Terror bombing of Penang 1941

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Peter H
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Terror bombing of Penang 1941

Post by Peter H » 08 Jun 2008 04:04

Penang,Malaya (including Georgetown) was heavily bombed on the 11th December 1941.

According to Alan Warren's Singapore 1942:

..eighty Japanese fighters and bombers had flown over Georgetown unopposed...Thousands of people had filled the streets to watch the spectacle,which turned to tragedy when the bombs began to fall.Aircraft had then wheeled down to dive-bomb and strafe.Mass panic was the result of the bombing,and Penang had no anti-aircraft guns and few air raid shelters.Most of the bombs fell by design on Georgetown's densely populated Chinatown..

...The fires burnt in Georgetown for days..it was estimated that six hundred civilians had been killed and another 1100 wounded in the air attacks..

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Re: Terror bombing of Penang 1941

Post by Fatboy Coxy » 30 Jul 2009 20:44

It would be easy to conclude this was just a terror attack, but I think the IJA Air Force had more important reasons to attack Penang. It had been designated a "Fortress" and although it hadn't been properly fortified and equiped, there were a lot of important targets there. It was a comunication centre, international telephone cables from India emerged from the sea and terminate here. There was the Penang Radio Station, which the Japanese later captured intact and used to broadcast propaganda. A fort with two 6 inch gun batteries (I don't know if this was two guns or 2 x ? guns) overlooked the coastal shipping lane through the straits Georgetown harbour below. It was an important comercial centre and outside of Singapore the most British populated place in Malaya. Attacking such an important target must surely bring out the RAF, and at this time in the campaign the Japanese hadn't quite achieved air supremacy.

A reason why the fires burnt so long was the Fire station in George Town was hit and destroyed in the bombing. Another result of the bombing was the Chinese who crewed the Ferries to the mainland stopped working, and the Ferries only came back into operation when crewed by surviours from HMS P.O.W. and Repulse.

The way the British later abandoned Penang was quite disgraceful, a lot of the Asian community who also had reason to fear being left to the Japanese were abandoned, and I believe later murdered similar in fashion to what happened in Singapore. I think the incident greatly concerned both Gen Percival and the Governor of Malaya, who were alarmed at the way the Britsh residents and local commanders had acted.

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Re: Terror bombing of Penang 1941

Post by Fatboy Coxy » 13 Aug 2009 20:56

1941 Dec 10th - 70 Japanese aircraft raid Penang
1941 Dec 11th - 37 Japanese aircraft raid Penang
1941 Dec 12th - 85 Japanese aircraft raid Penang
1941 Dec 13th - air raids continue as British evacuate

1944 August - USAF (USAAF?) B-29 bombing raid on supported by HMS Ceylon
1945 Jan 11th - USAF B-29 bombing raid on Penang (mission 27)
1945 Feb 1st - USAF B-29 bombing raid on Penang (mission 33)

http://www.visitpenang.com/history.html

Maybe "Terror bombing of Penang 1941 and 1944/5"

Anyone know about these raids, and whats the bit about HMS Ceylon supporting a high altitude bombing raid.

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Re: Terror bombing of Penang 1941

Post by Fatboy Coxy » 15 Aug 2009 17:58

Found this bit about HMS Ceylon

August

19th Deployed with Eastern Fleet ships to provide air sea rescue facilities during US air attacks

on NW Sumatra (Operation BOOMERANG).

24th Bombarded Sabang with HM Battleships QUEEN ELIZABETH and VALIANT, HM

Battlecruiser, RENOWN, French RICHELIEU, HM Cruisers CUMBERLAND, NIGERIA,

KENYA and GAMBIA. HM destroyers RELENTLESS, ROTHERHAM, RACEHORSE,

ROCKET and RAPID also took part and other destroyers entered the harbour and made

torpedo attacks on shipping (Operation BANQUET).


http://www.naval-history.net/xGM-Chrono-06CL-Ceylon.htm

So I'm guessing that HMS Ceylon was stationed off Penang to provide air sea rescue.

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Re: Terror bombing of Penang 1941

Post by Fatboy Coxy » 20 Aug 2009 03:36

USAAF bomb Penang

Taken from http://paul.rutgers.edu/~mcgrew/wwii/us ... eb.45.html

THURSDAY, 1 FEBRUARY 1945

CHINA-BURMA-INDIA THEATER

HQ AAF (Twentieth Air Force): Mission 33: 113 B-29s are dispatched to hit
the naval base at Singapore, Malayan States; 67 bomb the Admiralty IX
Floating Drydock (and a vessel berthed in it) and 21 bomb the West Wall area
of the naval base; 21 others hit alternate targets at Martaban, Burma and
George Town, Malayan States; they claim 3-4-14 Japanese aircraft; 2 B-29s are
lost.


THURSDAY, 11 JANUARY 1945

CHINA-BURMA-INDIA THEATER

HQ AAF (Twentieth Air Force): Mission 27: 47 B-29s out of Calcutta, India
are dispatched to bomb 2 large drydocks at Singapore, Malaysia; 25 hit the
primary targets; around 15 others bomb Penang Island, Malaysia, Mergui,
Burma, and various targets of opportunity; they claim 6-1-17 Japanese
aircraft; 2 B-29s are lost.

This makes a lot more sense to me. Going for the dry docks at Singapore would be an onvious target. I couldn't understand how Penang would warrent a full air attack, but as a secondary target, on the way back, it could be justified for a few aircraft. So maybe not "Terror bombing of Penang 1945" :oops:

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Re: Terror bombing of Penang 1941

Post by Fatboy Coxy » 20 Sep 2009 20:06

The day we unexpectedly broke through Jitra, a full strength air attack was made on the island. From its base in southern Indochina our Air Force set out and dive bombed enemy shipping moored in Georgetown Harbour and burned and destroyed the greater part of the port.

Tsuji – p111, Japan’s greatest victory

Given the distance to be covered, about 1600 km, I’d guess the force used was all or part of 3rd Army Air Force Brigade.

niehorster.orbat.com/014_japan/41-12-08_army/ijaaf/aaf_brig-003.htm

Both 75 and 90 light bomber regiments were equipped with Ki 48 light bombers, which although comparable to the British Bristol Blenheim light bomber, were capable of dive bombing. I am unsure how effective they were at dive bombing, as I believe these were only the mark I versions. The mark II saw the introduction of dive brakes.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kawasaki_Ki-48

A third bomber regiment, 27, was equipped with the Ki 51, which was a dive bomber, but with a range of only 1000 km, I don’t think it could reach Penang from southern Indochina.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitsubishi_Ki-51

Steve

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Re: Terror bombing of Penang 1941

Post by Fatboy Coxy » 22 Sep 2009 20:08

TELUK BAHANG: A 2,000-lb World War II bomb was detonated yesterday, making it the biggest in a series of unexploded bombs found in waters surrounding Penang island.

The bomb, belonging to the Japanese army, was discovered by the crew of the Inai Seroja, a dredging ship which was combing the seabed at about 2.5 nautical miles off the coast of Tanjung Tokong.
The discovery was made after one of the ship's dredging arms snagged the bomb about 6pm last Thursday.

This is the sixth discovery ...

http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-10381744.html

2,000 lb bomb – Japanese! I didn’t know they had one that size. Surely this is an American one from the 1944-45 era

Types of Japanese Bombs

http://www.lonesentry.com/articles/ttt/ ... bombs.html

Biggest bomb the Japanese had was an 800 kg (1,760 Lb) armour piercing. I can’t imagine why they would use these on Penang?

Steve

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Re: Terror bombing of Penang 1941

Post by Zaf1 » 30 May 2011 17:32

Hi

These are the photos of Georgetown during the bombing of Penang

Zaf
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Re: Terror bombing of Penang 1941

Post by Zaf1 » 30 May 2011 17:43

The 1941 news article : PENANG A "SAD STORY"

From Sergt. Fitchett, Official War Correspondent SINGAPORE, Sunday.-The "Sunday Times" says that eye-witnesses' stories of what happened in Penang make sad and sorry reading. "No one could have believed it possible," adds the paper, "for enemy planes to have flown over Penang without meeting a single opposition shot or a single British fighter. Japanese planes scouted round and then returned to drop bombs and machine gun the civilian population. The second day that programme was repeated. The third day, when Japanese bombers appeared, they were met by a handful of brave British fighter pilots. The enemy turned tail and ran." An American journalist put it cuttingly to me to-day: "In 1938 it was an oft repeated crack that Britain sold Czechoslovakia 'down the river.' Penang was never even put on the market."

The newspaper archive is here
http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/52478178

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