Fighting Task Force 5
First and foremost you need to avoid combat at night. Your torpedoes are crap, you have no flash-less powder (you self-illuminate every time you fire) and you are blind as a bat. When the sun goes down, run for home.
The other problem you have is that you are piece meal at the start. You have the option to sortie a sweep from Tarakan on GT1; don’t take it. You have;
CL USS Marblehead, three 6” D12, one 6” D24 (no rapid fire) & 2 triple TT (American torpedoes with all their issues)
DD USS Paul Jones, Stewart, Parrott, Barker & Bulmer; one 4” D12, one 4” D24 & 4 triple (old) TT (at least they go bang when they hit).
Transfer to Surabaya and save your ships for when you have enough combat power to do something. If you get theater event 8 then you will add;
CL USS Boise, seven 6” D12, one 6” D24 (with rapid fire) & = FC radar.
DD USS Edwards, Alden, Edsall & Whipple; one 4” D12, one 4” D24 & 4 triple (old) TT (at least they go bang when they hit).
Now you have more than twice the combat power, but not as much as you will have later. Sortie or no sortie, flip a coin on this one, but remember your morale is green. If you get theater event 9 then you add to all the above;
CA USS Houston (along with RAdm Glassford and regular morale), four 8” D12 & on 8” D24
You now have the bulk of your combat power, this is a sortie.
On GT2 you are going to want to sortie and if you get theater event 6-7 then do so as you for one GT are going to have;
CA USS Pensacola, five 8” D12 & - search radar
Otherwise, transfer Paul Jones and a destroyer division to Darwin to keep the ANZAC squadron in business.
Now I know it is tempting to sortie in the eastern axis to mass with the ANZAC squadron. But, you need to examine what objectives the Japanese have taken and what they still need to take. They may very well have a GT where they can sortie only in the central axis avoiding the ANZAC squadron all together and in that case you need to be there.
On GT4 rather than sortie, take the reinforcement and gain;
CL USS Phoenix; seven 6” D12, one 6” D24 (with rapid fire) & = FC radar.
GT5 & 6, you are getting down to brass tacks and you need to sortie everything you can, filling in with the Dutch and/or the Brits to put out full strength sweeps.
Remember, the Japanese EAF has to take all 13 objectives in order to win or they lose.