15/12/41 – We both installed Hotfix 3, so now subs will only react 1 hex. Time will tell if this will be a blessing or a curse for my plans. I did enjoy seeing my subs hound enemy TFs all over the map, but I can understand the rationale for stopping that.
I'm going to segue a bit here and write about how I approach a turn. First off, I watch the Combat Replay. For some reason, when I hit the “End” button at the top of the animation screen it only speeds up the animation and doesn't end it like it does when I play against the AI. I'm assuming that is a function of how my opponent has the game set up from his end, and it isn't too much of a bother, so I haven't attempted to hunt down the source of the discrepancy.
I also make notes during the Combat Replay. I find that there are always some things that I notice while watching the CR that don't really show up afterwards in the Combat Report or Operational Report. And sometimes it's just a matter of writing down general gut-feeling observations so that I remember them later.
I then prepare a page with six areas on it: Ships, TFs, Bases, AC, Attacks, and Troops. I use this page to make detailed notes on what is reported in the various reports when I run the turn. Next I start the turn and make the first of a series of temporary saves that I will make as I set up the turn. I do that so I can go back if I goof something up badly and don't want to start the turn from scratch.
I next look at the main Info table and compare the Air Combat results on it against the Air Losses table and consider both against what I watched during the Combat Replay. I also check the Air Withdrawal and Ship Withdrawal tables to see what is coming up for withdrawal. I check the Ground Withdrawal table much less frequently because not as much is withdrawn, and most of that is not for quite some time.
I then look at the SIGINT table and scan it for any reports of “Planning Attack”, or any Japanese units that are reported to be heading toward any of my bases that aren't part of the usual Japanese targets at this point of the game. If I find any such reports I note them in the “Attacks” section of my prepared sheet.
I then go to the Operational Report and go over that carefully. I note all activities for my ships, such as arrivals at bases or repair status in the “Ships” section of the page that I prepared. I note the arrival of all TFs in the “TFs” section as well I note of any of my TFs are being reported as low on fuel. I note the arrivals of Air Units in the “AC” section, and the arrivals of LCUs in the “Troops” section. I also note upgrades of my bases in the “Bases” section.
I also go over the Air Search reports if during the Combat Reply I noticed a report of a spotting where I wasn't expecting to see one, either an unexpected spotting of an enemy force, or an unexpected spotting of one of my forces by an enemy that I wasn't aware of.
I now have my working sheet ready for doing the turn. I go through all of reports one-by-one and adjust my forces based upon the current situation. I also check the status of all of my submarine TFs and individual subs, and send home those subs which have sustained damage or have shot off at least half of their torpedoes.
I then do all of the usual micromanagement of LCUs, Aircraft, Ships and TFs. So a normal turn at this point in the game usually takes be a couple of hours to complete, and I will have around 10 interim saves before I do the final save and send the turn back to my opponent.
Okay, now for the turn. The only night phase invasion was the continuation at Wake where my CD guns once again happily shot up a PB and an AK. Then during the day phase the CD guns got going in a major way and put shells into two CLs and two more PBs. BTW, one or more Japanese CVs were still hanging southwest of Wake and sending in bombers during the day.
There was a lot of ASW action this turn because I sent a lot of ASW TFs out from Pearl. One DD was sunk by a sub, but the rest were able to duck the Japanese torpedoes and then attempt to depth charge the enemy. There were no reported hits, but at least my commanders got in some live training.
As an aside, I've observed that speed is a crucial factor in ASW ships surviving encounters with enemy subs. When I send out slow ASW TFs, such as TFs containing AMs, they often get hammered by the subs. But DDs tend to “duck” the torpedoes more often. All-in-all, my opinion is that the subs in the early game are too good and the ASW too bad, but that appears to be WAD, so I have to learn to live with it.
I finally got a small TF of MTBs to engage the enemy at San Fernando, but unfortunately they ran into a big Surface Combat TF instead of a transport TF. Surprisingly, my MTBs were able to close in and fire without being destroyed. However, they didn't hit anything, so I have them retiring to Manila to reload and try again later. The only good thing about this is that I now know that there is a big Japanese SC TF at San Fernando that contains CAs, CLs, and DDs, and that they aren't elsewhere.
My opponent sent in a bombing attack against Clark again this turn, and once my my P-40s did quite well. Fortunately, the attack was smaller than the last one and caused negligible damage, so I was able to repair and fly out two more B-17s to Soerabaja. I've got the B-17s resting up there. I'll use them for low level aerial searching for a while until new ground targets open up.
Elsewhere my opponent continued his heavy bombing of LCUs in China and northern Malaya. This is nice because it is allowing me to reposition my air units and start to train them up. As part of this training I am continuing with hit-and-run air raids. Other than a raid on the Japanese troops at Ichang my bombers were quiet this turn, but I'm sending some British bombers against Japanese troops in northern Burma next turn. The 2-E bombers don't do a lot of damage against LCUs with the latest Patch/Hotfix changes, but air attacks still work to slow down ground units, and in general this makes my opponent spread out his air defences more, which helps me.
BTW – one of the AVG squadrons finally got into action as it ambushed first an Ida attack and then a Lily attack over Kweilin. I then moved the AVG squadron just in case my opponent tries a retaliatory sweep by Zeros next turn, but the important result is that this will make him move more escorts to cover his bombing raids.
There wasn't much land combat this turn. The Japanese did their daily artillery attack on my troops at Ichang, as did the invaders at Rabaul. And Wake finally fell to a land attack, but the skeleton crew there did their job very well, and the rest of their compatriots are now rebuilding at Midway.
BTW – as far as China goes, so far I have been successful at repositioning my troops to more useful positions. I have all of the Chinese artillery units on the move away from Chungking and towards the Front, and I am also moving all of the small LCUs back to Chungking so that they can rebuild and eventually be reunited. The stalemate at Ichang is getting worse, but I don't want to pull out because that will simply allow my opponent to split my forces. So I am committed to moving more and better units into the battle and also into position to try to cut off the Japanese. I'm also hoping that this keeps my opponent's attention there and not elsewhere in China.