From: Iowan in MD/DC
I think trying to take Noumea is your best option. If you can cut off his supplies, you can starve him out. It's harder to do than at say, Bataan, but you could do it... It's just a question of whether you're willing to risk your other assets beyond those 20 LCUs. I'd do it, but if you lose your CVs before the US even gets its Essexes...
How does the surface combat scene look? What major ships have you each lost, i.e. BBs, CAs (/US CLs)?
Reasons why I'd do it:
-He's committed a fairly substantial ground force here. If you can achieve victory, not only will you be adding a nice port to your perimeter but it will (at least somewhat) blunt his eventual counteroffensive. You only have about a year before he gets more CVs and vastly upgraded planes.
-Noumea is out of range of his fighters, so if you can maintain interdiction via your CVs and any nearby airfields then your job is easier while his is harder.
-It might divert some of his effort from other theaters. [Perhaps to prevent this, maybe give him some rubbish intel by prepping for some bases you don't intend to invade: Pago Pago, relatively vulnerable Australian bases, etc. This might influence any reinforcement decisions by him.]
Things you'll need:
-AKEs, AKEs, and AKEs. I like Tulagi, do you?
-The nearest port capable of resupplying your CV sorties and refueling stocked with plenty of fuel and supplies for replacements, in case he finds out about your AKEs. I like Rabaul as an option here, or you can just use Tulagi with NavSupp (but beware that you won't be able to replenish CV Torps without much more NavSupp).
-I see that Noumea is mined, however once you run him out of supply you can sneak some minesweepers in there without risking much from any CD gun batteries (IIRC...). You can also try to mine the port either before or after doing this, to further hamper any last-ditch resupply efforts by him.
-Tanks and engineers to help with the ground combat.
It really would be a Gettysburg. And as the Romans used to say, "The ram has touched the wall" at this point.
Alternatively, you can try to airlift and raft out as many troops as you can in an attempt to at least save the unit so you don't have to buy it back, but you'd still have to rebuild it... Otherwise, I can't see how you can salvage this.