Asia Pacific 1942: Battle of the Coral Sea
After conquering Southeast Asia, Japan moved to cut Australia’s supply line to the US by completing the occupation of New Guinea and its neighboring islands. However, the Japanese invasion fleet had to be turned back when it ran into an American carrier force in the Coral Sea. The ensuing battle was dominated by aircraft carriers, with neither side’s ships sighting each other.
20 Jan-15 May 1942 Japanese conquer Burma▲
Japanese conquer Burma
3-4 May 1942 Invasion of Tulagi▲
Japanese capture Tulagi, capital of British Solomon Islands
4-8 May 1942 Battle of the Coral Sea▲
In preparation for Operation MO - the intended Japanese landing at Port Moresby, New Guinea - a Japanese naval force, including two fleet carriers and one light carrier, advanced into the Coral Sea to hunt down US carriers known to be operating there. Over the next few days, they fought the first naval engagement in which neither side’s ships sighted each other, with Japan losing the light carrier Shōhō and taking damage to the fleet carrier Shōkaku, and the US losing the fleet carrier Lexington and taking damage to the fleet carrier Yorktown. Although the US losses were worse, Japan was forced to abandon Operation MO.
8 May 1942 US forces in the Philippines surrender to Japan▲
US forces in the Philippines surrender to Japan