Turn 15 – Three Japanese Carrier Groups Spotted! – Three Japanese carrier groups, each with a fleet carrier, battleship, heavy cruiser and two destroyer squadrons are spotted on the Eastern Map edge. Scout planes have all three groups in sight. Task Force UFO is in a two-turn flight range of the Northern and Central Japanese Carrier Groups.
Task Force UFO directs the bomber squadrons in the air to the North group while launching all torpedo planes this round. The Guam strike group composed of two carriers, one heavily damaged is about a turn behind Task Force UFO and launches a pair of dive bombers.
Turn 17 – Jap Carriers Heavily Damaged! – It took two turns flight time to reach the Jap carriers. In the North two Helldivers landed hits on a Jap Carrier severely damaging it.
In the center, a TBM Avenger landed a huge blow on a Jap Carrier. A Dauntless Dive Bomber hit for minor damage.
“Mommy – I’m going to die! There is a Jap Zero on my tail and Captain Skull dances at the death of Scouts” cried the scout pilot over the airwave. This was followed by loud sobs, crying sounds, and the Lord’s Prayer. Then two US Navy Fighters dove out of the sun almost splashing the Zero on a single pass. A second pilot came on the air: “Shut up your mewling or my wingman and I will shoot you down ourselves.” A nickname was born.
Turn 18 – Two Jap Flattops Sunk & Mewler is Safe! – The North carrier was the first sunk, closely followed by a dive bomber hit on the Center carrier. The Jap Zeros savaging the scouts of “Mewler Flight” were shot down. Unfortunately, three Jap Cruisers are rapidly closing on TF-UFO. US Dive Bombers will be redirected to this threat before flying South after the final Jap Carrier.
In the South an Avenger lands a torpedo in the 3rd and last Japanese Carrier. The screenshot captures the “boom” on the carrier before the damage is assessed.
During the Japanese part of turn 18 a cruiser launches a torpedo at a carrier in TF-UFO. Fortunately for the carrier (but not the destroyer), a screening ship took the torpedo intended for the carrier. [Another good reason to cluster your carriers surrounded by escorts. It is much harder to land a torpedo hit with this formation.]
In the Big Picture, the Guam Strike Carriers have rejoined TF-UFO. Two of the three Japanese Fleet Carriers have been sunk. The last in the South has suffered a major torpedo hit. TF-UFO will start withdrawing at full steam away from the remaining Japanese ships.
Turn 19 to 22 – Overwhelming US Victory! – US Dive Bombers sank the final Jap Carrier on Turn 19. TF-UFO reversed direction and steamed back towards Saipan. No US Air Squadrons were destroyed. “Mewler” returned safely.
Amphibious tanks were my research pick after the completion of the scenario.
Post Battle Analysis – I took multiple risks in this scenario. I split my forces which split my Combat Air Patrol. A Jap Torpedo plane made it through the fighter screen and landed a heavy blow on a Guam Force carrier.
TF-UFO was extremely aggressive steaming very close to the map edge. Flight times to the Jap Carriers when they appeared on map was very short and the battle ended quickly. But this also put a couple of Jap Cruisers in range of the Task Force which could have ended far worse than it did.
The decision to send most of my destroyers South to protect the Saipan troop transports from Submarines was wise. The Japanese had a large torpedo force and if it was unmolested transports would have been torpedoed which could have lost the war for the USA.
Finally, the decision to aggressively bomb Rota and Guam to end the Japanese Land Based Air threat was a good decision.
A more conservative and frankly better strategy would have done this differently. Send all carriers with TF-UFO South. Bomb Rota and Guam with the carriers protected behind a thick Combat Air Patrol screen. Only then sail towards the Japanese Fleet. This accomplishes the same strategy with far lower risk than I ran – unnecessarily.
Only three scenarios left before the US Navy Campaign is complete!
[Final note. I realized during this conclusion that I swapped my “east” for “west” in the text and screenshots earlier in this scenario. Once you edit screenshots and add text you cannot erase words and rewrite. The text of the AAR could be easily altered, but it would be confusing when looking at the mistakes on screenshot text. So the mistakes remain. Oops!]