Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands

The Japanese have assembled a powerful carrier striking force to drive the Americans from Guadalcanal once and for all. The U.S. must defend the forces ashore without losing its few remaining carriers in the Pacific. Japanese aircrew losses are growing – if Japan loses too many aircraft here, they will be unable to mount aggressive actions in 1943.

Task Force 61 (Rear Admiral Thomas C. Kinkaid)

Choose a force of 200 points, following these restrictions:

  • Comply with 1942 year restrictions and historical class limits.
  • You may select U.S. and Australian units. No installations.
  • Carriers must be selected from the following list: USS Enterprise, USS Hornet, USS Saratoga, USS Wasp. Limit one of each of these units. If you select USS Hornet it has Expert Dogfighter 1 instead of Embark B-25.
  • You must select approximately equal numbers of fighters, torpedo bombers, and dive bombers for your carriers. In other words, you cannot take 1 Wildcat and 5 Dauntlesses.
  • You can base any air units on your land base, but Henderson Field is vulnerable to land and sea attack and suffers from supply problems. You may only base 5 units there rather than 7.

Carrier Striking Force (Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo)

Choose a force of 200 points, following these restrictions:

  • Comply with 1942 year restrictions and historical class limits.
  • You may select only Japanese units. No installations.
  • Carriers must be selected from the following list: Shokaku (limit 1), Zuikaku (limit 1), Junyo (limit 2 – second represents Hiyo), Shoho (limit 1 – representing Zuiho).
  • You must select approximately equal numbers of fighters, torpedo bombers, and dive bombers for your carriers. In other words, you cannot take 1 Zero and 5 Kates.
  • You can only base patrol bombers and Elite Zeros on your land base. For land-based Japanese planes, downgrade Loiter to Excellent Endurance. Downgrade Excellent Endurance to nothing.

Map

Use a standard-size map with three small islands in the middle. Place objective markers as normal.

Special Rules

Get the Flattops: Score 1/2 the victory point value (round down) of crippled carriers. Crippled carriers on a map edge can spend one move to withdraw from the battle, taking any planes aboard with them. Those units are removed from the battle but do not count as destroyed.

Gunfire Support: All Japanese Battleships gain Bombard for this scenario.

Thach Weave: Once per game, when an enemy Fighter scores successes equal to a Wildcat’s vital armor and would destroy it, the U.S. player may declare a Thach Weave and negate the hit.

Torpedo Junction: All Japanese submarines gain Infiltrator for this scenario.

War of Attrition: The U.S. player scores double victory points for destroyed Japanese air units.

Victory Conditions

Score victory points for objectives, destroyed units, and destroying the enemy surface fleet as normal. Score 1/2 the victory point value (round down) of crippled carriers. The U.S. player scores double victory points for destroyed Japanese planes.

Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands

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