Bombardment of Madras

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For the earlier French bombardment, see Battle of Madras.
Bombardment of Madras
Part of First World War
Bombardment of Madras by S.S. Emden 1914.jpg
Oil tanks on fire in the harbour following the bombardment of Madras by SMS Emden
Date 22 September 1914
Location Madras, Madras Presidency, India
Result German victory, German raid on oil tanks completed.

United Kingdom British Empire

 German Empire
Commanders and leaders
unknown German Empire Karl von Müller
unknown 1 light cruiser
Casualties and losses
1 steamer sunk
5 killed
26 wounded

The Bombardment of Madras was an engagement of the First World War, at Madras (now Chennai), British India. The bombardment was initiated by the German light cruiser Emden at the outset of the war in 1914.

With Captain Karl von Müller in command, on the night of 22 September 1914, SMS Emden quietly approached the city of Madras on the southeastern coast of the Indian peninsula. After entering the Madras harbour area and observing for a moment, Müller gave the order to engage at 9:30 pm, and Emden opened fire at a range of 3,000 yards on several large oil tanks within the harbour belonging to the Burmah Oil Company.

After the first thirty rounds, the oil tanks were in flames. After bombing the fuel tanks, Emden moved on to a small merchant ship in the harbour, which was quickly sunk by Emden‍ '​s deck guns. The worst casualties experienced that night were among the crew of the merchant vessel, 26 of whom were injured. At least five sailors were killed on board the ship or died later of injuries.

The city of Madras in 1909.

The action lasted half an hour, until 10:00 pm, by which time the British shore batteries had begun to respond. However, Emden slipped away undamaged. In all, 125 shells were fired by the Germans. Although the raid did little damage to Madras, it was a severe blow to British morale, and thousands of people fled the city.

Madras was the only Indian city to come under attack by the forces of the Central Powers during the First World War.[1]

Further reading[edit]

  • Frame, Tom. (2004). No Pleasure Cruise: The Story of the Royal Australian Navy. Sydney: Allen & Unwin ISBN 978-1-74114-233-4 (paper)
  • Hoehling, A.A. LONELY COMMAND A DOCUMENTARY Thomas Yoseloff, Inc., 1957.
  • Hoyt, Edwin P. The Last Cruise of the Emden: The Amazing True World War I Story of a German-Light Cruiser and Her Courageous Crew. The Lyons Press, 2001. ISBN 1-58574-382-8.
  • Hohenzollern, Franz Joseph, Prince of EMDEN: MY EXPERIENCES IN S.M.S. EMDEN. New York: G. Howard Watt, 1928.
  • Lochner, R. K. Last Gentleman-Of-War: Raider Exploits of the Cruiser Emden Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1988. ISBN 0-87021-015-7.
  • McClement, Fred. Guns in paradise. Paper Jacks, 1979. ISBN 0-7701-0116-X.
  • Mücke, Hellmuth von. The Emden-Ayesha Adventure: German Raiders in the South Seas and Beyond, 1914. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2000. ISBN 1-55750-873-9.
  • Schmalenbach, Paul German raiders: A history of auxiliary cruisers of the German Navy, 1895-1945. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1979. ISBN 0-87021-824-7.
  • Van der Vat, Dan. Gentlemen of War, The Amazing Story of Captain Karl von Müller and the SMS Emden. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc. 1984. ISBN 0-688-03115-3
  • Walter, John The Kaiser's Pirates: German Surface Raiders in World War One. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1994. ISBN 1-55750-456-3.


  1. ^ Captain Geoffrey Bennet, Naval Battles of the First World War, Penguin Books, reprint 2001

References and external links[edit]