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    Sri Lanka (Ceylon)  

Location
Sri Lanka is located southeast of India. Until 1948, known as Ceylon or British Ceylon.

Wartime History
On February 25, 1942 British General Wavell, commanding American, British, Dutch and Australians (ABDA) forces in South East Asia was ordered to move his headquarters to Ceylon. On April 4, 1942 Colombo was attacked by Japanese carrier aircraft.

Kandy
MapLat 7° 17' 47N Long 80° 38' 6E  SEAC Headquarters.

China Bay
MapLat 8° 33' 0N Long 81° 10' 60E  Located at the north-east of the island. Base for B-29 bombers staging for missions to Sumatra, the longest single stage combat flight of 3,900 miles by B-29s during the war.

Colombo
Largest city and capital of Sri Lanka, located on the western coast of Sri Lanka.

April 4, 1942
IJN - At dawn 125 carrier aircraft from the Akagi under the command of Commander Mitsuo Fuchida attack Colombo with a force comprised 36 D3A Val dive bombers, 53 B5N Kate bombers, and an escort of 36 A6M2 Zeros. The Japanese target the harbor as their primary target. Admiral Nagumo kept the rest of his force, approximately another 180 aircraft, in reserve as a second wave, to be launched once Fuchida had confirmed the location of the Eastern Fleet. The Eastern Fleet was not in port, but the Japanese sank two cruisers: HMS Dorsetshire and HMS Cornwall, a carrier, and several merchant vessels and destroyer HMS Tenedos. In response, the RAF launched two squadrons of RAF Hurricanes and two Navy Fulmars to intercept. Afterwards, Nagumo's forces returned to the Singapore Straits.

MapRatmalana
Lat 6° 49' 6N Long 79° 52' 9E  Located on the western coast of Sri Lanka.

Ratmalana Airfield
Wartime RAF airfield

MapTrincomalee (Trincomali)
Lat 8° 34' 0N Long 81° 13' 60E  Located on the northeastern coast of the island. During the war, Royal Navy Admiral James Somerville, the fleet commander of the Eastern Fleet found Trincomalee inadequate and doubted that it could be defended from determined attack.

April 9, 1942
IJN - Aircraft attack Trincomalee and HMAS Vampire is sunk by Japanese planes off the coast

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Last Updated
May 3, 2016

 

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