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Author Topic: Is the Earliest Realistic D-Day on Turn 4?  (Read 2193 times)
Argothair
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« on: July 07, 2015, 09:16:02 am »
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Some of my recent posts have explored off-beat strategies, like (as the Allies) trying to win by controlling mainland east Asia, or (as the Axis) trying to win by killing Britain first. Today I�m going to shift gears and look at a much more classic opening -- Kill Germany First -- but with two twists. First, no American ground troops will cross the Atlantic. Second, the Allies will invade western Europe as quickly as possible: I think the earliest turn that makes sense for D-Day is turn 4, but if you have an idea for how to land on turn 3 or even turn 2, I�d love to hear about it in the comments.

Don't Bother with an American Shuck-Shuck

So, why the ban on American ground troops crossing the Atlantic? As I�ve argued elsewhere in these forums, ships (all ships!) are too expensive relative to infantry and planes. Even though ship prices have come down compared to previous versions of Axis & Allies, the size of the Atlantic ocean has roughly doubled, meaning that you need twice as many transports and twice as much time to send troops from Washington to Paris. It used to be that every transport you built increased the effective size of your transport fleet almost immediately. Now, though, if you build a transport off the coast of Washington on turn 1, then it reaches Casablanca on turn 2, Paris on turn 3, Casablanca (again) on turn 4, and comes back to Washington and saves you the price of a new transport for the very first time on turn 5. This allows you to spend the savings on more ground troops, which will reach Paris on turn 7. It�s just too slow and too expensive.

As a quick reality check, imagine building 4 fighters per turn for the first 5 turns, followed by 1 carrier and 2 fighters on turn 6, at a cost of 234 IPCs, and sending all the fighters to Paris. (The carrier on turn 6 sits in the western Atlantic and is just there to make sure the last turn's worth of fighters can reach in time). By turn 7, all 22 fighters would reach Paris, rolling 66 offensive pips on 22 HP. If instead you spent that money on marines, you would need to build 2 transports per turn on turns 1-4 at a cost of 64 IPCs, plus a defensive escort of (say) two battleships, two cruisers, and four destroyers at a cost of 96 IPCs, plus 2 infantry, 1 artillery, and 1 tank per turn on turns 1-3 and 3 infantry, 1 artillery on turns 4-5, at a cost of 72 IPCs. That would get you a total invasion force of 12 inf, 5 art, 3 tnk, supported by 2 BB and 2 CA, which lets you roll 7 + 10 + 10 + 9 + 8 + 6 = 50 offensive pips on 20 HPs on turn 7. So the same 234 IPCs go much further in air units than they do in land/sea units if you have to cross the Atlantic. *Eventually*, somewhere around turn 12, the values will shift back the other way, as your initial investment in defensive ships and transports starts to get recycled and pay dividends. But let's be serious -- if you have to wait until turn 12 for your investment to pay off, you're conceding Moscow to the Axis, if not conceding the whole game.

Thanks to calvinhobbesliker for pointing out that fighters can't reach directly from Washington to Paris -- I've corrected this post in response to his comment.

Suggested Builds

Because the price of planes has *also* come down compared to previous editions, and because fighters can still fly from (carriers off the coast of) Washington to London or Paris in one turn, it makes more sense for the USA to give up on the idea of a transport ferry altogether, and just deliver warships and warplanes to the front lines. On A1, the USA can build 3 carriers (42 IPC) in the Atlantic Ocean, 1 of which can be filled with already existing fighters on the US mainland. On A2, the USA can build 4 fighters (40 IPC) in the Eastern US, and move the carriers to the coast of Canada. On A3, the USA can unite the carriers and fighters in the English Channel. The USA will probably have to devote some production to warding off Japanese attacks in the Pacific, but the USA can still build 2 fighters (20 IPC) in the Eastern US.

Meanwhile, the British can build something like this:
B1: 3 inf in India + 3 inf, 1 art in London + save 10 IPC
B2: 3 inf in India + save about 18 IPC
B3: spend savings on 4 transports and 2 destroyers in English Channel + any remaining income to India
B4 and afterward: 6 inf, 2 art in London

The British evacuate their surviving fighters from Egypt and India and send them to London via Russia.

The Attack

This sets the Allies up for a turn 4 British attack on *either* France or Northwestern Europe with a minimum of 4 inf, 3 art, 1 tnk, 3 ftr, 1 bmbr. Germany simply doesn�t have the manpower to simultaneously garrison both Northwestern Europe and France with enough infantry to absorb that attack if they�re going to try to attack Russia at all, and after Britain takes the territory, the US can land all 6 fighters from the carriers on mainland Europe (2 of those fighters can be immediately replaced from the fresh production in the EUS). Germany can probably re-take the territory, but only by using the last of its garrison troops, and then on turn 5 the British attack again with 6 inf, 2 art, 3 ftr, 1 bmbr and walk into France virtually unopposed. Conveniently, turn 4 is the turn when both the American Pacific Fleet and the British Australian fleet will arrive in the Channel to shore up the (now partly empty) carriers. Even with only 2 planes to guard it, the combined fleet will have something like 2 Sub, 2 DD, 2 CA, 3 CV, 1 BB, 2 Ftr, which is impossible for Germany to sink unless they�re going to commit their entire air force, leaving the eastern front unguarded against Russian attacks. If you see that Germany is positioning the air force to the west, just leave a few planes on the carriers, reinforcing France with, e.g., 4 fighters instead of 6. France will still be very expensive for Germany to re-claim, and Russia will make progress toward Berlin that much faster.

Note that this whole opening assumes no surviving ships in the Atlantic after German sub attacks. If (as is quite likely) the British Canadian destroyer and transport survive, that�s 15 IPC in direct savings to Britain, which you can use to purchase an additional cruiser or bomber. Alternatively, you can buy an extra transport, infantry, and artillery, letting you hit with 5 transports� worth of troops on turn 4. If instead the American Atlantic destroyer and transports survive, you can send them first to French West Africa to help preserve British income in Africa, and eventually to the Channel to reinforce France. Alternatively, you can send the ships *empty* to the Channel, saving the troops in Washington to defend the US west coast against Japan. Extra British infantry can load onto the American transports, and then unload onto France a turn later -- there�s no special rush.

Moving into the Middlegame from this Opening

One of the benefits of this opening is that it puts Germany under extremely serious pressure *before* Russia even begins to collapse. Yes, Japan will be in India by turn 4 at the latest, and has a good chance to start trading the Caucusus -- but Russia has excellent opportunities to preserve both a defensive perimeter and a solid income base. If Germany tries to make a serious defense of France and NW Europe, then the USSR should be able to hold or trade Moscow, Leningrad, Stalingrad, Archangel, West Russia, Vologda, and Kazakh through turn 6, earning income of at least 21 IPC. Meanwhile, by the end of turn 6, the Allies should be in Italy and the Baltics, cutting off the flow of further German troops heading east. If Germany abandons western europe in favor of an all-out Russian blitz, then Berlin should fall by turn 6. Even if Moscow falls to Japan on turn 6 or 7, the Allies will have plenty of transports and ground troops to drop into, e.g., Leningrad and Stalingrad via sea, and should be able to handily hold the line against Japan.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on how to spice up the traditional KGF. Would love to hear your feedback! Let me know how you do KGF, when you think it makes sense to go for D-Day, whether you favor American marines or American planes, etc. etc.

Please do NOT comment here about whether Kill Germany First is better or worse than Kill Japan First -- please start a new thread if you want to talk about KGF v. KJF.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 01:58:11 pm by Argothair » Logged
calvinhobbesliker
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« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2015, 09:43:18 am »
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How do fighters move from EUS to Paris in 1 move? I think they're 5 spaces apart...or are you building the fighters on carriers in SZ11 and moving those to Paris?
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Argothair
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« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2015, 09:51:31 am »
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Fair enough, Washington and Paris are 5 spaces apart. I wouldn't recommend building an extra carrier in the EUS just to speed up the planes for this strategy; the US doesn't have the IPC to spare. Instead, I would say fly the planes from Washington to the English Channel, which is only 4 spaces.
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DarthMaximus
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« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2015, 12:01:48 pm »
+1

I think you can probably find a place for the US shuck-shuck if you are going KGF.  The Atlantic is definitely bigger, but the US can set up a reasonable 3x3x3 (sz 11, sz 13, sz 8 ) or a 4x4 (sz 10 to sz 8 ).  8-10 trans falls in line with previous versions of Revised and AA50 if you were shucking to London then to Kar (or somewhere else from sz 5).

It is also nice to be able to threaten the under belly of Germany too.  With US in Sz 13, Ger at least needs token forces to cover Ita.

I think if you are committing US Capital ships to the defense of the Atlantic, you might as well get a few trans going too.  I think you are right on with the US ACs, and since planes are so versatile they are rarely a bad buy.  So the tough question is just how much do you want to commit to ACs.  But at 14 ipc its typically not a bad investment either considering the US has to cross a large body of water not matter where they go and you can always move them from the Atlantic to the Med/Indian Ocean or to the Pac if needed.

If the US is spending 42 ipc rd 1, 40 ipc rd 2, 38 ipc rd 3 that's 120.  That can be something like 3 ACs, 4 ftrs, 2 trns and then 24 ipc for troops.  That will give you 3 total trans and a start to landing in Afr on US 3 (with 1 trn) and on US 4 with 2 trns.  I'd buy the trns last unless I know for sure I can protect the Atlantic from the Luftwaffe.  From then on you can mix in 1-2 trns per turn with your troop buys until you get up to speed or work out your ultimate destination for them.

I think you're right, realistically I wouldn't expect much before rd 4.  Seems to take the first three rds just to get into position.  UK and US Pacific ships can reach sz 13 in rd 3, so you might even need one more build up turn to make sure sz 6 or 8 (or your designated landing spot) is safe.  I'd probably target Fra/New for rd 5, even if it is just trading nwe.  But I think you are right you can at least put pressure on the Germans to defend Fra by rd 4.
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MarineIguana
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« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2015, 10:42:18 pm »
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Air units generally don't trade profitably against other units without land units to take losses.

A good player isn't going to park units in Paris, and allow the allies to initiate a profitable exchange. The best axis move is to either hold paris with enough units, or cede the territory for trading. Trading Paris is a very reasonable Axis response to Allied pressure.

The real reason that mostly land & naval purchases is preferable is that it allows US to start trading territories at even cost or at a profit. Compared to revised, there are additional territories available to trade (e.g. northwestern europe) and less germany production (13 compared to revised 16). US can realistically start trading with Germany starting round 4.

In summary, a direct attack (especially with air) isn't going to work against solid axis play. Consistent good play in KGF has 3 stages:
1. a long series of small, profitable trading exchanges
2. landing/advancing a stack that can hold a major territory in Europe, further reducing axis income
3. Accumulating units until Germany's capital is deadzoned.

Air units do have a purpose in enabling efficient US trading.
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Argothair
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« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2015, 08:22:20 am »
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MarineIguana, I'm aware of the three-step orthodox strategy of trading, stacking, and dead zoning, and it's easy to see that planes do not trade at a profit against infantry. I'm not sure from your comment if you realize that I'm only recommending an all-planes buy for one Allied nation: the Americans. This strategy also calls for the British to buy mostly ground troops and transports, and for the Russians to buy mostly ground troops. The overall mix of Allied forces is still mostly ground troops, with a modest air force -- it's just that almost all of the air force is controlled by the Americans. True, this means that the Americans won't be trading at a profit, but that's OK, for two reasons. First, as long as the Allies as a whole trade at a profit, then they are on the road to victory. Second, the point of this particular turn 4 D-Day is to rapidly overwhelm the Germans by delivering more force earlier than they can handle, even if that force is exchanged at a loss. It's OK to trade 100 Allied IPCs a turn against 60 German IPCs a turn, because Germany doesn't have 60 IPCs a turn to keep on losing, and if you start the attack early enough, then Japan will have difficulty reinforcing Germany effectively.

What do you think of this analysis? I realize it is not the orthodox strategy, and that you generally prefer the orthodox strategy. That said, does this alternate strategy have a chance of winning? Why or why not?

DarthMaximus, thanks for your feedback. The idea of mixing in a couple of loaded American transports to make the Germans nervous about Italy is interesting, especially if the starting American transports survive G1 sub attacks. I do want to point out that the sz 11/13/8 route is actually a 3x3x3x3 shuck, because you need to keep two stacks of transports in the center sea zone -- one to head back to eastern us, and one to head on to the coast of paris. Try it out on a board so you can see for yourself; it's counter-intuitive.

The problem with waiting until turn 5 or 6 to seriously threaten France and NW Eur is that it gives the Germans time to crack Russia and make some territorial gains -- Karelia, West Russia, maybe even the Caucasus. If the Germans are up 8 IPCs in Eastern Europe, then the loss of 8 IPCs in Western Europe won't break them, especially since the Russians will be busy defending Moscow against the Japanese. By contrast, if you land a major threat on turn 4, the Russians will usually still have enough troops and enough territory to join in the attack, and a little bit of breathing room for Moscow against the Japanese, which means they can force Germany to fight a two-front war. I totally agree with you that the usual KGF strategies take three turns just to set up the shuck-shuck and then two more to get serious about attacking -- this strategy is my proposal for how to go a little faster than normal.
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TripleA Xray
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« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2015, 09:34:09 am »
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It is a fun alternative to buy planes only as US, but I don’t think it is a sustainable strategy.

I think the argumentation is not correct. If you buy ships and inf for 234IPC, or planes for the same amount, then you might have less offensive power initially with the inf purchase, but the difference is this:

1. ships are not lost in the battle and can serve in the next battle. Thus they are a sustainable purchase if you need to fight across an ocean.
2. Planes are lost in the battle if not supported by ground troops. Thus you are trading 10 IPC units against 3 IPC units. This might give you a nice initial blow, but you cannot maintain this for several rounds. Germany can buy around 10 inf at least to replace their losses, while the us can buy 3 to 4 fig’s.

My conclusion is that this kind of attack is only feasible if it is the final blow to the enemy, but should not be the first blow.
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MarineIguana
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« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2015, 09:40:28 am »
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I think US fighters buy could work if Germany tries to hold France and/or NW Europe without recognizing that Allies can attack for a profit. If Germany recognizes the situation and withdraws, allies would take an unreasonably large loss trying to land in the early (<10 rounds).

You're right on about the need to alleviate pressure. It's not that fighters can't work, but there are better alternatives.
3 bomber US R1 buy or a standard navy & land accumulation comes to mind.

If you want to pressure Germany ASAP, purchasing all bombers R1 and 2 is viable. Bombers strategic bombing trade at a slight profit.
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Argothair
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« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2015, 10:55:41 am »
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Quote
I think US fighters buy could work if Germany tries to hold France and/or NW Europe without recognizing that Allies can attack for a profit. If Germany recognizes the situation and withdraws, allies would take an unreasonably large loss trying to land in the early (<10 rounds).

Sure, that's a fair point -- if Germany withdraws from France and NW Europe and stacks in Germany in response to your threat, then obviously you don't just unload 4 fighters into France for Germany to feast on. Better to stockpile the planes in London, and unload infantry only into France and NW Europe. Using the extra build spots in London that you save by not needing to replace your artillery, you can build an extra British transport or two, and quickly ramp up to the ability to drop 5-6 loaded transports per turn.

Quote
If you want to pressure Germany ASAP, purchasing all bombers R1 and 2 is viable. Bombers strategic bombing trade at a slight profit.

Yes, that's true, and very much in line with the main idea of my argument that American ferries are too slow / expensive given the size of the Atlantic. Better to send American bombers than loaded American transports, at least in the opening. My big worry about bombers is that they run into a maximum damage problem. Let's say you max out damage on both Germany and Italy, inflicting 26 points of industrial damage against a German income of 43 IPCs (starting territories plus Karelia and Egypt, minus Northwest Europe). Germany can repair, e.g., 17 points of damage in Germany, and then have 7 build slots to spend 26 IPCs on something like 4 inf, 2 art, 1 tnk in Germany. On the next round, you can max out Germany's damage again, but it still only costs them 17 IPCs. If Britain has to hold India and build a carrier fleet and build a transport fleet and build ground troops to get onto the mainland all by itself because America is focusing on bombers, then the earliest Britain can hope to arrive in force is turn 6, at which point the Russians have to turn around to defend Moscow from the Japanese -- and then the Germans have a good chance of holding Berlin indefinitely against Britain's marines.
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DarthMaximus
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« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2015, 12:30:08 pm »
+1

-- this strategy is my proposal for how to go a little faster than normal.

Gotcha.  In that case, I was running the numbers and you could in theory make an attack on Rd 3 with a slight twist.
First a couple things would be helpful for a round 3 move:

1)  I think Russia needs to take out Ukr and eliminate 1 G ftr.  This may not be the best attack for Russia, but it eliminates 3 attack points for Ger.
2a)  Moderate risk - Germany buys some replacement air power. 
Heavy Risk - Germany buys an AC and DD for the Baltic.
Either of these can jeopardize the UK's ability to place or move to Sz 8.  You can live with Germany buying a replacement ftr but it'll start to get dicey if their attack points get up to 25 or 26.  Bonus points if your UK dd downs the Ger bom in the Med or the Ger BB heads toward Egy/Trj on G1.
2b)  Any threat of a unified German fleet in Sz 8 on G2 or G3 can really muck things up.

So...  Assuming G isn't going navy or heavy air (2+ planes) on G1 and you have an opening...

UK 1 - Buy 3 inf for Ind and save the rest (22 ipc).  You could save all of it, but 53 ipc should be enough for UK 2.  Bonus points if your trn and dd will be safe in Sz 10 on G2, seems unlikely though since there will probably be at least 1 G sub in Eus Sz.  Otherwise you can move to Sz 11 with 1 inf, 1 arm in Ecan.  Move Ind or Egy ftr to Wrus (or US Asian ftr on US 1)
US 1 - Buy 1 dd (protection against a surviving G sub), 4 trns, 2 inf.  Alaskan/Wus troops to Wcan.  All other troops to Ecan

UK 2 - (with 53 IPC)  Buy 3 ac, 1 dd, 1 inf (Ind)
Place in sz 8 with 3 ftrs (2 uk, 1 wrus), move dd, trn back to Sz 10
US 2 - (with 40 ipc)  Buy 3 trns, 5 inf, 1 rt
DD, Cru, 4 trns to sz 10, 8 units to Ecan

End Rd 2

Sz 8 - 3 ac, 6 ftrs (3 uk, 3 us), 1 dd

UK Rd 3 - Buy 1 dd (if additional fodder needed) other wise 3 trns and ground troops.
UK could attack Nwe via Canadian troops

US 3 - (38 ipc)  buy 3 trns + ground troops

US 3 potential attack on Fra:
8 ground units, 3 ftrs, 1 bom, 1 cru shot (plus possible Asian ftr)

Not a bad attack.  Sound be ~12 units, ~29 hit points.

US Non Coms - 6 units to Ecan, 3 trns to Sz 10.  US BB, trn, dd form Pac should be around too.

Placement - 3 trns in Sz 11 troops on Eus.

By Rd 4 UK is ready to join in and US can follow up with at least 6 units on US 4, then another 6 on US 5, etc.  Same with UK.
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