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Operation Sankey - Wellington Force - Amphibious Landing by LCP(M)

Unit/ Formation: Royal Marines

Location: Ramree

Period/ Conflict: World War II

Year: 1945

Date/s: 26 January 1945

This was a British landing by a Royal Marine party (‘Wellington’ Force) at Cheduba on Cheduba island (now Munaung in Myanmar), off the south-west coast of Ramree island in the Arakan western coastal region of Burma (26/31 January 1945).

In an undertaking which fell within the overall concept of ‘Talon’ and was preceded by 'Matador' to take Kyaukpyu on the northern tip of Ramree island, the task force which departed Akyab on 24 January for 'Sankey' comprised the destroyers Norman and Raider and the frigates Spey and Teviot, supported by Rear Admiral A. D. Read’s Task Force 65 comprising the light cruisers Newcastle, Nigeria and Kenya and the destroyers Paladin, Rapid and Australian Nepal (carrying Vice Admiral Sir Arthur Power, commander of the East Indies Fleet).

This photo by Lt Trusler, of HMS Norman firing a broadside as one of the LCP (M)s heads inshore. [Stephen Fisher @SeaSpitfires]

The cruisers carried 500 marines, who were landed on Cheduba island on 26 January.

Wooden hulled assault craft with Marines on board nearing the beach at Cheduba, South of Ramree, Burma. Royal Marines of the East Indies Fleet made a successful landing on Cheduba Island under protection of a bombardment by cruisers and destroyers and air cover provided by the Fleet Air Arm. @IWM A27467

Air support was provided by the escort carrier Ameer, with the light anti-aircraft cruiser Phoebe acting as the local fighter direction ship. Before the landing, the assault area received a gunfire bombardment from Norman, Raider, Paladin and Rapid.

It is notable for using an otherwise little known landing craft - the unlikely looking Landing Craft Personnel (Medium) or LCP (M). ( [Stephen Fisher @SeaSpitfires]

The LCP (M)'s were small boats, only 39 ft long. With a single Ford V8 engine, they could make 7.5 knots when laden with their full complement of 20 men and 3 crew, but they only had a range of about 112 miles. [Stephen Fisher @SeaSpitfires]

In 1941, Commando raids on the Norwegian coast led planners to develop a landing craft suitable for operations on rocky coasts. The design was taken from a traditional Northumberland fishing boat, the coble.

Like the fishing boat they were derived from, they had a relatively flat bottom and their draught was only about 2ft when fully loaded. Their high bow was problematic though: with no ramp, portable ladders were needed to get men off. [Stephen Fisher @SeaSpitfires]

Royal Marines of HMS KENYA dashing ashore as their wooden hulled assault craft touch down on the beach at Cheduba. IWM A 27469

On coming ashore, the marines found the island deserted, and it was soon decided that there was no operational value in maintaining a garrison force on the island, even though Brigadier I. C. A. Lauder’s Indian 36th Brigade arrived on the following day.

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