From: Virginia, USA
June 20, 1942
Hiyo arrived today. Ruyho has now been accelerated.
That looks like a very sensible use of your Air HQs. Do you have one in the Kuriles or Aleutians? I suppose it's unlikely he'll come from that direction. If you had to guess, where do you think he'll come -- Burma and the Central Pacific, say?
In WITP I used to take some of the Aleutians, but even in Scenario 2, I'm finding it harder to spare the ground troops and base forces to do so.
I would forget putting my Air HQ and lots of troops at Noumea and Suva if allies attack there its good as it allows a gradual withdraw from over extended positions.
Milne bay/PM , Timor , Burma and Marshals are prob top of the allied list and they need lots of overlapping bases. If these are lost many forces may be cut off.
I guess some (most?) HQs do return as reinforcements even if they're wiped out, so maybe losing a forward Air HQ wouldn't be a disaster. Still, I have no idea how long that would take. So maybe bklooste has a point; maybe keep one or two Air HQs in reserve, then see where his assault comes?
Since all these questions/comments are related, let me respond to them together.
The big question, of course, is where are the allies going to attack?
All my efforts have been directed towards securing a position where the allies will find it difficult to support their eventual offensive with LBA. I want their bombers to come in unescorted. I want them to be flying at long range so their op losses increase. And I want them to fly from airbases that cannot be built to such a size that they can carry a full load. I also want it so that even if they can shut down one, two, or even three airfields, there will still be nearby airfields that remain operational.
With these goals in mind, an analysis of the map shows that there are two main attack avenues the allies can use where their LBA can be used most effectively: Burma and Australia. There is not much I can do about Burma except build the airbases around Rangoon and ship in a bunch of AAA. Australia, OTOH, is a threat that can at least be mitigated.
My strategy has focused on trying to isolate Australia from reinforcement and resupply. This was the point of the Noumea/Fiji/Somoa operation. Holding the NFS Trio (Noumea/Fiji/Somoa) slices into the LOC between the western US and OZ. In addition, these islands, IMO, need to be held as a group. This is because of the criteria I laid out above: I can form clusters of airbases at each of these groups so they cannot all be shut down; the closest threats to these islands are very far away (New Zealand, Australia, Society Islands), and/or they are difficult to build up very much because of their low SPS value (Society Islands). Allowing the allies to hold any one group of this Trio, say New Caledonia or Somoa, would put all the rest in danger since they could now build up substantial bases from which to fly their 4E bombers.
So much for isolating Oz from the east. Isolating Oz from the west is more difficult. Ideally, I would like to hold Perth. I may still go for that. Right now I have a patrol base at Cocos islands and the Mavis's there can search almost out to the map edge. Witpqs also has be concerned about a CV raid into the India Ocean.
So, how much stuff has he already brought into Oz? And how much can he still sneak in by sending convoys along either the extreme southern edge of the map (Pacific route) or extreme western end of the map (Capetown route)? I don't know. At the very least, his fuel situation in Oz should not be very good because of all the extra fuel his convoys will have to burn going around my positions.
Whatever the case may be in Australia, I do not have to worry about an offensive launched out of Darwin/Broome/Hedland towards the eastern DEI. My Timor defenses have suddenly become much less critical, at least for a good long time. He is not going to wander into the bight between northern Australia and Timor/Flores. This would not make any sense since it would be much shorter to just go from Perth to Java than to make a massive detour to the east to invade Timor. So the Air HQ at Lomblen is now going to be moved over to Sumatra.
What about an offensive aimed at regaining the NFS Trio? Like bklooste, I consider such an offensive less likely. Witpqs is starting to build up Tahiti and Christmas Island. But it is hard to imagine a major offensive being launched out of just these two bases. In addition, it would seem to be better to try to just cut these islands of by invading the flanks at the Gilberts and/or the Solomons. Nevertheless, there is a chance he may invade them, and if so, I want to be able to hit his ships with torpedoes. This means having Air HQ. So there they stay. And yest, Grotius, I read on the forum that Air HQ will respawn after 30 days.
What about an offensive aimed at the Solomons? With Timor off the table for now, this would be a logical objective. Whether he goes that way or not will depend on how much I have been able to disrupt reinforcement of OZ. For now, at least, he does not appear to be building bases in northeastern OZ. So an offensive out of the quarter does not seem likely any time soon. Nevertheless, I am building up bases up and down the Solomons chain and along the northern coast of New Guinea as rapidly as I can. (Back in January I bought out almost every engineering in Manchuria so I could develop bases faster.)
What about the Kuriles/Aleutians? Well, I do not have an air HQ there. There is no real good spot there to place one since you can't really form a cluster of bases which an Air HQ could support (at least in the Kuriles. that may not be the case over in the Aleutians). It would basically just support the base where it is located, and that would be it. That seems like a waste to me. So in the Kuriles, I have scattered the regiments of one division across the islands he would most likely invade, built up the forts, stationed a heavy cruiser TF and have reserves sitting on Hokkaido that can be used to reinforce any one of the islands he invades. (The premise being that the garrison regiment can hold out long enough so that reinforcements can arrive before the island is captured.)
This leaves the Marshals/Gilberts, Burma, and the Western DEI. I fully expect that the Marshals/Gilberts will come under attack at some point. I am building up the bases there in anticipation of such an offensive. My guess would be that he would first assault Canton and Baker. Canton is held with two SNLFs, while Baker has just one SNLF. They are basically indefensible, so I am not going to do anything more to defend them. I have done nothing to build the airfields or ports there. I have built the forts at Canton to level 4 and at Baker to level three. But that is not going to mean much when he lands an entire Marine division there. If anything, Canton and Baker serve as early warning stations of a coming offensive. It is further west, around Taubetia that I will put up some resistance since there I can build (and am starting to build) a cluster of mutually supporting airfields. Ditto for the Marshals.
Every allied player seems to be going through Burma like a hot knife through butter. So this is the main threat axis, it would seem. Not much I can do about it, though, except dig deeper and bring in more troops.
The one threat axis that I have not seen any allied player exploit yet (generally because they have launched their eastern offensive into the eastern DEI and or the Solomons) is the western DEI. Yet this is the one I am currently most concerned about. Just because Timor is off the table for now does not mean an amphibious invasion of the DEI could not be launched. Rather than having Timor as the objective of such an offensive, however, an allied player might aim for western Sumatra and the islands just off the coast. From an allied perspective, this target might be very attractive. It offers multiple bases that could easily and rapidly be built up to size 8 or 9. If the allies got ashore here at multiple points, it would be impossible to shut down all these bases and very quickly they would bomb Palembang and Singapore in to the stone age. This is what I am most concerned about since witpqs has been building up India quite a bit. It may be the case that a lot of the reinforcements that might otherwise have gone to Oz went to India instead. So the Air HQ at Lomblen is going to be shifted over to Padang and the bases in that region built up and garrisoned with a regiment a piece.