The Principles of War Podcast
6 Dithering and Offensive Action in the Malaya Campaign
MalayaOffensive ActionPodcast

6 – Dithering and Offensive Action in the Malaya Campaign

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We look at the dithering that occurred in the British Malaya Command.

We look at Operation Matador and how centralised control lead to delays and an inability to execute on an offensive defence that was planned.

How do you think a Combat Team assault would go against a prepared Divisional defensive position?  We find out as we look at the Battle of Jitra.

The application of manouevre requires:

  • Combat Arms Teams
  • Orchestration
  • Focus all actions on the Centre of Gravity.

How does all of this relate to the Japanese conduct of their offensive.

We look at the Japanese driving charge and how it harnessed offensive action.  At the tactical level, this looks like the filleting attack whereby tanks fight through the defensive positions on the road and push through into the rear of the defense.

The driving charge along with poor British training and decision making enabled Yamashita to attack with a 1:3 numerical inferiority and win.  The strategic and tactical operational tempo created an OODA loop that was much tighter than that of the British.

The defence of Jitra was unprepared for the Japanese assault.  How long did they have to prepare their defences?

We look at the Saeki Detachment, their training, their tactics and their success at Jitra.  The Japanese win the Battle of Jitra and win 3 months of ammunition and 300 trucks.  75% of the Indian casualties are taken as prisoners of war.  Jitra saw 500 troops against 14,000 troops.

The British are able to defend successfully at the Battle of Kampar, only withdrawing after being forced to withdraw when the Japanese are able to threaten their Main Supply Route.

We look at Slim River, where the Allies had 500 KIA and 3,200 POW, and Japanese suffered 17 KIA and  60 wounded.  It was described as reckless and gallant determiniation.

LT COL Stewart admitted the position of BDE HQ was not very good and he should have used the artillery in an anti-tank roll, but he had never taken part in an exercise with an anti tank component.  He was surprised at the use of tanks on a road and at night.





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1 comment

Mark August 2, 2018 at 8:29 am

hi all….I have been researching my Pa’s story as he was in the 2/3rd MAC (C section, 8th division) and was attached to the 11th Indian division at the start of the Malayan campaign, involved in ‘Krochol’ but trying to find any information other than ‘Wikipedia’ is nigh impossible……any assistance would be gratefully accepted…


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