russian armor

The Zeal of Red Snow: Siberian's aggressive Soviets

Your arsenal of juggernauts:
Conscript Squad

Cost: 240 manpower
Build-time: 25 seconds
Pop cap: 6
Health: 480

Cost: 360 manpower
Build-time: 36 seconds
Pop cap: 8
Health: 80 (40 per model)

Cost: 320 manpower, 115 fuel
Build-time: 50 seconds
Pop cap: 8
Health: 640
This strategy exploits the synergy between the Conscripts, Snipers and the SU-85. The Conscripts will lay the foundation for your Soviet might and act as a barrier and deterrent against enemy infantry and vehicles (see upgrades section) that wish to engage you. Your Snipers will act as scouts and the defence against German infantry. Last but not least, the SU-85 will engage enemy armour at long range.
Build Order
Potentially one of the most crucial, initial decisions you’ll have to make in a game is how many Conscripts. There are two options: 3 Conscripts or 4 Conscripts, both optionally followed by Molotov Cocktails.
Sepha's Build Order
Sepha’s 3 Conscripts build order is a solid start for any map and situation as it gives you enough early game pressure to harass and exploit your opponent’s mistakes while not over investing and constricting your mid-game capability.

Molotovs are good because they force your opponent to react in order to dodge them and also dislodges the Germans from buildings. However, these are optional and you may skip this upgrade if you feel comfortable doing so. By skipping Molotovs, you’ll be able to save yourself some time in terms of time and resources teching up, but it may hurt if you find yourself fighting units in heavy cover or buildings. I’d highly recommend Molotovs. Although they are not cheap, they allow you to win early game engagements.

I prefer a slightly more aggressive Soviet build order than the 3 Conscript start provides. This especially holds true for larger maps such as Moscow Outskirts where something like 4 Conscripts can absolutely cripple the Ostheer.
Siberian's Build Order

This is a heavy investment into the early game which may or may not pay off depending on the execution. I rely on my early game aggression to seize a substantial portion of the map and harass key cut off points to apply pressure on the Ostheer and prevent my opponent from setting up a defensive position from which they can expand and tech. If you’re unsure whether you’re comfortable with this many Conscripts at this stage, I’d recommend going for the more conventional 3 Conscript start and you can add a fourth Conscript at a later stage of the game.

You may ask: “Siberian, how do you counter the T2 vehicles (SdKfz 251 Halftrack and SdKfz 222 Scout Car) if you invest into 4 Conscripts and Molotovs?”

My answer would be: “Guards Rifle and Anti-Tank Grenades.” This works if you harass the opponent in the early game by applying pressure on their undefended points and backing away from fights that will cause you to lose manpower unecessarily. However, bear in mind that Guards will be delayed slightly due to the fourth Conscript. Anti-Tank Grenades may not necessarily hard counter a Flammenwerfer Half-track but they should delay it long enough to get a Guards squad out or get your T4 building up if you’re comfortable that you can hold out that long with the tools currently at your disposal (mines and Anti-Tank Grenades).
Alternative Initial Build Orders



The following abilities, especially Ooorah! are absolutely crucial! Use them!
Ooorah! (Conscripts)

The Ooorah! ability is without a doubt, the most useful abilities the Conscripts have. It provides a +1 speed boost to the squad for a mere 5 munitions so use it frequently! Use it to scare off vehicles by throwing an Anti-Tank Grenade at them. You can also use Oorah! to charge enemy Snipers and force them to retreat. This ability gives the Conscript superior maneuverability than their Grenadier counter-parts so make use of this advantage and get into cover/buildings where you know you’ll win engagements.
Merge (Conscripts)

Merge is an underused ability which is often ignored. This can be used as a cheaper alternative to reinforcing expensive squads such as Shock Troops or Guards. By merging Conscripts in the squad, you are effectively cutting the manpower cost of the typical reinforce to 20 manpower per man but bear in mind that the Conscript members still retain their inferior armour and statistics. They do, however, gain access to the squad’s weapons, such as the PPShs for the Shock Troops. This can also be used as a front line reinforcement tactic to bolster support team’s squads if they are low on men. Be wary of merging a Conscript with a squad with a low number of members as this can merge the entire Conscript squad which is as detrimental as losing the whole Conscript squad.
Trip Wire Flares (Conscripts)

The most underused ability of the lot, yet one that provides useful reconnaissance of the battlefield. Conscripts at veterancy level 1 will gain access to Trip Wire Flares which act like mines that are triggered to reveal the surrounding area. Use this to keep track of key locations of a map and defend your flanks as well as providing crucial knowledge of your opponent’s whereabouts.
Tracking (SU-85)

This ability allows the SU-85 to increase its infantry awareness by increasing its sight radius. This ability can be triggered at vet 1 and becomes especially useful if you suspect an attack since the SU-85 performs better behind the frontlines and should rarely if never be used as a frontal, lead unit. The ability only costs 20 munitions so it is fairly cheap for the sight increase and can often save your SU-85 by allowing you to react to an attack earlier than usual.
Focused Sight (SU-85)

Focused sight dramatically increases your frontal line of sight which allows the SU-85 to perform its role as a tank destroyer with incredible efficiency at long ranges. Due to the nature of the gun and its poor traversal, it’s often more useful to have your SU-85’s in this sight mode since this will allow you to see much farther in the fog of war and punish any tanks or buildings from afar. Infantry and other supportive units can provide rear and side lines of sight while the SU-85 faces the opponent.
Flare (Sniper)

Snipers already start with a large line of sight but for areas which are obscured by obstacles such as buildings and hedgerows, the flare is an invaluable and risk-free tool for a rather costly 60 munitions that can provide reconnaissance in a map sector. Due to the cost of this ability I rarely use this but it is still an effective ability. It is incredibly useful if you’re unsure whether your Snipers will be safe travelling along a particular route, and with their low health and armour, it makes sense to be safe rather than sorry. Remember that Snipers are not only a powerful anti-infantry counter but also an invaluable scouting unit. This, combined with the SU-85’s Focused Sight ability can give Soviets a large advantage at long distance engagements and provide the edge that you need to engage and dismember the German formation from a distance.
Sprint (Sniper)

This is largely a defensive ability that can save your Snipers if they’re caught by surprise. Use it for just 6 munitions to run at a high speed away from infantry and vehicles to safety. This has saved my Snipers countless times. The only downside is that it is a veterancy 1 ability so you have to initially use your Snipers with a bit more caution. Conversely, for the more offensive players, this can be used to mercilessly hunt down remaining infantry squads or provide high-speed reconnaissance.
The Healing Station

This particular upgrade is hard to time due to its rather taxing cost of 250 manpower. However, you don’t want to find yourself in the later stages of the game without this upgrade because you will start to bleed manpower through sheer attrition due to your squads going out to the battlefield not healed up. This can end up costing you the game since you’ll find yourself reinforcing more and the 250 manpower investment can often be recuperated very quickly, particularly in long engagements where every hit point matters.
The Molotov Cocktail

I have mentioned that this upgrade is a solely optional upgrade for a number of reasons: first and foremost, a lot of higher skilled opponents will be comfortable with dodging Molotovs so this upgrade may not pay for itself against an opponent with good micro. Secondly, you may prefer to save the resources and invest them into teching faster. The upgrade can be a hit-or-miss at times but more often than not, I find it can turn the tide of engagements, especially in simultaneous ones which strain your opponent by forcing them to dodge with multiple squads rather than just one. You should try to use numerous Molotovs in short succession, across various points of the map for maximum efficiency.

The earliest I would recommend researching this upgrade is after your first 3 Conscripts to maximise its efficiency.

Be wary of the throwing animation! It is incredibly slow and is easy to spot a Conscript who is throwing a Molotov. This does not only render that one man useless for a number of seconds but also immobilises the squad for the few seconds while the Molotov is thrown. It is often best to throw Molotovs when in cover to avoid unnecessary damage, and at close range to disguise the animation as much as possible and catch your opponent off-guard.
Anti-Tank Grenades

A decisive upgrade for any Soviet army! This will not only deter and delay enemy vehicles and armour by damaging or destroying their engines but also contribute to your overall anti-tank capability. It can be devastating when slowing units to a crawl while your SU-85 picks away at the target’s health from a distance. Combined with enough Conscripts, you can really dent an Ostheer’s vehicle composition by throwing multiple AT grenades to eliminate light enemy armour such as half- tracks and scout cars. The upgrade is cheap to research and costs 25 munitions per usage. It is considered by many to be a reactionary upgrade which means that you can get away with researching this as soon as you hear or see an enemy vehicle and still have enough time to engage the vehicle with the AT grenades.
Commander Choice
There are two doctrinal choices which I feel benefit this particular strategy the most: Guards Rifle Combined Arms Tactics and Conscript Support Tactics. Both of these commanders have Hit the Dirt and the PPSh upgrades which transform your Conscripts from being sacks of meat to actual fighting soldiers that can dish out a lot of damage with a high amount of resilience.
Guards Rifle Combined Arms Tactics

A very popular commander which includes the powerful Guards Rifle squad, PPSh upgrade, hit the dirt, the ML-20 152mm Gun Howitzer and the lethal IL-2 Sturmovik.

Guards Rifle

A terrifying counter to Ostheer Tier 2 vehicles. Guards Rifle can be called in for 360 manpower and pack 2 PTRS anti-tank rifles which can deal substantial damage to German armour. These are a necessity against the German light vehicle/tank arsenal.
Hit the Dirt!

An exceptionally powerful ability that can turn a lost engagement into a victory. When Conscripts use Hit the Dirt, they are immobilised and hug the ground for cover. In turn, they receive powerful defensive bonuses such as a damage reduction and suppression immunity which can make this ability extremely potent in cover, especially heavy cover. This serves as an effective capping strategy where you need to capture points whilst being under fire. Triggering this ability will force a short cool down so you should make sure that you can recover and stand up again in time. During this cool down, there is a window which your opponent can exploit where you’ll be extremely vulnerable to grenades (especially bundle grenades if you’re bunched up) since you cannot move, unless you retreat.
Conscript Assault Package

This ability allows each Conscript squad to be upgraded with 2 PPSh submachine guns for 20 munitions. The PPSh upgrade with Hit the Dirt is a powerful combination. The two abilities complement each other since they provide a strong offensive and defensive boost. This is a very powerful combination when multiple Conscripts use Ooorah! to attack from multiple angles and Hit the Dirt when they’re in a well-fortified position.
ML-20 152mm Gun Howitzer

Combat Engineers will be able to build the ML-20 152mm Howitzer on a friendly sector which can fire artillery barrages over long distances. The gun has a fairly large spread so accuracy isn’t this weapon’s strong point but the damage output is significant if your opponent is unlucky enough to be hit by the devastating shell. It costs 600 manpower and the recharge is fairly long on the barrage. It can be useful to clear enemy concentrations, especially support teams from the map, but only if delay your teching and save up your manpower for the ML-20 152mm Gun Howitzer. I would not recommend it unless you cannot breach your opponent's front line with any of your current units.
IL-2 Sturmovik Attacks

This 240 munitions ability devastates an area with the firepower of the IL-2 Sturmovik. The area is strafed with its 23mm cannons and enemy units, infantry in particular, which are caught in its path take lots of damage. Vehicles take a minor amount of damage depending on their armour but this is primarily an anti-infantry ability. It is rather expensive and because of this it is rarely useful.
Conscript Support Tactics

A personal favourite of mine due to the mixture of PPSh, Hit the Dirt, and Conscript Repair Kit. The amount of utility Conscripts gain from this doctrine is phenomenal and the Incendiary Barrage is tremendously useful when coupled with the SU-85’s and Sniper’s lines of sight. Rapid Conscript diminishes the effects of losses by replacing lost soldiers.
Hit the Dirt!

See above.
Conscript Repair Kit

This upgrade allows your Conscripts to repair vehicles on the field. When used in conjunction with 3-4 Conscripts, you should never find yourself short of repairs in any sector of the map. This allows you to establish a strong forward base from which armour can engage, pull back a little, repair and finish the enemy off.
Conscript Assault Package

See above.
Rapid Conscription

This 160 munitions ability generates a Conscript Squad for every 6th infantry casualty on the field while the ability is active. The duration is 120 seconds and it can replace up to 2 squads. The ability can be beneficial, especially during large skirmishes with infantry where a high number of casualties is expected. For 160 munitions, you have the opportunity of fielding additional Conscript Squads from your losses to further increase your field presence. I would recommend spending the munitions elsewhere unless you see an opportunity and you are lacking manpower to field Conscripts.
Incendiary Artillery Barrage

This ability bombards a large area of the map with incendiary rounds to burn infantry and act as a deterrent. This is one of the most efficient artillery abilities which can cause a lot of casualties if your opponent is not paying attention. For 120 munitions, you are able to deny Pak placements and infantry encampments, and block off access to key sectors by raining fire down on the map. Combine this ability and use it with the SU-85’s and Sniper’s line of sight for maximum efficiency and your opponent won’t even see it coming.
Execution & Tactics
Early Game
I assign my first 3-4 Conscripts to CTRL+3, CTRL+4, CTRL+5 and CTRL+6 respectively just to free control groups 1 and 2 for micro-intensive units such as Snipers which are a large part of this particular strategy and require a great deal of care and attention. That does not mean you shouldn't keep an eye out for your Conscripts too but I feel units such as Snipers and M3A1 Half-Tracks require more concentration and should therefore be more accessible through the easiest control groups.

In order to execute successful flanks, make sure not to bunch your Conscripts up, and utilise the power of Ooorah! to gain a speed boost when you’ve spotted a vulnerable machine gun setting up, facing the wrong way, or a squad out in the open. Try to spread your Conscripts methodically around the map. Don’t have two in the same area but keep them near each other to allow them to support each other should the need arise. If fighting an opponent who has invested more heavily in Grenadiers than support teams (MG42, Mortar, Sniper) then you should be wary of engaging your Conscripts in a 1-on-1 engagement because you do not have any guarantee that you will emerge victorious in the skirmish, unless you see an opportunity where you have a cover advantage and they have some sort of disadvantage such as negative cover or a moving accuracy penalty affecting the engagement.

Try to predict your opponent’s machine gun placements. This will allow you to pre-emptively decide flanking routes. Strike from all angles at your disposal! I can’t stress this point enough; don’t just funnel your troops into the machine gun’s huge arc. Engage its position and any other squad from multiple directions to prevent your opponent from fending off your attacks.

The initial build order is discussed under the “Build Order” section so I will not dwell on the early game. For your mid-game, most, if not all Soviets will encounter some sort of Ostheer tier 2 vehicle(s) and as such, may wish to incorporate Guards Rifle. I would recommend the Guards Combined Arms Tactics commander in this case.
Mid Game
For the mid-game, I would advise getting a tier 1 building sometime after 3-4 Conscripts, Molotovs and Anti-Tank Grenades. From here, I usually get one M3A1 Scout Car to add mobility to my army and harass my opponent in areas where they’re spread too thin. The M3A1 Scout Car can deal damage and push squads off the field if not outright kill them. You have all 3 possible M3A1 Scout Car options with this strategy; you can load Guards into your M3A1 to counter units which would otherwise destroy your infantry head on such as the Flammenwerfer Half-track, load a Sniper into it and drive around the map wreaking havoc from a distance at high speeds or use the classic flamethrower-upgraded Combat Engineers to incinerate your foes. Please note that you do not want to over-invest into M3A1 Scout Cars. Although they are cheap, they still cost 20 fuel which can delay your teching considerably if you’re not careful. Try to respond appropriately; Snipers or Flamethrower Combat Engineers will be more effective against infantry and support team enemies than an M3A1 garrisoned by a Guards Rifle squad. Remember to always try and have at least one Conscript squad covering your M3A1 Scout Car at all times so you can scare away German Tier 2 vehicles with an Anti-Tank Grenade when they hit the field and attempt to destroy your Scout Car.
Late Game
When you feel that your opponent might start getting armour of their own, it would be a wise choice to already have your tier 4 building ready so you can start producing an SU-85 which will sit as a guardian at the back of your army and negate all but the heaviest of Ostheer’s armour. I personally aim to have 2 Snipers by this stage of the game to counter any veteran German squads and at least 1 SU-85 to keep the armour at bay. I usually end up having at least 2 SU-85’s at any point of the late game up on the field to prevent an armoured flank on one. Keep a count of your opponent's forces! If you detect and anticipate a heavy veteran German infantry attack then try to adjust your strategy by incorporating more Snipers perhaps and delaying an SU-85.

The key to success with this strategy: combined arms. Combined arms is all about how you coordinate your army and cover each unit’s weakness with another’s strength. For example, the SU-85’s weakness to panzerschreck-upgraded Panzer Grenadiers is covered by the presence of Snipers nearby. Learn to maintain control of your forces and practice your positioning to avoid flanks. Do not over-extend yourself. Slowly drain your opponent’s army unit by unit. By not going straight for the throat, you are playing a longer yet safer game where control and concentration wins you games, not sheer dumb luck.

In essence, your game transitions should look roughly something like this:

You can also replace the 2nd Sniper with a Guards Rifle squad if you feel lacking in terms of anti-tank capability.

If you are struggling with German infantry, I would recommend substituting your first SU-85 for a Sniper.

Please note this is a VERY rough guide of how your game may pan out and is by no means accurate so feel free to change it up a little and incorporate your own playstyle with these suggestions and ideas.
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