Panay file photo [7725]


CountryUnited States
BuilderJiangnan Arsenal
Laid Down10 Nov 1927
Commissioned10 Sep 1928
Sunk12 Dec 1937
Displacement482 tons standard
Length191 feet
Beam29 feet
Draft5 feet
Speed15 knots
Armament2x76mm guns, 8x .30 cal machine guns


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.


ww2dbaseSource: Wikipedia.

Last Major Revision: Apr 2009

Panay Operational Timeline

10 Sep 1928 Panay was commissioned into service.


Port bow view of US Navy river gunboat Panay during her standardization trial off Woosung, China, 30 Aug 1928

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. carol malone says:
14 Aug 2011 08:26:11 PM

I was at the flea markit, and had come across a pojector from 1937 and some old films that came with it. we have not played them do to we do not want to mess then up.
as we looked at thr righting on them they are milutery films. by a man by the name of normal alley universal news. and the uss panay is one of the filmes, there is as well a silent film. but we do not know what it is. and yes the pojector works,
any info on this would be great help.

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More on Panay
Event(s) Participated:
» Battle of Nanjing and the Rape of Nanjing

Panay Photo Gallery
Port bow view of US Navy river gunboat Panay during her standardization trial off Woosung, China, 30 Aug 1928

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