On UK’s turn, I go back to consider opportunity costs and might-have-beens.
Looking at the board it’s easy to dismiss Germany’s moves as mistakes. Germany could have 9 inf 9 tanks 5 fighters threatening W Rus, and 3 inf 3 tanks 5 fighters threatening London. Surely the pressure of both simultaneous threats could force some sort of breakdown somewhere out of the Allies, even if only to prevent destruction of Germany’s battleship at Mediterranean. Germany could even threaten with 4 inf 4 tanks 5 fighters if buying another transport instead of destroyer.
But it’s a bit more involved than that. Instead of thinking vaguely and reasoning with such force surely something must be possible, the details should be worked out. Even things that may seem like weaknesses may not be.
First, what of raw force? Consider London. If Germany bought another transport so less a destroyer, even keeping the cruiser back leave the G Baltic fleet at high risk against a UK air attack and a USSR submarine followup. Against a player known to use their USSR submarine to fight it might be considered, but it’s very possibly the entire game right there. Even if both German carrier and cruiser survive, reducing USSR’s submarine’s odds, USSR might still attack, there’s nothing else for the USSR sub to do and the payout is massive.
If Germany accepts those risks and doesn’t lose its navy before G2 (a real possibility) to threaten 4 infantry 4 tank 5 fighters to London, UK buying 7 infantry and keeping 1 fighter back defends London about 58% if the AA gun then the US bomber are removed first, leaving 3 UK fighters, 1 US fighter, and 2 USSR fighters to land on West Russia. UK could add another tank from East Canada (but would lose the transport) or keep back its second fighter, but 42% is not the best odds for Germany even absent those reinforcements.
If Germany builds a destroyer for safety its invasion of 3 inf 3 tnk 5 fig is down to about 36% after a UK placement of 7 infantry on London even if UK has no fighters there.
What about W Rus? 19 defenders 39 def against 23 attackers 51 att, assuming USSR attack of 1 inf 1 art 2 fig vs 2 inf at least destroys the opposing inf (decent chance). This is not at all safe; even if USSR outnumbered the attackers, most of the defending dice are 2 and attackers 3, more importantly initial rounds of combat would remove Germany attackers at 1 and USSR defenders at 2. A lot more defense is needed. Where can it come from?
But we saw even with Germany threatening London with 4 inf 4 tnk 5 fig, there are still 4 UK/US fighters available to add to West Russia. It’s still not the greatest defense and there are some opportunity costs, but even trying the attack risks German air to UK’s AA gun. True, Japan might prevent the US fighter from being available by hitting Szechwan, but that would risk Japanese air, and considering all the factors outside Axis control, many of which don’t even come down to just bad dice but also opponent blunders, it’s just too much to expect. Even if the US fighter is not available, Axis odds of breaking West Russia are still less than 43%.
Imagine, first USSR has to have set its submarine to fight so it dies without being able to threaten Germany’s fleet, UK has to attack the German Baltic fleet but fail (losing UK’s fighters in the process), 1942 Online automatically lands fighters if their carrier is destroyed and will probably land them someplace they shouldn’t be then Germany ends up with 2 less fighters on the attack, after failing the attack UK would place 7 units on London instead of 8 and not move the East Canada tank in as an emergency measure. If any part of that process fails, Germany’s odds go down.
The Allies can keep both Germany’s chances of capturing London and its chances of breaking the Allies on West Russia to less than 50%.
So does Germany really have so much flexibility and raw power that a bad position is forced out of the Allies? No.
Some things are not as obvious as they may seem, like the defense of France mentioned in the previous post, or Germany’s need to use its fighters to defend Baltic so Karelia’s defense after a G1 hold being far weaker. The use of the German Mediterranean fleet in a G Baltic game is one of these things.
Consider the use of the German Med fleet in a G1 11 inf 2 art game. Germany holds Karelia by G2 with Japanese fighter reinforcement from a J1 fleet sent south of Persia, and G1 tank builds to balance any threat R1 dice outcomes and buys posed. Germany then lands fighters to secure Karelia, and pushes surplus ground towards Ukraine, With German fighters defending Karelia and German infantry/tanks pushing to Ukraine, Ukraine can reasonably be held about G4, after G1/G2 infantry and G3 tank builds are joined by Japanese fighters (which are still in position to hit India). In such a game, the German Med fleet is deadly as it allows fine control of Germany’s forces in Africa. If Germany gets income from Africa, that slows UK’s actions but also increases Germany’s income, add that to Germany’s large starting stacks and high production that’s all on the same continent as Russia, and Germany can use that income to ramp up aggression quickly. The Ukraine stack incoming can also be reinforced by the German battleship and transport; two units may seem like a small difference but as examples through this thread have shown even one unit makes a big statistical difference even in large battles, add two a turn for a couple turns and it really does add up. So with a G1 11 inf 2 art opening, the German Med fleet is a high priority target.
But with a G Baltic open, the German Med fleet is NOT a high priority target. German fighters are locked to the Baltic so cannot defend land, so more German land is locked to Karelia. German income is siphoned into navy; it’s true Germany also needs less land to defend Berlin, Baltic States, and other spots (as its massive navy can wipe out any light UK/US escorts and transports), but combine the two and the net expectation is Germany simply cannot afford to build a stack for Ukraine to deny USSR income. So the German Med fleet can never add to a stack that doesn’t exist, so isn’t near as deadly.
But German income in Africa is still deadly? Certainly. Absolutely. But considering the current board position has 6 ground 3 fighters challenging Egypt and Germany’s battleship and transport at the moment, what does UK do? If UK hits the battleship it’ll lose its bomber in the battle (or lose it when Germany hits Egypt), then after Japan destroys UK’s Indian Ocean transport there’s no way for UK to prevent Germany from grabbing Africa income. Or UK could try a chancy battle against Libya, leave Germany’s battleship alive, then get wiped out by Germany’s counter.
But the German battleship threatens UK/US fleet? It doesn’t. If the German battleship moves west of Gibraltar it walks into the face of UK and US’s massed logistics and is destroyed, whether it unites with the Baltic fleet northwest of France or no.
So all the German battleship and transport really do here is give Germany some fine control in the Africa/Europe region, which will certainly help the Axis, but is not a critical point. The Allies simply don’t need to use resources to hit it, and should instead focus on the Baltic fleet.
Considering the probability distribution of a UK1 attack on Libya, I edit the map to put 3 German fighters on Libya (instead of 1 on Algeria). This weakens any German counter to a UK destroyer/carrier build northwest of France, but I figure if UK is building a carrier then perhaps Germany can do all right out of the position anyways, but losing air at Libya would be a real problem. Changing Libya from 2 to 3 fighters makes a tactically chancy but strategically reasonable UK attack into a tactically extremely risky attack (and if failing, UK fails its strategic objective of destroying German air while preserving UK air).
The above may all sound pretty convincing, like the G1 Baltic plan I used is a good idea. But I’ll point out, perhaps my entire perspective is wrong from start to finish but I just don’t know it. Second, this is not a “normal” game, so far USSR has very bad rolls and Germany very good ones. Third, even if the Allies can’t blow a huge gaping hole in Axis defenses so far, it’s only round one.
Looking at UK’s position, there’s three major issues that leap out. First, Germany threatens West Russia with 8 inf 9 tnk 2 fig. Second, Germany threatens London with 2 inf 2 tnk 2 fig. Third, Germany has its fleet at the Mediterranean and a lot of units lined up to hit Egypt.
London may not appear to be in danger this round, but a less obvious threat is the possibility of Germany buying 6 transports on its turn. If the Allies don’t plan for that possibility, dumping 8 units on London just may not be enough.
Complicating the matter is India, UK’s India fleet, Japan’s destroyer and transport at Kwangtung, and Japan’s upcoming attack into India. If possible, it would be nice to preserve UK’s carrier, sending it around Africa to become relevant in the Atlantic around UK5.
First, London. Germany’s 2 inf 2 tnk 2 fig isn’t a real invasion threat, but 7 transport buy and G3 is 9 inf 9 tank 5 fighter.
What about trying to clear some of Germany’s navy? Probably UK would lose, but could UK at least clear a German fighter or carrier? WIth UK 2 fig 1 bom vs 1 dstr 1 cru 2 fig 1 car (with German carrier taken last in order of loss)
There’s a 64.25% Germany keeps 2 fighters 1 carrier or better, Allies have no followup, and Germany can build on its turn to pad against future attacks. So no, UK won’t hit the Baltic fleet this turn.
Suppose UK tries a greed build; 2 fighters for London, 3 land for India, threatening UK2 6 fig 1 bom vs Ger 1 car 1 destr 1 cru 2 fig, with followup US2 1 bom 1 fig (if fig survives Szechwan) R3 2 fig. As there are followups, Germany can’t just dump its carrier early; that would leave no fighters defending the sea zone, especially as 1942 Online’s rules changes mean Japanese fighters can’t reinforce. Even if Germany buys a carrier and lands two fighters, with 1942 Online’s inflexible defensive profile there’s about 31% the UK2 attack clears the German fleet, and another 21.6% Germany is reduced to 1-2 carriers, which US/USSR followups have a chance of clearing. Even if the Allies don’t clear the German fleet, there’s a good chance Germany loses a chunk of irreplaceable air, weakening its ability to challenge USSR, and the Baltic fleet gets destroyed on followup rounds.
But suppose Germany takes that chance. It does need a carrier, that reduces its G2 buy to carrier / 4 trn, reducing the invasion threat to 6 inf 6 tnk 3 fig (assuming at least 2 figs are lost at Baltic, which is very likely).
UK’s air force will be gone, but after US1 carrier/2 fighters and 2 fighters to East Canada, US reinforces with 4 fighters. If the UK attack did not go well, US and USSR may reinforce London instead of attacking the Baltic fleet, for possibly another 1 US fighter, 2 USSR fighters.
So Ger 6 inf 6 tnk 3 fig vs AA, bomber, 2 inf, art, tnk, 6 fighter. Attacker wins 61.4%.
That seems all right, but UK2/US2 can also reinforce London with UK 1 inf 1 tnk from East Canada, 3 inf 1 tnk from East US. It is not a question of whether the Allies can defend London, it is a question of how many transports the Allies lose to secure the defense. Just 1 US transport reduces attacker chances to 29.3%.
So you can see there’s a real question whether Germany only builds 1 carrier at all. Just 1 carrier leaves Germany possibly losing its entire Baltic fleet, and the Allies have good chances to defend London even if UK’s attack on the Baltic fails. More, US will have a US3 attack of 4 fighters 1 bomber against the Baltic fleet, and that could be an issue for a severely depleted fleet.
The unspoken assumption on London defense so far is UK hits and destroys the 2 German submarines northwest of London successfully. I won’t compute the odds here, but 1 destroyer 1 cruiser 2 fighters do have really good odds to clear. So I assume it’s probably safe, and the backup is splitting Allied transports between East Canada’s two sea zones; the odds of both German submarines surviving is super low and if just one survives it can’t hit both.
Second, West Russia. Germany threatens West Russia with 8 inf 9 tnk 2 fig. If USSR tries to defend it alone, Germany has similar numbers but better attack dice than the defenders have defense dice, and the attackers lose attackers at 1 initially where defenders lose defenders at 2. Without even calculating it, those add up to a winning Germany attack. UK can land fighters, and perhaps US (if it survives Szechwan). So you see here how 1 USSR infantry at Szechwan can preserve the US fighter against Japan’s attack, and frees a UK fighter to not land on Szechwan; potentially two fighters for the cost of one infantry is a good price. (Though Japan may still risk the attack). This is why even with bad USSR1 dice it’s still often nice to put a USSR infantry on Szechwan.
Germany has the invasion threat on London but it really is a weak threat. Just the new fighters on UK could help defend, leaving UK London fighters free to land on West Russia. But UK cannot use its London fighters to hit Germany’s subs and still land in West Russia, it’s one or the other. And the German submarines need to be destroyed before they can escape to the Baltic.
Considering the situation, I switch out a Baltic States infantry for the AA gun on Karelia. Originally I wanted to use the AA gun to buffer against USSR attacks, but assuming the G Baltic is about simultaneously building pressure on West Russia and London, a more forceful move could be “correct” if it can’t really be punished, which I forget if it can be or not but I’ll look at it again later.
So now the threat on W Rus is 9 inf 9 tnk 2 fig (if 2 USSR uses inf art 2 fig and eliminates Germany’s infantry on Ukraine). UK fighters land on, it leaves Germany with a 22.6% to win. This does not account for the US fighter. It’s not great; Germany wants to keep its forwards infantry and its tanks and its fighters, and really doesn’t have the numbers to push more reinforcements. If Germany had a good lot of ground units following up, Germany could try attacking then retreating to cut down on USSR’s stack and try to get lucky, but the Baltic fleet hasn’t had a chance to really help Germany’s position at Karelia yet.
So W Rus can be defended, if UK doesn’t hit Africa. Since in this game I think the German battleship is sort of a sideshow anyways, that’s what Allies will do.
Assuming defending subs “chicken” (submerge if possible), leaving 1 UK fighter and 1 bomber 1 dstr 1 cru to hit Germany’s 2 subs
Third, Egypt. Nothing UK can really do about that; hitting Germany’s Med fleet means W Rus can’t be defended, Germany already has a huge counter into Egypt. Hitting Libya, after the edit, 3 German fighters just leaves too much dead UK air and too much live German air in the possible outcomes.
So at this point, UK’s buy is figured (2 fig 3 inf, normally an art would be nice but UK really wants to pinch pennies). It’s just a question of figuring UK’s attacks - probably carrier/cruiser to Kwangtung’s destroyer/transport (if left alive it’s another 4 units in Asia by end of J2 which would accelerate Japan’s timetable on India).
The question is what to do about Germany’s position on Trans-Jordan, what to do with UK’s units at Egypt, and what to do with UK at India.
The “Africa Defense” plan would move Egypt units south, Union of South Africa infantry north, and perhaps 2 India infantry via transport to Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. I don’t like it, but as the Allies don’t plan to challenge the battleship for a while, Germany can get a lot into Africa, and UK will need a good chunk of units if it wants to pose a reasonable challenge (even with US support).
UK1: 3 inf 2 fig, inf/art/fig vs inf/art at Trans-Jordan (attacking inf/art destroyed, surviving fighter retreat, 2.4% worst case), car/cru vs dstr/trn off Kwangtung (trn survive, 14.69% this or worse), dstr/cru/fig/bom vs 2 sub northwest of London (64.81% best result, no losses)
With the Kwangtung battle lost, Japan will have accelerated development in Asia, and with losses at Trans-Jordan, Germany has enough to perhaps start pressuring India and certainly secure north Africa. I cancel the planned move from India to Africa; if Germany could be stopped in Africa it might be different but there’s really just no way with Trans-Jordan going so badly.
I split defense between India (1 AA 5 inf, can be hit by inf, art, 3 fig, btl) and Persia (4 inf, can be hit by 1 inf 1 art 3 fig). Japan and Germany would both have to risk air to attack, and at least one attack would likely fail. If India fell but Trans-Jordan survived, Trans-Jordan could reclaim India (then lose it to the counter next turn). If UK did lose control of India it wouldn’t be able to produce, and that would mean quick loss of India, but with Japan’s timetable accelerated that’s probably going to happen very soon anyways, and USSR doesn’t quite have enough room to send reinforcements to India just yet.
It bears mentioning this is exactly what the Axis want, but it’s really not that the “Axis plan worked”. At best it could be said after horrible R1 Allied dice, Germany risked a G Baltic fleet open, then further horrible R1 Allied dice left the Axis with a decent position.
The UK bomber lands at Kazakh, where it can pressure Africa, Baltic, and a lot of Asia.
J1: 3 inf 3 trn, 4 inf 1 fig vs 2 inf at Anhwei, 2 inf 1 art 1 fig vs 2 inf at Yunnan
US1: 1 dstr 1 car 2 fig; Yunnan 2 inf 1 fig vs 1 inf 1 art (won, lost 1 inf, 59% this result or better), Hawaii sea zone 1 sub 1 dstr 1 fig 1 bom vs 1 sub 1 cru (lost 1 sub 1 dstr, 19.06% this result or worse)
(Note: Old picture; US destroyer should be at Greenland)