From: St. Louis
Several experienced players have posted guides for newbies/AE first timers with detailed guides on how to organize yourself area by area.
1. I most cases the first step is - GRAND STRATEGY i.e. decide where you want to be/what you want the situation to look like in a year or more down the road/sea lane. You can be a little bit ambitious on this, it is just a goal for guidance of plans, but don't expect to be landing in Japan's home islands.
Using the long range strategy, decide where you will try to stop the Japanese cold and where you will put some speed bumps to slow them down. Be aware that the Japanese can take most any place they want but they cannot take every place they want. They also have serious limitations in fuel availability and engineer units. Once you have decided where you need to hold, start moving available units and supply ASAP. This may include retreating from exposed places [like Rabaul] to save units that you can use in your key bases. This process will take weeks to sort out, but start moving things right away. Having these general plans will also guide how you use your scarce political points.
2. Husband your carriers carefully until they get better aircraft and a lot more training/experience. The key to this is setting up thorough search all over the map to try and spot KB and mini-KB carriers. Stay away from them for a long time unless you have concentrated at least three of your carriers and know where a small fragment of the enemy carrier fleet is AND you know where the main carriers fleet is. Get some experience by using your carriers to sting exposed landings or forward bases with little LBA support. Avoid sub concentrations - your ASW sucks in early 1942. Once you have six US carriers + some British ones, and the Hellcat fighter, you can get more aggressive.
3. Get your Chinese units out of the clear terrain where bombers and tanks will crush them. Establish defences in the wooded+rough and mountain terrain.
A determined Japanese attack in China is very difficult to stop, but you need the Chinese to hold out as long as possible to tie down all those divisions that could otherwise go to Burma/India or SWPac/SoPac/Australia.
4. Look at your queue for units arriving at Cape Town and Aden. Send xAPs and the faster cargo ships there to bring the troops on map.
5. Send some loaded tankers and empty cargo ships to Cape Town. CT does not get enough fuel to handle all the traffic through there. Once the tankers have unloaded there, send them to the Eastern USA via the off-map direct route to reload and bring more fuel. Off map movement does not use any ship fuel or cause any systems damage so they can do the round trip indefinitely. I use most of the tankers with an 8800 nm range as they cannot handle the distances from WC USA to SoPac/SWPac without refuelling, and can barely reach Austalia from Abadan without refuelling for the return trip.
Similarly, send the empty cargo ships to EC USA/Britain/Canada via the off-map route and have them bring goods to Cape Town. Use other ships to haul from CT to on-map bases, preferably those with rail connections to spread the goods. Your choice which ships you use for the cargo task. Some like to use their fast ships, I prefer to use the 10-11-12 knot ones for cargo and reserve the faster ones to haul troops. Faster speed = less enroute exposure to subs and raiders.
6. Convert five or six of the xAKs to AKEs. You will need them to maximize use of your cruisers and destroyers early on.
7. Keep your Clemson DDs as such for the first several months when you will be desperately short of escorts. When that situation eases, convert as many as you can spare to APDs.
These ideas are off the top of my head - there are more rigourous planners out there that can give even better ideas, but I think the above will get you past the inertia. Good luck!
PS - if you want ongoing advice, start an AAR and ask for help when you are stuck/confused. The game is hugely complex and the experienced guys will save you a lot of learning at the school of hard knocks!
#8 Pilot training
#9 Pilot training
#10 Pilot training. Decide which squadrons are going to be for training only for a while (this would include all restricted units) and create a conveyor belt moving well trained pilots to the front (well trained in their first responsibility, though dive bomber pilots need to be proficient in naval search as well). For the navy, use those Seagulls and Kingfishers to train fighter pilots and dive bomber pilots, otherwise you won't have enough training squadrons to match your needs. If your carriers are not going to come out until they're ready, replace carrier trained squadrons with carrier capable ones and work them for 90 days. Maximize the proportion of trained fighters for your carriers, the beginning ratio is all wrong. You have a carrier capable sq. of Buffaloes that you can make as big as you like. You can take off Devastators to make room for them. In battle they will be quite adequate for escort. Don't put any on CAP, let the Wildcats handle that.
#11 First day: Evacuate all the P-40s from the Phillipines ASAP. Use drop tanks on the Es where you can. You will be needing them and the Bs at Darwin and PM badly. Put all of the best pilots you have in them. The US Army planes should not be escorting anything early on. Forget bombing anything. Set the fighters max range to zero to protect your base in CAP. You will lose few of the pilots that way. Get those B-17s out of there as well. You will need them for Naval Search.
#12 Train the Wirraways in LowN. You may get a great opportunity to use them eventually.
#13 Absolutely on day one: I can't be explicit about this, because the readers who are on the dark side will be able to prevent it. Email me and I'll send you the answer. It is crucial.
One more thing. Set all squadrons to no replacements and no upgrades. You decide for each sq. what and when that is appropriate, and to what they should upgrade. The one exception is to set all float plane units that are attached to cruisers and BBs (US) to upgrade to Kingfishers. Use the seagulls for training only. Training sqs need only a couple of planes to get the job done. Do not give them any more, especially if they are to be withdrawn in '42, with the exeption of the P-40s in Oz that will go in the summer, you'll need all the planes you can get there.
< Message edited by geofflambert -- 12/29/2012 5:29:54 PM >