In the first section of , the first aircraft carrier war in the Coral Sea.

The two aircraft carrier formations of the Allied forces assembled in the Coral Sea on May 1, 1942 and were under the unified command of Fletcher.

General Fitch has rich experience in commanding aircraft carrier operations, and he served as the tactical command of aircraft carrier operations.

On May 3, the Japanese Army led by Zhimo successfully occupied tulaji island.

While the Japanese were glad to win the first battle, the US air strike was imminent.

At 7:30 on May 4, 40 bombers from the “York City” aircraft carrier carried out an air attack on tulaji.

The Japanese destroyer “Juyue” and three landing ships were sunk, and the other two ships and five seaplanes were injured.

“Tulaji was attacked by a US plane!” Inoue immediately realized that the U.S. aircraft carrier formation was “under attack”.

He immediately ordered the mobile strike fleet cruising north of Solomon Islands and commanded by Takeo Takagi to immediately go south to find the enemy.

A more intense battle is inevitable.

Just as general Fletcher gathered his forces, the Japanese long planned attack on Port Moresby also began.

The attack force composed of about 4000 Japanese special Marines and engineers set out from Rabaul in 10 transport ships, escorted by 1 light cruiser, 6 destroyers, 4 minesweepers and 2 submarines, and sailed to Port Moresby, To complete the scheduled plan.

The aircraft carriers “Xianghe” and “Ruihe” commanded by Takeo Takagi also entered the Coral Sea under the escort of guard ships.

When the two sides carefully tested the strength of their opponents, a dramatic scene appeared: on the 6th night, the cruising Japanese troops approached the US troops who were refuelling and unprepared for battle at high speed.

The distance was once only 70 nautical miles.

The situation was very urgent.

However, due to the dense clouds and towering waves in the Coral Sea area, the Japanese did not find the Americans, and the Japanese fleet withdrew inexplicably under Takagi’s order.

In this way, an upcoming encounter disappeared into the night.

Both Japan and the United States are searching for their prey on the vast sea, hoping to find each other first so as to strike first.

However, due to climate and other reasons, both sides are always playing hide and seek.

On the morning of May 7, the US shipborne reconnaissance plane taking off from “York City” sent back an urgent telegram: “one enemy aircraft carrier and four cruisers, 180 nautical miles away, 120 degrees of course, 20 knots of speed, northwest.

” Almost at the same time, land-based reconnaissance aircraft sent the same information.

Major general Fletcher was overjoyed at the news and was determined to wipe out the Japanese fleet to snow the shame of the US Pearl Harbor.

At 10:00 a.m. on May 7, 24 torpedo planes and 36 bombers took off from Lexington and York City respectively, and under the cover of 16 fighter planes, they flew towards the Japanese fleet.

However, the US plane did not attack the Takagi fleet.

It turned out that after the tulaji air raid, the Japanese army did not give up the original battle plan.

On May 4, more than 4000 Japanese troops set off from Rabaul by 14 transport ships to capture the port of Moresby.

Goto led the aircraft carrier “Xiangfeng” and four heavy cruisers to form a direct cover fleet, followed by him.

It was this fleet that the US plane discovered.

At about 11 a.m. on May 7, the US aircraft group found the target and immediately launched an attack.

In the face of the sudden arrival of the US aircraft, the Japanese fleet was in chaos.

The “Xiangfeng” tried to turn the rudder and take off the plane on the deck in the wind.

At this time, the US anti-aircraft aircraft led by Captain Lefeng launched a dense torpedo attack on the 13th.

A few minutes later, another 10 American torpedo planes fired torpedoes only 460 to 920 meters away from the “Xiangfeng”, and four hit.

At the same time, the dive bomber also hit 13 bombs of the “Xiangfeng”.

At 11:35, 15 minutes after the first torpedo of the “Xiangfeng”, it sank into the seabed full of coral and algae, which is one of the fastest records of sinking warships during World War II.

Of the more than 800 people on the ship, only more than 100 escaped, while the loss of the U.S. military was only three reconnaissance bombers.

Both sides have seen the strength of the other side in this attack.

After this tentative attack, a larger naval battle is about to break out.

In the first round of the naval battle between the two sides, the Americans obviously had an advantage, while the Japanese lost the good opportunity to attack the US aircraft carrier first due to wrong intelligence.

The opportunity has been missed.

It is obviously unrealistic for the Japanese to attack again, but rear admiral Hara Zhongyi can’t stand this insult and is determined to sneak attack again.

In order to make this sneak attack a success in one fell swoop, he selected pilots who were good at night fighting, piloted 12 dive bombers and 15 torpedo planes to form an attack force, took off quietly and flew to the estimated location of the US aircraft carrier.

Indeed, the Japanese army’s adventure is not worth it.

The Japanese aircraft actually flew near the Fletcher formation.

However, due to continuous dense clouds, frequent downpours and extremely poor visibility at dusk, the Japanese aircraft could not find the US aircraft carrier, while the Americans who waited for work with ease used the guidance of new radar to intercept these Japanese aircraft.

In the scuffle, the Japanese aircraft fleet was shot down by US aircraft, including eight torpedo planes and one dive bomber.

The dazed Japanese plane had to return.

On the way, I was looking for my own aircraft carrier when I happened to pass over the US special task force.

This was a great opportunity to attack, but the frightened Japanese pilot threw out the bomb early, so that he had no choice but to fly over the target.

However, the Americans were not soft hearted at all.

After aiming at the target, several warships immediately opened fire, and 12 Japanese aircraft were shot down on the spot.

Other aircraft fled in a hurry and flew back to Japan’s aircraft carrier.

In this way, there were 27 planes sent by the Japanese army, but only 6 returned safely.

This round, the Japanese lost their wives and lost their soldiers.

After this battle, the commanders of both sides have known the general location of each other and have considered carrying out night attacks with surface ships.

However, because they are close at hand, both sides are afraid to weaken their guard forces, so these plans have not been implemented.

Both sides are well aware that a fierce battle will break out at dawn the next day.

So what is the balance of power between the two sides at the moment? Specifically, the two sides each have two aircraft carriers, the U.S. military has 121 aircraft, the Japanese military has 122 aircraft, and the U.S. military is bombingAircraft are dominant, while the Japanese army is dominant in fighter and torpedo aircraft.

In addition, the U.S. military formation sailed southward all night, leaving the stormy sea area and entering the sunny water area, while the Japanese army sailed northward and still operated in the stormy sea area.

The cloud cage and fog cover are difficult to be found, and the meteorological conditions are favorable to the Japanese.

It can be seen that the strength of both sides is equal.

I’m afraid only God knows who can win.

In the second section, the carrier based aircraft of the US and Japanese armies fought and killed.

At dawn on May 8, 1942, the US and Japanese aircraft carriers scrambled to send reconnaissance aircraft first, because the commander knew that the victory depended on whether he could find out the position of the other side first.

A few hours later, the reconnaissance bomber piloted by Lieutenant Smith of the US Lexington finally found the “Ruihe” and “Xianghe” commandos led by Takagi of Japan after some reconnaissance.

He reported the location of the other party’s ships to his superiors by radio: two enemy aircraft carriers and four cruisers.

Course 120 degrees, speed 20 knots, position 175 nautical miles northeast.

The two huge fleets finally found their long searched opponents, and a fierce battle broke out.

From 9:00 to 9:25, the assault aircraft group of the US aircraft carrier was ejected into the air by the steam ejection device in the sound of the battle alarm.

The first batch of aircraft to take off from the aircraft carrier “York City” was 39: two fighter planes covered 24 dive bombers and four fighter planes covered 9 torpedo aircraft.

The aircraft groups kept an interval of 5 to 10 minutes and rushed towards the Japanese aircraft carrier.

At 10:32, when the US aircraft flew temporarily, the Japanese fleet began to evacuate and take shelter.

The cunning “Ruihe” quickly drove into the thunderstorm area and escaped through the rain curtain.

The “Xianghe” turned its rudder and sailed against the wind in an attempt to lift off the carrier based fighters for battle, which made it the main target of the US aircraft fleet.

At 1057 hours, under the command of major Taylor, US torpedoes and dive bombers attacked.

The “Xianghe” was first hit by a bomb, causing gasoline to burn, and then another bomb in the stern.

The fire spread to the flight deck.

The billowing smoke and fire provided a signal for the US plane that was intercepted by Japanese “zero” fighters and lost its target in the formation.

At 11:40, another 21 US planes flew over the “Xianghe”, and the second attack began immediately.

Four American dive bombers risked their lives and fell to 760 meters before they began to drop bombs.

As a result, the “Xianghe” hit another bomb.

At this time, the ship had been hit by three bombs, the flight deck was scrapped, 108 people were killed and 40 people were injured.

At 13:00, as the “Xianghe” lost its combat capability, Takagi had to order it to withdraw from the battle.

But it was not easy for the Americans to win: on the way back, four reconnaissance bombers and two fighter planes of the US Army were effectively intercepted by more than 10 “zero” fighters, and all of them were shot down.

So far, the US military has also paid the price of more than 30 aircraft.

While the US aircraft poured bombs on the Japanese aircraft carrier, “Lexington” and “York City” were also fiercely attacked by Japanese carrier aircraft.

What’s going on? It turned out that the US plane took off just when the Japanese plane left.

So another big attack began.

At that time, the two aircraft carriers of the US Army were in the same circular warning sequence, and the avoidance movement gradually increased the distance between the two ships, which weakened the warning, which was undoubtedly very beneficial to the Japanese army.

In addition to the serpentine movement, Lexington and Yorktown also drove out of the formation center from time to time to take off and land the aircraft covering them.

After the aircraft attacking the Japanese ship took off, the Lexington left 9 fighters and 8 reconnaissance bombers in case of accidents, while the York City controlled 8 fighters and 8 reconnaissance bombers.

At 10:55, the radar of “Lexington” suddenly found that a large number of Japanese aircraft flew from the northeast at a distance of 68 nautical miles.

The two ships began to turn and let all the aircraft left on the flight deck take off.

A total of 17 fighters and 16 reconnaissance bombers were under the unified command of “Lexington”.

However, compared with the 70 powerful attack aircraft of the Japanese army, the air surveillance force of the US Army is too weak after all.

Before the battle, only three US aircraft were able to intercept the enemy aircraft and were immediately swallowed up by the Japanese fleet.

The Japanese aircraft were divided into three aircraft groups, two were torpedo aircraft groups, and one was bomber aircraft groups.

They started a fierce attack under the fierce fire of American anti-aircraft guns and fighter planes.

The first attacked “York City” successfully avoided the torpedo launched by the Japanese aircraft, rushed left and right, and miraculously hit only one bomb in the dense bullet rain.

The bomb exploded in the storage room below, killing 37 people and injuring many others, but fortunately, the navigation ability and aviation combat ability were not affected.

The fate of Lexington, which is larger than Yorktown but less mobile, is much more tragic.

It was hit by a Japanese torpedo from both sides of the ship and suffered heavy losses repeatedly.

A torpedo hit the front of its port side.

The violent explosion made the ship’s side spew out a huge tongue of fire with sea water.

Then the whole Lexington shook suddenly and hit another torpedo at the same position.

The air carrier was immediately covered by rolling smoke.

At the same time, the Japanese dive bombers also kept biting the injured prey.

A heavy bomb hit the three 127 mm anti-aircraft guns in the front artillery position on the port side and blasted all the guns there.

Then a small bomb hit the chimney of the Lexington.

The aircraft carrier had been blown beyond recognition at this time.

The whole attack lasted less than 10 minutes and ended.

The sea immediately quieted down, leaving only the fragments of warships and aircraft burning on the sea.

The badly wounded Lexington tilted the ship, and it could be seen that there was a fire in the ship.

But fortunately, the main engine can still provide the required speed, the speed can still reach 24 knots, and the flight deck is intact.

For the aircraft returning after completing the attack mission, it can still land on the carrier.

The third Festival aircraft carrier fleet was defeated for the first time.

The U.S. military began to recover the returning aircraft and claimed to have won the battle because neither aircraft carrier was fatally damaged.

The cruising speed of the injured Lexington has never decreased and has been in relative position with the fleet at a certain speed.

On the contrary, the Japanese aircraft carrier “Xianghe” has lost its combat capability, and the “Ruihe” can’t accommodate all the aircraft, so it has to fly many aircraftThe plane was thrown into the sea.

At this time, the Japanese general yuanzhongyi had only 9 aircraft that could be used in combat, while the Allied general Fitch had 37 attack aircraft and 12 fighter planes that could be used in combat.

The balance of the war began to tilt to the US side.

As long as the US army pursued the victory, it was possible to win the battle completely.

Who knows, there was an unexpected turning point at this time.

Just as the U.S. ship continued to drive north and was preparing to launch another deadly attack in the afternoon, the Lexington suddenly exploded at 12:47, which was caused by the spark from the generator into the gasoline leaking from the broken oil pipe.

Whose fault is this? It turned out that the captain’s wrong order led to this outcome.

At that time, as the ship did not seem to pose much danger, the Lexington continued to host the aircraft and constantly refuelled the fighters.

However, more than 10 gasoline silos on the ship have been seriously damaged and gasoline has flowed all over the ground.

The air wave of the first explosion broke through the solid steel watertight door and hatch cover, and all the decks below the waterline were opened.

The highly volatile gasoline vapor flowed freely through the breach and ignited in case of fire.

The fire became more and more prosperous.

Then the explosion occurred continuously, the intensity increased, and the flames on the warship were blazing.

Soon, thick smoke rushed into the ship’s Hospital, and hundreds of wounded were forced to be transferred to the spacious captain’s cabin.

Two hours later, as the fire spread, the wounded withdrew to the front flight deck and finally transferred from here to a destroyer.

Soon the main cable was burned and the electric rudder failed.

The only way to control the movement of the warship was to use the hand steering wheel.

Lexington was able to maintain the formation at first.

Soon it began to swing its head left and right, lost control and posed a threat to the surrounding ships, so it had to leave the formation.

Those on board who had not lost their last hope for their beloved aircraft carrier were still fighting tenaciously in the dark in an attempt to save the ship, which was seriously damaged and only capable of navigation.

However, another violent explosion destroyed the ventilation system of the boiler cabin and engine room.

The people who stuck to their posts were confused at the beginning, and the fire on board was really difficult to control, so they had to call for help.

For a time, the ship was ablaze with fire and the ship body vibrated violently.

Soon, the propeller stopped rotating.

The mighty aircraft carrier floated on the water like a dead fish.

In addition, 20 454kg bombs and 48 torpedoes stored in the machinery workshop could explode at any time.

Finally, the captain had to issue an order to abandon the ship and all the crew were ordered to leave the ship.

An hour and a half later, the abandoned Lexington exploded again, apparently detonating those heavy bombs and torpedoes.

The shock wave threw the plane and large steel plates that were parked on the flight deck and could not be transferred to the sky for tens of meters, and the huge pillar of fire rushed into the sky with white smoke and steam.

Fletcher, on the one hand, ordered the fleet to regroup and move southward.

In addition, he sent a destroyer to fire five torpedoes at the burning shell of the Lexington, so as to prevent the disabled ship from being captured by the Japanese army and make the huge ship, which is loved by American sailors as “Mrs.

Lex”, disappear and die in the waves in the evening.

After this thrilling and unexpected blow, the combat effectiveness of the US military has suffered a great loss.

The balance of the war quietly shifted to the Japanese side.

Although the “Xiangfeng” was sunk and the “Xianghe” was injured, the “Ruihe” was intact.

As long as the Japanese caught this fighter, they could kill the US military.

But the Japanese intelligence mistakes once again dramatically saved the Americans.

The returning Japanese pilots reported that two American aircraft carriers were sunk.

The confident and invincible yuan Zhongyi believed the information, made a very optimistic estimate, and reported the situation to his superiors.

This subjective assumption of exaggerating the results of the war made the arrogant Takagi decide to return the injured aircraft carrier “Xianghe” to Truk, which also prompted the commander of the overall operation in Rabaul, seimi Inoue, to decide to withdraw the whole assault force from the battlefield.

In this way, a great opportunity to completely annihilate the US fleet was lost in the mistakes and foolish self-confidence of the Japanese, and the Americans once again narrowly escaped death.

At 17:00 on the 8th, the commander of the Japanese Navy ordered: “stop the attack, escape from the enemy, replenish fuel and repair the aircraft.

” That night, when Yamamoto, the commander of the Japanese Navy, learned of the matter, he flew into a rage and ordered Takagi Fleet: “continue to pursue and annihilate the remaining enemy!” However, on the afternoon of the 8th, Nimitz, commander of the US Pacific Fleet, ordered: “the aircraft carrier formation should withdraw from the coral sea immediately!” Between chasing and hiding, the big naval battle ended like this.

This was the first time in the history of human war that all aircraft carriers carried out a major battle.

In this naval battle fought by aircraft, Japan and the United States suffered damage to each other: the Japanese aircraft carrier “Xiangfeng” sank, the “Xianghe” was seriously damaged, and the destroyer “Juyue” and three transport ships were sunk, resulting in the loss of 77 aircraft and 1047 casualties.

The US aircraft carrier Lexington sank, the Yorktown was injured, an oil tanker and destroyer Sims were sunk, 66 aircraft were destroyed and 543 people were injured.

But strategically, the US military is undoubtedly the winner.

This battle not only stopped the Japanese invasion of Moresby, but also reduced the number of aircraft carriers of Nanyun fleet by 13 in the later battle of Midway, which was of overall decisive significance.

More importantly, this is the first time that the invincible Japanese army has been defeated since the outbreak of the Pacific War.

Therefore, the coral sea war marked a new stage of the Pacific War.