After the opening introduction video, you're ready to dive into the Battlestations: Pacific American campaign. In this mission you'll get to fly the three most popular American aircraft of the Pacific Theater – the F4F Wildcat, SBD Dauntless, and TBF Avenger.
- Eliminate 10 of the incoming Japanese aircraft.
- Make sure at least four bomber squadrons reach the navigation point.
- Sink every Japanese ship in the area.
The mission starts with several squads of Japanese attack planes coming toward an American battlegroup consisting of two carriers and a handful of destroyers.
The first wave of attack planes is sent without fighter escorts, while the following waves have two squads of Oscars protecting them. Either way, your job is to simply shoot down 10 enemy aircraft. Armed with an F4F Wildcat, this shouldn't prove to be too difficult.
Specifically target the strike planes in the second wave, as they're easier to shoot down than the Oscars.
Once you score your tenth kill, your duty changes from protecting a carrier group from Japanese strike planes, to escorting several of your own. You'll face wave after wave of Japanese Oscar fighter aircraft, and it's your job to keep them off your eight squads of Dauntless and Avenger attack planes. Make sure at least half of them make the target rally point, and this part of the mission is a success.
Use your aircraft boost to intercept the fighters at the longest range possible. Just like earlier in the mission, you should have little problem taking out Oscars with your Wildcats – even on the Veteran difficulty.
Harassing a convoy and sinking the Ryujo
Finally, you're thrust into the cockpit of the Dauntless squad you escorted in the previous part of the mission. There's a small convoy of three Japanese transport ships, escorted by the Japanese destroyer Tokitsukaze, a Fubuki-class destroyer. Eliminate this convoy by dive bombing Tokitsukaze then strafing the fuel reserves on the transport ships until each ship is sunk. If your having trouble strafing the transports, you can speed up things by switching squadrons and using up their ordnance on them.
Mission over? Not quite. Your final objective in the opening mission to the American campaign is to sink the Ryujo. This Japanese carrier is escorted by the heavy cruiser Tone, and the Shimakaze-class destroyer Amatsukaze. Sink all three, and you complete this mission with a gold medal.
For the first time in the campaign, you're given control of multiple aircraft squadrons at once. Put this to good use! Direct all of your Avenger squadrons to attack the front-most Tone, while any Dauntless squads that you have should dive bomb the destroyer. The Ryujo will launch several Zero squadrons in a futile effort to fend off your attack, but these will serve as more of an annoyance than an actual threat.
You have an endless supply of attack planes in this mission, so it's not necessary to be extremely cautious with your angle of attack to avoid anti-air fire. Just get in there and get the job done. You can also use the TBM Avengers to take The Ryujo out faster, but playing the game for the first time, the unlocks will still be locked.
Once both escort ships have been sent to the depths, turn all of your attention toward the Ryujo. Riddle her with several torpedoes and a few 1,000 lb bombs to the magazine, then call it a day.