Defence of Malaya, Singapore the area: how would you do it?

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by tomo pauk, Apr 4, 2011.

  1. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    The Japanese invasion of today's Malaysia Singapore, along with invasion of today's Thailand Indonesia have subjected UK/Commonwealth armed forces to some dire defeats. If you were main commander of British armed forces there, how would you've prepared to the invasion and battles unfolding from Dec 1941? You assume the position at March 1st 1941. The realistic (in a what if :rolleyes: ) choice of equipment and deployment, please.
     
  2. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Hindsight being a wonderful thing, here are a few thoughts:

    1. Ensured the Command had an operational photographic reconnaissance capability well before Dec 41 and ensure it was tasked to answer questions that were of greater tactical import (eg resupply routes, logistics hubs etc rather than focussing on imaging the airfields).
    2. Directed FECB and Command staffs to focus on the previously-identified intelligence indicators rather than trying to locate the invasion fleet (which was never one of the intelligence indicators).
    3. Abandoned defence of Kota Bharu airfield as entirely impractical and focussed air assets on the west coast airfields that could be more easily defended.
    4. Set up a local early warning network including ground observers and train it to work in conjunction with the Fighter Ops HQ in Singapore and the deployed fighter units.
    5. Mass the ground forces at locations along the western highway to provide defence in depth and train them in the same methods used by the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.
    6. Develop defensive positions at key choke points in advance of the Japanese invasion as recommended by Ivan Simson.
    7. Concentrate the use of artillery firepower to interdict Japanese forces delayed at choke points.
    8. Use fighter aircraft as offensive rather than purely defensive assets to strafe Japanese airfields and troop concentrations.

    The above list is focussed on what could have been done internally by Far East Command. Externally, I would add the following:

    1. Obtain more anti-tank artillery and train those units in conjunction with the choke-point defences outlined above.
    2. Obtain 2 more fighter squadrons of Hurricanes.
    3. Offer to work with Thailand to defend Singora and develop that defence, including prepared positions, assigned roles, practice deployments etc. well in advance of the Japanese assault.
    4. Persuade America to send a small-ish fleet (1 x carrier, 4 x cruisers and a destroyer squadron) on a port visit to Singapore in late Nov 41. Such a presence, in conjunction with Force Z might well have prevented, or at least greatly hindered, the Japanese invasion and resupply route through Singora.
     
  3. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Buffnut, I would add the following:
    Churchill needed to get rid of every colonial administrator and replace them with competent cadres who knew a fight was coming, knew they had to prepare, and who didnt care a bit about how things are done in a peacetime setting.

    As for #4 at the bottom, the USN already had refused to send any ships to Singapore as they were needed for the defense of the PI.
     
  4. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    I agree with the statement about colonial administrators. Actually, what was primarily needed was a unified command structure rather than having parallel but equal RN and Army/RAF organisations. Such a unified command structure needed to be at least equal to, if not superior to, civilian structures to prevent the "mother may I?" limitations that plagued decision-making in late 1941.

    As for a USN fleet visit to Singapore, the PI formed part of the "Malay barrier" and hence I don't think it's a correct characterization to state the ships were needed for PI rather than Singapore. My view (not to be construed with fact!) is that defending Singapore was too much of a political hot-potato for the Roosevelt administration given the isolationist leanings of many in the US.
     
  5. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    my view for the australian contribution is that once it became clear that the UK was not able to meet its imperial defence obligations in the far east, australia would have to act unilaterally. This means, in the context of this scenario

    1) recall of the AIF (6, 7, 8 7 9 Divs)
    2) recall of all RAAF personel, and if possible their equipment. I couldnt tell you how many squadrons exactly, but probably in the vicinity of 20 sqdns by mid 1941.
    3) recall of the RAN units serving in ETO. This roughly amounts to the entire N class destroyers, the scrap iron flotlla and from memory two cruisers. with the air force returned, we should avoid losing the Sydney, because of increase air patrols in the region
    4) Development of fortified bases at Darwin and/or Port Moresby. Darwin will require the construction of a Road south, which would be achieved using militia labour .
    5) given the shortage of fighters, in march 1941, immediate and urgent development of the CAC-12 boomerang fighter, with reduced armement of 4 x LMG only. this aircraft should be adapted to carry bombs. service delivery should begin by June 1941....a top speed of about 315mph and probably able to carry a 250lb bombload, or drop tanks. Say 150 available by December 1941, with properly trained and led crews, integrated with the local Buffalo squadrons.
    6) concentration of the far eastern british fleet at trincomallee, including the Pow and repulse. shipment of air group for hermes, and reinforcement by at least one more carrier by january.
    7) At least 10 fast transports from the ETO to serve as the nucleas of an Amphibious TG. Can use the returned AIF formations as the ground force. Upon putbrealk of hostilites, should relocate to base at darwin for commencement of counterattack operations into southeast asia. There are no IJN carrier presence until march, shoulod be able to recapture most of the oilfields the Japs were counting on properly garrisoned and protected by significant air defence assets. Might be able to provide relief to corregodor force or singapre garrisons.

    alittle bit of fantasy never hurt anyone i guess
     
  6. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    Hi Parsifal,

    Yep, 'tis indeed a little bit of fantasy, not least since Australia didn't have the organic shipping to move all these forces and the impact on the current operational theatres hasn't been quantified. The key challenge was the uncertainty of the situation in March 1941. At that point, while there were undoubtedly Japanese proponents for war against the British Commonwealth, the NEI and America, there remained questions about how to proceed - neutralise China first or head south. Indeed, the decision for war wasn't made until the last moment, which wouldn't have afforded any time for the sorts of preparations you're suggesting. However, it would make for an interesting "what if" to explore the full impact of your proposal.
     
  7. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    #7 freebird, Apr 5, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
    Good points, Buffnut, but it's no fantasy.
    However we should take into account that this is a 4th priority theater
    (after ETO, Western Desert and the Soviet)

    Tomo I was thinking of starting such a thread, but you've beaten me to it.

    Let me suggest a couple of stipulations/modifications to your "What If"
    1.) No significant reduction of troops, ships or aircraft from any active theater of war unless you can replace them with something else.
    2.) Shipping should be taken into account.
    3.) Any action should take into account political strategic considerations, and make sense from the PoV at that time.

    Good points Buffnut, but the US Fleet the Thailand defence aren't really options as the Thais wanted to try to avoid conflict with japan, they were hoping to remain neutral and didn't trust the Allies in any event.
    An airfield at Khota Bharumight be needed, but not three .


    Good points.

    How many RAAF personnel were in the ETO/MTO in 1941?
     
  8. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    #8 freebird, Apr 5, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2011
    First off there is no great pressing need for defensive ground preparations in Malaya Mar 1941, only in July 1941. (after the embargo begins and Japan starts preparing for war)
    So suppose I was Duff-Cooper (or some other minister) appointed to oversee aircraft shipments to the MTO Far East in Mar '41, and Minister Resident - Far East in July 1941.

    The preparations are already well in hand, unlike the USA which didn't really have a clear plan, Malaya Command has already prepared a detailed defensive plan in the fall of 1940, which upon analysis is surprisingly accurate on exactly what was needed.
    The studies by Malaya staff determined that the Far East should have 4 divisions, and 566 modern aircraft to defend the Malaya, for 90 days until the fleet would arrive from the UK.
    (Note: These recommenations were approved by both the Chiefs of Staff and Cabinet - however were not adopted due to the intransigence of the Minister of Defence, who was insistent that Japan would not attack :evil: )
    By the summer of 1941, the strategic situation had deteriorated significantly, with the elimination of the French fleet and the Japanese occuping nearby bases in Indochina.
    Percival therefore modified his requirements to 48 battalions, with no French participation and assuming that no British fleet could be sent.

    So let's assume that no major naval assets can be spared, only a few cruisers a destroyer flotilla.

    There is actually no shortage of fighters or pilots in 1941, only the awful logistics and poor preparations. However I'll get into the air situation later, for now I'll concentrate on the ground situation.

    I'll repost my map from the earlier thread of the ground situation in Dec 1941. Green Brown squares are Indian Australian brigades, red are Japanese Regiments/Brigades. malaysia1941a.JPG
     
  9. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    hi buffnut
    this sort of unilateral action was never going to happen until the japanese actually attacked, whereupon the curtin govt jumped its colonial traces and threw its lots and destiny in with the americans. A major step for a country that until 1931 could not even set its own foreign policy. I also agree that there was too much uncertainty about japanese intentions and the assets were more urgently and immediately needed in the ETO.

    However that was not the brief. We are simply being asked about feasibility. Ive put the political realities to one side for a minute, and considered what might be possible from a purely military standpoint.

    With regard to shipping....in the first instance, if the australians needed, or wanted to bring home their forces for home defence, there was never the slightest chance that the Brits would not provide the shipping on demand. This is exactly what did happen for two of the army divs some months later, though churchil caused an uproar in australian political and military circles when he tried to unilaterally divert this precious convoy to burma. The australian govt demonstrated its increasing idependance at that point 9march 1942) by stamping its political foot and demanding the return of the AIF to Australia, and not burma. The brits had no choice but to comply.

    but for the purposes of the excercise, say it was march 1941, and the australians said 'we want all australian forces returned home to the pacific (because you, the british govt have lied to us and have not met your imperial defence committments). Lets say the brits get bullish and say 'you want them, come and get them yourselves. Quite apart from also wrecking relations with the other dominions, could the australians muster the shipping needed to undertake such a transfer?

    I think that its possible. In 1941, the australian Government had requisitioned, or was controlling directly, 502000 tons of australian shipping. There were 178 vessels in this fleet, of over 1000 GRT of all manner and type, however there were at least 20 liners or ocean going ferries of at least 7000 GRT. The average displacement of these vessels was about 2000 tons. in addition ther was about 550000 tons of unused shipping sitting around doing very little in the NEI.

    in my opinion, the Australian govt, if it had wanted to "go it alone' had the logistical capability to do so....what it lacked was the will to do so. moreover unilateral withdrawal of these forces would have done an enormous amount of damage in the ETO and MTO. This wasnt in the scenario brief however, it was merely a feasbility study of waht could be done 9within the relams of capability i assume), not was likley to be done
     
  10. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    #10 freebird, Apr 10, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2011
    I don't think we can set aside political realities, nor can we propose any action unless it makes sense at the time. I think it is possible to do that however, and still follow the suggestions that I had made.
    Despite the Cabinet approval of the plan to have at least 36 battalions and 566 modern aircraft (let alone Percival's 48 batts), on Dec 8 1941 there were only about 28 or 29 on hand, and 188 mostly obsolete aircraft. Worse yet, many of the Indian troops were untrained, unmotivated poorly equipped.


    Suppose that a high-ranking and competant figure is overseeing the far East in June/July 1941.
    I don't see any possibility of any change in action before this time, as the UK still faces an invasion threat, and the MTO is desperately in need of troops after the Greece/Crete debacle.
    Now, in July 1941 the situation changes, as the invasion danger to the UK is virtually nil, and the tensions with Japan increase.

    Australians:
    The Australian govenment is already very concerned about Japan, and has requested that 9th division be relieved from Tobruk.
    In July 1941 there are 4 Indian brigades in Malaya, the 6th, 8th, 12th 15th. There are also two mixed Indian/Malayan brigades in Singapore. Between August November two more Indian brigades arrive, the 22nd 28th. Unlike the other Indian brigades, these two don't have a British battalion to stiffen them, they are mostly raw recruits with very limited training.

    Here's what I suggest: The Far East command (in consultation with Aus UK govenment) proposes to transfer Australian troops instead of Indian to Malaya.
    There are not exactly 9 Australian brigades in the Mideast in July of '41, there are approx 7, with the 8th badly depleted by casualties. (The other brigade was captured in Greece). The Australians will transfer 4 veteran brigades, leaving 1 division and the depleted brigade in the Mideast. (waiting for replacements)

    The HQ of the veteran 9th Australian division would be sent from the mideast to Malaya, and also the Australian I Corps HQ. The 4 Australian brigades would be transported instead of the 22nd, 28th, 44th 45th Indian brigades, using the transport of 3 Indian brigades that departed the mideast from Aug - Nov 1941, with Australian transport needed for one brigade.
    The Aus I corps (Lavarack) would have the 8th div (Bennett) and the 9th division, with Morshead commanding the 9th.

    Those 3 Indian brigades (and 11 Ind div HQ) would be retained in the Mideast in place of the departing Australians.

    NZ: The New Zealand government would be asked to provide a brigade to assist in the defence of the Maylay barrier, the 8th NZ brigade. It was historically combined from existing units in the spring of '42, but it could have been done in the fall of '41 had it been required.

    British: There are 6 British battalions in Malaya, plus 2 in Hong Kong. I would transfer 1 British battalion from Hong Kong, but would send the 2 Singapore reserve Indian battalions the other way , along with one of the 2 Fortress brigade HQ's. I would have the HQ staff of the British 28th (highland) brigade sent from the UK, with brigade assets sent from Canada or taken from one of the Mideast Indian brigade HQ's.
    The 28th would have the 3 Scottish battalions. (2nd Gordons, 2nd Royal Scots, Argyll Sutherlands)
    The other 4 British battlaions would be deployed with the 4 Indian brigades. (One in each)
     
  11. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    One solution to consider is what might have happened if the Commonwealth had not involved itself in th Greece and crete affairs. Certainly no major losses, which yields at least a full Army tank brigade, and the new Zealanders as well a the 6 Aus and elements of the 7th as well. A major chunk of the RN would also be afloat as well

    Moreover, if O'Connor had been allowed to complete his offensive instead of having his forces stripped out like they were, there would have been no North African front to worry about

    At the conclusion of the eyhiopian camapign, the british had access to two fully trained Colonial Divs which would have performed far better than the Indian levies sent to Malaya in 1941. why not send the Indian raw recruits to Abysinnia (for ocupation duties, to replace the East and West Africans, who languished there until 1943, when they were sent to the CBI)? Another source of trained manpower are the indian forces used in Iraq in 1941. These forces, which by the end of the year were approaching Corps strength (PaIForce???) had combat expeerience and some experienced officers, and were fully equipped. Again, why not use the untrained local forces to replace these garrisons and send the experienced stuff to the far east.

    Truth is there are no legit reasons why none of this didnt happen. It goes to the level of importance the brits gave to the far East, and their miscalculation as to how Japan was going to react. They thought that a paper tiger deterrent would be enough to scare the japanese into submission....big mistake.....
     
  12. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Assign a competent ground forces commander. You've got 9 months to train the infantry, which is plenty. Properly trained infantry will defeat the relatively small IJA invasion force without too much trouble. You can hold out indefinately even if the Japanese establish a naval blockade.
     
  13. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    #13 freebird, Apr 10, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2011
    Ill advised in a military sense for sure.
    However, in the grand scheme of things, it was probably worked out better in the end, as it delayed Barbarossa, and the Falshmirjagr may have been used on malta instead....

    But for now lets assume that Churchill is committed to Greece, and will play out as it did.

    I don't know if the East African forces are an option in 1941, as there are about 30,000 Italian forces in Wolchefit Pass (Jimma) and Gondar that didn't surrender until the end of Sept Nov respectivly. In addition there were some 7,000 Italian guerrilla forces still at large in 1942.

    Battle of Gondar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I think the retention of the experienced Indian Australian Corps in the Mideast/Iraq (despite being badly needed in Egypt) in the Autumn of '41 was because the British were seriously concerned about a Soviet collapse in the Caucasus, allowing the Germans to thrust down into Persia.

    Good points, although from comments made by Brooke, Dill and the British military, there was no underestimation of the Japanese threat, the problem was only Churchill who insisted that Japan would not dare attack Malaya, and would be dealt with by the US.


    In any event, I have a different solution in mind. Although there is limited availability of any more ships troops in the Mideast, there is still excess capacity in the Pacific. (before dec 1941)


    I would make three key deployments. (In addition to the above)

    1.) First the Far East will need an air force at least equal to that specified by the Oct 1940 defence conference. (566 first-rate aircraft)
    More specifically, by July 1941 the RAF is well aware that their night bombing efforts over Germany are almost useless. (Butt report, less than 5% of the bombers attacking the Ruhr hit within 5 miles of the taget)
    Therefore, the RAF should transfer 200 - 250 obsolete heavy bombers to the Far East, mainly Wellingtons with a few squadrons of Stirlings or Whitleys. These would be used for the two missions which the RAF had proved very effective at in night operations.- mining shipping routes and attacking ports. The complete lack of Japanese radar or night fighter capability should allow for these missions to be done with little interference.
    Considering how precarious the japanese supply lines were via Singora and Patani, mining the approaches and bombing the facilities could be devastating to the Japanese.

    2.) In the summer of 1941 there is one great untapped Commonwealth army - the Canadians.
    Although the Canadian government is anxious to get their troops into action, they have stipulated that they don't want them deployed to Africa or Mideast, mainly to avoid political fallout from the French Canadians, as much of the early war plans conflict involved the Vichy rather than the Axis. (Syria/Lebanon, Dakar, Cameroons/Congo, Madagascar etc)
    However there is much less resistance to conflict with the Japanese, in fact the Canadian government has offered to send troops to the Pacific. (A Canadian brigade group was sent to Hong Kong)

    In July 1941 would request the Canadians to send a Corps consisting of a division, a brigade and some tank/mech unitss to form a strategic reserve in the CBI, to be deployed if a critical situation develops in either the ETO (Soviet collapse in the Black sea/ Caucasus) or the PTO (Japanese attack against Malaya)
    The Canadians could send the 3rd division, in addition to the brigade already promised which would be sent to malaya instead of Hong Kong. The 3rd ended up being send to the UK in August 1941, where it sat for 3 years doing absolutely nothing of importance until D-day, June 1944. Instead, the Canadians could send a brigade or two of the 6th division to the UK in the spring or summer of 1942, as despite training in 41/42 this division never went into combat (except for the 1943 invasion of Kiska, Alaska which had earlier been abandoned by the japanese)
    There would also be 50 or 60 Valentine tanks sent from Canada to the CBI, to form 3 squadrons of armour, (1 UK, 1 Can, 1 Aus) and a Canadian mixed Mot/armoured car battalion.

    3.) One key asset that was barely used was the ability to conduct amphibious raids or attacks on the western side of Malaya, as the Japanese couldn't get their navy through the Straights of Malacca until Singapore the RAF had been neutralized.

    There was a raid conducted by "Roseforce", a single platoon, on 27 Dec which raided japanese supply lines.

    I would send Adm. Roger Keyes to the PTO in the summer of 1941 to raise, train command an amphibious force of about division size. One of the 4 Canadian brigades and one of the Austr. brigades from the Mideast would be trained to conduct amphibious landings, likely training in Northern Queensland (eg. Moreton Bay), where the climate terrain would be similar to that in Malaya or DEI. There would also be 3 commando battalions, British, Australian Canadian.
    These forces could use the hundreds of small craft in Penang Western Malaya, to raid the Japanese rear, or conduct a flanking attack.



    Here is my proposed Far Eastern Command:
    British in Red
    Australians in Tan
    Canadians in Brown
    Indians in Green
    NZ in Blue
    Malayan in Yellow


    FarEastCommand8c.jpg
     
  14. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    These are all excellent points FB, but need to always consider what or how the Japanese may have responded to this increased defence status....was it possible for them to increase their attack formations to counter this level of defence???? I think that ther still was SOME spare capacity in the japanese war machine to counter this British build up
     
  15. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    I agree, leadership is a critical component to the success of the operation.

    However this idea that ANY forces can be sent in March/April 1941 is just an absolute non-starter. Even if there had been tentative plans to send troops in Mar, they would be thrown out the window with the string of British crisis disasters in April 1941
    There is no urgent threat from Japan in Mar '41, before the embargo (July 1941), and it doesn't even crack the top 10 in April 1941.

    Here's the Top 10 list of urgent British needs/concerns in April 1941.

    1.) Defence of the UK. Still a concern that Hitler will attempt Sealion
    2.) Operation Lustre needs troops, as the British try to defend Greece.
    3.) Rommel's attack. the British Desert forces are being routed in April '41
    4.) Put down the revolution in Iraq, which occurred April 1.
    5.) East Africa War. Wavell's forces are still facing some 100,000 Axis.

    The British are also concerned with building up forces in 5 areas where the threat of Axis attack is a concern.
    6.) Malta. Fliegerkorps X arrives Jan 1941, and the threat to Malta intensifies.
    7.) Gibraltar. With Ultra, the British are aware of Axis plans - "Felix".
    8.) Iceland. British troops guard against Ikarus until July '41 - US troops arrive.
    9.) Maintain a strong force in Cyprus Palestine to guard against attacks from Italian held Rhodos, and the possibility Turkey joining the Axis.
    10.) Prepare for Operation Lifebelt in the event of a German move to occupy Portugal.

    In fact the British were so short of troops in April 1941 that reinforcements for Malaya were diverted to Iraq.

     
  16. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    #16 freebird, Apr 11, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011
    A complicated calculation, but the short answer is no, I don't think so. 8)
    They had a rough idea of the opposing forces, but not exact intelligence. In actual fact we are not greatly increasing the quantity of the defence, but a vast increase in quality. The Japanese didn't anticipate much difference in Allied troops, they were all considered inferior. Whether it's goat herders from the Himilayas, kangaroo farmers from Down Under or fur trappers from Canada, they were all equally weak in the eyes of the Japanese. :)

    In early November (when the Japanese make their final deployment preparations) there were about 3 1/3 divisions in Malaya. (2 Indian, 1 Aus + Malaya brigade)
    With the deployment I've outlined there will be about 4 divisions by early November. (1 2/3 Aussie, 1 Indian, 2/3 Canadian + a couple of UK NZ brigades.

    I would expect the last Aussie brigade to arrive in November, along with the last Canadian brigade. The probable course of action would be to have to Canadian Corps deployed in the CBI/DEI in August/Sept as a theater reserve. It would only be in late September '41 (with the Soviet Rostov Defensive Operation) that it became clear the Axis could not capture the Caucasus before winter, which would free up the Canadian Corps.

    the Japanese would also not be aware of the Commonwealth amphibious division, as it would be training in Queensland or DEI, and only sent into action after the attack begins. Nor would they be fully aware of the increased Allied air capabilities, as most of the bombers would initially be based in Australia or DEI, out of range of the Japanese strikes.

    The Japanese basically have only the 56th division as reserve, and are hesitant to deploy it until they see how the battle goes with the British with the US forces in the Philippines. They are also badly short of shipping, which is why the Guards division is forced to march overland from Thailand. They will undoubtedly send the 56th division to Malaya once they run into stiff opposition. It would in fact be better for the Allies to draw more Japanese divisions into action in a strongly defended Malaya, which would likely forstall or diminish attacks against Burma the DEI. (Burma fell quickly after the Japanese sent 56th transferred the 18th from Malaya)

    With the expected major shipping problems at Singora created by British mines bombs, combined with some solid Japanese casualties, they will be hard pressed just to keep up the Malaya offensive.

    My thoughts on the command:

    I've already listed the Australian command, Lavarack/Morshead/Bennett, all of them proven in combat except Bennett. Morshead in particular had solid experience in defensive operation.

    The Canadians would likely be commanded by Crerar Sansom.
    Keyes as chief of an amphibious force should be very effective, as he was known to be both a competant and aggressive commander.

    The Indian III Corps would be commanded by Heath who had experience in the East Africa campaign and the Indian 9 div commanded by Barstow, which would be tasked with constructing defensive preparations in Johore

    For the top leadership I think it's extremely critical to have combat experienced commanders, so I would appoint Gen Dobbie as Governor of the Straits Settlement, (instead of Governor of Malta) as he was previously G.O.C. Malaya and had drawn up the plans for the defence.

    For the command of the Far East army, I would put in Gen. Adam, formerly commanding British III corps during the Dunkirk retreat, where he had performed very well.
     
  17. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps so but there should be a British contingency plan in place to send an army corps to Malaya. If XXX Indian Corps arrives in Malaya properly trained they should be able to defeat the invading IJA.

    If Britain cannot provide properly trained ground forces they have no hope to defeat the well trained Japanese Army. That leaves only one option. The RN must sink IJA troop transports before the Japanese troops can come ashore.
     
  18. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    Thats a very difficult ask for the RN in 1941. Even assuming no major losses prior to that, which would give them Ark Royal, Glorious, courageous and the Hood, and with the main japanese carriers tied up at pearl, the japanese LBAs are a real threat for the British that are not easily defeated. With a concentration of carriers, it might be possible, particulalry if the brits can deliver a night air strike. Inflicting losses is one thing, but stopping a full invasion would be difficult
     
  19. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The RN sank anchored Italian warships during 1940 using a relatively small number obsolecent torpedo bombers. Why can't they sink anchored IJA troop transports during 1941?
     
  20. freebird

    freebird Active Member

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    #20 freebird, Apr 12, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2011
    In April 1941? No. Why would there need to be? Japan has no plans to start a war, in April 1941.
    They were planning to send more troops (as mentioned above) but there were other more urgent concerns.
    Remember that the British are reading the Japanese diplomatic military signals, they know what's going on.

    Now in July 1941 with the beginning of the embargo, everything changes and there is a much more urgent need to send troops, 2 divisions are sent.

    Debatable, but I don't think so. The first 4 Indian brigades (unit number <20) were at least reasonably trained, but performance was hit miss.
    The last 4 brigades (22, 28, 44 45) were poorly trained and performed very poorly.
    Even the "better" Indian brigades were poorly equipped often not very motivated.

    The British were fighting for King Country
    The Australians were fighting to defend Hearth Home.
    The Indians were fighting for what? Many wanted independance from Britain.

    Personally I don't think there should be more than about a third of troops as Indian. Rather than send a couple of Indian divisions of mediocre (or worse) quality, better to send one good motivated division.
    Why do you suppose the British felt it necessary to have one British battalion (and two Indian) in most Indian brigades, yet they didn't need to do that with Canadian, Australian, NZ, South African etc?

    The Indian units were somewhat better than the Philippine Army forces, but it was a similar outcome, a smaller number of trained, experienced, well equipped aggressive Japanese troops defeating a much larger US Philippine army.




    I agree. And there should also be leaders and at least some troops with combat experience.

    Agreed, you can't gamble on sinking the transports, better to organize a proper defence on the ground.

    However the British didn't need carriers, they did manage a successful airstrike on the Japanese transports landing in Malayan waters, using the Hudsens at Kota Bharu.
    The Japanese anchored 3 large transports off the beach just before midnight of the 8th.
    The RAF struck at 3am, bombing strafing the transports, scoring hits on all 3 ships, and setting Takumi's HQ ship on fire.There were a couple hundred Japanese casualties, and at least 50 killed.
    The Japanese naval commander was ready to withdraw, but Takumi overruled him.

    In addition, the Japanese suffered heavy casualties storming the pillboxes on the beaches, over 1,000 total casulties on the Kota Bharu landing (from a Japanese force of 6,000)

    Now, if there had been 2 or 3 well equipped brigades there instead of the single Indian brigade, and if there had been more RAF aircraft available, the Japanese may very well have been thrown back into the sea.
     
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