From: Northwestern Georgia, USA
12/05/43 and 12/06/43
The sudden and complete collapse of the Japanese positions at Pegu and Rangoon presents opportunties in SEAC and has the Allies thinking long-term to coordinate all forces and vectors of attack. Japan remains very strong and will strike again effectively (there is no doubt about that), but developments over the past six weeks have really altered the course of the game.
SEAC: The roughly 1000 AV Japanese army succeeded in withdrawing from Rangoon to Allied-held Pegu. The Allied army there is 1250 AV (I was able to halt the units that were in the process of leaving). Furthermore, another 1000+ Allied AV should move from Rangoon to Pegu in just a few days. So what happens to this Japanese army now? It doesn't have a port or airfield to evacuate or re-supply. And I don't think it can leave the hex unless it first takes it or unless it is defeated in battle. If that's true, I will try to surround the hex to eliminate every retreat option. The Japanese have brought aircraft back to theater - they are based at Moulmein. Ships are there too. The Allies will move the BC Repulse TF from Akyab to Rangoon and the Allied air force will begin working on the Japanese. The situation is very fluid here and I'm not quite sure what's going to happen.
China: For the first time in months (since Miller called off offensive operations in China), the Allies are considering going on the offensive. First, I think the fall of Rangoon may reopen the Burma Road to China? If so, the flow of supplies could allow the Chinese army to rebuild. The army is already fairly large and have begun prepping for an offensive aimed at driving east toward the coast. Three Chinese armies are prepping for Hengyang, K_____?, and Kanhsien. The first is held by just three Japanese units with a fourth nearby. I have no idea what I might face at the second and third, but the Chinese armies will be very large. If successful, this offensive would place the Chinese in a position to offer reconaissance and some LRCAP when the Western Allies move toward the Chinese coast sometime next year. This offensive won't kick off for several months or more - I don't want to arouse Japanese attention to the Chinese coast. Smaller Chinese armies are prepping for Liuchow to the south and Sian to the north. The latter may get underway in early '44 in order to draw Japanese attention to the interior of northern China.
DEI: The troops destined for Talaud Island are still loading at Darwin. D-Day is probably six or seven days away, to be preceeded by para assault a day earlier. The Allies will briefly recon Talaud tomorrow to see if it is occupied (and, if so, the operation could be postponed). The Allies just landed at Maumere and Lombolen (west of Timor) and found them vacant. These can be built into large airbases that will assist in the eventual moves on Kendari and Makassar. They also pose threats to Soerabaja.
Damaged Capital Ships: The big BB/CV TF of ships damaged in the Battle of Morotai arrived at Pago Pago in good shape and will next hop to Christmas Island. Barring an encounter with subs, they should make Alameda and San Francisco in about two weeks.
Japanese Ire: Since the Japanese carriers returned to Baolabob two weeks ago the Japanese have been quiet and have been absorbing a series of big blows. The Japanese are mad as hornets and remain very strong. I expect Miller to organize a carrier strike. With two day turns he can hit unexpectedly and deliver a big blow. The most likely targets would be the shipping lanes between New Guinea and Townsville or the edges of the DEI (either around Sorong or Lautem would be my guess). I can't shut down all my shipping indefenately, but I am trying to keep the combat ships at ports with decent CAP, and transports in small and scattered TFs.