The Japanese Army is preparing to invade Port Moresby. Admiral Yamamoto has been forced to divert a light carrier, the Shoho , to support the invasion force. He has also sent two fleet carriers, the Zuikaku and Shokaku , escorted by two heavy cruisers and six destroyers (the First Air Fleetís Carrier Division Five) along with the force that is to contain the Americans in the Coral Sea, thus keeping them away from the main thrust of the invasion. If you command the IJN side, your job is to make sure the invasion proceeds as planned. Do not let the American forces escape from the Coral Sea. Admiral Nimitz knows about the invasion of Port Moresby. He has sent Task Force 17, including the carriers Yorktown and Lexington , into the Coral Sea. If you choose to command the USN, you take the place of Rear Admiral Fletcher. Your goals are to do as much damage as you can to the Japanese forces, especially the carriers, and force them to call off the invasion if it is at all possible.
Yamamoto has a plan to force all of the American carrier forces into one big, decisive battle. His forces are split, so that two groups including carriers are approaching Midway Atoll from the northwest, while another is attempting to divert the Americans by attacking the Aleutian Islands. The First Carrier Strike Force includes the carriers Akagi , Kaga , Soryu and Hiryu , plus two battleships, a pair of heavy cruisers, one light cruiser, and twelve destroyers. The combined First and Second Fleets, hot on the heels of the carrier force, includes the super-battleship Yamato and two light carriers, the Zuiho and the Hosho . The carriers Junyo and Ryujo are assigned to the diversionary force.
Thanks to the codebreaking team, Nimitz knows that the main thrust of the Japanese attack is going to be Midway. Task Force 16, which includes the carriers Enterprise and Hornet , is waiting to the northeast. The unexpected Task Force 17, consisting primarily of the just-repaired Yorktown , is steaming in from Pearl Harbor. Midway must be protected from invasion at any cost; losing it would mean giving the Japanese control of more than half of the Pacific Ocean.