ORIGINAL: Shannon V. OKeets
I believe Jeff's point here was that if the chits are perfectly equal, then the calculation for stuffing the border might show it as a 'certainty'. While in reality, the variation in the chit values might give the Germans a (totally hypothetical number here) 40% chance of declaring war. Even if it were only 25%, that is a very high risk for the USSR to take given the consequences of the stuff failing.
You are at the core of the problem, here. For Russia, it's really about weighing the probability of success times the effect of success against the probability of failure against the effect of failure.
Since Russia can make the choice between a stuff or pulling back as late as the build phase of S/O 1940, without any extra cost, my thesis is that they should always start out with a strategy that is compatible with maximum stuff garison. The strategy for Russia goes like this:
1. Until S/O 1940, behave like you are going to stuff the border. Set up yuor units somewhere where it is relaively easy to pull them back quickly. Focus on garr, arm and mech in the beginning, since the garr do well in the north, while mech and armor are easy to pull quickly back if given a couple of turns to do so. Also put pilots in all your startup planes, for the same reason. I prefer to claim bessarabia, for the extra production. (If germany is really going for a barb, he is probably willing to dow Yugoslavia, regardless.)
In this period, you can still manouvre a bit, preassuring Japan (only in 39, early 40), grab Persia, or maximize garrison vs Germany to threaten to break the garrison vs him in 1940, depending on what opportunities arises. Should something major occur, like a big war with Japan, or if you break garrison vs Germany, the rest of this strategy is not valid. (You can afford a limited war with Japan, though, since it gives you plenty of extra garrison units in the form of reserves and militia, to replace the ones you may loose vs Japan.
2. In S/O 1940, you have to evaluate the situation. Germany may have taken big losses in Poland/France/Yugoslavia, he may be sending large forces to fight Spain or Egypt, prepare for a sealion, or he may be putting large assets into a battle for the Atlantic. Or you may have pulled good garrison chits (15+ total is usually plenty). If any of these conditions occur, you go through.
If Germany, too has maximized his garrison forces, you have to evaluate your chits, his losses, etc. (His losses dont really mean that much, since all cheap units will be built anyway.) Basically, you can use the following as a rule of thumb (taken from memory):
Your total chit value Probability of holding
15+ Very High
How high your chit value must be, for you to try to keep garrison, is a judgement call, but 15+ should at least be enough. Down to 12 is reasonably safe, but may requite a dow on Japan or Italy if you pull bad chits after this time. (Either to get extra units for garrison duty, or to take land actions and run for it.)
While it is a little bit dependant on options, lend lease, willingness do perform extreme manuvres (Italian dow on Hungary or mass lend lease to Germany, Russian dow on Japan for the extra militia, or allies racing for lend lease to Russia asap), the USSR should be able to stop more than half of Germany's dedicated 1941-barbarossa-attempts cold, while still pulling back from the borde in good time in almost all of the remaining games. A very few games will become close, if the USSR pulls low chits in the last few turns (or if Germany pulls exceptionally high), but even many of the close ones should be salvagable for the USSR by dow-ing italy/Japan and pulling back in a hurry in mar/apr 1941 or something.
Also, keep in mind that in order to maximize garrison, Ge/It as a team will be rather limited in strategic options if they want to maximize their chances at breaking the pact in 1941. This probably means no naval builds, no action in Africa, little Italian air force (which is so extremely efficient in Russia), Probably no Manstein, and definitely not the 1943 eng that I like to build prior to barbarossa. Furthermore, builds like para, mar and air transport will be limited. Also, Germany will probably go for a Vichy solution that makes it difficult for hime to change his mind, and then switch to a Spain/Gibraltar strategy in 1941 on short notice.
So, basically, the russian THREAT of stuffing produces 4 benefitial effects for the USSR and the allies:
1. It reduces the chance of barb-41 happening.
2. If Germany does get to perform a barbarossa, they build is still sub-optimal. (In particular the italian air force is very important.)
3. If Germany tries to break the pact, but fails, they are likely to achieve far less in 1941 in the med than if going for a med strategy from the beginning. They may even be unable to take gibraltar.
4. The UK has no preassure on herself AT ALL untill Gemany discoveres that they can not break the pact, since Germany is not likely to build a single sub, and definitely no the Condors. This means that the westen allies can go for a very early lend-lease-to-russia option or a simmilarily early oil embargo. The UK should also try to harass the italian fleet as much as possible, in the event that Gemany is not able to break the pact, thereby making it more likely that they may control both Westen Med and the Gulf of St. Vincent in 1941.
All this comes virtually for free, for the USSR. Maybe the only significant restriction is that it means that the USSR can not conduct heavy attacks on Japan in the early game, which of course is very dangerous if it is combined with a full 1941 barbarossa. If the USSR gives up the stuff during the build phase of 1941, they can still have the anti tank, anti air, arm div, mech div, ftr that they need, and even a lnd-4 if they want ready by may/june 1941. And if the allies go for LL to the USSR as early as possible, that option can come as early as the summer of 1940, potentially giving the USSR as much as 20 bp worth of build point and resouce LL. Even if not enough to hold the pact, this makes it much more likely that the USSR will suvive the first two years relatively intact.
This is a pretty large opportunity loss for Germany.
So what can Germany do about this? It is rather simple, really. Instead of pressing for a 1941 barbarossa, they should just forget about this, and perform a 1941 med and/or sealion strategy, with barbarossa possibly occuing in 1942, if ever. This effectively removes benefits 2,3 and 4 above.
My thesis is that given optimal grand strategy by all parties, the current rules for stuffing effectively removes the 1941 barbarossa as a strategy in the game, and turns the game into an altenative-history-game built for exploring what Hitler could do if he didnt attack Stalin in 1941.
Btw, I am the "geek" that wrote the Monte Carlo simmulation that calculated the more or less exact probabiliy of holding the pact, given a specific unit-only garrison-advantage as well as their total garrison chit value in sept/oct 1940, complee with US entry taken into account and everything. (It was based on the US entry Monte Carlo program written by Sorensen, I believe). Anyway, I dont have the code available here, but can send it to anybody interested on monday.
< Message edited by hakon -- 8/9/2007 5:04:13 PM >