Avery Abernethy, 22 January 2019
Pearl Harbor represented the single worst defeat in US Navy history. The debacle of December 7, 1941 was so horrible that every wargame I’ve played covering the entire War in the Pacific has “special rules” to replicate the disaster. The Japanese attacked without declaring war catching the US forces in Hawaii completely by surprise. The US Army Air Corps was caught on the ground. Only a couple of US Navy Ships managed to raise anchor. Many anti-aircraft guns did not fire early in the battle because their ammunition was locked away and could not be loaded into the guns. The Order of Battle WW2: US Pacific Campaign is highly scripted in order to simulate the total surprise of Pearl Harbor.
Turn 5 – the US Army Air Corps is mostly activated. My three fighter units can down a Jap bomber or torpedo plane a turn as long as I do not engage in dogfights with the Zeros. My AA unit on Ford Island is in range to hit a Jap plane about every other turn for the rest of the scenario. My AA unit continues to work its way north to activate another landing strip and eventually the northernmost victory point which gives me another AA unit.
Turn 6 – Your currently active AA unit activates another fighter unit and another AA unit. The Army Air Corps now has five fighter squadrons in the air. The newly activated AA unit continues onward on the North Road to the last AA unit activation site on the Western part of the map. The Ambulance unit continues to move East across the top of the harbor. Again, don’t dogfight the Jap fighters. Last, don’t reinforce any of your fighter squadrons. You will desperately need those reinforcement points in the next couple of scenarios. Most of these fighter units are not advancing to the next scenario.
Turn 7 & Turn 8 – You get an F4F Wildcat from an offshore US carrier to add to your defense. The Ambulance keeps heading East, NorthEast along the road towards the remaining airstrip. You should have a lot of firepower in the skies. By the end of Turn 8 I had shot down 4 Japanese squadrons without reinforcing a single fighter unit. Amazingly, no Battleships have been lost with the Arizona clinging to life with one point remaining. This was a set of lucky outcomes for me. I’ve always lost at least one battleship on previous playthroughs.
Turns 9 through the end of the scenario on Turn 15 – On Turn 10 I activated the last spot on the Western side of the map. This gave me a Naval Commander as a reward – something totally unexpected and not in the secondary victory reward explanations. In this scenario you eventually control one destroyer. It is pointless to assign this commander to your only naval unit. You don’t get any major naval units for several scenarios. For this reason, I leave the commander on the beach.
On Turn 12 I activated my last fighter squadron. The Japanese have mostly retreated off map or have been shot down by this point. As indicated by the screenshot, I “won” the scenario achieving almost every secondary objective. You are better off activating airfields than AA units. I don’t think you can activate both all airfields and all AA units. If you are wise, you will follow this strategy and mostly use the AA units to activate fighters.
Good Luck! I had a little more luck in this battle than any previous playthrough. But the big luck was barely keeping the Arizona alive.