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8 May 1942
  • Japanese and US carrier fleets at Coral Sea discovered each other in the morning, each closing in to attack. Japanese carrier Shokaku was damaged by 3 bombs at 1057 hours (223 casualties), while American carrier USS Lexington was hit by two bombs at 1120 hours (191 killed; would soon be lost) and American carrier USS Yorktown was hit by a bomb (66 casualties). Meanwhile at Port Moresby, an Australian cruiser force successfully defended itself against land-based aircraft attack as it blocked the Japanese invasion fleet for Port Moresby, New Guinea. As both sides withdrew due to damage and losses, the Japanese scored a tactical victory, but lost strategic momentum as the Port Moresby invasion must now be delayed. ww2dbase [Battle of Coral Sea | CPC]
  • The German 11.Armee began its Crimean offensive. ww2dbase [Battle of Sevastopol | TH]
  • Japanese hospital ship Hikawa Maru arrived at Rabaul. ww2dbase [Hikawa Maru | CPC]
  • The US 3rd Marine Brigade convoy arrived off Apia, American Samoa; its commander assumed military control of Western Samoa. ww2dbase [CPC]
  • Japanese troops captured Myitkyina, Burma. ww2dbase [Invasion of Burma | CPC]
  • German submarine U-507 sank Norwegian ship Torny in the Gulf of Mexico. ww2dbase [Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico Campaigns | CPC]
  • USS Lexington was damaged by bombs at 1120 hours during the Battle of the Coral Sea, killing 191. At 1247 hours, the leaking gasoline was detonated by fire, killing a further 25. At 1707 hours, the 2,735 survivors abandoned ship, and the carrier was scuttled by 5 torpedoes from destroyer USS Phelps at 1915 hours. ww2dbase [Lexington (Lexington-class) | CPC]
  • French submarine Monge attacked British carrier HMS Indomitable off Diego-Suárez, Madagascar at 0756 hours; all torpedoes missed. British destroyers HMS Active and HMS Panther counterattacked and sank Monge. ww2dbase [Indomitable | CPC]
  • USS Grenadier sank Japanese freighter Taiyo Maru 140 miles southwest of Japan. Taiyo Maru was carrying geologists and oil experts to the Dutch East Indies to survey sites for oil production. ww2dbase [Grenadier | CPC]
  • British submarine HMS Olympus departed Malta ferrying crews of sunken submarines HMS Pandora, HMS P36, and HMS P39, sailing for Gibraltar; HMS Olympus struck a mine and sank later on this date; 89 were killed, 9 survived. ww2dbase [CPC]
Atlantic Ocean
  • German submarine U-564 sank US freighter Ohioan 10 kilometers north of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States, killing 15 of 37 aboard. On the same day, U-136 sank Canadian sailing ship Mildred Pauline with the deck gun off Nova Scotia, Canada. ww2dbase [Second Happy Time | CPC]
  • Thirty soldiers of the Ceylon Garrison Artillery based on the Cocos Islands, an Indian Ocean territory of Australia, mutinied, intending to hand the islands over to the Japanese. The mutiny was put down by the Ceylon Light Infantry and ultimately fifteen rebels faced courts martial with three of the leading mutineers later executed. ww2dbase [Cocos | AC]
Australian New Guinea
  • USS S-44 fired two torpedoes at an unidentified target off the coast of New Britain; both torpedoes missed. ww2dbase [S-44 | New Britain | CPC]
France Germany
  • 193 British bombers (98 Wellington, 27 Stirling, 21 Lancaster, 19 Halifax, 19 Hampden, 9 Manchester) attacked Warnemünde, Rostock, Germany; the primary target was the nearby Heinkel aircraft factory; 19 British bombers were destroyed during this attack. ww2dbase [Bombing of Hamburg, Dresden, and Other Cities | Rostock, Mecklenburg | CPC]
  • British minelayer HMS Welshman, disguised as a French destroyer, departed Gibraltar with RAF personnel and 240 tons of supplies for Malta. ww2dbase [Malta Campaign | CPC]
Hawaii Pacific Ocean
  • Between 0907 and 0915 hours, Shokaku was severely damaged by three bomb hits. One tore open the port bow and started a fire in the forecastle. The second struck the end of the flight deck to starboard. The third hit the starboard side of the rear of the island, damaging gun tubs and the mainmast. Large fires broke out. She was able to evade all torpedoes successfully. Escorted by Ushio and Yugure, she was detached and was able to evacuate the battle area at full speed. 108 officers and men were killed by the fires and explosions, and another 40 wounded. ww2dbase [Shokaku | Yugure | CPC]
  • USS Skipjack attacked a small Japanese convoy, sinking Japanese transport Bujun Maru and damaging transport Taiyu Maru in the South China Sea 140 miles northeast of Cam Rahn Bay, French Indochina; six torpedoes were expended in this attack, three of which found their targets. ww2dbase [Skipjack | South China Sea | CPC]
  • In the Battle of the Coral Sea, USS Hammann fired on incoming Japanese aircraft and then rescued 500 survivors of the disabled carrier USS Lexington. ww2dbase [Battle of Coral Sea | Hammann | Coral Sea | CPC]
  • Portland took aboard 929 survivors of the stricken carrier USS Lexington (Lexington-class) in the Battle of the Coral Sea ww2dbase [Battle of Coral Sea | Portland | DS]
Russia United Kingdom United States Photo(s) dated 8 May 1942
Bombing attack on Japanese carrier Shokaku, Battle of the Coral Sea, 8 May 1942, photo 1 of 2Shokaku under attack at Coral Sea, 8 May 1942Dive bombing on Shokaku by dive bombers from Yorktown, 8 May 1942USS Lexington (Lexington-class) underway during the Battle of the Coral Sea early on 8 May 1942. Perhaps the last photo while still in operational status before torpedoes and bombs forced her to be abandoned
See all photos dated 8 May 1942

8 May 1942 Interactive Map

Timeline Section Founder: Thomas Houlihan
Contributors: Alan Chanter, C. Peter Chen, Thomas Houlihan, Hugh Martyr, David Stubblebine
Special Thanks: Rory Curtis

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