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Notes from a Small Island

 
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Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 2:52:35 AM   
Canoerebel


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This is the AAR for my game versus Obvert. I'm stepping in for Joseph (SqzMyLemon) who withdrew last week. He, in turn, stepped in for HIstoriker.

This is a Stock game, Scenario 1. No stacking limits! No zillion Japanese carriers added to the OOB. And, I think, no enhanced AA that came about in some mods. I really like stacking limits and the more realistic AA, so I'll miss them if I'm correct that they aren't part of this game. I probably won't miss the extra zillion enemy aircraft carriers. In fact, I'm counting on not missing them.


We're stepping back a bit to March 1, 1944. I don't recall the exact events around that time, though I did read the AAR pretty regularly. I think this is after one of the eight-hex carrier strikes that battered the Allied fleet a bit. Much more about all of this later.

I'll conclude this first post by saying that the title for the AAR comes from a Bill Bryson book. Bryson is an American who moved to England for many years before returning home (and I think he may now be back in England)? For some reason, Obvert aka Eric has always reminded me of Bryson. I considered using "A Walk in the Woods" or "A Walk in the Jungle" but settled for this.

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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 2:54:59 AM   
Canoerebel


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This is a place holder for House Rules (readers of my other AAR will know why this is a good idea).

There don't seem to be any unusual house rules, though I do need to better acquaint myself with those that apply to night bombing. There are one or two that seem fine.

More later.

Edited to add House Rules as I understand them 9/22/17. I've sent a copy to Erik for confirmation:

1. Pay PP for border crossing of restricted units
a) Restricted Chinese units were moved in bulk into Burma and India by previous Allied player. Per our previous discussion, I am not using restricted Chinese in Burma to fight. I’ll move them back to China eventually, where they belong.

2. Max 50 planes per base for night strikes on port and airfields.
a) No restriction on numbers for strat bombing at night.

3. No strat bombing in China.

4. No altitude limits on fighters [if this turns out to be borked, we can revisit].


< Message edited by Canoerebel -- 9/22/2017 3:21:03 PM >

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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 3:01:37 AM   
Canoerebel


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I've never picked up a game mid-stream before. There are two obvious advantages: (1) not having to endure '41 and '42, although those are very fun and tense, too; and (2) getting to play Eric.

When I first opened the game file - this would have been either Friday afternoon or Saturday - what were the first things I looked at? IE, what seemed to be the most important things in gauging the ability of the Allies to wage war going forward?

The first two things I looked at: (1) carrier strength and (2) APA/AKA/AK strength. I learned that both are excellent. This was the first clue I had that my predecessors had really handled things very well. The first of many good things to come.

Next, I think I glanced around the map. This is what I perceived at first glance:

1. The Allies and Japan are locked in a knife fight in Burma. IE, the Allies are bogged down in Burma.
2. The Allies hold lots of exciting places that I never seem to hold: Luganville, Port Moresby, Rabaul (Rabaul, for heaven's sake!), Attu, and Amchitka. Hooray!
3. The Allies do not have a long, ungainly, risky LOC.
4. Japan still holds western Oz, including the Perth and Darwin fronts.
5. I don't think I noticed until the second time with the map that Japan has all of China. Okay, that's something I haven't dealt with before. That's interesting.

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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 3:09:57 AM   
Canoerebel


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Next I tried to figure out what major operations were underway, whether there was risk attached, and whether to scrub the missions or not.

I found two things that seem to be ongoing. First, an invasion of Tabituea would take place on day two. It was covered by two combat TFs and a carrier TF of three or four CVEs. But I have no real idea where Eric's carriers are. So I went back and read Sqz's AAR from about three days back up until the eve of invasion. He didn't mention any carrier threat and seemed very comfortable, so I decided to let this operation continue.

Second, a bunch of assault shipping at Port Moresby is loaded with troops prepped for Merauke. I think I remember that this invasion was successful, but I don't know enough or feel enough to let it go forward as scheduled. I feel less certain about risk there. I'll hold off and try to get a better feel for what's where.

The next big thing is that the full weight of the Allied military (other than in Asia) is in SWPac. Almost everything - zillions of merchantmen, troops, carriers, combat ships, supply, fuel. Joseph had done a great job creating the infrastructure for a sustained, well organized thrust along this vector. The question is whether to continue or select a different option. More about that later, but the decision was made quickly and only involved 38,619 clicks on turn one.

What about Burma? Huge knife fight in the jungles where supply is hard to come by. I'm not sure exactly what i'm going to do here, yet. But I know this - I won't be fighting in the jungle for places like Toungoo.


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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 3:26:34 AM   
Canoerebel


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And what about my opponent? I know very little about Eric. He has the reputation of being tough and crafty and thorough. I don't think he leaves holes and gaps in his defenses. But I know precious little about his proclivities and propensities. Does he like to raid deep? Is he currently in defensive mode or apt to strike out?

In playing a little more than a turn now, I've noticed a few things about his play (but the gaps in my knowledge are vast):

1. He loves huge fighter contingents forward. Burma has a bunch of airfields with 200 fighters and no bombers.
2. Certain islands were occupied but not uber-defended or built up - Tarawa, etc. It looks like he established a perimeter and then withdrew methodically, trading space for time.


A major question I have is: What's he doing defending so strongly so far forward in Burma? He has a huge air force and army there. (China probably explains that, but he probably has big garrison requirements there that dampen his freedom to send units elsewhere). Can I turn the tables there? Can I use his commitment against him, in some way?

The entire Chinese army is in Burma and India (Historiker apparently goofed on the original House Rule about national borders). The Chinese Army is twenty-six gazillion troops and many of the units have upgraded to '43 squads (!). For instance, there are roughly 50 Chinese units in Karachi. The AV at Karachi is 15,000+. What...the....heck...will...I....do.....about....that? Most of these units are permanent restricted. That means they go back to the China frontier and fight into the country, infiltrating in non-base, non-road hexes. Supply will be an issue until Rangoon is taken, probably, so this may be postponed awhile. And I might need to discuss this with Eric. How is he going to feel about 25k+ AV (for all I know it might be 40k+) attacking through the jungles into China? That ought to be interesting.

I have a general notion of what I want to do, where, and when. Turn one involved about 214,653 clicks to deal with mostly minor things needed to implement my notions as to what I wish to do going forward (as I said, Joseph did a great job with so many major things. I'm not starting over and building from the ground up. I'm starting with a very strong OOB that happens to be weighted towards SWPac.

One other thing: from a carrier standpoint it appears that Eric has lost more than the Allies. And since this is Scenario One, I think he's restricted to what Japan had in the real war. That is something I'm not used to. I have to think this through, but I believe the Allies already have a vastly superior carrier force.

That means mobility.

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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 3:52:06 AM   
Lowpe


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That first turn is like Dec 8th turn for the Allies all over again, but worse as there are way more units and you have no clue what anybody is up to.

I have felt your pain, but there is also pleasure. Primarily pleasure in knowing you have a solid opponent that really wants to pursue the game.

I think the AA is beefed up, but I can't remember about the planes -- I think it has Symon's mod in it, but don't quote me. Edit: I double checked and it does not have Symon's air mod so weaker Japanese fighters.

Good luck.

< Message edited by Lowpe -- 8/21/2017 4:04:47 AM >

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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 3:55:07 AM   
Canoerebel


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Thanks, Jeff. Your description is just what I've felt - challenging, tough, fun.

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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 4:08:22 AM   
Canoerebel


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I've worked my game with John III to death but if someone stepped in for me, they'd find all kinds of things wrong. To begin with, they'd look at the PBY pools and exclaim, "What the (*@!_$#%##@!_%%#!!!!!"

We players get laser-focused or don't fully utilize a particular asset or get lazy for awhile or become so demoralized that our attention to detail tails off. That's what I expected to find in stepping in for another player - any player - or what I'd expect someone to find stepping in for me.

Jospeh's work is remarkably thorough. He gave full attention to details. His assets are where he could make full use of them. He knew what he wanted to do, when, where and why....and his infrastructure was in place. The air war and eight-hex strikes seemed to plague him. I hope to avoid the latter; as for the air war, I'll just have to find out if Obvert is a tough customer so that I have to learn and adapt, or if my experience puts us on more of an even footing at the outset. I have no idea at this point.

In going through the map, I found a few things that required some attention (probably most of these forgotten while focusing so hard on unleashing the offensives in SWPac).

There is an American infantry division at East Coast 100% prepped for East Coast. That was a fun little nugget to come across. Thinking "what should it prep for; where will it go?" is what first got me thinking about future offensive plans.

Here and there, Joseph had concentrations of subs - a bunch disbanded at Adak; eight or so in a TF cruising in the Marshalls (I know why), more in SoPac. It was fun getting these organized and giving orders.

Joseph probably wasn't a fan of picket ships. I must be the only player who is. I must have a mania. I can't imagine not using picket ships appropriately. At first I thought that Scenario 1 might not have the YMS that I love, love, love for picket duty. But they're are here in numbers. Joseph used them as convoy escorts. I'm working on establishing appropriate picket lines now.

Those are the major things that I found in going through the map. That's not much. Jospeh really had done a fine job.

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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 12:02:29 PM   
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Bryson reader huh? Besides giving us Americans some well needed perspective he is terrific writer. Each sentence perfectly constructed and a joy to read. Sometimes one reads just for the joy of reading and Bryson is the prefect author for those moments. Well here we are in a CR AAR and off on a tangent we go. Have you ever read any Alan Moorehead? Gallipoli is the obvious starting place but one should not miss Darwin and he Beagal and his masterpiece The Fatal Impact: An Account of the Invasion of the South Pacific. He is entirely incapable of writing a dull sentence. Each one will make you weep in the joy of the English language and how good a writer you will never be. A scoop of ice cream in every paragraph. Reading just for the absolute joy of reading. Good luck sir!

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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 1:42:11 PM   
JohnDillworth


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How do your pools look? As you know bomber pools need lists of TLC. Search arcs?

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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 1:59:07 PM   
Drakanel

 

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As I absolutely love double AARs where I can see both sides of the conflict from the players' perspective, I will be obviously following this AAR, as well as Eric's.

I too am curious about the pools.

If I can say this, I am also happy to hear that your OOB is in a pretty good shape and that all the infrastructure/ preparation is likewise good.
I will be honest, I always felt that Sqz was selling himself short. I am by no means an expert of the game, I just love to follow AARs, but I followed his AAR and thought he was doing a pretty good job. He was plagued by 2-3 strokes of really bad luck and got demoralized, but I'm happy to hear he was actually doing well even in the eyes of an experienced player.


I think I can also conclude that you will NOT lose Karachi to a dastardly japanese plan!

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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 2:02:25 PM   
Lowpe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Drakanel
I think I can also conclude that you will NOT lose Karachi to a dastardly japanese plan!


Maybe not Karachi, but how about Hobart!

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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 2:38:57 PM   
Canoerebel


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quote:

ORIGINAL: JohnDillworth

Bryson reader huh? Besides giving us Americans some well needed perspective he is terrific writer. Each sentence perfectly constructed and a joy to read. Sometimes one reads just for the joy of reading and Bryson is the prefect author for those moments. Well here we are in a CR AAR and off on a tangent we go. Have you ever read any Alan Moorehead? Gallipoli is the obvious starting place but one should not miss Darwin and he Beagal and his masterpiece The Fatal Impact: An Account of the Invasion of the South Pacific. He is entirely incapable of writing a dull sentence. Each one will make you weep in the joy of the English language and how good a writer you will never be. A scoop of ice cream in every paragraph. Reading just for the absolute joy of reading. Good luck sir!


I'm a Bryson reader, with a caveat. He's a superbly gifted writer. You description of his ability is dead-on: "Each sentence perfectly constructed and a joy to read." All of his books are informative, entertaining, and humorous. He may possibly be the finest living American writer.

The caveat? He is profane and vulgar. Probably in most places and to most readers this isn't objectionable. But a steadily diminishing minority of Americans don't appreciate vulgarity and profanity. I'm one of them. Despite that caveat, I recognize Bryson's superb ability as a writer and I enjoy reading his books. Some of his passages in A Walk in the Woods are beyond superb.

I love your "reading for the joy of reading" comment. I do that to! There are some writers that are so good that you mentally become part of the book and no longer have an awareness that you're involved in the act of reading or a physical endeavor of any kind.

My "go to" author for that - to simply experience the joy of reading - is Kenneth Roberts. He was a writer of American fiction from the late '20s through the early '50s. He also had a bit of a caustic wit, sort of like Mark Twain. Some of his stories about how English writers portray (and mis-portray) Americans are hilarious. But Roberts's novels are excellent (well, some of them, not all of them): Oliver Wiswell, A Rabble in Arms, Arundel, The Lively Lady, Lydia Bailey, and Northwest Passage are probably the best.



< Message edited by Canoerebel -- 8/21/2017 2:56:35 PM >

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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 2:44:29 PM   
Grfin Zeppelin


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You guys really cant let a game go eh ?

Well I appreciate that of course :)



ps please no major spoilers about your game against John, I havent catched up yet.

< Message edited by Gräfin Zeppelin -- 8/21/2017 2:45:46 PM >


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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 2:55:35 PM   
Canoerebel


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Wow, a treat to have you here, Frau Zeppelin!

No spoilers, as my game with John III is ongoing. John told me last night (or perhaps early this a.m.) that he is enjoying it and committed to seeing it through. That's good news.

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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 2:57:20 PM   
Grfin Zeppelin


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Canoerebel

Wow, a treat to have you here, Frau Zeppelin!

No spoilers, as my game with John III is ongoing. John told me last night (or perhaps early this a.m.) that he is enjoying it and committed to seeing it through. That's good news.

Thank you :)


Oh and thats a good spoiler btw. I feared it might be finished and the last 30 pages are just aftertalk.

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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 3:09:28 PM   
Lowpe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Gräfin Zeppelin

Oh and thats a good spoiler btw. I feared it might be finished and the last 30 pages are just aftertalk.




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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 3:27:02 PM   
crsutton


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Burma can be an asset. If you indeed have carrier superiority and suitable assault ships then Burma is easily outflanked. Take Moumein, Pegu, or even move further South and the Burma campaign is over. The thing is, even if you do not kill a lot of units, once flanked the Japanese has no choice but to walk his troops back through China. This gives you a lot of time to hit him elsewhere where is will be sorely lacking in troops. I like to have Rangoon but especially with China out of the war, there is absolutely no strategic reason to be in Burma. I never could understand why the Japanese players love Burma so much. It is a trap waiting to happen.

The other thing is that losing China hurts but it is the one theater where the Allies can get totally spanked and not really have much of an effect on your chances of winning.

The Allies may be a little behind on time but if you have your carriers then I would not hesitate to play the Allied side. You got a good chance of going until late 45. That sounds fun. Obvert knows his business. If you want a game, you might as well play the best.

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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 3:40:09 PM   
Lokasenna


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"Notes from a Small Island" - it's like the title of a quest-starting journal in an Elder Scrolls game.

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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 3:40:15 PM   
SqzMyLemon


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Dan,

If you have any questions about anything, or why something was/wasn't done feel free to PM me.

I'll let you discover Erik's play style for yourself but two things come to mind. He is aggressive in defence and relies heavily on the low layered CAP in his air defence. Finding a way to beat the low CAP is key.

I pooched Burma pretty badly. The first problem I had was no supply. I didn't notice the Allied TOE wasn't upgraded when I decided to move and felt it was worth the delay to upgrade before committing again. In hindsight, I should have pulled almost everything out and flanked as crsutton suggests. With no strategic bombing allowed in China there is absolutely no reason to fight in Burma, in my opinion. Good luck, but I don't think you'll need it.

I'm glad I left you something you could build on for that game date. I am way better at logistics than tactics.

Have fun!

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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 4:11:47 PM   
Lowpe


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quote:

ORIGINAL: crsutton
I never could understand why the Japanese players love Burma so much. It is a trap waiting to happen.



Say what? Everyone I know hates Burma with a passion.

Obvert lost 20 divisions there against Jocke to a flanking invasion. Methinks he won't make the same mistake twice, but you never know.


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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 4:28:11 PM   
Andav

 

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Pegu <twitch>

Wa

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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 4:47:05 PM   
John 3rd


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Go get 'em Dan. Be fiendish...


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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 4:54:12 PM   
Canoerebel


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quote:

ORIGINAL: JohnDillworth
How do your pools look? As you know bomber pools need lists of TLC. Search arcs?


I'll look at this more closely when I get the next turn.

Air losses for both sides have been relatively light, at least compared to my game with John III. Yet...for some reason, the fighter pools and B-24J pools are not particularly impressive. There are something like 650 Hellcats in the pools, which is good. The PBY pools are immense, which is a luxury I've never before known. I bow to my predecessors for this.

This game I'm more prepared to deal with the sudden P-47D25 production halt and the gap of several months before other good fighters kick in.

Ultimately, the real question is how will the Allies close on Japan to begin strategic bombing. The carrier situation is probably the key to answering that question.....that and how Obvert crafts his defenses.

I don't have the benefit of reading the flow of SigInt and map info to help me gauge where Erik has concentrated his defenses. Getting a grasp on this is important.

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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 7:20:39 PM   
SqzMyLemon


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Canoerebel

Yet...for some reason, the fighter pools and B-24J pools are not particularly impressive.


I can't recall off the top of my head the circumstances for that. My best guess would be that they were low when I picked the game up, or as a result of my beating my head up against the low CAP settings Erik uses. I reached a point where I was much more discerning when I'd commit bombers or sweeps. Just for future thought, I had 550+ P47D25s and 300+ B-24Js in the pools when I ended the game.

Once I learned to use my battleships to bombard those forward concentrations of Japanese fighters they didn't seem so daunting.

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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 9:10:23 PM   
Lokasenna


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lowpe


quote:

ORIGINAL: crsutton
I never could understand why the Japanese players love Burma so much. It is a trap waiting to happen.



Say what? Everyone I know hates Burma with a passion.

Obvert lost 20 divisions there against Jocke to a flanking invasion. Methinks he won't make the same mistake twice, but you never know.




Allied players hate it too.

Players hate it! One weird trick!

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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 11:32:28 PM   
Canoerebel


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3/3/44

The Weirdest Looking Division Ever....or I'm Just Out of Step with the Times: What the heck is going on with 1st Australian Division? Did Admiral Fletcher get ahold of it and try to change it into ranger unit of some kind?




Attachment (1)

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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 11:46:59 PM   
Canoerebel


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3/3/44

Second Australian Division: Madness!




Attachment (1)

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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 11:50:21 PM   
Canoerebel


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3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 9th Australian Divisions look normal. Most of them still have '42 squads, including three fighting in the Burma jungles. I think I'll bring them to Akyab or vicinity to upgrade.

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RE: Notes from a Small Island - 8/21/2017 11:56:18 PM   
SqzMyLemon


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Regarding 1st and 2nd Australian Divisions.

I figured it was a glitch from not upgrading the data base. I never mentioned them to Erik though so I just lived with it. When updating the database came up I left it up to Erik to decide. He never mentioned it again so I figured he didn't want to lose his Super E's.

I didn't notice the TOE's in Burma until after I decided to attack there after all. You will have to withdraw any units you want to upgrade from the theatre, nothing happened for me until much later after the Irrawaddy Valley was expanded. Especially your armour units. Get those Sherman tanks.

Please let me know if my comments are not welcome (or considered inappropriate) as well. I won't go into any detail over what happened beyond the point you have picked up the game as I don't believe that is fair, but if you are curious as to any anomalies perhaps I can clear them up.

I'm curious to see which new direction you choose to go so I'll be hanging around initially, then it's off to my much needed sabbatical from the game.

< Message edited by SqzMyLemon -- 8/22/2017 12:07:44 AM >


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