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Thread: 1942, Feb 15, Another New Year for Singapore

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    sephodwyrm's Avatar Praefectus
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    Default 1942, Feb 15, Another New Year for Singapore

    1942, Feb 15.

    Chinese New Year...but no celebrations.
    After a failure to secure the entirety of China, the Japanese sought to expand her territories seawards. In December 8th 1941, the Japanese launched the infamous Pearl Harbor attack that killed 3000 Americans (many of which are civilians) and crippled the US Navy.

    Launched in tandem was the Japanese drive southward. The IJA together with IJN struck a coordinated attack against Philippines and British Malaya. The Japanese success was overwhelming. Under the brilliance of Tomoyuki Yamashita, the Japanese army rampaged through Malaya, capturing 50000 POWs, of which most were British, Australian and New Zealanders.

    The British, with no real naval presence in Malaya (but with the best naval base in Singapore), sent 2 first rate battleships Prince of Wales and Repulse. But the Japanese had complete mastery of the air. Force Z (as the 2 battleships were called) were sent to the bottom of the sea.


    HMS Prince of Wales.


    HMS Repulse.


    The route taken by Force Z until its demise.


    The end of Force Z. The 2 battleships were spotted by Japanese bombers and destroyed in the sea.
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    Wild Bill Kelso's Avatar Protist Slayer
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    It is kind of hard to believe that the British had almost no defences point at the Mainland from Singapore. Lots of big guns all pointed to the sea. I know many Canadians arrived at Singapore only the be forced to surrender days after they landed. The defence was run so badly that they city lights were allowed to run at night!
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    The 5th and 8th Division of the Japanese army attacked from Kranji while 1 Imperial Guard Division entered via Ubin.


    Lieutenant General Tomoyuki Yamashita, son of a village doctor, masterminded the earlier bluff. He planned the brilliant drive through Malaya (with stolen bicycles and no artillery support), and was determined to destroy British Commonwealth resistance in Singapore by occupying the water reservoirs and causing sheer panic amongst the demoralized Commonwealth forces.


    In the battle of Pasir Panjang, 2 small Malayan regiments led by Lt. Adnan together with Australian soldiers held up against the Japanese divisions. In 14th of February, the Japanese assaulted the position with tanks.

    A Japanese attack, Courtesy National Archives of Singapore.


    A Malay regiment, Courtesy of National Archives of Singapore.

    The last stand at Bukit Chandu of Pasir Panjang was over. Only 5 survivors managed to flee towards the Commonwealth headquarters. Lieutenant Adnan was captured, tortured and killed by the Japanese. So much for their Bushido.
    Last edited by sephodwyrm; October 30, 2005 at 01:25 PM.
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    The Japanese armies entered Princess Alexandria Hospital in 14th February 1942, which were guarded by a unit of Gurkhas. They're all killed, the nurses raped and doctors slaughtered together with their patients. Such was the opening of Japanese brutality in South East Asia that would make resounding echoes in the civilized world.

    Many Japanese say that the massacre was legal because the Japanese soldiers reported to have been fired on by a machine gun nest in the hospital. I doubt the 150 doctors, patients and nurses would agree with that.

    By this time, the British Commonwealth forces were driven to a small perimeter in the city center. They have no access to water and Lieutenant General Percival, was secured in a bunker with his top officers, discussing about the future of the war...or surrender...

    Lieutenant General Percival, Courtesy of National Archives, Singapore.
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    imb39's Avatar Comes Rei Militaris
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    In the end the Japanese Army won through bluff. Both sides had exhausted their supplies - but the Brits just didn't realise how bad the Jap position was... Of course, eventually it would have fallen - Britain was in no position to reinforce it - but the end was certainly much sooner than it should ahve been. Good strategy by the Japanese Army, really.

    In terms of Force Z - the prevailing thought was that if a ship was at sea, it was impossible to sink with air power. Alas it was... wrong. This was the first time that a modern ship was sunk under such circumstances. The Prince of Wales was. indeed, modern - one of the best balanced warships afloat at the time. The REpulse, was not. She had been reconstructed and modernised but she was, in reality, a small battlecruiser - with all the problems that British batllecruisers suffered from. Lousy design, really. Elegant, though! If there's one thing that the British generally do well - it is design elegant ships!

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    The Battle of Singapore was over.
    15th February, 1942, Chinese New Year. Lieutenant General Percival, appointed the military leader of the Commonwealth forces in Malaya, have failed the people of Malaya and his troops. He had lost to the tactical brilliance of Tomoyuki Yamashita, he had lost to his pride and prejudice against the "small Asian men" and had lost through the lack of an air coverage or armor support.


    On their way to the surrender talks.


    Negotiating the terms. Tomoyuki would have nothing less than an Unconditional Surrender.


    Under the eyes of the victorious Japanese army, the disarmed British Commonwealth military marches to surrender. A total of 130000 POWs were secured in the Malaya-Singapore campaign. It was the WORST defeat in the history of Britain, even worse than that of the Icenian revolt against the Romans.
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    The British Commonwealth POWs were kept mainly in Changi Prison as well as Pulau Blakang Mati (will be known as Sentosa) in Fort Siloso.

    The worst is yet to come. The Japanese Imperial government initiated what the Chinese in Singapore remember Sook Ching, or the Cleansing operations. Chinese that have participated in the Allied efforts to thwart the Japanese invasion would be rooted out and "isolated".


    Here, all Chinese males between 18 to 50 were concentrated and "inspected" by the Japanese military police (Kempeitai). Assisted by local men as well as interpretors from Taiwan, they questioned these people. Those that passed were given a stamp on their clothes, or if they wore no shirt, on their bodies, like animals getting their brands. The rest were herded to a truck and drove to Changi beach, where machine guns and bayonets awaited them, just as how the Japanese carried out their "elimination of subversive and rebel elements" in other occupied territories.

    At least 6000 (Japanese sources) were killed in the Sook Ching massacres. Singapore would be a Japanese colony, and underwent her share of destruction by the Japanese.
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Bill Kelso
    It is kind of hard to believe that the British had almost no defences point at the Mainland from Singapore. Lots of big guns all pointed to the sea. I know many Canadians arrived at Singapore only the be forced to surrender days after they landed. The defence was run so badly that they city lights were allowed to run at night!

    The main concern for the British was the defence of the Naval base at Singapore. It was the naval base that made Singapore important because that was the keystone to Britain's Imperial Defence in the Far East. Defence of the mainland of Malaya only became a concern from the mid-1930s but it was considered not as important as the defence of Singapore itself.

    Also the huge guns installed at Singapore could actually be turned 180 degrees and fire on the mainland if necessary. Actually some of them were turned around and fired but the rounds that they fired were armour-piercing (AP) rounds instead of high-explosive (HE) rounds. AP rounds were ineffective against ground targets and other then making a lot of frightening noise, they did little damage to the Japanese infantry troops in Johore.

    Finally, as far as I can tell, no Canadian units were part of Malayan Command. Malayan Command was made up primarily of British, Indian and Australian troops. There could be Canadian soldiers in the British units but certainly no Canadian units present at Singapore. There were however, Canadian pilots and airforce technicians in Singapore but their numbers are in the small minority.

    Cheers

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by sephodwyrm
    1942, Feb 15.

    Chinese New Year...but no celebrations.
    After a failure to secure the entirety of China, the Japanese sought to expand her territories seawards. In December 8th 1941, the Japanese launched the infamous Pearl Harbor attack that killed 3000 Americans (many of which are civilians) and crippled the US Navy.

    Launched in tandem was the Japanese drive southward. The IJA together with IJN struck a coordinated attack against Philippines and British Malaya. The Japanese success was overwhelming. Under the brilliance of Tomoyuki Yamashita, the Japanese army rampaged through Malaya, capturing 50000 POWs, of which most were British, Australian and New Zealanders.

    The British, with no real naval presence in Malaya (but with the best naval base in Singapore), sent 2 first rate battleships Prince of Wales and Repulse. But the Japanese had complete mastery of the air. Force Z (as the 2 battleships were called) were sent to the bottom of the sea.


    HMS Prince of Wales.


    HMS Repulse.


    The route taken by Force Z until its demise.


    The end of Force Z. The 2 battleships were spotted by Japanese bombers and destroyed in the sea.

    Interesting account of the Malayan Campaign but it is a bit too generalised...not to mention there are some errors:

    Most of the captured PoWs should be British, Australians and Indians, not New Zealanders. There were no New Zealand units under Malayan Command. There were however, Kiwi soldiers in the Australian units.

    Secondly, Task Force Z was made up of 1 battleship (HMS Prince of Wales), 1 battlecrusier (HMS Repulse) and 4 destroyers as escorts. Was it me or did I saw the words "HMS Hood Association" at the bottom of the picture that was supposed to be HMS Repulse?
    Last edited by darkaura; November 04, 2005 at 08:25 PM.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by sephodwyrm
    The 5th and 8th Division of the Japanese army attacked from Kranji while 1 Imperial Guard Division entered via Ubin.


    Lieutenant General Tomoyuki Yamashita, son of a village doctor, masterminded the earlier bluff. He planned the brilliant drive through Malaya (with stolen bicycles and no artillery support), and was determined to destroy British Commonwealth resistance in Singapore by occupying the water reservoirs and causing sheer panic amongst the demoralized Commonwealth forces.


    In the battle of Pasir Panjang, 2 small Malayan regiments led by Lt. Adnan together with Australian soldiers held up against the Japanese divisions. In 14th of February, the Japanese assaulted the position with tanks.

    A Japanese attack, Courtesy National Archives of Singapore.


    A Malay regiment, Courtesy of National Archives of Singapore.

    The last stand at Bukit Chandu of Pasir Panjang was over. Only 5 survivors managed to flee towards the Commonwealth headquarters. Lieutenant Adnan was captured, tortured and killed by the Japanese. So much for their Bushido.
    The Japanese 5th and 18th Division attacked Singapore's north-western sector that was held by the Australians. The Japanese Imperial Guards Division did no enter via Pulau Ubin. The assualt and capture of Ubin was a feint made by part of the Imperial Guards Division. The rest of the Imperial Guards Divsion attacked Singapore from the north, in what was known to Malaya Command as the Causeway Sector (present day Woodlands and Kranji). 2 Australian battalions were guarding that area but their exposed flank to the west (as a result of action the day earlier) made them withdraw from their positions prematurely. That left the Causeway sector undefended when the Imperial Guards Divsion attempted a second assault (the first was successfully repulsed by the Australians).

    While Lt General Yamashita was the Commander of the 25th Southern Army that invaded Malaya, he was actually not the mastermind behind the whole plan of invasion. He was put in charge of executing the invasion plans. Plans for the invasion was formulated by a Colonel Masanobu Tsuji.

    The assault on Malaya was accomplised by the use of infantry. Artillery was used as a support arm to provide cover for engineers as they repaired roads and bridges in forward positions.

    Finally, the Australians were not operating in the same area as the Malay Regiment on the Southwest sector. The Australian 8th Divsion's area of operations was further north along present-day Clementi Road to Bukit Timah Road. Therefore it was unlikely that there were significant Australians involved in the battle on Pasir Panjang hill.
    Last edited by darkaura; November 04, 2005 at 08:28 PM.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by sephodwyrm
    The Battle of Singapore was over.
    15th February, 1942, Chinese New Year. Lieutenant General Percival, appointed the military leader of the Commonwealth forces in Malaya, have failed the people of Malaya and his troops. He had lost to the tactical brilliance of Tomoyuki Yamashita, he had lost to his pride and prejudice against the "small Asian men" and had lost through the lack of an air coverage or armor support.


    On their way to the surrender talks.


    Negotiating the terms. Tomoyuki would have nothing less than an Unconditional Surrender.


    Under the eyes of the victorious Japanese army, the disarmed British Commonwealth military marches to surrender. A total of 130000 POWs were secured in the Malaya-Singapore campaign. It was the WORST defeat in the history of Britain, even worse than that of the Icenian revolt against the Romans.
    Your numbers are a bit misleading. Actually they look inflated because at most, Malaya Command in Singapore had about 85,000 soldiers, of which about 15,000 were non-combat personal. Even if you take into account Malaya Command's PoWs captured by the Japanese in Malaya (19,123), it still does not approach your figure of 130,000.

    Finally, the PoWs were keep mainly on the eastern areas of Singapore, namely, Changi Prison, Selarang Barracks and along Sime Road. Futhermore, in addition to captured PoWs, European families were also held there. These included a number of European women and children.

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    Hmmm...looks like I need to brush up on my historiography...hur hur.

    I actually did a quick search for HMS Repulse. It appears that this was the ship...



    I am pretty sure that this was the Repulse. Similarly, the HMS Hood was also a battlecruiser...maybe they're of the same class...

    The HMS Hood association was an association that liked British battleships I think...
    As for the 130000, I got it from Wiki...so it might be questionable.
    Last edited by sephodwyrm; November 04, 2005 at 11:14 PM.
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  13. #13

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    I didn't mean to nitpick but its just that the Battle of Singapore is one of my recent research project so that's why I have the details.

    And the HMS Repulse...it was a Renown class battlecruiser while the HMS Hood was a Admiral Class battlecruiser. Of the Renown class, only 2 were ever constructed, the HMS Renown and the HMS Repulse. That picture of the HMS Repulse was most likely taken from the decks of the HMS Hood when the HMS Repluse was accompanying the HMS Hood on a eleven-month tour of the world. Hence the words HMS Hood Association at the bottom.

    Cheers!

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    Of Australian involvement at Pasir Panjang, they're not organized into any regiments, so there is a high chance that they are the remnants of the broken regiments in the north that have made their way to the other defense line.
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  15. #15

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    Well, the silliest part of the coastal defences was that the naval guns were all pointed in the same direction and the Japanese simply just went around them. Although the guns were movable in terms of positioning, they were naval guns, meant to sank ships; pretty much useless against the Japanese landing party.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by sephodwyrm
    Of Australian involvement at Pasir Panjang, they're not organized into any regiments, so there is a high chance that they are the remnants of the broken regiments in the north that have made their way to the other defense line.
    Why the insistance that the Australians participated in the defence of Pasir Panjang?
    Well I think 2 things are at play here, firstly, the names of places. Now, the 8th Australian Division area of defence included a place called Bukit Panjang which they fought in but eventually lost. The 1st Malaya Brigade took no part in that battle because they were operating in the south. Secondly, and most importantly, the Australian offical history of the war in Malaya did not mention that any Australian units took part in the battle of Pasir Panjang. That concurs with the report of Lt. General A. E Percival submitted and published in 1946. I'll reproduce the part on the Japanese assault on Pasir Panjang here:

    Section LV. Events of the 14th February 1942.

    561. During the day the Japanese renewed their attacks. Their main thrust was again made against the western front of the Southern Area. Here very heavy fighting at close quarters went on throughout the day in which the Loyal Regt. and the Malay Regt. especially distinguished themselves. By the end of the day our troops had been driven back by the weight of the attack to the line Alexandra Gillman Barracks Keppel Golf Course. Further north the enemy reached the Alexandra Hospital area but were prevented from making further progress by the 5 Bedfordshire and Hertforshire Regt. and a composite Royal Engineer Unit.

    562. On the A.I.F [Australia Imperial Force] front there was little activity, though some bodies of the enemy moving down the railway were engaged by artillery and small arms fire and dispersed.


    (Operations of Malaya Command , From 8th December, 1942 to 15th February, 1942.
    Lieut.-General A. E Percival)

    Indeed, the units that took part in that battle was the Malay Regt. and the Loyal Regt., which was a British unit. You are only assuming that there were Australians who have wondered off to the south and got involved in the battle at Pasir Panjang. The Australian defence perimeter needed every man it could muster so why would a few be wondering south? Now even if they were strangglers and men who have lost contact with their units, their first priority will be to restablish contact with their parent unit and not get involved in another fight.

    Cheers!

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