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 (1939-1945) WWII Battles    
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BWilson

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Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/16/2017 2:55:47 AM
[Read More]


Quote:
The greatest naval defeat the British suffered in World War Two wasn’t the destruction of the Prince of Wales and Repulse in the South China Sea in December 1941, but the fall of France in June 1940.


Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

James W.
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/16/2017 4:53:07 AM
Yeah ta BW, but that review by an academic, albeit a -'former naval person'- reads like an apologist's very selective opinion,
rather than a a proper 'Australian Military' appraisal...

To ignore the British Command failure to make realistic/effective military preparations, inc' intel' diligence, generalship,
& ludicrously arrogant/inaccurate racist-based underestimation of enemy capability - can fairly be sheeted home to WSC..

It seems that - 'bout zero - had been learned from fighting losing combined arms actions against the Germans in the previous years..

Churchill's callous "Fight to the last man & bullet" demand - is eerily similar to Hitler's later Stalingrad orders,
as were his 'too little - too late' attempts to send useful logistical support.

Australian irritation at having nearly 20,000 of its fighting men wasted so needlessly was further compounded by WSC's ardent
attempts to make them keep their most experienced divisions in Africa, or divert them to yet another 1/2-arsed debacle in Burma..


BWilson

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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/16/2017 5:01:50 AM
James,

 The Aussies should have stuck around in the Med; they could have enjoyed gyros and red wine as part of WSC's diversion of troops to Greece in late 1944

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

James W.
Ballina, Australia
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/16/2017 5:15:24 AM
Or more likely BW,- wasted as ANZAC's - alongside the Kiwis at Casino - in "the soft underbelly" sideshow that was Italy...

Even if the AIF were being given the 'runaround' by 'Bugout Doug' in New Guinea,
- at least they were 'liberating' Australian territory from a vicious enemy.

James W.
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/16/2017 8:13:52 PM
A WW II military fact of which the AIF is justly proud, is that in Tobruk & at Milne Bay, they were there, & the 1st to stop/defeat Nazi/Nippon armies..

Michigan Dave
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/16/2017 8:28:10 PM
It would seem ANZAC Troops would be of better use fighting in areas nearer their homeland!

meaning the Pacific,
MD
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wazza
Sydney , Australia
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/17/2017 1:21:29 AM
I always wondered what would D-Day and beyond would have been like with an Australian Division involved.....?

BWilson

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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/17/2017 1:27:41 AM

Quote:
I always wondered what would D-Day and beyond would have been like with an Australian Division involved.....?
--wazza


 Wasn't there an RAAF squadron or two involved in air operations in Europe ?

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

James W.
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/17/2017 6:07:47 AM
& the bloody rest... BW, the unique dark blue of the RAAF uniform stood out markedly.

Both Australian & Kiwi contributions to RAF ops were substantial, & drew their share of casualties/VC's accordingly..
( A Kiwi pilot, Geoff Fisken, even made ace in a bloody Brewster Buffalo fighter over Malaya, being credited with a 1/2 doz Nippon kites, flying the sodding little crate real hard)..

Archibald MacIndoe another antipodean, as a top burns/plastics man - certainly did his bit for the poor bastards who survived an airborne 'fry-up', too..

BWilson

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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/17/2017 7:10:25 AM
[Read More]

 An overview here, but difficult to sort chronologically as to which squadrons were where in the latter part of the war.

Cheers

BW
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With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

anemone
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/17/2017 8:10:50 AM
Long after after the war there was finger-pointing galore over just who was to blame for the fall of Singapore.

Was it poor British defence planning? Or flawed battle strategy on the ground? Or was it simply the Japanese were too strong?

In 1993, a British wartime report surfaced, blaming the catastrophic defeat on indisciplined and cowardly Australian soldiers.==eg Bennett and staff were the only Aussies who "bugged out"

In a furious retort, then prime minister Paul Keating said the claims were "beyond the bounds of decency and credibility", and made it clear Britain itself was responsible for "its most humiliating debacle".

In an earlier parliamentary assault, Mr Keating described Britain as "a country which decided not to defend the Malayan peninsula, not to worry about Singapore and not to give us our troops back to keep ourselves free of Japanese domination".

This latter-as a Brit-I firmly believe.

A lesson in how to lose freinds and make enemies IMHO

Regards

Jim

---------------
Pro Patria Saepe Pro Rege Semper

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/17/2017 12:48:18 PM
Hi Jim,

Good points, sad that allies would point the finger at each other. But I agree with you most of the blame for Singapore lays at the feet of the British Military Brain Trust!

Good to have you back,
posting on military matters!

Regards,
Dave
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wazza
Sydney , Australia
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/17/2017 3:36:53 PM
It was a tactical failure caused by poor leadership from the top.
All troops no matter what nationality fought well, but often poorly placed to stem the Japanese.
Too much focus is on the 'Australian deserters mobbing ships' stories. None on Australian platoons standing fast and fighting to the grim end.
Singapore and the defence of Malaya is a complex campaign to study, and certainly worthy of its own thread I guess.
Brits and Indians did there best I might add. Don't want to come across as a whinging Aussie.
Cheers

brian grafton
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/17/2017 7:46:54 PM
Hard to put that down as more than an abberation, IMHO. Admittedly, it is presented as a naval appraisal. But I would argue even with his appraisal of naval issues in general, based on the brief article BW has posted. How the thread twisted into some kind of Aussie bashing I don't know, but that's how its reading to me right now.

Aussies and Kiwis were just about the finest fighting forces the British could draw on, along with some fine Indian regiments and Ghurkas. That applied to both WW1 and WW2. A regiment whose six was guarded by Aussies or Kiwis considered itself in good hands. Aussie and Kiwi airmen were, to a large extent, integrated with RAF squadrons: unlike Canada, they did not have their own distinct Bomber Command Group, but in Fighter Command there were squadrons comprised largely of Aussie, Kiwi or Canadian fliers. They were not often liked in the early years, because they didn't buy the BS of the RAF, but they received their gongs despite their "colonial status". My favourite VC went to a Kiwi (James Allen Ward): his citation describes actions far beyond the heat of battle, and all the braver for it. And there was some guy named Kieth Parks who had a bit to do with the Battle of Britain. Aussie and Kiwi naval ships fought with distinction, providing on at least one occasion a ray of light in a bleak year for the RN. Achilles played a major role in despatching Graff Spee after a long and vicious naval battle. The entire Royal Navy would be tied up because of Bismarck, Tirpitz and a handful of relatively large and sophisticated German ships. But Achilles, with the help of a few other undergunned ships, caused the destruction of the 1939 equivalent of Tirpitz.

So what is all this nonsense about the loss of Prince of Wales and Repulse? Is this really the way Oz and NZ view the war, or has his statement been taken from a much larger address?

Bill pulled out a particularly challenging comment, IMHO. But is that the real issue. Consider the following, offered directly after Bill's quote: [Read More] Exactly whose fault is it that the RN could not do its job? France's? This is simply badly written history! Wazza, you mentioned whinging: isn't this a pretty good example of what whinging means?:
Quote:
France’s defeat made the load on British global naval strength more than could be borne. Britain’s strategic over-extension finally hit home.


Gimme a break! The RN proved to be a colossal failure for the first four years of the war. It entered the war with a vastly fossilized Plan A and no discernible Plan B. Keep the bulk of the Home Fleet based at Scapa to shut the Atlantic off from German ports, while enforcing a blockade to starve German civilians. Thank you, Lord Jellicoe. It entered with warships designed with, or to a large extent, still sailing with, the same errors that caused the Brits to lose so many ships at Jutland in 1916. To some extent, it continued to ignore the potential of naval air power against ships, and therefore sent ships to sea without elevating guns.

And by July 1940, once the German conquest of Europe was completed, giving them control of every port from northern Norway to northern Spain, exactly what changes were made in RN plans? Well, the answer appears to be "none". The bulk of the RN fleet continued to sit at Scapa, Gibraltar, and Alexandria (and we'll get to why they didn't still sit at Malta) while the Brits lost control of the English Channel to E-boats and relatively small flotillas and U-boats and the Luftwaffe. While Lorient flourished, and Brest blossomed.

Did things change? I'm not able to see it. Long before late 1941, Brest was recognized as a serious port facility for the German Navy. And the RN asked that RAF Bomber Command redirect it's efforts from the continent to harbours such as Brest. Sorry, but why? What the the capital ships of the RN meant to be doing? Shouldn't a flotilla of ships who outnumber and outgun their opponent be able to succeed against a relatively few ship in harbour undergoing repairs? Seems there were no capital ships available to come down and bombard Brest to death. They were busy guarding against German entry from German ports to the North Sea.

And then there is the Channel Dash, in Feb. 1942. By other names, it might be recognized as the first moment when RN strategy was finally identified as fighting the wrong war. An entire fleet of German ships sailed from Brest to northern German ports, with efficient but not overwhelming air support (led, I believe, by Adolph Galland) almost without incident. This fleet wasn't even seen until they were almost at Calais, and that was by accident. And the ships were reported by an RAF pilot, not by Chain Home or Chain Home Low stations.

A few ships were sent in pursuit. a number of a/c (from RNAS, RAF [Coastal and Bomber] attacked. There was some success, I keep hearing. Some hits on at least one of the major vessels. But this came close seeing heads roll, largely – I expect – because of the embarrassment. Seriously: discussion of the "Channel Dash" was eventually put under D-notice.

In the meantime, where was the RN during this proof that the so-called English Channel was actually under the clear control of Germany? Well, the bulk of RN major ships were still at Scapa or at Gibraltar, where most German ships were expected to leave from in their German ports to assault on commercial shipping in the Atlantic. Or, of course, where much of the supply required by GB pretended to be able to travel. The Mediterranean Sea was also largely closed to RN ships.

There is still a large and understandable tension over what happened to the French fleet at Oran. Seems to me to have been a stupid "either-or", given that other French ships were taken without blood shed in English ports.

Okay, so so far I've written just a little less than might be needed for an MA. But I have to ask about Sir Dudley Pound, who was IIRC First Sea Lord during the yearly years of the war. Why did he continue to exist? Why wasn't he drummed out after Norway?

I've been told that his health was not good. May be right. That he deserved his time as First Sea Lord. Sounds like croneyism. So what?

Rant time over! But ... .

The loss of Singapore had nothing to do with the loss of two warships. The loss of two warships, on the other hand, may have much to do with the fall of Singapore. And the attitudes between civilians and troops, which I have to believe got angrier with each continuing day, might have been justified both from those who expected continuing service and those who wished for some basic recognition.

WooHoo, what a rant!

Cheers
Brian G
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BWilson

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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/18/2017 2:41:51 AM
 That was a great rant!

Cheers

BW
---------------
With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Society's righteous paranoia lows profoundly. -- random wisdom of a computer

James W.
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/18/2017 2:55:05 AM
1st Sea Lord Pound went on to command the disaster of Convoy PQ-17 too, of course, so it seems WSC showed much greater tolerance for Admiralty idiocy than Army..

Phil andrade
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/18/2017 3:56:09 AM
Brian,

Wasn't the British attack on the Italian ships at Taranto a bit of a "snowdrop in the winter " when it comes to an assessment of Britain's conduct of the war at sea ?

Singapore is a mortifying episode for us in Britain to reflect on, even after the passing of a lifetime.

Unredeemed defeat, compounded by disgrace.

How many of the ninety (?) thousand Commonwealth POWs who were taken there failed to survive their captivity ?

I wonder if a determination to fight it out might have cost fewer lives in the long run.

What a contrast with what was going on at Leningrad at the same time !

Editing : on reflection, my suggestion might be complacent about the fate of the civilian population in the event of a fight to the death stand. Were the Japanese bombers taking a significant toll of the population; and was the prospect of starvation and disease such as to make a surrender the preferred option ?

OTOH, did the Japanese occupation of the place impose horrors on the natives ? The British got their people out in good time, didn't they ?

Regards, Phil

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anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/18/2017 4:00:44 AM

Quote:
The Mediterranean Sea was also largely closed to RN ships.


Whilst I agree with most of your post Brian-surely you are somewhat mistaken in the above. ?????

Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham commanded the Mediterranean Fleet in Warspite on 3 September 1939, and under him the major formations of the Fleet were the 1st Battle Squadron (Warspite, Barham,Queen Elizabeth and Malaya) 1st Cruiser Squadron (Devonshire, Shropshire, and Sussex), 3rd Cruiser Squadron (Arethusa, Penelope, Galatea).

Rear Admiral John Tovey, with the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Destroyer Flotillas, and the aircraft carrier Glorious.

Added to this were the many heavily RN guarded convoys to Malta.One aircraft carrier sunk and two damaged-Illustrious particularly so.

Malta was the home of the marauding Force K of two light cruisers (Aurora and Penelope) and four L and M class destroyers.There too- was the home of a Flotilla of RN submarines

Regards

Jim
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Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/18/2017 10:25:43 AM

Quote:
 That was a great rant!

Cheers

BW
--BWilson





Brian,

It really was a great rant!

cheers,
MD


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James W.
Ballina, Australia
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/18/2017 11:37:19 PM
In the news here today, its the 75th anniversary of the initial bombing of Darwin by ~200 Nippon aircraft.
Caught fairly unprepared, just days after the fall of Singapore, deaths were in the hundreds,( & were under-reported at that).

Phil andrade
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/19/2017 3:38:01 AM
James,

That phrase initial bombing catches my eye.

Why "initial" ?

Was it meant to be the prelude to something else ?

Was it a foray by the Japanese military intended to demonstrate what it might be able to do later, should circumstances allow ?

It makes me think of the German fleet bombarding Whitby and Hartlepool in December 1914, which also killed hundreds, and was also a kind of " statement".

Demonstration and provocation .

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

James W.
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/19/2017 5:02:42 AM
'Initial' as 1st - of many to follow, Phil, aimed at neutralizing the function of the port, & bring the war to Australia proper.
These raids were followed by by naval ops, inc' submarine attacks in Sydney harbour, & devastating carrier plane raids on other northern ports..

Did those early WW I German naval artillery 'terror bombardments' delivered on a tour of seaside Blighty - really kill that many people, Phil?
The Germans saw 'terror' value in similar 'tip-&-run' high-speed fighter-bomber raids across the English Channel, in the next show, too..

Phil andrade
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/19/2017 5:26:07 AM

Quote:
'Initial' as 1st - of many to follow, Phil, aimed at neutralizing the function of the port, & bring the war to Australia proper.
These raids were followed by by naval ops, inc' submarine attacks in Sydney harbour, & devastating carrier plane raids on other northern ports..

Did those early WW I German naval artillery 'terror bombardments' delivered on a tour of seaside Blighty - really kill that many people, Phil?
The Germans saw 'terror' value in similar 'tip-&-run' high-speed fighter-bomber raids across the English Channel, in the next show, too..
--James W.


Thanks for explaining, James.

I'll follow your post up and conduct some online research.

I remember seeing a film recently with Nicole Kidman ( ?) with the raid on Darwin being the backdrop of the story.

I wondered when I was watching the movie whether the Australian people were seeking to hype up the scale of the raid, in order to make a point about the episode being overlooked, and, by association, the peril of the Australian predicament in the war being insufficiently acknowledged.

Your suggestion that even the number of deaths was understated is very important in this regard.

As for the German naval raids on the East Coast of England in 1914, if memory serves me there were hundreds of casualties, and probably in excess of one hundred deaths : but I admit that I haven't checked that properly.

Were I an Aussie, I would be determined to raise the historiographical profile of the dreadful fight in New Guinea : especially that infamous Kokoda ( ?) Trail.

Regards , Phil


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James W.
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/19/2017 5:34:56 AM
As it happens Phil, the Kokoda track has lately become a place of 'pilgrimage' for fit Australians to test themselves against.
& recently, a final reunion between 90+ y/o AIF veteran & his Papuan 'bearer'( known as 'fuzzy-wuzzy angels') was organised, - a very emotional scene..

Phil andrade
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/19/2017 12:32:07 PM
James,

Your views on Churchill are very much in accord with those expressed by John Charmley in his book CHURCHILL : The End of Glory .

This was written nearly a quarter of a century ago and caused a bit of a furore.

Have you read it ?

If not, I'll refer to any of the passages concerning Singapore, and report back.

Regards, Phil
---------------
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"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

anemone
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/19/2017 1:19:42 PM
WHY WAS THE FALL OF SINGAPORE SUCH A SHOCK?
Extract from an official report on the fall of Singapore 1942

Catalogue ref: WO 208/1529

Extract from a report on the fall of Singapore, 1942; WO 208/1529

This is an extract from an official British government report on the fall of Singapore in February 1942.

There were many reports from different officers in different services that were sent to the government. This report was published some time after the fall and probably tried to make use of the other reports.

What’s the background to this source?

WW2 broke out in Europe in 1939. In the Far East war broke out on December 7th 1941 when Japanese forces destroyed the US fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Japan had already built up forces in Indochina and Thailand and surprised the British forces by attacking Malaya (part of the British Empire) in December 1941. Although the Allied forces outnumbered the Japanese, they were less experienced and less well equipped. The British also did not expect to attack Singapore by advancing 600 miles through difficult territory in Malaya. By February 1942 the Japanese were attacking the heavily fortified naval base of Singapore and it surrendered on February 15th 1942.

The defenders outnumbered the attackers at Singapore. However, the Japanese were better trained and equipped. They were especially strong in terms of aircraft. Defenders were constantly attacked from the air. One of the deciding factors in the surrender was the heavy civilian casualties suffered from bombing by aircraft. A related factor was that Singapore's anti-aircraft defences ran out of ammunition.

It’s worth knowing that...

Soon after the fall of Singapore the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill asked the Australian Prime Minister to support him in opposing calls for a full public enquiry into the disaster at Singapore. because it was said that many of the reports submitted by British officers after Singapore heavily criticised the Australian troops. However, most reports claimed that the real problem was very poor leadership by the British army and naval forces.

Regards

Jim
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James W.
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/19/2017 5:01:28 PM

Quote:
James,

Your views on Churchill are very much in accord with those expressed by John Charmley in his book CHURCHILL : The End of Glory .

This was written nearly a quarter of a century ago and caused a bit of a furore.

Have you read it ?

If not, I'll refer to any of the passages concerning Singapore, and report back.

Regards, Phil
--Phil andrade



That would be good of you Phil, I haven't read Charmley's book, & with WSC usually being subject to near-hagiograhic appraisal ( inc' his own "kind to me" histories),
it would seem that any attempt a doing a 'warts & all' fact-based overview of ol' Winnie's doings - is perceived as damnable blasphemy..


& as Jim noted, WSC was quick to both take credit for any success, & disavow responsibility for failure, being catlike in his urgency to bury his turds..

Phil andrade
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/19/2017 5:48:13 PM
Many apologies, James...having promised to pitch in with Singapore references from the book, I am astonished to find out that the book hardly mentions the business !

I could not even find Singapore in the index.

The book is predicated almost entirely on the political aspects : I would have thought that the calamitous record of British defeat in the Far East might have impinged on the narrative - even if only to discuss the political ramifications - but, apparently, it does not.

I'll have to try and find something else...Alanbrooke's diaries might be a good hunting ground.

Regards, Phil
---------------
"Egad, sir, I do not know whether you will die on the gallows or of the pox!"

"That will depend, my Lord, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress."

Earl of Sandwich and John Wilkes

Riaindevoy
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/19/2017 7:00:36 PM
I don't think that there is anything particularly controversial in that article. It isn't a secret that Britain and others didn't spend a lot on defense between the wars and this came home to roost in the early years of the war.

That said I think Britain did take a lot of early losses as a result of human error. This is hard to take from professional people who should be all over their jobs.
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/19/2017 7:43:37 PM
For sure R-D,
IMO it would've taken the leadership skills & organised fighting tenacity hitherto only really shown by Empire forces against powerful opposition in the Battle of Britain & at Tobruk - up to that point..

Percival was never going to be a match for Yamashita,
& Brooke-Popham should've stayed in RAF training command, with Keith Park taking over RAF Malaya, instead of the other way around...

The fact that WSC knew that the British defence plans in detail for Malaya had been captured by a German commerce raider, & passed on to Tokyo,
yet his unfounded disdain for Nippon capabilities was such, that he didn't advise Percival of their seriously compromised situation..
..is yet another indictment..

Michigan Dave
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/19/2017 8:09:14 PM
The ANZAC 8th Division:

[Read More]
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"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract."

Phil andrade
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Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/20/2017 3:58:27 AM
Here's a plum in the pie from Alanbrooke's Diaries, which I must cite : in a few words, he illuminates quite a lot of what we've been discussing :

11 February 1942

The news of Singapore goes from bad to worse......It was a very gloomy wire as regards the fighting efficiency of the troops on Singapore Island. It is hard to see why a better defence is not being put up, but I presume there must be some good reason......I have during the last 10 years had an unpleasant feeling that the British Empire was decaying and that we were on a slippery decline !! I wonder if I was right ? I certainly never expected that we should fall to pieces as as fast as we are.....

Regards, Phil
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Markus Becker
Westphalia, Germany
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Posts: 44

Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/20/2017 7:45:32 AM

Quote:
Was it poor British defence planning? Or flawed battle strategy on the ground? Or was it simply the Japanese were too strong?


I say the Japanese were not as weak as the opposition. ~200+ fighters, 2/3 of them obsolescent Ki-27 is a joke. Unless your enemy has no more than 50 fighters.

The quality of the British and Imperial ground forces stationed in Malaya at the start of the war was good but there were not enough of them to cover everything that needed covering and have a reserve.

anemone
DONCASTER S. YORKS, UK
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http:// 82.44.47.99
Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/20/2017 10:02:22 AM
THe terms of the surrender of Singapore were signed at 1810 hours by Percival,ending one of the most disastrous campaigns in British military history.It had lasted 73 days.

British,Australian and Indian losses totalled some 9000 killed and wounded and 130,000
POWs. Japanese losses were 9824 of which 3000 were killed.

A knock on effect of this virtual walkover in Malaya made them too confident in Burma where they suffered grievously at Imphal and Kohima in 1944-they learned a bitter lesson.

Regards

Jim
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James W.
Ballina, Australia
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Posts: 674

Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/20/2017 5:37:17 PM

Quote:

Quote:
Was it poor British defence planning? Or flawed battle strategy on the ground? Or was it simply the Japanese were too strong?


I say the Japanese were not as weak as the opposition. ~200+ fighters, 2/3 of them obsolescent Ki-27 is a joke. Unless your enemy has no more than 50 fighters.

The quality of the British and Imperial ground forces stationed in Malaya at the start of the war was good but there were not enough of them to cover everything that needed covering and have a reserve.

--Markus Becker



The Nippon forces were well organised & coordinated, & General Yamashita their experienced/dynamic commander, was cut from 'Rommel' cloth.
They also had the British defence plans on hand to specifically address strong points, whether by attack or bypass.

The British were basically in the opposite situation, unevenly equipped, poorly commanded, lacking in coordination/cohesion, & stunned by their inability to cope..

Markus Becker
Westphalia, Germany
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Posts: 44

Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/21/2017 12:05:32 PM

Quote:
They also had the British defence plans on hand to specifically address strong points, whether by attack or bypass.



I assume you refer to the Automedon affair? The Germans took a British merchant that carried a defence plan/assessment of the Far East. But AFAIK it was strategic info, not tactical. Meaning the Japanese knew there would not much opposition. They did not know what was where.

As to the rest. I concur. The Japanese caught the defenders off balance and kept them off balance. And it was IMO mostly self inflicted.

The fundamental strategic mistake that had severe operational consequences was Operation Matador. The “occupation” of southern Thailand to pre-empt a Japanese invasion from there. It looked like a good idea because it would have much shortened the Allied lines but it should have occurred to Malaya Command that the operation actually could never work.

Why? The British concluded that they had to arrive at the beaches 24 hours before the Japanese. British air searches went as far out as the coast of Indochina. That’s 210 nautical miles from northern Malaya. Top speed of a fast Japanese merchant – 16kn, top speed of a fast-ish merchant 13.5kn, speed of a fast convoy – 10kn.

In other words. Once you see them it is already too late. And who says a convoy heading into the Gulf of Thailand is an invasion force? It might just be re-supply for the garrison of Cambodia or a provocation.


Matador should have been rated infeasible and cancelled weeks before December 7th. AFAIK it wasn’t until 12 hours after the Allies learned of the Japanese landings in southern Thailand. Until them the two divisions on the border were prepared for an advance into Thailand and thus not in the best position to meet an attack coming from there. And that attack hit them while they were still redeploying to their defensive positions.

James W.
Ballina, Australia
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E-8 Master Sergeant


Posts: 674

Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 2/24/2017 3:16:28 AM
Here's an appraisal of the "Automedon affair" [Read More]

Michigan Dave
Muskegon, Michigan, MI, USA
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E-9 Cmd Sgt Major


Posts: 2557

Re: Australian military view of the Fall of Singapore
Posted on: 6/19/2017 6:29:36 PM
[Read More]

Certainly a blunt take on it??
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