The US Military is returning to the Philippines under McArthur’s command. Scenario 9 is the huge naval air battle in the Philippine Sea nicknamed the “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot” due to the ratio of Japanese to US air losses. The Japanese lost 633 aircraft (433 carrier aircraft and 200 land based) versus 123 lost US aircraft (80 of which were running out of fuel with recovered pilots). Jap Carriers were no longer a threat after this battle.
Informative screenshots will be challenging for two reasons. First, the map is massive. Second, radar aircraft and ship sightings are “ghost images” on closeup screenshots and nonexistent on the overview map. This issue should be addressed by the designers. It would be easy enough to put “?” on the overview map for radar sightings. Second, not all radar sightings should be valid. In Order of Battle if you have a radar sighting there is a ship or plane, every single time. This does not accurately represent 1940s technology.
My New Georgia strategy yielded a big pool of reinforcement/replacement/upgrade points used here to purchase another Essex class carrier, several naval aircraft, and upgrades to many F4F Wildcats and Dauntless Dive Bombers. I do lack the points to replace all Wildcats and Dauntlesses to Hellcats and Helldivers. Upgrading to better Dauntlessess is worthwhile. Wildcats are obsolete and need replacement with Hellcats or Corsairs.
Strategy: The US loses if a troop transport is sunk. Losing a battleship or carrier reduces your fleet size in future scenarios. Thus, your primary goal is protecting the troop ships at Saipan from submarine or air attack.
Most Japanese air attacks will start from the East edge of the map from the horde of carrier planes. Jap air bases on Rota and Guam in the Southwest have fewer planes but are a bigger threat. The short flight from Rota/Guam to the Saipan transports is a major threat. Those bases also can land Jap Carrier aircraft. Jap Carrier aircraft have very long flights providing ample intercept opportunity.
Given the relative threats, almost all US destroyers will speed South providing an anti-submarine screen for the Saipan transports. A cruiser and destroyer squadron is tasked with bombarding the Rota and Guam airfields. Two complete carrier air groups made up of 4 Dauntless Dive Bomber squadrons and two fighter wings will target the Rota and Guam airfields. Two carriers with a destroyer escort will steam South to recover the those air wings after Rota and Guam airfields are destroyed. The two carriers will then steam East to rendezvous with the main task force.
The other four carriers are Task Force UFO (TF-UFO) which will concentrate and steam East. TF-UFO escorts are cruisers for anti-aircraft fire. Hopefully there are enough cruiser escorts to protect the carriers clustered in the center from Jap torpedo aircraft attack. Jap torpedo hits do massive damage. TF-UFO will engage most Jap carrier aircraft with one carrier carrying only fighters. The task force gets the bulk of longer-range Hellcat and Corsair fighters.
Hopefully the Japs will never see TF-UFO coming!
Turn 2 – Jap Carrier Aircraft Spotted – Multiple squadrons of carrier-based Jap aircraft are spotted. My scout planes are flying East full throttle. The screenshot shows confirmed Jap aircraft and radar sightings.
“Commander Skull” is my nickname given by fresh scout pilots. There are no experienced scout pilots – only the dead. The sole surviving scout pilot was given a medical discharge for insanity. Scout pilots don “red shirts” for some reason.
Fighters are launched from both carrier groups. The strike on Jap land aircraft at Rota should hit next turn. The large squadron of destroyers with a cruiser are full steam ahead to defend the Saipan Invasion Fleet. Task Force UFO is steaming East.
Turn 3 – Rota Strike & Jap Subs Attack – Dauntless Dive bombers catch many Jap planes on the ground at Rota. The handful reaching the skies are being shot down by fighter escorts. An unidentified Jap Sub torpedoed destroyer escorts approaching Saipan with no damage.
Turn 4 – Rota Airfield Destroyed – The aircraft and airfield at Rota have been destroyed. Guam is next. More Jap carrier aircraft are spotted every turn coming in from the East. Jap aircraft losses are mounting with very few US losses.