Summary

The Battle of the Coral Sea, 04 – 08 May 1942, was regarded at the time as 'the battle that saved Australia'; however this is more myth than fact.  Given USA resources, this battle could have been lost and yet the Allies would still have won. Japan planned an assault on Port Moresby, which would have made Northern Australia, and the sea-lines of communication to the US, more vulnerable to air attack. In terms of ships sunk the battle was a tactical victory for the Japanese. However, the allies did prevent the Japanese capturing Port Moresby. The disabling of two Japanese carriers during the battle for the Coral Sea meant that they were unavailable for the Battle of Midway—a tactical and strategic victory for the Americans. The inclusion of RAN ships in a combined forces action group under an Australian commander, RADM John Crace, provided a firm foundation for building a long-lasting relationship between the USA and Australia. The participation of Australian forces at the Battle of the Coral Sea is still commemorated. As you read through the articles in this Collection, consider how the Australian Air Force's current ISR capabilities could be used to deter and defeat any future hostile incursion into our region.