The Principles of War Podcast
8 Concentration of Force in the Malaya Campaign
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8 – Concentration of Force in the Malaya Campaign


Malaya was a secondary effort of secondary effort for both the British and the Japanese – so how does Concentration of Force work for secondary efforts?

This is Part 8 in our 17 part podcast series on the Malaya Campaign.

Force Z was HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse. A force too small to affect the outcome, but too large to lose.  How did Admiral Tom Phillips plan to interdict the Japanese landing forces?  What is the role of the naval LO?  Why did CAPT Tennant disobey orders about radio silence?

1 Squadron RAAF conducted the first air strike against the Japanese in WW2, but the RAAF support for Force Z was too little, too late.  We look at the reasons for the lack of coordination between the RAAF and the RN.

Churchill described this as the most direct shock that he had ever received after Force Z was sunk.  Force Z were the first capital ships sunk by air power alone, this is a great example of technological surprise.

The Japanese create a turbulent and rapidly deteriorating situation – how did this impact the British decision making?

The IJA stacked the deck for the invasion in with aircraft.  More aircraft and aircraft that were better with better pilots – this helped swing the balance for the Japanese.

The force ratios for the Japanese were very low.  They never achieved overwhelmingly combat power, but they achieved overwhelming success.

They had 11 Divisions for their land operations across the Pacific AO.  How did Yamashita entirely pay off Concentration of Force and still succeed?

Leadership, training, doctrine, planning, morale, combined arms and audacity.  Do this and pay off Concentration of Force at your leisure.

Read this alone and the war can be won” was the book that built the moral case for the offensive and covered the tactics that would lead to victory.  It was written by COL Masanobu Tsuji, the Chief of operations and Planning for the 25th Army.

Listen to the podcast on your favourite podcast player to learn the answers to these questions and more.

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