British bombers mine the Yangtse River 13/5/1945?

Discussion in 'War Against Japan' started by davidbfpo, Aug 18, 2020.

  1. Ewen Scott

    Ewen Scott Well-Known Member

    Highly unlikely. May 1945 was the height of the Okinawa campaign. The carriers were all operating south and east of the island chains between southern Japan and Formosa/Taiwan so Avengers wouldn’t have the range.

    It was only in July that TF-95 was formed, with escort carriers for cover, to operate in the East China Sea up to north of Shanghai.
     
  2. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member



    That is so...look at the bases these two squadrons were based at which indicates the operational area of the squadrons and it certainly was not a case of any RAF Liberators mining the Yangtse. The USAAF had a presence in western China with their forward bases as the map "Mine Warfare Against Japan" shows Yangtse as a target.

    No 160 Squadron went as far detaching to Addu Atoll in the Maldives on two occasions,the airfield being the most southern Indian Ocean base in their operation.
     
  3. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Well I have learnt a lot here and in my research on the impact of aerial mine laying in the war with Japan. I had thought it was the USN submarine campaign that destroyed Japan's merchant marine and navy, so isolating Japan from the Asian mainland. Thank you all for your help.
     
  4. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Interesting that the Three Gorged Dam which harnesses the Yangtse with 34 x 700 MW hydro generating units is now at a level within 10 metres of its maximum level of 175 metres.

    Chinese officials are anticipating that flood relief schemes upstream will be able to reduce the risk of dam overflow.

    I remember GE installing the first units and later on the Chinese installed their own versions...a massive civil and electrical engineering project without doubt.

    A dam such as this would appear to be always vulnerable to attack at times of conflict etc.
     
  5. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    I attach the sections of the The Bombing Survey that relate to the Yangtze. This also makes the point that whilst the majority of mines laid in the CBI theatre were American the RAF flew the majority of mining missions in that theatre. Unfortunately whilst it does contain considerable detail of RAAF mining operations in other theatres there is next to nothing on the RAF. It appears that in 1943 most mines laid in CBI were British made, by 1945 most mines were American. An RAF source reveals that the US had a major mine depot and workshop complex in India that supplied mines to both RAF and AAF units. B29 missions flew from India but were refueled in China. From March 1945 US mining resources were concentrated on the waters around Japan and maintenance of many fields in CBI was handed over to the RAF

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  6. Ewen Scott

    Ewen Scott Well-Known Member

    Oh boy, just think. A B-52 or B- 1 with Upkeep!!
     
  7. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member


    But where does it report that the Yangtse was mined by the RAF?

    Major General Claire L Chennault,the 14th the Air Force Commander until 10 August 1945, he was the driving force behind the policy of mining the Yangtse in particular.The 14th Air Force formed on 5 March 1943 became operational in western China on 10 March 1943.Its service was wholly based in China for the rest of the war.It was based at Kumming, China from 10 March 1943 until 7 August 1945 when they moved to Peishiyi,China.until 15 December 1945.

    The 14th Air Force comprised of two BGs,one with B 24s and the other with B 25s supported by four FGs,three with P 51s and one with P 47s
     
  8. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Just joined ww2f.com and posted an information request there - hopefully our friends across the ocean can help.
     
  9. Ewen Scott

    Ewen Scott Well-Known Member

    I've been back into my library to take a look at B-29 operations out of India or forward bases in China.

    The 4 Bomb Groups of the 58th Bomb Wing, XX Bomber Command flew 49 missions between 5 June 1944 and 30 March 1945, at which point they relocated to the Marianas. In that time only 175 (155 successful) mining sorties were flown in 7 missions between late Jan and late March 1945 dropping 485 tons of mines for no aircraft losses. The targets and numbers of raids were as follows:-

    Saigon - 2
    Singapore - 3
    Shanghai - 1. 4/5 March 1945 with 11 aircraft dropping 70 tons of mines.
    Yangtze - 1. 28/29 March 1945 with 10 aircraft dropping 65 tons of mines.

    By way of comparison XXI Bomber Command based in the Marianas dedicated the four bomb groups of the 313th BW to the mining task. They flew 1,528 (1,424 successful) mining sorties in 46 missions between March and August 1945, dropping 13,102 (12,053 on the intended target) mines with a combined weight of 9,751 tons for the loss of 15 aircraft.

    The effectiveness of the 313th BW campaign can be measured in the fact that the Japanese devoted some 349 ships and 20,000 men to combatting mines in this period, losing three quaters of their minesweepers in the process. Mines accounted for 63% of all Japanese merchant tonnage lost or damaged in that period for a total of 1.25m tons.

    But the campaign could have been even more successful. According to Japanese sources about 25% of the mines laid exploded prematurely and 5% fell on land. Mining does not seem to have been placed very highly in the USN and USAAF mindset which seems to have led to a lack of development of the mines themselves and the tactics used. It took until July 1945 to ask for help from Britain with its experience of British and German mines with more sophisticated combination fuzing systems.
     
  10. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Harry Ree asked above:
    So far the only reference is Professor Ashley Jackson's original passage, cited in Post No.1. I have emailed him for help and hopefully will get an answer.
     
  11. Ewen Scott

    Ewen Scott Well-Known Member

    Any answer yet?
     
  12. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Alas no reply from the Professor. :banghead: Might try his listed phone number one day. Updated ww2f too.
     
  13. Ewen Scott

    Ewen Scott Well-Known Member

  14. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Just looked back at the opening post and Professor Jackson's passage comes in two parts:
    So this RAF activity involved mines laid in the Yangtse River and bombing a strategic railway (possibly near a bridge or ferry across the river? So more than eight RAF bombers, unless they dropped mines on the railway!

    Tried the Professor's phone, no reply or ansaphone on; so will try an email again.
     
    Ewen Scott likes this.
  15. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    In a RAF Historical Society Journal (No. 45, 2009) there is an article on 'Airborne Sea Mining Operations in World War Two' by Graham Pitchfork (I am about to email him), alas nowt on this subject as the focus is on Europe with brief mentions of elsewhere.

    He does refer to:
    From: https://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/docume...s/Journal_45_Seminar_conventional_weapons.pdf

    I wonder if the RAF was looking for a role in the Far East, especially in China where the Japanese Army had launched offensives late into the war, which led the USAAF to exit forward bases, by repeating the success of the River Danube operation can explain this may 1945 mining operation? A RAF veteran remarked:
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2020
  16. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    There is plenty of evidence that the RAF had been dropping mines in Japanese waters for some time - that should not be in doubt - the question is did they mine the Yangtse?
     
  17. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Robert-w,

    You are correct in your question, that remains my objective. It is my habit to add research here as I go, hence the previous post.
     
  18. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    A comment from a RAF historian:
    Added as it gives perspective on RAF mine laying operations elsewhere:
     
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  19. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    I asked the Air Historical Branch for help recently and had this response:
    That I think closes the matter. It has been an interesting journey and with my thanks for members help.
     
    Ewen Scott and ltdan like this.

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