Lowering Soviet Morale

Updated: Oct 5, 2019

The Whole Rotten Structure Will Come Crashing Down

by Alan Emrich

You eat a whale one bite at a time.

How do you eat a whale? One bite at a time.

How to you reduce the Soviet Union to a Morale Collapse? One Morale Point (MP) at a time. That won’t be easy; the Axis must remain constantly focused on it to achieve a Soviet Morale Collapse. Why that is and what can you do to make that happen the next time you are the Axis campaigning in the Soviet Union is the subject of this article.

Note that Morale Points (MPs) are a Campaign Game matter, and they only really matter when they are plummeting! As long as the Soviets have even 1 MP, they remain in the game hitting just as hard as they did last turn (often harder). This is an all-or-nothing proposition; either you crack Soviet Morale, or you don’t.

In a rules sidebar, designer Frank Chadwick tells us this about the Morale System in the game:

When Does Morale Crack?

The single hardest strategic question in war is what it takes to make your opponent throw in the towel. In the real world, you arrive at this answer experimentally and empirically: people try different things until one of them works. As often as not, after a country surrenders, historians argue for decades about what really triggered it. Game designers do not have the luxury of saying, “Well, it’s hard to say for sure.”

The last German troops surrender at the end of WWII.

ETO’s answer is the National Morale system. Reduce your opponent’s morale to 0 and they give up. The points we award, and their relative weight, partially reflect our considered judgement but also partly reflect the expectations of strategists at the time. Destroying enemy units in offensive operations damages the enemy morale much more than your losses during those offensives affect your own morale (people like to see the arrows moving in the right direction on the maps, and they will suffer a good many losses as long as they believe they are on offense and winning).

Capturing cities, losing cities, allies surrendering or defecting, strategic bombing campaigns (and later the commerce war conducted largely by submarines), all had an effect on the morale of the belligerents.

A Common Frame of Reference

1. At the end of the Axis July I ‘41 turn