Reinforcements for Malaya - Apr 41

Discussion in 'War Against Japan' started by Tom OBrien, Aug 14, 2022.

  1. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Hi, I thought these statements from a Chiefs of Staff committee meeting on 25 Apr 41 might be of interest:

    CAB79-11-8 - 25 Apr 41 - COS (41) - p.4 - The Situation in Malaya (1).JPG

    CAB79-11-8 - 25 Apr 41 - COS (41) - p.5 - The Situation in Malaya (2).JPG

    The loss of Vice Admiral Phillips on HMS Prince of Wales makes his remarks about the need for effective fighters to be sent to Malaya of interest.

    Given the discussion on another thread about "British tanks for Malaya" I'll keep an eye out for any further mention of the War Office appreciation on the possibility of using tanks in Malaya.


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  2. timuk

    timuk Well-Known Member

    I wonder how the Vice Chief of the Air Staff and the Vice Chief of the Imperial General Staff felt in Dec 41!

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  3. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

  4. Ewen Scott

    Ewen Scott Well-Known Member

    The Buffalo was acquired specifically because it was deemed capable against non-European aircraft, and was available off the shelf. The option at the time was the Seversky P-35, but it was felt that that company was too busy having just taken an order for Sweden (half the order was embargoed and those aircraft ended up with the USAAF in the Philippines in 1941). But the mods applied to it didn't help. Add to that the lack of training time for most of the squadrons. The most experienced had formed in March 1941. 488 formed in New Zealand on 1 Sept 1941, but didn't see an aircraft until it arrived in Singapore in Nov. Most of the pilots came straight out of training with a sprinkling of more experienced flight and squadron leaders.

    But the real problem with the bombers was production delays in Australia and the USA.

    Australia - was to supply 90 Beauforts to replace the Vildebeests in 2 torpedo bomber squadrons. The first didn't come off the line until Aug and only 6 were available in early Dec but were not fit for operations and 5 were sent back to Oz.

    USA - Martin Baltimores were due from mid-1941. 24 in July and 8 per month thereafter for another two light bomber squadrons. But there were production delays in the USA. IIRC the first of these didn't turn up in Egypt until Jan 1942, by which time it was decided to keep them there to augment the Boston as a Blenheim replacement.

    With the war expanding on so many fronts in 1941, difficult decisions had to be made. The Middle East was prioritised over the Far East for the limited resources.
  5. Andreas

    Andreas Working on two books

    TBH I think you're overly generous here. As late as 10 Feb 42 CAS was asking Tedder for some of his 46 Gladiators because presumption was that on account of maneuverability they would be a good plane to go up against the Japanese.

    Fortunately enough two days later ABDAIR put a stop to this insanity.

    Screen Shot 2022-08-15 at 7.20.47 PM.jpg

    Screen Shot 2022-08-15 at 7.21.48 PM.jpg

    Light bomber shortage was complex.
    • Baltimores delayed in late 41
    • Bostons prioritised for Russia, with UK giving up much of its allocation
    • Then Bostons from UK re-allocated to ME, but turns out they have engine issues and are U/S
    • Baltimores have the same issue at end Jan 42 and cannot be made operational either
    Fortunately around this time they started to figure out how to deliver the equivalent bombload on a SE fighter.

    But hey! Blenheims...

    All the best

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