As noted, Mr. Andre has indicated he will whack Manila. If this is true, (and it should be, for psychological warfare reasons I’ll detail in a bit), I believe it’s a mistake. I believe it’s a mistake for the following reasons.
I believe that the reason most folks want to kill Manila is to get a bead on those subs parked there. As I’m at work, I’m guessing, but I believe there’s around 25 or so subs in Manila. In all the Manila strikes I’ve sandboxed, and all the “in game” strikes, the allies have lost on average 10-15 subs. Losing 10-15 subs, for the allies… it’s “pfft”. Nothing.
With non-working torps until ‘43, the US sub command is more of an annoyance than a real threat… (yes there are those “holy cow” moments, but all in all, there are far more “dang I nailed the Akagi but no explosion, go figure” moments)… and by the time ’43 rolls around, I’ll have enough subs that the loss of 8-10 of them won’t even be noticed.
The rest of the ships at Manila? A pair of IJ CA tfs parked outside Bataan is enough to make short work of anything trying to break through before the IJ bombs Manila into submission from their soon-to-be-established airfields in the PI. I look at all those surface ships as losses, and anything I can get to safety is just bonus. Nothing in Manila on Dec 7th is really all that important. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to try and save every last ship, but it does mean that if I lose them, I’m not going to sweat it --- and , one of the joys of the Allied early game is to “see” how many ships one can get away.
So that leaves the Manila Airforce. I’m not sure if Chickenboy will detail anything to strike the airforce… but if he does, what am I losing? A bunch of worthless obsolete airframes for the most part.
It is my humble opinion, that the most important early war asset for the Allies is their long range search aircraft: The Catalinas and the B17’s. These planes are worth 10 times their weight in VP. It comes down to a Sun Tzu, as always:
“Those who do not know the conditions of mountains and forests, hazardous defiles, marshes, and swamps, cannot conduct the march of an army.”
“Hence that general is skillful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skillful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack.”
“The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.”
Put simply, I need to know where the enemy is to properly use my available assets to their maximum effect at minimal loss. I need long range planes to know where they are at the earliest possible moment so I can add or subtract forces to an estimated attack vector. Going after Pearl Harbors airport puts a very serious dent into that long range aircraft. I don’t want to lose 20-30-40 long range planes and I would if PH was targeted.
Also – one other reason - this game is about points. Dec 7, 8, and 9th are days which Japan could seriously bank some points. I would (and have) target PH on multiple days until I sank enough BB’s that I was “happy”. Those 8 PH BB’s will be wonderful mid to late war amphib battlewagons. I’ll enjoy watching them cycle in an out of a target, while the fast BB’s are babysitting CV fleets. Yes those 10-15 Subs may, in the long run, garner a good amount of points, but if the IJ plays it right, I don’t believe they will make as much of a difference as once believed (and now is the time when everyone tells me about their success of that Manila based sub sinking the Yamato in Feb ’42 haha).
So this leads into my first strategic goal: Layered recon across the South Pacific. I intend to use those AVP, AV’s, and AVD’s at various “worthless” islands across the Pacific to base long range search planes. With the planes available from a non-PH strike, I can stagger multiple interlocking layers, rather than having all the air groups in “one line of island from Oz to PH”. This will help to avoid any “oh crap I can’t believe his CV’s showed up here!” moments. Or at least, I hope.
Now, going back to the first paragraph – Andre said he was going to whack Manila. In the area of psychological warfare, it is imperative for him to do so. If he does not, then he has established that anything he says is “bunk and not to be trusted”… before the game even starts. He will spend the rest of the war saying “I’m going here and doing this” and all it will be is wasted keystrokes, even he is “honest” the rest of the match.
I believe that being “honest” a great majority of the time is necessary for that “game breaking” moment when you are “not honest”. I intent to spend the entire 1942 being honest about my force disposition… even if there is no possible way he could know if I’m lying or not. The goal is to work the psychology such that when I say something, he believes it. Then, when the time comes, I will say be able to say something with some credibility that will be nothing more than a diversion. Once I use that diversion, however, then I will have lost the “honesty” trump card, so it must be used wisely, at a critical juncture in the game.
Interesting analysis. Just two comments:
1) I agree to many tactical aspects of your analysis. But KB is more than a tactical asset. For me, the key question is what benefits you can derive from the presence of KB a) near PH and b) near the PI. I think the latter is a much better starting position for KB. Fuel availability typically restrains the possibility for Allied to use heavy naval assets in early war, so damaged BB may not give you a real edge over non-damaged BB. You need to be sure to be able to sink those BB to really profit IMO.
2) Re. honesty - you count on a mistake of your opponent here (accepting any communication from you as honest).
Just my 2cts.