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Subject: MIdway - As planned by Yamamoto rss

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Mike Hoyt

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Introduction
The BGG Book Club has selected “Shattered Sword” by Parshall and Tully and as I’ve started re-reading it I was intrigued by the idea of playing out what was supposed to happen if events had followed Yamamto's plans.

The two small islands that make up Midway Atoll were not the real objective for the Japanese; their capture was meant to be a prelude to the main event, the destruction of the American carriers. The idea was to capture Midway, then position the main striking power of the Japanese fleet to the north. When the Americans sortied from Pearl Harbor, the stage would be set for the climatic naval battle Yamamto sought.

So, as a wargamer, why not give it a try? The vehicle I chose is the Yaquinto game, mistitled C.V. This is the culmination of the game Flat Top, first published by Battleline and then again by Avalon Hill. Since the designer, S. Craig Taylor, recently passed, I hope that this session can also serve as something of a memorial to him.

Situation
The Japanese plan was to conduct air attacks against the island on June 3rd and 4th, with a landing on the 5th and the island secured on the 6th. It was assumed that the American would react with their carriers from Pearl, but it was further assumed they would need at least three days to get into position, so the main event was presumed to occur on 7 June. There were additional assumptions that figure into our game, namely that Midway itself would be operational (literally overnight) so the Japanese could use the airfield on the 7th, and that the arrival of some of the ships sent to the Aleutian (Operation AL) would have had time to come south by the 7th.

In setting up this game, I decided to grant all of the above to Japanese side. They will start with Midway in their possession; operational and stocked with the Zero’s brought along for that purpose, plus a few Bettys flown in late on the 6th. The Japanese forces will be arranged north of Midway, as described in Shattered Sword on page 51. The only real changes I’ve made from the OOB as presented in C.V. is that I’ve sent the transports back to Japan and reduced the Japanese carrier plane force by 3 Zero’s and 6 Kate’s that were lost in the historical strike on the island.

Thus the Japanese OOB (expressed in game term Task Forces) is:

TF 1 – Akagi and Kaga, paired with TF 2 Soryu and Hiryu some 25 hexes NNE of Midway. This is Kidi Buti
TF 3 and TF 4 – BB Yamato and CVL Honsho (the Main Force) 15 hexes east of the carriers, and thus north of Midway
TF 5 – A bunch of battleships that had been part of the Aleutians effort, now 25 hexes north of Yamato
TF6 and TF7 – Junyo and Ryujo 15 hexes west of TF 5, or 25 hexes north of TF 1 and TF 2.

So it can be seen that the Japanese fleet is arrayed in a box formation north of the island, with the two carrier groups to the east side and the battleships to the west. The plan is that these forces will be hidden from any Americans coming up from the SW of Midway (Yamato’s assumption) and will be available to deal the crushing blow.
The “bait” is TF 8 Zuiho and TF 9 Hei and Kango, both cruising just south of Midway. Assuming the Americans on the island got off a few radio messages reporting their bombardment by both ships and carrier planes, it is planned that the Americans will assume these forces are the extent of the Japanese ships in the area and they will therefore draw the Americans attention.

Rounding out the OOB is 30 Zero’s and 9 Bettys on Midway itself. The Japanese have also rebased their Mavis flying boats from the Marshalls to Midway, so the island now has a formidable search capability. Finally, AV Chitose and Kamikawa will start at Kure atoll where they had established a temporary seaplane base for the invasion.

American OOB
For the Americans I started by assuming that they were caught flat-footed, no warning of the attack on Midway until the garrison itself radioed in. This is my justification for ignoring Parshall and Tully’s conclusion that the Japanese probably could not have captured the reinforced base even if the naval battle had not occurred. In this game, there is no naval battle prior to the invasion, but neither is there any reinforcement of the island.

That also lets me assume that Nimitz would not have simply thrown together a counter-invasion force and rushed pell-mell into the Japanese trap. Instead, I postulate that the Americans would have written off the Midway garrison as they did that on Wake. And I don’t see that there would be any big hurry to recapture the island, instead I can see Nimitz treating Japanese held Midway as a rich and easy hunting ground for the submarine force. So I dispense in this game with all troop transports.

I assume that Nimitz would recognize this for what it was, an invitation from the Japanese to come out and fight the climactic battle Mahon advocated for. So I give the Americans a hurriedly repaired Yorktown to go with Enterprise and Hornet at Pearl Harbor, and I bring in Saratoga with a scratch air arm from San Francisco (something suggested in the game scenarios to offset the Japanese forces from the Aleutians), and I also give the Americans the battleships still afloat at Pearl. In game terms:

TF 1 and TF 2, Enterprise and Hornet, which have sailed east from Pearl, then north to rendezvous with Saratoga (TF 7) and TF 4, a cruiser force rushed south from the Aleutians. These ships start the game some 30 hexes (600 miles) NE of the main Japanese carriers in their TF 1, or almost 1000 miles NW of Midway.
TF 4, Yorktown and TF 10 the five battleships are sent west from Pearl, then north, to approach the island from the south. They are, in effect, the US “bait”. The battleships are too slow (speed 1 vs 2 for every other ship in this scenario) to have much impact but the hope Is the Japanese will focus their efforts on them, opening up a back door to the north through which the other three carriers can strike.
Of course the Americans in this scenario can’t know the disposition of the Japanese forces, but I’m allowing them to know there is obviously some force around Midway and that the forces seen in the Aleutians would have had time to head south by now. To aid the Americans, they also have several Catalina’s based out of Pearl Harbor, but staging through Johnston Island for refueling.

7 June 1942 – 0100
Opening dispositions are as above, the Japanese “bait” force just south of Midway, the main fleet components in their “box” to the north of the island. The US battleships and Yorktown have just entered the map edge to the south, behind an arc of Catalina’s who will fly in front of them all the way to the island and hopefully give warning of any IJN ships in the area.

Enterprise, Hornet and Saratoga have not yet effected their rendezvous, but all three are heading SW towards Midway. They are beyond range of any air support from Pearl Harbor (the Catalina’s will be stretching themselves to observe Midway, they won’t be able to go much further north).

7 June 1942 – 0500
Dawn. Both sides put up token Combat Air Patrols over their carrier task forces. Token because nobody really expects an attack yet, as far as they know they remain undetected, and because I really like the chart in Parshall and Tully that shows how the Japanese historically cycled fighters up into the CAP in dribs and drabs throughout the day. I want to see how that plays out.

Both sides also concentrate on their search planes, the Catalina’s just coming on to the board and passing the Yorktown, while the Japanese send the Mavis’ out in a search arc to the south and west. There are not really enough planes to cover all the possibilities, so the plan is to have them search straight out for a couple of hours, then all turn to starboard and fly a dogleg to their adjacent partners zone, then reverse course. Effectively creating a single search line about 400 miles out.

The Japanese carriers of Kido Buti send a couple of Kate’s to the east, just in case, while the Saratoga launches some of her new Avengers to the east, also on search missions

7 June 1942 – 0800
Contact!
As the Catalina’s approach Midway they find both Zuiho (80 miles SW of MI) and the battleships of TF 9 about 120 miles SE of the island. With clear skies, their report is complete .and accurate.

Almost immediately thereafter, one of the Kate’s from Kaga reports 8 surface ships, 480 miles WNW of her home carrier, heading SW. These are the Aleutian cruisers, steaming just to the south of the three American carriers, which have not yet fully joined up.
So, the American’s found the Japanese “bait” ships just as planned, but the Japanese have found an American force to their NE and have not yet found the forces to the south.

7 June 1942 0900
The Japanese are not alarmed to have Zuiho and the battleships spotted, that is in fact their mission. But the expectation was that an attack would come from the south, the “surface forces” to the NE is a surprise. They decide to let the Kate shadow her find and develop more details, how many ships, exactly what kind, etc., while detailing the northern most Mavis towards the Americans so she can take over shadowing. It’s about 600 miles though, so the Mavis won’t be able to get there for 4 hours, probably after the Kate will have to turn for home.

The Americans are disappointed to be discovered so soon, but the presence of a carrier plane this far out means there has to be carriers nearby, and certainly north of Midway. So the IJN fleet is out here! The cruisers turn due south, to lead their shadow away from the American carriers.

The Kate goes with them, and 0918 transmits “9 ships, 3 BB, 6 CA, heading south”. TF 4 actually consists of two cruisers, the light cruisers and four destroyers, but the key news for the Japanese is that there are no carriers. Yamamoto wonders if this is indeed the American battle line, and he orders Yamato to head east.

At 0930 one of the Avengers from Saratoga finds the Japanese carriers of Kido Butai. He correctly reports 4 carriers, 460 miles SE of the American carriers. The Japanese are not familiar with the Avenger, but it is clearly a carrier plane, and that means American carriers must be out there somewhere in addition to the surface ships already spotted.

7 June 1942 1000
The Americans face a tough choice, four Japanese carriers are now spotted 460 miles (23 hexes) away. Certainly it would be great to hit them before they can launch a strike, but the distance is too much for the Devastator torpedo planes, and just barely within the maximum distance for the Dauntless Dive Bombers (Dauntless has speed 9 with an endurance of 6. Turn 1 they go 5 hexes after forming up, then another 9 on turn 2, gets them to the target on turn 3, burn an endurance round bombing, leaves only 18 hexes to get back to the carrier. Of course the US carriers can keep closing the range during this flight, so could be 8 hexes closer, so planes would only need to fly 15 of those 18 possible, but they couldn’t all land…. I love this about CV, the different speeds and ranges of the planes and distance the carrier and target might move, all come into play)

After doing the math, the Americans decide to hold course and try to close the range before launching a strike. Unfortunately, the Avengers are running low on fuel and have to turn back, so there will be nobody to shadow the Japanese.

The Japanese have a different problem. They’ve seen the Avenger, so they know there must be American carriers in the vicinity, but the only contact they have is the Surface Group to the NE. The Kate’s are also low on fuel and have to return home, so they launch twelve Vals to take over the search duties and keep moving the Mavis’ up to the north. They also launch a flight of nine Betty’s armed with torpedoes from Midway to attack the Surface Group if a better target does not show up first.

7 June 1942 1100
The American carriers have affected their rendezvous. They don’t have any way of knowing it, but they are almost equal distant between the four carriers of KB to their SW and Ryojo and Zuiho to their NW. They have the report from the Avengers at 0930, but those same planes have already turned back, and will in fact need to land this turn, so Saratoga will be busy and will need to turn into the wind, which is from the NW. So the force can do little this turn, and can’t close the range to the last reported position. As long as they are moving into the wind, Enterprise launches some Dauntless’s to take over the scouting and Hornet adds to the CAP

The Japanese have an even worse problem. While they know the rough position of the American Surface group (almost due east now) the Kate’s who made that contact not only missed the carriers but also miscalculated their fuel state. They should actually run out of fuel this turn, but the umpire has decided they may have faulty fuel gauges and will allow them one more hour of grace. (The disadvantage of solo play is your opponent is an idiot, the advantage is you can forgive him easily)

So, as we approach noon, both sides have had fleeting contact, but at the extreme range of their search planes and neither side has been able to launch a strike on this information. The Japanese are redeploying Mavis searchers to the northeast, into the same area the Vals are looking for the US Surface Group (which has assumed a SE heading to fool the expected search planes).

7 June 1942 1200
The Vals find the US Cruisers, 23 hexes (460 miles) ENE of the fleet. Additional Kate’s, launched from Junyo, fan out to the east, but they don’t get too far this turn, so the US carriers are in an unsearched arc just east of Junyos planes and North of the Vals from Soryu.
Those same carriers are heading SW, towards the last sighting of the Japanese carriers, and at 1215 comes the report from one of the Dauntlesses that 4 carriers are sighted 15 hexes (300 miles) SSW.

7 June 1942 1300
The Japanese decide to forgo a late strike on the US Cruisers, too far away. They fail to spot the American plane that has found their carriers, so they decide to sit tight and recall the Vals.

The American decide on a full strike from all three carriers, though Saratoga is still refueling her Avengers, they won’t be ready for another hour, but waiting seems like a bad idea. The range is still extreme for the torpedo planes, but the ships will follow the strike, recover just before dark then head north.

The US carriers don’t have time to launch the well-integrated strikes they’d like, instead it is important to not keep the torpedo planes circling, they have to get going. So both Enterprise and Hornet launch Devastators first, 9 planes each which immediately head off as two separate formations with full movement. Enterprise next launches a few Wildcats, and Saratoga gets off a few Dauntless dive-bombers who have time to wait for an escort of 12 Wildcats, these two formations move off at half speed. Finally, all three carriers launch their Dauntlesses, creating three large formations of 30+ aircraft each, but they take time to form up and thus can’t move towards the target yet.
Meanwhile the American carriers are spotted themselves, both a Mavis coming up from the south and one of the Kate’s from Junyo spot the fleet. They report the ships and also the dive-bombers circling in obvious preparation for a strike, but they arrive too late to spot the torpedo planes and fighters which are already on their way.

7 June 1942 1400
Akagi launches a mixed Val and Kate force, 18 planes of each, with half movement, and all of her Zero’s into CAP. Kaga and Hiryu also launch mixed strike forces, and Soryu sends a flight of Zero’s for escort, all with half movement. Junyo and Ryujo also send a strike, so the American carriers are now in a vise between the two Japanese fleets
The first part of the American strike arrives over KB. There are 27 Zero’s flying top cover, they mix it up with the Wildcat escorts, both sides losing 6 planes, then the Zero’s fall on the Dauntless’s shooting down all 9 before they can push over into their attack. Below them, 18 Zero’s shoot up 6 escorting Wildcats, then splash 9 of the Devastator TB while losing 3 Zero’s. The Devastators bore in on CarDiv 1, losing 3 more planes to AA, but leaving 6 to attack. The Americans split up, three planes to Akagi and 3 to Kaga, but all of the torpedoes miss.
As the American survivors depart, several of Hiryu’s Zero’s run out of fuel and crash into the sea, these are the biggest loss for the Japanese in this encounter.

7 June 1942 1500
The Americans send off another torpedo plane strike, including the refueled and rearmed Avengers from Saratoga, and all three carriers hustle their last Wildcats into low CAP, leaving the ships empty of planes for the moment. The Japanese are not launching, but they are recovering the Kate’s which had been scouting and a large part of the CAP is out of fuel and has to land.

Kaga, Soryu and Hiryu are all landing aircraft as the second American strike appears overhead. This strike is three groups of dive-bombers, one from each carrier. They have no escort, but the only remaining Japanese planes on CAP are at low altitude and they can’t get into position. The Americans split up to attack all four flat-tops and push over into their dives.

Akagi has 9 AA factors for the 30 planes dropping on her, she hits 3, but the Dauntless’ score one hit, doubled for the Vals spotted on the deck. 6 of the Vals are destroyed and the flight deck is damaged, but still operational.

Kaga also has 9 AA factors, against another 30 SBDs, of which she splashes 6, leaving 24 to inflict a single hit, also doubled for the planes on deck. Soryu has 7 AA factors, she stops 3 planes, and takes two hits herself. Hiryu also has 7 AA factors and shoots down 6 planes before also taking a hit, again doubled.

Thus for the cost of 18 dive-bombers, the Americans score two hits each on all four carriers, destroying 24 planes on deck and greatly reducing the capacity of the Japanese carriers to conduct flight operations, but in no case actually completely shutting down the flight deck and all four carriers escape any kind of engineering casualty and they can still steam at speed.

About the time the last SBD turned to race away on the deck, their home carriers were coming under attack. The Japanese have six separate flights, with a mix of Kate’s, Vals and escorting Zero’s both high and low. The American high CAP consists of 12 fighters and they take on the escorts, scoring no hits and losing half of their number. The low CAP has 51 planes and they shred the Zero’s on escort, bagging 15 fighters for 6 of their own. Then the American fighters fall upon the Kate’s, shooting down 15 while losing three more fighters. When the American AA kicks in, it bags 15 Kate’s and 12 Vals.

Still that leaves 15 Kate’s to launch their torpedoes, but the American ships manage to twist away and they all miss. But they can’t escape the Vals, 33 dive-bombers get 3 hits on Enterprise, destroying her flight deck and knocking her to half-speed. Hornet suffers one hit, and Saratoga escapes unscathed.

Thus for the cost of 57 planes, the Japanese killed 21 American fighters and hits on Enterprise and Hornet.

7 June 1942 1600
No new launches as both sides are returning from their strikes. Enterprise can’t land any aircraft, but Hornet and Saratoga take aboard a few planes, while the dive-bombers just make it back to the carriers and go into orbit to await landing next turn.

The Japanese strike aircraft also depart the area of the American carriers and head for home, a few of the Zero’s have sufficient range to make it all the way back just in time to join in the fray as the US Avengers and Devastators make their attack. The Zero’s splash three Devastators, then three more and three of the Avengers are shot down by AA as they approach CarDiv1. That leaves three Devastators and 9 Avengers to fire their torpedoes at Akagi and Kaga, all of which miss.

7 June 1942 1700
The attacks are over for today, now both side need to concentrate on recovering their aircraft. It will be dark at 1900, so there are only two turns to accomplish this, but both sides have damaged flight decks.
For the Japanese, all four carriers have two hits, so their launch/land capacity is very limited. Akagi and Kaga, being larger, can still handle 3 factors of normal launch and one at minimum, while Hiryu and Soryu can only handle one factor apiece at minimum launch. So that’s a total of 10 factors, or 30 planes per turn between all four ships. About what one full strength carrier can do. It’s going to be difficult to launch a credible strike from these ships tomorrow, instead the Japanese decide to concentrate on using the carriers to provide scouting and air cover for the battleships, so priority is now given to recovering the Zero’s and Vals.

For the Americans, Enterprise can’t land anybody, Hornet is somewhat restricted, but Saratoga is at full capacity, so Saratoga recovers the Enterprise dive-bombers as well as her own.

The Americans are heading east at 20 knots, Enterprises best speed. The Japanese carriers also spent the turn moving NE into the wind, but they are slowing down, they’d rather turn west and open the range, while Yamato and the rest of the Main force are coming east at speed, hoping for a surface battle with the damaged American carriers.

7 June 1942 1800
Last hour of daylight. Both sides finish recovering aircraft, except for a couple of Mavis’ that have not yet made it back to Midway. I’m a little surprised both sides were able to get all their planes on-board the damaged carriers before the planes ran out of fuel.

So night falls with the situation as follows. The four Japanese carriers are all effectively out of action, they can steam, but they have very limited ability to conduct flight operations, so they are heading west in retreat with plans to do little more than launch fighters to provide themselves with a minimal CAP, and maybe a few reconnaissance flights to the east to help the battleships find the Americans.

But the Americans are also retreating, they don’t want Enterprise to fall under Yamato’s guns, and Yamato is the only Japanese battleship in the vicinity with the speed to catch even an impaired Enterprise, the other Japanese battleships will only be able to match her speed of one.
So, I decided to call the game at this point. If Yamato pursues easterly, Saratoga and Hornet would be able to attack her, and that might be somewhat interesting, but I don’t think the Japanese would want to trade Yamato for Enterprise, so I think they should break off as well.

Closing thoughts
Yamamoto got the battle he wanted, but it was not decisive. Both sides suffered damage to their carrier arms, but no ships were sunk on either side. Partly that is a result of the dice, the American damage rolls against the Japanese carriers came in at the minimum every turn, certainly an expected value of two IJN carriers sunk would have been more decisive and Enterprise could have also been easily lost.

Maybe more interesting to me was the way I found Yamamoto’s dispositions to be flawed. There is a lot of criticism of Yamamoto in the literature of the historical campaign. Here I was granting that invasion of the island succeeded exactly as drawn up and then the IJN redeployed for this battle exactly as Yamamoto planned. But it still did not go well for the Japanese, due to a couple of factors I think.
First is the assumption that the Americans would approach the island from the SW. If they had, then they’d be subject to early detection from Mavis’s flying up from the Marshalls and aircraft based on the island. With the Japanese battleships north of Midway, and the carriers NNE of Midway, the island would essentially be “in front” and serve as an excellent scouting base. But the Americans approached from the east, and well north of Midway, an easterly flank the Japanese could effectively only scout with carrier planes and, just as in the historical battle, they did not devote sufficient resources to this operation.

With the American approach from the east we see another flaw in the Japanese dispositions. The IJN carriers were the easternmost force, so they came into contact with the Americans first. The Japanese battleships were far to the west, so far that they offered no threat to the Americans and played no part in the battle.

The Aleutians forces, even further north, had the capacity to become a nasty surprise to the Americans, and in this playing did indeed get in such a strike. But they were too small to be really decisive, and the attack from an unexpected direction wasn’t enough.

Both sides wasted ships just south of Midway, the IJN “bait” force played no real role and couldn’t unless the Americans followed the script, attacked the bait and were then exposed to the main Japanese forces coming south from above the island. The US battleships were inadvertently almost playing the reverse bait role, had the Japanese spotted them and headed south then the carriers coming from the NE might have been able to surprise them, but in the event the Japanese never spotted the US Battleships. Perhaps I could have staggered the arrival of the forces better.

One thing was clear, with a speed of 1, the US battleships, like most of the Japanese battleships, were just too slow to play a role other than target. The carrier would easily dictate the range and launch attack after attack. Even a damaged carrier (e.g. Enterprise) could make speed one, so the only way a battleship was going to close a carrier was if the carrier was already crippled, speed zero.

CV is a large game and it took a fair bit of effort to set all of this up and play it out. That effort feels a little wasted in that I got such indecisive results, but I had a lot of fun designing the scenario and analyzing it afterwards. In this case, it was less about the game and more about the thinking before and after playing that provided the enjoyment. I wouldn’t read too much into this exercise, but it was fun to use the game as a vehicle to explore this “what if”. Thanks for reading!













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M St
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Great AAR Mike, but can you explain why the Japanese would expect the US carriers to come from the SW? Is this an assumption the scenario makes? Both US and Japanese would be aware that this would expose any US carriers to the maximum risk of exposure to Japanese search planes from the Marshalls.

By the way, since I don't have C.V., what kind of planes are the Japanese flying out of Midway apart from the Zeroes? One would assume that they would have staged some long range search planes through Midway as well.
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Jim Dietz
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Perhaps it was a "waste" to play, but not to read.

I've always enjoyed Flat Top, etc.

The only way I'd see to improve the scenario is to play it double-blind and perhaps give the American player a chance to choose deployment a little bit.
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Mike Hoyt

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M St wrote:
Great AAR Mike, but can you explain why the Japanese would expect the US carriers to come from the SW? Is this an assumption the scenario makes? Both US and Japanese would be aware that this would expose any US carriers to the maximum risk of exposure to Japanese search planes from the Marshalls.

By the way, since I don't have C.V., what kind of planes are the Japanese flying out of Midway apart from the Zeroes? One would assume that they would have staged some long range search planes through Midway as well.


Thanks Markus. I may have mis-stated Yamamoto's assumption of the Americans approaching from the SW, you're quite right about the planes from the Marshall's. The source for my perhaps poorly remembered scenario was Shattered Sword, p51, second paragraph.
Quote:
If all went according to plan, the Americans would appear off Midway after the landings had taken place. Yamamoto presumed that the Americans would sortie west from Oahu and then head north so as to be able to ambush the exposed Kondo as he trailed his coat near the island


So perhaps it would be better to say Yamamoto expected an approach from the south, which is in fact where I brought up the US battleships in this game.

The same paragraph mentions that the Japanese expected the Americans, approaching from the south, to place the carriers to the WNW of the battleships and use them to screen the BBs. Assuming the BBs headed straight for the island, that would place the American carriers SW of the island.

You also asked about the Japanese planes at Midway. I did stage a couple of Mavis's and 12 Betty's, though I justified not bringing in more on the assumption that facilities, spares, etc. were not brought along for those aircraft in the invasion fleet. Unlike the Zeros which were specifically shipped to form the island's air group.

I don't pretend to have anything definitive, I mostly relied on SS and my own judgment. Fun to kick around though eh?
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Mike Hoyt

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jollyrogergames wrote:
Perhaps it was a "waste" to play, but not to read.

I've always enjoyed Flat Top, etc.

The only way I'd see to improve the scenario is to play it double-blind and perhaps give the American player a chance to choose deployment a little bit.


Thanks Jim! Yes, a double blind game would be fantastic. I've always wanted to try that with either FT or CV. I have so far only managed to get into one pbem FT game, that ended after only a few turns, but was enough to give me a taste. If anybody wants to try that, or play at CSW Expo this summer, I'd love to be part of that.
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Mike Hall
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blockhead wrote:
jollyrogergames wrote:
Perhaps it was a "waste" to play, but not to read.

I've always enjoyed Flat Top, etc.

The only way I'd see to improve the scenario is to play it double-blind and perhaps give the American player a chance to choose deployment a little bit.


Thanks Jim! Yes, a double blind game would be fantastic. I've always wanted to try that with either FT or CV. I have so far only managed to get into one pbem FT game, that ended after only a few turns, but was enough to give me a taste. If anybody wants to try that, or play at CSW Expo this summer, I'd love to be part of that.


Great AAR Mike, too bad there's no C.V. Vassal module, would be great to
explore this one. I would be up for a Vassal PBEM FT game after a rules
refresher. I have a few C.V. games in over the years and if I recall the
C.V. rules were a small upgrade to the FT rules. I have HPS Simulations
computer game Midway, which has just this very scenario included, I'll
have to give that a go.

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blockhead wrote:

So perhaps it would be better to say Yamamoto expected an approach from the south, which is in fact where I brought up the US battleships in this game.

The same paragraph mentions that the Japanese expected the Americans, approaching from the south, to place the carriers to the WNW of the battleships and use them to screen the BBs. Assuming the BBs headed straight for the island, that would place the American carriers SW of the island.

Interesting point. I suspect that while it may end up as "west then north" in the abbreviation, rather than a 90% dogleg, the Japanese would have expected some sort of oblique approach.

Quote:
You also asked about the Japanese planes at Midway. I did stage a couple of Mavis's and 12 Betty's, though I justified not bringing in more on the assumption that facilities, spares, etc. were not brought along for those aircraft in the invasion fleet.

Yes, that makes sense. Even that many aircraft likely could only operate by staging from the Marshalls for their missions. On the other hand, these planes would have been pretty much sufficient for search coverage in the eastern quadrants from Midway.

Quote:
I don't pretend to have anything definitive, I mostly relied on SS and my own judgment. Fun to kick around though eh?

Yeah, calling balance after a single play, in particular solo, is fraught with difficulties. But it is fun to think about. I'll have to try this out with Victory at Midway one day, there I should be able to fit a ftf game into an evening.
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Paolo Desalvo
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Just a couple of notes.

blockhead wrote:

Rounding out the OOB is 30 Zero’s and 9 Bettys on Midway itself. The Japanese have also rebased their Mavis flying boats from the Marshalls to Midway, so the island now has a formidable search capability. Finally, AV Chitose and Kamikawa will start at Kure atoll where they had established a temporary seaplane base for the invasion.

The Zeroes available should have been only 24 (9+9+3+3): 9 each from Akagi and Kaga, and 3 each from Soryu and Hiryu. You can find these numbers on several Japanese side sources. In FT/CV terms they are 8 factors.
The Mavis would have been based at Kure where the AVs would have had the special facilities needed to support them not to the just conquered Midway.
For the other land based assets I would not be so sure of their arrival since the Japanese would have had to get control of the Midway ground before being able to say what could be based there.

blockhead wrote:

The US carriers don’t have time to launch the well-integrated strikes they’d like, instead it is important to not keep the torpedo planes circling, they have to get going.

To talk of an American well-integrated strikes in 1942 is not historical. The US Navy, till 1943, was unable to launch coordinated strikes from more than one carrier. If you check historical reports on the Battle of Midway you will find that there were three different (that then got 6) strikes group: the Enterprise, the Yorktown and the Hornet one. These three starting groups then divided into three since the Devastator went on their way. To be noted that the Hornet's SBDs got a wrong direction and never saw the Japanese carriers. The Japanese carriers received 5 different attacks: the three torpedo squadrons that performed three different attacks and the two almost simultaneous attacks from the Enterprise and Yorktown SDBs. The Enterprise on their way back and the late launched Yorktown's on their way in. More over the Enterprise SDBs almost failed to split in two to hit two different carriers.
To allow the Americans to coordinate attacks from more than a carrier is one small bug in FT/CV rules.

M St wrote:
Great AAR Mike, but can you explain why the Japanese would expect the US carriers to come from the SW? Is this an assumption the scenario makes? Both US and Japanese would be aware that this would expose any US carriers to the maximum risk of exposure to Japanese search planes from the Marshalls.

This is a good question, even if Oahu is at the south west of Midway. The Yamamoto idea was that The US Navy carriers would have had to sortie from Pearl Harbor to reply to the Midway occupation, from there the SW. But he should have considered that they could have already sortied to reply to the Aleutian attack, so the USN carriers could have arrived from the NW. They even could have arrived from the south if coming back from the South Pacific. It is a what if and the nice scenario "La 2me battaille de la Mer de Corail", published on the Casus Beli Hors Série 9 that says that the Japanese decided to strike Port Moresby instead of Midway.

M St wrote:
By the way, since I don't have C.V., what kind of planes are the Japanese flying out of Midway apart from the Zeroes? One would assume that they would have staged some long range search planes through Midway as well.

My historical sources talks of the 24 Zeroes on the carriers plus the float planes that would have been based at Kure. The Mavis would have, in my opinion, been based at Kure where were anchored assets designed do assist seaplanes.

Now I must go to retake control of a FT game that I'm game mastering.
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Tom Hanover

Wisconsin
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Thanks for posting this AAR. A very interesting read and scenario! I have GMed two C.V. games in the past and intend returning to it some day. This would be worth running as a double-blind contest between 2-4 players.
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