• Hi -

    I hope you guys don’t mind another pearl harbor question as Japan.

    Most strategy imply that submarine in SZ44 is still around to attack Pearl Harbor, but in 100% of my game it was destroyed by UK.

    Without the sub, this leave me with 2 fighter, 1 bomber, 1 cruiser to attack pearl harbor, with the Aircraft carrier I leave in SZ 52. This is only a +/- 60% odd of winning (https://aacalc.freezingblue.com/)

    Most of the time I lose the battle, at best it’s a draw and I lose everything and USA as well. In all my game, never one of my plane survived.

    Would you attack pearl harbor with those odds? Usually if I don’t attack pearl harbor the massive USA fleet becomes a pain in the neck quite early on.


  • @moonzar How is your sub destroyed? You should have Japan’s defense profile set to subs submerge. The only thing that can attack it before your turn is a British cruiser and submarine, neither can prevent your sub from submerging. The only unit that can do that is a destroyer. You are needlessly losing your sub if you dont change your defense profile.

  • '22

    I don’t attack Pearl Harbor any more, in any situation. the profit is minimal and there is a surprisingly large opportunity cost.

  • @brian-cannon You are correct. That was my problem. Thank you!!!

  • @boston_nwo Do you mind elaborating what you would do instead with those 2-3 planes on round 1. Ground battle?

  • '22

    @moonzar Yep ground battles. These are small but guaranteed profits. The big reason why hitting USA pearl isn’t as good as it seems is that the USA navy units are so out of position. It’s round 4 until they’re useful in Europe, and often times Allies end up with more navy than they need (other than transports). In contrast, Japan’s air is immediately useful in rounds 1-3 making additional profit with each battle.

    1 bomber to burytania
    2-3 fighters to Anhwei
    1-2 fighters Burma
    1-2 fighters Yunnan
    fighters if UK tries to take borneo, New Guinea, or otherwise leaves units exposed

  • I disagree on the opportunity cost. Unless something bigger if offered by the allies doing pearl is a perfectly viable alternative to these marginal improvements on the ground battles.

    Just to clarify, doing pearl means sending 2 fight, 1 bomb, 1 cru, ,1 sub and taking the 0 movement fighter as a casualty to land the remaining 2 aircraft safely on an island.

    Another alternative I favor against strong opponents is hitting szechwan with 1 inf, 1 art 2 fight 1 bomb, even when the R inf is there. Overall w/l is about 80%. If UK lands the india fighter there, this is off the table. Then I generally default to pearl.

    Also worth noting that pearl is stronger if G buys a bomber G1, or if allies have fewer ships in the atlantic. This is because thats where the pearl boats would generally go(at high levels of play the US ships ditch the pacific), and it might induce US to buy more navy in the atlantic, effectively trading off deadweight J navy for reduced pressure on G.

    Edit: As for the J fighter and bomber being out of position J2, I dont think this makes a significant difference. Szechwan and sinkiang is usually uncontested, which leaves only Burma and Yakut. The difference between 2 planes and 3 planes in a 2 inf vs 1 inf trade is quite small, and the bomber has reach to Burma.

  • '22

    Quintin is a strong player and provides a good menu of alternative evaluations on pearl. Even 5 seasons in among strong players, there remains disagreement about the very best move.

    The only cases where you should clearly not do Pearl is if UK attacks borneo, Russia places 5 infantry in buryatia, or some similar level of UK aggression where Japan has use the starting units to great effect. In this scenario, attacking pearl as well overstretches Japan’s navy.

  • Also if UK attacks SZ37 and wins with enough to have boats left, clearing that is a higher priority than pearl. If the battle is won by J or UK only survives with planes I think doing pearl is prudent since allies are signalling KJF and hitting pearl delays US by a turn. If UK does SZ37 in conjunction with other allied aggressive moves(like the ones Boston mentioned), I think you should consolidate on land and skip pearl.

  • @brian-cannon said in Japan R1 attack on pearl harbor:

    You should have Japan’s defense profile set to subs submerge.


    @quintin said in Japan R1 attack on pearl harbor:

    I disagree on the opportunity cost. Unless something bigger if offered by the allies doing pearl is a perfectly viable alternative to these marginal improvements on the ground

    Another alternative I favor against strong opponents is hitting szechwan with 1 inf, 1 art 2 fight 1 bomb, even when the R inf is there. Overall w/l is about 80%. If UK lands the india fighter there, this is off the table. Then I generally default to pearl.

    Edit: As for the J fighter and bomber being out of position J2, I dont think this makes a significant difference

    mvp 2

    BTW Quintin, was it you that said Allies should do early trading in Mediterranean in another thread and provided some specifics?

    For OP - yeah I put up some text wall posts elsewhere explaining how KJF sucks in 1942 Online. There’s a lot to it, ranging from how UK can’t use US transports so doesn’t have a reliable Africa income plan, UK can’t use US carriers so KJF threats and timing is garbage compared to 1942 Second Edition, bunch of defensive profile applications, and I mean a BUNCH. But whatevs.

    Tahweh’s guide combines simplicity and solidity. You ask aardvark (me) a simple question, probably you’ll end up with some kinda horrible decision tree that runs to five pages (at least). So you gotta figure there’s good reasons to keep it simple.

    And Tahweh says to do Pearl. Complications aside, it’s pretty much as he says, as Quintin says. Maybe some games Pearl’s not strictly “optimal” but reasonably, you should do it.

    But you want complications?

    oo boy 😂


    Gonna try to keep it MOSTLY short, but a few basics

    1. Starting forces on the board dwarf what you can buy/place.

    2. Opening battles and dice outcomes change probabilities on subsequent possibilities. E.g. if USSR has horrible dice at West Russia, Germany may be able to build mass tanks and try to crush Russia before the Allies can really do anything. But if USSR doesn’t have horrible dice at West Russia, then Germany building mass tanks immediately is probably dumb as Germany will probably run out of steam then lose.

    3. What you buy/place DOES make a difference, even almost immediately, but it’s less about your having total “command” of the situation, and more that you’re going for the best probability outcomes for what evolved from the starting position.

    4. One unit isn’t just “a little” difference. One unit makes a big chunky difference even in battles of near a hundred units. Even the difference between buying a single artillery instead of a single infantry can set the stage for options for an entire turn, which affect the entire game. Some players are quick to dismiss the differences because they don’t want to think about them, and though I’m not saying you need to run all the numbers, you should at least be aware there really aren’t any “insignificant” actions, no matter how small.

    So you’re asking about J1 attack on Pearl?

    First, what happens if USSR has suck dice on USSR1 and Germany shoves a fat load of tanks down its throat?

    The worst responses say it doesn’t matter, Japan just does what Japan does. Bad responses say Japan should “pressure” but don’t explain what, why, how, or under what circumstances, and there’s some vague handwaving that “it makes a difference” but nobody says HOW. Ugh.

    So I’m going to say think on it. Suppose USSR bought four infantry two tanks (which I don’t recommend but whatever), tried what is it, 12 units to West Russia and 9 units to Ukraine, got lousy dice at West Russia, and didn’t do so hot at Ukraine (though still captured)? What then?

    There’s some scenarios I won’t get into, but keeping it simple say Germany has odds to capture or horribly weaken West Russia and also recapture Ukraine. What happens then?

    Then there’s some more scenarios but what it comes out to is in some scenarios USSR only has two tanks and two fighters to threaten Germany pressure in Europe. There might be no chance for USSR to recapture Karelia after Germany takes it. Or even if USSR does have odds, there might be no way that USSR can sustain defense against Germans sending in loads of tanks, especially with Japanese fighters reinforcing German-captured territories.

    So UNDER those SPECIFIC conditions, you have to think, what Japan actions are right? Should you go Pearl or not? And the answer is, IF the game went that way (which requires a lot of luck but it happens) then probably you do NOT go Pearl.

    And this is why I really don’t like the vague hand-waving some players do that it’ll all just magically work out and nothing makes any difference because that’s just not how it works mathematically.

    Suppose you do Pearl. Some players talk vaguely about IPC differences, but really think about it. If UK did not blow up Japan’s East Indies fleet, any Allied progress in Pacific will be horribly slow. So what do you get by blowing up the US fleet at Hawaiian Islands? You kill a valuable carrier and a fighter, but you lose a fighter (if you’re LUCKY, because you NEED a fighter to die or else the fighter that starts on Tokyo pulls a Japanese carrier so the fighter can land then US just kills the carrier and the fighter on US’s turn). Then you also have a fighter and a bomber taken out of the action, not just on J1, but also J2 because that air is out in the middle of nowhere. It’s only by J3 that the air becomes relevant again.

    And in exchange, what?

    US wasn’t going to make fast progress in the Pacific anyways (provided UK didn’t blow up Japan’s East Indies fleet and even if that did happen with 1942 Online’s rules changes KJF (Kill Japan First) is still pretty not great for Allies). Yes, if you have KGF (Kill Germany First) then normally you expect the US Pacific carrier to make its way to the Atlantic just about in time for after Japan breaks India for Japan’s crazy air power to threaten the heck out of the Allied Atlantic fleet then you need reinforcements.

    But in this game US4 Atlantic isn’t the issue. Under the Axis game plan by that point the Axis should already have secured a decisive advantage against USSR in Europe to the point that not only will Russia collapse but also that the Axis won’t have to pay too much to make that happen. That is, the expectation is Axis are well on their way to conquering Russia by that point, after which Axis consolidate their position and there just aren’t any good Allied options.

    So in THAT game if Japan goes after Pearl, that’s just entirely besides the point of what the Axis should be trying to do. “Wrong” is a pretty strong term, but you can see if Axis have a tank dash scenario where there’s a pretty good case to say Japan going to Pearl IS “wrong”.

    As to whether two fighters and a bomber would make a difference, again, remember. It’s not just J1, it’s J1, J2, and J3 too, because even on J3 Japan’s air that had to land on an island will have sharply limited options. Considering the timeline, it’s not even that the Allies need to screw up then Japan has some sort of magical “opening”. The simple fact is, if Japan cuts its early attack power for so long, then that means the Allies have better options on odds for a lot of choices they couldn’t otherwise probably make. Lasting another turn at India, having time to switch defense focus from India to Europe, all that important stuff is stuff that now the Allies have time to do, because Japan just doesn’t have the units because Japan fought a battle it didn’t have to, that it shouldn’t have fought, and if Japan had favorable odds for the battle, if Japan didn’t “lose” units straight out, what of it? You’ve heard the saying winning the battle but losing the war, this is exactly that.

    See what I mean about the handwaving and saying it doesn’t make a difference? You can see it DOES make a difference. Mmm?

    Second, what happens if both sides did “reasonable” plays, Allies have a strong defense on West Russia against a G2 attack, and there aren’t really any clear openings?

    Well, then you really have to think on it.

    What if UK hit Japan’s East Indies fleet and did well? What happened with UK transports in Indian and Pacific Oceans? You can’t really argue UK won’t hit Japan’s East Indies fleet, that UK doesn’t have great odds, that UK doesn’t have good backup contingencies; I mean you COULD argue those things, but if UK has already, in fact, hit Japan’s East Indies fleet and done amazingly, then you just have to deal with it.

    Then there’s the question of what if UK didn’t hit East Indies fleet, if USSR put an infantry on Szechwan, if USSR dummied up and tried to fortify Buryatia.

    Sometimes you do Pearl, sometimes you don’t. If you really respect your opponent and you don’t have some an Axis tank dash scenario, and if the board situation is right, then you do Pearl. But if not? Then you don’t.

    Why “respect”? Because the “standard” Japan attack I’d say is sub, cruiser, two fighters, bomber, against Pearl. It isn’t a bad battle for Japan, but there is some chance the US sub submerges then Japan wipes everything out without losing the Tokyo fighter. Then Japan has to commit its Caroline Islands carrier and probably lose it to the US counter. What I’m getting at is though it’s a pretty good odds attack for Japan, there is some chance for things to go horribly wrong. If you think your opponent is bad then they’re not going to use the US carrier well anyways so you just gave up loads of early Japanese power in Asia (remember, three plus turns for two fighters and bomber) for basically nothing. Only if your opponent is very good will they use the US carrier to optimal effect, even if later on in the game, and only then is the chunky opportunity cost Japan pays really worth it.

    Tank dash is tank dash, if the dice went that way that’s how they went.

    If the board situation is right is a lot trickier. UK1 hitting Japan’s East Indies fleet has a lot of weird variations, plus Japan should think about G2 pressing into Europe, opportunity costs etc.

    @boston_nwo said in Japan R1 attack on pearl harbor:

    The only cases where you should clearly not do Pearl is if UK attacks borneo, Russia places 5 infantry in buryatia, or some similar level of UK aggression where Japan has use the starting units to great effect. In this scenario, attacking pearl as well overstretches Japan’s navy.

    Actually you can still do Pearl in both situations. I don’t know that I would say Japan should do Pearl anyways, just because 1942 Online rules changes makes KJF so generally bad, but Borneo, Buryatia, not so much issues.

    You have to think about the opportunity costs, and how the position develops.

    Look, I don’t want to overcomplicate it, but some posters REALLY oversimplify stuff. Like, there is no mention of UK successfully hitting Japan’s East Indies fleet, and that’s just . . . . I mean you can’t even talk about it seriously if you don’t consider that.

    It works out something like this if Japan didn’t have its East Indies fleet blown up:

    1. If UK captures Borneo, Japan sends Tokyo fighter, Caroline Islands fighter, bomber, sub, cruiser to Pearl. Borneo recaptured with Tokyo transport, up to three fighters two battleship bombards (probably less), leaving Japan a discretionary fighter in Asia. There’s a lot of problems there, I won’t deny it, but Japan can still get good odds on hitting US’s two infantry on Anhwei, US’s two infantry on Yunnan, and defend Manchuria - unless USSR sent a lot east to the point that USSR’s development in Europe will be all screwed up. And if Japan doesn’t defend Manchuria well, at least it can pressure a commit out of USSR. What’s USSR going to do? Keep USSR infantry and fighters and maybe a tank east, walk into the teeth of Japan’s logistics, USSR suffers opportunity cost in Europe? And USSR WILL suffer in Europe. Or does USSR not hit Manchuria then Japan keeps the income?

    2. If USSR put five inf on Buryatia, the “normal” thinking is, your opponent screwed up and left 15 IPCs of units on a bad-odds defense, bam, you hit that. If Japan can bleed out USSR leaving less to challenge Germany with, bam, you hit that. But Buryatia is a bit of an exception. Again, if USSR wants to commit to threatening Manchuria that’s going to pull away from Europe; the territories are just too far apart. And if USSR retreats immediately, USSR will STILL miss the timing on timely reinforcement to West Russia. It’s going to be nasty for USSR whether Japan crushes USSR at Buryatia on J1 or whether Japan just yawns and lets USSR do whatever on USSR2 then Japan hits the coast and consolidates on J2. To be plain, USSR already screwed up badly by USSR1 5 infantry on Buryatia. Japan doesn’t need to jump on it.

    Let’s say Japan’s two fighters and a bomber down for four turns in Asia. Okay. So tell me how USSR pushes a chunk of units through northeast Asia and/or China, UK pushes an offensive from India into Burma and points east. No matter how you slice it, Germany gets more freedom, and it uses that to pressure Europe, then Japan gets its units and logistics going and crushes any Allied incursion - and any Allied pressure in Europe simply means Allies are way out of position in Europe. It’s not GUARANTEED it works EXACTLY like that but that’s the mechanics of the rules and board.

    I don’t say that I would do Pearl anyways, but if I were considering Pearl, I wouldn’t consider either Borneo or Buryatia “clearly not” situations for Pearl. It’s still good for the reasons it’s good (and still bad for the reasons it’s bad). Provided Japan’s East Indies fleet wasn’t hit, Japan can still recapture Borneo and hit Pearl and still have a reasonable (if not fantastic) position, and I just mentioned Japan can defer at Buryatia - again it’s not fantastic, but it’s an option.

    @quintin said in Japan R1 attack on pearl harbor:

    As for the J fighter and bomber being out of position J2, I dont think this makes a significant difference. Szechwan and sinkiang is usually uncontested, which leaves only Burma and Yakut. The difference between 2 planes and 3 planes in a 2 inf vs 1 inf trade is quite small, and the bomber has reach to Burma.

    In MOST games, if you must generalize, that’s pretty safe. But if I remember right Quintin favors USSR1 buy 4 inf 2 tank, 12 units to West Russia, 9 to Ukraine, and capture of Ukraine.

    Yeah yeah I know, some critics say aardvark meanders around. But think about it. REALLY THINK!

    (blank stares)

    Aren’t we talking about Pearl Harbor, then what’s this about USSR1’s buys and moves? . . .


    Remember, right now we’re talking about J1-3 opportunity costs of Japan doing Pearl. And I’m saying that Quintin’s USSR open and assumptions are playing into his advice, which I’m saying in turn is often true, but not always.

    Suppose USSR hits West Russia and Ukraine, captures Ukraine, does decently at West Russia. Without going too into detail, probably Germany recaptures Ukraine (killing most of USSR’s ground attack power), doesn’t hit West Russia (too scary), and captures Karelia lightly, anticipating USSR will recapture Karelia next turn.

    And why do we think these things?

    West Russia can be pretty scary if USSR got decent dice and moved both AA guns in. I’m not talking about UK fighters from London and US fighter from Szechwan, those happen AFTER Germany’s turn. BTW note that Quintin mentioned hitting Szechwan with Japan which is NOT VERY SAFE AT ALL but it DOES fit into the fundamental doctrine that Japan tries to bleed out the Allies so Germany doesn’t have to so even if precious precious Japanese air is risked, well, I might not like it, but I’m certainly not going to say that’s “wrong”.

    But anyways back to West Russia. Suppose Germany decides to try to capture Karelia in force on G1. What do we know? German fighters can’t land on, as Karelia was newly captured. So you have a load of German infantry and a load of German tanks. And the thing about German infantry, especially early, it takes a LONG time for German infantry newly built on Berlin to reach the eastern front. If Germany loses those forward Germany infantry, that’s not a nice thing at all for Germany.

    If USSR wants to hit Karelia on USSR2, then what does it need? USSR1 build infantry and artillery won’t reach, only USSR1 build tanks or air will.

    So. Think about Karelia. If Germany bulks up at Karelia, USSR has a good chance to kick its teeth in a little, and that’s going to suck for Germany. Germany could even lose some valuable tanks. Then USSR just retreats to West Russia and moves in infantry reinforcements, too bad for Germany. Yes yes, hand clapping all around, good job Allies.

    And if Germany doesn’t move into Karelia in force then USSR trades Karelia, which isn’t flashy, but if Germany didn’t control Karelia for the full round then Germany can’t place two units there, which hurts German logistics. And to be real about it, it’s not that Germany is “just going to make up the difference” with infantry from Berlin. It takes time for Germany to get stuff to the front, it’s a real problem, so again, hand clapping all around, good job Allies.

    What I’m getting at, in my aardvark way, is explaining why I believe Quintin doesn’t think Germany necessarily holds Karelia at the start of G2. Because I think that is not in his expected range of projections. And why not, if he’s going to say USSR buys two tanks, he’d probably be quite right.

    But to me, who favors USSR1 4 inf 3 art buy and who also thinks about a soft USSR1 hold of West Russia in case of bad dice, I do NOT assume that USSR2 has good options against Karelia. Instead, I try to exploit positional distances between Germany’s objectives, and accept the possibility of a German-controlled Karelia at start of G2. (And note, I’ve also written a lot about Allies attacking and retreating from Ukraine, which preserves a USSR2 Allied threat against Karelia, so I’m not just saying the Allies necessarily totally give up on Karelia, plus there’s the possibility of good USSR1 dice, but I digress).

    So, Karelia. So what?

    So what is Japan can put a bomber on Karelia by the end of J1. It might not WANT to, but it’s an option. Further, as I mentioned elsewhere, in some setups Japan may want to put battleship, carrier, and two fighters south of Persia at end of J1, from where Japanese fighters can make it to Karelia.

    Okay, so let’s keep considering the development of the position. Suppose at end of G1, Germany has two infantry on Finland (started out on Norway) and three fighters. Those fighters have range to UK’s sea zones and threaten West Russia. You could say NW Europe is an option, as is France, but if UK’s East Canada transport survived then UK has some attack options against the Finland infantry, and Germany doesn’t want that to happen. Lose territory in Europe, get pressured in Karelia, lose reinforcements to Karelia, bad bad bad, do not want. It’s not a GREAT UK attack but if they make it and get lucky, oof. So German fighters on Finland, yes? Make sense?

    Remember I mentioned Quintin’s reference to Japan hitting Szechwan earlier? Specifically I said Japan may be risking valuable Japanese air but the general doctrine is Japan tries to deal with as much as it can so that’s less for Germany to deal with? Pretty important though I didn’t dig into it at the time, then there’s starting position, stack size, effective reinforcement.

    But long story short, generally Germany should go ground and NOT air, and Germany wants to press at least one battle against a combined Allied stack in Europe so long as it doesn’t cost Germany too much. I’m not saying Germany must BREAK the Allied stack, but it wants to press a battle on Axis terms so even if Axis don’t win right there, at least Japan can finish Russia off then reinforce a beleaguered Germany. (And then there’s how German carrier or bomber builds aren’t the worst Germany can do but I won’t get into that now.)

    So what I’m getting at is, again indirectly - if Germany has really good odds on a hugely IPC-favorable naval battle in the Atlantic early, then Germany wants to think about taking it. If the Allies are competent probably that doesn’t happen, but Germany wants to watch for it. But if it’s not hugely favorable, then Germany doesn’t want to bleed out its air, because Germany wants to SAVE Germany’s air for that big stack battle that eventually will be coming one way or another. Make sense?

    Then there’s some complications I won’t get into that mean probably Germany can’t hold on to Finland for too long, Germany wants to choke off US/UK reinforcments to pile up uselessly in Norway and Finland while it also prevents any “teleport” retreating into West Russia, pushes USSR back from West Russia . . . things.

    Right. But anyways, Karelia.

    In the meantime, consider UK and US’s naval situation. UK is choked for income for various reasons I won’t get into, US has lousy logistics. But there’s not much Germany can do about US1 naval build off East US, US2 air build and naval movement, UK3 fleet drop, US3 fleet reinforcement. That is slower than the Allies ideally want, but at the latest, even if Germany builds crazy loads of air, there’s not a lot Germany can do against that combined UK3/US3 fleet.

    But Germany is not alone, and this is where it all starts to come together. Just to recap, so far I talked about USSR1 buy / dice assumptions, how West Russia develops, how that affects projections on Karelia, and the Allies in Atlantic in KGF. I also referenced how by end of J1 Japan can put a bomber on Karelia and by end of J2 two fighters and a bomber (the two fighters from a J1 carrier that ended its turn south of Persia).

    Suppose UK1 and UK2 place three infantry at India, leaving 70ish IPCs for a UK3 fleet drop. Say UK drops another 12 IPCs on four infantry for London to fill out four transports that plan to drop eight units every turn. (Actually there’s some old papers on Axis and Allies org I think on the Revised boards that talk about the merits of UK transports 5-7 in the Atlantic, and though that’s for a different version, some of that still applies, but I won’t get into that too much here). Anyways that still leaves around 60 IPCs for UK3 four transports, destroyer, and carrier, and a bit to spare besides.

    But now think about what happens if UK just drops that fleet on UK3. UK3 placement followed by US3 reinforcement isn’t something Germany can at all reasonably handle. But if it’s Japan? If both Germany and Japan have air forces in Europe, then if UK’s Atlantic fleet moves then Japan can hit before US can reinforce; if US moves then Germany can hit before UK can reinforce. True Germany doesn’t want to spend its air, but if there’s a fat transport payout that disrupts Allied shipments to Atlantic, well, if UK and US have to build another escort fleet and transports (and they need some escorts if Japan still has a mighty air force), well, you see how it is.

    But that isn’t a “real” issue because UK/US can still do all that, just going northwest of London? And J2 fighters on Karelia won’t have range? Well, I could say Japan could send those fighters to France instead but whatever. If Japan’s sending stuff to France then it’s definitely out of circulation near India and that’s going to mess with Japan’s timings there. And three Japanese dice isn’t the greatest attack force against five or six UK defenders which is a real possibility etc. etc. SO eh.

    But the real problem, as I mentioned with USSR “pressure” at Buryatia earlier (quotation marks because imo it’s not a real threat) - is if Japan doesn’t move into Europe on that timing, that opens UK’s options.

    Some things in the game, the timing can be deferred. But is that what happens here?

    Suppose Japan doesn’t move fighters to France, which there’s good reason not to as Japan wants its Japanese fighters to pressure UK’s stack off India. Is that a thing?

    In some games, even most games, I’d say Japanese air can push UK off India 1-2 turns earlier, and that’s not a small thing.

    But I don’t know that it’s decisive. I say if Germany moves its stack up and captures Caucasus, and if UK’s stack at India is cut off at that point that’s a big shift in favor of Axis. Yes, I think Japan should try to capture India early, yes, I think Japan can capture India early, but I’m saying even if Japan doesn’t do it, if Germany cuts UK’s India stack off, that does quite nicely, that’ll do.

    But what happens if Japan doesn’t move Japanese air to Europe early?

    Let’s say Japan keeps the bulk of its air back to trade in Asia and pressure India and keep light UK/US fleet action off in the Pacific, in a KGF (Kill Germany First) scenario.

    For every turn of Japan delay, the Allies have time to get naval escorts in. It’s not just about US having time to build and being able to use its decent economy but sucky logistics to help UK’s sucky economy and fantastic logistics. Nor is it even about pressuring early UK/US naval escorts that could otherwise go to transports. Nor is it even about the awkwardness of Allies defending new UK naval builds placed around London. It’s also that UK can get its Australia fleet to the Atlantic, UK’s India fleet survivors may move around south Africa into the Atlantic, and any US Pacific fleet arrives too. It’s all these things adding up. And even then I’m not saying early Japanese air to Europe is this amazing thing. I’m not saying “omg! u lose J1-4 air pressure!” I am saying, though, that there’s considerations. The less pressure Japan pushes on Allies, the more freedom Allies have.

    This isn’t supposed to be some kind of super comprehensive address on Pearl Harbor. I’m just trying to give you the idea that J1 attack on Pearl is not really a “simple” question. Sometimes it’s right, sometimes it’s wrong, often it’s ambiguous and you make the call depending on factors other than simply the board position - such as your read of your opponent’s risk assessment, and your understanding of your own playstyle.

    I’m not saying players need to be thinking about all this stuff to play. Players can do whatever they want. But if you’re looking to rationality and mathematics, you’ve got to understand things are connected, and not in some vague way, but in very specific and detailed ways.


    Would I attack Pearl Harbor?

    If I were serious about the game and trying to win, I would not attack Pearl Harbor in 1942 Online. I don’t say that’s categorically correct; I’ve never run serious projections using hard math. But I do have a lot of reasons, only some of which I’ve gone into here. I’m not saying it’s all one-sided, there’s plenty of counterarguments, only some of which I’ve mentioned here, but on the balance I’d say no, I wouldn’t go for it.

    But that is not to disagree with Quintin. I think if the meta were different, I probably would go Pearl.

    Roughly my thought is - provided UK didn’t hit the East Indies fleet -

    If I do Pearl then I have some positive chance (not super high but still) the Tokyo fighter doesn’t die then I have to commit Japan’s Caroline Islands carrier, it’s a US no-brainer counter and that sucks for Japan, because I want to move one carrier into Mediteranean and probably keep another for east Pacific. So I want two carriers at least, and I don’t want to build any new carriers as they’re expensive, so I don’t want to lose any.

    If I don’t do Pearl, considering what I’ve seen in the hundreds plus games I’ve played, considering what I’ve ever read from posts by players, I think the odds are VERY SMALL that I’ll actually have to deal with a competent player that will actually use the carrier in a way that makes me feel “wow, messed up there.”

    So very small (but non-zero) chance of eating a nasty counter, versus practically zero chance of maybe someone playing accurately but even if they did I’d have counterplay. That’s what it comes down to in my mind.

    That said, I probably am NOT going to be serious in any given game, and I will probably do Pearl, or UK1 attack on Japan’s East Indies fleet, or whatever thing, almost certainly I won’t run proper projections and there’s every probability I won’t even use any calculation aids.


    Should YOU do Pearl Harbor?

    I’d say yeah. If you have any doubt about it, you should do it, for your development as a player if nothing else.

    And for your development as a player you should also play games where you do NOT do Pearl Harbor.

    Even when things are pretty “dumb” you should probably do them at one time or another just to get a better understanding of why you shouldn’t do these things, how you can try to salvage the situation if you do do them, and often this sort of thinking lets you work out a better plan in case of bad dice.

    Like if you think USSR defense is hard, try a USSR1 battleship buy. It’s NOT SMART, but the longer you play it the more you understand some weird stuff you might not think about.

    Like what happens if USSR builds a fleet north of Karelia? Nobody’s saying it’s smart, but how does that affect the development of UK and US in Pacific? If Germany wants to challenge that fleet, what does Germany need to give up to make that happen? If Germany doesn’t challenge that fleet what are USSR’s options? What if USSR builds navy at Caucasus? What are the percentages of projected attacks against Germany’s Med navy, and where do USSR’s fighters have to be to make that happen? If USSR has decreased unit count in Europe, in what ways can UK and US slow Germany? If UK and US fly fighters in for quick reinforcements, how does that position develop, how does that delay UK/US fleet in Atlantic, what is the timing of Germany and Japan’s threats - not poorly handled by an incompetent player, but in the hands of a very sharp player? Etc.

    When I say Japan can hit Pearl even if USSR stacks Buryatia, why do you think I say that with such confidence? Because I’ve been there, I’ve played that game, not once, but multiple times, from both sides, and each time I didn’t just knee-jerk react to what my opponents played, I ran projections (even if very basic ones) and did some light calculations. That’s why I know USSR committing east is going to mess them up at West Russia in upcoming turns, that’s why I say USSR committing to threatening Manchuria costs in Europe. I know that because I thought about things from the USSR perspective, I know about Japan’s best responses because I thought about things from the Japan perspective, and though there wasn’t a lot of “thought” involved, a lot of it was just you play a lot of games, do a lot of different stuff, even stupid stuff that you know doesn’t work, you think about things.

    If I recall right, when I stacked Buryatia with USSR, Japan botched the response, Germany botched the response, and I just steamrolled them. But that’s not how it should have worked. When I played the Axis side, I knew Allies would have weak defense at West Russia, and you think I’ll say I steamrolled West Russia? But I didn’t, I used my basic Japan strategy, ended up with unit count, positional, and economic advantages, and attritioned my way to the win.

    The point I’m making is - you can know the theoretical advantages and disadvantages of a line, but raw theory has a way of interacting with other theory and mathematics in actual practice. If you want to improve as a player you have to understand the practical expression of conflicting theoretical factors, such as, say, concentration versus dispersion of force. If I played Axis saying the “theory” says Allied West Russia is weak, therefore I MUST break West Russia, that would have been wrong. But the fact that the Allies sent so much towards Japan in that game what was what messed with them in the end. They made sacrifices to protect West Russia; instead of taking the Allies head on and playing their game, I redirected some to Africa and choked them out.

    So try different things, don’t worry so much about whether something’s “right” or “wrong”. Try to improve your fundamentals so you know why something is “right” or “wrong”.

  • '22

    I agree that a deep understanding is better, but that takes a lot of effort. Knowing what good players are doing and copying that is a solid way of quickly improving while also reverse engineering the understanding of mechanics over time.

    This season, I haven’t attacked pearl harbor once (25 games) despite all kinds of opponent actions. Not claiming I am the best axis player, but I’ve done well enough that I think my advice is useful.

  • Wow… I have a lot to read. Thanks for all the advice, might come back with more questions later. 🙂

  • @boston_nwo said in Japan R1 attack on pearl harbor:


    Yeah. I did pearl harbor after UK destroyed borneo’s Japan fleet. I lost that game badly against a gold player. 😕

    I’m like rank 450 in Silver now hehe… A lot to learn.

  • @moonzar said in Japan R1 attack on pearl harbor:

    @boston_nwo said in Japan R1 attack on pearl harbor:


    Yeah. I did pearl harbor after UK destroyed borneo’s Japan fleet. I lost that game badly against a gold player. 😕

    I’m like rank 450 in Silver now hehe… A lot to learn.

    What did you learn from that game, exactly?

    Also Japan doesn’t start with a fleet at Borneo. It has a fleet off East Indies.

  • @aardvarkpepper Sorry I meant, I lost my fleet in East indies and I still went ahead doing pearl harbor. I ended up with nothing left in the pacific and got KJF.

    I basically learn… That when you lost east indies from UK, should have bought fleet in R1 immediately, probably 3-4 subs to prepare for KJF. Also shouldn’t do Pearl in the future, if I lost my East Indies fleet.

    Make sense? 🙂


  • @moonzar said in Japan R1 attack on pearl harbor:

    Make sense? 🙂

    Actually, no.

    @moonzar said in Japan R1 attack on pearl harbor:

    @aardvarkpepper Sorry I meant, I lost my fleet in East indies and I still went ahead doing pearl harbor. I ended up with nothing left in the pacific and got KJF.

    I basically learn… That when you lost east indies from UK, should have bought fleet in R1 immediately, probably 3-4 subs to prepare for KJF. Also shouldn’t do Pearl in the future, if I lost my East Indies fleet.

    A lot of posters will think that makes sense, that “learning” happened. But actually?

    Suppose I say my “strategy” is to “have more stuff”. That isn’t a real strategy. Anyone can win if they have more stuff, the problem is getting more stuff. A “plan” to win with “more stuff” is not a real plan, that’s just wishful thinking.

    So you look at a plan to buy J1 subs, it seems like a “strategy”, it has specifics and everything. But is it really strategy? Or wishful thinking?

    If I stopped there, readers that didn’t know what I meant to begin with still wouldn’t know. So I’ll give a pretty rough explanation, not to try to explain the case completely, but just to give readers an idea there’s something to what I’m talking about.

    If UK successfully hit Japan’s East Indies fleet, Japan has battleship, carrier, two destroyers, cruiser, submarine, four fighters, bomber. I figure that at 120 IPC, and I want to point out it’s horribly oversimplifying to use raw IPC values instead of considering position but as I wrote, this is only intended to explain things roughly.

    If US’s Hawaiian Islands fleet is not hit, US has battleship, carrier, two destroyers, cruiser, submarine, five fighters, bomber. I figure that at 130 IPC. I’m not even counting any fleet at US East Coast.

    Japan starts with 13 ground units in Asia. Even if USSR runs away immediately and never returns, there’s still 15 UK and US ground units.

    US has 42 IPCs, which falls to 38, but 100% of that can go to Pacific. UK has 30 IPCs which may fall below or rise above, and though their logistics isn’t great with only 3 units at India, it’s not to be discounted either. And I’m not even talking about UK air at all, but that is a factor.

    You can say US’s fighter at Szechwan won’t reach US’s main Pacific forces easily, you can say UK/US are split up and have bad reinforcements and logistics, you can say US needs to come into range of Japan’s power so Japan can hit before US. You can say Japan can hit before US goes, and that affects the balance of power in Asia. And in practice, even pretty new players to Japan know Japan can ramp up pretty quick, and I’ve made the point several times elsewhere that I think KJF in 1942 Online is pretty trash. BUT?

    But you should understand REAL QUICK, if you think you can just fend the Allies off with some sort of magical-thinking-brute-force defense, that’s not what the numbers support. The Allies have superior unit count, the Allies have superior income.

    Then think about what “buying 3-4 subs” really means. Yes, I know supposedly “top players” say you should do it, but honestly. Where in there is any specifics of the timing of how US, UK, and USSR develop, where is consideration of Japan’s countertiming, Germany’s development, or anything? Do you see how I make a distinction between real “strategy” and “wishful thinking”, and if there’s no details, what is it but wishful thinking?

    But it doesn’t stop there. Even abstractly, players should understand submarines have very limited tactical usage; submarines can’t be used to support attacks on ground targets at all, submarines can’t hit enemy air units (so aren’t good on air defense), attacking air units can’t hit submarines if there’s no attacking destroyers (so submarines can’t even be used as defensive fodder depending on attacker force composition), and submarines are even pretty bad on defense. Very limited, and you want to shove a load of budget into them . . . why? Exactly? Wishful thinking?

    I’ve read elsewhere supposedly German cracks USSR, that all Japan has to do is defend. But that’s magical thinking.

    You may read testaments by “top” players saying all Japan needs to do is defend, that they’ve played XYZ games against other “top” players and that’s how it is.

    But the deeper you dig into the specifics, the more I assert you’ll find that isn’t how it is.

    I read through this post. Often I end up deleting a reply entirely (just let people get on with what they’re doing, not my affair what they do), or I replace walls of text with a few short sentences.

    But I decided to leave this post as originally written. Each point was important and appropriate to make. First, a brute-force anti-KJF is not what Japan should do, not in the slightest. Second, some idea of the numbers and forces involved, and how the position develops over time, should be understood. Third, it should be understand even abstractly there’s issues with only-sub buys; subs are great for brute-force application but have practically no flexibility. Fourth, it should be understood positions develop in very real and specific ways, and handwaving magical solutions from any angle isn’t good practice.

    To close out this post:

    1. I recognize positive reinforcement is important. But in certain conditions I tend to focus on mechanics of change.

    2. I’ll get to the specifics of the quoted reply in a followup post. This post was just to emphasize not to use magical thinking and not to think throwing more brute force at something is a “solution”.

  • @moonzar said in Japan R1 attack on pearl harbor:

    @aardvarkpepper Sorry I meant, I lost my fleet in East indies and I still went ahead doing pearl harbor. I ended up with nothing left in the pacific and got KJF.

    I basically learn… That when you lost east indies from UK, should have bought fleet in R1 immediately, probably 3-4 subs to prepare for KJF. Also shouldn’t do Pearl in the future, if I lost my East Indies fleet.

    I’m of the strong opinion that J1 should almost never buy submarines. I’d say “never” but I’m open to the possibility of some hypothetical situation that I’ve never even seen proposed in theory.

    I mentioned in an earlier post I thought J1 could hit the US Hawaiian Islands fleet, but notice I wrote “- provided UK didn’t hit the East Indies fleet -”. Good aardvark, puttin in them details . . . so proud of me right now . . . 🙄

    OK, some readers probably read my basic anti-KJF writings elsewhere (I’ve gotten into it loads of tiems) which to date has mostly been about what happens if UK1 doesn’t hit Japan’s East Indies fleet. And I’m going to repeat a lot of that.

    Before getting into it, standard disclaimers, the stuff I write could be wrong, just opinion, etc. Also as usual I’m not even trying to explain everything, just kinda the minimum, just giving readers an idea of some of what’s going on. I expect interested readers to go figure out the rest on their own.


    Why not J1 submarines? I wrote submarines are tactically inflexible, but I also always say specific application trumps “handwaving” theory. Could the actual board position support J1 submarine builds, because Japan’s raw submarine power can be leveraged into gains?

    Typically, no.

    There’s several threats Japan has to watch for, but before getting into that and explaining why J1 subs are almost always trash (in my opinion), you need to remember every action has an opportunity cost. I’ve already tried to drive that point in where your own planning for strategy and tactics is concerned, you can’t expect magical solutions. But the same is also true for your opponent. If they push somewhere, they must give up somewhere else. Yes, your opponent can “get lucky”, getting lucky is a real thing, and yes, you may really have no answer. To claim otherwise would be to fall into magical thinking. But the expectation is you will have your chance.

    Okay, so stuff Japan has to watch out for, in no particular order:

    1. USSR getting Asia income
    2. UK building an industrial complex on Borneo.
    3. UK building an industrial complex on East Indies
    4. US repeatedly dumping units into northeastern Asia
    5. Allies pushing Japan out of coastal Asia
    6. US grabbing a money island and building an IC
    7. Mass US air attack on fleet
    8. Mixed US air/navy attack on fleet
    9. Allied fleet advancing quickly in the Pacific, including possibly UK forces.
    10. UK and/or US interdicting Japan’s sea zones. That means any new navy Japan builds may be destroyed at little cost to Allies.

    Probably other stuff but that’ll do to be getting on with.

    Then there’s a load of Axis counterthreats

    1. Germany blowing up USSR
    2. Germany blowing up Africa
    3. Allies can’t press fast enough hard enough in Pacific then they’re pressured into desperation plays and probably Japan just kills them
    4. Japan helps Germany in Europe. Yes, even despite the supposed “KJF”
    5. Japan letting Allies make temporary gains for some cost then reclaiming then Allies are left stymied (short term trades)
    6. Japan blowing up northeast Asia, China, and India while STILL fighting the Allies to a standstill in Pacific.
    7. Allies supposedly make big inroads on Japan, Allies think they’re doing fantastic, Germany crushes Russia, Japan reverses all its units out of Asia, then Allies get steamrollered in Pacific.

    Right now all that’s pretty vague, and if left where it is it’s just magical thinking.

    But when you start picking at the details, when you think about when and how, specifically, things happen, then you move from magical thinking to knowing what probably doesn’t work for you and your opponent, and from there by elimination and application to specific courses of action.

    Suppose J1 buys submarines. Vaguely, what are those good for? If UK builds some crazy fleet at India? Or if US pushes to Iwo Jima? But why are those problems? How do those threats develop? What can Japan do about those threats?

    If UK can link even a fairly weak UK India fleet with a US Pacific fleet then that accelerates the Allied timing in the Pacific. It could be a real problem. But how does UK link up with US, exactly? Imagine Japan’s main fleet is posted off Yunnan, how does UK navy link up quickly and efficiently? It can’t, if UK heads its India UK fleet directly east then Japan can blow the whole thing up. For the moment let’s not worry about UK development and support in Atlantic / Europe (though correctly those should be considered), suffice to say that it is not easy for a UK India fleet to link up. If a UK India fleet heads south of Australia, perhaps. But that happens quite late, is very awkward, and eats loads of time.

    What it works out to, in practice, is even if UK builds fleet at India immediately, even if UK blew up Japan’s East Indies fleet, it’s just horribly awkward for UK to try to get anything going in the Pacific in a reasonable time frame. And if UK blows up Japan’s East Indies fleet, there are a lot of different possibilities, but Japan can probably handle all of them. It’s not a certainty, and by the time Japan’s turn rolls around UK’s turn is an accomplished fact; you can’t say “it was unlikely that UK would succeed at all its stupid attacks therefore this is Not Happening” if it is, indeed, Happening. (OK you can SAY it but whatever).

    Suppose UK hits Japan’s East Indies fleet, which is chancy. Then there’s a lot of things that probably happen.

    1. If UK went all in on Japan’s East Indies fleet then probably Germany’s Med fleet survived. That probably means Germany has a line on Africa income, which chains into Germany’s superior stack sizes and logistics. Germany going to Africa slows Germany in Europe, but come round 4+, Germany will be capitalizing on that.

    But we can’t count on that, maybe Germany tried to hit the UK destroyer north of Egypt and failed? I’m not going to be like some other posters and pooh-pooh it saying 6% doesn’t happen. 6% happens. It does. But though the dice aren’t “fair” in the sense that you REALLY shouldn’t try to count on some sort of lucksack reversal after an opponent luckack - still, an opponent’s number is going to come up sometime or later.

    1. So G1 got bad dice in Mediterranean, then UK1 got moderately lucky dice against Japan off East Indies? But that still probably leaves UK unable to mobilize a fleet in a timely way to advance US’s quick progress in the Pacific. Even if UK DID buy fleet at India, there’s a decent chance UK lost most of its air/navy off East Indies, so UK’s ability to reinforce US in Pacific is pretty much shot.

    In 1942 Second Edition UK fighters can land on US carriers and that REALLY changes the timing on KJF. But in 1942 Online? Nope. It’s very sad.

    1. But UK lucksacked at East Indies and had a pretty large fleet surviving? Or suppose UK committed less and lucksacked so had more survivors and/or say UK built fleet at India. Again, dice results happen, no use denying it. But you’ve got to understand there’s bad luck then there’s bad luck. If you presuppose Germany failed at Mediterranean so be it, but then UK decided to be daring (which isn’t a given) then UK also got lucky, and not just a little lucky, but a lot?

    Well, if THAT situation happens, THEN maybe you build J1 subs? But no. The real problem for Japan is if US and UK advance quickly in the Pacific. How does a J1 sub build threaten any new UK naval builds off India? How does a J1 sub build stop UK from moving any UK fleet survivors off East Indies to northeast of Australia?

    I’m not digging too deeply into details, but you start to understand. J1 subs is premature. I assert what Japan actually wants is two carriers, and I’ll get into that later.

    What about US1 to Iwo Jima? I mentioned earlier the Allies want to interdict the sea zones off Japan. What this means, in effect, is if Japan builds anything in those sea zones, Allies blow it up. It could be a UK bomber, it could be US destroyers/air. If US1 moves off Iwo Jima and Japan can’t punish, then what happens? Maybe Japan can unify the Japanese fleet at a sea zone and Japan’s combined might is too much for the US to break.

    BUT THAT CREATES PROBLEMS FOR JAPAN. Yes, all caps, practically shouting, because a lot of players get into this . . . mentality that there are these coarse stupid brute force battles, that maneuver means nothing, they can just give up whatever position, let positions develop, and Magickally Things Will Work Out.

    They won’t work out.

    Recap so far I’m saying

    1. J1 subs bad
    2. If UK1 blew up Japan’s East Indies fleet, then Japan shouldn’t hit US’s fleet at Hawaiian Islands. (Haven’t explained why at all yet)
    3. J1 subs bad because they don’t do anything to stop any of the three early Allied threats which are fast UK fleet reinforcing US fleet, Allied interdiction of Japan’s sea zones, and Allies pushing Japan out of Asia. I talked about the first two briefly and will get into them later, I’ll get into Japan in Asia later too.
  • '22

    @moonzar said in Japan R1 attack on pearl harbor:

    @aardvarkpepper Sorry I meant, I lost my fleet in East indies and I still went ahead doing pearl harbor. I ended up with nothing left in the pacific and got KJF.

    I basically learn… That when you lost east indies from UK, should have bought fleet in R1 immediately, probably 3-4 subs to prepare for KJF. Also shouldn’t do Pearl in the future, if I lost my East Indies fleet.

    Make sense? 🙂


    Makes complete sense to me. Good luck on your future games, I am sure you will improve quickly asking questions and trying different play

    Here is a discord channel with many helpful and good players if you would like to join

  • In this thread I write some about Japan in Pacific and Asia, how the specifics play out. As when I wrote about how Japan’s decision to hit US’s Hawaiian Islands fleet properly considers USSR1’s buy and outcomes at West Russia, again, a lot of things that might not seem directly relevant I say are relevant. It’s just a matter of understanding how.

    I made the point J1 subs are useless against UK lucksack against Japan’s East Indies fleet and/or UK India fleet builds. Some players might argue theoretically J1 subs CAN be used to threaten off premature UK movement in later rounds. But how does that happen exactly?

    And as to threat of Allied interdiction against Japan’s sea zones, how does that happen exactly?

    Suppose Japan keeps its main fleet off Philippine Islands. From there Japan can threaten any new UK builds at India’s sea zone, threaten any US push to Solomon Islands, and even threaten any US push off Iwo Jima that would threaten Japan’s sea zones.

    But Japan doesn’t want to keep its main fleet off Philippine Islands. If Japan does that, then Japan isn’t transporting units from Tokyo to the Asian coast. So, the first point. Remember, it’s not just about Japan shifting units around the Pacific. Japan must also consider its position in Asia.

    I bring up again and again elsewhere, you don’t want to walk into the face of your opponent’s logistics given any decent choice. I say the Allies do not WANT to try to push in against Japan in Asia (until the Allies have basically won the game) as that shortens Japan’s logistics lines and extends Allied logistics lines. USSR doesn’t want to be aggressive against Germany for much the same reason. If Germany walks into the face of USSR’s logistics, well, what else is it really going to do. Especially in 1942 Online with its rules changes.

    So what does Japan really gain by threatening US at Solomons? Yes, Solomon is just one step away from Borneo, but Japan has to be way out of position to threaten Solomons, Japan’s logistics are badly stretched, and effectively US’s logistics lines just get shorter.

    No, if Japan SHOULD fight, then I say it should hit AFTER the Allies push. Or I’d even say maybe Japan just runs away. More on that later. If I forget to get into it, somebody poke me maybe.

    If you look at the board, you’ve got to understand. There’s three key sea zones that Japan needs to think about really hard. Japan needs to think about all the sea zones, all the timings, but three in particular. Which do you think those are?

    Go on, look at the board. Try to figure it out for yourself. Early game, midgame, late game? What are the key sea zones?

    1. Sea zone east of Yunnan. Why? Because Japan can pick up ground units from Tokyo, drop to Yunnan, and that’s as good as it gets for moving units quickly and cheaply from Tokyo towards India. Units dropped to Yunnan can also be picked up by Japan and dropped to India, though that means those transports can’t pick up and drop off from Tokyo that turn, the “Yunnan shift” can be well worth it.

    There’s the “Turbo Burma” variant which involves Japan basically shuttling things one way and developing quick pressure but I won’t get into that here. Also the East Indies IC variant. But Turbo Burma is situational and East Indies IC is costly and I think overcommitment so I won’t elaborate on those here.

    1. India sea zone, with the mentality Japan captured India. If US interdicts Japan’s sea zones, well, that doesn’t happen right away, but it does happen reasonably quickly. But it should be very hard for US to both interdict Japan’s sea zones and the India sea zones. Instead of hanging back off Iwo Jima, that means US has to be off Yunnan or Philippines. Remember logistics. US’s lines are longer, Japan’s shorter.

    2. Sea zone west of Japan. Against KJF probably Japan loses control of Japan’s sea zones, but there are some scenarios where Japan can move its fleet west of Japan and not be trapped or seriously threatened by Allies (that is very important, I am not talking about some stupid last-ditch defense of a sea zone that doesn’t have to be fought over, I’m talking about what happens if the Allies don’t invest heavily in navy/air and push ground instead; the Allies then have a stronger ground game but Japan has counterplay is what I’m getting at.

    And why? If Japan’s secured India (which it should), then what with early game gains, Japan should have India, China, probably some bits of Africa. From there, where do the Allies push back? If the Allies push back towards India, they’re bleeding out Moscow and stretching Allied logistic lines. If Allies push towards China, they must go through Kazakh or Novosibirsk; if Japan has control of Persia then Kazakh isn’t reliable, if Japan has control of Evenki then Novosibirsk and Sinkiang aren’t reliable. If Japan has production at India - you see?

    Well, maybe not.

    Early game, provided Axis aren’t tank dashing, Japan should choke off India. I won’t get into the details except to say if Japan doesn’t then UK should make the Axis pay and pay and pay. For India, Japan wants to press Yunnan. Yes, Japan might use J1-J2 to consolidate control of the Asian coast so Japan can start choking out USSR income in northeast Asia and start grabbing China and other income, but J3+ at least should start seeing Yunnan drops until India falls.

    But later in the game when India is secured, look at the board. I’ve referenced elsewhere Germany marching into Ukraine, West Russia, then Caucasus, and it might seem Kazakh is Japan’s West Russia. And some players might think the shortest route from Tokyo to Moscow is via Kazakh (which is true; Tokyo, Yunnan, Szechwan, Kazakh, Russia).

    But how does the position really develop? Suppose Japan goes Tokyo, Buryatia, Yakut, Evenki, Archangel/Novosibirsk, Russia. Six steps versus five, what does the math say?

    If oversimplifying it’s very easy to concentrate on Kazakh, and in tank dashes then timing is key. But in a slower game, Japan really needs to think about the Buryatia route.

    Suppose Japan is pushing through Persia and China. How can Japan possibly reinforce Germany’s forces, or reduce pressure on Germany in any way? Doesn’t Japan need units at Evenki if Japan wants to trade Archangel and Vologda anyways? (It does). Will Japan be in position to create a major stack that USSR can’t challenge? (Shouldn’t be, unless Germany can force, and I do mean FORCE, a major stack battle on Germany’s terms, and though Germany tries very hard to do exactly that and there’s a lot of things Axis can do, it shouldn’t be all that easy). So probably Japan won’t be in a position to REALLY make a brute-force stack challenge, and if it is, then Japan can stack multiples off lines reinforced through Buryatia anyways. (Remember, this is assuming Japan is also feeding units in through India/Persia).

    So of those three sea zones I say are key, two are key because they allow Japan to drop ground units from Tokyo to mainland Asia, the third is key because it allows Japan to reinforce its navy if it so chooses (and if not, then Japan can pump out ground units there so it’s still not wasted).

    My point here is Japan wants to defend certain sea zones at certain times. The Allies know this. Japan might be able to switch up some, but the Allies know Japan MUST defend those different territories at different times for different reasons, and it’s with that knowledge the Allies create their attack plans.

    So do you see now why J1 subs are premature?

    I know US wants to threaten Japan’s sea zones. Suppose I build a lone carrier on J1. Or J2. Or J3. Then what?

    By J2-J3, that newly built carrier is vulnerable to attack by sea, or attack by air. It could be a lone sub that takes it out, or a mix of air and navy, but there’s any number of threats that could develop; I don’t know what US1 will build but US can build enough that it has a pretty serious threat against Japan’s sea zones on US2/US3.

    But J1? A lone Japanese carrier build isn’t “safe” but it’s not terribly vulnerable either. The Allies just haven’t had time to develop their position yet.

    Suppose Japan does want to build a carrier J2-J3. How does Japan deal with developed Allied threats? By parking Japan’s main fleet in the build zone. But that means that Japanese fleet isn’t parked off Yunnan. It isn’t parked off Soviet Far East. It isn’t at Borneo, it isn’t at Philippines.

    And since the Allies can see that Japan has limited flexibility, that means the Allies have more options.

    So it becomes less a matter of vague brute force magical thinking where Japanese J1 subs are “needed” to fight some indeterminate threat. Instead, it becomes a very specific question. Is Japan worried about US1 to Iwo Jima? That’s the one threat J1 subs answer. But even beyond that, exactly what are Japanese submarines going to DO even if US1 DOES push to Iwo Jima?

    And the tradeoff is, what happens if you get J1 carrier as oppose to J2+ carrier? You can see J1 carrier means Japan has freedom later when it needs it most, J2+ carrier locks Japan down.


    And now I pull out something I’ve referenced a bajazillion times in passing. Axis strategic air doctrine.

    (sounds fancy doesn’t it)

    Generally it’s like this. Axis don’t lose air. Why? Because Axis air can hit multiple targets. You have a single Axis fighter, Allies have to defend Europe and the Atlantic, or India, Asia, and the Pacific. And no, it’s not as simple as saying Axis can just “buy more air”. Axis also need ground, every air unit built is a real sacrifice, so Axis have to try not to lose air.

    There’s exceptions, like if Axis can get a positional advantage, but I won’t get into that here.

    On paper maybe Japan can get a “winning” battle out of Iwo Jima, though I wouldn’t count on it. On paper maybe Japan can lose cheap subs. But think about how the position develops, how Japan can use that air until it’s forced to battle (and Japan probably can never be FORCED to battle except at Tokyo and that’s on terms incredibly favorable to Japan). Does Japan really want to start trading off even cheap submarines in exchange for expensive US capital ships, how long can Japan sustain that sort of trading, what is the projection?

    The projection is, if US does push Iwo Jima, it’s still too early for Japan to fight. It’s not a joyous thought, that Japan can already be outmatched on US1, but think on it. Even if Japan wins the battle, will Japan lose the war?

    Suppose Japan limits its naval units to west of Japan (can drop to Buryatia/Manchuria) and east of Yunnan (drop to Yunnan, Kwangtung, Kiangsu). Let’s say Japan can put 120 IPC of naval/air against Iwo Jima’s sea zone, plus J1’s build. And let’s ignore, for the time being, Japan’s later development. Let’s ignore that Japan should have transports and ground, that Japan should have two carriers, let’s just say Japan goes 3-4 subs, very brute-force. Will we see the magic?

    US1 fleet at Iwo Jima is battleship, carrier, two fighters, two destroyers, submarine. Only 76 IPC against 120 of attack.

    But remember, US has three fighters, bomber, and cruiser to counter, without US even building anything.

    Suppose US is “dumb” and decides to go to Iwo Jima. Japan’s “disposable” fleet is submarine, two destroyers, cruiser. Japan doesn’t really care much if it loses all that stuff if the cost to the opponent is a lot higher. The cruiser is 12 IPCs, but though it’s nice to have, it’s not that much better against KJF than an 8 IPC destroyer. What Japan really wants to protect is its battleship, carrier(s) (if it builds more), and air. Plus of course Japan wants to get everything cheaply as possible.

    Without getting into the numbers too much, there’s a few possibilities. Japan blows up US fleet and withdraws, Japan blows up US fleet and stays.

    First, the “stay” scenario. Suppose Japan keeps its battleship, carrier, a destroyer, cruiser, two fighters. US has three fighters, bomber, and cruiser without even building anything. Throw in up to seven US1 build submarines and it’s a blowout.

    But US might not build seven submarines? My point is Japan shouldn’t commit to a line of play that US can react to after the fact of Japan’s turn. Imagine asking someone to play rock-scissors-paper but before the game begins you shout “rock” and play and commit to rock. Being quicker and “anticipating” your opponent gave you no advantage, all you really did was telegraph your opponent and give them a counter.

    Second, the “withdraw” option. Suppose J2 hits US1’s push off Iwo Jima with a load of units. Even ignoring the opportunity cost of J1 positioning to be in place to hit off Iwo Jima, there’s a bunch of problems. First, attacks with intent to retreat are tricky business, if you blow up all defenders by accident you’re stuck. So you actually don’t want to damage them too much, but then you just paid all your opportunity costs for limited gains. Second, US has a battleship and carrier, and should probably have captured Iwo Jima. So US has the option of dropping carriers early as defenders as its fighters can land, and if its battleship survives that’s a capital ship. Battleships aren’t worth their cost but it’s not bad for US if US keeps the one it’s got. And if Japan is attacking with intent to retreat it won’t be capturing Iwo Jima so Iwo Jima will be safe to land fighters on. (Again, in 1942 Second Edition US defenders can react appropriately and in 1942 Online not, because of defensive profiles, but it’s still not peaches and cream for Japan).

    How do J1 subs help if your opponent simply does nothing in Pacific? If your opponent goes mass air and island trading in Pacific? Subs are not good for that stuff.

    Also consider some stuff I mentioned earlier, like I said Japan can cut off UK from using its India fleet to reinforce US quickly. That’s true - if Japan takes appropriate measures.

    But look at the board. If Japan’s committed all its fleet to off Yunnan and west of Japan, then how can Japan hit any UK fleet, possibly including a UK carrier, that survived East Indies? It can’t.

    And if you respond saying Japan built J1 submarines exactly so Japan could hit any US1 off Iwo Jima yet also counter UK?

    All right, so you line up two favorable attacks. Supposedly. But remember, I mentioned what happens if US pushes to Iwo Jima and Japan attacks full out (bad), or if Japan tries to attack and retreat (limited gains). There’s also the possibility US doesn’t push to Iwo Jima at all. That US builds nothing in Pacific. Then those J1 subs are pretty trash.

    Disagree? All right, say US pushes a major fleet to Solomons. From there they threaten both Borneo and Philippines. Oh, it’s not a GREAT US threat, sure. But from Solomons US won’t threaten the sea zone east of Japan. The sea zone east of Japan can place Japanese subs that immediately threaten Borneo and Philippine sea zones. So did you really need J1 subs, as opposed to J2 subs? Was it perhaps that on J2 you were going to reposition the J1 subs to hit Solomons? So then where is Japan’s main fleet, where is its air? No, the probability if US went to Solomons it’s because it’s safe, if Japan wanted to threaten Solomons then that would mean Japan stretching its logistics chains while shortening US’s so . . . J1 subs? Good? Not always. Considering all the opportunity costs (and I haven’t even gotten into Japan’s ground game yet), I’d say very questionable.

    And even if you discount that, remember Axis strategic air doctrine. Axis doesn’t want to trade with UK/US, they want to pressure USSR on the ground as late as possible. Axis want to avoid trading with UK/US except on supremely favorable terms for the Axis. If you want to say Japan hit a UK carrier to prevent 34+ IPC of UK navy quickly reinforcing US, well, it’s unfortunate, but arguably necessary. But building J1 subs to challenge US at Iwo Jima when US doesn’t even need to go to Iwo Jima, when multiple scenarios including dice frack make the entire Axis exercise questionable? Better to go J1 carrier/2 transports and see how the situation develops. As I’ll get into later, Japan needs to develop its ground game in Asia.

    J2 subs are a different matter, after a US1 Pacific fleet drop, provided Japan could place J2 subs safely. In that case US has already commited a chunk of economy, it’s assured that Japanese submarine investment will have returns.

    Even if US tries to be “clever” and redirect its entire Pacific fleet suddenly to Atlantic, US still lost a chunk of time to try to fake out Japan. Even if US doesn’t build anything US1, US still lost time.

    So really think about how the position develops.

    Closing out, I mentioned earlier if UK blows up Japan’s fleet at East Indies, that I feel Japan shouldn’t go after US fleet at Hawaiian Islands. Having explained what I consider Axis strategic air doctrine, maybe you understand. Japan is a battleship, carrier, and two fighters down. Hitting Hawaiian Islands guarantees the loss of a third fighter, it’s unlikely but possibly the second carrier, and if US decides to take a potshot at Japanese islands, possibly a fourth Japanese fighter or the Japanese bomber. On some level you could argue that Japan needs to fight eventually, but as I explain later, Japan probably doesn’t need to fight for a long time, and I think it questionable that Japan trade sub, cruiser, and fighter for sub, destroyer, carrier, and fighter.


    1. J1 subs bad. Because opportunity costs. Because timing. J2 subs are another matter, but even then not to go overboard.
    2. If UK blows up Japan’s East Indies fleet then I favor J1 carrier/2 transport build. There’s a lot of issues with J1 carrier and I’d prefer to put it off until J2+ if even necessary, but I think against competent play there’s just too much shenanigans Allies can pull.
    3. I’ll be covering Japan in Asia.
    4. I’ll be covering Japan in Europe. Yes, even against KJF.
    5. I’ll also be covering Japan’s defense as I say it should be played, and Allied offense as I say it should be played.

    Reading back, I can see some readers might feel lost. There’s a question about J1 attack on US Hawaiian fleet, then I introduce all sorts of complications (except they’re not really complications, they’re just necessary to basic understanding) then I seem to be talking about Japan’s entire strategy from the ground up.

    But this all comes from my going back to basics, fundamentals, numbers, specifics. It’s not enough that I say “J1 subs bad”. I explain why J1 subs are bad, both in abstract and specific. It’s not enough that I say “avoid J1 hitting US fleet off Hawaiian Islands”, again I dig into abstract and specifics.

    Even so, what I’ve written so far is only rough notes on Pacific development. So some players might feel they can “improve” on what I’m writing by arguing you can do this or that or some other thing by pulling Japan’s support from Asia - all while “handwaving” the details aside because they “don’t matter”. But of course I don’t intend to let that just happen. I’m going to explain why Asia does matter.

    Oh wait, I mean I’m going to explain why Asia matters again, because I’ve gotten into this bunches of times elsewhere, but whatever. Nature of the internet, same question gets asked by different people.

  • @moonzar said in Japan R1 attack on pearl harbor:

    probably 3-4 subs to prepare for KJF.


    Error 1: If players overestimate the utility of J1 subs - well okay, it’s a matter of missed details and suboptimal application.

    Error 2: If players are overreacting pre-emptively on J1 to what might not turn out to be KJF after all (you only really know after a US1 Pacific fleet drop), a 24 IPC commitment to tactically inflexible naval units with very narrow applications, oof. That’s bad.

    Understand the difference between that and G1 11 infantry 2 artillery build. Without Germany immediately trying some variation of attack USSR-controlled West Russia setting the stage for a tank dash, the expectation is Germany needs mass numbers to hold Karelia, choke off USSR income at Ukraine, deal with UK relief forces after UK abandons India, etc. There’s some numbers involved and I could get into G1 mixing in 1-2 tanks depending on income denial, opportunity costs, planned counters, but I won’t. Suffice to say Germany makes good on those units one way or another.

    But Japanese submarines? Suppose US doesn’t drop a Pacific fleet. What does Japan do with Japanese submarines? If Japan goes through the Suez into the Mediterranean, all right, maybe Japan relieves pressure. But Japan must control the Suez for that to happen, which only happens after India falls - unless Japan slows its attack on India to hit Africa, which often isn’t best. Even if US does drop a Pacific fleet, I explained how often Japanese submarines are used later rather than earlier and (broadly) naval positioning timing and opportunity costs.

    You could argue that Japan can “recover” the situation, which if it were only a question of navy, might be the case. But it’s not, which leads to -

    Error 3: You may get transposition of more or less viable lines in other cases, but in this case Japan is talking about committing to navy when the ground game is in question. Using a non-viable line in place of a viable line is not merely bad, it’s fatal. After looking at some of what I write later, maybe you’ll see what I mean.

    Error 4: The whole “hard defense” mentality regarding Japan is awful. Battle of Cannae. Napoleon. Blitzkrieg. Heck, George Foreman vs Muhammad Ali in 1974. Time and again history has shown the importance of manuever, but some players absolutely insist on trying to force some battle of raw strength, even when they shouldn’t.


    I’ve explained Japan’s naval situation is precarious, and some readers I’m sure are thinking “if Japan’s navy can’t stand the pressure, how can Japan POSSIBLY afford to build ground units as well?”

    I’ve already given the answer in brief in previous posts. Japan takes advantage of stretched Allied logistics chains and applies various other game mechanics that allow late yet effective Japanese naval/air action in the Pacific. I didn’t elaborate, but that’s the basics.

    So Japan can afford to build ground. Not unthinkingly! Rather, Japan has very specific objectives with very specific requirements and timings, and should build ground, navy, and air as required.


    I mentioned earlier Japan has 13 ground in Asia, Allies 15 or 16 or whatever depending on UK India build and USSR Szechwan reinforcement, whatever. Japan has transports and can dump to the mainland, but with UK popping out 3 units at India a turn (and this is with US and UK pretty well totally ignoring Asia) you can see it’s an uphill battle for Japan - especially since UK and US fighters can quickly reposition from West Russia to India.

    I’ve read some advising Japan can ignore India. That only works if your opponent is fantastically bad. Otherwise UK simply starts sending UK India units through Persia. And because some players totally have no fundamentals, they don’t understand how bad that is.

    I’ll assume readers are somewhat competent. Germany is trying to build a stack big enough to break a combined USSR/UK/US stack. Does this sound familiar? Now if I say - which I do - that Germany needs to think very carefully about what it commits, where and when, because Germany wants to be able to get enough pressure to push that combined Allied stack backwards, and maybe even eventually break it, does that make sense?

    Meanwhile, USSR is trying to build a stack big enough to push the Axis Europe stack back. Does that also sound familiar? It should.

    So now think about it. Suppose Germany holds a 2-IPC European territory with 1 infantry. UK attacks with 1 infantry 1 fighter. It’s a favorable battle for UK, but what if UK loses its infantry? Then US has a turn. Then USSR has a turn. And if at all possible, and that’s often going to be the case because the Allies try to make exactly that happen, either UK or USSR ends up with income.

    Then what happens? Remember USSR is trying to conserve all the units it can to threaten a major stack battle against the Axis in Europe. So if UK is spending UK units, well, that’s a USSR unit saved. If UK just clears but doesn’t claim a territory, that’s even better for Allies; USSR blitzes the territory with a tank on its turn and gets USSR income (amazing) and doesn’t even need to commit a unit.

    This is the fundamentals of stack building and bleeding, which in turn is fundamental to Axis and Allies strategy.

    But Japan makes gains if it ignores India? How, exactly? Japan moves in force right up to Russia? UK or USSR blow them up. So USSR can’t push Germany back as easily? Considering every turn of delay is another turn for UK and US to break through at Karelia that’s not enough. Japan can cripple itself with overextension and the Axis still lose. If that’s the plan Axis have to rely on luck delivering most of the game into their hands in the first place.

    But say Japan moves in only one unit per territory, pressuring USSR to trade? I’d say that’s far less situational and much more consistent with Axis strategy, but in what world does that require some sort of brute force dump through Yunnan? It doesn’t. Japan only needs a small trickle of units if that, because the more USSR pushes back in east Asia, the longer USSR’s logistics lines get, the shorter Japan’s get. Japan LOVES it if USSR flails around blindly in Asia for 1-IPC territories, please do. If Japan could give up territory in Asia to TEMPT USSR out of position, then Japan should do that, only there’s no way for Japan to force USSR to do something it shouldn’t. In the KGF, the key battles are fought in Europe, and early, and that’s how it should be played.

    So what happens when Japan just pushes through China? You could argue in some games it works, if Axis are already winning on economy / attrition / position. But how does that happen? I just mentioned lucksacking, and I’ll say it again. It’s not a solid plan. Japan should not allow UK to bleed Germany out in Europe unless there’s pretty solid reason to do so - and there probably isn’t reason to do so.

    I already mentioned using India as for a backup sea zone after control of Japan’s sea zones are lost, and as I’ll get into later, India is also massively useful for Japan for loads of other reasons. For now, suffice to say that Japan can produce up to 8 units on Tokyo, but Tokyo is far from the action, Japan’s income can ramp up to 40+, and Japan can make good use of India and its IC, without having to foot the bill and sit on the delay of buying its own IC. Japan has horrible logistics issues, and India solves just about everything.

    Yes, I did say Japan DOES ignore India. But in the one case in which it “does”, it actually doesn’t. Because in the scenario I’m talking about, what is it, J1 spends 15 IPCs on an industrial complex just to ensure ONE MORE DICE on the timing to Moscow? That’s how close it is. And if you think Japan can swiftly redirect tanks from the interior of USSR to India, well, that’s what I mean by Japan not really ignoring India after all. When Japan is spending crazy money for just one dice, you really think Japan is going to laugh off UK popping out three dice every turn? It shouldn’t and it won’t, and if UK does it (which it should, why wouldn’t it), then Japan needs to do what it has to do.


    Well, back to Japan in Asia.

    Consistent with stack building/bleeding, you understand Japan really doesn’t want to let USSR have income. This is just entirely consistent with the basics. I also explained earlier that 5 USSR infantry on Buryatia screws USSR over even if it can possibly capture Manchuria because of opportunity costs and timing at Allied defense of West Russia, then there’s possibilities of Allied reinforcement coming through China and/or India, all of which I ignored to this point. And why? Because I say even against KJF Japan is dropping 6 ground units a turn into Asia. If the Allies ruin their holdings in Europe, let Germany storm in super fast, Japan probably still pushes in all over Asia, and if the Allies don’t ruin their holdings in Europe, probably Japan still pushes in all over Asia and Germany gets to where it’s going eventually anyways.

    Why 6 ground? Why not 8? Or 4?

    The answer links to references I’ve made earlier. Like UK producing three ground on India, two fighters on London, and flying the fighters from London to West Russia to India. Also as I mentioned UK has whatever air units survived UK1, probably there will be some fighters in that mix. So it’s not just that Japan’s trying to race 3 UK units on India a turn it’s more, and Japan has a pretty good-sized hump to get over in the first place. That’s why it isn’t 4 units, 4 really isn’t enough against competent Allies players.

    Japan also wants to win at India pretty quickly. The faster India falls, the faster UK can’t put anything out there, the faster Japan can put things out there, the faster Japan has a springboard to Africa income.

    I referenced stack building and bleeding, but also something about planned stack battles is, you don’t hold back. If you have just one more unit in a battle, that means a surviving unit the first round, the second round, the third round, any casualties inflicted are casualties that aren’t around to inflict casualties in turn later.

    If India’s so important why not send more? Even against the KJF?

    The only reason Japan “holds back” at all is because Japan is thinking about two stack battles - one in the Pacific, one in India. And Japan does need to start putting out submarines on J2 if there’s a US1 fleet drop. Otherwise Japan simply won’t have any cost-effective attack fodder (and submarines are quite nice when attacking too). That’s why it isn’t 8 ground units.

    Finally, there are some issues with Japan’s production. Not just its logistics, but actually its production.

    If UK hits Japan’s Kwangtung destroyer/transport then J1 buys three transports and ground. If UK hits Japan’s East Indies fleet then J1 buys carrier two transports. After that J2 is 2 subs 6 ground (using 30 IPCs, perhaps working in an artillery but even saving IPCs sometimes), then followup probably the same until Japan’s sea zones are interdicted, then Japan switches to fighter and/or bomber production, probably also Japan having done a Yunnan shift so there’s a block of infantry defending Tokyo against invasion (along with any Tokyo air builds).

    And yes, if UK hits Japan’s East Indies fleet then J2 there’s some reason to go maybe 3 submarines instead of 2. Maybe even 4. Depends on the situation. But if it’s at all possible Japan should do early ground and late subs rather than early subs and late ground. Not that the subs should be too late, but sometimes Japan can get away with a late-round pure submarine buy. But if Japan tries to get away with a late-round pure ground buy after Japan’s already been pushed out of Asia, too little too late too bad.

    Japan must make use of its production before the Allies cut Tokyo off. While Japan can pump out cheap subs and cheap ground and use Tokyo’s production to capcity, then it should do so. But if it’s KJF and the Allies interdict the sea zones around Japan, technically Japan might be able to build 6 submarines 2 infantry and do a main fleet defense of Tokyo but that’s probably not what Japan SHOULD do.


    Explaining Japan in Asia takes a bit of doing.

    Remember the core Axis doctrine. That they want to make USSR bleed. That they want to build on Germany’s starting stacks and superior logistics.

    So a lot of Japan players, they get fixated on the idea that they “have” to defend Asia. Because Asia “belongs” to Japan or whatever. But actually no. If Japan gives up all of Asia and its money islands besides (I mean Borneo, East Indies, Philippines, not mainland Japan), so what really? If the Axis crush Russia and have unit count, position, economy, and attrition, then that spells an Axis win. Yes, if Japan lets the Allies swarm too fast then that’s going to be a problem. But if Japan just slows the Allies down, then what?

    And while Japan is “slowing the Allies down”, what does that mean? What does that all really mean? Does it mean Japan needs to fight some heroic lone last-ditch stupid defense? No. Think about it, if so much relies on the Axis breaking Russia before Japan’s defense crumbles too much in Asia, then what if Japan makes Russia fall faster? Because Japan CAN and SHOULD do exactly that.

    And should Japan blow up its entire fleet, even to get some supposed “win” on IPC? No. That probably isn’t good either. You already understand Japan can shift between key sea zones. What happens when Germany brings a reserve fleet up? If UK has no fleet in the area, Germany moves, Japan moves, then US has to crack a combined Axis fleet. If US wasn’t crushing Japan’s navy to begin with, is that something that will reasonably happen? No. On the other hand if Germany’s racing to build a navy from scratch while trying to consolidate its position in Europe and Japan has nothing to begin with, it’s much harder for Germany. Defense trumps offense; you could argue submarines make navy a different story than ground but 70 IPCs of German/Japanese navy against 40 IPC of US reinforcements, you’ve got to figure how that goes.

    So instead of thinking “Japan MUST defend this or that”, think. Just what can Japan give up? And when? And for how long? How does the position develop?

    And it turns out Japan can give up a LOT Just about everything except Japan itself. Probably Japan doesn’t want to give up its money islands too fast, if UK and/or US pop down ICs then they can get big boosts to their timings. But even Japan’s money islands can be allowed to fall if the Axis have the position - which, with 1942 Online’s rules changes, is what I’d expect.

    Suppose Japan’s been dumping ground into Asia right along. Suppose Japan’s been pushing those ground units in towards Russia, and why not? Axis doctrine is for Japan to try to bleed out USSR so Germany has less to deal with.

    But if Japan’s dropping in six units a turn, probably USSR isn’t using six units a turn to fight Japan. Not hardly. If USSR figured its bets right, probably it’s fighting hard in Europe for those valuable territories. So that means Japan has a surplus of power in Asia for a while.

    Yes, in a while it’s very difficult for Japan to hold Asia coast. But remember again what happens as US stretches its logistics lines further and further. Okay, so US can drop transports and a chunk of air against any Asian coast territory? Sure, let US land on the coast. Japanese units that landed on earlier turns reverse out of Asia and recapture the territories. And this can happen again and again and again. This is how Japan can lock US out of having industrial complexes working on the Asian coast even after Japan loses control of the Asian coast - because Japanese units are already in the interior. Even then, Japan isn’t forced into a “immediate must recapture” situation, US has to capture a territory, hold past a possible Japanese capture, build an IC, hold another turn, and only then can US produce units, and even then it’s not an assured defense. Japan has the logistics advantage and Japan can pick the timing, you can see that’s very nice.

    Suppose US is pushing towards Borneo, East Indies, Philippines. Maybe interdicts the sea zones around Japan. But that isn’t easy for US either. It’s a lot easier for US if UK blew up Japan’s East Indies fleet, but even so, fighters on Tokyo protect Tokyo and threaten any number of sea zones, and India may be producing subs. And though Japan fighters can push in towards USSR (and be used to fight off any Allied navy in Atlantic, relieving pressure on Germany - or Japanese fighters can land on newly captured German territory to reinforce, though UK can counter), at some point Japan may decide to pull all its units out of Europe and Asia and head towards US in the coast. Not as some knee-jerk response, but if the Axis have calculated there’s no need for Japanese support in Europe any more, Japan might as well get on with the cleanup. And by that point maybe Japan has eight fighters so a two-carrier placement at India along with earlier Japan sub/destroyer builds sees a massive Japanese navy. Remember Japan’s income wasn’t crippled, Japan has Asia income, China income, India income, Africa income because Japan tried to push ground hard.

    If Japan doesn’t push ground hard, then Allies wrap Japan up in Asia then start blowing up the money islands. As I mentioned earlier UK then sends all its India production to Europe, and Germany has to deal with it.

    And I’ll point out - of all coastal Asia, what must Japan hold? It’s inconvenient if US gets a Manchuria IC, but even that’s not fatal. If Japan is on the brink of collapse on the ground in Asia and the Allies grab the coast then Japan’s wrecked. But if there’s swarms of Japanese ground inland? That’s going to be a problem. In the meantime, what can the Allies really do in the Pacific? Even if Japan’s sea zones are interdicted, the US can’t stop fighter production on Tokyo. US trying to recapture India is just incredibly tough in terms of logistics, it’s far more realistic in KGF that the Allies lose India then reclaim it after having secured UK/US ground through Karelia into Russia; if UK/US aren’t breaking through at Karelia, if there’s no reserve of UK units, if all the Allies can depend on is US’s super-long logistics lines in KJF, well, that’s going to suck for Allies. Even if US just sticks around Philippines, Borneo, East Indies, Japan is pumping out fighters on Tokyo and maybe navy near India, and the more US spends on navy/air the less US has any hope to reinforce Russia through Asia.

    So now let’s think about Japan in Asia. What do the Axis need to do? Break Russia. How does any amount of Japanese naval expenditure help that? How does Japan getting pushed out of Asia help that? It doesn’t. Japan needs to have ground in Asia, even against KJF. ESPECIALLY against KJF.

    Japan shouldn’t lose too much too fast in the Pacific either. But you saw how close the balance of power in Asia was to begin with. You see how US can spend 100% on Pacific and will until US wins. If Japan doesn’t dump a chunk of ground in Asia early, when will it do so? After Japan’s lost control of the sea zones around Tokyo so can no longer safely transport ground units? After Japan’s been pushed out of Asia and is losing money? When? Early or never.


    I mentioned I’d reference Japan in Europe even against KJF. Germany has nice starting stack sizes and better logistics against Russia than Japan, but even so, Berlin is some distance from Russia, and that’s a problem. German-held IC on Karelia helps, but Germany needs to push far and fast, try to grab Caucasus ASAP. How will Germany do that? Considering USSR also has huge starting stack sizes and is waiting to punch Germany in the mouth? With Japanese fighter reinforcements, Germany can push in, and if USSR punches there’ll be some bloody knuckles.

    Besides USSR, there’s also Germany not wanting to use its air to sink any UK/US Atlantic fleet (and there may be some). Yes, it’s going to be a pain for Japan if a KJF is on, but it needs to be understood in some games that’s just what Japan should do. Instead of trying to do some sort of overkill losing defense in the Pacific, improve Germany’s timings, get Russia to fall that much faster, then the Axis can recover the position in Asia.

    Imagine the alternative. Germany has to fight against UK/US’s navy and USSR’s ground? Splitting Germany’s stacks? That’s not what Axis want if they can help it. I mean really, that’s just totally counter to fundamentals. On the other hand, Japan taking on as much as it can, leaving the door open for Germany? That’s exactly what the Axis generally want.

    I’m not saying in the KJF Japan should always be sending air to Europe. But even against KJF I send Japanese air to Europe far more often than not. Mind that’s part of a decently executed Germany, I’m not just saying to fly Japanese air in randomly.

    Next up: the overview.

  • KJF, anti-KJF, the overview.

    1. KJF in 1942 Online is trash compared to 1942 Second Edition. Less powerful by far, less interesting to play.

    2. I don’t think KJF in 1942 Online is even viable. (Note I don’t hesitate to personally play bad lines. I just don’t recommend anyone else do the same unless they don’t care about “winning”.)

    3. For those that read my comments elsewhere, I’ve said if UK1 hits East Indies there’s a probability distribution worth looking at. But when you look at the percentages on the “failure” outcomes and consider all the drawbacks, it’s just too much.

    Yes, you can put in preconditions. But if you stipulate Germany gets a 6% result on German battleship vs UK destroyer (and German battleship being sunk) and USSR having a fighter on Caucasus to pick up the German Med transport, or if you stipulate Germany doesn’t hit Egypt or Trans-Jordan and builds a Med carrier, in the first case perhaps German income can be contained, in the second case even though the German line transposes to only slightly inferior to G1 11 inf 2 art buy off KJF - but even then it’s not enough. UK still can’t effectively add to US’s speed of progress in the Pacific what with 1942 Online’s rules changes; going south around Australia is just too slow.

    I think for KJF in 1942 Online to work you also have to stipulate multiple lucksacks and/or the Axis play badly. That’s a bit much for me.


    For execution:

    1. You can ignore or overlook the details but the details still matter.

    2. Pick your battles. You have limited resources, think about how your choices will change projected outcomes over time. Not in a vague way, but in very specific ways.

    3. Japan can’t afford to skimp on ground to Asia. Especially in KJF.

    4. Japan needs subs against KJF, but it doesn’t need them early or all at once. The Allies threat in the Pacific only develops over time, and Japan only needs enough subs to make any early hard Allied push expensive. If the Allies push early light then Japan smashes.

    5. If Allies go KJF, UK should hit Japan’s fleet off East Indies. It’s not a “good” battle, there’s decent chance of failure, no good contingencies in case of failure, no alternate plan for even partial failure. But considering 1942 Online’s rules changes, UK can’t land fighters on US carriers to speed US’s progress in Pacific, and Japan can too easily cut off UK navy built at India trying to unite early with US fleet in Pacific. So it’s East Indies or bust.

    There’s a load of second-string options, ranging from UK1 India naval build with UK doing attack/retreat into Japan’s East Indies fleet, UK capturing East Indies, UK capturing Borneo, UK threatening early IC on Borneo / East Indies, UK positioning transports south where they can hit Burma and French Indochina Thailand, UK building 3 India ground and 2 London fighters, blah blah. But it all comes down to you’re going to roll the dice at East Indies and there being no real option because there’s just no way Allies can deal with a full-strength Japanese fleet and air force threatening India and pushing off any US naval threat. If UK wants to make a contribution to the Pacific it’s going to involve dice at East Indies, there’s just no way around it.

    1. There’s a bunch of KJF so-called threats ranging from US dumping units into Asia from a protected fleet off Soviet Far East (too close to Japan’s logistics at Tokyo, and too late to help Russia), US grabbing Japan’s money islands (Japan can see US coming a mile away, can build in response to US’s builds, and still be in position for cheap punishment, plus Japan transitioning to bomber is expected anyways for when Japan breaks India and Japan decides when to go for India or not; if US wants to sacrifice its whole fleet for cheapo subs and delay Japan capturing India a turn fantastic), US pushing Japan off the coast (only reason Japan lets US push it off the coast is if Japan is using the time to help Germany secure the position against Russia without serious Axis losses so the expectation is Germany crushes Russia and/or chases Allies away, then between income and production at Russia, Axis income at Africa it simply becomes an Axis win off position, stack size, economy, and attrition), US going mass subs to try to blow up Japan’s fleet (doesn’t work, massed US subs are vulnerable to destruction, splitting means sacrificing a few and it takes too long for US to mass a serious threat against a decent Japan), US going transports and air to island hop (doesn’t work, Japan either reclaims in force which it can afford to do with four transports and two carriers, battleship, plus, or possibly Japan just sacrifices a transport, again sacrifices only happening if the Axis are pretty well crushing it on the rest of the board so again Axis victory). Then there’s UK building fleet at India (gets cut off too easily from US’s forces in Pacific, Japan can just pick them both off unless UK goes south around Australia and that takes too long), UK going bombers (not the worst but you can imagine what happens when you’re trying to mass 12 IPC bombers against 8 IPC destroyers and Japan having that huge navy stack advantage). Any of those Allied plans works eventually but I expect each to be a bit too late.


    You can legitimately play KJF against players if you think their reactions might not be correct. But against a prepared opponent you just need too much luck.

  • @boston_nwo Thanks for the invite, I joined.

  • @aardvarkpepper Thanks for the long posts. I read it all. This is a lot to think about.

  • I am not a strong player (gold about 250). I like to play only allies, and near all my games I go for KGF. I am happy when J1 doesn’t Pearl me.
    If don’t Pearl, I don’t have to buy a carrier and my fleet and all the process to attack Germany speeds up.
    In reverse, if Pearl and a japan carrier with 1-2 fighters survives, I have to counterattack with destroyer, battleship and planes, and the 2 navy units go out of position for a very long time. Sometimes I don’t counterattack to avoid this.
    Pearl is like that damned germany subs that sometimes sunks the US destroyer and 2 transport in sz11… it slows a lot US forces.

  • @mefisto Well I’m Silver 500th hehe 🙂 So you are awesome to me.

    Well not sure if it’s good, but I usually never attack the SZ11 transport with germany’s subs. I focus on the UK fleet with those submarines instead to make sure I don’t lose that battle.

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