Coral Sea Conclusion – Part 4

Turn 14 – Jap Carrier Sinking – The Jap fleet carrier started the turn with 6 of 8 strength points. After three dive bomber attacks it has one point remaining. A Jap sub was discovered by Task Force 1 and sunk. The Jap Zero was also shot down.40 - Jap sub discovered & sunk41 - Jap Fleet Carrier Sinking

Task Force 2 sank the last Jap Shoho Escort and is recovering planes. The blocking force cruiser and destroyer escort are on an intercept course for the Jap Troop Ships. However, the Jap escorts sank another destroyer decoy and two Jap ships intercepted the Cruiser and its escort. Task Force 2’s attack wing would be racing neck and neck to catch the Jap Troop transports before they take Port Moresby if the Cruiser cannot sink the transports. Saving Port Moresby will not be easy if the Japs press home the attack. 42 - turn 14 Big Picture

Turn 15 – Blocking Force Sinking – Task Force 1’s Dive Bombers sank the heavily damaged Jap Carrier in the far North. Around Port Moresby the situation is dire. The last decoy destroyer is sinking. Two Jap destroyers put torpedoes in my Cruiser which is steaming full speed ahead towards the Jap Troop Transports. It is a race to see if the Cruiser and the Destroyer can sink the Jap Troop ships before being sunk. Regardless, the chances that the last three ships in the blocking force will survive is remote.43 - T15 Jap Carrier Sunk44 - Blocking Force Melting Away

Turn 16 – Another Jap Fleet? – Task Force 1 strike aircraft are returning home after sinking the Jap Fleet Carrier in the North. All Task Force 2’s aircraft are launched. The strike aircraft hope to hit the Jap Troop Transports before they take Port Moresby.

The Jap Troop Transports are about 4 turns away from Port Moresby.  My blocking force is mostly sunk. The last decoy destroyer sank. The big Jap surface fleet will steam North to sink the Australian Cruiser and Destroyer menacing the Jap Transports. My cruiser has 50% damage, from two Jap Destroyers. But the Jap Troop ships are under fire. Can the  Cruiser and Destroyer sink the troop ships before they are sunk?

In another twist, intercepted Jap radio transmissions state my Carriers have been spotted and Jap strike aircraft are launched. But where are the Jap carriers? I spot another Jap Fleet, units unknown, almost due North of Task Force 2.45 - Port Moresby Graveyard46 - Another Jap Fleet Spotted47 - Japs Locate US Carriers48 - Coral Sea T16

Turn 17 – Troop Ship Sunk! – The damaged cruiser and destroyer from the blocking force sank one Jap troop ship and damaged another! If I can sink the last troop ship I will not lose Port Moresby or the Battle of the Coral Sea. Strike Aircraft from Task Force 2 are speeding towards the last Jap Troop Ship in case the last blocking force ships are sunk. 49

The F4F Wildcats from Task Force 2 intercept Jap Carrier Bombers. Are the ships to the North a Carrier Strike Group?49 - Troop Ship Sunk50 - Bomber Intercepted51 - Turn 17 Big Picture

Turn 18 – Another Jap Carrier! – Jap Fleet Carrier Spotted North of Task Force 2! Strike aircraft are redirected to the Jap Carrier. This is a gamble. If I guessed wrong the Japs Take Port Moresby and win Coral Sea (and end the campaign). Jap surface ships are pounding the Cruiser and Destroyer remaining from the blocking force and they may sink before they can take out the last troop ship. Rerouting the strike aircraft also dooms the last of the blocking force given the number of Jap Surface Ships.52 - Jap Carrier Spotted53 - Turn 18 Coral Sea

Turn 19 – Jap Troop Ship Sinks within Sight of Port Moresby! – Almost the last shot from the Cruiser sinks the Jap Troop Ship. The destroyer sank at the end of turn 18. The Cruiser is doomed – surrounded by Jap Surface Ships. Port Moresby is saved! 52 - Troop Ship Sunk

A US Destroyer boldly races into torpedo range of the Jap Carrier and hits. Two strike aircraft from Task Force 2 also hit the Carrier. But the surrounding Jap Cruisers will shell the US Destroyer to the bottom of the Sea. 53 - Jap Carrier

The Japs sink my Cruiser off Port Moresby. The entire blocking force was sunk. A Jap sub also damages a battleship attached to Task Force 1. The destroyer which put a torpedo into the Jap Carrier was also sunk. 55 - Cruiser Sunk54 - Sub attack

Turn 20 – 2nd Jap Fleet Carrier Sunk – Strike aircraft from Task Force 2 sank a 2nd Jap Fleet Carrier. This is a huge blow to Jap Carrier forces. All Allied Coral Sea Objectives were accomplished.56 - Carrier Sunk

 

Aftermath
The rest of the battle were sporadic Jap Sub hits on major surface ships including a carrier hit plus US strike aircraft hits on Jap Cruisers. Task Force 1 and Task Force 2 linked up while running at full speed away from the Jap surface ships.

Allied losses were heavy. Every blocking force ship was sunk by the Japanese. Several additional destroyer squadrons were lost. More than 50% of scout aircraft pilots died. US Carrier pilot losses were 50%. Although no US carrier air units were lost, no unit experience was gained due to heavy replacements.

Seven research points were gained and Scrambling and Liberty Ships advances were bought. Scrambling enables fighters to move 50% on their launch turn giving a big increase in unit effectiveness. Liberty ships give supply ships defensive bonuses and every supply ship provides more resources to ground units. This will be vital for Guadalcanal.59 - scrambling60 - Liberty Ships

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