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Coral Sea '05

1 Description

The Battle of Coral Sea, exists as the first time in history Naval combatants fought without the embarked commanders having visual sighting of the enemy ships.  The Carrier versus Carrier battle occurred in the early days of May 1942.  While several events transpired during the May 1 thru May 11 chronicles, the major event occurred between the Aircraft Carriers Zuikaku, Shokaku, Shoho of the Imperial Navy and the Aircraft carriers Lexington and Yorktown of the US Pacific Fleet. 


1.1 Matters of Historical Fact

Many of the historical facts surrounding this battle involve operational units and personnel that, if included, could significantly shift the focus away from what the writer has attempted to capture within the scenario game play.  With people and material resources thin, minor events that do not contribute to the Carrier battle have been omitted.  To those esteemed historians who would like the include the Japanese occupation of Tulagi, or the AAF bombing of the Port Moresby Invasion forces, my humble apologies.  Vice Admiral Inouye commanded the Japanese forces.  However, he was not embarked during the battle, thus omitted. While the collection of events that comprise the scope of the Battle of the Coral Sea covered the period from 1 May through 11 May 1942, the scope of this scenario focuses on 7-8 May of that year.

A third allied element under command of RAdm Crace RAN almost caught the Japanese invasion force as it passed through the Louisiade chain.  This force was a viable element and was in fact attacked by both Japanese and American planes.  Ship identification was a common problem, and the Oiler Neosho with her Destroyer Escort Sims were mistaken for a Carrier and Cruiser and attacked accordingly.  The misinformation caused VAdm Takagi to prematurely release Shokaku to repair damage. 


1.2 Matters of Scenario

This is a “what if” scenario because anyone reviewing the chronicles of the Battle of the Coral Sea knows that if a butterfly had sneezed on New Guinea then things might have gone in a dramatically different direction, and history would be altered.  One might ask why RAdm. Fletcher did not launch a second strike even though it was nearing dusk.  Conversely, VAdm. Takagi released Shokaku to repair battle damage because he believed both US Carriers to be sunk, when in fact, at that moment, both were still afloat!

To this end, I am leaving as much flexibility as possible to the Task Force Commanders.  Restrictions, where necessary are intended to induce, but not force a duel between the big Carriers and their associated Air Groups.

PT Boats and ship guns are implemented in an effort to keep players in the arena by providing a valuable resource to their teams.  It’s a long haul, but conceivably possible that PT Boats may become the “last line of defense” against an invasion of Port Moresby .  The intent as a matter of scenario, is to keep players involved in a positive and entertaining way.   PT Boats are also used as submarines; see submarine duty.


1.3 Conventions for readability and understanding


phrases in italics are historical elements that make the scenario unique.


Bold RED Small Caps represent the Game Objects Representing these Forces


Bold Yellow Print identifies deviations from history for play balance and other non-historical elements of the scenario.


Green Bold Print shows squadron designations for minimum uniform requirements for unit label on the arena roster.



2 Forces

2.1 Force Description

2.1.1 Japanese Task Groups

( ) Denotes Flagship


·        Carrier Striking Force

Zuikaku CV (Radm. Hara)        C5

Myoko CA (Vadm. Takagi) * operational commander  CA in C5 Task Group

Shokaku – CV     C6

            Haguro CA     CA in C6 Task Group

·        Port Moresby Invasion Force

Shoho – CVL  C4

            Aoba CA (Radm. Goto)  CA in C4 Task Group

2.1.2 Allied Task Groups

( ) Denotes Flagship


·        Task Force 17.5 Carrier Group 

Yorktown – CV (RAdm. Fletcher) * operational commander  C3

            Minneapolis CA  CA in C3 Task Group

Lexington CV (RAdm. Fitch) C2

            New Orleans CA  CA in C2 Task Group

·        Task Group 17.3 Support Group  (Note C15 is not a valid landing or refueling platform, this will invoke a penalty of 5 points)

                                    Australia CA (RAdm. Crace)  * no points for sinking

                                    Chicago CA  C15 A CV with no planes enabled 

                                    Hobart CA * no points for sinking

·        Task Group 17.6 Fueling Group (Note C16 and its DE will fire on all aircraft approaching it.  It will be a CM land controled "Red Herring, so beware of the CV with only 1 escort.

                                    Neosho (Oiler)  C16 CV with no planes enabled * no points for sinking

                                    Sims DE * no points for sinking



2.2 Force Chart

2.2.1 Squadron Composition

The chart below represents the squadron composition based on 210 registered players. 


Allied (Representing)


16 F4F-4  as (F4F-3, VF-42, Yorktown ) USN-VF42

12 A6M2 – VF – Zuikaku IJN-VFZ

16 F4F-4  as (F4F-3, VF-2, Lexington )  USN-VF2

12 A6M2 – VF – Shokaku IJN-VFS

8 SBD-5 as (SBD-3, VB- 5, Yorktown )  USN-VB5

8 A6M2 – VF – Shoho  IJN-VFI

8 SBD-5 as (SBD-3, VB-2, Lexington )  USN-VB2

16 D3A1 – VB – Zuikaku IJN-VBZ

8 SBD-5 as (SBD-3, VS-5, Yorktown ) USN-VS5

16 D3A1 – VB – Shokaku IJN-VBS

8 SBD-5 as (SBD-3, VS-2, Lexington )  USN-VS2

8 B5N – VT – Shoho  IJN-VTI

16 TBM3 as (TBD-1, VT-5, Yorktown )  USN-VT5

12 B5N – VT – Zuikaku  IJN-VTZ

16 TBM3 as (TBD-1,VT-2, Lexington )  USN-VT2

12 B5N – VT – Shokaku IJN-VTS

3 PT    as ( Submarines )  USN-SUB 3 PT as (Submarines)  IJN-SUB

6 Task Force 17 Staff  USN-HQ

6 Operation MO Staff  IJN-HQ


2.2.2 Equipment Allocation and Attrition (Japanese)

If the ships are lost, airborne aircraft may be recovered by another friendly carrier per landing rules. 

*Note: This is single frame attrition.  This is the number of planes available at the start of each and every frame.   There will be a  5 point penalty for each sortie in excess of this allotment not counting those with the word (discod) in the log line.

1.      Shoho

a.          8 – A6M2

b.       16 – B5N

c.       Unlimited CA 8" triple and DE 20mm guns

d.   Unlimited PT Boats, LTV-4, and LTV-2

2.      Shokaku

a.       12 – A6M2

b.      32 – D3A1

c.       24 – B5N

d.      Unlimited CA 8" triple and DE 20mm guns

e.   Unlimited PT Boats

3.      Zuikaku

a.       12 – A6M2

b.      32 – D3A1

c.      24 – B5N

d.      Unlimited CA 8" triple and DE 20mm guns

e.   Unlimited PT Boats

4.      Shore Based

a.       6 – KI67 -- The KI67 will emulate the H6K Flying Boat.  It may not bomb enemy positions,  but it may defend itself.

b.      PT Boats will spawn at the Rabaul pier.  They are not much use, but you can spawn them.

2.2.3 Equipment Allocation and Attrition (Allied)

If the ships are lost, airborne aircraft may be recovered by another friendly carrier per landing rules. 

*Note: This is single frame attrition.  This is the number of planes available at the start of each and every frame.  There will be a  5 point penalty for each sortie in excess of this allotment not counting those with the word (discod) in the log line.

 1.      Yorktown

a.       16 – F4F-4

b.      32 – SBD

c.       32 – TBM

d.      Unlimited CA 8" triple and DE 20mm guns

e.   Unlimited PT Boats

2.      Lexington

a.       16 – F4F-4

b.      32 – SBD

c.       32 – TBM

d.      Unlimited CA 8" triple and DE 20mm guns

e.   Unlimited PT Boats

3.      Shore Based

a.       6 – B26  --  The B26 will emulate the PBY Catalina Flying Boat.  It may not bomb enemy positions, but it may defend itself.

b.      Unlimited PT Boats from Port Moresby (A10)

c.   PT Boats used as submarines spawn open ocean from Lae, Tulagi, Townsville and TonTouta.  These fields are  "Off Limits" to the unlimited PT Boats.  Unlimited PT Boats may spawn from Port Moresby, and any Task Group.

4.      TG17.3 ( Radm Crace Cruiser Group)

a.       No Planes enabled. 

b.      Unlimited CA 8" triple and DE 20mm guns

c.   Unlimited PT Boats

2.3 Special Rules

2.3.1 Ordinance Restrictions

A five point penalty will occur for each infraction.

  1.   KI-67 and B-26 scout bombers must jettison ordinance over water upon launch.  B26 must empty forward guns immediately after dumping ordinance.

  2. F4F  No bombs or rockets, guns only.

  3. SBD   No 1000lb bombs, as a play balance constraint, 500 lb bombs only.

  4. TBM  Torpedo only, historical element, bomb capable, but not used at Coral Sea .

  5. B5N   Torpedo only, historical element, bomb capable, but not used at Coral Sea .

Setting    Dates   Rules   Map  Recon    Staff

3 Scenario Environment

3.1 Terrain

3.1.1 Bases, Ports and Task Groups

Japanese = Knight

            P8 Rabaul – Port (controls all three task groups)

            A14 Tulagi – Seaplane Base -- Unlimited PT Boats may not spawn from this field.  Submarines only.

            A12 Lae – Small Airfield -- Unlimited PT Boats may not spawn from this field.  Submarines only.

                        C4 – K Shoho – P8

C5 – K Shokaku – P8

C6 – K Zuikaku – P8

Allied = Rook

            A10 Port Moresby – Medium Airfield

            P7 Noumea – Seaplane Base Port

A9 TonTouta – Small Airfield --  Unlimited PT Boats may not spawn from this field.  Submarines only.

A11 Townsvile – Small Airfield -- Unlimited PT Boats may not spawn from this field.  Submarines only.

                        C15 – Chicago (RAN Task Force) – P3 -- Not a landing field.  Planes may not land for any reason.

                        C2 – Lexington – P3

C3 – Yorktown – P3

 Bishop = CM

          A1 Charters Towers Austrailia – Small Airfield -- No planes enabled.  CM Headquarters.

          A13 Gasmata  -  Small Airfield -- No planes enabled.  CM Outpost.

C16 -- Neosho -- Not a landing Field.  Planes may not land on this field for any reason.


3.1.2 Map

     View the Map

3.2 Arena Settings and Boundaries

3.2.1 Settings

Wind 0-10K SE at 20 kts

Wind  >10K  W at 20 kts

Clock T+0 = 06:00

ClockMultiplier = 4

Arena Settings (if its not listed its default)

Boat Warning Range = 63360

Communicationsflags = 0

ExitWhileMoving = 328    (Boat,Amphib,Gunner)

FlightModeFlags = 0

FuelBurnRateMult = 1.5

FullIconRange = 2400

GroundAutoLethality [Armored] = .0362

GroundAutoLethality [Hard] = .0362

GroundAutoLethality [Soft] = .0362

KillShooter = 0

PerkPointDisabled = 1

Protect Objects = 1

RadarAlt = 200

RadarModeBish =  5  (Full Friendly, Full Enemy)

RadarModeKnit = 48 (Disable Friendly Counters, Disable Enemy Counters)

RadarModeRook = 58 (Tower Friendly, Tower Enemy,Disable Friendly Counters,Disable Enemy Counters)

ResetAirFieldCount = 1

ResetTotalFieldCount = 1

StratDisabled = 1

TaskGroupCommandCount = 4

TaskGroupRespawnTime = 600

TowerBasedRadarRange = 63360

ViewModeFlags = 2 (External View Bombers Only)

WeaponLethality[Armored] = .6062

WeaponLethality[Hard] = .6062

WeaponLethality[Soft] = .6062

Weapon Lethality is reduced to assist the ship hardness setting.  This does not affect plane guns.

* A note about ship hardness.  We wanted this to be a protracted battle where only coordinated strikes succeed in sinking the CVs and Cruisers.   This will not be like anything you have experienced, so make your ordinance count, and don't expect the ships to be easily sunk.

3.2.2 Radar

Only the two Allied Carriers will have radar.  Japanese radar will be non-functional.  The Allied radar will be tower based, and have a radius of 12 miles with dot visibility only.  There will be no sector counters.  CM has full radar capability to track the action.

3.2.3 Winds

A 20 knot S wind will prevail at 0 – 10K.  A 20 knot W wind will prevail at all altitudes > 10K.

3.2.4 Time Limit

Each frame of Coral Sea is designed to run from 3PM EST to 6PM EST.   A total of three hours per frame.  Early termination of the logs shall be by mutual consent of the CO of both teams or if the CM considers it the best course of action.  A 30 minute RTB window will also be provided to allow pilots a safe RTB period.

3.2.5 Flight Boundaries

All flight shall stay within the full sectors of the map.  A plane loss penalty will occur for each incident of a plane leaving the map sector grid, denoted by the appearance of an arrow.

3.2.6 Task Group Starting Boundaries

 1.      The Japanese striking force (Zuikaku and Shokaku)  groups must start north of the 10 row and east of the 8 column per border identified in red on map.

2.      The Japanese invasion force must start in sector 9,13 per border identified in green on the map.

3.      The Allied task groups must start south of the 9 row and east of the 8 column per border identified in white on the map.

3.2.7 Task Group Start Positions

1. Frames 1 and 3, the Task Groups start within the aforementioned boundaries, by CM jump to the desired waypoints.  This shall   occur at T-30 and the starting waypoint should be near the center of the starting sector, such that the task force is not across the border at T-0.

2. Frames 2 and 4, the Operational Commanders may choose any adjacent sector for task force deployment, based on their last recorded position.  This accounts for the dusk to dawn movement of the task groups from May 7th thru the morning of May 8th.

3. Scout planes will be allowed an early start through a pre-arranged schedule.  Scout planes must stay within the starting boundaries until T-0 when general flight is opened.

3.3 Orders from Fleet Command

3.3.1  Japanese Orders


To:       Commander Japanese Forces Rabaul

Subj:    Operation MO

Msg: With the cooperation of the South Seas Army Detachment and the Navy you will occupy Port Moresby and important positions on Tulagi and southeastern New Guinea. 

The Japanese Commander shall maintain operational command of the Port Moresby Invasion Group and the Carrier Strike Force.  He shall have two subordinates.  Command of each group, to include the tactical operation of the carriers is the responsibility of the subordinate commanders, who may delegate that authority.  The Port Moresby invasion group is ordered to capture the town of Port Moresby . The Carrier Strike Force is ordered to seek out and destroy allied opposition to the invasion force.

Occupation of Port Moresby is specifically defined as: Capturing the town with LVT carried troops from the Port Moresby invasion force task group.

3.3.2 Allied Orders


To:       Commander  TF 17

Subj:    Operational Order No 2-42

Date:   01MAY42:: 0600

Msg:    Naval Intelligence has identified the Japanese objective as Port Moresby .  Reports of 2 first line carriers and a light carrier in addition to other naval elements are said to be gathering in the vicinity of the Solomon chain.  You are to rendezvous with USS Lexington and the Royal Australian Navy support group and assume operational command.

The Allied operational commander shall maintain operational command of Task Force 17 comprised of Task Group 17.5 (Carrier Group) and Task Group 17.3 (RN Support Group).  He shall have two subordinates.  Each subordinate shall maintain operational command of the Carriers Lexington and Yorktown , and the Royal Australian Navy support group and may delegate that authority.  Task Force 17 is ordered to prevent the capture of Port Moresby . 

Setting    Dates   Rules   Map  Recon    Staff

4 Operational Rules

4.1 Lives

Bomber pilots are allowed 2 planes.  All others have 1 plane.  Unlimited lives on both aircraft and ship guns.  It is the responsibility of the operational commanders to strictly account for all ships and aircraft allotted to his team.   

Pilots who die or crash/ditch/bail their aircraft, shall immediately notify their group leader (GL), and request further instructions.  At the discretion of the operational commanders, extra aircraft due to no-show personnel may be used by downed pilots, not to exceed the total frame equipment allocation.

4.2 Refuel/Rearm

Note:  C15 and C16 are not operational and are not eligible landing fields.  Any Allied plane landing on C15 or C16 is lost.  Re-launching counts double the loss and pilot will be warned.

Refueling is permitted on any friendly Carrier or Base.  Refer to section 4.1 for un-successful carrier landing attempts.  Hotpad only for land base refuel/rearm.  Carrier planes are not enabled at bases.   

Rearming is permitted on any friendly Carrier or Base.  Hotpad only for land base refuel/rearm.  For Carrier landings a change of weapons load out shall be permitted.  This specifically means that a pilot can land and exit his plane, change the fuel load out and re-launch.  In the event of an un-successful landing attempt the plane is lost to attrition.  If the pilot dies,e.g., the you have been killed or captured or ditched message appears he is subject to the rules of lives section 4.1

4.3 Ordinance

See section 2.3 special rules.  Due to the unavailability of historical models, the toughness of AH Carriers, and the limited number of players, the ordinance restrictions specified are intended for play balance as well as an attempt at historical significance. 

4.4 Carrier Operations

A 20 knot wind will prevail from the south east at 0-2K.  Successful launch of aircraft will require the tactical maneuvering of the Carriers so that launch and recovery operations are into the wind.   This is SOP for carrier operations.  However, simply continuing on a south eastward course during the frame would be poor game.  As such the operational commanders are required to change the course of the carriers a minimum of once per hour.

Carrier Launch Sequence: At launch time, groups must launch and hold (engines off) on the flight deck to simulate the arming sequence. Planes may launch only after the CV has turned into the wind, and the launch signal is given.

4.5 Scout Missions

Scout missions are left to the discretion of the respective commanders.  Surrogate seaplanes are available from land bases subject to the rules of equipment attrition.  There are a total of 6 seaplanes available per frame. 


4.6 Landing

Landing aboard a carrier the only valid landing.  If the plane is not capable of re-launching due to damage either in combat or on landing, then the plane is lost to attrition.  If a pilot exits a plane on a CV and gets a "Landed Successfully" message then the plane is not lost.  Landings of any kind at a land base means losing the plane to attrition.

Setting    Dates   Rules   Map   Recon   Staff

5 Scoring

5.1 Victory Points



Capture of Port Moresby


Lexington Sunk


Yorktown Sunk


New Orleans Sunk


Minneapolis Sunk


Chicago Sunk


Allied Plane Lost (-1 point per)


Japanese Plane Lost (1 point per)


Zuikaku Sunk


Shokaku Sunk


Shoho Sunk


Myoko Sunk


Haguro Sunk


Aoba Sunk


Port Moresby Uncaptured



5.2 Two Frame Results

           Strategic USN Victory              Port Moresby Uncaptured

          Tactical USN Victory 75%                 465 pts

          Limited USN Victory  50%                310 pts

          Limited IJN Victory  -50%                 -310 pts

          Tactical IJN Victory -75%               -465 pts

          Strategic IJN Victory                 Port Moresby Captured



Yes, just as in the actual event, it is possible to have a limited victory for one side with a tactical victory for the other.  While the loss of Lady Lex determined a tactical victory in favor of Vice Admiral Takagi’s Carrier Strike Force, the withdraw of the Port Moresby Invasion forces by Vice Admiral Inouye represented a strategic victory for Allied Forces. There cannot be a tie.

5.3 Damage Control

Ships have elaborate damage control measures which include a command center called DCC or Damage Control Central.  Ships not sunk in the frames 1 and 3, the first day of the battle will regain all non gun objects for frames 2 and 4 respectfully .


Setting    Dates   Rules   Map   Recon   Staff

6 Scenario Timeline

Frame 1 and 3 will represent May 7th 1942 .  Equipment Attrition will carry over to the next frame.  If either CO concedes defeat by the end of either Frame 1 or frame 3, then the following frame will restart at full allocation.  Example, if both Allied carriers are sunk in frame one, the Allied CO must surrender, and frame two will begin at the beginning.  A surrender involves the loss of both large carriers.  Final scoring will accrue accordingly.

If the first frame of each half sees both sides capable of carrying out their orders, i.e., having at least one Carrier in service, then the following frame, 2 or 4 will continue as May 8th 1942 .

6.1 Frame Timing

T- 60   CO/CM presence required 

T- 45  GL presence required

T- 30   Commanding Officers report readiness to CM. Task Forces are “Jumped” to starting positions.

T- 0     Commence Operations -- Flight is enabled by CM

T+90    CM Announces Half Way Timing

T+170  CM Announces 10 minutes to end of Hostilities

T+180  CM Announces Cease Fire 

T+210  All planes must have landed, logs will close.

6.2 Rotation of Sides

            Frame 1 and 2, Team Zulu will play Japanese, Team Alpha will play Allied

            Frame 3 and 4, roles reverse.

7 Special Considerations

7.1 Task Force Commanders Discretion

It is the option of the Task Force commanders when and how to deploy their forces.  If Takagi wants to use his bombers as kamikaze then he may with full knowledge that losing his planes will have a negative effect on the victory conditions.  If Fletcher wants to search the arena at the cost of his planes the same conditions prevail.  The only restriction the Task Force commanders must adhere to is their specific orders from higher command, as listed in section 3.3, and  the guidelines embodied by these rules.

7.2 Submarine Duty

At the discretion of the Operational Commanders each may accept a total of three volunteers from their ranks for submarine duty.  Six mid ocean boat entry points provide the randomly selected submarine patrol points.  A total of three submarines for each side may be active at any given time.  Penalty points remain at the discretion of the CM for exceeding the maximum number of submarines. 

Each submarine gets two chances per frame to spawn. The logs may reflect no more than 2 spawns, and they may be from either of the two available fields to any of the six available entry points.   This will limit jumping around, cause the subs to be conservative in their movements, and somewhat emulate a subs ability to escape by submersion.  Deep ocean spawn fields are off limits to the unlimited PT boats.

Be aware!  Submarine duty will be isolated, you will be the eyes and ears of the fleet, but your chances of getting close to a task force will be minimal.  It is entirely possible that a submarine will never get a shot off.  But if it were me, this would be my billet.


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