Oil - a Hotseat Campaign

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Remington700
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Oil - a Hotseat Campaign

Post by Remington700 »

The recent conversations about the Dutch East Indies sparked an idea. I decided to write a small campaign AAR taken from my current solo player hotseat game. I am playing the 1941 small fleet scenario. This campaign will cover nothing more than the Japanese campaign to capture Western Indonesia. Due to time constraints, I do not have time to cover my entire game.



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Remington700
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Japan:  December 7th

Post by Remington700 »

Japan:  December 7th

Malaya
War! Dive Bombers from the Japanese 2nd Air Division launch surprise attacks against the British fleet in Singapore. After multiple sorties the battleship Repulse is sunk. Medium bombers from the 13th Air Division fail to hit anything of value and frankly was not worth the oil to put them in the air. Medium bombers from the 3rd Air Division fair a little better causing minor damage to the Prince of Wales as she escapes to open water.

Within two weeks' time, General Yamashita’s 25th Army roars down the Malayan Peninsula defeating the 8th mixed brigade in the city of Kota Bharu. And the 28th mixed brigade at the Taiping airbase on the west coast. Leaving the 18th Division behind for mop-up, in Blitzkrieg fashion the 25th Army pushes south with leading elements capturing Kuala Lumpur (represented by gaining control of the adjacent city hex). Yamashita moves his HQ to Kota Bharu which is reinforced by medium bombers of the 3rd Air Division. All in all, not a bad start, however the escape of the Prince of Wales is disappointing.

Southern Sumatra
Invasion! Supported by the light Carrier Ryujo with battleships, cruisers and destroyers, the 21st mixed brigade lands 50 miles northeast of Bandar Lampung. They are followed by landings of the 4th mixed brigade on their right flank. Meeting light resistance, the 21st moves inland to cut the rail line from Cape Carot to the city. Following these landings elements of the crack 11th Naval Landing Force hit the beach and prepare to engage the enemy at Bandar Lampung. Additional supplies are offloaded at the beachhead with all units stocking up before the attack.

Supported by Naval bombardment and Carrier based ground support, Japanese marines launch a hard-hitting attack (4:1 odds) supported by the 21st brigade. The 4th brigade will be held in reserve. (If it takes two attacks to push the Dutch unit out of Bandar Lampung, the brigade will be needed to move into the hex. The port must be captured in the first turn to secure supply). The enemy is ill prepared and after taking 2,000 casualties (1SP) escape across the Sunda Strait to Java. With the city abandoned, the 11th NLF occupies Bandar Lampung. After the battle, the 4th Infantry Brigade pushes inland with advance elements capturing the oil fields at Palembang. With Saigon, Kuala Lumpur and Bandar Lampung now under Japanese control, Singapore is cutoff from Allied port supply (by a triggered event).

The Yukosuka 2nd NLF invades of Bangka Island. They are protected and resupplied by a small fleet of light cruisers and destroyers. The landing will be used as a staging point for a crossing to secure the port at Cape Carot. The fleet remains on station blockading the port to cutoff the Dutch unit from supply.

Borneo
The 2nd infantry division lands in Sarawak and advance forces capture the oil fields to the southwest. With the fall of the port, supply will be cut to the Dutch forces defending the airfield at Pontianak. While the amount of oil production is small, cutting off the Dutch infantry will weaken the defenses on Java. (Putting the unit out of supply, it can no longer be disbanded to add SPs to the Dutch stockpile.)

Oil Use
Japan starts with a stockpile of 160 units (I have no idea of how this relates to barrels) of oil. Their usage is shown as 43 at the start of turn one. Due to heavy use of air units, Japan used 39 units of oil with their opening moves of the war. At this pace they only have enough oil for three full turns. I will have to cut back next turn.

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Remington700
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Allied:  December 7th

Post by Remington700 »

Allied Forces:  December 7th

Malaya
Caught off guard the remains of the British fleet at Singapore relocate to the port of Colombo at Ceylon. The battleship Prince of Wales and the 11th destroyer flotilla safely slip through the Sunda Strait before the whole area is closed down by Japanese occupation.

Trapped, without supply, the 8th and 28th brigades move south to cut off the Japanese 25th army from both their headquarters and the 18th division. The allied units meet up north of enemy army, cutting the rail line but are unable to keep the enemy from resupply at Kuala Lumpur. The 3rd Indian Corps remains in Singapore, unsupplied and waiting for the inevitable attack that is to come.

Southern Sumatra
The situation in Sumatra is serious but not lost. The north Sumatra garrison unit moves south from Medan but will arrive too late to be of value to the coming battle in the south. Plus, it will require naval resupply just to stay functional.

Since supply is cut to the Palembang garrison unit, it moves out of the port at Cape Carot and occupies the local oil fields. As can be seen in the screenshot, failure to select “hold” could be costly. I noticed it when taking the screen shots, after the campaign ended. However, these types of mistakes add unanticipated opportunities that helps to mitigate the “perfect knowledge” problem with playing hotseat. (So maybe it’s a good thing I make so many of them.)

Java
The garrison force pushed out of Bander Lampung will continue to guard the Sunda Strait. This keeps the minefields in allied control, maintaining a tactical advantage by forcing the Japanese navy to steam much farther east to reach the Indian Ocean. The unit does not receive orders to hold their position as the idea is to perform a fighting withdrawal and eventually join up with the garrison at Batavia.

The 6th coastal garrison rails west from the Iron mines to a position directly south of Batavia. And the 6th coastal guns will stay put in Surabaya for now, however will soon rail to the Batavia area. The plan is to join all three division level units into a large Corps defending Batavia. And bring the coastal unit to protect the southern approach to the city. Hopefully this will buy some time and delay Japanese forces from taking the DEI and thinking about Ceylon.

As with the remaining fleet at Singapore, the light cruiser De Ruter leaves Batavia and heads to the port of Colombo at Ceylon. Attacking the IJN is not an option due to the size of their forces. And the aging air unit in Batavia is disbanded for the SPs. Fortunately, the De Ruter is not a “use it or lose it” unit and will be returned to the British Navy when the DEI surrenders. The disbanding of the air unit represents the use of the weapons from the planes to build a better defense. I know, it is a stretch and probably will be seen as “gamey” - but since I have yet to do anything of value with the planes (sadly much like the Flying Tigers in China) so I thought I would give it a try. I need the SPs to have a chance of holding Batavia for a couple of extra turns.

Borneo
The Pontianak garrison force attacks north pushing back advance elements of the enemy 2nd Infantry Division. While the oil fields are returned to allied control, the Dutch unit remains out of supply. (This is problematic as the unit cannot be disbanded to boost Strength Points) The unit is set to hold at all costs and will not receive reinforcements.

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Remington700
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Japan:  December 21st

Post by Remington700 »

Japan: December 21st

Malaya
With the rail line cut to Kota Bharu the rear elements of the 25th Army wheel around and overrun the Indian 8th Brigade taking minimal casualties. Following airstrikes from dive-bombers the 18th Division, supported by elements of the 25th Army, attack the weakened 28th brigade. It too is soon overrun. With their rear areas clear, the 25th Army moves through Kuala Lumpur and crosses the Pahang River. They are now about a hundred miles from Singapore. The 18th Division occupies Kuala Lumpur followed closely by General Yamashita’s HQ. The Japanese 23rd mixed brigade lands at Kota Bharu and will be kept in reserve. With control of local airfields, medium bombers of the 3rd and 13th air divisions fly into the area to base within range of the Dutch defense of the Palembang oil fields.

Southern Sumatra
With the move of the Dutch garrison to Palembang, the 2nd NLF easily crosses from Bangka Island and secures the port at Cape Carot. Convoys will be able to run as soon as the oil fields can be captured. The 4th and 21st mixed brigades move north to circle the defenders, preparing for an attack next turn. All the defenders can do is to hope for heavy rain.

To the south in Bandar Lampung the 11th NLF prepares to force a crossing of the Sunda Strait. Ground strikes from the 3rd Air division in Kuala Lumpur and carrier-based planes from the CVL Ryujo pound the defenders. Supported by bombardment and carrier ground support the NLF launches their attack. After five major pushes the Dutch still hold the strait. Casualties were moderate as both attacker and defender await resupply. The effectiveness of the Japanese fleet has reduced to the low 20s requiring a return to port for weeks to regroup and resupply. Further operations against Java will have to wait until the new year.

Borneo
The 2nd Infantry Division in Sarawak, supported by light cruisers and destroyers assaults Dutch garrison forces defending the oil fields north of Pontianak. After five repeated attacks the defenders are overrun. Unable to push forward, the oil fields remain in Dutch hands however with no organized resistance they will fall next turn. The supporting fleet has their effectiveness reduced to the mid 30s so they will require at least a month (two turns) of resupply to be combat ready.

The understrength 12th base force lands unopposed and immediately captures the oil fields at Seria. This and the Sarawak fields should add an additional 11 oil points (OP) to production.

Oil Use
Oil upkeep was 49 units at the start of turn two, driven by the large number of naval units at sea. Air unit oil use was much less in turn two which helped to lower the total amount used to 16 units, a 60% decrease. This leaves a total of 57 units available which, after upkeep, could limit the use of air next turn. However, the return of the Kido Butai to base should dramatically reduce oil upkeep which should leave enough for full operations.

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Remington700
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Allied: December 21st

Post by Remington700 »

Allied Forces: December 21st

Malaya
Cut off from supply and help the 3rd Indian Corps digs in and awaits their fate. There is no escape.

Southern Sumatra
Surrounded, the Palembang garrison begins to dig in to protect the oil fields. The enemy is preparing for a push next turn and the unit’s experience is at 69%. This will get worse as supply runs out. After the major battle at the Sunda Strait the South Sumatra garrison is still in reasonable shape. (They are 7 SP strong with 58% effectiveness) Rather than move to the east and join up with the Batavia garrison the decision is made to hold the unit in the straits for another turn.

Java
The Batavia garrison unit sets up anti-tank defenses around the city and port. (represented by switching the unit from “Assault” to “Anti-tank”) The 6th coastal garrison, with their anti-tank guns, joins the unit in Batavia building the defense to a Small Corps. While making the unit stronger, it will also create a zone of control around the area which will impede enemy movement. The 6th coastal gun unit rails from Surabaya to the hex south of Batavia. This will block movement to surround the city but will leave the port vacant. The decision is made to leave all units in Borneo rather than ship one of them to Surabaya. The naval capacity is needed elsewhere, and I am not thrilled with the idea of leaving “easy to grab” oil for Japan. The hope is that Japan will not want to burn the limited number of landing ships they have left. This could well be a mistake.

Borneo
With the loss of the Pontianak garrison, the remaining units dig in and await attack.

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Remington700
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Japan: January 4th

Post by Remington700 »

Japan: January 4th

Malaya
The 2nd Air Division from Indochina launch a ground strike against the beleaguered defenders in Singapore inflicting a SP loss as the 25th Army reaches the outskirts of the port. Next turn should see this key port and victory point city fall.

Southern Sumatra
After receiving naval resupply, followed by ground strikes from medium bombers of the 3rd Air Division, the 2nd NLF launches an assault against Dutch forces holding the Palembang oil fields. Supported by surrounding attacks from the 4th and 21st brigades plus ground support from the 13th Air Division, the NLF easily forces the surrender of the garrison. This was a surprise as I made a mistake and attacked across the river at 4:1 instead of crossing it and attacking at 5:1. However the report shows the actual ratio was 1:1 so this could have gone badly for the IJA.

The 2nd NLF in Bandar Lampung moves inland as they are replaced by the 10th Army arriving from a two turn journey from the home islands. The fresh troops will attack across the Sunda Strait next turn. The 12th base force loads up and leaves Kuala Belait, steaming around Borneo to eastern Java. After an unopposed landing the force easily captures Surabaya and the local oil field. Batavia remains supplied but is now cut off from outside help. This opens the Madura Strait allowing the 10th Army to steam though it and make port at Bandar Lampung. The 17th Army is due to arrive in Surabaya next turn. (Batavia is a supply source so a blockade is ineffective, however it pays to cut off help. And more importantly open the Madura Strait and a port to supply an attack on Batavia from the east)

Borneo
No offensive movement this turn.

Oil Use
Oil production increased from 3 to 14 units as production came online from the captured wells in Borneo. Upkeep was 36 units at the start of turn three, down from 49 units the previous turn. The return of the Kido Butai to base drove the reduction. Air unit consumption was consistent with the prior turn at 15 units as low SP bombers were again left idle until they can get stronger.

This leaves a total of 20 oil points available which should be sufficient as production is expected to be 51 units per turn with the facilities at Palembang and Yenangyuaung coming online. (3 OP home islands+31 OP DEI+13 OP Borneo+4 OP Burma) Oil is much easier than SPs to count as there are no adjustments for change in ownership. I fanatically track oil in the early game as running out of it grounds air units and limits naval bombardment to a turn or two.

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Remington700
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Allied Forces: January 4th

Post by Remington700 »

Allied Forces: January 4th

Malaya
The 3rd Indian Corps runs out of supply and loses 4 SP bringing them to 15 SP and 69% effectiveness. There is still some fight left in the unit.

Southern Sumatra
With the quick fall of the Palembang oil fields Japan will not run out of oil. This means the leaving the port of Surabaya uncovered was a foolish move as losing an oil field in Borneo will not mater. (I still have not learned to cover ports, regardless of the crazy plans I hatch. It never ends well. I did not think about Japan invading with a 5 SP unit to retain enough landing ships for future operations – until it was Japan’s turn. In the future I will force them to commit or not land)

Java
In the east, the loss of Surabaya and the Madura Strait is annoying but may not matter much. In the west, after repulsing four major attacks last turn the Sumatra garrison will continue to defend the Sunda Strait. They are not strong (5 SP and 51% effectiveness) and may be pushing their luck. Due to rain the unit’s movement is limited so they will not be able to combine with the Batavia garrison to create a Large Corps. (The other option was to move one hex, uncovering the strait, and stop the 6th coastal guns one hex to the east leaving an opening for retreat.) I am hoping the Dutch unit will execute a fighting withdrawal and be able to combine next turn.

Borneo
No movement. The defending units continue to dig in.

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Remington700
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Japan: January 18th

Post by Remington700 »

Japan:  January 18th  

Malaya
The attack for Singapore begins! Dive-bombers of the 2nd Air and medium bombers of the 3rd Air pound the unsupplied Indian 3rd Corps. (By now they are totally without supply, suffering attrition and heavily losing effectiveness.) The 25th Army launches three major attacks and finally overruns the enemy. Singapore is now a Japanese controlled port! It will be the main base for what I am calling the Japanese 2nd Air Fleet.

Java
With the withdrawal of Dutch forces from the Sunda Strait the 10th Army pushes across and attacks the retreating South Sumatra garrison before they can escape. Supported by naval bombardment and carrier ground support the enemy is easily overrun. To the east the understrength 12th Base Force advances west along the rail line opening the way to Batavia. And the 7th Army arrives in Surabaya to move west next turn to get in position for the final battle.

Borneo
No offensive movement this turn.

Oil Use
Oil production increased 51 OPs as expected. There is now enough production to fuel both IJA and IJN operations in most theaters. However, until Borneo completely falls the oil stockpile will increase at a very slow rate. The pressure is off so the DEI can be finished off without risk.

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Remington700
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Allied Forces: January 18th

Post by Remington700 »

Allied Forces: January 18th

Malaya
The fall of Singapore hurts the defense of Java. Japanese planes can base at the port and are no longer needed for the Malayan conflict. More importantly, the port is now open for easy resupply of the Japanese fleets. Things continue to deteriorate in this campaign.

Java
Losing the overrun Sumatra garrison greatly weakens the defense of Batavia as a Large Corps can no longer be created. However the Small Corp is fully dug in and just about at maximum strength, with 100% effectiveness. They are here to stay for a month or two. The 6th coastal guns continue to dig in however they receive an upgrade in equipment rather than the strength points they badly need. This could be costly.

Borneo
No movement. The defending units continue to dig in.

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Remington700
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Japan: February 1st

Post by Remington700 »

Japan: February 1st

Malaya
Not much happening other than 2 air divisions relocate from Malaya to Sumatra to support offensive actions in Batavia.

Java
All units in Java receive naval resupply. Following ground strikes from the medium bombers of the 13th Air Division the 10th Army assaults positions of the Dutch 6th coastal group. Supported by naval bombardment and air strikes the enemy is forced to retreat to the north coast. The 17th Army moves west from Surabaya and links up with Japanese forces approaching from Sumatra. The noose is tightening on the Dutch however they are reinforced, dug in and have plenty of supply. It may take a few turns to dig them out.

Borneo
No offensive movement this turn.

Oil Use
No issue this turn. However, the oil stockpile is not increasing so it is still too early to raid convoys. Oil is needed for air units as I am attempting a Japanese push on Kunming this game. (I want to re-test the supply situation along the You River)

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Remington700
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Allied Forces: February 1st

Post by Remington700 »

Allied Forces: February 1st

Java
Clear weather hits the island – something that must not continue. The Batavia garrison unit is full strength and at 100% effectiveness. Although being a Small Corps I don’t know how well they will hold. After being pushed to the coast, the 6th coastal guns are reduced to 3 SPs but have 80% effectiveness remaining. Clearly, I should have set the unit to receive replacements earlier in the campaign.

Borneo
No movement. The defending units are fully dig in.

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Remington700
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Japan: February 15th

Post by Remington700 »

Japan: February 15th  

Malaya
Not much happening other than 2 air divisions relocate from Malaya to Sumatra to support offensive actions in Batavia.

Java
All units in Java receive naval resupply as heavy rain hits the DEI. In spite of the bad weather the 10th and 17th armies easily overrun the beat-up 6th coastal group southeast of Batavia. The only remaining Dutch stronghold in java is now Batavia proper. All that is needed to wrap up this campaign is for the rain to slow and lots of air and naval support.

Borneo
No offensive movement this turn.

Oil Use
No issue this turn.

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Remington700
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Allied Forces: February 15th

Post by Remington700 »

Allied Forces: February 15th

Java
Heavy rain delays an enemy attack on Batavia however I was hoping the coastal guns could somehow hold. Nothing to do now but wait for the next weather report.

Borneo
No movement. The defending units are fully dig in.
Remington700
Posts: 1085
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Japan: March 1st

Post by Remington700 »

Japan: March 1st  

Malaya
No offensive movement this turn other than the 3rd Air Division in Singapore flying ground strikes against Dutch positions in Batavia.

Java
All units in Java receive naval resupply as rain continues but is no longer heavy. Three ground strikes are carried out by the 2nd, 3rd, 13th Air Divisions on Batavia. Three battleship groups move into position offshore of the port and the 10th Army launches their attack. Surprisingly the full-strength unit surrenders without much of a fight. The Dutch East Indies will surrender in full next turn!

Borneo
No offensive movement this turn.

Oil Use
No issue this turn. Twelve Oil Points will start to flow next turn from the recently surrendered Oil fields at Balikpapan and Tarakan. This will raise production to 63 units per turn allowing Japan full naval and air movement while increasing their OP stockpile.

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Remington700
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Wrap up

Post by Remington700 »

Writing a small campaign (solo player hotseat) AAR taken from a current full game is new to me. I had a lot of fun doing it and looking back I see a few mistakes on the Allied side that should not have been made. Please feel free to comment on the action as I receive very little input playing solo and need the help to get better.

Japan's strategy was to go heavy at the DEI leaving no doubt as to the outcome. It slowed advances in other areas but limited the effects of poor weather on this campaign. The Allied strategy was to delay defeat long enough to run Japan out of oil. Which would greatly push out Japan's timetable of conquest making an Allied comeback much easier.

To me this was a Japanese victory.

Allied mistakes
(1) Did not set the Palembang garrison to “Hold” (not sure it mattered as the unit chose to surrender rather than retreat).
(2) Failure to build up the Batavia garrison to a Large Corps (not necessarily due to a mistake but was a critical failure).
(3) Failure to use Borneo units to cover Surabaya. I probably lost an opportunity to hold out an additional turn. My premise was false as Japan can have landing ships arrive as early as turn 8 - so lack of landing ships is not a deterrent.
(4) Mismanagement of Production Points. Batavia fell with too many PPs left in their stockpile. I am not sure how big of an error this is as in my experience Batavia usually does not fall with the first assault. The extra PPs are needed for the next turn replacements. However I definitely should have built up the 6th coastal guns before they were eliminated. It might have bought a turn.

Japanese mistakes
(1) Attacking the Palembang oil fields across a river when I did not have to do so
(2) Minor movement issues but nothing I am kicking myself about

Thank you for reading my AAR!
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ago1000
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RE: Wrap up

Post by ago1000 »

Thank you for an excellent AAR.


How often (% wise) do you capture Bandar Lampung in two turns or less?
Remington700
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RE: Wrap up

Post by Remington700 »

Sorry I missed this post. Thank you for reading!

I have not failed to capture Bandar Lampung on turn one, although I land a reserve division (from Saigon) to advance into the port if needed, after two rounds of combat. I go at it heavy as I learned the hard way what happens when you run out of oil.

I failed one time to timely capture Palembang when Sumatra got hit with heavy rain. I could not dislodge the Dutch unit from the oil fields. It caused Japan to run out of oil, grounding planes and slowing things down a bit.
eskuche
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RE: Wrap up

Post by eskuche »

Naval support is a requisite for the turn 1 Bandar Lampung gambit. I toss in a plane attack from the out-of-singapore range air group. Move it down the Malay peninsula. If it nabs 1-2 HP points, you're pretty much guaranteed to take the city. Even if not, with naval support you get 5:1-6:1. I use the BC/CA/CL in the vicinity to achieve this. Destroyers aren't quite necessary. Haven't tried doing this with a CVL yet, as mine two in range are hitting Manila. Not sure if the third one in home islands can make it.

Ways to improve on your opening:
1. Malay peninsula: HQ moves full distance south, allowing army + division to both attack the northern Indian mixed brigade. If this surrenders in 1 attack, great. You can move your division down 2 to claim all hexes around the remaining brigade and eliminate it. I prioritize grabbing the 20 industry over eliminating the second division: this denies India 20 valuable income, and you also take Kuala Lumpur, preventing turn 1 (or down the road) escape of the Indian corps at Singapore. A super annoying allied play is to trade the Indian corps for the Davao Philippines corps at some point.
2. If you take the 30 by Palambang, it's not too required to take Borneo oil. If you really want, you can use the 5/10 strength unit in Thailand on turn 2 to do it. My 20 ships turn 1 are reserved for other activity.
3. Surabaya with an SNLF is probably okay turn 1, as it prevents reinforcements from landing there (note they can still land in Batavia if you don't have naval cover).
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