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  • Singapore 1942

    Why did the impenetrable fortress island fall to the Japanese so quickly? Japanese military planning or British over confidence and blunder?
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  • #2
    The English were trapped in a European mental paradigm in relation to what a Army can and cannot do. Much like the set-piece battle that Monty always tried to develop.

    The British leaders of the time were still in the era of fixed defenses and the dreadnought. Also it was the European versus the inferior non-European that allowed it to occur.

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    • #3
      We took a break for tea and cakes. The Japanese fought dirty and left their tea and cakes for later...

      Dr. S.
      Imagine a ball of iron, the size of the sun. And once a year a tiny sparrow brushes its surface with the tip of its wing. And when that ball of iron, the size of the sun, is worn away to nothing, your punishment will barely have begun.

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      • #4
        Re: Singapore 1942

        Originally posted by dannybou
        Why did the impenetrable fortress island fall to the Japanese so quickly? Japanese military planning or British over confidence and blunder?
        Yes. It was both. It didn't help that the Singapore's Coastal Defence guns couldn't shoot inland. The single biggest contributing factor would be the "They Wouldn't Dare" attitude of the British.

        Singapore has to rank as the prime example of sticking your head into the sand despite knowing you were vulnerable. The Common Wealth troops, esp. the Canadians, were sacrificed to Churchill's desire to never surrender an inch of territory no matter how hopeless the cause.

        The smart money would have evacuated Honk Kong, Malay and Singapore for a more secure striking point such as India.
        But hindsight is also 20/20


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        • #5
          Dr. S has it in a nutshell. The Japanese fought dirty. The Brits spent all that time effort and money building in all these gun positions and other defences facing out to sea and the Japanese didn't have the common decency to attack from that direction. They snuck in from behind.

          Kind of like that whole "the Maginot Line would have worked if the German's hadn't gone around it" theory.

          The whole campaign is a study in underestimation of an enemy. The initial Japanese invasion force, like in the Philippines, was outnumbered by the defenders but the majority of the British Indian and other Commonwealth troops were either untrained or in some cases trained for operations in the middle east.

          They did fight bravely for the most part, although some units did break and run, but that isn't enough.
          What God abandoned, these defended,
          And saved the sum of things for pay.

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          • #6
            Maybe the massive coastal defences were just a symptom of us Brits still thinking like an island race - we'd got so used to defending our nation from and on the sea that we plain forgot to defend Singapore from the land as well..

            Just a thought - probably a worthless one.

            Dr. S.
            Imagine a ball of iron, the size of the sun. And once a year a tiny sparrow brushes its surface with the tip of its wing. And when that ball of iron, the size of the sun, is worn away to nothing, your punishment will barely have begun.

            www.sinisterincorporated.co.uk

            www.tabletown.co.uk

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            • #7
              They had the Fall of Singapore in February's (maybe) WWII History and basically the Japanese ran right over the unprepared, untrained British forces as the civilian leadership (if you can use that word) refused to mobilize for the defense of it and even refused the shipment of extra armaments because they didn't want to alarm the public. Apparently the Aussies were the backbone of the fight as green Indian division were constantly being overrun, but there were hardly enough of them to stop the Japanese.

              There was even some mention of having formal dinners as the Japanese shelled the city and that soldiers did not have permission to dig up the grounds without a public works official overseeing where they were digging. Then there was an Aussie traitor who basically radioed the Japanese when to hit the planes on the ground, but he eventually ended up floating in the bay; after the RAF in Singapore was wrecked.
              If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by DANJANOU
                Dr. S has it in a nutshell. The Japanese fought dirty. The Brits spent all that time effort and money building in all these gun positions and other defences facing out to sea and the Japanese didn't have the common decency to attack from that direction. They snuck in from behind.

                Kind of like that whole "the Maginot Line would have worked if the German's hadn't gone around it" theory.

                The whole campaign is a study in underestimation of an enemy. The initial Japanese invasion force, like in the Philippines, was outnumbered by the defenders but the majority of the British Indian and other Commonwealth troops were either untrained or in some cases trained for operations in the middle east.

                They did fight bravely for the most part, although some units did break and run, but that isn't enough.
                The British assumed the jungle in their rear was impenetrable and completely neglected any defense in that sector. There are many reasons they came to such a conclusion. They basically planned for a WW I type of opponent and a sense of racial superiority certainly factored in as well.

                The govermenment's callow use of Commonwealth troops was shameful, but in keeping with they way they had been thoughtlessly sacrificed in WW I and the Boer War. All in all one of Britain's military low points.
                Lance W.

                Peace through superior firepower.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by chrisvalla
                  They had the Fall of Singapore in February's (maybe) WWII History and basically the Japanese ran right over the unprepared, untrained British forces as the civilian leadership (if you can use that word) refused to mobilize for the defense of it and even refused the shipment of extra armaments because they didn't want to alarm the public. Apparently the Aussies were the backbone of the fight as green Indian division were constantly being overrun, but there were hardly enough of them to stop the Japanese.

                  There was even some mention of having formal dinners as the Japanese shelled the city and that soldiers did not have permission to dig up the grounds without a public works official overseeing where they were digging. Then there was an Aussie traitor who basically radioed the Japanese when to hit the planes on the ground, but he eventually ended up floating in the bay; after the RAF in Singapore was wrecked.
                  I read the article you mention and for the uninformed its good, concise description of what happened.
                  Lance W.

                  Peace through superior firepower.

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