Everyone knows how the United States REALLY won World War II. It concentrated first in North Africa, then the Mediterranean (Italy), and closed with the cross-channel invasion at Normandy that ended in Berlin. That is a viable strategy for the U.S. player in Axis and Allies.

A number of U.S. players build a factory in Sinkiang to stop the Japanese occupation of Asia. The logical follow-up to that is to build (or re-build) a Pacific Navy as a hammer to the anvil of Chinese troops. This plan ends with America's "spoils of war" being Japan, China, and the "ASEAN" countries, while the UK and Russia take down Germany.

About the one thing the US (and UK) DIDN'T try to do in World War II was to try to link up with Russia via Norway. But it is the basis of the simple "shuck-shuck" strategy devised by Don Rae.

This appears to be the preferred option of many AA aficionados: Dump American infantry into Norway in "assembly line" fashion after Russia (or the UK) has captured it, send them through Karelia and Eastern Europe to Berlin if necessary (otherwise transport them across the Baltic for an amphibious assault on the enemy heartland with air support).

Is the real life "cross channel" (and cross-Med) strategy the best one in AA? Or do our strategists know something that America's real life military didn't "know" in favoring one of the others?

  • 7
    Downvote for "Everyone knows how the United States REALLY won World War II". The Americans entered the war late after significant work had been done by other allied nations. Commented Jan 9, 2012 at 21:23
  • 3
    @sixtyfootersdude: I was talking about METHODOLOGY, not contribution. What you said is true, that other nations did most of the work. But in this context, the discussion was about the historical sequence of events, in contrast with proposed game strategies.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Jan 9, 2012 at 21:26
  • 1
    Fair enough. Down-vote removed. Commented Jan 9, 2012 at 21:27
  • 1
    This may do better on the History StackExchange phrased as "Why didn't the allies uses this strategy?"
    – Trying
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 23:02

5 Answers 5


What Is the Preferred Strategy For the US in Axis and Allies?

You answered your own question - the simple "shuck-shuck" strategy devised by Don Rae. The reason it works is because infantry are cheap and defend at 2, but only attack at 1. Therefore you can build an impenetrable infantry force that can withstand a large German offensive push and keep Germany hemmed into mainland Europe, freeing Russia and the UK to focus on pushing back Japan and tipping (or keeping) the IPC balance in favor of the Allies.

Do our strategists know something that America's "real life" military didn't know?

There were many reasons why "shuck-shuck" was not implemented in real life. Among them include:

  • Geopolitical reasons - remember, the Allies only grudgingly allied with Russia. They were viewed as the lesser of two evils and a necessary ally to help end the war. Also, in real life Finland was attacked by Russia in 1939 in the Winter War. Then, from 1941-1944, Finland allied with Germany and declared war on Russia and aided Germany in attacking Leningrad. Given that they were at war with Russia, I doubt Finland would have permitted the US and UK to march troops through their country to assist in the defense of Russia.
  • Logistical reasons - moving troops from Norway to Karelia takes "one turn" in the game, but would be more labor and time intensive to accomplish in reality given the topology and climate of that region. Also, I presume the infrastructure to move millions of troops, equipment, and foodstuff was not in place and would need to be built.
  • Sociological/psychological reasons - how positively would the American public respond to a war strategy that boiled down to, "We send millions of our own boys into the arctic and down into Russia to have a staring contest with the Germans. We'll liberate France when we get around to it. Also don't forget that this was not long after World War I, which was notorious for brutal trench warfare that resulted in pointless, high casualty offensive actions and long standing stalemates. It would be hard to sell the public on a repeat of a "dig in and wait"-type strategy.
  • Economic reasons - the US has the economic means and raw materials to produce modern weaponry at a scale that couldn't be matched by the Axis powers. The US had not been engaged in warfare for years, suffered bombing runs on their mainland factories, and so forth. It wouldn't make much sense to have the US focus on building a large defensive troop position when they could focus on building battleships, bombers, planes, tanks, and so on. Also, in real life the value of a human being is worth more than 3 IPC. :-)
  • 3
    This goes to what I call "weather" rules. Weather (and similar situations) caused real life campaigns to be easier or harder than they look on the map. So North Africa/Med/Normandy is preferable in real life, while Norway is preferable on the game map. (Unless you alter the map to penalize movement at higher latitudes, etc.)
    – Tom Au
    Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 17:42

Asking "preferred strategy" questions opens the door to individual opinion. I will try to avoid this by employing simple mathematics.

"Germany First" is the most logical path to choose, but not by ignoring the Pacific theatre.

The U.S. can typically build with impunity during the entire game, outside of the reach of German or Japanese strength. Once a large enough force is gathered on the eastern coast, (turn 3), they can head on over to Africa, and from there they can threaten either southern or western Europe. Meanwhile, each turn the U.S. can build a couple of transports and units to load, thereby forming a continuous loop of troops to Europe. And, in a short time, the U.S. can stop building transports and focus on the ground forces (and some air), thereby making the situation even more acute for Germany. Add to this the U.K. building its own fleet up, and Germany is soon a non-participant in the Atlantic. If Germany tries to keep pace with the U.K. and U.S. in the Atlantic, Russia will never be threatened. Germany simply doesn't have the economy to seriously engage all three allies at once.

The German player cannot ignore this viable threat, and must draw land forces from his eastern attack on Russia to protect his flanks. This, in turn, will allow Russia a measure of calm before the scrap at the gates of Moscow.

If the U.S. forsakes the Atlantic, the U.K. doesn't have the forces to threaten Germany with any great strength, and Germany can pour its malice directly upon the Soviet Union. And, although the U.S. has a strong economy, it cannot bring many ground troops to bear against Japanese holdings for a few turns, and when it does, the Japanese are in a far better position to fight back.

Mathematically, about three turns in, the Germans will have a revenue that is close to the combined Soviet Union/U.K. income. The problem for the Germans is that they only get one turn out of five to employ this apparent bonus. The Allies can bring three turns out of five against Germany. The Soviets and British have similar advantages of being able to trade space for time, although the push on Moscow is a real and imminent threat.

One 'loop-hole', if you will, in the original A&A is that Japan is out of position for most of the war. Unless the U.S. forsakes the Pacific entirely, and Britain doesn't fight for India, Japan will poke around Asia for a while, and maybe take some islands here and there, but for the most part, there are no large gains to be made as the Japanese. True, they have an impressive naval and air presence, but there are simply no big ticket targets for them. So, they build and build and build, and slowly spread around their area of the board, but unless the S.U. player is completely careless, Japan can never truly threaten Moscow, and, by the time they do get tanks to Moscow, Berlin is either a smoking ruin, or the Allies were inept and Germany and Japan are putting the pincer movement on Moscow. And the idea of Western U.S. falling is ludicrous, unless, of course, the U.S. player unaware of the impending doom of 10 Japanese transports slowly making their way across the Pacific Ocean.

So, to answer the question in one sentence: send as many troops as possible eastward and keep constant pressure on Germany. If the Axis player still wants to play after Berlin falls, well, enjoy nuking Tokyo.


The game map does NOT emulate correctly the historical distances! Therefore it is far more feasible in the game to bring allied troops/equipment through Norway to Russia than it would in reality. E.g. unlike in the boardgame historically allied operations in Norway had no land-based fighter support coverage. The germans capitalized on it ensuring their Norway based fighter coverage would provide the required coverage for its surface fleet... among them the Tirpitz... which was operational past D-Day landings. Notice the Germans didn't try to bring their surface fleet to the english channel to challenge D-Day operations. They knew far too well Allies possessed total air superiority, if not supremacy, there... Historically the Allies still tried(as "correct" strategy, like in the boardgame, dictates) to link up with Russia through artic convoys though...at times Germany successfully disrupted them too...see convoy PQ17. And there was a flow of supplies arriving to Russia trough Persia too. Board game distances versus real distances...

  • 1
    Welcome to the site. An upvote for a good answer. See my comment under Scott Mitchell's answer about "weather rules."
    – Tom Au
    Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 23:03

Agree with Kirt that U.S. must send most/all its resources into the Atlantic, simple math says Russia/U.K./U.S. dollar spend focused solely on Germany ensures Germany's upfront IPC advantage is quickly trumped and overtaken before Japan can mount enough pressure on Russia to relive pressure. Problem is I think Kirt has too often played weak Japanese players - a well played Japan has troops marching into Eastern territories of Russia, and all U.S. forces/land taken by the end of their 2nd round, leaving the only the last battle for India (which depends on if UK built an IC or not).


Here's how I think the game creators saw it: Russia is just cannon fodder. The Japs can easily attack from the East, and Germany has a good 2-3 turns before it has to worry about anything besides Russia and strategic bombing raids/rocket attacks. England/U.K. starts off with a probable SBR from Germany, and might as well return the favor. They have also probably lost Anglo-Egypt to the Algerians and/or Lybians, thus shutting down the Suez Canal. They have a lot to defend, but are without the means to do so. Japan, again, will most likely try to attack Russia in the Soviet Far East. China is also a probable hotbedthat they may want to take (because, hey, 4 I.P.C.s per turn is nothing to sneeze at. Also, since AA guns hit 1/6 of the time, may as well take India off of Britain's hands with the generous force that starts off in French Indochina.

  • 1
    You say a lot about the strategies of "other" countries, but nothing about the U.S.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 18:24

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .