A monumental day for the United States during World War II, 75 years ago today.
As MacArthur hunkered down in Australia and mourned the fall of Corregidor, two aircraft carriers of the US Navy sailed into the Coral Sea to counter an invasion aimed at Port Moresby on New Guinea that threatened Australia itself.
Confusion reined on both sides. Japanese aircraft mistook an oiler and accompanying destroyer for a carrier and a cruiser and pummeled them. American pilots searching for Japanese carriers stumbled onto the invasion force instead. The opposing carriers finally engaged each other directly with their aircraft—the first major battle fought without surface ships seeing one another.