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World War II
Battle of the Coral Sea



Battle of the Coral Sea
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.14

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    misidentified, barrage, burning, gauged, striking, launched, detection, commander, afloat, torpedo, successful, squall, fate, cargo, interior, admiral
     content words:    Coral Sea, World War II, Pearl Harbor, By April, Admiral Chester Nimitz, Pacific Fleet, Port Moresby, New Guinea, New Hebrides, Captain Frederick Sherman


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Battle of the Coral Sea
By Jane Runyon
  

1     The Battle of the Coral Sea was the first of six World War II battles fought by ships and airplanes. There were no land targets to destroy. Torpedoes launched from ships and bombs dropped from planes were the weapons used. Humans would decide the fate of hundreds of men and the ships they sailed. Success was gauged by which side had the most ships still afloat after the smoke cleared.
 
2     The Japanese were feeling very good about themselves and their efforts to control Asia and the Pacific area. They had crippled the American fleet with their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. They had sailed across the Pacific toward Asia taking control of all islands in the sea. Their army was taking control of large masses of land in Asia. By April of 1942, it was time to stop and see if their plans were successful. The Japanese leaders decided that it was time to put a line of defense around all that they had conquered. They targeted Australia as a location on the perimeter of their holdings to be taken over and used for their own protection. The Australians and their American allies had other plans in mind.
 
3     Admiral Chester Nimitz was commander of the Pacific Fleet. He ordered two American carriers that had survived Pearl Harbor toward Australia. These two carriers, the Lexington and the Yorktown, were to aid the Australians in protecting Port Moresby. Port Moresby was an Australian base on New Guinea. If the Japanese were able to take control of Port Moresby, they would be able to fly bombing missions over mainland Australia very easily.

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