It’s early 1942 and you are inbound to Douglas MacArthur’s staff as his new air commander, commanding the Fifth Air Force and the Allied Airforces in the South West Pacific. The dilemma you are faced with is that the allies have been in retreat in the face of the Japanese onslaught which has seen great swaths of Asia fall into their possession. You, in turn, are to meet that formidable force with a rag-tag group of survivors gathered from around the Philippines and the rest of the theater, now based in Australia. Your counterpart over in the Navy is exceptionally busy as well, struggling to meet the threat with what was still afloat from Pearl Harbor and subsequent attacks (fortunately the carriers survived) and some land-based air. Most of it, however, is out of your territory and besides, controlled by the Navy.
You think about where and how to hit the enemy to effect the most damage, and like your Navy counterparts, deduce that the Achilles heel in the Empire’s far-flung lines of support is shipping, merchant shipping. The thousands of island garrisons, from the biggest at Rabaul to the smallest outcrop of coral and volcanic rock were all heavily dependent on supply from the sea. In later parlance, it would be “a target rich environment.” Problem is, pre-war tactics have proven abysmal when applied in the real world. High altitude precision bombing wasn’t working against a maneuvering target and attempts to replicate at lower altitudes ran into swarms of fighters and heavy flak from escorts. What do you do?
I'm tired and a little busy today, so I'm just going to raid SteelJaw's archives for a good post.