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ALLIED TACTICS: Elementary Principles

Aka: "How the Allies Can Almost Always Win Their Game"

by: Don Rae



I've had a few letters from new players who are struggling to coordinate the Allied forces, and are getting wiped out by the Axis, early in the game. For those people who are having trouble with this, I can readily assure you that the Allied tactical situation is not a hopeless one, as a matter of fact, the situation should be the exact opposite; if anything, it should be the Axis player(s) who should be worried about their general capability to win, and not the Allies, in EVERY game....that is, if you really know how to use the economic potential of the Allies to its fullest advantage.

Since you have read my first essay's comments on the purchasing strategies, you should already know that the key to achieving an Allied (or Axis) Victory is establishing a solid, unbreakable defense front with Infantry. Again, this essay will address the "Russians don't attack first" popular variant of play, in its general commentary.

How does one use this principle effectively? Just how do you do this, and not lose tempo to the Axis, who seem to have an early and seemingly indomitable on-board material advantage?

Many beginning Allied players are easily discouraged when the majority of their fleet resources are removed from play after the first round of Axis based attacks. This seems unfair at first, but the experienced Axis and Allies player will recognize this event as a necessity for game balance, otherwise the Allied forces would be too strong to be stopped effectively, far too early in the game.

Admittedly, your British-based fleet will be wiped out by the German Air and Fleet units, by an experienced Axis player. But...believe it or not, this event does not close the door on the Allied assault - and a disasterous price will be paid later once the Axis begin to face the situation I'm about to tell you, specifically concerning the U.S. and British offensive.

This essay is short and sweet - this is because the Allied method to victory, once initially understood, usually becomes obvious with additional play experience. This essay contains all the general points and play methodologies that you will need to consider while guiding your Allied forces to victory.


The United States: Performing their Allied Role to the Fullest

The secret to Allied victory is in the hands of this nation alone.

The U.S. player is always the ENTIRE KEY to achieving victory for the Allies, and this is even more especially so when playing against experienced Axis players. The entire war will be won or lost on the flexibility and mobility of the U.S.'s fearsome economic strength, and it's ability to use it as effectively as possible...excepting for any problems or potential capable distractions from an Axis player

(I have mentioned the "basic first turn builds for the Allies" in my first essay, and you should probably stick to them for now, especially for the purposes of explaining the tactical situation at hand for the Allies.)

The U.S is traditionally the hardest nation to play, because of an Allied player's potential confusion about the U.S. method of deploying its forces primarily through naval mobility.

Because of the common confusion that surrounds "how to get the U.S. into the game effectively" - I will be further illustrating the U.S. strategy for Allied play within this essay. Combined with other described Allied play mechanics, this will eventually result in the Allied player's potential understanding of the predictable method of play that can be followed easily and effectively against the Axis opponent.

And when this Allied play method is optimized to its fullest will always cause the inevitable destruction of the German forces, and consequently, the Axis itself.


Here's something for to think about while you read this essay...

To apply attack and defense concepts, you should at least be aware of a general note concerning attack and defense structures...all strategies that are discussed here take into account the following rule of thumb:


Here is a general rule of thumb for land based attack structures, and apply it to every land combat situation, as required: Every attack conducted on land should have at least 1 or 2 extra infantry to carry losses from defensive forces.

EXAMPLE: Defense force has: 4 infantry, 1 tank.

Attacking force needs to contain: At least 6-7 infantry and along with attacking piece(s).

These extra, expendable forces will serve as "fodder" to protect your expensive tanks and fighters...if you fall behind in "numerical odds superiority", due to strength of opposition, counterattack capability, or plain bad luck on the dice rolls.

It is generally better to consider a retreat from a battle if you stand to lose more infantry "fodder troops" on average than the defender. Remember my discussion on infantry defense roll averages as a rule of thumb for this, to calculate those odds.



The Allied players MUST co-ordinate their resources in order to survive the onslaught of the formidible Axis machine. Whenever possible, sharing of resources is necessary, before the real war effort can be mobilized to defeat the Axis from taking over your presence of the world.

What follows is what the Allies generally want to accomplish, after everyone's first turn movement, builds, and attacks. This method of reasoning assumes that the Allied player has followed my first turn purchasing advice to the letter, no matter WHAT the Axis player did on their turn (it is irrelevant in 99% of the cases). The description that follows is meant to illustrate the idea of the basic Allied strategy, and not necessarily the detail of execution (which impossible to describe from turn-to-turn anyway, due to all the minor variations of circumstance during the course of play).




This is the first turn that the Russian player has offensive capability, when playing the "no Russian first turn attack" rules.

At this point, the Russian player should have all of their Western USSR based tanks sitting in Karelia, as well as their two fighters. If the German player was stupid enough to attack Karelia on the first turn, their forces will be sufficiently depleted on their front lines at this point early in the game. (The Russian player can then leisurely sit back and build infantry until more help arrives, counterattacking whenever possible to strafe forces off of the table)

Russians build: 8 infantry (always infantry - you MUST always replace losses on fronts!)

These will eventually be deployed mostly in Karelia, maybe 1 or 2 in Russia to assist in delaying the Japanese.

What you should see at this point in the game, is something we called the "Three Pronged Russian Attack"

Examine this position carefully. If the German player was intelligent, and did not attack Karelia right away on the first turn, there will be a number of easy counterattack targets to take and hold, due to the weak German front structures.

Look at the German defensive forces on the front. If they were smart, they retreated their tanks and infantry back from Ukraine. If they weren't, they have left you free (and expensive to replace) pieces to strafe and destroy.

The Russian attacks should be obvious:

1) Norway - is mandatory, and MUST be taken out by the Russian forces on this turn. Use more than the usual infantry rule-of-thumb on this one to supplement this attack. Use 1-2 tanks in this attack.

2) Ukraine/Caucasus - Forces left in Ukraine or Caucasus are highly vulnerable to destruction, with a counterattack only possible from East Europe or Germany. It is a German mistake to leave tanks or fighters on this front, because this front should be squashed by Russia. Use as much force as necessary to accomplish this. Sometimes, rarely, a German player will re-enforce this spot from Germany on the first turn...if it happens, it should still be att acked to kill off a few pieces, retreating back to Karelia after a "strafing" action. As you will see, any damage done here at all will really hurt after Attack #3, below...

3) East Europe - This is the KEY objective, and MUST be taken out or strafed to a bare minimum, with a MIMIMUM number of forces required to hold it afterward. The German infantry you kill here will destroy Germany's real capacity to attack the Russian player at all, forcing the German player to build more infantry early in the game. Germany is immediately thrown into defensive posture after you take this territory (they have to take it back, and more importantly, there is no counterattack on Ukraine or Karelia, and cuts off any advanced German forces from their reinforcement lines, forcing them to turn back and re-take Eastern essence, these stranded forces are vulnerable, and very very dead on the NEXT turn after this attack is completed, no matter what happens.) Ideally, the Russian player should only have 1-2 infantry left in Eastern Europe after wiping out German forces. The MAJOR key to this attack: Do NOT use tanks on this attack; ONLY USE RUSSIAN FIGHTERS, landing them in Karelia afterward. (Never, never use tanks on an attack on East Europe, because they will be destroyed on a counterattack!

You can only use tanks WHEN you know that a territory can be held solidly the next turn! This happens ONLY after the U.S. helps Russia out with infantry support...


Generally, after this move, the Russian game is simply generally described (with only minor variations) as:

1) Wait for Germany to retake East Europe, then try and take it back with necessary infantry and fighters.

2) Build infantry EVERY turn until you have more infantry support from U.S. or British forces, sitting in Karelia or nearby Karelia.

3) Do this for as long as you can, and you will begin to see how this gameplay pattern takes shape in every subsequent turn, naturally. This front will be a real problem for the German player, who is forced to deal with it EVERY turn.

4) The rest should be obvious...repeat "ad nauseum", until overwhelming Allied defensive forces are assembled, allowing you to eventually build more offensive units to finish off Germany.

General Advice for Playing Russia:

Hold off Germany as best as you can, retaking East Europe in exchange attacks whenever possible.

Watch Japan on the other side: do not waste your Russian pieces in any low-average attacks on the Japanese fronts...always leverage high average odds when attacking Japanese forces, with no possibility for Japanese counterattack, always retreating and regrouping when faced with overwhelming odds against your forces, always leaving at least one infantry defending in a territory (give them NOTHING for free, leaving no free Japanese "tank routes" into your mainland)

Set up potential overwhelming counterattacks on retreated territories in a measured, methodical manner, reinforcing occasionally from Russia, and deploying offensive forces when necessary. After turn 2 or 3, you will have more counterattack/redeployment threat potential with your Russian tanks (keep them ALIVE, NEVER put them on fronts where they are vulnerable to counterattack!)

Always look for the worst thing your opponents can do on their next turn, and anticipate their attacks. Never, never waste Russian pieces needlessly on even-odds attacks or defenses - you will need every single one of them to stall out Germany and Japan.

ALWAYS kill off "little-to-no-infantry-protected" German and Japanese tanks and fighters, as it destroys their income base effectively in replacement costs; remember: ANY player who does this will always win, regardless of strategy, and any player always who wastes their expensive pieces on front lines will always LOSE, regardless of strategy.

(This kind of play will become more and more obvious with time and experience while using and understanding how the infantry purchasing guidelines illustrated in the tactics essay work for you...practice those ideas, watch for opportunities to go on the offensive, and above all else, hold your lines and watch your defenses as your #1 priority.)



After Germany's turn, irregardless of what happens, here is a turn 2 summary for the British:

Again, assume that you followed my first turn purchase plan correctly, and only if the Germans did not sucessfully kill more than one U.S. transport off the shores of Eastern U.S. on the German 2nd turn with a bomber from France.

The British should have about 43 bucks to spend by this turn....Buy an Aircraft Carrier (18 bucks), 2 tanks for India (10 bucks), 1 infantry (3 bucks) and a fighter (12 bucks). In case of any lack of U.S transports in eastern U.S. waters, don't bother buying the Carrier, and buy an extra fighter instead.

The carrier is placed after clearing out any German naval nuisances in British waters. You will land U.S. fighters on it during the U.S. turn, re-enforced by U.S. transports. (In case you don't have this much money, don't bother with the infantry.)

If the factory was placed in South Africa, due to a successful first-turn German gambit attack on Egypt (usually a blunderous move by the Germans, especially if Japan is not assisting them via Essay 3's guidelines), you will be placing the two tanks in South Africa; this sets up the counterattack in Africa, because the British infantry should now be North of South Africa, defending the "blitz path" into there. The transport should be left sitting in the Egyptian canal to block the German fleet, in case the Germans managed to take out both sides of the canal by their second turn. Every turn thereafter, the British build 2 tanks for the South African factory and fighters with their funds, and the German player will generally be crushed early with this counterattack move, with British and American forces providing an African defensive onslaught, finishing the game sooner for the Allies due to early German containment, as they are able to defend and set up offense through Norway a lot more quickly. (Japan's moves will be made irrelevant, as they will not be advanced far enough to contend Russia seriously this early in the game).

General Strategy for the British:

Always clear out any attackable German fleet in the Atlantic areas, using fighters and bombers accordingly.

Move British fighters to Karelia in order to re-enforce it a little more strongly.

Transfer additional fighters to assist an Indian factory front as you are capable to do so.

Play very aggressively with an Indian Factory, building tanks and sufficient infantry every turn, ALWAYS ATTACKING IF ABLE, killing all Japanese infantry that exist in all countries within attack range of India. Do not be concerned with losses taken, unless the losses enable the Japanese player to overrun two territories in a row toward your Indian Factory, easily (this is the only exception to the infantry loss rule, as I mentioned before).

Use available fighters to supplement your land-based attacks. Do not let your fighters die, calling off all attacks that result in potential losses of fighters in land-based battles. Eventually, the fighter assistance on the Indian front can grow to immense proportions, supplemented every turn, making this area of the board very difficult to contend with for the Japanese player, who is forced to deal with it due to economic-based reasons.

Build at least a fighter every turn to assist the defense of Karelia, and the attack capability of any Indian Factory units. Build tanks at an Indian or South African Factory every turn, and try to fit in a build of an anti-aircraft gun early in the game if threatened by fighter attacks, discouraging an early sack-attack by Japanese fighters and subsequent forces.

Only build additional British fleet/transports if Eastern Europe is about to be taken by U.S. forces with overwhelming force from Karelia, or any U.S. Transport Fleet.

Never, ever give the Japanese ANY "free territory" to "blitz-through". You must place at direct your forces to leave at least one infantry or tank unit, in any country that has no defensive capability. You must ALWAYS block a direct route through a country that threatens the defensive structure of Burma and all of China. This keeps the Japanese from advancing quickly, and forces them to deal with territory on a one-at-a-time basis. NEVER leave open "Japanese tank blitz" to India!

The rest of the moves should be obvious, once you utilize the basic methodology. If the Indian transport survives for any length of time, you can use it to transfer additional British infantry from Australia to re-enforce the Indian factory. If the Japanese begin to threaten fighter support on an Indian Factory, be sure to build that Anti-Aircraft gun! The more aggressive you are as the British player from India:

- the longer the Japanese will take in securing an Asian front.

- the higher the British player will cash out, replacing losses taken from a German advance into Africa, early in the game

- it forces the Japanese player to build a LOT of infantry before advancing towards India and Moscow, drastically slowing down their offense.

- puts heavy pressure on any Manchurian factory built on the first Japanese turn (as I mentioned in my essay, this is a serious mistake!), because they are forced to defend it, STALLING their advance on Russia in a FATAL fashion (as you will see by means of the aftermentioned U.S. strategy!!)

- allows the U.S. to ignore Asia entirely.

- helps Russia out TREMENDOUSLY, because they don't have to build/move as many forces from the German front to hold their front against the Japanese. (The Japanese will be too busy dealing with YOU, the British player, to prevent a collapse of their Asian front!)



The U.S. Player's task is the most difficult one to coordinate, but once it gets is incredibly effective. The U.S. player's primary task is to provide the Allies with means to CRUSH the Germans.

(Optimal Move) On the second turn, if a British carrier was built, you want to land both U.S. fighters on it, and transport fully loaded transports of U.S. infantry to Norway, causing an instant headache for the German player!

(Next Order Optimal Move) If this second turn British carrier was not built, you will need to build a U.S. Carrier with extra transports by the U.S. second turn, delaying any invasion into Norway or Africa temporarily.

The Pacific U.S. fleet should be moved to Atlantic waters this turn, marrying up with the forces on Eastern U.S. shores.

I will elect to not describe the specifics of the second-turn-and-thereafter U.S. build strategies. This is up to the player to figure out, after reviewing and considering the following basic strategical ideas for the U.S. player.



1) At the beginning of the turn, build infantry and/or tanks as necessary, for future end-of-turn placement in Eastern USA. (Using the basic strategy idea of infantry first, offense later...)

2) Try to never build more infantry/tanks than your current and next turn capacity to transport them, and buy any necessary needed extra transports to supplement all next-turn infantry moves (always allowing the capability of "fully filling up" the transports with infantry or tanks, and never building any unnecessary transports that will be empty next turn).

3) Make relevant combat moves...(see the "SHUCK-SHUCK COMBAT AND NON-COMBAT" SUMMARY below....)

4) On the non-combat movement part of the turn, MOVE ALL AVAILABLE INFANTRY AND TANKS INTO EASTERN CANADA, (AND RE-ENFORCE KARELIA WITH ANY AVAILABLE LANDED U.S. INFANTRY AND TANKS FROM NORWAY!!!) Eastern Canada is primarily a staging area for U.S. forces that are waiting to be offloaded into other areas....

5) Place newly built units in Eastern U.S. Why? This pattern sets up the U.S. DEATH BLOW for the Germans, via the "SHUCK-SHUCK COMBAT STRATEGY"....


"U.S. Transports, located in Eastern U.S., Coast of Norway, Coast of France, Coast of Algeria, on their combat or non-combat turn (depending upon whether you are invading or re-enforcing) optionally first pick up needed units, THEN MOVE TO EASTERN CANADA, PICK UP REMAINING DEPLOYABLE UNITS, AND DELIVER THEM TO any one of the three destinations of Norway, France, or Algeria!"


- Allows the U.S. player to increasingly re-enforce the African or European fronts EVERY TURN, in Norway or Algeria!!! (Potentially using any available U.S. forces sitting in Eastern Canada, Algeria, Norway, or Eastern U.S. with freshly built transports)

- Allows the U.S. player to THREATEN FRANCE EVERY TURN, causing the German player to divert MORE INFANTRY and FIGHTER BASED DEFENSE TO FRANCE to prevent an invasion, weakening the front it has to maintain against the Russians!!! (If France is not held strongly enough, it should ALWAYS be attacked in order to kill off German units and cash out higher for that turn!!)

- Allows the U.S. Player to LIBERATE AFRICA AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE, and forces the Germans to COMPROMISE QUICKLY BETWEEN Africa and their Eastern Front! This TAKES AWAY needed income from the Germans EARLY IN THE GAME, and gives it back to the British who will BADLY NEED IT BACK to provide MORE TANK AND FIGHTER SUPPORT FOR THE BRITISH BASED INDIAN FACTORY.

- Allows the U.S player to set up, eventually, the GERMAN CRUSH MOVE by initiating the devastating "attack first with U.S. from Karelia into Eastern Europe, HOLDING it with a solid U.S. force, then on the Russian turn, re-enforce Eastern Europe with Russian units, BEFORE the Germans can get their turn!" Once this is accomplished, it is usually GAME OVER for the Germans within 2-3 turns, due to steady infantry and tank re-enforcement from both U.S. and Russia.

- Forces the German Air Force to "sack themselves early" against the U.S. Fleet, which doesn't have too much real effect on the long-term method of play- these forces can always be replaced on the shores of Eastern U.S.

- The Germans are hopelessly crippled offensively after this strategy gets a foothold, and are forced to simply "hold what they have already as best they can, hoping that the Japanese arrive in time on the Eastern front..."

The key ideas to remember with this U.S. strategy, for it's long term SUCCESS:

1) NEVER move your U.S. Transports out of position, so that they cannot pick up infantry and tanks in Eastern Canada, unless it is a BLATENTLY OBVIOUS GAME FINISHING MOVE. This is the only thing that will ensure that the Allies will never miss an optimal move into any defendable location.

2) Optimize your purchasing, while using the basic U.S. movement characteristics, to ALWAYS DELIVER FULL LOADS OF INFANTRY AND TANKS WHEN USING YOUR TRANSPORTS. NEVER EVER BUILD TRANSPORTS THAT WILL BE EMPTY WHEN MOVING THEM ON YOUR NEXT TURN. BUILD NOTHING BUT INFANTRY/TANKS/TRANSPORTS WITH THE U.S. IF YOU ALREADY HAVE PROTECTIVE ESCORT FOR YOUR TRANSPORTS. This optimizes your purchasing and delivery of units on all shores, while allowing adequate defense for your naval forces.

(I won't tell you how to do this exactly, turn by turn, and giving it ALL away...part of the fun is to figure this out for yourself! Once you begin to try it, it will become natural for you, and most importantly, ALWAYS DEADLY to the Germans!)

3) Ignore any Japanese fleet in the Pacific. Move ALL surviving U.S. fleet through the Panama canal to assist and support the "shuck-shuck" transports in the Atlantic. If the Japanese player wants to take out your Battleship and Transport near Panama, fine...too bad for the Japanese; their fleet is now at least TWO TURNS out of position, effectively eliminating them as an early useful force in the game. This is a sucker move, and it will cause Axis death that much earlier.


The Allies ALMOST (95% of the time) ALWAYS WIN if they use this style of U.S. strategy to CRUSH THE GERMANS, UNLESS:

a) the Germans (and the Japanese) are EXTREMELY LUCKY IN MANY CONSECUTIVE BATTLES (highly unlikely)...or

b) they fail to use Dead Zone (essay #4) management to aid and determine their attack/defense structures....or

c) If they are somehow assisted by the Japanese by using Axis Tactics as described in my third essay.

Without some kind of assistance, the Germans have too much to contend with, can't hold Africa for long, and are left weak on all their fronts, forcing them to simply "hold their own", early on in the game. I have witnessed games that were essentially over in 4 turns, because of the strength of this move and by weak Axis play in response to it.

The U.S. always delivers the blow for the Allies, in this described fashion. Any play that results in less than this level of optimization is generally inferior play, because it does not deliver the level of optimization needed to put efficient pressure on the Axis early in the game, and as consistently in the mid-to-endgame.

This strategy forces the Axis player(s) to play using some kind of co-ordinated effort in their offensive strategy, and if this does not happen, the Allies will almost certainly win (again, refer to essay #3 for details on how to do this as the Axis).

This is the essence of the "solid Allied strategy to beat" if playing the Axis, not an easy task by any standard: it has to be anticipated and accounted for, before it can be beaten (the details of this paradigm will be revealed in the third essay - this is not easily accomplished, and can only be done by superior Axis players who are not capable of making even one tactical mistake on any front, forcing an entirely new level of play competence in your playing group).


Why is this called the SHUCK-SHUCK Strategy??

"SHUCK-SHUCK" is the spoken sound the U.S. player makes when they "shuck" from the shores of Algeria to pick up infantry and tanks from Eastern Canada, then "shuck" again over back to Algeria, France, or Norway to cause yet another headache for the German player....EVERY TURN, WITHOUT FAIL. Perhaps this is juvenile thing to do, but it is fun, nevertheless.

The "SHUCK-SHUCK" noise you say aloud, as the U.S. player, will eventually begin to be recognized as the "death chant for the German Player" in your playing circles, signifying the beginning of the end for the Axis.

(People in our playing group HATE IT when you make a "shuck shuck" noise while moving troops onto German fronts EVERY TURN. Once people are used to the play concept, the Axis opponent who understands the concept will typically begin to cringe when they hear it; because this is really the death knell for the Germans.)


The very last hints and reminders I will give to you:

The layout for the "shuck-shuck" move is deliverable by U.S.TURN 2, assuming that you've built a British Aircraft Carrier off the coast of Britain on the BRITISH Turn 2, and Norway has been taken out by the Russians. Land both U.S. Fighters on it on the Non-Combat move, and take 4 U.S. Infantry and a tank (or 6 infantry) into Norway using the 3 U.S. transports (now you see why the Russians had to attack and take out Norway on their second turn!!).

The pattern of movement, concerning the "shuck-shuck" areas of play on the board, is then:

Russian Turn: Hold out, build and move units where necessary to hold their fronts.

British Turn: (If applicable) move carrier with U.S. Fighters on it to the "shuck-shuck dropoff area" that needs support the most (to be followed by U.S. Transports).

U.S. Turn: Pick up more forces from the Eastern Canada staging point, then move to where the Carrier sits (who is waiting to help defend the U.S. transports in it's waters). Use fighters to supplement attack if you wish, etc. You will see this pattern easily after playing it for a game. Remember to move more forces into Eastern Canada for pickup. Build new forces in Eastern U.S. Watch the German player for signs of dismay.

Note: If the German bomber was in France after Turn 1, the above mentioned move may not be possible IF the Germans used it to bomb your U.S. first turn transports. If this happens, you may be forced to buy a U.S. carrier instead of the British Carrier before initiating the shuck-shuck move (this situation should be recognized and adjusted for, accordingly) this only on the turn that your U.S. battleship and transport from the Pacific waters (who are driving through the canal...these pieces should ALWAYS leave the Pacific and head through the Panama canal to help supplement the shuck-shuck attack) arrive on the Eastern U.S. shore. You are then prepared, given that you've built sufficient transports/infantry/tanks, to begin the shuck-shuck move.

Eventually, gradually, the U.S. goal is to have at least 6 to 8 fully-loaded transports picking up and dropping off forces on all of the "shuck-shuck" landing areas. If it gets to this point, there really is no effective counter for this eventuality, as you will see for yourself.

Always play aggressively on all German fronts, and only supply minimal forces to deal with any Japanese based attacks into Alaska or any North American area. In general, ignore the Pacific unless you're forced to initiate distractive measures due to the contents of essay #3's Axis tactics. Let the Japanese have it if they want it that badly (for all its worth...1 U.S. dollar lost in Hawaii, and always two turns away from taking anything owned by Japan, after any turn of building on Western shores....)




You will discover, through practice, that if this strategy gets started, the result is almost always an inevitable solid victory for the Allies, no matter what the Axis attempt to do, unless the Axis can somehow devise a means to distract the U.S. and British players from their basic strategical actions and the "shuck shuck" manoever itself (again....see essay #3 - Axis Tactics, for details).

Feel free to let me know sometime how your future Allied games turn out, after using this method of play.


Regards - Don Rae (c) 1998

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