Should Japan attack Pearl on first turn?

  • I hear a lot of conflicting sides to whether or not pearl harbor should be attacked by Japan on the first turn or should Japan just focus elsewhere. I would appreciate feedback on the topic. Thanks.

  • Moderator

    btw this has been debating in this forum about 100 times… but that doesn’t matter (another exscuse to argue right? :roll: )

    If you don’t they could build a landing fleet of 2 AC’s 2 Fighters 1 BB 1 Sub 3 Tran… plus the stuff to land on T1! even if they don’t you will live through hell as they harass your trans navy… And besides what would you do with that fleet except take AUstralia and NZ… 3 Bucks compared to 40 IPC’s of US bucks… the US if they wanted to could completely bottle up the Germans… enough said


  • Usually, I will attach pearl harbor since there is so much value in the US Navy. However, I will usually go what some call pearl light, leaving a BB with my transports in Japan, particularly when there are more than the usual allied aircraft in range. If the allies pull all their aircraft away before J1, I might consider other alternatives with the BB. The reason for this is to prevent the allies from sinking my transports. Japans first priority should be to get troops on the mainland.

    One alternative I have tried a few times also is to not sink the US Navy and go to Australia with the bulk of my fleet (leaving at least one capital ship with the transports at Japan). If the US player decides to chase either 1/2 Navy, or try to capture islands in the South Pacific, this really can’t hurt Japan much as long as the transports remain but it can distract the US player from what should be its top priority which is to provide assistance in Europe. If the US player sends its Navy to the atlantic, so what? By the time the Navy gets there, usually the allied have acheived control over the atlantic anyway.

  • 2007 AAR League

    It just depends on your strategy. Do you want to help out your ally by destrying a potentially dangerous fleet that could be used against them later in the game, or do you want to protect your home waters around Japan and harass India and other Allied bases. My opinion, go for it. Help the Germans out as much as possible.

  • Go for it. Then on J2 attack the US fleet off of the West US. This should do two things: 1) Destroy the US fleet and 2)Eleminate any chance for them to put more boats in the water. J1 buy 3 transports to use as cannon fodder against aircraft, which the US player will use in an attempt to destroy your fleet. Transports bought on J2 can carry infantry and maybe a tank, thus endangering the US homeland. Meanwhile, work with inf and fighters in Asia, you don’t need to buy more troops to do that. Take China, Sinkiang, India on J1, J2, and J3 respectively.

  • 2007 AAR League

    You make some good points DF. However, just remember that purchasing those tranports could possibly delay the Japanese march across Russia. However, if the Germans don’t need, or don’t want any help, then by all means go with what Desertfox says.

  • But if the west US fleet retreats to panama and he builds in East US new fleet how will you stop that its a bit of a waste to start chasing them around.

    I will attack pearl cause in usually play germany and am traumatised by the damned shuck shuck. with that entire fleet alive allies will not need to build any fleet extra and just start pumping men into africa karelia and attack western Europe very fast (US 2/3). While the Jap fleet can get some BB shots and protect the Japanes transports which dont need THAT much Defence. (6 trannies are and an AC w ftrs and mainland holdings preventing ftrs to attack because of range)

  • If you know your Allied opponents will go for a ‘Germany first’ strategy, you should attack Pearl and be prepared to pursue with aircraft that DD and Trn as they attempt to leave the Pacific. However, you do lose on valuable BB shots/fighter support in the fight on Asia. It is of course possible for Japan to pursue an aggressive land war in Asia and attack Pearl but it can (as I’m sure others have seen) leave Japan spread very thin and result in some battles relying a little too uncomfortably on luck.
    Ultimately, destroying the US Pacific Navy will not win the war. It will take that US fleet at least four turns to become effective against Germany and the same again if used as the foundation for a Pacific fleet. If the latter, the Japanese have enough time to respond. In the meantime, factories in Asia and aggressive advances in Asia will, by turn 4, see the J.forces next to Moscow where they can most effectively help the Axis.
    Anyway, I really feel I’m teaching people to suck eggs here so I’m gonna sign off.

  • I like taking Australia on J1 instead of attacking Pearl Harbor. This sets up a J2 amphibious assult on India and puts UK at a loss of 7 IPC’s (2 one turn and 5 the other) early on. It also boost your own IPC’s as well and sets up a good control over Southern Asia. This with an advantagous German player in Africa and victories in the North Sea can nullify the UK.

  • Following is for Revised Edition:

    Personally, I never go for Pearl Harbor. Ever.

    My philosophy goes something like this - US wants to build Pacific fleet? Go for it. My planes cost me 10 IPC and attack at 3. The best US can do to beef up Pacific fleet is build more aircraft carriers, right? (b/c they need to defend against Japanese fighters). But aircraft carriers are slow.

    Let’s say first turn U.S. gets two aircraft carriers. Turn two, it has three aircraft carriers if you don’t do Pearl Harbor. It flies over a “buncha” planes. Presto, instant navy with six fighters. Now, what’s it gonna do with that? Attack your islands? Well, OK. But you have two battleships and two aircraft carriers, plus a lot of fighters yourself. If you chose to build three transports for Japan first turn (which I recommend, to help attack east Asia), your fleet is even bigger.

    So yeah, eventually, U.S. will beat the stuffing out of the Jap fleet. But it’ll require considerable time and material, by which time you ought to have beat up East Asia considerably. If U.S. concentrated on building Pacific up, that means that there’s less pressure on Germany in the Atlantic.

    So, I’d say - even if U.S. DOES build Pacific Fleet, it’s good for Japan to just ignore Pearl Harbor to concentrate on Asia.

    If U.S. DOESN’T build Pacific Fleet, it’s imperative for Japan to hit east Asia anyways. U.S. is going to send stuff across the Atlantic to the sea zone west of Britain, threatening Norway and Western Europe. Which means that Germany has to send some forces to defend, which slows down the attack on Russia, which means that Japan has to pick up some of the slack.

    But I will say that some people go for Pearl Harbor and make it work for 'em. Losing that aircraft carrier does slow the U.S. a teeny bit. Personally, though, I prefer to use battleships for support shots in amphibious landings . . .

  • 2007 AAR League

    I don’t mean to be a pain, but if we’re talking about Axis and Allies here then fighters would cost 12 and the Japanese fleet would be considerably smaller. However, I agree with everything you said.

  • Oh, right, 12 IPCs. Sorry, I was talking about the newer edition. You know, the one with all the optional rules in the rulebook, like “Russian Winter; you can make Russia’s infantry defend at three for one turn”.

    Hm. Am I in the wrong board?

  • 2007 AAR League

    Yeah it is a little confusing. The Revised forum is right below this one.

  • Id say yes , totally. Depleting the Allied Naval Powers will help out in the beginning of the game. You can move your forces, wi’ll they rebuild their lost navy.

  • As the Axis, you must utilize all of your resources simultaneously until you achieve a higher collective IPC count than the Allies. You can take out the Pearl Harbor fleet, as well as buy transports on J1 in order to support the Asian invasion. Taking out the Pearl Harbor fleet with every last one of your available ships will cripple the Us effort in the Pacific, giving Japan plenty of time to buy transports at will. I usually take both BB, a trans for cannon fodder, sub, AC, and the fighter from Japan. Then I use the fighter from Philip, and those 2 inf to support SE Asia, and Bomber from Japan can help out either cause.

    If US tries to retalliate with its BB and trans, and planes, they will almost always lose leaving u with at least 1 BB or even both. Then u have at least 3 more turns to do what you wish in the pacific.

  • Look at it this way and do a little math, then when you’re done consider my strategy.

    Take the US and Japan’s pacific fleet and add up their total number of defensive and offensive rolls. (Ex: AC=1Attack, 3Defense)

    US Attack- 10
    US Defense- 14

    Japan Attack- 17 (using the 2 pacific fighters)
    Japan Defense- 23 (using the 2 pacific fighters)

    Now, keeping in mind these numbers, know that I play no Russian restricted and yes on Bidding. For my bid, I spend 22 and give Japan 2 transports and 2 I in Burma. This allows me to considerably hasten my rush to Russia, and I use my two pacific fighters to first take out the India transport then support in the Asian invasion. Usually I have all of East Asia and by turn 5 I have an army that can present a very good chance of taking Moscow.

    The way I see it is simple: don’t attack pearl harbor, if anything not doing this will just tempt the US player into pulling their resources away from Europe and they’ll get suckered into the defensive upper hand of the Japes. Use your extra fighters in your Asian conquest and don’t worry if the US island hops, they’re wasting valuable time and resources in the Pacific, when they should be helping in Europe. There is no way the US can fight both battles at once.

    As Germany, use a little more of the strafing attacks and less bold assaults on the Eastern Front while you wait for Japan to help you corner Russia. The big benefit of Japan’s rushing strategy is that the typical Shuck-Shuck (if you’re familiar with the term) strategy of the US and the UK for supplying Europe with reinforcements is not nearly as effective. By the time they have a fleet of transports with enough BB or AC support and units to shuck across the water Japan will be dominant in East Asia, and the Shuck Shuck strategy only allows for reinforcing West Europe and Asia, not east.

    Keep in mind that the reason I place 2inf in Burma is in case of an India IC by the British, in which case they’ve just given you a nice little factory to use for the rest of the game. Russia hates having to deal with a major attack on their weak eastern front, and a large part of launching your assault on Asia means not attacking that pacific fleet.

    Remember, the differential between the US and Japanese naval battles in die roles are this:

    Japan attacking- Japan in favor by 3
    US attacking- Japan in favor by 13

    😄 😄 😄

  • No friggin’ way. I don’t care what you bid to Japan it will not help the Japs get to Moscow! 😎 This is a very hard concept for many newer players to accept, but the weaker Germany is then the less attention Russia has to pay to them, and likewise the less of their army has be stationed in Karelia. If you bid nothing to Germany I would let you take all of East Asia, but I would get all of Africa, and Germany would have to back out of EEuro very soon. At which point the Western Allies need only shuck new troops to Finland/Karelia while Russia throws its might against the Japanese. Regardless of how well they are doing it will be hard to deal with so soon in the game.

  • Guys, Guys, Guys…your missing the whole point! Germany and Japan’s fate rests on the first move of the game!!! If Germany can establish a foothold in Finland/Norway and Western Europe. He/She is free to reak havoc on Russia.

    1st Round (Germany)=Purchase 9 inf/1 tank (NO RESEARCH!!!)
    -Send troopes to take Ukraine
    -3 Fighters to North Sea + Bomber
    -Africa=tank blitz through French/Equit to Egypt
    -Reinforce Eastern Europe with inf and tanks in
    1st Round (Japan)= Purchase all fighters and some change in Inf.
    -Load transport in Japan with inf. attack Soviet Far East
    (must have battleship support!)
    -Attack Sinkang and China with Asian Troops and
    -Load transport in Phillipines with 2 troops and send
    fighter to Indochina/ Burma
    -Send all availible ships to Hawaii (Battleship, Aircraft
    Carrier, Submarine, 1 Fighter,)

  • No! Their fate does not rest on the results of the first turn, but on longterm logistical planning, and likewise for the Allies.

    Now to analyze your turn1 plans…If you are suggesting a hard response to Ukr on G1 then perphaps you should consider that any troops you put there will be killed on R2. Moreover, what would you do if I strafed Ukr on R1? Secondly an all out mad dash by Japan for Moscow/Novo is bound to fail as the Russians are simply too powerful once they pull back to their home base in Moscow. Furthermore, with such massive investments in ftrs you will be hard pressed to maintain your offensive push on turn 3 and 4. Just because Japan makes a lot of attacks on J1 does not mean they are going to be doing any better than if they did 1 or 2.

  • No, I agree with Agent Smith that a long term plan is required for either side.

    Consider only the one point from your objectives.

    Africa=tank blitz through French/Equit to Egypt

    I would also say that it is very useful to the Axis cause for Germany to take and hold (for as long as possible) Africa, I think we agree on this. However, consider that in a no-bid game, the UK can counter attack you and with any luck on their part, re-take Egypt and destroy all but one German Inf in Africa. And they can sink your Mediteranian fleet with the UK Med fleet on UK1 as well, therefore keeping Germany out of Africa, probably for the entire game. As Germany you really need to consider taking out the British med fleet as well (not in your plans).

    If the UK is planning to give up Asia to keep Africa as part of a long term plan, this is one way they might go. I’ve seen alternate playing where the UK plays to keep India (giving up Africa for a while).

    If you are Germany and part of your long term plans includes taking and holding Africa as long as possible (which B.T.W. isn’t really necessary for Germany), I would suggest you consider clearing out both the North Sea and Mediteranian of the UK Navy. If the game is not Russia Restricted, then use the transport to move either 1 tank or 2 inf from Norway to Africa (you are weakening Norway to strengthen Africa). You could either play to take Egypt as before and plan to retake it (if lost) on G2 with additional forces from S. Europe (and your tank from Norway) or build in Libya G1 and attack on G2 with these additional forces. On G3 you should then be in pretty good position to take the remainder of Africa and hold it for awhile. You might even consider moving a fighter to Africa on G1 or G2 to assist latter Africa campains and defense if your G1 naval attacks went well.

    This is getting long-winded, so I’ll quit here. But my point is that a long term plan is necessary because the first turns (even with stunning Axis victories) do not make the game.

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    Excuse my ignorance here, but I think mixing any bidding into the debate would be rather unwise. Mostly because the bidding is too dynamic to contribute to the debate.

    There are good and bad points to attacking Hawaii’s fleet. First the bad:

    You could loose valuable ships you’ll need later.
    You might need the aircraft you assign to the fleet there for a mainland attack.
    You might loose your battle-boats if the US counter attacks with aircraft and has lucky rolls in the defense of it’s fleet.

    On the plus side:

    You arn’t going to be using those Battle-boats for anything else, anyway. Admit it, most Russian players pull their forces away from the Far East to assist in creating an Eastern Defensive Line (7 Inf. 1 Armor.)

    The carrier just makes good fodder.

    You can still pull all your fighters in to assist on the mainland attack.

    Odds are the Far East is a walk in.

    What in the world were you going to do with that submarine in the solomn’s anyway?

    I guess I’m saying I always take the attack against the Carrier Group in Hawaii because I think the Japanese fleet should be utilized.

    If you let the US Fleet survive they MIGHT, if they don’t know any better, try to build a fleet to take you out. However, most players I know will just add the extra fighter, sub and carrier to the battle-boat and transport on their way over to the east coast…making it all that much harder on Germany.

  • Excuse my ignorance here, but I think mixing any bidding into the debate would be rather unwise. Mostly because the bidding is too dynamic to contribute to the debate.

    No I think its necessary because there are those out there who incorrectly believe that by bidding large amounts of troops to Japan this enables them to hit Pearl as they have a greater ability to deal with the risk that you talk about.

    You could loose valuable ships you’ll need later.

    But so could the Americans. I can say as the Allies you’d better not even give me the option to retreat the sub because with this one unit I can cause all kinds of havoc. In otherwords Japan has to attack Pearl, and better get 3hits on the first round of combat.

    You might need the aircraft you assign to the fleet there for a mainland attack.

    Yes but giving America ships is always unwise, not only because they can be used in the Pacific but because they can be moved to the Atlantic as well. Also, if Japan is smart and commits plenty of forces to pearl at most they should lose 1 ftr which isn’t bad.

    You might loose your battle-boats if the US counter attacks with aircraft and has lucky rolls in the defense of it’s fleet.

    And America should rarely do this. Even when I retreat the US sub and have 3 ships I am not necessarily going to attack the fleet. The deciding factor is how important will the battleship be in the Atlantic, and just how weak is the Jap fleet in Pearl. If they have 2bb 2ftrs Cv no way will I risk it eventhough it could work out. It just isn’t worth the risk. However, if its 2bb Cv ftr then I might.

    The carrier just makes good fodder.

    Never do this! The Jap carrier is one of the most important pieces on the board as it will most effectively deter/prevent a US Pacific strategy, or from the Allies mauling the Jap fleet if and when it moves to the RedSz many turns down the road.

    If you let the US Fleet survive they MIGHT, if they don’t know any better, try to build a fleet to take you out. However, most players I know will just add the extra fighter, sub and carrier to the battle-boat and transport on their way over to the east coast…making it all that much harder on Germany.

    But this isn’t such a bad idea. Dumping American money into the Pacific forces Japan to as well rather than in Asia which is much prefered. The question of course is can the UK and Russia deal with Germany. If Germany is weak because too much of the bid went to Japan then you just might see it.

  • Very good points, all of you. Everyone has their own opinion and I love to hear about them. I think that if I were to play some of you in A&A I could explain what I mean about a 1st round Blitz by the Axis that can decide who wins or who loses. I think it is just hard to explain. Alright, thanks for the ideas.

    We have two ears and one mouth, so we can listen twice as well as we speak.
    -Albert Einstein

  • '18 '17 '16 '11 Moderator

    Mr. AgentSmith:

    I think you got the wrong impression of my arguement. Other then the bidding aspect anyway, which you got right on. What I was trying to do was point out both the pro’s and con’s to attacking Pearl on the first round.

    As for saving the sub, I have to admit, that was something I never thought to do. What I am more worried about, as the Jap player, is allowing the US to have a carrier and BB in the Atlantic. Germany has a big enough headache without having to worry about a BB and AC w/2 fighters defending US transports and an AC w/2 fighters defending British Transports. After all, there is only so much you can dump into fighters to attack enemy fleets w/o the USSR crushing you.

    Just my opinion. For the record, however, I always, ALWAYS attack Pearl. My BB’s and Sub arn’t doing anything else anyway (especially in USSR Rest. games) and if I loose a BB and/or the sub, it isnt a big deal.

    If you can force the US to blow 18 of those 36 starter IPCs on a new carrier, that’s 2 of 4 possible transports s/he can’t buy.

  • What units do you send for pearling after Man-Kwa attack by russians and uk?

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