I know there must be some readers still out there, so for there benefit, a couple of plans still in contention for the upcoming Burma offensive.
First off, the total Japanese strength in the North of the country is estimated at 8 divisions and supporting units. The location of 6 of these divisions is almost certainly known and shown on the following maps. The two other divisions are suspected in the centre of the line, from the hex just East of Mandalay to the hex East of Lashio. This gives a total of some 3400 AV in divisions, with probably a bit extra more in small infantry units, tank regiments and RTA units. The Allies have about 5800 AV in the country, (skip if you don't like detail) a mix of good (Tank bde, Ozzies, Elite Brits) and bad units (Burmese, Chinese, weak Indian).
The main objective is still to open up a supply route to China, for which I'll need Bhamo and preferably Lashio. However, I'm still ruling out an attack straight at these targets. Bhamo is a strongly fortified position, an engineering regiments has been observed there for some time. If the attack at this target gets bogged down he can bring up reinforcements easily and I lose the surprise of having 2700 AV moved into the country unnoticed. This would also be a bit too much WWI, even if it succeeds it's a long hard slog for one base and I'll have to attack the Mandalay-Lashio line later. Instead, I will use the strategy I tried to employ earlier (which failed due to large amounts of reinforcements that I hadn't anticipated on), of attacking around the plains, threatening to cut off his flank around Taung Gyi and thus forcing a retreat. It might even be possible to actually bag a lot of troops making the rest of the Burma campaign that much easier.
There are 3 possible plans still in contention, one is a clear favourite for me, but I'm interested in any other opinions.
1. Plan Pirate - The Big Hook
This one is by far the most ambitious plan, threatening to surround all 8 divisions in one fell swoop, it is of course high risk.
Charging over the river next to Mandalay and pushing straight on towards the plains and Taung Gyi. This plan completely denies the Japanese any strong defensive positions. In the initial attack weakly defended bases are taken and the Japanese are surrounded. There is an open invitation to try and break the encirclement, I'm counting on the fact that Mandalay will be held by at least 1000 AV, as otherwise an attack from Shwebo becomes feasible, leaving a small 3000 AV to fight the surrounding force of equal strength. This is going to lead to a number of clashes, but I'm counting on superior Allied firepower and bombers to swing the balance to my side. If he keeps his force together, I'll do the same and he won't get through. If he splits up, he'll get through, but his split up forces will be roughed up by my stack.
End state: He has to retreat out of the jungle to provide the troops to break my encirclement, I advance up to Lashio. His forces suffer far more from the battles out in the open, that coupled with an exposed flank forces a retreat to central Burma.
Dangers : I lose the battles in the centre, seriously delaying follow up offensives. Reinforcements are brought up from the South so he doesn't even need to pull his division from Bhamo. My own force gets cut off.
2. Plan Plow - Push him aside
There are 3 divisions in Mandalay, I've got 5000 AV in Shwebo ....
The plan is simple, charge across the river, break through in Shwebo, follow up towards Lashio to cut off enemy troops and exploit Southwards until Joseph brings in reinforcements. A move to the hex just East of Mandalay is threatened so he can't reinforce Mandalay with the unit stationed there before the crossing is made.
Endstate : His jungle forces try to force their way out of the encirclements, Bhamo is abandoned. 3 of his divisions are shattered, others surrounded or facing a long jungle trek back to their lines.
Dangers: 5000 AV vs 2000 AV and forts. There is a good chance I don't push through before Mandalay is reinforced and that would be the end of the offensive. I can go back to my lines to lick the wounds though.
Plan Pioneer - A short jungle push
Split the Japanese line
Forces will move simultaneously towards Mandalay and the hex just East of the city. The move towards Mandalay is a diversion however, and the garrison of the Eastern hex is swept aside (either 1 rgt or 1 div). A blocking force is left in place and the main force moves to Lashio, cutting off the Japanese to the East and North.
Endstate: The Japanese must abandon their positions to defend Lashio and their lifeline and retreat from there further South. Mandalay loses it's flank protection and becomes untenable. The Japanese must move back to the centre of Burma. Some divisions are surrounded ?
Dangers: I get bogged down crossing the river, my forces are split up between the Shwebo, blocking and Lashio force and defeated in detail.
Any thoughts are very welcome.