Let me start first with the Japanese Naval Forces. First, I introduce the aircraft carrier (CV) counters and the units they potentially represent.
Here, we can see the main strike force in the pearl harbor attack. There are three CV counters in the beginning of the game (December 1941). Note that except the first turn, which has many exceptions and special rules to represent the Japanese offensives to conquer the Prosperity Sphere, the rest of the turns represents air-naval and ground operations during 4 months. Therefore, for example, one year represents 3 turns.
The real and historical name of the naval units that are included in each counter is merely my own interpretation of the game based on historical books I have read. They may deviate slightly on the interpretation that made the designer when developed the game. Anyway, for me, this kind of analysis is very important to add flavor to the game and perhaps some readers may find it interesting or useful, I dont know!
Akagi counter may represent in fact two naval units, namely Akagi and Kaga. For a graphical description, and for those readers that, like me, are also interested in model kits at 1/700 and/or 1/350 scales, see also the following links:
The Akagi was commissioned in 1927 and carried 91 planes.
The Kaga was commissioned in 1928 and carried 90 planes.
Both defined the 1st Carrier Division and included Destroyer Division 7 : Akebono, Ushio.
The 1st Carrier Division was part of the 1st Air Fleet (第一航空艦隊 Daiichi Kōkū Kantai). This unit was pioneered in the world and the primary carrier fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). It consisted of the largest group of naval aircraft and aircraft carriers that participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor and was the world’s largest aircraft carrier fleet. The 1st Carrier division was sunk in the battle of Midway, June 1942.
The Shokaku counter may represent also two naval units, the Shokaku and Zuikaku, including their escorts.
She was commissioned on August 8, 1941 and together with her sister Zuikaku formed the Carrier Division 5 and performed a short period of intense training in preparation for the Pearl Harbor attack. The Shokaku carried 84 planes and was sunk by American submarine USS Cavalla on 19 June 1944.
The Zuikaku was commissioned on September 25, 1941 and also carried 84 planes. She was sunk by air attack in the Battle of Leyte Gulf on 25 October 1944.
They formed the 5th Carrier Division assisted by the Oboro, Akigumo destroyers. Models shown are from the art box of the Fujimi model kit.
The Soryu counter represents two naval units, the Soryu and Hiryu. The Soryu was commissioned on January 27, 1937 and carried 72 planes. She was scuttled after being heavily damaged by dive bombers at the Battle of Midway, 4 June 1942
The Hiryu was commissioned on July 5, 1939 and carried 73 planes. She was scuttled after the Battle of Midway, 5 June 1942.
They formed the 2nd Carrier division supported b the Destroyer Division 23 : Kikuzuki, Uzuki. Models shown are from the art box of the Aoshima model kit.