Indian Ocean raid (1942)

Indian Ocean Raid (1942)

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Indian Ocean raid (1942)

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The Indian Ocean raid (known in Japan as Operation C) was a naval sortie by the Fast Carrier Strike Force of the Imperial Japanese Navy from 31 March-10 April 1942 against Allied shipping and bases in the Indian Ocean. It was an early engagement of the Pacific campaign of World War II. The Japanese under Chuichi Nagumo compelled the Allied (largely Royal Navy) forces to retreat to East Africa, leaving the Japanese unopposed in the Indian Ocean.

First moves

Following the destruction of the American-British-Dutch-Australian Command forces in the battles around Java in February and March, the Japanese sortied into the Indian Ocean to destroy British seapower there and support the invasion of Burma. The Japanese force, commanded by Admiral Chuichi Nagumo, had six carriers: , , , , , and . This powerful force left Staring Bay, Celebes on 26 March 1942.

Signal decrypts provided the British commander of the Eastern Fleet, Vice Admiral Sir James Somerville with warning of the Japanese sortie, and he retreated to Addu Atoll in the Maldive Islands, expecting an attack on 1 or 2 April.

The first raids were against shipping in the Bay of Bengal by the carrier Ryūjō and six cruisers under the command of Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa. They sank 23 ships. Five more were sunk by submarines off India's west coast.

When the expected attack on Ceylon failed to take place, Somerville sent the slow carrier back to Trincomalee for repairs,...
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