As for the rest of the war so far, no big surprises, although there has been a few small tactical ones done by the AI.
As usual, I'm retreating faster than the AI can possibly advance. Beyond a little air war that lasted a few days erupting over Rangoon, nothing much is happening. Brits/Indians are pulling out towards Imphal far faster than the Japanese can advance.
One of the riskier strategies I try in Signapore is to evacuate as much as possible. In particular, I try to evacuate the 9th and 11th Indian Divisions, along with the two Australian Brigades. In past games with the AI, it has worked pretty well (with some Allied losses) so I was curious to see how it would work in this game with the improved AI script.
The reason I thought I could still get away with it is because the Jap CV's are busy with other things in December, meaning that the evacuation can only really be stopped by land based air, since Japanese surface forces are also busy guarding convoys and such. Historically, this is pretty accurate too, I guess. The difference is that unlike in history, I'm willing to abandon Signapore quickly since I have the benefit of hindsight in knowing what happened!
Anyways, so far the evacuation has gone better than usual. Mainly this is because evacuating convoys have gotten very lucky in avoiding Japanese subs. There's plenty of Jap subs prowling the waters off Singapore, but so far these convoys (many of which have no escorts) have managed to sneak through them somehow. Right now, all elements of the 9th and 11th Indian Division have been pulled out. Some are well on their way to Colombo while other just left the dock. Additionally, one of the OZ Brigades is on its way to Perth. I'm waiting to get enough PP's to evacuate the last OZ Brigade, which should happen in 4 days or so.
In past games, I've used the two evacuated OZ Brigades to defend Port Moresby and/or Milne Bay. Since I won't fight the AI for PM or Milne Bay in this game, I'm instead sending both units to Perth. From there, one will be stationed at Kalgoorie as second line defense of Western Oz. The other brigade will Rail over to Townsville. While I know the AI isn't going to invade OZ in any strength, and certainly won't invade Perth, I do try to play the AI the way I would play against the human. And against a human player, it is always a good idea to strengthen Western Oz defenses. So taht's why I'm leaving one of the Oz brigades over in Western Oz, despite not really being needed.
For the same reason, I rebuild the 4th Australian Division (which begins in/around Adelaide) and send it over to Perth, too. While the AI won't be showing up in Perth, against a human player the Japanese certainly might. As other Oz forces come available, I'll likely ship more over to Western Australia too - at least during 1942.
Other than that, pretty standard stuff. Just gather up the various fragments and rebuild the parent Infantry Divisions. So have two ID's in Sydney, one in Brisbane and one in Melbourne. About 110 AV is in Townsville at the moment. But the rest of Australia is rather empty, as it always is this point in the game. Since I won't stop the AI from taking PM or the Horn Islands, I fully expect the forces in Darwin to essentially "starve" later in the game since sea-based supply will be impossible. I won't reinforce Darwin, but I won't evacuate the place either - forces there now will remain there.
One of the main reasons I attempt the risky evacuation of the Indian Division from Singapore is to get some LCU's on Colombo. The "emptiness" of Colombo at the beginning of the game is too big of a temptation of Japan to ignore (human or AI). By re-routing Singapore reinforcements to Colombo and then putting in evacuated Singapore troops, Colombo gains strength very quickly. And the arrival of later Brit reinforcements in March/April further enhance it. While Colombo isn't "impregnable" by any means, it does mean that the Japanese will need to attack Colombo "in mass." An easy and simple invasion it will not be. Since the earliest the Japanese could really hope to launch a large, sustained offensive on Colombo is no earlier than April, taking Colombo will not be an easy task at all.
Call me strange, but I've always felt that the lynchpin of defending India is Colombo. If the Brits can hang on to Colombo in 1942, it makes any sort of deep penetration by the Japanese into India difficult if not impossible. Moreover, by hanging onto Colombo, bases at Bombay and Karachi are secured, too.
Unlike in past games, where I've based most of the Brit Navy at Colombo, I'll be more conservative this game and will base most UK naval forces at Bombay initially.
On Indian's mainland itself, forces are moving towards Calcutta and Chittagong. Once the Brit forces from Burma straggle into India, those forces will be used to buttress other key areas.
By and large, I've always felt the best Japanese strategy with India was to basically "do nothing." Take Akyab, maybe Cox Bazaar, and fortify the heck of out everything in Burma - then basically forget about the region. Despite the changes in Scen 30, I see no reason to change that strategy if I'm a Japanese player. Whether or not the AI agrees with me, however, is soon to be discovered!
The long term plan for the Brits/Indians is to build up a line from Chittagong - Imphal - Kohima - Imphal. Due to stacking limits, however, forces will end up more widely dispersed than in my previous games, which isn't a bad thing and also more realistic. Imphal and Kohima now has a stack limit of just 35,000 - a rather dramatic drop from the stock game - making "defense in depth" a requirement in India during this game.
The Allied line I hope to establish runs from Oz - NZ - Suva - Pago Pago - Canton Island - Johnson Island - Midway Island.
Marine Regiment, CD regiment and something else (I forget) on its way to Pago. A 2nd Marine Regiment on its way to Suva. A Parachute Battalion and artillery on its way to Canton Island. Doing these reinforcements ate up all my available shipping, so won't be doing much more for the next month or so.
Stacking limits dramatically change South Pacific strategy. Lots of hexes I've totally ignored in past games will, as forces come available, be turned into bases that are actually used (such as Penrhyn Island, various islands in Samoa/Tonga Island chain), and other islands such as Norfolk Island. Bases "in depth" is the new rule in the South Pacific now, it seems.
Fuel is en-route to NZ and Oz. I lack enough cargo ships to supply NZ right now, so am dropping in small amounts of supply from Oz. Since Oz won't be used to "fight the AI" for PM/Lunga, stealing a bit of supply from Oz to keep NZ in supply shouldn't be an issue, as Oz won't need as much supply initially as it has in the past.
Other than New Zealand, it seems to me the new "most important base" for the Allies (in a game where Luganville and Noumea will ultimately be controlled by Japan) is Pago Pago. It is midway between the USA and Australia/Oz and is where most shipping will pass by. Being far away from Luganville/Nouma and other major Japanese bases, it isn't easily attacked in force, either. And being a one hex island, it can only be taken by amphib assault. With a stacking limit of 35,000, the Allied player can put a lot there - forcing any Japanese assault to take it be sizable. One good Jap division won't be enough to knock the Allies off Pago Pago once the island has been built up and reinforced - they'll need much more. And the stacking limits will cause all sorts of disruption/supply issues to any invading force that comes in a large enough size to contest the Allies for control of Pago Pago.
Because of this, I'll be reinforcing Pago Pago with my best units as Pago Pago seems to have the best chance of holding out against a determined Jap attack and making any Japanese attack very, very costly.
By contrast, not sure what to make of Suva in a game where Noumea/Luganville are controlled by Japan. Being a larger island, defending it against Amphib Assault early in the game is pretty much impossible - as Japan can find a place to struggle ashore. Moreover, it will be in range of land based air from bases that Japan will build up in Luganville/Efate. I'll put up a good fight for Suva and will definitely attempt to prevent Japan from taking it, but....if Japan really wants it, it is obvious that they'll be able to get it. Moreover, strategically it makes sense to take it for Japan in a game where they also have Noumea and Luganville.
The one Marine regiment sent to Suva isn't enough to reinforce it. As more Allied forces come available, they'll be sent to Suva. However, the 45,000 stacking limits in Nadi and Suva limit how much can be brought here.
Ultimately, I'm going to view Suva/Nadi as disposable. I'll fight tooth and nail for it and will do my best to reinforce it. However, I will not build up Suva with my best forces or, at least early in the game, turn Suva into a base that hosts the best Allied planes or LCU's. I also won't risk my CV's to fight for it, either.
Since I'll be viewing Suva as disposable, I'll be building up a secondary line of bases south and east of Suva, in the Tonga Islands. Tahiti and vicinity will also see bases built, with some of them becoming strong too.
Nothing exciting happening up here at all. Just reinforcing Dutch Harbor and everything else. Due to stacking limits, any sustained Allied offensive against Japan that begins in the Aleutians seems impossible. As such, my long range plan is to simply defend some of the key Aleutian Bases, but nothing more. Key bases to initially defend include Dutch Harbor, Umnak Island and Adak Island. When more forces come available, I'll try to defend Kiska and Attu. But it wouldn't shock me if the Japs grab those islands, although doing so seems a bit of a waste.
In Scen 30, one thing to keep in mind is that Nome is "empty" at the beginning of the game. I'm still debating whether to take something up there. And if I do, what to take. As it stands now, I have no forces available to defend Nome, so for the foreseeable future it will remain "empty."
< Message edited by jimh009 -- 1/20/2015 9:12:18 AM >