The Battle of the Coral Sea, Pacific Theater, WWII 4-8 May 1942. This was the first major naval battle between Allied forces and the Imperial Japanese Navy, involving aircraft carriers. The battle was also a first where the two navy’s ships never saw or fired on one another directly. The battle was carried out almost exclusively by aircraft fighters and bombers launched from the carriers.
The allies entered the battle with 2 fleet carriers, 9 cruisers, 13 destroyers, 128 aircraft, and various support ships, while the Japanese had 2 fleet carriers, 1 light carrier, 9 cruisers, 15 destroyers, 127 aircraft along with various support ships. Ship losses were, greater, by tonnage, on the allied side which included the Lexington aircraft carrier, 1 destroyer, and several smaller ships totaling 42,497 tons. The Imperial Navy lost 1 light carrier, 1 destroyer and several smaller ships equal to 19,000 tons. The Allies lost 543 men while the Japanese lost 1029.
The Battle of the Coral Sea was to have profound and positive consequences for the Allies in one month, at Battle of Midway; by keeping 2 of the Imperial Navy’s carriers out of action in this upcoming naval battle.
Additional information for the Battle of the Coral Sea:
- Battle of the Coral Sea, by Charles River Editors, CreateSpace Publishing, © 2016.
- The Coral Sea 1942, by Mark Stille and John White, Osprey Publishing, © 2009.
- The Battle of the Coral Sea, by Office of Naval Intelligence, CreateSpace Publishing, © 2009.