Taking the train to Bombay is a scary image. How to you managed the defense of Akyab/Cox/Chittagong on the land and from the sea?
One concern I have of falling back to hunker down in the major cities, as some who have much more experience, knowledge, and skill than I have, is doing so creates a self-fulfilling prophecy: by abandoning everything but the major cities you guarantee the Japanese player ends up attacking the major cities as that's all that is left to attack.
India is a major PITA in the first six months. A time difference of even six weeks can swing the Q & A.
I'm a navy guy. I think about water. A lot of posters here are land-rats or in love with the airplanes. You need a mix, but my first look is usually going to be what can he do by sea. Where can you choke him by sea or actual choke point. In that light, if you're worried about Bombay by sea DON'T LOSE CEYLON. Easy, right?
You have limited naval assets in the region, mostly Dutch CLs and some pretty good RN DDs. Try to get USS Boise and Houston out and away, and then send them to Colombo for further deployment. Opinions vary on this, but it's what I do. I also get some of the WC USN cruisers headed to CT right away. Minimal escorts; just enough to bridge them from the wormhole to Colombo, where they can link up with RN assets. I need DDs up north in the Aleutians right away.
Akyab is almost certainly at best a second phase objective, and probably even a third phase. You have some time. You can't hold Akyab in 1942 if he wants it (I just lost it in my game with Lokasenna in November.) But you can stall with it long enough to make Calcutta and Chittagong into fortresses. Chittagong in particular is an important "hinge" base--look at the geography. Japan can jump in several directions if it falls, and stage for Calcutta. And it's the railhead.
But trying to defend Akyab in February is a whole different problem than in October. IF he came for it in February you'd be lucky to hold Calcutta. Forget the other three. But that means he isn't doing something else he ought to be doing. Japan is powerful, but not infinite.
In mid-1942 establish flying squadrons of surface ships, keyed on CAs (the RN BBs are pigs), and keep them mobile between Colombo and Calcutta, Put some flanker DDs out in the mid Bay to alert to a move on Madras or the bases east of Madras, also on the RR. Keep the BBs in reserve. You have as much fuel as you need if you dump in Karachi from Abadan. Japan does not have that luxury.
Meanwhile, build Ceylon like your ass is on fire. Supply in six figures inside six weeks. Fuel. Engineers. And most of the theater CAP. Use the RAF 2Es for naval search until you can do better. And build.
Calcutta I make my first Level 7 AF in the region so I can do model upgrades there. Colombo I build forts as fast as possible.
There's lots more to say about India, but it's better you learn. Everything is a trade-off. Nobody here is wrong. It's about weighing.
I will say it is vital in India to micro-manage garrisons. DO NOT let bases fall below. Your supply will stop moving through that rail node if you let the partisans disrupt. You'll have to tri-split units down to get scraps for garrisons for a long time. Pay attention that lots of LCUs have NO AV in them. They're all staff, and worthless for making garrison gates. So to your point that you might withdraw to only large cities--don't do it. You'll give away a trickle of VPs, and you'll blow up your logistics due to garrison revolts.
< Message edited by Bullwinkle58 -- 9/16/2014 11:04:35 PM >