Sunday, May 7, 2017

Coral Sea Resumes

THU 7 MAY 1942
Battle of the Coral Sea resumes as Rear Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher's Allied force turns north to engage Japanese Carrier Strike Force (Vice Admiral Takagi Takeo).

Support Group (Rear Admiral John G. Crace, RN) detached to intercept Port Moresby Invasion Force (Rear Admiral Abe Koso) is attacked by Japanese land attack planes carrying torpedoes (4th Kokutai) or bombs (Genzan Kokutai); destroyer Farragut (DD-348) is damaged by friendly fire while engaged in repelling air attack. Later, mistaken for Japanese Port Moresby Invasion Force, Crace's ships are bombed by USAAF B-26s that straddle Australian heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (flagship) and near-miss heavy cruiser Chicago (CA-29) and destroyer Perkins (DD-377).

SBDs and TBDs (VB 2, VB 5, VS 2, VS 5, VT 2, VT 5) from Yorktown (CV-5) and Lexington (CV-2) attack Japanese Close Support Force (Rear Admiral Goto Aritomo) and sink small carrier Shoho in Coral Sea, off Misima Island, 10°29'S, 152°55'E.
During the action off Misima, Lieutenant John J. Powers (VB 5) and Lieutenant (j.g.) William E. Hall, USNR (VS 2) exhibit skill and determination in pressing home their attacks (see 8 May). That night, Lieutenant Powers (VB 5's gunnery officer) lectures his squadron on point of aim and diving technique. He advocates a low-level release point to ensure accuracy, a philosophy he demonstrated in the attack on Shoho (see 8 May).

Mistaken at the outset for a carrier and a cruiser, oiler Neosho (AO-23) and destroyer Sims (DD-409) are attacked by Japanese planes, although the enemy recognizes the mistake in time to avoid expending torpedoes; Neosho is damaged by bombs and crashing dive bomber, 15°35'S, 155°36'E, and Sims is sunk, 15°10'S, 158°05'E. On board the damaged oiler, Chief Watertender Oscar V. Peterson, although badly wounded, risks his life by closing bulkhead stop valves, receiving severe burns that result in his death. For his extraordinary heroism and distinguished gallantry at the cost of his life, Peterson is awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously.

Japanese attempt to find U.S. force in waning daylight runs afoul of bad weather.

Japanese occupy Hollandia, New Guinea.

Indian Ocean
Small reconnaissance seaplane from Japanese submarine I-30 reconnoiters Aden.

Coast Guard cutter Calypso (WPC-104) rescues one boatload of survivors from sunken U.S. freighter Pipestone County, sunk by German submarine U-576 on 21 April (see 8 May).

British merchantman Fort Qu'Appelle rescues all 22 survivors of U.S. freighter Green Island, torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-125 the previous day.

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