined and experienced Red player can likely duplicate the early Red counter-offensives along the Volga and capture Samara in late 1918-early 1919.
b) Czech units. Your veteran shock troops early on and they are excellent with good commanders and Army infrastructure. Use them or lose them for decisive tasks like capturing Kazan early on and establishing and East/West link through Viatka, as they will radically lose cohesion after the Armistice in late 1918. Play it historical and fair: move the Czechs to Vladivostock when you get the notification. Leave their supplies behind as desired.
c) Critical builds: More gunboats and DDs if you can for both WHI and WH3--as many as you can. Build select heavy artillery and horse art (only) for both Whites as the Brits are going to start sending you absolute wads of lower caliber guns in any case. Build field medical units for all your main armies--this is a big advantage you have over the Reds as they basically have none or few. Build armoured cars, one for each of your top divisions. Get your ace flying formations with Wrangel, and others with other strong armies as the benefits are notable. Get at least one heavy artillery and a Transmission Co. in each of your main armies. Later add a tank unit when you can, and you also get a few British Military Mission units, very useful, to boost training, assault values and command points. Above all keep your cavalry strong and run the Reds ragged.
Neither side was able to create extended WW I-style continuous front lines with trenches (or wanted to!), and the main battles were for RRs, strategic towns and river crossings. In this, cavalry was a critical asset in performing recon and deep raids to cut supply lines as well as patrol the hinterlands. You need a very good reason to send a large infantry army off the rail lines, but this is where cavalry came into their own. After the limited uses for Cavalry in WW I this was an eye-opener for Trotsky early on, as the Germans were to discover with Dovator's cavalry deep raids behind their lines in front of Moscow late 1941. Cavalry in Russia has it's own reality and it can win, and lose, the game for you either side.
Build as many cavalry as you can; there are not many at first as the Bolsheviks did not believe in their effectiveness until Trotsky saw what the Don White Cossacks were able to do with huge marauding cavalry armies. Early on use them to perform recon and hunt down White partisans. Later on you will get more, including first class cavalry brigades (the technical definition of brigades, divisions, corps, and armies are a bit fuzzy in RUS). Organize them in an army under Budyenny, and use your few motorised Supply units with this, to create a formidable fast-moving counter to the WHI Cossack cavalry ace. Note that KOM-commissar units, 76mm light arty and tachankas can be added to cavalry units without removing their cavalry status.
You should have the WHI Don Cossack theater boundaries memorized as they are your most potent theater force to manage, with excellent commanders and cavalry. You can form large cavalry forces early on knowing the Reds will be slow to realize their effectiveness. A general uprising of Don Cossacks occurs in early 1919 and can further add to Red woes. If the motorized Commissar units are a main Red asset, White cavalry is yours--to advance and control RRs and regions, harass and surround enemy units, as well as patrol the hinterland and towns as the Cossacks have a high police rating. Add as many horse artillery, tachankas and motorized supply units as you can to your premier cavalry divisions. A British Military Mission can greatly assist as well. Shkuro's "White Wolves" are the nucleus for White cavalry, and Mamontov your premiere leader of Don Cossack cavalry.
FLEETS: REDS, WHI and WH3:
Riverine forces are as critical here as they are in CW2, blue water navies less so. Riverine battles on the Don, Donets and Volga/Kama offer many possibilities for both sides.
The Western total blockade of the fledgling Red State was accomplished by sending in British, American, French and Greek troops to occupy all Russian ports save Petrograd, where the Red fleet was effectively bottled up by Western fleets patrolling the Baltic. In effect the ACW Union "Anaconda Plan" is a fait accompli here, and it is a testament to the brutal and pitiless determination of the Bolsheviks under Lenin and Trotsky to strain every sinew and muscle, in a completely blockaded state with barely enough food to feed their people, to fight this war to the bitter end... and decisively win it. Someone might have pointed this out to the planners of Unternehmen Barbarossa.
a) Your riverine fleets are stronger. In the west you can block at will along the Don and Donets as the White fleet is limited until they build more gunboats. Your transports in the Don can be used to rescue a significant portion of your troops in the Kuban, ferrying them to Voronezh to be put to better use.
b) Likewise In the East your fleet is stronger but not decisively so; on top of that the White fleet becomes active on the Volga much earlier. The Main Red fleet in Nizhniy Novgorod is pinned in place for the first 4 turns; however you have transports free to move in many of the main Volga ports.
c) Countering the WH3 with further DD/gunboat builds is critical. Volga transports can be used to evacuate Red units from Petrovsk-Port in the Caucasus to Astrakhan. They can also be used to ferry troops across the Caspian to Krasnovodsk to support your Red forces in Turkestan.
The White blue water navy is useful for transporting units between ports along with occasional land bombardment missions.
a) In the west your gunboats can run interference but are no match for Red riverine strength. Building up a sizable fleet when you start getting decent war supplies is a must. Note that gunboats can be sent right around the Crimea into the Dniepr river basin and new gunboats can also be constructed in the Crimea for this purpose. Neither the Reds nor Ukrainians have any naval response for this. Shut down the Dniepr asap. By capturing all harbours on the Don and Donets, including Kharkov and Voronezh, you will effectively eliminate any Red fleet there. Your blue water Black Sea fleets should guard the mouth of the Don to prevent Red ships from escaping to the Dniepr.
Note that if you move your WHI Black Sea fleet and riverine forces together in Rostov or Taganrog you can move a white admiral (Sablin) to command WHI riverine forces in the south.
Also note that gunboats and transports can be built in Petrovsk-Port for use in the Caspian... and the Volga.
b) In the east, as mentioned above, use your large Volga fleet to launch amphibian assaults on key locations like Kazan and Perm asap. You have four turns to accomplish things before the main Red Volga Fleet appears. Supplementing your White fleet on the Volga is imperative, preferably right from the start.
c) In the far north as mentioned, a taskforce of riverine ships and transports can disperse Red gunboats and launch amphibious assaults down the Dvina R. Note that your British and US marine units are depleted and investing a replacement point for each will bring them up to strength.
Strategic Political Options
These will appear during the course of the war and I am not going to detail them here for the simple reason that I have not explored all of them; that and the fact that it is a very complicated array for players to deal with. It is highly recommended to closely read the Game Events Chronology doc in the RUS folder (the RCW Historical Chronology doc too for that matter), as well as referring back frequently to the main manual--for grognards if only to enjoy the fine period artwork included.
Your first major decision early on is to choose between a Left-SR Uprising or Bolshevik Dictatorship. The Left Socialist Revolutionaries wanted to tear up the Brest Litovsk Treaty and carry on the war against the Central Powers and thereafter spread their revolution into Europe. The Red dictatorship so far seems the better option but I have not tried the alternative. Examine the options closely.
As stated above: 1) hang on to the Gold train in Kazan at all costs and send it to Moscow as soon as it can move. 2) make peace in NW (Balts and Finns) asap starting with November 1919. Carefully note all the towns in required regions that must be captured. 3) Following that peace with the West (Poles) starting Nov 1920; again note all towns in regions you must control. Freeing up these fronts allows your armies to move to other critical fronts.
It is important to understand that while the White factions had differing goals and ideas about how to overthrow the Reds and bring in new White governments in liberated areas, they were somewhat united in wishing to restore the Russian empire as it existed pre-WWI. Not all even wanted this--there were many factions and conflicting points of view. This does not mean that those who were focused on restoring the Empire wanted the Tsar back (moot since he and his family are killed early on in any case) but it translates in the game as significant penalties in place in granting the Finns, Balts, Ukrainians et.al. their independence as separate countries after a presumed White victory.
a) In Spring 1919 check your options and bring on the NW White Army asap as well as the White Baltic Fleet.
b) Activating the Finns if a land link can be established between WHI and WH3. Bringing the Finns in just as the NW White Army under Yudenich appears can really get the Reds scrambling.
c) The other main option is forming the Kolchak Dictatorship in Omsk in June 1920. Again, I have always chosen this option given the benefits offered and have not attempted not using it. Examine the choice carefully.
Firstly, a big tip of the hat to the game designers: Sébastien Lebourcq, Thomas Corriol and Samuel Chopin; to Gilles Pfeiffer for the art and graphics; and to Phillipe Sacré and David Beaudlet for additional historical research. Many thanks also to the extensive work done by modders, translators and other volunteers.
The designers did a stellar job with this game in terms of unit and leader research (other than no C.S.E.F.--Canadian Siberian Expeditionary Force!!), and the map is gorgeous (one correction please: a road from Kazan NW two regions to Sanchursk and add the town of Yoshkar-Ola, and then N-NE to Kotelnich--not just nit-picking actually, this would be a very important link in game terms).
That said, it is the extensively detailed political events that truly amp up the complexity of this game, clearly above CW2 in my view. I've played the game through perhaps 15-20 times, 7 of them pbem, and I haven't begun to explore all the strategic options available to both sides in the Grand Campaign game, let alone the separate scenarios offered: "Ice March" I had to try if only to see Kornilov in action, and "Drang nach Osten" is a 'what-if' scenario I intend to try out pbem at some point, along with the Russo-Polish war scenario. I look forward to further play with RUS: if ever there was a "one game to take to a desert island" this is it, although I would insist on two, and with CW2 included I would be content in my impending old age. Of all the AGEOD titles using this WeGo system this ranks at the top for myself, ever so slightly above CW2. Both can certainly be daunting to learn and I hope these notes will help new players to dive into this epic game. Davai!
Comments/corrections to these preliminary notes welcomed and I will revise from time to time.
Some select historical reading:
The Osprey books give a fine purview of the history and as usual display the colourful uniforms on all sides. It's a fine place to start with this big topic and a not too taxing (or outrageously expensive) accompaniment to playing RUS:
The Russian Civil War 1918–22 – Osprey Publishing (Nov. 18 2008) Pp. 144.
The Russian Civil War (1): The Red Army - Osprey Publishing (May 15 1996) Pp. 48.
The Russian Civil War (2): White Armies - Osprey Publishing (July 15 1997) Pp.48.
For those with the time and interest, the two main in-depth historical studies I have to date and can highly recommend:
Red Victory: A History of the Russian Civil War. W. Bruce Lincoln. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1989. Pp. 637.
The Russian Revolution, 1918-1921: From the Civil War to the Consolidation of Power (The Russian Revolution, Volume II). William Henry Chamberlin. Princeton University Press, 1987. Pp. 556.
"Death to all who stand in the way of freedom for working people!"