December 7th, 1941
Tokyo, the Imperial Pantry
- … my blue suits, my dark blue suit, my black uniform with the while skulls and the visored cap,
- Chief, you’d better leave this one here. If you wear it in America, questions might be asked. And, er. You’re sure it is such a good idea to leave for a business trip to New York on the opening day of the war?
- Ah come on, Lord High E, we shall be there interpares, I mean indignity, …
- …incognito, chief, incognito,
- … anyway, we are flying Norwegian business, under Swedish passports, our consul in Oslo said we’d pass for travelling Frenchmen, and no one will ever guess we are Japanese,
- I hope so, chief, sure hope so.
- And I really want to visit that aircraft carrier they got in the museum in New York, the Intrepid, CV-11 my guide says, wonder what the 10 previous are, and when they show up in the OOB
The first day of the war was a bit disappointing. I kept most of the initial orders unchanged. KB went for Pearl, all Singora forces were redirected to Pattani, the Wake and Tarawa invasions were merged, and mini KB was sent to the Philippines on naval attack.
The full KB was committed, and sent a coordinated strike at 10 000 feet. Torpedo bombers were all on port attack, dive bombers split evenly between port and airfield. Zeroes were all set to escort. This limits the losses but also the number of enemy aircraft destroyed. We lost 12 Kates and 4 Vals.
Enemy losses were about 25 planes. In terms of ship, the Pennsylvania was lost to a magazine explosion. All other battleships record heavy damage and fires. The Nevada ate six fishes, Maryland and West Virginia four, Tennesse and Oklahoma three (the Tennessee has heavy fires), and Arizone and California two each. All of them are in the yards for a while, but I believe all will survive.
Eight cruisers were damaged. CA New Orleans and CL Phoenix both took two torpedoes, and should be in sore shape. Three destroyers, Preble, McDonough and Monaghan were sunk. While not too bad, I have seen better Pearl attacks.
I am not staying for another day. I have done that in my previous games, and did little damage for lots of losses of good pilots, and I need KB in Wake and the South Pacific soon.
Southern Resource Area
Landings on Batan Island, in Kota Baru and Patani were uneventful. Near Mersing, Force Z was attacked, but Betties only scored two torpedo hits on Repulse. It shows up as sunk, but it obviously is not the case (per victory point increase). I might catch her later at Singapore if she is damaged enough. My bombers from Indochina were just as disappointing, not even bothering to attack Rangoon. I put the blame on weather, enemy B17 did not fly either.
There was one bright piece of news, though. CVL Zuiho, patrolling off Mindanao caught the Boise, and sank her.
Morning Air attack on TF, near Naga at 81,82
CL Boise, Torpedo hits 2, on fire, heavy damage
Afternoon Air attack on TF, near Naga at 81,82
CL Boise, Torpedo hits 3, and is sunk
On my little list, CA Houston is next…
Overall, this first day ends with five confirmed sinking (Pennsylvania, Boise and three destroyers), and 42 allied planes lost for 35 ours. It is not the best first day I had, but we got the Boise!
While waiting for the turn, I was wondering about R&D and the number of size 30 factories one might want. We all know that there are two phases in R&D: first the factories repair, then they advance the date. Now the repair time is independent of the number of factories one puts to work, and is on average equal to 0.37N, where N is the number of days to delivery of the model, when R&D begins. The acceleration phase depends on the number of factories, if you have U of them, you advance by a month every 50/U days if you have the engine bonus, and 100/U if you do not.
From this, a raw formula can be worked (assuming 30 day months). If the model is N days away, and you put U factories to the job, you will, on average accelerate the model by 0.37NU / (50+30U) if the engine bonus is available, and 0.37NU / (100+30U) if it is not.
Tabulating this in Excel, one notes that increasing the number of factories produce diminishing returns. Assuming the engine bonus, a mid-war plane like the George (due 43/7), will be accelerated by two months if one factory is put at work, by 5 if you use 5 factories, but only by 6 if you put 10 or more. A later plane like the Frank (due 44/1) will accelerate by 3 months with one factory, by 7 with 6 factories, and by 8 months over 12 factories. The A7M2 Sam, due 45/6, will get 5 months with one factory, 12 months with 6, and 14 over 15 factories.
In other words, the farther the plane, the more improvement one gets for putting more factories to the task. This is because the “time to accelerate” (ie the time after all factories are repaired) is longer.
All this seems to suggest the following rules:
1- The number of size 30 factories put to work depends on the delivery date, the earlier the model, the lower the number
2- The correct number (after which one gets very little returns) seems to range between 5 and 10, 5 for mid 43 models, 10 for early 46 ones.
3- A precise value is not especially useful, as randomness in factory repair has a significant impact on the end date.
4- Every factory added costs 30 000 supply points to repair, but as most of them will be turned into production factories at some point in the game (at 30, the 100 factories Japan has can produce 3000 aicraft per month), the R&D supply cost is not necessarily exaggerated.
5- As a result, the general rule would be to research the number of factories one want to put to production in the end.
Equipped with the above, I built my R&D plans for the war. I am growing or accelerating all the research factories. I might live to regret it, but some of these decisions are taken on the basis that I will need to repair them anyway, to produce the models I am accelerating. Here is the outline (all factories are size 30).
The Zero line gets 8 factories, 5 on the Rufe, to short cut to the A6M5 – A6M8 line, and three on the A6M3, which I intend to convert to production lines for A6M3 and A6M3a (and upgrade), while the five Rufe factories continue R&D.
The Oscar line gets 5 factories, I will probably turn some to production on the way, probably by the IIb.
The Tojo line gets 4 factories, same reasoning as above.
The Nick line gets 3 factories. This is a bit high, but my memories are the Nicks are my best 4E killers in early 43 (when enemy 4E become common). Jack and George get 2 factories each, they are good models, but PDU off offers few upgrades.
The Tony line gets 6 factories, three for the 1a, three for the 1c. In my previous games, the earlier models were not very good, but this is one line I can accelerate a lot, and the later models seem good.
As for later navy fighters, I will have 8 factories on the A7M2 Sam, ad 6 on the A7M3 (which I am told is a good 4E killer).
Finally, the Frank is my heaviest investment, with 7 factories on the Frank-a, 3 on the b, and 10 on the Ki94-II.
Apart from fighters, I am researching two series of night fighters. The Irving, which comes early, and the Randy 1c, chosen for its low service rating. Each has three factories.
Finally, I put three factories each on the Jill, Judy and Grace. Investing on carrier planes is a good scheme : it helps keep the carriers afloat, and even if they are sunk, you still can call the squadrons back, and use the planes from land bases.
I do realize this means a heavy investment in term of production and supplies, and I am not sure it is compatible with scenario one settings. Time will tell.
Industry and shipbuilding
In my game against Spence, I followed a very limited approach to ship building. I stopped all late ships (late meaning late 44), all merchant building, and did not accelerate anything. In compensation, I had a very heavy plane production (and losses). When the game ended, in June 1943, my supply levels were 1.5 million tons higher than at the beginning of the war, and I had almost three million HI in the bank.
In this game, I start with less resources, but pretty much the same potential production. I will cut all merchant production, save transports, and escort carriers. I will also cut navy programs for late 45 and 46, I am not sure where to put the limit, or if some classes (E? DD?) should be spared. I am undecided about accelerating some programs? Should I accelerate carriers? cruisers? destroyers? Any advice on this would be appreciated.
For the rest, I intend to try to cut supply spending by monitoring my air sorties. There is a strong tendency, if you build many planes, to use them every turn, sometimes on useless targets. This costs supplies, and operational losses (which then cost more as they take replacements). Being conservative with my air force, especially level bombers, is one thing I want to try in this game.