This isn't a formal AAR, more like observations after a battle. With that said...
Has anyone else played Midway Mystery Variant #1 as the USN? I've played it twice now and have been decisively defeated each time. Although it sucks to lose, mystery variant #1 is probably the most action-packed scenario I've played against the AI.
I started out each time with my standard Midway opening: move the surface units and carriers to Point Luck, taking care to keep my surface task group between my carrier and the enemy; anchor my floatplane task group; and hammer the IJN floatplane task group once it appears. The IJN seemed much savvier this time though.
Kido Butai was harder to detect than normal. Even when I managed to get a reliable number of scouting reports and send a strike, the IJN main body (the surface task group consisting of battleship Yamato and its consorts) constantly maneuvered itself between my carriers and theirs. Unfortunately, my pilots on the outbound strike decided discretion wasn't the better part of valor and promptly bombed the surface units while ignoring the carriers. I couldn't get mad because this is A. historical pilot behavior and B. how I use my surface units. It's just unnerving to watch the AI effectively use its surface units as bomb sinks.
Even if a few of my squadrons managed to reach the carriers, Kido Butai's CAP was incredible. Granted, I wasn't sending many fighters with the strikes because most were at home on CAP. This time though, my SBDs got completely mauled.
The net result of all this was a massive three-day battle royale as the AI and I maneuvered desperately against each other trying to land whatever blows we could. The surface units on both sides absorbed several strikes (which I view as their main job), but squadrons still leaked through to take aim at the carriers. At the end of one battle, I managed to take down Kaga and while lightly damaging Akagi. In return, I lost Yorktown and Saratoga took a beating. In terms of airplanes, the cost was much higher. I lost over three hundred planes, including those on Midway. Near the end Hornet was down to just 12 planes, mostly Devastators that didn't have the range to get into the fight. I ended up withdrawing Hornet from the battle because it's quiver was empty.
Most interesting was the IJN's willingness to push home the invasion of Midway. In most scenarios you can get the AI to withdraw if you smack it hard enough on the nose. "Hard enough" is usually just the loss of a single carrier. In this case though the AI had ice water in its virtual veins. Once within range, I had my Midway aircraft focus solely on the incoming troop transports. They managed to sink two or three, but the transports kept coming. I eventually managed to disengage my carriers from Kido Butai and have them attack the transports too. However, the range was so great that only my SBDs could reach the transports and there weren't enough left to attack effectively.
In the end, the IJN invaded Midway, I lost one carrier, had another one damaged, and yet another devoid of any planes. I was forced to withdraw and concede both the battle and the island. The enemy fought with determination and skill, willing to take losses and press home the attack.
So, back to my original question: has anyone else played Midway Mystery Variant #1 as the USN? If so, what were your experiences? If not, please try it if you're interested and post your results.
One admission: I don't know much about the CAW editor. I've mostly used it to get information about the ships and planes in the game. I've only skimmed the documentation on making scenarios. As a result, my knowledge of the nuts and bolts of this mystery variant is pretty much nil. I hope to pick it apart someday, but that won't be today. In the meantime, I've enjoyed it for what it is and I hope other do too.