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Juha Helin
Finland
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Considering the ships present in Pearl Harbour, would it be more sensible to send the Kido Butai elsewhere instead? Would be tempted to eradicate the ships in Surabaya and Singapore to start with, or even to eradicate some of the air steps elsewhere but see little reason to kill off rather useless battleships in the Pearl Harbour (yes, there are good, smaller ships that would be valuable targets but still, is it worth it?)

At least in the test run both fleets were pain for invasion and put me to wonder how much transport resources it will eat up to get both of the oil areas (considering how to secure up to 8-12 oil for second turn and starting to build up reserves immediately). Yes, painfully aware of the fact that those resources are not then capturing Gilberts, Wake, Port Moresby etc...
 
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Andreas Johansson
Sweden
Linköping
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I spent 200 GG and all I got was this lousy overtext!
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One good target at Pearl Harbour is the air steps.
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Juha Helin
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Good point.

Four steps is quite bit but the question is, considering the replacement rate of US air units (and considering their possible potential early demise elsewhere when/if redeployed in yet insufficient numbers), would the four air steps, few cruisers and destroyers mandate the strike if in comparison there would be strong opening move towards securing oil and Guadalcanal region early?

(This line of thinking has root in Victory Games Pacific War. Tested theory goes that the early submarine demise will help Japan to conduct war longer if the initial strike is directed against the stationary submarine fleet in harbour(s)).

In short, hoarding oil versus immediate losses that will be rather quickly replenished but will temporarily leave US without much air cover?

Of course I am not yet fully familiar with the system, especially the intricacies of the combat model & sequence but what I've seen so far it is pretty good and there is room for some questimates (I was initially afraid that there is too large random element involved to make meaningful decisions on the force multipliers (air/naval power) required for invasions).

That said, I have to admit I like system that makes one think the possibilities...
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Vincent GERARD
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When I played as the Japanese, I decided not to attack Pearl Harbour. Several reasons to that :
1/ I could really need my aircraft carriers for most strategic operations;
2/ I don't care about US battleships, these are slow ships unable to react and which would cost a lot of transport points to be ready for an operation : so not really usable for their power;
3/ About the air steps, well, anyway, the US will have plenty of them sooo quickly and this will not be of strategic value to destroy the squadrons there.

So I sent my carriers in several other operations : Singapore, Manilla mainly, in order to add to my airpower there (one carrier does double the airpower available and really add to the chance of quick victory). One was just sent to Truk for reaction phase.
 
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Juha Helin
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Vincent, how did the strategy work out in a long run?

I've so far attempted to sink fleets in Surabaya and Singapore (and eliminate as much air in Manila etc as possible) to prevent fleet unification. It seems that they can become real threat (or at least a major speed bump) to the vulnerable surface operations. While that has been done I failed to muster enough troops to occupy the bases - apparently invasion force needs to be one of the something like 2:1 strength aided by air support and naval bombardment to guarantee any level of success(?). Probably it has been over optimistic thinking to get Singapore in turn 1 anyway.
 
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Hans Eldar Sjaberg
Ireland
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I would launch a 'conventional' raid on Pearl in turn 1. One reason is that you have a 1 in 6 chance of 'finding' the US carrier reaction force. If you manage to sink that carrier, it will be a major advantage for the Japanese for the first half of the game.

When it comes to Singapore, the British BB and DD there are in trouble from the start, even if the Japanese do not invade Singapore on turn 1. They navy units in Singapore start in an enemy ZOC and can thus only react one hex (Saigon). So they have a choice of being attacked while at anchor in Singapore by 4 long range air steps from Saigon or sail to Saigon in the reaction phase and be attacked by 8 air steps there. Note that on turn 1, the allied air bases' AA is zero, so there is no AA protection for the British fleet in Singapore. The result is likely to be that the British units are sunk, or at least damaged and out of the game for the first few turns.

I would not be very worried about the air steps in Manilla. With average luck, the Japanese air steps in Formosa (attacking long range) will deal with them.

Sending an under-powered air strike against Pearl Harbour is also a bad idea - if you encounter the US carrier reaction force you will want to have enough air steps in your task force to deal with the carrier's 4 air steps plus the 4 steps on the ground. 11 air steps gives you decent odds for such a battle. The +1 modifier in air-to-air on Japanese turn 1 helps, and if you are using optional rule 18.2.3 (Elite Pilots) it further tilts the odds in favour of the Japanese.
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Juha Helin
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Very good advice and solid reasoning. It seems that I just have to play more and exploit the options. I never had luck to see the US carrier force reacting into Pearl Harbor, but at the same time had dreaded it happen. There appears to be potentially interesting tradeoff which may not be entirely for Japans favor if lady luck does not play fair.

True that knocking out the US carriers, it does give pleasantly free roaming for a while...
 
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Andreas Johansson
Sweden
Linköping
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As may be seen in the sessions section, I had a game where the US carriers turned up at Pearl, sinking one pair of IJN carriers and damaging another, while escaping unharmed themselves. Obviously, this took some seriously wild dice.
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Hans Eldar Sjaberg
Ireland
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It must have been an epic encounter! ... indeed, outcomes like that CAN happen in FitS. And that is part of the fun!

But - turning it around - if I were the US player, I would very much be hoping that my CV Reaction force does NOT roll a '1' to show up in Pearl if there are three Japanese CVs with 11 air steps approaching just beyond the horizon...

My philosophy would be that - in the early turns - the Japanese should seek and accept carrier battles where they have at least parity in air steps (ideally better than parity, of course). There are only 3 US CV units in play before turn 8 when the Essex class starts to arrive, and if the Japanese could eliminate 2 of these (or better yet all 3) they can operate relatively freely.
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Juha Helin
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hanseldar69 wrote:
My philosophy would be that - in the early turns - the Japanese should seek and accept carrier battles where they have at least parity in air steps (ideally better than parity, of course).


I tend to agree with that but would rather do it in the battleground of my choosing if Japanese. So much depends on the US response and the activity elsewhere. Because US carriers have to circle through US west coast, having all carriers committed during ops would leave carrier gap during next reaction phase. Not a whole lot of problem when one has ten carriers in play but surely a problem with only one or two...

hanseldar69 wrote:
There are only 3 US CV units in play before turn 8 when the Essex class starts to arrive, and if the Japanese could eliminate 2 of these (or better yet all 3) they can operate relatively freely.


There are also 2 British carriers (CVL (turn 2) & CV (turn 3)) which I would probably not ignore - and which are at least partially my reasoning for other targets than Pearl Harbor and the quick fall of Singapore.

I think that the British carriers should be dealt in piecemeal if at all possible. Combining the two at turn 3 makes quite nasty force ready to stab on the Japanese back.

Of course, if US carriers are wiped out, then it is a bit different story...

Choices, choices...
 
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Hans Eldar Sjaberg
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the British carriers are not very strong (only 2 air steps for the CV and 1 air step for the CVL). And the British can usually not get very far.

There will normally be an early Japanese advance through Bangkok/Rangoon into Burma, then a prolonged contest (land battle) ... often moving back to Rangoon. But if Rangoon is still Japanese-controlled, the most easterly British bases would still be Ceylon and Calcutta; so in this situation:
* the British cannot invade Bangkok or Hainan (impassable hexsides), Saigon (no access and too far away) nor Singapore (too far away).
* the British may try to invade Malaya by amphibious landing, but only with a 4-strength land unit.

The Japanese can fairly confidently defend this front with an 8-strength land unit in Rangoon and a 4-strength land unit in Malaya. The only way forward for the British is to eliminate one of the land units in Rangoon or Malaya. The Japanese can quite easily support these crucial locations by moving reinforcements in through Bangkok unopposed during deployment. Add some air steps for support - for example 4 in Rangoon, 2 in Singapore and 2-4 in Saigon. This makes the positions quite secure.

It's also a good idea to keep a reaction force of naval units ready - say 1 x CA + 2 x DDs to keep the British honest (and contest sea control off Malaya & Rangoon at opportune times). Bangkok is a good place for this force: they can reach Malaya and Rangoon in reaction phase to challenge British attacks but are out of reach for the British. Brunei is a good base, but could be reached by British CV raids from Ceylon if Surabaya contains no air steps. Brunei can also be reached by US CVs from Noumea if the Japanese have no air steps in Hollandia and Surabaya.

This should keep the 'back garden' relatively safe, enabling the IJN to concentrate on the Americans...
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