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Wider Wargaming => Non-Pendraken Stuff => Topic started by: bigjackmac on 05 September 2019, 01:54:24 AM



Title: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: bigjackmac on 05 September 2019, 01:54:24 AM
All,

1040
7 May 1942

Greetings, and welcome to my return to the Pacific!  Both the US Navy and Imperial Japanese Navy are on the prowl in the southwestern Pacific; the Japanese have their eyes on Australia, or at least cutting off the lines of communication between the US and Australia, and the Americans are looking to not allow that to happen.  On 3-4 May 1942, while fighting raged on New Guinea, the Japanese attempted secure their flank, sending an invasion fleet into the Solomon Islands to put troops ashore on Tulagi (across the channel from Guadalcanal), in order to conduct an amphibious assault on Port Moresby on 10 May.

But the Americans noted the Japanese invasion force in the Solomons, and the USS Yorktown launched strike aircraft that sunk or damaged several Japanese warships, though now the Japanese were aware the US carriers were in the vicinity, made doubly worse by the fact the Americans were shorthanded: they had only the Yorktown and the Lexington in the area because the Hornet and Enterprise had just returned to Pearl Harbor following the Doolittle Raid.  These were faced by the Japanese fleet carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku, and the light carrier Shoho.  The two opposing forces marshalled their troops, refueled, consolidated, and began searching in earnest for each other.

 Both sides made various, confused sightings of the other sides' forces, mostly believing they'd found each other's carriers when they hadn't.  At 0915 on 7 May, Japanese aircraft found the US fleet oiler Neosho and the destroyer Sims (earlier reported by scout aircraft as the US carriers), sinking the latter and badly damaging the former, leaving it dead in the water, later to be scuttled.  At 1040 that same morning, the US strike aircraft from Lexington and Yorktown spotted a Japanese task force.  Believing they'd found the Japanese carriers, they assumed attack formation and descended on the enemy ships, only then realizing they'd found a Japanese surface force with the light carrier, Shoho, attached.

The VF-63 "Killer Pelicans," led by Lieutenant Case, an Ace after the squadron's combat debut in the Dutch East Indies, were now embarked upon the USS Lexington.  Lt Case had broken the squadron up, one six plane division devoted to strike escort, the other two divisions dedicated to Combat Air Patrol, protecting their floating home base.  The six strike escorts, led by Lt Case, lifted off, aiming to protect the SBD Dauntlesses of VB-2 and VS-2 (the two dive bomber squadrons, "Bombing 2" and "Scouting 2"), and the TBD Devastators of VT-2 (the torpedo squadron, or "Torpedo 2"), but the strike package was jumbled, the Americans not yet having ironed out all the kinks of carrier operations.  This resulted in the Devastators forming up first and immediately departing without escort, then the SBDs, and lastly Lt Case's six Wildcats, making for a very difficult escort mission!

(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-YddgXPGvQYQ/XWBFdzxiQOI/AAAAAAAArpQ/Dmj0Z_GmfokeN_R49fH3RPtrNwfSFmqKgCLcBGAs/s1600/IMG_7233.JPG)
This is my arena for aerial combat; simple, yet durable and, to me, beautiful (in a simple, durable way).  I'm using tiny aircraft designed by my buddy Thomaston; not sure what size they are, just that they are much smaller than 1/600.  They're 3D printed models that I mounted on cut-down bases from Litko, and I'm using a very simple rules system called "Battle of Britain," which I found for free over on The Miniatures Page (I've already played a good 20 or so fights with them).  North is left, where the Japanese carrier Shoho is present, as is her six-plane CAP, while at right, approaching from the south, is the Lexington's strike group, minus the Devastator torpedo planes, which have been unable to locate the target.

(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-sZR7pjvcqvo/XWBFc63JAhI/AAAAAAAArpI/OTbchYHRIg8VAZoLpzJkqeLla7Gqchk9QCLcBGAs/s1600/IMG_7234.JPG)
The US strike formation, from top:
Ensign Riggins, a rookie pilot on his first hop
Lt(jg) Casey, a regular with two kills in two sorties, and Riggins' section leader.
The six SBD Dauntless dive bombers, which are referred to as Bomber 1 through 6
Ensign Warren, another rookie on his first hop
Ensign Didier, one more rookie on his first hop

Of course, missing from this fight are Lt Case, the Ace squadron leader, and Ensign Dahlgren, a regular with one kill.  They missed this fight as they were searching for the Devastators, then tallied on a Japanese aircraft a few miles back that ducked into some clouds.  By the time Lt Case and Ens Dahgren gave up the search, this fight was over.*

*Strike missions only get four fighter escorts, so this is the back story to explain why Lt Case and Ens Dahlgren are not in the fight.  And if you're wondering why I played three rookies and left out these two, it's because I rolled dice to see which US pilots would be in the fight, and this is how it turned out.  Not optimal, by any means, but it does mean Lt Case and Ens Dahlgren will definitely be in the escort fight(s) on Day 2.

(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-sD7MtnzumRo/XWBFdG6UylI/AAAAAAAArpM/PvMM4dVKcNw18YY8xMkOX66dnZfe5lafwCLcBGAs/s1600/IMG_7235.JPG)
The Japanese Combat Air Patrol, looking to protect their home base from those pesky Yank fliers.  I made a big mistake by listening to Thomaston, which will soon become apparent, and rolled up pilot experience for the Japanese.  To refresh your memory, pilot experience goes: Rookie, Regular, Veteran, Ace, and Natural Born Killer.  Based on the fact that some of these Japanese pilots have been flying, and fighting, for years, I rolled it so that a pilot had about an 8% chance of being a Rookie, and it went up from there, all the way to Natural Born Killer.  So, here we go, from the top:
Zero 3: Regular
Zero 1: Natural Born Killer
Zero 2: Regular

Zero 6: Ace
Zero 4: Ace
Zero 5: Regular

Perfect, right?  The Japanese Zeros are already getting a +1 for being superior (in terms of maneuverability and climb) to the F4F Wildcats, and now the pilots are markedly better in terms of quality.

(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-XneVkLmu-rk/XWBGVZBzmpI/AAAAAAAArq0/L7E8OuE_syQDKn98wLQ6vVw2BVIHHS8tQCLcBGAs/s1600/IMG_7252.JPG)
The Zeros showed up hungry and are chowing down...

(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-yRmNUs1v3eI/XWBJeP41UsI/AAAAAAAArxo/hTZ22KhUVw4ltMEjnUIhovFnHf-gpKngQCLcBGAs/s1600/IMG_7331.JPG)
The Yorktown Dauntlesses plant three 500 pounders on the flight deck of the Shoho.

To see how the dogfight went, please check the blog at:
https://oldleadbreed.blogspot.com/2019/09/coral-sea-day-1-fight-1.html

The Lexington and Yorktown still had scouting patrols out to locate new enemy targets.  The scouts had identified a surface warfare task force and a transport task force (carrying the Japanese 'South Seas Detachment,' the Port Moresby invasion force), but with the enemy carriers still not located, Admiral Fletcher decided to hold off on launching another strike.

The US had sent a surface warfare task force north, which was promptly located by the Japanese.  The Japanese carriers were still waiting on their strike force (which hit the Sims and Neosho) to return, so Admiral Inoue ordered two groups of bombers from Rabaul to attack.  At 1435 they did, without effect, as did an errant flight of US Army B-17s...  The US surface force then promptly withdrew.

Admiral Inoue very aggressively continued to scout for the US carriers, and at 1515, when the strike force that hit the Sims and Neosho returned, he even quickly rearmed them and sent them south, certain his scouts would locate the US carriers, and then he could vector the strike force to them.  But it was not to be; the Japanese scouts were unable to locate the US carriers, but the strike force, flying bling in bad weather, stumbled close enough to them that the Lexington and Yorktown were able to vector their CAP over to intercept.  At 1747 the US Wildcats tore the Japanese strike force a new one, sending the survivors back north, scrambling to safety without ever having seen the US carriers!

And that is the next fight!

V/R,
Jack


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: paulr on 05 September 2019, 07:51:14 AM
 :-bd =D> :-bd


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: mad lemmey on 05 September 2019, 08:06:28 AM
Nice ship!


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: sunjester on 05 September 2019, 08:13:24 AM
Excellent  =D> =D> =D>


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: pierre the shy on 05 September 2019, 09:36:05 AM
Great report as always Jack....that was an epic fight...looks like the USN learnt the lesson of not getting into a turning fight with more nimble Japanese fighters the hard way.....zoom and boom is the way to go for the Wildcat boys  ;)

FWIW I haven't forgotten about the 1/600th air stuff......just got some other projects to finish before they see the tabletop (My ECW stuff is taking up most of the tabletop at the moment).


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: ianrs54 on 05 September 2019, 09:54:52 AM
Good stuff


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: bigjackmac on 05 September 2019, 03:11:09 PM
Thanks everyone, I appreciate ya!

Lemmey- itís an Axis and Allies War at Sea pre-painted ship, perfect for lazy bastards like me!

Pierre - youíre absolutely correct about tactics, but these rules are super simple dogfighting rules, and zoom and boom actually doesnít work because the Wildcats canít zoom far enough away after boom to escape the Zeros (there are no altitude rules, so no power dive to escape).

Canít wait to see your new toys on the table, hurry up! ;)

V/R,
Jack


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: Raider4 on 05 September 2019, 04:47:44 PM
Most excellent stuff!

. . . and I'm using a very simple rules system called "Battle of Britain," which I found for free over on The Miniatures Page . . .

These ones: https://lonewarriorswa.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Battle-of-Britain.pdf (https://lonewarriorswa.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Battle-of-Britain.pdf)?


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: Norm on 05 September 2019, 05:31:11 PM
Superbly done.


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: bigjackmac on 05 September 2019, 06:35:59 PM
Thank you gentlemen, and yes Sir, themís the ones.  Iíve added a little chrome, but trying to be cared not to make them cumbersome.

V/R,
Jack


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: mmcv on 06 September 2019, 07:54:09 AM
Great game


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: Techno on 06 September 2019, 08:16:42 AM
Great stuff, Jack !

Cheers - Phil


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: bigjackmac on 06 September 2019, 01:12:42 PM
Thanks mmcv and Phil!

V/R,
Jack


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: bigjackmac on 11 September 2019, 02:17:15 PM
All,

1747
7 May 1942

Greetings, and welcome to my return to the Pacific!  Both the US Navy and Imperial Japanese Navy are on the prowl in the southwestern Pacific; the Japanese have their eyes on Australia, or at least cutting off the lines of communication between the US and Australia, and the Americans are looking to not allow that to happen.  On 3-4 May 1942, while fighting raged on New Guinea, the Japanese attempted secure their flank, sending an invasion fleet into the Solomon Islands to put troops ashore on Tulagi (across the channel from Guadalcanal), in order to conduct an amphibious assault on Port Moresby on 10 May.

But the Americans noted the Japanese invasion force in the Solomons, and the USS Yorktown launched strike aircraft that sunk or damaged several Japanese warships, though now the Japanese were aware the US carriers were in the vicinity, made doubly worse by the fact the Americans were shorthanded: they had only the Yorktown and the Lexington in the area because the Hornet and Enterprise had just returned to Pearl Harbor following the Doolittle Raid.  These were faced by the Japanese fleet carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku, and the light carrier Shoho.  The two opposing forces marshalled their troops, refueled, consolidated, and began searching in earnest for each other.

This morning, Lt(jg) Casey led the fighter escort for the Lexington strike force which, combined with the Yorktown's strike force, managed to sink the Japanese light carrier Shoho.  But the Killer Pelicans' escorts had a rough go: they downed three Zeros and damaged another, but they lost one Wildcat, had the other three damaged, and five of their six assigned dive bombers were shot down, the sixth returning to the Lexington, damaged.  Lt Casey scored two more kills to become a Veteran (total of four kills), but he was shot down and badly wounded, which will cause him to miss the Battle of Midway.

Admiral Inoue very aggressively continued to scout for the US carriers, and at 1515, when the strike force that hit the Sims and Neosho returned, he even quickly rearmed them and sent them south, certain his scouts would locate the US carriers, and then he could vector the strike force to them.  But it was not to be; the Japanese scouts were unable to locate the US carriers, but the strike force, flying bling in bad weather, stumbled close enough to them that the Lexington and Yorktown were able to vector their CAP over to intercept.  At 1747, Lt(jg) Fitzsimmons led aloft the Lexington's Wildcats to intercept the Japanese, which still (and never would) had not spotted the US carriers!

(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-EybeAEN26rc/XWHZrS8sN_I/AAAAAAAAr1I/WpL-JMvPvKIe5_bmeIHiwaGDhp9doiAOgCLcBGAs/s1600/IMG_7336.JPG)
This is my arena for aerial combat; simple, yet durable and, to me, beautiful (in a simple, durable way).  I'm using tiny aircraft designed by my buddy Thomaston; not sure what size they are, just that they are much smaller than 1/600.  They're 3D printed models that I mounted on cut-down bases from Litko, and I'm using a very simple rules system called "Battle of Britain," which I found for free over on The Miniatures Page (I've already played a good 20 or so fights with them).  South is left, where the Japanese strike group is present, while at right, approaching from the north, is the Lexington's CAP, the Lexington herself present to the west.

(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-U8luRpIYpQU/XWBLpY4nr2I/AAAAAAAAryM/-VBSCrcD06IBMizuCvEiXXTgtjguoa05QCLcBGAs/s1600/IMG_7335.JPG)
And that is a lot of bogeys!  Sporting some real teeth, too: a Natural Born Kiler, an Ace, and two Regulars are escorting the Vals and Kates.

(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-at3TPYhs4Gs/XWHZ0DvzfGI/AAAAAAAAr1Q/KCwbBrkPRn8JYimTllk3a1I8NcnLWe6LgCLcBGAs/s1600/IMG_7341.JPG)
The Wildcats are working together to get it done, and for the first time I find myself awarding a 1/2 kill.

(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-VdBEwJvyJ1w/XWHb0u8ZPgI/AAAAAAAAr5E/NvzEdlCtJMIklCUtygfoZy2Rqi0eb9JTgCLcBGAs/s1600/IMG_7384.JPG)
But still tough to deal with those nimble Zeros and their very experienced pilots.

(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-wJfPnxImTyQ/XWHcFZbOE3I/AAAAAAAAr5k/mhJVsV5GFaoTHKeq8_QQsBA81LdbwoltgCLcBGAs/s1600/IMG_7390.JPG)
The remaining Japanese pilots made it home safely (even though, after dark, some got confused and tried to land on the Lexington!) and are rearing to go for the engagements sure to happen tomorrow.

Both sides carried out preparation for battle throughout the night, then launched scouts shortly after 0600 the next morning, to find the other side's carriers.  The Americans got lucky first, sighting the Japanese carriers at 0820, though the Japanese were only two minutes behind.  Both sides hurried to turn into the wind and launch their strike groups!  The Japanese launched 18 fighters, 33 dive bombers, and 18 torpedo bombers, while the Yorktown and Lexington launched a combined 15 Wildcats, 39 Dauntlesses, and 21 Devastators, though the Lexington's contingent was about 10 minutes behind the Yorktown's.

At 1055 the Lexington's air search radar acquired the inbound Japanese strike group at a range of 68 nautical miles and vectored nine Wildcats to intercept, while the Lexington strike group arrived over the Shokaku and Zuikaku at 1130, facing a Japanese CAP of 13 Zeros, and went into the attack.

Coming right up!

V/R,
Jack


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: Raider4 on 11 September 2019, 02:52:51 PM
Ahh, more good stuff! Keep it coming.

Just bought some 1/600 planes for the BoB using the same rules as you - blimey, they're small! And yours are even smaller! Don't know how you can even see these, let alone paint them so well.


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: mad lemmey on 11 September 2019, 05:06:08 PM
Sounds like a fight and a half coming up!


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: bigjackmac on 12 September 2019, 01:44:13 AM
Raider- Thanks a bunch man! The games have been a lot of fun, canít wait to see yours!  These are small, but I can sit down, so Iím close enough to see them with no problems.

Lemmey- Thatís the plan!

V/R,
Jack


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: bigjackmac on 12 September 2019, 03:47:37 AM
I just realized I had not added a link to the fight:
https://oldleadbreed.blogspot.com/2019/09/coral-sea-day-1-fight-2.html?m=1

V/R,
Jack


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: Terry37 on 12 September 2019, 04:57:15 AM
Yep, really interesting stuff. I really need to quit gandering at it because you make me want get back into working on my planes!!! I prefer a slightly larger scale, 1:300, only because I feel I can put more detail in them at that scale and still only require a small playing area. Sadly, I've not been able to interest of the local guys so am trying to figure a way to solo game it using the Blue Max rules, as I really like those.

Keep the reports coming as I really enjoy them!

Terry


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: Sunray on 12 September 2019, 03:09:14 PM
My compliments Jack- entertaining battle report - the sort that entices folk to take up the hobby.

As you and me have discussed, the small scales help you escape the 10mm skirmish syndrome.

I envy your paint work.

James


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: bigjackmac on 15 September 2019, 02:16:43 PM
Terry - Thanks, I appreciate the kind words, and do it!  And don't just play some games, but post and share them, too! ;)  I'm not familiar with the Blue Max rules, maybe I need to be?

James - You're too kind, and yes, I'm still enjoying the (in this case, extra) small scales, lets me sit down and play, and I think they're pretty, though can't say anyone's ever envied my paint jobs! ;)  I hope you're getting on well with Cruel Seas, looking forward to some batreps!

V/R,
Jack


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: bigjackmac on 18 September 2019, 11:29:32 PM
All,

1113
8 May 1942

Greetings, and welcome to my return to the Pacific!  Both the US Navy and Imperial Japanese Navy are on the prowl in the southwestern Pacific; the Japanese have their eyes on Australia, or at least cutting off the lines of communication between the US and Australia, and the Americans are looking to not allow that to happen.  On 3-4 May 1942, while fighting raged on New Guinea, the Japanese attempted secure their flank, sending an invasion fleet into the Solomon Islands to put troops ashore on Tulagi (across the channel from Guadalcanal), in order to conduct an amphibious assault on Port Moresby on 10 May.

But the Americans noted the Japanese invasion force in the Solomons, and the USS Yorktown launched strike aircraft that sunk or damaged several Japanese warships, though now the Japanese were aware the US carriers were in the vicinity, made doubly worse by the fact the Americans were shorthanded: they had only the Yorktown and the Lexington in the area because the Hornet and Enterprise had just returned to Pearl Harbor following the Doolittle Raid.  These were faced by the Japanese fleet carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku, and the light carrier Shoho.  The two opposing forces marshalled their troops, refueled, consolidated, and began searching in earnest for each other.

Yesterday morning, Lt(jg) Casey led the fighter escort for the Lexington strike force which, combined with the Yorktown's strike force, managed to sink the Japanese light carrier Shoho.  But the Killer Pelicans' escorts had a rough go: they downed three Zeros and damaged another, but they lost one Wildcat, had the other three damaged, and five of their six assigned dive bombers were shot down, the sixth returning to the Lexington, damaged.  Lt Casey scored two more kills to become a Veteran (total of four kills), but he was shot down and badly wounded, which will cause him to miss the Battle of Midway.

Yesterday evening, Lt(jg) Fitzsimmons led aloft the Lexington's Wildcats to intercept a Japanese strike group that was searching for, but not locating, the US carriers.  Lt Fitzsimmons got separated and never found the enemy force, leaving a bevy of rookie Ensigns to do battle alone, and it did not work out well.  Four of the six Wildcats were shot down, and the other two damaged, with the Americans managing to shoot down only three of the ten enemy aircraft.

Both sides carried out preparation for battle throughout the night, then launched scouts shortly after 0600 the next morning, to find the other side's carriers.  The Americans got lucky first, sighting the Japanese carriers at 0820, though the Japanese were only two minutes behind.  Both sides hurried to turn into the wind and launch their strike groups!  The Japanese launched 18 fighters, 33 dive bombers, and 18 torpedo bombers, while the Yorktown and Lexington launched a combined 15 Wildcats, 39 Dauntlesses, and 21 Devastators, though the Lexington's contingent was about 10 minutes behind the Yorktown's.

At 1055 the Lexington's air search radar acquired the inbound Japanese strike group at a range of 68 nautical miles and vectored nine Wildcats to intercept; it was 1113 local time when Lt(jg) Fitzsimmons again led the Lexington CAP into battle.  And this time he found the enemy!
 
(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-DpNgoAToIqU/XWwSkI4vZiI/AAAAAAAAsTs/VaVuvRoGGl0CkSJzTiF_tzp5aJiKmvXCwCLcBGAs/s1600/IMG_7645.JPG)
This is my arena for aerial combat; simple, yet durable and, to me, beautiful (in a simple, durable way).  I'm using tiny aircraft designed by my buddy Thomaston; not sure what size they are, just that they are much smaller than 1/600.  They're 3D printed models that I mounted on cut-down bases from Litko, and I'm using a very simple rules system called "Battle of Britain," which I found for free over on The Miniatures Page (I've already played a good 20 or so fights with them).  Left is north, with the Japanese strike group there, and right is south, with the American CAP and the USS Lexington there.

(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-4SR5SlFF1zE/XWwSs-o0tpI/AAAAAAAAsTw/WH0-1bGY8JACk-p59FpZkfXn9sAIEPh2QCLcBGAs/s1600/IMG_7650.JPG)
The Japanese super ace jinks his way in, then lays into Lt Allen's Wildcat, pumping 20mm rounds into the stubby little Grumman.

(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-uMqaZVFVhaM/XWwUfABXtfI/AAAAAAAAsWc/ovp6ktpeTTEtMwiB1Gt0hjhNQ4dABC1CgCLcBGAs/s1600/IMG_7677.JPG)
A Wildcat splashes into the warm blue water as a Zero pulls an Immelman, moving to splash a second.

(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-AtNDbaBgpUw/XWwVAqoXW6I/AAAAAAAAsXg/ROsUEFHJflce4DmUvjE7p98xBEZq4vjkwCLcBGAs/s1600/IMG_7688.JPG)
The Zeros continue to abuse the Wildcats, as the Kates press home their attack.

(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-RGx84-n4apI/XWwWn5R_kjI/AAAAAAAAsa0/0V4a659S-gYN5mpvlWvyRcuHk4aWwxnUgCLcBGAs/s1600/IMG_7726.JPG)
The Kates split their formation and execute a classic hammer and anvil torpedo attack.

To see how the fight went, please check the blog at:
https://oldleadbreed.blogspot.com/2019/09/coral-sea-day-2-fight-3.html

Out of the frying pan, into the fire: the FDO comes on the radio to rally all airborne Wildcats, vectoring them onto a new radar contact believed to be the Japanese strike group's Val dive bombers, following the torpedo bombers in to strike the Yorktown and finish off the Lexington.

And that's the next fight.

V/R,
Jack


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: lowlylowlycook on 19 September 2019, 04:06:59 AM
Lady Lex  :o


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: mad lemmey on 19 September 2019, 12:34:58 PM
What... how...  :o 8)


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: Techno on 19 September 2019, 05:01:25 PM
Well...That didn't go as planned !  X_X

Still, very entertaining, Jack ! :)

Cheers - Phil.


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: sunjester on 19 September 2019, 05:53:18 PM
A great write up......but opps!


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: bigjackmac on 20 September 2019, 12:07:46 AM
Lowlycook - Yeah, that was going to happen no matter what, the real life ships are going to stick to what happened in real life.

Lemmey - How? Those dastardly Japanese Aces and super Aces...

Phil - Indeed, and thanks!

Sunjester - I appreciate it, and yeah, U-G-L-Y...

V/R,
Jack


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: bigjackmac on 26 September 2019, 01:26:06 PM
All,

1123
8 May 1942

Greetings, and welcome to my return to the Pacific!  Both the US Navy and Imperial Japanese Navy are on the prowl in the southwestern Pacific; the Japanese have their eyes on Australia, or at least cutting off the lines of communication between the US and Australia, and the Americans are looking to not allow that to happen.  On 3-4 May 1942, while fighting raged on New Guinea, the Japanese attempted secure their flank, sending an invasion fleet into the Solomon Islands to put troops ashore on Tulagi (across the channel from Guadalcanal), in order to conduct an amphibious assault on Port Moresby on 10 May.

But the Americans noted the Japanese invasion force in the Solomons, and the USS Yorktown launched strike aircraft that sunk or damaged several Japanese warships, though now the Japanese were aware the US carriers were in the vicinity, made doubly worse by the fact the Americans were shorthanded: they had only the Yorktown and the Lexington in the area because the Hornet and Enterprise had just returned to Pearl Harbor following the Doolittle Raid.  These were faced by the Japanese fleet carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku, and the light carrier Shoho.  The two opposing forces marshalled their troops, refueled, consolidated, and began searching in earnest for each other.

This morning, Lt(jg) Casey led the fighter escort for the Lexington strike force which, combined with the Yorktown's strike force, managed to sink the Japanese light carrier Shoho.  But the Killer Pelicans' escorts had a rough go: they downed three Zeros and damaged another, but they lost one Wildcat, had the other three damaged, and five of their six assigned dive bombers were shot down, the sixth returning to the Lexington, damaged.  Lt Casey scored two more kills to become a Veteran (total of four kills), but he was shot down and badly wounded, which will cause him to miss the Battle of Midway.

Both sides carried out preparation for battle throughout the night, then launched scouts shortly after 0600 the next morning, to find the other side's carriers.  The Americans got lucky first, sighting the Japanese carriers at 0820, though the Japanese were only two minutes behind.  Both sides hurried to turn into the wind and launch their strike groups!  The Japanese launched 18 fighters, 33 dive bombers, and 18 torpedo bombers, while the Yorktown and Lexington launched a combined 15 Wildcats, 39 Dauntlesses, and 21 Devastators, though the Lexington's contingent was about 10 minutes behind the Yorktown's.

At 1055 the Lexington's air search radar acquired the inbound Japanese strike group at a range of 68 nautical miles and vectored nine Wildcats to intercept; it was 1113 local time when Lt(jg) Fitzsimmons again led the Lexington CAP into battle.  And this time he found the enemy, but it didn't work out very well for the Americans.  Lt Fitzsimmons and Lt Allen saw their aircraft damaged, Ens Chipman had to disengage and retreat, but that wasn't the worst of it.  Three Wildcats were shot down, with Ensign Camili being wounded, but Ensigns Gordon and Mann were killed in action, while no Japanese aircraft were shot down, and enemy torpedo bombers managed to put three torpedoes into the USS Lexington.

It's now 1123, and another radar contact has been acquired, believed to be another Japanese strike group, this one comprised of Val dive bombers escorted by Zeros.  All available Wildcats were scrambled to meet the new threat.

(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-XczLv3S2c0I/XWwb6VVvETI/AAAAAAAAsbQ/D2jH4iEQhNQe_qP-X_FdjPxAI_ujw8qRgCLcBGAs/s1600/IMG_7729.JPG)
The US CAP is up over the Lady Lex, still burning from torpedo hits.  Yes, I cheated here.  The Americans have exactly six pilots from their CAP section left, so I mounted all six of them up (rather than rolling to see who would fight, and potentially going into battle with less than six Wildcats).  Having said that, I'm saying that Lieutenants Fitzsimmons and Allen, who had their aircraft damaged in the last fight, were not able to land between last fight and this one, so they're going into the fight already damaged.  Also, Ensign Green was previously shot down and picked up, so he doesn't have an aircraft, but somehow the CAG found one for him and launched his ass up to get in the fight.

(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-eJGRUQTsboo/XWwcG13272I/AAAAAAAAsbg/B74IQuodezEFwp3eiZfw6kIFyO5vsZSUACLcBGAs/s1600/IMG_7733.JPG)
The Japanese fighter pilots are their normal, super aggressive selves.

(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-6yE49wxS3-A/XWwcPSc5d6I/AAAAAAAAsb0/5TZhEO1uQfknLAAiim1Jm8h-ZhWEAfFhQCLcBGAs/s1600/IMG_7736.JPG)
But Ensign Head is showing off some fancy footwork, enough to earn a Navy Cross!

(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-MMci2HApGCU/XWwhITbOikI/AAAAAAAAshs/rIyMpGQcCAchf4e8gAVALGkdKUki2VQagCLcBGAs/s1600/IMG_7796.JPG)
As, finally, not everything is going the Japaneseí way!

To see how the fight went, please check the blog at:
https://oldleadbreed.blogspot.com/2019/09/coral-sea-day-2-fight-4.html?m=1

Smoke billows from fires aboard the Lexington, and she lists to port after taking two torpedo hits and two bomb hits, though the fires would be under control within an hour.  Yorktown was also hit by one bomb, though this was quickly repaired, and by 1230 the two aircraft were able to recover their returning strike groups.

But that's where we're going next: we're jumping to 1130, where Lt Cmdr Case is leading a four-Wildcat escort for Scouting and Bombing-2 Dauntless Dive Bombers looking to attack the Japanese fleet carriers.

V/R,
Jack


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: Techno on 26 September 2019, 01:41:06 PM
Good one, Jack.  :)

I bet Ensign Green's last thought was....."I wish they hadn't found me a replacement plane, down the back of the sofa."  ;)

Cheers - Phil


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: mad lemmey on 26 September 2019, 05:40:04 PM
Cool report Jack


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: bigjackmac on 27 September 2019, 03:42:47 AM
Thanks guys, and you're absolutely right, Phil, ol' Ensign Green kinda got screwed by the vagaries/necessities of war.

V/R,
Jack


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea #5All, 1130 8 May 1942 Greetings, and welcome t
Post by: bigjackmac on 02 October 2019, 08:22:40 PM
All,

1130
8 May 1942

Greetings, and welcome to my return to the Pacific!  Both the US Navy and Imperial Japanese Navy are on the prowl in the southwestern Pacific; the Japanese have their eyes on Australia, or at least cutting off the lines of communication between the US and Australia, and the Americans are looking to not allow that to happen.  On 3-4 May 1942, while fighting raged on New Guinea, the Japanese attempted secure their flank, sending an invasion fleet into the Solomon Islands to put troops ashore on Tulagi (across the channel from Guadalcanal), in order to conduct an amphibious assault on Port Moresby on 10 May.

But the Americans noted the Japanese invasion force in the Solomons, and the USS Yorktown launched strike aircraft that sunk or damaged several Japanese warships, though now the Japanese were aware the US carriers were in the vicinity, made doubly worse by the fact the Americans were shorthanded: they had only the Yorktown and the Lexington in the area because the Hornet and Enterprise had just returned to Pearl Harbor following the Doolittle Raid.  These were faced by the Japanese fleet carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku, and the light carrier Shoho.  The two opposing forces marshalled their troops, refueled, consolidated, and began searching in earnest for each other.

Yesterday morning, Lt(jg) Casey led the fighter escort for the Lexington strike force which, combined with the Yorktown's strike force, managed to sink the Japanese light carrier Shoho.  But the Killer Pelicans' escorts had a rough go: they downed three Zeros and damaged another, but they lost one Wildcat, had the other three damaged, and five of their six assigned dive bombers were shot down, the sixth returning to the Lexington, damaged.  Lt Casey scored two more kills to become a Veteran (total of four kills), but he was shot down and badly wounded, which will cause him to miss the Battle of Midway.

Both sides carried out preparation for battle throughout the night, then launched scouts shortly after 0600 the next morning, to find the other side's carriers.  The Americans got lucky first, sighting the Japanese carriers at 0820, though the Japanese were only two minutes behind.  Both sides hurried to turn into the wind and launch their strike groups!  The Japanese launched 18 fighters, 33 dive bombers, and 18 torpedo bombers, while the Yorktown and Lexington launched a combined 15 Wildcats, 39 Dauntlesses, and 21 Devastators, though the Lexington's contingent was about 10 minutes behind the Yorktown's.

At 1055 the Lexington's air search radar acquired the inbound Japanese strike group at a range of 68 nautical miles and vectored nine Wildcats to intercept; it was 1113 local time when Lt(jg) Fitzsimmons again led the Lexington CAP into battle.  And this time he found the enemy, but it didn't work out very well for the Americans.  Lt Fitzsimmons and Lt Allen saw their aircraft damaged, Ens Chipman had to disengage and retreat, but that wasn't the worst of it.  Three Wildcats were shot down, with Ensign Camili being wounded, but Ensigns Gordon and Mann were killed in action, while no Japanese aircraft were shot down, and enemy torpedo bombers managed to put three torpedoes into the USS Lexington.

At 1123, radar contact acquired another Japanese strike group, comprised of Val dive bombers escorted by Zeros, and vectored the Lexington's Combat Air Patrol to intercept.  The six Wildcats charged headlong into the Japanese formation, suffering two aircraft lost (and one pilot KIA) and one damaged in brutal action that saw Ensign Head awarded the Navy Cross for shooting down four enemy aircraft!  Lt Allen added another two kills, and Ensign Chipman added one, with the rest of the Japanese aircraft breaking off the attack, so not a single Val dive bomber was able to press home the attack.  However, the Lexington is still in trouble caused by the torpedo hits earlier.

It is now 1130, and Lt Case is leading a four-ship escort for "Scouting Two's" SBD Dauntless dive bombers to attack the Japanese carrier Shokaku.

Also, I finally made some changes for US Navy deflection shooting and for the sturdier Wildcats (to reflect pilot armor and self-sealing tanks), they're in this blog post.
 
(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ufC3n0WHwOM/XZDh5Ee6cKI/AAAAAAAAtEA/_CrazmlI3rkzxr4hRhYtpNjLJ29voDgeACNcBGAsYHQ/s1600/IMG_8108.JPG)
The Japanese "Natural Born Killer," AKA, "Super Ace," zooms in, opens fire and damages LtCmdr Case's Wildcat, then continues his slashing attack, headed straight for the Dauntlesses.

(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-SxheFg54fpc/XZDiF--CSWI/AAAAAAAAtEY/IDHYF5y1mmQtoSrB9I7mJ0XVmAcRzpC1wCNcBGAsYHQ/s1600/IMG_8112.JPG)
This happens far too often, so I'm going to start making head to head attacks way more dangerous for the attacker.

(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-2hQjQn_q3xg/XZDijf6F1dI/AAAAAAAAtFg/eHu5CIvkXO08bwJ45hAh5wj1nEEdw_NnQCNcBGAsYHQ/s1600/IMG_8124.JPG)
And some Zeros were about to learn to respect defensive fire from the Dauntlesses!

To see how the fight went, please check the blog at:
https://oldleadbreed.blogspot.com/2019/10/coral-sea-day-2-fight-5.html

LtCmdr Case immediately ordered the Wildcats to reform, and they climbed to join the SBD Dauntlesses of Bombing Two, where they were also joined by Ensign Didier in his Wildcat.

Coming up next!

V/R,
Jack


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: Terry37 on 03 October 2019, 10:46:40 PM
Really enjoying your reports, and they sure make me want to get back into aerial games - but can't get any local interest!!!!

Terry


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: bigjackmac on 03 October 2019, 11:29:12 PM
Terry,

Thanks a bunch man, and m glad you like them, and I appreciate you saying so!  My batrep posts have been lonely places lately ;)

I plan on playing the last two Coral Sea fights this weekend, will post ASAP.

Regarding your inability to gin up interest, may I remind you that these are all solo affairs? ;)

V/R,
Jack


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: bigjackmac on 07 October 2019, 01:33:12 PM
All,

1140
8 May 1942

Greetings, and welcome to my return to the Pacific! Both the US Navy and Imperial Japanese Navy are on the prowl in the southwestern Pacific; the Japanese have their eyes on Australia, or at least cutting off the lines of communication between the US and Australia, and the Americans are looking to not allow that to happen. On 3-4 May 1942, while fighting raged on New Guinea, the Japanese attempted secure their flank, sending an invasion fleet into the Solomon Islands to put troops ashore on Tulagi (across the channel from Guadalcanal), in order to conduct an amphibious assault on Port Moresby on 10 May.

But the Americans noted the Japanese invasion force in the Solomons, and the USS Yorktown launched strike aircraft that sunk or damaged several Japanese warships, though now the Japanese were aware the US carriers were in the vicinity, made doubly worse by the fact the Americans were shorthanded: they had only the Yorktown and the Lexington in the area because the Hornet and Enterprise had just returned to Pearl Harbor following the Doolittle Raid. These were faced by the Japanese fleet carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku, and the light carrier Shoho. The two opposing forces marshalled their troops, refueled, consolidated, and began searching in earnest for each other.

This morning, Lt(jg) Casey led the fighter escort for the Lexington strike force which, combined with the Yorktown's strike force, managed to sink the Japanese light carrier Shoho. But the Killer Pelicans' escorts had a rough go: they downed three Zeros and damaged another, but they lost one Wildcat, had the other three damaged, and five of their six assigned dive bombers were shot down, the sixth returning to the Lexington, damaged. Lt Casey scored two more kills to become a Veteran (total of four kills), but he was shot down and badly wounded, which will cause him to miss the Battle of Midway.

Both sides carried out preparation for battle throughout the night, then launched scouts shortly after 0600 the next morning, to find the other side's carriers. The Americans got lucky first, sighting the Japanese carriers at 0820, though the Japanese were only two minutes behind. Both sides hurried to turn into the wind and launch their strike groups! The Japanese launched 18 fighters, 33 dive bombers, and 18 torpedo bombers, while the Yorktown and Lexington launched a combined 15 Wildcats, 39 Dauntlesses, and 21 Devastators, though the Lexington's contingent was about 10 minutes behind the Yorktown's.

At 1055 the Lexington's air search radar acquired the inbound Japanese strike group at a range of 68 nautical miles and vectored nine Wildcats to intercept; it was 1113 local time when Lt(jg) Fitzsimmons again led the Lexington CAP into battle. And this time he found the enemy, but it didn't work out very well for the Americans. Lt Fitzsimmons and Lt Allen saw their aircraft damaged, Ens Chipman had to disengage and retreat, but that wasn't the worst of it. Three Wildcats were shot down, with Ensign Camili being wounded, but Ensigns Gordon and Mann were killed in action, while no Japanese aircraft were shot down, and enemy torpedo bombers managed to put three torpedoes into the USS Lexington.

At 1123, radar contact acquired another Japanese strike group, comprised of Val dive bombers escorted by Zeros, and vectored the Lexington's Combat Air Patrol to intercept. The six Wildcats charged headlong into the Japanese formation, suffering two aircraft lost (and one pilot KIA) and one damaged in brutal action that saw Ensign Head awarded the Navy Cross for shooting down four enemy aircraft! Lt Allen added another two kills, and Ensign Chipman added one, with the rest of the Japanese aircraft breaking off the attack, so not a single Val dive bomber was able to press home the attack. However, the Lexington is still in trouble caused by the torpedo hits earlier.

At 1130, LtCmdr Case led a four-ship escort for "Scouting Two's" SBD Dauntless dive bombers to attack the Japanese carrier Shokaku. The Japanese CAP was successful, shooting down four of the SBDs and forcing the last two to return to base, damaged, though they lost four of their own (two to defensive fire from SBDs!), with LtCmdr Case and Ens Riggins both scoring kills.

It is now 1140, and LtCmdr Case has re-formed his flight, which is now escorting Bombing Two's SBD Dauntlesses as the Americans make a run on the Japanese carrier Zuikaku.
       
(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-FJAWHcuLnvY/XZd6UyvWfZI/AAAAAAAAtLw/sHVQf6xc6Acy8SnmCZFVpWtsvw1SwBCugCNcBGAsYHQ/s1600/IMG_8195.JPG)
The Japanese draw first blood.

(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-_WxQ76RWw8o/XZd6qB2iQmI/AAAAAAAAtMk/OK8ArNsmrf8FZAG1c61kc4mnx0xklB4DgCNcBGAsYHQ/s1600/IMG_8205.JPG)
But the swarming Wildcats are more than able to hold their own.

(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-AqpH4hpWhbE/XZd7FAUhIJI/AAAAAAAAtNM/-3jp4w-ohF4VsrWBxME_GZYNWbH0X4e2gCNcBGAsYHQ/s1600/IMG_8214.JPG)
And the next thing you know, the Wildcats pull off high and right as the Dauntlesses form line astern and make their run on the Zuikaku...

To see how the fight went, please check the blog at:
https://oldleadbreed.blogspot.com/2019/10/coral-sea-day-2-fight-6.html?m=1

As the Lexingtonís strike group forms up for the flight home, the Japanese strike groups that struck the Lady Lex and Yorktown are doing the same, though they suddenly realize theyíll have to run a gauntlet of fire as the Lexingtonís CAP is between them and their carriers!  That fight is next.

V/R,
Jack


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: Ithoriel on 07 October 2019, 01:46:00 PM
Finally catching up with these Jack - brilliant stuff!


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: FierceKitty on 07 October 2019, 01:59:53 PM
Finally catching up with these Jacks....

Interesting. Usually it's the aces who get the attention.


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: ianrs54 on 07 October 2019, 04:16:32 PM
Someone put the cat out !


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: Ithoriel on 07 October 2019, 04:23:17 PM
Is he on fire? :)

Also ... I've been misquoted, get him a job as a journalist.


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: FierceKitty on 08 October 2019, 02:11:39 AM
Your al jelos coz I thort of it furst.


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: bigjackmac on 08 October 2019, 09:43:26 PM
Thanks, Ithoriel, glad you like them!

V/R,
Jack


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: bigjackmac on 10 October 2019, 02:05:55 PM
All,

1150
8 May 1942

Yesterday morning, Lt(jg) Casey led the fighter escort for the Lexington strike force which, combined with the Yorktown's strike force, managed to sink the Japanese light carrier Shoho. But the Killer Pelicans' escorts had a rough go: they downed three Zeros and damaged another, but they lost one Wildcat, had the other three damaged, and five of their six assigned dive bombers were shot down, the sixth returning to the Lexington, damaged. Lt Casey scored two more kills to become a Veteran (total of four kills), but he was shot down and badly wounded, which will cause him to miss the Battle of Midway.

Both sides carried out preparation for battle throughout the night, then launched scouts shortly after 0600 the next morning, to find the other side's carriers. The Americans got lucky first, sighting the Japanese carriers at 0820, though the Japanese were only two minutes behind. Both sides hurried to turn into the wind and launch their strike groups! The Japanese launched 18 fighters, 33 dive bombers, and 18 torpedo bombers, while the Yorktown and Lexington launched a combined 15 Wildcats, 39 Dauntlesses, and 21 Devastators, though the Lexington's contingent was about 10 minutes behind the Yorktown's.

At 1055 the Lexington's air search radar acquired the inbound Japanese strike group at a range of 68 nautical miles and vectored nine Wildcats to intercept; it was 1113 local time when Lt(jg) Fitzsimmons again led the Lexington CAP into battle. And this time he found the enemy, but it didn't work out very well for the Americans. Lt Fitzsimmons and Lt Allen saw their aircraft damaged, Ens Chipman had to disengage and retreat, but that wasn't the worst of it. Three Wildcats were shot down, with Ensign Camili being wounded, but Ensigns Gordon and Mann were killed in action, while no Japanese aircraft were shot down, and enemy torpedo bombers managed to put three torpedoes into the USS Lexington.

At 1123, radar contact acquired another Japanese strike group, comprised of Val dive bombers escorted by Zeros, and vectored the Lexington's Combat Air Patrol to intercept. The six Wildcats charged headlong into the Japanese formation, suffering two aircraft lost (and one pilot KIA) and one damaged in brutal action that saw Ensign Head awarded the Navy Cross for shooting down four enemy aircraft! Lt Allen added another two kills, and Ensign Chipman added one, with the rest of the Japanese aircraft breaking off the attack, so not a single Val dive bomber was able to press home the attack. However, the Lexington is still in trouble caused by the torpedo hits earlier.

At 1130, LtCmdr Case led a four-ship escort for "Scouting Two's" SBD Dauntless dive bombers to attack the Japanese carrier Shokaku. The Japanese CAP was successful, shooting down four of the SBDs and forcing the last two to return to base, damaged, though they lost four of their own (two to defensive fire from SBDs!), with LtCmdr Case and Ens Riggins both scoring kills.

At 1140, LtCmdr Case re-formed his flight of Wildcats and had them escort Bombing Two's SBD Dauntlesses into an attack on the Japanese carrier Zuikaku. In a wild fight that saw two Dauntlesses shoot down enemy Zeros, then four Dauntlesses arrive over the target but fail to land a single bomb on the target's deck, LtCmdr Case's fighters came through unscathed while downing a single Japanese fighter.

It is now 1150 and the remaining members of the Lexington's CAP, Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Allen, Ensign Chipman, and Ensign Head, are watching as the Japanese strike group that just hit the Lexington is forming up and turning north, straight into them. Lt Allen calls "Tally Ho!" and the three Wildcats zoom in to take one last running shot at the enemy strike group.
     
(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-M6jMZO1JDPY/XZd-vqYffGI/AAAAAAAAtPQ/fNrg-9vFRZY3qSEB_wHpIk7cANOGhUqbwCNcBGAsYHQ/s1600/IMG_8234.JPG)
Lt Allen jumps on Zero 01ís tail and gives him the what-for.

(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ilKH8KXNu7w/XZd_nULIgtI/AAAAAAAAtRI/pDXOiOMto_MrbHxSq6exYxUc3vcNLvQuACNcBGAsYHQ/s1600/IMG_8258.JPG)
But later, Zero 01 gets the chance to return the favor.

To see how the fight turned out, please check the blog at:
https://oldleadbreed.blogspot.com/2019/10/coral-sea-day-2-fight-7.html?m=1

Thereís one fight left: The Japanese strike group has escaped the Lexington's CAP, as they are flying back to the Zuikaku, they run into the Lexington's returning strike group, let by LtCmdr Case and his flight of escorts. Coming up next!

V/R,
Jack


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: mad lemmey on 10 October 2019, 05:31:51 PM
Lawks, busy


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: bigjackmac on 17 October 2019, 01:55:21 AM
All,

1200
8 May 1942

Greetings, and welcome to my return to the Pacific!  Both the US Navy and Imperial Japanese Navy are on the prowl in the southwestern Pacific; the Japanese have their eyes on Australia, or at least cutting off the lines of communication between the US and Australia, and the Americans are looking to not allow that to happen.  On 3-4 May 1942, while fighting raged on New Guinea, the Japanese attempted secure their flank, sending an invasion fleet into the Solomon Islands to put troops ashore on Tulagi (across the channel from Guadalcanal), in order to conduct an amphibious assault on Port Moresby on 10 May.

But the Americans noted the Japanese invasion force in the Solomons, and the USS Yorktown launched strike aircraft that sunk or damaged several Japanese warships, though now the Japanese were aware the US carriers were in the vicinity, made doubly worse by the fact the Americans were shorthanded: they had only the Yorktown and the Lexington in the area because the Hornet and Enterprise had just returned to Pearl Harbor following the Doolittle Raid.  These were faced by the Japanese fleet carriers Shokaku and Zuikaku, and the light carrier Shoho.  The two opposing forces marshalled their troops, refueled, consolidated, and began searching in earnest for each other.

This morning, Lt(jg) Casey led the fighter escort for the Lexington strike force which, combined with the Yorktown's strike force, managed to sink the Japanese light carrier Shoho.  But the Killer Pelicans' escorts had a rough go: they downed three Zeros and damaged another, but they lost one Wildcat, had the other three damaged, and five of their six assigned dive bombers were shot down, the sixth returning to the Lexington, damaged.  Lt Casey scored two more kills to become a Veteran (total of four kills), but he was shot down and badly wounded, which will cause him to miss the Battle of Midway.

Both sides carried out preparation for battle throughout the night, then launched scouts shortly after 0600 the next morning, to find the other side's carriers.  The Americans got lucky first, sighting the Japanese carriers at 0820, though the Japanese were only two minutes behind.  Both sides hurried to turn into the wind and launch their strike groups!  The Japanese launched 18 fighters, 33 dive bombers, and 18 torpedo bombers, while the Yorktown and Lexington launched a combined 15 Wildcats, 39 Dauntlesses, and 21 Devastators, though the Lexington's contingent was about 10 minutes behind the Yorktown's.

At 1055 the Lexington's air search radar acquired the inbound Japanese strike group at a range of 68 nautical miles and vectored nine Wildcats to intercept; it was 1113 local time when Lt(jg) Fitzsimmons again led the Lexington CAP into battle.  And this time he found the enemy, but it didn't work out very well for the Americans.  Lt Fitzsimmons and Lt Allen saw their aircraft damaged, Ens Chipman had to disengage and retreat, but that wasn't the worst of it.  Three Wildcats were shot down, with Ensign Camili being wounded, but Ensigns Gordon and Mann were killed in action, while no Japanese aircraft were shot down, and enemy torpedo bombers managed to put three torpedoes into the USS Lexington.

At 1123, radar contact acquired another Japanese strike group, comprised of Val dive bombers escorted by Zeros, and vectored the Lexington's Combat Air Patrol to intercept.  The six Wildcats charged headlong into the Japanese formation, suffering two aircraft lost (and one pilot KIA) and one damaged in brutal action that saw Ensign Head awarded the Navy Cross for shooting down four enemy aircraft!  Lt Allen added another two kills, and Ensign Chipman added one, with the rest of the Japanese aircraft breaking off the attack, so not a single Val dive bomber was able to press home the attack.  However, the Lexington is still in trouble caused by the torpedo hits earlier.

At 1130, LtCmdr Case led a four-ship escort for "Scouting Two's" SBD Dauntless dive bombers to attack the Japanese carrier Shokaku.  The Japanese CAP was successful, shooting down four of the SBDs and forcing the last two to return to base, damaged, though they lost four of their own (two to defensive fire from SBDs!), with LtCmdr Case and Ens Riggins both scoring kills.

At 1140, LtCmdr Case re-formed his flight of Wildcats and had them escort Bombing Two's SBD Dauntlesses into an attack on the Japanese carrier Zuikaku.  In a wild fight that saw two Dauntlesses shoot down enemy Zeros, then four Dauntlesses arrive over the target but fail to land a single bomb on the target's deck, LtCmdr Case's fighters came through unscathed while downing a single Japaanese fighter.

At 1150, the remaining members of the Lexington's CAP (Lieuntenant (Junior Grade) Allen, Ensign Chipman, and Ensign Head) found themselves between the Japanese strike group and their carrier, so they threw themselves once again at the enemy.  In the end, Ens Chipman scored two kills and Lt Allen scored one, but both were shot down, while three Kates, a Val, and a Zero escaped to fight again.

But it's now 1200, and the Lexington's strike group is on the way back to the carrier when it spots the Japanese strike group returning to their carrier.  LtCmdr Case calls "Tally Ho!" and the four Wildcats zoom in to take one last running shot at the enemy.

(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-fAC32tgQ63k/XZeEiKliUqI/AAAAAAAAtXk/dcYErsrmBeEaVIMVzoL1wzRXYzvXguqNgCNcBGAsYHQ/s1600/IMG_8331.JPG)
LtCmdr Case (far left) is already working over some Kates when Ensign Didier pulls in behind to help out (top right).

To see how the fight went, please check the blog at:
https://oldleadbreed.blogspot.com/2019/10/coral-sea-day-2-fight-8.html

And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes the aerial dogfights over the Coral Sea on 7 and 8 May 1942.  Here's how it shook out:

Sorties: 37
Losses: 12 F4F Wildcats, with 3 pilots KIA and 4 pilots WIA
Kills: 22 (13 A6M Zeros, 6 D3A Vals, and 3 B5N Kates)
The Killer Pelicans led three strikes that lost 10 of 18 SBD Dauntlesses.  The Killer Pelicans had one pilot awarded the Navy Cross (Ensign Head) and two pilots receive the Bronze Star with 'V' device (Lt Casey and Ensign Riggins).

The series of fights was a lot of fun; well, okay, not a lot of fun, I sure took my lumps!  But it was fun, and the process worked.  This series of fights was really a great laboratory to figure out exactly what I wanted/needed to do to balance aircraft capabilities and pilot skills.  I think I've got it down, and so I'm ready to keep it rolling.  Next up, I need to play a few fights over New Guinea with my Army squadron, the Chickenhawks, then it's time to stage the invasion of Guadalcanal, finally.

V/R,
Jack


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: mad lemmey on 17 October 2019, 12:41:40 PM
Safe trip then.  8)


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: bigjackmac on 18 October 2019, 02:52:40 AM
???


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: toxicpixie on 21 October 2019, 10:04:48 AM
Yowsers.

Well, an Escort Carrier is still a Carrier even if it's not the big duck!


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: Sunray on 21 October 2019, 10:16:56 AM
 Jack,   As always the eye candy and the read are entertaining.   Many Thanks


James


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: mad lemmey on 21 October 2019, 08:07:13 PM
They've found Akagi too!
https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/world/2019/oct/21/humbling-wreckage-of-japanese-ships-from-battle-of-midway-found-in-pacific


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: paulr on 21 October 2019, 09:29:47 PM
And the Kaga last week


Title: Re: Dogfights Over the Coral Sea
Post by: bigjackmac on 22 October 2019, 02:09:16 PM
Thanks everyone, Iím glad you liked it, and thanks for the support!

Iíve played two dogfights over New Guinea with my Chickenhawks, plan on several more, then itís back to the Killer Pelicans at Midway, where hopefully they will put the Japanese carriers in their rightful (and historically correct) place!

V/R,
Jack