A Stochastic Salvo Model Analysis of the Battle of the Coral Sea
Armstrong, Michael J.
Powell, Michael B.
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In this work we study the Battle of the Coral Sea using a stochastic version of the salvo combat model. We begin by estimating the range of probable alternative results for the battle, given the forces employed; i.e., if the battle were to be "re-fought", how likely are outcomes other than what historically transpired? Our analysis suggests that a wide range of results was indeed possible, even without any change in forces on either side. We then estimate the impact of hypothetical but plausible changes in the American forces employed. Our analysis suggests that a material advantage could have been obtained by committing extra aircraft carriers to the battle or by dispersing the carriers that were already deployed; on the other hand, equipping each carrier with more fighters but fewer bombers would have yielded a net disadvantage.