From December of 1941 through the end of the World War, the combined forces of Japan fought the armed forces of the United States of America over a broad stretch of ocean peppered with islands. This was the Pacific campaign, one of the bloodiest, toughest-fought campaigns in all of recorded history. Though all of the forces involved were essential parts of the eventual outcome, naval aviation played a special part. The carrier forces of both sides proved their worth time and again. There was nothing pretty and very little funny about the South Pacific campaign, despite what you may have learned from “McHale’s Navy”. Carrier forces didn’t have it any tougher than most, but they didn’t have it any easier, either. The naval aviators, especially, played a risky and daring game with their counterparts on the other side. The miniature wars that they fought out in the skies were a milieu in which they were not just faceless, identical soldiers – individual skill made a difference. Your success or failure were in your own hands. Success, of course, is fleeting; failure was usually final. A flyboy’s “instant retirement” was never easy. To quote an eyewitness to one such event (Ira Wolfert of the North American News Alliance), “There must have been twenty acres of flame when we first passed over. In the center of the flames lay the frame [of the plane]. It was buckling before our eyes. There was nothing left of the plane but the frame, and the frame looked skinny and black like the bones of a skeleton disintegrating. Two small, black objects that could have been men or maybe just round bits of rubble or debris had been thrown clear of the plane and were on the edge of the oval of flames.”
The idea behind 1942 THE PACIFIC AIR WAR is to re-create some of the adventure of that time and place and give you a chance to take part in it. To succeed, you have to avoid that oil- and blood-soaked, fire-on-water grave long enough to be of service to your country or your Emperor. As a commanding admiral of the navy, a crack fighter pilot, or just an anonymous Joe tail gunner, you are going to fight for recognition and just plain survival. The Japanese are moving south and east like a steamroller, trying to take control of the Pacific. The Americans are fighting back, desperately hoping to drain the strength from the Japanese juggernaut. You decide for which nation you will fight. You decide how you will fight and in what capacity. After that, all you can do is give your all and hope that it’s enough. This book, the Game Player’s Guide, contains complete instructions on installing, running, configuring, and playing 1942 THE PACIFIC AIR WAR . The Keycard is a onestop reference to all of the keyboard, mouse, joystick, and other controls. The Technical Reference includes the hardware requirements for running the game and all of the software compatibility issues discovered before release. Any changes to the game that were made after this manual was written are also described in the Technical Reference. As always, the Readme file was written last, so any notations in that file supersede all other information.