@aardvarkpepper said in How to Punish early japanese industrial complex, aka how do you even KJF in online:
So in the next post, I’ll write how you try to pry apart poorly executed anti-KJF.
@aardvarkpepper said in How to Punish early japanese industrial complex, aka how do you even KJF in online:
Remember the game is about stacks - how you build them, how you bleed them. The starting position is a part of that, income, production, and logistics are a part of that, and single units can make large statistical differences in battles of hundreds of units.
There’s a lot of things that should happen at a particular time that may not happen. Following is a list of what your opponent may be doing and why, and what you can do if they don’t do it.
The recommendations are not precise. There’s any number of things an opponent can do badly, so instead of trying to come up with loads and loads of scenarios I’m just briefly explaining what should happen with anti-KJF and why. From there, you can figure out what you might be able to do if your opponent botches their anti-KJF.
- Depending on USSR moves and dice, sometimes the mathematics does support an Axis tank dash, and when properly executed under the correct conditions - typically with Germany capturing or severely weakening West Russia - you have to play accurately - probably meaning KGF - or you’ll probably lose.
If Germany scores loads of hits more than normal, you may be looking at an Axis tank dash game. In that case you had best not KJF, as you want the Atlantic supply chain, whether flying in fighters for quick reinforcement or using transports for slower but more cost-efficient land units.
Even if you planned to do a KJF when starting USSR’s turn, if the dice are bad you’d best change plans as much as you can.
- Germany starts with infantry then switches to tanks. Watch German and Japanese air movement.
So there you are, USSR’s opening dice didn’t turn out horribly, you’re doing KJF. Nothing looks like it’ll be a problem, but then Axis start doing things with air that you didn’t expect, then you realize you’re losing.
A. Japanese air reinforcement of Europe. This is something you should see as a matter of routine in KGF, but it can happen even in KJF, and when it does, it can be a big problem.
Japan has a logistics/production issue in that its production at Tokyo is separated from the mainland and is limited to eight units. Also, Japan’s starting forces in Asia are severely lacking; Japan won’t be able to seriously challenge USSR’s stacks for quite a while (assuming USSR is at all competent).
Japan has two solutions to its issues. It can go air with excess income; late air builds catch up with earlier ground builds and can be used to fight in the Pacific against KJF or move to Europe to reinforce and threaten against KGF. OR Japan can build ICs and increase its production capacity to build stacks faster. Japan can also mix the solutions up a bit, moving from one to another as appropriate.
If you’re pushing KJF, especially if Japan built a Manchuria IC, Japanese air may be less an issue in Europe because Japan’s forces often get tied down defending Manchuria. If Japan’s fighters are in range of Manchuria, they can’t also be taking up position in Europe. But Japan can reverse its flow of land units out of Asia back towards the Asian coast, so any temporary Allied gains can be reversed. This is particularly the case if Japan invested in a Manchuria IC; if Japan had gone with transports then Japan will likely have pushed India (which has its share of issues for both sides). But if there’s a Manchuria IC, Japan will have ground units near Manchuria especially against KJF unless the Japan player is wholly incompetent.
Right, so what’s the issue? The issue is if UK tries to build an Atlantic fleet. If Japan builds a Manchuria IC, you might think Japan’s air is tied down to defense. But that’s not really the case. Japan can push its air to Europe, allow US to take control of Manchuria and push Japan’s fleet off. Any UK push to Europe is wholly stopped, whether because UK transports and escorts retreat temporarily from Japan’s air threat, or because UK persists and is likely destroyed by Germany and Japan’s air. Then Japan pulls its fighters back east and reverses its ground units out of Asia and reclaims its lost IC.
If your opponent is competent there isn’t anything you can do about it. If you bulk US’s naval and air power, then US’s will have less ground to try to sustain any hold in Manchuria; US can use fighters to defend but bulked Japanese ground plus massed Japanese air means US probably can’t hold (considering, again, that US built a load of fleet). If US does not bulk fleet, Japan keeps fighters in range of Pacific for a while and US can’t make any progress - then Japan can shift to Europe, then if UK bulked naval escorts then UK’s ground game is weak, if UK bulked transports then UK’s navy can be pushed off for a while, then Japan’s air can return to position. The problem is the Allies have to commit to builds and moves, and Japan can just do whatever reactively exploiting any openings, and there will be openings because Japan’s air can hit both naval and ground targets - and Japan has a logistic edge compared to the US when it comes to getting cost-efficient ground in Asia, and Germany has a logistic edge compared to UK when it comes to getting cost-efficient ground in Europe.
If your play is very sharp, and if your opponent is careless and/or bad, then you can exploit the situation by pressuring Manchuria with US while also using a UK navy to drop cost-efficient ground to Europe. If your opponent goes to pieces and basically loses their head (or if they didn’t know how to play efficiently in the first place) then they won’t defend either well, then you’ll win.
Note: Japan fighters reinforcing German ground pushes means Germany can push safely faster. Yes, if Japanese fighters go to Europe they won’t be around in the Pacific, but you always have to deal with the possibility that Japan reverses its flow of ground units after having helped Germany secure objectives. After Germany holds a territory for a turn, Germany can land its own fighters to reinforce.
B. German air reinforcement of Asia. As with Japanese air reinforcement of Europe, two purposes are served - helping Japan secure a territory after which Japan can land fighters to reinforce, and helping fend off Allied navy.
German fighters don’t have much range; pushing them to Asia leaves them out of threat range against targets in Europe for a couple turns and out of threat range against targets in Atlantic for much longer. German fighters also don’t have good range to hit targets in Pacific and can easily be avoided, especially as German fighters can’t land on German carriers.
German bombers are much better in a lot of ways - they can reposition quickly, can threaten multiple theaters, and have range to pick off targets in Pacific.
Unlike with Japan, Germany’s natural logistics do not support heavy air investment, it’s typically just more efficient for Germany to add to its existing cost-efficient ground stacks, starting with infantry, transitioning to tanks (rather than more costly fighters), and only at the very end transitioning to bombers immediately before a major stack battle. Germany producing air early goes against all that. But the benefits mean it is something you may well see, especially against KJF.
What you’ll have to watch out for is German fighters lurking near southeast Europe and possibly around Africa. Japan moves into Burma in force, Germany flies in fighters to reinforce, UK can’t push Japan off Burma, then Japan has secured Burma. Then Japan can land its own fighters on Burma, and securing Burma also gives bombers built on Tokyo range to India (as they can land on Burma).
You’ll also need to watch out for a German bomber in the area that can pick off any US destroyer blockers. If there’s no German air coverage, US can often hold off Japan’s entire fleet by parking a destroyer (or whatever surface warship) that blocks Japan’s movement. But German air coverage stops that.
If Germany doesn’t send air coverage in range of Asia against the KJF, then you can get away with trading Burma a lot and maybe something nice develops out of all the stuff the Axis can’t do anything about.
Returning to the beginning of this point, I mentioned Germany leads with infantry then transitions to tanks after, then I mentioned air. Why emphasize German ground? Germany’s starting stacks, logistics, and production all favor ground push. If Germany builds air, that can be an issue, and Germany can reasonably build one bomber as early as G1 and G2 with some advantages I won’t get into here. But if Germany builds early fighters and/or navy, Germany’s ground game just won’t be as strong (though note a Mediterranean carrier can result in positions in which Germany’s ground game is even superior, though again I won’t get into that here.) If Germany leads with infantry then pushes tanks, if Germany doesn’t screw up elsewhere, you could be in for big problems.
- Germany in Africa.
Ideally Germany tries to rob UK’s IPCs in Africa and gain IPCs of its own. This cuts down on UK’s options, and increased German income feeds into its starting stack / production / logistics, which means problems for the Allies.
UK has some counterplay. The infantry at Union of South Africa can be used with air to try to destroy any early unsupported German tank push (which is particularly problematic). The map itself was changed from earlier editions so there’s a dead zone worth no IPCs south of Egypt, which slows Germany being able to pull income.
Then too there’s US counterplay. If US kept its East US transports (and there is reason to believe it may, I won’t get into that here, as always, ask if curious), then US can possibly drop units to French West Africa (not guaranteed to be safe, but it can happen), especially the early US tank again can help push off any early German push into Africa, then the slower-moving US ground can interfere with any later German ground push.
If Germany wants to deal with all that, it has options. It can move air to Africa (which especially with fighters means they need turns to move back and forth and won’t be able to help in Europe at all). Or Germany can dump a chunk of ground to Africa, in which case Germany’s pulling units out of Europe. So you can see how Germany pushing for Africa income actually makes Germany weaker in Europe for a while. It does take a while for Germany to push for income, then it takes a while for Germany’s opportunity costs in Europe to be offset, and that’s not necessarily easy for Germany. (I mentioned earlier Germany might build a bomber as early as G1 - simultaneous threats to Germany, Africa, undefended Allied transports off East Canada, and ability to transition to Asia to blow up destroyer blockers are just some of the benefits of an early German bomber, though there’s reasons not to build an early German bomber too.)
So what should you do, what should you watch out for? Make sure you move the Union of South Africa infantry north, try to have some UK airpower in the area to threaten any early German tank push, if it looks like Germany’s going to make some sort of commit to Africa, be aware of your options with US. If Germany didn’t blow up Egypt and dropped to Trans-Jordan, UK has decent odds to hit the German battleship with the bomber from London, the fighter from Egypt, and the fighter from the India fleet (this precludes attacking Japan’s East Indies fleet and reduces your odds on attacking Japan’s Kwangtung destroyer/transport but that can’t be helped).
The stuff you can exploit - if Germany pushes a load to Africa, you can sometimes cut that German mini-stack off. If it pushes to Persia, you can hit it with your UK stack on India or USSR units from Caucasus. Also, German units stranded in Africa can’t contribute to Germany’s key timings in Europe. You’ll still have to watch out, though, if you let Germany run around too long and you’re also bleeding out UK’s India stack trading with Japan, you can get situations in which Germany has a fat Africa stack that pushes Persia and the Allies just can’t do anything about it, then the Africa stack unites with Germany’s Europe stack and Germany sacks Russia.
BUT if Germany just drops a load to Africa for no good reason, remember to watch your UK stack at India. If you can strand the German Africa stack that’ll help.
- Japan threatening Iwo Jima’s sea zone at end of J1
Well, really, “threatening the sea zone around Iwo Jima”. If Japan doesn’t hit US’s Hawaiian Islands fleet, that can’t normally be punished, especially against a competent player because they make sure they have units in range of Iwo Jima’s sea zone. But if Japan screws up and does not put a good chunk of units in range of Iwo Jima, and if Japan didn’t hit US’s Hawaiian Islands fleet, then you can possibly move US’s existing fleet to Iwo Jima’s sea zone. Possibly you build a carrier on US’s West Coast; using a carrier to “extend” the threat range of US’s fighters in the Pacific should be pretty bog-standard but I guess it’s a novelty to a lot of players in 1942 Online’s meta but whatever.
US carrier (and friends) to Iwo Jima’s sea zone - if safe - immediately interdicts the sea zones around Japan with destroyer and air units. This means Japan cannot just drop multiple submarines with impunity, nor can Japan skimp much on defense. If Japan wants to do stuff, it probably needs to keep its main fleet in the sea zone west of Japan. This means in turn that Japan will not be able to do J2-J3 drops to Yunnan, which in turn means pressure on India is relieved.
If Japan doesn’t hit US’s Hawaiian fleet and doesn’t threaten Iwo Jima’s sea zone, it’s like a gift for KJF, but even then it’s not that you can “punish” Japan, it’s just that Japan has less good options and Allies can maybe snowball a bit. Especially if Japan’s East Indies fleet was destroyed.
- Japan NOT going heavy subs
Japan should NOT go heavy on subs. Yes, if Japan sees a US1 Pacific fleet, Japan can build two submarines a turn then transition to bombers (which it wants to do for the India push anyways). But this is not the same as trying to build four plus subs a turn and, I don’t know, digging itself a grave.
Suppose Japan builds a load of subs. Then what? If Japan wants to take the battle to US in the Pacific, Japan has to move its air out of Asia (never mind Europe) into the Pacific. But key, if Japan wants to press the attack, Japan has to move into range of US’s fleet. Then US can smash Japan because subs aren’t great on defense at all. Yes, it’s not quite like that because Japan has a gigantic starting navy and air force, but mass submarines and trying to force the offensive in the Pacific just work against Japan’s natural interests; it shortens US’s logistics by walking right up to US’s doorstep, Japan can’t help in Europe, even if Japan wants to help in Europe later submarines aren’t multipurpose - it’s very bad.
So what happens if you try to use Japanese submarines defensively? US gets into range, then you whack 'em? The problem there is you just don’t need a load of defensive submarines especially with 1942 Online’s altered mechanics that cripple UK’s ability to contribute properly to a KJF. If Japan is careful, it only needs enough submarines to kick US in the face if US charges in, Japan’s submarines all die, US dies, then Japan takes its fighters and pushes Europe while US uselessly rebuilds.
If Japan builds mass submarines, okay, US charges in, Japan kicks it in the face even harder, then . . . the extra submarines do what? Nothing. And those extra submarines came at a cost. Less ground in Asia.
And what happens when you have less Japanese ground in Asia? Early on, USSR should be moving its units towards Europe, and UK should be preparing to defend India. But if Japan’s going nuts on submarines, USSR and UK don’t have to stay where they are (and really, they’d have to be rather silly to do that). Instead, USSR can think about greedily snatching Asian coast income which is normally out of the question, but if it can be secured is really nasty as it fuels USSR’s production in Europe and is a thorn Japan needs to deal with. Meanwhile UK can press in southeast Asia for income. And any Allied ground units that aren’t needed (and with Allied air, the Allies won’t necessarily need to commit a load of ground units) - anyways, any ground units not really needed to press Asia can push Europe.
- Japan NOT going heavy ground
Japan shouldn’t go heavy ground either (at least, in terms of building NO navy/air), and why? If US drops a Pacific fleet, Japan wants enough to be able to punish any early US push, and how is it going to do that exactly? Odds are decent that Japan will have one destroyer, one cruiser, and one submarine; Japan must have destroyers against US submarines, which leaves only one cruiser and one submarine as fodder against any naval engagement, after which Japan has to lose expensive air or carriers/battleships. And that is just not good. So Japan builds some submarines. US pushes in, interdicts Japan’s sea zones, then Japan can switch to fighters and/or bombers while Japan captures India (which then acts as a reserve place for Japan to build up its navy if Japan even wants to which it may not).
But what happens if Japan JUST tries to push nothing but ground, in spite of US1 dropping a Pacific fleet? US moves into position and Japan can’t push US off. Even if Japan tries to do a late naval/air build, it still has to move into position to hit any US push to Borneo and/or East Indies, and if US goes the Alaska route instead a late build means US can hit Japan before Japan can hit US. And when Japan’s forced on the defensive a lot, then Japan can’t drop to Yunnan and basically it gets messy.
So if Japan goes pure navy, Allies throttle Japan on the ground; if Japan goes pure ground, Allies push Japan out of position early in the sea which disrupts Japan’s ground logistics from Tokyo to Asia.
Generally, there’s the stuff Axis should do, and if they don’t do it, that usually doesn’t mean you can get a decisive advantage. Only if your opponent sucks and withdraws for no reason and/or fights losing stack battles do you get these big “punishment” plays. Otherwise it’s just you look at your opponent’s play, if there’s a wee gap, you shove in a little wedge and start patiently hammering away, then eventually your advantages pile up and you win.
But if your opponent is sharp, then sometimes spots that looked like a good spot to stick a wedge in turn out to be traps.
Next post, the general KJF variations.