Battlestations: Pacific/Battle of Cape Engaño
This mission can be considerably difficult because a lot of your ships are of the vulnerable Fletcher-class, and it is much easier to lose one than you may initially think. It is usually best therefore to rely on your battleships (which are much tougher to sink) and your air wing.
- Sink all enemy carriers.
- Iowa and Enterprise must survive.
- All ships must survive.
- Sink the supply convoy.
As the mission starts, a single squad of D4Y Judies begins an attack run on the destroyer in front of you. The squad sinks the ship and flees, leaving you with your secondary objective: all other ships must survive. The battleships do a very good job of protecting themselves, especially if you've upgraded to the Iowa-class battleship. Your first objective is readily apparent: sink the enemy carriers. Two of the four carriers you must sink are directly to the north, travelling from east to west. They are escorted by an Akizuki-class destroyer and an Agano-class.
While these ships will be unable to stop your battleships, the minefield stretching between the two northern islands certainly can. You can't let the carriers escape, so you have two options: either charge through the minefield, taking a substantial amount of damage as you go; or you can try to avoid the minefield by heading west to cut the fleet off. Either can work, but the latter strategy may put your battleships near the other two carriers you must sink. Having them this close may cause them to sink the two carriers before you complete the mission's hidden objective. Once you sink one of the enemy carriers, you'll receive reinforcements in the form of the USS Enterprise and a large battle fleet of a Northampton-class cruiser (two if you've done well in previous missions) and multiple Fletchers. None of these ships must sink in order for you to complete the mission's hidden objective. Start by producing a large wave of torpedo and dive bombers and have them charge directly west and engage the small enemy force coming to sink your carrier - another Agano-class and two destroyers. Try to have your cruisers take the brunt of the attack so the enemy doesn't fire on your far more vulnerable destroyers.
Also around this time you'll receive notice that the Japanese task force 27VMB has been spotted, and is a convoy of three oil tankers and three Fubuki-class destroyers headed north. All three tankers must be destroyed in order to accomplish the hidden objective, but the Fubuki-class destroyers can put a lot of anti-aircraft fire into the air. That's why it's best to rally all your bombers and have them strike the enemy all at once, and hopefully overwhelm the enemy's air defences. If you can't sink the three oil tankers in a single pass, have your bombers target the destroyers to make things easier for subsequent waves.
Soon your ships will spot the last pair of enemy carriers in the northwest corner of the map. They have a considerably larger force escorting them, but are no match for your battleships. Have them sail in and gun everything down.
Things may turn out complicated if the two enemy fleets merge, as it may cause your ships to switch targets (that is, your battleships may have to head for the lightly defended convoy, leaving your carrier screening force to fight the more heavily guarded Japanese carrier). That is why it is best to be patient and whittle the enemy down with torpedo bomber strikes if necessary - losing a ship will cause you to win only a silver medal.
If a silver (or even a bronze) medal is fine for you, however, simply sink the two carriers to end the mission.