The Battle of the Coral Sea 1942: The First Aircraft Carrier Battle in History

28 min Source: YouTube

BLUF

How the Battle of the Coral Sea unfolded without real time ISR to inform decision making.

Summary

From a maritime perspective, the Battle of the Coral Sea, is important for numerous reasons however, most notably is its carrier engagements and that it was one of the first naval battles in which ships did not rely on line of sight, nor direct engagement with each other to conduct the battle. Signals intelligence provided information on how the Japanese intended to take Port Moresby, and Japan's advancing fleet was first spotted by an Australian Air Force Catalina. Neither side had real time intelligence to go on to fully grasp the likelihood of each others' intents. How did these naval forces function? They relied on air power - visual sightings of the ships, very old school, and an old take on a contemporary air power role - ISR. Of note: Whlst we live in a world of 'liquid surveillance' (Bauman, 2013) and UAV capabilities from backyard drones to the high altitude, enduring surveillance of Triton, we also live in a world where the definition of being 'approached' has shifted from kinetic actions to the non-kinetic posed by less overt, grey zone tactics. Could we still be approached undetected?