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SS Youth in
Beyond Normandy




Defiant Russia: Axis Options
The Final Cut

This piece, along with its coming companion, “Soviet Options,” will be my last foray into variants for Defiant Russia. It was a cool little game to design and still fun to play. Life goes on however, and other projects beckon, including a sequel if I can ever stop playing games long enough to design them!

Use of any of these options will require the prior approval of your opponent. It is recommended that you trade off with an option from his list, unless you feel an imbalance between your play. In that case add one to redress the perceived imbalance. Or you can toss one in just for the Haliburton of it. You bought my game, you can play it how you want until your heart is content!

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Falangist Spain

Franco certainly owed his position to Mussolini, and to a lesser extent, Hitler. Yet in the courtship of the Generalissimo, neither dictator was successful in bringing Spain into the war on the Axis side. Hitler would only get the Blue Division as a token gesture of support.
Assuming greater success or coercion, what would have been the effect on the Eastern Front if Spain had fully entered the war? Probably not much, as the Spanish sphere of influence and operations would have been centered in the Mediterranean alongside Italy. Still, we can assume a greater Spanish participation on the Eastern Front.

Eliminate the Azul Division in the game. Replace with the Azul Corps, which enters on turn three. It has a full-strength value of 3-3 and a reduced-strength value of 1-3. It can never receive replacements and is worth two casualty points per 13.0.

Imperial Japan

This variant assumes a Japanese offensive launched in the Far East in conjunction with Operation Typhoon. It doesn’t give you any new toys to play with, but hurts the Soviets in the latter stages of play.

The Soviet player loses one replacement point in both November and December turns. Most importantly, the Shock Army conversions are not available in December. Some players may wonder why the effect of this is not greater. While STAVKA would certainly have had its attention diverted, the threat to European Russia would have remained the number one priority.

Islamic Turkey

Franz von Papen was a most bumbling ambassador to Turkey. He drew the post as a reward for queitly handing the Chancellor’s office over the Adolf Hitler, and there was always the chance that Hitler might replace him with someone more competent. If so, the Turks take advantage of the German invasion, if not to declare war, at least to make moves in the Caucasus and Persia.

Starting with the Administrative Phase in July, the Soviet player must roll one die at the start of the phase. On a result of 1 in July, 1 or 2 in August, 1 through 3 in September, and 1 through 4 in October or later, the Soviet player must divert troops to keep the Turks in check. When a number is rolled within this activation range, remove two Soviet infantry armies from either the map or that turn’s reinforcements. If taken from the map they must be at full strength. Simply remove them. They do not count as being destroyed per 13.0.

Ukrainian Collaboration

A kinder, gentler, Hitler is even more of an oxymoron than “compassionate conservative.” Germany went to war to exterminate and murder the eastern peoples, not liberate them. In this genocidal war the Wehrmacht, as recent scholarship reveals, shares guilt with the SS, who are no longer the “alibi of a nation.” Still, for purposes of this fantasy we can assume a more pragmatic occupation policy aimed at exploiting Ukraine’s manpower.

The Ukrainians are given limited autonomy. This occurs in the context of the game when both Kiev and Kharkov are controlled by the Germans. In the following Axis reinforcement step, deploy the Ukrainian “Rada” corps in either city. It represents a new unit type in the Defiant family of games.

It has a value of (2)-3. A unit with a combat value in parentheses defends using that combat strength, but attacks at half that value. The unit has only one step, but rates as a corps. Thus it has a zone of control and counts for stacking. It cannot be replaced if eliminated. It is worth one casualty point for 13.0.

Vichy France

The Vichy government betrayed many of its citizens by allowing Germany to conscript them as forced labor. The military was hostile to Bolshevism even before the collapse of the Third Republic, but the Nazis were holding over 1 million French prisoners of war as hostages to Vichy’s good behavior. It’s not inconceivable that Vichy could have put a token force into Russia in a political move aimed at redeeming at least some of these men from German captivity, without entering the wider conflict, much like Spain did historically with the Blue Division.

Add the Vichy Division “Charlemagne” as a turn three reinforcement. It is a one-step unit and has no zone of control and does not count for stacking. Value it at 1-4. It is worth one casualty point for 13.0.


Dr. Bennighof’s cool Lithuanian variant from an early posting deserves an update. Despite being a one step unit (like the Ukrainians above), it is a corps sized formation and thus does exert a zone of control. It is worth one casualty point for 13.0.

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William Sariego
June 2005