I'm new to WitP and have just started my first full campaign game, playing as the Allies against the AI. I'm posting my progress and some thoughts here. Currently I've played through to 21 February, 1942, so it's still very early.
I figure as the Allies I will get beaten up soundly the first half of 1942. I chose a line in the sand that goes from Timor to Port Moresby, the lower Solomons, and up to Wake (but around the Gilberts and Marshalls). I’ve spent most of the first two months establishing supply chains: West Coast – Pearl Harbor – Suva/Noumea and Karachi – Perth.
The PH attack didn’t go too badly. I have sent the moderately damaged ships to the West Coast, where some have already been repaired. The Japanese assaulted Wake but it held so I have reinforced it and am making something of a forward island fortress out of it.
In the PI I crashed all the infantry back on Manila and Bataan. Infantry on other islands were basically left to die on the vine. I would have liked to have moved the air assets somewhere but I don’t know how you would do that. You can’t transfer them to other bases as it is too far, and you can’t send AK’s up to get them as the ships just get hammered by Japanese LBA. Clark fell quickly, but Bataan held out until Feb 20 and Manila is still fighting. I evacuated the US HQ unit via sub transport per recommendations I saw on this site, but I’m not sure what use they’ll be later. We shall see.
Similar to the PI I ran the British down to Singapore to hole up and fight there. This worked for a while, with Singapore holding until early February. I pulled naval assets out quickly, sending them to Timor (more on that below).
I decided that I’d try to hold Timor as part of my “line in the sand,” so I pulled a number of Dutch units back there, both infantry and air. There is a strong naval presence now based out of Lautern, including Repulse, Prince of Wales, Indomitable, and a handful of other British ships. The Repulse and PoW had a brief encounter with the KB off of Batavia, escaping to tell about it and putting a couple of shells into the Zuikaku.
Suva and Noumea are my major bases here, with the plan being to funnel supplies and fuel through them to the appropriate spots. I went ahead and put infantry onto some of the Solomons – Guadalcanal is pretty heavily garrisoned now and troops just now landed on Tulagi. Dealing with Japanese land-based air coming down from Rabaul is proving to be troublesome, though. I’ve got fighters en route from PH to station on Guadalcanal but it remains to be seen how effective they’ll be.
The Japanese sub presence in the Coral Sea is also a problem. The ASW effectiveness of my DD’s is awful and I’m losing destroyers daily without inflicting much damage. The MSW’s and PG’s are even more useless in this role. I’ve got land- and carrier-based air doing ASW patrols, and they do score some hits, so I’m hoping that’s at least keeping the subs down.
Given the success at Wake I pushed out to Marcus Island. This was almost certainly a mistake as I don’t see how I’ll be able to keep an airbase supplied there without losing an unacceptable amount of shipping to land-based air flying out from the home islands. But there’s a US flag flying.
I’m still figuring out how to play as well as figuring out a viable strategy. I’ll do idiot things like find that I’ve forgotten to set a TF’s home port properly and find it steaming back to Manila or Singapore to get blasted by Japanese air. Strategically I suspect I’m being a bit too aggressive as the Allies early on but we’ll see. There are some resources that I am having trouble figuring out how to use: Australian Infantry that costs more political points than I have to transfer out of the Australia Command; the slow US battleships that survived the PH attack and the equally slow British BB’s that show up (Royal Sovereign, et al); the low-endurance MSW’s; where to best put HQ units. And I'm clueless in China.
I have no idea what to do about the strong Japanese land-based air except to just stay out of range. Ditto the KB, which is a freaking Death Star.