Soviet Union

From Hearts of Iron 3 Wiki
Revision as of 17:57, 2 July 2013 by Meneth (talk | contribs) (1 revision: Import from HoI3 wiki)
Jump to navigation Jump to search


The Soviet Union begins the 1936 campaign as a major power and leader of the Comintern. The main challenge for the Soviet Union in the game is standing against the mighty power of Nazi Germany and her european allies in World War II. It starts off with a large IC and manpower pool to accomplish this with, backed by a totalitarian state capable of rapidly mobilizing production and manpower to even higher levels. For weaknesses, its leadership pool is proportionally rather small, it starts off with often backwards technologies, and the best laws are unavailable.


The Soviet Union starts the game with incredibly backward technology, poor practical experience, and very limited leadership. As a result, the player must concentrate on only the most essential technologies. Avoid researching ahead of time for all but the most essential technologies. Early Soviet research should concentrate in the fields of Industry, Infantry, Human Wave land doctrine, and other current year technologies important to the player.

Army technology should include:

  • Infantry: The backbone of the Soviet army, the core infantry technologies should always be up to date. Mechanized infantry is difficult to research before the war with Germany, but it can be done. Mechanized infantry are superior to motorized infantry, both in terms of mobility and firepower. Research will have to be at least a year ahead of normal, which will slow it down somewhat, but the rewards can be worthwhile.
  • Armor: Light armor up to 1940 can be useful in order to unlock SPART. The core of the Russian armored corps should be medium tanks, and thus those technologies are essential. Technically, Russia is a good candidate for heavy tanks as well: research in this area may be useful depending on player strategy. The two artillery techs are essential for infantry support brigades and improved SPART brigades. Finally, an alternative to Heavy Armor is researching the anti-tank technologies. Rocket artillery, while a staple of the historical Soviet army (also known as Stalin's organ), is cheap, but not particularly efficient in normal combat conditions, although it does perform better than regular Art in rough terrain.

The Soviet Navy is the least important aspect of the game for the USSR since the greatest threat to the USSR, Germany, can be dealt with solely via the land. A Soviet player wishing to take on the Allies after the Axis is defeated will need to develop a plan to create a Navy ready for action after the Axis is defeated, perhaps by 1942 - 1945 depending on game results.

Air power research is important, but specific concentration is necessary:

  • Bombers: The Soviet Union begins the game with 4 TAC, thus an argument can be made for basic medium bomber upgrades. Meanwhile, strategic bombers make for an interesting consideration: although this requires a huge research concentration, strategic bombers can be useful in disrupting German supply lines. Finally, transport planes offer limited utility, and are best saved for veteran players with specific uses in mind.
  • Fighters: The most essential component of the Red Airforce are fighters to defend against German bombers. Fighter research has a synergy with CAS research, and as a result building CAS can take advantage of these shared technologies. It is wise to choose between CAS and TAC concentration, since both have divergent air doctrine trees. One option with CAS is to use it as an anti-tank weapon, saving the research on other anti-tank weapons. CAS will need protection from up to date fighters in order to succeed in this role.

General research is very important:

  • Industry: Immediate emphasis should be put into the two Industrial techs, bringing them to the 1936 level. Once 1936 level is unlocked, advanced construction engineering is available which is necessary for any player with a desire to build infrastructure (if researched ahead of time, this can be available by July, 1937). Nearly every industry technology is important for the USSR with one exception: most of the resource creating technologies (e.g. steel production, coal production, etc) can be avoided since the USSR player will easily reach the maximum resource cap of 99,999. Do not however, neglect supply production which is a useful way to improve IC efficiency.
  • Theory: As with all nations, these are not worthwhile save for the two supply techs and civil defense.

Doctrines are essential:

  • Land: The Soviet Union is seriously behind on land doctrine research. Nearly every land doctrine is worth researching. Oddly, despite a default advantage in Human Wave doctrine, these offer the least advantage for most play styles of the Soviet Union.
  • Air: Due to a lack of leadership points generally, and the need to focus on land research, only select technologies should be researched based on build choices. At a minimum, fighter doctrines should be kept up to date.

Distribution of Leadership

  • Research: This will consume the majority of Soviet leadership, typically as much as 95% from 1936 - 1938. Once investment in Officers begins, research should occupy between 60 - 80% of Soviet leadership investment.
  • Espionage: Espionage is generally of limited importance to the USSR, with an early investment necessary to create 10 home spies.
  • Diplomacy: Diplomacy has some importance for the Soviet Union, for example influencing Sinkiang to prevent an Axis drift.
  • Officers: In 1936, no investment is needed in officers due to poor starting laws. Officer research will become important once a two or three year draft is in place.



The Soviet Union starts 1936 with few diplomatic options: particularly because the Soviets have such low leadership.

  • Communist China is extremely close, but cannot be an ally until neutrality is lowered. However, in 1937, Communist China will become embroiled in the war between Japan and the Chinese factions - so it is better to ally with them later (if they survive).
  • Sinkiang is also fairly close in alignment and has slightly more IC/resources than Communist China. Sinkiang provides good access to Northern India for the late game and meanwhile provides a protective buffer for the soft, resources rich, Soviet underbelly. Beware: Japan may influence Sinkiang and bring them into the Axis. If that occurs, the Soviet player will have a remote and mountainous front to defend. Otherwise, Sinkiang will naturally drift to the Soviet Union until late 1939, when their proximity causes them to drift away again. Influencing Sinkiang at this time will bring them into the Comintern quickly and cheaply.
  • Turkey begins the game a long distance from the USSR. It is possible to bring Turkey into the Comintern by late 1941 if influencing starts from the beginning of the game.

Other diplomatic tactics: ne way to effect diplomacy is by increasing the threat of the Axis in order to keep potential allies away. If threat is increased on both Germany and England, employed over 5 years (1936 - 1941), a portion of nations can be "drifting" towards the Comintern. Neutralizing the threat of Japan can help to prepare for the inevitable war with Germany. Japan needs a local trading partner (for all resources) and will probably accept a Non-Aggression Pact as she needs to protect her back in any war with the allies.


Spanish Civil War -- Intervention: This decision does not have a meaningful impact on the game. +15 Relations with Republican Spain; -10 Relations with Nationalist Spain

Begin the Great Officer Purge

This decision cannot be activated until 1937. It provides a 22 gain in national unity, five dissent, and the loss of some 41 military leaders. With a few months invested in lowering neutrality in 1936, this event allows for the following laws to be enacted by January, 1937:

  • Three Year Draft: Manpower: 25%; Officer Recruitment: 25%. Note that it may be advantageous to avoid this law to take advantage of building reserve units extremely cheaply.
  • Full Mobilization: no IC penalty; while a war economy is possible in late January, 1937.
  • Heavy Industry Emphasis: IC efficiency: 5%; Supply throughput: 10%

Alternatively, if this decision is not chosen, a player should start the game with maximum spies increasing national unity. By May, 1938, it is possible to achieve 60% national unity. This will unlock the one year draft -- a minor but important step forward. Assuming Andriy Orlov was made minister of security in January, 1938: by July, 1938 the Operation Zet Offensive will lower Soviet neutrality enough to achieve Full Mobilization. By October, 1938 it is possible to put the Soviet Union on a War Economy.

The Finnish Winter War: This event is available once Germany is at war with Poland, and Soviet troops are in either Ponca or Zelenoborskij. The Soviet Union will loose -3 neutrality. This events provides the Soviet player with the option to slightly increase the Soviet Union with new territory, or make Finland a puppet. It is beneficial to start this war immediately, as it will provide essential changes in laws:

  • Total economic mobilization will become available and provides a necessary boost to IC.
  • Service by Requirement is available. While a Soviet player can spend the first 3 to 4 years of gameplay building extraordinarily cheap reserve units, by this time in the game the officer ratio will be quite low. Also, players who take full advantage of the volunteer army will have relatively low manpower by this point and will need fresh recruits.

Deliver Ultimatum to the Baltic States: Once Poland surrenders to Germany, this decision is available. This forces the Baltic states to fall under Soviet Control as per Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (Historical Decision/Unholy Alliance). The states include:

  • Latvia
  • Lithuania (with Memel as a claim but German occupied)
  • Estonia

Claim Bessarabia: This makes Romania handover Bessarabia to the USSR as per Molotov-Ribbentrop pact (Historical Decision/Unholy Alliance).

Transfer Industry to Siberia This decision comes in a series of three possible decisions:

  1. The first becomes available when war with Germany breaks out. It provides 100 manpower, 2 unity, and 6 IC in Siberia.
  2. The second only becomes available for Soviet players that loose Kiev and Vitebsk to the German advance (e.g. historical losses). This provides 100 manpower, 1 unity, and 9 IC.
  3. The final decision is available if Germany gains Kharkov. The player receives 22 IC, 4 unity, and 100 manpower.


Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact:This event presents three options:

  • Historical Decision: Gain cores on the Baltic States, Bessarabia, and Karelia. East Poland is to be secede to the USSR.
  • No pact with the enemies of the workers!: No pact with Germany.
  • Unholy Alliance: Historical Decision Plus Formal Alliance with Germany.

Operation Zet: Assistance to China:This event presents two options:

  • Send aid to China: Loose 3 neutrality, $500, and 1000 supplies. This is the better option if you can afford the cash.
  • China must stand alone: Gain 5 neutrality.



By 1938, it is possible for the USSR to be on a War Economy (+25% IC). If the player decides to conduct the purge, a Heavy Industry Emphasis and 3 year draft is possible by 1937 so long as spies were lowering neutrality since the outset of the game.


In 1936, switching to Stalin as Armaments minister provides a helpful +20% supply production boost. Molotov is also useful as Foreign Minister.

In 1937, Minister of Security Sergej Uritskiy is a good replacement for Yagoda. Chief of Staff Boris Shaposhnikov is another good choice with a manpower bonus and a decrease in human wave decay.

In 1938, Andriy Orlov offers an interesting trait with a -0.01 change in neutrality.

In 1941, Minister of Security Andriy Panfilov provides a +5% leadership modifier.


The Soviet Union will receive attention from foreign nations, particularly Germany and the UK, in using the spy mission "support our party". As a result, counter-espionage missions are important to conduct from time to time. Due to a low leadership pool, it is difficult for the Soviet Union to conduct offensive spy missions. Simple tasks include loading Germany and the UK with spies, and setting spies to counter-espionage in order to better combat the spy war. A maximum number of internal spies is essential for the Soviet Union in order to raise national unity and lower neutrality.



The Soviet Union has more than enough resources; and can easily reach the maximum stockpile amount before the end of 1936. Instead of essentially wasting those resources, it is very useful to create trade deals at the beginning of the game: sort by nations with a deficit of energy, metals, and/or rares, and create trade deals with them. Using this method, it is possible to earn between $15 and $27 per day.

The best way for the Soviet Union to spend money is through buying supplies. Germany, China, and other nations will sell supplies. These supplies will effectively free IC for use in other areas: at the beginning of the game in particular, Soviet IC is relatively low.

Industrial Production

Producing additional industrial capacity as the USSR is essential. Several rounds of industrial production are possible. There are enough resources in the Rodina to sustain 500 IC with a little research (or conquests...). It's wise to build industry beyond the Urals, where no bombers can reach it.

Furthermore, building infrastructure is beneficial to the USSR for two reasons. Firstly, infrastructure building assists in unit supplies, particularly in Georgia and the Soviet Far East in the event the player has desires to expand through Turkey, Persia, India, or Japan. Secondly, infrastructure is useful in key provinces that will see heavy fighting: prolonged fighting reduces infrastructure, which in turn reduces unit regain of organization.

Soviet infrastructure at the start of the game in 1936.
An example of Soviet infrastructure in the summer of 1941.


The overriding strategic imperative for the Soviet Union is continental domination. Hemmed in by limited sea access and the looming threat of Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union must focus on the Red Army and the Red Air Force to survive, with any naval ambitions only a foolish distraction from those necessities.


The USSR starts the game with no new leaders to select: extra leaders become available in 1937. Some of the Soviet Union's best starting commanders are in the Northeast, around Lenningrad and Finland:

  • Zhukhov, Konev, & Vassilevskij are located near Lenningrad, and are excellent Corps commanders of mechanized corps or army commanders if dispersing traits and org bonuses are preferred.
  • Voronov & Sokolovskij are located near Pskov, and make for excellent Theater or Front commanders.

Soviet leaders that quickly gain experience and are good for leveling up are:

  • Kozlov, Ivanov, V.D., Reiter, Bagramian, Sudec, Kuznec, Shurov
  • Vlassov, Timoshenko, Rybalko, Krylov, Grechko, Kolpakchi, Ivanov I.I.

At the start of the 1936 scenario, the OOB is a mess and there is time to reorganize it much more efficiently. Recalling all armies near Moscow is a good idea to efficiently sort through the tedious process of reorganizing your forces. The starting forces can be split into four full armies (5 corps of 5 divisions), and five if you build only a few supplementary brigades for the incomplete fifth army. Those armies can either be 'upgraded' with extra support brigades or left as-is, to be used as lighter forces dedicated to holding the less important areas of the front. You start with a sizeable infantry force but little armour (only light tanks).

See: Soviet Union military leaders for more details.


A Navy is only useful if the Union decides to wage war against the Allies after defeating Germany. Otherwise, every IC-day put into the Navy is an IC-day that could have been used to build more tanks, guns, and rifles to defend the Rodina. If you do decide to bring communism to America, mass produced cruisers (both light and heavy) are probably the most cost-efficient option considering the USSR's relative naval technology backwardness and vast industrial potential.

Air Force

The Red Air Force is a useful but not quite vital arm of the Soviet military. Due to limited leadership and the need for a large, IC-intensive land army, it is probably best to concentrate just on light aircraft like interceptors and close air support to ensure maximum efficiency in production and research, but it may be possible to usefully add tactical bombers or even transports into the Air Force. Generally, unlike the British or American air forces, the Red Air Force should focus more on direct support of the troops by cleaning out enemy aircraft and attacking enemy troops rather than bombing enemy industry. Logistic strikes and counter-airbase attacks can be used very effectively in support of Army goals, however.


Winter War

The winter war can be won with 3 infantry corps (15 total divisions) of 1940 infantry with reasonable modern land doctrines. Several tactical choices exist:

  1. A good option to win the war with Finland is to possibly use intelligence to lower National Unity then strike from the South through the Mannerheim Line. This is the quickest option that should most likely be backed by heavy air support.
  2. An atypical option is to come from the north and use a vast front-line to overwhelm the ultimately smaller Finnish force then encircling the Mannerheim Line. Though slower, this method can be effective with the right amount of troops.
  3. An unorthodox method that can be very decisive is to amphibiously assault the nation at all key victory point (VP) locations (Viipuri, Helsinki, Turku) and have them surrender very quickly.

The Great Patriotic War

General Strategy

War with Germany is the most important part of the game for the Soviet player. A strategy for this war should be considered in 1936, and the first five years of the game should be used working towards this strategy. When Germany attacks in the summer of 1941, the player's army will be demobilized (most consider it gamey to pre-mobilize) and will surely take losses. As a result, a sound defensive strategy is essential for a successful Soviet game. Preparing to defend is a high priority, but offensive operations are not impossible. The German army is prone to over-extending itself. Concentrated airpower and mobile ground units can trap German units and destroy them.

A defensive line holding at the Dnepr and Daugava Rivers in January, 1942

Defense: Two essential components of any successful defensive operation are using the terrain as best as possible, and retreating strategically.

  • The Soviet terrain is varied: the north is forested, and best for infantry. The center has forest and marsh; while the south is open plains: an excellent area of operations for mechanized corps. Meanwhile, urban areas make for excellent hedgehogs: an infantry corps in a city can withstand a german onslaught for a long time. Finally, the Dnepr and Daugava Rivers make for excellent defensive barriers that can slow down, or halt German advances outright.
  • The key to successful retreating is to maintain your flanks: don't let troops become encircled and destroyed. Furthermore, defense in depth is highly useful: have troops deployed in key strategic positions behind the front line. Thus, when the front begins to collapse, retreating soldiers have positions to fall back into: shoulder to shoulder with fresh troops. Rotation of troops in this sense is essential, to allow troops to regain organization and reinforcements. Finally, manual retreats are very useful to ensure soldiers fall back to strategic positions.

Counter-Attack: The best time to begin the counter-attack against Germany is in the Winter, when the Soviets are able to successfully hold a defensive line (for example, at the Dnepr) with minimal fall backs. While real progress in the dead of winter will not occur, a war of attrition will start. This is a key tactic in sapping German manpower. Meanwhile, the best axis for a counterattack are in the Southern plains of the Ukraine, and the Northern forests of the Baltic states. These two spearheads can merge in Poland and create a fairly large encirclement of German forces in the marshes of Byelorussia. Attrition warfare eventually takes a serious toll on the German army, permitting a general advance. Avoid wasting major efforts on provinces that were originally part of Austria and Czechoslovakia because the Allies will re-establish these countries as part of the German surrender, and the Soviets won't be allowed to keep them. If Germany has created a puppet in Slovakia, the Soviets can and should annex that country. The Soviets will be able to keep those provinces. Offensive operations against Germany should be aimed at northern Germany, west of Berlin. Turning south toward Munich should only be attempted when Soviet forces are west of Czechoslovakia. German surrender progress can be tracked on the diplomacy screen. Allowing the Germans to hold on to key cities such as Vienna, Prague, etc. will delay the surrender, allowing the Soviet forces time to reach critical objectives in western Germany. Any province the Soviets fail to secure in Germany will become part of the United States when Germany surrenders.

Molotov Line

An example of a Molotov line in the summer of 1941. Note some level of strategic positioning along the Neman and Prut rivers.

The historical option which begins with a static defense of Poland. This is the most difficult strategy to attempt, and is particularly difficult on harder difficulty levels. Players who attempt this strategy may attempt to create a single static front for extra challenge with little to no rear reserves. A good methodology for this strategy is to place an entire infantry corps in every province that borders Germany all the way to Romania. Each corps should consist of at least 4 square infantry brigades. Armor divisions can be used to augment weak spots in the line (e.g. those not behind rivers or in forested terrain).

Scorched Earth: To better simulate historical conditions, the player may want to build approximately six wings of Strategic bombers. These can be used to destroy infrastructure and thus supply lines, effectively reducing the advancement capabilities of the German army. This is particularly important when the Germans achieved a break through in the line: since there will be little or nothing between the open line and the rest of the country.

The Molotov line strategy requires an impenetrable line, which is a daunting challenge considering that Germany can have approximately twice as much IC and far superior tech research than the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941. A quite front line for several months is a good sign, but no guarantee of success -- the Germans will eventually find a weakness and attempt to exploit it, particularly in the plains of the Ukraine. While the Molotov line can bend, it must not break, otherwise it will spell certain disaster.

Tukhachevsky: Defense in Depth

An example of Soviet defensive depth

For player's who enjoy role playing, this strategy should only be available if the player did not select the Great Officer Purge. The purpose of defense in depth is to have multiple layers of defense. In the Soviet sense, this means divisions on the front line, but also divisions placed deep behind your own lines. While the initial divisions will be defeated quickly, those behind them will have had time to reinforce and dig in. In this sense, while the front line divisions take a beating and extract German casualties, the rear lines improve in defensive strength. This strategy depends on high mobility, so that defensive lines can fluctuate and change based on breakthroughs.

A general methodology for defense in depth is as follows:

  • Front line: Split infantry corps along the front lines: two divisions per front line province, and two divisions in the province behind.
  • Reserves: A few infantry corps behind the front lines as reserve units: to be sent in when portions of the line take a particular beating.
  • Static Armor: Heavy armor can take up key defensive positions several provinces behind the front line. They will have plenty of time to dig-in, and will considerably bolster the defensive capabilities of infantry corps that must fall back.
  • Mobile Armor: Mechanized and tank corps are used for rear operations: enforcing any areas of the line as needed.
  • Urban hedgehogs: Finally, all urban areas from Riga to Odessa are manned with a permanent full infantry corps.

Static Defense: Stalin Line

Defensive fortifications along the Dnepr, with additional protection for Minsk, Homyel' & Kyiv.

A mixed approach to defense in depth is a line of infantry at the border, with the construction of forts and infrastructure primarily concentrated around the Dnepr River as fall back positions. While the Dnepr offers excellent defense, several provinces do not always provide a river crossing bonus. Furthermore, plains provinces are also vulnerable. Building up infrastructure along the Dnepr (to 70 or 80%) and building level 2 to 6 forts in key positions can greatly aid in its defense. Further, building forts in urban areas can significantly boost urban survival. Beware, however, that urban areas completely enveloped will fall quickly. Thus, for example, saving Kyiv, Homyel, or Minsk will require fort building in adjacent provinces to hold the line.

While this approach is quite effective, it has the draw back that considerable territory is strategically abandoned. Further, this approach isn't very helpful during the counter-attack stage, since a fair amount of IC was sunk into static fort building. Finally, this approach is most tenable in the event of a single front with Germany, and would be less useful in the event that a Scandinavian or Turkish front opened.

Deep Operations

The Red Army entered 1936 dominated by the idea of "Deep Operations" created by Mikhail Tukhachevsky. This doctrine was like Blitzkrieg in many ways, and emphasized the use of highly concentrated infantry (assisted by artillery and combat engineers) to break open defensive lines, followed by armored and motorized formations deeply penetrating and disrupting enemy forces. Unfortunately, Tukhachevsky was killed in the Purges, and his plans dismissed, with the Red Army not returning to them until the middle of the war with Germany. Given the USSR's high manpower and IC, strategic position and goals, and decent leadership, his original ideas are a solid plan to follow.

Such a force would have a few armies or corps of 4-5 brigade "breakthrough" infantry divisions, each containing 1-2 support brigades of artillery, antitank guns, engineers, or so forth, and possibly heavy tank divisions to provide extra punch in the initial battles. Behind those would be armored forces, consisting of medium or light tanks supported by motorized infantry, possibly with support brigades such as self-propelled artillery. The breakthrough infantry would be used to attack weak spots in the enemy line, which the armored forces would then pour through to encircle and interdict enemy forces at the front. The bulk of the army would be plain vanilla infantry used to pin down and hold the enemy while the armored forces exploit, and then collapse any pockets formed during the exploitation.


Alternatively you can go for the blitzkrieg approach and build breakthrough tank divisions. Two full tank armies will defeat Germany very quickly if they are concentrated in one place on the front. Even if they are qualitatively inferior to the German panzers (due to less research/doctrines), with 50 armoured divisions you will open a highway to Berlin in no time. Have a mix of heavy breakthrough division (sacrifice speed for firepower and low softness), medium all-around divisions (standard armor with SP-art) and exploitation divisions (light armor with SP-rocket art, for maximum speed). If you can spare the research, try to get to heavy armour. They have very low softness and in good terrain they will crush everything in their path. Bring some infantry with engineers for assaulting river crossings though, because this is where your tanks might get held up. The plains in southern Poland are excellent for this, and in fact it's where the Germans historically broke through the Soviet lines and into the Ukraine. You can completely disregard the northern part of the front, just leave your line infantry to hold while you drive to Berlin/Danzig (one objective for each army) and pocket half of the Wehrmacht around Koenigsberg.

About HQ AI

Be aware that if you automate high level HQ's and face roughly even odds against the Germans, the AI most likely won't be wise enough to break through by itself. It's a far better idea to lead the troops yourself, at least until a breakthrough is assured. Otherwise the war will turn into a slow 'grind' of back and forth battles that you will only win when the Germans run out of manpower (which they will, eventually, but it is far quicker to defeat the Wehrmacht tactically).

Other Fronts

The war with Germany may extend beyond the Western front:

The Red Army holding the Malmbanen line, encircling 32 German divisions in northern Sweden.

Arkhangelsk Front: If Finland was annexed or made into a puppet, a northern war will open if Germany attacks Sweden. Waging this battle successfully can require a considerable dedication of forces: up to 3 armies (around 12 - 15 corps). The first, most important key to the Scandinavian war is capturing the Malmbanan line: an area of 60% infrastructure between the Swedish province of Lulea and the Norwegian port of Narvik. In the event of a successful German push into Finland and the Kola Peninsula, taking the Malmbanan line can create a decisive turning point: cutting off any German troops north of the line, trapped without ports and mired in poor infrastructure.

Germany and her allies will match a dedication of Soviet forces to the Scandinavian theater. This effect can be so dramatic that Germany will considerably thin out her front lines in Byelorussia and the Ukraine, creating an excellent staging ground for a counter-attack.

Transcaucasus Front: If Turkey or Persia fall into the Axis, the Transcaucasus front will see action....

Central Asian Front: This front must be protected if Sinkiang is lured into the Axis....

Ahistorical Possibilities

Generally speaking its not a bad idea to grab as many small countries as you can before the Germans strike. By 1941 you can have all of Scandinavia, Turkey, the Balkans down to Greece and Persia if you manage to declare war on them before they join an alliance. Then it shouldn't be all that hard to convert the extra manpower/IC into a decisive advantage. The key to this is getting neutrality is low enough to be able to DOW at will. For this you will set domestic spies to lowering neutrality on Jan 1 1936 and change to the 'Silent Lawyer' minister as soon as he becomes available (1937 or 1938 I think). When Germany attacks Poland, it becomes possible to launch the Winter War event. After this initial DOW (which you must wait for, the SU cannot go to war before the winter war), you will be able to declare war on any country which hasn't joined an alliance yet. Bring them socialism!

War with Persia

A strike down the Western border then along the coast will capture the two VP areas to the south. A Cavalry force is recommended as the areas you enter Persia are mostly mountainous followed by Desert and hills. Then Mountain troops into Tehran and the other VP province just south of the Capital. Paratroopers can very will be used as the Persia troops tend to concentrate on the Soviet Border.

War with Afghanistan

Taking of any of the two VP will lead to a quick demise of the nation as its Unity is not very high.

Manchurian Campaign "War with Japan"

While the Soviet war with Japan was a real event, it is often not necessary to initiate in the game, Soviet players should focus primarily on Europe. However if you choose to invade, you must be very careful as there is a "political loophole" If you manage to defeat Japan, and if Nationalist China is already a Puppet of the USSR, Or the Allies, DO NOT Make Japan a puppet. It will trigger a glitch, which will cause the Nationalist Chinese to declare war on Japan, which will also cause every puppet of the USSR to declare ware against the Soviets. Which is a completely disastrous event. Myself, I had virtually every European Country except for the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Denmark and Luxembourg in the Communist faction, and it caused about 20 countries to attack, and severley lagged my game. Keep Japan annexed. It won't cause you any more harm. This glitch is likley due to the fact that Japan and Nationalist China are at war by default. They are hostile from the very first possible playing year

Gaming the System

Country Navigation
Major Powers France · Germany · Italy · Japan · United Kingdom · United States of America · Soviet Union
Regional Powers Argentina · Australia · Belgium · Brazil · Bulgaria · Czechoslovakia · Guangxi Clique · Hungary · Manchukuo · Nationalist China · Nationalist Spain · Netherlands · Poland · Republican Spain · Romania · Sweden · Turkey · Yugoslavia
Minor Powers Austria · Canada · Chile · Colombia · Denmark · Finland · Greece · Ireland · Mexico · Norway · Peru · Portugal · Shanxi · South Africa · Switzerland
Micro Powers Afghanistan · Albania · Bhutan · Bolivia · Communist China · Costa Rica · Cuba · Dominican Republic · Ecuador · El Salvador · Estonia · Ethiopia · Guatemala · Haiti · Honduras · Iraq · Latvia · Liberia · Lithuania · Luxembourg · Mongolia · Nepal · New Zealand · Nicaragua · Oman · Panama · Paraguay · Persia · Philippines · Saudi Arabia · Siam · Sinkiang · Tannu Tuva · Tibet · Uruguay · Venezuela · Xibei San Ma · Yemen · Yunnan