From: LI, NY
Oil. I intend to make Mike's economic constraint Oil in our game. Aside from organizing and planning some of my movements from the West Coast to forward areas, I've been filling the time while waiting for the turn with trying to lay out some longer term strategic goals. Until Mike forces me to change my plans I want to invest heavily in an attack axis from Darwin to Koepang, then Kendari, and finally Manado. Reaching, capturing, holding, and building out Manado will accomplish one of the goals of MacArthur and Halsey by cutting off shipping to and from the SRA to Japan everywhere South and East of the Philippines. They got there through the Solomons and New Guinea. One advantage of starting from Darwin, assuming I can build it and the connecting bases up well enough, is that I can bomb oil production along the way, and not just after I reach Manado. I figure if I cut off shipping South of the PI I can swarm the areas between Singapore and Japan, North of Borneo and the PI, with my subs. By that time I should have fully effective torpedoes. If I'm able to pursue this axis of attack it will be interesting to see how well I can support it from Darwin. I anticipate there will be a lot of naval action in this theater and I'll probably have to fight to keep shipping supplies into the area. I'd rather fight here in late 42 and 43 where I can have some LBA assistance than in the open Pacific where Mike will likely have a CV advantage over me until at least late 43. Just some thoughts for now, but the goal of targeting his oil will not waver.
I get it, this line of advance seems good on the surface. Myself, I don't care for it. As a JFB I'm well aware that this is a possible threat area and I treat it accordingly. If he has Koepang and the island to its east (Samul... something or other) it can make this area difficult to resup. IIRC its been said that supply won't freely flow to Darwin early on due to the distance and small bases along the way. Therefore much of your supply must come by sea. With the small ports in the region it'll take a long time to unload large amounts making things that much more vulnerable.
To add to that I myself like to take Darwin early in the match. Its easy enough to do if the Japanese player wants. To me its a spoiling attack just in case my opponent has the same thoughts as you. After I take it I build my defensive backstop and you can have it back at that point. No idea what Mike may do. As said above he does have a bit of a fetish with the Aleutians.
From the Japanese perspective I see the traditional Allied approach to be the most dangerous. Why? Its simple, everything I need in the 4th Naval (Marshals/Gilberts) and SE Fleet areas (Solomons) must be brought to the area. There're no supply sources, no fuel, and few bases to protect my approaches. As the Allies I'd use my subs to a large degree in this region, bad torps or not. Even if my torps don't explode my experience will rise for the time that my torps are 'repaired'.
If you can hold PM, and take that dot base at the end of the Gilberts (Tab... something)at a later date, you'll have the bases to begin to bleed Japan dry. I don't know if you've ever played Japan, but I can tell you its not easy for Japan to keep this area supplied and even more difficult to keep enough fuel to support heavy ops. You're going to have to deal with the KB no matter which way you choose.
Anyway, just a few thoughts. I realize the 'historical route' may not be as 'fun' as playing with a 'what if' as well. JMHO. YMMV.
Thanks for the thoughts, Paul. I know my approach is a hard one, but I do want to try something that Mike may not have had experience defending against in the past. A couple of points in response to your thoughts:
1. I'm fully expecting Mike to attack Darwin. I started moving forces to the area on day 1 to help defend it as well as get started on a massive engineering effort to improve the supply draw cap of all the bases up the trail from Alice Springs. Key for me will be getting several hundred thousand supply shipped into the area before Mike comes calling. I hope to draw some of Mike's forces into a land battle in North Oz and then overwhelm him. We'll see.
2. Once I defend Darwin, I'll have to expand it and build up as a base of operations. I am taking the long term view here and plan to really expand the small North Oz bases from Exmouth to Darwin to support lots of LRCAP for my convoys and anti shipping air groups of my own. It won't make it easy, but it will make things interesting in this theater for a long time.
3. I do plan to hit Mike in an isolated place, somewhere in the Pacific far away from the Darwin theater. The Aleutians would be perfect for this. I'd love to draw the KB back and forth across the Pacific multiple times to burn fuel. Eventually Mike will realize that I'm serious about my intentions in the SRA and concentrate there. I'm expecting that to be some time in '43 when I should be starting to get enough naval power and naval air power to hit him in the Pacific again.
Bottom line is that it will be hard fighting with Mike where ever we end up doing it in '42 and early '43. At the end of 6 or 12 months of hard fighting, I want to be able to reach out and touch some of his oil sources. If, at the end of 6-12 months of fighting, I am the proud owner of Guadalcanal, well, it's still a long way to his oil sources. Reading some of the late war AARs it's mind boggling just how much Japan can produce, especially in terms of aircraft, if the economy is run well and allowed to thrive. I do NOT want to let that happen.
On paper this is a sound strategic plan but there are some additional practical considerations which you should take into account.
1. Finding the engineers to build up the bases simultaneously (both coastal for LRCAP purposes and inland for overland supply flow) to Darwin will be quite difficult in the first 4-6 months. If you focus on building up Darwin there won't be much left over for any other infrastructure building in the area.
2. It is not the size of the overland bases which is the real problem in getting overland supply to flow up to Darwin. It is the combination of distance and poor transport infrastructure which impedes the flow. None of this is rectified by engineers building up the size of the overland bases. Darwin will always be dependent on sea borne supply drops.
3. LRCAP and routing your convoys to only coastal hexes will assist but they will not much stem significant merchantmen shipping losses if Japan operates Netties out of the 3 Timor island bases and stations the mini KB in the area. There is no need for the KB itself to be tied to the area to impede your resupply convoys.
4. It will take time to get off a meaningful air offensive against the main Japanese oil centres. Much quicker is to go for an early recapture of the Babo and Boela oil fields instead. A couple of strategic/tactical factors which support a land campaign are
(a) both oil fields are small and there is no collocated refinery. Plus their ports are small to begin with and have limited expansion potential. This means that most Japanese players put them at the bottom of the list of their oilfields to receive tankers. Their air and land defence is usually accorded a much lower priority than the big oilfields on Borneo and Java. They are therefore the lowest overhanging oilfield fruit to be picked and are close to Darwin.
(b) recapturing them allows for the oil deficit in Australia to be fully eliminated. Ship the oil to Darwin, using those small Dutch tankers, and then reload it onto the empty resupply convoys. Makes much more economic sense to have cargo both going to and from Darwin.
Again Alfred's input is quite spot on. I intended to return and add to my reservations that I stated above. Its been done by Alfred quite well and then some.
OTOH, I was going to add, that as it takes time and there can be a lot or resistance from the Japanese in this region it may be better to use this as a secondary invasion route into the 'Empire'. Thus stretching Japanese resources further.
As you have said you'd probably take 'til mid '42 early '43 before much could be done. Far easier to pressure Japan elsewhere before that. Besides Japan will arrive NLT about 4/42.
The whole reason I would be encouraged as a JFB in this area is if my opponent opposes me. Why? Its one area I can 'hit him where he ain't'. Now what does that mean? You are at a disadvantage in this area vis-a-vis Japan. Your resources must come from far away over difficult routes. My supplies and resources are right there in my backyard. This is like having a 'force multiplier' over the Allied player. After the 'initial empire expansion' Japan has to pick and choose battlegrounds that suit her, and this is one of them. Advantage Japan, the more you put in, the more I can kill.
Now later as pressure is applied to other areas and Japan is committed to those, her advantages here evaporate. IMHO, if you build up the region gradually over the course of '42 and launch your offensive in say early '43, Japan, while having better prepared defenses, will have trouble maintaining sufficient forces to resist on a scale that is to her advantage. YMMV.
< Message edited by rustysi -- 4/13/2019 7:26:24 PM >
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