Page 1 of 1

Gameplay advice sought for Coral Sea

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 4:49 pm
by thgmusic
Hey all,
When I tried to do a search for "Coral Sea" it kept timing out, so here I go with some questions for the Coral Sea scenario. I'm playing the campaign at the level 3 difficulty. I've played Coral Sea before, but I enjoy the replay-ability of this game. So, I've started the Pacific campaign (again) from Pearl Harbor on.

So, from playing before, I know there are some Japanese submarines around. The two that I've stumbled across have been purely by chance. There's one in the NE that I usually find as I head towards Tulagi. There's another in the South Central part that I have stumbled across before, but mostly discovered after it's attacked my ships down there, usually the carrier or cruiser. So, here's question 1:
• What's the best way to locate subs without slowing down the overall pace of movement of the fleet?
I know I can use sonar from my destroyers, but they have to stay in place. **By the way, the range of the sonar is 2 hexes out from the destroyer?

Question 2: what do you prioritize in order of attack?
• I usually send a couple of destroyers and a cruiser to take care of Tulagi
• This invariably brings quite a few Japanese fighters and bomber/torpedo planes
• Do you try to attack the planes?
• This usually results in my fighters getting pretty badly mauled because the Wildcats just can't make that great a dent in those Zeroes

Which leads to:
Question 3: should I buy a 2nd core force carrier?
• in the Gilberts scenario, I buy a carrier with 2 fighters and a bomber
• this is helpful of course in the Coral Sea scenario, but I am woefully short of fighters to deal with all the Japanese planes
• assuming I've managed my resources well in the Gilberts, I usually have enough to purchase a carrier along with a couple of fighters and a bomber/torpedo

Question 4: with my southern central fleet, I head west/northwest to first engage and destroy that small Japanese carrier fleet, then make a beeline for Port Moresby.
How do I keep the blocking force around Port Moresby alive while still trying to block 6 Japanese destroyers (or is it 8, might as well be a hundred!) and a cruiser?

Well, that's enough for now. If you know of other threads that discuss this, please link to them if you can. I appreciate it!

Happy gameplay!

Re: Gameplay advice sought for Coral Sea

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:04 pm
by Andy2012
Best way to locate subs is sonar. And quicksaving. They are annoying.
The Wildcats suck against the Zeros for now. Send bigger numbers. More fighters, fewer bombers.
I remember going for an all-fighter carrier. That helps until the Corsair and Hellcat come along.
I remember retreating the Port Moresby force towards my main force and both joining in the west. That should drag the AI into your core force.
Hope this helps, it has been a while since I played that.

Re: Gameplay advice sought for Coral Sea

Posted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:12 pm
by thgmusic
Thanks for the quick reply!
I did add another carrier with just fighters (only had enough CPs for 2) and it made a *big* difference.

Re: Gameplay advice sought for Coral Sea

Posted: Sun Feb 03, 2019 7:41 am
by GabeKnight
I don't think I've ever sent any of my ships for Tulagi. Don't split your naval forces. A couple of bombers accompanied by one or two fighters can take care of the occupation force there while your fleet keeps on moving west. Nothing else to do for the bombers at this early stage of the mission anyways. Don't bother with the Zero(s) near Tulagi. Sure, your bombers will take some damage, but if you keep your dogfighters adjacent to them, they provide support fire.

There should be plenty of gameplay videos for this scen on youtube, too.

Re: Gameplay advice sought for Coral Sea

Posted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:20 am
by TheFilthyCasual
In question order:

1. You can't really, you have to pick. If you don't move the fleet and let the sub come to you, this allows you to SONAR ping every turn. If you move all the time, then you can't ping, but on the other hand, given that subs are quite slow, it won't be able to keep up with you anyway. I guess it depends on whether you want to keep moving your whole fleet around to avoid the subs or just stay in place and try to sink them when they show up.

2. It's better to just use bombers. Frankly, until you take out the Japanese combat air patrol with your own fighters, sending your bombers against the Japanese carriers with veteran Zeros in the way is suicide, so they might as well attack something while they wait for you to kill the enemy air groups.

3. Yes. Only in the Philippine Sea do you get veteran non-core carrier squadrons, otherwise you get green ones who usually get massacred by the Japanese. They're mostly just cannon fodder - trying to keep them from dying is often an exercise in frustration as an attack from any Zeros will usually require sending it immediately back to the carrier or it will get destroyed, meaning they never really make any headway against enemy forces. As for what you should buy, that's debatable. 3 fighters and 3 bombers is a good mix; defensively, 4 fighters is the best and is enough to annihilate any enemy attack group, but leaves you with little strike power.

4. You should probably deploy your own destroyers and cruisers around Port Moresby rather than your carriers. The Japanese only have one cruiser, so even one extra gives your force the leg up on them.

Re: Gameplay advice sought for Coral Sea

Posted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:13 am
by Horst
I can't wait for the day when game developers get help from bots to beta-test games instead of customers.

Re: Gameplay advice sought for Coral Sea

Posted: Sat Jun 08, 2019 12:36 pm
by TheFilthyCasual
I always have 6 carrier planes in my core, 3 fighters, 2 Dive Bombers and 1 Torpedo Bomber (or just 3 BTDs once they're available). That's two carriers worth of planes, but you don't usually need to actually deploy a second carrier because in any carrier battle the game will give you auxiliary carriers. These carriers usually come with planes, but as these are auxiliaries you can just use them as cannon fodder against the nearest target until they're gone, especially in the Coral Sea and at Midway where they really stand no chance against the level-1 veteran Japanese planes. Then you can deploy the rest of your planes on that carrier. Your Naval points really should be spent on more surface ships, including a battleship, because on Guadalcanal you need every ship you can get.

So for the Coral Sea, I deploy 2 bombers and 1 fighter on my carrier in the northern task force and immediately send them to take out Tulagi because Guadalcanal is hard enough as it is. To the south, I send all the planes on the Lexington against the Shoho to do whatever damage I can before they all get shot down. I then deploy the rest of my fighters. As I recall, you only get 15 air points in the Coral Sea, right? So you can only deploy 5 planes, not 6, and you definitely need three fighters; two will not be enough to stop the Japanese from sinking one of your carriers or take on the combat air patrol.

I keep my bombers on my Yorktown until either the Japanese bombers come after it or my fighters have shot down all the Zeros.

It's also important that you have the Flight School specialization and use Elite Repairs on your planes. This will ensure all your aircraft are at least as veteran as the Japanese, if not moreso from fighting in the Gilberts. Sending inexperienced planes against the veteran Japanese air units in the Midway and Coral Sea scenarios is just suicide, as you will be able to see from how easily they kill your auxiliary planes.

Re: Gameplay advice sought for Coral Sea

Posted: Sun Jun 09, 2019 2:19 pm
by PoorOldSpike
thgmusic wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 4:49 pm
..By the way, the range of the sonar is 2 hexes out from the destroyer?..
Yes, I'm running a comprehensive series of tests on sub operations and will create a dedicated thread later.
So far I've found that a sub can only be spotted by a destroyer at 2 hexes regardless of whether its surfaced or submerged.
If the sub is submerged the destroyers sonar will detect it and the ship will launch "hedgehog" projectile type depth charges at it. and if the sub is surfaced the destroyer crews eyeballs will detect it, in which case the destroyer will use its guns.
At 3 or more hexes range the ship can't spot the sub at all.
However, surfaced subs can spot ships at up to 4 hexes range which give subs an important tactical advantage because they'll see the ship first and will be able to launch a quick stabbing attack on the surface to get in the first shot with torpedoes at 2 hexes firing range.
At the moment I'm testing whether a destroyers guns or its hedgehogs do the most damage to subs, which will influence our choice of whether to attack when surfaced or submerged.

Re: Gameplay advice sought for Coral Sea

Posted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:00 am
by Rose88
I remember going for an all-fighter carrier. That helps until the Corsair and Hellcat come along.
I remember retreating the Port Moresby force towards my main force and both joining in the west. That should drag the AI into your core force.
Hope this helps, it has been a while since I played that.


Re: Gameplay advice sought for Coral Sea

Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2019 4:47 pm
by prestidigitation
I had no trouble getting this mission done with all secondaries. Prior to this mission I had completed all secondaries on all prior missions. This meant weaker Japanese air crews and a free BB on my side.

I go with two carriers, with an air complement of 2 ftr, 2 db, 2 torp. Don't underestimate the torps, two of them will just about one shot a fleet carrier or battleship.

I typically deploy a force of cruisers and destroyers to stop the Japanese at Port Moresby. I put literally everything that isn't a carrier here because I find that the AI escorts are more than adequate for the carrier strike force. If you're comfortable with the naval mechanics (max move lateral to the enemy ships when you want to defend, stay put to smack the crap out of them) this is a straightforward and quick fight. The important thing is to get enemies to strength 3 as this substantially degrades their move speed and damage capability. Once they hit that point switch targets. You can finish off a bunch of ships simultaneously once they're all beat up.

I do tend to send a cruiser and a destroyer up to clear the air base because it used to be almost impossible to finish off units from air. These days dive bombers have precision strike so they can probably handle it solo. You do need a fighter to ride along, but don't use them to actually attack any enemy fighters that show up. Instead your fighter should sit next to both of your dive bombers and just chill. The AI will attack one and you'll get a free attack that will strip a good chunk of health off of them for no cost to your fighter. You can then use your strength advantage to clean up the zero. This is the essence of winning air to air combat as the US in the early years of the campaign.

I find Japanese subs are best ignored. If you happen to run into one mass murder it, otherwise just move your carriers southwest at max speed with their escorts and the subs won't ever catch you. ALWAYS MOVE YOUR CARRIERS. If you leave your carriers idle somewhere they will get torped.

I find that it is generally a good idea to get stuck in with the Japanese fleet after crushing their forces off Port Moresby. I send my escorts and battleship to clear the Japanese escort carrier that lingers to the south east of the port, and send my carrier strike wave with fighter escorts to hunt the enemy carriers. It isn't particularly hard to wipe the entire Japanese fleet off the map at difficulty 3 if you let your escorts fight their escorts.

Keep in mind that a high low attack is strongly encouraged by the game. You want to move in your dive bombers and fighters first to flush out the enemy fighters. They'll again go after your escorted dive bombers and get hit back hard by your adjacent escorting fighters fighters. Then on the next turn clear their fighters with your fighters and strike with your torps while the dive bombers start hunting down the next carrier. This is a very reliable tactic. It is also a good idea to release your strikes in waves. Send your strike from one set of carriers while the other set has their strike in reserve. That way the enemy zeroes will be near the limit of their flight time when your second strike hits and you can bomb them when they're trying to land on the remaining carrier.

As far as specialization I highly recommend going for as much radar as you can along with the air spec that gives you vet 1 on new air crews. I think people wildly underestimate the importance of recon and vision range. If you can see something you can hit it, and if you can hit it you can kill it. You waste less time on recon sweeps looking for their carriers, you spot their air attacks far out and can vector in to defend, there's just so many advantages. I'll take map vision over better units every day and twice on Sunday as someone who enjoys playing the harder difficulties. Each time you boost your recon spec be sure to put your destroyer screen further out to take advantage of it. Destroyers are your eyes and you want them looking, cruisers are your shield and you want them close enough to cover your body (carriers) but should be willing to use them to strike if you see the opportunity. Your strike crews are of course your fists, and fists work better when you know what to punch!

I have a lot of fun with Coral Sea, but I recommend only killing the Ryujo if you want to have a good time on Midway. Getting a clean sweep of all five carriers on Midway is much more rewarding and feels more authentic to boot. Keep in mind that if you do get a clean sweep on Midway you can spend a dozen or more turns waiting for the AI fleet to evac which gets pretty tedious, but that's life I guess.