From: Chicago, Illinois
KB is withdrawing westward, toward Soerbaya, probably to spend at least a week there replacing lost strike planes. The total lost for Japan over the last few days is over 800, at least half are JUDY or JILLs. Some are LBA, but a good chunk are CV air, but all those units are going to have to be rebuilt.
I had a shot at YAMATO TF at Lautem, but my CVs launched the exact wrong amount; only 100 planes enough to get killed, but not enough to overwhelm the CAP and get some hits. And no sweeps happened either. So, that was an abort. All the surface ships have also withdrawn, which is wise when KB is disarmed.
So, in the meantime I have free reign.
In the short-term, I have the shipping and troops ready for Kai Island; we are already loaded, and should land in two days, and I expect no opposition from the air or sea at all, with KB gone. There are 8K troops there, but with 2 divisions coming, we should take it pretty quick.
When that falls, Taberfane and Dobo, and the 30,000 IJA troops on that island, will be cut-off. The airbases are already rubble.
This vector of attack, from Darwin, is very limited, so we are going to open a new one, with a larger move. But for now, it will do as I have support of LBA.
Greyjoy is very committed to this area with troops and planes, so the obvious answer is to go elsewhere. At a minimum, it will spread out his resources.
But in the meantime, it's handy to clear-up to the west part of New Guinea
I feel like an advance across island is not advisable without the cool USN amphib toys, like LCI(R)s and AGCs and Amphib HQs and whatnot. These are coming online, so we are planning a move to a Pacific Island group to be revealed later. Troops are starting to prep, but we are 90 days at least from a real move.
We are also planning for two moves out of the Indian Ocean, closer to the oil. I don't plan to advance from there unless he is real tardy, but I want to threaten the oil and force him to plant massive CAP and troops there. That alone will help.
My advance so far has been too narrow, which is a strategic mistake on my part, but a minor one; after all, I needed LBA at this stage while my CVs built up. I have made a ton of TACTICAL mistakes, but that's different.
Another attack came off at 1-1 and dropped forts to ZERO. Another attack should do it. Just to be sure, I'll spend a couple days swapping out a tired Kiwi Bde for a rested Marine Regt. That should be plenty.
The troops for Sarmi are ready to go.
I can't afford, of course, to slog 1 base at a time like this in terms of time. So that's good on Greyjoy's part. But how many 30,000 garrisons can he make? The 35,000 men at Vanimo are hopelessly cut off, and only flying boats can get out foot units. Hollandia has 35,000 defenders, who are about to lose and be forced into the jungle. Sarmi has 25,000. There are 25,000 at Rabaul, plus at least 10,000 still in the lower Solomons, despite massive airlifts by him. Samlauki has 20,000 men stuck, and Taberfane/Dobo has 30,000 that can only be flown out.
Part of my strategy has been to bypass some of these garrisons; even lifting stuff by Emily, you can't get out the artillery pieces, which turns troops into Nav Gd. After I took Torokina, Greyjoy kept attacking with the 20,000 men at Shortlands until they evaporated, just to destroy the parent units and rebuild elsewhere. That's fine by me, but part of the strategy I guess.