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The Battle of the Coral Sea

Necessity for resources was the driving force behind Japan's ambition in early 1940s to expand its territory in the Asia-Pacific region.
The beginning of the Second World War was initiated after Japanese air forces crippled the American surface fleet at Pearl Harbor.
Afterwards, Japanese forces simultaneously attacked other American and British outposts all throughout the region.
In the first few months of war in the Pacific, the Japanese Imperial Army and Navy were simply unstoppable in their conquest.
Japan took control of Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Wake Island, the Netherlands West Indies, New Britain, the Gilbert Islands, and Guam.
These territories were used as perimeter defense of Japan against expected Allied counterattacks.
To make matters worse for the allies, Japanese armed forces inflicted very heavy casualties on all opposing Allied naval, air, and land forces.
Australia as a Threat Australia had always been considered a threat to Japan's empire in the south although there was never any plan to conquer it due to logistical problems.
The potential of Australia to be used as a base for the allies to launch attacks on Japanese-held islands was significant.
To counter this threat, Japanese High Command decided to capture Tulagi in the Solomon Islands and Port Moresby in New Guinea.
This would put Australia within range of Japanese air assets.
The Battle at Coral Sea The Japanese plan to invade Tulagi and Port Moresby were not hidden from the Allies.
Signal Intelligence had intercepted encrypted Japanese communications revealing their plans.
Allied codebreakers gave the allies ample time to assemble a force in the Coral Sea to block the invasion.
The Americans immediately created a task force composed of their own ships as well as some warships from Australia.
The overall Allied commander was Rear Admiral Frank J.
He has, at his disposal, two large aircraft carriers and a British-led cruiser force.
The opposing force had many more ships but dispersed them over a large area.
One of such groups had one light carrier.
The main Japanese covering force led by Vice Admiral Takagi Takao contained two large aircraft carriers.
This first air-sea battle created a good learning point for both sides as each of them missed opportunities.
Air strikes from both, Allies and the Japanese, either missed their targets or found them only after using their bombs and torpedoes.
The first casualty however, was inflicted by Americans when the Japanese light carrier Shoho was sunk.
The Japanese managed to sink the carrier Lexington and damaged Yorktown.
At the conclusion of the battle, the Japanese carrier Shokaku was also damaged.
Left without air cover now, the invading forces withdrew causing a strategic victory for the allies.
Stopping the Japanese advance at the Coral Sea was Australia news all over the country.
Not only did it spare Australia from Japanese air attacks, but the battle also caused the Japanese to lose the upper hand in the next battle in Midway months later.

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