In recent days, I have written about the Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 7, 1941, and the Battle of Midway in early June of 1942 that proved to be a decisive victory for the US Navy over a much superior Japanese naval force. Today, we will look at the Battle of The Coral Sea.
The Battle of the Coral Sea was fought from May 4-8, 1942, about one month before the Battle of Midway. It was a monumental confrontation that proved to be the first of its kind naval battle in history. This video will give you a taste of how the battle was conducted and the results.
The fighter and bomber pilots of the carrier USS Lexington were the first to spot the enemy. They found and sank a Japanese carrier. The Japanese responded to that sinking with planes from their other carriers and when they found the Lexington, they pounded her from the air.
At one point, the Lexington was hit square on with a heavy bomb that was so devastating that it crippled and finally destroyed the might American aircraft carrier. The bomb killed 42 of the Lexington’s crew instantly, and the ensuing blaze destroyed her.
The battle continued over the next four days.
The Battle of the Coral Sea proved to be inconclusive in the end. Both sides suffered extremely heavy damage and casualties. It was, in essence, a draw. But what made it unique is that neither fleet ever saw the other. They never exchanged salvos across the waters from each other’s batteries of guns. The entire battle was fought from the air.
American and Japanese fighters fought fierce aerial dog fights over the four days of the battle. The opposing pilots caused great damage to each other’s fleets. For the first time in history, a huge naval battle was fought exclusively from the air.
We had truly entered an entirely new era of naval battle strategy.
The Battle of the Coral Sea occurred only a few short months after the disastrous surprise attack at Pearl Harbor. If anything, it proved that both sides were formidable forces and that this war was not going to be easily won. Coral Sea and Midway were just the beginning of a long, hard, bloody endeavor to defeat the Imperial Japanese efforts to rule the Pacific and to threaten the American homeland.
Though the Battle of Coral Sea was a draw, it gave us both experience and confidence that the Japanese were not invincible. It gave the nation a sense that we were taking the war to the enemy, and getting a little pay back for what they had done at Pearl Harbor only five months before.
The Veterans Site honors the memory of all those who fought the good fight at the Battle of the Coral Sea. We honor the pilots and the crews of the fleet and especially those of the USS Lexington, and we promise to never forget their gallant efforts to defend freedom over the wide expanses of the Pacific Ocean.Whizzco