TODAY IS the 70th ANIVERSARY of the beginning of JAPANESE HOSTILITIES in WW2

Posted on December 6, 2011 by


70th ANIVERSARY of the beginning of JAPANESE HOSTILITIES in WW2


From the book ’70 DAYS TO HELL’, by Arthur Lane, Lane Publishing

To be released Feb 15th 2012


Brief Background to the Malayan Campaign – Arthur Lane


Hostilities actually began on 4 Dec 1941 when Japanese forces left the ports of Samah. Although detected by British scout planes two days earlier, bad weather provided stealth for the invasion convoy. On 8 Dec 1941, after some fighting at Kota Bharu, the Japanese troops took the coastal cities of Singora (Thailand), Patani (Thailand), and Kota Bharu (Malaya). British planes attempted to attack landing ships, but Japanese troops made beachhead at Kota Bharu within three hours – despite the air distraction. General Yamashita, in Singora, had negotiated with the Thai government, and won an agreement that allowed Japanese troops to move within Thai borders toward Malaya without local resistance.

Meanwhile, Colonel Tsuji’s men, disguised in civilian attire, secured key bridges beyond Malaya’s borders before the British could destroy them on their retreat. At an airfield near Kota Bharu, Indian troops, who received incorrect intelligence that the Japanese were further ahead than where they actually were, killed their own commander (Lt. Col. Hendricks) and fled the airfield without destroying anything. This provided the Japanese invaders a fully working airfield along with fuel and ammunition. The majority of those missing in action were Indian soldiers, although no blame of cowardice is suggested, it is the opinion of many – for many different reasons which I hope this book will cover, that there would have been a stronger resistance had there been British and Australian soldiers in the front line and not Indians. The number of deserters is estimated to be in excess of 1,500. The fact that they deserted at the opening of hostilities, allowed the Japanese to obtain complete dominance from the beginning.

This book is not an exhaustive account of arguments and theories (of which there are many) but has been compiled utilising factual records (e.g. Commonwealth War Graves Commission statistics) and historical accounts (e.g. General Percival’s report to government in Hansard) along side of contributions and opinions from other authors on the subject. The intention of this book is to leave as concise a record as is possible at the time of writing in order to give explanation to the enquirer in regard to reasons why the initial defence of Malaya during World War Two, was a failure. Also, as far as possible to illustrate that a great number of troops remain MIA (Missing in Action) but relatively few are British – for which (the British) I always argue that repatriation should be taking place.

The main line of enquiry is the strategic and tactical defence of the Malayan theatre in the field. Readers who wish to pursue further theories and arguments based upon events, politics or decisions beyond the field may find the bibliography found at the back of this book to be useful.


Defence of Malaya & Chinese Whispers – Arthur Lane


I have read so much rubbish concerning the fall of Singapore. It has made me sick to read the stories which are published in the national press, coming from those people who were not there, and who have no idea of the circumstances surrounding the war in Malaya. I doubt that many were old enough to have served, yet they broach their stupid insinuations against men who are not alive to defend themselves or offer the truth.

Such utterances as:

“The guns were facing the wrong way” .

The answer to that is that the guns could traverse 360 degrees. The reason they were not used was the fact that these guns were to be used against invading shipping and therefore only had armour piercing shells. To fire these at the enemy coming down Malaya would have resulted in one shell sent burrowing into the ground after possibly hitting a single Japanese soldier on its way. We should be looking more toward what we didn’t have to fight with rather than what we did.

Another complete fabrication was:

“Thirty thousand Japanese soldiers wearing spectacles and riding bicycles, had overwhelmed the British Garrison of 150 thousand  men”.


Absolute rubbish when one considers that the Japanese forces used in the attack on Singapore consisted of:

General Yamashita’s 25th Army

5th Division under General Matsui.

30,000 men

9th/11th/41st Infantry Brigades under General Kawamura, Col Watanabe, Col Okabe,

30,000 men

21st Inf Bde, Gen Sugiura, 55th Inf Regt, Col Harada, 42nd Inf Reg, Col Ando

18th Division, Lt General Mutaguchi,

20,000 men.

23rd Inf Bde, Gen Takumi, 55th Inf Regt, Col Koba, 56th Inf Regt, Col Nasu.

35th Inf Bde, Gen Kawaguchi,

15,000 men.

114 Inf Regt, 124th Inf Regt Imperial Guards Division, Lt Gen Nishimura

35,000 men.

3rd Guards Inf regiment, 4th Guards Inf regiment, Col Kunishi, 5th Guards Inf regiment, 56th Division

15,000 men.

In total (including reinforcements) the defenders of Singapore were faced with a Japanese army calling upon

145,000 men, un-rivaled air power, naval support, artillery support from the mainland, and over 100 tanks.


Full Strength British Empire Forces (including reinforcements) consisted of:

Remains of Singapore Fortress Garrison

10,000 men – minus those lost in mainland action


III Indian Corps

38,000 men – minus those lost on the mainland.

Australian Division,

18,200 men – minus those lost on the mainland.

18th Division

22,000 men – minus those lost on the mainland.

Local forces

16,500 men – minus those lost on the mainland.

Remnants of Royal Air Force and Royal Navy,

4,000 men.

In total

108,700 defenders minus those lost during the mainland campaign. A great number of those defenders being service personnel – cooks, clerks, mechanics, medical staff etc and a great number of the infantry being untried, untested raw young recruits from India, almost literally picked up off the streets, given a uniform, shown how to load a rifle and chucked on a boat a couple of weeks before they were captured.

It should also be noted that until the 22,000 reinforcements arrived in Singapore at the very end of January 1941 that the total strength spread across both the mainland and Singapore to defend against an enemy strength of 145,000 men was around 86,700 before losses.


(Not including Royal Navy or R.A.N)

According to the CWGC, the total

British Empire losses are: 12,465*

* This figure includes all KIA or missing NKG, in the battle for both the Malayan mainland and Singapore and does not include Naval losses.


Japanese losses are estimated as:

Malayan mainland: killed and missing


Singapore: killed and missing


Which means we put up quite a good fight.


The matter which created the original myth that 30,000 Japanese soldiers had overcome 150,000 men to take Singapore, was that on 16 February the day after the fall of Singapore, General Yamashita sent a message to the Emperor in Japan stating that Singapore had fallen with the

loss of only 30,000 men, which was his estimate at that time. The message was picked up by British listening posts in India and transmitted to Whitehall. Either the message was not sent or received properly or someone in Whitehall sculptured or adjusted it to read that Singapore had been taken with just 30,000 men.

Proof of this can be found in the Japanese memorial Victory Hill which the Japanese had built by Allied POWs immediately after the fall of Singapore and which was dedicated to 25,000 Japanese who gave their lives for their Emperor in the battle for Singapore. This memorial was destroyed by the British in 1946 immediately after the war. A further memorial constructed at the same time in Gemas, Malaya, was dedicated to 35,000 Japanese who fell during the fighting in Malaya. This gave a total of 60,000 Japanese who were lost from 8 December 1941 to 15 February 1942.



Japanese troops



British Empire troops.

* British Empire figure includes a large number of non-combatants adn 22,000 reinforcements arriving after the Japanese had control of the mainland – almost all of whom were either raw recruits or untried in battle.


British Empire dead and missing: 12,465**



Japanese dead and missing: estimated 60,000


** British Empire figure does not include Naval dead and missing.