Battle of the Coral Sea

The Battle of the Coral Sea, from 4 to 8 May 1942, was a major naval battle between the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) and naval and air forces of the United States and Australia. Taking place in the Pacific Theatre of World War II, the battle is historically significant as the first action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other and the first in which the opposing ships neither sighted nor fired directly upon one another.

In an attempt to strengthen their defensive position in the South Pacific, the Japanese decided to invade and occupy Port Moresby (in New Guinea) and Tulagi (in the southeastern Solomon Islands). The plan, Operation Mo, involved several major units of Japan’s Combined Fleet. They included two fleet carriers and a light carrier to provide air cover for the invasion forces, under the overall command of Admiral Shigeyoshi Inoue.

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