Saturday, February 16, 2013

How did Singapore Fall to Japanese

The fall of Singapore to the Japanese Army on February 15th 1942 is considered one of the greatest defeats in the history of the British Army and probably Britain’s worst defeat in World War Two.

On January 31st 1942, the British and Australian forces withdrew across the causeway that separated Singapore from Malaya. It was clear that this would be their final stand. Percival spread his men across a 70 mile line – the entire coastline of the island. This proved a mistake. Percival had overestimated the strength of the Japanese. His tactic spread his men out for too thinly for an attack.
Japanese soldiers on bikes as a means of transport
On February 8th, 1942, the Japanese attacked across the Johor Strait. Many Allied soldiers were simply too far away to influence the outcome of the battle. On February 8th, 23,000 Japanese soldiers attacked Singapore. They advanced with speed and ferocity. At the Alexandra Military Hospital, Japanese soldiers murdered the patients they found there. Percival kept many men away from the Japanese attack fearing that more Japanese would attack along the 70 mile coastline. He has been blamed for failing to back up those troops caught up directly with the fighting but it is now generally accepted that this would not have changed the final outcome but it may only have prolonged the fighting.

A reconstructed scene showing Lieutenant-General
Percival and his men in the Fort Canning bunker
before the surrendered. 
On 15 February 1942, which was the Chinese New Year, the British had a final conference at the Fort Canning bunker. Lieutenant-General Percival wanted to discuss ways to counter-attack but his commanders were against the idea. They felt that there were too many problems and the soldiers were tired. More men would be killed if they were to engage the Japanese in street fighting. Furthermore, their supplies of food and water were running out. To prevent further bloodshed, the British opted for surrender. On 15 February 1942, Japanese Lieutenant-Colonel Sugita led Percival and his delegation to the Ford Motor Factory to negotiate the surrender terms. 
Sources: (Date accessed: 16 feb 13)
CPDD Ministry Of Education. (2007). Singapore From Settlement To Nation Pre 1819 To 1971. Singapore. Marshall Cavendish Education.

No comments:

Post a Comment