NEWS FROM THE FRONT
No pain no gain – but unfortunately unnecessary pain when the obvious dangers are ignored. Politicians suffer no pain – you do.
8th May, 1942 : At 9.00 a.m. aircraft from Lexington and Yorktown take off again in search of the enemy. The Shokaku is hit and badly damaged, but Zuikaku and her escort manage to escape undamaged. Vice-Admiral Takagi has despatched 70 aircraft to seek and destroy the American ships. The Yorktown just manages to escape from a torpedo attack, and reports only slight damage. But the Lexington is badly hit and takes on such a list that returning aircraft cannot land on her flight-deck. The ship has to be abandoned, and before the night falls, to prevent the wreck from falling into Japanese hands, she is sunk by a torpedo from an American plane. The Americans have lost 66 aircraft during the battle, the Japanese about 70.
Japanese claim the engagement as a victory, and it is true that they have inflicted greater losses on the enemy than they have suffered themselves. But they are forced to put off the landing of a large invasion force at Port Moresby. Moreover, for the first time since the commencement of hostilities, an operation initiated by them has been met by the Americans on equal terms. The Americans are passing now from a purely defensive strategy to a mixed defensive-offensive strategy. The Battle of Coral Sea is the first ‘air-naval’ battle in history; it has been fought exclusively by aircraft, without the ships ever coming into direct contact.