This is a post stolen from Nemo in his AAR as japan. Im not saying I will follow his lead, but it is a good thing to know what he percieves to be the strong sides of Japan. He knows that I have read the post (I posted in the thread to make sure he knows that) and that should start the mind games. Will I play like him, will I do something different. I can play into this, making him think I will use his tactics against him, forcing him to play against himself...
Japanese Aerial Planning:
1. Single-engined fighters and cheap purpose-built kamikazes ( modelled in this Armaggedon Mod as being either auto-produced at no HI cost or being produced with spare, obsolete engines ... and thus requiring only 18 HI to produce ) are by far and away the best kamikazes to use.
Why is this?
a. Single-engined fighters can fly high and fast or low and fast, split the CAP, minimise the number of enemy fighters which can intercept them and, if intercepted, manoeuvre and defend themselves somewhat --- all of which increases their chances of making it into attack range without being shot down.
b. Cheap kamikaze planes... While their performance sucks they still use up enemy fighter attacks and every fighter attack used in shooting them down is one less attack to shoot down a more capable plane. Additionally most of the purpose-built planes carry quite large bombs ( 1000+ Kg in the Ohka, 800 Kg in the Ki-115 Tsurugi, 250Kg bombs in the Ki-9 and Willow etc trainers ) which means if they DO break through then they can do some significant damage. They very rarely break through the FlAK though even if they do break through the CAP.
2. IJAAF bombers simply cannot survive when attack CAPed Allied bases/TFs during the daytime. As such they are best used at night where their loss rate will be low enough for the night-bombing raids to constitute live fire training and result in the continual graduation of 70 Skill Ground Bombing Pilots ( for the Ki-264 and a few elite Ki-67 units ).
3. IJNAF bombers are wasted on ground attack missions. In exceptional circumstances where success is absolutely essential ( the strikes on Naha and Naga airbase in the first week ) they can be committed to ground bombing missions. Otherwise they must be reserved for training in rear areas until they have >60 Naval Torpedo Skill at which time they can transition to night-time naval strike missions. Again the rationale is that they simply cannot survive during the daytime
4. The easiest place to kill B-29s is on the ground.
5. In the absence of concentrated fighter sweeps from close range vs mainland Japan the IJAAF and IJNAF can hold against B-29s once sufficient new fighters are being produced. I am eyeing the J7W1 as the best anti-bomber fighter thanks to its centre-line mounted guns ( plus I decided Japan would decide to standardise on 20mm cannon so as to keep their fighters dual-role ( anti-fighter and anti-bomber ). I gave them 1.5 20mm cannon per 30mm cannon mounted so the J7W1 mounts 6 centre-line 20mm cannon now instead of 4 x 30mm cannon. I believe this to be a reasonable swap-out ratio well within volume/weight ratios) while the Ki-94 II should be a good anti-fighter plane thanks to its ceiling and reasonably high speed.
6. Offensive sweeps are not to be tolerated. As much as possible the IJAAF and IJNAF will stay on the defensive and do their best to conserve experienced pilot's lives. Inexperienced pilots will be thrown away by the hundred in kamikaze missions.
7. P-51Hs are superior to anything I have. P-51Hs operating at a range of 20 hexes from their base are so fatigued that my Ki-84rs can handle them on an even footing and N1K5s, J7Ws, Ki-94s can achieve favourable kill ratios.... another argument for taking Okinawa and threatening Iwo Jima.
Expected impact of this force disposition on Allied CV TFs...
Let us assume a ten USN CVs enter the seas around Japan. They will carry 24 Hellcats and 24 Corsairs each. Some may carry F7Fs and F8Fs instead of the Hellcats. I will treat the F7s and F8s as equivalent to the Corsair.. In addition perhaps one in three will carry 24 night-fighting Hellcats. In total assuming a 1/3rd, 2/3rds split between Hellcats and Corsairs ( or Corsair equivalents ) you arrive at a figure of 320 Corsairs and 160 Hellcats as well as, perhaps, 72 night-fighters.
Now, assume that they get hit by 100 Netties or G9Ms per night and begin suffering the occasional torpedo hit to a CA, BB or CV. The 72 night-fighters only kill 5 or 6 bombers per night and the Japanese attacks are continuing apace. The natural reaction is to commit more fighters to the night-time defence of the fleet in order to reduce enemy hits. Let us assume that 60 more Hellcats are drafted in. That leaves 100 for day-time CAP. Already the day-time CAP has suffered a 10% loss ( going from 480 to 420 ).
Then assume that you do a logical split of your daytime CAP, Hellcats down low, Corsairs etc up high. 100 Hellcats down low isn't really enough to intercept a strong low-level kamikaze strike so either the Allies commit Corsair equivalents down low to thicken the CAP OR they accept low-level leakers. The more low-level CAP there is the weaker the high CAP of Corsair equivalents will be and the more high level leakers get through.
So, basically, by making a binary choice ( high or low level CAP ) into a trinary choice ( daytime high, daytime low or night-time CAP ) I hope to split the CAP and get more kamikazes leaking through.
I plan to mix J7Ws and Ki-94s on a roughly 50/50 ratio over mainland Japan with the Ki-94s there to tangle with the P-51s and the J7Ws there to attack the bombers. One thing I learnt from the previous game was that by the time I was ready to upgrade my fighter force the Allies had advanced so far that wasn't useful anymore. One reason behind attacking Okinawa is to buy the time to complete a wholesale upgrade of the IJAAF and IJNAF fighter squadrons. While awaiting these new plans I plan to simply mob the B-29s using even unarmoured planes such as the A6M5 to attack them. I am hoping sufficient numbers will help me swamp the B-29s and achieve a number of kills through the sheer accumulation of small amounts of damage.
Night CAP is ineffective. One can argue over how realistic that is and over how things might have changed IF Japan had been able to create an integrated air defence network. One way to model this would be to check for radars in nearby bases and give combat bonuses the more contiguous and dense the radar screen is. This would reward players who create such a radar belt whilst not tieing the game into awarding bonus x because it is month y.
I understand though that this is beyond the scope of the game. I am also given to understand that differentiating between the night intercept model of both nations is out of the window ( which is a pity as US night fighter operations were significantly more successful and high-tech than the Japanese efforts ). In any case night CAP is now best used to disrupt bomber streams. This disruption hugely reduces accuracy and is well worth the effort.
By combining ultra-long range recon planes ( Ki-74s, Ki-95s etc ), forward-based Mavis and Emilys as extempore recon operating out of bypassed bases AND sub-based Glens I expect to be able to spook the Allies into rebasing of their B-29s. When maintenance-intensive planes like the B-29 rebase they suffer maintenance damage and fatigue. Both help in reducing their effectiveness in bombing. It may also prove possible to lure the B-29s into rebasing from outside of my range and into the range at which my Ki-264s can attack them.
The Allies will, undoubtedly, prefer to use the B-29s during the daytime. I will, obviously, encourage this by truthfully talking about how difficult they are to turn away from their targets. One thing to realise about daytime bomber raids means that those bombers are all sitting on the ground during the night-time which, if they are within Ki-264 range, is when I'll strike. Even minimal B-29 losses will quickly result in reduced raid numbers as their replacement rate is quite low. If I can cause an early rebasing and then hit the B29s when they are on the ground I should, again, buy time for the changeover to J7Ws and Ki-94s.
I'm also giving some thought to using kamikaze Ki-264As as fighter bait when the USN CVs really come knocking close-in to Japan. A single Ki-264A kamikaze hit should render any CV combat-incapable and if manned by my highest experience Low Naval Skill pilots I would expect a very good hit rate - perhaps as high as 40%. At that rate kamikaze Ki-264As might well be worth the effort and expenditure.
In extremis I will commit these to launch a daytime attack on Allied CV fleets as a sort of CAP-breacher for follow-on waves. Losses would be massive and that's why the G9M is a one shot weapon. Barring such an extreme situation the G9Ms will simply sit at airbases, biding their time and, perhaps, engaging in occasional night-time raids.
What happens to the Ki-84s, Ki-61s, Ki-44s, A6M5s/7s/8s when the J7W, A7M2 and Ki-94 s replace them?
Simple, they will be pressed into kamikaze service. Why?
Fast kamikazes mean that there will be less time for them to be intercepted.
High altitude means splitting the CAP AND, most importantly, it means the majority of scrambling fighters taking a long, long time to reach intercept altitude.
E.g. Assume a raid spotted at 120nm coming in at 360 knots. That gives a maximum of 20 minutes for the CAP to intervene. The F4U4 will take over 11 minutes to reach about 37,000 feet. This leaves less than 9 minutes for the planes scrambling the instant the raid is spotted to actually intercept. The end result of this is that many of the scrambling planes never intercept and a large portion of the Corsair equivalents are rendered irrelevant. Trigonometry and the technical characteristics of the planes combine to help raids largely defeat CAP.
So, as you can see, high altitude isn't about overflying the CAP, it is about negating large amounts of CAP through the interaction of kamikaze speed, altitude and defending fighter climb rate. The F7 and F8 are better in this regard but even then I would estimate that well over 50% of the possible interceptions are avoided ( many planes don't intercept at all, those which launch the instant the raid is detected only intercept at about the mid-way point of the approach and only those planes already in the air intercept for significantly more than 50% of the ingress ).
The loss of this trigonometry and interaction ( as well as the loss of the CAP-splitting effect of multiple altitudes ) is why the automatic 9,000 feet approach altitude is so disruptive of all Japanese kamikaze attacks from 1108c onward.
The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close.
In its place we are entering a period of consequences..