Operation Banquet (ii)

This was a British carrierborne air attack on Emmahaven, the port of Padang in the south-western part of Sumatra island in the Japanese-occupied Netherlands East Indies (24 August 1944).

The operation was planned by Rear Admiral C. Moody, who commanded the aircraft carrier element (fleet carriers Indomitable and Victorious) of Admiral Sir James Somerville’s Eastern Fleet, and its primary targets were the cement works at Indaroeng and the harbour installations at Emmahaven.

En route to and on departure from 'Banquet' (ii), the British ships provided air/sea rescue cover on 23 August for the 'Boomerang' attacks of Major General Curtis E. LeMay’s XX Bomber Command on Japanese targets on Sumatra.

The carriers were covered by the battleship Howe, two cruisers and five destroyers, and the operation did not secure significant results. At the same time the battleships Queen Elizabeth, Valiant and French Richelieu, battle-cruiser Renown, heavy cruiser Cumberland, light cruisers Ceylon, Kenya, Nigeria and New Zealand Gambia, and destroyers Racehorse, Rapid, Relentless, Rocket and Rotherham bombarded Sabang before the destroyers entered the harbour for torpedo attacks on the Japanese shipping in it.