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Subject: Saburo Sakai's AAPacific Essays - #12 - Kill India Only rss

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Saburo Sakai
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Kill India Only - The Tordenskjold Maneuver

May god have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't.

There is only one tactical principle which is not subject to change. It is to use the means at hand to inflict the maximum amount of wound, death and destruction on the enemy in the minimum amount of time.

Go forward until the last round is fired and the last drop of gas is expended...then go forward on foot!

General George Patton Jr.

It is perhaps slightly anacronistic to start an essay about a game based on the Pacific theatre of World War II with quotes from a General who fought only in the European theatre of that war. However, the points Patton makes in these quotes capture the essence of the strategy I will discuss in this essay. The Kill India Only tactic is not for the faint of heart and the central premise of KIO is the desperate, merciless advance of which Patton was one of the most famous advocates.

I will not claim to have invented the KIO. As far as I know, the first player to use this attack in a club game was Tordenskjold, an excellent player and member of Days of Infamy. The attack was also independently developed by AndrewAAGamer, used by Simone Molinaro and revised slightly by yours truly. It is also the subject of a long strategy discussion in the Days of Infamy Bullpen that can still be reviewed here:

While many have contributed to the discussions and strategies behind the KIO, it was Tordenskjold who first implemented this strategy and for that reason I sometimes describe the attack as The Tordenskjold Maneuver.

As I have alluded to in previous essays, the Tordenskjold Maneuver concentrates all Japanese efforts on capturing India by J3 or J4 with no prospect of an alternate path to victory. In VP-bid games, it was not uncommon to see a player intending to try a KIO attack bidding 99 VPs because in such a game the VPs simply do not matter. The KIO attack, in the absence of an Allied IPC or IPC unit bid, typically has a better than even chance of success (probably about 70%-80%) and, for that reason, Days of Infamy implemented to the inverse IPC bidding system to prevent or at least discourage KIO attacks.

The Allied player will know immediately if a KIO attack is coming. On J1, Japan buys 1 Bmr and saves 4. This is consistent with the concept of all offence.

Similarly, the J1 attacks are all about positioning for the attack on India. In Asia, Japan will attack Kiangsi, Kwangsi, Shan State and Yunnan. In addition, Hongkong is sometimes hit as well. The attacks are intended as much to kill UK and Chinese units as they are to capture territory. Indeed, the attack into Yunnan is often air only or sometimes supported by a single infantry. These units defend on a "2" in round 1 but cutting down the defenders available to counter the J3 or J4 attack on India is critical.

In the western Pacific, Japan attacks Malaya, sz46, takes sz47 with 1 DD, 1 AC, 2 Trns and a BB, attacks sz43 with 2 ftrs, kills the UK trn in sz54 with the FIC Bmr and hits sz38 and Philippines with everything else in range.

In the eastern Pacific, Japan will usually hit sz9 with 4 Ftrs and 1 sub and take Midway with 1 Infantry and 2 Ftrs.

In summary, the J1 attacks are approximately as follows:

Kiangsi - 4 Inf, 1 Arm vs 1 Inf
Kwangsi - 3 Inf, 1 Rtl vs 1 Inf
Yunnan - 2 Ftrs, 1 Bmr vs 2 Inf
Shan State - 2 Inf, 2 Rtl, 1 Bmr vs 1 inf
sz54 - 1 Bmr vs 1 Trn
sz46 - 3 Ftrs, 1 Trn (loaded with 1 Inf, 1 Rtl) vs 1 DD, 1 BB
sz47 - 2 Trns, 1 DD (loaded with 4 Inf, 1 Rtl), 1 BB, 1 AC - walk in
Malaya - 5 Inf, 2 Rtl vs 3 Inf, 1 Ftr
sz43 - 2 Ftrs vs. 1 Trn, 1 DD
sz38 - 3 DDs, 4 Trns (loaded with 10 Inf, 1 Rtl), 1 BB, 2 Ftrs, 1 Sub vs. 1 Trn, 1 Sub, 1 DD
Philippines - 10 Inf, 1 Rtl vs. 2 Inf, 1 Ftr
Midway - 1 Inf, 2 Ftrs vs. 1 Inf, 1 Ftr
sz9 - 4 Ftrs, 1 Sub vs. 2 BB, 1 DD, 1 Trn

At the end of J1, Japan should have captured all the territories it was trying to capture and killed all the units it attacked. The points of vulnerability for Japan are primarily sz38 and sz54. If Japan fails to kill the sz38 sub or the sz54 transport then the KIO is almost certainly doomed.

After J1 NCM, Japan should have strong forces in sz47 and 38 and blocking subs in sz33 and 34 to prevent the UK sub from substalling into sz38. The Japanese carriers have moved to sz36 from Midway and the BB from sz36 has moved to sz46 to protect the transports there while a DD moves to sz45 to escort 2 transports in that sea zone.

[Where it is permitted by board posting rules, I have attached a mapview map file of a KIO game that played out right to US4 so you can better see the map position at each stage.]

On Allies 1, the UK has no alternative but to buy 2 subs in order to prevent a strong J3 attack on India. The one UK sub in sz54 must move to sz53 and the UK BB from sz50 must move to sz52 to prevent Japan from attacking the subs in sz54 on J2. They can then be used for substalling the Japanese attack until J4.

The rest of the Allied counter to a KIO is open for debate. Some players try to play straight anti-crush (see Essay #2). Others will prepare for a Japan invasion on US4. Either might work but probably has less than a 50% chance of success.

On J2, Japan kills the units in sz52 and 53, the UK AC in sz49 and captures Burma, which will almost always be vacated by UK. On NCM, all units that can reach Shan State by land or sea are placed there with the remaining units moved to Malaya by transport where they can be loaded and moved to India or Burma on J3. The Japanese subs and stray fleet units in the Eastern Pacific continue to play a blocking game with the Allied fleet. The key here is to prevent the UK from capturing Philippines on Allies 2. After that, the Allies will be too late to do anything usefull. In Japan, ground units are purchased to repel an Allied invasion. Nothing else can get to India by the decisive battle and all you need to do in Japan is hold on for the win.

At the end of J2, Japan should have an unbeatable ground force in Shan State and a large fleet with plenty of ground units in sz47.

On Allies 2, the UK substalls into sz53 and 52 to prevent any of the units from sz47 getting through to India on J3. This delays the attack until J4. The rest of the Allied fleet moves forward as fast as it can. If Japan is the target, they have to be in position to attack Japan by Allies 4. If anti-crush is the objective, everything that can reach India must be in place at the end of Allies 2 to fly to India on Allies 3.

On J3, the Allies capture Burma once and for all, kill the subs in sz52 and 53 and move all of the land units from sz47 to Burma on NCM. If there are bombers not needed for other tasks, they should SBR India as well to cut down the number of defenders on J4.

At the end of J3, Japan should have up to 16 Inf, 7 Rtl, 2 Arm and some fighters and bombers in Burma ready for the attack on India. The Allies will simply not have enough units to repel the attack. The Japanese player will sometimes keep a single ground unit on a transport in sz54, so that this unit can conduct an amphibious assualt and allow all avaialable DDs and BBs to provide a support shot in the J4 battle. In any case, the outcome is likely not in doubt.

Further, if Japan has positioned some of its fighters in Shan State or FIC at the end of J2, these fighters can either fly to Japan to defend against an Allied invasion or be used in the attack on India on J4, depending on where they are needed.

On Allies 4, after India has falled, the Allies are often left with no more than a desperation attack on the Japanese homeland. Odds are rarely better than 20% of a successful capture and Japan wins the game at the start of its next turn.

The KIO is a clear example of an attack that does not divert any effort to anything other than the main objective, capture India. Blocking units are only used to slow the Allied advance and no ground units are diverted to capture non-essential islands. In war, this is undoubtedly good strategy but in a game, like AAPacific, this tactic has a tendency to ruin the game because it allows the Japanese player to follow a series of rote moves with no real opportunity for the Allied player to effectively counter the attack. That was the main reason why Days of Infamy decided to implement the inverse IPC bid. The additional ground forces in India reduce the odds of a successful KIO to a point where the game is balanced again.

Saburo Sakai

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