In Midway, a large aircraft carrier (all of the Americans and two of the Japanese) can take five hits. If a ship has received one less hit than the critical number (four in this case), it is deemed damaged, to the point where its firepower capabilities are reduced to 1 (vs. ship) and 1 (vs. air), down from x y where it started, (where x and y are usually greater than 1). And I believe its movement factor is also reduced from 2 to 1.

In the Q & A of the 1960s version, a question was asked, that given the fact that an aircraft carrier with "ready" (fueled and armed) planes would require one less hit to sink it, would getting planes "ready" after an attack sink an aircraft carrier? The answer was no, the ship would not be sunk, because the "readying" of the planes would not happen simultaneously with the bombing.

But a more important question is that would a crippled aircraft carrier be able to launch or retrieve planes, or would a carrier on its "last legs" have a ruined flight deck or crippled launching mechanism that would prevent this?

I don't remember the 1960s version of the rules addressing this point. Did the 1990s version do so, or were the 1960s rules clearer on this point than I remember? And if the answers were no, would the above be a reasonable interpretation that is in the "spirit" of the game?

1 Answer 1


I don't think this idea is a valid simulation. The two most critical tasks of an aircraft carrier, in order, are staying afloat and launching/retrieving it's planes. Provided the crew is not fully dedicated to staying afloat (ie there remains one or more hit points), the crew will continue to launch and retrieve plans.

Remember the reaching of zero hit points may not be a simulation of actually having sunk - but rather of having become unoperational as a carrier.

Of course these classic TAHGC games simulate in very broad brush strokes - it is common now to improve the simulation with more complex rules. I have not played Midway specifically, but at the cost of additional complexity I would consider slowing a carrier's launching and retrieval of planes once it had only one or two hit points left. This would simulate the difficulties of continuing operations a damage built up. However a carrier that cannot launch and retrieve at all is a sitting duck. Somehow, someway, some planes will be launched until the crew is forced to abandon ship.

Additionally, as a simulation of the different national characters and cultures of Japan and America, I would constrain damaged American carriers to only launch planes that could reasonably be expected to be retrievable - but make this optional for the Japanese captains. An early kami kaze option if you will.

  • +1 for comment on differences between Japanese and American cultures. Maybe one "handicap" for Japanese players is that only they are allowed to launch suicide attacks.
    – Tom Au
    Sep 3, 2015 at 13:21

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