27 MARCH 1942, Page 1


THE probable future direction of the Japanese offensive is discussed by our contributor " Strategicus " in another column. The events of dap past week throw no great light on the subject, except to suggest that Japan is maintaining persistent and heavy pressure on all fronts and will push her advance wherever resistance crumbles most. But opposition to her is increasing. The heavy blows dealt to her shipping and aircraft in New Guinea have certainly retarded progress in the general offensive against Australia, and in Burma the Chinese troops who are now in action on the Rangoon-Mandalay road have stiffened the defence considerably. Here, however, the capture by the Japanese of an airfield north of Toongoo, presumably by infiltration round the defenders' flank, again worsens a situation that was looking better, while at the same time the capture of the Andaman Islands gives the enemy an important submarine base in the Indian Ocein and provides him with an indispensable stepping-stone in the sea (or air) road to India and Ceylon. As set-off against these reverses the brilliant naval action by a small British force against far heavier Italian units in the Mediterranean, and the successful American attack from the sea on Wake and Marcus islands in the Pacific are reminders of the vital importance of that naval supre- macy which Japan has temporarily wrested from us in the Far East. In Russia German reserves are being thrown in and the defence is stiffening, but the Russian advance still continues, though at a slower rate, in almost every sector, and may well have gone farther than we have yet been allowed to know.