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Alternative British strategy in Malaysia


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#1 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 07:17 PM

Could Singapore have been held similar to say Malta if the British strategy in Malaysia were different? Let's assume the British decide that the entire pennisula cannot be held with the forces at hand. Instead, they place a skeleton force on the pennisula to act as a delaying force and rear guard while the bulk of their forces are entrenched on Singapore Island to defend.
Given this strategy, let's also assume that the British stock supplies and ammunition for a long campaign holding the island, that airfields and other military sites are built for this purpose there too. They bring in some additional antiaircraft units for defense as well.
On the naval front the British plan to try and hold the DEI and Australia with the intention of being able to resupply Singapore periodically using heavily escorted convoys much as was being done with Malta. Ferrying of aircraft via the DEI is envisioned.
Could the British have held Singapore using such a strategy or was that city doomed to fall to the Japanese regardless?
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#2 Carl W Schwamberger

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Posted 10 March 2008 - 11:12 PM

Looking at the map it appears any convoy woud have to run though narrow straits at either end of Sumatra. I dont know about the east strait, but the western could be easily mined. Unlike the italians Japan had a good torpedo bomber air aireal torpedo.

Beyond that what is the stratigic objective of Singapore? If it threatens acess to a critcal portion of Japans oil then maybe it is worth something. But a isolated base is difficult to use.

I'd try to figure out how to defeat the Japanese on Maylaysia to preserve some room for operational manuver.
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#3 Falcon Jun

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Posted 11 March 2008 - 05:15 AM

Could Singapore have been held similar to say Malta if the British strategy in Malaysia were different? Let's assume the British decide that the entire pennisula cannot be held with the forces at hand. Instead, they place a skeleton force on the pennisula to act as a delaying force and rear guard while the bulk of their forces are entrenched on Singapore Island to defend.
Given this strategy, let's also assume that the British stock supplies and ammunition for a long campaign holding the island, that airfields and other military sites are built for this purpose there too. They bring in some additional antiaircraft units for defense as well.
On the naval front the British plan to try and hold the DEI and Australia with the intention of being able to resupply Singapore periodically using heavily escorted convoys much as was being done with Malta. Ferrying of aircraft via the DEI is envisioned.
Could the British have held Singapore using such a strategy or was that city doomed to fall to the Japanese regardless?


Such a strategy would surely upset the Japanese timetable and perhaps divert resources and troops from the Japanese campaign in the Philippines.
Singapore would have lasted longer but I doubt that it could be another Malta. Correct me if I'm wrong but I do recall that Singapore's weak point is the island's water supply. The island just does not have enough local water sources and has to rely on the Malaysian mainland.
Your point on heavily defended convoys getting through to the island has merit, especially if one factors in the ABDA fleet with the PoW and Repulse you mentioned in another thread.

The Japanese, however, could choose to ignore and just isolate the island, much like the US did in its island hopping campaign. The Japanese Navy can mine the straits and local choke points leading to Singapore and that would make running a convoy to the island very dangerous.

Though I still doubt that Singapore could've done a Malta, such a strategy would've given more breathing space for Australia, the US, the UK and other allies to get their acts together. It's also possible that such a stubborn defense in Singapore could lead to a change of attitude in the Japanese Army's penchant for quick campaigns on the cheap. Action, then reaction. Each side learns from each other and according to history, the side that is less adaptable and is the slower learner usually loses.

#4 Carl W Schwamberger

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Posted 11 March 2008 - 01:13 PM

The US Army held out in the Phillpines for five months and the stratigic effect was small. The first problem was the inability of any reinforcements to reach the besiged. The IJN and IJA airforces were far more effective than the Axis in isolating these pockets. Singapors location made it very diffcicult to approach by sea or air. Keeping a large portion of Maylasia under British control complicates the Japanese advance/interdiction.

If the British can halt the enemy in Maylasia then perhaps a Allied group in Maylasia & Sumatra can create the same sort of long running attritional battle that wrecked the Japanese in the New Guniea/Solomons campaign.
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#5 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 01:18 AM

True, the Allies would have to hold Sumatra. But, if Singapore holds out this would have definitely been well worth it. First, this denies the Indian Ocean to the Japanese to a large degree. Next, it puts the Burma theater in a far weaker position and endangers Japanese efforts there.
The most valuable loss to the Japanese though is Singapore as a naval base. They now have no good naval facility in that region to base their fleet off of. Without it, they also cannot easily transport crude oil or refined oil from the DEI either. With greater dependence on sea lanes for transport and having to sail far further to reach a suitable off load port the Japanese would be more vulnerable to tanker losses.

#6 Carl W Schwamberger

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 02:43 AM

True, the Allies would have to hold Sumatra. But, if Singapore holds out this would have definitely been well worth it. First, this denies the Indian Ocean to the Japanese to a large degree. Next, it puts the Burma theater in a far weaker position and endangers Japanese efforts there..


I am guessing that without control of the strait between Maylaysia & Sumatra a early attack on Burma would beout of the question. The overland route from Thailand was to difficult logistics wise.

The most valuable loss to the Japanese though is Singapore as a naval base. They now have no good naval facility in that region to base their fleet off of. Without it, they also cannot easily transport crude oil or refined oil from the DEI either. With greater dependence on sea lanes for transport and having to sail far further to reach a suitable off load port the Japanese would be more vulnerable to tanker losses.


I thought the Dutch oil went on to the ships directly from the refinerys.
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#7 mac_bolan00

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 03:01 AM

for humanity's sake i wouldn't have done it even with a time machine. the malacca strait will become the original guadalcanal slot although on a much bigger scale. the resulting attrition on surface naval forces will probably doom japan's navy much sooner than marianas and leyte gulf.

singpore, on the other hand, will become a tropical stalingrad with both sides fighting savage wars of attrition. the desperation on both sides will be terrific since both are trying to keep their respective supply lines open.

how many civilians do you think will be left alive after it's over?

#8 Falcon Jun

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 08:56 AM

The US Army held out in the Phillpines for five months and the stratigic effect was small.

If the British can halt the enemy in Maylasia then perhaps a Allied group in Maylasia & Sumatra can create the same sort of long running attritional battle that wrecked the Japanese in the New Guniea/Solomons campaign.


The USAFFE was crippled from the start when they were unable to move their huge stocks of supplies to Bataan. Had they been able to do so, the US garrison could feasibly last longer into the typhoon season which starts June and ends in November. The very heavy rains and floods would render air ops impossible and ground movement would be almost a standstill. Naval travel would also be very iffy. It would be in this period that both sides would experience a lull and give an opportunity to regroup.

I don't know when the typhoon season starts in Singapore or Malaysia but I would say when the weather is factored in, the key to the defense of the area would be dependent on making it to the rainy season. For the offense, their key would be to round up the campaign before the typhoons arrive.

I guess in a way, it's similar to the eastern front . . . just replace the heavy snowfall with typhoons.

I completely agree with you that had the British held longer, it's conceivable that this would develop into a Guadalcanal type campaign.

#9 Falcon Jun

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 08:58 AM

I have to add this that any British garrison in Singapore must last into the typhoon season because this would be the best way for them to replenish their water supply. I've read somewhere that water was in short supply in Singapore at that time.

#10 Richard IV

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 10:45 AM

I once worked for a chap who was captured at Singapore, he wished they had fought on. Anything was better than the camps, he still had nightmares up to the day he died and was an alcoholic to boot. The worst thing for him was they walked into the camps like sheep.

I believe the Japanese were over stretched and thought Gen Percival was going to ask for their surrender, maybe it was worth slugging it out, mind you hindsight is a wonderful thing.

#11 mac_bolan00

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Posted 12 March 2008 - 01:52 PM

from the looks of it, it would have been futile to keep fighting on. you remember the exchange between percival and yamashita? percival simply spoke of the hardships of both british soldiers and civilians, yamashita just kept asking whether or not he'd surrender. with no firm answer, yamashita said that if they did not surrender, they will launch another night attack, to which percival said they could not sustain one such. so again, the japanese asked whether or not he would surrender. finally percival said 'yes.'

but yamashita's own account was he neither threatened percival with a new attack, nor forced percival's hand. he castigated the interpreter, telling him to simply ask percival 'yes' or 'no?'

#12 Carl W Schwamberger

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 10:02 AM

I once worked for a chap who was captured at Singapore, he wished they had fought on. Anything was better than the camps, he still had nightmares up to the day he died and was an alcoholic to boot. The worst thing for him was they walked into the camps like sheep..


If the storys of how the Chinese population of Maylasia were brutalized by the Japanese are half true then they probablly wished the fight had continued too.

I believe the Japanese were over stretched and thought Gen Percival was going to ask for their surrender, maybe it was worth slugging it out, mind you hindsight is a wonderful thing.


The opinions of the Jpanese on this ar eoften repeated. I dont know what their actual situation was, but it may have been irrelevant. The belief of the commanders right or wrong is often more important to the outcome of a battle than the actual conditions. Particularly where the commanders view has time to permmeate down to his subordinates, & then to the front ranks. Had the British through luck or the ability of a vigorus commander been able to organize a viable counter attack then Yamashita 'might' have choosen to withdraw the to retreat to shorten his supply route and gain a better tactical positon. Retreats under these conditions have a way of turning into a rout. While the indivdual Japanese soldier and officer always displayed admirable dicipline the infantry officers seldom performed well when withdrawing or retreating under pressure.

If the Brits were then to hold onto the area adjacent to the straits then reinforcements would be viable and accomplish something of stratigic importance. Percival would have to go very soon. Hero or not for his presence at such a upset victory.
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#13 Falcon Jun

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 10:27 AM

If the Brits were then to hold onto the area adjacent to the straits then reinforcements would be viable and accomplish something of stratigic importance. Percival would have to go very soon. Hero or not for his presence at such a upset victory.


You have a point. Reinforcing the British there is admittedly feasible. However, time would then be of essence for both the Japanese and the British. The weather in Southeast Asia can wreak havoc on sea travel, thus any reinforcements to Singapore would be dictated by weather. The Japanese also would have the same problem but to a lesser degree since they have established outposts in Indo-China by this time.

Another thing, where would the reinforcing troops, equipment and supplies for the UK's Singapore-Malaya garrison come from? It would likely come from Australia. However, and please correct me if I am wrong, I recall reading that Australia didn't have enough troops on the continent and had to withdraw their divisions from North Africa. Since this is so, it would take some time before those Australian troops are available for action in the Singapore-Malaya area. India could be another source of troops.
But then, where would the supplies for these additional troops come from?
Aside from Australia, The largest stack of Allied war supplies nearest to Singapore would be in the Philippines, but these have been mostly lost during the retreat to Bataan. The next source of resupply would be Pearl.
Even though reinforcing the British forces in Singapore looks feasible, time and odds are against the success of such a reinforcement mission.

#14 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 03:33 PM

I thought the Dutch oil went on to the ships directly from the refinerys.


For most of the war the Japanese shipped oil coming out of the DEI to Singapore and then off-loaded it into tank cars and moved it by rail to Chinese ports reloading it on a ship there and crossing the Sea of Japan with it. This made the sea portion of the route fairly short and as the Sea of Japan was unenterable by submarines due to heavy mining of the narrow straights leading into it also meant that their tankers were less vulnerable to attack.
Some did go straight by sea through about mid-war to Japan when the Japanese realized that the vulnerability of this route was getting too high.
Without Singapore the rail option is out meaning all the oil has to go by sea instead.

#15 Carl W Schwamberger

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 01:08 AM

First I'd heard of that one. Did not even know there was a functional railroad crossing French Indochina.
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#16 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 01:50 AM

Here's a bit of fill in on the Malay campaign in terms of this what-if:

Given the original TO&E on the ground with the following changes for 7 Dec:

The 8th Austrialian division along with the 2 available Malay Brigades are engaged and have been for over 6 months in building fortifications for a defense of Singapore Island from the land side. The beaches are heavily mined, there is extensive wire obstacles and, there are some boat obstacles in place as well. Of course, there are bunkers, trenches, and other fortifications along the entire roughly 6 mile length of the island too.
The Indian III Corps is tasked with a delaying action on the Malay pennisula itself from Jitra south along the main trunk roads.
The overall command has accepted and received about an extra 50 Hurricanes that are in service (these were originally turned down as the RAF locally felt the Buffaloes in service were sufficent). These are held in the South while some of the Buffaloes have been sent North onto the pennisula for air defense there.
Given even the original reinforcements of one British division and several brigades of Commonwealth troops along with a tired but semi-intact III Corps, Singapore is now held by roughly the equivalent of three complete divisions with good support in heavily fortified positions. Even given the low level of training of many of the troops the change in expectations... that is that now Singapore Island is to be held long term.... keeps morale at a reasonable level.
The Japanese are now faced with making a riverine assault across the equivalent of the Rhine with just 4 divisions without major artillery or air support.

#17 Falcon Jun

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 08:06 AM

Here's a bit of fill in on the Malay campaign in terms of this what-if:

Given the original TO&E on the ground with the following changes for 7 Dec:

The 8th Austrialian division along with the 2 available Malay Brigades are engaged and have been for over 6 months in building fortifications for a defense of Singapore Island from the land side. The beaches are heavily mined, there is extensive wire obstacles and, there are some boat obstacles in place as well. Of course, there are bunkers, trenches, and other fortifications along the entire roughly 6 mile length of the island too.
The Indian III Corps is tasked with a delaying action on the Malay pennisula itself from Jitra south along the main trunk roads.
The overall command has accepted and received about an extra 50 Hurricanes that are in service (these were originally turned down as the RAF locally felt the Buffaloes in service were sufficent). These are held in the South while some of the Buffaloes have been sent North onto the pennisula for air defense there.
Given even the original reinforcements of one British division and several brigades of Commonwealth troops along with a tired but semi-intact III Corps, Singapore is now held by roughly the equivalent of three complete divisions with good support in heavily fortified positions. Even given the low level of training of many of the troops the change in expectations... that is that now Singapore Island is to be held long term.... keeps morale at a reasonable level.
The Japanese are now faced with making a riverine assault across the equivalent of the Rhine with just 4 divisions without major artillery or air support.


Given these TOE for the defense of Singapore, it would be unlikely that the Japanese would push an offensive with just the four divisions it has available. For the British side, it also does not have enough strength on its own to drive the Japanese out from their positions across the river.

Also since this is the British strength around December 7, I would surmise that there would be changes in the overall deployment of Japanese troops in Southeast Asia to reduce the Singapore garrison. For instance, it would be likely that the some if not all the troops, equipment and supplies earmarked for the invasion of the Philippines could've been diverted and sent to Singapore/Malaya area. This, would in effect, give more breathing room for the US in the Philippines.
Also, while Singapore holds, any Japanese attempt for expansion towards the Australian area would have to be delayed. So troops that would have historically been used for such operations would, I think, be used against the British and Commonwealth troops in Singapore.

I would surmise too that substantial Japanese naval units would be sent to Singapore and the straits leading to it to attempt a blockade. Such an action would undoubtedly be met by a vigorous Allied naval response. Thus the stage is set for several heavy naval engagements.

Of course, the above supposes that the Japanese places priority for taking Singapore. Another choice for the Japanese would be to keep the British bottled in their fortifications in the Singapore area while the Japanese concentrate first on reducing the US garrison in the Philippines.

Looking at the map, it's really a coin toss. The IJA would probably prefer taking the Philippines first but the IJN would push for Singapore.

Additionally, since the UK garrison is now about three divisions in strength, the key to holding Singapore would now rely on keeping these units supplied. The land route is out of the question so it would have to be by air or sea. With this in mind, I have to point out again that the Japanese would most probably attempt some form of a blockade and their would be strong Allied attempts to break it. Could the Japanese attempt to break the British defense with an amphibious landing accompanied by a strong attack on the landside defense? The Japanese might consider it but would that succeed?
I look at the Japanese attempt at Wake Island and it would seem that the Japanese needs a lot of work for amphib ops.

#18 Carl W Schwamberger

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 06:40 PM

I look at the Japanese attempt at Wake Island and it would seem that the Japanese needs a lot of work for amphib ops.


The landing at Khota Baru was nearly a catastrophe. The sea stae was slightly above that permisable for loading the landing craft. The Infantry commander ordered them loaded anyway and it took nearly three times as long as planned to load the first lift. Then the navigation was botched (which happens in all landings no matter how experinced the army;) ).

As the boats returned to load the second wave a few British Hudsons attacked, casuing the amphibious force commander to order the fleet to stand back out to sea away from the coast. This would have stranded the first wave without naval gunfire support, reinforcement, or ammunition supply. The landing force commander talked him into canceling the order and continuing the landing.

Despite having only a single battalion of half trained soldiers the defenders were able to confine the landing force to a beach enclave with their MG & mortars. However the commader was unable to get his frighted rifemen to make a effective counter attack, or obtain adaquate reinforcements from the brigade commander. Many hours later the ships with the other half of the Japanese divsion appeared and sent their group ashore, breaking the stalemate.

Costellos 'The Pacific War' and Swinsons 'Defeat in Maylasia' both have excellent if brief decriptions of this beach assualt.
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#19 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 20 March 2008 - 02:16 AM

The British during the original campaign were able to substancially reinforce their original forces making a fortified defense even more likely to succeed. The British brough in the complete 8th British division, along with a brigade of Australians, and over 100 new aircraft.
If their intent was simply holding Singapore Island and nothing more and, that island had been under fortification improvement using just field fortifications for several months I see no reason they couldn't have held against the Japanese.
The original Japanese assault had about 200 water craft split equally between small barges and small boats. With such a small landing force available the British given well positioned and fortified machineguns and artillery along with "beach" obstacles and mines should have had little problem throwing back the assault.
This would have left the Japanese in a position where they could not take the island in the near term at the very least.

This in turn would have given them every reason to try and hold (and probably successfully) Sumatra to keep the sea lanes to Singapore open. Even if Sumatra falls to the Japanese the British need only find the means to keep the garrison supplied through mid 1942 at which point the US and Australians could have likely re-invaded Sumatra to retake the island.
Holding Singapore changes the dynamic of the whole Pacific War substancially.

#20 T. A. Gardner

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Posted 23 March 2008 - 12:31 AM

Having looked a bit of this up, I also find that the British failed to provide sufficent pilots to Singapore / Malaysia to man all the aircraft that were sent. There were 150 Buffalo in Singapore but only about half could be manned due to a pilot shortage. The same is true of bombers.
If one assumes that the British are more concerned about Singapore's loss they could first have sent sufficent pilots to man all the available aircraft. There is also the very real possibility that additional bombers could have been sent. A squadron or two of older bomber command types would have done nothing to the capacity of Bomber Command to make raids into Germany at the time but might have done wonders at Singapore. A couple of squadrons of Whitleys, Hampdens, or Wellingtons would have added capacity that might have stalled the initial Japanese landings.
What aircraft were available almost did this historically.

#21 John Dudek

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 12:35 AM

I wonder too, if it wouldn't have been better for the Commonwealth Forces to clear away the jungle and dig a major defense line across the penninsula well in front of the resevoir that provided Singapore with its water. Singapore depended on that resevoir as its sole source of drinking water. Clear away the jungle and there's no way that the Japanese troops could execute unseen flanking manuevers and get behind the British Forces. The British could also use the strong suit of their artillery to turn back the Japanese attacks.

#22 Carl W Schwamberger

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 04:35 AM

Theres really a dozen things the Brits could and should have done. Rereading Swinson makes it clear the problems was not just Percival. Heath a key corps commander was too quick to order retreats, Popenham was completely unprepared mentally for the onset of war. Too many of the Brit leaders had a weak grasp of the situation.
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#23 Falcon Jun

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 11:36 AM

From what I've seen posted here, it does seem that Singapore could've been held longer. This leads me to ask a question: if the improvements and suggestions posted here were actually done historically to strengthen Singapore's defenses, what would the Japanese need to crack open the Lion City's defensive shell?
My first thought was to send more Japanese warships to strengthen its blockade and probably more heavier ships with the necessary guns to bombard the city from the sea. Unfortunately, this would leave these ships vulnerable to air attack from planes based in Singapore.
Probably to counter such an air threat, the IJN might consider sending its carriers to help reduce the Singapore defenses. If that's so, some of the naval battles that turned the tide against the Japanese might not occur.
More Japanese troops, equipment and supplies would also have to be sent.
For me, it's becoming feasible that Singapore could've functioned much more like Guadalcanal instead of doing a Malta.

#24 freebird

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 08:33 AM

Interesting thread TA. (sorry if I'm a couple of years late to the party.) :D

Let's assume the British decide that the entire pennisula cannot be held with the forces at hand. Instead, they place a skeleton force on the pennisula to act as a delaying force and rear guard while the bulk of their forces are entrenched on Singapore Island to defend.
Could the British have held Singapore using such a strategy?


Probably not the best strategy, and unworkable for several reasons.

was that city doomed to fall to the Japanese regardless?


No, I think that the campaign could be won with the forces at hand or available, provided that the british are committed to winning.

Here is a map of the situation on Dec 7 1941.

2 regiments of the Japanese 18th division (23rd & 56th regiments) attack at the Malaysian airfield/port of Kota Baharu.
3 regiments of the Japanese 5th division land at Singora & Patani, Thailand. Two columns attack down the Singora-Jitra and the Patani-Kroh roads.

The British in Malaya have 2 Indian divisions (9th & 11th), 2 brigades of Australian 8th division and about 2 mixed brigades in Singapore itself.

The Indian 11th division has the 6th brigade defending the road leading to Jitra, while the 15th defends the road through Kroh. the 28th brigade is in reserve at Ipoh. The Indian 9th division has the 8th brigade + a battalion of the 22nd defending Kota Baharu, while the remaining 2 battlaions of 22 brigade defend Kuantan. The Indian 12th Brigade is in army reserve.

The Australian 22nd & 27th brigades are defending Johore.


Posted Image

Edited by freebird, 23 July 2010 - 10:15 PM.


#25 freebird

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 09:33 PM

Beyond that what is the stratigic objective of Singapore? If it threatens acess to a critcal portion of Japans oil then maybe it is worth something. But a isolated base is difficult to use.


It prevents the Japanese from invading DEI, and from threatening Australia. The Japanese needed to use the troops from Malaya to attack DEI, and they can't really leave a functional British base at Singapore, as a constant threat to their supply lines to DEI.

Singapore would have lasted longer but I doubt that it could be another Malta. Correct me if I'm wrong but I do recall that Singapore's weak point is the island's water supply. The island just does not have enough local water sources and has to rely on the Malaysian mainland.


Yes that is a major concern, something to be dealt with

Here's a bit of fill in on the Malay campaign in terms of this what-if:

The 8th Austrialian division along with the 2 available Malay Brigades are engaged and have been for over 6 months in building fortifications for a defense of Singapore Island from the land side.


TA, I'm not sure if you are quoting historical here? Also, I'm assuming that your "what if" starts on Dec 7, obviously if it's earlier things become much easier.
Not quite correct about the building of fortifications, they were unfortunately built on the seaward side. (MG pillboxes & minefields.)

There were several huge problems at Singapore.
Some of those being:
1.) lack of strong leadership
2.) Disagreement about strategy, and lack of clear authority over civilian matters.
3.) Unwillingness on the part of the civilian authority to make defensive preparations. (supposedly so as not to damage morale)

This was something that's hard to judge, after the war not too many of those in power were candid about other political & military leaders. (Although Brooke's book was fairly candid, Eiesenhower seemed incapable of critisizing anyone directly - maybe because he had Presidential ambitions ;) )
So it's not clear that they knew that Percival was not the man they needed at the top.
However, it's clear from Brooke's writings about his conversation with CIGS Dill in Nov 1941 (just before Brooke took over the post) that they were aware that Singapore's defences were badly unprepared. There was also a report by Churchill's representative (Duff-cooper) one week into the campaign on the comlete lack of defensive preparations, and a suggestion for a military apointee to oversee it.

It was abundantly clear in the spring on 1940 that Britain needed a strong, experienced man at the helm, that's why Churchill was selected by an all-party War government. On Dec 7 1941 it should have been clear that Singapore needed the same thing.

Also, unfortunately for TA's suggestion of having the Indian troops defend northern Malaya while the Aussies stay in singapore, a large part of the problem was the inexperience, lack of toughness & poor training & equipment of the green Indian troops.

So what could have been done?
1.) I would have straight away sent Lt. Gen Willam Dobbie to replace the governor there. In Dec 1941 he is the Governor of Malta, he had previously commanded the Singapore garrison in the 30's, had an engineering background, and was completely familiar with the plans & preparations needed to defend Singapore from the north. (he had written them)
http://en.wikipedia..../William_Dobbie

2.) I would have put the Aussies in charge of holding back the Japanese in northern Malaya, which would buy more time for defensive preparations. I would have put an Aussie corps defending NW Malaya (replacing Heath's Indian corps), and add perhaps 2 - 3 Aussie regiments from the 6th or 7th or 9th divisions.

3.) I would send Lt. Gen Morshead to command the Aussie corps, he certainly had enough experience with defensive operations in Tobruk, and had a reputation for "holding the line"

More to follow....

Edited by freebird, 23 July 2010 - 10:16 PM.





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