From: the flight deck of the Zuikaku
Hi guys. Since I'm waiting for my old PBEM to resume or to start a new one, I thought I'd start discussing different aspects of the Japanese side of things. Now that I have had the experience of playing 6 game months of the campaign game, I have learned a few things (from playing as well as discussing things with many of you). Anyway, here goes.
I thought I'd start with the xAKs. Yeah, it's not glamorous, but it's a necessary evil if you want to be able to play with your toys come late 1942. Without these buckets, your raw materials don't come back to Japan and your supply and fuel doesn't make it to the guys with the pointy sticks. I'll discuss each class and talk about good and bad points and potential conversions.
When I looked at these guys when AE first came out, the initial thoughts of their relative usefulness was primarily based on capacity and speed. Looking at them a second time (with a bit of experience with this game) brings to light some classes that I initially thought were nothing special but now feel are unique in some way and critical to Japanese success.
One thing that I didn't think was important but is supremely important is the conversion from xAK to AK. After 31 Mar 42, the Japanese invasion bonus goes away. The disruption of invading Japanese troops becomes horrendous. One way to reduce that awful disruption is to invade with AKs. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of classes that can make this conversion. You have:
Yusan N - 56 hulls, 15 kts
Yusan A - 7 hulls, 18 kts
Kyushu - 32 hulls, 18 kts
Husimi - 25 hulls, 14 kts
Keep this in mind as we discuss below.
There are a variety of conversions available, but not by all classes. Here are some of them:
Ok, here we go by class....
To'su 37/34/18 - 12 kt
Kiso 69/48/15 - 11 kt
Ansyu-C 54/36/No conversion possible - 14 kt
These guys are grouped together because they they can be converted into PBs and ACMs. ACMs first. On 7 Dec 41 you have 46 ACMs. If you look at all your starting minefields, you are short an additional 40 ACMs. Something has to be converted if you want to keep a majority of those mines.
You've got 37 To'su and 69 Kiso available to convert to ACM. You need 40 plus any new minefields you create. Let's say 60 total. That leaves 46 left to convert. They'll convert to PBs. For you new guys, these two classes are tiny and make terrible cargo ships. Go ahead and convert them all.
The question on how to divide up the conversions is a good one. I base it on speed. The Kiso PBs will escort the 10 kt convoys, the To'sus escort the 12 kt convoys and the Ansyu-Cs escort the 14 (and maybe 15) kt convoys. How do we figure this part out?
10 kt xAKs - 185 hulls
12 kt xAKs - 350 hulls
14 kt xAKs - 178 hulls
Lots of 12 kt hulls. I would convert all 37 To'sus to PBs and 9 Kisos to PBs. That would make the following conversions:
37 To'su to PB
9 Kisu to PB
60 Kisu to ACM
which gives you:
71 To'su PB
57 Kisu PB
18 To'su ACM
75 Kisu ACM
You also have 36 Ansyu-C PBs and an additional 54 xAKs. They are actually not bad as xAKs but you can never have too many PBs. I'm not sure how many I'll end up converting, but it'll be over half, maybe all. Comments/
More to come....
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