4 - Comparing Japanese and British Doctrine in Malaya | The Principles of War Podcast
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Allied Doctrine had seen little development between the war with significant budget cuts.  The Army was relegated to an Imperial policing role.  It is very Command and Control way of managing the battle and managing the troops.

We look at Sir John Dill and his visit to Tannenburg and his interpretation of ‘Mission Command’.

Malaya was a very laissez-faire appraoch from the British point of view, with some units preferring not to train in the jungle.

LT COL Ian Stewart from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.  He trained one of the best battalions in Malaya.  How was his training methodologies viewed at Malaya Command?

British Staff College focused on strategy, not on Brigade and Division Command, which meant that British officers struggled when commanding one up.

How did the 8th Division transition from the training for desert fighting once they landed in Malaya?

What was the thinking about Combined Arms and how was it trained for?

How did MAG GEN Gordon Bennett train the Division for the withdrawal and what where his thoughts on digging in?

How did the personalities of the individual Battalion Commanders impact each of their battalions.

The Japanese developed a Jungle Warfare in Taiwan to develop doctrine.  They also conducted 10 major exercises for amphibious operations.

The reliance on the bicycle enabled rapid movements of troops with very little logistics impact.

The difference between the Japanese and British highlighted the amount of recent modern warfare experience that each Army had been subjected to.

How did the road impact the thinking for each of the commanders?  How would it shape their actions and dispositions.

What is fighting for the road off the road and how did the British and Indian troops respond to this tactic?

How did the Japanese task organise for their upcoming offensive?

8th Division started from the ground up to develop their doctrine, which meant that there was still significant work to be done after first contact with the enemy.


LT COL Stewart

LT COL Stewart of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders on Exercise in Malaya.


Malaya jungle training

The conditions were arduous and the training hard. This is what made the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders one of the best battalions in the Malaya campaign.