Why Was Britain Defeated in Malaya?

Discussions on WW2 in the Pacific and the Sino-Japanese War.
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Two Litre
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Post by Two Litre » 15 May 2005 14:45

#3 Lack of air cover meant that the Allied army had to defend everywhere - ports, airfields, the width of the peninsula. The Japanese could then focus their attack at one point. The Japanese used this concentration of force to great advantage throughout the campaign. Consider that in the first 6 weeks of the campaign the Japanese took out 1 Indian brigade after another, 1 at a time. They did this with 3 divisions and a tank brigade. It was also the way they crossed into Singapore. The attack focused on 1 sector, with all units crossing into Singapore at that point.

Michael [or anyone] can you confirm whos fault it was that the Japanese were able to land in this sector? I have read that the Australians in this sector were not following up the gaps where the Japanese had landed, and that eventually, due to ammo shortage or Oz command, withdrew completely, leaving the brief success of the British artillery against tanks in its sector, worthless.

According to US author David Lippman the allies were not at all ready in south west pacific:

Contrary to belief, the Japanese Zero fighter is faster, more maneuverable, and better armed than the Brewster Buffalo, or any other Allied fighter in the Pacific. Incredibly, a full set of plans for the Zero were passed by Americans in China to the United States before the war, but were ignored. However, the Zero has one fatal flaw...no armor, which means that if even a mediocre pilot can get in a shot, the Zero will go down.

More importantly, Japanese equipment is far superior than believed. The Arisaka rifle can pick off a target 1,000 yards away. The Zero has already proved its value in air combat. The Nell and Betty torpedo bombers prove to be outstanding machines. Japanese warships' lookouts have night vision that outranges American radar. Their ships, including heavy cruisers, carry the Type 95 "Long Lance" torpedo, that cuts the waves at 49 knots.

By comparison, the Allied forces are hopelessly unprepared. Filipino troops lack steel helmets, entrenching tools, blankets, and helmets. Many wear cardboard sneakers instead of boots. Mortars are 25 years old, 70 percent of their shells defective. The 194th Tank Battalion of the Texas National Guard, sent to the Philippines, isn't given 37mm ammunition for its tanks until the Japanese are on top of them.

The British in Malaya don't have a single tank. Many troops have never seen one. Aside from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, most British troops are untrained and ill-equipped for jungle warfare. Lacking anti-tank weapons, the British troops hurl whiskey bottles full of explosives at Japanese T97 tanks. Allied equipment is generally inferior to Japanese gear. American Mark 14 torpedoes, tested in Long Island Sound, fail to explode even on point-blank direct hits. American cruisers don't carry torpedoes, but are full of wooden furniture and fittings, highly flammable. American airpower in the Philippines includes ancient P-26 open cockpit fighters, while the British in Malaya still operate Vildebeeste biplanes as bombers.


Edited: Just to add Percival surrendered the majority of the force rather than withdraw into the town and have the Singaporeans harmed.

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Michael Emrys
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Post by Michael Emrys » 16 May 2005 03:43

Harri wrote:
Juha Tompuri wrote:
Harri wrote: What kind of land based planes British have? Gloster Gladiators or Hawker Hurricanes?
FAR better. Brewster Buffaloes
:lol: I didn't remember that but managed to find that same piece of information from another thread. So, what kind of problem British actually had? They had one of the best fighters of those days :D and only a handful of Zeros against them. Brewster had a very long up to four hour range because it was a naval fighter. It was also effective against bombers because of its 12.7 mm HMGs. The number of British planes was about the same as of Finnish Air Force during the Winter War but Japanese didn't have nearly as much planes than Soviets.
But on the other hand, the British didn't have Finnish pilots to fly them.

:cry: :wink:

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Post by Michael Emrys » 16 May 2005 03:51

One footnote to add to this discussion. Many years ago, I read a memoir by a British RN verteran. At one point in either 1940 or early 1941 he was as a lieutenant stationed in Singapore and was given a curious assignment for a naval man. He was to take a small group of men and do a kind of reconnaisance of the Malay Penninsula to see how quickly it was possible to travel through the jungles. Maybe they gave the job to a navy man in hopes that he would be awful at it. But as it turned out, he and his men, traveling just as the Japanese were to do some months later, covered the distance at a pretty good clip. His report was filed on a dusty shelf, presumably forgotten as soon as was decorous, and himself reassigned.

The point he was making in his memoir was that in his opinion, the high command had no good excuse for being surprised at the Japanese rate of advance, since he had matched it earlier.

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Post by Michael Tapner » 16 May 2005 12:30

Allied Aircraft ni Singapore/Malaya as at 7th December 1941 - 1st line aircraft only:
Catalina (flying boat): 6
Vilodebeeste (very old torpedo bomber): 24
Buffalo (fighter): 62
Blenheim IV (Bomber): 16
Blenheim I (Bomber): 19
Hudson (Recon/Bomber): 24
Blenheim I (Night fighter): 12

As reserve aircraft they had a motley collection of buffalos, wirraways and Blenheim bombers.

By comparison the Japanese had a little over 100 Navy aircraft, predominantly Nell's and Betty's with about 24 Zero fighters.
Army aircraft amounted to over 300: Even mix of fighters (Nates and Oscars) and bombers (all sorts)

The British received susbstantial air reinforcements, that began arriving 6 weeks into the campaign, but it was by then too late. Hurricanes, Albacores and additional Hudsons arrived, but by the time they wer bought up to operational levels, the forward airfields had been overrun and Malaya all but lost.

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Post by Michael Tapner » 16 May 2005 13:58

Two litre, I presume you are talking about the landing in Singpore?

If you look at the inset map of Singapore 4 or 5 posts earlier by David, it will show the Japanese landing on the NW coast of Singapore with the Guards, 5th and 18th divisions. The Australian division, of just two brigades was holding the sector from just east of the bridge over the Johore straits all the way around to the Pasir Laba Fort. 7 battalions (6 Inf + 1 MG) holding a front that long against 3 divisions is not going to last long, no matter who is defending.
Efforts were made to hold the flanks and try and contain the movements by making fresh ad-hoc units (A Malayan battalion, some Australian battalions and some depleted Indian battalions).
In this sense it was nobodies fault - it was more an issue of sound tactics by the Japanese. Hit an enemy where they are weakest. The forces opposing them could remain in place, cut off, or they could withdraw in order to try and hold a line and keep supply lines open.

David Lippman is a most excellent author, he writes well and very succinctly. His comments there are an excellent summary of the state of play of the Allied forces across Asia in December 1941. There were pockets of elite units (ground/air/ships) amongst the Allies but there were also larger pockets of mediocrity.

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Post by John W » 16 May 2005 19:41

Juha Tompuri wrote:
Harri wrote: What kind of land based planes British have? Gloster Gladiators or Hawker Hurricanes?
:) :) :)
FAR better.
Brewster Buffaloes
:) :) :)

Regards, Juha
Harri and Juha,

I remember you had this conversation ages ago (wasn't it with Caldric?) but I doubt you'll ever convince an American pilot that the Brewster Buffalo was anything but it's grim epithet - "the Flying Coffin".

Now ask them about a Wildcat .... ;)


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Post by Juha Tompuri » 16 May 2005 22:20

Hi John :)
John W wrote: Harri and Juha,

I remember you had this conversation ages ago (wasn't it with Caldric?)
:) Yes, you remember right, he was one of them/us http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 35&start=0
but I doubt you'll ever convince an American pilot that the Brewster Buffalo was anything but it's grim epithet - "the Flying Coffin".

Now ask them about a Wildcat .... ;)

Regards, Juha

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Post by Harri » 16 May 2005 22:28

If it was not yet noticed we were just joking, and at least I thought someone would remember our earlier discussion. :lol:

Anyway 62 Brewsters sound a meaningful force to me. Finnish Air Force had 42 (two were lost before summer 1941) older Brewsters in its disposal and they alone shot down 135 Soviet aircraft in 1941 (two Brewsters were lost in accidents).

From Juha's last link:
"...it all depended on who was in the pilot's seat..."
Fast Hawker Hurricane was rated very clumsy plane by Finnish Brewster pilot and ace Capt. Hasse Wind (75 kills / 302 combat missions). He said that it was the easiest to shoot down of all planes Soviets used. So, I don't think Hurrricane would have been any better against Zero. The question remains: why there were no Spitfires then? The Battle of Britain was over by then and there would have been time to move at least one squadron to Singapore or re-equip one local squadron. How many airfields there were?

I have always wondered one thing: how agile and good plane Zero actually was because it was also rather fast. Usually these are opposite figures. For example Messerschmitt Bf 109 was a very clumsy plane compared to Brewster and Curtiss Hawk 75A (Curtiss P-36) which were agile planes. Only Soviet I-153 fighter was more agile. If we forget the pilots' part either Zero really was that good or its characters have been overrated by someone:
1. Was Zero much better armed than Brewster? I don't think so. Brewster's weapons had superb reliability with wide ammunition variety.
2. Was Zero actually much more agile than Brewster? How much faster Zero was?
3. What kind of diving characters Zero had? Brewster was a very sturdy plane which could outdive all lighter fighters. I think the construction of Zero was "light".
4. Zero was unarmoured while Brewster was well protected - a clear advantage.

How British pilots were trained to meet Japanese pilots? Was their tactics correct against Japanese planes? How about other Japanese fighters? I think they were not as good as Zeros?
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Two Litre
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Post by Two Litre » 16 May 2005 23:40

Ur forgetting that the Russians suck. they weren't in any shape for the invasion of Finland. everyone has had the Russians, inc the British in the Crimea inflicting heavy casualties against heavy odds.

at least in the west pacific the Japanese were indoctrinated with a superiority complex - the same as the Germans, which goes a long way to getting mastery over your opponents:

Greek mercenary Xenophon wrote 4th cen B.C

Neither numbers nor strength bring victory in war; but whichever army goes into battle stronger in soul. their enemies generally cannot withstand them.

(to discount the above would be foolish)
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Post by ckleisch » 16 May 2005 23:58

In this campaign which was similar to the German Blitzkrieg the Imperial Amy had more mobility than that of the British. Quantities of two tanks were used to streak along the highways and pin-down the foot troops of their enemy. In a normal environment these tanks could not stand up to the Russians or Western units. But the British had few modern tanks in this theatre. For, this they paid a big price in mobility.

After the idea of a heavy tank was dropped in the thirties, Japan started the developement of a medium tank. The Chi-Ha, initially considered too costly, was prefered after that the outbreak of the war against China had put aside budgetary considerations.
Well-adapted for a war against China, it proved to be quite inadequate against the Western or Russian tanks developed during the war. It remained the Japanse standard tank during the whole war.
Identification: The four road-wheels in two bogies and two road-wheels suspended independantly
Built by Mitsubishi Jukogyo Kabushiki Kaisha
Superior(s): Japanese Medium Tanks

Type: Light tank Nationality: Japan
the Far-East and the Pacific area. Despite its failings (lack of protection, insufficient gun, ...) its mobility made it The Japanese tank with the highest production number. It took part in the all campaign in popular with its crews. It stayed in production until 1943, long after better tanks had been produced.
(This tank is sometimes referred to as the Kyugo which means 95 in Japanese)
Identification: Much larger than the tankette Te-Ke, it had not the trailing idler of the tankettes. The Type 98 Ke-Ni is very similar, but it had a third bogie, while the Ha-Go had only two.
Built by Mitsubishi Jukogyo Kabushiki Kaisha
Other designation(s): Type 95 Light Tank, Kyugo
Superior(s): Japanese Light Tanks
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Post by Michael Emrys » 17 May 2005 04:45

Harri wrote:I have always wondered one thing: how agile and good plane Zero actually was because it was also rather fast. Usually these are opposite figures.
Only indirectly. The real determinants of agility are a bit more complex, but the most important is the ratio of weight to wing area. And the Zero was really light for its generation of fighter and for its speed. Lots of horsepower is also good for many maneuvers.
If we forget the pilots' part either Zero really was that good or its characters have been overrated by someone:
Both really. It was very good in some ways, but it also had its vulnerabilities, as did its pilots. Once these were understood by Allied air forces and their tactics adjusted to exploit them, the Zeros began losing ground rapidly.
1. Was Zero much better armed than Brewster?
Not really, I don't think. The Zero carried two 7.7mm MGs and two 20mm cannon. The cannon were low velocity and had very limited ammunition, so the Zero pilots usually didn't fire them until they were close in and already scoring hits with the MGs.

The Buff had four .50 caliber MGs, which would have been more effective in fighter to fighter combat.
2. Was Zero actually much more agile than Brewster?
I expect so, based on their respective reputations. The two planes had the same weight and horsepower available, but though I don't at present have any numbers, I suspect the Zero had significantly more wing area. Another factor that effects agility is the lightness and effectiveness of the controls, and below 200 mph the Zero is reported to be excellent in that regard.
How much faster Zero was?
About 30 mph.
3. What kind of diving characters Zero had? Brewster was a very sturdy plane which could outdive all lighter fighters. I think the construction of Zero was "light".
As already mentioned, the two planes weighed about the same.

The biggest handicap of the Zero is that its controls tended to stiffen up at speeds above 200 mph, especially the ailerons. Once Allied pilots learned of this, the obvious tactic was to use "boom and zoom". Accept combat only when you have a speed and altitude advantage. Dive on the target, making one firing run, then continue diving. If a Zero tries to follow you into the dive, roll. He can't follow that maneuver because his ailerons will be too stiff. Then once you have opened some distance, climb back up to altitude and repeat.

As long as they fought that way, the Allied pilots could maintain very favorable kill ratios. If they tried to hang around and dogfight, they threw away their advantage because usually the Zero could out turn and out climb them.
4. Zero was unarmoured while Brewster was well protected - a clear advantage.
I am doubtful that the early models of the Buffalo that were present in the Pacific were as heavily armored as the ones that Finland used. But yes, the Zero was very fragile. This was a consequence not only of a lack of armor and self-sealing fuel tanks. Throughout the structure of the Zero, robustness and redundancy had been sacrificed to get performance, maneuverabilitiy, and truly extraordinary range. This meant that a few hits from .50 caliber would cause them to literally explode, whereas most Western fighters could take many hits from the 7.7mm and even a few of 20mm and still bring their pilots home.
How British pilots were trained to meet Japanese pilots?
They were accustomed to dogfighting on at least equal terms with their adversaries. That would not work against the Japanese fighters.
Was their tactics correct against Japanese planes?
No. Like the Americans, whenever they tried to engage in turning fights, they lost.
How about other Japanese fighters? I think they were not as good as Zeros?
Depends on which ones we are talking about. The Zero was probably the best of the early war fighters, but by the end of 1942, it was already being marginalized. The Allies had long since figured out how to combat it and were no longer losing heavily against it. Newer models were appearing on the Allied line up that completely outclassed it. And about 1944, the Japanese began producing newer models too that were faster, more heavily armed and armored, etc. The problem was that they had a lot of trouble getting these into production and they were never available in sufficient numbers to turn the tide of war, so the Zero soldiered on until the end.

Also significant was the fact that the Japanese were not set up to produce the quantities of replacement pilots they would need for a long war and still maintain their standards. A lot of the new pilots died on their first mission, and the veterans were being used up. Even the best planes will not do well if the pilots are not adequate.

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Post by Jon G. » 17 May 2005 04:54

The Malayan campaign was chiefly a Japanese Army operation. Given the enmity between the Japanese army and navy, and given that a total of 24 Zeros as opposed to many more Oscars and Nates were available for the campaign according to Michael Tapner's post, above, wouldn't it be more relevant to compare the Buffalo with the Oscar? What would a comparison of pilot quality between Japanese army and British/Commonwealth airmen look like?

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Post by David Thompson » 18 May 2005 01:11

From a 1942 US Army publication, Notes on Japanese Warfare on the Malayan Front:






Washington, January 9, 1942
MID 461


The information contained in this series of bulletins will be restricted to items from official sources which are reasonably confirmed.

This document is being given an approved distribution, and no additional copies are available in the Military Intelligence Division. For provisions governing its reproduction, see Letter TAG 350.05 (9-19-40) M-B-M.



The information in this bulletin, other than photographs and descriptions of weapons, has been extracted from reports submitted by American official observers with Allied Forces now engaging the Japanese in the Far East. The photographs are reproduced from an album recently published by the Tokyo Asahi ("Rising Sun") one of the leading vernacular newspapers in Japan, showing Japanese troops in their operations against the Chinese. These photographs should be accepted with reserve, because they were published as propaganda.

Nevertheless, they give a general idea of the Japanese soldier's equipment and his methods of warfare. In order that our troops may familiarize themselves with the appearance of their enemy, it is suggested that these photographs, which are themselves not classified as Restricted, might be removed and placed on bulletin boards.



Section Page












a. The Japanese use roads until contact is established with hostile forces. Then, avoiding frontal attack, they make, wherever possible, flanking movements through the Jungle and the rubber plantations.

The Japanese also make expert use of small craft, including launches and landing boats, in carrying out flanking movements by river or along the coast.

b. Japanese companies advance behind one and two-man patrols which are armed with submachine guns. When the patrols are fired upon, they do not stop, but maneuver around the flanks and infiltrate deep into the British position toward their objective, attempting to reduce any opposition met.

c. If British units counterattack, Japanese advance parties permit them to pass through and then turn and deliver fire on the flanks and rear of the counterattacking troops.

d. The Japanese work their way through the Jungle with ease. They display considerable initiative, vigor, and physical stamina and patiently wait under cover to take advantage of an opportunity to advance.

e. The Japanese have used the following tactics:

(1) Orders are issued orally for attacks on specific objectives;

(2) Small tanks accompany infantry attacks;

(3) No type of terrain is considered an obstacle;

(4) Attacks are by aggressive infiltration, followed up by theforward elements of the supporting troops and determinedly pushed toward a successful conclusion;

(5) Front-line troops are equipped with submachine guns and light machine guns, thus providing a volume of fire that seems to indicate heavier armament than that actually possessed.

f. So far the Japanese have used mainly machine guns, submachine guns, mortars, and grenades, but not much artillery. They are, however, beginning to increase the use of artillery. Mortars and grenades especially have been very effective.

g. The British have come to the following conclusions in regard to


the tactics of the Japanese:

(1) A linear or static defense is ineffectual. To overcome such a disadvantage, the best system of defense would be self-contained combat posts as pivots of maneuver for an aggressive reserve. These self-contained posts would have all-round defense.

(2) The Japanese have unusual aptitude for overcoming terrain obstacles.

(3) After infiltrating to the flanks and to the rear of the opposing forces, the Japanese press home the assault with great determination.

h. Night Operations. The Japanese are reported to have been rafting troops down rivers at night.


a. Japanese bombers attack airdromes while their fighters draw R.A.F. fighters into combat. The bombers fly some distance from the field after the initial attack and wait until the R.A.F. fighters, because of lack of fuel, are compelled to land. Then the Japanese bombers return and attack the R.A.F. fighters before they can refuel and take to the air again. The R.A.F. is thus unable to intercept the bombers. Of course, the success of these tactics is made possible by the small number of R.A.F. fighters in the area.

b. Effective bombing of objectives around the edges of airdromes, sparing the runways, has been accomplished because the Japanese bombers have been confronted with little opposition. When the leader in the formation signals, all the planes in the formation release bombs simultaneously. Airdrome strafing is the main activity of the Japanese fighter planes.


a. Small flare bombs in strings of six to eight are being dropped by some Japanese planes. These flares have a percussion-striker explosive charge in the nose; and when they burst on impact, they give off a flash and cloud of smoke. On the ground they leave a brown stain.

b. Japanese planes attack communications, and trucks left exposed during daylight hours have been destroyed.

4. ANTITANK DEFENSE. The British have found it difficult to maintain tank obstructions on the roads, because the Japanese steadily harass


the British flanks by infiltration. Tanks are employed with tactics similar to those used by the infantry, as described in Section 1.


a. Anti-personnel Air Bomb. This bomb has a relatively ineffective shrapnel load encased in lead.

b. Individual Equipment

(1) Only a minimum of equipment is carried in addition to arms and ammunition, and this is generally very light.

(2) Rubber belts which can be blown up for crossing rivers are a part of the equipment.

(3) Dress is often varied and non-military. At night, commanders wear crossed or single white sashes; N.C.O.'s, white arm bands.

c. Small Arms. The regular bullet used in the rifle and in the light and heavy machine guns is a 6.5-mm. pointed Spitzer-type nickel-steel-coated lead projectile which leaves a small wound. The 6.5-mm. bullet is approximately .25 caliber.

d. Grenades and Submachine Guns. Among the light equipment are many grenades and a large proportion of submachine guns. See figure for a group of grenade throwers. The following description of the Heavy Grenade Thrower, Model 89, is taken from the Japanese Handbook (WDTM 30-480, May 14, 1941), pages 79-80:

Weight (total) ----------10.5 lbs.
Length --------------20 in.
Length of tube ----------10 in.
Caliber--------------50 mm. (about 2 in.)
Ammunition used----------Model 89 shell

Time-fuze hand grenade
Signal grenade
Smoke grenade
Practice grenade

Range for model 89 shell -----140 to 700 yds.
Range for other ammunition ----40 to 200 yds.
Signal, vertical ---------100 yds.
Time of fuze -----------7.5 sec. after discharge or on impact

Rate of fire -----------One man--10 shots per min.
two men--20 shots per min.
Effective area of burst,
model 89 shell ---------50-yd. radius
Time-fuze hand grenade ------25-yd. radius


e. Machine Guns

(1) Light Machine Gun. Figure 2 shows the Nambu Light Machine Gun, Model 1922. The following description of this weapon is taken from the Japanese Handbook, pages 76-77:

(a)The Nambu Light Machine Gun, Model 1922, is a gas-operated, air-cooled, hopper-fed gun with a bipod support permanently fixed to the piece near the muzzle. It is normally fired from the prone position at ground targets. The hopper has a capacity of 30 rounds, which are loaded by placing in the hopper, one on top of the other, six 5-round clips of rifle ammunition. These are forced into the feed mechanism by a follower pressing down from above. The principal measurements and characteristics of this gun are as follows:

Weight --------------22.44 lbs.
Length, over-all ---------43.5 in.
Caliber -------------0.256 in. (6.5 mm.)
Rifling--------------4 grooves, right twist
Rear sight ------------Graduated from 328 to
1,640 yds.; no windage or drift corrector
Muzzle velocity----------2,375 ft. per sec.
Maximum range-----------4,374.4 yds.
Cyclic rate of fire--------500 rds. per min.
Effective rate of fire ------150 rds. per min. in bursts of five

(b) Although the light machine gun is usually fired from the prone position supported by its bipod mount, a tripod mount, model 1922, is carried by the gun squad for use as desired. When the legs are fully extended and the tripod is raised to its maximum serviceable elevation, the gun is about 4 feet from the ground. The tripod contains both traversing and elevating devices, but when the piece is to be used against aircraft, the elevating device is unfastened so that the weapon may be moved freely, both vertically and horizontally. When the piece is mounted on this tripod, the legs of the bipod are folded back along the barrel. The weapon is essentially a machine rifle when the bipod is used and a light machine gun when mounted on the new tripod.

(2) Heavy Machine Gun. Heavy Machine Gun, Model 92 (1932) (figure 3), is an improvement on Heavy Machine Gun, Model 3 (1914) (figure 4), which is described in the Japanese Handbook, page 77. Model 92 is now in general use in the cavalry and infantry arms, though, it is estimated, not in sufficient quantity to equip the entire Japanese Army in a large-scale offensive. The description of Model 92 which follows is taken from a report of an official observer:


(a) Mount. The mount is geared for elevating, and a small hand-wheel on the front of the tripod connects with the elevating screw. At the end of each of the tripod legs are attachments allowing for the insertion of handles. The rear handle is U-shaped. These handles add greatly to the ease of manipulation, and are also utilized for antiaircraft fire. In the latter case the U-shaped bar becomes the supporting spade of the gun, and two soldiers elevate the muzzle by means of holding the front handles over their heads. Such a firing position for this comparatively heavy gun gives poor accuracy.

(b)Measurements and Characteristics:

Weight, gun--------61.6 lbs.
Weight, tripod ---------60.5 lbs.
Length of gun----------43 in.
Length of bore ----25 in.
Caliber-------------0.303 in. (7.7 mm.
Rifling-------------4 grooves, right twist, one turn in 20 cm.
Life of barrel ---------40,000 rds. (approx.)
Traversing angle --------3600 of which approx. 350 on arc graduated in mils
Maximum angle of elevation ---110
Maximum angle of depression---150
Ground clearance of barrel:
Low firing position------14.4 in.
High firing position -----21.4 in.
Rear sight -----------Graduated from 300 to 2,700 m.; no correction for windage or drift
Cyclic rate of fire-------450 rds. per min.
Maximum effective rate of fire -About 200-250 rds. per min.
Muzzle velocity---------2,700 ft. per sec. (estimated)
Maximum range----------4,587 yds. (4,300 m.

The clip holds 30 rounds of ammunition and is inserted into the gun from the left side. These clips are made of pasteboard and are loaded at the factory, thus eliminating pre-loading preparation on the part of the gun crew. When not in firing position, the gun is covered with a leather case.

(c)Antiaircraft Adapter (figure 3). The gun is equipped with an antiaircraft adapter, which is inserted between the gun proper and the tripod elevating screw. This adapter allows a maximum angle of 80 degrees and a vertical range of 1,000 meters. It requires less than a minute for an experienced crew to attach this adapter to the gun. A brace attached from the adapter to the gun is telescopic and


allows the gun to be held firmly at any desired elevation. The high elevated sight is detachable and is used only when the gun is operated as an antiaircraft weapon. When the sight and the adapter are not in use, they are carried in a canvas-covered case slung over the back of one of the ammunition carriers.

f. Mortars. The Japanese have at least four experimental mortars.

Figure 5 shows the 90-mm. Mortar, Model 94. Its characteristics have been reported as follows:

Maximum range----------4,155 yds.
Minimum range----------612 yds.
Weight of bomb ---------11 lbs. 10 ozs. (with chemical filling)
Total weight in action -----350 lbs. 8 ozs.

A mortar projectile of unknown caliber has been reported to have small blasting effect

g. Infantry Battalion Gun. The Japanese have another weapon which combines the lightness and portability of the mortar with the stability of a field gun. This weapon is called the Infantry Battalion Gun, Model 92, and is shown in figure 6. Figure 7 shows the same model with a redesigned carriage. Because of the weakness of the crank-shaped axle, it is presumed that the newer models have straight axles and so mount the gun higher. The following description of this weapon is taken from the Japanese Handbook, pages 82-83:

(1) General. The Infantry Battalion Gun, Model 92, is a 70-mm. rifled gun capable of delivering fire from a range of 200 to 2,800 yards. Its characteristics are-

Gun----------------101 lbs.
Mount--------------77 lbs.
Mounted gun and caisson-------420 lbs.
Length of bore ------------50 in. (approx.
Over-all length------------27 in.
Mounted over-all length--------5 ft. (approx.
Width of wheel tread ---------27 in. (approx.
Effective range------------300 to 1,500 yds.
Traverse ---------------45°
Elevation----------------100 to +500
Danger area of burst ---------40 yds. (approx.

(2) Breechblock. Two threaded segments. rotating and opening downward.


(3) Carriage

(a) Recoil Mechanism. Length of recoil, about 4 inches.

(b) Traversing and Elevating Mechanism. Traversing handwheel on the left of the barrel and elevating handwheel on the right. Both handwheels are operated by the gunner, who lays first for direction, then for elevation. Elevating mechanism is similar to that of our old pack howitzer. Traverse is about a heavy pintle mounted on the axle.

(c) Shield. Armor plate about one-eighth of an inch thick.

(d) Trail. Split.5 feet long, welded except where riveted to spade.

(e) Panoramic Sight (same as field artillery). Mounted on the sight bracket on the left side of the piece. The sight bracket includes a range drum with four divisions marked in mils, an elevating bubble, and a cross bubble for correcting for difference in level of wheels.

(4)Ammunition. Semifixed with brass case. High explosive shrapnel and smoke shells are used. The range is extended by increasing the powder charge. At maximum range the time of flight for the different powder charges is-

Charge No. 1 ----------50 sec. (3,075 yds.)
Charge No. 2 ----------25 sec. (1,975 yds.)
Charge No. 3----------20 sec. (1,300 yds.)
Charge No. 4 ----------15 sec. (985 yds.)

Minimum permissible ranges with instantaneous fuzes employing low- angle fire varies with the powder charge, elevation of gun, and target. With ground level ranges are-

Charge No. 1 ----------1,100 yds.
Charge No. 2 ----------660 yds.
Charge No. 3 ----------225 yds.
Charge No. 4 ----------110 yds.

Minimum ranges with delayed-action fuzes ground level are-

Charge No. 1 ----------660 yds.
Charge No. 2 ----------330 yds.
Charge No. 3 ----------330 yds.
Charge No. 4 ----------30 yds.


Rate of fire: 10 rounds per minute, 5 rounts per box.

(5) Other Vehicles

(a) Limber. This is a simple box mounted on an axle. Two boxes of ammunition, sights, and accessories are carried in the limber chest.

(b) Caisson. Similar in construction to the limber and contains three boxes of ammunition.


Figures 8 to 12 inclusive are included simply to show some methods used by small units in supplying ammunition, food, and water to the front lines. Of particular interest is the method employed by the Japanese soldier in transporting ammunition (figure 9). It will be noted that the ammunition boxes are carried as shoulder packs, leaving the arms free for negotiating difficult terrain and permitting greater freedom of action under fire. Figure 10 shows the preparation of simple food, and figure 11 shows a method of getting it forward over exposed terrain. This method is of interest, for it indicates that advance elements, even though they may be held to the ground by hostile fire, can still be fed by a simple process. What holds true for the supply of ammunition to small units also holds true for the supply of water, as large canteens strapped on the back of the soldier will be noted in figure 12.


a. According to a prisoner taken in northwestern Malaya, the Japanese landed without rations and got help from Fifth Columnists.

b. The Japanese are making wide use of propaganda leaflets dropped from the air.

c. Civilians dressed in the uniforms of British-Indian soldiers have operated with the Japanese. In some instances they oven know the British-Indian N.C.O.'s by name.


The following excerpts from an account by a war correspondent with the British Forces in Northern Malaya showing Japanese methods of warfare are included in this bulletin for informational purposes. The account has not been confirmed, but the reader can in some instances draw his own conclusions from the confirmed data contained in Sections


1 to 7 inclusive of this bulletin.

"Japanese successes have been attained through superiority of numbers and equipment and the use of clever but simple tactics especially adapted to the tropical lands. British officers at the front describe Japanese losses as 'enormous', but emphasize that the attackers keep pouring in, apparently determined to advance at any cost.

"The Japanese equipment includes one innovation, a two-man carrier, probably especially designed for use in the tropics. This little carrier can negotiate smaller streams, rice fields, rubber groves, and thin Jungles, but is not heavily enough armored to resist British antitank rifles. It is proving a useful weapon in combination with the heavier tanks and armored cars that the Japanese possess.

"The Japanese tactics are based on infiltration and mobility. Apparently groups of men are simply being told to reach a certain objective many miles ahead, and they scatter all over the map to do it.
When groups encounter a British strong point, they do not attack, but melt away and filter past along the flanks of the British position, concealing their movements in Jungles of rubber trees. The strong point is later attacked by strong Japanese forces armed with heavy equipment, and simultaneously the Japanese close in on the flanks and rear.

"Japanese advance patrols armed with tommy guns sometimes for days are constantly working toward an objective, often lying low in the dense undergrowth to conceal themselves from the British. A number of advance units are sent to attack the same objective, so that if some meet grief on the way, the others will slip through and gain the goal. The Japanese obviously have made an intimate study of their terrain and apparently know every road and path in Northern Malaya.

"The Japanese regulars have a unique uniform, consisting only of light khaki shorts, a sleeveless upper garment that looks like an undershirt, and low rubber shoes. The Japanese tactics are leading to a savage warfare of movement, ambush, surprise, and encirclement. An American military observer I met at the front said:

"'It is like Indians fighting with tommy guns.'

"The Japanese have air superiority in Northern Malaya, but so far they have not been using planes much at the actual front in bombing or strafing. The raids on British airdromes are bringing air battles in which the British, despite numerical inferiority, emerge victorious.


"British land forces are rapidly adapting themselves to the Japanese type of jungle fighting, and much of the struggle at the front now consists of patrols stalking patrols, infiltration and counter-infiltration, intermingled with hard battles for strong points in which artillery is brought into use. ..

"British officers have been in the thick of close-in fighting, and I heard many stories of officers leading Indian units in savage charges." (By F. Tillman Durdin, New York Times, December 18, 1941)


Box 1554 Steele Hall
Fort Knox, Kentucky

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Two Litre
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Post by Two Litre » 18 May 2005 13:19

The Japanese War Memorial at Tebong remembers 30,000 men who died in the Malaya campaign and 25,000 who died in Singapore.

So what was the total strength of Axis and Allied during these two battles? It seems to conflict with Churchill's statement that 30,000 Japanese (or whatever he said) were fighting at Singpaore.

David Thompson
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Post by David Thompson » 18 May 2005 14:23

Two Litre -- See Malaya Campaign 1941-1942

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