ORIGINAL: John 3rd
Two Kaga's it is then. One could have the BatDivs along these lines:
BatDiv1: Nagato, Mutsu, Kii, and Owari
BatDiv2: Fuso, Yamashiro, Ise, and Hyuga
BatDiv3: Kongo, Hiei, Haruna, and Kirishima
Akagi and Kaga (figuring there is nothing to avoid the Earthquake!)
Two CVLs with an air group of...say...36 planes?
I still urge you to reconsider building two mini-CVLs. Sure, in the game I'll take two such ships instead of a decent-sized Ryujo that honestly can carry 48 planes (it can already in the game, but I don't think she ever actually operated more than 38, at least during WW II) any day of the week, but that's because for the game code a carrier is a carrier, and the only thing that really impacts air operations is airplane capacity. But IRL Ryujo suffered from, IIRC, being only able to move modern aircraft by its fore lift and too small deck area. I think she wouldn't have been able to carry late-war planes too. They tried to save money by building a small carrier, but thanks to the reconctruction it ended up expensive. And there was little reason to squeeze everything possible of the avialable carrier tonnage right now, with USN not rushing to fill its carrier quota, and combat role of a carrier still remaining vague.
From the game viewpoint, I think post-treaty carrier construction has enough potential for improvement, no need to frontload the mod too much.
On battleships: unfortunately, the two extra battleships of BatDiv 1 will need a reconstruction as well. Considering extra cruiser construction, I don't think there will be money to rebuild any of the older battleships of BatDiv 2 in pre-treaty period. Which might be a hidden blessing, as their early-to-mid-30s rebuilds prepared them for a different war than the one which outline started to form by late 30s (25 knots of speed was enough to maintain a favorable distance of engagement in a daylight artillery duel with the old American battleline, but not enough to run with the carriers and never BBs/BCs).
Force conservation means no China invasion.
Japan capable of not invading China won't be drawn into the world war at all. That said, as you can see, I'm already proposing a delayed beginning of the big war in China, and expectations of a longer war
Like more advanced fighters, bombers, Conversion CVEs and CVLs.
You can bet on better aircraft. I'm not a big fan of conversions, though. Converted passenger liners arguably were worth the effort (but most of them were escort carriers, not intended for use against the enemy battlefleet to begin with) but building and reconstruction of special-project shadow carriers saved little money (20-25%, saying optimistically) compared with just buidling a Hiryu-class carrier, occupied shipyards for longer and produced ships that were vastly inferior.
And besides, one of the biggest problems with alt_naval is expanding the Japanese carrier fleet far beyond Japan's ability to provide with planes and, most of all, pilots. True, in AE there is no such thing as too many carriers, as long as they come with airgroups, even if their pilots are untrained initially. IRL, not really. To avoid this trap and excessive front-loading of the scenario, I think it is preferable to give Japan at the start better carriers, than more carriers, compared to the stock. I think this will be discussed in detail once we go to the post-treaties period.
Better landing craft and escort. Mines, Above all more advanced torps. Could Japan have homing torps in 1943-44 in their 61cm.
Well I agree no to torps. But landing craft is way too important then DE's etc
Again very long range planes. To secure zone defence.
Japan was ahead of everyone else in plane range already.
In terms of range they were but. It was only possible if the fly naked. I mean something like G8 bomber avaible with 32 range with all defence and gunnery at disposal. I feel 200 self sufficient heavy bomber group. Is more powerfull then 6 army division. And ıf I could bomb Sian why the hell I would try to invade by land.
It turns out that capitalism requires scarcity to operate
You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. BUCKMINSTER FULLER