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The Leadership of LT COL Anderson VC
This podcast looks at the moral and physical courage of LT COL Charles Anderson VC and his leadership in Malaya.
LT COL Charles Anderson was placed in a very difficult moral dilemma at Parit Sulong.
We look at his actions in WW1 in Africa and his Reserve service in the interwar period and how he comes to be the CO of the 2nd/19th Battalion.
We also briefly look at BRIG Maxwell, the previous CO of the 2nd/19th.
Check out the resources for this podcast, specifically the books by Farrell and Pratten.
The episode looks at the actions of LT COL Charles Anderson VC and his example of moral and physical courage. We look at the events around the engagement that the 2nd/29th fought and pick up the story with the 2nd/19th moving out to hold the ground at Bakri.
BRIG Herbert Duncan, Commander of the 45th Indian Infantry Brigade attempts to consolidate his position whilst under attack from the Japanese. Anderson’s counterattack sees the Japanese literally ‘running around in circles’. However, the Japanese are also moving to cut off the lines of retreat.
The Japanese 3rd Air Brigade starts attacking the retreating troops, striking the Brigade HQ and killing many of the staff, and wounding BRIG Duncan, making Anderson the commander of the BDE Column.
We look at Anderson’s retreat of 24km to Parit Sulong from Bakri. The column moves out at walking pace and meets the first Japanese roadblock just 1.5 km down the road. Anderson displays physical courage leading an assault on the roadblock.
BRIG Duncan leads a counterattack with the Jats, and is killed. Anderson discovers that the bridge at Parit Sulong is held by the Japanese. This leaves Anderson needing to clear the bridge to be able to cross the river and move closer to friendly lines.
The column is unable to clear the bridge, ammunition is low and casualties are mounting. He is left with the dilemma of what to do – surrender, attack again or leave the wounded and escape in small groups.
Overnight the Japanese attack with tanks and a deadly battle between the tanks, the artillery and tank hunting parties goes on through the night.
There were only 3 survivors of the massacre at Parit Sulong. What actions did Bennett take to rescue the column?
What is the role of the Battalion Commander? When should they personally lead attacks?
We look at the role of LT GEN Takuma Nishimura in the Parit Sulong massacre.
LT COL Anderson VC confided in the Medical Officer that he had never been so scared as during the retreat from Bakri, but it never showed to the men that he lead as he worked to save the column. This is the fine example of courage and leadership that he set and why he was awarded the VC for his actions.
Listen to the podcast to find out more details of LT COL Anderson VC and his moral and physical courage.