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Battle of the Coral Sea
Battle of the Coral Sea
Conflict: World War II
Date: 4-8 May 1942
Place: Coral Sea, off New Guinea
Outcome: Japanese tactical victory, American strategic victory
Combatants

USA United States

Flag of Japan Japan

Commanders

USA Chester Nimitz
USA Frank Jack Fletcher

IJN Shigeyoshi Inoue
IJN Takeo Takagi
IJN Aritomo Goto
IJN Chuichi Hara
IJN Kiyohide Shima
IJN Sadamichi Kajioka

Strength

2 carriers
9 cruisers
13 destroyers
128 aircraft

3 carriers
9 cruisers
15 destroyers
127 aircraft

Casualties

1 carrier sunk
1 destroyer sunk
1 carrier damaged

1 carrier sunk
1 destroyer sunk
1 carrier damaged

The Battle of the Coral Sea occurred on 4-8 May 1942 when a fleet of American ships under Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher intercepted a Japanese fleet under Shigeyoshi Inoue as it headed to invade New Guinea. The ensuing naval battle began when US Navy aircraft bombed and sunk the light carrier Shoho, and an armed confrontation began between the rival navies. Coral Sea was the first naval battle in history which was fought between aircraft carriers, and the first battle in which the opposing ships did not see each other. The entire battle was fought by aircraft, which took turns bombing each other's ships and fighting off enemy planes. Both sides lost an aircraft carrier and a destroyer while suffering damage to a carrier; the American carrier USS Lexington (CV-2) was scuttled after an oil explosion, while USS Yorktown (CV-5) was damaged; the Japanese lost fleet carrier Shoho, while the deck of Shokaku was rendered unusable by aircraft due to extensive damage. While the battle was technically a draw, the Americans had the upper hand, as the serious losses suffered by the Japanese prevented an invasion of New Guinea.

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