Well, the Noon attack on the Shokaku, left it DiW. This mean effort to draw the USN into battle worked a little too well and did not reveal the exact location of both of the CV’s. Land based bombers hit the Shoho hard.
As the two primary CV’s were exposed by search they elected to close on the last know logical location of at least on of the USN CV’s ( which would end up being the Lexington).
The IJN launched a major assault on the Lex, which had advance warning of the launch due to the circling search craft around TF 6&12 the IJN forces. They steam towards Milne bay seeking a bit of cover from Port Moresby based air that is refitting.
At 1400 the Yorktown, launched an all raid on the two groups as they passed thru Jomard straits. This coincides with the IJN attack on the Lex and both sides CV’s take a beating.
The Lex takes two hits. The Shokaku is sunk!
At 1500 the AP transports are spotted by returning search craft and the jig is up!
I think that the game is for the most part done. I did not see real exciting choices for all of you to make regarding the overall Japanese plan, as major changes would have little effect. You either took the attack on the chin and did not pre empt or you went for what you knew hoping the other Carrier was out of range.
The game changer was the excellent PMO attack by the land based bombers. Who rolled like rock stars. All in all a tense little battle for the Coral Seas. Suffice to say I don’t see how IJN would get their landing troops to the VP location in time or in good shape now that the USN has a bead on them. Rather than do a massive sea battle I think stopping here is a good idea.
The Shoho [EDIT name] launched all its air assets for defense and sent a suicide mission against the nearest enemy Task Force.
Shokoku is badly damaged. With no respondent damage to USN forces.
Land forces from PMO and the carrier launched a massive strike.
Further North West the Shokaku and Zuikaku are now both spotted but US INTEL is unclear as to exact number of ships as on start Noon turn.
Based upon enemy ship movements seen, one TF is moving North at top speed. The Army transports are still hidden, with a small group of Destroyers leading as many search craft on a chase one hex at a time. By sailing directing into the Search Craft it has broken up their pattern of planned search.
Play by Poll play continues.
Noon brings a potential weather change and it is time for the Troop ships to start moving towards the PMO objective.
The Japanese plan remains the same. Strike the USN CV’s as hard as possible and hope for the Troop carriers to make it for a nite landing at Port Moresby.
Alternate plans, and ideas can be posted to comments for consideration on the Blog. If we have enough comment I shall create a poll for them. No comments accepted from elsewhere – Facebook/BGG/G+, unfortunately I’m too busy to check multiple locations so here is best.
Blue lines are FYI for Allied Air groups [ in the rules air groups are not shown on the map, but frankly have NO units on the map is just tedious.] So enemy air can be seen by you [IJN].
As you can see at the start of the 0500 turn, a lot of aircraft are in the Southern sector and amazingly after counting and re counting we had no intercepts/ same hex entries. The US plan is to set a cordon to sweep West to East. With flights being truncated due to return times back to Oz.
I chose the IJN search pattern based upon using the Southern map edge as a daylight search limit (2 hex range at high altitude), the Mavis plans arrived at 0500 and will sit on station 1 turn then in daylight track East in search then head naturally North and return towards home fields covering as much ground as possible.
Further East, night take offs allowed planes to be on location along the path of the IJN CV Task Forces in the hope of spotting the USN first.
Only 1 aircraft was spared to scout south of Henderson Field.
The AP (troop ships), ducked into the channel west of the China Strait. This proved fortuitous as the American flights missed and overflew them. These American planes will also fly a 2 hex spread pattern, and return, so this will be a decision point for the Pollster to elect where to head in order to dodge the Planes. Note the USN flight paths are predetermined by me, so you might get lucky…or not. I thought the night range was one hex, not 0 hexes!
I shall report on the preparations for the bombing of Port Moresby shortly.
In the mean time, daylight is just an hour away and CV’s are steaming in all directions!!
0100 hour thru 0400 complete.
Note based on plan Orange the IJN will launch searches to find CV’s and interdict Port Moresby air to protect the troop ships. I have not planned the Air moves with you but I shall attempt a rational sweep and attempt to interdict based on potential for success and time to base. 0100-0500 are of course night turns so longer range units can be positioned to search come daytime and fighter/interceptor/bomber groups and launch to hit at dawn.