December 11th, 1942 A long overdue update:
Its been nearly 2 months since my last update on the ferocious battle for New Caledonia. After forum advice and my own sinking feeling that it was best, I decided on a massive evacuation effort of the nearly 100,000 Japanese troops on New Caledonia and surrounding islands. So far in those 2 months I've shipped and airlifted out approximately 60,000 troops and at least a dozen various units from the area. One entire division was relocated, as well as 25% of the Imperial Guards division, not to mention many valuable support, AV and HQ units.
My opponent hinted recently that he thought I was evacuating, and was waiting to unleash his ground forces at New Caledonia for when I was weaker--- this after he experienced some heavy losses fighting 2 Japanese divisions dug in outside Noumea. Well (and don't read B Fagan please), I'm down to 749 AV on New Caledonia and little supply (despite many fast transport and sub transport runs, and a suicidal AKL convoy). I would have liked to evacuate everyone of course, but 749 AV is a substantial rearguard or the Allies to mop up and a decent road bump. He has 800 AV moving up the road...
One of the US six divisions previously detected near Noumea, the 2nd USMC, landed last turn with carrier support on an almost empty Efate island NE of New Caledonia. This has got to be a decent buzzkill for my opponent, since i'm guessing he prepped these last 2 months for the island and there was maybe 10 Japanese squads left on the island to make it appear occupied. Meanwhile, Luganville nearby has a victory point value of 800 and is heavily fortified and defended (though the airstrip was annihilated). He will need those divisions to take Luganville's 800 victory points, which is still south of Guadacanal and hopefully delaying him more than was historical.
Either way, the evacuation has gone extremely well, mainly due to my opponent's "Peninsular Campaign" style advance across New Caledonia (aka Richmond). With 6 divisions I don't quite know why he didn't push me off the island after his first breakthrough, but I'll take the gift!!! Maybe the ground battles were more costly than I know, or he is about to surprise me elsewhere with those troops. Given that one of those six divisions landed at Efate, and possibly another on an island SE of Tarawa, he may need to bring troops back to finish off the Japanese rearguard. The many units that evacuated are now digging in on various island chains-- already Saipan is a nightmare fortress and i'm preparing a decent "triangle of death" with Manila, Clark Field and Bataan maxed out on fortifications.
While my landings at New Caledonia were maybe a mistake months ago, with much tactical and strategic advice on these forums i think the situation was "turned around" and the Empire is on a much better footing to inflict maximum punishment and delay on the Allies as 1943 arrives... so thank you, any comments/ideas always appreciated :)