(Left: an F6F Hellcat ready to take off)
Because of the strategic location, not only the Sino-French war, WWII also came to Danshui.
The 1944/45 map of Danshui posted under Mr Chang's "Memories of 濱栗 and more..." has been brought up before because the US Navy bombed Danshui in 1944 for reasons unclear to me.
According to Mr Chang: "You mentioned several times about the small sea plane base next to train station. The lot belongs to GO-SHA, the fifth son of the rich man, before Japanese takes over and converts to airport. I also met Mr. Iwamoto here in SF bay area, he was a pilot of the Zero fighter converted sea plane at that base. It is interesting that his only memory about Tamsui is fried BeeFunn 炒米粉."
The intended targets actually were the oil storage tanks of the old British (Dutch?) Shell Oil Corp near the seaplane base. The oil storage was hit and my youngest uncle remembers seeing the sky over Danshui orange red from a distance at 北投仔 where the family was evacuated to, and figured that the whole town had been destroyed. The fire actually burned for 3 days. Mr Chang recalls that one of the 20+ casualties was a driver minding his own taxi business near Danshui Station when the area was hit by an off-the-target bomb.
The date of the bombing was Oct 12, 1944, the first day when the whole Taiwan was attacked. The F6F fighters would have been from US Naval Task Force 38/58 (based on the carriers). There is still some confusion whether the B-25s or the B-29s from the land-based USAAF were involved. The intended target was actually 迺生產石油株式會社淡水油槽所, the "Rising Sun Petroleum Co" on the US Navy map. This event was known as "火燒臭油棧" to Danshui-ren. 臭油, because of the foul oily smell. The seaplane base was apparently a secondary target.
The oil company site is still around albeit somewhat neglected. For a quick tour, see here.
Addendum: The attacking aircraft were carrier-based, most likely the F6Fs. According to CINCPAC COMMUNIQUÉ NO. 150, OCTOBER 13, 1944:
"Carrier aircraft of the pacific Fleet fast carrier task force striking Formosa on October 11 (West Longitude Date) shot 124 enemy aircraft out of the air and did heavy damage to enemy shipping and shore defense works. Preliminary pilot reports and photographs show that 97 enemy aircraft were destroyed on the ground. Initial reports indicate the following damage to enemy shipping
Large cargo ships‑2
Medium cargo ships‑2
Small cargo ships‑12
Large cargo ships‑2
Medium cargo ships‑7
Small cargo ships‑10
In addition to the foregoing, extensive damage was done to hangars, buildings, oil dumps, warehouses, docks and industrial establishments at Einansho臺南安南區, Okayama岡山, Tamsui淡水, Heito屏東, Reigaryo苓雅寮, and Taichu臺中.
Our losses were 22 aircraft. There was no damage to our surface ships."