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Sabang

Relief map of Ryukyu Islands

Sabang (95.326E 5.881N) is a port located on the island of Weh, just off the western tip of Sumatra.  Weh Island is about 17 miles (27 km) across and is a rugged volcanic island, with many fumaroles still active today. Sabang has an excellent harbor, and the port was built by the Dutch in 1887. By 1941 the facilities included four large cranes and a small (2600 tons) and a medium (5000 tons) dry dock.  Sabang is politically part of the Aceh region of Sumatra, which resisted Dutch colonialism as late as 1904. There is still a strong separatist movement here today.

The port was well located to command the western entrance to Malacca Strait between Malaya and Sumatra.

The island and port were seized by a battalion of Imperial Guards Division on 12 March 1942. The invasion force was covered by three cruisers and 10 destroyers, with lavish air cover. This was overkill: There was no opposition to the invasion.

The port was raided on 19 April 1944 by the British Far East Fleet, reinforced for the occasion by Saratoga.  27 Japanese aircraft were claimed destroyed at the cost of just one Allied aircraft. Another raid took place on 25 July. However, the island remained in Japanese hands until the surrender.

References

AMRO (defunct)

Womack (2000; accessed 2011-3-31)

Sommerville (1989)



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