Graham you should look on the net for this document published in the London Gazette in 1948 The report is written by Air Vice Marshal Maltby (who must be telling the truth after all he is senior to a Major) who was the Assistant Air Officer Commanding the RAF Jan ‘42 to Mar ‘42. In the Far east. This an official authorized document. It deals with the period from June 1941, but mentions preparations prior to this dateThe British strategy never changed until after the December 41 landings. Sure, it was obvious (especially by 1941 due to the weak RAF) that the Army would carry almost the full burden of fighting - but this still did not change their strategy of defeating the invaders at sea.
The most airfields were built in the north which could also indicate that they would have been used to attack Indo China and in Siam in support of the army. They could as you say attacked the Japanese fleet, but how effective?
The Man power to build the air fields. Apart from using civilian firms using civil labour the Allies had 7 companies of sappers and 5 Bns of Indian state troops detailed for airfield duties plus the were a lot of Lof C troops so I doubt if the fighting strength of the first line divisions and brigades would have been much weakened to build airfield. The problem of labour was eased when a New Zeeland Airfield construction company arrived to help.
Graham its says Bisto on buses but they don’t sell it!almost any book on the campaign tells you that the strategy, up until commencement of hostilities, was to defeat them at sea.
Graham goes on:
I cannot agree, unless the threat was overwhelmingly to the west coast, then your suggestion is sound. 16 airfields and landing grounds all situated along what was to be the main axis (west)of the IJA advance along the main north south highway, with only 4 on the other coast (east), most situated in the northern half of the Peninsular. An attack onto the east coast would have shorted the time over target for aircraft flying from the majority of airfields in the west. Strangely by accident or intent at the two areas were the allies met the IJA Jitra and Kota Baru have airfields reasonably close by. Your Apotheosis that they were built in the north to attack shipping, could just as easily be interpreted that the were built to support the army, more so that 4 squadrons stations were moved north to take part in any army operation like ‘matador’. The four objectives given the Air force were;Most of the airfields in Malaya (built to support the 'defeat them at sea strategy') were not built until 1940/41 so that alone tells us that the strategy, even at that late stage (well after 1939), had not changed.
2. Attack the ships at sea
3. Attack enemy landing sites
4 Support the army on the ground
I suppose this order believes that the air force was not strong enough to stop them at sea, other wise orders 3 & 4 were not required. How on earth could the army support the air force in a sea battle.
Your remarks regarding the quality of the Indian troops is a little wide of the mark. The majority of the Indian battalions (and British for that matter) in the 9th and 11th Indian Divisions were the premier battalions of their respective regiments i.e.; the 1st , 2nd or 3rd battalions admittedly they had lost some of their Officers NCOs and Soldiers to the newly raised wartime battalions. The Frontier Force Rifles were all recruited from Pathans & Baluchs on NW Frontier, as were one company per battalion of the Punjab Regiment All these regiments had the battle honours ‘Afghanistan 1919- 20 and Waziristan‘. The only ‘war only. Battalions were the three State battalions, the Mysore Regiment, the Bahawalpur Regiment, the Hyderabad Regiment and the 6 battalions of 44 and 45 Brigade even these battalions had reservists, reenlisted Indian soldiers and regulars from their sister battalions of the same regimentApart from the two battalions of 12 Indian Brigade (which arrived in 1939), all of the Indian units in Malaya were newly raised. Besides, fighting tribal revolts in the NW Frontier was vastly different to the general warfare of WW2, and, at least according to Christopher Bayly in his Forgotten Armies book, those recruited in the NW frontier fought in north Africa, Italy and Burma.
Your remarks regarding North west frontier the is also very wide of the mark. The operations in Waziristan 1936 -37 involved 61,100 Indian troops, co operating with tanks, heavy artillery and aircraft. I doubt if the AIF had training of such quality. In an earlier Waziristan Operation, despite deploying large numbers of men, modern aircraft, 3.7" pack howitzers, and Lewis light machine guns, by the end of the hostilities Waziristan Force had lost 366 dead, 1,683 wounded and a further 237 men missing. Very similar total to the AIF in Johor. No, war on the frontier was a serious affair. The Indian army fought in the Burmese revolt in 1931 and In the Iraq revolt of 1920.These type of Colonial war experience was the difference in 1914 between the British Old Contemptibles and the Germans and 70 years later between the British and the Argentineans in the Falklands.
See: Army in India & Frontier Warfare 1914-1939 by Tim Moreman who says;
In addition, about a third of our Army in India is presently stationed on the frontier and practically every unit takes a turn of duty there sooner or later .
http://www.khyber.org/publications/041- ... inda.shtml
Not quite true the instructions you refer to was for a defensive battle and fighting in Defensive positions is not much different today to 1918. However the troops of 11 Indian had training instruction for advance to contact and attack to be use on matador or any other such operation. The best trained division in Malaya was the 18th British TA division however two of their brigades were late in arriving and never given time to acclimatize. The 2nd Cambridgeshire Regiment was the only battalion in Malaya who re captured a town from the Japanese, Batu Pahat. According to the official report the last troops still in coordinated units and still fighting at the end were A & S Highlanders and troops from 18th British DivisionI'm afraid that I would much rather believe a Major who was there than even the best of history bloggers (of whom I am sure you are one) making claims some seventy years after the event.
According to the school of military engineering, the party that blew the causeway was a combined Naval, Sappers and RAF bomb technicians under the command of a naval officer As the causeway was considered to be below the high water mark it was a Naval Responsibility. I think Wyatt’s account is just a grubby attempt to sell books The ‘great’ US historian Stephen Ambrose used the same ploy twice in his books about Normandy of course it was the cowardly British on both occasions.
Graham says regarding the JWS Singapore
I think if you check, Tsuji says that the bikes had come from (made in) Japan but were collected on their way south by the IJA. And what about the Malaya volunteers who collected the bikes when the IJA went into the attack and wheeled them forward, serviced them ready for the next IJA move forwardNo they had not. I think you might refer to the Special Ops school, a completely separate arrangement.
The British established no training centres in Malaya except for an officer school at Changi. This was despite urgent requests to the War Office in 1939 and in stark contrast to the elaborate training centres they established in the Middle East. To add to the paucity of training, Indian and AIF units were initially trained for desert warfare, believing they were destined for the Middle East. All arms training was nil due to the late arrival (late 1941) of British artillery in Malaya. Training was left to formation commanders who had an impossible task with their units widely dispersed and heavily occupied on labour tasks (defences, building works and the like). Making matters worse, training notes from the UK were written around the static warfare of 1914-18, not Malaya 1942. Yes, the UK training notes were eventually updated but those updates never made it through the (understaffed, inexperienced and generally incompetent) headquarters in Singapore.
Exceptions to the poor training were the AIF brigades and 12th Indian Bde. They were concentrated together (not dispersed) as formations and trained hard. 12 Brigade trained in jungle warfare near Mersing on the east coast. But no, there was no British jungle warfare school in Malaya, and the Australian training centre at Canungra was not established until late 1942. Read Woodburn Kirby, or numerous other accounts, for details of the training in Malaya. but you already knew much of this Lightbob, as you wrote in the Surprising fall of Singapore thread on this website on 11 Aug 2010 at 0130
Singapore were prepared for with 1918 in mind and not for the modern battles of the forties Malaya as with every colony had been stripped of their best men and equipment. The study of fighting in primary and secondary jungle had not been studied by either side nor the Americans
Yes - I agree, the Japanese were helped along the way, though that support would wane in time. But no, they did not gift them 18,000 bicycles. Masanobu Tsuji (in Singapore the Japanese Version) devotes a chapter (35) to bicycles, and he makes it quite clear that most came from Japan, but spares were readily available in Malaya (much like Toyota spares today).
The engineering feats of the Japanese army in Malaya are highly praised and acknowledged in almost every decent account of the campaign that's been written. No doubt they were helped, but I wouldn't over state it. It paled against the enormous help provided to the Japanese by retreating forces (British, Indian, Australian) in the way of stores and equipment (food, ammunition, vehicles, operating airfields, boats, radio transmitters etc).
The IJA plan was always to rely on abandoned British equipment based on the information provided by the Germans of their experience in France, Greece, Crete and the Desert. In fact the IJA would not have moved so fast down the Peninsular if they had to transport their own food and other equipment, Instead they depended on equipment etc salvaged from the British. However in Tsuji account he speaks of his engineers arriving with lorry loads of cut and treated timber almost at the time of the demolition, considering he would have to find this timber and load it. Indicates that he knew were the timber yards were and that there would be timber waiting
I don’t rely on Elphic, the intelligence summary makes it quite plain that he had provided instant intelligence by means of a ground to air radio, has to the state of the respective airfields, units and aircraft. He was caught in the act of transmitting to Japanese aircraft. He also made statements before and after his court-martial boasting about the affect he had on the air force and how he would honoured by the IJA when they arrived. This caused his RMP escorts to carry out an impromptu execution. His escorts falling over one another to carry out the deed.]Yes, but what a ridiculous conclusion by intelligence circles who would have to ignore a very long list of reasons why their air force was destroyed to start putting Heenan at the top of their list. I'm afraid these 'intelligence circles' you refer to sound very much to me as though they are suffering from a long term chronic guilt about their own performance in Malaya and would happily point to Heenan and anyone else with a slightly bad odour as a scapegoat to hide their own most serious of failures.
The men who were defeated in Malaya were the same genetically, recruited from the same areas, of the same type of men. Trained in the same system with the same ethics. As those defeated in other theatres. Prior in this war in Malaya, the British recovered from other debacles such as France 1940, Greece, Crete and at times in North Africa. After Singapore Churchill commented, referring to the British Army, ‘are they ever going to fight’ Men who escaped went on to fight with Chindits, Force 136, with Chinese Army in China, some even landed at Normandy. Remember that the majority of the British battalions were regular and the 18th Divisions Battalions were pre war territorial’s but they had over 50% regular reservists. No the problem with the Allied Infantry was simple the Indians were torn between loyalty to the Regiment and to Indian independence. The British did not think that the Empire was worth fighting for and only really prepared to fight to defend themselves and their homes. The Australians fought well in Johor but fell apart in Singapore The British and the Indians went on to redeem themselves in Burma. The Australians went in to a backwater and never achieved the Kudos given to the British and Indians in1945The same British soldiers that Wyatt criticises went on to defeat Rommel
No they didn't. They went on to be prisoners of war, many to be used as slave labour. Wyett, by the way, gives a very fair and balanced account of his experiences and in no way limits his criticisms (and praises) to the British. Circumstances in all of the other theatres you quote here were vastly different to those in Malaya. The Far East was Britain's lowest priority, and that was reflected in nearly every aspect of the campaign.
Yes Bennett’s account has been very much discredited A recent document written on behalf of the FEPOW association based on official reports discredits him point by pointGordon Bennett (GOC of the AIF in Malaya) wrote in his 1944 account Why Singapore Fell that in his opinion the single most important reason for failure was a rigid adherence to textbook tactical methods. He explains that those methods were outdated and, by inference, implies a total lack of local initiative. On fifth columnists Bennet says 'it appeared in spots (but) was very feeble ' and that 'the natives ... were more friendly to our side than the enemy'.
Of course Bennet is a contentious character and some disregard his word, but as a senior commander present his account should be given some weight. As an aside, I have read several accounts that claim Bennett blamed the Indians. Well, I have his book in front of me and that certainly is not the case. He describes unit leadership (generally) as poor.
http://www.britain-at-war.org.uk/WW2/Wa ... ndix_a.htm
I think you will find the report written By Air Vice Marshal Maltby is also included in the article, as is the report on the Malaya invasion written by a Staff Officer from GHQ Singapore under the signature of Gen Wavell. Yes the Chinese were friendly but the Malays were the back bone of the 5th Column
Yes but both establishments took officer and NCOs who in turn act as instructors within the units. My CO at the JWS Malaya was an instructor there.I think you might refer to the Special Ops school, a completely separate arrangement.
The British established no training centres in Malaya except for an officer school at Changi.
So are training areas for exercising troops above Battalion Level except Jungle trainingAll arms training was nil
Making matters worse, training notes from the UK were written around the static warfare of 1914-18, not Malaya 1942.
http://www.britain-at-war.org.uk/WW2/Ca ... malaya.htm