|Laid Down||10 Nov 1927|
|Commissioned||10 Sep 1928|
|Sunk||12 Dec 1937|
|Displacement||482 tons standard|
|Armament||2x76mm guns, 8x .30 cal machine guns|
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
ww2dbaseThe river gunboat USS Panay was built by the United States Navy in China. Upon completion, she was assigned to the Yangtze Patrol of the US Navy Asiatic Fleet, tasked with protecting American interests in China. After the Japanese invaded China, American gunboats such as USS Panay participated in the evacuation of the American Embassy staff from Nanjing, China to Shanghai, China in Nov 1937. On 11 Dec, she moved further up the river as Japanese troops neared Nanjing; on this date, she was carrying 5 officers, 54 enlisted men, 4 US embassy staff, and 10 various civilians. At 1327 hours on 12 Dec, while sailing with three Standard Oil tankers, Japanese aircraft attacked. At 1554, she sank after receiving two 60-kilogram bomb hits and sustained several strafing runs by three B4Y Type 96 bombers and nine A4N Type 95 fighters. Three US Navy personnel were killed and 48 were injured which included 43 sailors and 5 civilians. Much of the attack and the sinking were captured on film by American cameramen Norman Alley and Eric Mayell. The US government, via Ambassador Joseph Grew at Tokyo, protested immediately. Japanese citizens immediately began sending letters and post cards to Grew's staff, expressing their apologies and sense of sympathy for the families of the killed. Grew noted "that side of the incident, at least, is profoundly touching and shows that at heart the Japanese are still a chivalrous people." On 24 Dec, the Japanese government officially accepted responsibility and apologized for what was said to be a case of mis-identification since the Chinese flag and the American flag were similar in layout and color. On 22 Apr 1938, the Japanese government paid US$2,214,007.36 for the deaths and the loss of the gunboat, drawing close to the Panay Incident. USS Panay left behind the legacy of being the first American ship to be sunk during WW2.
Last Major Revision: Apr 2009
Panay Operational Timeline
|10 Sep 1928Â||Panay was commissioned into service.|
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