By Christopher Miskimon Lieutenant Commander Kakuishi Takahashi looked down on his targets from 14,000 feet. They were long, narrow forms with flat decks and large funnel stacks, the American aircraft carriers USS Lexington and Yorktown. It was 11 am on May 8, 1942, and the Battle of the Coral Sea was in full swing. The Japanese aviator was in command of a strike mission determined to sink the enemy ships. Takahashi’s force included both torpedo and dive bombers escorted by Zero fighters. Thinking quickly, he devised a plan to hit the Americans with a coordinated assault by both types of attack planes, a technique the Americans themselves were still struggling to work out. The 18 torpedo planes were sent down to 4,000 feet at 11:09. They were accompanied by all 18 Zeros, with the assumption they would need fighter cover more than the bombers. The torpedo plane commander was given authority to divide his aircraft between the two enemy carriers as he saw fit. The 33 bombers were moved down to 10,000 feet and deployed in V-shaped groups. Once the torpedo planes began their attacks the bombers would dive in, giving the Americans near-simultaneous attacks to deal with. At the last minute Takahashi would divide the bombers between Lexingtonand Yorktown. The attack went in; Japanese aircraft maneuvered for their killing blows while American fighters twisted and turned to intercept them. Black puffs of smoke dotted the air as antiaircraft fire exploded. The carriers tu


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