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20/20 Hindsight Versus the Fog of War jb123 (A) Versus tlkiilerich (J)

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20/20 Hindsight Versus the Fog of War jb123 (A) Versus ... - 7/8/2012 3:47:11 PM   

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Hello Forum,

I’m going to keep an AAR of my upcoming battle with Thomas (tlkiilerich). This is my first PBEM, Thomas has a few under his belt and we will be playing Scenario 2, so it may be a short AAR.

Thomas is from/ in Denmark and I am on the East Coast, U.S., he is working on turn 1 as we speak. In the meantime, I’m going to introduce the two of us and make a few preliminary notes about Allied strategy for the war.

I write/ talk a lot, most of these notes are for my own thoughts, so, feel free to read/ skip what you like.

First, I am going to plead for some general advice here. I’ve never played a human, so I may find myself to be quickly outmatched. General advice is cool from the peanut gallery, but if you’ve played Thomas before or have some sort of insight into his strategy, please don’t ruin our game by giving me too much information. I don’t think he will keep an AAR, so direct OPSEC violation shouldn’t be a problem. Just keep me honest.

Also, any advice on logistics of a PBEM versus an AI game would be appreciated. Anything (that is not strategy related) about playing a PBEM that I need to know as a complete boot?

< Message edited by jb123 -- 7/10/2012 1:45:41 PM >
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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Blurred by the Fog of War jb123 (A)... - 7/8/2012 3:47:47 PM   

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So, introductions:

Thomas is a “Mustang” in the Danish Army (not sure what Danes call Mustangs). A Mustang is an enlisted soldier who goes to the dark side (becomes an officer). In my opinion (no offense to professional officers out there) Mustangs are the best type of officer. They are more mature, and understand the travails of enlisted life, and therefore are often less/ or more sympathetic to enlisted complaints than regular officers. He finished the Danish version of OCS this past Friday, that’s a major milestone. Congratulations! Like I mentioned, he is an experienced PBEM player. I do not know anything about his play style or past routes to victory (or defeat). I only know he professes to love micromanaging the Japanese economy. This encourages me, because I was worried when looking for an opponent that they may muddle up the economy and lose the game with no brilliance on my part.

Me: I am a former enlisted US Marine, deployed to Iraq twice, Kosovo, and Africa. Was in the 2nd Marines, so you can bet I will not force the Warlords to land at Tarawa again, as that was a dark day in our battalion’s history.

I’ve played WitP since 2005, got AE the day it came out. I’ve brought several games to the beginning of ’44, but by then I had always broken the AI so bad it was no longer fun to play. In my latest game I never lost Burma, and I retook the Philippines and was prepping for a Formosa assault when I did the math and realized the AI had no more capital ships and no land army to speak of. Because I am obsessed with the game I decided to take on a human despite having a very busy schedule. Both Thomas and I have busy schedules, so there may be extended pauses in the game, but we have made solemn oaths to one another to carry it out to the bitter end.

I have a busy schedule because I recently finished grad school and am beginning a career as an historian. I focus on Middle Eastern/ colonial history because (today) it pays the bills, but my real passion is WW2 history. Despite my degree and my passion for WW2 history, I am frequently put to shame by forum members because of this community’s unbelievably detailed knowledge. Thomas and I want to play a historically-minded game (more on this later), so, please keep me honest here. If I start plotting some crazy assault that you guys know could never happen for logistical/ political reasons, call me out on it.

The title of the AAR is a nod to my love of history. We all have 20/20 hindsight of the war today, but then this game provides a wonderful fog of war that muddles up our preconceived notions of how the war should have gone.

I've edited the AAR name to give it a more adversarial feel after Thomas wiped out Pearl Harbor in one strike.

< Message edited by jb123 -- 10/25/2012 5:23:52 PM >

(in reply to jb123)
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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Blurred by the Fog of War jb123 (A)... - 7/8/2012 3:49:17 PM   

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House Rules

I am at a disadvantage here, but I hope it makes for an interesting long-term game. Thomas has agreed to not abuse PDU and R & D settings.

From our emails:

Use of political points:

Generally I have no problem with using the PP “cheat” to buy out units for 1/3 the price by switching commands to restricted HQs (for example, switch I Corps to West Coast in order to buy out a bunch of WC units, then switch I Corps back to a combat, non-restricted command). Of course, deployed units must be attached to the national HQ in which they are deployed, so, if I bring Indian Divisions to Burma, I will attach them to a combat, non-restricted command instead of simply marching restricted units into a combat zone. The only exception to this rule is NoPac, Pearl Harbor area (from Lihue to Hilo), and Canadian soil. These can be defended by units assigned to the West Coast IX fighter/ bomber wing commands. That is, I can attach units to a non-deployable command to defend what I consider to be essential regions part of “WC.” I will make similar concessions to you when you are defending the home islands later in the war.

Strat Bombing:

No strategic bombing in China until Jan 1944; strategic bombing anywhere else is OK at any time.

No 4E bombing below 10,000 feet

First turn:
Japanese: Only one port strike. Otherwise, do your worst, hit everything/ anything you wish, no restrictions.

Allied: I will only move units in China EXCEPT Force Z. I really want to save Force Z from a pointless loss since you have scenario 2 assets.

Game settings:

Fog of War: ON December 7th Surprise: ON

Advanced Weather Effects: ON

Reliable USN Torps: OFF

Player Defined Upgrades: ON

Realistic R&D: OFF

Historical First Turn: OFF

No Unit Withdrawal: OFF

Reinforcements: FIXED

< Message edited by jb123 -- 7/10/2012 1:52:55 PM >

(in reply to jb123)
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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Blurred by the Fog of War jb123 (A)... - 7/8/2012 3:50:02 PM   

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Allied Strategy:

Flying in the face of Marine infantryman stereotypes, I am extremely cautious. I will try to take a lot of rear-area bases, build them up, and then construct a massive schwerpunkt before beginning anything major. I can see this being in 1946 sometime, and Thomas quitting because I am boring. I recognize that this is not the best way to play a human, and so here I have to offer my paean to canoerebel.

Despite the fact that I am a proud Yankee, Dan has influenced how I think about the game to an enormous degree (we’ll see if he managed to influence how I actually play the game). The idea of an extremely aggressive defense, long-range raids (thinking about his very successful CV raid around Hokkaido) and his playing to the maxim “the Japanese can go anywhere they want, but they cannot go everywhere” will be the philosophy I strive to follow. With all that in mind, I am still planning on playing very historically. I will always try to keep in mind real political concerns (the war in Europe, the impact of massive casualties on western public opinion, etc.), and I will always try to keep 1940’s era logistics in mind. The US could rapidly move half a million troops to Kuwait in 1991 because of lesson learned in 1943. In ’42, there will be no massive, coordinated amphibious assaults made up of a rainbow of nationalities that never coordinated with one another. (KNIL’s success defending the DEI should point towards how a rainbow force would have operated in 1942).

With all of this in mind, I have a general strategy that I will attempt to enact, but I of course will have to remain flexible, and attempt to refuse Thomas from forcing me to react to his necessary early-game aggressions.

I am a convert to Canoe’s obsession with NoPac. I see it as an absolute must (I think it’s great that PzH took it all from him, I’m eagerly waiting to see how Dan reacts/ doesn’t react). In my opinion simply building up NoPac and occasionally bombing the Kuriles, combined with an occasional raid in the Hokkaido region, forces Japan to divert LCUs, air groups, HQs and support troops to a remote, completely worthless theater. In 1942 the undermanned Allies can tie down more units sitting around in NoPac than by actively fighting.

I will not get stuck in an uneven arctic battle, but I will attempt to occupy NoPac in force. The plan is to eventually have a size 7 airfield at Shemya Island and a size 8 port at Adak. This will allow for a great sub base, staging ground, and general threat. Unless the situation dictates, I have no plans to hit Honshu from this theater.

My general strategy is conventional: Cut off the SRA from the Home Islands.

To do this the game will unfold in four stages:


a. Spoiling attacks (unsettle Thomas and keep us interested in the game)
b. Defense
Avoid autovictory by denying India and Oz, not losing 5 million Chinese soldiers.
c. consolidate lines of supply, rear area bases
Everything south of Tabiteau, connect Pearl Harbor with Oz by way of Noumea/ New Zealand.
d. Train!


a. Force my way into the DEI/ PM/ Horn Island/ Timor/ Moluccas (Maybe too optimistic for ‘43)


a. Philippines
Bypass Luzon and Mindano, take Panay (with lvl 9 airfields and RRs) and Palawan to isolate
b. Formosa (strat bombing base)


Strategic bombing, possible Invasion of Honshu

Before everybody starts wailing and gnashing their teeth about rigid plans, this is simply a general direction I will move towards until Thomas gives me reason to think otherwise. Basically, I am going to unify MacArthur and the Navy, and ignore CentPac in favor of going straight up the middle. I will probably not take all of the Philippines (even though I want the level 9 port) but I will seek to isolate it with the main objective being Formosa (huge base for bombing Japan).

Any thoughts peanut gallery?

< Message edited by jb123 -- 7/8/2012 3:58:20 PM >

(in reply to jb123)
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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Blurred by the Fog of War jb123 (A)... - 7/8/2012 3:50:58 PM   

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Immediate strategy:


Spoiling attacks:

I will raid with my CVs anywhere the KB is not. If he launches a full scale invasion of India or Oz I will launch my own invasion in CentPac or NoPac

I will have Marines prepping for Canton/ Baker/ Tabiteau for a quick smash and grab if he takes these


Defense of India and OZ:

The philosophy here is to strongly defend the key cities, letting all else fall (with spirited rearguard actions), and then trying to encircle main columns with maneuver forces. In those strong key cities, I will be assembling Corps-sized QRFs (Quick reaction Forces) to assault his supply lines. So, if he takes a major port and marches towards my key cities, I will try to initiate a war of maneuver using my QRF.

In OZ: I will let all of Australia fall from Darwin to Port Hedland, and from Townsville to Brisbane. I will do rearguard actions, but I will try to not lose large formations. A QRF built around I Australian Corps, all armor, and 8th, 6th, 7th Divisions (as they come online) will be my maneuver element. I will defend Port Augusta-Sydney with as much strength I can muster (I'm thinking Port Augusta is a likely landing zone and reinforcing it for beachhead defense)

In India: Same as Oz, but my main cities will be triangle from Karachi-Bombay-Delhi, (2,000AV in ea. city). I will have a very strong rearguard in Calcutta (with retreat route to Delhi defended in force) and I will try to get all of NCAC into India before Burma is lost. I will have stout defenses at Diego Garcia and Socotra, along with counter-invasion forces prepping to take them back after KB leaves.

If I have secure shipping lanes, I will move the QRF from the region not under attack to the region under attack (So, if India is his main thrust, I Oz Corps will go to India, if possible)

In the meantime, I will be building a powerful assault corps around I Corps (US) (40, 41, 43 div). It will launch, under cover of every capital ship I can muster, to attack wherever the main Japanese attack is not. Either Burma or New Guinea. By default they are prepping for Port Moresby.

< Message edited by jb123 -- 7/10/2012 1:55:40 PM >

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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Blurred by the Fog of War jb123 (A)... - 7/8/2012 3:51:21 PM   

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Tactical considerations:

Political Point expenditures:

December: buy out 8th Oz Div, Refugees, 87th Mountain rgmt
January: All PPs dedicated to NCAC
February: All PPs dedicated to NoPac units
March: All PPs dedicated to CentPac units
April: Backfill/ unit commander, etc.
May-July: Save all PPs to buy out I Corps (US)

How do I get NCAC to India before the fall of Burma? Should I reinforce Burma? Buy out the Corps immediately? NCAC’s presence in India would make the place almost impossible to fall, as the Chinese get 350 squads a month and those 3 Corps are epic-huge.

How do I get 8th OZ from Malaysia to Australia safely? I think those two regiments will be the first thing I buy.

(in reply to jb123)
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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Blurred by the Fog of War jb123 (A)... - 7/8/2012 7:56:55 PM   


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Thomas i a worthy opponent , you will have a hands full .
I got my handed over so badly on oct .42 it was no fun for him any more .

Good luck , i will follow this one .


Pacifism is nice ideal as long as there is peace.

(in reply to jb123)
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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Blurred by the Fog of War jb123 (A)... - 7/8/2012 8:25:29 PM   

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Wow, Oct '42 is early. I hope to keep my head up a bit longer. Thanks for the well wishes!

(in reply to Fokko)
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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Blurred by the Fog of War jb123 (A)... - 7/9/2012 3:08:15 PM   

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The first turn was an unmitigated disaster for the allies. I lost five battleships, as well as a huge amount of airframes destroyed on the ground. For normal days, I will fill out the below form for each day’s update, but today requires a bit more discussion.

First, Thomas split the KB. At least the Kaga, but I think two CVs are between Borneo and Singapore. They got Force Z which we agreed could flee Singapore without going like a lamb to its slaughter at Kota Bharu. If he had gone only to destroy Force Z, I would have been miffed, but he is clearly escorting an invasion force, that I’m guessing is going straight for Palembang. Repulse will probably (might?) make it, PoW will sink for sure tomorrow, I can only hope it draws the morning strike away from Repulse. Part of the blame lies on me. I accidentally refueled Force Z at Singapore before sending it off, so it only made a few hexes towards Java before getting lit up. Lesson learned.

Pearl Harbor: I have run about 20-30 first turns against the AI, and I’ve never lost more than 1 BB. Today, four are outright sunk, and the others are all past 70 float damage. I also lost some auxiliaries and two DDs.

How does this happen with KB split? This leads me to ask some mechanics questions in the post below.

Location of KB: KB is split, at least two CVs are between Borneo and Singapore, the remainder are three hexes NE of Pearl Harbor (all directions in this AAR are according to the map, ignoring “true” directions).

WC/ Canada/ NoPac:

CentPac: Disastrous strike into Pearl Harbor. If he hits again tomorrow I will lose all 8 BBs

SoPac: Nothing

Oz: Nothing

DEI: CV strike force in the region, looks like it's escorting a Palembang invasion TF

Philippines: Disastrous airfield strikes, lost most of my P-40s, Catalinas, and Forts. SNLF landings at Vigan and Atimonan, both shock on first turn and take the bases.

China: Airfield strikes

Malaysia: Extremely effective airfield strikes, most of the CW airforce in this region is gone.

Burma: Strong raids on Rangoon, killed a lot of buffaloes. I am glad he didn’t bomb the AVG since I didn’t move them (No movement except in China for Allies’ first turn, I guess I could have argued that AVG is part of China, Duh!)

Nothing yet. The aggression he is showing in Malaysia makes me think he may have designs on India.

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by jb123 -- 7/20/2012 6:48:42 PM >

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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Blurred by the Fog of War jb123 (A)... - 7/9/2012 3:10:01 PM   

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My Plea for help:

So, I mentioned above that this is my first PBEM and I will need some help both in strategy, and in mechanics. Below are two mechanics questions:

What did Thomas do with his airgroup settings that is obviously so amazing? He sent probably only four CVs as part of KB to Pearl Harbor and he utterly destroyed the place. Below is the combat report (I will usually not post CRs b/c I dislike AARs that rely on them, but this is an important one):

Allied aircraft
no flights (B/c of December 7th Surprise?)

Japanese aircraft losses
A6M2 Zero: 1 damaged
A6M2 Zero: 5 destroyed by flak
B5N2 Kate: 3 damaged
D3A1 Val: 3 damaged
D3A1 Val: 1 destroyed by flak

Allied aircraft losses
B-17D Fortress: 24 damaged
B-17D Fortress: 2 destroyed on ground
PBY-5 Catalina: 104 damaged
PBY-5 Catalina: 4 destroyed on ground
P-36A Mohawk: 11 damaged
P-36A Mohawk: 1 destroyed on ground
B-18A Bolo: 23 damaged
B-18A Bolo: 2 destroyed on ground
P-40B Warhawk: 33 damaged
P-40B Warhawk: 4 destroyed on ground
SBD-1 Dauntless: 19 damaged
SBD-1 Dauntless: 1 destroyed on ground
B-17E Fortress: 5 damaged
F4F-3 Wildcat: 4 damaged
F4F-3 Wildcat: 1 destroyed on ground
O-47A: 7 damaged
O-47A: 1 destroyed on ground
A-20A Havoc: 9 damaged
A-20A Havoc: 1 destroyed on ground
C-33: 2 damaged
R3D-2: 2 damaged
R3D-2: 1 destroyed on ground
OS2U-3 Kingfisher: 4 destroyed

Allied Ships
AV Wright
BB Nevada, Bomb hits 3, Torpedo hits 4, and is sunk
BB West Virginia, Bomb hits 2, Torpedo hits 4, on fire, heavy damage
BB California, Torpedo hits 4, and is sunk
BB Pennsylvania, Bomb hits 3, Torpedo hits 5, and is sunk
DD Shaw, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
BB Tennessee, Bomb hits 3, Torpedo hits 4, on fire, heavy damage
BB Oklahoma, Bomb hits 3, Torpedo hits 6, heavy fires, heavy damage
CA San Francisco, Torpedo hits 2, on fire, heavy damage
AV Curtiss
AV Tangier
xAKL Manini
BB Maryland, Bomb hits 4, Torpedo hits 4, on fire, heavy damage
CA New Orleans, Bomb hits 1, Torpedo hits 2
BB Arizona, Bomb hits 1, Torpedo hits 5, and is sunk
CL Helena, Torpedo hits 2, on fire, heavy damage
DD Phelps, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
DM Pruitt, Bomb hits 1, heavy fires, heavy damage
CL St. Louis, Bomb hits 1, on fire
CL Honolulu, Bomb hits 1, on fire
SS Narwhal, Bomb hits 1
AVP Swan, Torpedo hits 1, and is sunk
DMS Perry, Torpedo hits 1, on fire
DD Henley, Bomb hits 1, heavy fires, heavy damage
CL Detroit, Bomb hits 1, on fire

Allied ground losses:
20 casualties reported
Squads: 0 destroyed, 0 disabled
Non Combat: 0 destroyed, 8 disabled
Engineers: 0 destroyed, 1 disabled

Repair Shipyard hits 4 (HOW did this happen?)
Airbase hits 23
Airbase supply hits 1
Runway hits 45
Port hits 11
Port fuel hits 1

Aircraft Attacking:
10 x A6M2 Zero bombing from 100 feet
Airfield Attack: 2 x 60 kg GP Bomb
12 x D3A1 Val releasing from 2000'
Port Attack: 1 x 250 kg GP Bomb
27 x B5N2 Kate launching torpedoes at 200 feet
Port Attack: 1 x 18in Type 91 Torpedo
4 x A6M2 Zero sweeping at 15000 feet
8 x D3A1 Val releasing from 3000'
Port Attack: 1 x 250 kg GP Bomb
18 x B5N2 Kate launching torpedoes at 200 feet
Port Attack: 1 x 18in Type 91 Torpedo
4 x A6M2 Zero sweeping at 15000 feet
8 x D3A1 Val releasing from 2000'
City Attack: 1 x 250 kg GP Bomb
18 x B5N2 Kate launching torpedoes at 200 feet
Port Attack: 1 x 18in Type 91 Torpedo
4 x D3A1 Val releasing from 3000'
Airfield Attack: 1 x 250 kg GP Bomb
27 x B5N2 Kate launching torpedoes at 200 feet
Port Attack: 1 x 18in Type 91 Torpedo
5 x D3A1 Val releasing from 1000'
Airfield Attack: 1 x 250 kg GP Bomb
27 x B5N2 Kate bombing from 9000 feet
Port Attack: 1 x 800 kg AP Bomb
5 x D3A1 Val releasing from 3000'
Port Attack: 1 x 250 kg GP Bomb
4 x D3A1 Val releasing from 1000'
Port Attack: 1 x 250 kg GP Bomb
8 x D3A1 Val releasing from 2000'
Port Attack: 1 x 250 kg GP Bomb
14 x D3A1 Val releasing from 1000'
Airfield Attack: 1 x 250 kg GP Bomb
9 x D3A1 Val releasing from 2000'
Airfield Attack: 1 x 250 kg GP Bomb
11 x D3A1 Val releasing from 3000'
Airfield Attack: 1 x 250 kg GP Bomb
1 x D3A1 Val releasing from 3000'
Port Attack: 1 x 250 kg GP Bomb
1 x D3A1 Val releasing from 1000'
Port Attack: 1 x 250 kg GP Bomb
7 x D3A1 Val releasing from 2000'
Airfield Attack: 1 x 250 kg GP Bomb
4 x D3A1 Val releasing from 1000'
Port Attack: 1 x 250 kg GP Bomb

Included in the damage roster is some hits on my drydock. I thought these could only be hit through strategic attack? Is this true? Or does port attack also hit the repair facilities?

I’m looking closely at his altitudes here: 3,000, 2,000, and 1,000 feet for the bombers. He obviously could only do this b/c of Dec 7th surprise, correct?

1) How do I do what Thomas did in a PBEM?

My biggest concern is I don’t want to go into this game using tactics that apply only to the AI. For example, my carriers air wing is generally set to
All bombers at 9,000 feet (in hopes of getting coordinated strikes.
60% CAP (2/3 of the cap is set at 9,000 feet to coordinate with bombers, 1/3 at 15,000 feet to protect the fleet.

40% escort

I will change this default setting based on the target, but that is typically how I do it. It’s always worked devastatingly against the AI, what do you guys set your air wings to?

2) Amphibious assault shock attack

Thomas landed at Atimonan and Vigan in the Philippines. The SNLFs that landed immediately shock attacked on landing. These are regular bases, not atolls. No paratroopers were involved as far as I can see. How did they shock attack, and better yet, how can I make my initial units shock attack?

(in reply to jb123)
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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Blurred by the Fog of War jb123 (A)... - 7/9/2012 5:55:14 PM   

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With the destruction Thomas unleashed over Pearl Harbor, I am inclined to think he may spend another day there to ensure the destruction of the last of my battleships. This is sad. But my anger at Thomas (and I felt so warmly towards him only yesterday!) may be pushing me towards an attempted strike at his oilers. I can see them, they are a bit east of French Frigate Shoals. A high speed run by Enterprise could catch them on their way north. Of course, if the KB retires this turn I would lose the Enterprise in addition to all of my BBs… Will he stay or won’t he? With all the BBs pushing 80 flt (and he got good intel on the damage he cause based off his gleeful email) why wouldn’t he stick around to sink them all?

This is fun!

(in reply to jb123)
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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Blurred by the Fog of War jb123 (A)... - 7/9/2012 9:37:33 PM   

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jb123, I am no expert on the mechanics of the game so can't help with your questions. I am in my first PBEM game also. Save your carriers.    Pup all your fighters.  Make him pay for a second strike.  Layer your CAP also 5k, 10k, 15k, and 20k.  As to your plans as long as your flexible you should be ok. 

What scenerio are you playing?

(in reply to jb123)
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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Blurred by the Fog of War jb123 (A)... - 7/10/2012 2:51:29 AM   

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Thanks for commiserating, I have yet to commit to order the Enterprise on its (suicide?) mission. I will certainly order every fighter at pearl to fly CAP, whether or not they do really doesn't matter. If he strikes again I may be the first person in AE history to lose 9 battleships in 2 days.

We're playing scenario 2.

(in reply to DOCUP)
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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Blurred by the Fog of War jb123 (A)... - 7/10/2012 3:06:04 AM   

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I would say this AAR is a must read .. it is GreyJoy vs Radier .. Radier a very good player took almost everything vs. a newbie .. then .. the Hokkiado Hurricane ...

Good Luck!! I also have an AAR from a newbie standpoint .. I document my planning fairly detailed .. this is scenario #1 although . a much different animal you are engaged in ..


"What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know. It's what we know for sure that just ain't so"

(in reply to jb123)
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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Blurred by the Fog of War jb123 (A)... - 7/10/2012 3:07:14 AM   

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You won't be the first person.  Look at Greyjoys first AAR.  Good read.

Get out of southern Burma ASAP move the the northern bases and build up your forts.  Start your supply lines quickly to Rangoon get as much supply to northern Burma and China as you can.  Japan moves faster in a PBEM game than the AI. 

Also I was told that if you don't have alot of people posting in your AAR its not a bad thing.  It means your not screwing up yet.  lol  I go by that since I don't have alot of people posting in mine.

(in reply to jb123)
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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Blurred by the Fog of War jb123 (A)... - 7/10/2012 1:49:25 PM   

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Oh man, I was hoping the comparison to Greyjoy wouldn't come so early! It took Rader 6 days of sitting off of Pearl to disintegrate everything, Thomas managed it in one strike! Although, I'm really hoping that Thomas wants to finish everything off, because orders are given to the Enterprise to strike the oilers. I'm almost done with the massive first turn, so tomorrow or the next day I'll know if it was a good call or not.

I sure could use some of Greyjoy's optimism.

(in reply to DOCUP)
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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Blurred by the Fog of War jb123 (A)... - 7/10/2012 2:15:28 PM   

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Look in your replacement menu's.  Thats where your optimism will come from.

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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Versus the Fog of War jb123 (A) Ver... - 7/16/2012 5:54:49 PM   

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12/8/41- 12/16/41

Thomas is on vacation for the next two weeks (jealous!), so I will catch us up to this point in the game.

At the macro level, Thomas is extremely efficient. He has the opening moves down, and knows exactly how far he can push it without my being able to bloody his nose. With those caveats, I have had some minor “victories,” and am poised tomorrow (game time, two weeks in real time) to try to ruin his day, a bit.

Location of KB: KB hit Pearl (destroying the fleet), and left immediately. I guess he was happy with the damage he inflicted. He immediately stationed off of Wake, and escorted a stout Wake invasion force, which promptly took the island. The KB dropped off the radar yesterday, I’m guessing (hoping) he had to replenish at Truk. A raid into NoPac could really hurt me right now.

WC/ Canada/ NoPac: Lots of supplies and units moving here. I am aggressively reinforcing Annette Island, Kodiak, Anchorage, Whittier, Seward (a nice rail-linked set of air bases) and Cold Bay. Since I evacuated the units I wanted out of Malaysia and the DEI, NoPac has political point priority until defenses are settled. We have an HR agreement that NoPac can be defended by WC units attached to fighter command, so I’m paying only 1/3 cost for all the WC units I need here. I am a dufus, and sent some extremely valuable APs and AKs to the area to move troops about. I should have used the xAPs and xAKs…. I’m holding my breath that KB doesn’t raid until I get them out.

CentPac: Had he stayed for a second strike, I would have lost all 8 BBs. But, his focus on the fleet left my airfield, Catalinas, fighters, and Forts all relatively unscathed, so I would have hurt him with my CAP. I’m not as depressed as I was on Dec 8th. I have a strong 170 or so fighters on Pearl that, with moral recovered and slowly training, will preclude a raid in the future. Short of an all-out invasion, Pearl is safe. I will have four old battlewagons ready to bombard atolls in about 18 months or so.

Wake fell. I lost the Marine fighters, as I was unwilling to risk the Lady Lex.

US CVs In what could have been a major disaster, Enterprise, fleeing from KB, took a torp from an I boat. Only 4 float damage, I hope Thomas thinks it’s out of commission for a bit. But, we destroyed the pesky AMC that raids SoPac shipping lanes before turning back to Pearl. CVs are teaming up with Saratoga to cover NoPac operations. It will be a week until they are all there.

No Midway strike,
I’m getting supplies and the 87th Mountain regiment there as we speak, forts are on the way to level 3. A Marine Raider BN is also prepping for the Island, ready to be flown in at the last minute from FFS.

Thomas is being aggressive here. He has already snatched up Lae, Shortlands, and Manus. A strong CA TF bombarded Rabaul, which was really a blessing. For little return on his end, he revealed a strong surface presence in the region. I had the Australian SCTF (3 CA, 2 CLs, 3 DDs) lurking in the area hoping to hit invasion TFs. I will not commit them now, as the Allies lose every surface engagement against heavy cruisers at this stage of the war.

I have by defense slowly formulating. The victory in Operation Gallant Sir Robin (see Malaysia below) really makes me feel warm and fuzzy about OZ. I got the 8th OZ Division out intact, barring a successful raid between Diego Garcia and Perth, the entire division will be formulated under I Oz Corps in Brisbane acting as a QRF along with 7th OZ and a good chunk of the excellent OZ armor units.

DEI: Thomas took the essential bases quickly and is obviously intent on shutting this area down fast. The MKB (Mini KB) and the Kaga CVTF are at either end of the DEI, sinking fleeing merchants as fast as they can rearm. I lost most of the Philippine merchant marine, including the CL Boise (a very bad omen for the game). Bettys are based at Sinkawang and will soon be based at Manado. All of northern Borneo fell, Tarakan taken. A large group of TFs, including CAs and CVEs has pushed deep into the DEI, past Kendari. Destination Timor?

The most exciting things that happened here was a huge BB TF bombarded Batavia. The CA Takao took a mine hit (reported sunk, but doubtful). I’m very happy about that. Why would someone do this though? Prevent forts? I have two level 4 airfields next to Batavia linked by rail (where most of my planes were), so he’s not shutting down the airfield. Plus, he runs the risk of damaging strategic resources by bombarding. Not sure it was worth it.

A disbanded AK damaged by Tarakan’s CD guns was sunk in port by a Dutch bombing raid.

Tomorrow I have 27 Dutch bombers and 10 Philippine’s B-17Ds hitting the completely undefended oil fields at Tarkan. I have high hopes for this raid. I wondered if it was kosher to do this in our type of game, so I started a thread here: Gamey-ness? The consensus among formuites was that that I would be remiss to NOT bomb the oil.

I didn’t bother trying to get fuel out. I always do against the AI, but Thomas is not the AI! The way I figure, the tankers can carry more fuel from Abadan or LA over the course of the war than they can by getting destroyed in the DEI. They would get destroyed. The area is positively infested with SCTF, CVTFS, and Betties/ Nells, only one week into the war! I did, however, manage to lift about 20k supplies from Balikpapan to Java.

The airforce crumbled immediately. I have made good use of the Mindanao B-17s (hitting Tarakan tomorrow). But all else just died. Quickly. I withdrew what I could to my pools, but not a lot was saved. I had no real aerial victories. Ports and airfields at Clark and Manila are at about 100% damaged with only one fort put up before the destruction. PT boats were able to disrupt landings, causing them to withdraw. Thomas opsec violated himself, saying he had multiple collisions. The PTs didn’t fire a single Torp. Just showed up, tried to run away from the invasion TFs, leading to all sorts of confusion. I really like this modeling of the PTs. I imagine that’s exactly the effect 12 fast torpedo boats would have on an invasion convoy: pandemonium, but not a lot of real torpedo hits.

All units evacuated in an orderly fashion to Clark (except a small delaying force at Bataan). I have 55k supply and one level fort. This *should* keep a couple big units tied down for a minute.

Allied Subs: I allocated 20 PPs for the worst S-boat commanders. This has paid dividends in torp launches, but bad torps means no hits of note. A Dutch boat put two DUDs in Kaga (I violently cursed out the computer). A few cruisers got DUDs from US boats. A few AKs and APs (two with troops) are sunk by Dutch and S boats. No sub losses yet (except that one idiot S-boat headed towards Manila that auto-disbanded before I caught it, sunk by a port raid).

China: Oh, I smell disaster in this region. He’s being aggressive here. Hong Kong fell quickly. But for some reason he disbanded about 20 xAKLs in port there. Chinese bombers from Kweilin and Kukong are raiding the port tomorrow to see if they can bag a few. He is aggressively bombing airfields, especially Changsa, but I still have level four forts and no airfield damage. His troops are moving quickly, but he caught very few of my units so far. Tsiaotso is heavily garrisoned and building forts. Very little supply here though. Normal bases fell to Chinese smash and grab: Ichang, the two up by Russia. So far my reallocation of troops is going smoothly. I need a month or so to get settled, then the slog begins. NOTE TO SELF: Don’t forget to turn off resource repair at Chengchow, I did for a week, probably burned through a bunch of supply. I keep repair “on” at the light industry and resources at Changsa until the Burma road is closed. Not sure if it’s a good Idea, but I don’t plan on letting this place fall, and I will need those supplies when Burma falls. See my detailed breakdown of China defenses below.

Thomas is a very proficient player, and it is evidenced by his assault in the area. Singapore will fall early, both because of his masterful tactics, and because I decided to withdraw 8th OZ. By using tanks and paratroopers, he cut off the Alor Star units and retreated Kota Bharu and Kuantan units. This leaves me with two decent Indian BDES, a plethora of weak Bns and Malaysian units, and a little “armor” and arty in Singers. Three BDEs are stuck in the jungle, and I have low hopes for them getting to Singers in time, as Thomas landed at an undefended Mersing yesterday.

Operation Gallant Sir Robin:

On the other hand, I paid the PPs and had the AVG join the fight, allowing level 3 (almost 4) forts to be constructed. I have 60k supply. The AVG, Buffaloes, and a few Dutch fighters performed gallantly, shooting down a bunch of Nells and a goodly number of Kaga’s Kates and Vals. Also, I evacuated the entire Singers navy in a safe and orderly manner (minus PoW, lost on Dec 7th, but plus a moderately damaged Repulse), along with 2 OZ BDES, the RN BF, and the NZ engineers.

It cost me about 40 Buffaloes and 10 AVG P-40s. Below is a screenie of air losses to date.

So, I have a game engine problem: When Thomas transfers fighters to a base, I can see it before my turn giving orders, the Japanese, on the other hand, cannot see when the Allies transfer fighters to a base until after the turn runs. This “tweak” in the game engine was essential for me to get the AVG (with its miserable max range of 14) down to Singers. If he caught the AVG at any of the small-ish bases I had to transfer through, he could have hit them before they arrived. Instead, I think he was shocked when the AVG was suddenly flying CAP over a fleeing navy. This doesn’t feel right, and will probably hurt any Japanese player in the late war when they are trying to be sneaky.

Burma: I am evacuating the Indian BDE detached from 17th Indian Division, two Burma BNs and the British BN, three BFs, the air and the Corps HQ. I need them in India. They strat moved to Katha and will march the long walk to Imphal over the next month or so. Burma division is combined at Rangoon where I am allocating 1 week for it to rest, before I send it SE of Pegu, in the rough hex between Moulmein and Pegu. This will be it. Once he gets enough AV here to shock across the river and retreat the miserable folks in this division, Burma will be lost as fast as he can drive. I am only keeping one BN and one BF in each base along the rail line to protect from paratroopers. I don’t know if this is a viable tactic, but, splitting the Burma division makes it less than worthless. I really want to get NCAC troops into India before I lose Burma, but I cannot afford to buy them until the NCAC HQ arrives in May. May will be way too late.

India: Nothing of note, I have troops and supplies moving to Diego Garcia, Socotra, and Male as I write. Everything else is evacuated off map. See my defense article for a detailed breakdown of my India defense.

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by jb123 -- 7/16/2012 7:24:53 PM >

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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Versus the Fog of War jb123 (A) Ver... - 7/16/2012 7:01:16 PM   

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Regional defensive plans

I wrote a lot here, just trying to get down my defensive philosophy. I would be excited if anyone wants to read through all/some of this and offer comments. Otherwise, maybe some players will find something useful in my outline below.

I write this at midnight after a few beers, so get through the style/ grammar at your own risk.

As per my overall plan, I intend to fight desperately for Australia through Pearl Harbor, while keeping Japanese units tied down in NoPac, and if he invades, in India. I will not try to reconquer India, but rather keep him busy while I prepare for another assault (of course, if he opts for Oz instead of India, if will be a different story).


At the macro level I want open, safe, rational supply lines between OZ and the West Coast. To do this I will rely on an early warning system (search A/C and pickets) and strong SCTF and ASW assets in the region to make it painful to conduct cheap raids. Large/ extremely valuable convoys will be escorted by CVs (for example, when I occupy Suva, or move I Corps to Oz from the WC).

The main route is San Francisco – Pearl Harbor – Tahiti (Bora Bora) – Auckland – Sydney. All of the main “hub” islands will have strong (100+) CAP to make for “safe” ports. This should at the least make CV raids very expensive for the KB.

Early warning system will consist of a chain of strongly defended (by LCU/ Mine/ PT boats /subs) islands/ atolls stretching from Pearl Harbor to OZ between Japanese areas and my SLOCs. The idea is it will be too costly for him to take ten atolls in order to easily threaten my SLOCs. I would rather force him to fight it out on ten atolls than try to duke it out on Suva or Noumea. The early warning chain will give me a minimum of 30 hexes from the edge of my search radius to the SLOC and 15 hexes from my picket lines. This is still a bit too close for CV raids (KB can fast move 18 hexes and strike at 7….)

My thoughts on Suva: I cannot occupy it in force until I buy out Americal and 27th Division (attached to I Amphib Corps. Given my PP calendar, Americal can’t make it until March, 27th could theoretically follow in April. This is very late in the game. These units will be prepping, and if I can occupy rather than invade, great. But I am willing to lose this Island. The Tonga Islands are better platforms, in my opinion. With an air HQ established in May, I can suppress Suva from a network of level 7 airfields in Tonga. Any thoughts on this? I really don’t want to be stuck in a position where I have fragments of units and low supplies (these are the conditions that allow huge armies to be destroyed in Malaysia and the Philippines, why reproduce it?)

The early-warning atolls/ Islands are:

Palmyra Atoll

Closely supported by large detachments/ air HQs built up at Christmas/ Fanning

Penrhyn Atoll

Seaplane base, USMC CD, SoPac BN, various NZ detachments, AV TF

I will fight for this Island, as I think I can get supplies/ reinforcements here before he can invade. 8th Marines, an Army BDE if I can swing it.

Tonga Islands (Vavua)
SoPac BDES, size six port and 7 airfields are nice, and will make a possible Suva invasion easier.
Vava’u 6(3) 7(4)
Lifuka Atoll 4(1) 5(2)
Tongatapu 4(1) 7 (4)

Raoul Island

Norfolk Island

The Suva NZ BDE is here, as well as an OZ RN BF. Size six airfield to bomb Noumea. (B-17s need size 5)

Lord Howe Island

ASW platform, early warning search platform.

I want to add Canton to the list, 2nd and 6th Marines, along with tanks and combat engineers are prepping for a smash and grab. (it hasn’t fallen yet, but I assume it will).

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by jb123 -- 7/20/2012 6:45:17 PM >

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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Versus the Fog of War jb123 (A) Ver... - 7/16/2012 7:07:53 PM   

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Midway Defense:

The 87th Mountain is really the perfect unit to defend Midway, as far as I can tell. It starts out like a strong battalion and can be bought off the WC for 150 PPs. It fills out to a full regiment. Depending on the danger level to Midway, I plan to either 1) stop it from filling completely out, so I don’t get the overstacking penalty, but can keep the CD, USAAF BF, and an ENG BN on the Island; or 2) fill it completely out and then have some flying boats take squads off the top, stationing them in French Frigate shoals. This will allow me to rapidly fly the remainder of the regiment to the Island if I smell an invasion, while avoiding overstacking penalties. A Marine raider BN, prepping for Midway, will be stationed at FFS ready to fly in on flying boats. I will land about 600 mines and an AMCwhen I feel threatened.

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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Versus the Fog of War jb123 (A) Ver... - 7/16/2012 7:13:13 PM   

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If Thomas goes for an all-out invasion of OZ, I imagine he will invade Darwin and Perth area as precursors, and then land his main force in the Townsville region or in Port Augusta. If I were the Japanese, I think I would go after Port Augusta. Landing here cuts Perth off from the rest of the country, and it is above the “line of death.” I imagine that before a major invasion of place with a line of death, the Japanese would attempt to clean up everything before activating reinforcements, that way, the reinforcements (activated mostly in ADEN), will have little impact on the battle for the line of death areas. With Darwin to Perth in Japanese hands, getting Aden units successfully to OZ will be a huge pain.

Port Augusta has a decent port level, and can be used to quickly and safely unload an army.

Of course, Townsville is safer, closer to PM and DEI SLOCs.

My idea is to fight a rearguard in Townsville with the bulk of the armor units that have withdrawal dates. These Motor and Cav BDES can maneuver faster than foot-infantry, and therefore will make a fighting withdrawal. Plus, allied armor *should* really rough up Japanese armor in open terrain.

In Port Augusta, I hope to outright refuse a landing. May be delirious thinking on my part.

1st OZ DIV in the city
Two independent BDES (One from Tasmania) protecting Port Kembla and Newcastle.
BDE from Perth, broken into BNs, protecting three nearby airfields.

2nd OZ Div in the City
3rd OZ Div, broken into regiments, protecting three cities near Melbourne, but prepping for Port Augusta, which I feel is the most likely beachhead.

4th OZ DIV two regiments with Motor BDE in the City, two BNs protecting inland airfields linking Adelaide with Melbourne. Adelaide is south of Brisbane, so an invasion here would activate line of death troops.

Every airfield between Brisbane and Port Augusta has a BF and a BN.

Port Augusta: I imagine D-day to be here, I want to refuse any Japanese landing:
5th OZ Div, combined.
Also, 3rd OZ Div is broken into BDEs protecting Melbourne area, it is prepping for Port Augusta and will be railed there and combined if an invasion is imminent.
Some armor
AT guns
US Arty
16 x CD guns
AA units
I’ll mine this port heavily if I smell an OZ invasion.
Extra ENG units to get the forts up.

Perth: tricky, any units dedicated to this AO can easily be lost, but I’ll not lose it without a fight.
I evacuated the Dutch Regiment that starts on the Island off of Soerbaja. It is cheap when attached to I OZ Corps (switched to ABDA). This is a one-hit wonder BDE, as there are not many Dutch replacements. It will fight a rear-guard at Geraldton along with CD guns and some armor (I’m really hoping my armor whips him in open terrain, I just need to make sure to have a lot of AA in hexes with armor).

6th OZ Div will land here from Aden, hopefully will be in place by mid-Feb 1942

An OZ BDE will fight a rearguard at Bussleton along with the small CD from Perth.

A BN and BF each at Cunderdin and Kalgoorlie (two cities linking Perth with Sydney). By any standard of maneuver warfare, Thomas would have to cut-off Perth before laying siege. I’ll have a good 4-5 forts by the time he can invade, along with a division, arty, and armor. I’m thinking that a BN and a BF can hold the airfields from paratroopers, especially if I can get level three or four forts. Is this delusional? I have no experience with airborne assault as the AI doesn’t do it. The armor units in Perth will maneuver here to fight overland invasions as well as possible.

< Message edited by jb123 -- 7/16/2012 7:14:41 PM >

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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Versus the Fog of War jb123 (A) Ver... - 7/17/2012 12:24:34 AM   

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First of all, good luck! PBEM will give you a lot of sweat and some outright whoops at the replay screen. It's so much better playing a person.

Not sure why the PH strike did so well. Can't see much in the settings, other than he he did use many of the Vals on port strike where some players use them primarily for the airfields.

The altitudes below are release altitudes for the Vals. They will fly in between 10-15k and dive to drop their ordnance. They release at different altitudes dependent on pilot and leader quality, etc. The lower the better for accuracy.


I’m looking closely at his altitudes here: 3,000, 2,000, and 1,000 feet for the bombers. He obviously could only do this b/c of Dec 7th surprise, correct?

1) How do I do what Thomas did in a PBEM?

My biggest concern is I don’t want to go into this game using tactics that apply only to the AI. For example, my carriers air wing is generally set to
All bombers at 9,000 feet (in hopes of getting coordinated strikes.
60% CAP (2/3 of the cap is set at 9,000 feet to coordinate with bombers, 1/3 at 15,000 feet to protect the fleet.

40% escort

I will change this default setting based on the target, but that is typically how I do it. It’s always worked devastatingly against the AI, what do you guys set your air wings to?

As for your planes. DB and TB usually fly at different altitude settings. As IJ I fly DBs from 10-14k depending on the situation, and 5k for TB is supposed to be ideal, but I vary that at times and depending on what I'm attacking.

Many players layer CAP even more than you have, with planes low, medium, and medium high on CVs. Like 5k, 10k, and 15-20k. Some do more.

Here are some settings. Each type requires different settings for different missions. It gets fairly complicated. Read LoBarons thread for coordination.

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by obvert -- 7/17/2012 12:29:18 AM >


"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill

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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Versus the Fog of War jb123 (A) Ver... - 7/18/2012 6:38:36 PM   

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Thanks for this Obvert. After letting the smoke clear the week following Dec 17th, I saw that my catalinas, forts, and fighters at Pear were in remarkably good shape. So all those extra hits on the BBs are a bummer, but on the other hand, the shortages of Catalinas and B-17s will be far less acute than normal. All of the BBs at Pearl will be ready to go to big US ports in 2-3 months (when system damage is gone, they're all at pierside mode now), and as long as I don't do something stupid, they will live to support late-war American invasions.

I am terrified of my CV settings... My CVs are the source of so much stress right now.

I will try your settings.

For some reason, using all of my standard setting, my CVs didn't fly a strike mission against a raiding AMC in CentPac. The search aircraft dumped a few 500 lb bombs on it during the search phases, but a strike never flew, my CVs are only 4 hexes away. I'll have to look at weather.

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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Versus the Fog of War jb123 (A) Ver... - 7/18/2012 6:39:05 PM   

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Regarding my defense of Australia: can Darwin be held?

What If I sent the entire 8th OZ div, the Dutch BDE, some American Arty and two Australian Armor units, and stuffed as much supply into the place until Ambon/ Timor become operational airfields? I’m thinking BNs and BFs can hold the inland bases from para assault, and the Dutch BDE with OZ armor support can hold the river-crossing hex between Wyndham and Katherine so as to avoid envelopment. As long as the road between Alice Springs and Darwin remain open, enough supply will trickle to keep the army alive. Large air campaigns and such will require sea-based resupply, which will not come until 1943 at the earliest….. Just thinking, The entire 8th OZ is loaded on ships already, they are more or less intact.

My Australian Defense plans call for 8th OZ to be in Brisbane acting as a QRF and the Dutch BDE to help hold Perth. If Perth falls, Darwin will be even more isolated.—Thomas needs to come back from vacation so I stop changing plans midstream. I wonder what the pros and cons of holding Darwin versus having a powerful, unrestricted QRF hanging out in Brisbane? Once Port Moresby and Timor fall, 8th OZ will be restricted to mainland until I have enough CVs to move it around (whether it’s at Brisbane or Darwin).

It seems to me there is no good reason for the Japanese to invade mainland Australia (holding Perth-Darwin is a good idea, but not Townsville-Port Augusta). I feel it is far wiser for the Japanese to take out India, if possible, than Australia. Of course, Thomas just might take them both….

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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Versus the Fog of War jb123 (A) Ver... - 7/18/2012 10:23:50 PM   

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Defense of China:

Main goals:

Long term, I want NCAC (all of it, 3 or 4 superheavy corps) in northern Burma, resting, training, and taking all/ most of the 350 Chinese squads produced every month.

Their mission is to reopen the Burma Road. I want to launch this mission in October, 1943 (according to my understanding, that is when the monsoon ends in Burma, I understand it to be May-October, am I wrong)

Once I can get some supplies into China, then I will start doing things in China other than hiding in the deepest forts, forests, and mountains I can get the army into.

I have a feeling India will fall or be seriously invested in this scenario 2 game, so NCAC Chinese Corps may end up participating in the defense of India. If I can get them there in time, they will hold Northern Burma, starting at (and especially) Chittagong.

Getting these Corps from China to Burma is going to be a nightmare, and 5 Corps (the one that starts out around Tsyunung) will probably have to fight a lonely delaying action in Burma while the others skedaddle. That Corps will probably be ruined for years. Burma is only being held by 1st Burma division and scattered weak Bns, so speed is of the essence.

In China proper I am pulling back the scattered, demoralized armies and setting up defensive positions in forests, mountains, and certain key bases.

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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Versus the Fog of War jb123 (A) Ver... - 7/18/2012 10:27:52 PM   

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Defense of Northern China:

1st War Area is my delaying force, I expect them to get chewed up holding Chengchow-Nanyang line, and eventually retreating to Sian to R&R.

I am establishing an unorthodox defense of Sian hinged on Tsiaotso. Most Allied players make a fight (and retreat) at Chengchow and Loyang because of the river. I moved most of 1st War Area(I screwed up in the image below, labeling it 5th area army, too lazy to fix the image) into Tsiaotso. Four reasons:

1) It is strategic: it lies on the central approach to Sian (Yenan being the northern/ Chengchow/ Nanyang being the southern). It should be able to draw some supplies over the road and through the forest from Sian. The time it will take Japan to outflank or reduce this position should allow me to get the defense on the road to Sian very well prepared.

2) It has 40 light industry and auto-generates 40 supply a day (I think light industry stops producing when enemy units are in the hex?)

3) It is a dot hex, so Japanese cannot bomb the airfield, preventing forts and spoiling supply (Will be at level three before the first Japanese arrive, combined with terrain bonus, it'll be bloody!)

4) Its flanks are protected by an empty forest hex (flanking Japanese units would have to travel through one hex of forest. And it is protected to the east by a mountain pass with a Corps dug in there. As soon as Japanese try to flank at either end, I will withdraw the troops from Tsiaotso and send them to Sian.

Fifth and a good part of Second War Area will dig in on the Southern and Northern approaches to Sian (only delaying forces at Yenan) one hex in from the clear hexes near Nanyang. They will move there shortly before Nanyang falls, giving them some time to relax at Sian and some time to dig in along the road. I want a two rough-hex barrier between Japanese and Chinese forces, so Jingcha/ Red Army reserves can dig in behind the 2nd and 5th if the line looks like it will soon collapse.

Jingcha War Area is the reserve. Along with the the much vaunted 8th Route Army, these large, decent units will be resting/ building forts in Sian and taking on limited replacements (I want most replacements to go to NCAC, heading to India).

Together, this should make Sian a very tough nut to crack.

All units are making best possible speed to these positions. The Japanese have yet to catch and spank any sizable Chinese units.

My units in Tsiaotso are established, two Japanese units (A div and a Regiment, I think) are closing in. We shall know soon if the Tsiatso defense is viable or foolish. I really don’t want that Army cut off, but every day the Japanese are trying to reduce that tough nut, Sian gets more impenetrable.

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< Message edited by jb123 -- 7/20/2012 6:37:30 PM >

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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Versus the Fog of War jb123 (A) Ver... - 7/18/2012 10:29:06 PM   

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The base

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RE: 20/20 Hindsight Versus the Fog of War jb123 (A) Ver... - 10/25/2012 2:59:19 PM   

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I have neglected this AAR, We are now in mid-March 1942, so I’ll update it a bit here. It has been an interesting game, a sort of modified Sir Robin on the part of the Allies paired with a very aggressive and efficient assault by scenario 2 Japanese, and I think maybe some readers will be interested in reading about the problems with this approach.

My overall strategy was to fight delaying actions while consolidating all assets between Australia and San Francisco. I failed absolutely bitterly on the delaying actions, but am firmly in possession of the SLOCs between the West Coast and Oz. I’ll speak to my delaying-action failures in more detail below. First, a general overview of the last three months:

Thomas is an armor officer in the Danish Army, and they must drill home the idea of massed force… a schwerpunkt, if you will, because he has used this principle to devastating effect. He grouped together a massive and unchallengeable army consisting of 9 of his 13 unrestricted divisions:

2nd Division
4th Division
5th Division
18th Division
21st Division
33rd Division
38th Division
6th Guards Division
Imperial Guards Division

These are joined by HQ units, 6 combat engineer units, 10 Tank regiments, and 10-15 Artillery units.

This entire army landed in Malaysia through Kotu Bharu and Mersing, and crossed together into Singapore, completely destroying the place in the first shock attack on Jan 2nd! Is this the earliest Singapore has fallen in the game? The Army was then picked up intact, and escorted to Java by his entire navy (minus a good part of KB) and LBA out of Sinkawang, where they nonchalantly landed just south of Batavia, and within three weeks overwhelmed the entire island (size three forts, 2X defensive bonus, 500 AV at Batavia, similar forces at Surabaya). This army then lifted up, in toto, and landed nearly all forces in one day at Diamond Harbor (March 1st 1942) The Army completely destroyed the armor, BDE, BF, and fort at Diamond Harbor, and easily advanced into Calcutta, where I finally “delayed” him, giving his army a bit of a bloody nose. Calcutta could easily still fall, but more on that later.

Some observations on this tactic:

I did not even know the Japanese possessed the sealift to shuffle 9 divisions and 25 or so other combat units around the map and effectively land them in one day! Obviously, this can only be done with the invasion bonus, because many of those ships are not amphib ships, and the units were not prepped at all.

This is devastating, and worked well. All of the careful defense I laid in Singapore, Java, and India collapsed at the mere sight of this juggernaut. I bought absolutely no time in Singapore or Java, there was no way to counter this move.

My own choices and failures nicely complemented Thomas’ aggression and efficiency. First, I successfully withdrew the Australian BDEs at Singers (as per my Australia first defense). But, most damning, I made a huge blunder by leaving nearly all of my combat units in rest mode when he crossed into Singapore. I could have bloodied his units a lot more. 90% of that mistake was just an accident. But, I was also partially surprised with the speed he managed to make it to Singapore with such a large army (as were the Brits in real life). I managed to make General Percival look like a military genius.

Why my attempts at delaying failed:

Stymied at sea:

The early capture of Singapore, and the savaging of my DEI surface forces on December 7th, emboldened Thomas. His carriers sunk Boise and Prince of Wales, and severely damaged Houston and Repulse along with a host of escorts on day one, leaving me with only Dutch ships to counter him in surface combat. The speed of Singapore’s fall precluded a larger investment of forces from outside the theatre. A hasty attempt to reinforce Darwin with a Dutch BDE and some ABDA forces resulted in a bloodbath when mini-KB caught them. Basically, Thomas kept the Kaga CVTF and Sinkawang Betties blockading the West end of the DEI, and Mini KB and LBA out of Kendari blockading the East end. It was a more or less airtight seal that kept reinforcements effectively out of the DEI.

And frustrated in the air:

Then, there was the issue of my ABDA air force. I am very frustrated by some issues here. They were completely ineffective, and further emboldened Thomas’ quick advance. Thomas didn’t bother to land at Palembang, satisfying himself to blockade the port with unchallenged Zeros, Betties, and surface raiders, while literally bombing the units I had there into dust (three Bns, and BF). These units were completely destroyed by air, and small units simply marched over from Oosthaven to occupy it (I’m sure there was little to no damage to facilities there).

This is important to my air force complaints, because, while he was doing this, he casually moved amphibious and surface forces within two hexes of Batavia for fully two weeks, barely covered by effective CAP. At one point, a juicy cruiser SCTF literally parked four hexes off of Batavia for a week. I had three level four airfields in range of the SCTF, along with 36 Wildebeests and Swordfish, and every Dutch fighter. There was an Air HQ, plenty of AVsup, and tons of search aircraft spotting and identifying the SCTF every day. The strike aircraft never flew! I was escorting them with Dutch fighters, and sweeping Ooosthaven and CAPping Palembang, where I destroyed some spill over CAP. After a few days of refusing to fly, I dropped a bunch of PPs to change all of the strike aircraft commanders to high aggression leaders. Not a single sortie. One day, my bombers finally flew on an airfield strike against Ooosthaven (I don’t know why, didn’t order them to) where they flew unescorted, and were savaged by a tiny CAP.

I did not fly a single sortie against Thomas in the DEI, despite setting up all sorts of ambushes and raids. The only exception was the Philippine B-17Ds, which flew some very good raids against the oilfields at Tarakan, destroying about half of the oil production there before getting shot down (I didn’t buy them out, but kept them in theatre till they were all lost).

All of this combined for Thomas to sweep the DEI extremely quickly, and have his entire land army come ashore at Diamond Harbor, more or less intact, by March 1st. Very much a failure of delaying action.

More to continue, including my successes in CentPac, NoPac, and against KB…

< Message edited by jb123 -- 10/25/2012 3:07:51 PM >

(in reply to jb123)
Post #: 28
RE: 20/20 Hindsight Versus the Fog of War jb123 (A) Ver... - 10/25/2012 3:54:01 PM   

Posts: 276
Joined: 8/6/2009
Status: offline
Carrier Update

I used my CVs somewhat aggressively, resulting in good things for the Allies, despite some setbacks resulting from my bad habits from playing the AI.

Through carefully laid CAP ambushes I stripped the entire aircraft complement of the Kaga twice. The first was in late December 1942, where I orchestrated a surprise AVG CAP over a dummy TF, I shot down every plane the Kaga was carrying in one day. After retiring for a bit, Kaga escorted the India invasion in March 1942. She escorted the 6th Guards division that landed it Vizagpatnam. Her wing tried to bomb retreated units to slow them down for his pursuing units, when I jumped him with P-39s flying out of Hyderabad in their combat debut. I had shipped the 51st FG to Bombay via Cape Town, while carefully training pilots on the West Coast and conserving P-39s. They barely made it in time to upgrade and take on the trained pilots. They acquitted themselves well, killing a lot of carrier pilots over hostile territory.

In CentPac and NoPac, I made a lot of noise with allied CVs. I caught a CL and 4 X DD SCTF near Adak, sinking them all. I caught a few AMCs and other surface raiders, as well as some AOs and AKs, especially in NoPac raids. Lexington has been hit by torpedoes and repaired THREE times in three months! First off of Canton on Dec 10th or so, she got only 6 flt damage, but had to retire to the WC for repairs. Then, the CL SCTF I sunk in Nopac first suicide attacked my CVTFs at night, putting a Long Lance into Lady Lex for 36 float damage. Finally, after quick repairs at Seattle’s size 200 drydock, she engaged in a very successful campaign to reinforce Suva, where a sub put another Torp in her, for 42 major float damage. She is nearly to San Francisco now, where she will repair and upgrade. I think the high rate of success for torpedo attacks stems from my bad habits playing the AI. I think that, when my CVs come online again after April upgrades, I’m going to use a wholly dedicated ASW TF (maybe with a CL using Kingfishers on ASW, so as to not spot subs with my dauntlesses, giving away the position of my CVs?) to shadow each CVTF. I'll also put more DDs in the actuall CVTFs. There have been far too many successful submarine attacks against my capital ships.

The reinforcement campaign at Suva was a roaring success, resulting in the loss of Japanese CV Junyo. I assembled I Amphib Corps, planning for Suva from day one with the intent to reinforce or quickly take back the island immediately. By early Feb I accrued the necessary PPs to attach the below to I Amphib Corps:

Americal division
27th Division
2 Tank Regiments
1 Combat Engineer Regiment
2 heavy Artillery regiments (48 155mm guns)

I embarked this large force, along with two heavy AA units, 1 USAAF, 1 USN, and 1 USA BF, 1 Air HQ, 1 90-Av Sup unit, two EABS, and the large 54-gun American CD onto several Amphibious TFs. I snuck them past his submarine and air patrol screen, and landed them within a week along with 100k supply. By the end of February Nadi and Suva were defended by a full corps, adequate engineers and supplies, along with a huge CD and 500 mines at Nadi. This island will not fall, and is a lynchpin to my strategy. (Nadi will be a large airbase, so I need mines and CD guns to protect from bombardment)

By the time Thomas reacted, he sent KB into a massive submarine trap between Truk and the Marshalls and Fiji. CV Junyo ran over Dutch Submarine O 24, which I’m certain sunk her after putting two torpedoes in her. This move was no accident, I snuck some of those awesome small NZ land units with 6 AV and 2 aviation support, along with a Marine paratrooper BN and some supply into an empty atoll north of Fiji, deep in enemy territory. I stationed some Catalinas there when my reinforcement convoy got close to Suva, and spotted KB well before it was threat to my landing forces. Also, my spotting of KB directed nearly every sub in my trap to react to the CVs, causing contact in the midst of a vast ocean. Resounding success. I took one torp to Lex, who will survive, in exchange for a solid bastion in the Pacific and one lost Japanese CV, and several damaged Japanese submarines. (How could I have sunk the Junyo when it doesn’t arrive until May 1942, can Japanese shipbuilding be accelerated that much, this early on? Or is it just fog of war?)

Currently, all American CVs are headed to the West Coast for April upgrades and to fill out with F-4Fs and SBD-3s (none lost yet, knock on wood). Two British CVs and Hermes are based out of Sydney, along with the entire British Navy, protecting Australia. (This is per my Australia-first defense strategy. I could not have hurt him in the Indian Ocean, and the Brits did move their entire fleet away from the India after the Hermes was lost, so I don’t think it’s too ahistorical)

Overall, my submarines have been great. I’m using them aggressively, they’ve fired on CVs (especially the Kaga) numerous times, but always have duds (except the Junyo!)

I have submarine contingents in the Indian Ocean, DEI, Around Formosa, Saigon, truk, and from NoPac to the Home Islands. They are getting decent kill rates (considering the 1942 torpedo issues), getting sunk only when I get lazy and forget to move them around.

I have not lost any major ships since the massive bloodbath in the opening days of the war.

KB and mini-KB did have a series of successfully raids around Diego Garcia, Darwin, and one big one ranging from Sydney to Auckland. I lost several important land units (some Australian AT guns headed to India to stem the Japanese India Panzer Corps), a dutch BDE, and about half of my xAKLs. These units get sunk because of their low endurance and slow speed (meaning they can’t high speed escape, because they simply run out of fuel and are dead in the water). Still, they successfully carted supplies to the important places—Diego Garcia, Norfolk Island, and various other outposts.

Coming up next: Update on the Land war in China and India, and general strategy

< Message edited by jb123 -- 10/25/2012 4:15:44 PM >

(in reply to jb123)
Post #: 29
RE: 20/20 Hindsight Versus the Fog of War jb123 (A) Ver... - 10/25/2012 4:50:30 PM   

Posts: 14763
Joined: 8/4/2010
From: Winnipeg, MB
Status: offline
Hi jb123. Just read your AAR for the first time. I have never done a PBEM but have played against the AI and "sandboxed" [played both sides to set up clashes and see the results] a few scenarios. I have read very many AARs on the forum so I have some sense of what has been working and what is a dangerous gamble. Consider me an "armchair quaterback".

First comment - your strategy to secure your LOC is sound, provided you have some mobile force to strike where he is weak and make him disperse his assets. Several players forgo the trans-Pacific route to Oz and use the Capetown - Perth/Adelaide/Melbourne routes. This exposes the shipping to less on-map time at sea but is also vulnerable to a sweep by the IJN down the sea West of Oz.

Some of your questions seem to be grounded in your stated intention to stay somewhat "historical" - e.g. the one about defending Darwin. Scenario 2 gives the Japanese more of everything so the answer is - he can take all of Northern Oz if he wants, and lots of NE or NW Oz if he draws forces from China or Burma, or bypasses most of the Philippines. Do not use Real Life WWII to estimate his capabilities!

About IJN shipping, open up a fresh game, any scenario, as the Japanese. Take a look at the xAKs and larger xAKLs. The ALL can carry troops! So, yes, Japan does possess the sealift for multi divisions all at once. Her Achilles heel is that she also needs that shipping bringing resources and fuel back to Japan and carrying supplies to all those far-flung new bases. After the four-month landing bonus expires he will have to allocate a lot of it to pure logistics and will not be able to lift the same number of troops again. Sinking xAKs may not be as cool as sinking warships but it will slowly bleed his economy. IRL US subs sank 70% of all Japanese shipping losses, and Japan lost about 90% of her merchant marine. In this game, your opponent knows the importance of ASW and you will not have quite as good results, but your subs can hurt him.

Good luck, and have Oriental Patience!


No matter how bad a situation is, you can always make it worse. - Chris Hadfield : An Astronaut's Guide To Life On Earth

(in reply to jb123)
Post #: 30
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