Midway with expanded Kido Butai?

Admiral Beez

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In addition to four Japanese fleet carriers—Akagi, Kaga, Sōryū, and Hiryū, let’s have the fleet carrier Zuikaku (no matter the state of her CAG), and the Zuihō and Jun'yō join Nagumo’s main fleet. The good Admiral now has seven carriers.
 
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Admiral Beez

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More for the Americans to sink?
Quite potentially, but at least the Japanese are concentrating their forces to provide the best odds of any success that day. Having an advantage in numbers of carriers and then to leave one at home and another two to sail away on some tertiary project is foolhardy. Heck, I’d throw in Ryūjō as well for an even eight carriers.
 
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Shortround6

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What is also foolhardy is to show up with carriers with under strength air compliments.
Either through combat losses or through general shortages and partially trained crews.

How many aircraft did the Zuikaku have on board after Coral sea?
Jun'yō had 36 planes (no Kates) , not her nominal 42-48 and she had only been in commission for a month. The aircraft groups may have been well trained but the ship's crew and the deck crew were not. It takes time get used to a new ship. Jun'yō was also slow and not a good fit speed wise for the other carriers. Taking the Jun'yō to Midway on her shakedown cruise was close to taking the Prince of Wales out to attack the Bismarck.
Zuihō had 24 planes and not her nominal 30. Six A5Ms, six A6Ms and 12 Kate's.

Japanese believed they had sunk the Yorktown at Coral Sea. Sending 4 operational carriers and one back up to deal with 2 American carriers and the atoll may have seemed safe.
Bringing another 3-4 carriers in a rag-tag collection did not bring a corresponding increase in fighting power.

For the mission to the Aleutians Ryūjō's air group now consisted of 12 A6M2 Zeros and 18 B5Ns plus two spares of each type.

Four carriers to bring 90 planes plus Zuikaku's survivors?

Well, maybe the Americans get decoyed by the small carriers and sink most of them instead of the big carriers?
 

SaparotRob

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A more realistic case would be sending Zuikaku with Shokaku's air group, leavened with Zuikaku survivors. The Kido Butai now has 5 fleet carriers. The USN was able to move air groups wholesale. The mission wasn't so much to take Midway as it was to to destroy American carriers. The strike by the SBDs still missed Hiryu. Hiryu was able to sink a Yorktown class carrier ;). If Zuikaku was present, she may have "blowed up" real good or actually have sunk CV 5 with Hiryu's planes or attack Yorktown's sisters. It's a great what-if.
It was IJN doctrine not to mix air groups with different ships. Doctrine wasn't challenged. It has puzzled me as IJN squadrons were so brilliantly trained and experienced, that sending experienced groups with the same planes to a sister ship wasn't considered.
 

FLYBOYJ

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In addition to four Japanese fleet carriers—Akagi, Kaga, Sōryū, and Hiryū, let’s have the fleet carrier Zuikaku (no matter the state of her CAG), and the Zuihō and Jun'yō join Nagumo’s main fleet. The good Admiral now has seven carriers.
Are they all going to Midway? What about the Aleutians? Does the US still get the drop on them?
 

Thumpalumpacus

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More Zeros is a good idea, but putting them on carriers that can only do 25 kts, not so much.
 

Shortround6

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The 3 carriers listed above had 36 A6M's between them plus the survivors from Coral Sea on the 4th carrier.
A useful addition but expensive. And with 18 on one carrier,12 on another and only 6 on last trying to coordinate missions, especially with the 4 original carriers is going to be difficult.
Turning into the wind to launch and recover gets a bit tricky for one large fleet. Or 2 to 3 small ones which invites destruction in detail.
 

SaparotRob

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Are they all going to Midway? What about the Aleutians? Does the US still get the drop on them?
I'm thinking that with Zuikaku part of a strengthened Kido Butai, the little guys could continue on with their pointless mission.
Zuikaku has the benefit of actually being a founding member of the Kido Butai.
 

PAT303

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The 3 carriers listed above had 36 A6M's between them plus the survivors from Coral Sea on the 4th carrier.
A useful addition but expensive. And with 18 on one carrier,12 on another and only 6 on last trying to coordinate missions, especially with the 4 original carriers is going to be difficult.
Turning into the wind to launch and recover gets a bit tricky for one large fleet. Or 2 to 3 small ones which invites destruction in detail.
The CAP was a disorganised mess as well as also requiring the decks to be clear for refueling and rearming hampering the attacking force switching munitions below decks, if I had extra carriers I'd load them with zero's and use them as an autonomous force dedicated to fleet defence.
 

Shortround6

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This assumes you have extra Zeros.
They apparently didn't enough to replenish the Zuikako,
Zuiho had 1/2 Claudes and 1/2 Zeros for her fighter group.
Ryūjō had 30 aircraft aboard instead of her 'nominal' 48 planes.

The Alaskan adventure had just 30 Zeros between the 2 carriers. Ryūjō had just completed a short refit after her Indian Ocean service.
 

tomo pauk

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"Teamwork is essential - it gives them more targets to shoot at, so I'm more likely to get unhurt", or something to that effect. American airmen will do their best to kill Japanese carriers - any carrier they can get - leaving the possibility to a few light carriers succumb to the overwhelming attacks, leaving the fleet carriers free to operate. Battle of Midway might leave USN loosing 2, if not all 3 carriers, with Japanese loosing 2 light and one or two fleet carriers instead of 4 fleet carriers as it was the case historically. Japanese also lose less aircraft and crewmen, especially since IJN can stay and save their men. Fielding more carriers at Midway also means more escort forces.
Mikuma lives, Mogami is not trashed.
Capture of Guadalcanal is less likely to happen. 1943 gets far more ... interesting to the WAllies in Pacific.
 
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Admiral Beez

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Also consider that the IJN's carrier groups operated independently from each other - so if one carrier had six A6Ms and another had twelve, they wouldn't combine under a co-ordinated force.
This was their Achilles Heel from day one and their eventual undoing.
It is a good point. If you’re facing Nagumo’s Dilema and have multiple carriers, if you use them as a single organic force one could assign two carriers to keep clear decks for refueling and rearming the CAP, with the other carriers readying, launching or receiving strikes. But that’s not what we have here. Instead we’re just having Yamamoto assign three more carriers to Nagumo’s main force.
 

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