With just a few U.S. battleships and cruisers running loose in the Pacific, it’s as easy taking Japanese islands as dropping your kid off for soccer practice.
I liked this, it made me laugh. Is it true? Kind of… with some qualifications.
In actuality, even with the extensive defensive preparations of the Japanese, the casualties they inflicted upon the Americans were rarely better than 30-50% of their own; often, the Japanese would suffer 10x US casualty rates in these encounters.
So, sure, single infantry often disappear without much of a fight from isolated islands in the Pacific… but that’s just what you’d expect, and how it ought to play out. The defenders are cut off from their supply lines, hopelessly outnumbered, and driven to desperate tactics in rather short order.
If you want a game that lengthens that feeling of close combat and attrition, you’d probably be better off making a mod for Guadalcanal than the core series… but I think that Entrenchment at least partially captures what you’re going for, as well as simulating the fortification of key land-locked areas like Stalingrad, without becoming unbalancing.
As for your question about money, i.e., why charge 2 IPCs for Entrenchment? This surcharge is justified because you’re basically adding another unit to the board, without having to build a factory, anywhere you have an infantry. Shipping building materials, ammo, and heavy weapons to the defensive sites would cost some money, and this ought to be reflected in the game. If the place is important for you to keep, entrench it. If not, let it wither on the vine and get (re)captured.
The fact is that most Japan players won’t bother to entrench the islands you have in mind, because there’s no real advantage to keeping them, except to deny the US a minor NO. They’d (rightly) rather buttress their territories on the Chinese mainland, or the ‘money islands’ in the Dutch East Indies.
I think that’s why you’re pushing for this to become a general, automatic rule for all amphibious assaults: for very logical reasons, you don’t trust players to build Entrenchments on their own, but at the same time you want to preserve the flavor of having epic battles in the Pacific (and feel cheated when those are absent). I sympathize somewhat with that sentiment.
However, to advocate your rule for general use, I’d need to see a table listing all of the original Axis-controlled coastal and island territories, with an inventory of all the starting units stationed there, and compare this with a column containing the same data for the Allies. Because, without this information – detailing and analyzing the opportunities and costs for both sides – it’s very difficult to see the full implications of your proposal.
Your rule will, inevitably, favor one side over the other. The Axis, as an early-game attacker, will be punished by it when they try to equalize their IPCs, and the Allies, as a late-game attacker, will be punished by it when they go in for the final kill. Overall, my feeling is that this will harm the Axis far more than the Allies, by taking the edge off of their attacks in a game wherein they already seem to be systematically disadvantaged (AA40 v.3.9)… This is my main beef with it.