- Have your major surface combatants destroyed or seriously damaged and unavailable for use.
- Make sure the enemy has 4 aircraft carriers and some big battleships headed for you.
- Make sure you are outnumbered in aircraft carriers by 4 to 3.
- Have 1 of your 3 aircraft carriers severely damaged and limp into port unable to support flight operations.
- Have only a vague idea where the enemy fleet might be.
- Arrange to have your most aggressive, experienced aviator admiral come down with some sort of skin infection that puts him in a hospital bed, unavailable for duty.
- Replace him with a non-aviator admiral just in time for what you know has to be a battle largely fought by carrier aircraft. See #1.
Go look at the rest. When you consider everything that could(and some that did) go wrong, it's friggin' amazing.