Importance of the Battle of Coral Sea and Midway

Topics: World War II, Battle of Midway, United States Navy Pages: 6 (2308 words) Published: May 7, 2008
In the early stages of World War II, the Japanese Empire was quickly expanding in the Pacific with no resistance. When the United States started its offensive in the Pacific, they were beat down by the Japanese. With fear of losing the Pacific the United States need a strategic victory that could turn the tide of the war. Soon two battles would come over the horizon and would distinguish themselves as the battles that marked the turn of the tide in the war. These two battles are The Battle of Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway. With out victories in these battles the Pacific might have been losing, and the course and outcome of the war changed forever.

In the beginning in the war in the Pacific that Japanese Navy had many gains in the Far East. They had managed to take the Philippines, Burma, Malaya, and the Dutch East. The conquest of these Islands cost the Japanese very little in the loss of ships. After the quick expansion of the Japanese Empire, the Japanese Officers were unsure of what they should do next. Admiral Yamamoto wanted to attack America’s Aircraft Carriers in the Pacific. He felt that the destruction of these ships would ensure the security of Japan, for the Americans would not be able to send their planes to attack Japan. Admiral Yamamoto also felt that an attack on Midway Island would draw out the American Navy into a battle that the Japanese could win. Higher up in the command of the Japanese Navy, they wanted to attack and gain control of Australia. An Attack on Australia would also include an attack on New Guinea. But on April 18th 1942, two American bombers took off from carriers in the Pacific and bombed the Japanese city Tokyo. This attack leads the Japanese to believe that Admiral Yamamoto was right and that the American Aircraft Carriers must be destroyed in order for the Japanese to win in the Pacific. The American’s have put a hand in their own fate which was an attack on Midway Island and other key islands. The Japanese developed a plan that would split their forces. The attack on New Guinea had already started and could not be called off. Because of this Admiral Yamamoto was not able to call on the forces that he might have needed for an attack on Midway Island. The attack on Port Moresby in New Guinea was extremely important to the Japanese. If the Japanese had success in taking this port it would leave Australia isolated. Also with the capture of New Guinea, it could be used as a platform to attack Fiji, New Caledonia, and Samoa. The Japanese force that was used to take Port Moresby included two aircraft carries, The Shokaku and the Zuikaku. These carriers were to sail from Truk Island and attack any American ships that were to attack the Japanese. The main plan for the Japanese force was to move through the Jomard Passage near New Guinea which would allow for an attack on Port Moresby. On the other side, the Americans have broken the Japanese naval code and had knowledge of the Japanese plans to attack Port Moresby. This attack was treated very seriously by the Americans for they knew the importance of this port. Admiral Nimitz and General MacArthur knew that an attack would leave Australia vulnerable. Even with the knowledge of the attack that was going to happen there was still one problem. The Carrier Saratoga was being repaired and the carriers Enterprise and Hornet have not returned from the bombing attack on Tokyo. And the Enterprise and Hornet would need five days to prepare for battle. Knowing that this battle would involve aircraft and air supremacy Admiral Nimitz ordered the carriers Lexington and Yorktown to the Coral Sea to intercept that Japanese Naval force. Admiral Nimitz then gave Vice Admiral Fletcher full freedom of tactics. The carriers Lexington and Yorktown met up on May 1st and at this date Vice Admiral Fletcher started operating in Coral Sea. Starting his operations on May 1st gave him an upper hand because the Japanese invasion group...

Cited: Bennett, Geoffrey. Naval Battles of World War II. South Yorkshire: Pen and Sword
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Hagan, Kenneth J. This People 's Navy. New York: The Free P, 1991.
Potter, E B., ed. Sea Power. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute P, 1981.
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