Responses in red below.
In all of the games I have played . . . the only naval buys I’ve seen from Germany are an aircraft carrier and transports (or a battleship replacing the AC) and those naval forces have always been put in the Mediterranean to help out Africa (which personally I don’t think works well.) Plus it is better to buy an AC and two DDs on R1, as cruisers cost . . . You either mean buying AC/destroyers UK1 or you mean UK’s turn on Round 1, not “R1”. As far as Germany going to Africa, I’ve rarely seen it well implemented, which doesn’t mean that it can’t work well. For the record, my opinion is that it IS risky to build German Med fleet, but I do not say it is “wrong” like I say a Russian R1 attack against West Russia, Norway, and Ukraine is “wrong” in dice games.
One of my favorite moves as the UK is to load up the transport with two infantries from India and do an amphibious assult on French Indochina, as Fleetwood Dan said, walking over the last man and flying in the fighter and bombarding with the cruiser. It takes a good chunk out of Japan’s income and really makes the attack on China difficult, especially since you can fly your fighter to China, giving the area two fighters and two infantries as a defense. Your carrier should attack the transport in SZ59, killing it off. Now for your Australian fleet. Your sub can either attack the Japanese sub in SZ45, keeping it from hitting Pearl Harbor, or going to the SZ adjacent to New Guinea. With the transport by Australia you could load up two men and take New Guinea. . . . It is often difficult to retake AES on the first turn unless bad dice is involved, so usually the USA will retake it (in my games). If the Germans survive with only one unit the UK could fly in their bomber and attack with an infantry from Trans-Jordan.
You must be playing Spring 1942 because you’re mentioning cruisers at India. But the Spring 1942 rules allow subs to submerge, so your attack against the Japanese sub won’t do anything if the Jap player doesn’t want it to.
As far as attacking French Indochina and landing in China, and that it’s “difficult to retake AES (Anglo Egypt Sudan) on the first turn.” elaboration below.
THE SHORT VERSION:
When you hit French Indochina, you’re doing a lot of things that may not end too well for the Allies… First, you’re giving up Africa to Germany early. Second, you’re losing units in the Suez Canal area, meaning you give up control of the Suez Canal or forcing Russia to divert forces from the European front. Third, you’re probably losing that UK fighter on Japan’s opening round. True, you have a small plus in that you could take out a Jap fighter, and weakening Japan means Japan advances slowly on India. But on the balance, I would say hitting French Indochina is better for the Axis than the Allies.
THE FINE PRINT VERSION:
If Germany hits Anglo-Egypt and UK doesn’t take it back, Germany can blitz through Africa next turn. UK loses income very quickly, and Germany gains income. It takes some time before US can reclaim Africa, and by that time Japan can be working together with Germany to preserve German territory. Germany with lots of income, particularly in Africa, is a double whammy for the Allies. The first whammy is that every IPC in GERMAN hands means more German infantry and tanks, especially as Germany can produce up to 16 units a turn. The second whammy is that every IPC taken away from UK hands means less attacking power. So German infantry are upgraded to tanks, which are super good for Germany’s defense and offense, while UK tanks are downgraded to infantry.
Second, with UK blowing its load on French Indochina, there is a nasty possibility of Germany locking up control of the Suez Canal on G2 (Germany’s second turn) allowing a J2 (Japan’s second turn) movement through the Suez of a battleship and a carrier. If that happens, the Axis have up to two battleships, a carrier, and two fighters defending the Mediterranean, which pretty much shuts the Allies out of any early air attacks. That means that Germany gets to keep its Mediterranean transport, which it can use to dump to Africa or Ukraine/Caucasus. I want to be clear that this is not a decisive advantage for the Axis, but it is pretty significant, so long as Germany doesn’t overdo it. Maintaining a battleship support shot plus up to two infantry moving straight from Southern Europe to Ukraine/Caucasus (skipping one or two turns of movement), or being able to run interference in Africa, are bonuses that can be very ugly - particularly, because Germany has its whole airforce that can respond to the Africa and Mediterranean position, and can quickly and easily send ground forces to any number of targets with the maneuverability of the German transport.
In KGF, Germany often completely loses all its territory in Africa late game when the Allies push in; later Japan usually retakes much of Africa if the situation permits. This isn’t because the Axis want to fuel Japan’s giant income while mostly giving up hope on Germany. It’s usually because the Allies FORCE the position into that situation because it is more favorable for the Allies than Germany maintaining control of, or even being able to contest control of African IPCs.
Japan’s early game push should use 4-6 transports, using 5th and 6th transports to grab infantry off islands and/or to hit Hawaiian Islands/Alaska/Australia/New Zealand/Africa (AS THE GAME PERMITS). Later, Japan will probably grab an industrial complex at French Indochina or India if it can be managed, to pump tanks to bolster the infantry that was sent in on earlier rounds. At that point, 3 or 4 more IPCs to Japan makes little difference. On the other hand, 3 or 4 more IPCs to Germany makes a big difference; it’s able to pump more or higher quality defensive units, which makes it much tougher to crack, which also means Germany can contest territory in Europe more effectively, further boosting Germany’s potential income.
With Germany units in Africa, Japan doesn’t have to run as many units in to help at Africa. With less Japanese units diverted to Africa, Japan can send even more at Caucasus/Moscow, which makes the main threat against Moscow that much stronger.
All this might be no problem if the Allies had early gains to offset these disadvantages. But Japan can use its Japan transport to hit French Indochina on Japan’s first turn, and it still has four infantry plus air to hit China with. (I assume one infantry is kept back at Manchuria in case of Russian units at Buryatia). Japan can afford to hit US’s Hawaiian Islands fleet with sub/cruiser/fighter/bomber, while using its four remaining fighters to support the attacks on French Indochina and China. From that position, the Japanese transport at French Indochina can pick up two infantry from East Indies on J2 to bolster Japan’s position near India. So Japan’s position does not suffer too badly.
True, Russia COULD move infantry to Persia on R1 and position tanks in Caucasus (usually a good idea anyways). But if UK bails out of Africa to go after French Indochina, that forces either for Russia to move units significantly away from the European position, or to give up the Suez, with the aforementioned consequences.
You stated that Africa was difficult to retake from Germany if I understood your post correctly. I disagree; Germany’s opening allows 2 infantry 2 tanks plus one or two air units attacking infantry/tank/fighter. Either Germany loses expensive air (unlikely), or it over-commits air against Anglo-Egypt (reducing its ability to hit other targets so also unlikely), or whatever, but in any event probably Germany survives with at MOST three units. UK’s counter is 3 infantry 1 fighter 1 bomber minimum (2 infantry via India transport, 1 infantry from TransJordan, fighter from India fleet, bomber from UK), plus UK cruiser support shot. The UK AC can attack the Japanese Kwangtung transport.
As a parting note, I recommend UK do one of two things with its UK sub near Australia. Either UK can move its sub to a position from which the UK sub can hit French Indochina sea zone on UK2 (this prevents an unsupported Japanese transport from floating around). Or it can move to a position from which it can hit the sea zone east of Japan, especially if the UK carrier, a UK fighter or two, and the UK bomber are in position. If Japan keeps its fleet west of Japan, it slows its development in Asia a lot. If Japan leaves its fleet east of Japan, UK can hit with a maximum of carrier, cruiser, three fighters, and a bomber on the next UK turn. If Russia maintained control of Buryatia, US can hit the sea zone east of Japan on US1 with sub and fighter, softening it up for the UK2 attack.