Some big-name commenters here! I�m honored by all the discussion. I didn�t expect to draw any attention from a national champion, and Black_Elk�s high-quality articles are what inspired me to write up the Kontrol Asia First strategy in the first place.
To answer Black_Elk�s question about bidding, I recently played this strategy with an 8 IPC bid, and I used it to put one infantry in Egypt and one AAA in Sinkiang. I�m not sure that�s a great strategy – it worked out OK for me, but the AAA offers zilch on offense, which is a problem given how few units the US has to work with in Asia. With 9 IPC, I might have put one infantry in Egypt, one in Trans-Jordan, and one in Szechuan – if the Germans drop two units in Trans-Jordan while also stacking in Libya, that tends to greviously delay the Brits� ability to get tanks into Burma, and the second infantry in Jordan goes a long way toward making sure only one unit from the Afrikakorps survives. With 11 IPC, I�d go for one infantry in Egypt and one extra destroyer protecting the US Atlantic transports – being able to reliably drop 2 inf, 1 art, 1 tnk in Morocco on US1 is huge. Anyone have any other ideas for KAF bids?
I think a G2 artillery build and G3 tank build is a solid response to KAF, but keep in mind that the tanks being built in Egypt can be redirected to the Caucuses without much trouble – the Egyptian tanks naturally stop over in Persia on their way east, and from Persia they can reach Ukraine, Caucuses, West Russia, or Moscow in one move, possibly with fighter support from India. If the Axis are staking everything on a one-shot punch at Moscow, then the British can switch to KGF, sinking the un-reinforced German Navy and then saving up for a carrier and two destroyers to support a US Atlantic invasion fleet.
Another problem with a German artillery blitz is that it’s not actually that fast or that big, as blitzes go. Let’s say Germany is playing with 45 IPCs on G2 – that’ll buy 11 artillery. If you want to save your starting forces for the maximum assault on Moscow, you’re not going to get much past 45 IPCs in the early rounds, so let’s say you earn a total of 90 IPCs on G3 and G4, which buys you 15 tanks. A big chunk of Germany’s starting ground forces are either needed to defend western Europe, stuck in Africa, or likely to be killed on R1. The territories that can realistically contribute their ground troops to Barbarossa are Berlin, Finland, Baltic, Poland, Bulgaria, Italy, Southern Europe, Ukraine, and Belorussia, for a total of about 18 infantry, 2 artillery, and 8 tanks, depending on how you count. Add in the 11 artillery from G2 and the 15 tanks from G3/G4, and you’re looking at a ground force of 18 inf / 13 art / 15 tnk. Note that artillery purchased in Germany on G2 reach Poland on G3, Belorussia on G4, and West Russia on G5 if they move as fast as possible. The tanks you buy on G4 can’t hit West Russia on G5 because it’s 3 spaces away, so you might have to wait for your tanks to catch up. If you get delayed even one turn on your march to Moscow, that means your Moscow assault comes on G7 – giving Moscow 7 turns to purchase infantry with an average income of 21 IPC per turn, which means you’re up against a stack of something like 50 infantry, assuming Russia can use its starting troops to trade and hold most of its periphery. If Britain and the US reinforce that stack with a modest donation of 2 fighters each, then Russia has a defensive stack of 54 HP and 116 defensive pips facing off against Germany’s offensive stack of 46 HP and 102 offensive pips. Bring in the German air force of 6 fighters and a bomber and Germany’s stack is 53 HP and 124 offensive pips – not really enough for a decisive win. Germany could probably take Moscow, but there’s no guarantee it would hold it. Bring in a G5 buy of 4 bombers, and Germany’s stack is 57 HP and 140 offensive pips – finally enough for a decisive win. Meanwhile, though, Germany has devoted 100% of its IPC due east for five turns. Germany is going to lose Norway and north Africa, and it’s probably going to be (at best) trading France and Holland. Britain is going to be huge, because Germany never bought a navy or sent any troops to Africa, so Britain could even launch an amphibious assault on Italy from the Egyptian IC. I’m probably missing some of the strategy’s important nuances – I’m sure you could make good use of a G2 buy that’s heavy on artillery – but I don’t see a German artillery blitz as a strategy that can neutralize KAF all by itself.
Note that you do not have to literally boot the Japanese off the mainland to win in KAF – if the Japanese are bottled up near Manchuria and Kiangsu, then the British have a much higher sustainable income, and the Russians have the luxury of fighting a defensive one-front war.
MarineIguana, I agree with you that the Japanese have a very easy time dominating the Pacific sea zones in A&A 1942 2nd Ed., but I�m not proposing that the US should build a superior Pacific fleet – the point is that the combined US and British threat is very difficult for the Japanese fleet to manage simultaneously.
If Japan sends the whole fleet southwest, then the Americans can invade e.g., Iwo Jima and then the Phillipines, building a 3 IPC industrial complex if the Japanese don�t bring the fleet home. If Japan leaves the whole fleet near Japan, then the British can invade Yunnan and French Indochina because the Japanese can�t protect any transports near India. If Japan splits the fleet evenly, then the US can invest in a large, balanced navy and defeat both Japanese fleets one at a time.
By round 3 of KAF, the British should have 2 fighters in India plus a bomber in the Caucuses (32 IPCs, 3 HP, 10 pips offense), which can be traded favorably against, say, one fully loaded Japanese carrier and one transport (41 IPCs, 3 HP, 10 pips defense). But if the Japanese draw off more than one fully loaded carrier fleet to protect an Indian Ocean campaign, then they no longer have an edge against an American Navy that goes all-out in the Pacific, especially if the Americans are building mostly 6 IPC subs against Japan�s 8 IPC destroyers.
I do like MarineIguana�s idea of slowly stacking fighters in India that get flown in from London, but I�m not convinced that this is more useful than the Egyptian tanks. I also disagree that the structure of the east Asian territories makes it uninteresting for the British to expand beyond India – although there are several 1 IPC territories in the region, east Asia tends to be very lightly defended and expensive for Japan to reinforce. A pair of tanks in eastern Europe might buy you control of one 2 IPC territory for one turn, whereas a pair of tanks in east Asia might buy you control of four 1 IPC territories for two turns each.
Finally, I completely agree with MarineIguana that bombers are high-variance and low-profit ways of gaining an IPC edge in general, but I do think they�re an efficient way of punishing Japan in the particular situation where Japan builds a pair of industrial complexes during the first two rounds. The USA has IPCs to burn, and any way that they project power over the ocean is going to be inefficient. If the USA can do enough strategic bombing damage to stop Japan from cranking out all 3 tanks in Manchuria, then the USA is accomplishing its objectives even if the USA takes a net IPC loss doing so, because the British 2 inf / 1 art / 2 tnk build is going to beat a Japanese 2 tnk build (or, for that matter, a Japanese 3 inf build) on the mainland. The British campaign to steal east Asian territories synergizes very nicely with a US strategic bombing campaign; not only does the British invasion have a tendency to provide the safe bases that American bombers need, it also further reduces the Japanese income, making it that much easier for American bombers to cause more bombing damage than the Japanese can afford to repair while also dropping tanks in Asia.
Oddbjoern asked what to do with the Indian and ANZAC transports in a KAF game. I think the ANZAC fleet should go east around the southern tip of South America and circle up to London, just as it would in a KGF game – just because the focus is on east Asia doesn�t mean it isn�t useful to harass Germany. The destroyer and transport will often arrive just as the UK has some breathing room in Asia and can afford to drop a carrier in the Channel, which is very convenient. I usually need the Indian transport to help retake Trans-Jordan from the Germans, but if the Germans don�t invade the eastern Med at all, it can be fun to send the Indian transport to sea zone 51, off the coast of Kwangtung and Yunnan – that way you can stack both Yunnan (2 british inf, 1 british ftr, 2 american inf) and Szechuan (2 american inf, 1 american plane, 1 russian inf), making things extremely difficult for Japan in China. I�m not in love with either of these strategies, though – everyone please let me know if you have other ideas for how to use the British transports!