Since december 2012 Battlestations: Midway is supported by GameSpy no longer. The only one possibility for Midway players is GameRanger. Please visit www.gameranger.com, download Gameranger client and make new account. You can find other Midway players in the Gameranger rooms. BS:M patch 1.1.1 is required to play online battles. Iowa Mission Pack and Midway Modders Mappacks 1 and 2 are recommended.
This guide is only for Air Power. I do not presume to be an expert at ship to ship combat, only air combat. With that in mind, I'll teach you the best tactics that have helped me become a game-changing player on this map.
If you're U.S. you have a huge advantage in terms of Airpower, as the B-17s and B-25's you get are vastly superior to the Nell and Betty bombers. Also, your P-38s are smaller targets than the Gekko fighters. They feel more agile to me, but I'm not sure if thats just because I KNOW it's SUPPOSED to be more nimble.
Anyway, your first duty as USAAF liason on this map is to coordinate with the captain of the Aircraft Carrier. If you can, have the carrier put under your command and have it steam into the bay near the airfields. From the carrier, send up nothing but F4Fs to begin with. At the airfield, launch all available B-17s and B-25s. Have two groups, one with 2 sqdrns of B-17s and a single B-25 sqdrn, the other with one B-17 sqdrn and two B-25 sqdrns. This will maximize your effectiveness. Attach the wildcats to the lead bomber squadron and launch them en masse toward the Jap airfield. Dont worry about circumnavigating the map to hide your force or stay out of BB anti air fire. Doing this will only allow the Japanese fighters to intercept you multiple times, and it wastes time. It's better to lose a bomber or two to AAA from one of the BBs.
On the way you WILL be intercepted. It's best at this point to hand off a b-17 to a teammate and the two of you rock it in the B-17s gun turrets. that or fly fighters. After the intercept have your team mate hand back control. or you could have him/her help with the bombing run, but im a control freak so I always take control back.
When you near the Airbase, take conrtrol of your lead sqdrn. Approach at medium altitude, and top speed. Once your reticle crosses the target, simultaneously drop bombs and slow down. This ensures a constant stream of bombs all falling on the same target. They'll fall in one place as opposed to a stream. Repeat this with as many bomers as you can for each airfield. It shouldnt take more than 3 B-17s or 5 B-25s per airfield to knock it out. If you have any remaining fighters, they can mop up the few gekkos that were able to escape to bombing. Send any empty bombers home.
If you did this right, and are half a competent pilot, you'll have at least 1 sqdrn of B-17s and 1 sqdrn of B-25s left. I usually have 2 B-25 sqdrns left and a B-17 sqdrn. Now we really get to have some fun.... Battle of the Bismarck Sea style. Chikuma will be lurking nearby. Your remaining B-25s will be held in resereve. Switch to your B-17s. Again, target the Chikuma. The AI will send the B-25s and 2 of your B-17s over the top to blow their loads. YOU will tak your B-17 down just above the water, and attack Chikuma from behind. Flying at 50 or so feet at top speed, wait until your reticle almost touches the stern of Chikuma, then pop up to about 200'. As soon as the reticle is over Chikuma, pickle your bombs and chop the throttle. The result will be a full stick of 20 bombs raking Chikuma from stern to bow. This attack will leave Chikuma with about 40% health remaining. Now repeat the attack with your B-25s you held in reserve. Two runs will knock out Chikuma unless you just suck. By the time you destroy the airfields and the Chikuma, the destroyers will likely be gone. If they're not, launch more B-25's or B-17's for more low level raping. Knock out the shipyard if you have time, otherwise recall everything and star launching torpedo bombers. Once the DDs, CA, and airfields have been knocked out YOU ARE NOW IN A SUPPORT ROLE. You cannot win this map by yourself, but you can ensure the victory of your team if you are an effective supporter.
From the carrier and land bases, put as many TBFs in the air as you can, and hit the Yamato and Mushashi in pincer-style "anvil" attacks. it'll split the AA and makes your torps hard to evade. B-17s can be useful in a wild-weaslesque role. They wont hurt the big ships, but can take the big guns out of comission for a time-usefull if the Iowa BBs are in a slugfest with the Yamato and Musashi. Your job for the rest of the mission is to harass and strike at the Jap BBs, and make life as easy as possible for your team mates.
Special Note: If your bombers encounter no resistance on the way to the Jap airfield, this is not due to anyone falling asleep on their end. In all liklihood, the Japs have sent a combined bomber fleet along the outskirts of the map, North then East, out of detection range. Their target will be the Wasp (if they're smart enough to use the low level tactic discussed earlier) or your airbases. Once half to 2/3rds of the way to target, if no resistance is encountered, send your fighters due north and work backwards skirting west then south. If you can catch them, mot only will you fuck their bomber force up, youll also have an unopposed bomber fleet, meaning lots of spare bombs for ship-rape.
Imperial Japanese Navy
If you're the IJN air commander on this map, congrats. You'll be viewed much as Tywin views Tyrion: small and insignificant. If the U.S. air commander is any good, you'll probably be put out of action. So here you have a choice. After you hand off your shipyard to a player that can use subs properly, that is. You can either attempt to intercept the bomber waves that will invariably keep coming, or you can sacrifice your base in exchange for the enemy's. Let's talk about that first strategy.
If you want to try and save your base, spawn a ton of Gekkos and start sending them directly toward the US navy air base. Spawn and send, spawn and send, spawn and send. You will loose Gekkos. Lots of them. At least...all of them. In the first few waves, anyway. Your goal here is to tie up the U.S. air commander. This will be a battle of attrition. The further away you can intercept the bombers, the more waves you can send. You have a TON of Gekkos. You may be able to exhaust the U.S.'s supply. At the very least, you're tying up their resources. Bombers attempting to reach you arent killing ships, and slots used to launch wildcats from the carrier and bombers from the bases arent being used to launch avenger...to kill ships. If you can do this the entire game, you'll be doing your part. Sibyuan Sea is my favorite map because it's an asymetric battle. The Japs rule the sea and the Yanks own the skies. So, if you can at least contest the sky, your team will have a huge advantage.
The second strategy... "All or Nothing." - Right away, spawn nothing but Nells and Bettys. Mass them up and send them straight north huging the western border. As soon as they hit the northern border, they'll hug it heading West. Two targets are available, each has about the same impact. Either you can attack the U.S. land bases, or you can strike the carrier. The bases may seem more lucrative, since they can put up 6 sqdrns as opposed to a carrier's 3. This may be true. It all depends on the needs of your team. If you're going to hit the bases, uses the same targeting strategy mentioned previously for the americans. If you're going for the carrier, use the ship-rape method described above for attacking Chikuma. On thing you have to understand though, is that with the All or Nothing Strategy, you WILL lose your base...and if your bombers are shot down or you act stupidly or miss your target, you WILL be a detrement to your team.
If anybody still plays this game, I hope this helps. If you want to play on XBL, send me a message. Gamertag: GoodShotJansun
Re: Sibuyan Skies
Altogether a good guide.
A couple things i would add to your guide.
When playing against seasoned veterans it is best to send at least one lightning from the b-25 base. A good Japanese air commander will decimate the wildcats and have plenty of time to stop the bombers.
You mentioned taking out the destroyers, but I would reiterate how important it is. Japanese destroyer can prevent U.S subs from being effective and altogether create effective anti air fire.
When launching all fighters put the airbase on automatic. This will save you much needed time.
When confronting bombers target the b-17s and ram them if possible. Always go for the b-17s first.
If you have successfully stopped the first bomber wave, you may want to send one Betty southeast and then north to take out the U.S shipyard manually.
Another option is to launch only torpedo bombers and hit the Iowa. You can either send two waves or launch fighters with second wave. I prefer this to attacking the CV or airbase because the Iowa is much closer and you can get there before the wildcats can intercept. However you are still going to lose at least one airbase.
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