From: Glasgow, Scotland
Excited for this match-up. Your earlier games certainly caught my interest.
TFor the second time playing as Japan, I will be facing off against ITAKLinus, a highly experienced and capable player who has never lost a campaign.
That's a curious titbit. Did it come from ITAK directly?
On the Pearl strike, what was the altitude you were operating at? I sandboxed various things a while back (including strapping 60kg bombs onto the Zeros for extra hits) and I think 7-8k was the optimum altitude to avoid the masses of land and naval .50 cal fire.
On the Pearl strategy overall, what are you looking to gain?
If you're thinking about taking Hawaii, or harvesting VP's then you'll want to stick around and sweep out the fighters.
If it's the perimeter you're wanting secured, then I'd start looking to shift south to screen Marshalls, Gilberts, Solomon's and Santa Cruz/New Caledonia ops. A favoured approach of mine is driving the KB down this way to get New Caledonia early.
Any house rules? If strategic bombing is allowed, then I'd look to round of KB's run south with some firebombing of Australian industry, to be followed up with Nell raids from New Caledonia in due course. You'll net some nice permanent VP's for the rest of the game, and draw Allied fighter strength to Oz.
It's also worth thinking about *how* you want to fight your war, as this will factor into considerations around engineering efforts, industry and aircraft R&D. What course are you considering to get to 1945? Do you want the big, trademarked "decisive battle" in 1943 that gets you through to '45, or are you considering the long, bitter grind to get you there?