Now the only thing that remains to be clarified is how to properly use bombard neighburing province with infantry artillery function while in war.
How much time prior to actual attack order should artillery bombardment be commenced?
Can units of infantry that are bombarding neighburing province join in the attack or are they disabled to do that immidiately after bombardment?
When this is answered I will feel much more secure in my abbilities to play this awesome piece of software!
Well, artillery bombardment runs you out of supplies pretty fast. If you want them to participate in the attack, watch their supply level and start the attack before they run out.
One thing related to attacks; remember that attacks from multiple adjacent provinces, even if just "support attack" greatly improve your odds, and each attacking province counts its command limit separately. I routinely attack one province while doing a support attack from another - lets me achieve local superiority without breaking my line.
Thank you, now I know everything! I've set my units the way it was advised and now that the war just started I saved and am waiting for some time to continue playing it.
I've noticed that it is paramount that you cancel all production or at least tick the prioritize upgrades from the beginning because otherwise you will still have many obsolete units when marco polo event fires. Then when 1936 year is drawing to a close you have to make 3 serials of infantry units with brigades attached so that you can have proper amount of units when war with China sarts and aslo majority of your units on the field upgraded. That's the trick with the Japanese if your goal is to enter the war with China when marco polo fires.
From my extensive experience playing Japan I recommend the following...
I could go into great detail, but I am going to keep it short with just a few basics to get you off to a good start.
First things first. Manchuria is your loyal puppet ally, so lets start them off with a good build set up. Load up as Japans puppet Ally Manchuko. Stop all of its builds and disband all the militias. Then start x4 runs of x12 Infantry with Artillary. Save the game and then load your save as Japan. Your builds will stick.
When you load up as Japan delete all of the starting builds including the Carrier and replace it with 8 Factories. You can get by with x6, but I like x8. I can do x8 because I can manage things on a shoe string. A less experienced player might have some problems.
When I play HOI-2 I actually do x12 runs of Industry. In any case ideally your going to want to keep your x6 to x8 runs of IC going for at least 3 builds before reducing it down to say , 3 or 4 runs. You can opt to reduce it after two years of IC builds, but it will leave you woefully under powered for any attempts at world conquest. In my current game as Japan I am doing my 4th run of x8 Industry.
I begin researching Carriers immediately and research them constantly to ADVANCED before I ever start building them. I do the same with Destroyers to ADVANCED. You can complete the research and have at least x3 ADVANCED Carriers built by December 1941 if you start carrier research and continue it constantly from Day 1. It will give you a tech advantage against the USA with Carriers. Also research NAV Bombers one level and plan on a couple of runs to get a total of x12 of them at least built before December 1941. Don't worry about escort brigades for your Nav bombers. If you can blockade the US Carrier Fleet in a port with your carrier fleet you will be able to NAV bomb the US Carriers into oblivion. Make sure at some point you build a level 1 Port on Mili so you can base your fleets within range to invade the Hawiian Islands.
This opening build strategy with all out IC Factories you might think will make it pretty tough to prepare for war against the Nationalists Chinese, but below is how you deal with that problem.
My favorite strategy to open up the game as Japan is to immediately within the first month (end of January 36) declare war and invade the Guang Xi Clique. First attack is to amphibiously assault Bao'an and then land the rest of the troops to then attack Guangzhou with all the Industry. Don't waste time in this little war. Go for the throat with everything you have particularly the other two provinces with resources and Industry. If you wait too long to declare war, or waste too much time annexing them the Nationalists will declare war on them too and then you have to deal with racing your troops to the provinces while the Nationalists are racing to them as well. That is the main reason I gather my forces and attack in the first month of the game.
Don't freak out with the +6 unrest the declaration of war causes. You can slowly work it off while your at war which I usually finish within 3 months. If you want to cheat you can either use EVENT 1009 to reduce the dissent, or/and avoid taking one of the provinces and keep the war going forever which gives you a big reduction in Consumer Goods requirements, but to do that you need to seal the border so the Nationalists can't get in. I don't need to cheat. I work off the dissent and then annex ASAP. As soon as you annex the Clique you can drop your Military Salaries down to 50% and save some cash as you will not be going to war until July of 37.
To prep my forces to invade Guang Xi Clique I immediately begin gathering up most of my army including some of the garrisons and transport everything thing to the Island of Taiwan in the province of Kaosiung. You can base your fleets there too. You should begin your assualt in Bao'an and land everything you have before going back for a second load of divisions. After landing all your divisions in Bao'an go back with your transports to get a second wave of divisions. You will have had to do some strategic redeployments on Day One of game start to get many of the divisions to a coastline while at the same time sending your Transports to pick up all the divisions and garrisons already on a coastline. You will be able to get enough divisions transported to the staging base on the Island with just a single trip. I stress that you do not send your transports back to gather a second load of divisions until after you have taken Bao'an and landed everything you have. Only then should you send your transports back for a second and third trip to get ALL the rest of your Divisions including all your garrisons on the Pacific Islands. The second trip with your transports needs to pick up your 6 cavalry divisions. By the time your transports get back with them your army in Bao'an should have already attacked and taken the capital Guangzhou which has most of the Industry and you can drop off your second load of transported divisions there which will be right on time to make a big push. With a little practice you will be able to have the Guang Xi Clique annexed before the Nationalists ever have a chance to declare war on them and steal any of the provinces.
By following this strategy you will deprive the Nationalist Chinese close to 20 Factories and 30 divisions that they would have had to fight the war with Japan. It very effectively neuters their power. In addition you will be able to use your newly annexed territory as the primary ground to do battle with them which not only gives two fronts to attack the Nationalists with, but also places you that much closer to taking down a good portion of their other Industry once the war starts.
At some point I start two runs of Infantry with Artillary Brigades which will slowly give you the strength you need to over power the Nationalists. I will usually use the first 9 to 12 divisions I produce to reenforce the Manchurian Northern front and the next x6+ divisions I produce to invade Shanghai and push to the Capital NanJing. This invasion actually opens up a third front against the Nationalists. Its a pretty mean trick. You will be able to close in from all sides. Keep in mind all this time starting from the beginning you should be researching your Industry Techs ahead of schedule and two at a time when you can. The IC's you get for production bonuses are essential to maintain positive flow and besides that your going to want to go all the way to SHIP ASSEMBLYLINE anyway which you will be able to finish just as your ready to begin building your advanced Carriers.The timing works out perfect to be able to build your advanced carriers using Naval Assemblyline Tech and have them ready for battle by December 1941. You will be able to set up a few runs of Advanced Destroyers also depending on your intitial Industry Builds. Even if you can't afford to start building them until your Carriers are finished it will be OK.
One other thing. You will at some point have 13 to 15 available IC to spend well before July 1937 when you go to war with the Nationalists. Do not be tempted to spend them on UPGRADING your troops. Start your Infantry Runs with it. You can go ahead and max out your replacements first, but you will never be able to upgrade your existing army in time for the war anyway, so its best to keep them as is and just start building more Infantry. I do two runs with artillary.
I recommend you send 2 of your Garrisons back to the border with Shanxi to help the Manchurians on the Northern front. Use them to guard Tangshen on the coast. Even if all they do is hold your far better off conducting your war against the Nationalists from your newly aquired provinces, but from my experience the Manchurians with a little help from the newly built Japanese Divisions that come from your x2 runs of Infantry will actually be able to gain more ground than your entire army in the South.
Your not going to make much progress in territorial gains with a two front push. At least not until you have reenforced Manchuria with x9 to x12 newly built divisions. It will only be after you have built enough new divisions to launch a third front in the center at Shanghai that you will see the potential for cutting off a very large segment of the Nationalists from their supplies and you get their mass hordes to fold to your onslaught.
After you finish repairing the provinces in Guang Xi Clique you will get a few extra IC for the conquered provinces and in time with your Industry techs it will be a nice , 5 or 6 IC boost to your manufacturing capability. You could release it as a puppet, but I like to keep it as Japanese Territory.
P.S. As a last food for thought suggestion I tend to begin trading Oil with Venezuela as soon as possible and increasing their relations with Japan to 200. They can be brought into the Japanese Alliance fairly easy. You should do this well before December 1941 and immediately when they do join with Japan send 24 Manchurian Infantry Divisions to Venezuela and assign them as a Venezuelan Expeditionary force to defend your Oil reserves. You have to send these troops before war starts with the United States, or you won't be able to send them at all because the Panama Canal will be closed to you. The USA AI will attack Venezuela hard when war starts. As a rule of thumb I like to get a x50 Oil trade deal going with them and keep it going.
P.S.S. The auto Trade system works fine at first, but at some point your going to have too many trades going using way too many convoy's. At that point I cancell almost all the trades and go to manual making key strategic trades to maintain a good positive flow and balance. As an example you might have 3 small trades going with Siam. If you cancel all three of them and then initiate a single trade a week later with them you will still be getting close to the same deal, but will be using far less convoy's total.
P.S.S.S. Remember to start your Convoy and Transport construction runs (x1 each) at some point after defeating the Nationalists. You will be keeping those going a very long time. You will want to have x48 Transports total at a minimum before December of 1941 and although you can stop the run at that point you will eventually want to have at least x60 transports total.
P.S.S.S.S. I like to have at least x75 Japanese Infantry Divisions with Artillary. As many as x90. It is also nice to increase the number of HQ's to x6 when you can manage it.
Another mistake would be to waste your resources building Marines, Mountaineers, Cavalry, Armor, ships, or planes.
Make sure you have 36' Infantry researched early starting Day 1 so when you start your runs you will only be producing them.
The absolute only thing you need to be building in order to quickly and properly defeat the Nationalists are Infantry. x2 runs with artillary, or x3 runs without artillary.
Although the number of Nationalist divisions seems overwhelming it is actually very easy to beat them.
The trick as I said was to bring your entire ground army to conquer the Guang Xi Clique and after that war to keep your entire army including most of your garrisons defending your newly aquired territory to maintain a very long Southern front which will force the bulk of Nationalist Divisions to defend that entire front. Your Garrisons are absolutely essential to pull off the strategy I have outlined. With your garrisons you have just enough DEFENSE to prevent the Nationalists from ever launching a meaningful offensive against you allowing you the luxery of biding your time til you are ready.
The Manchurians are perfectly capable by themselves of defending the Northern front with the possible aid of maybe 2, or 3 Japanese Garrisons. The first x9 to x12 Japanese divisions you produce can go to Northern front and help the Manchurians execute an offensive into Shanxi while your Souther Front forces take a few key provinces on the Southern Front.
Main thing to do is hold the line and make small gains while waiting for your Infantry builds to start adding up.
Once you have reenforced the Manchurian Northern Front with x9 to x12 newly produced Japanese divisions the next x6 to x9 divisions you produce can be used to open a third front and attack (amphibiously invade) Shanghai in the East Center. It will be lightly defended as the vast majority of Chinese will be busy defending two very large fronts. From there you bring in 2, or 3 divisions of reenforcements at a time and push inward against a string of Industrial provinces while your Northern and Southern forces keep the Nationalists pinned down and making advances as the opertunities present themselves. The Northern Manchurian Front should be able to push all the way through Shangxi ever closer to closing the gap and meeting with the Southern Front forces in the middle somewhere while your third front vecters in to meet them at that juncture completing a sideways "T" which divides China into x3 sections and traps the entire Eastern Nationalist Army with no supplies which will fall over themselves retreating to coast lines as you fold back on them.
It won't be long before this three front strategy offers you the opportunity to trap between a third and a half of all the Nationalist divisions in the Eastern part of China.
The Eastern Chinese divisions will be cut off from supplies as you force them to move their capital to the far western interior by pushing West from Shanghai.
The Nationalists numbers will not matter as your much smaller well supplied army can slice through them like they were butter.
You will likely only have been able to save up to 10,000 supplies by the time you open your third front. At some point when you see the opportunity to close your trap you will assign a good portion of your armies with Offensive supply and start attacks all over the place all at once. Most of these 10,000 supplies you will need and use are actually scattered all over the place in provinces they started on. Many of the Islands have 500 supplies on them doing nothing. During a lull in the war you need to begin the process of gathering up all these unused supplies from provinces by each day creating a supply convoy with all your extra convoys to take them back to Tokyo.
You will only have enough supplies to do this one time, so make it count. If you do it right you will break the Nationalists back trapping large numbers of divisions in the East without any supply and from then on out it will just be a mopping up operation. The Nationalists will have been reduced to about 23 IC capacity by this time.
As a final suggestion I will offer you an acceptable fun cheat, or exploit.
First thing is when you start the game on day one make sure you turn off the auto promote option in the assign leaders screen.
The Chinese have a small Navy and after you beat them a few times at sea they will run and hide in a port.
Once they do you can assign every one of your Admirals a small fleet. x3 Destroyers, or x2 each cruisers and Destroyers is just fine.
Send all these small fleets to the sea zone where the Chinese ports with their ships are located.
Then send your x4 Carriers to meet them.
Assign one carrier to each of x4 fleets and then order each of the fleets to perform a carrier strike on a port. Make sure you have it on infinate duration.
Here is the trick.
Pay careful attention to the Port Strike Battle progress and pause the game immediately when it ends. The battle ends when the carrier uses up its organization at which time the fleet will auto assign itself to return to port within seconds, but there is a short duration where you can pause the game before the fleet auto changes its order to return to port.
Now go to each of those four fleets and remove the carrier from it. If you do this immediately the fleet will retain its Port Strike mission even though it no longer has a carrier and it will continue to perform the port strike mission forever as long as it has supplies and oil even though it does not have a carrier. It will not be able to do any damage to the Chinese ports, or the Chinese ships, but you will slowly gain experience with all the Admirals.
After the Carriers rest in port you can send them back and assign them to the rest of your fleets that don't have the mission yet. Rinse and repeat till all your Admirals have the mission with no carrier.
In this way you can have every single Admiral gaining experience the whole time your fighting the Nationalist Chinese on land.
I call this cheat acceptable for two reasons. One is the Admirals are actually doing something active and spending oil and supplies and it is not a blatent cheat such as going in and editing their skills.
Tris, thank you a lot for a wall of advice!
I'm so sorry the Japan AAR got closed - hope PB starts it again eventually - I like his historical approach a lot!