hmm, some Cats (PBY-4 & -5) have the legs to make the 56-hex flight from SF to Pearl, the -5A doesn't. from Pearl you can make a further series of long hops across the southern route to Oz, campaign-games usually start have some minimal AVsupport spotted along the way. but you can expect ops-losses, and air-units fragmenting as you leave damaged planes behind at these bases for repair. in addition, those tiny island base-detachments won't have much supply at start, it'll take time to ship supply to & reposition them (Kiwis have some escorts and shipping that will help), or to move loaded seaplane-support ships (AVD, AVP types) to the islands. make sure these ships are set to 'do not unload' when they arrive, disband them at their destination in fully-loaded state, otherwise they can't provide AV support to your seaplanes.
instead of sending all your Catalinas west, you might take a more measured approach - a combination of a sqn or 2 transferring west, while most of the WestCoast sqns train NavSearch for a month or 2, and you send shipping out to reinf & supply the islands along the southern route. Midway & Johnson Island are your 1st concerns, then Penrhyn, Pago, Suva & Noumea.
wrt your 'eyes of the fleet' idea, of course scouting from island bases is important, but don't expect the game to instantly convert the NavS detection of an enemy TF into immediate targeting for a strike by your nearby in-range CVs - the game don't work that way. air-combat TFs that are out looking for trouble should always depend on using their own NavS capabilities.
wrt to upgrades, i srsly advise you to turn EVERYTHING to OFF w/ game-prefs at start. IMO, air, land & naval units should all begin the game w/ replacements/upgrades OFF & base facility construction should be OFF. 2 reasons - a) initially, you've got no 'stockpiles', no large amounts of stuff to draw upon, you need to allow time for your industry to produce; b) you've got to take control of what's happening, don't let the computer decide where to distribute your stuff. it's useless when the computer upgrades your rear-area 'training' sqn to the latest plane, you want to manually decide when to upgrade your front-line sqns, and populate your back-line stuff w/ older models. bad things can happen if you don't control your upgrades manually, a sqn that's req'd to be withdrawn might suck up new production, or a Marine fighter-sqn might auto-upgrade to an early-model Corsair, which can't operate from a carrier.
wrt to troop movement by sea, there's 2 types.
a) AmphibiousTF, use this to assault an enemy base, or move a land combat unit (LCU) to a small-size port. to load LCUs, they must be in 'combat' mode, and must belong to a non-restricted HQ. AmphTFs use 'combat loading', the capacity of your shipping must be at least 20% greater than the LCU's troop/cargo size, else some elements of the LCU won't load & will be left behind.
b) TransportTF, use this to move between mid- & major-size ports that you control, the LCUs must be in 'strategic' mode, and must belong to a non-restricted HQ.
< Message edited by jmalter -- 9/4/2012 6:16:23 AM >