US Strategy- 1939 Scenario

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Template:NonVanilla Template:VersionSpecific Template:USAStrategyGuides I am relatively new to HOI2, but since no-one else has done the 1939 scenario, I figured I would give it a whirl. I don't claim to be an expert at the game, and other people may well have different approaches to playing the U.S. that work better. I should mention that I am a military historian in my off-hours. My book on the battle of Midway was published in 2005, and I'm currently working on a new book on the year 1942. As such, I'm reasonably conversant with the macroeconomic issues that drove the war. That knowledge certainly pertains to the development of production strategies, which is what the U.S. is really all about.

I should also mention that I play using the DAIM (Determined AI Mod) pak, which makes the Axis and Soviet Union much tougher than the current HOI2 1.1 AI module. This affects U.S. grand strategy in pretty profound ways. In particular, this means that the U.S. is almost certain to be drawn into a large-scale ground war in Asia. Why is this? Because the DAIM Japanese player is not artificially constrained to only take a certain percentage of China over before it suspends offensive activities. Instead, if left to its own devices, the DAIM Japanese will take over not only all of China, but likely all of India, Afghanistan, and even portions of the Mideast. Furthermore, while it is relatively easy to beat the Japanese player, and get it to offer surrender terms to the U.S., unless you have physically occupied practically all of Japan's territorial gains in mainland Asia, Japan will retain those ill-gotten gains even after you've dictated peace terms in Tokyo. From a historical perspective, that really grinds on my buzz. I want to shape the New World Order the way I want it shaped, thank you very much. Consequently, I play to not only destroy Japan's military, but also to physically occupy her colonial holdings. By doing so, I can annex, puppet, and liberate nations according to my wishes, not theirs.

What this inevitably leads to is a reversal of the famous military maxim of "never getting involved in a land war in Asia." It also means setting aside the "Germany first" approach that was the cardinal grand-strategic principle that nominally guided U.S. actions during World War II. As we'll see, though, it is possible to apply this reversed strategy successfully, clean up all of Asia by the fall of 1943, and still be in good shape to turn our attentions to the Germans in 1944.

Strategy for production and research

The U.S. has hands-down the most formidable economy in the game, and the U.S. player should use every means available to maximize this advantage. Your goal is to create the basis for economic and logistical superiority before the war begins. Once war starts, you'll rely on very large, long serial runs of good weaponry as the game goes along. Given the vast scientific prowess of the U.S., it is tempting to research and develop every type of weapons system available, and then build a little bit of everything along the way. Historically, though, the U.S. didn't do this, and you shouldn't either. Instead, the U.S. mated its enormous productive resources to the manufacture of a reasonably small set of serviceable hardware, and then churned it out like crazy. This same principle works well in the game, too. Consequently, the U.S. player should not only focus on developing military technologies with a definite strategy in mind, but should also be content with saying that a given branch of technology is "good enough." You then use the gearing bonus to crank out large quantities of that particular system. That approach informs every aspect of my U.S. production strategy, particularly with regard to naval equipment.

Pre-War production and research

The U.S. enters the 1939 scenario with a relatively anemic IC base, but is well advanced in several military technologies. The goal here is not to try rebuilding the military too soon, but instead to lay the basis for future economic dominance. I don't build a single land or air unit until the middle of 1941. Not one. Typically, the Japanese will declare war in the Oct/Nov. 1941 timeframe, so I've got until then to put the rudiments of a defense in place in the Pacific Basin. Fortunately, though, I have *plenty* of crappy National Guard infantry units already built. They just need to be upgraded to Inf 39 or 41, augmented with some stiffening (like Arty brigades), and then distributed across the Pacific before the balloon goes up. Instead of building units, the majority of IC should be spent on building factories in my 100% infrastructure areas (although I will build in 80% areas as well). I continue building factories well into 1942 (albeit not as many after I'm at war.) The last of my factories typically gets built in Sept/Oct '42. I also feverishly work trade deals during peacetime (after all, what else is there to do?), and try to build up stocks of materials, in particular Rare Materials and Supplies. Every Rare I get is one that Hitler isn't getting for the Wehrmacht, and that's worth giving up plenty of Energy, Oil, and supplies for.

The results of playing the trading floor can be dramatic. If you start the game at the beginning of the "stock" 1941 scenario, the U.S. player gets typically 1000-2000 of each strategic material in June 1941, and $100 in the bank. That sucks. But starting in 1939 pays big dividends in this regard. By enduring the tedium of two years of peace, the U.S. player can come into June 1941 with resource pools of 500K Energy, 400K Metal, 38K Rare, 300K Oil, 25K in Supplies, and $10K in the bank. You will also have a slightly greater IC, and a larger population to boot, and your military will be only slightly smaller (and even that mostly because I scrap all my Level I destroyers and battleships from the get-go to save their TC). You do the math. All in all, it's well worth it to spend that extra hour in the game in order to lay down that foundation.

Naval units, of course, have very long build times, particularly carriers. Carriers are the naval club we are going to use to stomp Japan in short order, so we need more of those than just the six flattops we start the game with. However, until we've researched "Ship Assembly Line", we don't want to lay any new ships down. So researching that tech, along with Advanced Destroyer ("Fletcher-class") and Advanced Carrier ("Essex-class") are absolute priority To-Do's at the beginning of the 1939 Scenario. These are both classic examples of "good enough" weapons. Once I've got 'em in 1940, that's the last naval tech I am likely to research for the rest of the game (which is damned ironic for a naval historian to admit, but there it is). Don't bother researching new cruisers or battleships--we don't need those to win. Once the war starts, the Brits will probably give you the blueprints to the Advanced Battlecruiser. Politely tell them, "Thanks, gents" and then put the plans up on the shelf. Remember to dust occasionally. DO research the better sub, though, as they are somewhat useful. Subs are cheap, and we need a lot of them to hurt Japanese supply on the mainland.

As soon as "Ship Assembly Line" is completed, I will lay down two groups of six carriers, typically a month or two apart. I will typically also lay down a couple long serial runs of Fletcher-class destroyers. And some submarines, too. All of this starts in late 1940/mid-1941, depending on the lead time of the item. Subs are fast to build: I start them last, because I want to be building more factories up to the last minute. Done right, though, you're going to be getting twelve new carriers in the water by March 1942. That's all you will need. You already have enough cruisers in the U.S. inventory--you'll never need to build any new ones. Also start two long serial runs of Transports sometime in 1941 as well--we're going to be moving a lot of people around all game long. Transports have the laudable attribute of never needing to be upgraded, so we know the gearing bonus is always going to be buying us top-notch cargo ships. I will often build 40+ of the things. It's all about the Gearing Bonus, baby.

Once the ships are laid down, the U.S. should begin focusing on researching technologies that increase IC (Advanced Machine Tools), TC (Deep Supply, etc.), and reduce your troop attrition (Deep Supply, again). We're going to be doing a lot of fighting in jungles and other yucky places. Winter in Manchuria is harsh, and we're going to be exposed to the elements. So we need big, brawny TC modifiers. We also want to research Early and Advanced computers quite early on, as well as Agricultural production. We're going to need as much of an edge in future research projects as we can get, as well as lots of warm bodies to put into uniform. The longer the war, the more those cumulative modifiers stack up if I can get those goodies in 1940. That's why God made Raytheon and Ford and Boeing: to give you nice Industrial techs.

When fighting in Asia, we're going to need Marines (I build 4-6 typically) and lots of Mountain troops (8-10 is good), in addition to Mech. Inf. (tons) and Armor (also tons). We'll call on Christie and Winchester to research those for us, and maybe Douglas Aircraft for a few. Airborne is less important, as is Motorized Infantry (which is nothing more than a technological means to building better Mech. Inf. in my book). Upgrading our basic foot infantry techs is likewise important, as we are going to deploy every single foot infantry unit we have in our entire Army into the Pacific. Every single one. Heck, I even take the Cavalry divs I have out there. So start shipping those units out of the American heartland and East Coast *now*, and get 'em into the West Coast. We need lots of Engineer brigades, because they increase movement, which is precious in both jungle and mountain settings. "Speed Kills" (especially when you're angling to grab a strategic piece of ground before the enemy can retreat there, so you can put him in a pocket and then murder him). So as war approaches, start streaming Engineers with long serial runs. Do a smaller run of SP Arty for some of the Arm. and Mech. Bear in mind that we don't want to have too many unattached brigades sitting waiting to be deployed (they chew a lot of TC as they wait there in limbo). But in general, we want the ability to brigade every single unit we send overseas, if possible. I will also produce Artillery for my Marines and some other Inf units I intend to use as shock troops or defensive units. Marines aren't going to be marching anywhere anyway, so the speed penalty of towed Arty won't hurt us--we use Marines to assault islands and beaches (where the extra firepower of Arty is useful). After the invasion, we're going to insert Engineered Infantry to launch followup overland attacks, or Garrisons, and then pull the Marines back out again to assault the next beach. Marines don't walk, so they can afford to drag along big, heavy guns.

In terms of aircraft, you need two types--TAC and Escort Fighters. Asia is big and has few airbases. You need planes with range. You can research Mustangs and Corsairs later in the war for use in Europe, but Fighters and Interceptors are less useful for the fighting we're going to do through 1943. Ditto Strategic Bombers--they've got the range, but we're going to capture the Japanese productive centers for ourselves in short order, so who needs to bomb 'em? There will be plenty of time to build heavy bombers for blasting the Ruhr later. Naval Air is useful for initial defensive purposes in the Philippines, but you don't need many. Just a couple will likely suffice in keeping the Japanese out of the Philippines. We're going to destroy the rest of the Japanese Navy with our carriers and older battleships. And as with ships, of course, we aren't going to build any aircraft until we've researched Aircraft Assembly Line--to do otherwise is to simply give away precious ICs that could be spent on building factories that can give us more precious ICs during the war years. "All in good time, my pretty; all in good time."

Wartime production and research

Once the balloon goes up, your production will suddenly expand dramatically, and you can likewise shove domestic spending way down to focus on making things that go 'BOOM!' On the research front, you will want to continue doing everything you can to improve your Inf., Marines, Mountains, Armor, Mech. Inf. TAC, and Escort Fighters. You don't want to get too aggressive with trying to research 1944 technologies in 1942, say: the research penalties are too harsh to try and get too far ahead of the curve. But be diligent in keeping your unit types reasonably up to date. You don't need Tank Destroyers or Heavy Tanks at this point in the war--the Japanese don't have any armor to speak of. Ditto Rocket Arty., Airborne, CAS, Strategic, or Motorized Inf. Better Radar? No: it's a defensive technology, and we ain't the ones getting bombed. We want to be focusing our gearing bonuses and tech advances on maximizing a discrete set of weaponry and doctrine that will help us offensively on the ground and in the air.

During the war, it's important to be laying down at least some short runs of various weapons (Marines, Air Transport, maybe a few more DDs, or perhaps some SP Arty). Why? Because you want to have some elasticity in your production. There's nothing worse than being geared up with long serial runs on everything, and not having the ability to introduce new weapons, emergency builds, or whatnot. So think carefully before you ratchet up your production with a long run of that new kind of armor--if your production bonks, and a run goes into slowdown, you lose that precious gearing bonus anyway. A few short runs of this'n'that give us the flexibility we need. If we goof up, we can always pull the plug on them without much harm, while still keeping the really important long runs chugging along with no fear of bonking. I typically keep my early war production (factories and ships) at about 300IC for the first few months, but that means watching the Production screen like a hawk, as you will be right on the rivet. Once you start fighting in China in earnest, you're going to have to back down unit production to the 250-275IC range, because Reinforcements (and Upgrades) and Supply usage are guaranteed to go way up. This is *particularly* true if you decide to fight in the winter in Manchuria. My population will typically start the war at 2100 or so; by the beginning of 1943 it's down to 1300, especially if I'm pumping out lots of Garrison units.

Fighting Japan

There are four fundamental principles we'll use to fight Japan:

  1. Defend India
  2. Defend the Philippines
  3. Defend our Pacific holdings, and (most important)
  4. Capture the Japanese Home Islands as soon as possible.

Here's how we can do all of those.

Defend India

Playing against DAIM, it is absolutely guaranteed that the Japanese will have crushed all of China by 1941. As soon as the whistle blows, they go after Burma and Malaya, and there's not a lot that the Brits can do about it. You think that division from Bhutan is gonna plug the gap? Please. So, we need to help. Why do we care about India? Well, really we don't. But if we don't stop them, the Japanese will take over another big chunk of land here, and I want to be fighting the Germans in 1944, not cleaning up Bangalore and the Hindu Kush. Plus, it doesn't take many divisions (8-10) to stabilize things in this neck of the woods, and potentially turn Burma into what it historically was--a slaughterhouse of epic proportions for the Japanese Army.

When war breaks out, we want to be in the Allied alliance as quickly as possible. I will have been ratcheting my Intervention slider for the last two years. I won't lie and say I've never Nevilled to get into the Allies--everyone knows the diplomatic model in HOI2 is still broken with regards to getting the U.S. into the Alliance. Historically, the Brits were crying for help anywhere they could get it; I just persuade the game that such is the case. Ahem. Next, we get British military access, and then we send an expeditionary force from the U.S. to India with all the fixins. That means a couple divs of Mtn. troops, some Inf, maybe even some Mech if we think the Japanese might get loose on the plains of India. Some TAC and Escort are nice, too. We load 'em up in San Diego. Now, at this point in the game we only have six carriers (which I put into a single mondo task force; we'll talk more about that in a bit). But we *don't* drive that convoy through the Central Pacific. It's crawling with units of the Imperial Navy, and even though I'm confident that my carriers can handle that, why go looking for trouble? Instead, we rebase both the carrier formation and the big Transport formation it's covering from San Diego → Sydney → Perth → Calcutta. Voila. I may leave a couple of the transports with the troops in Calcutta. I'll probably do a second run into Calcutta via the same route sometime in early '42, bringing some more Inf. and maybe some Marines. If possible, I'd like to take back Rangoon, but that can be tough, as there are an awful lot of Japanese divisions in Burma in fairly short order. Stabilizing the line in the mountains near Mandalay is often good enough--we just don't want the Japanese to make it into the plains of India. If you *can* take Rangoon, though, then try to insert your Mtn troops into the massif, to start breaking things up a bit up there. Don't forget that your normal foot Inf, especially if they have Eng brigades, can fight well here, too. And being up in the mountains is a buttload better than being down there in the jungle, with snakes and attrition for company. In late 1942/early '43, our plan will come more fully to fruition...

Defend the Philippines

Luzon is a very nice place for launching attacks against practically any portion of the Asian land mass. So we want to keep it. Fortunately, a couple NavAir units, plus some moderately beefy ground forces in Clark Field, will practically guarantee that we will make Dugout Doug's vow that "I Will Return" a historic irrelevancy. By early/mid-1941, I will probably have finally stoked up a single run of M3 Lee Armored divisions, meaning that by September 1941 I should have gotten two of them off the end of the line. Give 'em to Patton and Hodges and ship 'em out to Clark Field, pronto, along with another pair of Inf + Arty divs. With that in place, there's no way the Japanese are going to take Luzon from you. M3's aren't great against the Germans, but with SP Arty brigades they work just fine against Japanese 41 Inf, thank you very much. Plus, once those forces are in Luzon, they're nicely positioned for use in China later on. All of this must be pre-positioned before October '41, of course, because once the war starts the Pacific is just crawling with Japanese warships. I will also deploy the majority of my submarines forward to Manila or Clark in fall of '41. A word to the wise, though: don't bother putting them into the Straits of Tsushima immediately when war is declared. The Japanese fleet has a tendency to come through there at the outset, and they will steamroller your poor subs. I put mine off of Indochina for a month or two, and *then* move them up to the Japanese coastlines a little bit later.

Defend our Pacific holdings

Guam, in particular, must be held at all costs. You'll see why in a bit. To do so, we put an Inf + Arty early on (so they can dig in) on Hawaii, Midway, Wake, and Guam. That should do the trick.

Capture the Japanese home islands ASAP

This is why we didn't build any new battleships or cruisers: we don't have any intention of getting caught in painful attritional night surface battles in stinking hellholes like the Solomons. That's for chumps. We want Tokyo, and we want it NOW. Fortunately for us, we're getting twelve shiny new Essex-class carriers by March '42. Mmmmmm, yummmy. And as soon as they hit the water, I group them into two more groups of six carriers apiece, with cruisers and DDs. Why do I use carriers en masse? Because the AI currently doesn't, and six of my flight decks will mop pretty much whatever is out there that I run into. By March '42, my First Carrier Striking Force is probably done escorting the second troop convoy to Calcutta. We move him back to San Diego, and now we have 3 CV task forces with 18 flight decks, one or two groups of older battleships (for shore bombardment and indirect screening of our Transport group(s)), and one or two big Transport groups loaded up with a couple Mtn., maybe a couple Marines + Arty, some Inf. + Arty, some Mech, and some Armor. We rebase San Diego → Pearl Harbour → Guam. As long as we stick together, ain't nobody gonna be able to mess with 50-70 flottilas, including 18 carriers. From Guam (tee hee) we can amphib assault Osaka. How convenient. Do so, with shore bombardment, carrier strikes on airfields, and the whole shebang. Crunch. Once you've taken Osaka, you rebase your warships there. Your Mtn assault Nagoya, while the Arm and Mech drive on Shikoku and Hiroshima. You reload the Marines and Inf, and hit Tokyo a couple days later, then drive north into Sendai and Akita--mobile forces in the east, Mtn up the spine on the west. The Japanese Home Islands should be taken out completely by April/May '42.

After that, you're likely to get Peace offers from Japan in fairly short order. I turn them down, because if they capitulate at this point, the Japanese still will end up with all of China, etc. etc. The war ain't over til I say it's over, Tojo, and I'm making the world safe for democracy, damnit. Which brings us to...

[ ]{#The_Fabulous_ground_war_in_Asia!} The Fabulous ground war in Asia!

Once the Japanese Home Islands are stomped, it's time for the real fun to begin. We hit Korea right away with a couple Mtn pulled outta Japan, some Mech and Armor, and whatnot. You crush the Japanese in Busan, then drive up the east side of the peninsula. You trap the remainder of their forces in Pyonyang or Seoul and annihilate them. You then want to capture the line of mountains from Hyesan (for the airfield) to Dalian (for the port) by the time the snow flies, which shouldn't be hard if you have lots of engineers. From there I will often just leave a line of 4-6 divisions defending in those mountains to suffer through the winter (Manchurian winters are way harsh), and perhaps a corps of Infantry in Busan to recapture any areas in Korea that happen to get taken by Japanese amphib assault (the Imperial Navy, after all, is still drifting around, and they love to take places like Seoul and Okinawa back from us once we've pulled our troops out.) Keeping just token forces in Korea (and Japan too, for that matter) will keep our attrition down.

At sea, you should keep at least one carrier task force covering your transport groups for the time being. You've got three CV groups, so you can move things around and cover the amphibs pretty flexibly. Your battleships will also help out in that regard. It's guaranteed that the Imperial Navy will show up in dribs and drabs and take swipes at you for several months. But if you retain the advantage of mass, you'll crush them every time they show up. However, putting a few cruisers and DDs into your transport groups is always a good idea, just in case you have to tangle with smaller combatants. If your transports ever come under the gun, run for it and call for the carriers. They should be right there with you in any case.

By summer of 1942, we should now be in a position to put significant mechanized forces into China. The Chinese coastline is long, and you should have no problem putting Marines ashore and capturing a major port somewhere. Once you do, you just pour Arm. and Mech. in there. China isn't exactly great tank country, but it's not awful, either. With enough Engineer brigades we can move along pretty well. The goal is to punch armored groups into the heartland, then turn and trap pockets of Japanese troops against the coastline, where they will be annihilated. More important, though, we want to push an armored column into the northwest and get Mtn. troops into the mountains east of Burma/Thailand as rapidly as possible. Kangding is the plug that is going to keep the Japanese forces (and there's a lot of them, typically) bottled up in the killing zone in upper Burma. It's a nice big north/south province that plugs up a lot of other provinces leading out of the mountains. With a couple dug-in Mtn. divs across their escape route, and our mechanized forces lurking in the hills below in Kunming and Wenshan, they ain't going anywhere. They can't possibly take on our Armor on the flat. This means we can cut them off from whatever supply they have left, feed them to the jungle attrition factory for a few months, and then annihilate them in '43. It's a classic "let the jungle kill 'em" strategy a la MacArthur in New Guinea.

At the same time, I will put a picket line of mechanized troops across my northern flank, typically trailing west from Shanghai towards Mongolia. That pretty much represents the southernmost snow line, and saves us from undue attrition during the winter. Now, I have been known to fight in Manchuria in the winter (if I don't care about casualties), but it can be avoided if you're not feeling hardcore. And it will really ratchet up your supply and reinforcement requirements. So think carefully before doing this--the first time I went up there, I got caught with large mechanized forces on the ground, and I hadn't researched my logistics technologies yet. The attrition was just unbelievable. So learn from my mistakes, bruthah.

The winter of '42 is also a peachy time to split off 3-4 Marine divisions into a like number of small assault transport groups, and send them around the Pacific Basin cleaning up all of Japan's territorial holdings out in the Nanyo. Hey, we want to do A-Bomb tests out here after the war, right? So we need to take back that real-estate. Take a battleship division with you for kicks, as you will occasionally run into Japanese subs and smaller combatants lurking in places like Truk. Single-division assaults will clean up most of these garrisons; occasionally two divisions will be required for the larger places that have actual infantry divisions occcupying them (Truk and Kwajalein being typical examples). Don't forget to send one or two of the boys way up north to nab Etorofu and the Kuriles. We want it all. " Everything is going according to my Master Plan..."

Come spring of '43, we move a horde of mechanized troops out of Dalian, and clean out the rest of Manchuria. It's forest and hills, mostly, so the going is slow, but it can be done by the summer of '43, with the holdouts up near Mongolia probably the last to go down. There shouldn't be much left of the Japanese units by then, and they won't be getting resupplied.

Concurrently, the same thing (albeit on a much larger scale), is happening to them in Siam, Indochina, and Burma. You launch multiple amphib assaults along the coasts, push the Japanese into the jungle, surround them, and annihilate them. It should all be over by the end of the summer of '43. Now you can annex, puppetize, and liberate to your heart's content. The Brits will have gotten Malaya and Burma back (largely thanks to you), but you get everything else. Bwah ha ha!

Fighting Germany

Once the mess in Asia is cleaned up, it's time for Germany. During the time we were fighting in China, I will have been feeding very small numbers of ground troops (one or two Arm/Mech corps) into the UK, just to make sure that nothing funny happens (like the Germans invading Ireland)(which happens more often than you might think). Beginning in late 1943 it's time to start turning on the Strategic Air production (if you want), or simply cranking out more ground troops, TAC, and fighters of various ilk. Now, the Germans obviously have better aircraft than the Japanese, so it behooves you to begin building up airpower beforehand, regaining their organization after flying them in from Dalian (or whereever), and then starting to apply your airpower with a will. If you want to go to Strategic Bombing, now's the time to start in earnest. My experience has been that unlesss you've developed your air doctrines (particularly those pertaining to fighters) the Germans will beat the snot out of your airgroups with their own highly developed interceptors and whatnot. So, much more so than in Asia, it behooves you to have lots of aircraft, and use them en masse .

During the interim in 1943, I will have been researching some additional technologies, such as better Artillery and Tank Destroyers, as both of these will be more useful in Europe than they were in Asia. Having sophisticated Artillery is axiomatically a "Good Thing(tm)." Plus, I do like to attach SP Arty to some of my shock mechanized groups, and Better Arty = Better SP Arty. I may also indulge in researching better Fighter technologies, if I feel like I have nothing better to do. With good blueprint swapping from the UK at the beginning of the war, I can charge through most of the essential technologies by late '42, and '43 can be spent doing things that weren't as crucial in the beginning of the conflict, like moving the A-Bomb along, or whatever.

Waging the ground war in Europe, I think, is potentially a lot easier than driving around in the swamps of Manchuria. Europe's a much smaller place, for one thing, and the terrain is generally more conducive to mechanized combat as well--not so many mountains. If that sounds almost anti-climactic, well, it sort of is. By now, you've got a great Marine Corps and a large mechanized military--all you need to do is bring them back from Asia and get them ready to go.

But there's the rub! Moving all those divisions back from China and putting them in place to assault Festung Europe is going to take most of the winter of '43/'44 to accomplish. THIS is where building all those scads of Transports earlier in the war pays off. I want to be able to move literally dozens of divisions at at time, because it's a long way to get those troops to the UK (or whereever) we're going to stage from. It's the transit time that will kill you, so you don't want to make too many trips. It's perfectly viable to ship your stuff west to east, i.e. China → San Diego → Boston → UK, rather than China → India → Suez → Gibralter → UK (or worse, around the Cape of Good Hope and Africa). The Mediterranean may not necessarily be a friendly place to travel, so going back across the Pacific spares you from potential hassles. After all, the Pacific's your lake now. Alternately, you can just dump people in San Diego and have them Strategically redeployed to the east coast of the States, meaning you can focus your Transports on making shorter runs back and forth across the Pacific, and then moving *all* of them to the East Coast just once. Thereupon, you can start picking up the road-trippin' Strategic Redeployment boys from the West Coast as they show up, and then take them over to Jolly Olde Englande.

Jolly Olde Englande has the notable virtue of having lots of dark beer and also being close to Hitler's main productive centers. This is why I prefer using J.O.E. as a staging area in preference to attacking through southern France or Italy. Of course, that's also in keeping with a classic vein of American military thought that says that the overall goal of warfare is to place the main force of your military in contact with the enemy and destroy him. Peripheral operations are to be avoided. That's not to say that you can't make a southern or indirect approach work. But I'm a traditionalist in my love of doing up my own Operation Overlord.

Anyway, after six months of buildup or so, right about when it historically actually occurred (June 1944), it's time to smash into France. You'll have all the Marines you need to storm ashore somewhere, and can probably do it across 2-3 provinces simultaneously. After that, you just pour your troops in and try to develop some deep attacks into France and the Low Countries, using the same techniques to turn and pin German formations against the sea, and wipe them out. Trapping lots of troops in Brest and Denmark is classic for this sort of thing.

Hopefully, though, the Germans will already have been caught in the Russian sausage grinder for a few years prior, and will have the bulk of their forces located elsewhere when you finally decide to pay your long-awaited visit on the ground. Still, you will have to re-orient your strategy (pardon the pun) into a more large-scale format. Single Mech Inf divisions are no longer capable of holding entire provinces against enemy infantry opposition like they were in China--they will be kicked to the curb by the Wehrmacht. So you need to start thinking in terms of Corps-level combat, and pushing large mechanized Armies around. In all, though, it shouldn't be too difficult to eviscerate Germany's productive areas in fairly short order. Game over.

Then all you have to worry about is whether you want to take on the Russians... if so, you better have left your Inf in Manchuria!