Coral Sea Campaign

1700 to nightfall May 5, 1942

USN New Orleans
  • The Allies launched a flight of Marauders and a flight of B-17s from Port Moresby to attack Lae. The Marauders, launched in error, came in first and picked up the Japanese CAP. They were brutalized in their attack but did significant damage to the airbase. The B-17s flew in over the runway and unloaded and had several direct hits. As both flights flew off over the mountains the base at Lae was ablaze with the runway significantly damaged.

  • The Japanese were more ambitious in their attacks. A large flight of Nells attacked a stationary Cruiser and Destroyer fleet at Port Moresby. The Airacobras assigned to CAP were out of position - much too high - and couldn't get into the fight. When they finally got into range of the Nells their own fleet's AA caused them significant damage. Considering survival the better part of valor they flew off.

  • The Nells, however, went right for the throat. After some initial problems their torpedo attacks became devastating. The heavy cruiser New Orleans was sunk, and the heavy cruisers Minneapolis and Astoria received significant damage. The destroyer Phelps was also struck and sunk. As the Nells flew off over the mountains the sea was alive with American sailors swimming to the shore.

  • In the third and final action of this time period the Japanese had reports of a carrier fleet - two carriers and two cruisers. They launched significant resources at this fleet - which turned out to be two oilers and two destroyers.

  • In the first wave Vals and Kates swarmed this small fleet and sank both oilers, the Neosho and the Tippecanoe, and the destroyer Sims. The Japanese lost several planes in the attack.

  • In the second wave 22 Bettys armed with torpedoes converged on the hapless destroyer Worden. In desperation the Worden tried to maneuver out of harms way but there were just too many enemy planes. In short order the Worden joined its comrades at the bottom of the sea and the Bettys flew off without a scratch.
  • USS Yorktown
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