Operation Light

This was a British naval air attack on Sigli in the northern part of Sumatra island in the Japanese-occupied Netherlands East Indies, and a series of photo-reconnaissance flights over the Nicobar islands group (16 September 1944).

The attack was carried out by Vought Corsair carrierborne fighter-bombers of Rear Admiral C. Moody’s carrier force (fleet carriers Indomitable and Victorious) of Admiral Sir James Somerville’s Eastern Fleet, and was not notably successful. The covering forces comprised the battleship Howe, heavy cruisers Cumberland and London, light cruiser Kenya, and destroyers Racehorse, Raider, Rapid, Redoubt, Relentless, Rocket and Rotherham.

'Light' was scheduled to coincide with the US 'Tradewind' landing on Morotai and the US 'Stalemate II' landing on Peleliu.

The operation was adversely affected by a number of problems. First, as a result of technical inefficiencies on the carriers, Victorious was able to launch only 22 aircraft, and Indomitable required 40 minutes and two separate deck loads to dispatch just 18 aircraft. Second, the British pilots suffered from a lack of current target intelligence, a consequence of the lack of very long range reconnaissance aircraft based in India and Ceylon. One report of the raid stated that 'After the attack, the fighters roamed the area looking for the most impressive buildings in the area. These would then be machine gunned in the hope that the Japanese overlords were in residence.'