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British in Malaya during WW2


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#1 Heng

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Posted 01 April 2006 - 06:16 AM

In 1941, why General Percival cannot secure the Malaya and also the Singapore' British base?
Why there are only small troops in Malaya that time?
The sunk of "Prince of Wales" in South China Sea.

The British island fortress of Singapore was captured in what Churchill considered one of the most humiliating British defeats of all time.

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#2 Kitty

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Posted 01 April 2006 - 10:04 AM

As i udnerstand it (and forgive me but i don't follow the Far East war, so I'm probably wrong) but Singapore fell because the defences could only fire out to sea where an invasion was expected. but the Japanese came overland through the forests where the guns could not be trained. I think that's right, but probably not. Morse or Spidge are more of your men for this one.
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#3 spidge

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 06:02 AM

The guns could traverse inland however the shells were Armour Piercing for ships and not HE (High Explosive so they were useless to fire inland unless they hit a bicycle (the Japs rode them down the malay peninsula) with a direct hit.

Captured wounded Allied soldiers were killed where they lay. Those who were not injured but had surrendered were also murdered – some captured Australian troops were doused with petrol and burned to death. Locals who had helped the Allies were tortured before being murdered. The brutality of the Japanese soldiers shocked the British.

The were over 100,000 allied troops in Singapore who were given up to 33,000? Japanese who were virtually out of ammunition and provision. The Japanese commander (Yamashita) admitted his call for surrender was a bluff.

What they (the British command) were afraid would happen (loss of life for civilians etc) by fighting on, happened anyway once the surrender was agreed.

In one act the Japs came into the hospital and virtually killed every Doctor, Nurse and patient in one swoop.

Singapore was still living in the sight of the British Raj and the old boys club.

It could/should have been defended better and it could/should have been commanded better.

The British lost because they underestimated their enemy - the cardinal mistake in warfare!

eg: The Australian 8th division and the tank units arrived in Singapore to see insufficient inland defences, no tank traps etc etc.Although ordered to stay at their posts, General H Gordon Bennett, the Australian commander controversially escaped with two of his aids backed to Australia on the night of the surrender instead of staying with his men.
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Spidge,


My project is the collection of over 11,400+ RAAF Headstone/Memorial photos located in 70 countries during WW2 and the 360+ from WW1. Can you assist? Do you know someone that can?
-------------------------------------------------------
My Signature photo is the Battalion history of WW2 and the patch of the 2/8th battalion. (Blood & Bandages)
My Avatar is my dad, Gunner Frederick Edwin Swallow "C" Company, 2/8th Battalion, 19th Brigade, 6th Division AIF. Critically wounded on the first attack on Tobruk, January 21st 1941.



 


#4 morse1001

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 10:34 AM

What they (the British command) were afraid would happen (loss of life for civilians etc) by fighting on, happened anyway once the surrender was agreed.


The main reason Percival decided to surrender was the capture of the islands water supply.

It could/should have been defended better and it could/should have been commanded better


We have to remember that britian had gone through a long period of retrenchment in defence and money was not always available to spend on projects. Also, many people did not beleive that there would be a war in the Far East.

interesting to note, that Percival whilst doing a Staff college course in 1926, wargamed the defence of Singapore and the conclusions, were that in its present condition, if was "indefensible".

The British lost because they underestimated their enemy - the cardinal mistake in warfare!


Yet they who are without sin, cast the first stone.
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#5 Pte1643

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 10:58 AM

The main reason Percival decided to surrender was the capture of the islands water supply.


Quite true.

The islands water supply was then, and still is, supplied from mainland Malaysia.

Still a major C**k up though.:(
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#6 spidge

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 12:41 PM

The main reason Percival decided to surrender was the capture of the islands water supply.


Quite correct however Percival's idea was to retreat to Singapore island and sit it out. This was never going to be possible on top of food and ammunition shortages.

We have to remember that britian had gone through a long period of retrenchment in defence and money was not always available to spend on projects. Also, many people did not beleive that there would be a war in the Far East.


Many of the standard military procedures of principal defence strategem were ignored with very minimal defence planning on the eventual invasion from the north.

interesting to note, that Percival whilst doing a Staff college course in 1926, wargamed the defence of Singapore and the conclusions, were that in its present condition, if was "indefensible".


This made his defence of Singapore more significant as he accepted his own conclusions and did not look at other possibilities. They were not alert to the infiltration of "Japanese spies" and the job was not being done properly.

Yet they who are without sin, cast the first stone.


I agree the benefit of hindsight is worth nothing in determining the then action to take (1941) and Malaya was attacked some hours before Pearl Harbour yet they were still caught with their pants down.

The myth's about the Japanese and their believed shortcomings should have been dispelled from reports out of China. The Japanese were thought of, as an inferior foe.

Your quote is correct however this is an Ad Hoc situation where many mistakes were made resulting in the loss of a force at least twice of that of the enemy.
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Spidge,


My project is the collection of over 11,400+ RAAF Headstone/Memorial photos located in 70 countries during WW2 and the 360+ from WW1. Can you assist? Do you know someone that can?
-------------------------------------------------------
My Signature photo is the Battalion history of WW2 and the patch of the 2/8th battalion. (Blood & Bandages)
My Avatar is my dad, Gunner Frederick Edwin Swallow "C" Company, 2/8th Battalion, 19th Brigade, 6th Division AIF. Critically wounded on the first attack on Tobruk, January 21st 1941.



 


#7 Kiwiwriter

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Posted 04 April 2006 - 04:37 PM

I wrote a huge article on this campaign for "World War II History" magazine last year.

The British did everything wrong that was possible, from improper training to failing to build defenses. Some untrained Indian troops would not go on patrol at night because the enemy was letting off squibs. These men had never seen a tank or even a brochure on how to fight one. The aircraft were outnumbered and outdated. The big ships were sunk right away. The civilian leadership was apathetic and slack...when troops tried to set up positions on a golf course, they were told to get off private property until the club secretary had called a special meeting. When the Japanese bombed Singapore, there was no blackout...nobody could find the master keys to the big switch, and most of the lights in Singapore were of the gas variety, which required guys going around with long poles to snuff them. Civilians argued for weeks on the right pay for coolies to dig anti-aircraft trenches.

Ultimately, the defenses, from retreat, defeat, and lackluster leadership, simply fell apart at the end.

The Malaya campaign was, as Arthur Swinson wrote in his article on the subject in Purnell's WW2 series, "A major disaster, a disgrace to British arms."
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#8 spidge

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 02:45 PM

I wrote a huge article on this campaign for "World War II History" magazine last year.

The British did everything wrong that was possible, from improper training to failing to build defenses. Some untrained Indian troops would not go on patrol at night because the enemy was letting off squibs. These men had never seen a tank or even a brochure on how to fight one. The aircraft were outnumbered and outdated. The big ships were sunk right away. The civilian leadership was apathetic and slack...when troops tried to set up positions on a golf course, they were told to get off private property until the club secretary had called a special meeting. When the Japanese bombed Singapore, there was no blackout...nobody could find the master keys to the big switch, and most of the lights in Singapore were of the gas variety, which required guys going around with long poles to snuff them. Civilians argued for weeks on the right pay for coolies to dig anti-aircraft trenches.

Ultimately, the defenses, from retreat, defeat, and lackluster leadership, simply fell apart at the end.

The Malaya campaign was, as Arthur Swinson wrote in his article on the subject in Purnell's WW2 series, "A major disaster, a disgrace to British arms."


A complete debacle along "Old boys club" lines which cost many lives initially and the degradation, humility, starvation and death of thousands of POW's in horrible conditions.
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Spidge,


My project is the collection of over 11,400+ RAAF Headstone/Memorial photos located in 70 countries during WW2 and the 360+ from WW1. Can you assist? Do you know someone that can?
-------------------------------------------------------
My Signature photo is the Battalion history of WW2 and the patch of the 2/8th battalion. (Blood & Bandages)
My Avatar is my dad, Gunner Frederick Edwin Swallow "C" Company, 2/8th Battalion, 19th Brigade, 6th Division AIF. Critically wounded on the first attack on Tobruk, January 21st 1941.



 





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