The Anti-Crush

In April of 1942, a task force centred around six Japanese carriers and commanded by Admiral Cuichi Nagumo sailed into the India Ocean with the intention of destroying British Naval forces and supporting the invasion of Burma. The sortie resulted in the destruction of many Allied naval vessels and transport ships. Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) held most of the British Empire’s resources of rubber after the fall of Malaya and its occupation would have made the British position in India untenable. The failure of the Japanese to appreciate the strategic importance of the island led to their making no attempt to capture it. An invasion was feared by the British, who interpreted the Japanese failure to do so as due to heavy losses over Ceylon – and hence led to claims of a British victory.

So it happened to you again. You thought you had India covered, you thought you’d at least have a chance of holding it, but it didn’t work and you’ve lost another game before the end of round 4. It’s almost enough to make you give up playing AAPacific forever. Don’t despair. By the time you’ve finished reading this essay, you’ll be armed with the tools necessary to counter the India Crush and you need never fear playing as the Allies again.

As with any version of Axis and Allies, effective strategy starts with purchases. For this essay, we will assume that the Allies do not have any extra units or IPCs to distribute before J1 and that all the convoy money went to India. If you don’t have extra IPCs from a bid and you gave some IPCs to Australia before J1, You’re just asking to be crushed, so don’t do it!

India starts the game with 27 IPCs and what you’d like to do is purchase all ground units. This can either be 9 infantry or for some extra offensive punch later in the game, 5 infantry and 3 artillery. With the artillery buy, you only have one fewer defensive unit and will be in a better position to pressure Japan in FIC on Allies 4 or 5. My preference is always the infantry/arillery combination.
You will have to deviate from the all ground unit purchase in two circumstances. First, if Japan has used its bomber from French Indo-China to sink the UK transport in sz54, you will have to buy 1 submarine, 1 Rtl and 5 Infantry. This reduces the number of units available to defend India but is absolutely necessary to ensure that Japan can’t capture India on J3. One of the surest ways to lose the game early is to allow a J3 attack on India. If you can delay the attack until J4, you have a good chance of success.

The second time you must deviate from an all ground unit purchase for India on UK1 will be when the J1 opening is a Kill India Only attack. You can recognize a KIO by the large commitment of naval units to sz47, usually including 1 BB, 1 AC, 2 Ftrs, 1 DD and 2 Trns. When this happens, unless you got lucky and your UK transports from sz54 survived or the sz38 sub managed to dive to safety, you will have to purchase 2 subs to prevent a J3 attack on India.

So, to summarize, UK India purchases are as follows:

1. Usually, 5 Inf, 3 Rtl,
2. Sometimes, 1 Sub, 1 Rtl, 5 Inf or 2 Subs, 3 Inf, save 2.

To counter the India Crush, the optimal purchase by Australia is an Aircraft Carrier and save 2 IPCs. The only time that you would purchase something other than a CV is where it is clear that Japan is out of position to attack India. For example, you could purchase a sub and a DD where Japan attacked Hawaii on J1 leaving the sz20 ACs in sz20, where either the sz28 or sz 38 subs survived J1 or where Japan has not captured New Britain or Midway.

For the US, the Anti-Crush purchase is 5 bombers. This is a good all around purchase and you usually can’t go wrong with the 5 bomber purchase no matter what Japan has done on J1. I will sometimes purchase a DD and 4 Bmrs for the US if a Japanese sub or two survived in sz9. The DD will retake the sz9 convoy route if the US DD attacking from sz5 to sz9 is killed by the Japanese submarines.

From this point on, this essay will only deal with a standard India Crush or Kill India First (“KIF”) not the Kill India Only (“KIO”) attacked referred to in Essay #1. The KIO counter is much more difficult and will be left for a future essay.

In the Anti-Crush, the Allies 1 turn is critical, especially on the west side of the map. If you incorrectly place your units now, you will have irretrievably lost any chance of preventing the India Crush. For the UK, usually all you will do in combat is a walk in to Siam or FIC and an attack on the sub in sz28. Aggressive counterattacks into FIC, New Guinea or Malaya are not recommended and will usually just result in dead UK units for little effect. Instead, concentrate your forces. For India, move the 2 Inf, 2 Rtl from Burma to Yunnan. If both Siam and FIC were occupied by Japan, move the 1 Inf from Shan State to Yunnan as well. Move the India ground forces into Burma and the fighter to Yunnan. The fighter that starts the game in sz50 should be moved to Asia, landing in India if Japan has a bomber in SBR range or in Burma if Japan’s bombers are on Formosa.

Some players can’t resist moving the sz50 fleet, usually to sz49 or 42. Don’t do it! You will need these units to protect India and they can’t be reached in sz50 except by a couple of fighters in which case your BB will likely survive and your opponent will have lost two fighters.

The key step for India is the movement of the sz54 naval units. If the transport survived J1, move it to sz47 and move the sub to sz52. This will prevent any Japanese units from moving to sz52 on J2 and allows you to block any large scale attack on India until J4. If the transport was killed on J1, then leave the sub in sz54 where it will be joined by the sub you built on UK1.

In Australia, move all of your ground units into South Australia. Yes, that’s right, leave all of Australia empty except for South Australia. As for the naval units, some players like to move the UK DD to sz30 to join the new UK AC but I don’t think that this is necessary. Use the UK DD and 1 Ftr from Queensland to attack the sz28 sub. If the UK DD is sunk by the subs defensive fire, you will need to move a UK transport or US DD into sz28 to block a naval attack into sz14 on J2. The UK sub stays in sz29 and the transports all move to sz14. I like to evacuate Papua and land the 1 Inf, 1 Rtl on New Hebrides but some players prefer to leave those units in Papua or move them to Dutch New Guinea. Either way is fine. The 2 Infantry from New Zealand are landed on New Hebrides along with the fighter that attacked the sub in sz28.

On the US turn, use the US forces to attack sz20, sz9 (if a J1 sub survived) and sz15 if Japan move a DD there. On NCM, move all ground units from US to New Hebrides and the US fleet to sz14 to join the UK transports. You must put 1 US sub in sz15 to block a Japanese attack from sz27 and you must have 1 sub in sz14. The sz14 sub is necessary to discourage an all air attack on sz14.
The most important move for the US is to land 2 fighters on the UK CV in sz30, so make sure that you have 2 fighters with enough range after their attacks to get to sz30.

In China, you should retreat all of your units moving as many as possible into Yunnan, including the Flying Tigers (US fighter) and the Chinese AA gun. China can’t be SBRd, so the AA gun is totally useless in Szechwan. Your forces in Yunnan should now be strong enough to discourage any Japanese attack or to sufficiently weaken any force capturing Yunnan such that it can be recaptured on the next Allied turn.

On J2, Japan pretty much has to decide whether it is going for an India Crush or not so by Allies 2, you will know what you’re facing. Japan will have moved the bulk of its transports and ground units to sz47 and perhaps some units into sz53. Build all ground units for India (usually 4 Inf, 2 Rtl) and move your units to block the sz47 units from attacking on J3. The sub you moved to sz52 substalls into sz53 and the BB from sz50 moves to sz52 on NCM. If you had to build a sub on UK1 then you split the subs, one going to each of sz52 and 53. The UK AC from sz50 can now move to sz42 (with or without the BB). In Australia, build 2 subs and move all of your ground units, AA gun and fighters to West Australia. Use transports to capture New Britain or Papua. The most important move is to sail the sz30 AC, loaded with 2 US fighters, to sz41.

There may be some targets of opportunity that can be safely attacked but you should not make risky attacks that will put your air force at risk or expose your main fleet to an attack by superior Japanese forces. The only exceptions to this are Yunnan and Shan State. If Japan has taken either of these on J2, the UK and US must retake them on Allies 2 or Japan will reinforce either with ground forces from FIC and a large fighter force, making them impossible to dislodge and putting all the fighters in range of India for a J4 attack. The Allied player cannot leave Yunnan or Shan State in Japanese hands or he will likely lose.

The US fleet can move to sz27 or sz32 depending on the location of the Japanese fleet. As mentioned, don’t expose your fleet to a powerful Japanese counterstroke because if you do, Japan can abandon any intention to attack India and instead dominate the Central Pacific that is now empty of Allied vessels. Land 2 US fighters on the UK AC in sz 42 and move your 7 US bombers to West Australia.

On J3, Japan will blow a hole through the remaining UK blocking units to set up the J4 India attack, but with your clever manoeuvring, you have presented the Japanese player with a range of tough choices. Should Japan attack sz42, sz41 or West Australia. For the Allied player, it doesn’t matter. Every unit Japan uses to attack these targets is a unit that won’t be available to attack India. If Japan doesn’t attack those units, they can reach India on Allies 3 and be there to meet the assault on India on J4.

On Allies 3, the UK carriers both move to sz49 and all ground units in Burma retreat to India. On the US turn, the US fighters fly off on NCM and land in India and the 7 bombers from West Australia either fly to India to act as cannon fodder for the J4 attack or can be used in conjunction with Chinese infantry to attack any airplanes staging in FIC or Shan State.

Meanwhile, in the central Pacific, the UK/US forces can invade the Philippines, sealing the Japanese defeat as long as India holds. With 20 to 30 ground units, 7 bombers and 9 fighters, Japan will have to be very lucky to take India and your anti-Crush defence has succeeded. Just as India was not seriously threatened again after Nagumo’s fleet sailed out of the Indian Ocean in the spring of 1942, your India will be safe from the Japanese crush tactics and your victory is secured. You need not be intimidated by the India Crush ever again.

Saburo Sakai