This slightly more challenging version of Invasion of Port Moresby is the last combined fleet action of the Japanese campaign.
- Primary Objectives
- Capture all four island bases.
- At least one troop transport must survive.
- Secondary Objectives
- Sink the USS Copahee.
- Sink the beached battleship USS South Dakota.
- Hidden Objectives
- Locate the minefield near the eastern shipyard with a seaplane.
If you've done well in the previous mission, you'll have access to the deadly I-400. This submarine, unfortunately, remains largely useless as you won't encounter a very large sea presence here. Start by having your fleet advance toward the easternmost base. You'll be greeted by a single Atlanta-class cruiser and its escort. Don't let it get close to your carrier or your troop transports. Fortunately, you have a battleship plus multiple escorts. These warships can single-handedly win pretty much the entire battle for you.
Sail toward the closest base, and close into capture range. Unlike in Port Moresby, you'll have to neutralize the base before capturing it - the bases in this mission can dish out a lot of hurt, at the very least enough to sink one of your transport ships if left unattended. Have your carrier, meanwhile, launch a large group of torpedo bombers. Your fleet is safe for now.
Have your torpedo bombers close in on a cove near the third base from the west to locate a beached battleship. This battleship is one of your secondary objectives - rush it with torpedo bombers and, if necessary, the I-400 to sink it rather quickly. Should you choose to use the I-400, however, be wary of the shallow water in the cove. Since the battleship is immobilized, target it from stand-off range with torpedoes to sink it. If you're using the I-400 to sink the battleship, be prepared to engage in an underwater battle with the USS Spearfish. The Spearfish doesn't seem to care much about her fellow underwater adversary, and often presents a nice, large target for your torpedoes.
Next, have I-400, your battleship, or your cruiser (or all the above) launch a seaplane and send them off toward the easternmost enemy base. As you approach, your superiors will spot dark objects in the water - the area has been mined.
Once the South Dakota is down and one of the bases is yours, you'll get bombarded by Helldivers from the second and third bases. Return your torpedo bombers and put up a strong CAP and shoot down as many dive bombers as you can, pausing only to dogfight the enemy's own CAP of Corsairs when you close on the second enemy base.
Capturing the second base gives you access to a single squad of L2D Tabbies. These paratrooper aircraft are far more mobile than your troop transports, but they also can be easily intercepted by the enemy CAP. The L2Ds work perfectly in tandem with your troop ships to expedite captures, or to attempt to capture the lightly defended enemy shipyard on the eastern side.
Move your battleship in on the second enemy base and shell it into oblivion before moving your troop transports in. Although capturing is a slow process, because the troop transports are necessary to your success, you should keep them safe - attempting to rush captures (or capturing multiple bases at once) is a sure-fire way of losing one or both of your transports.
Once you've spotted the mines, sunk the battleship, and captured the enemy bases, you should be in a good position to win. Repeat the tactics you've learned on the third base.
Around the time you close in on the third base, the Americans will send a Bogue-class escort carrier - the USS Copahee - to your position. It appears to the north of the fourth and easternmost base, and to receive the gold medal you have to sink it. Fortunately, its escorts are light - it is escorted by the Northampton-class heavy cruiser USS Augusta, and the USS Allen M. Sumner. Neither of these ships, naturally, are a match for your battleship, so sail in and gun down everything. Neutralize the base while you're at it.
With the last enemy base shelled down, all you have to do is bring your troop transports in and land their LCPs for the victory.