From: LI, NY
How do I combine air units. I would like to combine some Catalinas in the pacific to get a go 90-120 degree arc but a lot of squadrons are only 2 or 4 craft.
More important than this is what are the pilot skill levels. Search needs to be ~70. Low experience = more op losses. Early on searches are not going to be that important. Usually the only thing you will gain is to see a day ahead of time where Japan is going to clobber you next.
How much of my merchant marine should I put into the auto-convoy?
I've never used it, most of us don't. A better tool is the CS (continuous supply) convoy system. I don't even use that as a Japanese player because it doesn't allow me the option to choose where I refuel my ships. As an Allied player who cares.
How do I know how many ships/planes a port/airfield can support.
You can have any number of ships in the same port. How many may dock at that port is subject to port size. If you have >1000 (I think) those over that number will still be there, but will not be shown when viewing the 'port screen'.
A/C at an airfield is dependent on airfield size. Fifty engines may be based per airfield level. That's not to say that you can't go over that level, but there are penalties. As with so many aspect of this game that's not the only consideration. You need to have AS devices to to support each air frame. It is also possible to have too many groups at a base. This may be increased by increasing the airbase size and with HQ units.
Minelayers/Tenders/sweepers, how are they best employed?
You'll learn over time. In general I suppose you know what they do, but here are a few pointers.
Tenders may support up to 150 mines provided they have fuel on board. Each turn some fuel will be subtracted from said tender as they preform their duties. So you need to check every once in awhile to refuel them. I do it every fifteen days.
Minelayers, obviously lay mines. Just choose that option when setting up your TF. Select the location to lay (base, or open water) the minefield, and lastly tell the TF to lay mines. Open water minefields will automatically 'decompose' over time. Quicker in deep water as opposed to shallow. I've never tried it, but I wouldn't attempt to lay a minefield at an enemy base with coastal guns, except maybe by sub. You may also encounter enemy mines.
Sweepers: I've found the best way to use them is within an invasion TF. Here they'll sweep after a primary bombardment from within the TF (provided you have ships within to do it). In addition they will be 'somewhat protected' by the guns of said TF while sweeping, which occurs before troops land. Doesn't mean you'll get all the mines before the invasion commences, but it generally works well. Also note that 'detected' minefields are less effected than those that are 'unknown'. Recon of said base may detect minefields.
I'd also like to discuss my general strategy. It is somewhat aggressive.
o Attempt to fight are hard retreat in the Philippines and take some Japanese attention away from the Indies and possibly attempt to holdout somewhere, is this a complete folly?
o Make a concerted Naval effort to protect wake and Singapore and harass Japanese shipping from the SRA.
Know this... 'Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets'. Substitute Japan for Lola. Early game Japan will take whatever she wants. Now she may not be able to take everything as her forces are limited, but a good player will get all the important targets. Keep in mind that when playing the AI its much easier to stop it, especially at the 'easier' levels. So as not to 'break the game' its best not to fight too hard until Japan gets to her 'historical' expansion.
Hope some of this helps. Ciao
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