3. IMO the reason your planes did not try to intercept the Japanese strike is that you had ALL of them assigned to CAP. That means when they have been up for a while and are running short on fuel they will ALL go to base to refuel. Whether setting CAP or LRCAP you need to keep a % 'unassigned' so that you can send them up to replace patrolling CAP or scramble to meet a raid.
I use 100% CAP on a regular basis, and never had this problem. I think the going wisdom is that 1/3 are in the air, 1/3 on standby, and 1/3 on light maintenance (such as refueling / rearming). Once an inbound raid is detected, any unit with a CAP % will try to get everything it can into the fight (ie, anything not assigned to other "missions" or states such as escorting bombers, rest, or even CAP someplace else).
A few points with respect to why you didn't get any fighters:
what was the range setting, and how far was the TF you tried to cover? CAP won't go more than 2 hexes (assuming the range is set to 2+) - LRCAP will go up to the "normal" range (not extended range).
what was the fatigue level of these units. Having 100% set and a range anything other than 0 will quickly fatigue your units (which over time will bring down moral as well). Could be that if you had these settings for a while, or these units are busy / beat-up they were too tired or demoralized to get a successful "roll" and come support your ships
what does the air group leader look like? A good leader will help with the rolls.
was the airfield damaged, did you have AV support squads? Not an absolute requirement for a single day of work, but it helps with the rolls, and are a requirement if you expect to do any continuous ops.
EDIT: - altitude settings. Try to get your altitude as close as you can to the incoming bombers. The bigger the delta, the longer it takes your fighters to get to this altitude, which means reduced interception time (and possibly a totally missed interception).
a few pointers to help get that needed air cover:
keep your planes and crews rested until they are needed
once a TF is entering the range where your A/C can provide cover, set LRCAP (you can go all the way to 100% if your exposure time is 1 turn - longer than that though you will need to conserve your crews)
set the "target" to the inbound (or outbound) TF. Press the target button, then select the TF. It may say target is out of range, but they will cover him if he is inbound and will be in range the next turn. This will prevent them from flying LRCAP elsewhere.
note that the manual says that providing LRCAP to TFs occurs at a reduced efficiency (50% I think - simulate the difficulty of finding ships at sea), so you may need more A/C than you would to cover land based targets. Also means that if you can make sure your TF ends up in a base hex at the end of the turn, you can get more bang for you buck by LRCAPing the base (or just moving the fighters there if possible).
A few other quickies to elaborate further on the responses above:
2) is the time from when the defender detects the incoming strike until it is over the target. Better devices (read: radar) help increase this time. The bigger this time is, the more fighters you will be able to get into the fight, and the more time they will have to bring down bombers.
4) don't confuse "experience" with "skill". Chances are your pilots have lousy navB skill (or lowN if you are at low altitude, or torp skill if you are using fish). You can increase this with training. Most players here would say your pilots should be trained to a primary mission skill of about 70 before you send them into combat. There are may threads here that detail pilot training. A word of caution on them though, no 2 forumites seem to agree on how best to set up a training program.
5) there is a "quiet china" scenario in which the AI won't make any aggressive moves in China. Otherwise, what BBfanboy says is all true.
7) CLs and DDs won't add much to the AA - and early war for the allies you don't have anything to spare. If surface interdiction is a threat include CLs (or bigger). Anything with a depth charge rack will help with ASW (they won't hit anything, but at least he will stay submerged). Nothing (in the early war at least) can stop A/C except for fighters and range.
< Message edited by tiemanj -- 2/16/2016 11:34:04 PM >