Saturday, 14 January 2017

German warship Emden' s attack on Madras city and missing targets!!

10.5 cm (4.1 in) gun from Emden, in Hyde Park, Sydney.2007.
Emden shelling. high court bldg, madras
When you walk into the portals of the Madras High Court complex  that was established in the year 1862 by the British government soon after the proclamation by Queen Victoria on 26 June 1862, and  if you are an old timer, strolling down the memory lane, you will remember vividly the various interesting stories narrated by  your father or grandpa or relatives about the notorious and  marauding German cruiser SMS Emden. The name Emden entered the Tamil language following her successful attack on Madras, even today, a scheming or cunning person is referred to as  Emdena. The most-feared German warship  came quietly from nowhere in the dark on 22 September, 1914 around 9.30 pm off the coast of Madras (Chennai) and opened fire on the shore. Result: Three oil storage tanks (one was empty) of the British-owned Burmah Oil Company and a merchant ship were hit. The bombardment continued for 30 minutes and around 10 pm before retaliation from the British navy, Emden gave a slip under the cover of darkness and disappeared into the sea, leaving no trace of it. The bombing was carefully planned and  carried out in a whiff, without raising any suspicion among the ever-alert British Navy that dominated the Bay of Bengal in those days,
1914  SMS Emden. Bombing Madras city, British India. en
Thus began one of the first pugnacious acts in World War I (1914-18) on the coastal Madras city. The casualty of five merchant ship's crew was just accidental. The plumes of dark smokes billowing in the air from the oil tanks and the news of German attack on Madras sent the shock waves across the city and adjacent places. As the wind blew seaward, the fire had not spread to other parts near the targeted area.The city people panicked and it was a great humiliation for the British, as the Bay of Bengal, dominated by the British with a large fleet of ships, was called "A British Lake". In the aftermath of Emden's fire play, natives lost trust in the British military's superiority and the morale of the British India  government plummeted way down. How did the German warship's commander gentleman in uniform Von Muller hoodwink the British ships in that area? Thus, Madras went down in the history of the exploits of S.S. Emden (commissioned in 1908) as the only British Indian city that took the beating by the Germans and their allies  Austria and Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria. They were against Britain and its allies.
The following questions remain unanswered so far:

01. The Emden, over a span of 15 days, had already sent to the bottom several merchant ships of Italy, Britain and Australia  before the attack on Madras. Their mission was to destroy the harbor, etc. Why did it not happen?

02. They  targeted neither Ft. St. George on the shore, nor the harbor areas. Why?

03. Despite blackout order, the coast was illuminated and the lighthouse on the dome of the Madras High court building was flashing the beam and guiding the ships at sea. With powerful guns on the starboard facing the shore, Emden could have pulled down the court building along with the lighthouse. It was not to be. What was the reason?

04. Emden stayed offshore just 30 minutes 9.30 pm to 10pm.  Had it stayed a bit longer and its mission was just demolition of the Coastal Madras city's military installations. She could have done it very easily. It never happened!!

05. Were the German sailors poor marksmen and missed the target? No, it is not true. 

06. With no warships around near the harbor, why did the German cruiser fail to capitalize on a good opportunity to show her firepower?
Emden with 4th fake smokestack.

Madras High Court bldg. 2nd largest judcial bldg.
The only possible answer lies in the personality of Commander of Emden Von Muller. His intention to attack Madras city was to prove German's superior military warfare, intimidate the overconfident British military and to subdue their arrogance. Being a gentleman as he was, his mission was not to act with brutality to kill the British and damage the buildings. Had he done it he would have won the medals and accolades at the cost of destruction and loss of lives. After terrorizing the British rulers,Von Muller coolly disappeared from the scene without getting caught.
Alexander von Müller (March 24, 1854-April 18,
In the next few months, with a single ship that too with coal-fired engines, Von Muller  sank lots of ships to the bottom, posing as a British warship with 4 smokestacks. He treated the POW well. No causality in his  war operations.
Sydney, Australia.wreck of Emeden./
However, Von Muller's luck ran aground and his ship, the scourge of the Indian ocean, was hit numerous times by the Australian warship near Coco islands. Muller was, as a POW, treated with respect and at last was released. He died in New Brunswick,
 Germany on 23 March 1923 at the age of 49. In deed, he was a chivalrous gentleman in German navy uniform!! A brilliant and humane German navy man.