ISBN 0 04 442251 2
To the Royal Australian Navy ships constantly ploughing across it on their way to the northern islands and back, the expanse of the Coral Sea off the east coast of North Queensland was known as ‘the paddock’. So when, five months after the start of the Pacific War, Allied Intelligence warned of the impending movement of large-scale Japanese naval forces into this area of crucial importance to Australia’s security, the scene was set for a major confrontation with an American-Australian task force assembled to counter it. The ensuing Battle of the Coral Sea, called ‘the battle that saved Australia’, was the largest naval engagement ever fought in proximity to Australia’s shores.
But what really happened?
This account, narrated from the viewpoint of Jack Crace, the Australian-born Royal Navy admiral who led the Allied support group in the battle, tells the story of a moment unparalleled in Australia’s past.
It is also the story of Jack Crace: Action Stations Coral Sea reveals many previously untold aspects of his remarkable career, from his bitter disputes with the Naval Board to a murder on board his flagship. The account of the battle itself ends with the heated controversy over charges that Crace’s ships had been bombed by US aircraft during the action, the report of which led to a ‘cover-up’ which hid the truth until this day.
This is a compelling story about a fascinating moment in Australia’s recent past, authoritatively presented by one of the country’s best-known military historians.