1. Make Japanese 2nd front way less likely. Today a cookie cutter strategy is to go for USSR with JP at the end of 1941, sometimes even earlier. It is easy and pays off fast and hard. IRL this wasn't that obvious option. NM debuff is probably not sufficient, I'd take it as axis, but maybe spawn some additional units only when JP DOW's? To not weaken Eastern Front and make JP advance way more problematic. By advance I mean going for Irkutsk, taking Vladivostok should be imho somehow viable, though not without a cost.
2. Vladivostok - I really dislike current state. JP may buy torpedo boat, park it next to city and 30 MPP/turn go poof, even if JP is not at war with USSR and USA. Would US at least not react if their convoys would be intercepted by still neutral Japan?
Some other day someone suggested also making Vladi a fortress - maybe it's some idea.
3. Leaving JP aside, Eastern Front needs some buff, but only with small steps in the beginning. I see 3 options - making Syberians a bit stronger, giving Russia additional tank (they start with none in Europe, how much did they have IRL?) or make them start with a chit in IW1. 3rd option seems a very small step and doesn't seem to go overboard, what do you think?
Vladivostok would have fallen almost instantly, if Japan chose the "Strike North" option instead; saying you'd deign to make it "somehow viable" sounds like there is some some doubt in real-life whether Japan could have even achieved this!
To make a long story short, I think hindsight bias based on the ultimate outcome of World War II (especially in the Far East after the Russian declaration of war against Japan in 1945) has made some in the West vastly over-estimate the Red Army and conversely under-estimate its Japanese counterpart - at least in the context of 1941, our hypothetical clash date. Also, the Strike North option was "alive," so to speak, among Japanese policy-makers up to literally months before Pearl Harbor, albeit in a scaled-down version. And no, contrary to Western perception - fed by Russian propaganda - the Nomohan incident was likely not what spooked the Japanese. Nomohan was a small-scale clash - far less significant than, say, Tours (which is apparently epoch-making for Europeans though it barely registers for Arabs) or Talas (the same for Muslims though again the Chinese think it was just one among many innumerable border spats in Chinese history). Instead, the decision to opt for the "Strike South" option instead was due to a complex set of factors - not the least important of which was that the "Strike North" faction was largely purged after a failed coup.
What would have happened if Japan invaded Russia in 1941? It depends on the timing - before Stalin transfers troops to the European theater or after? Either way, however, it would not have looked good for the Soviets. As one of the highest-level commanders in the Far Eastern Soviet forces famously said, Russian plight would have been "hopeless" if Japan committed fully in 1941. Remember, Japan does not have to drive to Irkutsk for the Axis to win - much less split occupy Russia with Nazi Germany. At a minimum, even tying down the Soviet Far Eastern forces alone would mean that those pivotal Siberian divisions that relieved and augmented the Moscow front would not be there. Heck, even cutting off Vladivostok may have starved Russia to death. If, on the other hand, Japan attacked after Stalin emptied the Far East, who is going to stop the Japanese? Russians can't even fight a war of attrition - which was about the only thing they were good at in 1941 - because Stalin sure is not transferring armies from Leningrad, Moscow, or Stalingrad. I suspect Stalin would have panicked and offered the entire Far East to Japan - just as he offered all of Ukraine to Hitler in a secret negotiation right around the start of Barbarossa.
The upshot: If we are going by "IRL," then the Soviets would have a very limited capacity to resist Japanese northern thrust, if it comes after Barbarossa. So please I'd rather not hear historical arguments in favor of buffing the Soviets in the Far East. If game balance dictates it, then, well, I think single player experience ought to matter too, as I have been saying on this thread; and I am not persuaded that Russia needs help in single player at least.
On the proposal to place an extra tank in the Far East: That just sounds bizarre, given that the Soviets had more personnel and tanks in Europe. It is already weird that the Soviets have more tanks in this game in Siberia, but another? Surely, we can have a different way to buff the Soviets - if they even need to be buffed in the Far East?
< Message edited by Alcibiades73 -- 5/18/2021 10:29:35 PM >