Order of Battle: WWII –Specialisations Guide Pt. II: Japanese Campaigns

By Jeff Renaud 28 Nov 2017 0

Welcome to Part II of my Specialisations Guide for Order of Battle: WWII.  This time we’re looking at the Japanese campaigns, including Morning Sun and Rising Sun.  If you missed Part I, covering the Americans in U.S. Pacific and U.S. Marines, you can check it out here; I will not repeat myself in this article regarding some general points and reminders I went over in Part I, in addition to abbreviations, so if you haven’t read it or don’t recall them, I recommend doing so (there’s also a table posted there to which you might wish to refer). Otherwise, once again this article is mostly intended for newer players, but all are of course welcome to read – and comment, especially if you have your own strategies to share!

In MS, options are rather limited, or at least linear, since the Spec list is short and choices are further restricted by date; for example, although it may be January-March, Specs for the current year sometimes remain unavailable at scenario start.  So, beginning a couple of scenarios in after earning enough Specialisation Points to take my ‘usual’ War Economy, at Xuzhou I acquired Flight School (those Soviet pilots are deadly, and there’s a Secondary Objective to take them out).  Specialized Training followed at Hubei; I would have liked to take Tank School instead, but even though it was March 1939, it wasn’t available yet, so I had to wait until Hunan to get it.  Then, although I had 9SP at Guangdong, nothing more was available by the current date; thus, at the last scenario, Chongqing, Banzai Charge and Bushido Code were both acquirable, but while I could have afforded Scrambling, once again due to the date, it was unavailable.  (Kind of pointless to have it on the list, yes?)

Yet this is a reason I like to write these guides for you, dear reader: to perhaps save you a little frustration I have gone through.  For example, as I just mentioned, in one MS campaign I saved up for Scrambling but ran out of time.  The SP I hoarded would, in retrospect, have been more useful invested earlier; I could have bought everything else but Scrambling!  (Presumably these anomalies will be corrected with future releases, but for now, don’t wait.)

Tank

I wonder if it’s anything like high school…

The Sun Also Rises

At the start of RS you can import your core force from MS, but unfortunately there’s not a whole lot you can actually do with it right away.  You have limited RP (depending on Difficulty) and 6 Air CP, and since you have to resurrect your units you’re faced with a choice of either a fighter or bomber, costing 90-110RP.  Although taking the bomber is tempting in order to eliminate those battleships at Pearl Harbor sooner, I recommend a fighter, since keeping the enemy off you and achieving the SO of not losing more than one aircraft seems more important.  You will get bonus RP once the battleships are sunk, at which time you can afford a second unit.  Sadly, once they run out of fuel and exit the map, they cannot return, so choose wisely.

Starting with the second scenario – Luzon, Philippines – things open up substantially.  As it’s now almost 1942, and the RS Specialisation list is far more comprehensive than MS’s, plus you have 7SP, your choices seem comparatively limitless!  Other than Scrambling, which has the prerequisite Magnetron Radar and costs 10SP anyway, as well as Female Factory Labor, which requires War Economy, you can take any of the training Specs, Drop Tanks, Elite Air Groups, even Wolfpack.  Although my usual choice is War Econ, I won’t be able to afford to fill all my CP, especially Naval.  Therefore I opt for Elite Air Groups, giving my first two air units 3XP, which ‘upgrades’ my two aircraft to almost 5 each; this will help with the SO of destroying Clark AF in 12 turns.  Alternatively, you may want elite ground forces in order to capture the two bridges intact within 10 turns; I have never been able to accomplish this SO, but it depends on your personal focus and preferences.

In the Java Sea I was able to get both Female Factory Labor and Magnetron Radar; my intention with the latter is to take Scrambling ASAP.  Despite getting 6 Naval CP during Bataan, as yet I’ve been unable to buy any naval cores; there aren’t any to import from MS, and I still couldn’t afford new ones.  Nonetheless, now might be the time to take Naval Academy, if that’s what floats your boat—errr…sorry!  You get no Land CP, however, so taking Specialized Training or Tank School now seems pointless.

RS Specs

Decisions, decisions…

Once on Java proper I took Drop Tanks; besides the training choices, the other options are Defensive Doctrine, Banzai Charge, and Bushido Code, as well as Wolfpack.  For me, the latter seems pretty useless all around, as I never floated more than two subs at a time, and found it difficult to get them into a whole lot of action.  Similarly, Defensive Doctrine is redundant just now, as you’re seldom on the defensive in this campaign (but see later on).  I also may have mentioned elsewhere that I could never get Banzai Charge to be very successful; again, it appears not worth the cost, most especially of 10RP for each ‘charge’, which usually fail.  Bushido Code does come in handy at times – and it’s a prerequisite for Kamikaze – but the extra aircraft range from Drop Tanks wins my favour.

The Coral Sea once again presents the same selections as above, plus Damage Control and Tokyo Express, but you’ll have no ground forces in this one, so once more it would be a bad time for Tank School or Specialized Training.  Other than that, however, since this will be a major naval engagement, if you haven’t filled up your Naval CP yet, Naval Academy may be good for you, or perhaps Damage Control; but give Tokyo Express a miss till the next invasion scenario.  Though I like to hold out for Scrambling (at 10SP), yet another thing to consider is Flight School; it’s a prerequisite for Pilot Rotation, so if that’s your goal, or you have Air CP to fill…  Should you take Naval Academy or Flight School now (5SP), 2SP will be carried over, but even with 7 more after this scenario, you still won’t be able to afford the other till next time.

Midway follows, so any of the choices suggested above will do here; mine is Scrambling, which in my opinion is almost indispensable to react quickly both to the enemy fleet’s discovery and their detection of yours.  You will, however, want at least two carriers and a battleship in your core by now, and filling those carriers will cost a bunch (although significant auxiliary assets are provided, including two CV and a CVA, plus a BB).  Incidentally, I am usually unable to fill all CP until late in the campaign, so at this point second guessing my early acquisition of War Econ and Female Factory Labor arises.  Would those SP have been better spent on Naval Academy and Flight School sooner?  Perhaps…

Cut Off

AI, you’re really beginning to pi$$ me off…

We need to retake Guadalcanal next, so I like Tokyo Express.  Otherwise, needless to say, everything else mentioned above is still available, and Pilot Rotation will be soon, so take Flight School now if you haven’t already and want the former.  The rest of the campaign follows the same course: invasions of New Caledonia, Brisbane, New Zealand, and Melbourne, in that order, so plan accordingly.  I have tried to get ‘new prototypes’ through Yanagi Missions, Tank Production Program, and Advanced Aeronautics, but have been unable to afford them anyway – albeit the first does grant a free unit.  Then again, other than Pilot Rotation and the training Specs, the rest by now seem superfluous, so what else will you spend your SP on?

 

You Can’t Get There From Here

A final tip and caveat in regards to the AI’s obsession with cutting off your supply: If you like raiding and scouting forward, or using marines and/or paratroops, investment in commandos and other supply-immune units will almost certainly come in handy, as well as Bushido Code.  Tokyo Express appears warranted by the time you’re ready to invade Australia in RS, and going into New Zealand may require Defensive Doctrine.  Other than that, as I have mentioned elsewhere, I have a wish list for some Specs to be ported from other campaigns – for example Metal Detector for engineers – plus a few new ones such as the ability to raid supply depots or ‘forage’, which I think would make commandos et al. more useful.

That’s it for now!  I’ll probably return with a third article in this series once Panzerkrieg releases, but until then, thanks for reading, and don’t hesitate to leave questions or comments!

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