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G1 attack: When should Japan declare war



  • The next game with my group I’ll be playing Germany and Italy with my friend in Japan.  I want to pull a G1 attack against the Soviets.  We’re debating between attacking J2/J3/J4 in an attempt to delay any landings in Europe until Moscow falls G5/G6 or making the move of attacking J1 and risking American interference in Europe. We both agree that J1 is by far the strongest move for Japan and it happens in 90% of our group’s games with great success.  The question is would attacking J1 hurt Germany considerably or would it not be a problem?



  • If you believe Moscow will fall at the latest on G6, then it really doesn’t matter. Even fully dedicated to Europe, America realistically needs until A3 to cross the Atlantic, landing A4 in Normandy, and even then without enough to really matter. Strategic bombers won’t be effective at slowing you for Russia either, since the last ground units who can make it to Moscow for G6 need to be built on G3 - far too early to be prevented. In other words, the most America can really disrupt you is by forcing you to build a handful of Infantry for defence or spend a few IPC repairing factories on G5/G6 - neither of which will matter much.

    That said, I personally think (though I’ve gotten flak from it before on this forum) that Moscow can not be taken by Germany on G6 unless Russia makes serious mistakes; and relying on your opponent’s mistakes is a bad strategy. You also leave yourself open to the UK flying a half dozen fighters to Moscow on UK5 and properly ruining your plan. Then again, I also tend to think of Moscow as a bit of a red herring - Russia is better dealt with by taking it’s money and NOs and leaving it to starve.

    In a more general sense: the optimal time for Japan to attack for the Axis is whenever you think is optimal for Japan itself. A strong Japan will force America to either invest substantial resources in the pacific (and thus away from Europe) or lose the game on the Pacific board before Germany can be cracked open and forces redirected to deal with Japan.


  • 2018 2017 2016 '12

    In my view G1/J1 is primarily a Pacific strategy, and G1/J4 is primarily a Europe strategy.

    If you are doing G1/J4 your goal is to take Moscow on G5.  To do this you need to send everything east, and your builds are mech and armor on G1/G2 and mostly bombers on G3/G4.  On G2 slingshot the German mech/armor from France to Slovakia with a strafe of Yugo.  Start strategic bombing Moscow on G3.  The effect of all of this is to put an overwhelming force in Russia and limit his ability to respond.  The other effect is that western Europe is thinly held with just enough to beat back UK landings.  You cannot afford to have the US show up in Europe before G5 when you take Moscow and more importantly drop a large land unit buy into western Europe.  Having Japan wait until J4 means the US goes to Gibraltar on US4 and lands somewhere on US5 (after you have done your defensive build on G5).  Japan spends it time beating up on China and Siberia (the Japanese player may feel a little frustrated because his fighting capability will be under utilized).  On the other hand the psychological and economic effect of an earlier Moscow fall is hopefully worth it.  If you release Japan early, the US will show up in Europe too soon and Germany will be forced to divert resources from Russia at the crucial moment and the move on Moscow will likely flounder.

    In a G1/J1 I think the primary goal is to distract the US into sending an inordinate amount of resources to the Europe side, hopefully leaving Hawaii or Sydney vulnerable early.  If this happens, then its a game winner because in a J1 taking Calcutta is usually a foregone conclusion.  Even if the US does not skimp too much on the Pacific, the earlier presence of US help in Europe, will force Germany to slow its initial blitz of Russia to defend Europe.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, it just means as Germany you are going to shift gears to a more standard and methodical approach to Russia.

    Going G1/J2 just seems to give up the advantages of J1 and just gives the US a turn to get ready for war.

    Going G1/J3 is like being half pregnant, you have lost the advantages of an earlier J1 or even J2, and the US will wreak havoc on Europe before Germany is ready. The only good thing is you would get the jump on an almost certain UK/ANZAC DOW on their turn 3, thus denying them a big haul of NO’s (but if you don’t like the prospect of a much stronger UK/ANZAC then you might as well do J1)



  • Nice post^^ just diagree with this part:
    @DaddyK:

    Going G1/J3 is like being half pregnant, you have lost the advantages of an earlier J1 or even J2, and the US will wreak havoc on Europe before Germany is ready. The only good thing is you would get the jump on an almost certain UK/ANZAC DOW on their turn 3, thus denying them a big haul of NO’s (but if you don’t like the prospect of a much stronger UK/ANZAC then you might as well do J1)

    It is a long time to wait until J4. If you do a J3, you can use J1 and 2 to get in positiion and kill china. the position of your fleet and the deadness of china will improve on J1 and J2, however, your J4 positions will not be significantly better than J3. So, if you do a J3, your J1 and J2 moves are still usefull and gives you progress, but waiting the extra turn will just be a full turn of waiting. US will not collect any of its NOs on US1 and US2, however on US3, they will get all of their NOs, and have philipines. So US production will be higher if you do a J4. The only thing US gets is the combatmove on US3.



  • Best is to fake a J2-J3 with japan and position your fleet with naval base off FIC.
    Not taking FIC itself mind you.

    Some allies will try to be smart and move a destroyer in your fleet and DOW with anzac. Now you got 2 rounds of free time against the allies as japan without bothering with the US.

    And if they dont block you you can put a verry strong opening in taking all the money islands and a lot of troops down in J3 making it a strong opener.

    US needs to respond to japan then or lose the game outright.


  • 2019 2017 2016

    Good post from DaddyK. Regardless of the Japanese DOW, getting on Moscow G5/G6 is quite difficult if the allies respond appropriately. Flying fighters up through the middle east will normally stop that from happening.

    I’ve never thought about a G1/J1 being valid for the purposes of going after the pacific. Surely this theory relies on a fair bit of Atlantic US spending.


  • 2018 2017 2016 '12

    Simon is correct that if the Allies respond appropriately a G5/G6 capture of Moscow can be stopped.  Part of the fun of doing G1 (particularly if your opponents are not used to it) is that they may not respond appropriately (or appropriately enough).  A G1 often presents a chance to knock out a clump of units because the retreat needs to happen a little faster.  The same is true in getting UK planes to Moscow.  Taking Moscow on G5 is very doable if there are no UK planes (should be somewhere around 23 units left). With 6 planes (1 tac) it drops to an unacceptable 7 units left. If you wait until G6 when the Bulgarians and Fins can reach Moscow (along with an additional 3 tanks built in Ukraine) then you are back to about 23 units surviving against 6 UK planes, and the surviving amount goes down by about 3 for every UK fighter added.  Here I am talking about a J4 scenario where you bought 8 bombers on G3/G4 and lost one to Moscow strategic bombing AA fire.


  • 2018 2017 2016 '12

    Loonytrain, let us know what you ended up doing and how it worked out.


  • 2019 2017 2016

    Some of my G1 games have seen a UK2 DOW. I’d wonder if positioning to convoy off all their money if they DOW (as I usually do) is a negative expected value. Probably you want to the UK2 DOW.

    I can’t see a J2 DOW with a G1 but I can see J3 if there isn’t much of an Atlantic build up for the USA released. Much stronger move for Japan than just leaving the USA3 DOW.



  • I never really liked the idea of Japanese declaration against the US on turn 1 only because it is better to see which side of the ocean USA thinks is going to be worse.



  • Thank you all for the advice.  We decided we’ll go with a J1 attack.  We don’t think that a J4 gives Japan a chance to win quickly enough (quickest around J10 assuming both Sydney and Honolulu are being appropriately stacked) and that it’s not a good idea for the critical turn for Germany (G6) being so far away from when Japan is attempting to win.  If G6 goes poorly (invasion of Europe by Allies or non effective battle in Moscow) we reckon that the full might of the UK and US being turned to Japan dooms them as well.  With both Germany and Japan attempting to win on turns 7-8 that should create enough pressure on the US that they’ll over commit to one side of the board.  G1/J1 should also work well as a shock and awe tactic as in the 12 games our group has played Germany has never attacked turn 1 and the US usually buys full Pacific for at least the first two turns hopefully causing them to under commit to one board.

    We were thinking that Italy should abandon North Africa and only build a navy big enough to retain control of SZ 97 (protected by 3 fighter scramble) to stop convoys.  They’re main goal will be to build up forces to deter/defeat an Allied invasion of Europe until G6 and G7 when Germany can build anything needed to beat them back to the sea. Thoughts?

    The game is set for all day Saturday.  I’ll update you guys on Sunday.


  • 2018 2017 2016 '12

    I few thoughts for your consideration on Italy.  Since a G1 sacrifices killing the UK navy in sz 110 for killing Russian infantry, you are generally not making any naval builds with Germany or Italy because you are usually just too weak to accomplish much with them and they distract from the land/air build up you need.  With that in mind I would not scramble against Taranto, and on I1 I would use the remaining navy plus the air force to clean out Sz 97 (forget the French fleet) this conserves the German air force for more important battles later.  On the German side I like using two subs to take out the cruiser in sz 91, but the COW opening attack on sz109 has merit as well (plus the usual attacks on sz 106 and 111).  Sending a sub to sz 125 to block lend lease for a turn is also worth considering since using it in the sz 111 battle probably just preserves the German battleship with one hit, which the French cruiser and plane will kill on F1.

    Your thoughts on North Africa are dead on.  I would use your remaining transport to start shuttling troops back to Europe (with the tank in the first load).  This is another reason I like taking out the UK cruiser in sz 91on G1 and using the Italian navy to clean out sz 97 on I1.

    Be sure to send your two tanks east on turn one for can openers in Russia.

    Set up to take Yugo (which should be weakened by the G2 strafe I mentioned in my first post) and Greece on I2 (using your air force and the troops you are shuttling back from Africa). This should give Italy enough production to defend itself and Greece (a UK landing there can a royal pain with the German army deep in Russia)

    If the US shows up with a large invasion force in sz91/Gibraltar and there are no fighters on Gibraltar, the Italian bomber can strat bomb the naval base and keep the US out of range of Italy, West Germany, Denmark and Norway for a turn.  Very situational, but can be very helpful in the right circumstance.

    Good Luck tomorrow


  • 2019 2018 2017 2016

    @DaddyK:

    I few thoughts for your consideration on Italy.  Since a G1 sacrifices killing the UK navy in sz 110 for killing Russian infantry, you are generally not making any naval builds with Germany or Italy because you are usually just too weak to accomplish much with them and they distract from the land/air build up you need.  With that in mind I would not scramble against Taranto, and on I1 I would use the remaining navy plus the air force to clean out Sz 97 (forget the French fleet) this conserves the German air force for more important battles later.

    Unless the UK goes light on Taranto, scrambling is always a bad idea.

    Also, I advise against wasting the Italian navy and air force in sea zone 97 and instead suggest that you hit sea zone 97 on G2 with the Luftwaffe. The cost in aircraft is small for Germany, but the cost of hitting it on I1 with Italy is much larger in terms of Italy’s ability to contribute effectively in the Med.

    Marsh


  • 2019 2017 2016

    Re: the above. If you are saying to ignore Africa as Italy, leaving the UK fleet in 97 for the Luftwaffe is a bad trade, for pretty obvious reasons. I’m not completely convinced of that but I would be strongly inclined to step on Gibraltar if I did that and USA wasn’t in the war.

    Re: scrambling vs not scrambling. Scrambling probably probably leaves a cruiser and maybe a dented CV. Not scrambling probably leaves an cruiser, CV, fighter. Attacking the former with the 3 ships is an 81%, +16TUV battle. Adding the bomber makes it 99%, +21TUV. Attacking the latter with the 3 ships + 2 fighters is 78%, +10TUV battle and adding the bomber makes it 99% +18TUV. Given that scrambling has a positive TUV expected value, I’d need to be convinced that not scrambling is better in a G1 situation.

    Back to G1: In one game I am playing Allies against a G1, Germany went after 110 with 8 planes and two subs instead of 111 and kept the BB alive. I scrambled but my 111 fleet was toast in 110 G2 after scrambling G1. I suppose I could have moved to 123 but I still would have been toast - Germany bought a DD too so I didn’t really have anywhere to run.



  • If you do G1 & J1, you might also consider hitting Pearl J1 to stall the USA. There has been a lot of discussion about this controversial move, but removing both the Phil & Hawaiian ships will leave the US fewer assets to work with. You would hit the Hawaiian fleet w/sub, couple DD’s and 4 air units, then bring your capital ships and some support ships to Wake to pick up air (maybe taking Wake too). Must have at least 1 DD survive the battle in sz26 so it blocks the US San Fran fleet from hitting you. By sinking the US Haw fleet they won’t be able to send the bulk of the Pac ships through the canal to Euro side. They will need to build more warships which means fewer tpts. It forces the US into a weaker position, and they have some tough choices to make.

    You will be able to hit all the other J1 stuff that normally get hit like the Brit BB, Phil island (using 3rd carrier), Kwangtung etc…, but it will put your fleet out of position. On J2 you then retreat to Caroline’s and you’re back on track. You then use the Phil tpts to take Malaya J2, and money islands on J3 w/tpts built J1 etc… You’ll be a little thin in Asia, but an IC or two can fix that pretty quickly to start pressuring India.

    Just my 2 cents WB


  • 2019 2017 2016

    I actually think the US BB should start in SZ26 to give an incentive to this attack which was historically accurate too. Perhaps the cruiser too, but both of those take balance in the wrong direction.


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