Historically, the dive bombers hit the Yorktown about an hour and a half before the torpedo bombers arrived. They hit it with 3 bombs and caused some fires to breakout, such that they thought they had crippled her. However, American firefighting and damage control techniques were up to the task and an hour later the fires were out and she was back under way. The repairs were so effective that the torpedo bombers actually thought they were attacking a second, fresh carrier. So, as far as the scenario goes, I decided to compress time and have both the dive and torpedo bombers attacking at roughly the same time. The dive bombers (D3A1'Val') were placed closer to the target, though, to ensure that they would arrive a few turns ahead of the torpedo bombers (B5N 'Kate'). The numbers were:
6 Kates (3 in the clouds)
The bombers were placed on the table and then the Wildcats were placed around the carrier. Finally, the Zero fighter support was placed. Three Kates began off table and appeared from a cloud bank to the north of the carrier on turn 3 (roughly as it occurred on the day). The Vals were placed in a wide arc to the south, basically all coming in individually. The American players decided to weight their forces against the closer dive bombers and left only 4 Wildcats to take on the 3 visible Kates. The Japanese players then decided to escort the Kates with all 6 Zeros.
|The Wildcats mob the Vals while a deadly wedge of Kates and Zeros approach from the north.|
The initial pass of the Wildcats bagged 3 of the Vals, but their head on tactics meant that they lost too much speed turning and only one more Val was shot down, leaving 2 to dive on the exposed carrier.
|Two of the 2 Vals slips past the Wildcats. The rearmost is shot down by the tailing Wildcat, but the furthest begins it's run amidst the flak.|
|The first Val to dive misses. The second can be seen off the starboard of the island about to tip over. It is pursued by a trail of flak, but the Wildcats are too far away.|
|The last Val sores a direct hit!|
Meanwhile, the 4 Wildcats to the north engaged the Kates in another head on pass, but the resulting furball only sees one carrier attack plane in the Pacific. The Zeros pounced from behind the formation and summarily destroyed over half the enemy fighters, but not before they emptied their magazines at the Japanese torpedo bombers. Somehow the airframes were up to the pounding, though and they slipped past the defenders and on to the target with their deadly Type 91 torpedoes.
|As the Vals begin their dives the Kates press on past the Wildcats and through the ever present flak.|
|The critical point of the game! The first Kate delivers it's torpedo and the Yorktown is heavily damaged.|
Final thoughts! I think this was a really good game. The players all seemed to have fun and the focal point of the carrier gave a real excitement as the Japanese planes started to break through. The flak was simplified for the size of the scenario, to speed things up a bit. Rather than rolling for every battery I made some flak markers (mostly for the aesthetic of the puffs of black) and if any plane flew through them they would roll to be hit. Throughout the game, though, not a single Japanese aircraft was hit. There were plenty of rolls to hit, but even when the 1" guns came into action no hits occurred. I think this was slightly down to bad rolls, but when I run this game again I think I'll adjust the rolls to make the flak a bit more effective. Overall, though, I was very satisfied with the scenario design and look forward to trying again at some point!