Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. Bigred (A). (Full Version)

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FatR -> Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. Bigred (A). (5/16/2010 11:13:38 AM)

As my first PBEM against ny59giants currently is pretty slow and not much interesting happens there, and because I have more free time than I like on my hands, and also because my new game against Yubari proved to be highly interesting, I decided to start AAR decicated to it. I do not promise regular updates, but will try to cover my overall planning, major battles and strategic decisions.

We're playing John 3rd's Reluctant Admiral mod, which can be found here:

It introduces some major improvements for Japanese. The most important at the beginning are 3 CVLs and 2 CVEs already being operational, KB starting divided into 2 warp drive TFs, battleships of the Combined Fleet starting the game already in the DEI theater and bigger production of IJN planes (but not engines). Later there are some major improvements in aircraft availability, including some types that stopped at the testing stage in RL and are absent from the stock, like G8N. There are 3 modified Shokaku CVs in the building queue, instead of Taiho and Shinano, as well as 2 BCs and 2 CAs. Allies get a few changes, but rather minor. Except for Chinese troop strength. Their numbers are boosted by a whole lot. As a whole, this scenario is probably equivalent to Scenario 2 in the long term.

On the negative side, resource stockpiles are reduced, and many Japanese DD don't have DP 127mm guns anymore.

Currently, this game reached 18th December, and a great lot of action happened in these 12 days. Therefore the name of this AAR.

FatR -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (5/16/2010 11:52:49 AM)

Japanese Turn 1 checklist.

1)Planning the shipping.

Fast APs were redirected from various ports to Shanghai (to pick 21st Division and to form the convoy to pick 4th Division, which, in this mod, starts on Samah), Nagasaki/Sasebo (to pick 33rd Division) and Tokyo (to pick assorted units intented for South Pacific and Babeldaob). Cargo ships around Home Islands were redirected to form my first permanent resource-hauling convoys: Kasu-D xAKLs (and some light TKs) to Shikuka, Myati xAKLs to Shanghai, Daigen xAKLs and some of the numerous Aden xAKs to Port Arthur, Gozan xAKs to Hakodate, Ehime xAKs to Sapporo. If I had a chance to redo this, I would have sent Kasu-Ds to Shanghai, instead, as northern waters can be raided, so it is better to use less valuable ships there.

All spare xAKs were sent to Tokyo. As all suply flows there, it is the most logical staging area for future convoys. All TKs were sent to Nagasaki.

I formed two convoys for Port Arthur and one cargo convoy for each of the other ports above. A TK convoy also will be formed at Shikuka. All convoys are composed of the ships of the same type. 10-knot convoys are escorted by Kiso-E PBs and CHa-1 subchasers, others by whatever faster escorts are available, but as soon enough To'su xAKLs are converted to PBs, they'll replace other escorts in this role. I assigned 4 escort ships per convoy and handpicked convoy leaders. Hopefully, high leader inspiration will allow the crews to gain experience facter. Convoys from Shanghai and Port Athur are assigned waypoits so that they'll move only through shallow water.

By now, I also formed Taihoku convoy, to haul resources from Formosa and a convoy for transporting supply from Tokyo to Shanghai.

2)Ship conversions.

To PBs: All Ansyus, 30% of Kiso-Es, 70% of To'sus. Kiso-Es will be mostly used to maintain an early warning patrol around Home Islands, as there aren't many 10-knot convoys.

To ACM: The rest of Kiso-Es and To'sus.

To xAK-t: All Limas.

To AS: Two Husimi-class xAKs.

To TK: All available Std transports will be hidden in ports until this conversion is available.

3)Air production.

Much engine expansion is needed, as not only aircraft factories expansion is not supplemented by appropriate increases in engine factories, but I also converted the Ki-48 plant to Ki-21 and the Mavis plant to Emily. That was a mistake and now I'm out of Mitsubishi Ha-32 engines, despite assigning 3 more plants to them. Should have kept Mavises in production... All old engines are put out of production, and Nakajima Ha-35 got a second plant too.

I kept the production of Nates in Maebashi. Later this plant will convert to Tojos. The Harbin plant is converted to Ki-43-Ic, as is Ki-36 plant in Home Islands. Both are expanded as well. I aim for 120 Oscars per month, initially. Nells plant was shut down one week into the game, as I have a large surplus for now. Jake production was expanded to 35. Ki-57 was chosen as the Army transport plane. Otherwise, no changes (the mod takes care about necessary expansions for Navy planes productions).

4)Other production.

Vehicles are set to expand to around 130. I have a deficit of Naval build points, so I'm cautiously expanding Naval shipyards, starting with smaller ones. HI proficit is about 1400/day so far.

5)Pilot training.

Everyone was put on 100% training. Seems to be working so far. I gutted most of airgroups on Home Islands and in Manchukuo on Turn 1, removing veterans, except for 1-2 per group, and overfilling them with rookies. One week in the game some fighter units were switched to part CAP/part training, just in case. In this mode pilots seem to gain experience faster, but their Defense skill does not increase at all.


I put most units in rear areas on rest/training, except for engineer units. Some airbases in Manchukuo were sent to expand, partially to make my opponent think I might want to attack Soviets, and partially because I indeed might want to do so, even if much later. Fortifications were sent to expand on various Pacific islands and in places where I had idle engineer units. Units were moved to Shikuka, Sapporo, Hakodate and that port next to Ominato (Hirosaki/Aomori?) to start expanding ports there.


7)Commanders. Two KB carriers have commanders with low Air skill, that should be replaced. Overall, I try to ensure that no regiment-sized frontline airgroup, carrier, battleship, ocean-going submarine, army headquarters or infantry division have commanders with inspiration, leadership, aggressiveness and the relevant commanding skill below 60; although commanders for ships at sea cannot be changed on turn 1, obviously. Also, I take care to assign the best commanders I can find to carrier and battleship TFs, and do not disband TFs that start with good commanders, instead changing them as appropriate for the current tasks.

FatR -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (5/16/2010 12:06:05 PM)

On houserules.

- Sweeps can only be flown within altitude band where the attacking planes have their maximum MVR.
- No 4Es on LowN bombing.
- No B-29s on naval bombing.
- Restricted units must pay PP to move out of Manchukuo/beyond national borders. No releasing HQs untill all subordinate units are released.

There also were rules limiting me to only one port attack on the firt turn and preventing the invasion of Mersing of the first turn.

FatR -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (5/16/2010 8:18:02 PM)

Strategic planning: Goals.

I agree with assessment I've first seen in Q-Ball's posts: Allies have only two true strategic objectives. These are preventing oil and fuel from flowing to Home Islands, and obtaining bases from which to conduct a strategic bombing campaign against Japan.

Therefore, a Japanese player must use the period in which Japan holds strategic initiative to make achieving these goals as problematic for Allies, as possible. For this, Japanese must achieve three strategic goals of their own:

1)Swiftly take SRA, with as little damage to oil centers as possible.

2)Establish a solid defensive perimeter sometime before autumn of 1942. This means that, wherever possible, the lines should stabilize in areas, which short-legged Allied fighters cannot reach from their probable forward bases. These areas should have strong clusters of mutually supporting Japanese airbases, backed by good fleet bases in the immediate rear. Moreover, possible forward bases that might allow Allies to launch surface raids deep into Japanese waters, or make sub operations against approaches to Home Islands much easier, should be taken as well.

3)Delivering a crushing blow to the Allied fleet in 1942, either by staging a Decisive Battle (tm) in favorable conditions, or by engaging it in an attritional campaign on your terms. The main point of #2 is forcing any major Allied offensive to start with a big, risky jump, exposing their fleet to massed LBA and possible carrier retaliation (as opposed to a slow creep under LBA cover). For obvious reasons, the whole perimeter strategy cannot work if Allies actually have sufficient naval superiority to make such jumps without massive risks. Therefore, Allied fleets, primarily USN, must be crushed when it is still possible.

I believe that the ships, instead of planes or troops, must be my primary target, as attriting the Allied air force is pretty meaningless in the long run and should be attempted only as a way to achieve operational goals. It is very possible to outproduce Allies in 1942, but unless their airforce is forced to come out and play on your territory, the exchange rate will not be favorable. Middle- and late-war replacement rates make rather irrelevant, whether early-1942 Allied airplane park was wiped out or not. The availability of numerous training squadrons does the same in regards of pilots.
As about ground troops, the opponent is likely to pull out fragments of most anything you trap, so destroying units permanently is hard. More importantly, I doubt it is possible to inflict enough ground losses to hinder Allied operations at all, once they regain initiative, at least without exhausting your own forces and putting them into poor strategic position. Once Allies don't need to worry about defending their own bases and lines from your assaults anymore, putting together enough infantry for a major offensive won't be a problem. Warships, troop transports and tankers should be main Japanese targets, because not only their availability is the most likely bottleneck of the Allied war machine, but because every sunk ship permanently reduces the sum total of the Allies' naval potential.

FatR -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (5/16/2010 9:35:23 PM)

Strategic Planning: The Grand Perimeter.

In the light of the strategic goals outlined above, and considering (measured) aggressiveness, demonstrated by my esteemed opponent in the inital stages, I decided that, keeping in mind my strategic goals #2 and #3, the main aim of Phase 2 of the Japanese expansion, after accomplishing the strategic goals #1, should be Hawaii. The intent is to establish Burma-DEI-SWPac-Marshalls/Gilberts/Hawaii/Aleutians perimeter according to the goal #2, and to draw out the core USN into the battle by going for the target that is most likely to provoke an all-out response.

As operations against India or Australian mainland do not help to accomplish any of my strategic goals and require massive troop commitment, I did not seriously condider either of them for Phase 2 goals. Ceilon is more attractive, due to the higher probability of drawing the Allied fleet into battle, slightly more defensible position and its role as a forefield. Still, USN, not RN is my main target, and Ceilon still can be retaken by Allies without heavily involving their fleet, once they gain air superiority. Ceilon will remain a possible backup goal in case the Hawaian operation is deemed too risky.

Isolation of Australia to prevent using it as a staging ground for Allied offensives is not really viable, because it requires taking both most of South Pacific islands and its western coast. This is an immense commitment, which will leave my forces seriously overstretched and Combined Fleet unable to benefit from interior lines to react in time when Allies start will chipping at the edges of my empire. Or worse, wheh they'll come at me through Central Pacific, Kuriles or Sumatra with a relatively intact fleet.

As about taking Northern OZ (Darwin and area), this is a conditional operation. As long as I can beat up the Allied fleet in 1942, I actually want Allies to come through Timor and surrounding islands later. As demonstrated in Canoerebel vs. Miller AAR, eastern DEI is actually an excellent place for attriting Allied fleets, as long as you don't allow Allies to gain a strong foothold early and produce enough planes to keep throwing them at the invasion fleets. So, if Darwin is reinforced early, I'll probably leave it to Allies. If it is mostly evacuated, indicating the lack of interest on the part of my opponent, I'll grab the area to serive as a lightly defended forefield, so I can focus my troop deployments on other potential approaches.

It also should be noted, that with the crazy power given to coast defense guns under the current patch, storming the beaches at Oahu can be a Bad Idea. I'll run some tests before deploying for Phase 2 to confirm to what extent this is true (also, it is possible that a new patch will be available before then). And it should be noted, that my main target is not Oahu (although taking Hawaii is a worthy goal on its own, as it gives Japan the best possible defensive position in Central Pacific) but Pacific Fleet.

FatR -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (5/17/2010 8:27:56 AM)

Operational Planning and Execution: Philippines/DEI offensive.

Luzon: I've used a non-historical first turn to land at Vigan and Laoag instead of Batan Island. Southern Luzon landing were cancelled, with forces at Babeldaob going for Mindanao, and forces from Japan landing at Aparri. 21st Division was dispatched to reinforce the Luzon invasion, it came just in time to stop dead the Allied counterattack attempt at San Fernando. Yes, Yubari attempted to counterattack landing sites and now my air and ground forces are mauling Philippino troops outside of Manila/Clark. 38th Division and arty from Hong Kong (where the siege is still ongoing) also will be dispatched to end things on Luzon quickly.

My surface forces used patrol zones, instead of destinations or following amphibious TFs to cover the landings on Luzon. As a result, no Allied surface attackers broke through to the landing sites (I was lucky to sink/disable Manila USN destroyers in the harbor on the second day, so Boise and Houston attacked without escorts and my light forces repulsed them without taking serious damage). However, subs and torpedo Catalinas exacted a noticeable price, sinking four ships and putting CL Kuma into shipyard for 2.5 months (she survived only thanks to unreliable torpedos, as subs attacked her three times after crippling).

Air warfare over Luzon was bloody, but by now Japanese aviation has three operating airfields on Luzon and can successfully bomb whatever I want. One of Betty Ku and Tainan Ku took heavy losses while getting there, though.

Malaya-Burma-Sumatra: In this region I launched my main trust, supported by Mini-KB, Nagato, Mutsu and most IJN CAs. If you think about my amphibious operations in waves, separated by my main forces retreating to replenish ammo and sorties, I wanted to create the conditions for early fall of Singapore, as well as for advance on Java from the west, and to take my greatest prize, Palembang, in the first wave. I succeeded, landing at Mersing on turn 2, grabbing Palembang and, finally Singkawang. In the process, 6 TKs, 2 old British CLs and some lesser ships were sunk around Palembang by air and surface attacks. Allies also lost most of their stringbags which unsuccessfully attacked mini-KB. I lost five ships to mines, air and sub attack, but these vere highly valuable ships, including a new DD and an LSD.

As about troop allocation. Imp.Guards Division now marches to Moulmein. 4th and 33rd Divisions will be used to take Singapore instead. This is suboptimal in the terms of preparation and HQ support, but 33rd is preparing for Rangoon, and Allies are unlikely to defend there. And, mainly, it allows to win some operational tempo. I've assigned better commanders to 15th army and Imp.Guards and Southern Army now is shipped to Bangkok, to further boost my attack on Moulmein with its preparation. Two regiments took Kota Bharu, to establish an airfield for LRCAPping Mersing and three tank regiments landed in the north too, to clean up the peninsula. Elements of 2nd Division in Japan were rerouted to Babeldaob, for my eastern DEI thrust. As Singapore now can't be reinforced. I think I don't need them.

It should be noted, that my exploitation of success at Mersing was slow so far, because pre-loaded reinforcement convoys included slow ships and had only 2-hexes speed. Maybe reloading them can actually save time.

Also, Miri was easily captured. And paradrop on Port Blair, meant to cut off the air bridge between CBI and DEI, so far achieved no success: my paratroopers are too disrupted to dislodge the enemy.

Mindanao and Eastern DEI: Here the bloodiest fighting happened. My goal for the first wave was to land Mindanao early, so that Philippine troops can be easily cleaned out while they are inexperienced and the Cagayan airfield, capable of serving Flying Fortresses, can be shut down. I also wanted to take Jolo and, potentially, Ternate (the pre-loaded Manado invasion force was too weak to succeed). Finally, my fleet had to interecept shipping fleeing South China Sea, whenever possible. 4 old BBs and 2 CVEs were assigned to these operations.

Mindanao landings went without a hitch. I lanted Kimura Detachment and an SNLF at Butuan, with Miura Detachment and some air support at Davao, both forces routed the opposition on the first attack. However, my further advance was stalled by not noticing that there is no road going straigt from Butuan to Cagayan...

Ship hunting also was nice. Besides some small fry, I got four tankers from Manila.

But then Yubari counterattacked vigorously, almost completely destroying Jolo and Ternate landing forces with Mauritius, Danae and 3 British DDs on 14th. They were interepted by my battleship cover and both cruisers, as well as 1-2 DDs were sunk, but only after they destroyed the transport force. My battleships under Adm. Tanaka also interecepted and sank a TF of 4 four-stacks DD that day. However, the true disaster struck on 15th, when a TF consisting of Marblehead and a bunch of DDs, as well as CA Houston, acting separately, raided Babeldaob and totally massacred the TF that wasn't disbanded after Butuan landings, as well as some smaller ship groups. Another big TF, that just unloaded reinforcements at Babeldaob, was saved only by actions of CL Oi, that torpedoed both Houston and Marblehead. Houston limped away to be finished off by BB Ise two turns later and I believe Marblehead was sunk.

My losses were far heavier, however. Evil Allied cruisers sank both Chitose and Mizuho. Also, over two days I lost 31 transports, small escorts and auxilaries, including one large xAP. One destroyer also was fatally damaged during the sinking of the British TF. This is a very heavy blow, and now I'm sending both Mini-KB and my new battleships to relaunch the thrust to Eastern DEI. Thankfully, troop losses were relatively slim - only 2 airfield support companies gone forever. So, once more transport ships, no longer needed around Luzon, get there, the offensive will recommense. Also, it should be noted that I already hauled an Air HQ to Babeldaob (for further deploymend at Kendadi). My NavSearch just failed to detect either of the approaching forces...

Anyway, now my plan is to move east of Celebes, taking, at least, Manado, Ternate, Kendari and Ambon in one push. If Allies offer no resistance, I'll be able to go for Macassar and Timor without ever retreating my heavy cover forces. I thought about going right for the oil centers on Borneo, and decided not to. They might be reinforced and protecting them from both day and night strategic bombing will tie down my fighter forces too much. After the stranglehold on DEI is established, I'll take them carefully, by first bombing garrizons into oblivion.

Sub operations: the main current areas of patrol are Macassar Strait and around both tips of Java. So far my subs got two TKs, one large xAK and one xAKL. One subs was sunk by mines at Georgetown on the first turn. I paid much attention to Georgetown, in case my opponent uses it to evacuate his forces. Oh, and all subs had Saigon set as the home base. To think of it this should be added to Turn 1 checklist.

FatR -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (5/17/2010 9:18:55 AM)

Luzon situation:


As you can see, unless Allied troops at San Fernando slip away before the ground combat phase of the next turn (my aviation will try to keep them from moving), the campaign is practically won.

FatR -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (5/17/2010 9:22:13 AM)

Malaya-Sumatra situaton:


An air HQ is going to arrive in Palembang on the next turn. And yes, I've failed to cut off the retreat for most of the troops from Malaya. As I said, exploiting the initial success was problematic, particularly because the airfield took time to build up with no engineers in the first wave and said first wave lost half a regiment in the sea.

FatR -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (5/17/2010 10:26:22 AM)

Operational Planning and Execution: The Pacific.

Amphibious operations: By necessity, my operations here are strictly tied to CV availability. Thankfully, separation of KB into two independent TFs, each with its own escort, makes things vastly easier. As Allies have only 3 CVs initially, one of them at San Diego, I feel that using 3-CVs TFs for supporting initial January operations is fairly safe, if Pearl Harbor attack ends in light casualties.

As it happened, even though I was forced to attack PH again on the second day (with bomb-carrying Kates at 9k), overal casualties were pretty slim. West Virginia blew up during the second attack, and Nevada probably burned out after the first, as pilots did not see it on 8th, the rest of the battleship row is seriously trashed. I'm not likely to see any of them for half a year at least. All cruisers present in PH were at least damaged as well, but none sank.

After PH, KB-1 and replenishment tankers headed south, to first cover Makin-Tarawa landings from any sneaky USN CVs and then support the invasion of Lae-Rabaul-Shortlands. The replenishment TF diverted to Truk after refueling warships around Gilberts. I landed small units at Manus and Kavieng several turns before sending the main convoys, in the hope of drawing my opponent's attention. This seems to have worked: KB-1 just bombed to scrap CA Australia and CL Perth at Shortlands. Now I can boast that I've taken out Australia twelve days into the war).

KB-2 supported the invasion of Wake with an air raid and BC bombardment, that knocked out most of the CD guns in return for some scratched paint. As a result, Wake was taken in a single shock attack, without any ship losses. I'm sending an Air support unit from Eniwetok to Wake. Also, a Nav. Guard unit heads for Marcus, just in case.

I plan to reunite KB at Rabaul after this, refuel it from AOs, if necessary, and head for DEI through Torres Strait, covering Port Moresby invasion on the way. After both KBs and Mini-KB meet, I plan to create three carrier divisions, with 2 CV and 1 CVL each, initially.

As about my eventual defensive disposition in SWPac, Port Moresby will be a forward base. My main stronghold in New Guinea will be Lae-Nadzab area. In the Solomons, Shortlands, Tulagi and, probably, Munda will be my main bases. Rabaul obviously will serve as the hub fleet base, supporting them all. In Gilberts, I plan to eventually occupy at least Tabiteuea and Arorae, as southern Gilbers have relatively good airfield potential, unlike Nanumea, Ellice Islands and Howland-Baker, that can be used for air operations against them. Allowing Allies to creep up these islands without a fight is unwise. Ocean and Nauru also will be taken when units aimed for them raise their prep to 100 and an opportunity (USN CVs being busy elsewhere) presents itself.

On the other side of the Pacific, Paramushiro-jima was transferred to General Defense area, so restricted Mavis units can operate from there. An AF Unit is already unloaded there. I'll reinforce Kuriles strongly after the first wave of ground reinforcement arrives.

I plan no major operations in the Pacific after taking Port Moresby, until DEI is turned into SRA.

For illustration - the fleet positions in Southwesten Pacific on December 18th. My cruiser SCTF actively searches for enemy ships ahead of invasion TFs:


FatR -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (5/17/2010 12:53:58 PM)

Operational Planning and Execution: China.

In China my end goals depend on the extend of my success during Phase 1. If Chinese army suffers a lot of major defeats, I'm going to try overunning the China "heartlands" and taking Chungking, in all likelyhood from Sian region. If the defense seems strong, forming a MLR through Kweisui-mountain hex with railroad northeast of Taiyuan-Taiyuan-Tsiaotso-Loyang-Nanyang-Sinyang-Hankow-Wuchang-Nanchang-Pingsiang-Kanhsien-Kukong-Canton will be my minimum goal. Unfortunately, it includes too many open terrain hexes, and strategic defensive in general has little chances of ending well, so I really hope to inflict an utter defeat on Chinese, or at least continue pressing them on favorable terms so that they won't be able to recover until the China front as a whole becomes mostly irrelevant.

To reach this strategic goal, I envisioned reaching important operational goals of smashing Chinese forces on Central Plains (before they have a chance to train up) and taking production centers there with my first offensive operation. To this operation, I committed (including holding forces on the flanks) 3rd, 6th, 32th, 35th, 36th, 37th, 41th, 110th and 116th Divisions, some brigades and artillery, and 7 armor regiments, including ones released from Manchukuo (under earlier patches I released artillery, now it is of very limited use on the offensive). Yes, you can concentrate this much and this fast, if you reshuffle garrizons and accept some light and temporary PP losses in unimportant locations (I do not intend to take PP losses from undergarrizoning in the long term, but willing to sacrifice a few for a tempo, if garrizon troops need too much time to reach their destination, or to be filled out with replacements). Currently the situation looks like this:


Southwest of Chengchow are four of my divisions and 6 armor units. 3rd and 6th just routed 3 Chinese corps south of Nanyang, reportedly killing off more than 1800 squads. The Chinese force at Nanyand seems formidable, but it includes freshly defeated units, and I have my own reinforcements on the way. I would have preferred to drive Chinese units before mine, smashing them, but not annihilating, but a pocket in open terrain will do as well, in the short term.

I also planned to use 15th Division in this offensive, but it seems that after getting defeated in open field south of Nanchang, Yubari retreats from southern China - recon shows no troops in any of the bases, except Wenchow. Maybe this is a trap, but I'll try to use 15th and 39th Divisions to take Wenchow on cheap.

Now about the bad news. I was soundly defeated at Ichang, taking heavy losses. Ichang seems impossible to defend against an opening-turns assault. Well, at least this defeat shortens the defensive line. Also, while I still can support my operations from the air much better than Chinese do, damn AVG inflicted heavy losses on my squadrons more than once.

FatR -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (5/17/2010 1:09:34 PM)

Planning: Sub Operations and Surface Raiding.

I intend to actively use my long-range subs for convoy interception, at least in opening months. Subs with 9k of endurance will work around Pearl Harbor, others will patrol close to the West Coast, around Noumea, Suva, and across the eastern coast of Australia. Midway, Johnston, Canton and Pago-Pago are watched by one sub each.

I also already did my first bit of surface raiding: Aikoku Maru and Hokoku Maru were routed to patrol between PH and the West Coast and the former intercepted troop-loaded xAP Lurline on the morning of 17th, leaving her in sinking condition. Lurline was escorted by an APD, but this did not help. For now, my raiders will retreat, but they'll return, proably as soon as USN commits elsewhere.

Subs failed to score so far, though. There was an intercept off San Diego, but no hits. At least the widespread raiding and sub warfare will probably force my opponent to use much of his forces for watching his communications.

FatR -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (5/17/2010 1:15:43 PM)

Toll of War: Air.

And yeah, this AAR was not named for no reason, the battles so far were extemely bloody. I've covered most of the biggest naval events above, as about the air warfare, the losses so far are:


Japanese ground losses all are from the sinking of Mizuho and Chitose.

FatR -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (5/17/2010 1:32:02 PM)

And finally: ASW strategy.

Almost forgot about it! At least to post it here, not to start implementing it in the game. But still, forgetting about ASW is not good at all!

Air component: Small 12-plane IJAAF units are all training for ASW patrols. So do most of the small IJNAF floatplane units. I've released tiny floatplane units from China, to later resize them on an AV and employ them for ASW patrols. I also plan to build some Ki-49-Ia just for ASW purposes, because it is only Army bomber with any sort of detection device.

Naval component: Mostly covered in my notes on convoys above. Japanese ASW TFs seem to be of little use in 1942 (although my subchasers apparently sank SS Pike in shallow waters around Vigan in this game). I'll experiment in forming large SCTFs of subchasers and using them to patrol and with assigning high-inspiration commanders to train crews faster, but my main defense, except with areas of very heavy trafic, such as around Tokyo, where ASW ships will serve as decoys, should be careful routing and minimizing the number of convoys.

Minefields: I've mined Tsushima and Oita, and set some ACMs there. Otherwise, no new minefields were laid so far.

Whew. Looks like this time I've finally covered all of my major decisions. Can anyone say if I forgot about something?

bklooste -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (5/19/2010 1:46:02 AM)

Your zero ops losses seem high .. fatigue ?

I like Hawai ( not Oahu)  and Ceylon as both have a good chance of forcing hm to commit in Real life the political pressure would demand it.  If you do it early 2 divs are enough for Hawaii  , use 116th ( replace in PI by  38th or visa versa and one other) .  It is pretty low risk , if you really risk adverse you can take Hawaii Island first setup some air bases , recon Lahaina and then take Lahaina. See undercovergeek for Hawaii though he changed it to Oahu which IMHO is pointless just seige it.

FatR -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (5/19/2010 7:38:00 AM)

Very early invasion of Hawaii (before SRA is safely established) might force my opponent into avoiding to commit his carriers, due to obvious superiority of IJN. Around March he should have five of them and be spoiling for a fight, that's a good date, IMO. Therefore, I aim to complete DEI and Luzon operations in February. I'll post my operational plan for offensive in the Pacific when I'll be starting main preparations for it (so far I only have a veteran brigade from 20th Division in Korea preparing for Midway, which, as well as Johnston, I intend to capture as a part of preparatory operations).

As about ops losses, I try to give my aviators some rest from time to time and fatigue in frontline units usually is around 10-12. But intense combat, particularly over enemy bases, naturally produces significant ops losses.

bklooste -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (5/19/2010 3:15:07 PM)

An interesting idea... comments

  • You will want a non DEI diversion in the pacific so he doesnt build up Pearl pref with some good attrition
  • You will want to do it  before the landing bonus expires. eg if he has 1.5 divs in Lahaina and 1 at Oahu you will have it difficult and wont be able to take advantage of the opportunity.
  • With a late PH capturing Johnson Is is critical but the others including Midway i would be inclined to threaten so he moves units out of PH but without attacking them to arouse suspicion.  Midway goes both ways it can suck units but provides possible Early warning.

FatR -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (5/20/2010 11:38:42 AM)

I believe that March is the last month of the amphibious bonus. That's another reason to launch the operation in March. Thankfully, unless forward-deployed enemy troops slip away on the next turn, I'll have a good chance at overrunnig Luzon in January, and starting preparing some of troops from there for Hawaii.

bklooste -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (5/20/2010 2:04:53 PM)

You sure you want to prep hawaii ?  Im sure an intel will show up  , thoguh you could change all your manchruian units to plan everywhere ( LA , India , Sydney) .

FatR -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (5/20/2010 3:09:47 PM)

I already ordered some units in Manchukuo that might look like good candidates for extraction (EXP 60+ infantry, air support forces, AA units) to plan for India, Australia and SWPac. I also moved a lot of troops closer to USSR borders and started building up some airfields.

John 3rd -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (5/21/2010 12:37:20 AM)

Hey Guys! I didn't know you had started your AAR Stanislav. Great to see another player throwing it all out there for us to read and think on.

With the exception of Hawaii we've had somewhat similar contests to this point.

I threw out the Mersing Option and instead have gone for the waaaaaay early knockout of Java. What slowed you at Mersing?

What Oil Centers do you have and what condition are they in? I've been fantastically lucky to this point with no serious damage to Tarakan, Balikpapan, Brunei, Miri and--most importantly--Palembang. We'll know about Java's centers fairly soon. Sure is a bonus to grab them in one piece.

Yubari strikes me as somewhat aggressive. Many Allied players aren't at the start and they really need to be. Michael went for Babeldoap as well but I thought he might so he caught nothing. Got rather lucky there. Must have hurt to watch that attack. Losing the future CVLs is too bad. I'm very careful with Chitose, Chiyoda, and Mizuho.

CHINA: How is China more powerful in this Mod? We did nothing to change it. Is this part of AE?


Yakface -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (5/21/2010 12:00:03 PM)

Hi John

In answer to your question (hope I'm not butting in) I had a look at this mod a bit ago and noticed that almost all the chinese units had their full TOE. In stock the infantrycorps are mostly between 1/3 and 60% of their TOE. It means that in the Rluctant Admiral, China has an AV about 2.5 times that of stock. They're an absolute monster. However I have a strong suspicsion that it will come to haunt the Chinese as they have no extra supply sources and in the long run I can see massive death from starvation

FatR -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (5/21/2010 1:58:37 PM)

I'm not sure how this happened, maybe material JuanG's mods included stronger Chinese forces. Anyway, I don't exactly disapprove, in the stock it is rather easy to overrun huge regions of China in 1942, while in this mod a Japanese player is in a much tighter situation. Although, on the other hand, farming VPs early in China might become a concern. Let's see how this plays out.

As about oil centers, as mentioned above, I've taken only Tarakan so far, in practically undamaged condition. I might try a paradrop on Medan in the near future, depending on results of recon.

bklooste -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (5/22/2010 1:35:27 AM)

I think it should be a major concern that needs to be considered my first thoughts as China would be i need to loose 75% of my forces so i can supply them ( so move any units to Burma i can depending on HR and PP) . The result would be a massive offensive disregarding losses which will result in a very experienced and supplied Chinese army of the original size ,likely to be a monster once the Burma road is re-opened and you pull supplies accross it ( yes as allies build those bases) .  It really forces the IJA to concentrate on closing the Burma road and putting a lot more units in China which went to Bataan historically.

FatR -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (5/27/2010 1:21:58 PM)

We've resumed our game, but nothing very important happened so far. Hong Kong fell to a shock attack on 19th. Notably, I used an extra infantry group and a mortar unit from Canton in this siege. Otherwise, it would have lasted into January, probably. Freed troops will go to Luzon, where most Allied troops gave me the slip. I smashed 4th Marines, at least.

Meanwhile, there is a part of my war plan I haven't covered yet:

Defenses of North Pacific

These regions are very weak at the start, allowing major opportunities for an unorthodox Allied player. I've already landed an AF unit on Paramushiro, other such units head for Onnekotan, Marcus and Wake to start building up fortifications. A NavGuard arrived on Marcus two turns ago. Unfortunately, there is no free construction units around.

Paramushiro also will receive 8th Base Force, now available at Home Islands. I want to turn it into a major stronghold, with Onnekotan as its supporting airfield. Other based on Kuriles will be eventually garrizoned, but I do not intend to develop them much (besides building fortifications). Instead, a powerful airbase at Bihoro will be eventually created, to project airpower over Kuriles.

I transferred Paramushiro to General Defense headquarters, so now I can base a restricted squadrons of Mavises on it. Eventually I'll probably airlift some restricted units there.

No major fleet assets are currently available to protect Kuriles. As the threat of surface raiding cannot be discounted. I plan to transfer two CLs that currently repair their battle damage at Pescadores to Home Islands waters, after they become combat-worthy again. 5-6 old DDs will be scrounged here and there to supplement them.

EDIT: After much thinking, I decided to fortify Shimushiri as well, and put 5th Fleet HQ there, while Onnekotan will not be developed past about level 2 airfield and 3-4 levels of forts. Not only Shimushiri is a prime target for a possible invasion, I need a major airfield in the middle of the island chain, so that IJAAF bombers will be able to participate in any possible battles. Also, from there 5th Fleet command radius covers all of the islands.

FatR -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (5/29/2010 9:15:38 PM)

Enemy carriers found!

It's only December 23, and we're probably about to have the first carrier battle of the war. Two USN CVs just surfaces southwest of Kendari and launched a divebomber strike against the Japanase old battleship group that just moved there in the hopes that Force Z might move from the south, to intercept my new chain of invasions (forces have already landed at Sorong, Ternate and the hex next to Manado, but the main amphibious fleet heads to Kendari). Yamashiro had light fires after 5 bomb hits, but took no damage that might impair its performance, others had their paint scratched. Mini-KB was too far to the north, sinking small Dutch auxilaries, and only one Zero group provided LRCAP, without much success.

I'm not pursuing enemy carriers (except sending subs to intercept), but I'm willing to stand and fight. Mini-KB actually fields more fighters than two enemy CVs can (85 operational Zeros), and they still had Bufallos on one of the decks, but Mini-KB's strike capability is very weak, particularly after Kate losses taken in the first week of the war. I've pulled my battleships north, so that they, a cruiser close cover TF and two already-unloaded convoys will form a target-rich environment around Mini-KB that hopefully can force enemy to lauch dispersed strikes. Should have commanded one BB to merge with Mini-KB, to provide a bomb sponge, but oh well, the best thoughts often came too late...

Make no mistake, I hope for a carrier battle more than I fear it at this point. But agressive pursuit would have stretched my fleet across the sea, and opened it to too many CAP-attriting attack from various small bases. Also, I cannot discount the probability of Force Z or other Allied surface combatants being nearby, after all.

Meanwhile, both parts of KB will fly ground stikes to support the invasion of Port Moresby, that's coming in two turns, and then sail through Torres Strait to - if USN will be too far away- smite Darwin. Nagumo's force is still at Rabaul (where it replenished planes and sorties, but not torpedos), so I don't want to rush into DEI right away. The enemy is far enough to disappear before I can intercept, anyway. Unless targets of opportunity arise, the next stop after Darwin will be Colombo - there are no major warships at Soerabaja. Remaining fuel on AOs should suffice for that raid.

FatR -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (5/30/2010 10:18:01 PM)

Yubari decided not to challenge Mini-KB and american carriers went on their way. Hopefully they'll try to sneak attack me somewhere else in DEI, but with KB already on its way, they probably will be gone for good. The Kendari invasion convoy will hit the beaches on the next turn. It carries an Air HQ to immediately establish Netties coverage. With stronger fleets assets available for covering invasions, I decided to not bother with establishing an airbase at Manado, although I'll capture the base anyway.

Burma front

The first success was achieved on December 25, when Port Blair finally fell after fighting that took more than a week. Take note, JFBs - 1st Raiding Regiment might not be strong enough to take Port Blair on the first shock attack. Thankfully, my esteemed opponent only sent ships to bombard Port Blair, but did not reinforce. So, now Allied fighters can only get from CBI to DEI on board of ships.

It seems, that Yubari intents to fight at Moulmein. A good move, but will he be prepared for a hook from Chiang Mai (assuming Moulmein won't be just overran by Imperial Guards)? I've sending 143th Regiment there, and two tank regiments from Malaya will probably reinforce the advance - not many Allied troops were cut off on the peninsula.

Maneuver warfare in China

The China is probably the most interesting theater at the moment. With stronger Chinese forces, even my massive army on the Central Plains does not guarantee easy victory. As you can see on the map below, I succeeded at cutting off most of Chinese troops on Central Plains, yet my sneaky opponent refused to just let them be slaughtered and sent them southwest, to avoid the Japanese hammer, and possibly overwhelm my rather deficient holding force. Also, a massive, 113 thousands-strong relief force just sallied forth from Nanyang.

Overall, it seems, that Yubari intends to launch sieges whenever terrain in Japanese-held hexes prevents Chinese forces from being easily evicted, and build up their experience by bombarding my troops. I believe, I can turn this strategy against him in the long term. As long as my main mobile force is free to rampage, the more Chinese forces are tied across the map, the better. Also, Chinese supplies should be eaten up fast by an army of this size. Particularly when it regularly launches bombardments. I intend to speed up the process by strategic bombing of the industry in Changsha area. However, I don't want to let this djinn out of the bottle, until I have enough fighters to overwhelm the goddamn AVG (which is responsible for at least hald of Allied air kills so far) and enough bombers to achieve decisive results on the first couple of days. There is alot of scattered industry in China that can be bombed in return.

I also intend to go for supplies on operational level. The smaller part of my force, including the mass of tank regiments (which proved to be not as mobile as I expected on cultivated terrain) will continue mop-up operations and play with his relief force, while 6-7 divisions will strike Chengchow in the near future, to start capturing Chinese industrial base, and then will move to Loyang. In stock game I would have been 100% sure that my force will squash the defenders like bugs, here it feels as somewhat risky move.

The current situation in China:


FatR -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (6/5/2010 9:23:18 AM)

What is the situation on the last day of 1941?

Well, you can see the point count below. Japanese have achieved all targets of their initial invasion rush, except Mindanao, where forces deployed were insufficient to overrun Cagayan (but I'm sending two SNLFs and 144th Regiment, which wasn't used in South Seas thanks to my logistical screwup, to reinforce) and Ambon, where a duch sub torpedoed an AP with one of 4th Regiment batallions, so it limped back to Ternate before reaching the beach, and remaining forces were insufficient. At Malaya, Luzon and Burma Japanese forces should be in position to achieve a decisive victory in January, while in China the situation remains fluid and uncertain. We've ascertained the position of most of the enemy's CV strength and they were chased off from DEI without causing appreciable harm.

Outside of PH Allies have lost between 7 and 9 cruisers and over dozen tankers (nearly all present in Philippines and DEI at the beginning), although not all show up in the list yet (but I'm pretty sure, that a TK with "fuel cargo burning" or showing "heavy fires, heavy damage" outside of port is done for). Among other categories of Allied ships, minelayers surprisingly took major hurt. All Dutch ones should be on the the bottom by this point. Subs alone took out three (out of six ships registering as sunk by them, although I believe that they did in two tankers, beyond that).

Japanese lost CS Chitose and Misuho (Battle of Palau), their only LSD (Vildebeests at Mersing), two modern destroyers (Mersing and Battle of Celebes Sea), AMC Asaka Maru (sub attack south of Formosa) and one large xAP (again, Battle of Palau). Other losses aren't worth caring about.

Yubari outmaneuvers me in the air so far. His bomber arm is mostly passive, launching sneaky attacks from time to time, but fighters regularly ambush my bombers, to the point many Army flying regiments are heavily depleted. I believe he's quite good at reading what I must bomb at the moment. Thanks to my own production mistakes too, I have no medium bombers, except Nells, in the pools.


FatR -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (6/5/2010 9:38:41 AM)

The Pacific

Brave soldiers of the Empire have seized Rabaul, Lae, Port Moresby, Wake, Guam and Tarava/Makin. None of the landing cost me any ships at all, some transports and PBs were moderately damaged by coastal defenses and that's it. Now I just need to extract ImpGuards Brigade and 2nd Division regiments that stormed Rabaul and Moresby from the latter, take Horn Island and land troops across Solomons to achieve my first-stage objectives for the Pacific. Surface raiders scored another little victory at Canton Island on 30th, where CL Tatsuta and DD Yayoi surprised and sunk DMS Trevor and a small xAK. As I know where two of the three Allied CVs are, currently nearly all available AMCs are heading for Allied communications in the Pacific. Subs did not achieve much so far, sinking a DM and seriously damaging AMC Prince Robert.

See the situation in Solomons/Eastern NG on 31th on the map below. Lae/Nadzab will be my second most important base, after Rabaul, while in PM I intend to build only forts. Tulagi and Shortlands will receive large base forces, although one from Tulagi will be withdrawn to Munda, as Japanese shift on the offensive.


FatR -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (6/5/2010 9:50:42 AM)


I believe Gen. Honda troops, reinforced by 21th and 38th Divisions can seize a swift victory yet. Allies took some beating in open field, including routing of 4th Marine Regiment, and although two initial attacks on Manila were relatively costly, with one regiment mostly disabled, forts are now at 0 or 1, depending on how accurate are aerial damage reports. With 38th Division arriving in the city on the next day, we should be able to evict the enemy, smashing most of American-Philippino army in the process. I believe that Yubari attempts to retreat now simply to provoke an attack before my reinforcements are all in place. But just in case, and seeing how weather over Luzon finally clears, I ordered about 100 bombers (mostly Anns, unfortunately, at this point) to pound the troops in Manila and knock them out of movement mode, if they are using it.

Philippines were a bloody grinder for my aviation. I lost at least hald-hundred of Zeros there, with two naval bomber Ku taking fairly heavy losses, and two Army bomber Sentai practically crippled. Oh, and Saburo Sakai went missing. On the positive side, around 70 Warhawks were shot down in return. Allied losses on the ground are minimal. Even if we hit the airfield currently housing Allied planes, rarely any of them are destroyed. I hope we can finally pound the remnant of American squadrons into oblivion after restricting them to Clark/Bataan.


FatR -> RE: Ocean of Blood. FatR (J) vs. yubari (A) - no yubari, please. (6/5/2010 10:05:05 AM)

Eastern DEI and Mindanao

Here the ocean of blood was the most bloody, but I managed to pick up the pieces after Battles of Celebes Sea and Palau and put together a new wave of invasions. As you can see, Kendari is a Bettie nest now. Manado and Ternate have token garrizons. Two SNLFs that took Manado will briefly visit Davao, to evict Allied stragglers, but they are preparing for Tarakan. Ambon holds, but I hope my battleship bombardment a day ago knocked the wind out of defenders. Ambon is my most unsuccessful invasion so far, witn one xAK going down from fires on the return trip and the base not seized.

Now I need a bit of a pause, to bring enough fuel, supplies and auxilary ships to Kendari (which will become my main base in Eastern DEI. But I intend to take Makassar with 146th Regiment within the next week.

KB and Mini-KB swept the area, chasing Allied fleet from DEI (despite what my recon told me about ships in Soerabaja). A ton of small ships, mostly Dutch trash auxilaries was toasted between Darwin and Soerabaja, but the only real lossses are probably a medium TK and a Dutch sub. I decided against an immediate raid to Colombo. KB aircrews need rest and new planes. Hopefully they'll be able to load them at Kendari. Also, Kaga developed engine trouble and cannot maintain cruise speed. At Kendari I intend to reform my carriers into three divisions, of 2 CVs and 1 CVL each. Two divisions will raid Colombo, and the third one, with 2 CVEs attached, will strike Perth.


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