Manasian

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1) I have understood the blitzkrieg (with my part with Russia, I made 19M of losses vs 4M for me) but I still have difficulties when the enemy has a second line of defense behind the front. Any tips on how to quickly break that second line and be able to encircle faster?

2) I do not see the usefulness of mechanized units, they are weaker than tanks and less fast than motorized. With Russia, I had used them anyway but in 2ARM/1MEC units since they have some bonuses with the terrestrial doctrine (manpower) but with my current part I thought to make units of 3 independent. So, what role should its units play? Help the motorized if needed?

3) In the economy menu, when do you use the auto-upgrade? On the one hand we lose bonus gearing but on the other hand, keeping old models in the long run is more expensive. Upgrade production lines when you have 2-3 models of delay seems a good compromise ?

4) I don’t really understand the diplomatic system, for example to invite a country into my military alliance, I’m always at 0 chances (and so I always end up declaring war, it’s more « simple ») without knowing what to do to increase this chance. Maybe influence the target country ? But here too, what to do when the chances of influence are 0 ? Also, how do I increase my relations with a country ?

5) Do you use counters or sprites ? (right click in the menu where the date is displayed) Personally, I find the counters less convenient because we can not see the level of orga at a glance unlike with the sprites or we just select the units (and because of that, some of my offensives were easily countered by AI because I didn’t realize that the orga of my units was weak… ) On the other hand, with counters one can see more easily or enemy troops flee

6) Why when a country is annexed to a military alliance, its ships return to one of its allies when this is not at all the case for land/air units even in expeditionary corps ? (It got me a bit of a mishap too).

7) Tips for killing sub enemies ? At the moment I use 6DD/6CVE anti-sub fleets (with ASW and floatplane) is this a good fleet ? Mabye 8DD/4CVE ?

8) In a battle between two fleets of CVs what is the decisive element to win without too many losses? the CAG? Naval doctrines? the CV itself? Anything else? (I had a battle like this and lost so I’d like to know where it failed). I think it is the most important CAG but I prefer to be sure, the UoB has massacred all my CV fleet (even if then I took revenge and sunk his CV in my turn with SS & NAV) while she had a BIG naval doctrine delay on CVs compared to me but had more CVs than me and was up-to-date for the CAG, obviously that’s the number that prevails right ? (9 vs 7 it seems to me)
 
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Eugenioso

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1.- Well, you just answered your own question. If the enemy has units in the rear, go either for a smaller encirclement or find a weaker front to exploit. One very good tactic is to push one or two fronts with infantry to make the enemy send units to that sector then strike the weaker front.

2.- Mechs are hard targets and they have better land movement over forests or marshes thanks to their treaded movement, as well as having better stats for attack/defense than MOT, but they are more expensive. I personally never use them. IF you must, then sure, attach them as a cheaper response force against an enemy attempting a breach.

3.- Yes, waiting 2-3 models before updating is the cheapest move, and there are very few leaps that units get when updated (The only one i can think of is '39 inf to '41, which starts using fuel and has better stats, but very small so). In the build tab i always set to auto upgrade just because i like having an up-to-date army.

4.- Diplomacy is influenced by your sliders, either democracy or totalitarian, open or closed. Some have bonuses to influence thanks to their ministers, but to put it bluntly, the diplomacy part of DH is pretty stiff. This is to prevent insane things like germany allying with SU or a Chinese/US alliance. These actions are hardlocked and cannot be changed ingame unless you coup a nation and break its event trees.

5.- Ive used counters all my life, since '08. The sprites just look fake to me. Also, since im a bit analytical, i like to see my group's org before i attack rather than after.

6.- Ships are a special case. If you have a puppet (or ally?) with a navy and they get annexed, that navy passes on to you, wherever it may be. Armies will remain where they were and if by event they change sides (Like invading Romania as SU), their divisions will immediately flip on you.

7.- The cheapest and most effective method for me is 18 DD stacks with ASW equipment up to date on Anti Submarine Warfare missions. If you see a sector where your convoys are dying send one or two there and the enemy subs will become useless. Germany has this problem particularly lategame when they struggle to get fuel.

8.- THE deciding factor is positioning, and that is altered by your naval doctrines as well as the skill of your fleet leader and if he is controlling more or less ships than he can handle. Ideally, you want a 9/9 fleet composition, one bigger and one smaller, with a skilled Grand Admiral, with the most up-to-date naval doctrines researched. The worst thing you can do is stack more ships together, that is a recipe for friendly fire (YES, IT CAN HAPPEN, ITS NOT FUN TO LOSE CV'S TO FRIENDLY CV'S). Doomstacks have not been a thing for a couple of years.
 

Altruist

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1) I have understood the blitzkrieg (with my part with Russia, I made 19M of losses vs 4M for me) but I still have difficulties when the enemy has a second line of defense behind the front. Any tips on how to quickly break that second line and be able to encircle faster?
Well, that's the purpose of the second line defense... to make encirclements after breakthroughs more difficult. It usually means your spearheads need to be stronger plus with more support to secure the first breakthrough to avoid seeing your spearheads get cut off themselves. Eugenioo's hint is also good.

2) I do not see the usefulness of mechanized units
They aren't very cost effective, so most don't see the usefulness. If you have too many IC mechs are a nice place to dump them.

3) In the economy menu, when do you use the auto-upgrade?
For all ships! Because those can't be upgraded after they are built.
If I play vanilla usually I also upgrade planes whenever possible. Depends a bit how much better the new model is, though. Tables with all the data for units and brigades for DH (can be downloaded).

5) Do you use counters or sprites ?
Counters. I find it much easier with counters to see to which region defeated enemy units are retreating.

7) Tips for killing sub enemies ?
Your suggestion of using most modern DDs with uptodate ASW plus 1 or more CVEs is good. CVEs serve a double purpose: good recon vs subs and a shooting range which may keep at bay a fleet of enemy CLs and older CAs hunting your sub-hunters.

8) In a battle between two fleets of CVs what is the decisive element to win without too many losses?
In order of importance (some are educated guesses):
1. CAGs really should be researched and updated with the highest priority. Each new CAG-generation has a farther range and you don't want to see your CV(L)s outdistanced. The better sea-attack is good, too, but of secondary importance.

2. Positioning which is based upon a whole bag of several variables:
a) Your naval doctrines, especially those which give better positioning. You can see the positioning values of your ship types at one glance in your tech overview.
b) Sea detection. CAG have superb sea detection. Float planes, too, which can't be equipped on DDs but on cruisers.
c) Visibility. The higher the visibility of your ships, the easier they can be detected by the enemy. Which means: While CLs with float planes as escorts give you the best sea detection (and best air protection), DDs give you the smallest visiblity (and best sub protection)... a trade off.
d) While it is nice to have a great admiral, probably this has less effect on positioning than doctrines, detection, small visibility.

3. Misc
# Weather also plays quite an important role but in this example it is the least important factor because we are talking about a carrier vs carrier battle where it should have the same effects for both sides.
# The CV-generation: newer is better, of course, but not really much and all factors above are more important.

This means that sometimes less is more. A fleet of 6 CVs with uptodate CAGs and doctrines escorted by 6 CL with floatplanes will most likely be quite superiour to a fleet of 9 CV with CAGs 1 generation behind accompied by CAs without floatplanes. The smaller fleet has an advantage in range and in sea detection/visibility. The latter gives you a good chance that the smaller fleet will detect the bigger fleet first and thus initiating battle which gives quite a bonus on positioning. This bonus gives a good chance that it can make full usage of its longer shooting range thus outdistancing the bigger fleet which in theory has much more fire power. There is also quite a randomizer, I guess, so you get a better chance for victory but not a certain one..

Both fleets, by the way, are sitting ducks if they get attacked by even a small pack of 6 heavy subs. So usually I go with DDs plus ASW as escorting screens, less sea detection than accompying cruisers with float planes but a quite good anti-sub capability, lesser visibility, cheaper and faster to build. If it is not subs but NAV-planes you need to fear, CLs as screens might be better with FPs as brigade and then it's a tough choice wether to really go for AA instead of fire control as the 2nd brigade.
 
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Manasian

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Thanks for the answers

1) It reminds me that once time I had done two encirclements at a time: One to the south with most of my mobile divs and one to the north or in fact a salient formed without my realizing it and was easy to close. Roughly, 15-20 divs surrounded to the south and 10 to the north as I pushed to the center with the infantry to prevent the enemy from sending reinforcements.

2) Well, obviously the feedback is not really enthusiastic about the idea I had, anyway it’s a test, at worst I would do 2ARM/1MEC groups again. Ah and by the way, I find that the motorised after 52/53 loses most of its interest after unlocking the cavalry air (50 in speed + firepower + vulnerability off/def low there is just the softness at 95% but otherwise it’s almost a tank =).

3) Oh yes, I use it all the time for the ships (since we cannot upgrade them) and also when I produce brigades directly (we have just a -5 bonus instead of a -10 and this -5 is quickly caught up since in general the brigades have a short time of prod). Ah and I already had this file by doing my research on the forum (but thanks anyway) and by searching the files of the game, I also came across the same thing or almost in DH/mod/KR/db/units and by searching a little we have all the stats on div or bri.

4) But, they would have to put a system of diplomacy to the Vic2, even to add for example -1000 (for ideological differences or isolationism) to avoid its alliances.

6) The misadventure that I had had was that after having beaten and annexed the UoB and that I still had Ireland to conquer (which was its puppet) an entire fleet was massacred because I had not foreseen that Ireland had «inherited» of the UoB CV fleet erf.

7) I will test two fleets of 3-4CVE/14-15DD then and by the way, I realized that the CVE are more profitable to produce escorts than the escorts themselves: it is 0.4IC and 203j for a CVE-5 (which will give 10 escorts) vs 4.2IC and 54j for the escorts themselves. Ah and the escorts are not so bad to produce, sometimes they inflict some losses on the sub enemies and/or they sacrifice themselves to prevent the sub enemies from sinking the convoys

8) However, I was quite close to what you said Eugenioso: I had 7CV + 1CVL (and as many DD) and enemy 9CV I had a Grand Admiral with 5 skill (Yamamoto no surprise), the enemy also probably and up-to-date level naval doctrines on the CV tree (while loading the UoB side part, they only had the CV techs until 37/38 when it was 44).

Maybe the number played too? The enemy had a fleet of 30 that may have dispersed my fire while the enemy had only my CVs as a priority target. So, (as Altruist says in passing congratulations for your naval tuto) for the screems put some CL with seaplanes & AA would be not bad either in a battle between CV visibly. But, the anti-aircraft power of the ships (and therefore especially of the CL) applies or not vs the enemy CAG ? Or is it just against NAV? Otherwise FP may be better then.

So a difficult choice between a fleet of 18 (best possibility to attack first) or a fleet of 30 (more firepower) is that right? I think I’ll start again with a fleet of 18 then (but maybe I’ll do one at 30 to test) either 9CV/9DD or maybe 9CV/3CL/6DD to have more detection without neglecting the enemy subs? (Next time, I would also try to weaken the enemy fleet with Subs and/or NAV)

9) What about the escort fighter? I thought it was rather pointless but I recently found this on the Hoi2 wiki (https://hoi2.paradoxwikis.com/Brigade_Strategy_Guide#Air_Brigades) that escort fighters can effectively protect bombers who are equipped with it. So I don’t know what to think about it anymore (even if when the escort fighter go supersonic, they lose in range what is pretty bad). And finally which additional brigade for CV ?

10) What use can be found to the "classic" fleets of BB, BC etc. after the CV era is already well underway ? Raiders/Blockade/Other ?
 
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Acheron

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Regarding army corps, would it be best to have all corps composed of a single unit? The idea would be that for combat, you can combine corps of diffeent units for the combined arms bonus but when moving, you don't want faster divisions slowed down by other divisions.
 

Manasian

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Regarding army corps, would it be best to have all corps composed of a single unit? The idea would be that for combat, you can combine corps of diffeent units for the combined arms bonus but when moving, you don't want faster divisions slowed down by other divisions.
Yes, that’s also why at the beginning I created groups of 3 with 2ARM/1MEC for the combined arms bonus. Afterwards, I want to see what it’s like with groups without this bonus (possible that her units are more stronger/that she has a more specialized role).
 

Altruist

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the anti-aircraft power of the ships (and therefore especially of the CL) applies or not vs the enemy CAG ?
CAG vs ships and vice versa is pure sea attack (not air). So the better anti-air-stats of CLs don't apply vs CAG but vs planes only. And in Darkest Hour CAG are not considered as planes but as kind of ships... a bit weird, yes.

7) [vs subs] I will test two fleets of 3-4CVE/14-15DD [...]
[as combat fleet] 9CV/9DD or maybe 9CV/3CL/6DD [...]
Usually... if I can afford fleets of this size for simple sub-hunting... I quit the game because I seem to have reached an overwhelming superiority.
If you read into my naval guide, you might have noticed that my biggest ever used combat fleet in that operational example consisted of 6 CVL/6 DD... operating in cooperation, though, with advance forces of heavy subs in packs of upto 6... which proved effective enough to bring down the Japanese, French and British Navy.

I also must admit that I find it so much more satisfying to defeat a huge British fleet with only so small and "weak" fleets.

I realized that the CVE are more profitable to produce escorts than the escorts themselves: it is 0.4IC and 203j for a CVE-5 (which will give 10 escorts) vs 4.2IC and 54j for the escorts themselves.
Interesting observation.

The enemy had a fleet of 30 that may have dispersed my fire while the enemy had only my CVs as a priority target.
That's a problem, yes. While the single ship usually stays true to its initial target, with so many targets the chance that several ships concentrate fire on the same ship to sink it as fast as possible gets lower and lower. Sometimes also transports can work like a kind of chaff this way because they are a priorized target and distract fire from combat ships.

Maybe the number played too?
Well, if all things come together and you cannot outdistance the enemy, then, yes, mostly it comes down to numbers. Although even then, if one side has worse positioning, they'll be shooting with a much higher percentage at screens (and perhaps even some friendly fire occures) instead of capitals or prefered targets (which might also mean transports). That's actually what the positioning numbers in the combat screens says: besides as serving as indicator for several other factors the positioning numbers show the percentage probability with which each side is shooting at prefered targets.

9) What about the escort fighter? I thought it was rather pointless but I recently found this on the Hoi2 wiki (https://hoi2.paradoxwikis.com/Brigade_Strategy_Guide#Air_Brigades) that escort fighters can effectively protect bombers who are equipped with it.
At the moment I don't remember how much the stats for the escort fighter brigade changed (to be honest somehow I even remember that they weren't a brigade at all but an own unit which I used regularly).
In Darkest Hour the problem of escort fighter brigades is the very low range. While there might be specific places where you would accept the low range, I have to admit that, so far, I couldn't convince myself to equip them yet.
 
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Pasha

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Yes, that’s also why at the beginning I created groups of 3 with 2ARM/1MEC for the combined arms bonus. Afterwards, I want to see what it’s like with groups without this bonus (possible that her units are more stronger/that she has a more specialized role).
Unlike HOI2, there's no combined arms bonus in DH. And TRP is the only mod that uses the combined arms bonus.
 

Altruist

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10) What use can be found to the "classic" fleets of BB, BC etc. after the CV era is already well underway ? Raiders/Blockade/Other ?
Well, in some mods you can upgrade them to CV(L)s *grin
BB, BC, CA are at a disadvantage vs carriers (and subs) but they still pack a tremendious fire power. So against everything what isn't carrier (or subs) they are still quite devasting. In practice, though, either you really know the sea area (or your enemy navy composition) very well or your non-carrier-capitals might always face the danger of accidently meeting a carrier fleet... what makes it a bit of a headache to use them.

So, after possible upgrading to carriers or scrapping older really useless models you might start with for escort convoys... usually at one point I have at least one coast where I sail along with a transport fleet to conquere one coastal beach region after another and there they can serve well as the usual support with shore bombardement (and as protection or at least chaff/delay in case of a sea attack upon this transporter fleet... albeit a bad protection because usually your transports will be prefered targets and the probability of your transports to get detected at sea raises with the presence of hugely visible BBs/BCs/CAs).

Due to this high visibility, in some cases they might serve as highly expensive kind of passive reconnaissance or detective sensor for enemy fleets in the region.
 
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Manasian

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CAG vs ships and vice versa is pure sea attack (not air). So the better anti-air-stats of CLs don't apply vs CAG but vs planes only. And in Darkest Hour CAG are not considered as planes but as kind of ships... a bit weird, yes.
Ok, and also in terms of weird stuff, we also have the cavalry brigade/division which becomes mechanized (42) armored (46) and finally of helicopter (51) but it is still called cavalry even without its horses...

Usually... if I can afford fleets of this size for simple sub-hunting... I quit the game because I seem to have reached an overwhelming superiority.
If you read into my naval guide, you might have noticed that my biggest ever used combat fleet in that operational example consisted of 6 CVL/6 DD... operating in cooperation, though, with advance forces of heavy subs in packs of upto 6... which proved effective enough to bring down the Japanese, French and British Navy.

I also must admit that I find it so much more satisfying to defeat a huge British fleet with only so small and "weak" fleets.
It is true that it is an composition of rich, but on the other hand I’m quite new to naval warfare, so I wanted to start with a naval power that can already face without too much problem the great powers in this field. I also created precisely 4 fleet of this type (3CVL/3DD) but against a fleet of CV even modest, (2-3CV vs 6CVL) I took a defeat (normal, after all a LCAG is less than a CAG) visibly a CV sometimes remains irreplaceable (even if in your tutorial you would probably use Hsub + Nav against enemy CVs)

By the way, regarding your tutorial I also found this quote of KR on China:
« The Chinese people have only family and clan solidarity - they do not have national spirit...they are just a heap of loose sand...Other men are the carving knife and serving dish - we are the fish and the meat. - Sun Yat-sen (1924) »
It is curious to note that the one who holds the knife during the DH period (that is to say Japan) have the opposite problem, he was ultra-nationalist (to say the least) as if this too full of nationalism came to fill this lack…
That's a problem, yes. While the single ship usually stays true to its initial target, with so many targets the chance that several ships concentrate fire on the same ship to sink it as fast as possible gets lower and lower. Sometimes also transports can work like a kind of chaff this way because they are a priorized target and distract fire from combat ships.
Well, if all things come together and you cannot outdistance the enemy, then, yes, mostly it comes down to numbers. Although even then, if one side has worse positioning, they'll be shooting with a much higher percentage at screens (and perhaps even some friendly fire occures) instead of capitals or prefered targets (which might also mean transports). That's actually what the positioning numbers in the combat screens says: besides as serving as indicator for several other factors the positioning numbers show the percentage probability with which each side is shooting at prefered targets.
Looks like there’s really no optimal solution then? With a fleet of 18 if I have a good positioning it can go but otherwise it is dead and with a fleet of 30, I risk to be surprised but in the long term I can more easily win with my firepower (especially versus a fleet of 30).

Unlike HOI2, there's no combined arms bonus in DH. And TRP is the only mod that uses the combined arms bonus.
Ah I didn’t know thank you. Suddenly, having units of 3 with only one type of unit is rather coherent (even if the 2ARM/1MEC is probably not bad, it allows to have an armoured army a little less effective but less expensive and potentially more numerous)

Well, in some mods you can upgrade them to CV(L)s *grin
BB, BC, CA are at a disadvantage vs carriers (and subs) but they still pack a tremendious fire power. So against everything what isn't carrier (or subs) they are still quite devasting. In practice, though, either you really know the sea area (or your enemy navy composition) very well or your non-carrier-capitals might always face the danger of accidently meeting a carrier fleet... what makes it a bit of a headache to use them.

So, after possible upgrading to carriers or scrapping older really useless models you might start with for escort convoys... usually at one point I have at least one coast where I sail along with a transport fleet to conquere one coastal beach region after another and there they can serve well as the usual support with shore bombardement (and as protection or at least chaff/delay in case of a sea attack upon this transporter fleet... albeit a bad protection because usually your transports will be prefered targets and the probability of your transports to get detected at sea raises with the presence of hugely visible BBs/BCs/CAs).

Due to this high visibility, in some cases they might serve as highly expensive kind of passive reconnaissance or detective sensor for enemy fleets in the region.
Or we can try something clever (but also a little risky): use them as a «honey pot» in the sense that they will attract the enemy fleets of CVs (I don’t know if this is an impression but the AI seems to know where your surface fleets are, as if it didn’t have the war fog, although I may be wrong) while my Sub/NAV/CV will be 1 or 2 maritime areas futher, to patrol.
 

Altruist

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Looks like there’s really no optimal solution then? With a fleet of 18 if I have a good positioning it can go but otherwise it is dead and with a fleet of 30, I risk to be surprised but in the long term I can more easily win with my firepower (especially versus a fleet of 30).
A fleet of 30 is a fleet of 30... difficult and meant to be.

Often enough the solution might be... to ignore it. After all winning is conquering VP-regions. On land you wouldn't look at the biggest and strongest stack of enemy land units and how to destroy them but how to circumvent them or, if really necessary, how to weak them first (be it encirclement, combined arms or a mix of it) before using a frontal approach (if that really can't be avoided).

Which is the reason why I considered the example with Alexander the Great (in the tutorial) such a splendid one. It is a really old example how to cope with a highly superior enemy navy (the Persian one): By not engaging them but by conquering all their ports via land. Or in the tutorial case of the Chinese Navy vs the British Navy: To secure the Chinese Sea and the Indian Ocean by taking all the their naval bases nearby and/or even the Suez Canal.

And if you need local sea superiority and enemy CVs are challenging that: Yes, as you pointed out, I would had suggested to send in heavy subs. Using only packs of upto 6 was a personal restriction to raise the difficulty. You can, of course, also use a 1:1 ratio of HSubs vs an enemy CV fleet. Even an enemy fleet of 15 CVs/15 DDs will face serious losses of capital ships(=CVs) vs a fleet of upto 30 HSubs. It will be costly for both sides but if 1 HSubs costs IC-wise only about the same as one DD...
And once most the enemy CVs are sunk, your own CV(L)-fleets will rule.

Additionally it is as heroic as folly to fight a loosing sea battle to the bitter end. Obviously one should leave the battle at the approbiate time to fight again another day. Or if you use only (self imposed) small fleets, to shadow the big enemy fleet and engage them again and again with several fleets which hopefully operate much closer to their naval bases than the enemy which makes repairs easier for you than for the enemy inbetween battles. And if at one time the enemy fleet needs to leave eg the Indian Ocean back to the UK for repairs, that's a classic tactical victory giving you the local superiority you aimed for and thus nearly as good as destroying such a fleet.

All tactics and strategies for the poor man's navy. And since we play a game dependent also on taste and what is more enjoyable for you. For some that's the big battles and clashes... I prefer the underdog victories which force me to use all the tricks of the trade available.
 
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Altruist

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« The Chinese people have only family and clan solidarity - they do not have national spirit...they are just a heap of loose sand...Other men are the carving knife and serving dish - we are the fish and the meat. - Sun Yat-sen (1924) »
Probably that was said with a big sigh by Sun Yat-sen who wanted to form a modernized nation of China with a constitution and political participation.
It's the difference between the "old" states in which you have no real citizens but the peasants are rather seen as property. As such they have obviously only limited enthusiasm and identification with the state.
While the new states transformed into nations: USA and France (Switzerland, NL...), with revolution and constitutions, the people now no longer property but (in theory) part of the nation via the social contract (see Rousseau) which allowed a superior form of mobilization via nationalism... which was so successful that countries like Prussia and Japan tried to find ways to incorporate nationalism but without revolution, political participation etc.

The latter form of nationalism (of the Japanese and Prussians/Germans) was thus a completly different bag, since they couldn't base it on achievements of political participation and emancipation, couldn't base it on themselves, their nationalism needed to be fueled by belittlement of other nations and people and thus becoming the lethal form of nationalism, very open to racism, extemely emotionized feelings of superiority and grandeur and often replacing political achievements of emancipation with economic powerbuilding.

Doesn't mean that US- or French nationalism (or of any other country) can't also decline to an empty but dangerous phrase used to mainly manipulate the masses. But at least the beginnnings were different. While nationalism in countries which never have seen a successful revolution is rotten and very dangerous from the beginning.
 
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Which is the reason why I considered the example with Alexander the Great (in the tutorial) such a splendid one. It is a really old example how to cope with a highly superior enemy navy (the Persian one): By not engaging them but by conquering all their ports via land. Or in the tutorial case of the Chinese Navy vs the British Navy: To secure the Chinese Sea and the Indian Ocean by taking all the their naval bases nearby and/or even the Suez Canal.
Yes, the tactic of Alexander the Great was the right one (even if it was also risky, the Persians could potentially land in Greece) including in your tuto.

On the other hand, I wonder what would have happened if the enemy had sent a fleet of 30 with even one CV(L) vs one of your fleets of 3CVL/3DD: in my opinion, you would have suffered losses as the other ships would have served as cannon fodder (or rather (L)CAG fodder) and that his only CV(L) could have quietly bombed your CVL.

This may be a point to be corrected in DH since historically, CVs had as their objective n°1 (and by far) to sink the enemy CVs, everything that is battleship, cruiser, etc. coming only second.

Probably that was said with a big sigh by Sun Yat-sen who wanted to form a modernized nation of China with a constitution and political participation.
It's the difference between the "old" states in which you have no real citizens but the peasants are rather seen as property. As such they have obviously only limited enthusiasm and identification with the state.
As «old» state we also find the Russian Empire (and SU) which like China/Japan faced Germany with a very aggressive nationalism. There is much in common between his two cases, starting with the abysmal contempt of Germany/Japan for their victims (although I wonder if this is not jealousy, Hitler in his book said that Germany is not a great power but Russia was, thanks to its strategic depth) but also of difference, where SU finally managed to overturn the scales by appropriating/creating its own blitzkrieg form and walk to Berlin, China was really trailing… (this is the only front or axis to still the advantage in 44, that is to say)

I also find that if Germany/Japan needed a powerful nationalism it was also because their countries were disunited at the beginning: Germany was a mosaic of states until its unification (which took place in two wars) and Japan was still very feudal before its westernization and during this process there were many rebellions because of the samurai/Shogunate (while France/England/Spain/Russia/etc. had already made their unification as early as the 15/16th century). After that, indeed this too full of nationalism after having unified the country ends up overflowing and becoming destructive.

If China is completely weakened, divided, etc. (as Sun Yat-sen summed it up well) it is mainly because it must «digest» something completely foreign that is the idea of state/nation, constitution, Rousseau, as you said then that Russia already knew this even if it was rather on the periphery of this movement (hence the differences between China/Russia).

Ah and the monarchy with Germany (and Japan) had a rather half-hearted role as you say but in Russia/China it opposed a certain westernization, which led to violent revolutions and civil wars.
 

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On the other hand, I wonder what would have happened if the enemy had sent a fleet of 30 with even one CV(L) vs one of your fleets of 3CVL/3DD: [...]
They did... unfortunately the idea of the tutorial came only while already quite far into the wars and thus I lacked images and reports of many sea battles. Those in the tutorial were partly taken from saves and replaying it for a few days to get some exemplary sea battles.
But usually those battles vs big fleets (perhaps not fleets of 30 but quite big ones) had at a max a mix of 2 to 5 CV/CVL, the rest were CVE, BBs, BCs and those during battle not in shooting range. So even with only 3-6 CVL my fleets while completly outmatched on paper but weren't when considering which ships were actually in shooting range. Additionally the Chinese used a kind of combined arms warfare at sea (CVLs plus HSubs plus a very few NAVs plus land/air warfare to capture the naval bases) which proved much more effective than I had ever imagined.

And yes, enemy CV and CVL were prime targets for the Chinese Navy.

British and French ships... sunk by the Chinese Navy (within 6 month):
2 CV, 2 CVE, 8 BB, 1 BC
16 CA, 21 CL, 16 DD
10 Subs, 1 HSub
29 TP
Total: 106 sunk ships (with the entire Chinese fleet constisting of 15 capitals/20 screens, 27 HSubs, 16 transports).

And much more drastic in the early war vs Japan:
Japan with 2 CV, 4 CVL, 6 BB, 4 BC... China with 3-4 CVL. After the war... well, the stats can be found:
Part 8: Sunk ships statistics for the 2nd Sino-Japanese War... evaluation and conclusions
Part 13: Proof of Concept: Accounting of the bloodshed so far... June - December 1939 (after 6 month of war vs France and UK plus Commonwealth)

Basically it was a very drastic example of the power of positioning and range enabling a small and very cheap fleet to be not only competitive but superior. In all the multitude of sea battles only once an enemy fleet was dictating the range.

Unfortunately it showed also very drastically the shortcomings of the naval abilities of the AI or rather scripts. A human, when able to choose, doesn't fight superior CV-fleets with BBs or CV(L)s but with HSubs, enemy subs not with capitals but with DDs and strong non-carrier fleets fleets with either CVLs or HSubs.
 

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1) I have understood the blitzkrieg (with my part with Russia, I made 19M of losses vs 4M for me) but I still have difficulties when the enemy has a second line of defense behind the front. Any tips on how to quickly break that second line and be able to encircle faster?
Well, that's the purpose of the second line defense... to make encirclements after breakthroughs more difficult. It usually means your spearheads need to be stronger plus with more support to secure the first breakthrough to avoid seeing your spearheads get cut off themselves. Eugenioo's hint is also good.

I somehow knew that, not surprisingly, the topic of how to break a "defense in depth" or second line of defense came up before and now I have found the thread and post. My answere back then was mixing Blitzkrieg with Red Army Deep Operation tactics and I still think that this is the best approach.
 

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Hmmm, maybe I should read your tutorial again (or else it’s because I play a mod and that precisely modifications were made to the naval war? Good at the limit no matter...) Ah and thank you also for your post on defence in depth.