Indian Ocean in World War II

Last updated

Indian Ocean Campaign
Part of World War II
HermesSinking.jpg
Ceylon Offshore Battle Aircraft Carrier Sinking HMS Hermes (95)
Date1940 - 15 August, 1945
Location
Indian Ocean and its surroundings
Result Allied victory
Belligerents
Allies
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom
Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Netherlands
Flag of Free France (1940-1944).svg  Free France
Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg  United States

Axis
Merchant flag of Japan (1870).svg  Japan
Flag of Germany (1935-1945).svg  Germany
Flag of Italy (1861-1946) crowned.svg  Italy


Flag of France (1794-1958).svg  Vichy France
The pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee brought World War II to the Indian Ocean in 1939. Panzerschiff Admiral Graf Spee in 1936.jpg
The pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee brought World War II to the Indian Ocean in 1939.
Atlantis was the first disguised commerce raider in the Indian Ocean. Hilfskreuzer Atlantis.jpg
Atlantis was the first disguised commerce raider in the Indian Ocean.
Galileo Galilei was one of eight Italian submarines operating out of Massawa, and is shown here being captured by the Royal Navy. Italian Submarine Galileo Galilei.jpg
Galileo Galilei was one of eight Italian submarines operating out of Massawa, and is shown here being captured by the Royal Navy.
HMS Hermes as a convoy escort during the first year of wartime patrols. HMS Hermes June 1940.jpg
HMS Hermes as a convoy escort during the first year of wartime patrols.
Italian commerce raider Ramb I sinking. Ramb1.jpg
Italian commerce raider Ramb I sinking.
Fairey Albacore bombers launched from HMS Formidable raided Massawa. Fairey Albacore.jpg
Fairey Albacore bombers launched from HMS Formidable raided Massawa.
Pantera was one of the destroyers based at Massawa destroyed when the Allies captured Italy's east African colonies. Destroyer Pantera.JPG
Pantera was one of the destroyers based at Massawa destroyed when the Allies captured Italy's east African colonies.
Commerce raider Kormoran preparing to refuel a U-boat. Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1985-074-27, Hilfskreuzer Kormoran.jpg
Commerce raider Kormoran preparing to refuel a U-boat.
HMAS Sydney was the only cruiser to be sunk by a commerce raider. Sydney II camouflage.jpg
HMAS Sydney was the only cruiser to be sunk by a commerce raider.
USS Langley under air attack south of Java. USS Langley (AV-3) is torpedoed south of Java on 27 February 1942.jpg
USS Langley under air attack south of Java.
HMAS Yarra was sunk by Japanese warships south of Java. HMAS Yarra (AWM 016263).jpg
HMAS Yarra was sunk by Japanese warships south of Java.
HMS Cornwall and HMS Dorsetshire under attack by Japanese dive bombers on 5 April 1942. Dorsetshire&Cornwall.jpg
HMS Cornwall and HMS Dorsetshire under attack by Japanese dive bombers on 5 April 1942.
HMS Cornwall sinking following air attack. HMS Cornwall - 1942 - WWII.jpg
HMS Cornwall sinking following air attack.
HMIS Indus in Akyab harbour, Burma, 1942. HMIS indus IWM ADNO 9148.jpg
HMIS Indus in Akyab harbour, Burma, 1942.
Japanese submarine I-10 shown at Penang between Indian Ocean patrols. Japanese submarine I-10 at Penang port in 1942.jpg
Japanese submarine I-10 shown at Penang between Indian Ocean patrols.
Bristol Blenheims of No. 60 Squadron RAF flying low to attack a Japanese coaster off Akyab, Burma on 11 October 1942. Blenheims flying low.jpg
Bristol Blenheims of No. 60 Squadron RAF flying low to attack a Japanese coaster off Akyab, Burma on 11 October 1942.
Japanese commerce raider Hokoku Maru. Hokoku Maru-1942.jpg
Japanese commerce raider Hōkoku Maru .
HMAS Arunta evacuated troops from Japanese-occupied Timor. HMAS Arunta I30 July 1943.jpg
HMAS Arunta evacuated troops from Japanese-occupied Timor.
Italy's most successful submarine Leonardo da Vinci sank ships in the western Indian Ocean during patrols from European bases. Rm-Da-Vinci.jpg
Italy's most successful submarine Leonardo da Vinci sank ships in the western Indian Ocean during patrols from European bases.
Dutch submarine O-21 patrolled the Andaman Sea. O 21 haven van Gribalter.jpg
Dutch submarine O-21 patrolled the Andaman Sea.
Tenth Air Force B-24 Liberators sank several ships in the Andaman Sea. 7th Bombardment Group B-24 Liberators.jpg
Tenth Air Force B-24 Liberators sank several ships in the Andaman Sea.
German submarine U-511 was the first U-boat to reach the eastern Indian Ocean and was presented to Japan as IJN RO-500. Japanese submarine RO-500 in 1943.jpg
German submarine U-511 was the first U-boat to reach the eastern Indian Ocean and was presented to Japan as IJN RO-500.
HMS Tally-Ho was one of several British T-class submarines patrolling the Strait of Malacca. Tally-ho.jpg
HMS Tally-Ho was one of several British T-class submarines patrolling the Strait of Malacca.
HMS Illustrious operated with USS Saratoga for Indian Ocean air raids. HMS Illustrious bow 1944.jpg
HMS Illustrious operated with USS Saratoga for Indian Ocean air raids.
HMS Khedive was one of several escort carriers serving in the Indian Ocean. HMS Khedive.jpg
HMS Khedive was one of several escort carriers serving in the Indian Ocean.
Fireflies returning to HMS Indefatigable following Operation Lentil airstrikes. Fairey Fireflies on HMS Indefatigable 4 January 1945.jpg
Fireflies returning to HMS Indefatigable following Operation Lentil airstrikes.
Battleships HMS Valiant and Richelieu during Operation Bishop. The Royal Navy during the Second World War A23483 cropped.jpg
Battleships HMS Valiant and Richelieu during Operation Bishop.
Operation Dracula was the last major amphibious landing in the Indian Ocean. ElephantPoint01.jpg
Operation Dracula was the last major amphibious landing in the Indian Ocean.
German submarine U-532 was the last of the Monsun Gruppe to return to Europe, and is shown arriving in Liverpool after the German surrender. U-boat Warfare 1939-1945 A28677.jpg
German submarine U-532 was the last of the Monsun Gruppe to return to Europe, and is shown arriving in Liverpool after the German surrender.
Haguro was sunk evacuating Japanese troops from Port Blair. CruiserHaguro.jpg
Haguro was sunk evacuating Japanese troops from Port Blair.

Prior to World War II, the Indian Ocean was an important maritime trade route between European nations and their colonial territories in East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, British India, Indochina, the East Indies (Indonesia), and Australia for a long time. Naval presence was dominated by the Royal Navy Eastern Fleet and the Royal Australian Navy as World War II began, with a major portion of the Royal Netherlands Navy operating in the Dutch East Indies and the Red Sea Flotilla of the Italian Regia Marina operating from Massawa.

Contents

Axis naval forces gave a high priority to disrupting Allied trade in the Indian Ocean. Initial anti-shipping measures of unrestricted submarine warfare and covert raiding ships expanded to include airstrikes by aircraft carriers and raids by cruisers of the Imperial Japanese Navy. A Kriegsmarine Monsun Gruppe of U-boats operated from the eastern Indian Ocean after the Persian Corridor became an important military supply route to the Soviet Union.

Chronology

1940

The Regia Marina Red Sea Flotilla based at Massawa provided a focal point for Indian Ocean naval activity following Italian declaration of war on 10 June 1940; although Indian Ocean patrols of Kriegsmarine merchant raiders required defensive dispersion of Allied cruisers after May.

1941

Early focus was Allied neutralisation and capture of Regia Marina African naval bases, followed by invasions of Iraq in April and Iran in August, to displace governments friendly to the Axis powers. Later Allied focus was on destruction of Kriegsmarine commerce raiders and moving troops to defend against anticipated Japanese expansion into south-east Asia.

1942

Japanese submarine cruisers began patrolling the Indian Ocean during the Dutch East Indies campaign. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Kido Butai fast carrier task force raided Darwin, Australia to cover the invasion of Timor and raided Ceylon to cover transport of Japanese troops to Rangoon. Kriegsmarine merchant raiders were less able to avoid Allied patrols; but the battle of the Atlantic spilled over into the Indian Ocean around Cape Agulhas as German Type IX submarines began patrolling the east coast of Africa.

1943

Axis submarine patrols of Indian Ocean trade routes were expanded with establishment of a Kriegsmarine base in Penang as Allied anti-submarine patrols became increasingly effective in the Atlantic. Allied submarines and aircraft began patrolling the Strait of Malacca and Andaman Sea to intercept shipping supporting Japanese forces in Burma.

1944

Use of Ultra intelligence information increased successful interceptions by Allied submarines and reduced Axis resupply opportunities in the Indian Ocean. Surrender of the Regia Marina and destruction of Kriegsmarine battleships made Royal Navy aircraft carriers available for raids of the Andaman Sea.

1945

Allied focus was on amphibious operations along the Burma coast of the Andaman Sea. Axis submarine operations were restricted by fuel shortage and maintenance difficulties.

List of sub-theatres and actions

Australia
Britain
France
Germany
Japan

Sources

Notes

  1. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.6
  2. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.14
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Muggenthaler, p.115
  4. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.22
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.23
  6. "Regia Marina Italiana". Cristiano D'Adamo. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  7. Rohwer & Hummelchen, pp. 30–31
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Muggenthaler, p.165
  9. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.33
  10. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.39
  11. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.42
  12. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.50
  13. Muggenthaler, p.98
  14. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.51
  15. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.53
  16. 1 2 3 Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.55
  17. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.57
  18. Muggenthaler, p.101
  19. Rohwer & Hummelchen, pp.58 & 59
  20. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.62
  21. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.67
  22. 1 2 Muggenthaler, p.189
  23. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.91
  24. Cressman, pp.50 & 51
  25. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.99
  26. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.102
  27. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.111
  28. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.108
  29. Rohwer & Hummelchen, pp. 97–98
  30. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Klemen, L. "Allied Merchant Ship Losses in the Pacific and Southeast Asia (December 7th, 1941 – March 9th, 1942)". The Netherlands East Indies 1941-1942. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  31. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.115
  32. 1 2 Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.116
  33. Cressman, p.72
  34. 1 2 3 Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.123
  35. Brown, (1977) p.51
  36. Cressman, p.79
  37. 1 2 3 Brown, (1990) p.59
  38. 1 2 Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.127
  39. 1 2 Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.128
  40. Dull, p.109
  41. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.129
  42. Cressman, p.83
  43. Cressman, p.84
  44. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.131
  45. Dull, p.110
  46. Cressman, p.85
  47. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.132
  48. 1 2 3 Cressman, p.86
  49. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.134
  50. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.136
  51. 1 2 3 4 5 Muggenthaler, p.251
  52. 1 2 Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.161
  53. Cressman, p.100
  54. Cressman, p.102
  55. Cressman, p.106
  56. Cressman, p.119
  57. Cressman, p.120
  58. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Blair, pp.72-81
  59. Cressman, p.126
  60. Cressman, p.129
  61. Cressman, p.130
  62. Cressman, p.132
  63. 1 2 Cressman, p.133
  64. 1 2 Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.179
  65. 1 2 Muggenthaler, p.258
  66. 1 2 Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.188
  67. Cressman, p.142
  68. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Blair, pp.226-233
  69. Rohwer & Hummelchen, pp.191 & 192
  70. 1 2 Cressman, p.147
  71. Cressman, p.150
  72. Cressman, p.151
  73. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.199
  74. 1 2 Cressman, p.152
  75. Cressman, p.157
  76. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 Blair, pp.296-306
  77. 1 2 Cressman, p.162
  78. 1 2 Cressman, p.165
  79. Cressman, p.167
  80. 1 2 Cressman, p.168
  81. Cressman, p.170
  82. Cressman, p.173
  83. Cressman, p.177
  84. 1 2 Brice, pp.131-133
  85. 1 2 3 4 5 Blair, pp.398-402
  86. Cressman, p.182
  87. Cressman, p.183
  88. Brice, p.136
  89. 1 2 3 Cressman, pp.197 & 198
  90. 1 2 Cressman, p.200
  91. Cressman, p.202
  92. 1 2 Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.255
  93. Cressman, p.205
  94. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 Blair, pp.527-542
  95. Cressman, p.206
  96. Cressman, p.208
  97. Kemp, p.350
  98. Cressman, p.213
  99. 1 2 Blair, pp.465-468
  100. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.256
  101. 1 2 Cressman, p.217
  102. Cressman, p.219
  103. Helgason, Guðmundur. "HMS Maaløy (J 136)". Uboat.net. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  104. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Tulagi". Uboat.net. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  105. Cressman, p.220
  106. Kemp, p.351
  107. Cressman, p.226
  108. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.275
  109. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.284
  110. 1 2 Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.278
  111. Cressman, p.243
  112. Kemp, p.352
  113. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Radbury". Uboat.net. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  114. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Empire Lancer". Uboat.net. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  115. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Nairung". Uboat.net. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  116. Helgason, Guðmundur. "Wayfarer". Uboat.net. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  117. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.297
  118. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.296
  119. Cressman, p.250
  120. Cressman, p.253
  121. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.310
  122. 1 2 Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.316
  123. Cressman, p.271
  124. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.317
  125. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.319
  126. Cressman, p.284
  127. Kemp, p.354
  128. Kemp, p.357
  129. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.328
  130. 1 2 3 Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.329
  131. Rohwer & Hummelchen, pp.329 & 330
  132. Cressman, p.292
  133. Cressman, p.293
  134. 1 2 Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.334
  135. 1 2 Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.335
  136. Cressman, p.301
  137. 1 2 Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.340
  138. Cressman, p.306
  139. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.347
  140. Cressman, p.311
  141. 1 2 3 Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.350
  142. Kemp, pp.357 & 358
  143. 1 2 Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.355
  144. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.357
  145. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.359
  146. Rohwer & Hummelchen, p.360

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