Jan 20, 1942
Wavell definitely was in the hot seat at ABDA. Rommel wasn’t here, but it seemed as if the Japanese Generals’ were even more aggressive perhaps even reckless. Both Ambon and Samarinda still held out after daily attacks thanks to Australian units there, but the Japanese were aggressively reinforcing both areas. In Singapore, the fortress defeated another bloody attack with very high casualties inflicted. There had to be a limit to the number of soldiers Japan could throw at ABDA.
While on the ground, Wavell was holding, in the air the Japanese had almost entirely won. A few Buffalo fighters still flew from Singapore, but not for much longer. Air raids were day and night here at Palembung, Rangoon was shut down, but Batavia and Soerabaja still held a few good squadrons.
Yesterday, in the Java Sea, ABDA’s air force managed to hit Japanese troop transports, in what had to be an invasion force for Java itself. Japan was taking a fearsome loss on troop ships across the Pacific, but it was difficult to tell if the losses were slowing them down at all.
Wavell had been promised Hurricanes, but they probably wouldn’t show up until February. Well, the good news was that reinforcements were starting to pour into ABDA. Somehow, the PM managed to get the Yanks to give elements of the Americal division to ABDA and Wavell needed to decide where to commit it: Burma, Sumatra, Java, Timor or as a reserve. They would be here shortly, since they were travelling first class aboard the Queen Elizabeth.
Wavell’s naval forces were strengthening too. Royal Sovereign and Warspite would soon be in theater along with the carrier Indomitable. Perhaps these ships would be able to hunt down the Admiral Lutzow if she was still in the Indian Ocean as Wavell could not risk them too close to Japanese land based bombers.
The supply situation was troubling, too. Burma and Singapore needed large convoys to sustain the troops there. Unfortunately, Wavell didn’t know how to safely get those convoys there. It was going to be another late night.