I THE PACIFIC I
By Capi Bernard Acworth
THIS lweek I will leave events on all the European battlefields to speak for themselves, and I will confine my few comments to the war against Japan which is now launched on the grand scale against the Philippines. As in the case of the initial invasion of Normandy it may be wall to summarise the opening moves. The landing of 150,000 men on the Lemuel island of Leyte was almost completely unopposed. The bombing and bombardment of Formosa, to which I referred last week, seems to have been intended as a " blind " for the Leyte landing. General MacArthur has deckled that the 250,000 enemy troops Ii the large islands of Luzon and Mindanao are " split," and that 500,000 are " isolated " and " by-passed " in the
Pacific Islands. The position of the Japanese on the island of Leyte he has declared to be " hopeless."
In the Indian Ocean a British fleet has spent three days bombarding and bombing the Nicobar Islands without encountering a single Japanese warship. At the end of three days the fleet returned to its base in the Indian Ocean.
Though it is too early to interpret Allied and Japanese strategy from these preliminary moves, there are certain facts which may be emphasised with advantage. The aim of the Allies is to compel the Japanese main fleet to engage a stronger allied combined Heel, and this aim is reported to have been achieved. It is the Japanese object to avoid such an action by preventing Elm circumstances which would compel it from arising.
Another aim of the Allies is to blocknde Japan itself by the cutting of her essential sea communications. To do this the Allies must secure a great naval base flanking the China Sea. In the East, as in the West, the Allies ate superior in ships and material. In both theatres, however, our enemies hold the ports which we need to exploit our superiority. East as well as West, therefore, the present stage of the war is for ports and bases. These must be won by soldiers, of which the Japanese possess millions, to whom death is glory. and which are on the spot.