In the spring of 1942, Japan continued its campaign in the central Pacific with an attempt to take Port Moresby in New Guinea. Because Port Moresby was an important objective that would put northern Australia within range of Japanese land-based bombers, U.S. troops reinforced it in April 1942. The Japanese planned a landing for June but were stopped by the Battle of the Coral Sea. They began an assault on Port Moresby in July by landing troops at Buna and Gona on the northern coast of New Guinea. The Japanese came within 25 miles of the city, but the Australians pushed them back and retook their beachhead in a decisive series of battles in December 1942 and January 1943.