Bombing of Madras By Emden WW1 – Old Print 1914
This Vintage Print Bombing of Madras, now Chennai By Emden WW1 is from a 1914 magazine cutting. That shows a part of the damage inflicted by the German warship the SMS Emden to Madras in 1914. The print measures 7 x 5 inches. The absolute terror the battleship unleashed on the night of 22nd Sept 1914 was staggering. It fired shells continuously in the night, destroying five out of the six oil tankers at the harbour.
The picture here shows black smoke rising from one of the tankers on fire. The High court’s compound wall was damaged, it also hit some houses. The guns fired 10 km into the shore although its range was up to 12 km. The shells landed as far as Nungambakkam and Poonamallee road. The terror created an exodus, people in their thousands left the city daily. The confusion was exactly what the Germans wanted.
Before the British army or navy could react, the German battleship quietly slipped out from the Madras waters. Captain Karl Friedrich Max Von Muller’s mission of humiliating the British by creating panic and confusion among the people was accomplished. The battleship did further damage to other merchant ships and greatly disrupted the shipping trade lines around the Indian ocean.
But everything did not work out as planned an Australian warship crossed its path sooner than thought and damaged the Emden in firepower off the Cocos island in Nov 1914. So Chennai was the only city in India where it came in conflict with a World War I enemy. Read more about SMS Emden: Terror of the Bay of Bengal.
Did you know- The words ‘Yemandam’ or ‘Amdan’ crept into Tamil, Malayalam, and Sinhala (Sri Lanka) languages. Colloquially, it meant “someone who is tough, manipulative and crafty” and “big and powerful.”
More from the collection- Antique Print Breach Of The Iron Pier 1895., Vintage Book – Parry’s Of Chennai By Hilton Brown., Antique Photo Bombay Horse-Drawn Tram., Vintage Rare Postcard Aerial View Of Bombay 1900s