Detailed Outline for J4 Attack on India?

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    I sometimes see people casually mention that “of course” Japan can take India by J4 if they want to. Cow has a decent Japanese strategy guide that covers what to do on Japan’s first two turns, but it doesn’t really go into detail on how to bring off the J4 attack or why it’s likely to succeed.

    Can anyone lay this out for me? Suppose Japan’s only priorities are (1) holding Tokyo, and (2) taking Calcutta on turn 4 with enough force to hold the factory against reasonable opposition. You don’t care how many units you lose, you don’t care what happens in China, and you don’t care what happens in the money islands except in so far as that threatens to interrupt your India attack. Assume Russia is not attacking you, but the USA will put 80% of its economy in the Pacific theater on each of the first four turns.

    What is your buy for J1, J2, and J3? What turn do you declare war? Do you attack any territories other than Calcutta, and if so, which ones, and with what? Which American naval groups do you attack? How many troops do you expect India to have at the start of J4, and how many troops do you expect to attack it with? What are your odds of winning the battle? What could go wrong along the way that would stop you from winning that battle?

    Please try to avoid getting lost in general discussions of Japanese opening strategy – there are already plenty of good threads on that topic, and this thread is specifically about how to pull off a successful J4 attack on India. Thanks in advance for the help! 🙂


  • If your ONLY concern is Calcutta, then maybe something like this, though J4 requires the transport based attack:
    /haven’t done this in ages so I may have made a mistake in here.  I prefer to neuter India by taking Borneo/Hong Kong/Malaya, bombing J2, and convoying J3+ and work to keep the money islands, etc

    J1 buy: skip the factory and only buy 3 transports, save the extra ipcs.
    take French-Indo China, everything else, I suppose is optional, though I would still J1 to take down the UK battleship, maybe get Borneo, reduce Chinese nuisance, push U.S. back to its side of Pacific, but you don’t take Philippines.  You want those troops to land on Kwangsi
    notes make sure your bombers land within range of Calcutta, move ships to Philippines or to protect transports in sz 36.  All planes are on carriers or on Kwangsi at the end of this turn.

    J2 buy: factory and navalbase for FiC and a plane to place on Japan.
    bomb Calcutta, maybe take Malaya*, push China units towards Yunnan or FiC, transports bought on J1 move off coast of FiC loaded with troops.  Kwangsi landed troops and mainland troops attack Yunnan.  Transports in SZ 36 go to sz 20 to pick up more troops and then either come back to sz 36 or are what you use to attack Malaya* (your goal is to simply not let Malayan troops be a problem for your planes to land in Burma.  Also possible ANZAC has moved fighters here or is about to, so taking Malaya causes issues there, too.  IF the ANZAC fighters are already on Malayan, take it.  THey’ll do more damage with a bigger stack of infantry co-defending).

    J3: buy planes or troops for transports for FiC
    you must take Shan state or Burma and hold it for your fighters to land on.  Burma is better if your mainland troops + what you landed on Kwangsi on J1 went to Yunnan on J2.
    fleet must occupy or block any potential UK/French ships who might block your navy
    plane you bought J2 in Japan can join air fleet in FiC

    J4: attack with 19-22 fighters/tacticals, 2 bombers, 6 transports with inf/artillery and any troops from Burma.  If your transports aren’t full, pick up troops from Burma.  Let’s you do full naval bombardment.


  • You don’t need to abandon the Pacific if your goal is Calcutta on J4. Calcutta normally falls J4 through the natural progression of your first few buys.

    It is important to keep track of your transports. You can purchase 3 of them J1. An artillery is included as well

    If you follow a traditional J1 attack you control the following at the end of the turn:

    • FIC
    • Kwangtung
    • Phillipines
    • Borneo
    • a few northern chinese zones

    you don’t control:

    • Yunnan

    Your transports are at:
    2x phillipines
    1x borneo
    3x Japan

    and most of your planes are in Kwangsi

    On J2 you buy:

    • a factory for FIC
    • navy to contest the US and Anzac + more ground units on Tokyo

    Your transports in the south Pacific spread out and each take a DEI so that you collect your objective J2.
    Your transports in SZ 6 sail down and unload in FIC

    Using your aircraft and surrounding ground units you take and hold Yunnan J2. This often requires attacking Szechwan as well.

    Additionally 2 of your bombers in Kwangsi attack the India factory.
    Send 2 submarines in SZ 35 to convoy SZ 37

    Now at end of J2 turn you additionally control:

    • DEI
    • Yunnan
    • Factory in FIC with reinforcements unloaded from Tokyo

    Your 6 transports are at:

    • 1x Sumatra
    • 1x Java
    • 1x Celebes
    • 3x FIC

    J3 you buy:
    3 bombers at FIC
    naval to contest USA and Anzac + transports / ground units to continue invasion of China, defend DEI, prepare for invasion of Australia

    You attack and hold Burma (units that landed in FIC can be picked up w/ 3x transports and brought to assist in this fight)
    You attack and hold Malaya (3x transports in DEI + some air can secure Malaya)
    You bomb the factory in India again and land in FIC
    Move subs in SZ 37 to SZ 39
    Kill any remaining UK Pacific Navy and ensure small planes are landed in Yunnan (optional shan state if you have spare units) or Carriers within range of India

    UK Pacific should have ~ 5 to spend on defense, their factory has been destroyed twice, and they were convoyed in SZ 37 UKPac 2 and SZ 39 UKPac 3

    J4 you buy:
    irrelevant to India attack

    You attack India with:

    • land units based in Burma (feel free to load them on transports and land in India)
    • bombardments from battleships and cruisers
    • land units based in Malaya (same units that hit DEI J2, these pieces have been moving)
    • up to 6 carrier based aircraft
    • up to 13 short range aircraft based in Yunnan or Shan State
    • 5 bombers based in FIC

    You should have more than or about an equal number of planes as India has infantry. (Plus an additional ~20 ground units)

    Even if you get really unlucky against AA guns, India cannot defend against this sort of attack without assistance from the European board.

    Your total investment is:

    J1 - 25
    J2 - 12
    J3 - 36
    J4 - 0

    This should give you roughly 120 to spend on other areas of the board as you see fit. If it is all navy you can delay the US from making significant progress while you wait for your navy to return.

    J4 is a logical timing because it follows your 3 starting transports:
    J1 you attack borneo and the phillipines
    J2 you attack the DEI
    J3 you attack Malaya
    J4 you attack India

    It is a very natural expansion.

    So as far as what to buy J3 and J4 while your pieces on the board carry out their orders I normally recommend:

    • Land units on Tokyo
    • Aircraft in Tokyo
    • Additional Aircraft Carriers
    • Destroyers to block US fleet movement
    • Naval Base in Hainan
    • Transports to keep the empire well supplied with Infantry

    Its really up to you and how the board progresses. The J4 attack is mostly comprised of starting units.

    If you encounter delays due to bad luck or countries coming to the aid of India you can normally secure India J6 which is the turn the Infantry in Manchuria can arrive by marching.

  • '17

    I once played against a guy who was doing a Calcutta or bust plan on a J4…his odds on the battle were like 50/50. I flew over 1 fighter after the Taranto raid (knowing how he likes to play). He lost the battle and the game was over.

    In another game, I was about to get a J5 attack on India…but India evacuated. So, I would have been able to capture India, but then it would get liberated the next turn for the game. Islands were anzac’s and the US monster fleet was coming over.

    I think to casually say take India on J4 is mostly a 2012-2014ish thing or against people really brand new to the game. I think getting on India J6 or J7 is most the most likely thing to occur if Japan is making it the main priority of effort.

  • '17

    @KGrimB:

    You don’t need to abandon the Pacific if your goal is Calcutta on J4. Calcutta normally falls J4 through the natural progression of your first few buys.

    It is important to keep track of your transports. You can purchase 3 of them J1. An artillery is included as well

    If you’re trying for India on J4, I think it best to only buy 3 transports on J1 because then you end up with 45 IPCs (assuming Yunnan, Hunan, and the walk-on territories if you do or don’t J1 DOW). I think it’s too hard to know if you’ll need purchase both an airbase and naval base to get everything in position when you’re set. 45 IPCs gives you a little more purchase power.


  • @Ichabod:

    @KGrimB:

    You don’t need to abandon the Pacific if your goal is Calcutta on J4. Calcutta normally falls J4 through the natural progression of your first few buys.

    It is important to keep track of your transports. You can purchase 3 of them J1. An artillery is included as well

    If you’re trying for India on J4, I think it best to only buy 3 transports on J1 because then you end up with 45 IPCs (assuming Yunnan, Hunan, and the walk-on territories if you do or don’t J1 DOW). I think it’s too hard to know if you’ll need purchase both an airbase and naval base to get everything in position when you’re set. 45 IPCs gives you a little more purchase power.

    That’s a great point about flexibility that you bring up. I’ve traditionally gone with the artillery just for aesthetic purposes of 3 inf and 3 art on my 3 transports. Airbases are cool as well, but normally for a J4 attack your planes are taking off from Yunnan.

  • '17

    If you play against me…you might end up having to use more ground or planes than you want to hold Yunnan on turn 2 in order to land planes there on J3 (for your India take down J4).

    For instance, I recently started sending everything into Yunnan on C1 and attacking Hunan too of course if I can. All builds are placed in Yunnan with the point in mind to kill Japanese units to lower the stack going against India. Hence you might have to buy an airbase placed on FIC or Shan State.

    Also, in all discussions, I assume the allies get a bid. Rare to find opponents playing straight up. I always give at least 7 IPCs in bid money to China:  1 artillery in Kweichow and 1 infantry in Yunnan…again with the goal of hurting Japanese plans with some lucky dice.

    I say all of this with the caveat that I do lose a lot of games. So, you can take it as just 2 cents.


  • @Ichabod:

    If you play against me…you might end up having to use more ground or planes than you want to hold Yunnan on turn 2 in order to land planes there on J3 (for your India take down J4).

    For instance, I recently started sending everything into Yunnan on C1 and attacking Hunan too of course if I can. All builds are placed in Yunnan with the point in mind to kill Japanese units to lower the stack going against India. Hence you might have to buy an airbase placed on FIC or Shan State.

    Wait, China is allowed to place new units in a territory they just took?

    Your Yunnan strategy is effective.  I suppose if I knew that about you on J1 your opponents would perhaps be wise to skip taking the Philippines and drop those 4 units off on the mainland to help attack Yunnan on J2 and also perhaps buy a naval base for Kwangsi J1.

    If not trying to take Calcutta on J4, J2 Japan can then make a choice to use 3 of their original transports and 1 inf each to take the money islands and the 2 purchased on J1 to take Philippines.

    That only leaves 2 extra units on the mainland, but perhaps the 4 sitting there would be discouraging enough for your strategy.

  • '17

    @KGrimB:

    Now at end of J2 turn you additionally control:

    • DEI
    • Yunnan
    • Factory in FIC with reinforcements unloaded from Tokyo

    You attack and hold Burma

    You should have more than or about an equal number of planes as India has infantry. (Plus an additional ~20 ground units)

    Even if you get really unlucky against AA guns, India cannot defend against this sort of attack without assistance from the European board.

    Its really up to you and how the board progresses. The J4 attack is mostly comprised of starting units.

    If you encounter delays due to bad luck or countries coming to the aid of India you can normally secure India J6 which is the turn the Infantry in Manchuria can arrive by marching.

    I think you’re assuming that you get the DEI on J2. That is something often blocked from all occurring on turn 2. Sometimes the Philippines gets hits in. Also, ANZAC and the UK have some ships with which to place up some blockers.

    If you stack Burma on J3, it’s very possible that India may have enough troops to kill it and still defend India or counter attack and liberate India the next turn.

    Your assumption about “without help” from the Europe board makes sense to me for the UK to save India. And your point about normally getting India on J6 seems to be the usual outcome if India is Japan’s main priority.

  • '17

    @weddingsinger:

    @Ichabod:

    If you play against me…you might end up having to use more ground or planes than you want to hold Yunnan on turn 2 in order to land planes there on J3 (for your India take down J4).

    For instance, I recently started sending everything into Yunnan on C1 and attacking Hunan too of course if I can. All builds are placed in Yunnan with the point in mind to kill Japanese units to lower the stack going against India. Hence you might have to buy an airbase placed on FIC or Shan State.

    Wait, China is allowed to place new units in a territory they just took?

    Your Yunnan strategy is effective.  I suppose if I knew that about you on J1 your opponents would perhaps be wise to skip taking the Philippines and drop those 4 units off on the mainland to help attack Yunnan on J2 and also perhaps buy a naval base for Kwangsi J1.

    If not trying to take Calcutta on J4, J2 Japan can then make a choice to use 3 of their original transports and 1 inf each to take the money islands and the 2 purchased on J1 to take Philippines.

    That only leaves 2 extra units on the mainland, but perhaps the 4 sitting there would be discouraging enough for your strategy.

    China can build on territory just taken, but their 1 fighter can’t land on it.

    Sometimes my Chinese troops get pulverized. I may be wrong, but my philosophy is that it’s better for China’s infantry early on to roll a stack of 2s rather than Japan slowly waltz across China. Especially in the beginning rounds if I think the opponent wants an early India. There are consequences to dropping troops into China for a J2 attack on Yunnan as opposed to getting the Philippines with those troops. For one, the US might gets a bonus, but if not at war, than more Japanese troops are soaked up as hits in China while India grows a substantial stack. Japan has really no choice but to attack Yunnan on J2 or risk China growing too strong. All units involved in that attack that are hit cannot be used against India. This means no early take down of India.

    Stacking Yunnan to soak Japanese troop hits was not something I recently started doing of my volition. I saw another guy do it to me several times. At first I was like easy prey. But initially, Japan has a hard time getting lots of troops down south. It always prevented me from getting an early take down of India.

  • 2021 '20 '19 '18 '17 '16

    Thanks, everyone, this is incredibly useful feedback! Just what I was hoping to read. 🙂

    I’m particularly fascinated by KGrimB’s strategy of letting the starting transports dictate the pace and flow of play, from the western Pacific at game start to the Philippines and Borneo on J1 to the rest of the money islands on J2 to Burma/Malaya on J3 and finally on to India on J4. it’s very elegant, especially with the transports purchased on J1 moving to FIC on J2, being available for reinforcement as needed on J3, and then landing in India on J4. The core part of the strategy all hangs together nicely.

    I have a couple of nitpicks about KGrimB’s analysis of the war on China – like some of the commenters, I don’t think it’s realistic to attack Yunnan on J2 if you’re pulling units away from China to seize the money islands early, and it’s not even possible to attack Szechuan on J2 with anything but airplanes, even if you win every battle – China has no land units in range. If the Allies see you land your bombers in Kwangtung on J1, it’s easy enough to conclude that you’re be strategically bombing India, and easy enough to keep a pair of fighters in India proper at the end of UK1. That means a bombing attempt on J2 – which can’t possibly have Japanese fighter escorts that early given the overall plan – is very risky and may just cost you your bombers instead of dealing industrial damage.

    I also think that trying to take the entire set of money islands on J2 sets ANZAC up to seriously interfere with your ability to get those troops west to take Malaya and Burma and India. You don’t have enough starting Japanese warships to protect SZ 36, 37, 38, 41, 42, AND 43 all at once against the starting ANZAC resources of 3 fighters, a destroyer, and a cruiser, plus whatever ANZAC builds on turn 1, plus whatever the French or British have available to use as blockers or spoilers. You’re going to get blocked from delivering troops to Malaya on J3 at best (which helps keep UK Pacific wealthy enough to buy infantry), or lose a transport and strand your infantry on the islands at worst (which directly hurts your prospects for a J4 attack on India).

    I think if I were modifying this plan, I’d say (1) only bomb India on J2 if they don’t leave fighters defending it, and (2) only take all the money islands on J2 if ANZAC is ignoring you and doing something weird like going all-out for Brazil or building pure infantry. Instead of attacking Celebes, Java, and Sumatra, you could send those three transports to take Malaya on J2, which helps flatline the UK Pac economy more safely than trying to do an unescorted strategic bombing raid, and allows you to more reliably defend your transports and their routes to Calcutta.


  • @Argothair:

    Thanks, everyone, this is incredibly useful feedback! Just what I was hoping to read. 🙂

    I’m particularly fascinated by KGrimB’s strategy of letting the starting transports dictate the pace and flow of play, from the western Pacific at game start to the Philippines and Borneo on J1 to the rest of the money islands on J2 to Burma/Malaya on J3 and finally on to India on J4. it’s very elegant, especially with the transports purchased on J1 moving to FIC on J2, being available for reinforcement as needed on J3, and then landing in India on J4. The core part of the strategy all hangs together nicely.

    I have a couple of nitpicks about KGrimB’s analysis of the war on China – like some of the commenters, I don’t think it’s realistic to attack Yunnan on J2 if you’re pulling units away from China to seize the money islands early, and it’s not even possible to attack Szechuan on J2 with anything but airplanes, even if you win every battle – China has no land units in range. If the Allies see you land your bombers in Kwangtung on J1, it’s easy enough to conclude that you’re be strategically bombing India, and easy enough to keep a pair of fighters in India proper at the end of UK1. That means a bombing attempt on J2 – which can’t possibly have Japanese fighter escorts that early given the overall plan – is very risky and may just cost you your bombers instead of dealing industrial damage.

    I also think that trying to take the entire set of money islands on J2 sets ANZAC up to seriously interfere with your ability to get those troops west to take Malaya and Burma and India. You don’t have enough starting Japanese warships to protect SZ 36, 37, 38, 41, 42, AND 43 all at once against the starting ANZAC resources of 3 fighters, a destroyer, and a cruiser, plus whatever ANZAC builds on turn 1, plus whatever the French or British have available to use as blockers or spoilers. You’re going to get blocked from delivering troops to Malaya on J3 at best (which helps keep UK Pacific wealthy enough to buy infantry), or lose a transport and strand your infantry on the islands at worst (which directly hurts your prospects for a J4 attack on India).

    I think if I were modifying this plan, I’d say (1) only bomb India on J2 if they don’t leave fighters defending it, and (2) only take all the money islands on J2 if ANZAC is ignoring you and doing something weird like going all-out for Brazil or building pure infantry. Instead of attacking Celebes, Java, and Sumatra, you could send those three transports to take Malaya on J2, which helps flatline the UK Pac economy more safely than trying to do an unescorted strategic bombing raid, and allows you to more reliably defend your transports and their routes to Calcutta.

    All very good stuff so I’ll just address a couple of things.

    It is true that some of your movements can be frail and you get close to being overextended, but you can still bring more force to a single target than any other nation at that point.

    As for losing units in China attacking with the starting transports, following Cow’s model I take:

    transport in SZ 20 - 1 infantry in Kiangsi to Borneo
    transport in SZ 19 - 1 infantry in Okinawa + 1 artillery in Manchuria to Phillipines
    transport in SZ 6  -  1 infantry in Japan + 1 tank in Japan to Phillipines

    So the Chinese front loses 1 infantry in the South and 1 artillery in the far north. Other resources are pulled from Tokyo or islands.

    You should be able to secure the Phillippines with at least 2 surviving land units and if not you can grab the guy in Palau. So you can take each of the remaining islands with 1 unit.

    As far as defending the Sea Zones, in order for UKPac planes to attack SZ 36 they need to start their turn in Shan State which they are unlikely to do given targets in the Middle East or responsibilities to the factory in India.

    Additionally Anzac Fighter aircraft starting the turn in Queensland can only hit SZ 42 on AZ2.

    So while you may be spread a little thin around the islands the truth is you only really need to worry about warships because the islands, once occupied, are out of reach of air support.

    In position in China to attack Yunnan J2 you should have: a pile of aircraft, 3 infantry and a mech. If China can get about 8 infantry there you should be able to attack it with those land units and air support while doing a pavelow in Szechwan.

    As a disclaimer I would like to say that no strategy is perfect and if someone tells you exactly what they are going to do you can figure out an effective means to defend against it, but when you’re playing the game following these sort of ideas you can project more power and threaten more targets than you are actually focusing on. 6 transports in the DEI J2 could easily switch targets and attack Australia.


  • Ignoring the requirement to take India on J4, the main choice I find I have to make is: which is more important, 1) shutting down the Burma Road; or 2) The money islands.

    For me, taking India can wait until J6 or later.  Reduce their income to 10 on J1, bomb them on J2.  Take Malaya on J3 or J4.  Bomb more if needed.  Get subs off their coast so that their buy on J2 is hopefully their last.

    If you worry less about guaranteeing the Burma Road stays closed, you can take the Philippines (2 transports, 4 units) and Borneo (1 transport, 1 unit) on J1, the rest of the money islands on J2 with those same units.

    If you want to safely shut down the Burma Road, you may choose to land extra troops on Kwangsi on J1 and risk trying to take the Philippines with only one transport and two planes, for instance.  These leaves extra money in UKPac’s pocket, though, and you lose out on… something (Borneo, Hong Kong, Philippines).  Or you take a lot of risks and risk failing in your attack on the Phlippines or Hong Kong.

    Depending on various threats, J2 you can opt to only guard one transport and go ahead and sacrifice another.  Celebes should be fine from a plane attack, so you just have to worry about ANZAC/US at Australia so that’s a fair option to let die.  However, they may not want to lose the ships they send to sink you, so a destroyer and cruiser or battleship is plenty if you insist on defending it.  UKPac can hit either of the other two, but if they don’t have ships, they’ll never risk their planes against one of your carriers.  If they do, let them trade their planes for yours.  UKPac (or ANZAC) can hit Java and then they have to land on Malaya/Shan State or the Australian coast but that might be the bulk of the Japanese fleet.

    After J1, (factory and two transports), I spend most of Japan’s money on mainland fast movers and carriers.  I replace other things as needed.  Maybe a bomber.  Maybe another sub or destroyer here or there.  But carriers are a big help in defending your fleet.


  • All this is very interesting. Only thing I will add is that a Naval Base on Hanan is interesting and is worth consideration. Allows you to make it back up to Japan, go Land in India, and raise hell in a few other spots. Also, if the Allies want it, they have to land units on it to take it.


  • @Hunter:

    All this is very interesting. Only thing I will add is that a Naval Base on Hanan is interesting and is worth consideration. Allows you to make it back up to Japan, go Land in India, and raise hell in a few other spots. Also, if the Allies want it, they have to land units on it to take it.

    I usually try to avoid spending the money since Malaya and Philippines provide naval bases.  I’ve even added an airbase to Malaya a few times.


  • I know. It can screw up Japan at times, especially if a J4 calcutta crush is the plan. A Naval base in Hanan is more of a long term deal. It can be useful at times.

    The Calcutta Crush isnt my go to plan, but it is something the Japanese player should know how to do. Its like how the German player should know how to do Sea Lion.


  • J4 takedown of India is very possible, I personally just did it in a game where I didn’t dow till J4, and I did so with taking India yet none of the money islands/Malaya/Philippines.  Not my best game (Terrible dice G1) so it was more of a desperation play, but it is very doable.

    J3 takedown of Calcutta is also possible but it requires the UK to be asleep at the wheel.  Requires J2 IC/Naval Base/Airbase in FIC as well as holding Shan State.  Doing it on J3 means you will likely lose lots of aircraft however, it also means that the UK doesn’t have blockers ready for SZ38/40.

  • '19 '17 '16

    Very late to the party here but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a J4 take down of India in about 200 games played. I can’t see the model which allows it. If you miss the J3 window, which the allies might be able to close with a UK1 Burma stack, you’re talking about a J5 attack, assuming a J1 DOW. J5 all the Japanese coastal troops from Jehol to Kwangsi are in range walking overland. That’ll kill anyone barring ridiculous dice or Axis stuff ups.

    I’m not completely sure of the distinction between J3 and J4 other than 2-3 extra inf on India but maybe that small number of inf really does change things. Probably does given that you’re normally losing planes to take India down J3 if it isn’t evacuated.

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