Its been a while - a lot going on personally, so it is hard to keep up with the game, much less an AAR. I'll post a few updates on the current status starting in this post with Burma.
All units have arrived, and I began a strong push down the western road. At first everything went great. Prome was over run and the Imperial Guards smashed. 2 Chinese divisions I bought out came down from Kalemyo and took Shwebo. Paratroopers took Toungoo and Taung Gyi. Then the wheels fell off the bus - sort of. I'm not calling it a disaster, but progress has stalled.
First, I saw that he moved a large number of combat units out of Rangoon, leaving 1 division a Bde and some guns. So the force that took Prome swung through Bassein and into Rangoon. Several Attacks by what I thought was overwhelming force were consistently turned back. As he moved more forces back into Rangoon, I had to stop. So I moved the mobile forces back to Prome along with the US 41st ID (just arrived fresh at Prome, and tried to cut straight across to Toungoo. The jungle hex east of Prome though had what was left of the Imperial Guards and a fresh Bde. While I was making steady progress against these units he moved more fresh units in. In addition, I jumped the gun on the airborne assaults, and those units got pushed off leaving me with only Prome and Bassein. The Chinese also got chased out of Shwebo.
So what happened?
My 2 biggest mistakes were
1) Underestimating the strength of units defending in jungle and city. Especially in Rangoon, where he has sat for a year he probably has sizable field forts built up. It is also very difficult to bomb these units into submission as bombing into jungles has little effect. (for you JFBs who gripe about allied 4Es, move your units into defensible terrain. In the clear you get murdered, in the jungles, you can be in move mode and no suffer much).
2) Underestimating the effort required to keep his air force down. I had air superiority at the beginning, but no longer. At first he had about 150 fighters, all chased out to Bangkok. Now he has nearly 300 spread around. I can hit any place I want still, but not everywhere... and I'm taking losses. The British don't have the replacements to keep up, and I only have 3 overworked US units there. Their kill ratios are great, but they can't be everywhere.
In addition, he keeps bringing in cruisers to bombard Akyab and Cox's Bazar. This is especially frustrating as I can't do much about it. I see the cruisers a day out, but I can't attack them because they show up the same range from my bases as Moulmein. Since he'll usually have a few cruisers there as well, my A/C attack there - right into the teeth of his fighters. Mines have gotten at least 1, maybe 2 (soft kills). I also got a few DDs when they stayed a bit too long up north, and traded CA Frobisher for one of his CAs.
So where are we now?
As noted before, I hold the western road, Prome, Bassein on into Rangoon. He has his (reinforced) units stretched out from Rangoon to Magwe. All of my units are intact - the failed paratrooper units have been recovered and are taking replacements now. The rest of my ground forces are intact with just some disablement (except for 1 British Bde that was nearly wiped out in Rangoon, and the Chinese - which I'm struggling to care about). Ramree is held by 6 units - mostly base forces, but at least one partial division. No idea on size of forts though. A Marine Regiment is just outside Ramree to protect my supply lines. I have called a halt to the offensive. The new plan is now:
Build up Prome (and to a lesser degree Bassein). Prome can be quickly built to a size 7 AF with large forts. This will support fatigue recovery close to the front and provide a fighter / bomber base that can hit nearly everywhere in the theater. It can also build up a large supply stockpile for renewed offensives later.
Bring in additional forces. 3 USA fighter wings just arrived from SOPAC (transferred through Oz and the IO). These will fix up their A/C and join the fray. I don't think I have enough replacements to support the now 6 USA squadrons in the region, though, so 1 will sit dormant for the time being. I am also sending 2 USMC and 1 USN squadron over from the states through Cape Town. These will be in the region in about 3-4 weeks. They will have Corsairs. There should be enough coming off the lines to support these 3 squadrons and their combat losses. If not, they also have access to the F6 line that will start up in April. In addition to A/C, more units from the states are on the way - especially tanks. Arty is being bought out and brought down from India and the States.
Capture Ramree. This can act as a new supply base. Right now, most of my supplies are brought from Calcutta to Akyab by boat. Extending that down to Ramree will assist in building up a stockpile in Prome. It will also act as a nice base for...
Stopping those damn CAs. When he has gas, Lowpe will drown you in bombardments. The good news, he becomes predictable. Of course what good is that if you can't stop it? I've tried some things. Mines are modestly effective. They do seem to scare him away if nothing else. They also hit the occasional ship. I tried British MGBs in an attempt to slow him down so that he would be exposed to A/C away from fighter cover. They slowed him down just enough so that instead of bombarding at the end of the night phase, he bombard at the beginning of the day phase. He still gets clean away, and the bombardment is all the more effective. Doh! I did manage to trade CAs by jumping him just after a bombardment (damn long lance). I'm scared to do this though because of the long lance carrying DDs and the need for air cover. So here is my plan:
Capture Ramree with US forces. This will give me access to PT boat pools. Scatter a few single PTs in his approach path as recon. This will eat a few ops points, but also boost his DL (DL goes up with each naval combat). Behind them, a large PT boat force (12+) will lurk. This should a) provide many torpedoes to dodge, and eat up enough ops points that he can't escape. From here A/C can attack a hopefully exposed force. I also have a large SAG in the Bay of Bengal with Prince of Wales, a CA a few US CLs (these have been surprisingly effective for me) and some DDs. These will move in as well, hopefully catching him after a few other engagements.
Regain Air superiority. With the additional US fighters coming into the area, I will be able to keep up a sustained offensive against his air forces. In addition to fighters, he has about 100 bombers in the area, mostly at Moulmein right now. First I will smash his bomber forces. Magwe and Moulmein are the largest air bases he has at size 7. Pegu is a 4 and nothing else is more than a 2. Magwe was smashed a few days ago. Moulmein will be smashed shortly - he has 30 fighters there (and 70 in Pegu, probably with LRCAP supporting Moulmein). I will fly fighter sweeps against his forces in the jungle to tire out his fighters, then send heavy sweeps and strikes against Moulmein.
Finally, prep the battlefield for a fall offensive. The monsoon will arrive before I can attack again in strength. Since the bulk of his forces are stretched out in the jungle, they will not recover fatigue... seemingly at all (at least for my forces). So harassing air bombardments, along with the occasional Cav / Armor strike against week points will be launched, and then withdrawn.