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"Battle of Coral Sea, Fight #2" Topic

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Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2019 6:07 a.m. PST


7 May 1942

Greetings, and welcome to my return to the Pacific! Both the US Navy and Imperial Japanese Navy are on the prowl in the southwestern Pacific; the Japanese have their eyes on Australia, or at least cutting off the lines of communication between the US and Australia, and the Americans are looking to not allow that to happen. On 3-4 May 1942, while fighting raged on New Guinea, the Japanese attempted secure their flank, sending an invasion fleet into the Solomon Islands to put troops ashore on Tulagi (across the channel from Guadalcanal), in order to conduct an amphibious assault on Port Moresby on 10 May.

But the Americans noted the Japanese invasion force in the Solomons, and the USS Yorktown launched strike aircraft that sunk or damaged several Japanese warships, though now the Japanese were aware the US carriers were in the vicinity, made doubly worse by the fact the Americans were shorthanded: they had only the Yorktown and the Lexington in the area because the Hornet and Enterprise had just returned to Pearl Harbor following the Doolittle Raid. These were faced by the Japanese fleet carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku, and the light carrier Shoho. The two opposing forces marshalled their troops, refueled, consolidated, and began searching in earnest for each other.

This morning, Lt(jg) Casey led the fighter escort for the Lexington strike force which, combined with the Yorktown's strike force, managed to sink the Japanese light carrier Shoho. But the Killer Pelicans' escorts had a rough go: they downed three Zeros and damaged another, but they lost one Wildcat, had the other three damaged, and five of their six assigned dive bombers were shot down, the sixth returning to the Lexington, damaged. Lt Casey scored two more kills to become a Veteran (total of four kills), but he was shot down and badly wounded, which will cause him to miss the Battle of Midway.

Admiral Inoue very aggressively continued to scout for the US carriers, and at 1515, when the strike force that hit the Sims and Neosho returned, he even quickly rearmed them and sent them south, certain his scouts would locate the US carriers, and then he could vector the strike force to them. But it was not to be; the Japanese scouts were unable to locate the US carriers, but the strike force, flying bling in bad weather, stumbled close enough to them that the Lexington and Yorktown were able to vector their CAP over to intercept. At 1747, Lt(jg) Fitzsimmons led aloft the Lexington's Wildcats to intercept the Japanese, which still (and never would) had not spotted the US carriers!


This is my arena for aerial combat; simple, yet durable and, to me, beautiful (in a simple, durable way). I'm using tiny aircraft designed by my buddy Thomaston; not sure what size they are, just that they are much smaller than 1/600. They're 3D printed models that I mounted on cut-down bases from Litko, and I'm using a very simple rules system called "Battle of Britain," which I found for free over on The Miniatures Page (I've already played a good 20 or so fights with them). South is left, where the Japanese strike group is present, while at right, approaching from the north, is the Lexington's CAP, the Lexington herself present to the west.


And that is a lot of bogeys! Sporting some real teeth, too: a Natural Born Kiler, an Ace, and two Regulars are escorting the Vals and Kates.


The Wildcats are working together to get it done, and for the first time I find myself awarding a 1/2 kill.


But still tough to deal with those nimble Zeros and their very experienced pilots.


The remaining Japanese pilots made it home safely (even though, after dark, some got confused and tried to land on the Lexington!) and are rearing to go for the engagements sure to happen tomorrow.

Both sides carried out preparation for battle throughout the night, then launched scouts shortly after 0600 the next morning, to find the other side's carriers. The Americans got lucky first, sighting the Japanese carriers at 0820, though the Japanese were only two minutes behind. Both sides hurried to turn into the wind and launch their strike groups! The Japanese launched 18 fighters, 33 dive bombers, and 18 torpedo bombers, while the Yorktown and Lexington launched a combined 15 Wildcats, 39 Dauntlesses, and 21 Devastators, though the Lexington's contingent was about 10 minutes behind the Yorktown's.

At 1055 the Lexington's air search radar acquired the inbound Japanese strike group at a range of 68 nautical miles and vectored nine Wildcats to intercept, while the Lexington strike group arrived over the Shokaku and Zuikaku at 1130, facing a Japanese CAP of 13 Zeros, and went into the attack.

Coming right up!


Frederick Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2019 8:28 a.m. PST

Nicely done!

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2019 5:41 p.m. PST

Thanks, Frederick, I appreciate it!


Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP11 Sep 2019 7:46 p.m. PST

I just realized I had not added a link to the fight:


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