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  • Capturing Singapore faster and with fewer Japanese casualties

    Actually this thread is about capturing Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines faster and with fewer Japanese casualties by attacking one at a time with a very strong force, instead of attacking them simultaneously with meager forces.

    Although many people have praised the invasion of Malaya as a brilliant operation, I beg to differ.
    The Japanese had to invade Thailand (creating another enemy and losing troops and having to provide cover and supply for lots of troops in Thailand).
    The Imperial navy had impressive resources, yet this most crucial invasion initially counted with a ridiculously small fleet of only one battle cruiser, 5 subs and ten destroyers plus tankers, troop ships, etc, The only very strong force in the invasion of Malaya were about 540 army planes and 160 navy planes.
    The Japanese forced their troops to ride bikes for hundreds of km (many of them in thick jungle and over lots of rivers, whose bridges were blown up by the withdrawing British) from thailand all along the west coast and from northeast Malaya all along the east coast.
    This caused heavy losses and exhaustion and forced a large number of British troops back to Singapore, so that when Yamashita arrived in Singapore his army was in very poor shape and nearly out of ammo and had to face a huge force that included thousands of troops that had withdrawn from all of Malaya.
    The only thing that kept the japanese alive were the Churchill stores, the large amount of supply depots that they captured on both routes of invasion (east and west Malayan coasts).

    At several stages the Japanese had to reembark and land further south anyway to outflank defenses.

    It would have made a lot more sense not to invade Thailand (allowing some troops to escape to Thailand, which the neutral Thais would be forced to capture and feed or fight to deny access) and to postpone the attack on the Philippines for a month (there was no urgent need to capture it, since it was not going anywhere not getting any supplies or reinforcements at all and planes and subs from Taiwan could destroy the American planes, ships, etc, in the mean time, while the Americans ate their remaining food and used up their AA ammo) and to send a stronger force to disembark all along the coast of Malaya, so that the British troops could be isolated in pockets and forced to surrender piecemeal. Multiple landings would have taken much better advantage of the large number of planes and the naval artillery, resulting in a much faster campaign with fewer Japanese casualties. In turn, multiple landings would have captured aerodromes in southern Malaya from the outset, making it much easier to bomb Singapore intensely and to damage its hospitals, water supply system, food and ammo stores, etc, even before the Japanese troops arrived there.
    Given the 1 million civilians in Singapore and the perhaps 40,000 troops in Singapore (most having been captured throughout Malaya or escaped to Thailand) and facing intense bombing and shelling from abundant field artillery and 50,000 fairly fresh and well supplied troops and absolutely no possibility of receiving supplies or reinforcements Percival would have had to capitulate very fast.

    As soon as Singapore falls the troops and ships can be sent to Indonesia and only after Indonesia falls is a large force used to invade the Philippines.
    Last edited by Draco; 27 Aug 12, 22:11.

  • #2
    What happens to the Burma campaign in this proposed plan?
    Diadochi Rising Wargame:
    King Pairisades I of the Bosporan Kingdom

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    • #3
      After capturing the Philippines, the whole fleet (with the 6 carriers that bombed Hawaii) and a large army invade Ceylon and Abadan. Burma is peanuts.

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      • #4
        Again Draco you are ignoring the strategic realities of the Japanese situation. Oil was the key. They needed to take the Indonisian oil first and clear the lines of communication back to Japan. That meant simultaneous strikes on all 3 targets (Phillipines, Indonisia and Malaysa) were required.

        For some reason you seem to think the IJN has ships that don't need refueling.

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        • #5
          Adrian E
          I don't see what you mean. In this scheme Singapore and Indonesia fall before they actually did and losing fewer ships and men.
          Besides the Japanese accumulated oil and it was quite a while before they started producing oil in Indonesia (which they couldn't refine and the volatile fractions made their ships prone to blow up). Japan had enough American oil stored for quite a while. Burma produced less oil than required to hold it.
          Abadan is extremely poorly defended. Its refinery was the largest in the world in 1938 and processes oil from Persia and Iraq.
          Ceylon (The British PH) has large oil reserves and given the record of British generosity towards the Germans and Japanese they may capture some there.

          The huge fleet headed for Midway (most of which remained far behind the battle), the Aleutians and Port Moresby wasted a lot of oil without even the hope of oil or any other important resource and cost a lot of ships and planes.

          The Japanese installed in Wake a gun that they captured in Singapore, they also found crated Hurricanes, etc,.They captured fuel in many aerodromes, etc, I wonder if they also captured large fuel stores at the naval base.

          The main difference in this scheme is that instead of keeping several ships, 700 planes and 30,000 Japs pedalling along Malaya for 2 months (hearding 100,000 men toward Singapore, their target), a few troops fighting in Indonesia for months with a few more ships and planes and another small group fighting in the Philippines for months. You use a lot of planes and ships and disembark at several points in Malaya, take Singapore quickly and then do the same in Indonesia. Same goals, less time, fewer losses. Although personally I would take Ceylon before the Philippines, which without planes and ships (they are destroyed by the air force while Singapore and Indonesia fall) presents no threat at all.

          By using the large forces available I think that Singapore, Indonesia and Ceylon can fall within 11 weeks.
          Last edited by Draco; 28 Aug 12, 15:55.

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          • #6
            I think the 3 strike plan kept the Allies off balance. imo


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            • #7
              It was not just a triple strike, they struck Hawaii, HK and Thailand at the same time.
              It certainly did throw them out of balance, though they had months to see them fall.
              Singapore falling in days, Indonesia in weeks and then Ceylon would have devastated Britain, which could not have kept India and Burma from gaining their independence. What could have disturbed their balance more?
              On the other end, the axis having the oil of Abadan and the British not being able to send supplies to Egypt around South Africa nor soldiers from India would have helped Rommel considerably.

              Striking the Philippines just with planes from Taiwan also counts as a strike and effectively neutralizes it, without using up any of the naval and army offensive capability and momentum the Japanese have.
              Last edited by Draco; 28 Aug 12, 17:42.

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              • #8
                Draco,

                What you seem to have missed is Thailand was allied with Japan. The Japanese troops in Thailand were supposed to invade Burma with the aid of Thai troops and secure the Burmese oil fields. Thailand received the Shan States and Kayah State. They used three Infantry Divisions and one Cavalry Division. Thailand also received a couple of Cambodian Provinces.

                Now do you see why Japan was able to invade Malaya so easily from the North?

                There were only so many Japanese Army Divisions available to invade to the South. As per invasion plans, the Japanese pulled an entire Division from around Bataan and sent it to help conquer the Dutch East Indies. To secure Bataan they had to massively reinforce the troops they had left there!

                The Dutch oil fields around Balikpapan were the most important targets of the invasion. That is not saying the Japanese did not take over fields on Java and Sumatra. The Dutch did damage the fields and refinery on Borneo. I think the Japanese captured Brunei intact.

                While the British did blow some bridges in Malaya they did NOT slow the Japanese down much at all. They used Hook Tactics to destroy the Battalions of the Indian Brigades sent North. Basically the British did not defend into the "jungle". The Japanese would bump into a British position and immediately send a company a mile or so to the left or right and cross to the rear of the British unit. There they would set up a company sized roadblock on the road and then shoot up an support trucks going to the battalion. Then the Battalion would have to disengage from the Japanese in front and mount an attack to their rear to break the roadblock. After a Battalion does this a couple of times there are no more troops left! The British lost two or three Indian Brigades trying this!

                The Japanese also had tanks! This is actually a great example of the correct use of tanks! They drove through British positions during the rain while the antitank gunners were hiding under trees so they would not get wet! The British also left thousands of antitank mines in warehouses in storage! I guess they wanted to use them in the next war!

                Most armies tried to train troops to use bicycles before the war. The British even had troops landing on the Normandy beaches carrying bikes! Germans replaced Recon Troops on Motorcycles with Bicycle troops! What you may not have heard yet is most poor people in Malay traveled by Bicycle. There was no mass transport system. When the Japanese came marching in there were literally thousands of Bikes along the roads to "find". I think the Campaign plans were set up for the mass use of them.

                I believe the Japanese Invasion Force staged from French Indochina, not Thailand.

                Pruitt
                Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
                  Draco,

                  What you seem to have missed is Thailand was allied with Japan. The Japanese troops in Thailand were supposed to invade Burma with the aid of Thai troops and secure the Burmese oil fields. Thailand received the Shan States and Kayah State. They used three Infantry Divisions and one Cavalry Division. Thailand also received a couple of Cambodian Provinces.

                  Now do you see why Japan was able to invade Malaya so easily from the North?

                  There were only so many Japanese Army Divisions available to invade to the South. As per invasion plans, the Japanese pulled an entire Division from around Bataan and sent it to help conquer the Dutch East Indies. To secure Bataan they had to massively reinforce the troops they had left there!

                  The Dutch oil fields around Balikpapan were the most important targets of the invasion. That is not saying the Japanese did not take over fields on Java and Sumatra. The Dutch did damage the fields and refinery on Borneo. I think the Japanese captured Brunei intact.

                  While the British did blow some bridges in Malaya they did NOT slow the Japanese down much at all. They used Hook Tactics to destroy the Battalions of the Indian Brigades sent North. Basically the British did not defend into the "jungle". The Japanese would bump into a British position and immediately send a company a mile or so to the left or right and cross to the rear of the British unit. There they would set up a company sized roadblock on the road and then shoot up an support trucks going to the battalion. Then the Battalion would have to disengage from the Japanese in front and mount an attack to their rear to break the roadblock. After a Battalion does this a couple of times there are no more troops left! The British lost two or three Indian Brigades trying this!

                  The Japanese also had tanks! This is actually a great example of the correct use of tanks! They drove through British positions during the rain while the antitank gunners were hiding under trees so they would not get wet! The British also left thousands of antitank mines in warehouses in storage! I guess they wanted to use them in the next war!

                  Most armies tried to train troops to use bicycles before the war. The British even had troops landing on the Normandy beaches carrying bikes! Germans replaced Recon Troops on Motorcycles with Bicycle troops! What you may not have heard yet is most poor people in Malay traveled by Bicycle. There was no mass transport system. When the Japanese came marching in there were literally thousands of Bikes along the roads to "find". I think the Campaign plans were set up for the mass use of them.

                  I believe the Japanese Invasion Force staged from French Indochina, not Thailand.

                  Pruitt
                  All true and very much to the point. I would like to add to have a good look at the geography/topography and infrastructure of the areas in question in 1941/42 as well.
                  The situation will become a clearer. You could not just cut through the bush and cross a few rivers to execute some fancy tactical manuoevres. Just thinking of the battles of Tarakan and Balikpapan (Borneo) and Palembang (Sumatra). On top of it all, for the areas to be defended properly the areas were far too large or too far apart to be held by the forces available. In view of the massive stretches of coast lines involved the advantage was in favour of the attacker. Initially it was thought that point defence of the most stratigic targets was possible. But even this was not possible with the forces available. So it was decided to damage the installations that came under attack sufficently, putting them out of use temporarily and to return recapturing, rather optimistically, within 6 months and drive the Japanese out again. This was the main reason that the oil installations were not utterly destroyed. It may seem a strange notion today with the benefit of hindsight. They might have presented the whole matter historically a scorched earth tactics, but this is far from the truth. Reality was that they were dreaming of returning and with a little bit of efford got the whole colonial economic system working again. Why destroy one's assets completely?

                  Ed.
                  Last edited by dutched; 28 Aug 12, 18:52.
                  The repetition of affirmations leads to belief. Once that belief becomes a deep conviction, you better wake up and look at the facts.

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                  • #10
                    The first phase of the war was absolutely brilliant for Japan. They did absolutely tremendous things, it was a triumph of planning that has few (if any) equals in all of military history.

                    By way of comparison, its as if the Allies had mounted a Torch landing, invaded Sicily, raided Taranto and Kiel and Bremerhaven with good results, and then ousted the Germans from Norway... in three months!
                    I don't see how anyone could improve on that.

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                    • #11
                      Japan invaded Thailand, the Thais fought back and were overrun. Only after that did the Thai commander agree to become an ally in order to minimize Japanese occupation and to acquire new territory. Burma was invaded long after the invasion of Malaya on Dec 8. Had they been allies at the time, Japanese forces would have been there long before the invasion and Thai soldiers would have also invaded Malaya, which was not the case.

                      A long slender peninsula with an impenetrable forest in the middle is impossible to defend without air superiority since if the forces are cut in half or in more parts there is absolutely no way to supply or recover them, they're doomed. In contrast a navy with air superiority will eliminate the opposite navy and then be able to shell and bomb any point and land anywhere.

                      Advancing along a long peninsula is slow and costly, as the allies found out in Italy. The landings at Anzio and Inchon were good ideas but in both cases the landing troops didn't press their advantage and paid dearly.

                      I do not see the Malaya campaign as so Brilliant. Only Churchill's strategy as disastrous. After planes had trounced his navy and army in Norway, France and Crete, he put 130,000 men, 2 detroyers and 2 battleships with extremely few and obsolete planes, absolutely no tanks, very limited field and AA artillery, few fortifications, etc, and declared it an impregnable bastion. What can infantry and ships do against 700 modern planes, 200 tanks and the artillery of 10 destroyers and one battlecruiser? There was absolutely no hope of supplies or evacuation by sea. He might as well have handed the keys of the city to the Japanese and spared so many people the extreme suffering. It was completely doomed.
                      I don't see anything brilliant in forcing men to pedal 700 km partly in the jungle and using logs on the shoulders of engineeres as bridges to cross rivers, especially on the west coast, which required several landing any way. Had troops landed in these points simultaneously the would have isolated a lot of troops between them and to the north, leaving Singapore less defended.
                      Like I said had airfields been captured close to Singapore from the beginning, bombing would have been very intense and Percival would have had to surrender very much sooner.

                      The comparison between the Japanese achievements and corresponding campaigns in the west is quite ludicrous, considering the complete lack of tanks, darth of planes, field artillery, etc, in Singapore, O'Connor's campaign faced lots of planes (biplanes like his), tanks, artillery, etc, British officers In Singapore even had problems communicating with some of the Indian troops, who were used to orders in Urdu, which many officers did not speak.
                      Churchill managed to create the fattest cow without horns in the world and expected it to defend itself just with 2 scary battleships.

                      Ironically, when it fell, instead of resigning, he was enraged at his incompetent generals.
                      Last edited by Draco; 28 Aug 12, 20:47.

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                      • #12
                        This is the last time I'm going to try to bring you back to reality.
                        Consider it a life-line.

                        First of all, you complain that the Japanese issued their troops bicycles. Nevermind that the Japanese Army didn't have the trucks or the wherewithal to transport them to the beaches in the numbers needed... but they worked very well.
                        They got the troops past blown bridges and over bad terrain, and in large numbers they sounded like tanks to the Commonwealth troops.

                        Yes, the UK could have had a much better Army in Malaysia, if they abandoned North Africa to Rommel. Not a good idea, IMHO.

                        Siam was forced at gunpoint into an alliance with Japan, and it wasn't going to happen any other way.

                        Additional successful landings to out-flank the enemy is not a failure of anything except for the defenders inability to anticipate or deal with those landings.

                        Japan had everything they had moving somewhere and doing something with a frightful purpose in those early days. The only setback they had was the long and deadly siege of Bataan, and their biggest problem was assimilating all of what they took over.
                        Figuring out the next move was where they failed.

                        Furthermore- a speedier fall of Singapore would have resulted in the British 18th Division being allowed to proceed to Burma, instead of it being fast-tracked to Singapore and the POW camps there.
                        All that you advocate would have hurt Japan, not helped it.

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                        • #13
                          Draco,

                          Why do you think the UK declared war on Thailand? The Thai Army invaded Burma!

                          The Japanese Army had just occupied Indochina. The Divisions that invaded Burma went through Thailand to their jumping off places. The Japanese were so short handed they took an Infantry Regiment out of a Division invading Malaya to invade Burma with! Where did the Japanese and Thais fight in Thailand?

                          The Japanese arranged the alliance because Thailand had tried to seize parts of Cambodia and Laos after France surrendered. The French slapped them good. The Japanese then came in and asked what they would do to get pieces of Indochina and Burma?

                          You need to read up on Malaya a bit. Lots of Malaya is accessible, but large areas have little and no food. The areas the Japanese invaded were traversed by a good roadwork. The Planters needed to get their crops to Market. A good read is "The Jungle Is Neutral" by Chapman. You might also try Mike Calvert's "Fighting Mad: One Man's Guerilla War".

                          The British did just about everything wrong they could. They built airstrips in north Burma to keep watch for the Japanese Fleet. Yet they did not blow them up or the extensive gas and munitions they had put there. They left civilian construction companies with their heavy equipment for the Japanese to capture. The Japanese were bombing the British with British bombs and flying on British gas a few days after the invasion!

                          Pruitt
                          Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

                          Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

                          by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Draco View Post
                            As soon as Singapore falls the troops and ships can be sent to Indonesia and only after Indonesia falls is a large force used to invade the Philippines.
                            I don't understand, Draco. Capturing Malaya and its rubber plantations cost less than 2,000 killed, Indonesia with its oil fields less than 1,000.

                            How much better would you hope these campaigns went?

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                            • #15
                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanes...on_of_Thailand

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