April 1, 1942: Bring me my Spear, O' Clouds Unfold!SitRep
The Japanese have achieved many of their aims in the DEI and PI AO. Manila fell on March 3, Bataan on March 15, and Surabaya on March 25th. We are struggling to hold our lines in the South Pacific, as the IJN/A landed significant forces at Port Moresby on the 18 March.
The IJN/A has taken significant losses in the PM AO, but the more they are able to reinforce, the less likely we are to hold the area. Several landing attempts were made with significant land force loss to the IJN/A. A conglomerate of AUS/RN/USN surface ships have wrecked havoc near PM, sinking numerous troop laden vessels. Unfortunately, they are coming under increasingly severe air attack from LBA from Rabaul. Our air forces in PM have underachieved and require further seasoning before they can conduct offensive operations. CVs are at a premium, and I do not wish to risk them in these restricted waters. Therefore, our own LBA becomes critical to the survival of PM and New Guinea as a whole. If PM falls, our ability to interdict Japanese operations in Australia becomes significantly weakened.
PM is the focal point, and we do not have the initiative. A counter-offensive would relief the enormous stress in the AO, but the troops and logistics are not yet available. The 6th AUS Division, fresh from the Middle East, is preparing for a counter stroke at Milne Bay, but this is impossible until the IJN is blunted and significant naval air assets can be assigned.
Our CVs squadrons are still significantly weakened from the Battle of Midway, and while replacements are en route, it will be another month before they can be considered full strength. April and May will be critical months.
Another serious issue is the growing threat of IJN submarines. Two BBs were sunk while attempting to transfer to the dry docks of the West Coast. The West Virginia and Oklahoma rest at the bottom of the Pacific.
All is not lost however, 2 IJN CVLs were sunk by submarines and mines this month, reducing their ability to interdict our supply lines with small TFs in CenPac. Also, a IJN BB was hammered by our CVs in CenPac as well. A standing CV patrol in CenPac has paid dividends.
Canton Island was invaded by the 6th Marine Regiment on 25 March and quickly retaken, thus bolstering our defensive line and removing a serious air threat.
Losses have been taken in our supply route by the small hunter-killer groups, but on the whole I am satisfied with the CV CenPac protection protection scheme. Future Plans
Counter-offensives are being brainstormed with possible thrusts at the Marshall Islands and Milne Bay being heavy favorites of the staff. Neutralizing the Marshalls would severely hamper IJN operations in Cenpac and put us on the offensive, as well as threaten IJN supply centers such as Truk. My staff grins at the prospect of a suitable base to run B-17s over Truk.
Plans are also in motion to attempt a landing at Guadalcanal, but the lack of available combat-ready troops has pushed this idea to summer and perhaps even fall.