This Castle Films newsreel dates to 1942 and shows the dramatic developments in the war in the Pacific, where the U.S. Navy repelled a Japanese invasion fleet at the Battle of the Coral Sea and then decisively crushed the Japanese fleet at Midway. The film begins with footage of American troops on the move across the Pacific to Australia, where General Douglas MacArthur plans America's next move. Bombers are shown flying out of Port Moresby to harass the Japanese, and a crippled bomber lands with no gear. The city of Darwin, attacked by Japanese aircraft, is shown on defensive posture with camouflaged weapons in place.
The Battle of the Coral Sea, fought during 4–8 May 1942, was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and naval and air forces from the United States and Australia. The battle was the first action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other, as well as the first in which neither side's ships sighted or fired directly upon the other.
In an attempt to strengthen their defensive positioning for their empire in the South Pacific, Japanese forces decided to invade and occupy Port Moresby in New Guinea and Tulagi in the southeastern Solomon Islands. The US learned of the Japanese plan through signals intelligence and sent two United States Navy carrier task forces and a joint Australian-American cruiser force, under the overall command of American Admiral Frank J. Fletcher, to oppose the Japanese offensive.
On 3–4 May, Japanese forces successfully invaded and occupied Tulagi, although several of their supporting warships were surprised and sunk or damaged by aircraft from the US fleet carrier Yorktown. Now aware of the presence of US carriers in the area, the Japanese fleet carriers advanced towards the Coral Sea with the intention of finding and destroying the Allied naval forces.
Beginning on 7 May, the carrier forces from the two sides exchanged airstrikes over two consecutive days. The first day, the US sank the Japanese light carrier Shōhō, while the Japanese sank a US destroyer and heavily damaged a fleet oiler (which was later scuttled). The next day, the Japanese fleet carrier Shōkaku was heavily damaged, the US fleet carrier Lexington was critically damaged (and was scuttled as a result), and the Yorktown was damaged. With both sides having suffered heavy losses in aircraft and carriers damaged or sunk, the two fleets disengaged and retired from the battle area. Because of the loss of carrier air cover, Inoue recalled the Port Moresby invasion fleet, intending to try again later.
Although a tactical victory for the Japanese in terms of ships sunk, the battle would prove to be a strategic victory for the Allies for several reasons.
The Battle of Midway was a crucial and decisive naval battle in the Pacific Theatre of World War II. Between 4 and 7 June 1942, only six months after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor and one month after the Battle of the Coral Sea, the United States Navy under Admirals Chester Nimitz, Frank Jack Fletcher, and Raymond A. Spruance decisively defeated an attacking fleet of the Imperial Japanese Navy under Admirals Isoroku Yamamoto, Chuichi Nagumo, and Nobutake Kondo near Midway Atoll, inflicting devastating damage on the Japanese fleet that proved irreparable. Military historian John Keegan called it "the most stunning and decisive blow in the history of naval warfare." It was Japan's first naval defeat since the Battle of Shimonoseki Straits in 1863.
The Japanese operation, like the earlier attack on Pearl Harbor, sought to eliminate the United States as a strategic power in the Pacific, thereby giving Japan a free hand in establishing its Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. The Japanese hoped that another demoralizing defeat would force the U.S. to capitulate in the Pacific War and thus ensure Japanese dominance in the Pacific.The Battle of Midway, in combination with the Soviet victory against Germany at the Battle of Stalingrad some months later, are considered by some to be the turning points of the Second World War in favor of Allied victory.
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD and 2k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com