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Lat 12° 17' 3S Long 49° 17' 29E Diego-Suarez Bay is located at the northern tip of Madagascar. Today known as Antsiranana Bay. Borders Diego-Suarez (Antsiranana) to the south. To the east is Oronjia Pass. On December 17, 1885 given to France after the Franco-Hova. Developed by French into a naval base.
After the German occupation of France in May 1940, French Madagascar was controlled by Vichy France. The British planed to occupy Madagascar to deprive the island from the Axis.
On May 5, 1942 the British launched "Operation Ironclad" landing the British Army 29th Infantry Brigade and No. 5 Commandos at Courrier Bay and Ambararata Bay with reinforcements landed from the 5th Infantry Division and Royal Marines. Until the next day, the French successfully defended until HMS Anthony managed to land 50 Royal Marines in a rear area and broke the defense resulting in the surrender of the town on May 7, 1942. After the battle, on May 19, 1942 two brigades of the 5th Infantry Division departed for India.
On May 29, 1942 Japanese submarines I-10, I-16 and I-20 are in position to attack Diego Suarez Bay (Antsiranana Bay). To perform a reconnaissance over the target area, I-10 launches her floatplane at 10:30pm spots HMS Ramillies, destroyers HMS Duncan, HMS Active, corvettes HMS Genista and HMS Thyme, troopship HMS Karanja, hospital ship HMS Atlantis, MV British Loyalty, merchant MV Llandaff Castle and an ammunition ship. Based on this report, Captain Ishizaki orders a midget submarine attack the next night.
On May 30, 1942 Japanese submarines I-16 and I-20 each launch their Type A Midget Submarine for an attack against ships inside Diego-Suarez Bay (Antsiranana Bay). HA-20 Type A Midget Submarine (M20b) under the command of Lt Saburo Akieda with crew PO1C Masami Takemoto fires her first torpedo that hits and damages HMS Ramillies. Afterwards, depth charged but managed to fire her second torpedo at MV British Loyalty that sinks in shallow water. Afterwards, this midget submarine manages to reach Nosy Antalikely. Aboard, Lt. Akieda attempts to scuttle the midget submarine but the charge fails to explode and both exit safely.
Meanwhile, Type A Midget Submarine under the command of Lt. Katsusuke Iwase with PO2C Kozo Takada participated in the same attack on Diego-Suarez Bay (Antsiranana Bay) and failed to return and was likely sunk without firing her torpedoes. Later, on June 2, 1942 the body of an unidentified Japanese sailor, presumed to be Iwase or Takada washed ashore on the beach near Diego Suarez.
Afterwards, HMS Ramillies was repaired and on June 9, 1942 departs for Durban on Union of South Africa.
On June 8, 1942 the East Africa 22nd Brigade Group arrives. On June 24, 1942 the 7th South African Motorized Brigade arrives. On August 8, 1942 North Rhodesia 27th Infantry Brigade arrived.
France continued to use the city as a military base after Malagasy independence in 1960 until the socialist revolution of 1973.
In 1975, renamed Antsiranana and became the capital of Diana Region.
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