The Battle of the Coral Sea
8th May 1942: US and Japanese carrier borne planes land hits in the first naval engagement in which the opposing ships never sighted or fired at each other
After many months of apparently unstoppable Japanese advances a joint American-Australian naval force finally hit back decisively. In the first naval engagement in which the two sides never saw each others ships, the carrier based aircraft from USS Lexington and USS Yorktown engaged the Japanese invasion force heading for Port Moresby on New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
On the 7th May both sides’ planes found opposing ships but not their carriers. On the 8th the carriers from both sides faced determined attacks from bombers and torpedo aircraft.
11.16 am "Here they come,” sing the look-outs. “Enemy torpedo planes off the port beam.” The skipper with a calm glance in that direction speaks quietly to the helmsman: “Hard a starboard." The manoeuvre is intended to swing the Lex so that she will present only her comparatively narrow stem and beam to the torpodo craft.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial