Perfection, of a kind, spence (A) vs fcharton (J), no spence, please (Full Version)

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fcharton -> Perfection, of a kind, spence (A) vs fcharton (J), no spence, please (2/24/2012 6:43:11 PM)

After a nine months war against SoliInvictus201 and with a 2x2 campaign against swift and undercovergeek now on a long pause, I went looking for an opponent yesterday. Spence promptly answered the call, and offered to play the Allies.

So, here is my third attempt at evil empire impersonation. An ancient Chinese saying goes ‘first time forgive, second time scold, third time punish’. Being a masochist, like most JFB I suppose, I hope this game will last long enough for me to receive all the punishment I deserve. Of course, since a year playing this complex game will not turn a clueless armchair general like me into even a moderately competent player, humiliation and ridicule will certainly be part of the punishment.

We will be playing Scenario 2, one day turns, with historical first day, variable reinforcements, realistic R&D, and PDU off. We also agreed not to have house rules, and discuss matters as they arise. Since we have a historical start, we cannot issue orders on the first turn, and our game will soon begin with a replay, followed by a long pause while I work on the initial orders for my pixel boys. The plan is to get everything going by the beginning of March.

So, have a seat, gaijins, set yourself comfortably, for this will probably take a while, grab a glass of whichever beverage your doctor and your spouse still allow, and behold the rise and fall of this evil (albeit francophile) empire.

Schlemiel -> RE: Perfection, of a kind, spence (A) vs fcharton (J) (2/24/2012 10:51:31 PM)

Ouch at that PDU off.  Should be an interesting experience still for you though.

PaxMondo -> RE: Perfection, of a kind, spence (A) vs fcharton (J) (2/25/2012 4:23:01 AM)

Good Luck with the PDU OFF.  Difficult game for me. 

obvert -> RE: Perfection, of a kind, spence (A) vs fcharton (J) (2/25/2012 1:19:08 PM)

Good luck.

At least in Sen 2 you'll have more crap planes than if you were playing Scen 1 PDU off. Those extra ground forces should help as well.

fcharton -> RE: Perfection, of a kind, spence (A) vs fcharton (J) (2/25/2012 8:27:44 PM)

December 7th, 1941 – The machine speaks

Since we have historical first turn, I am not at all responsible for what happened today. And for that reason, probably, it was a pretty good day for Japan.

In Pearl Harbor, BB Arizona, Oklahoma and Tennessee are reported sunk (the last one to a magazine explosion). Nevada and West Virginia took five and six torpedoes, and are reported with heavy fires and heavy damage, both might be beyond rescue.

The three last ones received three or four torpedoes each, and 4-6 bomb hits. They should survive, but will be in the yard for a while. Four of the five surviving battleships report fires, three report heavy fires, and all heavy damage.

Two cruisers (CA New Orleans and CL Detroit), and four destroyers (Helm, Aylwin, Case and Cummings) were sunk, and a couple more damaged.

Here is the full naval damage report :
BB Arizona, Bomb hits 2, Torpedo hits 5, and is sunk
BB Pennsylvania, Bomb hits 4, Torpedo hits 3, heavy damage
BB Tennessee, Bomb hits 3, Torpedo hits 2, and is sunk
DD Farragut, Torpedo hits 1, on fire, heavy damage
BB California, Bomb hits 6, Torpedo hits 3, heavy fires
BB Oklahoma, Bomb hits 7, Torpedo hits 5, and is sunk
BB West Virginia, Bomb hits 8, Torpedo hits 6, heavy fires, heavy damage
CL Raleigh, Bomb hits 2, Torpedo hits 1
CL Helena, Bomb hits 2, Torpedo hits 2, heavy fires, heavy damage
BB Nevada, Bomb hits 5, Torpedo hits 5, heavy fires, heavy damage
DM Breese
AV Tangier, Torpedo hits 1, heavy damage
BB Maryland, Bomb hits 6, Torpedo hits 4, on fire, heavy damage
xAKL Manini
CL Detroit, Bomb hits 2, Torpedo hits 2, and is sunk
DD Aylwin, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
CL Phoenix, Bomb hits 3, on fire
DD Ralph Talbot, Bomb hits 1, on fire
DD Hull, Bomb hits 1, Torpedo hits 1, heavy fires, heavy damage
PT-29, Bomb hits 1, and is sunk
AG Argonne, Torpedo hits 1, on fire, heavy damage
CA New Orleans, Bomb hits 1, Torpedo hits 3, and is sunk
CL St. Louis, Bomb hits 1, on fire
CA San Francisco, Torpedo hits 3, on fire, heavy damage
CL Honolulu, Bomb hits 1, Torpedo hits 2, on fire, heavy damage
DD Case, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
DD Cummings, Bomb hits 1, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
AV Wright, Bomb hits 1
SS Tautog, Bomb hits 1
PG Sacramento, Bomb hits 1, on fire, heavy damage
DD Henley, Bomb hits 1, heavy fires, heavy damage
DM Pruitt, Torpedo hits 1, on fire, heavy damage
AG Aries, Bomb hits 1, heavy fires
DD Helm, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
CM Oglala, Torpedo hits 1
DD Selfridge, Bomb hits 2, heavy fires
DD Dale, Bomb hits 1, on fire
DD Conyngham, Bomb hits 1, heavy fires
AS Pelias, Bomb hits 1, on fire
AM Grebe, Bomb hits 1, heavy fires, heavy damage
DD Blue, Bomb hits 1, on fire, heavy damage

In the air, enemy fighters did not fly. I lost five zeroes to flak, and destroyed about 120 planes on the ground. The runway took 104 hits, and airfield damage is at 29%.

East of Mersing, Force Z met the Betties from Indochina, and her fate. Prince of Wales, Repulse and one destroyer (HMS Tenedos) are reported sunk. Over Rangoon, three patrol boats were sunk, and seven cargoes mauled. I would be surprised if any of them survives. Other air strikes traded Buffaloes for Nates, damaged runways, and shot dwon a few bombers. Batan Island was invaded and conquered.

A pretty good first turn, I believe. But then, it was the machine, playing. This might explain that.


Before embarking on my first turn clickfest, I thought I would comment a bit on this setting. I actually asked for PDU Off. Having never played the late game, I might be totally wrong, but I am not convinced it is such a problem for Japan.

First, PDU Off cuts both ways. Since it prevents both sides from maximizing their technological advance throughout the game, I would believe it hinders Japan in the first half of the game, but also helps slowing the Allies when the tide turns. Like many other features in this game, I suspect our negative view of it is biased by our lack of collective experience of the second half of the war.

Second, it is not true that PDU off forces one to fight with old frames that can’t upgrade. A close look at Tracker statistics shows that many squadrons can upgrade to advanced models. But front line squadrons will not be the same through the war. For instance, several Nate training squadrons that begin the war in Japan or Manchuria update into good late war models, whereas some of the early Zeroes that will help me take the DEI will keep their early Zeroes, and become training outfits as the campaign proceeds. This means a different sort of planning, and some PP costs.

Lastly, I suspect PDU Off helps one rationalize plane production. An extreme case of PDU On strategy would see a player overproduce every model, to equip as many squadrons as he can, and just dump all those frames once a new model is available. This is a waste of resources, which implies a heavier dependence on imported fuel and oil, and more vulnerability for Japan.

denisonh -> RE: Perfection, of a kind, spence (A) vs fcharton (J) (2/25/2012 10:03:26 PM)

My take on PDU off is that it benefits the Japanese early and the Allies late. Early on, it keeps the Allies from more quality airframes for the Allies that are "stuck" on the west coast (B-17Es, P-38s, P-40Es, B-25s and B-26s), but later on it keeps the Japanese from being able to capitalize on production decisions by structuring the force to reflect those decisions.

It is a trade off.

PaxMondo -> RE: Perfection, of a kind, spence (A) vs fcharton (J) (2/26/2012 12:17:48 AM)


ORIGINAL: denisonh

My take on PDU off is that it benefits the Japanese early and the Allies late. Early on, it keeps the Allies from more quality airframes for the Allies that are "stuck" on the west coast (B-17Es, P-38s, P-40Es, B-25s and B-26s), but later on it keeps the Japanese from being able to capitalize on production decisions by structuring the force to reflect those decisions.

It is a trade off.

I think the switch over comes in late '42 ... you will have a lot of IJA squadrons stuck with 1930's design aircraft until late '44. Sonia, Nates, Annes, Ida's ... it is a big impact. Sally's and Helen's aren't that great compared to B-17's, but compared to Ida's they are fantastic.

Francois, I applaud you for choosing it in Scen 2, and I will be watching as usual. But, I know that I am NOT a PDU OFF player. [;)]

fcharton -> RE: Perfection, of a kind, spence (A) vs fcharton (J) (2/27/2012 12:51:10 PM)

The first turn is now in enemy hands, and this should take a while. I’m taking advantage of this to ramble a bit about the economy, and my mindset (it is still too early to speak of strategy) as I begin this journey.

HI usage throughout the game

Heavy industry (HI) points are the Japan’s industrial currency. They are produced by heavy industry factories, using resources and fuel. How many points will Japan need during this game?

Assuming the game goes to May 1946, that is about 1620 days or 54 months, most HI usage can be broken as follows.

- Pilot training, in scenario 2, represents 38k HI/month at start. If this remains steady throughout the game, this means about 2 million HI.
- Air production: an engine costs 36 HI (18 for the engine, same for the frame). A production level of 500 engines/month (ie what you have at game start) will use one million HI. 1000 engines/month will mean 2 millions, and so on.
- Ship production: if all ships in Japan’s program are built at normal rate, the total cost is about 10 million HI
- Armament/vehicles : this is a little more difficult to estimate. Total needs for reinforcement represent about 2.1 million HI, but one needs to add replacements and upgrades, I estimate the total around 5 million HI.

There you go. If you do everything as planned at game start, total HI usage should run around 18 million points, three for the air force, five for the army and ten for the navy. Boosting the air force would perhaps increase this total to about 20 million.

Now, can you produce 20 million HI? Industrial capacity is not a problem: Japan begins the game producing 14 360 HI per day, which would represent more than 23 million points over the whole game, and industry will probably grow through capture. Resources are not a problem either, you have enough, especially in this scenario, to feed the heavy industry all through the war.

The limiting factor is fuel, we all know that. But just how limiting is it?

In scenario 2, Japan begins the game with 6.6 million tons of fuel, and 4.8 million tons of oil, which will eventually be refined into 4.3 million tons of fuel. The home islands and Manchukuo also produce about 3000 tons of oil per day, or about 4.3 million tons over the whole game. Overall, stocks and home production represent 15.2 million tons of fuel.

China, the DEI and Burma represent about 2900 oil centres. Over a full year, they will produce about 9.5 million tons of fuel. If you consider they can be held for over two years (in practice, that would mean keeping most of it throughout 1942, two thirds of it throughout 43, and one third throughout 44), total fuel production would run around 19 million tons, for a grand total of about 34 million tons of fuel for the whole campaign, to which about 3 million tons of “bunker fuel” that magically appear at game start should be added.

Is this enough? I believe it might be. With 20 million tons for the industry, ships would have 17 million tons fuel for the game, or about 10.5 k per day. A full strength KB will use about 2k/day, but there would only be a few such task forces in operation, and not all the time. If convoys are reasonably economical (eg loaded on both trips, and over short distance), Japan probably has enough fuel.

And there you have your typical strategy for Japan. To succeed, the Empire needs to hold an undamaged DEI for an average of two years. The Allies will try to prevent this, hence Palembang fortresses, and early raids on Burma.

But it doesn’t have to be so. In fact, fuel needs can be much reduced if one restricts the naval construction a bit. Merchant shipbuilding represent about 4.5 million HI (and as many fuel points), and 1945 and 1946 warships 1.9 million HI. Consider you don’t need those, and your shipbuilding costs are reduced by 60% (and, of course, having less ships will certainly reduce their fuel usage).

This analysis also shows that planes are cost effective, in terms of HI. Tripling Japanese production, for a total output of about 65 000 planes, through the war uses the same amount of HI as 1945-46 warships, most of ship which see action anyway (especially if you have no fuel left)

So, here’s the mindset this Evil Imperial Head Quarter (EIHQ in acrospeak) begins the war in. By reasonably expanding air production, and cutting most merchant and some late naval programs, I would like to shoot for a overall HI expense around 13-14 million points. This would mean oil/fuel production and stocks from Manchuria and the Home Islands would be enough for my total industrial needs (15.2 million vs 14), and that conquered fuel would, essentially, be ship fuel.

PaxMondo -> RE: Perfection, of a kind, spence (A) vs fcharton (J) (2/28/2012 2:42:30 AM)

In Scen 2, pilot cost goes up to about 70,000/month if I recall correctly.

fcharton -> RE: Perfection, of a kind, spence (A) vs fcharton (J) (2/29/2012 5:47:18 PM)

The war is on, and fast, too. We agreed on the game last Friday, the Japanese turn was sent on Sunday evening, the Allied reply arrived on Monday night, and we played December 9th today.

December 8th 1941

I am going for a dull and methodical opening: no deep thrusts, no bold moves.

Another day in Hawaii
After those nice first day attacks which my opponent dubbed “an IJN wet dream”, and given the good shape of KB’s air units, Evil Imperial Naval Command ordered another day of raiding and bombing and merrymaking. Kido Butai was positioned just south of Lihue, four hexes west of Pearl, and a large screen of submarines was deployed between her and the US base, in case someone tried something naughty.

During the night, SS Dolphin managed to break through the screen and fired two torpedoes at CV Zuikaku. Both missed fortunately, as did all attempts by the cover force to avenge this humiliation.

The second air raid on Pearl Harbor took place in the afternoon. All Kates and most Vals flew under a strong escort, but Kates used bombs, not torpedoes. We lost six planes and shot down twelve. Only one ship (DMS Wasmuth) is reported sunk, but quite a bit of damage was dealt.

Allied Ships
BB California, Bomb hits 11, on fire, heavy damage
BB Maryland, Bomb hits 8, on fire, heavy damage
BB Nevada, Bomb hits 2, heavy damage
DD Selfridge, Bomb hits 1, on fire, heavy damage
CL Honolulu, Bomb hits 2, heavy damage
CA San Francisco, Bomb hits 1, on fire
AO Ramapo, Bomb hits 1, on fire
BB Pennsylvania, Bomb hits 2, heavy damage
DMS Lamberton, Bomb hits 1, heavy fires
AM Tern, Bomb hits 1, heavy fires, heavy damage
PC Reliance, Bomb hits 1, heavy fires, heavy damage
DD Dale, Bomb hits 1, on fire
DMS Zane, Bomb hits 1, on fire, heavy damage
AV Wright, Bomb hits 1, on fire
DD Monaghan, Bomb hits 1, on fire
DD Blue, Bomb hits 1, heavy fires, heavy damage
DMS Wasmuth, Bomb hits 1, and is sunk
CL St. Louis, Bomb hits 1, on fire
xAP St. Mihel, Bomb hits 1, on fire

Later that day, DD Ward was sunk by Vals.

This second day was costly. We lost 25 Vals, 6 Kates, and 5 Zeroes, most of the Vals to CAP over Pearl Harbor (I had assigned a significant percentage to search and those funny guys had no wiser idea than to recon Pearl…). But it was a good PH raid, overall. Three, maybe four, enemy battleships were sunk, the others are probably in sore shape, a decent number of smaller vessels were sunk or crippled, and the Allies probably lost about 150 planes during those two days.

KB is still high on sorties and torpedoes, but I don’t see the benefit of staying another day. She will now refuel near the French Frigate Islands, and then sail to Wake Island, where the invasion force is waiting, to partake in more merrymaking.

Giocco Pianissimo

In the Pacific, my early game plan was to move slowly. Apart from Makin, which was captured today, all early island invasions were postponed until I know where Allied CV and Cruiser forces have gone. There is no reason to risk good ships and SNLF battalions to an early raid by Allied carriers or cruisers. It probably was a good idea, as a cruiser force was spotted south of Tarawa today, moving north. The amphibious task force is now doubling back and all planes in the area are on search and naval attack, with a little luck.

In the Philippines, invasion forces will hit Appari tomorrow and Vigan the day after. Two parachute units took Laoag today. This has no any strategic significance, or utility. I just wanted to try paradrops, for the fun of it. Evil Empires are vain, sometimes.

In the air, sweeps took place over Clark and Manila, and shot down about 25 Warhawks (for 5 Zeroes). All my bombers had been set on naval attack, but I had unfortunately forgotten to check their “second mission”, and most Betties set out to bomb Clark and Manila, unescorted. This cost me almost 30 planes…

In Malaya, Kota Baru fell to the first deliberate attack. Two enemy units were destroyed. I am moving to try and cut Alor Star, but it seems that retreat has been ordered there. I will probably find the base empty.

I intend to send large forces to Malaya, and go for an early capture of Singapore (in my previous game, it fell in May!!!). Luzon, on the contrary will be a siege.

Ichang follies

Short term plans for China are straightforward. Since I have no PP for border restriction, I am dispatching armor from Manchuria to clear the central plains. I am also rebuilding infantry divisions in Manchuria and Korea (several good divisions, like the 1st ID, can easily be rebuilt), and will send troops to China. The early goal is to clear the plains and the railroad lines in the north.

As usual, I am reinforcing Paotow and Kweisui from Tatung (by rail). The enemy has started marching on Paotow, but I am on the faster track… My objective is to secure Inner Mongolia and Taiyuan, and leave the units between Kweisui and Taiyuan to starve. I am still undecided about what to do in Shanxi/Shaanxi (ie between Chengchow and Yenan). I will probably make a move towards Yenan, since capture of this base secures the northern roads to Lanchow and Ansi.

As in my second game, I intend to defend Ichang and Sinyang. My objective, there, is to let the Chinese fight, and use supplies, and damage their troops. As a result, I have been dispatching armor from Hankow (in open terrain like Ichang, they work wonders against the KMT), and bringing three divisions and a brigade (from Wuchang and Hankow) to reinforce the area.

So far, and judging by movement arrows on the map, my opponent is attempting to isolate Ichang, rather than attack it. His troops are moving to occupy the swamp hex south of the city, and to try and cut the road from Hankow. I don’t think this can succeed: he is moving across country while I use roads (and major roads at that), so he’s on the slow track again, and I have quite a few division in the area.

I still have not decided what I want to do in China. I certainly want to take the KMT out of the war, in 1942 if possible, but am hesitating between your typical northern thrust (ie Sian in April, Lanchow in May and then south to Sichuan), an early move against central China, or something completely different.

Overall, it would have been a pretty good turn if I had not forgotten to reset the mission for my Betties. I lost 85 planes today to only 61 for the Allies.

PaxMondo -> RE: Perfection, of a kind, spence (A) vs fcharton (J) (3/1/2012 2:14:23 AM)


ORIGINAL: fcharton

... but I had unfortunately forgotten to check their “second mission”, and most Betties set out to bomb Clark and Manila, unescorted. This cost me almost 30 planes…

OUCH! [:(]

fcharton -> RE: Perfection, of a kind, spence (A) vs fcharton (J) (3/2/2012 2:28:58 PM)

December 9th 1941

I do not have much to report today. We landed in Appari and Vigan, losing one ship there. Both bases are unoccupied and will fall tomorrow. Sweeps over Manila and Clark Field shot down a score of Warhawks. Off the coast of the Philippines, two destroyer squadrons sank most of the merchants fleeing from Hong Kong, and probably crippled the Royal Navy destroyers. One of them is listed as sunk, the two others were last seen around Puerto Princesa, both on fire. Troop transport President Madison was also sunk as she fled towards the Celebes sea.

There are no signs of Houston, Boise, or other surface ships. US submarines from Manila seem to be moving towards the Home Islands, and merchants from Luzon are fleeing south, towards Java, and probably Australia. I will try to intercept and sink a few of them.

North of Borneo, we shall be landing in Miri and Brunei tomorrow. I had planned to delay the invasion of Kuching until I have planes based in Miri, but apparently forgot to stop the task force. One cargo was damaged by Swordfishes from Singapore. I am sending them back to Miri, where they will wait in port.

In China, the 38th ID arrived in Hong Kong today. I will bombard for two days, while the 104th ID from Canton catches up, and will attack then. With a little luck, Fragrant Harbor will be ours by the 15th.

With the bombers set at rest, air losses were much better today. We lost 13 planes, for 35 enemies, and total loss ratio is just a little short of 1:2. Much to my surprise, Zeroes and Oscars are doing pretty well against the AVG, over Rangoon. We are only facing one squadron (I expect to see the others in China anytime soon), but are shooting half a dozen of them every day, at about 1:1 odds.

fcharton -> RE: Perfection, of a kind, spence (A) vs fcharton (J) (3/4/2012 6:36:47 PM)

December 10th 1941

A couple more landings

Yet another invasion turn. Appari and Vigan fell today, one infantry regiment and a division will be reinforcing the beach heads in a week. We’re ashore! South of Luzon, landings should take place in two or three days in Atimonian and Mauban. In the air, sweeps shot down a dozen more Warhawks. My opponent tried to use his Catalinas against my landing ships, to no avail. B17-D bombed Vigan, but failed to do much damage.

At sea, all ships from Manila seem to have been ordered straight south towards Java, in one vessel task forces. I sank six of them today in the Sulu Sea. Enemy surface forces are nowhere to be seen.

We also landed in Miri, Brunei and Sorong.


Today, my victory point total went up by 300 points. Yet, no important battle took place, no big base fell. Ship sunk and planes shot down account for about a quarter of this figure, but about 200 points are unaccounted for. This and the loss of 2 Kingfishers “on the ground” suggest a battleship sank in Pearl Harbor. She might be West Virginia, hit by six torpedoes on the seventh and left on heavy fires.

This probably concludes my raid that will live in infamy. Final toll would be four battleships, a cruiser, a light cruiser, and five destroyers.

Enemy assessment

It might still be a bit early to judge, but so far, everything points to a general retreat (aka Sir Robin). Ships were seen fleeing south of Manila, crossing the straits at Merak, and moving North from Georgetown. No surface raids happened in the Philippines, which suggest that both Houston and Boise left the theater. If it is so (you gotta love English language for those meaningful sentences with four two letter words), I will most probably speed up my invasion schedule.

In the East Indies, my axis of advance will be through the Celebes. I am no rushing on Singapore and Palembang, therefore, I do not need an early conquest of Kuching and Singkawang. On the other hand, I want an early conquest of Kendari and Ambon, to cut the Indies off Australia, and to allow early landings in south Java. As it stands, my objective is to hold the Celebes, the Moluccas and Timor by the end of them month. Borneo will then be had in a nice and peaceful fashion. I intend to land on Mindanao, in order to silence the B17 at Cagayan.

Captain Cruft -> RE: Perfection, of a kind, spence (A) vs fcharton (J) (3/4/2012 7:53:29 PM)

I always give Cagayan a bombardment with whatever cruisers and destroyers are to hand at Babeldoab. There are not enough engineers and supply for it to recover.

fcharton -> RE: Perfection, of a kind, spence (A) vs fcharton (J) (3/5/2012 5:33:56 PM)

December 11th 1941

Almost a walk in the park

On Borneo, Miri and Brunei were captured today, and Jesselton was invaded. No enemy task force was found in this area, but ships were detected in Kuching. One cruiser squadron will pay them a visit tomorrow. With a little luck they will have troops on board (I sort of expect my opponent to evacuate some of those bases).

In the Philippines, my southern Luzon forces are now close to their landing sites (Atimonian and Mauban). In the north, troops from Appari are marching on Tuguegarao, which seems abandoned. The two parachute units from Laoag have reinforced the Miura detachment in Vigan, which means the beachhead will resist a counterattack. We will wait there until reinforcements arrive.

In Malaya, my armored vanguard has reached Alor Star. I will attack tomorrow, and this hex will be reinforced in two days, should my tanks prove unsufficient. The base is cut off to the south by an infantry regiment from Pattani, so whatever is there will probably die there. Georgetown has been evacuated, my opponent is probably falling back, either on a Taiping/Kuala line, or on Singapore.

In the Pacific, enemy ships and carriers are nowhere to be seen, KB is on its way to Wake, and postponed invasions have been given the green light. We landed on Guam today. The Wake and Tarawa invasions are sailing, as are the amphibious task forces that will land on the coast of New Guinea.

Finally, the 104th infantry division arrived in Hong Kong today. I am attacking tomorrow. If the base does not fall, I will bombard and rest a day or two.

So far, the landings are going fine. At sea, we did lose a couple of ships to Dutch submarines and Swordfishes, but nothing, so far, went terribly wrong, and we sink a handful of enemy vessels (merchants and light ships, mostly) every day. In the air, about one hundred fighters were shot down over Luzon, and 25 AVG planes over Rangoon. We are still losing bombers to enemy CAP, though.

Short term plans are to land in force on Luzon, and see whether the garrison holes up in Clark Field and Baatan. If so, I will close besiege them in Clark, committing a pair of division equivalent to this task. If my opponent tries to defend both Clark and Manila, I might reinforce Luzon with the troops from Shanghai and Hong Kong, and try an early and forceful conquest. Malaya is the main prize, though. Most of my infantry will go there in order to take Singapore as early as I can.

Mindanao and the Celebes will be invaded with the forces I have around Babeldaob. This means the tempo will mostly depend upon enemy resistance there.

The Sapporo fuel affair, and convoys

It is one of the weird features in Scenario 2. Sapporo begins the game with half a million tons of fuel, which will not move to other ports on Hokkaido, and will spoil at a very fast rate. I am not sure I understand what this is supposed to model. Maybe someone in the scenario team thought Japanese players might find they do not have enough to do in those early game turns, and added this to make the game less boring, maybe it intends to simulate something that might have happened historically, like a huge alien fuel depot uncovered after a flying saucer crashed near an air base on Hokkaido, or maybe someone typed one zero too many in the scenario editor. But anyway, I need to move this fuel before it spoils. All my tankers have been sent to Sapporo, and will try to ferry it to Hirozaki. So far, Allied subs have not reached this area, so this can be done safely. It might get a bit more complicated in a week.

As mentioned before, my goal, in this game, is to minimize Japan’s dependency on oil and fuel. To the effect, I want to limit my convoys to the minimum necessary. This means short lanes, use of overland routes wherever possible, and relying on local industry to keep the frontline troops fed and supplied. As for now, I am considering three routes: Tohoyara-Wakkanai, Hakodate-Ominato/Hirozaki, and Fusan-Fukuoka. Both the Hakodate and Fusan lanes are very short, and will be mined and patrolled by sub chasers.

Using short routes means several things. First, cargo ship speed is irrelevant. The dominant factor is docking capacity and loading/unloading delays. Second, I don’t get to choose the best (ie largest and resource producing) ports, but the closest ones. Again, this means cargo duties will better be handled by small ships, xAKL or small xAK than big ones. Same goes for tankers, by the way.

I will expand the ports, eventually, but my Home Island cargoes will be small ships. To keep things simple, I intend to use one type of ship per lane. Wakkanai-Tohoyara will use Kasu-D, Fusan –Fukuoka Miyati, Hakodate-Ominato Gozan, and Hakodate-Hirozaki Toho. I have about 50 ships of each of those classes, this is more than I need.

Other small cargoes will convert to auxiliaries, patrol boats (Ansyu C), mine tenders (Tosu). The larger cargoes will either convert to ammunition ships (AG, AD, AKE) or be used in forward positions as lateral and frontline transports. Most importantly, I want my fast cargoes to convert to AK, and the Aden and Lima to AKE. This should allow me to stop all merchant ship construction.

What about tankers? The small tankers will be used a lot, the larger ones less so. They will mostly assist in refueling front line bases. I intend to convert many of them into AO, and will try to avoid building tankers.

fcharton -> RE: Perfection, of a kind, spence (A) vs fcharton (J) (3/6/2012 11:03:27 PM)

December 12th 1941

More of the same, and a British raid

On Luzon, landings took place in Atimonian and Mauban. Both bases were empty, and will fall tomorrow. In Borneo, Jesselton was captured, and Kuching bombarded. In Malaya, my armored spearhead attacked an Indian brigade in Alor Star, to no avail. Victoria Point was captured.

A few more merchant ships, including a pair of tankers, were sunk in the Celebes sea.

The first enemy raid of the war took place today. Two British cruisers (Durban and Dragon, aka the D-team) made a bold move on Miri, and intercepted and sunk a damaged transport on its way to the port. An air support battalion was lost. In another battle, the same D-team attacked an escorted convoy, sank a pair of cargoes and received a couple of shells in return.

Night Time Surface Combat, near Miri at 63,86, Range 10,000 Yards

Japanese Ships
AK Kaga Maru, Shell hits 4, Torpedo hits 2, and is sunk

Allied Ships
CL Dragon
CL Durban

Japanese ground losses:
854 casualties reported
Squads: 6 destroyed, 4 disabled
Non Combat: 34 destroyed, 26 disabled
Engineers: 8 destroyed, 4 disabled
Guns lost 13 (6 destroyed, 7 disabled)

Night Time Surface Combat, near Miri at 64,87, Range 11,000 Yards

Japanese Ships
CA Chokai, Shell hits 3
DD Sagiri
TB Kasasagi, Shell hits 1
AMc Wa 19
xAK Hokko Maru
xAK Zinzan Maru, Shell hits 3, heavy fires
xAK Kinkasan Maru
xAK Giyu Maru
xAKL Kembu Maru
xAKL Kiko Maru, Shell hits 6, and is sunk
xAKL Anbo Maru, Shell hits 1

Allied Ships
CL Dragon, Shell hits 2, on fire
CL Durban, Shell hits 3

A first attack on Hong Kong fortress reduced the forts, but failed to take the city. I am bombarding tomorrow, and attacking the day after.

Finally, Guam fell.

Battles in China, and short term plans

Two major battles took place in China today. South of Nanchang, a division and a brigade attacked two Chinese corps. It wasn’t even fair.

Ground combat at 85,55 (near Nanchang)
Japanese Deliberate attack
Attacking force 17391 troops, 142 guns, 42 vehicles, Assault Value = 592
Defending force 13236 troops, 81 guns, 0 vehicles, Assault Value = 474
Japanese assault odds: 4 to 1

Japanese ground losses:
664 casualties reported
Squads: 2 destroyed, 43 disabled
Non Combat: 0 destroyed, 6 disabled
Engineers: 0 destroyed, 5 disabled

Allied ground losses:
4704 casualties reported
Squads: 173 destroyed, 11 disabled
Non Combat: 115 destroyed, 0 disabled
Engineers: 7 destroyed, 3 disabled
Guns lost 9 (7 destroyed, 2 disabled)
Units retreated 2

Defeated Allied Units Retreating!
Assaulting units:
39th Division
11th Ind.Mixed Brigade
Defending units:
21st Chinese Corps
70th Chinese Corps

In Luchow, a Chinese corps which had imprudently invested the city found a division waiting…

Ground combat at Luchow (88,51)
Japanese Deliberate attack
Attacking force 14874 troops, 128 guns, 0 vehicles, Assault Value = 499
Defending force 4478 troops, 43 guns, 0 vehicles, Assault Value = 165

Japanese ground losses:
186 casualties reported
Squads: 0 destroyed, 13 disabled
Non Combat: 0 destroyed, 1 disabled
Engineers: 0 destroyed, 1 disabled

Allied ground losses:
1930 casualties reported
Squads: 63 destroyed, 84 disabled
Non Combat: 38 destroyed, 1 disabled
Engineers: 4 destroyed, 3 disabled
Guns lost 16 (7 destroyed, 9 disabled)
Units retreated 1

Assaulting units:
116th Division
138th Infantry Regiment
Defending units:
48th Chinese Corps

My plans for China are relatively simple. I want to reinforce salients (Sinyang, Ichang, Paotow and neighboring hexes), to make any enemy attack very costly, use my front line troops (those in Nanchang for instance) to clear lone units in the plains, and build up two staging areas, one in Suchow, with armor and infantry, for a drive over the plains, and another one in Anyang, to clear the railroad to Kaifeng, take Tsiaotso, and threaten Chengchow and Loyang.

My goals are twofold. First I want to clear the railroads, to speed unit transfers. Second, I want to damage as many Chinese corps as possible. The general idea is that with low replacement rates and bad supplies, the Chinese tend to have difficulties to replace lost squads. This means a damaged unit will usually remain so for a long while, and it is much easier to damage Chinese corps when fighting in clear terrain.

fcharton -> RE: Perfection, of a kind, spence (A) vs fcharton (J) (3/6/2012 11:40:05 PM)

December 13th 1941

(koto flourish)
The bow of a Japanese cruiser, an officer is sitting on the deck, his ceremonial sword next to him, playing the banjolele as the red sun rises over the distant shadow of an island. A young officer rushes in.
- Sir, Wake Island is in sight!
- Indeed, Captain, and right on schedule. I will have my breakfast in a short while.
- But, sir, aren’t we supposed to call general quarters and prepare for the invasion?
- Invasion? Certainly not, our orders are “not to unload”.
- But sir… it makes no sense, sir…
- Have a look captain (from his uniform pocket, draws a small contraption, with a screen, which reads, in small yellow letters “Human Control, Remain on Station, Mission Speed, Do not Unload”
- Strange notepad you have here, must be a German thing, see how they capitalize all names…
- Captain, more to the point, as you see, we are supposed to remain on station and not to unload
- But sir, that’s absurd!
- Captain, careful with your language, you do know how navies in general, and evil navies like ours treat mutinees?
- hai hai sir ! but… I mean… (rest of the sentence lost as a bomb explodes not far…)

The Wake incident, and the near blunder in Tarawa

Welcome, gentlereader, to the first big blunder in the war (FBBitW, tm). As you might remember, at the beginning of this game, I had postponed the Wake and Tarawa invasions, just in case my opponent decided to cruise there… As KB is closing on Wake, and no ships were seen in the area, I decided to send them in, but forgot to tell them to “unload”.

In Wake, my task force arrived in the early morning, and waited there, as ordered, until enemy planes sank a merchant cruiser and damaged three light cruisers. With a fragment of an SNLF battalion left on board, the invasion will not happen. I am reembarking the regiment that just took Guam, for a second try, KB supported, this time. Meanwhile, I have split the task force into faster and slower ships, and will try and rush everybody to Kwajalein. With a little luck, I can save most of them.

I was lucky in Tarawa: my invasion task force detected enemy ships in the harbor, and retreated before it reached the island, and waited to be slaughtered…

The damage to my forces is not too bad. I did not lose any important ship, and I doubt my opponent can hold on Wake for a long time. But this is embarrassing, to say the least…

I don’t have much more to report today. On Luzon, Atimonian, Mauban and Tuguegarao were captured. Reinforcements will soon arrive in Appari and Laoag. In Malaya, Alor Star is now isolated. We are attacking Hong Kong again tomorrow.

As for enemy intentions, I have noted that troops from Moulmein are marching north into Thailand. This suggests my opponent might want to defend Burma, and probably try to resupply China for a longer while than usual. If so, I might try to cut the Burma road in the north, using paratroops. Also, there seem to be a lot of ships in port in Balikpapan. I am conducting a reconnaissance in force tomorrow, but could it mean that the enemy is trying to garrison the oil bases?

Right, that’s all for today. The next turn is in enemy hands…

fcharton -> RE: Perfection, of a kind, spence (A) vs fcharton (J) (3/10/2012 9:38:11 AM)

December 14th 1941

Hong Kong falls…

… to a deliberate attack, after a day of heavy air and land bombardment. It was an easy conquest, we lost three squads and a gun. Thanks to the short battle, the port and airbase are in perfect shape, and the industry is only 5% damaged (industry damage upon capture seems to be a flat percentage loss, which applies to all installations). Sweepers from Takao are on their way to clear the minefield. I expect the base to be operational by Christmas.

The 38th infantry division is now free for reassignment, but since its next assignment is Singapore, and I don’t need it right now, it will march on Pakhoi, together with the 104th ID. My goal is to clear the coast and the plains between Canton and Hanoi. This will facilitate supply movement in an area where the IJA is short of troops.

Then, the 38th and the 104th will march on Hanoi, and join the rest of the gang in Singapore.

To Sara, with love

In all the games I have played so far, Japanese submarines struck me as either very unlucky or very inefficient (or very badly handled). Imagine my surprise today when I-21 not only had CV Saratoga in her sights, off Pearl Harbor, but also managed to damage her with a torpedo. Two later attacks by other subs did not succeed, and Sara wounded close to Pearl will most certainly survive, but I am quite happy with this, as it will probably keep my opponent honest for a while.

What was Saratoga doing west of Pearl Harbor, you might ask? I suspect she was joining her sisters, which might be cruising around Midway or Wake, after trying to catch Kido Butai’s oilers. If so, we might be in for interesting times, as KB is not very far away, and undetected, and with more than a few sorties available…

Around Wake, my invasion force managed to escape. The conquest of this island is now delayed by several weeks, and KB, which was supposed to assist will be redirected to Tarawa, where CA Louisville was detected today, apparently waiting for my invasion. If the enemy does not leave, he is in for a bad surprise.

Burma or bust

Zeroes and Oscars from Bangkok have been sweeping Rangoon for a week. Apparently, all the AVG is committed there, with two squadrons flying and one resting every day. This is a costly battle, but Japan is winning it. So far, 44 H81-A3 have been shot down, more than half the total number available (only 80 H81-A3 are available in the game). Also, ops losses are mounting. Just today, out of 13 AVG planes downed, only five were lost in air combat, the rest was ops. This suggests high fatigue among pilots, and inadequate aviation support, perhaps.

North of Moulmein, troops have been observed moving towards Thailand. This suggests my opponent wants to fight a delaying battle in the jungle.

All of this points to an unusually strong commitment to the defense of Burma. The objective is probably to keep the Burma road open. My best counter is probably to bomb the port of Rangoon to kingdom come, to avoid large shipments of supplies in this area. Winning the air battle against the AVG should make this possible.

But if Burma remains under Allied control in late January, it means China will have more supplies than I would like. Perhaps the 104th and the 38th ID from Hong Kong should go to Burma, after all…

A quick look at VP

Yeah, I know, real men don’t play for VP. Today was the best turn so far, point-wise, with a 1100 differential, and point ratio is 2.6 to 1, the best so far in my three games.

Total air losses are 358 vs 201, partly owing to the good performance of KB in Pearl Harbor. Air losses are still heavy, about 30 planes per days. I am achieving a 2:3 ratio, which I believe is fine at this point of the game. We still have no ace pilot, but experience is growing fast in front line units. I try to dispatch all pilots over 80 experience to training command. As I understand, they will reduce the training time for my newbies, and therefore the HI cost of pilots.

Ship loss ratio is 20:78, most of my losses being xAK (although two AK and one merchant cruiser were sunk). The Allies have apparently lost five battleships, a pair of cruisers, seven destroyers, five tankers or oilers, and five troop transports.

PaxMondo -> Pilot Pool cost (3/11/2012 11:13:55 AM)


ORIGINAL: fcharton

I try to dispatch all pilots over 80 experience to training command. As I understand, they will reduce the training time for my newbies, and therefore the HI cost of pilots.

I guess that is one way to look at it. TRACOM will give a percentage of pilots the chance to graduate a bit earlier than normal. The question I haven't had answered yet is whether pilots in the pool are part of the monthly HI cost. I've been told yes, but others have said no.

For me, in either case, the HI impact is pretty small as the number of pilots affected is quite small (and capped). So my main use of TRACOM is simply to hoard high exp pilots that cannot be replaced.

fcharton -> RE: Pilot Pool cost (3/11/2012 12:50:16 PM)

Hi Pax,

I am pretty certain the cost is only for pilots in training. Here are the figures from my game (using Tracker).

In the industry screen, WITP chart tab, I am told pilot training costs 38 155 HI / month. I have observed in other games that this is the actual cost that will be charged at the end of the month. Those 38 155 correspond to 7631 pilots. Now, in the airgroup and pilot screen, pilot training pool tab, if I sum all the pilots for Month 1-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12, for IJA and IJN, I get this 7631 figure.

Now, my reasoning goes as follows.
Every month, the training pool fills up with would be aviators. This is controlled by the replacement rate (320 for IJA and IJN in scenario 2). If training lasts twelve months, the theoretical size of the pool is therefore 320 x 2 x 12 = 7680, for a theoretical HI cost of 38 400. This apparently goes up as the game progresses.

My impression is that TRACOM helps reduce the pool size in two different ways.
1- by shortening the training process, and helping some pilots graduate faster
2- by allowing one to empty replacement pool and still draft half decent aviators

I am still working on the pilot training thing, but I am trying to implement something like a three tier system. My idea is to have basic training squadrons, that bring replacement pilots to a minimal level (late 50s? early 60?), then second line squadrons which use those pilots and train them in the process, and a small number of elite squadron that receive the 70+ exp flyers, and turn them into TRACOM pilots.

This means my reserve pool would actually be made of two groups. Mid-exp pilots that are waiting to be drafted into combat squadrons, and high exp pilots that either are being kept for the late war, or are waiting to be drafted into the TRACOM training groups.

It is, of course, too early to judge, but I will report on pilot training, and see whether this works.


PaxMondo -> RE: Pilot Pool cost (3/11/2012 4:42:35 PM)

That's good news ... pulling pilots out of training then has merit.

How will these elite squadrons take 70 exp pilots and make them 80 exp?

fcharton -> RE: Pilot Pool cost (3/12/2012 9:32:58 PM)

December 15th and 16th 1941

Slow road to Singers

On the 15th, the Sixth Indian Brigade, defending Alor Star, surrendered, and the base fell. Georgetown will be invaded tomorrow, and will probably fall the next day since it seems to have been evacuated too, and Taiping will probably be ours by the twentieth. Engineers and air support are on their way. I intend to develop these bases as my main airbase to sweep and strike Singapore.

We should reach the Temuloh-Kuala line around Christmas. This is the first forward line of defense the Allies can put up in Malaya. It will be interesting to see whether the enemy tries to fight there. If he does not, we will probably hold this line by the end of the month, be in Johore around the 15th of January, and launch the assault on Singapore around the 20th of January.

In the air, first sweeps over Kuala Lumpur downed half a dozen Buffaloes. I am trying a night port and airfield attack on Singapore tomorrow night. With a little luck…

On our way to Burma

Over Rangoon, the battle for air superiority is still raging. 48 AVG planes have now been destroyed, and rotating squadrons is probably becoming difficult. This means more fatigue and losses. I hope this ends quickly: there are more than a few ships in the port of Rangoon, all of them probably supplying China. As soon as I have air superiority, we can conduct round the clock bombing of the port installations…

On the ground, our tanks marching on Moulmein were stopped by an enemy unit blocking the road. Recon suggests a very small outfit. We are attacking tomorrow.

Bombers over Miri

Zeroes were finally deployed in Miri. My intention was to protect the Kuching landings, and perhaps trap a few bombers from Singapore. But on their first day at work, they received a visit by enemy bombers. Several B17-D were damaged, but the refinery was hit. I need to reinforce the CAP there.

Meanwhile, a bombing run over Kuching discovered several Dutch cruisers parked there. I am assembling a large surface force to deal with them, but this is the second time I see my opponent use this strategy of garrisoning possible invasion sites with static surface task forces.

All this does a pretty good job delaying my moves on Kuching and Singkawang. I will still try to invade Kuching, but I am considering moving in the Celebes before Northern Borneo. The only point of rushing to Kuching, after all, is to catch Singkawang, and land early in Sumatra.

The war in China

Since most of the action on the 15th and 16th took place in China, this looks like the right moment to discuss this theater.

I believe taking China out of the war, or at least neutralizing it, to prevent a second front to open in 1943 or 1944 is almost as important for Japan as taking the East Indies. In scenario 2 (and 1, I suspect) this is possible, and should at least be tried. In this specific game, since I can use troops from Manchukuo, I want to take China by the end of 1942 or the first quarter of 1943.

The Chinese have lots of troops, if they can train them, replace them to full strength, and supply them, the Japanese are doomed. China has also a lot of closed terrain, if the enemy can regroup in such hexes, frontal attacks become very bloody, but long sieges tend to work. Finally, Chinese troop replacement rates are very low, and lack of supply makes replacement of losses a costly affair. This means attrition is a valid strategy, and that trading losses with the KMT is a sensible idea.

Overall, I have two strategic directions for China:
1- Win a lot of small battles, in open terrain whenever possible, to reduce Chinese numbers. Tempt the enemy into such battles.
2- Attack the supply network, by capturing or bombing resources, occupying bases (supply flow through bases, the more bases you hold in an area, the more difficult enemy operations become), and cutting roads and railway lines.

For the early game, this suggests fighting in the North, where Japan holds a good rail network, and can shift troops rapidly, and where a lot of the terrain is flat, open, good tank country.

In the far north, I want to hold Paotow and Kweisui, to anchor my front, moving on Yenan to cut off the troops between Taiyuan and Kweisui, and protect further advances on Ningsia and Ansi. Paotow is now reinforced. The 81st Chinese corps just moved in, and bombardment reveal they have half my AV. I will attack tomorrow. The two Chinese corps defending the road to Yenan have already been defeated twice. I am now two hexes away from the base, and there are signs of movement there. I have two divisions on their way, and two more ready to reinforce.

Yenan is high on my priority list because once it is captured, the northern road to western China is safe, and Sian becomes very difficult to defend.

In the central plains, I am moving in two columns. The southern one, four division strong, is moving from Hwainan towards Sinyang. The northern one, two divisions and armor, is moving from Suchow towards Kaifeng. The objective is to damage as many Chinese corps as we can, and stop on a Sinyang-Kaifeng line.

Meanwhile, several divisions from Manchuria were sent to Anyang and Kaoping, to prepare for an offensive on the railroad junction east of Chengchow, and then Tsiaotso. Troops from the northern column and those will then be ready to attack Chengchow and Loyang.

South of the plains, I have been reinforcing Ichang, and the road from Hankow. This is paying benefits now. On the 15th, one Chinese corps that tried to cut the road was defeated by two divisions. In Ichang, the enemy attacked today, with just 1500 AV against my 1000 behind forts. It wasn’t even fair.

Ground combat at Ichang (83,48)
Allied Deliberate attack
Attacking force 41944 troops, 274 guns, 0 vehicles, Assault Value = 1455
Defending force 27213 troops, 220 guns, 168 vehicles, Assault Value = 1018
Allied assault odds: 1 to 2 (fort level 3)

Japanese ground losses:
66 casualties reported
Squads: 0 destroyed, 2 disabled
Non Combat: 1 destroyed, 2 disabled
Engineers: 0 destroyed, 2 disabled

Allied ground losses:
6329 casualties reported
Squads: 215 destroyed, 370 disabled
Non Combat: 5 destroyed, 36 disabled
Engineers: 2 destroyed, 33 disabled
Guns lost 55 (1 destroyed, 54 disabled)

The objective, here, is to keep the KMT attacking in Ichang, while defeating piecemeal the units that are trying to isolate it to the east (from Nanyang). All the troops defeated now will be missing when my opponent needs to defend Sian and Changsha.

Finally, I have been raiding the plains around Nanchang. I have no real intentions in this area, but damaging Chinese corps is a bonus, and it should keep my opponent from shifting troops from Changsha to Wuchang or Ichang.

Here’s a map of the operations in China so far. The red arrows are my three offensives, the blue circles are the areas I am reinforcing.


fcharton -> Perfection of a kind (fcharton vs spence) (3/16/2012 9:04:30 AM)

December 17th, 1941

(koto flourish) – The briefing room in the Evil Air Force Headquarters in Saigon – A large map of Singapore hangs on the wall, under the EAF motto “never do well”. General Kato, head of planning in Saigon, small moustache, round steel framed glasses, and an evil looking horse whip under his arm is addressing the leaders of bombers squadrons stationed in the base.

- Right, gentlemen, tonight is our first night raid against Singapore, which will take the enemy off guard, destroy his planes and ships, and accelerate the liberation of Malaysia. I expect every man to do his duty to his Emperor. Yes? Wasabi?
- Sir, how are we supposed to find our targets, you know…
- This is the purpose of this map, here, please study it carefully.
- But, sir…
- Study the map, captain, now if you’ll excuse me, I have an appointment for dinner with miss Tran.
Kato leaves the room, the officers in the room shake their head in disbelief.

The evil night raid that wasn’t
Tonight, I ordered all my bombers from Indochina to pay a surprise attack on Singapore. This should have shocked, and awed, the enemy, and probably destroyed a good number of ships and planes, had not today been a new moon… As a result, none of my bombers found their targets. Surprise is not lost, though, as no plane overflew the Lion City. I will try again in a week.

On this occasion, I tried to find where moonlight was indicated in the game, and could not find it.

In other incidents, CL Java took a bomb hit in Kuching. I am sending a large force to bombard the city, and will invade it in a few days. Manado and Ternate invasions will land tomorrow and the day after.

Miri was bombed again, my zeroes destroyed a couple of B17-D, but the refinery took more hits.
On the road to Moulmein, the Allied unit that stood in our way was fought and defeated.

Mopping the plains
In China, we attacked in Paotow and sent the 81st Chinese corps back towards Ningsia. The Inner Mongolia bases are now firmly held, I need to wait for reinforcements (a division or two from Manchukuo, before I clear the other enemies in the area (in the mountains north of Kweisui and on the road to Taiyuan).

I am not rushing in this area. In my previous game, I moved west right after capturing Paotow and was in Ningsia in mid-January, and held Urumchi in April. This time, I will probably launch my offensive on Ningsia once the plains are cleared. I want tanks for that since those are small roads, and send a division or two west by January.

In the central plain, the last railroad hex south of Kaifeng was cleared today. Three battered Chinese corps were defeated, one of them surrendering to an infantry division and a tank regiment. This completes the capture of the Suchow-Kaifeng railroad. The last enemy occupied rail hex is the junction north of Kaifeng. Two divisions have arrived there tomorrow, I expec t to hold it tomorrow. Once this is completed, all the railways in northern China will be mine, except Tsiaotso. This should help troop and supply movements.

fcharton -> RE: Perfection of a kind (fcharton vs spence) (3/17/2012 12:15:26 PM)

December 18th, 1941

To the Sulu Sea, the Celebes and beyond

Today, we invaded Davao and Manado. We will land in Ternate, Jolo and Puerto Princesa tomorrow. Apart from a few Dutch bombers making a pass or three at my xAK, we are meeting very little opposition in this area. It looks like most of the Allied navy has already left the place.

The conquest of Mindanao will happen in two phases. Right now, I have an infantry regiment and a marine battalion on the island. This is enough to secure the south and western coast by early January, but reinforcements will be needed to finish off the northern and central bases. This will probably be done on late January or Early February, when the situation on Luzon gets clearer.

After Manado and Ternate, the next target is Ambon, and then Kendari. I intend to wait before I invade Tarakan and Balikpapan.

The liberation of Georgetown

Georgetown fell today to a deliberate attack. The fortress garrison surrendered, and a battalion retreated to Taiping. Taiping is the important base to conquer. It is a railway station, and south of it, all roads to Singapore are major roads.

We are bombing Kuala and Temuloh, and all intelligence suggests the enemy is not trying to put up a forward defense there. I believe we are in for the ‘see you in Singapore’ strategy.

The northern Bornean question

Kudat fell today, Beaufort is the last enemy base in the northeast. We will be there in a week. Quite logically, we should now invade Kuching and Singkawang. Today, an air raid on Kuching only resulted in a dozen lost bombers for the IJN. I am bombarding the city tomorrow, and will probably invade it the day after. Two SNLF tasked for this are now loaded in Miri.

I am not really rushing here. In fact, since I don’t intend to invade Palembang early, and since my opponent seems to have evacuated most of his navy from this area, the benefit of an early conquest of Kuching and Singkawang is not that obvious. Suppressing Singapore will better be done from Kuala and Taiping, and I doubt naval bombers in Singkawang will catch many fleeing tankers from Sumatra.

But then, I suppose it is another case of the “have troops will invade” syndrome. Mini KB is now forming in Cam Ranh Bay, I might as well use it now.

obvert -> RE: Perfection of a kind (fcharton vs spence) (3/17/2012 3:29:54 PM)


ORIGINAL: fcharton

I am not really rushing here. In fact, since I don’t intend to invade Palembang early, and since my opponent seems to have evacuated most of his navy from this area, the benefit of an early conquest of Kuching and Singkawang is not that obvious. Suppressing Singapore will better be done from Kuala and Taiping, and I doubt naval bombers in Singkawang will catch many fleeing tankers from Sumatra.

But then, I suppose it is another case of the “have troops will invade” syndrome. Mini KB is now forming in Cam Ranh Bay, I might as well use it now.

Singkawang is the key to the entire region between Singapore and Palembang, I feel. If you have it you know what's moving where, even beyond Sumatra in the IO, and can hit ships between much more easily with air and surface elements. Not to mention getting the DL up so your subs can react to shipping sneaking out of Singers, up the straits, or out into the Java sea.

Also, with a CAP here you can eat a lot of Allied planes attacking your ships. It really gives you much more flexibility. And it's a good place to sweep into Singers from as well.

Even if you don't plan to take Palembang right away, with Singkawang and some recon units you can know where everything is moving throughout the area, where fighters are based instantly, and make the adjustments to your own forces.

fcharton -> RE: Perfection of a kind (fcharton vs spence) (3/17/2012 10:58:31 PM)

December 19th and 20th, 1941

Belated invasions

Tarawa was invaded and captured today. The cruisers that were standing there have apparently left after being detected by my destroyers. The 144th infantry regiment is on its way to Wake, where the invasion will be supported by KB, on its way to Truk.

Kavieng and Shortlands should also be invaded in a few days, but I’m waiting for Wake to be over, and KB refueled and rearmed to launch operations in the Bismarck sea and towards the Solomons and the Gilberts. The main reason for this delay is that I don’t have lots of troops in this area. I will receive a good number of small units in January, which are perfect for garrisoning many of those small places.


@Obvert : your points on Singkawang as a watchtower make a lot of sense. I am just not convinced there will be a lot to watch in this game. I have quite a few sub patrols around Sumatra, which did spot (and sink, now and then) all the fleeing merchants during the first week of the war, but very little movement since.

But the die is cast, we landed in Kuching today, and will probably take the base the day after tomorrow (after a long wait at sea, my troops need a day to shake disruption off). The invasion force for Singkawang has just left Cam Ranh.

In other news, the first sweeps over Singapore occurred today. Ten Buffaloes are reported lost, this is a good start.

Lingayen qui pleure, Davao qui rit

On Mindanao, Davao fell on the 19th, and Jolo and Puerto Princesa were invaded on the 20th. On Luzon, my opponent pulled a nice counterattack in Lingayen. Five units were retreating there, and two tank regiments imprudently advanced into the hex. The enemy counterattacked and chased my armored units. Both units are damaged, but not trashed (only 50 tanks have been lost), but this clearly show that I need to be a little more careful, and not underestimate my opponent.

One interesting facet of this fiasco is that a similar, weak, vanguard has just invaded Cabanuatan. Maybe my opponent will try his luck there another time. I sort of wish he does: I have a full strength infantry division two days behind…

fcharton -> RE: Perfection of a kind (fcharton vs spence) (3/18/2012 6:41:12 PM)

December 21st, 1941

Several bases were captured today… Kuching and Taiping fell to a deliberate attack. Jolo and Puerto Princessa were empty, and Ternate and Cabanuatan were captured against light opposition.

Whither the AVG?

Since a few days, my sweeps over Rangoon are unopposed. My calculations suggest the AVG should have about twenty planes left. Where are they? I am expecting them in China at some point in the near future. This is pretty good news, as it suggests I will now be able to bomb Rangoon, and interdict shipping through the port.

Also in Burma, my spearheads (an armored and an infantry regiment) are now one hex away from the coast, and Moulmein. Recon suggests this area is lightly defended. This means our drive on Rangoon is on schedule.


In Fujian, a regiment from Foochow has reached Pucheng, which seems abandoned. Troops clearing the plains around Nanchang are moving south. My goal is to clear a Nanchang – Pucheng – Foochow axis, and use it to move towards Chuhsien and Wenchow. After a bit of garrison shifting, I have managed to spare two divisions in Hangchow, they are moving towards Chuhsien. If everything goes as planned, I will have about 1000 AV to attack the city, and about 700 more in reinforcements. Once Chuhsien is captured, I will march on Wenchow and either take it, or lay siege. But Pucheng and Chuhsien are more important, since they open the roads from Shanghai to Canton.

In the plains, all enemy units (save one small HQ near Suchow) were pushed west of a line from Sinyang to Kaifeng. I intend to occupy the railroad, and wait for the first battles around Chengchow to see if I need those troops in Henan, or if I can proceed and march on Nanyang. If possible, I would an early capture of Nanyang, because bases are what the enemy uses as supply hubs. Once Nanyang falls and Chengchow and Loyang are surrounded, all troops around Sinyang, Ichang and Nanyang need to trace much longer supply lines, and make counteroffensives on the Ichang-Hankow line much more difficult.

In Ichang, ten Chinese units are in the city, facing my 1000 AV behind forts. I don-t think the enemy has enough, and am not sure why they remain here. Attempts to cut their line of supply, back towards Hankow, have failed, and the units committed to this operation are probably too damaged to go on. I intend to wait until my troops north of Sinyang march on Nanyang, threatening to pocket them.

North of the plains, we are attacking Tsiaotso and the railroad junction tomorrow. If this succeeds, we will hold all the northern railways, and be ready to march on Chengchow and Loyang. I have about seven divisions and plenty of armor in this area. This should be enough to take the two bases.

Finally, two divisions are one hex south of Yenan. Three brigades are about a week behind, and one more division is ready to move in Taiyuan. Yenan has been partially evacuated. Three corps are now moving towards Sian, I expect to defeat them before they leave. Yet, some 30 000 troops, and ten units, are reported in Yenan, which makes it unlikely to fall at once. I am expecting the first siege of the war to take place in Yenan.

Overall, the first phase of the war is proceeding very smoothly. We hold a line that goes from Paotow to Tatung, Taiyuan, Kaifeng, Sinyang and Ichang. The next stage will be to complete the conquest of the plains, by capturing Chegchow, Loyang and Nanyang, and, if possible, pocketing some of the units now waiting in the Sinyang-Ichang-Hankow triangle.

Once this is done, one question will arise : Sian or Changsha.

obvert -> RE: Perfection of a kind (fcharton vs spence) (3/18/2012 9:09:46 PM)


ORIGINAL: fcharton

Whither the AVG?

Since a few days, my sweeps over Rangoon are unopposed. My calculations suggest the AVG should have about twenty planes left. Where are they? I am expecting them in China at some point in the near future. This is pretty good news, as it suggests I will now be able to bomb Rangoon, and interdict shipping through the port.

All I can say is vary what you're doing with bombers. He is probably training up some pilots and waiting until you commit somewhere so he can jump you one day unexpectedly. Maybe sending sporadic sweeps for a week would be a good idea to start off. Then when you want to bomb something sweep and escort the bombers. The AVG can be decimated early if you choose your moments and get them with numbers of A6M2s and with quality pilots, but only early. Once they get some kills they'll be very tough.


Overall, the first phase of the war is proceeding very smoothly. We hold a line that goes from Paotow to Tatung, Taiyuan, Kaifeng, Sinyang and Ichang. The next stage will be to complete the conquest of the plains, by capturing Chegchow, Loyang and Nanyang, and, if possible, pocketing some of the units now waiting in the Sinyang-Ichang-Hankow triangle.

Once this is done, one question will arise : Sian or Changsha.

Sian is tougher terrain to get through to get to the base, but the base itself is clear, so an advantage for the IJA and IJAAF. Also this basically serves up the rest of the NW to you once the units in Sian are beaten. If there are a lot of defenders in Changsha, this will be tough early when the supply is still good.

fcharton -> RE: Perfection of a kind (fcharton vs spence) (3/19/2012 10:03:57 PM)

December 22nd, 1941

The Manado Turkey Shoot

The enemy is being cheeky! Today, a small destroyer force raided the Manado invasion task force on its way back to Babeldoab. This wasn’t even fair, but then, you don’t win a war through fair fights.

Japanese Ships
APD Fuji, Shell hits 14, heavy fires
APD Tsuta, Shell hits 8, heavy fires, heavy damage
TB Otori, Shell hits 1
TB Hiyodori, Shell hits 8, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
PB Heiei Maru #7, Shell hits 4, heavy fires
xAK Syoka Maru, Shell hits 12, heavy fires, heavy damage
xAK Rokko Maru, Shell hits 10, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
xAK Igasa Maru, Shell hits 7, heavy fires, heavy damage
xAKL Sasago Maru, Shell hits 11, heavy fires, heavy damage

Allied Ships
DD Alden
DD Edsall, Shell hits 1
DD John D. Edwards
DD Whipple, Shell hits 1, on fire

APD Tsuta, TB Hiyodori, xAK Syoka, Rokko, Isaga, and Sasago Maru were sunk, the rest are limping back to Ternate. The destroyer squadron seems to have gone to Manado (to bombard? Reload? Load troops?). They are probably low on ordnance, and I have a cruiser force on its way on a bombardment mission. But I most certainly need more surface combat forces in the Celebes.

In Ambon, my invasion force is one or two days away. Ships are reported in port, but I have several cruisers in the escort. I would like to prove the enemy method of hiding in ports wrong.

The Luzon gambit

Something interesting is happening in Cabanuatan, east of Manila. A small infantry force has taken the base yesterday, and my opponent, trying to replicate his victory in Lingayen two days ago, sent troops from Clark to counter attack. I have the 4th ID in Bayombong, marching on Cabanuatan too. If I arrive before them, the counter-attack will most certainly result in a severe allied defeat that will, in turn, help the capture of Lingayen and Manila. Today, a tank regiment arrived in Cabanuatan, and this suggest the infantry will be here tomorrow. My infantry division has covered 24 miles in a day, and should arrive tomorrow as well.

Meanwhile my bombers have been attacking his troops in Clark, and will now bomb Cabanuatan, trying to disrupt as many attackers as possible.

We have entered Manila. Reinforcements are arriving (including an Infantry division that just landed in Mauban). I expect the base to be attacked in about a week.

Enemy strategy for Luzon is still unclear. The largest enemy force (18 units) is reported in Bataan, and both Manila and Clark are held, but not strongly.

Clearing roadblocks

South of Sinyang, a pair of Chinese corps were defeated. One of them, that already had retreated several times surrendered, the other one retreated with heavy losses. (note the final AV)

Ground combat at 87,48 (near Sinyang)
Japanese Deliberate attack
Attacking force 26866 troops, 271 guns, 184 vehicles, Assault Value = 1350
Defending force 10002 troops, 51 guns, 0 vehicles, Assault Value = 353
Japanese adjusted assault: 867
Allied adjusted defense: 14
Japanese assault odds: 61 to 1

Japanese ground losses:
249 casualties reported
Squads: 0 destroyed, 9 disabled
Non Combat: 0 destroyed, 5 disabled
Engineers: 0 destroyed, 2 disabled

Allied ground losses:
4861 casualties reported
Squads: 132 destroyed, 39 disabled
Non Combat: 211 destroyed, 0 disabled
Engineers: 5 destroyed, 3 disabled
Guns lost 20 (19 destroyed, 1 disabled)
Units retreated 1
Units destroyed 1

The railroad is one hex away, the job of my southern column, in the plains, is about finished.

In the north of the plains, Tsiaotso fell today. On the railway junction, something strange happened.

Ground combat at 88,43 (near Kaifeng)
Japanese Deliberate attack
Attacking force 28805 troops, 252 guns, 69 vehicles, Assault Value = 976
Defending force 7671 troops, 38 guns, 0 vehicles, Assault Value = 221
Japanese adjusted assault: 545
Allied adjusted defense: 45
Japanese assault odds: 12 to 1

Combat modifiers
Defender: terrain(+), op mode(-), leaders(+), experience(-)

Japanese ground losses:
527 casualties reported
Squads: 3 destroyed, 44 disabled
Non Combat: 0 destroyed, 4 disabled
Engineers: 0 destroyed, 1 disabled

Allied ground losses:
766 casualties reported
Squads: 7 destroyed, 53 disabled
Non Combat: 0 destroyed, 7 disabled
Engineers: 0 destroyed, 9 disabled

Raw ratios were 4:1, assault odds 12:1, but the enemy held its ground, and very little damage was done. I suspect a lucky die roll here, and will be attacking again tomorrow.

Elsewhere in China, Pucheng fell undefended, and an inconclusive battle took place south of Yenan. More about that tomorrow, presumably.

Sian or Changsha

I like your points on supply, Obvert. Here is my take on this question.

Like you, I think I’d prefer to go for Sian first, mostly because I already did it in my previous game, and think I have a pretty good idea of how to handle it. I also like the idea of clearing all the northwest of China.

What I don’t like with a northern campaign is that once it is over, you either need to try to invade Sichuan by the northern (and very defensible) route, a Long March in reverse, if you like, or spend a good amount of time transferring your troops to central China. Also, once in Northern China, you become very predictable : basically, it has to be Sian, Lanchow, Sining perhaps, and then Ankang, and Tienshui…

Capturing on Changsha has about the same supply benefits (you cut fuel when capturing Sian and Lanchow, and resources when going for the Hunan basin), and might be slightly more difficult as it begins the game with a larger garrison. But it puts your troops in a much better position. From Changsha, you can move west, northwest, or southwest… It also makes southern China very difficult to defend. In this specific game, another aspect is the fact that I will probably hold Ichang. This creates a threat to Changteh, and a longer front if I start massing troops in the area.

As I said, I am still undecided. But I must say there is something intriguing in going for Changsha first…

fcharton -> RE: Perfection of a kind (fcharton vs spence) (3/22/2012 8:41:51 AM)

December 23rd 1941

I am decidedly not very good at naval operations. Today, my Shortlands invasion, on its way back, was intercepted by an enemy surface force. It was not nice.
Japanese Ships
CL Kashima, Shell hits 13, on fire, heavy damage
PB Keijo Maru, Shell hits 4, heavy fires, heavy damage
PB Nikkai Maru
xAKL Katsuragisan Maru, Shell hits 2, on fire
xAKL Amakasu Maru
PB Sento Maru, Shell hits 19, and is sunk

Allied Ships
CA Canberra
CL Perth
DD Voyager

The Kashima will probably make it to Truk, the damaged PB and xAKL won’t.

Off the coast of Borneo, CVL Ryujo, supporting the landings in Singkawang, took a torpedo hit. She’s heading to Hong Kong for repairs. Once we are safe in Singkawang, mini-KB, without Ryujo, will sail to the Celebes, to support the invasion of Ambon, delayed by the unexpected appearance of a large enemy cruiser force, and the brave retreat of my landing force (despite a significant escort).

Also, Manado fell today, to the second deliberate attack. We now hold Manado, Ternate, Sorong, Jolo and southern Mindanao. Kendari and Ambon are next in line.

In China, on the railway junction east of Chengchow, the 27th Chinese corps, that stood its ground against very high odds yesterday surrendered en masse. More than 1000 squads were destroyed.

Allied ground losses:
6755 casualties reported
Squads: 572 destroyed, 0 disabled
Non Combat: 418 destroyed, 0 disabled
Engineers: 34 destroyed, 0 disabled
Guns lost 50 (50 destroyed, 0 disabled)
Units destroyed 1

In Yenan, the three corps that were trying to sortie we pushed back into the city, with heavy losses. 13 units are reported in Yenan, half of which have already been defeated in battle. Two divisions will cross the river to the base in a few days, three brigades are on their way, and a division is further away. I believe Yenan can be captured in early January.

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