The Principles of War Podcast
9 Economy of Effort and Cooperation in the Malaya Campaign

9 – Economy of Effort and Cooperation in the Malaya Campaign

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Malaya and Economy of Effort

We look at the definition and how the Japanese and Allies applied this principle.  For the Allies there was too much economy and not enough effort.

There wasn’t enough resources available to prepare the defences so Allied troops spent a lot of time digging in rather than training.  The Royal Navy, Air Force and Army all allocated insufficient resources to be able to achieve the mission.

There was a lot of economy of effort in the hope that the US would be able to assist in the defence of Singapore.

By the time the perilous situation was realised, it was too late to reinforce before Singapore fell.

Synchronisation and Orchestration are implicit in cooperation, so where did the wheels fall off the wagon?

It is every commanders job to work towards cooperation, building harmonious relationships between agencies.

The base building program for the RAF was kept from the Army.

The British provided no strategic guidance provide by higher in London.  Brooke Popham was the first Air Force commander of a Joint Command.  How did he do?

The defence often gives the defender the ability to choice the ground that they will fight on.  Percival lost that right because the locations was dictated by the location.

We look at Brig Ivan Simpson, the CRE for Malaya Command.  He was energetic, thoughtful and planned extensive defensive works to slow the Japanese advance.  His work was largely ignored for a range of reasons.

A lack of training and understanding of the work that engineers do was replicated with other Corps.  There was little understanding of the employment of Artillery, Signals was understood poorly.  There was very little combined arms training.  Artillery was employed by Bn COs, often in the wrong place, meaning that the troops did not receive the support that they needed.




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