From: LI, NY
IJN fighters: A6M5 --> A6M5c --> A6M8 --> A7M2
R&D/build some N1K1 for late war bomber interceptor duty
My experience has shown me the A6 line is a dead end. Unfortunately you have no other choice as George N1K line is non-carrier (what the He$$ was Japan thinking). So I go (as of now anyway) Rufe-A6M5-A6M5b-A6M5c and then drop the line, as far as R&D that is. Put all after that toward the A7 (Sam).
IMHO, Francis is better, that is starting with the second version. First is SR4.
OK fine, but don't waste R&D on a recon aircraft. Let it come 'naturally'. That'll be at the start of '43, should be good enough.
You really need this aircraft. Its not the 'biggest or the best', but its the best you've got into '43. The Oscar will not hold up on its own.
Japanese fighters can't compete with P-40, and they are even worse at shooting down 4Es
Not quite. Japan in the early running will normally have better pilots in the cockpit, and this will give them the edge. Once you get the Tojo, you'll be able to compete with early Allied planes. As to the 4e's, even the KI-44IIc will hold its own. Just don't expect miracles. Problem with the early Japanese fighters is that their airframe is too fragile. Once you get away from the A6M2 and Oscar you should be fine. Remember you will not shoot down the 4e's in droves. Just be satisfied if you can get a one-for-one exchange rate, and that includes op losses for the 4e's.
In addition to the above the Nick is a good bomber suppressor. Especially when used to cover rear area AF's where there's not fighter sweeps/escort. They can however deal with escorts, I just prefer not to use them in those areas. My first encounter with P-38's as escorts with Nick's in opposition resulted in 5 P-38's down for no Nick's. That's against the AI so in a PBEM game I expect different.
Remember, when it comes to 4e's, his early war replacement rate is low, and pilots are pretty poor. Add to that you get 2VP's for everyone shot down.
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