I've lost the initiative somewhat and I know what 10 days can buy... Mines, resupplied CV's and his remaining SCTF's ready to pounce... but it is a necessary evil to go for it.
No, you have not lost the initiative. You are giving it away for free. Like all his opponents you commence the match already defeated by Nemo's reputation. Your opponent will engage in several early actions, present them as being under his total control, distract you from following an appropriate plan, and be applauded by the peanut gallery as evidence of his genius (or the demonstration once again of the inevitability of the superiority of Soviet doctrine). When in reality it will all be smoke and mirrors to which, on the evidence presented so far by you, you will meekly acquiesce.
Now is the opportunity to assess deeply the structural ingame situation. Once you do that you will see that you, not the Allies hold the strategic initiative. When you do that you will realise what enemy actions can be simply overlooked because you hold the bigger stick.
1. According to Floyd, there are only 2 Allied CVs still afloat. The reinforcement pipeline remains skinny until mid 1943 when the Essexs come on board. This means that the Allies
(a) can't afford to launch amphibious landings away from LBA support unless they know for certain the KB will not turn up or there is no Japanese LBA present, and
(b) can't really interfere with a timely counterinvasion
2. Again according to Floyd the Allied losses in APs and xAPs has been horrendous (50% of the current stock). This severely limits available Allied sealift and impacts on how many and where, LBA covered amphibious operations are possible.
The combination of points (1) and (2) means that you have beaucoup of misallocated assets about eg
(i) aircraft on naval search searching for approaching enemy invasion fleets will largely be wasted. There will be much more profitable use of the long distance Mavis, Emily, Nell, Betty on other missions
(ii) no category 1 infantry units should be left in the south Pacific. You have already determined to repatriate most of your combat power from the region. That is a good thing but you can be even more ruthless in your pruning. At best you should only retain av sup to cope with any aircraft flown in to take an initial toll on enemy transports approaching. You should forget about undertaking any offensive or even defensive operations in the area. There is no good reason to keep the single carrier currently located in the region.
3. The lodgement in the Kuriles is not a threat. It will be months before the Allies
(a) can build up the infrastructure to support a strategic bombing campaign from them
(b) receive suitable airframes to conduct said strategic campaign
(c) build up the supply depots to sustain the campaign
(d) winter ends
In the meantime the lodgement is very vulnerable. In the north Pacific the Allied SLOC is much longer and more vulnerable than the Japanese SLOC. You know that Attu Island is currently overstacked with enemy airplanes (hence why you achieved such a good bombardment result). Whatever the Allies do in attempting to maintain their lodgement is going to impose a great opportunity cost on them and be inefficient.
You have identified a single north pacific operation. After it, what else? You need to be planning now for the follow on operations up there.
(i) use your restricted home island air units to LRCAP the airbridge to the lodgement. Don't just limit yourself to fighters, employ FP, FF, Nicks against the hapless Allied bombers/patrol planes
(ii) destroy the port facilities so that unloading from SS delivered supply is slowed down
(iii) isolate and starve Attu so that it can't serve as the airbridge terminus.
4. You have identified China, Burma and Australia where you expect the Allies to concentrate on. Quite logical as the shattered Allied navy is not required in those theatres. However, other than sending a few ships to Burma, I have not seen you outlay a plan to defeat decisively the Allied field armies.
It is in particular China and Burma that your opponent will engage in smokes and mirrors to make you think he has the initiative there when in fact it is you who holds the initiative there. Ask yourself these questions regarding China and Burma.
(a) is the Allied airforce comprised of superior quality airframes, particularly after the Tojo arrives?
(b) are the Allied airfields better developed and situated than my own?
(c) who has the better LOCs in the two theatres?
(d) on the present boundaries who can better survive a strategic industrial MAD campaign?
(e) who will be desperate to seize terrain to further their long term goals?
The answers to all 5 questions overwhelmingly favour Japan. There is therefore no objective ground for ceding the initiative to the Allies.
(i) Japanese planes have much better ranges which makes many Chinese/Burmese/Indian bases targets. Nemo either spreads out his airforce to defend them (in the process diluting his schwerpunckt) or his rear area is destroyed, also adversely affecting his schwerpunckt.
(ii) you have the airfields on railway lines which allows for both quick turn around of high SR airframes and better resupply
(iii) Chinese supply is awful and something which you must destroy NOW. In Burma you have access to the magical highway; you are not dependent on sea importation of supply whereas your opponent will be having the jungle barrier between the Indian railroad network and the Burmese bases.
(iv) it does not matter if the local Japanese supply sources are reduced to zero but it is the opposite position for the Allies. Supply is needed for offensive operations, not so much for defensive operations. Japanese importation of supply is not subject to successful interdiction whereas Allied importation is.
(v) that your opponent argued for immediate freedom to pursue strategic bombing is a dead give away as to what he intends to do. At the moment he is nowhere within range of striking at your vital industry, to do so he needs to make significant territorial advances. You on the other hand remain in position to strike hard at his vital industry.
5. What this all means is that you should right now start bombing Allied industry in China and India. The risk is very limited. You said Magwe has already been the recipient of concentrated Allied sweeps from Akyab. Two observations immediately strike me.
(a) the Allied fighters are concentrated on the schwerpunckt, and
(b) what is so important about defending the airspace above Magwe.
Your Nells have extended ranges between 18 and 26 hexes, Bettys have 21, Sallys 12 and Lilys/Helens 11. All can strike deep at unprotected industrial sites. Your Mavis/Emily can range between 25-30 extended range and they can strike at airfields. So from Port Blair you can strike at the target rich cities of Madras (20 hexes), Colombo (22 hexes). From Magwe, Calcutta (10), Ledo (12), Assansol (13), Jamedshpar (13), Dacca (9), Chittagong (6) are within reach some even close enough for Japanese fighters to reach. Other airfields can also be used.
In China, the situation is even more promising for an immediate Imperial attack to destroy the supply sources of the Allied player.
Why defend against Allied sweeps. Use your own fighters to sweep the enemy from your target airfields or escort your bombers. Let his sweeps hit empty air. In the worst case scenario, so what if Magwe's oil and refinery facilities are reduced to zero. You are not going to lose the war because of that. And then what is the next Allied target within range. Whereas after you destroy the Ledo Oil/refinery facilities, Madras, Calcutta, Assansol, Jamedshadpur et al, how exactly does he support an allied terrestrial advance in Burma. And this is assuming those Allied bombers haven't been deployed elsewhere on other duties, oh I don't know, perhaps trying to maintain that airbridge from Attu to the Kuriles.
6. There are some important Chinese bases which you should be planning to capture now. Based on your strategic map it appears the Allies still hold 3 Chinese ports; Pakhoi, Kwangchowan and Wenchow. Besides being valuable supply centres for the Chinese field armies, they also provide and opportunity for the importation of Allied supply and troops. You will shorten your lines considerably once you capture these 3 ports plus make your South China Sea convoys much safer.
7. Northern Australia should be a fighting withdraw, not a retreat. You should not rush to abandon Darwin and Katherine. Elsewhere the IJA has no business being there. Whilst Darwin remains Japanese owned, any Allied advance into the eastern DEI is much more difficult. It is not necessarily a bad trade off to lose a div or two completely at Darwin but in the process deny Nemo the gift of time to choose his next target early. If you rush to extricate from Darwin you are left with the difficult situation of guessing where the next blow will be landed. Guess wrong and the 'saved" troops will be out of the picture contributing nothing to the next battle and facing the prospect of again being extracted to avoid being cut off.
I always say that a weakness is not a weakness if it cannot be exploited. Currently the Allies have more weaknesses that can be exploited. Chisel that thought into your memory. Even if Nemo strikes at what you think is a weakness of yours, and in all likelihood it won't be really a weakness anyway, he has many more weaknesses which are more detrimental to the Allied cause. Remain cool. If he strikes at something which is not important, just brush it aside as you would an Ozzie bush fly and if you swallow the odd one, well so what provided you have been consistently striking at his many weaknesses.