Why Are the Soviets So Dang Pathetic?

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nukemind2012

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Apr 17, 2013
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Howdy, Nukemind here with my second question of the day, I would put it in simple questions but I don't think it is simple.

My question is simply put why are the Soviets so dang pathetic? I am playing as Austria Hungary. I actually managed to succeed, got EVERY SINGLE STATE without bloodshed that you could. And yet Russia crumpled to a Germany that was missing ~1/3 of it's usual Mils.

No worries, I was totally underequipped due to fighting two wars but I will justify and force Germany to garrison the entire border. Russia still couldn't compete and got pushed back. So I went to war unprepared, taking half of Germany's divisions away. Germany, who didn't have anywhere near what they usually do in manpower or equipment. And once more Russia kept falling- losing Moscow and almost losing Stalingrad.

I wiped out Italy, took all of the heat of Bulgaria, destroyed Legionary Romania, and yet Russia couldn't do crap.

I even did an experiment, much as I have done with China and Japan. I fed Russia TONS of extra civs and mils. They still just got wiped away.

I truly don't get it. Nothing I do lets Russia have any teeth. I know they are damaged from the start but unless I play as Japan and literally send troops to hold the entire line Russia loses Moscow by 1942. Hell, in this game, even with losing Czechoslovakia and Austria, having their Hungarian, Romanian, and Italian allies off the board, they had gotten to the gates of Moscow by Dec 1940, and this was historical.

On that note is there anyway to delay the invasion? I have put well over 800 hours since vanilla on ironman but seeing ahistorical things happen left and right even on historical mod is getting... well frankly I am getting annoyed. HOI4 seems to be the only paradox game which just really gets under my skin, in part due to the fact that generals decide to rearrange the frontline every other day and in part due to the fact that the AI just gets such random results against other AI nations.
 

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My question is simply put why are the Soviets so dang pathetic?
Because the war largely revolves around stockpiled materiel during peace time, once you lose those, it`s almost impossible for AI to come back.
Air superiority creates asymetrical trades, if Soviets lost their fighter planes, they are not going to come back, since they also lose a huge amount of factories.
And even if you give them factories, those factories will spend a long amount of time gearing up. The Soviets don`t have their massive IRL industrial advantage over Germans, once their industry finished moving.
 
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I suspect the Soviets sell a lot of their stockpiles before the war since I frequently find their guns on the market if I'm a communist nation so they might not have enough in stock to make new divisions after they start losing.

Secondly, I suspect the Soviet AI doesn't cope well with the 2nd Finnish front compared to the single-front war it was in previous expansions.
 
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I play lots of post-war games, without interfering in main war, what i can say in really the game is balanced very close to historical date..

If your u build a strong non-historical german ally, probably trading with them, giving extra civs boost, they will stomp soviets.
If u want a side to win or be strong, first, buy resource with that side from day 1.

Unless receive a lend-lease, German will run out of equipment first than soviets in 43~44.
 
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On the other hand, I've found that playing as the Soviets has slowly got more and more effective since NSB and later patches/dlc with the introduction of MIOs making a surprising bonus difference. The biggest issue is that HOI4 is a wargame of WW2 and there is a lot of opportunity for skill in the ground combat element of the game which gives major advantages to human players. Obviously that isn't particularly relevant to AI versus AI but I think the increasing complexity from all the changes has somewhat got away from the AI implementation which kind of lags behind. The effect from this is somewhat destabilising to game balance as the impact on different countries and different stages of the game can be quite complex.
 
Because this is a balanced solution from Paradox. Their AI balance is for the USSR to slowly lose until the Allies land in Europe.
I agree it should be balanced and that the USSR should lose absent Allied intervention, but I would argue that should happen against a full strength Axis.

A Germany which only has its 1936 borders plus occupied lowlands and France should not be able to march to Moscow in ~3 months. Especially not if they have to garrison another front and also lost all their allies (Romania, Italy, Hungary). That should stretch them so thin as they are no longer historical Germany but rather Weimar Germany + occupied territories (which give fairly few resources anyways, at least for a bit).
 
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I agree it should be balanced and that the USSR should lose absent Allied intervention, but I would argue that should happen against a full strength Axis.

A Germany which only has its 1936 borders plus occupied lowlands and France should not be able to march to Moscow in ~3 months. Especially not if they have to garrison another front and also lost all their allies (Romania, Italy, Hungary). That should stretch them so thin as they are no longer historical Germany but rather Weimar Germany + occupied territories (which give fairly few resources anyways, at least for a bit).
You probably did something ahistorically that overstrengtened germany:
They atacking in november 1940? why? i never see that before. normally they atack on jul~nov 1941.
Early atacks benefits germany because SU need time to prepare, more delay for germany more better for SU.

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You probably did something ahistorically that overstrengtened germany:
They atacking in november 1940? why? i never see that before. normally they atack on jul~nov 1941.
Quite literally nothing at all, outside of taking Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Austria. I guess that let them bypass the focus but as I planned to invade them for Silesia I even bought all my resources via the USSR.

When the invasion popped off they had roughly 100 Mils and 100 Civs, can't remember the exact numbers. They definitely were on paper alot weaker than they would usually be, though I would assume Russia just couldn't get it's act together anyways. I even justified on them early and put some troops on the border so they would have to move troops out of the invasion of the USSR but again they still had Moscow before 1940 was up.
 
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Quite literally nothing at all, outside of taking Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Austria. I guess that let them bypass the focus but as I planned to invade them for Silesia I even bought all my resources via the USSR.

When the invasion popped off they had roughly 100 Mils and 100 Civs, can't remember the exact numbers. They definitely were on paper alot weaker than they would usually be, though I would assume Russia just couldn't get it's act together anyways. I even justified on them early and put some troops on the border so they would have to move troops out of the invasion of the USSR but again they still had Moscow before 1940 was up.
You did those ahistorical things you listed, after that the game does not act historically any more on historical. I have many times played Germany on historical and done successful Sealion. When the UK falls, the game does not act historically any more. The boring thing in a historical game is that if you deviate from history, the game is ahistorical after that. And it might be ahistorical in a different way than you or me have tought.
 
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Quite literally nothing at all, outside of taking Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Austria. I guess that let them bypass the focus but as I planned to invade them for Silesia I even bought all my resources via the USSR.

When the invasion popped off they had roughly 100 Mils and 100 Civs, can't remember the exact numbers. They definitely were on paper alot weaker than they would usually be, though I would assume Russia just couldn't get it's act together anyways. I even justified on them early and put some troops on the border so they would have to move troops out of the invasion of the USSR but again they still had Moscow before 1940 was up.
Germany have the best starting army, in really they IC in 1940 don't matter, if they start war against SU in 1940 they will win.
 
Germany have the best starting army, in really they IC in 1940 don't matter, if they start war against SU in 1940 they will win.
Seems focus railroading with the bypasses is primarily at fault then.

Although at least initially after AAT released the Soviets frequently got snowballed to death even with a historical Barbarossa date, usually losing Moscow or even Stalingrad without being able to plug the line with enough bodies.
 
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Seems focus railroading with the bypasses is primarily at fault then.

Although at least initially after AAT released the Soviets frequently got snowballed to death even with a historical Barbarossa date, usually losing Moscow or even Stalingrad without being able to plug the line with enough bodies.
It's actually logical that the SU looses if the Allies don't send any lend-lease, since historically the Allies sent massive lend-lease, and not lend-leasing is ahistorical.

Also part of the German forces were historically tied in North Africa. Without Africa (ahistorical), Rommel's (Africa) Korps could have reinforced the German thrust towards Moscow, for example.
 
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I will agree that AI Soviets have been MUCH weaker since NSB.

I don't think the AI is capable of playing the paranoia minigame particularly well, which makes sense since PP usage has always been an AI weak spot. The random element probably exacerbates the AI woes. I think it would be great if we had an option to turn off the paranoia subgame for the AI. Heck, extend that to focus tree subgames in general...Turkey and Bulgaria also tend to struggle with them. Leave that micro-managing PP whack-a-mole for human players to deal with.

AI often isn't super-efficient with industrial buildup.

I don't think the Soviet focus tree has much margin for error and the scripted path isn't optimal.

Probably other reasons I'm missing.
 
It's actually logical that the SU looses if the Allies don't send any lend-lease, since historically the Allies sent massive lend-lease, and not lend-leasing is ahistorical.

Also part of the German forces were historically tied in North Africa. Without Africa (ahistorical), Rommel's (Africa) Korps could have reinforced the German thrust towards Moscow, for example.
Yes, they sent it, only Lend-Lease really began to work only in 1943, the main defensive battle was on the shoulders of the USSR independently. So the balance of the game should at least be built so that the USSR could defend itself on its own and significantly restrain Germany without support and ice-lease and not wait for a prince on a white horse. And if we talk about historicity, then Germany attacked very successfully when the Soviet troops were divided into three echelons: partly on the border, partly on the way, partly that had just begun to move towards the border and were forced to engage in partial battle. Because keeping troops on the border is an act of aggression and a reason for war. The divisions were not complete due to peacetime staffing, some did not have fuel. All this is not simulated in the game. If in reality the USSR kept all its troops ready and in prepared defensive positions, as the game allows, then Germany would not have it easy, the question here would be whether Germany would even be able to reach Smolensk.
 
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I don't think the game has every really managed to simulate a front that starts out in the aggressor's favour, but the defenders manage to halt due to military reinforcements / build up, and then push back. In practice all HOI4 land wars go in one of three directions:
1) The aggressors get immediately pushed back to capitulate because the AI did a suicide declare war (the classic!)
2) The aggressors do a constant and consistent push all the way to capitulate the defender
3) The aggressors push the defenders back until supply becomes such an issue that nobody can move - the aggressor will still win eventually (unless something significant changes) but it is prolonged purely due to supply.

...with the Japan-China war and the Germany-USSR war falling squarely into 3). Correct me if you can think of a counter example.

I know it's gonna be very hard to get this right, but Germany-USSR is where it sorely needs to work.
 
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The biggest problem throughout the whole series of HOI games has been a combination of the difficulty of developing an AI that is good at attacking and the compensating measures to make attack stronger. In early HOI versions attack was simply superior to defence in that a defender would do better by attacking then by standing and defending. That at least is now gone in HOI4 but for the AI to succeed at attacking there are things build into the game that still make (strategic) attack stronger than it should be. This makes trying to create a correct balance between AI countries very difficult because the situation is inherently algorithmically unstable. Getting a consistent balance and having the eastern front behave appropriately in a situation that has gone even slightly ahistorical is probably only achievable by some much harsher scripting of Axis bonus and Soviet penalties.
 
Because they WERE historically.


Lend lease helped MASSIVELY. Sure later on you didn't see British lend leased tanks driving into berlin, truth is by that point the soviets were a lot stronger. Earlier on the massive amounts. And I mean MASSIVE amounts of lend leased equipment's BARELY managed to carry the soviets over the line. We are talking 100s of thousands of cars and trucks, 10s of thousands of tanks and planes, massive amounts of basically every other equipment.

This basically never happens in game, and there really isn't a case to make for the soviet union managing to hold out without this support because quite frankly the qualitative AND numerical superiority the germans would have had would have been insurmountable.


Secondly, even with this considered the soviet union BARELY pulled through until the allied invasions. Mannstein, the orchestrator of the invasion of france pins germany's loss in the soviet union squarely on hitlers and the upper leaderships decision to delay pushing the soviets for about 6 months to allow the germans to 'trial' their new 'fancy toys' Hindsight is 50/50 in that waiting time to increase your qualitative advantage might have been a good idea, but the lend lease efforts and the soviets unions very very unexpected and massively successful move to shift massive amounts of its industry to the urals meant that the soviets were prepared to fight a much 'deeper' war once those 6 months were finished.

And even then when those 6 months were finished and we get the massive german advance leading to the goliath engagement of Kursk, the soviets still only 'barely' pulled through, in fact Kursk is only really a 'loss' for the germans because hitler decreed the russians to be 'down and out' for the fight and decided his armies should head back west to engage the allies. Mannstein and other top brass strongly believed (And rightfully so) That Zhukovs backlines at the time were entirely unequipped and ill prepared to defend from a redoubled and further offensive, and this would have seen a massive amount more of the soviet military destroyed. Although either way at this point long terms the soviets would have won, it was only a question of 'when' the germans would have to pull back to engage the allies and the second they did the soviets would be able to reequip and reengage. On a theoretical level the germans could have chosen not to do this and probably could have taken the soviet union at cost if they'd chosen to continue their offensive after kursk but to do so would have led to an absolute breeze of a victory for the allies which would have found western europe practically undefended. ergo there was no practical way to defeat the soviets after kursk, but it was possible. And much more possible about 6 months earlier.

Basically might point is Russia really shouldn't have 'teeth' as it goes, the country ALONE wasn't particularly powerful, and it took massive lend lease (Which helped enable) and Shifting of industry to the urals + about a 6 month stall from the germans for them to have not been taken out of the game before the allies arrived to europe.


The most important point you should take from this is a Russia that even remotely mirrors its IRL equivalent should be absolutely weak without the ludicrous levels of lend lease it recevied from the allies. I really can't overstate how important that lend lease was from war start-kursk.
 
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Also one aspect of LL that often is missing is that SU got quite a large amount of industrial eqipment from States via LL(or some ther payment arrangement). So while Soviet production is impressive, at least partly it is based on imported allied hardware.