Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Discussions on WW2 in the Pacific and the Sino-Japanese War.
Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 05 Feb 2022 20:40

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
02 Feb 2022 23:33
The real folly of the early war against Japan lies in the strategy for dealing with the "deterrence fails" scenario.

To see why this strategy was so stupid, we must recapitulate some basic facts:
1. Everybody knew that Japan's apex strategic goal would be to seize oil in Malaya and the East Indies.
2. Nearly everyone knew that Britain's defenses along the Malay Barrier were weak.
For those interested in the true complexity of the situation as it faced the British in the summer and autumn of 1941 here is evidence to show that "everybody" didn't know what Japan's strategy was going to be (obviously!):
CAB66-19 - A Eden - 30 Sep 41 - Far East appreciation.JPG
If we accept that "nearly everyone" knew that Britain's defences in Malaya were weak, the British Foreign Secretary at least realised that the factor that mattered wasn't British strength alone, but rather "Allied" strength which had increased markedly over the previous 12 months.
CAB66-19 - A Eden - 30 Sep 41 - Far East appreciation p1.JPG
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
02 Feb 2022 23:33
At base, the Allied strategy relied on assuming that Japan would be strategically incompetent:
I don't know about "Allied" strategy, but certainly Churchill thought that the Japanese would at least act rationally! Was it not strategic incompetence to avoid any possibility of fighting your opponents one at a time?

Regards

Tom
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daveshoup2MD
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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 07 Feb 2022 23:16

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
05 Feb 2022 20:40
I don't know about "Allied" strategy, but certainly Churchill thought that the Japanese would at least act rationally! Was it not strategic incompetence to avoid any possibility of fighting your opponents one at a time?
Churchill was a brave man and a gifted political leader, with true insight into the threat that Nazi Germany formed; but ... the Germans and Italians both had gone out of their way to to start multi-front conflicts in 1940 and separately in 1941, including (in June, 1941) against a nation with substantial advantages.

Perhaps the better question is why he would have thought the Japanese would have been any different than their Axis partners?

aghart
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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by aghart » 08 Feb 2022 01:24

Churchill believed that being bogged down in China would stop the Japanese from increasing their expansionist idea's. We know today that it was a failed hope. But, davesoup2MD in 1941 it was the school of thought that was prevalent at the time. Churchill and so that meant the UK thought they had more time to prepare. 6 months, half a year and a Japanese attack on Malaya would have failed. It shows that your hindsight view of surrender because the Japanese are so strong was also a failed strategy.

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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 08 Feb 2022 03:25

aghart wrote:
08 Feb 2022 01:24
Churchill believed that being bogged down in China would stop the Japanese from increasing their expansionist idea's. We know today that it was a failed hope. But, davesoup2MD in 1941 it was the school of thought that was prevalent at the time. Churchill and so that meant the UK thought they had more time to prepare. 6 months, half a year and a Japanese attack on Malaya would have failed. It shows that your hindsight view of surrender because the Japanese are so strong was also a failed strategy.
As has been said: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” :lol:

"Hindsight" like that which a) withdrew two British Army infantry battalions from China in 1940 because they were too exposed, and yet b) sent two Canadian infantry battalions to China (Hong Kong) in 1941 because ... reasons? :roll:

That's not hindsight; that's strategic lunacy.

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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by Fatboy Coxy » 08 Feb 2022 06:48

daveshoup2MD wrote:
10 Jan 2022 07:49
Fatboy Coxy wrote:
10 Jan 2022 06:59
So are you saying that it was the wrong strategy, or just impossible to defend given what we know with hindsight on the performance of the Allied forces. If its the wrong strategy, what was the right one?
As long as the Japanese were not any farther south than Taiwan, essentially, Malaya could be held by the historical garrison in 1940, which was the Singapore fortress organization and maybe a brigade or two of infantry.

Once the Japanese were in strength in French Indochina (Q3/Q4, 1940), however, Malaya could not be defended with what was available to the British/Empire/Commonwealth/etc. at the time (as was pretty much demonstrated by the events of 1941-42). And, it didn't require hindsight; basically, the British in Malaya in 1940-42 were in the same situation the Russians in Port Arthur were 30+ years earlier; inadequate forces, too far from home, and in - essentially - the enemy's strategic backyard. The Americans on Luzon were in the same situation, but they - for the most part - had accepted the inevitable.

Defending Malaya would have required a field army in the Far East (which the British did not have to spare in 1941-42); a tactical air force (which they also didn't have to spare); and, realistically, given the strength of the IJN, a naval force the size of the British Pacific Fleet of 1944-45, which they very much did not have to spare.

A holding/wasting defense - equivalent to the American/Filipino defense of the Bataan Peninsula, and essentially trading space for time - was about all that could be expected, realistically. The challenge is there was not a handy redoubt like Bataan in Malaya, and the British were unwilling to declare Singapore an open city and withdraw (as the US did in regards to Manila).

Given the above, presumably the two Indian divisions alone, supported by the (historically) fairly limited RAF contingent, and an RN force the equivalent of the historical "China Squadron" (no capital ships, obviously) would have been enough to "go down fighting" and both the Australian 8th Division, the British 18th Division, and the (IIRC) 44th and 45th Indian brigades could have been used elsewhere, along with the RAF reinforcements thrown into Singapore in 1942 and, of course, the two capital ships.

Keeping the two Indian brigades with their divisions, for use (presumably) in Burma, the 18th Division in Ceylon, and the 8th Division in (presumably) Papua would have been far more helpful to the Allied cause in 1942 (and afterward); same for the two RN fast capital ships, in the Atlantic, Med, or Indian Ocean.

Not especially glorious, but realistic.
Daveshoup2MD, No one has a problem with the example of the two Canadian battalions going to Hong Kong, I think we all agree that didn't need hindsight, but what you have claimed, and I have recopied your earlier past, was that Britain shouldn't have reinforced Malaya/Singapore from Q3-Q4 1940, as the Japanese had moved into Northern French Indo-China. That's the point were we diverge. Perhaps you've had a rush of blood to the head and posted something before you had really considered what you wrote.
Regards
Fatboy Coxy

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EwenS
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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by EwenS » 08 Feb 2022 13:27

Re Hong Kong and the Canadians. I think that hindsight is again rearing its ugly head. An article here from the Canadian perspective, that includes a copy of the telegram from the British SofS for Dominion Affairs to the Canadian SofS for External Affairs that made the request. Note the second para of that telegram of 19 Sept 1941.

“The position in the Far East has now, however, changed. Our defences in Malaya have been improved and there have been signs of a certain weakening in Japanese attitude towards us and the United States. In these circumstances it is thought that a small reinforcement of garrison at Hong Kong e.g. by one or two more battalions, would be very fully justified. It would increase strength of garrison out of all proportion to actual numbers involved, and it would provide a strong stimulus to garrison and Colony; and it would further have a very great moral effect in the whole of the Far East and would reassure Chiang Kai Shek as to reality of our intention to hold the island.”

And this assessment is being made 7 weeks after the Japanese occupation of Southern Indochina (everyone at the time seems to have drawn a clear distinction between the occupation of the Northern, Tonkin region, of Indochina in Sept 1940 and the southern part at the end of July 1941) that is generally seen as the biggest step towards war to that point. It is also 7 weeks after the US, Britain and the Dutch East Indies had frozen (not seized) Japanese assets so squeezing Japan economically.

And the final few sentences of the article:-

“..... Neither does it capture the urgency felt by all participants lest the chance to deter the Japanese and avoid a Pacific war fade. Indeed subsequent revelations indicate that the British were correct in their assessment of the importance of maintaining Chinese morale at this critical juncture, and thus tying down the bulk of the Japanese army, even if the intelligence miscalculated the magnitude of Japanese irrationality. The Americans made the same mistake. Crerar followed suit.”

The question then becomes one of whether additional information became available to change the intelligence assessments between this request on 19 Sept, Canadian agreement to the deployment on 2 Oct, the departure of those troops from Canada on the 27 Oct, and their arrival in Hong Kong on 16 Nov 1941, that could have caused the deployment to be stopped.

https://scholars.wlu.ca/cgi/viewcontent ... ontext=cmh

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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 09 Feb 2022 02:42

Fatboy Coxy wrote:
08 Feb 2022 06:48
daveshoup2MD wrote:
10 Jan 2022 07:49
Fatboy Coxy wrote:
10 Jan 2022 06:59
So are you saying that it was the wrong strategy, or just impossible to defend given what we know with hindsight on the performance of the Allied forces. If its the wrong strategy, what was the right one?
As long as the Japanese were not any farther south than Taiwan, essentially, Malaya could be held by the historical garrison in 1940, which was the Singapore fortress organization and maybe a brigade or two of infantry.

Once the Japanese were in strength in French Indochina (Q3/Q4, 1940), however, Malaya could not be defended with what was available to the British/Empire/Commonwealth/etc. at the time (as was pretty much demonstrated by the events of 1941-42). And, it didn't require hindsight; basically, the British in Malaya in 1940-42 were in the same situation the Russians in Port Arthur were 30+ years earlier; inadequate forces, too far from home, and in - essentially - the enemy's strategic backyard. The Americans on Luzon were in the same situation, but they - for the most part - had accepted the inevitable.

Defending Malaya would have required a field army in the Far East (which the British did not have to spare in 1941-42); a tactical air force (which they also didn't have to spare); and, realistically, given the strength of the IJN, a naval force the size of the British Pacific Fleet of 1944-45, which they very much did not have to spare.

A holding/wasting defense - equivalent to the American/Filipino defense of the Bataan Peninsula, and essentially trading space for time - was about all that could be expected, realistically. The challenge is there was not a handy redoubt like Bataan in Malaya, and the British were unwilling to declare Singapore an open city and withdraw (as the US did in regards to Manila).

Given the above, presumably the two Indian divisions alone, supported by the (historically) fairly limited RAF contingent, and an RN force the equivalent of the historical "China Squadron" (no capital ships, obviously) would have been enough to "go down fighting" and both the Australian 8th Division, the British 18th Division, and the (IIRC) 44th and 45th Indian brigades could have been used elsewhere, along with the RAF reinforcements thrown into Singapore in 1942 and, of course, the two capital ships.

Keeping the two Indian brigades with their divisions, for use (presumably) in Burma, the 18th Division in Ceylon, and the 8th Division in (presumably) Papua would have been far more helpful to the Allied cause in 1942 (and afterward); same for the two RN fast capital ships, in the Atlantic, Med, or Indian Ocean.

Not especially glorious, but realistic.
Daveshoup2MD, No one has a problem with the example of the two Canadian battalions going to Hong Kong, I think we all agree that didn't need hindsight, but what you have claimed, and I have recopied your earlier past, was that Britain shouldn't have reinforced Malaya/Singapore from Q3-Q4 1940, as the Japanese had moved into Northern French Indo-China. That's the point were we diverge.
The point is that absent sufficient reinforcements - equivalent to the threat the Japanese presented, at sea, in the air, and in terms of an expeditionary force, on land - sending reinforcements in too small numbers and piecemeal was simply shoving them into a trap. It's the same "send a boy to do a man's job" approach the Japanese engaged in repeatedly, and which universally ended in failure. 1st Wake at the microscale, Guadalcanal at the macro - send a battalion? It gets defeated. Send a regiment? It gets defeated. Send a brigade? it gets defeated. Send a division? It gets defeated. Send a corps? It gets a defeated. Great for the Americans, but not exactly wise for the Japanese. Sending a reinforced corps to try and hold a territory the size of Great Britain, and without commensurate air and sea power, against an enemy with a field army equivalent at hand, air power to match, and the third largest fleet in the world, is asking for disaster.

Of course, the British did the same on the offensive, and in the same theater, with 1st Arakan being the obvious example.

daveshoup2MD
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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 09 Feb 2022 03:07

EwenS wrote:
08 Feb 2022 13:27
Re Hong Kong and the Canadians. I think that hindsight is again rearing its ugly head. An article here from the Canadian perspective, that includes a copy of the telegram from the British SofS for Dominion Affairs to the Canadian SofS for External Affairs that made the request. Note the second para of that telegram of 19 Sept 1941.

“The position in the Far East has now, however, changed. Our defences in Malaya have been improved and there have been signs of a certain weakening in Japanese attitude towards us and the United States. In these circumstances it is thought that a small reinforcement of garrison at Hong Kong e.g. by one or two more battalions, would be very fully justified. It would increase strength of garrison out of all proportion to actual numbers involved, and it would provide a strong stimulus to garrison and Colony; and it would further have a very great moral effect in the whole of the Far East and would reassure Chiang Kai Shek as to reality of our intention to hold the island.”

And this assessment is being made 7 weeks after the Japanese occupation of Southern Indochina (everyone at the time seems to have drawn a clear distinction between the occupation of the Northern, Tonkin region, of Indochina in Sept 1940 and the southern part at the end of July 1941) that is generally seen as the biggest step towards war to that point. It is also 7 weeks after the US, Britain and the Dutch East Indies had frozen (not seized) Japanese assets so squeezing Japan economically.

And the final few sentences of the article:-

“..... Neither does it capture the urgency felt by all participants lest the chance to deter the Japanese and avoid a Pacific war fade. Indeed subsequent revelations indicate that the British were correct in their assessment of the importance of maintaining Chinese morale at this critical juncture, and thus tying down the bulk of the Japanese army, even if the intelligence miscalculated the magnitude of Japanese irrationality. The Americans made the same mistake. Crerar followed suit.”

The question then becomes one of whether additional information became available to change the intelligence assessments between this request on 19 Sept, Canadian agreement to the deployment on 2 Oct, the departure of those troops from Canada on the 27 Oct, and their arrival in Hong Kong on 16 Nov 1941, that could have caused the deployment to be stopped.

https://scholars.wlu.ca/cgi/viewcontent ... ontext=cmh
Suggests the Canadian decision-makers were equally mistaken in 1941 as the British, doesn't it?

There's an interesting study (Canadians in the North Pacific, 1943 : Major-General Pearkes and the Kiska operation / by R.H. Roy) of the Canadian 13th Brigade's participation in COTTAGE in 1943 that lays out the case Pearkes had to make to Ottawa to clear the way for the decision to commit the troops, to the point the final clearance did not come until the troops were literally aboard the US transports.

After Hong Kong and Dieppe, that's understandable, but what is interesting is that Pearkes became an advocate for the operations largely because of the partnership and respect he developed for Gen. DeWitt and the other American commanders, who basically made it clear that - with 34,000 troops, including the reinforced 7th Division, the separate 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment, the 13th Brigade, and the 1st SSF - they were going loaded for bear and not underestimating the Japanese. The same judgment was made for WATCHTOWER and the subsequent operations in the Solomons, and - absent MacArthur's megalomania - should have been made for NE New Guinea.

And what's intriguing is that even with MacArthur making bad decisions in 1936-41 regarding the PI, the US decision makers - not just Marshall and King, but including Craig, Stark, Leahy, and Standley, at least - all had the same judgment regarding the Japanese strength in the Western Pacific in 1941 - they had made it in 1922-23, for that matter, and stuck to it for two decades.

So - the Americans had the insight to understand the correlation of forces was in Japan's favor in the Western Pacific in 1939-41; the British recognized it as well, when it came to the British troops in North China in 1940; but not when it came to the British, Indian, Australian, and Canadian troops in Hong Kong, Malaya, etc. in 1941-42...

Doesn't seem like hindsight if the Americans could figure it out in 1939-41, much less the British in 1940...
Last edited by daveshoup2MD on 09 Feb 2022 21:22, edited 1 time in total.

Tom from Cornwall
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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by Tom from Cornwall » 09 Feb 2022 16:37

daveshoup2MD wrote:
09 Feb 2022 03:07
So - the Americans had the insight to understand the correlation of forces was in Japan's favor in the Western Pacific in 1939-41; the British recognized it as well, when it came to the British troops in North China in 1940; but not when it came to the British, Indian, Australian, and Canadian troops in Hong Kong, Malaya, etc. in 1941-42...

Doesn't seem like hindsight if the Americans could figure it out in 1939-41, much less the British in 1940...
And why the Americans removed all of their forces from the western Pacific in 1941? Didn’t try to reinforce them to correct the Japanese advantage?

Maybe they would have done if they knew when the war would break out? Knew how the war would break out? Knew that the US Pacific Fleet would be put out of action for several months? Knew that US submarine torpedoes would prove unreliable? Knew that they had seriously underestimated Japanese naval, aviation and land tactical capabilities and overestimated the extent to which the Japanese would follow a rational grand strategy.

Any more hindsight you’d like to add to the list?

Regards

Tom

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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by Fatboy Coxy » 09 Feb 2022 18:51

daveshoup2MD wrote:
10 Jan 2022 07:49
Fatboy Coxy wrote:
10 Jan 2022 06:59
So are you saying that it was the wrong strategy, or just impossible to defend given what we know with hindsight on the performance of the Allied forces. If its the wrong strategy, what was the right one?
Once the Japanese were in strength in French Indochina (Q3/Q4, 1940), however, Malaya could not be defended with what was available to the British/Empire/Commonwealth/etc. at the time (as was pretty much demonstrated by the events of 1941-42). And, it didn't require hindsight; basically, the British in Malaya in 1940-42 were in the same situation the Russians in Port Arthur were 30+ years earlier; inadequate forces, too far from home, and in - essentially - the enemy's strategic backyard. The Americans on Luzon were in the same situation, but they - for the most part - had accepted the inevitable.
The other side to all of this is Japan in Q3-Q4 1940 hadn't actually set themselves on invading Malaya! Oh for sure they didn't want to miss the bus, as it were, with France falling, Holland falling, and who knows maybe Britain falling too, and take advantage of the situation, and true they desired the South East Asian colonies for their abundant raw materials, especially the oil, but they had great concerns about the Russians back stabbing them if they attacked south, and the question of would the USA come in and assist the British. There was much anguish in Japanese thinking over whether Britain and America could be considered separable, ie, you can attack the British and the Americans will sit back. Indeed plans to attack weren't being drawn up until 1941, and initially only with a broad stroke, details weren't sorted out until November 1941.

The question of Russia wasn't solved until the signing of the Neutrality Pact, 3 April 1941.

So yes, the British defences in Malaya in Q3-Q4 1940 were very bad, but they steadily increased, and who knows what might have happened if they had been given another six months of reinforcement.

What I will say is your ridiculous persistence with applying your strategy to Malaya, is its brought the best out of 'Tom from Cornwall', who has posted some excellent material. Thank you Tom.
Regards
Fatboy Coxy

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rcocean
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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by rcocean » 09 Feb 2022 18:56

And what's intriguing is that even with MacArthur making bad decisions in 1936-41 regarding the PI, the US decision makers -
MacArthur wasn't making any "bad decsions". His only job from Nov 1935-July 1941 was training the Philippine army on $8 million a year, with ZERO help from FDR.

Every key decision from 1936-1941 regarding the West pacific, our position via Japan, and USA defense of Philippines was made by FDR with the advice of Marshall, Craig, and the Secretary of War. MacArthur had almost nothing to do with it.

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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 09 Feb 2022 20:59

Tom from Cornwall wrote:
09 Feb 2022 16:37
daveshoup2MD wrote:
09 Feb 2022 03:07
So - the Americans had the insight to understand the correlation of forces was in Japan's favor in the Western Pacific in 1939-41; the British recognized it as well, when it came to the British troops in North China in 1940; but not when it came to the British, Indian, Australian, and Canadian troops in Hong Kong, Malaya, etc. in 1941-42...

Doesn't seem like hindsight if the Americans could figure it out in 1939-41, much less the British in 1940...
And why the Americans removed all of their forces from the western Pacific in 1941? Didn’t try to reinforce them to correct the Japanese advantage?

Maybe they would have done if they knew when the war would break out? Knew how the war would break out? Knew that the US Pacific Fleet would be put out of action for several months? Knew that US submarine torpedoes would prove unreliable? Knew that they had seriously underestimated Japanese naval, aviation and land tactical capabilities and overestimated the extent to which the Japanese would follow a rational grand strategy.

Any more hindsight you’d like to add to the list?

Regards

Tom
Not true, and not the point being made. The point being made about the US is that for two decades, the US leadership understood the PI and Guam were lost causes, because a) the US could not spare the forces to defend them against a Japanese assault, absent a major mobilization, and because of that, the Japanese - being in the western Pacific - held the initiative; and b) when time got short, the US withdrew its ground forces (4th Marines) and as much of ComYangs' forces from China as possible (akin to the British withdrawing from China proper in 1940).

What the Americans did not do, unlike the British, was reinforce their positions on the Chinese mainland in 1941; the exact opposite, in fact; so none of this is hindsight - the exact opposite, in fact.

Foresight

Presume C Force's personnel would have appreciated a similar strategic judgment.

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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 09 Feb 2022 21:06

Fatboy Coxy wrote:
09 Feb 2022 18:51
daveshoup2MD wrote:
10 Jan 2022 07:49
Fatboy Coxy wrote:
10 Jan 2022 06:59
So are you saying that it was the wrong strategy, or just impossible to defend given what we know with hindsight on the performance of the Allied forces. If its the wrong strategy, what was the right one?
Once the Japanese were in strength in French Indochina (Q3/Q4, 1940), however, Malaya could not be defended with what was available to the British/Empire/Commonwealth/etc. at the time (as was pretty much demonstrated by the events of 1941-42). And, it didn't require hindsight; basically, the British in Malaya in 1940-42 were in the same situation the Russians in Port Arthur were 30+ years earlier; inadequate forces, too far from home, and in - essentially - the enemy's strategic backyard. The Americans on Luzon were in the same situation, but they - for the most part - had accepted the inevitable.
The other side to all of this is Japan in Q3-Q4 1940 hadn't actually set themselves on invading Malaya! Oh for sure they didn't want to miss the bus, as it were, with France falling, Holland falling, and who knows maybe Britain falling too, and take advantage of the situation, and true they desired the South East Asian colonies for their abundant raw materials, especially the oil, but they had great concerns about the Russians back stabbing them if they attacked south, and the question of would the USA come in and assist the British. There was much anguish in Japanese thinking over whether Britain and America could be considered separable, ie, you can attack the British and the Americans will sit back. Indeed plans to attack weren't being drawn up until 1941, and initially only with a broad stroke, details weren't sorted out until November 1941.

The question of Russia wasn't solved until the signing of the Neutrality Pact, 3 April 1941.

So yes, the British defences in Malaya in Q3-Q4 1940 were very bad, but they steadily increased, and who knows what might have happened if they had been given another six months of reinforcement.

What I will say is your ridiculous persistence with applying your strategy to Malaya, is its brought the best out of 'Tom from Cornwall', who has posted some excellent material. Thank you Tom.
Yeah, the problem is that the American knew full well the Japanese had the advantage in the Western Pacific because - after all - Japan is in the Western Pacific. The Americans and the British both withdrew from north China in 1940-41, because of that reality.

The difference, of course, is that the Americans had written off the PI and Guam since the 1920s; the British apparently imagined the opposite, despite already being in a multi-front war in 1939-41, and kept sending reinforcements to outposts that were equally doomed.

Very gallant, but as has been said: 'C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre; c'est de la folie'

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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by daveshoup2MD » 09 Feb 2022 21:21

rcocean wrote:
09 Feb 2022 18:56
And what's intriguing is that even with MacArthur making bad decisions in 1936-41 regarding the PI, the US decision makers -
MacArthur wasn't making any "bad decsions". His only job from Nov 1935-July 1941 was training the Philippine army on $8 million a year, with ZERO help from FDR.

Every key decision from 1936-1941 regarding the West pacific, our position via Japan, and USA defense of Philippines was made by FDR with the advice of Marshall, Craig, and the Secretary of War. MacArthur had almost nothing to do with it.
MacArthur took the contract from the PC Government, did he not? If the resources were insufficient for the strategy he told Quezon et al was necessary, his course of action was obvious.

He chose not to take that action, of course, but that was his decision - in the same way that he took the contract in the first place. He was not drafted, was he?

Given the US did not lose the equivalent of four reinforced first-line infantry divisions and two-thirds of their fast capital ships in the defense of the PI in 1941-42, seems quite clear that FDR et al made exactly the right decision to not heavily reinforce a vulnerable outpost, one would think... if the US had thrown three more infantry divisions into Luzon (say, the 8th, 28th, and 29th) and lost a couple of front line capital ships (say, USS North Carolina and USS Washington, or even USS Idaho and USS Mississippi) in the island's defense, are you suggesting his critics would have accepted that result? :roll:

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Re: Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Post by EwenS » 09 Feb 2022 22:15

daveshoup2MD wrote:
09 Feb 2022 21:21
rcocean wrote:
09 Feb 2022 18:56
And what's intriguing is that even with MacArthur making bad decisions in 1936-41 regarding the PI, the US decision makers -
MacArthur wasn't making any "bad decsions". His only job from Nov 1935-July 1941 was training the Philippine army on $8 million a year, with ZERO help from FDR.

Every key decision from 1936-1941 regarding the West pacific, our position via Japan, and USA defense of Philippines was made by FDR with the advice of Marshall, Craig, and the Secretary of War. MacArthur had almost nothing to do with it.
MacArthur took the contract from the PC Government, did he not? If the resources were insufficient for the strategy he told Quezon et al was necessary, his course of action was obvious.

He chose not to take that action, of course, but that was his decision - in the same way that he took the contract in the first place. He was not drafted, was he?

Given the US did not lose the equivalent of four reinforced first-line infantry divisions and two-thirds of their fast capital ships in the defense of the PI in 1941-42, seems quite clear that FDR et al made exactly the right decision to not heavily reinforce a vulnerable outpost, one would think... if the US had thrown three more infantry divisions into Luzon (say, the 8th, 28th, and 29th) and lost a couple of front line capital ships (say, USS North Carolina and USS Washington, or even USS Idaho and USS Mississippi) in the island's defense, are you suggesting his critics would have accepted that result? :roll:
The problem I have with this version of events is that it ignores the US change of policy in July/Aug 1941. There was an intent to heavily reinforce the Philippines.

Between 31 July and 16 Aug 1941 plans were drawn up and approved for a substantial reinforcement of the Philippines. The first units involved in this arrived before the end of Sept and it was still ongoing when war broke out with even more planned to be sent out all the way through to early 1942. One element of this was the Pensacola convoy that left PH on 29th Nov, and on 9 Dec had its orders changed to send it to Australia where it arrived on 22 Dec. MacArthur himself seems to have gone very quickly from turning down the offer of an infantry division to asking for ever increasing amounts of equipment to equip more Philippine Army units and the War Dept agreeing to the dispatch over 23,000 personnel to back them up. Significant USAAC reinforcements were also planned. The problem was finding the transport to move all this to the Philippines. And for that reason the complete units being sent were being fed in piecemeal.

That most of this equipment and personnel didn’t arrive by 7 Dec 1941 simply suggests that the US dodged a bullet.

https://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/US ... -PI-3.html
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pensacola_Convoy

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