From: PDX (and now) London, UK
Firstly, thank you. This is a great list for any Japanese player to consider in my opinion. There is some timely advice here. Some of it I may not be able to accomplish. A lot of it I'll sift around and test slowly as I go.
ORIGINAL: Panzerjaeger Hortlund
1. You must take Palembang. Right now. That should be your only priority right now. Knowing Historiker, he is probably doing his utmost to reinforce the base. Drop everything else. Take Palembang no later than Dec 15th.
The 21st division is prepping in Shanghai for Palembang. It will begin loading tomorrow. I won't get there by the 15th. Air cover will need to be set up in Kuching or Singkawang first. Force Z is still near, so this will have to be a quick and well guarded operation. The Ryujo is headed for the HI to upgrade and form up a Mini-KB.
I'm aiming for the 20-25th for Palembang. The Mini-KB will support this landing from a safe distance as well once it returns to the DEI.
Although I need to be quick, I also must be solid to avoid needless loss of forces, especially troops. There may be some feint operations in the area to see how strong his reaction will be. I'm thinking of sending a group of AKLs in the direction of Palembang before the main force, and directed at Pontiniak. If he hits it hard, then I'll know what is there. If not, I'll have a small unit on it to take Pontiniak.
2. See 1. When you have achieved 1, then take Singapore and Manila and the rest of the NEI. All of these targets are inside Betty and Zero range, so you dont need any CVs anyway.
Singapore is priority 2 after Palembang. Then Burma. The PI will be slow unless he gives something away.
3. Forget India and Australia. Forget the Aleutians and the South Pacific. You now have a defensive navy only. That means no offensive operations outside land-based aircover. Can you take Wake inside 2-3 days? If not, forget Wake. Lexington is probably already there. Historiker will most probably move to reinforce Wake. Use this. Send all your subs to wake. Send DD-raiders to Wake. DONT send CVs or capital ships. He will be looking for that, and he will have 1-3 CVs protecting it together with land based air inside one week.
Enterprise took 1 torp. She'll need some time in the yard. Lex is my worry. I'm sending a fleet of Glen subs toward Wake to meet the group of RO subs near there now.
I have the one SNLF prepped for Wake plus the Naval Guard set for Makin now prepping for Wake at Eneweitok. There is the SCTF plus two AMCs that can form a large Fast Transport to Wake to take it within 3 days. I feel with Enterprise not available for at least a week and more likely longer, I will wait and search with subs before the Wake invasion goes. I'll also send a few AMc up there as pickets to complement the subs. If there's no sighting I'll dash in. The two units usually take Wake in one shot, and if the TF is at flank speed, if the CV isn't sitting on top of it, these ships should get in quickly enough. If he does get in there and take out some old CLs and DDs, then as you point out later, it's something else to inflate the confidence, (but I'll have Wake).
Anyone please let me know if this plan seems suspect. I haven't looked at the starting position of Lex in a while, and I'm not sure where she could be now.
4. Your only offensive option left is China. That is where you will find your HI and your resources. Ok, the USSR is a theoretical target, but there is nothing there, except thousands of AVs and almost no industry. This is actually not too bad, because you can take China, or as much of it as you want.
China seems to be my mission. I've got some experience there, but PPs are running scarce already and I've still got several air groups to buy back before I can take out all of the cheap Manchurian armor.
He looks to be slightly offensive minded so far in China. That's fine by me. Once I get some 2Es in there, I'll be able to begin freezing these operations.
5. China means that the Burma road must be closed as soon as possible. Rangoon is a prime target, hit it hard and hit it often. Move your 9 Tojos to the Thai lvl 2 airfield close to Rangoon, sweep from there with Zeros and Tojos. Sweep with Oscars and Zeros from Bangkok. He probably has the AVG defending Rangoon, so beware. After that, bomb the port to bits. Drop paratroopers on all the bases along the railline between Rangoon and China.
He'll be on the watch for early paradrops (thanks to your game with CR). I can use Thai units there, and once the armor in Malaya has pushed the British back, I'll send them to Burma. Once Singapore falls, Burma will see a lot of troops.
I'll not bomb Rangoon until I have overwhelming force in sweeps. After about a week the 3rd Ku S-1 from the PI area will move over there and begin reducing the AVG with whatever Oscars I can scrounge up. I hadn't thought of the Tojos. It's just such a small unit. I'll give that a shot. I'll see how that goes and then consider the paradrops.
6. Move what you can of your IJAAF bombers from Kwangtung to China. Start attacking airfields all over China. It will cost supplies to repair. Kill at least 350 Chinese squads per month, I dont care how.
This I know I can do. After a few weeks of upgrading bombing will be non-stop here.
This time around I plan to encircle and destroy Chinese troops if possible instead of pushing them back until they are shells. Even if they come back stronger, it's more mouths to feed and less experienced troops. Plus it's the opposite of what I was doing in my last game, so it might surprise him a bit in spots.
7. He will be looking for more naval victories now. Put CAs at Truk, Babeldaop, Saipan. He will be agressive and full of himself. Use that. Expect raids and bold moves. Use his expectations against him. He will expect invasions at Port Moresby and Darwin eventually. That means he will gravitate ships and airunits there. You can use this information.
CAs are at Babeldaob already. They're on the way to Truk. Once a few units are freed from the first wave of invasions of the PI and the devouring of fleeing ships, they'll heavily defend the second wave PI invasions.
8. Focus on your industry. Look at your aircraft. Focus research on the Tojo and the Helen. After that the N1K1.
I've already bumped Tojo and Helen Ia up quite a lot. Topped up mid-game zero research through the A6M3 and Rufe channels. I'll push the N1K1 as I haven't topped that up yet.
Basically the game has changed with the loss of the KB already. You might save 3 CVs, but they will be in dock for weeks. Forget the KB for the next months. And that is ok, because for the next two months you need to focus on Palembang, Java, Singapore, Burma anyway. You dont need CVs for that. In March/April, start thinking about new ways to use the KB. His CVs will be around Wake or Darwin or Port Moresby...so use the KB to raid the west coast and the SLOCs between PH and the US instead. I managed to catch an entire division at sea this way.
Use the loss of the KB to your advantage. I know this sounds weird, but see it like this. You dont need the KB for your main objectives (NEI) and you dont need the KB for your short to mid-range goals (NEI and China). By the time you need CVs for defensive operations, you will have new ones. At least enough CVs for the usual death-ride of the IJN. So, you dont need the KB anyway. At the same time, this victory has probably gone into Historikers head. He thinks he has struck a decisive blow that will win the war two years early. He is probably planning right now how fast he can defeat you, and he probably will try to achieve a super-fast victory over Japan. He will have been reading Nemos old AARs. He is (most likely) building a fortress Palembang, he is most likely planning offensive operations in the CentPac. You can use this. Play into this. Send an invasion force right into his CV trap at Wake using old transports and expendable troops. You lose nothing, he will be reinforced in his opinion that he is a master strategist. Send another invasion force right into his waiting SCTFs at Adak Island. Watch it being destroyed and know that Historiker takes this as more evidence of his brilliance. Play into his ego. Feed his missconceptions. Eventually he will be careless, then its your time.
Some great thoughts here. Torsten has already mentioned he think this won't likely go far past mid-43. With a little luck and lots of planning and deviousness, I also feel it could go a good deal longer.
The psychology will be fun to work with. I will need a lot of help on that end. Some of your suggestions are a great start. Sending forces in to be decimated as a goal will be new to me, and I'll start slowly with that one. Having gone almost a year ahead in my other PBEM will surely help me figure out what is possible in some areas without the KB to buffer them.
This will be a fun game. The only thing I know for sure is that it will change how I look at this game and test me in ways I haven't been pushed before. Thanks for the help, the challenges, and any other comments. Keep it coming.