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Bombing of Mandalay (1942)
Part of Pacific War
LocationMandalay, British Burma

 United Kingdom

  • British Raj British India
  • Burma British Burma
Empire of Japan Empire of Japan
Thailand Kingdom of Thailand

The bombing of Mandalay was conducted as part of the Japanese conquest of Burma and was one of many Burmese cities, towns, and ports subject to air raids by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Service and Thai Phayap Army Air Force during the Pacific theater of World War II.

Mandalay suffered its first air raid on February 19, 1942, when Japanese bombers attacked the city. Later on, the city suffered one of the most devastating air raids on April 3, 1942. That night, Japanese bombers dropped incendiary bombs, creating a huge firestorm. About three-fifths[1] of the wooden houses and the former homes of Burmese kings was destroyed, and an estimated 2,000 civilians killed.[2] The official Royal Air Force history described the raid as "particularly devastating" because the firefighting equipment was destroyed and that "thousands" of the inhabitants perished.[1] It was said that a city that had taken a thousand years to build was destroyed in an hour.[citation needed] Clare Boothe Luce, the wife of Henry Luce, publisher of Time magazine and Life magazine magazines, and then a reporter in Burma, visited Mandalay two days later after the bombing. She wrote:

Every house was burned down or still flaming and smoldering. A terrible stink arose from 2,000 bodies in the ruins of brick, plaster and twisted tin roofing. Only the smoke-grimed stone temple elephants on the scarred path were watching guard over the Road to Mandalay, while buzzards and carrion crows wheeled overhead. Bodies were lying on the streets and bobbing like rotten apples in the quiet green moat around the untouched fort.[3]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Denis Richards, ROYAL AIR FORCE 1939-1945 VOLUME 2 THE FIGHT AVAILS, HMSO 1955. p.66
  2. Clodfelter, Michael (2002). Warfare and Armed Conflicts- A Statistical Reference to Casualty and Other Figures, 1500–2000 2nd Ed.. ISBN 978-0-7864-1204-4. Page 553
  3. Rupert Clarke (May 16, 2014). With Alex at War [Kindle Edition]. Pen and Sword Military. 

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