From: Alberta, Canada
I'm happy with progress in China. There's a potential to completely cut off about 30 enemy units. Whether I should contain, reduce or destroy them is the question. Originally, I intended on simply reducing enemy units without destroying them, driving them back as I advanced. I'm not sure this is the right strategy to employ this early considering some large enemy pockets have formed in my rear. I want to advance quickly, but having to secure my LOC from interdiction by these troops will be problematic.
In light of this, I've decided to eliminate the 10 enemy units cut off near Nanchang. I realize they will respawn, but the south is where I'm weakest. I can't afford to have Chinese forces from Changsha move against me at this stage, and the danger of being caught between two strong enemy forces is real. Granted, I believe the units cut off are out of supply, but they amount to almost 100k. If they suddenly get access to supply, I could be overwhelmed in the south.
The pocket forming around Loyang is more promising to reduce, rather than eliminate. Recon indicates about 80k threatened with encirclement. I'll produce a screenshot later, but essentially they are moving west in rough terrain towards Sian. This force is already flanked from the south and roughly parallel with my advancing forces in the north. Once I take the next secondary road hex they will be cut off directly from Sian. The risk of them turning south and cutting off my southern force will be countered by withdrawing from Nanyang and marching to Loyang to secure the encirclement. I believe I'll attempt to reduce this force by direct attack and attrition from supply loss, before allowing it to "escape" the trap. It will be severely weakened and pose more of a logisitcs problem to the Chinese, than an offensive threat to me.
Chinese forces blocking the road from Nanyang will most likely fall back to Sian or attack Nanyang after I withdraw from the base. I don't believe Jocke would occupy Nanyang only to be pummeled again in clear terrain. I have no intention of trying to force my way up the main road from Nanyang, providing at least eight enemy units with 3x defensive terrain. Perhaps I still should feint though, the longer I delay their withdrawal to Sian the better for my advancing troops.
My northern thrust will eventually run into at least seven units moving along the secondary road to Sian from Yenan. This force does not worry me whatsoever, as it will be advancing in only 2x defensive terrain and my bombers and ground troops will crush them. I'm almost in a position to deal with the AVG and Chinese air units. Once I establish air superiority, I'll bomb around Sian and Yenan causing heavy disruption and disablements.
Once Sian and Lanchow fall, or the fuel flow into Central China is blocked, I can then employ my strategy of not destroying Chinese formations. I want them constantly drawing what supply remains to recover disablements, and prevent enough supply pooling at bases for their garrisons or to allow fort construction.
The Burma Road is threatened now. Japanese troops are about to invest Pegu, which upon capture will block the direct rail line betwen Rangoon and China. If Sian's and Lanchow's fuel/oil can be blocked as early as Feb./Mar. and the Burma Road cut, China will be in big trouble. There's a long way to go yet, but I'm quite optimistic about China already. I haven't had to buy out any combat units, excepting a few armoured units, for China.
I'm starting to draw up plans for Australia. I expect a typical Allied response to the capture of Darwin, and that is the build up of Alice Springs to allow logistics to pool and flow north as bases are built up for the eventual counterattack. I will land initially at Caenarvon on the west coast in order to try and suck units to Perth. Then land behind the entire theatre at Port Augusta with a force strong enough to prevent the Allies opening the rail line. My main force will then land at Esperance and Albany and march north to cut Perth off completely. Landing at Port Augusta will also have the benefit of allowing me to block the rail line to Alice Springs. Then I close the pocket and eliminate all Allied forces deployed to Western Australia.
Once Perth is secure, I will transition forces for operations against Northeastern Australia. Horn Island and Port Moresby will be captured initially to provide LBA the means to support operations. I will not attempt to draw Australian units north to Townsville and area as I don't think Jocke will react the same way a second time. Instead, a hammerblow will fall at Rockhampton to block the rail line north. The majority of forces will march north to eliminate all Allied units, while airbases are expanded to allow for strategic bombing of Australia's industry.
The Combined Fleet will support initial landings until LBA can be utilized. Once LBA is established, it is the mission of the Combined Fleet to hammer enemy coastal bases and blockade Southern Australia from receiving any reinforcements via Cape Town or New Zealand.
I think it's an ambitious plan for Scenario 1 and perhaps beyond the capabilities of my forces, or my skill level at this time, but I'm giving it a shot regardless. A lot will depend on what happens from now until operations begin. How quickly will Singapore, Palembang and Java fall, how quickly can I transition logistics and support. Will combined Fleet still be intact and able to interdict the LOC to Australia. Lots of unknowns at this point. I'm looking at committing at least eight divisions, possibly 10, to Australia. This leaves me quite vulnerable to an early Allied move elsewhere, but I hope to be in a position to defend against anything that might be tried.
Sould be a fun ride, but I do know I have to take the fight to the Allies this time around. India and Australia aren't big surprises anymore to the Allies, but the way they are attempted could be. I'll discuss my thoughts on how Jocke might attempt to counter and what my preparations will be another time.
And of course, any thoughts or suggestions are always welcome. Even if you want to say I'm crazy!
Luck is the residue of design - John Milton
Don't mistake lack of talent for genius - Peter Steele (Type O Negative)