• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Praetonia

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[video=youtube;6hceNfhDFWY]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hceNfhDFWY[/video]​

What this is

I decided to play DH Kaiserreich on a whim. Having already fought off French blitzkrieg as Imperial Germany, smashed the Bolshevik revolutionists as Canada to reunite the Empire and steamrolled everyone as Russia because Russia is just like that in its HoI2 incarnation, I wasn't in a hurry to install it for DH. I was wrong on two counts. First, a whole lot more events have been added since I last played, and second, there are some things I missed last time around. Quite a lot of things in fact.

I chose Japan because it was the most obscure KR major to my mind. I didn't remember it doing anything in any of my previous games, and it doesn't obviously fit into the Syndicalism vs victorious Germany theme. So much has happened and I have enjoyed the game so much that I've decided to turn it into my first AAR. I've already played until early 1938, so the early updates may be sparse of screenshots (I will try to go back in my saves for screenshots or at worst replay a bit to recreate key events), but in 1938 usually a game has scarcely begun, so hopefully this won't matter much.

0. The story so far...


In 1914 Japan honoured her alliance with Britain and declared war on Germany. Swiftly seizing Germany's oriental possessions, Japan sat back to watch her ally defeat the great continental threat just as she had done in 1815... things did not go to plan, and seven years later Japan reluctantly signed an "honourable" peace under which she was only required to return Germany's Chinese concessions from before the war. With the Royal Navy and the IJN still intact Germany was in no position to demand anything more, but this began a worrying encroachment of German power into the Far East.

First French Indochina, and then the South of China proper fell to German expansionism. When the British Empire finally collapsed, the Germans even seized Singapore and Ceylon, giving them fortified bases to operate their navy in their Far East.


Japan itself is a staunchly conservative democracy and no friend to Syndicalism, but the biggest threat to her safety and her own prospects of expansion is Germany. Moreover, 'peace with honour' still rankles. Japan is also a Great Power, but clearly the weakest. Germany, the United States, Syndicalist Britain and France, and the Russian Empire are all richer, have larger armies, or both. Only among the Entente rump states can Japan command respect. Germany is the greatest power, at least by prestige. It will take some work before Japan can stand for a second round with her old foe...

1. Enrich the country, strengthen the army

A modest country, we do not expect to take over the world. We merely wish to dominate protect the Orient from German exploitation, and build a sphere powerful enough to ensure that we are seated at the top table among the nations. To do this we will need two things: an army to conquer protect the Orient, and a Navy to keep the Germans in Europe where they apparently belong.




Things could be worse, but they aren't too good either. We have the third largest navy in the world, and since the United States proved her isolationism is solid in the Weltkrieg, we are effectively the second 'real' naval power. Unfortunately the gap between us and Germany is more of a vast open expanse. It would take us years just to match their present numbers of battleships and battlecruisers, and they have the industrial might to out-build us further if they wished. If only battleships were about to be supplanted by something; aircraft carriers, for instance, where we are almost even. But that's wishful thinking.

On paper our army is almost as big as that of mighty Germany, but unfortunately most of it is just home guards and militia. In terms of first line divisions, we are out-matched even by the decrepit Qing Empire and the private forces of Germany's Chinese trading company. Those men in their garrison stations are going to have to start pulling their weight or we will never be able to push around protect even the smaller Oriental countries.

But before we can worry about abstract notions like honour and our rightful place in the world, Japan has a more immediate and more practical problem: it's broke.


Not only are we running out of almost everything trying to keep our industry at full capacity, but our puppet states, Transamur and the Fengtien Republic, need to receive constant Japanese shipments to stay afloat too. Keeping them under benevolent Japanese rule, even at great cost to ourselves, is really the least we can do to ensure peace in the Orient, but when our stockpiles run out there will be trouble.

Over the next few months this happens a number of times as the rest of the world, apparently gripped by economic depression, also seems desperate to hang on to its resources. We are generally able to buy what we need from Russia, until it spectacularly collapses. The USSR declares independence in the West, and Siberia declares independence in the East. Shipments to Japan suddenly stop in the confusion and our industrial output briefly plummets to half its usual value. At this point, the army wisely steps in to rule protect the country.


The hat may look silly but this is actually very serious.

With the British-style parliamentary system now abandoned - and look what good it did them! - the army is free to make those tough choices that elected politicians hate to. Invading Protecting one's neighbours, for instance. The reasoning was simple: if trade could not reliably supply Japanese industry with what it needed, then resources would have to be taken by force, and if Siberia could be Japan's mine, farm and oil well under despotic Russian rule, then surely it could be so just as well under despotic benevolent Japanese rule. Better, if anything, because Russians are not known for their riches and technical competence. Quite the contrary, really.



And so on 15th of September or thereabouts (probably), the Great Oriental War is agreed to have begun.
 
Last edited:

son of liberty

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Interesting choice. I have never tried KR Japan. I look forward to learning about them and enjoying a good story to boot.
 

Soulstrider

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Is your declaration of war an event or something you decided yourself to do?
 

Praetonia

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Something I decided to do myself. The military coup, otoh, was an event. Although it gives you a choice to stay democratic, and I decided against that because I needed to be able to declare war to carry out my plans to strengthen Japan, there's no direct connection w/my resource troubles in the game mechanic.

One of the reasons I have enjoyed this game so much is that I really don't know what is going to happen next. In vanilla it is very easy to start optimising your actions based on your fore-knowledge of history, but here I have to gamble to an extent because I have no idea what Japan's event chain is. The game ends up heavily influenced by events, however.
 

Soulstrider

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In the early game of KR I usually end waiting for the events from fear of breaking any event chain with my decisions. For example declaring war to Sibir now could break your own event chain with Russia in the future, I know that there are several crisis events between Russia and Japan, and there is even one for you to ally with them, but I don't know if this war could affect them
 

Praetonia

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Yeah that is a concern. It seems not to have happened here; the 'expansion direction' event still fired (if that is what you are referring to) and I simply didn't choose Russia as you will see. As I wasn't sure what events, if any, I would receive, I really needed resources, and Siberia may (and probably would) be reconquered shortly, I think the decision was the right one.
 

Sakura_F

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KR Japan is fun. I once spent the night at a friends house and played KR Japan, and I ended up puppeting Siberia through the event chain, and got into a war with the Soviets after their victory over Russia, and ended up conquering and puppeting the Soviets aswell, making Japan the unanimous ruler of Russia. ^_^
 

satilisu

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field encampment song oh my

Aren't the worthwhile provinces in Siberia quite a ways westward, though? I'd think you'd get better results and fewer partisans from nabbing Java, Sumatra, and the oil-rich Dutch provinces in Borneo.

You'll have a German border but then again Malaysia is a very tantalizing colony too
 
Last edited:

Praetonia

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2. The Social War

In the Russian Civil War, the USSR and Siberia are at war with Russia, and Mongolia is separately at war Siberia and the USSR. Japan's official policy is supportive of Russia against the Bolshevist and secessionist elements. Supplies were sent to Moscow, and Japan graciously agreed to send expeditionary forces into Siberia to bring the rebellion to an end. Unfortunately, Mongolia was already doing a rather good job at this, threatening to cut Japan off from the Siberian interior. As a result, Japan pledged to stop the aggressive Mongolians from exploiting the situation to seize rightful Russian territory.


No hard feelings Mongolia, but Japan saw it first.

The Siberian and Mongolian armies were not strong, but the enormous distances, bad terrain and lack of anything resembling modern transport infrastructure made progress slow. The war almost resulted in catastrophe when Japan's lucky subjects were suddenly overcome with ingratitude and launched a great rebellion. First Korea rebelled, then Transamur declared independence, Formosa rebelled and even Fengtien attempted to declare 'neutrality', leaving Japan's alliance and expelling the Japanese 'representatives' in their government, but falling just short of declaring war. On Formosa and in Korea, several divisions of Japanese troops were overwhelmed by the natives and butchered.


Et tu, Formosa?

These developments caused panic in the home islands, and Japan's industry took a terrible hit. Almost all of the Japanese army was now being supported along a dirt track thousands of miles long from the Siberian port of Okhotsk, which was itself un-garrisoned and under imminent threat of seizure by Transamur. An invasion of Southern Korea was launched immediately and a blockade enforced around the peninsula, while the war in the West was swiftly wrapped up by offering Mongolia substantial independence in exchange for her loyalty and the support of her army. But when there was a moment to think, the implications were even more troubling. Why had Japan's loyal subjects suddenly turned upon her so cruelly? Was Japanese rule not benevolent enough? It was hard to see how that could be true.


If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!

The madness reached its height when Soviet Russia decided to launch a second Tsushima, sailing its fleet all the way from its only ports on the Baltic coast to the Sea of Japan, where it attempted without much success to break the Japanese blockade of Korea.


They'll thank us in the end.

Japan's confidence in her fundamental benevolence was hit still further when all of her former colonies, puppets and sundry other overseas possessions decided to form an 'Anti-Japanese Alliance'. But it wasn't long until she found out the real reason behind the recent spate of treachery:






Those bastards!

With most of her troops now freed from the war in Siberia, and all reserves from home called up, Japan swiftly deposed the illegitimate elected government of Transamur and restored the council of military officers to its rightful place at the head of the state. Korea and Formosa eventually followed, but not without bitter fighting, even down to the last streets in Seoul and Taipei. Japan did not blame her wayward charges, however. After-all, it wasn't their fault that Germany had manipulated them against their benevolent protector.


So, about that declaration of independence...

By autumn, only the Fengtien Republic remained as a member of the 'Anti-Japanese Alliance', although it still had not declared war on Japan. Even the Siberian war had been wrapped up with substantial territorial gains for Japan - which would be transferred to Transamur, their rightful owner - and Japan's new most loyal ally, Mongolia. A police action was launched against the wayward Fengtien Republic in early November, and surrounded on all sides by superior troops, the country capitulated in less than two weeks.


A cynic might point out that all of Fengtien's industry and infrastructure has been destroyed, but at least they won't have to carry the crushing burden of independence any longer.

After a turbulent year of conquest and rebellion, Japan emerged with her territorial integrity intact, a useful new ally and a solution to her crippling economic problems. But clearly Japan still had many enemies abroad. Russia would surely be wondering when, exactly, Japan was going to hand back the Russian Far East, and Germany and the Qing Empire remained unpunished for their involvement in the uprisings. This would not do.

[Notes: I'm not sure I've managed to get across that well just how on the ropes I was at this point in the game. Literally all of my holdings except the Home Islands rebelled while my army was off fighting two other countries in 0-infra hell. For several months I was down to four tech slots and at one point dissent topped 20%. I also did lose a number, I'd guess 5-10, divisions when every province in Formosa and Korea had rebels appear at once, leaving them nowhere to retreat to. Since I was learning to play the game I haven't been as pushed as this playing a major!]
 

satilisu

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My nascent Hirohito mustache bristles in rage at the perfidy of Nippon's subjects

get the damn mongorians all up in the qing's city wok for their perfidy
 

Soulstrider

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Well that was a pretty close one, congratulations for having managed to somehow getting past this pretty much unscathed.
 

Imperator1993

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Very nice AAR. You should have gone democratic (I made the election events :D) Good luck may the Rising Sun conquer all.
 

Praetonia

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3. Crossing the Chaobai

As 1938 approached, the Japanese could at last look forward to a secure and stable future, with their new empire in Siberia providing for their resource needs and their army successfully re-assuring Japan's other possessions of her continued benevolence. But the new dawn of peace and co-prosperity would be postponed once again, when the German-backed Qing Empire launched an attack on the vital pan-Manchuria railway, clearly as a reprisal for our foiling their plots against our loyal puppets in the Social War.


We have to take Beijing or they may never stop launching minor raids against railway stations.

Hirohito's army council was outraged at this continuing provocation, and decided the time was ripe to secure a more defensible border with the Chinese. Somewhere deep inside China would be ideal. There was clearly no way the backward Qing dynasty could stand up to Japan's recently victorious and battle-hardened armies and mighty navy, so the expectation was that they would be forced to make humiliating concessions to Japan. However, Germany revealed her true colours publicly and issued the Qing a guarantee: either Japan must back down or there would be war.


In for a rin, in for a yen.

The army council had hardly planned to fight the world's greatest power so soon, but politically they were not in a position to capitulate after having publicly committed to action. Their legitimacy rested solely upon producing military victories and imperial success; publicly backing down might cause the collapse of the military regime and the restoration of democracy. No right-thinking Japanese wanted that on his conscience. The Japanese ambassador in Berlin therefore addressed a note to Kaiser Wilhelm, informing him that, if he backed the Qing Empire, Japan would repudiate the Weltkrieg peace treaties and consider herself to have a free hand in the Orient.


Japanese officers near Beijing during the War of Unprovoked Sino-German Aggression.

Germany refused the Japanese ultimatum and, as the first Japanese troops crossed into China, Japan and Germany were at war for the second time in twenty years. This might seem to be very bad for Japan, but on reflection the conflict was not as imbalanced as it first appears. On land, Japan and her entire Co-Prosperity Sphere were at least the equal of Germany, which could hardly deplete its border garrisons with the Commune of France and the Russian Empire in any case.

Her navy, while enjoying an ostensible 3:1 advantage in battleships and battlecruisers and parity in carriers, was also tied down by commitments at home. Germany's 42 battleships and battlecruisers was set against the 24 battleships and battlecruisers of the Syndicalists. Worse, the Syndicalists had 6 carriers against Germany's 3. To maintain an advantage in Europe, Germany would only be able to deploy about the same number of armoured gunships Japan herself possessed, and fewer, possibly no carriers. Japan would enjoy the further advantages of short supply lines, omnipresent air support, and the ability to seize German bases early in the war before they have a chance to respond.

At least, that was the plan. Germany might just as well choose to leave herself open to the Syndicalists and overwhelm the IJN, trapping Japan's forces on the continent and slowly starving the home islands into capitulation. Then there was the question of how to end a war with a country possessing twice the industrial capacity in an essentially invulnerable home base.


German Singapore enjoys a new-found sense of co-prosperity.

While the bulk of the Japanese and allied armies advanced into the Qing Empire, a small force of Japanese divisions embarked on a smaller but far more important mission: seize German Far East naval bases before their fleet can arrive. After weeks of bitter fighting Singapore fell, followed by the entire German Malaya, German North Borneo and the ports of German Indochina. Fighting in China continued for three months until the Qing Empire, having lost almost its entire coastline and most of its industry, and with hopes of German troops fading to nothing, agreed to yield to all Japanese demands and join the Co-Prosperity Sphere. Of the German Far East ports, only Haikou, New Guinea and the German Pacific islands continue to hold out.


Japanese positions at the Qing capitulation on 6th February 1938. Tangshan, Tanjin, Yantai and Qingdao were formerly German.

The first phase of the War of Unprovoked Sino-German Aggression had ended with complete success, but everyone knew that a single major defeat at sea could bring the Japanese Empire crashing down, and the Kaiserliche Marine was so far nowhere to be seen...

[Notes: This brings the AAR up to date with where I am in the game, so new updates should not be missing screenshots of major events, eg. the entire Sino-Japanese War. I'm sorry, but I couldn't be bothered to re-fight it. It was quite hard-fought - I was actually about to lose that province in the North with 19 divisions in it - but Japanese amphibious landings first at Qingdao and then at Nantong in the South proved decisive, the latter tripping an event trigger that gave me Qing as a puppet. It was only a matter of time at that point, but in a war where every hour of the first few months is going to count double, it is certainly very helpful.]
 
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Davisx3m

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Go Japan!
 

Praetonia

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4. Taking stock

Only three months ago, Germany and the Qing Empire recklessly shattered the peace of the Orient by perfidiously forcing Japan to attack them. Many expected powerful German reinforcements to do battle with the IJN and possibly end the war before it had begun. But with the surrender of the Qing the Germans have no combatant allies in the Far East, and prospects of imminent arrival of large numbers of German troops have diminished to nothing. The Kaiserliche Marine is out there somewhere, but it has either been forced far away from the Co-Prosperity Sphere by Japanese seizure of its bases, or else the Germans have not been willing to send an overwhelmingly powerful force to the east and risk exposing themselves in Europe.

Battle joined for the great cause of peace, benevolence and co-prosperity, and the crisis of the early months over, there is now time for Japan to reflect on her situation and consider her strategy.

War of Unprovoked Sino-German Aggression


I find one never can have enough puppets.

The most worrying fact is that despite the industriousness of our loyal subjects, Germany industrial capacity is almost twice Japan's. Our puppets are more evenly matched, but it will be very dangerous if Germany is able to turn her complete attention to fighting Japan. However, we anticipate that they will 'waste' most of their military budget raising land forces to counter the Syndicalists and the Russians in Europe, diluting Germany's paper advantage.



vs


The land forces of the two great empires are more or less even. Since it would be beneath our dignity to invade Europe, this lends the advantage to us as the defender. It will be extremely difficult for Mitteleuropa to storm fortified beaches in East Asia from half-way across the world using only equal forces.



vs


But the Germans do not need to land if they can gain supremacy at sea and sever the vital lines of communication between the home islands and Japan's Co-Prosperity Sphere on the continent. Bereft of Japanese guidance the continental asian states under her benevolent rule would no doubt fall to bickering among one another, or worse, start having delusions that they can rule themselves. So long as the Mitteleuropan navies remain significantly stronger than ours, even if they choose not to prioritise Japan over European politics, the Sword of Damocles hangs over us.


Decoded Australian intercept of Hirohito's signal to the IJN. Don't ask why the date reads 3/9/39.

In the first two years of enlightened military rule Japan's desperate requirement had been for infantrymen to hold together her continental Empire and to bring new peoples into the fold. Following the fall of the Qing Empire continental East Asia is now dominated by Japan, and the desperate requirement is for ships. Our loyal puppets can provide any further infantry that may be needed, but only Japan has the technical skill and industrial capacity to produce warships.


They are very disappointed to have missed out on the fighting.

Only those army formations currently being trained would be added to the strength of the IJA; thereafter absolute priority would be given to the navy. Furthermore, a large naval program was immediately initiated in February 1938, including four new aircraft carriers of an improved type and six modern 6-inch cruisers. The decision between battleships and carriers was not doctrinal, but wholly practical: a carrier could be built 6-12 months faster than a battleship, and in any case not enough battleships could be built to match the German Navy even in 5 years.


If these new-fangled aircraft-carrying battleships don't work then we'll be in a bit of a pickle.

The new-build program would not be delivered for another two years at the outside, so whatever measures could be taken immediately to improve the performance of Japan's fleets would be given top priority. The most promising was to simply employ improved optics, fire control computers and naval aviation on existing ships. The improvement these could deliver was really quite dramatic: an effective range extension of nearly a third, and substantially improved accuracy. Best of all, the program of upgrades could be completed in just six months.


Now as ever, seaplanes are the sword and shield of any great empire.

While her production priorities were quite clear, Japan's next move was less so. The entire Far East was now hers for the taking, but how far and where should she go? Most German ports near Japan had been seized, with the exception of Haikou in the South of China and some of the Pacific islands, such as Guam and Truk. The IJN and SNLF were already tasked with taking these places as soon as possible, before the German fleet could arrive.


The world belongs to me! - not quite yet.

Who would be next to experience the joys of Japanese colonial rule? In the heady days following the surrender of the Qing and the seizure of Singapore, when it seemed Germany was on the run and it would be a clear road to Berlin, all sorts of fanciful ideas were proposed to Emperor Hirohito.

The most sensible was to invade the Dutch East Indies. The Dutch were a quasi-neutral German satellite: harmless if left alone, but since Japan was already at war with Germany there was little to risk by seizing their Oriental possessions. These colonies, a relic of long-past greatness, would provide substantial additional natural resources. On the other hand, they would require a large amount of naval resources to seize and army resources to pacify and defend. Since the Co-Prosperity Sphere had sufficient resources at the present time, the invasion of the Dutch East Indies was postponed indefinitely.

The next proposal was to strike West, using Ceylon as a springboard to Madagascar, from there to invade Mittelafrika and Djibouti, and possibly foray into the Mediterranean. This plan may seem absurd, but Japan did have the resources to carry it out. It was not pursued mainly for fear of alarming the other European states on the one hand, and fear of spreading the navy too thin on the other. The most absurd plan was to invade Australia, and add the 17 Entente capital ships to Germany's 45.

The notion of invading the Chinese borderland states was taken much more seriously. They would provide useful infantry, be fairly easy to take and defend, and act as a buffer against the Indian states and the Russian Empire. But taking them would not directly contribute much to the war with Germany, which had to be the overriding priority. These would therefore be taken as resources permit.

The most worrisome of the Eastern powers by far was the AOG, Germany's trading company that had taken over half of China. The AOG did not subordinate itself to German foreign policy and had not followed Germany into a dangerous and unprofitable war. However, she did allow German fleets to use her ports, and could at any moment choose to reverse her policy and invade Pu Yi's puppet Qing Empire. Taking the AOG would mean Germany had no conceivable land border with the Co-Prosperity Sphere, dramatically reducing the land commitment required of Japan, while providing additional manpower itself.


This probably won't go down well at the next AGM.

War was declared only a few weeks after the surrender of the Qing, her troops turned on her former ally with little reluctance as the territory of the AOG was considered by the Qing to be theirs. Amazingly the Legation Cities considered the corporate state to be somehow preferable to benevolent Japanese rule, and declared war in support of the AOG. Japan had no desire to anger the European powers and world opinion unduly, and would have left them alone for the forseeable future if they had remained neutral. Their army was not strong enough to actually defeat Japan and save the AOG, but as a consolation prize they would be graciously allowed to join the Co-Prosperity Sphere.


Another happy subject welcomes Japanese troops into Shanghai.

[Notes: For some reason the game calls the seaplanes torpedoes, but they're definitely seaplanes. Torpedoes themselves can be added to battleships giving +9 sea attack. Since this defies both the historical record and common sense, I consider this to be an exploit and will not build them for capital ships, as the Germans do not have them either.

I was getting worried at this point that the German AI might not be able to handle the situation, since the Kaiserliche Marine had not done anything except throw unescorted TPs at the waiting guns of IJN battleship fleets, seemingly loaded with land units. However as you will see in the next update the AI starts to fight effectively at sea quite quickly from this point on.]
 

Davisx3m

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Another happy subject welcomes Japanese troops into Shanghai.
He doesn't look quite happy xD
 

satilisu

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If you ever want to wrangle gaytors in the traylors Barbarous Hun-Land and keep the Qing (now a full five-techslot major in its own right) in line, you should bite the bullet and build a year's worth (or maybe two) of IC after these carriers are done.
 
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Praetonia

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It is tempting and I don't really like having 88 IC as the prospective greatest country in the world. However, I don't think it's a good idea. The carriers will take until early 1940 (assuming early research of ship production line), IC then another 1 year, and IC takes 5 years to pay off. So I will start to get the pay-off in late 1945, by which time the game will almost certainly have been decided. Carriers themselves are non-negotiable as I can't defeat a 3:1 numerical advantage with gunships, and must arrive as soon as possible before Germany can sink all my convoys.

My plan is instead to outsource all land-unit building from this point on to my continental asian puppets, leaving Japanese IC solely for ships (almost exclusively at the moment) and planes (if I do eventually eventually invade Europe). In this context, 88 base IC is actually a lot. Germany, on 180 base IC, will not be spending half of it on ships and planes, which is what it would take to match my build-up in those departments. The whole thing relies on the geography and on not being completely annihilated at sea before 1940, but it seems to be the most sensible approach.