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1942: Station HYPO Intercepts Revealed Japanese Plans for Attack.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019
1942: Station HYPO Intercepts Revealed Japanese Plans for Attack.

17 April 1942: Intercepts by Station HYPO (led by Capt. Joseph Rochefort) revealed Japanese plans to attack Port Moresby, thus, allowing for Allied defense. Photo Info: Capt. Joseph J. Rochefort led many of the key Station HYPO codebreakers who correctly deciphered Japanese messages about Midway. Courtesy of U.S. Naval Historical Center/Wikimedia/Creative Commons

Port Moresby was an Australian base on the southern coast of New Guinea. US Navy communications intercept and radio direction finding station in Hawaii, codenamed "HYPO," warned that the Japanese were assembling a naval strike force at their major base at Rabaul on the island of New Britain, north of New Guinea. Decrypts of Japanese messages indicated the fleet would move on Port Moresby early on 7 May 1942.

American Admiral Chester W. Nimitz moved his forces to respond. A US Navy fleet with two carriers, the LEXINGTON and the YORKTOWN, steamed to the Coral Sea, between New Guinea and Australia, while combat aircraft were sent to Port Moresby to reinforce the base. The Japanese and American fleets struck at each other by air for two days in the Battle of the Coral Sea. Neither side's ships ever got within gun range of each other.

The LEXINGTON was sunk and the YORKTOWN was badly damaged. The Japanese light carrier SHOHO was sunk, and two larger Japanese carriers had to return to Japan for repairs. The battle was tactically a draw, but strategically an Allied victory because the Japanese drive on Port Moresby had been turned back. The Americans and Australians were able to ramp up their efforts to dislodge the Japanese from the northern regions of New Guinea.

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  • Birthday of cryptologic machine designer Edward Hebern. Hebern's five-rotor cipher machine is cryptologically significant as part of the overall evolution in U.S. manufactured rotor devices. The National Cryptologic Museum has two very rare five-rotor Hebern cipher machines in its collection.

About Us

The NCMF directly supports the National Cryptologic Museum (NCM), the first public museum in the U.S. Intelligence Community. We think you will agree it is truly a "museum like no other."

Located adjacent to the National Security Agency (NSA) in Maryland, the NCM houses a priceless collection of artifacts that represent our Nation's history in code making and code breaking, as well as a world class library of cryptologic media. The NCMF acquires the best artifacts for the NCM and supports new educational and interactive exhibits.

The NCMF provides exceptional cryptologic programs throughout the year, encourages young minds to explore cryptology and innovation through valued awards, and hosts educational, cryptology-related exhibits at various community events.

As part of the Foundation's partnership with NSA to build the Cyber Center for Education and Innovation - Home of the National Cryptologic Museum (CCEI-NCM), the NCMF also serves as a leader in the field of cybersecurity - striving to provide the best in educational resources and programs.

The NCMF and NCM share a joint three-fold mission to Educate, Stimulate, and Commemorate. Learn more about our MISSION.