From: NYer living in Boise, ID
Jul 44 Summary
The Allied advances continue at a brisk pace, closing in on Japan’s Inner Defensive Perimeter. The combined SOPAC and SWPAC campaign for the Philippines is in full swing, with less than expected resistance - except for what looks to be a major stand at Manila. Securing the outer PI islands continues, albeit fairly slowly, although some bases have “flipped” which helps. Conditions are pretty much set for the landings at Guam, but little else was attempted in CENPAC. NOPAC remains quiet, although Kurile bound troops have been arriving to Aleutian embarkation points. China remains pretty quiet. Lastly, SE Asia troops liberated Bangkok and continues their rapid advance into Vietnam, finding increasing IJA SW of Hanoi, while their secondary efforts to clear the Malay peninsula continue to progress slowly. US CV raids toward the East China Sea have had some successes against merchant traffic around Formosa and Okinawa, but little has been accomplished against the IJN. Kamikazes remain the most troublesome threat, although their successes have been mostly limited to small strikes against shipping. Naval losses for the month were light to both sides; the IJN reportedly lost 2DD, 3E, and a SS, compared to the Allies losing 2DDs, a DE and 2SS. In the air, minimal losses for both sides, most to operational losses and the occasional Kamikaze strike -345 for Jpn to 273 Allied.
COMMAND STRUCTURE: With both SOPAC and SWPAC converging on the Philippines, the command structure there has been a bit confusing. To that, all operations in the Philippines - both Luzon and the outer islands will be a SWPAC responsibility. SOPAC will be responsible for the forthcoming Formosa and Okinawa campaigns and any naval operations north of the PI. NOPAC and CENPAC will remain unchanged, with NOPAC operations limited to the forthcoming Kurile landings and CENPAC limited to the Marianas. SE Asia operations also remain unchanged, although they will be responsible for the forthcoming landings on Hainan and any operations along the Chinese coast by Commonwealth troops. China command will remain responsible for all actions in the interior of China. Will look at adjusting this again when and if there is a need for landings on the Home Islands themselves.
INTEL: With little major responses to the Allied advances, and of course the flow of intel intercepts (i.e., emails from L_S_T) concerning drastic supply issues, the Japanese main defensive line looks to be the Inner Defensive Perimeter. That seems to be defined as the Home Islands and outer coastal islands such as Okinawa. What still isn’t clear is whether landings on the Kuriles and/or Formosa are part of that defensive line and will draw a major response from air and naval assets. And that is the real question - occupied territories still under IJA control will be contested by ground forces to the best of their abilities with supplies available, but whether or not air and naval forces will be committed in force remains the greatest variable and threat. It may happen at Formosa and the Kuriles, but right now, I have no indication that it will. In any case, Kamikazes continue to be the most dangerous threat, especially against poorly protected supply chain convoys. What will trigger a major Kamikaze attack or an IJN fleet sortie remains the biggest question and threat.
SUBWAR: Allies subs continue to patrol, and extend patrols further into previously “safe havens” such as the Yellow Sea and the Sea of Japan in search of targets which remain few and far between. Despite supply issues, IJN ASW, both sea and air, remain very dangerous to Allied subs. A few IJN subs have been seen sighted and attacked, primarily supply boats.
West Coast/USA/Rear Areas: Fighter production remains at 735 in June with no changes. Pilot pools are better with the US Navy fighter pools climbing despite the continued influx of low grade pilots with incoming CVEs. The only pilot pool that is concerning at the moment is the US Army recon pilot pool - a number of reinforcing recon squadrons have arrived needing pilots, so the pool is dry. Using a few restricted bomber squadrons as recon trainers to assist. The last remaining Essex CV and three CVLs requiring refit/upgrade are enroute to Soerabaja and all these should be completed in August - except of course for reinforcing Essex class which may still require the upgrade.
NOPAC. The last major troop convoy is enroute to Dutch Harbor at month’s end, so once the Navy is available to support the Kurile landings, operations can begin. That will hopefully be by Sep while the weather will still cooperate.
CENPAC. Little activity other than continued bombing of remaining IJA held islands. Ships are currently assembling for the Guam landings which will be the focus in August. Three divisions and supporting troops are fully prepped and ready to go. Securing Guam will allow a limited, long range, B-29 strategic bombing campaign against targets in the Tokyo area.
SOPAC. US CV strikes did well against IJN shipping around Formosa and Okinawa as the Fleet sortied off northern Luzon, but no major IJN elements responded. The Fleet will continue to provide support to Luzon and the upcoming Formosa landings in August. Will look to release the Fleet towards NOPAC by the end of the month. About half the troops earmarked for the Formosa landings are currently enroute from the Kavieng and Mussau to Saigon. The remaining troops need to be brought up from the Batavia area, and they will sail to Saigon as well as soon as transports can be made available. Most of the units’ planning is complete, or near complete and they should be pretty much ready to embark once all have landed at Saigon, and assault shipping is released from SWPAC’s Luzon landings.
SWPAC. The Philippine campaign is in full swing. Mindanao is largely secured except for Cagayan and the NE tip while Australian troops continue to secure outer islands. The main event is of course Luzon, and the landings at Naga/Legaspi went largely unopposed, with minimal garrisons, and the advance towards Manila has been surprisingly rapid so far. The northern Luzon campaign is just beginning with the Lingayen landings, and securing northern Luzon will be the focus throughout the month - especially gaining the northern Luzon AFs near Aparri. The big question is what to do about Manila, reportedly defended by 80k troops. Will invest the city, but whether or not to attack to seize the base is the question. Jury is still out here.
China. It remains quiet in China, although it does appear that IJA forces are redeploying a bit within their territorial gains. Allied air support out of Chinese bases will increase over the month as supply still remains good, and they will continue to support SE Asia bomber missions on mainland targets. As SE Asia troops close on China itself, will look to link up with a Chinese offensive - but the indications are that the IJA is already pulling out to the east along the coast toward Hong Kong. So, not sure if a Chinese offensive will be needed or practical, but will start moving some additional Chinese Corps south in August.
SE Asia. Continued solid progress as troops take both Bangkok and Saigon and advance into northern Vietnam. IJA defenses appear to be stiffening around Vinh, and Allied troops need to consolidate a bit as the advance has become a bit strung out, and majority of combat power still engaged in and around Bangkok. Supplies remain good, but consolidation is needed. The advance into Malaya continues at a slow pace due to terrain, but can expect a more rapid advance in August as the terrain improves slightly. Have also decided on taking Singapore, and will begin bombarding the base regularly in August with both Heavies and BBs. Will still be a long process to fully liberate the entire peninsula. At sea, the influx of troops and supplies continues at a brisk pace into Cam Ranh Bay and that pace will actually increase in August with Saigon’s port available and the flow of Formosa bound troops heading to embarkation points at Saigon. Lastly, look to establish Heavy Bomber bases in eastern Thailand and Vietnam in August and move the bomber groups forward from Burma bases. Much engineer work needs to be done before that is accomplished however.