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"Last Dogfights Over Midway, with Campaign Epilogue" Topic


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©1994-2020 Bill Armintrout
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Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP26 Mar 2020 6:11 a.m. PST

All,

1700 local time
4 June 1942
Midway

It's 4 June 1942, the dawn of the epic "Battle of Midway," a clash of giants, three US carriers vs four Japanese carriers that proved to be the turning point of the war in the Pacific. For more information, both real-life and how I'm running this campaign, please check here:
link

It's now 1700, and as the sun is settling into the ocean, LtCmdr Case is escorting a flight of SBD Dauntlesses out to sink the fourth Japanese carrier, the Hiryu.

picture

The Japanese fighters zoom on in, very aggressive, as normal.

picture

Ensign Bryant in there, mixing it up, despite his Wildcat being damaged!

picture

The Zeros begin making their runs on the Dauntlesses.

picture

But the bombers get through! Largely on the work of the dive bomber crews, themselves…

To see how the fight went, please check the blog at:
link

If you made it this far, thanks for reading all these, I hope you enjoyed them. I had fun, but I can't say it was a lot of fun, just too many ass-whoopins for my taste! It pains me to no end to know that the US Army Air Force is performing better than my sailors and beloved Marines…

Thus ends Midway, the (in my humble opinion) true turning point of the War in the Pacific. Yes, the war would continue for three more years of hard-fighting, and yes, of course, Guadalcanal was no sure thing; as a Marine, I'd love to say that Guadalcanal was the turning point, but the truth is that the US never won before Midway, and never lost afterward (I don't mean setbacks or battles like Savo Island, I mean campaigns).

I brought my Marines (VMF-343, the "Dirt Divers"), stationed aboard Midway, and my Naval aviators (VF-63, the "Killer Pelicans"), stationed aboard the USS Yorktown. While there were some individual successes, we lost way too many planes, scored too few victories, and lost too many pilots. Here is the breakdown:

VMF-343 Dirt Divers
Escorted 24 bombers of various types, lost 14 of them
Intercepted 12 bombers of various types, stopped 4 of them
Killed 7 enemy fighters (another 4 were killed by bomber crews)
Lost 11 of the squadron's fighters (2 to enemy bomber crews)
No pilots became Aces, none were decorated
Three pilots KIA or MIA, one seriously wounded

VF-63 Killer Pelicans
Escorted 16 bombers of various types, lost 10 of them
Intercepted 12 bombers of various types, stopped 6 of them
Killed 7 enemy fighters (another 6 were killed by bomber crews)
Lost 13 of the squadron's fighters (2 to enemy bomber crews)
Four pilots became Aces, three Bronze Star w/V awarded
Six pilots KIA or MIA, three seriously wounded

Total:
Escorted 40 bombers of various types, lost 24 of them
Intercepted 24 bombers of various types, stopped 10 of them
Killed 24 enemy fighters (ten were killed by bomber crews)
Lost 24 friendly fighters (4 to enemy bomber crews)

So, not particularly pretty. The US fighters shot down 14 Zeros, the Japanese fighters shot down 20 Wildcats, with the Japanese often being out numbered, though I must point out that the Japanese always had a qualitative advantage, sometimes quite significantly.

I plan on playing a week with the Chickenhawks in New Guinea, P-40s vs Zeros, with the Japanese maintaining their qualitative advantage, but when we get to Guadalcanal things are going to begin to change as cumulative losses begin to tell on the Japanese, and their aircraft advantage will go away as Wildcats and P-40s are replaced by Corsairs, Hellcats, and Lightnings. Actually, the Japanese aircraft advantage will be nullified over Guadalcanal as I look to show the advantage the Marines had operating over the 'Canal, compared with the Japanese operating at the edge of their 'legs,' coming all the way from Rabaul.

Lastly, there is one bit of good news: A PBY out of Midway was patrolling wide swaths of ocean several days after the battle when the pilot suddenly had sunlight glare off of something on the water. "What the hell?" the pilot commented to himself as it happened several more times. He leaned over to his half-asleep co-pilot: "Barney, do see that there," he said, pointing. "Put the glasses on it and tell me what ya got." The co-pilot rubbed his eyes and pulled the binoculars to his face, scanning. "Damn, Roger, it's a lifeboat." The co-pilot called the sighting in to Midway, then they set down and, lo and behold, who did they fish out of the great Pacific Ocean but the hotshot fighter ace, Lt Fitzsimmons, winner of the Navy Cross, with five kills on four sorties! Thanks Kyote and Shaun ;)

Stay tuned!

V/R,
Jack

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP26 Mar 2020 6:18 a.m. PST

Great campaign and thanks for sharing!

Looking forward to the next installment

boggler26 Mar 2020 6:49 a.m. PST

Brilliant stuff Jack…as always!

BillyNM26 Mar 2020 10:18 a.m. PST

So after all those games the outcome exactly matched the historic one? Was that just luck or were there some shaping factors in place making a re-run of the original more likely?

BuckeyeBob26 Mar 2020 3:18 p.m. PST

Thanks for posting all the battles of this campaign. I enjoyed reading them. The final results may not have been favorable for your favorites…but they sure seemed reflective of the heavy losses actually suffered during this time frame to stem the IJN advance.
Good Gaming!

Just Jack Supporting Member of TMP26 Mar 2020 5:40 p.m. PST

First, thanks everyone, I really appreciate the support, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

My next set of batreps is the German campaign in Greece, April 1941, probably post the campaign plan tomorrow. But I'll get back to dogfighting with the Army Air Force squadron in New Guinea as soon as I can.

"So after all those games the outcome exactly matched the historic one? Was that just luck or were there some shaping factors in place making a re-run of the original more likely?"
There was some 'shaping' done in the campaign narrative. Strictly speaking, my fighters did about the same as in real life, but my bombers (my bombers were from the Yorktown's air group) didn't hold up their end of the bargain. Over half my bomber sorties got shot down, and the ones that got through didn't score very well: they scored well enough to knock out maybe two of the four Japanese carriers, with dive bombers from "the other carriers' air groups" (Hornet and Enterprise) knocking out the other two Japanese carriers.

So, I'm not going to change actual history, so 4 Japanese carriers and the Yorktown were getting sunk no matter how good or bad my fighter and bomber pilots did.

"The final results may not have been favorable for your favorites…but they sure seemed reflective of the heavy losses actually suffered during this time frame to stem the IJN advance."
Looking at the rosters, the Marines are still hurting, but the Navy squadron came out looking pretty good, actually, with four Aces and two Veterans (and another Ace convalescing but coming back at the end of Sep 1942)! So they'll be alright in the long run. The Army Air Corps boys are okay, with two Aces and two Veterans, with a Veteran recovering and returning in July 1942, but what's really hurting them is they've had two Aces shot down and off the rolls (one MIA and one KIA).

Thanks again guys, I really appreciate the kind words, it's good for morale!

V/R,
Jack

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