🤿Haardeep #Suddhadib wreck JUN 1 1945 ATTACK RESEARCH with 5* Dive Academy Thailand Diving Pattaya

🤿Haardeep #Suddhadib wreck JUN 1 1945 ATTACK RESEARCH with 5* Dive Academy Thailand Diving Pattaya

🤿Haardeep #Suddhadib wreck JUN 1 1945 ATTACK RESEARCH with 5* Dive Academy Thailand Diving Pattaya
🤿Haardeep #Suddhadib wreck JUN 1 1945 ATTACK RESEARCH with 5* Dive Academy Thailand Diving Pattaya

🤿Haardeep #Suddhadib wreck JUN 1 1945 ATTACK RESEARCH with 5* Dive Academy Thailand Diving Pattaya

🤿Haardeep #Suddhadib wreck JUN 1 1945 ATTACK RESEARCH with 5* Dive Academy Thailand Diving Pattaya

Hardeep Wreck

The Wreck of the Steamship Suddhadib

 

JUNE 1st 1945 – ATTACK RESEARCH

 

INTRODUCTION & THANKS

When our friend Peter Walker had researched the full history of the Suddhadib (a.k.a. Hardeep Wreck), the findings that he unearthed were a revelation to all divers who had known the wreck only as an exciting, but rather anonymous dive site.

 

(Find all of Peter’s research in his excellently produced video on his own website www.peterwalkerphoto.net).

 

To me it was an inspiration to one day fully visualize the events specifically of the day of the attack and the sinking. After many months of work, this set of 29 visuals is finally completed.

 

I am happy to not only present all of you with the pictures but also this wealth of additional details that had to be dug up for the production.

 

Next to Peter’s consultation in this “Suddhadib Attack” project, my sincerest thanks also extend to two other friends who helped greatly with their expertise, Brock Wright (aviations expert working for Bell Helicopters) and Steve Burton (wreck diving authority and owner of www.thaiwreckdiver.com), both of whom with hundreds of Hardeep dives under their belts (… weight belts).

 

1) WHO SANK THE SUDDHADIB?

 

The British RAF (Royal Air Force) with 2 bomber squadrons

 

RAF B-24 Liberator Squadrons 99 and 159

 

planes piloted by allied British, American and Australian pilot

 

2) WHEN AND WHERE DID THE ATTACK LAUNCH?

 

1st June 1945

 

the B-24 Liberator Squadrons were stationed at the airfield Digri near Calcutta, West Bengal (India)

 

the area of West Bengal was ideal for placing airfields as the entire terrain is virtually flat with sparse vegetation

 

Digri was only one of many WW2 RAF airfields in that area next to airfields at Kalikunda, Dudhkundi, Piardoba, Salboni, Salua, Hijli, and Chakula

 

3) WHAT WAS LIFE LIKE AT A WW2 RAF AIRFIELD?

 

buildings were built with locally available construction materials

 

outside the barracks area there probably wasn’t a whole lot of entertainment for the air men

 

in circumstances like these I would assume that the comradery amongst the men was very strong and friendships forged during these days lasted for a lifetime

 

any ordered air attack was a highlight and remained in the men’s memories in vivid detail until high age (see interview with pilot Max Mazengarb)

 

4) HOW MANY PLANES WERE INVOLVED IN THE ATTACK?

 

Squadron 99 flew out with a total of 10 bombers

 

Squadron 159 launched with 13 bombers, plane 14 failed to take off

 

each Squadron was divided into 3 sections:

 

->    high altitude bombers

 

->    low altitude bombers

 

->    mine layers

 

the picture shows how each plane successively moves from their parking positions onto the taxiway

 

5) WHAT DID THE BOMBERS LOOK LIKE?

 

B-24 Liberator Bombers

 

at over 18,400 units produced by the end of WW2, the B-24 bombers were the most commonly produced Allied bombers in history

 

the B-24 Liberator bombers under the RAF stationed around India were olive drab on top and off-white on the bottom

 

behind the side gunner ports, large letters marked each individual plane so ground crew and crew in the tower could easily identify them from a distance

 

6) WHAT TIME DID THE ATTACK LAUNCH?

 

Wing Commander Lucien Ercolani who would later on sink the Suddhadib took off at 5:41am

 

all other planes would follow in roughly one-minute intervals

 

the last plane of Squadron 159 was up in the air at 5:55am

 

7) HOW WERE THE SQUADRONS SUB-DIVIDED?

 

we have no information about the 10 planes of Squadron 99

 

Squadron 159 listed

 

–  5 high altitude bombers (marked A, K, D, V, B)

 

–  4 low-altitude bombers (marked T, R, J, C)

 

–  4 mine layers (marked F, H, Q, U)

 

in the foreground of this picture you see the B-24 marked “U” piloted by Max Mazengarb

 

8) HOW LONG WAS THE FLIGHT TO THE TARGETS IN THAILAND ?

 

the flight one-way took well over 6 hours

 

heavy monsoon rain and adverse flight conditions turned the flight into a “bumpy ride”

 

a number of crewmen lost their breakfast in mid flight…

 

the weather conditions actually forced one of the mine layer bombers (plane “Q”) to return to base before having reached the target area

 

 

9) WHAT FLIGHT ROUTE DID THE BOMBERS TAKE?

 

the flight path was most likely very direct but made sure to avoid unnecessary time over Burmese air space since the Japanese military had progressed into that area by that time and could have detected an approaching attack

 

10) WHAT WERE THE TARGETS OF THE ATTACK?

 

actually, the main target of the attack was the HTMS Angthong anchored at Sattahip Bay

 

the high-level bombing attack on the Angthong began at 12:36pm

 

the Angthong was successfully hit by the high-level bombers after which all attention was diverted to the secondary targets:

 

–  the S.S. Suddhadib and the HTMS Tachin

 

11) WHY WAS THE SUDDHADIB ANCHORED AT KO CHUANG?

 

a first raid of the RAF Squadrons 2 days earlier (30th May 1945) had missed all targets

 

anticipating another attack, Admiral Kanok of the Royal Thai Navy then decided to disperse the vessels around the nearby islands rather than to keep all ships at Sattahip Bay (like the Angthong)

 

12) WHEN AND HOW DID THE ATTACK ON THE SUDDHADIB START?

 

it must have been between 12:40 and 12:45 when the first high level altitude bombers locked on the Suddhadib as their target

 

the high-level bombing was conducted from an altitude of 5000 feet

 

the weather conditions at the target area were very nice with scattered high cirrus clouds, good visibility and light

 

13) WHY WAS THE SUDDHADIB CONSIDERED A TARGET?

 

for over 20 years the Suddhadib had been a passenger and freight vessel

 

during the Second World War the Thai government decided to capitulate and co-operate with the Japanese (rather than risk being invaded by them)

 

all useable ships were subscribed by the Thai Navy to help the Japanese war effort and a large shipment of fuel drums aboard the Suddhadib was destined to support the construction of the “death railway” from Thailand all the way to India

 

England, stationed in India, was forced to halt this project and pre-empt any further Japanese advances

 

14) WHAT WAS THE PAYLOAD ON EACH PLANE?

 

each of the 5 high-level bombers and 4 low-level bombers carried 5 1000lbs. M-59 bombs

 

although the B-24‘s bomb bay fits up to 8 bombs of that size, 5 bombs was the maximum on that day since extra fuel reserves needed to be carried for the extremely long round-trip flight

 

the 4 mine layer bombers carried various mines, mostly American MK-13 mines (in size and shape very similar to the M-59 bombs and a perfect fit for the B-24‘s bomb bay), one M-4 mine and British V11 mines

 

the rear half of an MK-13 mine can be found south of the wreck towards the beach of Ko Chuang at 22m depth

 

15) HOW DID AN M-59 BOMB ARM ITSELF?

 

a tail fuse in the rear of the M-59 bomb contained a small propeller

 

once the bomb was dropped from a plane, the propeller started spinning in the air draft which pushed a pin into an arming mechanism

 

only after this process was the bomb armed

 

unexploded M59 bomb west of the wreck at 28-30m

 

 

16) DID THE BOMBS FALLING ON WATER EXPLODE OR SINK?

 

there are a number of unexploded bombs around the Suddhadib wreck but very likely none of those originated from the high-level drops – all must have gone off

 

the high-level bombs were set to detonate 0.25 seconds after impact

 

inertia switch inside the bomb – as soon as the outer shell gets slowed down, a sliding mechanism inside continues moving forward in the original speed and causes the detonation

 

17) DID THE HIGH-LEVEL BOMBS HIT THEIR TARGET?

 

no, all high level bombs missed the Suddhadib

 

high-level bombing is gambling at best

 

the high-level drops that hit the Angthong only minutes earlier were mostly luck

 

18) WERE THERE ANY CASUALTIES?

 

all 15 crew men of the Suddhadib jumped over board and swam over to Ko Chuang – none of them were harmed

 

19) WHAT HAPPENED AT THE LOW-LEVEL ATTACK?

 

the plan for the low-level attack wave was a technique known as “skip bombing”

 

bombs were dropped at very low altitude and rather than sinking, they skipped on the water surface like a “skipping stone”

 

is was planned for a bomb to eventually hit the side of the ship, sink and explode underneath

 

the low-level bombs were timed to detonate 11 seconds after the first impact (water or ship)

 

crew members of the Squadron reported of bombs actually skipping over the Suddhadib!

 

20) DID THE SUDDHADIB DEFEND ITSELF?

 

the Suddhadib had hardly any anti-air defense (if any at all) and  ‘although sailing under a Thai Navy war ensign’ was still just a civilian freight ship

 

all crew had abandoned the ship by now

 

she was a ‘sitting duck’

 

this picture shows the view from the cockpit approaching the ship

 

the front gunner fires away on a defenseless target (hey, you wold do the same after flying here for 7 hours…)

 

21) WHO SANK THE SUDDHADIB?

 

Wing Commander Lucien Ercolani with his low-level bomber marked “T” was the one who dropped the bomb which brought down the S.S. Suddhadib

 

the front gunner in the front turret continues firing

 

Here the interesting view inside a B-24‘s bomb bay with M-59 bombs loaded – parked on an air field. Imagine the balancing act of a crew member walking from one end to the other in mid flight with the bomb bay open like this.

 

22) WHERE DID THE BOMB HIT THE SHIP?

 

the bomb dropped into the forward cargo hold which was loaded with a large shipment of fuel drums

 

FYI: although ‘a big hole in the hull’, the hole in the engine room on the port side of the wreck (which is now the ‘top of the wreck’) is not bomb damage but was a purpose cut, rectangular opening to crane up and salvage the steam engine which (I’m sure you noticed) is no longer in the wreck

 

23) WHAT DAMAGE DID THE BOMB DO?

 

the fuel drums exploded – however, the bomb did not!

 

had the bomb exploded on board, the destruction to the ship would have been massive and the wreck would not be in the shape we find it today

 

the bomb most likely penetrated the hull from the inside and shot out the starboard side

 

it is to be assumed that the tail fuses of the bombs never had proper time to arm themselves before they hit the water or the ship which also accounts for the multitude of other unexploded 1000lbs. bombs around the wreck in the direction of the flight path (North-West)

 

UNDERSTANDING BOMB FUZES

 

 

A number of tail fuzes were compatible with the M-59 bombs and we don’t know for sure which ones the Squadrons had used for their attack.

 

Many of them required an air travel distance of several hundred feet before properly arming the bomb. Dropped at an altitude of only 150 feet our bombs’ tail fuzes may have never had the necessary time to arm.

 

24) WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BOMB AFTER IT HIT THE SHIP?

 

like many other low-level bombs on that day it sank to the ocean’s floor – unexploded

 

25) WHAT CAUSED THE SUDDHADIB TO SINK?

 

although the bomb did not explode on board and the damage was relatively ‘minimal’, together with the blast of fuel explosion on board it was enough to bring the ship down

 

the bomb itself may have created a hole as it pierced through the hull from the inside

seams in the hull’s plates must have burst and shifted and allow water to penetrate the hull instantly

 

whatever damage it was, it happened on the starboard side which is now the underside of the wreck and is buried under 2m of rubble and sand so it will never be properly visible on a dive

 

26) WHEN DID THE SUDDHADIB SINK?

 

she sank at 12:55pm with a forward-starboard tilt

 

after a very successful air raid (all targets had been hit) the RAF B-24 Liberator Bomber Squadrons returned home to India (they would arrive at the base between 19:34h and 21:19h after a total flight time of up to over 15 hours non-stop)

 

 

 

 

27) DID THE SUDDHADIB GO TO HEAVEN?

 

nope…

 

she came to rest on her starboard side at a depth of around 25m, the sea urchins have been chewing on her ever since and hordes of scuba divers penetrate her on a daily basis (try getting some rest like this…)

 

a number of unexploded bombs from the low-level attack still rest on the ocean’s floor, some quite a distance away

 

the one we believe might be ‘the One’ lies 28m away from the wreck in a western direction

 

The bomb near the Suddhadib Wreck which is in perfect alignment with the flight path going over the forward cargo hold.

📺 To subscribe to the youtube channel: http://bit.ly/video-diving

===

Thailand diving http://www.thailand-diving.org/

🎨 Contact Email: http://www.thailand-diving.org/contact/

Telegram :https://t.me/thailanddiving

===

🙈 BUT WHO IS THAT?

===

WELCOME TO THAILAND DIVING

Diving is our passion!

Since the year 2000, the date of our creation and establishment in Thailand, we have developed a concept of diving holidays, as well as diving cruises, in the land of the smile but also in the most beautiful diving spots of Southeast Asia.

We organize your stay since your arrival at the airport of the chosen destination and we take care of everything so that you make the most of your « diving » stay. All our guides speak French.

We organize stays of two people to …

 » À la carte  » according to your expectations and your budget.

IN THAILAND

All dives course from beginner to instructor course

 

 

 

Une réponse

  1. bruno Mahieu dit :

    https://www.thailand-diving.org/english/diving/wreck-dive.php socialdist
    very good wreck in samae san area fron the war 1945

Laisser un commentaire

Votre adresse e-mail ne sera pas publiée.