From: Northwestern Georgia, USA
John Dillworth asked that question in my AAR about ten days ago. This was my reply:
Allied objectives, from the start of the war: (1) attrition the enemy fleet; (2) interdict the flow of resources from the DEI; (3) close on the Home Islands to engage in strategic bombing. (I think I posted to that effect a dozen times in the AAR, as many of you might recall).
As Big Tent successfully unfolded in October 1943, I was in position to work on (2) but it was also clear John had gaping holes in his defenses that would allow me to achieve (3). To my way of thinking, (3) was more efficient than (2) - shooting in the head is quicker than strangling - so as long as those gaping holes existed, I steered the Allies north rather than west. Luzon was open. Coastal China was open. Formosa was open. The Shanghai region was open. Korea was open.
Bear in mind I have limited experience in the late game. I had picked up the idea from some excellent players that it was possible to score "a thousand points a day" via strategic bombing. Had I been able to achieve that kind of success, the war would've ended in early '45 (probably February) and these questions wouldn't even come up. But I couldn't achieve that, partly due to my inexperience, partly due the learning curve; partly due to John's fighters and tactics, and partly because I think bombing from Luzon and even Formosa against an an alert, experienced foe is far harder than folks think (it was for me, anyhow).
But what about all those convoys? Interdicting them would take far more time and resources than people realize and would exact an opportunity cost far greater than what I was doing. I knew I was better off with Death Star in the Yellow Sea region, handling the direct throttling of the Empire rather than working a time-consuming and possibly inefficient strangling campaign in the south. Invading Korea is simply far better than trying to stop ships in the DEI.
Detaching smaller carrier forces or combat TFs or strike aircraft wouldn't work either, at least not efficiently. John usually used carriers to escort his convoys. If I detached carriers down that way, I'd have to use overwhelming numbers or risk him consolidating and ambushing. Ditto for combat TFs. And Allied strike aircraft didn't have the numbers or range. I tried a few times and they got chewed up. I tried enough to know that devoting assets to an uncertain strangling campaign was less efficient than employing them in China and Korea where things were much more certain.
Base forces, supply, and bomber and fighter quality and pools also entered into the equation. I need supply in Korea, not at Talaud Eilenden or Morotai hoping to eventually catch some merchantmen poorly escorted.
I had 8k AV in Korea and 11k in northern China. Supporting them while also engaging in fullscale strategic bombing was an immense undertaking at the end of a supply line that stretched from San Fran to Pago Pago to Townsville to Boela to Manila to Shanghai and Gunzan. It took everything I had to keep that LOC running smoothly. And it did run smoothly but there wasn't time or assets necessary to truly interdict enemy supply/fuel in the DEI.
Ditto 4EB. I could've bombed Palembang and Balikpapan but they were well-protected. I didn't want to devote rare resources to bomb those bases, indirectly earning points, when they could be employed directly in earning points.
There are players who would've seen other ways of doing things and could've done better. But I bet there's alot of players who would've followed the siren song of sea power - wanting to use combat TFs and carriers to pursue and engage. But when the enemy leaves his heartland wide open to invasion, the job becomes moving the armies and air forces forward, and the navy's primary role becomes serving and defending rather than attacking.
That's what was going through my head.