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USN VS IJN



  • One dynamic of this game that fascinates me is the relationship between the USA and Japan on the naval struggle for the Pacific.

    Why I find it interesting is that Naval power is expensive in terms of IPC. Neither nation just wants to throw naval power into a combat and lose their force. Both nations want to shield their navy so they can focus on purchasing more land/air power. Yet, both nations realize at some point there is a moment that they have to commit to a large naval engagement with a lot on the line. The loser is set back many turns, a ton of IPC to replace lost units and might just lose the war in the Pacific.

    So, lets talk about this. I would like to see some more seasoned A&A players chime in with their wisdom on this subject.

    Now I will lay out some scenarios that are common topics on the threads and discuss them. I do not want to lay out a wall of text so I will keep this as brief as possible and hopefully it turns into a conversation of tactics not just for the USA but also Japan.

    Lets talk USA

    Right off the bat the USA has to make a choice. All in on Japan /  a balanced approach to Europe and Japan or the All in on Germany/Italy plan. All three approaches in the grand scheme of USA strategy has been discussed but the focus of this discussion is USN VS IJN. So, for this topic we will assume that the USA has for gone the all in on Germany/Italy approach to the war.

    So, the USA is focused on the Pacific map. The #1 topic is how do they disperse their forces?

    • One huge stack of naval power slowly moving towards Japan.
    • Split their forces, one focusing on the south to contest the money islands and one to go central Pacific looking to island hop to the Philippines.
    • Ignore the south and let ANZAC deal with that and go Central Pacific (Caroline Islands) and far north to establish a USA presence in Russia.

    Each plan has its pros and cons.

    The sole goal of the USN on the Pacific map is to totally destroy the IJN and neutralize Japan. The Pacific war at its core is a naval game, unlike the European map which is a land focused war.

    Thus the question at its core is what is the best way for the USN to approach the war to accomplish its goal?

    Well, you could say the best plan is just to stack as much USN into one location and send them straight into the heart of the Pacific and force the IJN to engage them. Force the huge battle early in the game. USA can out produce Japan in terms of naval power so this approach has it merits. Yet, if the IJN comes out on top of this huge battle it gives Japan 3-4 turns of breathing room which the USA can not afford to give them.

    Another option is to split their naval power. Force the IJN to commit to one force or split their forces also to cover as much space as possible.

    Lets talk IJN

    IJN in the early part of the game is focused on South East Asia with their eyes on the money Islands and India and maybe ANZAC. Thus Japan home waters is not guarded at all with naval power and their vital convoy routes are open to interdiction.

    Do, you ignore the USA and their threat on the mainland and hopefully force the focus of the Allies to the money islands. Make them engage your forces to the south?

    The Offense is superior to the defense in A&A because you can retreat, also the naval units besides the subs and CV have the same A/D values so they are good at both. Do you use your large force to attack any naval power in their reach? Do you send in the entire force against the allies in a 50/50 battle at sea?

    I have scene some IJN players who screen their main force with DD and force the USA to go after them, look at the situation and then decide where and when to attack in force on the USN. Let the IJN decide when the major battle will occur and on their terms.

    The main benefit the IJN has with it islands is that it could commit some of

    the air power in china to the Pacific and use the Islands to project more air power at sea with out using CV. Islands with air fields are really nice to park your naval power in with 3 FTR sitting on the island. Also Islands with a port/air field are key. You can take hits on CV and BB on the defense and have them repair at the start of your next turn. Also CV air power can land on the Island so taking CV hits is free shots.

    So, what do you guys think? any advice?

    I will post some ideas I have later on this subject.



  • I play Axis 80% of the time, so I’ll refer to this from that point of view.  A lot of plans are if/then statements.  For instance…

    if Russia leaves 12 inf on Amur on R1, J1, I attack it 100% and do a KRF strategy.  With a single mainland factory, Japan can slowly kill off China and isolate (though probably not take) India.

    Japan’s starting fleet has one more destroyer, two more carriers, and an extra battleship compared to the U.S.
    J1 2 subs, 4 destroyers, 2 cruisers, 3 carriers, 2 battleships
    Compared to the U.S.’ 2 subs, 3 destroyers, 2 cruisers (one on Atlantic side), 1 carrier, 1 battleship

    UK/ANZAC can even that out with another battleship, cruiser, 2 destroyers between them.  But only if you give them time to consolidate and add to their fleets.

    Japan doesn’t actually need all their ships to take the money islands or most of their other objectives.  They just need to enough to keep their transports afloat.  So, I’ve decided Japan benefits by being aggressive at the opening, just like Germany does with the UK fleet, and taking the favorable match ups while it can.  So I J1 attack Hawaii fleet, take the Philippines, sink UK’s battleship.  If you’re feeling frisky, send your destroyer on the Caroline’s down to ANZAC for a 50/50 shot at their destroyer/transport.  If the U.S. chooses to counter attack your fleet at Hawaii (with that destroyer), its around a 60/40, maybe 66/34 in favor of Japan.  If the U.S. loses that counter attack, they literally have two transports, a cruiser, and 5 dudes.  They’re out of the game for 3+ turns.

    The flip of that is if you wait and let the U.S. alone, US 4 they’re sitting on SZ 6 with an enormous fleet you can’t really do much about (if they add 2 carriers and a few battleships, subs, etc to their mix) and you’re getting convoyed, losing Korea, China gets Manchuria back, etc.  That’s my struggle against the U.S., usually.


  • 2019 2017 2016

    I’m assuming there’s a typo in your USA section, and you’re suggesting that USA are going all in on KJF.

    As USA I don’t really like splitting my fleet. You can put down blockers but that just whittles away your fleet. Same for Japan I guess but it can be a necessary evil.

    Assuming a J2 DOW, by J3, Japan will have all the money islands, Guam and Malaya. J1 DOW would be similar. J3 one would be buying a couple of CVs for SZ6 (or maybe one+dd) to defend against USA. If USA are sitting on Carolines, quite a few points must be defended - Shantung, SZ35 (strong fleet), SZ45 (Dutch NG, 1DD blocker), SZ6.

    If USA are bulking up Midway with a naval base, significant forces need to be put into SZ6.

    My current thinking is taking the Carolines is optimal for USA. It can be reinforced with ANZAC fighters on the air base, although if the battle goes bad, you lose anything sent there, including bombarding ships.

    For Japan: You can’t allow USA to control SZ6 indefinitely, even if Korea is strong enough to remain in Japanese hands. And troops on Korea aren’t fighting anyone.



  • I think the first question is to establish clearly a set of goals for the US on the Pacific Map.
    I cannot see a direct invasion of the Japanese home islands succeeding until Naval superiority has been achieved. (unless Japan makes serious errors)

    A possible goal for us is to assist the Asian allies. Each one of the 4 has different needs and abilities.

    1. Assist Anzac
    2. Assist China
    3. Assist Russia
    4. Assist UK Pac

    Anzac.
    Anzac is no pushover and Japan will have a hard time getting enough troops into position to take and hold.

    China.
    China is weak, little more than a series of speedbumps. but it can easily be reborn

    Russia.
    Strong defensively, weak on offense

    UK Pacific
    Furthest away from US. US can potentially scare Japan away so Brits can retake islands

    Out of the 4 Anzac is probably in the strongest position to take offensive action. But cant threaten Japan by itself. What Anzac needs is something to take the heat off for a few rounds so that they can build up their income by capturing a few islands. Russia can be activate to make use of the stacks of infantry. China can be rebuilt in the North with the aid of Russia.

    Into this equation we have the US. They are able to pick and choose what to do in order to tip the scales and give the other 4 a fighting chance. The biggest threat to the US is Japans starting air force. Provided we take this into account we can plan out first 5 turns.

    Here’s my strategy
    1. Russian Express.
    Japan has a real blind sport which can be exploited in the far north. 4 transports moving tanks and Infantry from alaska to SFE can dramatically shift the land battle in Asia. Russian Inf join push into Manchuria and Korea.

    2. Sub Blitz
    20 submarines blockading Japanese home islands and surrounding areas. Subs ignore Japans air power and kamikazes too. I don’t mind losing a few subs here and there if Japan is losing ships too.

    3. American Air
    Station US Airforce in korea to add to Japans headaches. Build Korean factory to add more pressure on Japan.

    Its only after setting up this that the US moves into building surface fleet for more wider operations against specific targets. This strategy completely ignores Pearl, Carol, Phill, Midway etc in exchange for the economic strangulation of Japan. The 4 minor powers can then do their bit to nibble away at the edges. continuous battles of attrition will hopefully erode Japans ability to replace land forces quick enough.

    If Japans income can be kept in the 40-50 range they will never reach the break out level.

    Overall eventually a major confrontation will occur, but as US I want to make sure Japans air is tied up fighting in China and their ships are spread thin trying to stop my termites (subs) bringing the house down. This also allows Anzac more breathing room and opens up opportunities for sneak attacks against key islands.



  • I think when discussing the pacific war you have to have a larger idea rather than a turn sequence plan.

    With that said I think there is an exception to be said that the first turn the US should build at least 2 aircraft carriers. Without them it cannot safely cross the atlantic or project force in the pacific.

    Since the USA initially has an economic advantage I would advocate for an aggressive search and destroy approach. The USA should focus on taking important naval bases like the Carolines. The US has a smaller airforce, but they can put themselves in several locations on the map where they have multiple targets to strike. Japan cannot defend all their islands and by capturing islands you can reduce the impact of their airpower by restricting its range.

    I think Bombers are an incredibly useful purchase for the US. Bombers parked in Western US have a large amount of range and a stack of about 6 or 7 can do tremendous damage.

    When building air power for the carrier fleet, the USA should consider mixining in some tactical bombers. Being on the attack will favor the US because it limits the number of planes Japan can bring to fight.

    I think the allies in the pacific win the war by forcing Japan to spread itself thin. The US has to have a powerful fleet backed by 2 or 3 transports so that it can land and take multiple islands. The islands in the middle of the pacific may not have a lot of IPC value, but the amount of times my opponent couldn’t attack my fleet because they didn’t have a place to land their planes was greatly appreciated.

    Anzac is the other ally that I think can provide some offense. They can build airbases and provide fighter scramble to cover the US and occasionally can do submarine convoys.


  • 2018 2017

    If I’m USA and playing OOB, %100 Pac navy.

    If Japan goes for the money, he cannot match you across the middle.

    But, the middle is the easiest direction for USA to attack

    If Japan’s defense of SZ 6–>16–25—26 is strong, the USA can shunt to Queensland

    That’s not the fastest way to kill Japan, but from there, you can take the money back.

    While he’s trying to prevent you from doing that, the right hook comes in from above and since Japan and USA+ANZAC are matched down in the south the fresh fleets are crossing north or straight across.

    USA can always force a confrontation, if all 5 powers act in unison on the Pac map, Japan can “lose for winning” because he wins the battle but loses control of the seas and coasts doing it.


  • 2019 2017 2016

    @thespaceman:

    3. American Air
    Station US Airforce in korea to add to Japans headaches. Build Korean factory to add more pressure on Japan.

    This is my favourite Pacific strategy but it’s not always easy to pull off if USA spends money on the Atlantic side. One game I’ve got gone from the Carolines to Manchuria because Korea was too difficult. Could have been too many infantry.



  • First time poster here, but often when I play as Allies I build one humongous fleet in the Pacific and beat the Japanese in the first 5 rounds so I control the seas, I will probably have to retreat to the Carolines or Hawaii to reinforce/provide cover for the transports, but then I will usually leave the Pacific alone. I will plant my huge fleet outside Tokyo Bay and take Korea and build an IC. This is about as much as I usually do in the Pacific, funnel a few transports, enough to keep Japan honest, but no serious commitment. But with Tokyo Bay blocked Japan tends to turn their focus to just making it a land game in my experience. I have found that keeping Japan from their one major IC tends to be enough for me.

    Although one negative, this tends to make for some LONG games, as Europe is usually taken care of, but then Japan has an insane amount of infantry paired with airplanes in China/Central Russia for counterattacks.

    One last positive to this tactic though, this tends to provide some serious cover for ANZAC and this strategy helps them the most IMO.



  • @weddingsinger:

    I play Axis 80% of the time, so I’ll refer to this from that point of view.  A lot of plans are if/then statements.  For instance…

    if Russia leaves 12 inf on Amur on R1, J1, I attack it 100% and do a KRF strategy.  With a single mainland factory, Japan can slowly kill off China and isolate (though probably not take) India.

    Japan’s starting fleet has one more destroyer, two more carriers, and an extra battleship compared to the U.S.
    J1 2 subs, 4 destroyers, 2 cruisers, 3 carriers, 2 battleships
    Compared to the U.S.’ 2 subs, 3 destroyers, 2 cruisers (one on Atlantic side), 1 carrier, 1 battleship

    UK/ANZAC can even that out with another battleship, cruiser, 2 destroyers between them.  But only if you give them time to consolidate and add to their fleets.

    Japan doesn’t actually need all their ships to take the money islands or most of their other objectives.  They just need to enough to keep their transports afloat.  So, I’ve decided Japan benefits by being aggressive at the opening, just like Germany does with the UK fleet, and taking the favorable match ups while it can.  So I J1 attack Hawaii fleet, take the Philippines, sink UK’s battleship.  If you’re feeling frisky, send your destroyer on the Caroline’s down to ANZAC for a 50/50 shot at their destroyer/transport.  If the U.S. chooses to counter attack your fleet at Hawaii (with that destroyer), its around a 60/40, maybe 66/34 in favor of Japan.  If the U.S. loses that counter attack, they literally have two transports, a cruiser, and 5 dudes.  They’re out of the game for 3+ turns.

    The flip of that is if you wait and let the U.S. alone, US 4 they’re sitting on SZ 6 with an enormous fleet you can’t really do much about (if they add 2 carriers and a few battleships, subs, etc to their mix) and you’re getting convoyed, losing Korea, China gets Manchuria back, etc.  That’s my struggle against the U.S., usually.

    IDK Wsinger, although I like to hit Pearl J1, as Japan I don’t want to get into a 60/40 battle with the USA in sz26 in the first round of play. You didn’t take Hawaii J1 so any hits on your carriers will cost you planes, and the US can go all in, or wait to see where you take your hits and pull out after a couple rounds and watch your planes die. Say you do take the hit from the USA (all US units are lost), and you have a carrier and 2 ftrs survive. Then the Anz hits you with a cruiser and 3 ftrs and you are toast because again you have nowhere to land planes. Even if somehow you survive the double hit you will have only crippled capital ships that can’t get to a naval base for a couple turns, and depending on what the US built on US1, you may not be able to out run them.

    No as Japan I can’t afford to risk losing those capital ships on the first turn. I don’t want to replace them because I want to buy IC’s and ground units for them plus transports to get to my money islands. Japan needs to be aggressive in the first couple turns, but can’t get into bad situations that costs it more then half the JIN. They need to hit hard in battles with great odds, then pull back into a defensive position and set a trap.



  • At the moment i would hit the us in hawaii on T1.  Even if it does cost japan. Japan can easilly replace the lost ftrs. It will take uUs an extra turn or 2 to rebuild pacific fleet.

    Japan needs the extra few turns breathing room to get its income to the 60-70 range without US interference. Once japans income hits there it can match us build ship for ship.

    Leaving that fleet will spell trouble by about T4 or 5 when US can start getting aggressive or even shift it to the atlantic for an early torch or overlord.



  • Japan has always been my favorite power to play as, and I have done my own variations of the standard J1, and J2 attacks over the years. I haven’t attempted the Pearl Harbor J1 yet, which seems to be the new standard J1 move. My issue with it is that I believe it gives ANZAC and UK ample time to not only take a money island, or get the Anzac NO’s, but it gives them time to actually hold those targets, and money to continue building.

    US fleet is always going to take 3/4 rounds before it is able to make a decisive strike against the IJN, as the Japs, I count on this, ignore them, and slowly reinforce my navy as I ground an pound Asia and money islands. The decisive battle always becomes imminent by the 5-6 round, and with some strategic alignment of my navy to take cover under the kamikazee zones, IJN usually comes out slightly on top. even a total annihilation outcome is sufficient though. The USA will take 2-3 turns once again to rebuild, and by then I have taken India, or broken through China and knocking on the back door of Stalingrad, and I can rebuild my navy at the same speed at the US.

    As the US, my preferred strategy is joint operations with ANZAC, taking islands when available, and slowly closing in from all sides on Japan. I have always enjoyed trying to use a historical approach, when relevant, into my games, so the navy and air-force through the middle PAC, and the Marines and navy in the south, is always an option that I will work towards.



  • As Japan starting turn 2 I buy 1 warship of some kind….typically a DD…Turn 1 I buy a Navy base so I can shoot my fleet back to Japan from SZ 36

    My moves are very methodical with Japan…I will not bring the US at war until their factories automatically become majors…reason is…he can only put 3 into the pacific…I know how to play Japan without the need for factories…my 1st factory might be turn 5 in Indochina…I make the US mirror my fleet

    with the US…I try and match the Japanese ship for ship…problem is positioning my fleet…attacking is not an option until way later in the game…usually turn 7…I know I am better off with defending…so Hawaii…3 plane scramble is economical and easy to reinforce
    If I move into SZ 54…now I have to rely on the Anzac and work in tandem

    Caroline Islands is good but now I am independent and longer supply path…so vulnerability is there

    So my favorite spot is Hawaii…a lot depends on what Japan does and where I position my fleet


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