16 Nov 1943, WW2 Air Raids over Hong Kong | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

16 Nov 1943, WW2 Air Raids over Hong Kong

Date(s) of events described: 
Tue, 16 Nov 1943

The following report was written on the 16th, but printed in the Hong Kong News on the 18th:

Air Raids on Hong Kong-November 1943

Photo from that attack:

American air strike on harbour shipping-16 November 1943
American air strike on harbour shipping-16 November 1943, by IDJ

Additional notes from ssuni86:

What I can piece together from flight intelligence reports and other U.S. military documents in my possession:

The aircraft involved in this raid took off from Guilin (Kweilin), a frequent staging point for air strikes on Hong Kong by units of the 14th Air Force of the USAAF.  The airstrike was executed by 12 B-24 Liberator heavy bombers of the 308th Bomb Group and B-25 Mitchell medium bombers of the 11th Bomb Squadron (341st Bomb Group).  The 23 escorting P-40 fighters came from the 74th and 75th Fighter Squadrons of the 23rd Fighter Group.  As per standard operating procedure, the B-24s made conventional bombing runs from 16,000 feet while the B-25s made their bomb runs "on the deck."  The B-24s targeted the Kowloon docks (i.e., the HK & Whampoa dockyard at Hung Hom) while the B-25s went after individual ships in the harbor.

The 74th Fighter Squadron lost two P-40s, with the pilots reported as MIA.  One B-24 was shot up by Japanese fighters, but managed to return to Guilin.

A 520-foot cargo ship (11,500 tons) was sunk by the B-25s, according to postwar assessment of Japanese merchant shipping losses.  The was perhaps the vessel in the photo.

As always, this information is somewhat speculative and based on reports filed by American pilots whose recollections of events were colored by the chaos of combat and the fact that the Japanese were doing their level best to blast them out of the sky. 

--Steven Bailey