Yes it is feasible…in fact I just lost a match to a friend who controls Japan taking half of Africa and becoming an unstoppable monster!
Japanese Air Blitz from Kwangtung to Caucasus?
Has anyone tried sending 4+ Japanese planes to the Russian front on turns 1 and 2? How did it work out for you? Is there a counter? I have a couple of loosely related ideas in mind.
One is that you can send Japanese fighters to reinforce a German-held Caucasus. As I understand the orthodox strategies, the Germans typically can’t force their way into the Caucasus earlier than G4; the Russians might choose to trade the territory to conserve units, but the Caucasus is at minimum a dead zone for the Germans in the opening rounds, because of the large Russian stack in West Russia and the fresh Russian production in Moscow.
But it’s pretty trivial for Japan to land 5 fighters in, say, Kwangtung on J1 – you only need to send one fighter off to fight the Battle of Midway, and the rest are all in range of Kwangtung after performing their usual duties. From Kwangtung, those 5 fighters can reach the Caucasus on J2 with a move to spare, allowing them to fight in a Chinese battle on J2 before landing in the Caucasus. Meanwhile, the Germans can get something like 4 inf, 6 tnk into the Caucasus on G2 (more if Russia doesn’t crush Ukraine on G1). Can Russia really defeat a stack of 4 inf, 6 tnk, 5 ftr in the Caucasus on R3 while still holding West Russia against the rest of the German army? If not, isn’t Russia kind of doomed? I think if the Axis can force Russia out of West Russia or the Caucasus for good on the third turn, they’re well ahead of schedule…but it really doesn’t slow the Japanese advance much to leave some fighters in the Caucasus on turns 2 and 3. After a couple of turns, the Germans will have built enough infantry on-site to help protect the Caucasus themselves, freeing the Japanese fighters up for other campaigns…or the Japanese could double down, building another 5 fighters on J1/J2 and flying that new stack of fighters west to help protect an early German incursion into Karelia or Archangel.
Two is that you could build bombers from the get-go – 2 on J1, and 3 on J2 – and fly them all to Kwangtung or whatever makes sense, and then start bombing Moscow in earnest on J3. Sure, the Allies can fly in fighters to protect Moscow, and they can afford to build more fighters if you’re not putting heavy pressure on India – but will that really make up for the loss of ~12 IPC / turn from the Japanese bombers? The Russians don’t have 12 IPCs to spare, and the Allied air isn’t as effective without at least a moderate stack of Russian infantry to support. Also, the bombers still threaten India just as effectively from Kwangtung – each turn, the British have to decide whether to land their stack of fighters in Moscow or Calcutta, but each turn, the Japanese can land their stack of bombers in Kwangtung, and hit whichever target seems appealing without having to reposition at all. Kwangtung’s a nice, even three spaces from both targets, and the Japanese start in possession of Kwangtung, and there’s really no way to kick them out of it once the Japanese fighters start landing there.
So where’s the counter to this strategy? What am I missing?
Even if Russia doesn’t smash Ukraine in R1, can’t they simply retake Caucasus R2 while simultaneously deadzoning any German reinforcements from entering Ukraine on G1?
OK, that’s a really good point. If Russia does take Ukraine on R1 and stacks in West Russia, then Ukraine is almost certainly deadzoned on G1, so Germany can’t march infantry into Ukraine on G1, so Germany can’t march infantry into the Caucasus on G2. That’s the part I was missing – it’s not enough to have troops near Caucasus; you’ve got to have a deadzone-free path to get them there.
On the other hand, suppose Russia doesn’t take Ukraine on R1 – suppose instead on R1 Russia attacks and stacks West Russia with everything, taking average casualties. I realize that’s overly conservative Russian play, but just for the sake of argument, let’s see where that takes us. It means that you could stack 10 inf, 6 tanks, and 5 fighters in Ukraine on G1 – is that stack really dead on R2 against the West Russian monster?
If the answer’s still yes, I’ll dump this whole scheme as a bad idea. Everybody makes mistakes.
So for the Airblitz part, are we talking a hit on Szech J1, even with the Russian inf and British fighter? Or like Kazakh on J2? Or you mean just like quickly moving them to the eastern front for defensive position? No bid?
Usually I’m landing the fighters in Kwang regardless, since they don’t need to be on the carriers, and it’s optimal after all the mainland battles as a landing spot. Kwang gives decent coverage at sea while allowing you to throw them westward if Germany gets an opening. But going forward into Caucasus on the second round seems like an option that would only present itself occasionally.
I guess as a counter you could try stacking the British in Persia with an India tank buy (if the transport in 61 is handled you can move a small force into position.) Might be enough to threaten a suicide sting, before Japan lands, to shave off enough German hit points to make a Russian counter more viable.
G certainly has a lot on the ground that could get in behind the lines, especially if no bid to knock Ukraine down. Couple solid inf purchases by G to open the game, and Moscow is on the ropes. That’s a lot of Japanese fighters in Caucasus, but isn’t that what the Axis want anyway hehe. Japanese air cover to G.
I think it’s pretty hard for the Allies on this map, if Russia doesn’t have enough to strafe or take Ukraine. All in on W. Russia you’d probably get forced back anyway if facing down such a heavy Ukraine stack. Even 6 artillery in the first round isn’t enough.
If Germany is committed and Russia only attacks W. Russia, then G can have a total of 11 inf, 7 armor, 1 art, 6 fighters and a bomber in Ukraine at the end of G1. With 5 infantry 1 artillery and 4 armor in Poland and Bulgaria (plus any mobile units you bought in Berlin) to back up the play.
Gives up the canal, but you can still take out the British battleship at odds with the cruiser and subs alone.
Against this Russia has a likely 10 inf, 3 artillery, 4 tanks in West Russia. No chance to counter Ukraine, even if they bought armor at moscow. For dead zone on Caucasus you could add to that like what 6 art, and muster 2 inf and 2 fighters at Moscow? Still not nearly enough if Japan sends fighters. So definitely a bind for the Russians to leave Ukraine alone against an aggressive Axis player out for blood. Center crush for sure.