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India and World War IIWar, Armed Forces, and Society, 1939–45$
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Kaushik Roy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199463534

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199463534.001.0001

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Disaster in Hong Kong, Malaya, and Singapore

Disaster in Hong Kong, Malaya, and Singapore


(p.234) 6 Disaster in Hong Kong, Malaya, and Singapore
India and World War II

Kaushik Roy

Oxford University Press

Several managerial and technical factors were responsible for the disaster at Malaya. The failure of the Indian troops was because they were preparing for the wrong war. They were trained for desert warfare when suddenly they had to confront jungle warfare techniques by the Nipponese soldiers in Malaya. Moreover, because of rapid expansion of the Indian Army, ‘milking’ of the various units and indiscriminate mixing of different ethnic communities within the regiments/battalions destroyed the coherence of the Indian units. It resulted in presence of raw recruits and absence of trained jawans and NCOs in the units. After every exodus of trained personnel, training had to start from scratch in each unit. This vicious cycle went on till the Japanese invaded Malaya. Inadequate anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons and shortage of aircraft debilitated the Commonwealth units against the Japanese advance. In Singapore, complete paralysis of command, control, communications, and intelligence occurred at the divisional, brigade, and even regimental levels. Deficiency in the latter sphere combined with bad generalship resulted in disintegration of the forces, culminating in final surrender at Singapore.

Keywords:   jungle warfare, Malaya, desert warfare, Nipponese soldiers, Commonwealth units, surrender at Singapore

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