.

THE ISLAND OF MALABASCAR

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Coral Sea Battle Results


New Guinea Campaign
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Mission: Link air, naval and land action in a campaign and story context
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Photos: Courtesy of Nick K.
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December 7, 1942/2019 Games
Thirteen players flew four air operations.

Coral Sea Afternoon Mission: USN Aircraft Attack CV Zuikaku

USN Torpedoes Away
Raiden 1/285 Devastator Torpedo Bombers Launch Litko Torpedoes

Note Torpedoes missing in the upper left while two more drive forward

Location:
   The Coral Sea, Southwest Pacific Ocean and Milne Bay, New Guinea

Strategic Mission:
   Japanese Want to Occupy Southern New Guinea

Tactical Situation:
   (a) Each side engaged the others main Carrier Task Force with aircraft.
   (b) Soften up Milne Bay to assist the IJA Invasion Force eventually passing by bound for a landing
         at Port Moresby.

Coral Sea Morning Mission
IJN CV Shokaku and USN CV Lexington Task Forces engaged each other by air.
Both fleet carriers sunk.
Each Task Force had:
   1x CV, 2x CAs and 4x DDs.
   8x Fighters, 8x Dive Bombers, 4x Torpedo Bombers and 1x Observation Plane

Coral Sea Afternoon Mission
IJN CV Zuikaku and USN CV Yorktown Task Forces engaged each other by air.
Both fleet carriers were heavily damaged and are headed home to a dry dock.
Each Task Force had:
   1x CV, 2x CAs and 4x DDs.
   8x Fighters, 8x Dive Bombers, 4x Torpedo Bombers and 1x Observation Plane

Milne Bay Morning Air Raid
IJA 4x Betty Bombers from Rabaul and 3x Zeros from Salamaua raided Milne Bay.
Allies defended with 2x Australian Hurricanes and 2x USAAF P-40s.

Milne Bay Afternoon Air Raid
IJA 3x Betty Bombers from Rabaul and 3x Zeros from Salamaua raided Milne Bay.
Allies defended with 2x Australian Hurricanes and 2x USAAF P-40s.


Our Tactical Results Mirrored History Closely Enough 
   The loss of CV Shokaku and the return of Zuikaku to Japan for repair removed IJN naval air cover for the Port Moresby Invasion Task Force. The Army General Staff must next decide to attempt a landing at Milne Bay or go over the Owen Stanley Mountains as was the historical case to capture Port Moresby.
   Lexington was lost and Yorktown suffered heavy damage as was the historical case. Their battle helped stop Japanese from occupying southern New Guinea and hence protected Allied supply lanes to Australia.

Next Things
   (1) The Allies will attack Salamaua by air on the northeast coast of New Guinea.
   (2) Adapt the Battle of Midway to the tabletop. (Tentatively June 6, 2020)


Campaign Score From Eight Battles:

Japanese:
27: Port Moresby Air Raid #1
07: Port Moresby Air Raid #2
12: Lae Air Raid #1
18: Lae Air Raid #2
30: Coral Sea Mission #1 (CV Lexington sunk)
25: Coral Sea Mission #2 (CV Yorktown crippled)
04: Milne Bay Air Raid #1
06: Milne Bay Air Raid #2
129 points

Allies:
07: Port Moresby #1
16: Port Moresby #2
18: Lae #1
16: Lae #2
30: Coral Sea Mission #1 (CV Shokaku sunk)
25: Coral Sea Mission #2 (CV Zuikaku crippled)
14: Milne Bay Air Raid #1
05: Milne Bay Air Raid #2
131 points
**********          **********          **********

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Coral Sea Naval Battle Pre-Game Briefing 2

New Guinea Campaign

Mission: Link air, naval and land action in a campaign and story context
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Game Date: December 7, 1942/2019
Arrival: 9:00-10:00 am
Flight School: 9:15-9:30 am (New pilots + refresher for others if needed)
Lunch: Noonish
Game End: 4:00 pm Turn In Progress or sooner
If anyone needs to be excused, please let us know asap
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RECONNAISSANCE

Okay Mac, we've spotted 'em. Radio the Lexington.

Right Everett. That's one fleet carrier, two cruisers and four destroyers southbound 150 miles east of Rossel Island. I wonder where the second reported carrier is though.

Get that message sent Mac before we have company. We're getting out of here pronto.

Meanwhile, a float plane from one of the IJN Crusiers spotted the Lexington's Task Force.

Far to the westward a Japanese Army observation plane poked into Milne Bay on the extreme eastern tip of New Guinea.

The Japanese will be sending Bettys to Milne Bay to prevent Allied aircraft there interdicting the invasion force when it rounds the bottom of New Guinea to land troops at Port Moresby.
Reason: We have thirteen participants needing more ergonomic space to reduce people crowding.
Two Japanese and one Allied pilot are needed for Milne Bay.

That is all.
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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Coral Sea Naval Battle Pre-Game Briefing 1

Douglas TBD-1 Devastators

New Guinea Campaign
Mission: Link air, naval and land action in a campaign and story context
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Game Date: December 7, 1942/2019
Arrival: 9:00-10:00 am
Flight School: 9:15-9:30 am (New pilots + refresher for others if needed)
Lunch: Noonish
Game End: 4:00 pm Turn In Progress or sooner

Bring: Tape measure and one small snack or beverage to share

Location: The Coral Sea, Southwest Pacific Ocean
Strategic Mission: Japanese Want to Occupy Southern New Guinea
Tactical Situation:
   (a) Each side engages the others main Carrier Task Force with aircraft
   (b) Survivors return to a friendly carrier to rearm/refuel and launch Mission #2

Recommendation: See the new MIDWAY movie before game day.

Coral Sea Naval Battle --- Pre-Game Briefing

Mission #1
Starts 10:30 am or sooner.

IJN Task Force (Back Table)
1x Fleet Carrier Shokaku + (CV Zuikaku off table)
2x Cruisers
4x Destroyers
8x Zero Fighters
9x VAL Dive Bombers
4x KATE Torpedo Bombers
1x Float Plane

CHUCK S. Duties
Assign players and flight plan(s)
Unavailable on Mission 1 only: 1x Zero, 1x Val
CAP: 1x Zero up 1xD4/fuel consumed, 1-2 Zeros ready on deck
Place float plane bogey in vicinity of US Task Force at 10,000'
Form one or two Attack Groups from aircraft remaining
Steer CV into the wind/D4: 1= 45° port, 2-3 = No Change, 4= 45° starboard
Mission #1: Throw 2D6 vs USN. High score launches first.
Chuck S. CinC
Dave G. Attack Group Commander
Keith J.
Tom
Dale F.
John B.

USN Task Force  (Main Table)
1x Fleet Carrier Lexington + (CV Yorktown off table)
CVs are radar equipped
2x Cruisers
4x Destroyers
8x Wildcat Fighters
9x Dauntless Dive Bombers
4x Devastator Torpedo Bombers
1x PBY

Bill P. Duties
Assign players and flight plan(s)
Unavailable on Mission 1 only: 1x Wildcat, 1x Dauntless
CAP: 1x Wildcat up 1xD4/fuel consumed, 1-2 Wildcats ready on deck
PBY Mission: Rescue downed pilots
Form two Attack Groups from aircraft remaining
Steer CV into the wind/D4: 1= 45° port, 2-3 = No Change, 4= 45° starboard
Mission #1: Throw 2D6 vs IJN. High score launches first.
Bill P. CinC
Nick K. Attack Group Commander
Greg B
Dan E.
Morgan E.
Bob M.
Todd C.

Mission #2
Starts after Mission #1 when rearmed/refueled.
Order of Battle:
Lightly or undamaged aircraft returning from Mission #1
1x Fighter, 1x Dive Bomber unavailable earlier
Assign Aircraft to CAP and Attack Group(s) after rearming/refueling.

IJN 
More skilled pilots
Better torpedoes and longer range
USN aircraft shooting at Zeros add +1D6
Turning Template A is available only for Zeros
Mission 1 Attack Group aircraft may launch all planes on the same turn
If Shokaku is out of action, bring on Zuikaku
Bonus Card A/A Fire unavailable
Pilots may attempt to crash land on a friendly beach or near friendly ships in the water

USN
Good pilots but with less experience
Poorer torpedoes and shorter range
Radar aboard carriers
Yorktown has side armor belt
Mission 1 Attack Group aircraft launches on two consecutive turns
If Lexington is out of action, bring on Yorktown
Pilots may attempt to crash land/bail out on the water, on a friendly beach or near friendly ships

FRIENDLY ANTI-AIRCRAFT FRIE
Fighters within 20cms of the enemy receiving A/A must throw for A/A friendly fire too.

ALTITUDE EXPERIMENT
Low 100' or less: Torpedoes may only be dropped on the deck
Medium: 5,000'
High: 10,000'
Aircraft must be at the same level to engage each other
Climbing costs -5cm per level
Descending costs nothing
Shell splash plumes are only at Low Level. Contacting aircraft destroyed

Perspective
CV Lexington Task Force
We are using what we have.
Ships are 1/2400 scale as viewed from aircraft far away.
Aircraft are 1/285 or 1/300 scale. You are in the planes.
Newest pilots will fly bombers.

Fighters have 12 turns of fuel. No fuel consumed until 2nd. turn aloft.
Losses and points will be tracked.
Play turns speedily.
Caveat: Scenario might need adjusting to make a good game.

Main Reference: The Coral Sea 1942, The first carrier battle, Mark Stille

Lady Lex in our adaptation sailing to The Coral Sea

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

2nd USA Air Raid vs Lae, New Guinea


New Guinea Campaign
Mission: Link air, naval and land action in a campaign and story context
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Game #4
November 7, 1942/2019
Allied 2nd. Wave Air Attack On Lae, New Guinea

At the morning briefing Lt. Colonel Devine said, "You boys are going back to Lae to finish the job. I want you over the target by 1830 hours. Get in and out fast. We'll turn on the lights at Seven-Mile Field for your return landing. --- Questions? --- Yes, Captain Bolton."

Colonel, yesterday we had no specific targets. Just bomb what we thought best upon arrival over Lae as I recall you saying. Today though I infer you want us to finish demolishing enemy fuel storage tanks as best we can.

Yes, that's it Blatz. Do that and the Zeros at Lae won't be bothering Port Moresby for a long time. I know it's a tough assignment what with 50% losses yesterday, but its gotta' be done.

He called me Blatz because that was my nickname in the 19th Squadron of the 22nd Bombardment Group. You see, I'm from Milwaukee and Blatz is a decent beer manufactured there. So my crew started calling me that. Otherwise I'm Jackson Bolton, jumped up to Captain because Charlie Iverson commanding B Flight bought it yesterday over Lae.

There weren't any more questions except between the green skipper, Lieutenant Silverman commanding Number 6 and me. I told him all he needed to do was stay close to Guilfoyle in Number 5 and he would be as fine as possible. "Watch and learn," Guilfoyle added with a grin.

We crossed the Owen Stanley Range flying through a pass at 8,000 feet easily enough. Mist and storms did not materialize though they are frequent in this region. We flew to the right of Captain Henry Killgallon's A Flight diving for the deck of the coastal plain on the northeast side of New Guinea.

Killgallon didn't think the Japanese would expect us to approach Lae the same way as yesterday. "Blatz," he said, "It's like baseball. A hitter won't usually expect two curve balls in a row. So head for the beach and bank left for the harbor just like you did yesterday."

That's what we did. Only this time I ordered B Flight to change from line ahead to a Vic. Guilfoyle flew to my right as my wingman while Silverman flew slightly behind my left.

Killgallon's A Flight looked to be in good shape when we parted company.

But his curve ball analogy didn't work out so well for him. The next time I looked to my left, I was shocked to see two of his planes shot down and Zeros vectoring toward me. Killgallon in the last remaining A Flight ship pressed on to the fuel storage tanks.

We held formation firing our top turrets at the approaching enemy. Would we be lucky  again and get through to the target just like yesterday? The answer thank God was yes. Both Zeros were turned back by our fire.

Guilfoyle and I approached the target straight on though my ship was damaged. Silverman had by then taken a bad flak hit from Rapid Robert's infernal 90mm A/A battery near the airfield. The rookie turned for home almost losing control of the aircraft. I later learned the ride was extremely difficult due to damage but he made it back to Port Moresby; a credit to his skill and tenacity. He didn't quit and he learned.

As Guilfoyle and I dropped our bombs on the fuel tanks, we sadly noticed Killgallon's ship burning on the ground. There were no survivors seen as we flew over and then banked for Port Moresby. Just like yesterday, enemy fighters had disappeared. We only had to contend with sporadic and ineffectual anti-aircraft fire before getting out of their range.

Navigating for the mountain pass we painfully climbed to 9,000 feet. Vibrations and buffeting were hellish. I wondered if Number 4 would even be able to recross the Owen Stanley Range or if we would suddenly fall apart plummeting to certain death into the cruel jungle below.

"Hey Blatz," yelled my Co-Pilot, Lt. Mason. "The right engine is sparking and throwing smoke. Fuel is getting low too. We'd better land soon."

Yeah, Jar. I know. We'll make it. He was from a farm in Nebraska. His mom and sisters preserved vegetables in Ball Mason Jars. He brought two cases of them when we flew to Australia last month. Corn naturally, strawberries, pears and green beans. Good stuff. That's why his nickname was Jar.

Twenty-five minutes later the sea came into view shimmering in the moonlight. Port Moresby was blacked out but we could make it out. Then our guys at Seven-Mile turned on the lights to guide us in. It was just in time because number 1 engine sputtered to a stop and number 2 didn't sound too good. A  Martin B-26 Marauder can land on one engine with experienced pilots. Stateside crews don't believe this calling the plane The Widowmaker. Well, they're wrong because we'd practiced it often enough.

And we did it again --- for real this time.

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CLOSING REMARKS

Japanese Score
3x Allied Bombers Downed: 12 pts.
1x USAAF Crew Captured: 1 pt.
1x Bomber Driven Off without Bombing: 5 pts.
Total 18 pts.

Allied Score
Fuel Tanks Destroyed: 16 pts.
4x Zeros out of action for one day: 0 pts.
Total 16 pts.
---

Campaign Score From Four Air Battles:

Japanese:
27: Port Moresby #1
07: Port Moresby #2
12: Lae #1
18: Lae #2
64 points

Allies:
07: Port Moresby #1
16: Port Moresby #2
18: Lae #1
16: Lae #2
57 points

Next Things
Planning Coral Sea.

Thank you for looking in.

Do you have comments? Place them below, if you please.
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Friday, November 8, 2019

1st USA Air Raid vs Lae, New Guinea

New Guinea Campaign
Mission: Link air, naval and land action in a campaign and story context
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Game #3
November 6, 1942/2019
Allied 1st Wave Air Attack On Lae, New Guinea

After two Japanese air strikes on Port Moresby, New Guinea a week ago, it was payback time. The 22nd Bombardment Group was ordered to stage forward from Australia to Port Moresby's Seven-Mile Field and to then fly north to Lae to hit 'em hard. On mission day, I flew second in B Flight behind Captain Charlie Inverson. Carl Guilfoyle flew third. I'm Jackson Bolton from Milwaukee. My buddies call me Blatz after the beer brewed there.

Flying very low, Charlie led us to the coast. I swear I could have reached out and grabbed a coconut. Palm fronds actually flew off a couple of the trees we were so low.

After we banked left, the Japanese fighter base was just up ahead. The enemy had still not noticed us. Flying among the trees on the deck probably helped. We pushed full throttle praying we would remain unnoticed. Then, I found out why they had left us alone.

While we had been barnstorming among the trees, they had seen A Flight to our left. Zeros briskly pressed home to engage them.

Our guys were getting hit pretty hard too. One of our  B-26s fell out of the sky and the third plane was smoking in a bad way losing speed. Flight leader Walt Krel got away though, thank God.

Then two Zeros were suddenly on our left chattering away. My top turret gunner took pieces off of one of them but the other....

Got Charlie.

But Guilfoyle's air gunner and mine got him. Now I had to lead us to drop our eggs. The thing is, the brass did not have intelligence to order us to specific targets. Instead they left it up to us to decide what to bomb when we got there! How's that for yah?

Well it worked out great for Guilfoyle and I. A fat tanker was moored at dockside probably waiting to offload aviation fuel into nearby tanks. We got it good. She sank in a ball of fire. Cross off one Maru. Then we banked right flying near the storage tanks....

As Gabe Crossen's wounded A Flight ship came up dropping bombs on one of the tanks.

 Then it was back to the beach again racing for home; four of us. Man these ships are fast.

But Crossen didn't make it. A/A got him.

We suffered 50% losses and the Japanese lost all four Zeros that engaged us. At the end of our time over Lae, the foe was able to engage us only with anti-aircraft fire. That's when I dubbed the closest battery to us Rapid Robert. See you next time buddy. I need a Blatz.


CLOSING REMARKS

Japanese Score
3x Allied Bombers Downed: 12 pts.

Allied Score
Sunk Tanker: 8 pts.
1 Fuel Tank Destroyed: 8 pts.
2x Zeros Destroyed: 2 pts.
2x Zeros out of action for one day: 0 pts.
Total 18 pts.
---

Campaign Score From Three Air Battles:

Japanese:
27: Port Moresby #1
07: Port Moresby #2
12: Lae #1
46 points

Allies:
07: Port Moresby #1
16: Port Moresby #2
18: Lae #1
41 points

Next Things
Allied 2nd Wave Versus Lae which took place 11/07/1942/2019.

Thank you for looking in.

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Monday, November 4, 2019

Air Raids vs Lae, New Guinea Info

New Guinea Campaign
Mission: Link air, naval and land action in a campaign and story context
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HISTORICAL INFORMATION

Allies
USA 22nd Bombardment Group
Squadrons: 18?, 19 and 33 (Martin B-26 Marauders)
Motto: Ducemus (We Lead)
B-26 Marauders, Strong/very fast/fly on one engine/three days to repair
Tougher than a B-25.

Staged from Australia to Seven-Mile Airfield, Port Moresby, New Guinea
No radar/sirens/revetments.
Night air raids announced by a sentry firing three rifle shots in the air.
Daytime air raids announced by a red flag on the operations tower.

New Guinea Targets: Japanese airfields at Lae and Salamaua
Often took off w/o a specific target. Find one when you arrive.
No fighter escorts
Average losses/mission 15-25%

Had to cross The Owen Stanley Range.
10,000' high
Mountain passes 7,000' plus high.
Frequent storms, downdrafts, mist

3rd Bomb Group
13th Squadron: B-25s

JAPANESE
The cream of Japanese fighter pilots.
Air superiority/New Guinea.

Lae pilots exceptionally aggressive; Saburo Sakai among them
One B-26 Mission got to Lae runway while Zero pilots swarmed up from takeoff.
Sentries did not see the B-26s soon enough.

90mm AA Guns
Zeros would veer away from friendly A/A fire.
One Lae A/A battery was named Rapid Robert by the Americans
Apparently a good battery.

Most stores/installations concealed back from airfield

Hard for Zeros to make long arcs to fire at B-26s going at full speed
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11/6-7/2019 Scenarios

Allies
6x B-26s:
Start as Bogeys
Use HE-111 bomb capacity (4) until further notice

Japanese
Must spot the foe before taking off. No delay after spotting.
4xZeros
Fuel tanks and possible ships in the harbor of The Markham River
Saburo Sakai: His D4 is a D4+1 and he can void one hit per firing against his plane

ACE Cards
Bag The Hun author says keep them to a minimum. We used too many previously.
Each side will have 1xJr. ACE card which a TOP ACE can take.

Turning Template Expansions:
Template A: -10cms (Zeros only)
Templates D-E-F-G (B-26s)

Track aircraft and crew losses
Played this scenario twice solo. Interesting, tense (in a good way) and nimble.
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References
The Ragged Rugged Warriors, Martin Caiden given to me by Chuck L.
Samurai by naval Pilot ACE Saburo Sakai
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Saturday, November 2, 2019

Allied Recon Mission to Lae, New Guinea


New Guinea Campaign
Mission: Link air, naval and land action in a campaign and story context
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November 2, 1942/2019
Recon Mission To Lae, New Guinea

"Coming out of that cloud cover to the east on the deck should keep 'em guessing, Mac." 

"Yeah, Skipper, I hope they will be looking high for us when we make our low pass over Lae."

"Hot dog, Everett. Nobody home at the Japanese fighter base except that crashed Betty."

"Yeah, Mac. Ya' know what that means? The Zeros are either on their way to or coming back from raiding our guys at Port Moresby."

"There's the Markham River entrance and harbor." I'm gonna bank to the right as we take a look and then head as fast as we can north out to sea."

"Flying low Skipper seems to be working. Nobody is shooting at us yet."

"Hey, maybe the Japanese have all gone home, Everett. Nothing down there either."

"Nah, they are just out for a sail is all; relaxing. They'll be back soon enough. Okay now.... Out to sea at wave top height and then a wide turn back to Port Moresby."

"Sparks, send encoded news back to base. "Lae airfield and harbor empty."


CLOSING REMARKS

The table is set for two Allied air raids scheduled for the evenings of November 6-7, 2019.
Doing these on consecutive evenings gives the feel of daily and connected missions. Also these are small games needing only 4-5 pilots. Gaming on two evenings affords opportunities for more of our local pilots to fly.

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