Overview Hammer and Sickle is one of my favorite maps in Red Alert 2. In forces you to combine naval and land warfare if you wish to be successful. The map its self contains a large continent with two other continents connected by bridges. In a two player game you and your opponent are never on the same continent so the bridges can be blown and because of this I choose the allies as the recommended side and because there are multiple forests which provide excellent cover for mirage tanks. The ore is moderate to heavy you must balance between land and ground forces in order to be victorious. Also, there are no tech buildings to capture.
Team Selection As I said before the allies have the advantage on this map for three reasons: First, the map is larger than most and is separated by bridges and the allied player can usually beat an early rush. Second, the map has a substantial amount of water, in which the allies have an advantage. And last, the allies gap generator prevents dreadnought/air craft carriers from attacking your base and the allies have the advantage of a spy satellite and in games where no scouting was done the allies can see the soviet force while the soviets can't see anything.
Allies (recommended): The allied strategy is simple quickly secure half of the map and blow the bridges to prevent early rushes and then build a moderate army, but focus on controlling the seas after you own the seas then send in aircraft carriers and pound the enemy. America (highly recommended): As usual America is one of the best choices for a country selection. The versatility of the paratrooper when used in combination with other attacks is often deadly for your opponent. Also, they are used effectively in defense, plus their free. Korea (highly recommended): The Korean team is a solid selection on this map for several reasons. First they are good at stoping enemy armor before they get to your base, they are made more effective on this map because it is larger and there are some obstacles to get to each base so you have plenty of time to eliminate. Also, the black eagle is perfect for breaking stalemates and wreaking havoc on enemy: structures, economy, and naval units. Germany (recommended): The german side is the best allied team to try to out muscle the soviets. The tank destroyer(TD) is roughly about the strength of a rhino tanks and about the same price, so if you want big tank battles then a mix of TD's, mirages, and prisms are your best bet. Just be sure that you keep the TD away from infantry or buildings. Use your prisms and mirages to peck away at the enemy while you let your TD absorb the big hits. Great Britain (not recommended): The british are to be avoided against a good soviet player, except Iraq, where they can pick off the desolators before they attack you army. Otherwise, the sniper's only help is to pick off engineers trying to repair bridges or paratroopers. France (not recommended): I would avoid using the french for several reasons. First, it lacks offensive capabilities and leads spending too much on defense and not enough on offense. Second, dreadnought/air craft carriers and harriers/black eagles can easily destroy the cannon outside its range and then if you want to stop their attacks you have to spend a ton on anti-air and power plants, which are more vulnerable from other attacks. Last, the american paratroopers pose a interesting threat, not by them destroying a building but a good player will paradrop near a crucial building and cause the cannon to blow up your own building.
Soviets (not recommended): The general soviet strategy on this map should be an quick tank rush before a player can blow the bridges or to gain the naval advantage early and to hold on to it. However, in a soviet vs. soviet match you should be worried about making a huge army and not so much have to worry about naval conflict. BUT if you forget about the navy it may well be your undoing. Russia (recommended): The tesla tank is great at dealing with uninvited paratroopers with out having to worry about harming your own troops as with a desolator. Also, it is very good at dealing with tanks, so leave a few guarding your base and then use them to attack and wipeout opposing armor and structures. Iraq (recommended): Used best when dealing with paratroopers, they can be used effectively deployed(if you have flack cannons) or undeployed (if you have flack troopers or flack tracks) and taking care of invading infantry. Other uses: slip in during big battle(especially effective against allies) and deploy the desolator and watch large groups of mirages and prisms melt quickly and unsuspecting dreadnoughts that venture close to the shore have the desolator deployed and will cause the dreadnoughts missiles to blow itself up. Libya (not recommended): This country is probably better in a soviet vs. soviet match, rather than soviet vs. allies, because harriers/black eagles can easily eliminate demo trucks safely away from their base or if they have a spy sat in your own base. In a soviet vs. soviet match a player will know that you have them, but unless they have scouted well and have a large armored division available to stop the demo truck outside their base, they will be all but helpless if you do a good job keeping it alive and out of their sight and even if they do see it, stopping it will be very costly. Cuba (not recommended): I would say that this country is too risky to use, so I would just avoid using this country.
Economy The ore on this map is moderate-heavy near the starting points, with a gem patch near each starting point, make that your first harvesting priority. But outside of the starting areas there is not neutral ore. This means that out side the starting areas there is no ore whatsoever. However, there is the possibility for huge land and naval battles, but you can run out of funds fast if you are not thrifty enough and then you will have to expand to a vacant starting point to get more funds. The allies have a huge advantage on this map later in the game because it is not necessary to build a second base for refining, however, recommended, because of the quick return of the chrono miners from far distances. As in most maps the more territory containing ore you control the better for after a period the main ore fields become depleted and the person with more ore containing area all most always is the winner.
General Strategy The first objective on this map is to secure half of the map, now what I mean by that is the larger continent if you are on it, or the two smaller islands if you are on one of them. It is quite simple to blow the bridges and prevent rushes. Players should try to keep one bridge open so you can send units across to scout the enemy base, but be sure you defend it well and not to forget about the other bridge or you will be sorry. After you have established a good economy it would be wise to start a navy. After your ore fields are nearly exhausted it would be wise to build a second mcv and move it to the other base area you secured earlier and establish refining and production, make your initial advance on the enemy you should first secure the seas and start pounding the enemy shores, then advance your armies, be sure to secure the other side so when you cross, the enemy is not able to blow the bridge and your armies.
Sample Build Orders
Powerplant » refinery » barracks » airforce command » war factory » second refinery
Powerplant » barracks » refinery » war factory » second refinery » radar
I hope that these tips and strategies will improve your skills on Hammer and Sickle.