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The Battle of the Coral Sea


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#1 Charles68

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 08:14 PM

May 8 WWII: The Battle of the Coral Sea (first battle in naval history where 2 enemy fleets fight without seeing each other's fleets) ends in an Allied victory.

Lexington and Yorktown were operating close together. Here is a photo of Lexington taken aboard Yorktown that Morning.

USSLex.jpg


During air operations, repair parties managed to sustain operations and keep Lexington in the fight.

deck.jpg
All around her the Japanese were boring in to attack ships of all sizes, however the fleet carriers were the prize that Japanese pilots wanted desperately to destroy.

#2 Charles68

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 08:28 PM

Later under attack the Lexington has been hit several times.
Attack.jpg


Damage control parties work miracles and the ship appeared to be on its way to surviving, however events were to progress and eventually the ship would be abandoned, as fires deep inside her grew out of control. The process of abandoning ship took place as the crew battled fires and attempted to save her for hours.
destroy.jpg



She would continue to burn internally with huge explosions internally for hours, until the end.
1942.jpg

#3 Charles68

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 08:43 PM

A heavy explosion on board USS Lexington (CV-2) blows an aircraft over her side, 8 May 1942. This is probably the "great explosion" from the detonation of torpedo warheads stowed in the starboard side of the hangar, aft, that took place just after the ship's Commanding Officer, Captain Frederick C. Sherman, left Lexington.
At left is the bow of USS Hammann (DD-412), which was backing away with a load of the carrier's survivors on board.
bam.jpg



Shōkaku (Japanese: 翔鶴 "Flying Crane") was an aircraft carrier of the Imperial Japanese Navy, the lead ship of her class. Along with her sister ship Zuikaku, she took part in several key naval battles during the Pacific War, including the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands before being torpedoed and sunk by an American submarine at the Battle of the Philippine Sea.

Japanese aircraft carrier Shokaku attacked by USS Yorktown (CV-5) planes, during the morning of 8 May 1942. Flames from a bomb hit on her forecastle are visible, as are smoke and splashes from dive bombers' near misses off her starboard side.
Photographed from a Torpedo Squadron Five TBD-1. What appear to be erratic torpedo tracks are visible in the lower left.
g17030.jpg

Shōkaku's aircraft helped sink the American aircraft carrier USS Lexington during the Battle of the Coral Sea but was herself severely damaged on 8 May 1942 by dive bombers from USS Yorktown and Lexington which scored three bomb hits: one on the carrier's port bow, one to starboard at the forward end of the flight deck and one just abaft the island. Fires broke out but were eventually contained and extinguished. The resulting damage required Shōkaku to return to Japan for major repairs.

A tally of Japanese losses in the Battle of Coral Sea showed light carrier Shoho, destroyer Kikuzuki, and three small naval units sunk, carrier Shokaku damaged, some 77 planes lost, and a total of 1,074 men killed or wounded. On the other hand, actual losses inflicted on the enemy, as learned after the war, were carrier Lexington, oiler Neosho and destroyer Sims sunk, carrier Yorktown damaged, 66 planes lost, and 543 killed or wounded. Thus, if the Coral Sea battle can be said to have been a Japanese victory, it was a victory only by the narrowest numerical margin, even without taking into account the thwarting of the Port Moresby invasion. Certainly, the actual outcome was a far cry from the sweeping triumph which was announced to the Japanese nation over the radio to the stirring accompaniment of the Navy March.

Although the Battle of the Coral Sea seems to be pretty much a tie, it actually was a victory for the USA. The USN could replace the lost equipment and crews, and the Japanese could not. Later at the battle of Midway, the loss of 4 additional Carriers sounded the death knell for Japanese Naval power in the Pacific and the war was irreversibly on its way to being lost.

Edited by Charles68, 08 May 2012 - 08:46 PM.


#4 Charles68

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 09:15 PM

I suggest you read "Queen of the Flat-Tops" By Stanley Johnston, 1942 , for a true life first person narrative of events aboard the Lexington during the Battle. It is a great read.

The "Lady Lex" was a beloved ship and a marvel of her time. Built in 1925 on a battle-cruiser hull along with her sister ship Saratoga, she was the pride of the U.S. Navy and its nascent air arm.
cv2_01.jpg


This book was published in 1942, not too long after the Lexington was lost in the Battle of the Coral Sea. Queen of the Flat-Tops chronicles her history up until she was sunk by American torpedoes while she lay stricken and helpless, the victim of a huge Japanese air onslaught.

Stanley Johnston was a journalist assigned aboard the Lady Lex and he writes of her life and death with a reporter's eye. There is a bit of cheerleading in his account but it is more than offset by interviews and first person accounts from such legends as Edward "Butch" O'Hare (Congressional Medal of Honor winner) and Commander Jimmy Thach, a brilliant aerial tactician.

There are some interesting sketches of American and Japanese warplanes but there are few specifications as the book was published in wartime. This book makes a great addition to any World War II collection but especially for those interested in the early years of the war.

cv2_09.jpg

#5 Charles68

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Posted 08 May 2012 - 09:21 PM

A picture of Lexington off Diamond head in Hawaii.

CV02b.jpg

a great shot of Lex with her wartime complement of modern aircraft.

USLexington.jpg

#6 Redleg13a

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 06:02 AM

Lexington is one of the WWII ships I wish would be found and photographed. I would very much like to see what she looks like today.

#7 teufelhunde.ret

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 06:19 AM

Lexington is one of the WWII ships I wish would be found and photographed. I would very much like to see what she looks like today.

you can: http://www.usslexing...i...&Itemid=345

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#8 67Rally

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 08:18 AM

you can: http://www.usslexing...i...&Itemid=345



I think that Redleg was referring to the first carrier, Lex (CV-2) which would need the likes of Bob Ballard to locate and photo her at her resting place on the sea floor. ;)

Edited by 67Rally, 10 May 2012 - 08:20 AM.


#9 Bagman

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 10:39 AM

[quote name='Charles68' date='May 9 2012, 12:21 AM' post='1083027']
A picture of Lexington off Diamond head in Hawaii.

CV02b.jpg

Just a minor correction needed here. The ship pictured is not Lexington, but her sister ship Saratoga, CV-3. The vertical black stripe on the structure that enclosed her funnels is a dead give away. The stripe was added to avoid confusion between the two ships at an early period. Thanks for your posting about Lady Lex, a fine and historic ship.

Respectfully submitted,

Terry ("Bagman")

#10 12thengr

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 06:44 PM

As the writers of history say; a tactical victory for the Imperial Japanese Navy,(They lost fewer resources), a strategic victory for the U.S.Navy. They stopped the planned Japanese invasion of Port Moresby. Japanese Imperial Army units slated for this operation were diverted to Guadalcanal, where they were consumed in the battle of attrition there.

#11 Charles68

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 08:47 PM

Bagman, Sharp Eye! I stand corrected!
Thank You.
Charles


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