Operation Robson

'Robson' was a British carrierborne air attack planned by Admiral Sir Bruce Fraser’s East Indies Fleet but undertaken by a force under the command of Rear Admiral Sir Philip Vian against the oil installations at Pangkalan Berang on the north-west coast of Sumatra in the Japanese-occupied Netherlands East Indies (17/20 December 1944).

The attack was in fact delivered by 27 Grumman Avenger bombers of the fleet carrier Illustrious on the oil, harbour and railway installations of nearby Belawan Deli as a result of adverse weather conditions over the primary target.

The British ships involved in this operation were the fleet carriers Indomitable and Illustrious, light cruiser Newcastle, light anti-aircraft cruisers Argonaut and Black Prince, and destroyers Kempenfelt, Wakeful, Wessex, Whirlwind and Wrangler.

An unsuccessful carrierborne air attack was also made on Japanese installations at nearby Medan.