Coral Sea Battle, Flat Top Double Blind

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Thomas Persson
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Coral Sea Battle, Flat Top Double Blind

Postby Thomas Persson » Thu 26 Oct, 2017 16:00

Hi again,

I've added a Coral Sea Battle to the Calender and was planning to start on the 15/11. Please post a comment if you want to participate. If you want to get a feel for what the game is about, just read the AAR's posted under Flat Top Double Blind. Flat Top is a game of carrier warfare in the Pacific played at operational level. It's done double blind with me as gamemaster.

I was planning to email some maps and briefing notes to the players who wants to be commanders of the USN and IJN so that they can prepare ahead of the first game.

Hoping to find some players

Cheers

Thomas

Thomas Persson
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Re: Coral Sea Battle, Flat Top Double Blind

Postby Thomas Persson » Fri 03 Nov, 2017 10:57

For some overview of the battle and some inspiration, these USN training films can be watched:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7d2HbbZOKLU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66MvGHJx9zg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3tQkgXDYlg

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Jens Glad Lind
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Re: Coral Sea Battle, Flat Top Double Blind

Postby Jens Glad Lind » Tue 07 Nov, 2017 11:56

If it doesn't interfer with the Arnhem game I would like to play 8) :D

Thomas Persson
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Re: Coral Sea Battle, Flat Top Double Blind

Postby Thomas Persson » Fri 10 Nov, 2017 18:34

You’re very welcome. I don’t see anything else scheduled for those days. Which side would you prefer IJN or USN? I can send you material before the game so you can prepare an overall strategy. If so, I’ll need an email adress.

Cheers

Thomas

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Re: Coral Sea Battle, Flat Top Double Blind

Postby Wkeyser » Sat 11 Nov, 2017 06:53

Hi Thomas
I would like to join and I think Stefan is also in.
William
"Youth, talent, hard work, and enthusiasm are no match for old age and treachery."

"Wargaming is a continuation of reading history by other means"

Thomas Persson
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Re: Coral Sea Battle, Flat Top Double Blind

Postby Thomas Persson » Sat 11 Nov, 2017 13:09

You’re very welcome. Any preference between IJN or USN?

Cheers

Thomas

Thomas Persson
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Re: Coral Sea Battle, Flat Top Double Blind

Postby Thomas Persson » Mon 13 Nov, 2017 08:50

Sorry guys but I got a work thing that I'll have to do on Wednesday. Therefore, no battle on the 15/11.

Sorry about that.

Thomas

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Jens Glad Lind
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Re: Coral Sea Battle, Flat Top Double Blind

Postby Jens Glad Lind » Mon 13 Nov, 2017 09:50

:(

Stefan Karolyi-Brink
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Re: Coral Sea Battle, Flat Top Double Blind

Postby Stefan Karolyi-Brink » Mon 20 Nov, 2017 22:16

Any news regarding this? Can't wait to kill those US carriers 8)

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Jens Glad Lind
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Re: Coral Sea Battle, Flat Top Double Blind

Postby Jens Glad Lind » Tue 21 Nov, 2017 10:46

:? Can't make wednesday as I'm off to see my niece do a schoolplay.

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Jens Glad Lind
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Re: Coral Sea Battle, Flat Top Double Blind

Postby Jens Glad Lind » Wed 06 Dec, 2017 10:31

Kommer med stor sandsynlighed ikke i dag, da jeg har premiere på mit teaters juleforestilling på tirsdag (lots and lots to do :cry: :cry: :cry: )

Thomas Persson
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AAR 1

Postby Thomas Persson » Fri 08 Dec, 2017 07:52

Battle of Coral Sea

4 May 1942, 01:00 – 17:00

USN vs IJN

Written as best I recall it.

The battle began with an encounter between an IJN and a USN submarine in the China Strait, just E of New Guinea. Because of darkness, both subs were operating on the surface. The IJN sub got a solid torpedo hit on the USN sub and it sank in minutes. The hours up to dawn saw considerable sub and air search operations around China Straits and Jomnard passage. The USN managed retaliate when they caught an IJN sub, again in China Strait and attacked it with two USN subs which proved too much for the poor IJN Captain.

Both sides had evidently prepared to exchange strikes between the nearby air bases, the IJN Lae and the Australian Port Moresby. The IJN were woken up by frantic radio calls from ground forces that USN aviation was crossing the mountain ridge on a straight path for Lae. The USN came in with a massive bombing raid consisting of 15 B-17, 15 B-25 and 36 B-26. The IJN CAP intercepted and shot down some B-17 but suffered badly in return. .50 BMG is lethal for wooden planes with unprotected fuel tanks. The bombers cheered seeing the land-ing field full of IJN planes fully loaded and armed. The strike caused massive devastation put-ting the base out of action for most of the day and caused considerable loss of IJN planes.

Around the same time IJN 9 Zeros,15 Betty and 6 Nell bombers came in on Port Moresby from the NE. Also the IJN bombers found USN aircrafts on the runway, but as these had just returned from missions they were low on fuel and unarmed. The IJN strike did some damage and knocked out a number of planes but damaged was considerably less than in Lae.

During the most of the day there was fairly little contact between the sides. Australian coast-watchers observed some IJN ship movement along the S coast of New Britain around Gua-dalcanal.

Around 12:00 IJN reconnaissance planes detected several USN ship groups W Rennel Island, S of Guadalcanal. Going closer to investigate the IJN found two task forces consisting of a single oil tanker each. An IJN Mavis closed in on two task forces sailing side by side and counted two aircraft carriers, seven heavy cruisers, one light cruiser and 14 destroyers. The Mavis had just managed to report this back to Rabaul, when it was blasted out of the sky by Wildcats flying CAP over the carriers. IJN now had a target and airstrikes could be coming in on the USN carriers at any moment.

There were many contacts between USN ships in the area and IJN reconnaissance during the next few hours but no strikes.

USN now got reports from Australian coast guards that an IJN task forces was leaving Tulagi and sailing S. This was probably the task forces that had invaded Tulagi on the 3 May.

Back in the China Strait an IJN sub ambushed a USN sub and sank it. It seems both sides consider China Strait to be of prime tactical importance.

12 USN Dauntlesses flying N, just E of Vella Lavella, flew straight into what seemed as a full IJN carrier strike consisting of 18 Zeros, 21 Vals and 21 Kates. The IJN planes dropped their weapons and intercepted the USN which found itself in one massive fur ball. The USN dropped their bombs and fought back but didn’t last long being so enormously outnumbered.

The IJN task force sailing S from Tulagi was now approached by two USN air formation. The IJN task force was found to consist of two destroyers and five patrol craft. The two USN for-mations of Dauntlesses attacked and crippled an IJN destroyer. An hour later a second USN air formation came in and sunk the other IJN destroyer.

An USN Catalina also detected an IJN task force SE Vanguna that it decided to investigate. The IJN task force consisted of the sea plane tender Kamikawa Maru and an oil tanker. The Catalina decided to try to torpedo the tanker. Nothing came of the attack and the IJN anti-aircraft fire was equally unsuccessful.

Just before game end, a small IJN strike came in on a USN carrier groups W of Rennel Is-land. The IJN strike consisted of 12 Kate torpedo bombers and three Zeros. The carrier had no CAP in the air but fought back with anti-aircraft fire downing three Kates. The remaining Kates launched their torpedoes scoring a lucky three hits on the carrier. A torpedo hitting aft knocked two propeller shaft out of alignment forcing an immediate shutdown of port turbines reducing speed to half. The two other torpedoes partially buckled the flight deck and put two out of three catapults out of action.

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Nicolai Bang Foss
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Re: Coral Sea Battle, Flat Top Double Blind

Postby Nicolai Bang Foss » Fri 08 Dec, 2017 09:22

Cool - det så sjovt ud

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Jens Glad Lind
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Re: Coral Sea Battle, Flat Top Double Blind

Postby Jens Glad Lind » Wed 13 Dec, 2017 14:12

Kommer ikke i dag pga sygdom :(

Thomas Persson
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After action report 2

Postby Thomas Persson » Fri 15 Dec, 2017 09:49

Battle of Coral Sea

4 May 1942, 18:00 – 24:00

USN vs IJN

USN operations during the day and plans

(I have taken the Liberty of guessing some of the intentions of the commanders based on the movements of their forces)

USN had operated during the day with two carriers in the area just W of Rennel Island. With Yorktown badly damaged late in the afternoon and reduced to half speed Admiral Fletcher decided to transfer her aviation to Port Moresby and return the ship to Pearl Harbor for repairs. Yorktowns task force, consisting of CV Yorktown, CA Chester, CA Astoria, CA Minneapolis, CA Chicago and seven destroyers, was therefore split into one cruiser force and a small carrier force with three destroyers as escorts. The cruiser force was sent N, probably to scout and if possible engage the IJN in surface combat as the night was approaching. The carrier task force steamed W towards Port Moresby, keeping far S, to be in a good launch position for the plane transfer in the early hours of the 5 May.

The carrier Lexingtons task force, consisting of CV Lexington, CA New Orleans, CA Portland, HMAS CA Australia, HMAS CL Hobart and seven destroyers, operated S of Rennel Island during the day. They were ordered to leave the area where they were previously detected by IJN and move fur-ther South to be ready to resume combat operations as soon as daylight allowed.

Admiral Fletchers plan for Port Moresby was to continue striking the IJN Lae base, to make it unusable for the IJN, with his land based bombers. As he knew that the Japanese main goal was to invade Port Moresby, the protection of the Port Moresby base was vital. As long as the USN and RAAF could keep considerable strike forces in Port Moresby, any attempt by IJN to move their troop transports to Port Moresby was doomed.

IJN operations during the day and plans

The IJN had had their two main carriers, Shokaku and Zuikaku steaming down the Solomon Sea. CV Shokaku being escorted by CA Aoba, CA Haguro, CA Kinugasa, CL Tatsuta and four detroyers. CV Zuikaku being escorted by CA Myoko, CA Kako, CL Tenryu and four destroyers. After spotting the USN carriers, Admiral Inoue ordered the Shokaku and Zuikaku task forces to proceed during night past Rossel Island and try place themselves S of the USN carriers which he estimated would be somewhere between Rennel and Rossel Islands at daybreak.

The light carrier Shoho, escorted by CA Furutaka and three destroyers, which had launched the strike crippling Yorktown, had been operating around Russel, Vanguna and Rendova Islands was also ordered to proceed S to place herself S of where admiral Inoue expected the USN carriers.

The IJN sea plane tender Kamikawa had spent the day loitering close to Vanguna Island, probably apprehensive of launching her outdated biplanes in an area obviously patrolled by modern carrier based fighters. She was ordered to steam SE towards Rossel Island in the evening.

The IJN land based aviation at Lae had taken quite a hammering during the day and launching and readying capacity had been very low due to USN bombing raids from Port Moresby. Admiral Inoue plan for his land based aviation was to transfer his remaining planes from Lae to Rabaul. Most of the planes had transferred during the day and the rest would launch during night to land in Rabaul at daybreak.

At 18:00 the IJN invasion force, bound for Port Moresby, were ordered to weigh anchor and proceed at best possible speed towards the target.

Main Action

Both sides landed their planes on bases or plane carrying ship before nightfall with the exception of a USN Catalina. The Catalina found itself too far away to reach either Australia or New Caledonia and instead landed on the south coast of Bougainville Island. As they had radioed ahead they were met on the beach by Australian coastwatchers and led ashore.

At 18:00 the IJN invasion forces sailed from Rabaul where they were reported to the USN by Australian coastwatchers.

Around the same time an IJN and a USN submarine, both on the surface, detected each other in the N entrance of China Strait. They both dived to evade and promptly lost contact, only to surface and reacquire. After a few hours of this cat-and-mouse play, the USN sub managed to torpedo the IJN sub.

The area between Rennel and Rossell Islands were getting quite crowded with a total of 4 IJN and 4 USN task forces operating in it. The USN cruiser force consisting of four heavy cruisers and four de-stroyers was sailing straight NW towards the Zuikaku with two heavy cruisers, one light cruiser and four destroyers going S. Very near and slightly SW was Shokaku with three heavy cruisers, one light cruiser and four destroyers. The Zuikaku force and the USN cruiser force barely missed each other around 20:00. Had the USN cruiser force been slightly earlier or Zuikaku slightly later they would have made direct contact. That would have opened for a surface action with USN very much at an advantage as they outnumbered the IJN two to one in heavy cruisers and could very well have sunk the Zuikaku. As it happened they sailed past each other, the Zuikaku continuing S and the cruiser force N.

The light carrier Shoho with one heavy cruiser and three destroyers, unknowingly, on her path S passed undetected straight between the Yorktown and Lexnington task forces, herself spotting neither of them. At 22:00 she turned E and would, one hour after game end, have sailed straight into CV Lexington, three heavy cruisers and seven destroyers. Needless to say, the Shoho would not have fared well in such an encounter.

At 24:00 two task forces met in the darkness S of Rossell Island. On one side the Shokaku with her three heavy cruisers, one light cruiser and four destroyers and on the other side the damaged York-town with three destroyers. Seeing the hopelessness of the situation Admiral Fletcher ordered the Yorktown group to scuttle and the Lexington to sail straight S, out of the area.

Another victory for the IJN.


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