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  • Writer's pictureGeorge Castrioti

May 7th, 1942 - The Battle of the Coral Sea

Conflict: World War II (1939-1945)

Combatants: Americans vs. Japanese

Location: Pacific

Outcome: Inconclusive

On the 7th and 8th of May, 1942, an American carrier force under command of Admiral Frank Fletcher engaged a Japanese carrier force in series of aerial attacks. The Japanese, commanded by Admiral Shigeyoshi Inoue, lost the carrier Soho and a great number of airplanes, while the Americans lost the carrier Lexington and suffered losses and damages to several other vessels. Though officially considered a draw, the severe air losses forced the Japanese to abort the invasion of Port Moresby.

USS Lexington (CV-2) under air attack during the Battle of the Coral Sea, 8 May 1942 by unknown photographer

Points of Interest:

  • This was the first major carrier battle in history with no surface vessels ever within sight of the enemy.

  • This was also the first setback for Japan, but the nation would suffer a greater one at the Battle of Midway the following month.

Admiral Inoue Shigeyoshi by an unknown photographer
Vice Admiral Frank Fletcher by an unknown photographer



Dupuy, Trevor N., Johnson, Curt, & Bongard, David L. (1992). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military Biography. New York: Castle Books (HarperCollins).

Dupuy, R. Ernest & Dupuy, Trevor N. (1993). The Harper's Encyclopedia of Military History. New York: HarperCollins.

Eggenberger, David (1985). An Encyclopedia of Battles: Accounts of Over 1,560 Battles from 1479 B.C. to the Present. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.

Gailey, Harry A.. (1995). The War in the Pacific. Novato, CA: Presidio Press.

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