Over the course of the game, which lasted from June 3rd to June 6th, there was a combined total of six air attacks. In the first, launched at 0500 on June 4th, the US caught the IJN unprepared, sent the carriers Soryu and Zuiho to the bottom and damaged the Kaga, but took fearfully heavy losses in aircraft, particularly torpedo bombers.
|First US strike on the IJN main fleet.|
With the location of the US task forces now pinpointed, the Japanese retaliated with a strike which sunk the Enterprise but in which Hornet, crucially, escaped any damage. Both sides launched simultaneous attacks on the afternoon of June 4th, and, again, it was the US Navy that had the better of the exchange. The battleship Haruna and carriers Hiryu and the partly damaged Kaga were destroyed, and while the IJN was able to damage both Hornet and Yorktown, neither was sunk (how different this result could have been had a hit or two registered against Hornet in the first strike!).
Both sides lost each other overnight and it was not until June 6th that further strikes were able to be launched. With both fleets now desperately low on aircraft, the US aborted its final attack in the face of formidable anti-aircraft factors, and the IJN, despite the best efforts of its gallant pilots, was unable to penetrate the anti-aircraft screen to get at the Hornet and Yorktown.
At game end Midway was safe: the IJN had lost four carriers and the vast majority of its experienced pilots; the US its entire torpedo bomber force, half of its dive bombers, and the carrier Enterprise. It was a very bloody affair indeed.
Thanks to Pat for a close-fought and entertaining game!