The Battle of The Corral Sea
Last weekend we used my collection of Axis and Allies naval miniatures to recreate the Battle of the Corral Sea.
From wikipedia: The Battle of the Coral Sea, fought during May 4–8, 1942, was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and Allied naval and air forces from the United States (U.S.) and Australia. The battle was the first fleet action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other. It was also the first naval battle in history in which neither side's ships sighted or fired directly upon the other.
As a point of reference we followed the
with a few limitations. Units that took part in the invasion of Tulagi were not included for the Japanese, planes flying form Rabaul and Port Moresby were limited only to patrol bombers.
The units were:
Shokaku (1xA6M2, 1xD3A, 1x B5N2)
Zuikaku (1xA6M2, 1xD3A, 1x B5N2)
Salt Lake City
2xJohn C. Butler
The starting setup for both sides. We used all the SA as mentioned on the cards and US won initiative for every round till the last.
(click on images for larger view)
End of first round. Most long range attacking planes failed their searches and caused minor damage. 1 A6M2 from Shoho got shot down providing CAP for 1 attacking B5N2 that made it through but was unable to do any damage on Yorktown.
2 B-25H that made it to locate a lone Japanese destroyer were able to sink it. The rest of the air attacks were focused in the center of the map against each others submarine screen. In the furious air and sub combat that occurred during this turn, 1 PBY and 1 S-37 were lost.
Unfortunately I dont have a pic for r2, but it was in the same tune as the first one. Planes that took part the previous round in long range attacks were rearming on the carriers with very few that were able to fly again this round fought against the sub screen. 1 I-19 and 1 I-25 were lost for the IJN and 5 S-37 for the USN.
End of 3rd round. The USN was able to launch air strikes on the Japanese cruiser leading the formation and being spotted by the USN sub screen. Tone was crippled by the air attacks while Nachi was able to shoot down one of the Devastators. The IJN sub screen was able to spot a small force of USN destroyers and the fury of the IJN air force was unsealed on them. 1 Fletcher and 1 Phelps were sunk while Hoel was able to shoot down 1 G4M1. In addition, 1 PBY was able to cripple 1 I-19 and 1 S-37 was sunk by a G4M. In the meanwhile the Japanese destroyers were putting all efforts in making smokescreen to hide the discovered attacking IJN squadron.
End of round 4. The Japanese sub screen moved forward and spotted a squadron of USN cruisers providing escort to a USN carrier, (the later not spotted yet but assumed in the vicinity of the cruisers), with 1 of the subs being crippled by a PBY. The IJN capital ships were able to hide behind the smokescreens from the USN submarine screen but the leading cruiser of the IJN Nachi was fiercely attacked by land based bombers and the aircrews of Lexington. In the meanwhile aircrews form the Japanes carriers sunk 1 more USN destroyer and 1 S-37.
Round 5, last round. The leading ship of the IJN squadron was able to spot a USN carrier and led the aircrews flying from Zuikaku and Shoho to a desperate attack against Yorktawn. She paid the price for her forward position becoming the target of the Yorktown aircrews that sunk her. Alas hes sacrifice was not in vain since Yorktown was sunk by the IJN attacking planes. The IJN destroyers were able to sink 2 more S-37 that came too close to the Japanese squadron and a PBY was able to cripple 1 more of the Japanese subs. The USN cruiser/destroyer screen of Lexington was able to shoot down 1 B5N2 and weaken the attacking capabilities of the Japanese more.
Still at the end of the round, with USN having lost 1 fleet carrier most of its sub screen and having sunk only one IJN heavy cruiser in exchange, the decision was made to retreat and regroup before challenging the IJN again. The IJN was victorious!
Till the next battle...