Japanese perspective: Building US fleet in the Caroline Islands



  • Hey guys, I’m sure this has been discussed at length somewhere around here. Perhaps one of you could be kind enough to direct me to the topic discussion? I’m still trying to figure out how to search the forums effectively…

    I was hoping to get your thoughts playing as Japan how you deal with a building US fleet in the Caroline Islands once they have captured it. From the naval base in SZ 33 the US fleet can pretty much hit up anywhere from the capital (Tokyo), all the way down the coast line, as well as the Philippines and most of the money island (Celebes, Borneo and Java). With all of Japan’s commitments westward (China, Calcutta, the money islands, and maybe even in Russia) how do you keep the US in check when they have so many options from a base in SZ 33? I usually end up consolidating most of my navy in SZ 6 to protect Tokyo but that leaves the money islands exposed to the south to the US, Anzac and to a lesser extent the UK Pacific. If I take my navy south I feel like I’m leaving Tokyo exposed, even though I know I have land scrambles and Kamikaze options if they do get brave. Sitting in Tokyo harbour, I feel like I’m giving the UK Pacific player confidence there’s no convoy or amphibious threat on Calcutta…

    I feel like there’s a better way to deal with this… Knowing the positional value, how hard do you try to hold the Caroline Islands?

    Interested to know your opinions. Cheers.

    (Note: I’ve assumed a “typical” pacific scenario progresses where you’ve launched either J1 or J2 attack and have not attacked Russia)



  • I’ve seen some players toss 3 fighters on the Carolines to hold it for a round or 2 until the USA can get troops in position to take it.
    This can slow down the USA a tiny bit, especially if they haven’t built any additional transports. I usually don’t bother. I prefer to have all my planes doing more useful things elsewhere.

    The fact is, long term you can’t defend the Carolines. It is simply too close to Australia and Hawaii and too far away from home to hold while still making progress everywhere else.

    What I like to do is keep my fleet at the Philippine Islands. It already has an airbase and naval base for you and is close enough for your fleet to punish anything the allies send to the DEI or SZ 6.
    It also keeps the USA from retaking the Philippines.
    Put all your planes that aren’t on carriers on an airbase so that they can reach SZ 6 if the USA goes there.
    If the allied fleet is small enough (which it probably is), putting all your planes directly on the Philippines can force them to back off.



  • If you can get an air base and a naval base on FIC, you have many options to counter attack.  If the Allies move to SZ 6 or the money islands, you can hit them with your combined navy and air force.  Eventually you will lose in the Pacific, but even delaying them a single more turn will give Germany sufficient time to conquer Russia.

    Also note that getting convoy raided in SZ 6 isn’t that bad.  In that  spot, the Allies will have to constantly spend more to maintain force superiority, while Japan can produce planes as a dual protection of Tokyo and a threat to the Allied fleet.



  • @ChocolatePancake:

    What I like to do is keep my fleet at the Philippine Islands. It already has an airbase and naval base for you and is close enough for your fleet to punish anything the allies send to the DEI or SZ 6.
    It also keeps the USA from retaking the Philippines.
    Put all your planes that aren’t on carriers on an airbase so that they can reach SZ 6 if the USA goes there.
    If the allied fleet is small enough (which it probably is), putting all your planes directly on the Philippines can force them to back off.

    Are you leaving SZ6 undefended in this situation and just keeping enough land defence on Tokyo to prevent any possibility of a successful amphibious assault? Where are you building any new navy units if your factories on the mainland are supposed to be committed to ground units moving west?

    I see some of the merits of not worrying about defending SZ6 with all the counter options you point out with air from China, Tokyo and the air/naval from the Philippines. I also like the flexibility of being based at the Philippines. Lots of options from there.

    Sometimes I find some of my air force further south on the mainland, like French Indo-China, which can’t reach SZ6 (with fighters/tacs unless landing on a carrier). That problem should be easily fixed though using better situational awareness (or by building an airbase as Arthur just pointed out!).


  • '15

    The trick is to let them come to you for the first 5-7 rounds. You must keep your planes, as often as possible, in a position to be able to destroy the Americans if they advance (Kwangsi air base is popular). If you must move your planes to finish China, take Calcutta, or land in Australia to prep for the kill, get your planes back into position to threaten a counterattack against an American incursion ASAP.

    The Philippines is a fantastic counter-staging point against Caroline, and FIC with a naval base/mIC (and Kwangsi air base) is also quite alright.

    If they go to SZ 6, they are going to need to leave some destroyer blocks to trip you up. If they don’t, you can annihilate them if it’s before round 5, probably even round 6. Your air (assuming you haven’t lost a lot for some (bad) reason) plus your initial fleet is enough for at least 60/40 odds in Japan’s favor, and if you’ve been building a few boats here and there, you’ll be fine. German bombers coming from the Atlantic throws a spanner into any American destroyer block machinations, to the point where I almost ask/do this every game as soon as it’s practical.

    You can leave SZ 6 relatively undefended. The destroyer block between hawaii/japan goes without saying, and buys you one round every game (unless the US is mobilizing on midway, which is kinda fantastic to see as Japan because then their mobility southward is hamstrung, so now you know exactly what they’re doing and can prepare). The only thing that matters about SZ 6 is that 1: you keep your capital of course, and 2: if the 18+2 far east ruskies stayed east, then having the Americans in Korea with that stack of slavic crap moving in to reinforce them is a real pain.

    I often leave 1-3 fighters on Japan, and am building at least one or two boats after J2 in SZ6. Even if you don’t scramble your fighters to defend a boat or two in SZ 6, the fact that you could will force America to invest something into the fight there if they advance. Maybe they over-invest themselves if you’re lucky.

    If America moves in juicy targets to SZ (carriers, cruisers) on a combat move, then by all means kamikaze the shit out of them if you can prep yourself for a counterrattack. A decent American player, however, will not do this early on.

    By or just after round 7, it’s very hard to speak in generics, but America can, and should, have more than Japan can handle at their disposal. Your hope then is that Germany is winning the war on the other side of the world, and that the dice are on your side because any naval battles won’t be better than 50/50 for you. Mutually assured naval destruction is not so bad in the Pacific for the Axis if Japan’s economic heart is strong enough to bounce back and retake some Money islands and almost match American naval spending. If America comes back for round 2, Japan probably won’t remain standing, but if America has to come back for round 2, the European Axis should have been bought all the time they need. Japan has done well.

    A decent American player will never let you attack him with favorable odds on Caroline, especially with some ANZAC planes/boats there to help out on the defense. Best case: You make him pull back to Sydney/Hawaii. It’s very hard to hit US/ANZAC on either of those, since Japanese planes don’t have a good terrestrial landing zone.

    At the end of the day, your goal is to hold out as long as you can if America goes near-full or full investment in the Pacific. Every round after the 5th that you force the allies to purchase heavily the Pacific is a small victory in of itself. And hell, with a little bit of diceluck, you can may even be able to go toe to toe with America/ANZAC for quite a while.

    If America consistently invests a lot in Europe (which you won’t see often in high levels of play), then it’s Japan’s turn to go ass wild, and ass wild you should go.



  • @teslas:

    The trick is to let them come to you for the first 5-7 rounds. You must keep your planes, as often as possible, in a position to be able to destroy the Americans if they advance (Kwangsi air base is popular). If you must move your planes to finish China, take Calcutta, or land in Australia to prep for the kill, get your planes back into position to threaten a counterattack against an American incursion ASAP.

    The Philippines is a fantastic counter-staging point against Caroline, and FIC with a naval base/mIC (and Kwangsi air base) is also quite alright.

    If they go to SZ 6, they are going to need to leave some destroyer blocks to trip you up. If they don’t, you can annihilate them if it’s before round 5, probably even round 6. Your air (assuming you haven’t lost a lot for some (bad) reason) plus your initial fleet is enough for at least 60/40 odds in Japan’s favor, and if you’ve been building a few boats here and there, you’ll be fine. German bombers coming from the Atlantic throws a spanner into any American destroyer block machinations, to the point where I almost ask/do this every game as soon as it’s practical.

    You can leave SZ 6 relatively undefended. The destroyer block between hawaii/japan goes without saying, and buys you one round every game (unless the US is mobilizing on midway, which is kinda fantastic to see as Japan because then their mobility southward is hamstrung, so now you know exactly what they’re doing and can prepare). The only thing that matters about SZ 6 is that 1: you keep your capital of course, and 2: if the 18+2 far east ruskies stayed east, then having the Americans in Korea with that stack of slavic crap moving in to reinforce them is a real pain.

    I often leave 1-3 fighters on Japan, and am building at least one or two boats after J2 in SZ6. Even if you don’t scramble your fighters to defend a boat or two in SZ 6, the fact that you could will force America to invest something into the fight there if they advance. Maybe they over-invest themselves if you’re lucky.

    If America moves in juicy targets to SZ (carriers, cruisers) on a combat move, then by all means kamikaze the ���� out of them if you can prep yourself for a counterrattack. A decent American player, however, will not do this early on.

    By or just after round 7, it’s very hard to speak in generics, but America can, and should, have more than Japan can handle at their disposal. Your hope then is that Germany is winning the war on the other side of the world, and that the dice are on your side because any naval battles won’t be better than 50/50 for you. Mutually assured naval destruction is not so bad in the Pacific for the Axis if Japan’s economic heart is strong enough to bounce back and retake some Money islands and almost match American naval spending. If America comes back for round 2, Japan probably won’t remain standing, but if America has to come back for round 2, the European Axis should have been bought all the time they need. Japan has done well.

    A decent American player will never let you attack him with favorable odds on Caroline, especially with some ANZAC planes/boats there to help out on the defense. Best case: You make him pull back to Sydney/Hawaii. It’s very hard to hit US/ANZAC on either of those, since Japanese planes don’t have a good terrestrial landing zone.

    At the end of the day, your goal is to hold out as long as you can if America goes near-full or full investment in the Pacific. Every round after the 5th that you force the allies to purchase heavily the Pacific is a small victory in of itself. And hell, with a little bit of diceluck, you can may even be able to go toe to toe with America/ANZAC for quite a while.

    If America consistently invests a lot in Europe (which you won’t see often in high levels of play), then it’s Japan’s turn to go ass wild, and ass wild you should go.

    Great insight teslas. Thanks.

    Point especially well taken re: the 1-2 move into Korea with the 18 Soviet infantry and 2 AA guns ready to come down and the inevitable US minor factory popping up in at the end of the next turn. I’ve executed that move and so don’t want it happening to me. Perhaps that’s part of the reason I’ve been playing the Japanese navy so conservatively after J3, to a fault.



  • @teslas:

    You can leave SZ 6 relatively undefended. The destroyer block between hawaii/japan goes without saying, and buys you one round every game

    Just for clarity, you mean a single destroyer in SZ 16?

    What is the typical US response to this? Do you find that it gets removed every turn (by air from Hawaii) and has to be replaced (so basically a sink of 8 IPC per turn)? Or is it typically ignored?


  • '15

    Yes, a Japanese destroyer in SZ 16.

    You’ve got three responses available to the US that I am aware of:

    1: Move your entire fleet into SZ 16 to kill the blocker. Units can also come directly from the US west coast to SZ 15, meaning everything can converge on SZ 6 in the following round (or to Wake/Hawaii if you somehow scare them away (or perhaps midway if they put a naval base there)). If nothing else, you know for sure they’re coming.

    And:

    2: Sending planes to kill it. 1/3 chance they lose a 10 IPC plane. Basically a 3/3 chance Japan loses an 8 IPC destroyer.

    3: Actually sending a submarine or destroyer to kill it along with planes. (This is not a very smart play if America has enough planes for #2 alone to be viable, but some people don’t realize this.)

    (4: Staging on Midway on a new naval base instead, but like I said, this is kinda silly for America and great for Japan unless they weren’t able to hit your destroyer block on the turn before for some reason.)

    #'s 2 and 3 are very annoying, and not great for Japan, and are obviously not very sustainable, so this is why the destroyer block is something you should only do when necessary.

    This is why I like to keep 1-3 fighters (usually 3) on Japan proper and build, or at least keep, one or two boats there per turn. If America does want to come swooping in to SZ 6, they are going to need enough to get through 1-2 boats and fighters. This means they must either over-invest (because you didn’t scramble), or they under-invest and then you kill them for (hopefully) a decent ratio when you do scramble. If they over-invest, kamikazes are an option (see edit), but maybe more importantly it means that whatever they sent to stand up to your boats/planes is now within range for a super nice counterattack with subs/planes.

    Obvious times when the destroyer block is worth it:
    -America has enough transports on Hawaii to make Japan worry about its capital, or potentially Korea.
    -Japan built a lot of navy (more than one or two boats) on SZ 6 and wants to keep it alive.

    Moreover, buying 1-2 boats a round off of Japan and keeping planes there means that if america tries to pre-block you in SZ 16 (moving in, say, some amount of destroyers to SZ 16 and SZ 25 while his fleet is coming from Panama/Sydney, to in effect block your attempts to block him with only a simple destroyer of your own), you have boats and planes available to you to destroy his block-blocker in SZ 16 and remain able to delay him for a round.

    I keep 1-3 fighters there starting from J1, and begin building 1-2 boats there J3+ in most instances.

    edit-
    Last bit of advice: If you think there’s a good chance America is going to bring in a lot of navy on its noncom to SZ 6 after attacking it with a smaller force (or they telegraph this intention by bringing a lot of planes to the fight in SZ6), and Japan is sitting on FIC/Philipines with all of its navy/air in range to attack on the very next round, do not be stingy with your Kamikazes. If you can destroy even one more destroyer before the big navy clash, that can swing the probability by something like 5 (+/- 2)%. The entire Pacific depends on a massive fight such as this. 1% would be worth it, let alone more, and you might even hit multiple boats if you’re a lucky b��t��d. When it’s crunch time, smoke 'em if you got 'em.


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