From: the flight deck of the Zuikaku
You don't even really need Batan Is. You do need an airbase on Northern Luzon, but Appari/Tugegerao is fine, take your pick. Will require some construction though.
For what it's worth, I like these first week moves:
1. Miri: It's ready to go, why not?
2. Singkawang: Bigger airbase than Kuching. Put an AIR HQ here. That will close the area to Allied shipping first week.
In my PBEM, I then landed on BILLITON. I brought a bunch of engineers, but had a big airbase in about 2-3 weeks, and it's perfectly positioned to support Sumatra, Java, etc.
3. Ambon, Kendari, Koepang; pick up and drop off same units over and over
4. Northern Luzon: Initially, just get troops ashore and set up airbases. Objective is to make Allied commit to Manila or Clark, and then begin the siege.
I would prep 21st Mixed Bde and 4th Mixed Regt up by Hanoi for Batavia. Land them on Java early January; they aren't strong enough to take it, but you can start wearing down the Dutch airforce. The Dutch troops get stronger if you wait, better to move early while they are weak. Same with the KNIL air units, in march they start getting real fighters.
Overall, I try to land on any airbase that is size 2+, and bypass everything else for later. If the Allies can't fly attack aircraft off it, the only real way a size 1 airbase can hurt you is by having Search Planes there helping the subs, but that's it.
I just feel that speed is key for Japan in the SRA. And speed depends almost entirely on the Japanese player's ability to plan ahead and have the logistical pipeline going; by that I mean fuel, supplies, engineers, base forces, air HQs, and other stuff to keep pushing ops. You have plenty of Infantry at the tip of the spear to work with, it's the stuff behind that will slow you down. Unless the Allies commit CVs or something, they can't seriously slow you down.
Q-Ball, one of us is reading the other's mind, although not quite as much as the last time.
1. Miri: I'll most likely take that base the first week. The goal is to base some fighters and possibly recon there.
2. Singkawang: I've eyeballed that base. I'm a bit reluctant to take it the first week because of Allied air power in the area (primarily Singapore). I'll probably take it after Miri.
3. Ambon, Kendari, Koepang: With the adjustment to Ambon with the 2 SNLFs, that's the thing to do.
4. Northern Luzon: I'm going to push a substantial force to Lingayan. The forces for Aparri and Vigan are still going on as scheduled. The Aparri invasion has some air support so I may add some engineers to build up the base somewhat.
I was planning on keeping the 4th Mixed Reg where it was, but I really doubt Ted will advance there. He has little interest with China other than an occasional air offensive that will die out when the supply dwindles. Now I'm going to reconsider....
In WitP, the important airbases were those that were 4+. Gotta remember that that's not the case anymore. Gotta read up on the airfield rules....
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