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Air raids on the Hong Kong area (1942–1945)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Aerial photo of an island with an urban area along its shore and a steep mountain in the center. A large number of ships are in the water next to the island, and plumes of water are erupting near some of them.
Japanese shipping at Hong Kong under attack by United States Navy aircraft on 16 January 1945

The United States Army Air Forces and United States Navy conducted a large number of air raids against Japanese-occupied Hong Kong and shipping near the city during World War II. The Royal Australian Air Force took part in efforts to lay naval mines in the Hong Kong area. These attacks began in 1942, and continued until shortly before the end of the war in 1945. British Pacific Fleet aircraft also attacked Japanese suicide boats at Hong Kong as part of the reoccupation of the colony in late August 1945.

Background

The British colony of Hong Kong had been captured by Japanese forces in December 1941, and became a significant naval and logistics base.[1] Japanese forces bombed and shelled the urban areas during the invasion of Hong Kong, and 4,000 civilians were killed in the fighting.[2]

USAAF units based in China attacked the Hong Kong area from October 1942. Most of these raids involved a small number of aircraft, and typically targeted Japanese cargo ships which had been reported by Chinese guerrillas.[3] By January 1945 the city was being regularly raided by the USAAF.[4]

Attacks

1942

1943

  • 27 July: 6 B-25s escorted by 14 fighters attacked Stonecutters Island after failing to locate the freighter they had been dispatched to destroy.[8]
  • 28 July: 6 B-25s escorted by 9 P-40s bombed the Taikoo Dockyard.[9]
  • 29 July: 18 Consolidated B-24 Liberator heavy bombers with fighter escort attacked the Hong Kong, Kowloon and Taikoo Docks and the shipyard previously used by the Royal Navy.[10]
  • 7 August: 4 P-40s attacked a Japanese convoy sailing to the east of Hong Kong. One freighter was heavily damaged and two others were lightly damaged.[11]
  • 25 August: 8 B-25s escorted by fighters bombed the Kowloon Docks.[12]
  • 26 August: 15 B-24s escorted by 17 fighters bombed the Kowloon Docks. Five Japanese fighters were shot down.[13]
  • 30 August: 4 P-40s attacked a convoy sailing to the east of Hong Kong, badly damaging a freighter and inflicting lighter damage on two others.[14]
  • 31 August: 3 P-40s attacked a freighter near Stonecutters Island, with their pilots claiming to have heavily damaged it.[15]
  • 12 September: 8 Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighters attacked Japanese shipping in the Hong Kong area.[16]
  • 15 November: 20 B-25s were dispatched to attack targets in the Hong Kong area. Due to bad weather, only 5 attacked. These aircraft targeted the Kowloon Docks.[17]
  • 19 November: B-25s attacked two Japanese ships sailing near Hong Kong.[18]
  • 1 December: 19 B-25s, 24 P-40s and 10 North American P-51 Mustang fighters attacked the Kowloon Docks. Two other B-25s attacked the Taikoo Dockyard.[19]
  • 25 December: 2 B-25s attacked a passenger ship sailing south of Hong Kong, with their aircrew claiming to have heavily damaged it.[20]

1944

  • 7 January: 2 B-25s attacked a passenger ship to the south of Hong Kong. Their aircrew claimed to have sunk it.[21]
  • 11 January: 4 B-24s dropped naval mines off Hong Kong and Takao in Formosa. 1 of the aircraft was shot down.[22]
  • 23 January: 28 P-40s and 9 B-25s attacked Kai Tak airfield.[23]
  • 5 February: 2 B-24s and 2 B-25s attacked a convoy sailing to the east of Hong Kong. Their aircrew claimed to have sunk two freighters and 3 smaller ships.[24]
  • 12 May: An Imperial Japanese Navy ship was attacked by P-40s or B-25s at Hong Kong.[25]
  • 19 May: 2 B-24s attack and badly damage 2 freighters sailing to the south of Hong Kong.[26]
  • 20 May: 13 B-24s attack a convoy sailing to the south of Hong Kong. Their crews claim to have destroyed 2 Motor Launches and damaged several larger vessels. 3 of the B-24s were destroyed.[27]
  • 22 May: 2 B-25s attacked and heavily damaged a cargo ship near Hong Kong.[28]
  • 7 September: 5 B-24s attacked and damaged 4 freighters sailing to the south-west of Hong Kong.[29]
  • 8 September: B-24s attacked a Japanese destroyer sailing to the south of Hong Kong. Their crews claimed to have sunk the warship.[30]
  • 15 October: 28 B-24s, 33 P-51s and 18 P-40s attacked an airfield and shipping in the Hong Kong area.[31]
  • 6 December: 15 P-51s attacked shipping at Hong Kong. Their pilots claimed to have sunk a destroyer and a freighter.[32]
  • 19 December: 4 P-51s attacked 2 freighters sailing near Hong Kong, with their pilots claiming to have sunk both.[33]
  • 20 December: P-40s and P-51s attacked road traffic, trains and shipping at Hong Kong as part of a wide-ranging sweep over southern China and eastern Burma.[34]
  • 24 December: Shipping is attacked in the Hong Kong area, with the American airmen claiming to have sunk 1 vessel and damaged several others.[35]

1945

  • 15 January: American aircraft attacked Hong Kong as part of a large series of raids.[36]
  • 16 January: As part of the South China Sea raid, aircraft flying from United States Navy aircraft carriers made two large raids on the Hong Kong area. 138 aircraft were dispatched in the morning and 158 in the afternoon.[37] A large number of targets were attacked, including shipping, harbour facilities, Kai Tak airfield and trains on the Kowloon–Canton Railway. Hundreds of civilians were killed or wounded when the village of Hung Hom was mistakenly attacked. Stanley Internment Camp was also hit by a bomb which killed 14 of the Allied civilians imprisoned there. Japanese forces strongly resisted the raid, and claimed to have shot down 10 American aircraft.[38][39][40] At least 4 American airmen were taken prisoner after their planes were shot down near Hong Kong, and a further 7 evaded capture and eventually reached Allied-held regions of China.[41]
  • 16 January: Aircraft assigned to the 118th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron also attacked shipping at Hong Kong. This raid was not coordinated with the US Navy attacks.[4]
  • 18 January: 29 B-24s bombed Hong Kong. 25 P-40s attacked shipping and railroad targets at Hong Kong. Other American fighters conducting armed reconnaissance patrols also attacked targets in Hong Kong.[42]
  • 21 January: 30 B-24s bombed Hong Kong.[43]
  • 27 February: B-25s sank 10 to 15 junks near Hong Kong.[44]
  • March: Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Consolidated PBY Catalinas reinforced existing minefields at Hong Kong.[45]
  • 2 April: 37 B-24s escorted by P-38s bombed the Kowloon and Taikoo docks. Two Japanese Nakajima Ki-44 fighters attempted to intercept, but were driven off by the P-38s.[46][47]
  • 3 April: 43 B-24s bombed dockyards at Hong Kong. Two cargo ships were sunk and twelve hits were scored on oil storage tanks. 11 of the B-24s were damaged by anti-aircraft gunfire.[48][49]
  • 4 April: 41 B-24s bombed Hong Kong. Shipping in the city's harbour and docks were damaged. The aircrew also claimed to have damaged oil storage facilities and a power plant.[50][51]
  • 5 April: 20 B-24s bombed the Kowloon docks and Kai Tak airfield.[47]
  • 5 April: 3 Douglas A-20 Havoc light bombers attacked a convoy near Hong Kong. A cargo vessel was sunk and two escort warships damaged.[52]
  • 8 April: RAAF Catalinas laid mines at Hong Kong. Australian aircraft also conducted mine-laying sorties on other dates in April.[53]
  • 13 April: B-24s bombed the Taikoo Docks.[54]
  • 14 April: B-25s attacked shipping in the Hong Kong-Canton area.[55]
  • May: Australian and United States aircraft conducted a large number of mine-laying sorties to close the two main shipping channels at Hong Kong.[53]
  • 12 June: B-24s bombed the former Royal Navy yard and other dock areas at Hong Kong, causing extensive damage.[56]
  • 13 June: 62 B-24s attacked wooden ships in Hong Kong Harbour with napalm. A large number of vessels were destroyed.[57]
  • 30 August: Aircraft flying from British Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers attacked three Japanese suicide boats which were headed towards the fleet during the reoccupation of Hong Kong. One of the suicide boats was sunk, one beached and the other returned to an anchorage of these craft at Picnic Bay on Lamma Island. Other suicide boats at Picnic Bay were subsequently attacked.[58]

Aftermath

The air attacks on Hong Kong are little remembered today. Unexplored bombs dropped during the war are occasionally unearthed during construction projects, and need to be defused.[2] The only occasion when unexploded aerial bombs have resulted in casualties occurred in 1993, when a ship dredging shallow water near Tsing Yi detonated a 225-kilogram (496 lb) bomb. The explosion badly damaged the ship and injured one of its crew. In the five years to 2018, the Hong Kong media reported 35 discoveries of unexploded munitions. Two more bombs, probably dropped in the 16 January 1945 raid, were discovered and defused in early 2018.[59] It is likely that many more unexploded bombs will be discovered in the future.[60]

References

Citations

  1. ^ Chi Man & Yiu Lun 2014, p. 224.
  2. ^ a b McKirdy, Euan (3 February 2018). "Unearthed bombs recall Hong Kong's WWII 'Black Christmas'". CNN. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  3. ^ Chi Man & Yiu Lun 2014, p. 227.
  4. ^ a b Bailey 2017, p. 112.
  5. ^ a b c Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 62.
  6. ^ Craven & Cate 1983, p. 430.
  7. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 74.
  8. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 191.
  9. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 192.
  10. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 193.
  11. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 198.
  12. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 207.
  13. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 208.
  14. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 209.
  15. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 210.
  16. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 216.
  17. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 247.
  18. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 250.
  19. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 257.
  20. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 273.
  21. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 282.
  22. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 285.
  23. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 293.
  24. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 301.
  25. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 382.
  26. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 388.
  27. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 389.
  28. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 390.
  29. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 486.
  30. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 487.
  31. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 518.
  32. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 562.
  33. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 572.
  34. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 573.
  35. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 577.
  36. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 596.
  37. ^ Royal Navy 1995, p. 136.
  38. ^ Chi Man & Yiu Lun 2014, p. 228.
  39. ^ Morison 2002, p. 172.
  40. ^ Emerson 2008, pp. 118–119.
  41. ^ Bailey 2017, p. 113.
  42. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 598.
  43. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 601.
  44. ^ Craven & Cate 1953, p. 495.
  45. ^ Odgers 1968, p. 370.
  46. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 664.
  47. ^ a b Craven & Cate 1953, p. 502.
  48. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 665.
  49. ^ Craven & Cate 1953, p. 497.
  50. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 666.
  51. ^ Craven & Cate 1953, pp. 497–498.
  52. ^ Craven & Cate 1953, p. 498.
  53. ^ a b Odgers 1968, p. 371.
  54. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 675.
  55. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 676.
  56. ^ Carter & Mueller 1991, p. 712.
  57. ^ Craven & Cate 1953, p. 500.
  58. ^ Hobbs 2011, pp. 310–311.
  59. ^ Liu, Yujing (1 February 2018). "Why does Hong Kong have so many buried wartime bombs?". South China Sea Morning Post. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  60. ^ "World War Two bomb in Hong Kong defused by police". BBC News. 1 February 2018. Retrieved 1 January 2019.

Works consulted

This page was last edited on 18 April 2019, at 07:06
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