Today we mark the 70th Anniversary of the first day of the Battle of the Coral Sea, which took place from 4 to 8 May 1942.
The Battle of the Coral Sea was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War Two between the Imperial Japanese Navy and Allied naval and air forces from the United States and Australia.
It was also the first naval battle fought entirely by carrier-borne aircraft in which the opposing naval fleets did not meet.
The Battle of the Coral Sea was fought in the waters south-west of the Solomon Islands and east of Papua New Guinea.
The Battle of the Coral Sea saw the Allies prevent the Japanese from achieving their known aim of occupying Port Moresby and also reduced the number of Japanese forces for the subsequent Battle of Midway.
As news of the Battle of the Coral Sea spread, the Japanese forces objective of assaulting and capturing Port Moresby was abandoned.
The battle marked the change from primarily a defensive strategy of the Allies to that of an offensive one.
The Royal Australian Navy’s contribution to the success of the Battle of the Coral Sea included Allied Task Force 44, consisting of Allied warships led by Australian Admiral John Crace, which included the light cruisers HMAS Australia and Hobart, as well as coast watchers, intelligence staff and the US/RAN unit known as Fleet Radio Unit Melbourne.
The Battle of the Coral Sea was a turning point in the war and in our relationship with the United States. We remain grateful for the Americans who came to our aid when we needed it most.
Our partnership has, since 1951, been formalised in the Australia-New Zealand-US (ANZUS) Treaty.
2011 marked the 60th Anniversary of the ANZUS treaty.
On the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea, we remember and honour the sacrifice of Australian servicemen and our allies who fought this significant battle 70 years ago.
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