The Logistics of Getting America into the Fight

  • 2020 2019 2018

    In G40, America is both protected and hindered by the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Fortunately for the Allies, the US has the economic resources to bridge the gap. Figuring out how best to utilize those IPCs to swiftly get Uncle Sam into the fight can be challenging, so I decided to post my thoughts on the subject. I hope newer players will benefit from this, and who knows? Maybe some more experienced players will be inspired.

    The Combined Arms Approach

    The “Bright Skies” strategy calls for the US to contribute bombers to the war effort, arguing that it takes the Americans too long to get ground forces into battle.

    Though two turns are required to cross the oceans from the US to Europe or Japan/Korea, I’d argue that the US is uniquely positioned among the Allies to contribute large numbers of both aircraft and land units to both the European and Pacific theatres. Also, combined arms attacks are much more economically efficient than air-only attacks. The question is, what is the most efficient way to get significant numbers of American ground troops into the fight?

    Crossing Oceans: A Three-Step Process

    Moving American land units to Europe and Japan is a three-step process. I call it “SSB,” or “Security, Soldiers and Boats.”

    1. Since transports are the most vulnerable units in the game, naval and air security along your intended route is critical. Buy those planes and warships first, so you can get them into position while you’re building ground units and a transport fleet.

    2. Buy soldiers (ground units) next. Transport capabilities dictate that, for maximum efficiency, half of your units will be infantry. What of the other half, though - should you buy all artillery, all armor, or a mix?
      Interestingly, on a very basic level, it doesn’t matter: your attack strength will be the same, no matter what. Where you see a difference is in defense strength. What this means is that, if you’re planning an amphibious assault and a strong enemy counterattack is expected (as in Normandy), you should buy all armor. When attacking an island (like Japan), where a counterattack is highly unlikely, buy all artillery.

    3. Transports - Boats - should be purchased last. Because they’re vulnerable to any attack, you don’t want to put them in the water until you’re ready to move troops overseas.

    Security aside, once the US is at war, they have the economic capacity to get 10 infantry and 10 artillery units to Japan or Normandy in just 4 turns, as shown in the examples below.

    Turn 1) Buy 10 infantry and place in Eastern US. Buy 10 artillery and place in Central US.
    Turn 2) Buy 10 transports and place in SZ 101.
    Turn 3) Load transports and move to SZ 91 (Gibraltar).
    Turn 4) Move to SZ 110 for amphibious assault into Normandy.

    Turn 1) Buy 10 infantry and place in Western US, 10 artillery and place in Central US.
    Turn 2) Move all artillery to Western US. Purchase 10 transports and place in SZ 10.
    Turn 3) Load transports and move to Hawaii (SZ 26).
    Turn 4) Move to SZ 6 for amphibious assault into Japan or Korea.

    How Many Transports Do I Need?

    In order to set up a conveyor belt-type system to funnel troops into Europe, you need to figure out how many transports are required. To ensure a steady flow of land units, you must have an identical number of transports for each leg of the voyage. Let’s say you decide to go with a 5-transport shuttle from the Eastern US to Normandy: 20 transports are required, so that at the beginning and end of each turn, you’ll have 5 transports each in SZ 101 and 110 and 10 transports in SZ 91. The shuttle works like this:

    1. Buy 10 infantry, 10 artillery and place in Eastern/Central US.
    2. Buy 10 transports and place in SZ 101.
    3. Repeat Turn 1 buy.
    4. Repeat Turn 2 buy. Load 10 transports and move to SZ 91.
    5. Move transports from SZ 91 to SZ 110 for amphibious assault into Normandy. Load transports in SZ 101 and move to SZ 91, unloading in Gibraltar/Morocco.
    6. Buy 5 infantry, 5 armor and place in Eastern US. Move 10 empty transports from SZ 110 back to SZ 91. Move 5 empty transports from SZ 91 to SZ 101. Load 5 transports in SZ 91, move to SZ 110 and unload in Normandy.
    7. Buy 5 infantry, 5 armor and place in Eastern US. Load and move 5 transports from SZ 101 to SZ 91, unloading in Gibraltar/Morocco. Load and move 5 transports from SZ 91 to SZ 110, unloading in Normandy. Move 5 empty transports from SZ 110 to SZ 91. Move 5 empty transports from SZ 91 to SZ 101.
    8. Repeat Turn 7.

    In the immortal words of Forrest Gump, “…and that’s all I have to say about that.” Any thoughts, comments, criticism or suggestions?

  • First of all, interesting thread! I have a few remarks though.
    You mention nothing about when USA gets into the war? USA1 is 10 infantry and 10 artillery. If you play with OOB rules then USA starts with minor industrial complexes when it’s not at war. This means they can only buy 9 units a turn until they get in the war.
    Also i’m not a huge fan of first buying your ground troops in one round and then buying your transports in the next. The reason is i think it’s better to have a few less transports that can move a turn earlier then to have a lot of ground troops stuck on your island waiting for a transport buy the next turn. Even if you’re not planning to unload those transports somewhere meaningful, there is still the psychological factor for the Axis if you move your transports into a position closer to them (for example the famous SZ91). You also mention nothing about the troops you already start with at the beginning of the game. You already have a few ground troops and transports to start the game with!
    Also 10 infantry + 10 artillery = 70 ipc, USA starts with 52.

  • 2020 2019 2018

    @Tutti Thanks for reading.

    The original post addresses purchases after the US enters the war, once its industrial complexes have been upgraded and income is augmented by National Objective bonuses. Thus, “USA1” refers to America’s second turn after entering the war, which would be the first turn they have ~70 IPC to spend. Up to that point, my recommendation is to make those necessary “security” purchases - carriers, destroyers, aircraft, etc.

    I understand your aversion to buying ground troops, only to have them sit for a turn while you buy transports the next. When the US is at war, you can certainly do several turns of 5x5x5 buys (5 infantry, 5 artillery, 5 transports for 70 IPC). I’ve done this many times, myself. If your goal is to assemble an invasion force - a force large enough to make a successful amphibious assault and survive an enemy counterattack - the 5x5x5 system will work just as well as the (10x10)+10 purchases I detailed, but only in the Atlantic. Because the US only has one IC on the Pacific, the (10x10) +10 is still the most efficient method of assembling a force to invade Japan.

    As for the troops America starts the game with…they can easily be incorporated into your invasion forces, but I usually have other uses for them. To give just three examples: 1) I use the Atlantic transport to activate Brazil and shuttle the Brazilian infantry to Gibraltar or Morocco, 2) The American armor and mech infantry, when parked in the Western US, can deter Japan from invading Alaska, and 3) As soon as the US enters the war, I like to use the transport off Hawaii to capture the Marshall Islands. If the Japanese don’t have carriers within striking distance of Hawaii, taking the Marshalls eliminates the threat from Japan-based strategic bombers, allowing you to safely move undefended transports to Hawaii.

Log in to reply

Suggested Topics

  • 2
  • 11
  • 3
  • 1
  • 10
  • 39
  • 17
  • 33
I Will Never Grow Up Games
Axis & Allies Boardgaming Custom Painted Miniatures
Dean's Army Guys