The Principles of War Podcast

17 – Malaya Campaign After Action Review Part II

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We look at the remaining principles of Manoeuvre Warfare in the conduct of the Malaya Campaign.

Percival attempted to be strong everywhere and was never able to generate enough combat power to slow the Japanese.

We look at the loss of Force Z and how it decreased the Allied ability to influence the war at sea and the sea lines of communication.  The loss of Force Z created an exponentially deteriorating situation which denied the Allies the time required to

Deception was not really used well.  The Allies were quite good at signalling their intentions and movements to the Japanese.

Recon Pull was well used by the Japanese with their recon in force.  Success was reinforced and any slow down lead to a flanking manoeuvre, either by land or by sea.

Combined Arms Teams – why weren’t the Allies able to use their combined arms teams to defeat the light Japanese infantry and light tanks?  We look at what was lacking.  The story of LT Russell ‘Bill’ McCure highlights the lack of training in the use of artillery for the Battalion COs.  Employing the guns worked very effectively when the Allies were able to do it, but sadly, this happened to infrequently.

We look at some of issues that lead to the erosion of trust within the Allied battalions.

Operational Tempo – the Japanese were able to rotate troops through the front line and bring them out to rest.  Some of the Allied COs were sent to hospital with sleep deprivation.  This highlights the difference between the Allies and the Japanese.

Application of joint fires and effects – The Japanese did a better job than the Allies, however the Japanese didn’t fully exploit their advantage that they had with regard to air superiority.

What could have made a difference in the Malaya Campaign?

Yamashita had culminated just prior to the Allied surrender of Singapore.  What would have made a difference in the conduct of the defence?

The allocation of resources?  More fighters (with trained pilots) and tanks.  Tanks!

Ensuring that Allied supplies did not fall into the hands of the Japanese.  Too many trucks, POL installations, rations, and ammunition fell into the hands of the Japanese.

We look at the moral implications in the campaign.

Lastly, we discuss the training and leadership of the Allies.

Check out the show notes for the podcast for images and more details for this and other podcast episodes.



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