Here the situation in my current game.
I'm playing USSR and it was a strange game as I'm at war with the allies since 1940, who dowed me when I invaded Finland, and also with Japan since 1937, and the german never attacked me until I decided to destroy them in 1946, an easy war that lasted just a year.
Anyway, in 1951 here's the situation.
I (or my many allies and puppet states) control Europe (but Italy I accepted to let survive after defeating Germany as they help with their naval bombers), Africa, Middle East, India and a part of Indochina. I have about 900 ic and I'm by far the first land power.
UK is down to its mainland and a few isles, has less than 30 divisions, but still one rather big fleet.
The USA control most of south america (who joined Axis or the comintern at some point and were defeated), most pacific isles etc... They have near 700 ic (I boosted them a little at start like other main opponents) and are by far the first naval power (we are about on par for aviation).
Japan is still holding Korea thanks to a stalemate of 3 mountains province with 50+ divisions in each (China has about 280 divisions on this fronteer but never managed to go further, this front is stable since 1940 or so), but as Japan has no fleet left I think the US will soon invade their main land (I don't know what will happen when Japan will be defeated : I'm in good terms with nationalist china as we are fighting japan together since 14 years, and they even are at war with the allies, but I have communist china and sinkiang in the comintern ; it's possible I'll end at war with Nat. China when they resume their civil war).
As I spent most of my time fighting the british for their colonies, and it's the only naval doctrines ussr has some skill to research, I switched to the trade interdiction doctrines early and fully developped them, and untill 1947 my only navy was a lot of submarines, transports and a few battleships for shore bombardments. Only once Europe and Africa were conquered, and USA stopped to be busy fighting germans and japanese, I realised there will be a problem to finish to convert the rest of the world to communism. Namely the american fleets counting about 90 cv total according to my spies (+15 or so battleships and 300 small vessels). I can't go out of Gibraltar or Suez with any surface fleet without encountering 30 ships american fleets always including 15+ carriers, which prevented me to finish England or Japan. Out of the closed mediterannean and baltic seas, US domination is complete, the big cv fleets regularily strike my ports, and even 10 AA, coastal forts and interceptors on air supremacy don't prevent them to destroy any fleet I let anchored in Asia or Africa for a while, and out of their big fleets they also have hundreds of destroyers patrolling (having 15 or so submarines production lines just allow me to keep stable numbers). USA have even succeeded to invade south Vietnam, due to me having to send reinforcements through mountains and jungles when they could gather troops faster by sea.
The last 4 years I rushed naval and naval bombers techs and I'm now on par with usa / at the end of research tree, when it comes to ship quality including for cv, but I'm just having my first generation out, and even if after years I may finally match their numbers, USA will still be advantaged by far better leaders and doctrines. My only decent amiral has skill 4 and can lead 18 flotillas when US have several skill 5-7 grand amirals to lead their huge fleets.
So far I've tried :
- using 12 submarines fleets in interdiction hoping for lucky surprise results (I perhaps destroyed one or two cv in 15 or so tries, and rarely had more than one or two surviving SS).
- camping my best fleet with battleships in Gibraltar and waiting for bad weather to go out, hoping to catch the enemy when CVs were useless (sadly the weather turned just before I engaged their fleet, and I lost the whole mine including my 7 super heavy battleships without doing one damage)
- camping a good surface fleet near a port they could reach, and going out just when they strike it (destroyed 2 or 3 cv and half their screens but lost the whole fleet too)
- putting all the bombers I can on naval strike, and eventually using CL fleets to pull and occupy the opponents when they destroy them (that works... in some extent, and allowed me to keep the number of US CV stable since 1947, but the best US fleets do nearly as much damage to my planes than i do to them, and in some areas they also have land based fighters patrolling).
Now I'm hesitating between :
- trying to match the usa with the same kind of cv fleets (using like 400 ic on cvs I can have more than them in three years after all), or other eventually abandonning my doctrine to research base strike (I have no good navy searcher but plans for most tech, I may fully research it the time to make my fleet ; the problem is I will be even weaker for two or three years)
- or another kind, big cruisers fleets perhaps ?
- producing even more submarines, hoping that the nuclear model I have now will have more success
- producing an huge lot of naval bombers and trying to cover all my coasts (but I'm starting to lack leaders for my air forces, having to defend europa against strategic bombers too near all my air commanders are already used)
(I don't want to finish the game with strategic destruction with A-bomb and intercontinental missiles, as it's unfair when AI don't seem to use them -USA has the bombs tech but don't even have a level 1 reactor)