Protect Our Coral Sea
Protect Our Coral Sea

Battle of the Coral Sea

Japanese WWII aircraft carrier Shoho

Japanese Carrier Shoho – Photos courtesy of Sea Power Centre – Australia

The Coral Sea holds great historical significance for Australia and the United States. In May 1942, it was the scene of a naval battle that reversed the tide of World War II in the Pacific.

US and Australian allied forces came together to halt a planned seaborne invasion by Japanese forces of Port Moresby in New Guinea.

For two days, the air Battle of the Coral Sea raged and many planes were destroyed or lost. The American aircraft carrier USS Lexington was badly damaged and her crew forced to abandon ship. 216 of her crew lost their lives. Two other American ships went down inside what are now Australian waters. The Japanese aircraft carrier Shoho was sunk further north of Australian waters and other Japanese ships were badly damaged.

USS Lexington

USS Lexington – Photos courtesy of Sea Power Centre – Australia

Amazingly, the HMAS Australia was protected through skilful ship handling during a fierce level-bombing attack.

While the Japanese sank more ships than they lost, the Allies successfully prevented a Japanese occupation of Port Moresby and greatly reduced Japanese forces critical for future battles. The scene was then set for a land invasion and the epic struggle of Kokoda.

The ship Australia II is bombed during the Battle of the Coral Sea

Australia II – Photos courtesy of Sea Power Centre – Australia

As the site of one of the most critical battles during the War in the Pacific, the Coral Sea is an ocean monument to those who fought to protect Australia’s borders and the region during this turbulent time.