I’ve been reading more about the J3 Calcutta Crush. I like what Cow’s saying about not getting the air base and doing the carrier swap to “just” get 12 planes to India. It’s not that the AB is useless, but 15 IPCs isn’t nothing and I’m not seeing how it’s necessary.
It seems the J3 attack is effectively stopped if on UK2 the UK puts up a blocker in 37, or if the UK declares war and takes back Yunnan, taking away the planes’ landing spot. The latter option has the downside of being an unprovoked DOW, so it seems a UK SZ37 blocker is a simple counter.
For Japan, then, could they declare war J2 on the UK to make sure that no blockers get into position, while not losing Yunnan, and have good odds at a successful India capture on J3?
If UK emptied Burma on UK1, then you don’t have to worry about Yunnan getting retaken. Your fleet can move towards India, preventing blockers, and the 2 transports in SZ36 might even be able to safely take Sumatra and/or Java and still be in position for a J3 Calcutta strike. If UK stacked Burma on UK1, Japan might have just enough to take Yunnan with your Hunan troops, 2 of the units brought down J1, and a stack of planes, do a strafe of Szechwan if necessary, and also take the 2 TTs brought down J1 to take 1 inf 1 tank and the 2 inf in Siam to hit Burma with the rest of the planes? Burma could easily be taken back, but key would be that Yunnan was safe, and UK couldn’t block a J3 Calcutta hit with at least 3 loaded TTs and 14 planes.
Another benefit of the J2 is you can strat bomb the factory for a turn.
With this, you’d leave Hong Kong and Malaya for later. Sure UK would make bank collecting income after its second turn… but that’s going to immediately go into Japan’s pocket after Calcutta is sacked.
Anyway, this seems pretty obvious, so there is likely some simple counters I’m not seeing. If nothing else, it seems like this would force UK Pac to play incredibly conservatively UK1, without sending the troops, ships, and planes to Africa that I see a lot of games.