To address some of your specific points:
No they weren't.British Strategy and Tactics were forced to change in 1939 with the start of WW2
The British strategy never changed until after the December 41 landings. Sure, it was obvious (especially by 1941 due to the weak RAF) that the Army would carry almost the full burden of fighting - but this still did not change their strategy of defeating the invaders at sea. Most of the airfields in Malaya (built to support the 'defeat them at sea stragey') were not built until 1940/41 so that alone tells us that the strategy, even at that late stage (well after 1939), had not changed. Even in 1941 Army training was severly interrupted building defences for airfields and major army dispositions were directed around airfield protection. If the strategy was land war then the Air Force would have been organised in support of the Army, not the other war around. Besides, almost any book on the campaign tells you that the strategy, up until commencement of hostilities, was to defeat them at sea.
think you will find that at least 40 to 50% of the Indians had seen action on the Northwest frontier
No they hadn't.
Apart from the two battalions of 12 Indian Brigade (which arrived in 1939), all of the Indian units in Malaya were newly raised. Besides, fighting tribal revolts in the NW Frontier was vastly different to the general warfare of WW2, and, at least according to Christopher Bayly in his Forgotten Armies book, those recruited in the NW frontier fought in north Africa, Italy and Burma.
I'm afraid that I would much rather believe a Major who was there than even the best of history bloggers (of whom I am sure you are one) making claims some seventy years after the event.a British Sapper Sergeant would not be given such a responsibility with out the supervision of an officer ...
yes, I’d agree it was somewhat of a dire emergency. But the orders may well have been written, Wyett does not say.Such an important installation would not be blown without written orders except in a dire emergency
now that’s what I would call an understatementa little stoic in their attitude
Gordon Bennett (GOC of the AIF in malaya) wrote in his 1944 account Why Singapore Fell that in his opinion the single most important reason for failure was a rigid adherence to textbook tactical methods. He explains that those methods were outdated and, by inference, implies a total lack of local initiative. On fifth columnists Bennet says 'it appeared in spots (but) was very feeble ' and that 'the natives ... were more friendly to our side than the enemy'.
Of course Bennet is a contentious character and some disregard his word, but as a senior commander present his account should be given some weight. As an aside, I have read several accounts that claim Bennett blamed the Indians. Well, I have his book in front of me and that certainly is not the case. He describes unit leadership (generally) as poor.
the British had set up a jungle warfare school in 1941
No they had not. I think you might refer to the Special Ops school, a completely separate arrangement.
The British established no training centres in Malaya except for an officer school at Changi. This was despite urgent requests to the War Office in 1939 and in stark contrast to the elaborate training centres they established in the Middle East. To add to the paucity of training, Indian and AIF units were initially trained for desert warfare, believing they were destined for the Middle East. All arms training was nil due to the late arrival (late 1941) of British artillery in Malaya. Training was left to formation commanders who had an impossible task with their units widely dispersed and heavily occupied on labour tasks (defences, building works and the like). Making matters worse, training notes from the UK were written around the static warfare of 1914-18, not Malaya 1942. Yes, the UK training notes were eventually updated but those updates never made it through the (understaffed, inexperienced and generally incompetent) headquarters in Singapore.
Exceptions to the poor training were the AIF brigades and 12th Indian Bde. They were concentrated together (not dispersed) as formations and trained hard. 12 Brigade trained in jungle warfare near Mersing on the east coast. But no, there was no British jungle warfare school in Malaya, and the Australian training centre at Canungra was not established until late 1942. Read Woodburn Kirby, or numerous other accounts, for details of the training in Malaya.
but you already knew much of this Lightbob, as you wrote in the Surprising fall of Singapore thread on this website on 11 Aug 2010 at 0130
Singapore were prepared for with 1918 in mind and not for the modern battles of the forties Malaya as with every colony had been stripped of their best men and equipment. The study of fighting in primary and secondary jungle had not been studied by either side nor the Americans
Yes - I agree, the Japanese were helped along the way, though that support would wane in time. But no, they did not gift them 18,000 bicycles. Masanobu Tsuji (in Singapore the Japanese Version) devotes a chapter (35) to bicycles, and he makes it quite clear that most came from Japan, but spares were readily available in Malaya (much like Toyota spares today). The engineering feats of the Japanese army in Malaya are highly praised and acknowledged in almost every decent account of the campaign that's been written. No doubt they were helped, but I wouldn't over state it. It paled against the enormous help provided to the Japanese by retreating forces (British, Indian, Australian) in the way of stores and equipment (food, ammunition, vehicles, operating airfields, boats, radio transmitters etc).Who provided the INJ with 18,000 bicycles
Yes, but what a ridiculous conclusion by intelligence circles who would have to ignore a very long list of reasons why their air force was destroyed to start putting Heenan at the top of their list. I'm afraid these 'intelligence circles' you refer to sound very much to me as though they are suffering from a long term chronic guilt about their own performance in Malaya and would happily point to Heenan and anyone else with a slightly bad odour as a scapegoat to hide their own most serious of failures.Heenan ... is thought by many intelligence circles to have been the cause of the destruction of a large part of the Allied airforce
Most historians disregard Peter Elphick’s evidence against Heenan as circumstantial. (I am assuming you are relying on Elphick's book Odd Man Out as your source here.) There were many factors in the Alor Star raid that contributed to disaster, no early warning and no effective AA being the big two. And as Probert, in his 'The Forgotten Air Force' book, concludes on Heenan ‘little doubt he was a traitor; whether his activities had much effect in relation to all the other intelligence sources used by the Japanese is a very different matter’. Probert's conclusion is the same as most that I've read though not all agree that he was a traitor.
No they didn't. They went on to be prisoners of war, many to be used as slave labour. Wyett, by the way, gives a very fair and balanced account of his experiences and in no way limits his criticisms (and praises) to the British. Circumstances in all of the other theatres you quote here were vastly different to those in Malaya. The Far East was Britain's lowest priority, and that was reflected in nearly every aspect of the campaign.the same British soldiers that Wyatt criticises went on to defeat Rommel