From: Chicago, Illinois
Aug 6 to Aug 10, 1943:
Thanks for the words of encouragement; I don't think it's all bad, in that I am moving very quickly, so in some ways that is a choice on my part. I chose to take more risks to move quicker. I probably should have chosen differently, but on the other hand, a) I get piles of APA in 1944, when I really need them badly, and b) I will be set-up by then base-wise.
I will have to use non-APA along the NG coast, but I can get away with it there. Not invading atolls or islands though. But to invade atolls and islands, you really need the LCI-Rocket ships and whatnot, which you don't get until 1944. So, I have a few months anyway before taking that on.
So, while my tactical grasp is certainly lacking lately, I think I'm on track to get to Japan in 1945.
The unit count went down alot at Rabaul; I sent DDs into the harbor, and found it to be basically empty, except for a TF of AKEs we sank. Surprising! Next turn, I sent YMS to sweep mines; CD guns destroyed both of them, and in the daytime, the airbase was evacuated, save for flying boats.
So, this is interesting; I think Greyjoy withdrew a bunch of units from Rabaul, and is abandoning the airstrip. This, when I was just getting ready to sweep and bomb it, which is probably why he is abandoning it. With Torokina and Treasury about to be 2 lvl-5 airbases in easy P-47 range, it's time to leave, I guess.
So, this seems to cede control of the Solomon Sea. I can't relax due to pop-up attacks, but that means I need to accelerate the timetable, if he is leaving me the whole Bismarck chain.
If Japanese airpower is gone, I can and should rapidly accelerate some moves.
Recon indicates that the NG coast is not heavily defended, all the way up to Hollandia or so; even Wewak is empty! There are some troops, probably enough base forces to keep me honest, but not much else. Wow.
So, we are about to land at Arawe and Finschaven, two bases that I have units prepped for and handy. I will follow that up with quick landings at Saidor, Hansa Bay to build those airbases.
I have 30000 troops prepping for Manus; this is my final objective, because I can turn Manus into a major naval base. But I am thinking of taking Rabaul, mostly because it would be a great base, particularly since it will be beyond recon range, so he won't be able to monitor activity there. There are 24000 troops there, but I am guessing none of those are elite Infantry or tanks or anything; probably base forces, SNLF, etc., various lesser formations. Stuff that 2 US Infantry divisons can easily defeat.
The MINES and CD guns are a problem at Rabaul; a couple follow on questions there.
First, anything you can do about that? I think I have to take my CD-gun lumps on landing, I can't really address the mines in advance if CD guns are there, which is probably why they are there.
Second, how many CD units does the Japanese get? Not very many IIRC, precious few.
Decisions, decisions on whether to land at Rabaul