An Axis Naval Strategy



  • Here is a generalized Axis strategy for those of you who like building naval units.  My explanation of the strategy won’t explain every detail, mainly because I haven’t actually used the strategy so I don’t know all the details and secondly even if I did know most of the answers I still wouldn’t tell you because most of the fun is figuring these things out for yourself.  I’m not sure of the best way to explain the strategy but I figure I will simply tell you what each of the Axis countries should be trying to do, either singly or collectively.

    Collectively, the Axis players have some essential goals.  In any strategy that involves primarily building a navy, the Soviet Union is going to be a real threat.  But don’t worry, they won’t be unstoppable and they won’t be growing into a monster.  The Soviet Union economy can be kept at around 30 per turn as long as the Axis players are sending around 30 IPCs worth of land units each turn towards the Soviet Union (and actually, it probably doesn’t even have to be that much).  The rest of your money will go towards naval units, as well as the occasional transport and infantry to load up in those transports.  Now, you won’t be playing totally defensively against the Soviet Union.  In fact, your first few turns may be highly aggressive against them.  I’ll go into more detail about that when I’m discussing each Axis player singly.

    Another collective goal is for the Axis players to deny the Allies as much of an economy as possible by occupying sea zones with convoys each turn.  Just look at the map.  There are a ton of sea zones with convoys in them.  But don’t overdo it with the surface ships.  You’ll have to figure out the right balance of surface ships along with transports loaded with infantry.  In order for this strategy to work, you must force the UK, ANZAC, and to a lesser extent the USA to build infantry to protect themselves from a possible invasion.  You can’t do that without transports.  The thing is, while they are building infantry, they most likely would really like to be building a fleet in an attempt to take out your navy and bring the battle to your shores.  Your transports can then pick off small islands as well as places like Brazil.  Your economy needs to be growing each turn while theirs needs to shrink each turn.  Once you dominate the seas and are making more money each turn than the Allies are, then you can switch to building more land units to take out various victory cities.

    If you are playing with the optional technology rules, then obviously you should be going for chart 2 technologies,  Every one of these technologies will help you, even radar (to shoot down more Soviet planes).  Don’t go overboard.  Perhaps buy 1 dice roll per turn for each Axis player.  Germany should not be greedy: let the Italian player pick up some of the neutrals so that their economy can get to around 25 so that even they can afford a tech roll each turn.  The Italian player should be allowed to have fun too.  With one tech roll per turn per player, statistically that is one technological advance every other turn.  It should make for a different game every time.  Of course, the Allies may be tech rolling each turn also but they won’t be able to afford it as much due to their convoys being disrupted.  However, if the Soviets get some really good chart 1 tech advances, then they could very well turn the game into an Allied victory.  Hey, there are no guarantees if you use tech rules.

    This naval strategy actually makes it more likely that the Axis will violate strict neutral territory.  As long as this strategy is working for the Axis, there is no way the Allies are going to be able to send transports to South America, Spain, or Sweden to activate them.  The transports will get sunk as soon as they are built.  The Axis can use their transports and infantry to take out one neutral after another while using their planes and bombardments for extra punch.  Admittedly, the Allies would be able to easily activate Turkey, Mongolia, Afghanistan and all of the African neutrals, so I’m not saying the Axis should definitely violate strict neutrals.  It really depends on the situation and how fast the Axis players think they can take out the neutrals to get extra income.

    Ok, now for single objectives for each Axis country.

    Germany.  For the first four or five turns, buy nothing but naval units, including enough transports to force UK into building a lot of infantry to prevent an invasion.  Build a few carriers and land fighters on them to protect your fleet.  Build a ton of subs to convoy raid.  With the plunder from France as well as your national objectives, you can afford a very large navy in four or five turns.  It’s going to take the Soviets that long to finally match the tanks, planes, artillery and infantry that you have.  Plus, since your goal is to dominate the Atlantic, you can send every land unit to the Russian front to try to stalemate them.  Destroy as much of the UK navy as you can on turn 1 and prevent them from rebuilding their navy while you start taking out their economy by disrupting convoys in the Atlantic.  You may even consider attacking the Soviets on turn 1.  I read in another thread about attacking the Soviets on turn 1, not to conquer them, but to destroy enough of their infantry and force them to spend a turn or two rebuilding their infantry before they can get around to building up more offensive units.  I’m not sure how many Soviet infantry you can take out turn 1 if you are also taking out France and the UK navy but it may be worth a try.  Be sure to occupy SZ 125 to prevent the Soviets from gaining their national objective.

    After the first four or five turns, start building more infantry each turn to stalemate and/or trade territories with the Soviets.  At first, you may be doing most of the sending of infantry to the Soviets, but as Italy builds up its economy they can contribute more.  Use your naval bases and transports to pick off islands such as Cuba and bigger prizes such as Brazil.

    Italy.  You may have to totally rebuild your navy depending on what UK does.  But with all those German naval builds, it may actually be a mistake for UK to destroy your navy.  Who knows.  At any rate, your primary goal is to activate/conquer enough neutrals to get your economy rolling and build one or two subs each turn.  Your subs will mainly be used to disrupt convoys all around Africa while Germany is taking care of the Atlantic convoy territories.  Like Germany, an occasional transport build here and there to actually take out territory will be useful.  Try to relieve Germany by sending as many infantry as you can afford to the Russian front.  I think this is a really cool strategy for Italy since they actually will get to do something.

    Japan.  You will probably have the hardest role to play in all of this.  You have to get your economy large enough to really crank out the naval units and start disrupting convoy seazones in the Pacific.  You also have to make sure that the Soviets ALWAYS have at least one original territory no longer in their possession or they will gain 6 IPCs for EACH original German territory that they control.  You have to put enough pressure on India to make sure they don’t go through the Suez canal and crush Italy.  And you have to do all this while putting enough pressure on the USA to force them to build infantry and/or fleet in the Pacific theatre so that they can’t use all their money to crush the German fleet.

    Notice I haven’t mentioned Japan taking out China.  That’s because I highly doubt they can do all the above AND still take out China.  In fact, I doubt they can do all the above and even keep the original Chinese territories that they control.  If you can, more power to you.  But perhaps it’s more realistic to plan a slow retreat out of China  as you gain other territories.  Where should those infantry go?  Probably, most of them should go towards India just to keep the UK from going wild against Italy.  With a large enough navy, it should be fairly easy to take out  Honolulu and Sydney, giving you an extra 10 IPCs in national objectives.  The USA can prevent this by building mainly in the Pacific, but then Germany has an easier time in the Atlantic.  Also, remember you will be sending a few infantry each turn into the Soviet Union in order to force the Soviets not to focus totally on Germany.

    As Japan, you won’t necessarily be trying to take out every territory that you can.  It may suffice to allow the Allies to keep a territory while your naval units are disrupting convoys and denying them from actually benefiting from owning the territory.

    Ok, that is the summary of my strategy.  I’m sure I’ve left out a few things that I’ve thought about discussing but it will have to do.  If the Axis can actually pull off a win using this general strategy, then it will certainly make for a different game compared to previous versions of Axis and Allies.  Also, there are many questions that need to be answered before anyone can say that this strategy definitely won’t work.  Here are some questions I can think of off the top of my hat:

    1.  Should Japan attack UK/ANZAC/USA round 1?  Or should they position their units better?

    2.  Should Japan attack the Soviets on round 1?

    3.  For all of the Axis players, what exactly is the ideal mix between attacking naval ships versus transports?

    4.  How many neutrals can Germany allow Italy to take so that Italy can actually do something without compromising its (Germany’s) position?

    5.  How much money should be spent on tech rolls?

    6.  Should the Japanese navy try to link up with the German and Italian navies if the USA invests heavily in the Atlantic?

    There are many questions that need to be answered in order to perfect this strategy.  I have no idea if this strategy can win the Axis many games but I do know that if you lose with this strategy, you will be able to ask yourself, “What if I had done this one thing differently?  Would the Axis have won the game then?”  It will take many games before you exhaust all the questions that can be asked about this strategy.  And this is just one naval strategy that I’ve thought of.  I’m sure there are many other strategies that will be thought of for both the Axis side and the Allied side.  This global game will really take years to master.



  • Wow, I’m a bit surprised that this thread has got over 150 views but no responses.  When I wrote this strategy I didn’t actually have the game set up and I had forgotten how much each side in the Pacific started off with since it’s been a long time since I’ve played Pacific.  After actually realizing that UK starts off at only 16 IPCs per turn and after looking at the board, I think this strategy actually has a good chance of succeeding.  I mean, Japan can take Hong Kong, Malaya and Borneo and reduce the Pacific UK down to under half its starting income in a couple of turns.  Then it would take four subs to keep them down to zero due to convoy disruptions.  Keep a few surface ships/planes nearby to prevent any destroyers from coming from S. Africa.  Or even invade Africa since all those infantry in India are now useless.  If I counted correctly, Africa is worth 11 IPCs to the UK… five subs total can knock all that out.  Surely Italy and Japan can build five subs between the two of them.  Actually, as my original post mentioned, you should let Italy do it to let them have some of the fun.  At this point, with national objectives, Italy is at around 25-30 from Germany allowing them to take some of the neutrals, Germany is at around 50, and Japan around 60.  They are only sending about 10 IPCs each in land units to hold off Russia… that’s around 90 IPCs in naval units each turn compared to USA’s 80.  Not to mention that they start off with such a huge advantage in naval units compared to the USA.  Russia can forget about building nothing but naval units to counter the Axis… the 30 IPCs of land units the Axis are building will see to that.

    The one thing the Allies will have going for them is that those Axis naval units will have to spread themselves out thin in order to disrupt all those convoys.  But can they take out enough subs before they get hopelessly behind in production?



  • Our gaming group got the game on Tuesday.

    Since then we have played 2 games and in both games the Americans have bought heavy navy from the beginning of the game and wiped the German subs off the sea lanes. The Italian navy has never lasted more than one turn. The Japanese have fought kicking and screaming but they never really got rolling in any game we played.

    As far as your pure Axis naval strategy goes, I have not seen it tried yet.

    My initial view is that victory hangs on a razor’s edge for the Axis. If any of the Axis powers makes any mistakes in strategy at all then the United States is free to move the remaining Axis powers with almost overwhelming force.

    Which I suppose is the way it is supposed to be.

    Let me play a few more games….

    Redjac



  • Wow, I’m a bit surprised that this thread has got over 150 views but no responses.

    Well, for me personally (and I hope I dont come over like a jackass, because I dont intend to) your …very… long post contains too much but’s and if’s, and is to generalised to even comment on. You mainly describe basic mechanics, and no cold hard strategy. Too many questions unanswered etc, for me to retort on.

    Yes, it sounds good, but to me, this pretty much seems like my basis approach of the game when I will play it for the first time. Gain economic advantage by controlling the Atlantic and keeping UK and USA busy fiddling on the ocean, while ignoring Russia at first and prepping for an all out attack on Russia in the end.

    Good strategy, in my opinion  😄



  • I like the strategy but what are the logistics?



  • Bah, better use would be to simply have the Germans build 2-4 air a turn.  This will really limit US/UK options as far as navy goes.  Add in a handful of subs to force them to trade destroyers to take them out.  Combine that with Japan going after the allies in this priority order (assuming allies ignore pacific).

    1. DEI - you need the money, on the turn you war dec or turn after these should all be captured.

    2. India - 8 IPCs and a factory/bases to stage from to hit africa

    3. Pearl - 6 more IPCs and makes the VC win a bit more of an option.

    4. LA Raid - You can deny the US 12 IPCs with 6 subs alone.  This is going to put the US income a bit closer to germany’s.

    5. ANZAC - Take 'em all.  Use your overwhelming airpower to do this quickly and efficiently.

    6. Egypt/South Africa - Gives you a good chance to help Italy get more money.

    7. Polar Express - You should have income advantage on the US once you take your 3 VC NOs, plus a major in Korea and you can even leverage almost the same number of units.  Might not take the US but it sure will pressure 'em.

    DEI can all be taken turn 3, probably pearl as well with the war dec and possibly even India depending on where the planes are.  ANZAC should fall turn 4, 5 at the latest and around this time your subs should be built.  Then its either africa or US, up to you.



  • @bugoo:

    Bah, better use would be to simply have the Germans build 2-4 air a turn.  This will really limit US/UK options as far as navy goes.  Add in a handful of subs to force them to trade destroyers to take them out.  Combine that with Japan going after the allies in this priority order (assuming allies ignore pacific).

    1. DEI - you need the money, on the turn you war dec or turn after these should all be captured.

    2. India - 8 IPCs and a factory/bases to stage from to hit africa

    3. Pearl - 6 more IPCs and makes the VC win a bit more of an option.

    4. LA Raid - You can deny the US 12 IPCs with 6 subs alone.  This is going to put the US income a bit closer to germany’s.

    5. ANZAC - Take 'em all.  Use your overwhelming airpower to do this quickly and efficiently.

    6. Egypt/South Africa - Gives you a good chance to help Italy get more money.

    7. Polar Express - You should have income advantage on the US once you take your 3 VC NOs, plus a major in Korea and you can even leverage almost the same number of units.  Might not take the US but it sure will pressure 'em.

    DEI can all be taken turn 3, probably pearl as well with the war dec and possibly even India depending on where the planes are.  ANZAC should fall turn 4, 5 at the latest and around this time your subs should be built.  Then its either africa or US, up to you.

    Any US who ignores Pacific is an idiot



  • @strategic:

    I like the strategy but what are the logistics?

    Try this and see how it goes:

    G1:  Build five subs.  Use two subs to take out  the British destroyer by Canada.  Use three subs to take out the destroyer by the UK.  Ignore the battleship and cruiser by Scotland.  Use your airforce to take out the rest of the British fleet that you can reach.  The point is to sacrifice your airforce to keep your navy alive.  You may even use your bomber with the three subs and take it as a hit if the destroyer hits you back.  Then noncombat your battleship and cruiser into SZ 109 with your three subs.  Place your new subs in SZ 112.  This gives you 10 subs (if both of them by Canada survived), 1 battleship and 1 cruiser.  The UK can most likely destroy any one  of your fleets but there is no way they can destroy the other two.  SZ 109 is more important to them since they got to take out that fleet in order to prevent you from convoy raiding 8 IPCs.  The side benefit of them taking out your fleet in SZ 109 is that the Italian navy will not be destroyed and they can then quickly secure the med and earn their national objective.  If UK attacks the Italians anyway then no problem since you now are convoy raiding them for 11 IPCs (assuming that both of your subs off Canada survived).

    J1:  Do not make any attacks that would get the USA involved in the war.  Since the USA gets to declare war on you at the end of turn 3 and get their income bonus on that turn, you will be attacking the UK/ANZAC/USA on turn 3.  Of course, you can still attack the Soviets with your infantry and massive airforce.  Just make sure that airforce is in position by turn 3 to take out the DEI, Malaya, Hong Kong, the Phillipines and the British fleet (if they are still in the area) on turn 3.

    I1:  Either secure the med on turn 1 if your fleet survived or start rebuilding if it didn’t.  You may have to save your money for one turn in order to build more naval units on turn 2.  Also, take out as many friendly neutrals that you can as well as Southern France and Greece.  Once all enemy destroyers are gone then you can build subs without fear of being attacked.

    G2:  Build 10 subs.  By the end of turn 3, you want to have around 25 subs.

    Remember, you goal isn’t so much to take out territories right away but to deny UK /ANZAC/USA IPCs by convoy raiding them.  After the first 4 or 5 turns, you have to spend some money buying infantry to protect yourself from the Soviets.

    I haven’t tried this, but it seems like it would be possible for Germany to take out the West Indies on turn 3 while Japan takes out Brazil, also on turn 3.  All three of the Axis would have to coordinate this to pull it off.  Then, on turn 4, Germany builds an airbase while some of the Japanese airforce lands on West Indies, allowing them to scramble if the USA attacks back.  Perhaps Japan should also build a minor IC on Brazil to help dominate the Atlantic


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