From: Northwestern Georgia, USA
Battle of Sumatra: Sabang falls today on a 3:1 shock attack. 32 Allied units - American, British, Indian, Australian - surrender. Roughly 9,000 squads are destroyed along with 2,000 guns and 2,200 vehicles (the guns are mainly AA as I only had one or two arty units present). The Japanese losses are relatively heavy for a big victory - 180 squads destroyed and 500 disabled.
This brings to an end a campaign that began with a D-Day assault on November 10, 1942 (and that actually took place around July 2013). I began before that, with the Allies intending to invade the Aluetians in the summer of '42, diverting to Oz and Tasmania to invade New Guinea, and then diverting again to Sumatra in a move that caught John by surprise.
I've already conducted Sabang's funeral many times, most recently a week or two back. So I won't go into length details about what happened, what it means for the Allies, and what I think it means for John.
I'll say this: When John and I terminated the game in September 2013, I was convinced that the Allies couldn't prevail in Sumatra due to the imbalance in the fighter pools and production. When we resumed in December 2015 (January 3, 1943 in game time), John told me that fighter production and pools had been increased (he believed it, not realizing the changes couldn't be made retroactive to this game, which I didn't discover for awhile). So, when we resumed, I had hopes that I might figure out a way to make Sumatra last. By late January '43, however, I understood the reality and had to make the decision between fighting for Sumatra at all costs (and probably extreme cost) or shifting focus elsewhere. All of you know the decision I made. I'm satisfied it was the right one, but it's painful to suffer a landmark defeat of epic proportions. Watching unit after unit disappear was akin to the surrender of Bataan, only much more agonizing since it's '43 and the Allies are no longer at the mercy of Japan.
The total value of the units lost was somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000, I think. I don't know the value of what Japan lost, but at least two divisions were reporting 0 AV at the time of the attack (of course, that's just due to disablements, but I think there's enough of that to require some recovery time).
Where does John go from here? That's one of the fun parts. He's reconning India, Oz and China. Those are possibilities. How strong a tug does he feel to head to CenPac? I'll find out as soon as those seven BBs report for duty to new fronts.
I told you I wouldn't begrudge John his "Banzai!" for this effort. He put a lot of energy and thought in to "unraveling the onion" (as he called it back in February). He made me pay dearly for my unnaturally early invasion of Sumatra. And he paid a stiff price too - in terms of time and assets dedicated tot he campaign. A tip of the cap to him, though I won't tell him that as he doesn't need encouragement. He's on fire. That probably means he's feeling very bold and ambitious.
Operation Roller Coaster: It was a bloody and eventful day here. I think committing 40th Div. to Tarawa was the right call. The unit came ashore with minimal disablements after North Carolina and Washington bombarded the island to good effect. IJN subs are very active in the area. One put a torp into BB South Dakota (30 SYS damage) and another sank an already-damaged xAK. The Allies sank one sub, I think. The Allied attack at Tarawa came off at high odds and took the base. Two big TFs will immediately reload 40th Div. That might take one day or two. Then the Allies weight anchor and move out. The question is whether they remain in force in the Marshalls to move on Roi Namur or instead retire to Pearl in prep for the next op. Roi Namur has been reinforced and is overstacked. I only have one RCT prepped for this base, so it's probably better to retire to Pearl, evaluate what's where and where the opportunities are, and go from there.
It may be unseemly to take pleasure in the successes of Roller Coaster on the day that Sabang falls, but this op really has been remarkable to date. The Allies have taken undefended Makin and defended Baker Island, Tarawa, Mili, Jaluit, Ailinglaplap, Wotje. Malaoelap and Majuro are still under siege but will probably fall in a week or less. This op was made possible only because seven IJN BBs were known to be in Sumatra and Half KB North was stationary in the Aleutians. I couldn't have chanced it otherwise.
Operation Circus: IJN CB/CA bombardment of Adak Island today does a lot of damage to the airfield and port. I'm giving free reign to John up here right now due to the focus on the Marshalls. But behind Adak a lot is going on. Dutch Harbor is down to 48k troops. Transports continue to shift units around as desired to maximize placement for future operations and to prevent overstacking.