Coral Sea, southwest arm of the Pacific Ocean, between Australia, New Guinea, and Vanuatu. The Great Barrier Reef lies along its western edge. During World War II it was the scene of the
battle of the Coral Sea, a major U.S. victory against the Japanese in 1942. The battle, fought by aircraft near the Louisiade Archipelago and regarded as the first aircraft carrier engagement (the opposing fleets were never in sight of each other), checked the southward expansion of the Japanese.
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