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The idea would be to prevent America from building a factory there. The attack would be with two infantry from Indochina, supported by fighters from there and Manchuria. (Japan would replaced the two infantry in Indochina during the non-combat phase.)

The chances of success, according to the combat simulator software, are about 70%, better than 50-50, although by no means certain. There is the possibility of America's recapturing it on its turn, but it then couldn't build the factory until at least the following turn (a country has to own a territory at both the beginning and end of its turn to do this). And even if Japan's attack didn't totally succeed, it would probably weaken the American defenses by "strafing" the troops there.

Is it worthwhile for Japan to try to disrupt the American factory building program? And even if this wasn't the issues (America doesn't like to build factories, or there is a no-factory "house rule,") is Sinkiang, which abuts on both India and Russia's Novosibirsk, strategic enough for an early attempt at its capture?

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The way I look at it, this depends on your overall strategy in the pacific theater. If your goal is to win by preventing your opponents from growing, then yes, this would make sense as it would most certainly stymie the growth of America, even if you do have to make a little sacrifice, and even if it is only for a turn or two.

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No! Japan should do no such thing here's my opinion of the right Japanese first moves (assumes No Russia 1st rd. attack):

1) Assuming UK has built an IC on India Japan Build: 2 Transports, 3 Infantry Japan Attack: Pearl Harbor 2 battleships, 1 sub, 1 Aircraft Carrier, 1 fighter, 1 Bomber - the battleships can't free-shot since Manchuria hasn't been taken, thus send them both to Pearl Harbor. You should win this battle round 1 and be left with the Battleships, Aircraft Carrier and fighter. This ensures America uses its Battleship/Transport/1 bomber and 1 Or 2 fighters in its turn to wipe you out (a great trade to keep US fighters out of the Atlantic where they are better used to protect Karelia).

Japan uses it's 2 transports to land 4 infantry on Manchuria/French-Indo China. Japan uses it's 3 fighters (the fighter on Philipines can't attack rd. 1 as it's too far) to support troops from Kwangtung/Manchuria to press into Eastern China. This way you kill U.S.'s fighter and troops remaining can either attack India or Manchuria depending on Russia/UK moves going forward.

Conclusion: Don't strike Sikang - it immediately places a weak surviving army at the mercy of UK troops. Instead leave a stronger surviving army drawing from Manchuria/Kwangtung troops into China as this consolidates a more core position (if any of your border countries are attacked you can more easily draw from more countries in subsequent counters). The biggest key to Japan is to methodically grow by winning battles using big forces to take on smaller allied forces caught off-side with the aide of the maneuverability Japan's 4 fighters and 1 bomber offer.

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