Battle of Kampar: In Defence of Malaya


September 4, 2010

Battle of Kampar: In Defence of Malaya

by Mr. Chye Kooi Loong PMP

Compiled and Published by Khalsa Diwan Malaysia

Dedicated in the memory and a Tribute to the brave men who sacrificed their lives for a cause.


The Malayan Campaign (1941 – 1942) fought by the British and Indian troops was a chain of disasters. The British, Indian and Gurkha regiments were under trained and under armed. The British has underestimated the Japanese invaders. They faced a superior well-trained Japanese army veterans who had fought in Manchuria in 1931 and the Sino Japanese war (1937 – 1945). The British, Indian and Gurkha regiments had no training in jungle warfare and some Indian regiments had hardly six months of training in the rugged cold and hot North West frontier of India.

In spite of such adverse conditions the defenders fought a gallant losing battle of “stand and retreat”. In Kedah, the 11th Indian division was badly mauled in Jitra and Gurun. The division lost men, equipment, food and arms as the Japanese tanks drove through the weak defenses. The 6th and 15th Indian Brigades had to be amalgamated as t he 6/15th Indian brigade because of heavy losses in men and arms. The 1st Leicester Regiment and the 2nd East Survey Regiment merged to form the one and only one British Battalion who won their honor and battle honours at the epic Battle of Kampar (30th of December 1941 to 2nd of January 1942). The 1/8th Punjab Regiment merged with the 2/9th Jat Regiment to form Jat/Punjab Regiment.

The men reached Ipoh on the 19th and 20th December 1941, where they were refitted with new weapons and equipment. Two days later the refitted 6/15th Indian Brigade moved to Kampar by train and road. Kampar was chosen by Lt. General  Arthur Percival, the G.O.C, Malaya Command to make ten days stand to hold the Japanese advance as the three low ridges just a mile north of Kampar town command the main road approach and also the railway line on the flat tin mining terrain was ideal ground for the British to utilize the superior British artillery.

The 28th Indian Brigade guarded the Kuala Dipang-Sahum road to the east of Gunong Bujang Melaka (4070ft). The 12thy Indian Brigade held the Jeram to Kuala Dipang iron bridge section (now a little up-stream of the present new brigade). There was heavy fighting on the 28th and 29th December 1941 for the vital Kuala Dipang iron bridge over Sungai Kampar.

The Japanese supported by 14 medium tanks made a frontal attack from Jeram and due to the lack of anti-tank guns ; the 12th Indian Brigade had no alternative but to withdraw. The 28th Indian Brigade withdrew to the Sungai Siput to Sahum road. When the rear of the 12th Indian Brigade crossed the Kuala Dipang iron bridge, it was blown up and due to the heavy rain, only the middle span was destroyed. The British artillery was ranged on the iron bridge and the Japanese were delayed for few hours. The defense of Kampar was left to the 6/15th Indian Brigade and the forward defense was held on the three low ridges north of Kampar. The defenders had only eighty days to dig trenches and artillery positions to face the powerful Japanese assault.

Luckily the Japanese tanks were held up by the damaged Kuala Dipang iron bridge and the five bridges further down the road to Kampar. The strong British artillery made up of the powerful 25 pounders and the mortars kept the Japanese from repairing the dynamited bridges. For the first time in the campaign, the British artillery bombardment frustrated the Japanese advance. During the daytime from 30th December 1941 to 2nd January 1942 the Japanese planes bombed and machine-gunned the British positions on the two forward ridges.

To the west of Kampar, 1/14th Punjab Regiment, 2/16th Punjab Regiment and 3/16th Punjab Regiment held the railway line from Malim Nawar to Tronoh Mines. This area now known as Bandar Baru was strongly covered by the British artillery of 25 pounders and howitzers (88th Field Regiment RA). To the east of Gunung Bujang Melaka (4070ft) was the 28th Indian Brigade of 2/1st, 2/2nd and 2/9th Gurkha Rifles supported by the strong 155 Field Regiment RA.

The main road defense position were covered by the British Battalion and 6/15th Brigade reserve the Jat/Punjab Regiment. From 30th to 31st December 1941the main defenses of the British Battalion were attacked by Japanese infantry and many Japanese died in their unsuccessful bonsai charges on the forward slope of Thompson Ridge. The eastern flank failed because the Japanese underestimated the tough fighting of the Gurkhas and many Japanese died when the gallant men from Nepal used  the deadly kukri with success. On the west the Japanese were caught in the heavy saturation bombardment of the 88th and 122nd Field Artillery RA. The Japanese were caught in the swamps and deep mining pools and many died by drowning.

Lt. General Matsui the Commanding Officer of the 5th Division from Hiroshima had to press the attack against the main road defenses of the British Battalion who withstood continuous bombing and strafing and mortaring from the Japanese units. On the 1st of January, 1942 the Japanese infantry had reserves and all units were replaced by fresh reinforcement.

The British and Indian defenders did not have reserves to replace the wounded and the tired defenders. The Japans pressure was telling on the tired and exhausted defenders of the British Battalion. They held on grimly and on the 2nd of January 1942 , the Japanese launched two strong assaults on the eastern flank of the British Battalion. Some eastern trenches were overrun and the Japanese were occupying the trenches. Two British reserve companies made two counter attacks to reoccupy the lost trenches. The British in spite of causalities retook the trenches and drove out the Japanese. Later in the afternoon the Japanese applied great pressure after heavy Japanese artillery bombardment, the British defenders had to give up as they were short of ammunitions and mounting causalities.

The Japanese occupied  the trenches . Brigadier Moorhead the Commanding Officer of the 6/15th Indian Brigade ordered the Jat/Punjab Regiment to counter charge to remove the Japanese on the east. The first Jat/Punjab Company suffered badly and had to give up. Later at about 5:00pm. Captain Graham assisted by Lt.Lamb led a company of Sikhs and Muslims to counter charge the Japanese postions.

Captain Graham  led his company up Greed Ridge and gave his final instructions. All men were given two drams of rum and then he ordered them to fix the 18 inch steel bayonets to the rifles. He led the group down the trench from Green Ridge. Captain Graham told his men that the attack must succeed and the honour of 1/8th Punjab Regiment depended on it. He wished them all the best and the counter charge up the rear of Thompson Ridge started.

Captain Graham and Lt. Lamb led their men to their desperate venture. From the very start, the brave attack was greeted by Japanese devastating fire and brave men fell like ninepins. Lt. Lamb was among the first to be killed in the hail of machine gun fire. However the second line inspired by Captain Graham’s example shouted their battle cries.

The bearded Sikh warriors yelled the blood curdling cry of “Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal”and the Mussulman shouted “Ya Ali”. The front line Japanese trenches were breached and close hand to hand combat with shining bayonets proved the tall Sikhs superior to the short Japanese. They continued their braved counter – charge like men possessed. Captain Graham was everywhere giving exhortation to his inspired men.

The Sikhs and Gujars succeeded in dislodging the second line of Japanese. Undeterred by heavy causalities Captain Graham by now wounded urged his men onwards to clear the third line . His gallant company was by now depleted in strength and weapons . He led his men for the final assault and before he reached the Japanese third line of trenches  a Japanese trench mortar bomb fell into the trench and blew off both his legs below the knees. Mortally wounded, Graham Sahib shouted encouragement to his few Sikhs and Gujars, kneeing on his shattered stumps and hurling grenades as the remnants of the 41st Japanese Regiment fled towards the jungle.

The third line was held when Graham collapsed and was carried back to Green Ridge first aid post. He was attended by Captain Doctor Roy of the British Battalions and sent by ambulance to the 11th Indian Division hospital at Tanjong Malim. He died from loss of blood a badly damaged kidney and liver. After Graham’s counter-attack Brigadier Moorhead and Lt. Col. Morrison of the British Battalion reported that the Kampar positions could not be held indefinitely as news of new Japanese west flank landings had occurred at Telok Anson and at Bagan Datoh to the South West of Kampar.

Indeed the epic four day Battle of Kampar was throughout a tribute to the endurance and valour of the 11th Indian Division after its heartbreaking experience in North Malaya. The Battle of Kampar where the British, Indian and Gurkha troops fought extremely well showed that untrained troops are at least the equal to the Japanese troops.

“ To the struggle which had been going on at Kampar from dawn to dusk on the 2nd of January 1942 it is difficult to do full justice. It is a classic example of what can be achieved by grit and determination and it brought out the finest characteristic of the various troops engaged. There were the enemies repeated attempts to gain possession of Thompson and Green Ridges commanding positions which would have enabled them to enfilade our positions on the lower ground. The attacks were made with all the well known bravery and disregard of danger of the Japanese soldiers. There was the dogged resistance, in spite of heavy losses by men of the British Battalions and their supporting artillery and finally when the enemy had captured a key position and the battalion reserves were exhausted, there were the traditional counter-charges by the men of Jat/Punjab Regiment. The final charge of the Sikhs and Gurkhar of the 1/8th Punjab Regiment. Through a tremendous barrage of trench mortars and machine gun fire. The gallant men went let by their Company Commander Captain John Graham, until he fell mortally wounded. Their cheering rose to a roar, “Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal” as they charged. The situation was completely restored buy only 30 men of this gallant company remained. The Battle of Kampar had proved our trained troops whether they were British or Indian, were superior man for men to the Japanese troops.

Lt. General Arthur Percival CB.DSO.OBE.MC. G.O.C Malaya Command 1941 – 1942

Location of The Battle of Kampar (Converted as a Memorial Graveyard)

39 thoughts on “Battle of Kampar: In Defence of Malaya

  1. Lest we forget, a lot of people died in the defence of our country. In trying to boost nationalism, we must remember those who contributed to the development and defence of our country and acknowledge that many people made sacrifices, not just Malays. This is my message to the leaders of PERKASA and other Malay nationalist group and Apanama Dia.–Din Merican

  2. Din

    In my younger days, my favorite books were Spencer Chapman’s The Jungle Is Neutral, and Noel’s Baber’s The War of the Running Dogs.

    It gives you a good insight of the people who gave their lives, and suffered for all Malayans. It is also interesting to note that during WWII, few Malays joined the cause to get rid of the Japanese invaders.

    It is also interesting that Chin Peng was the most trusted British ally in Malaya during the war. Spencer Chapman would not have made it through the war without Chin Peng. Spencer’s chapman’s exploits in the Malaysian jungle is legendary, he crossed the Banjaran Bintang with the help of Jakuns.

    It is good reading, and if I was the education minister, I would make it compulsory reading of our country’s history.

    But these are all forgotten people. While Chin Peng was later to be the bane of Malaya, one must not forget that he was the first to instigate the Brits for independence, even though for all the wrong reasons. I bet almost no one in our education system knows who Spencer Chapman is. A shame on our nation.

  3. Only officers of the ATM read this book as a Cadet way back in 78…the rest as rightfully said is HIS-sTORY !
    The winner writes the best STORIES, it is always that case!

  4. Sure Komando, Spencer did it for the British empire, but still we were to benefit from his knowledge of Chin Peng’s operations used by the Federated States of Malaya to combat the communists.

    For those who think it was too far back, then try reading Bruno Manser’s Voices from the rainforest. Here, it is the chinese in Sarawak looting the state forests and the beneficiary is Taib only so perhaps Komando will jump up and down.

  5. Komando, I doubt you read the book. The Jungle is Neutral. It has no winners or losers. It only describes the events. Some are quite horrifying.

    In the War of the Running Dogs, it also gives some historical account of how some of the chinese became rich. By beheading the heads of their leaders for millions of pounds. No Malay would have done that.

  6. Din Sorry, this has nothing to do with Kampar, but everything to do with the good of our nation. So bear with me:
    =======================

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Samling Owners Linked to ‘Epicenter’ of Sub-prime Crash
    US authorities asked to investigate the real estate dealings of the Yaw family in the United States

    MOUNTAIN HOUSE, CA, September 3, 2010, –/WORLD-WIRE/–. Yaw Teck Seng, the founder and controlling shareholder of Malaysian logging giant, Samling Global, and his son, Chee Siew Yaw, have been accused of being closely linked to Mountain House, a major new-town development in San Joaquin, California, currently labelled the ‘epicentre’ of the housing crash that led to the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the United States.

    According to Sarawak Report, Mountain House was developed by Trimark Communities LLC, a subsidiary of the Yaw-family-controlled Sunchase Holdings Inc. The project resulted in huge losses for numerous buyers and investors, including the California Public Employees Retirement Scheme (CalPERS), which is believed to have lost US $ 926 million in the project.

    Chee Siew Yaw, the former president of Sunchase and Trimark, had been involved in a number of massive land deals across the USA since the late 1980s, including a $2 billion land deal said to be “the largest real estate partnership ever formed with the US Government”. Yaw, who is currently living in Singapore, claims to have divested all his US interests before the sub-prime crash, a claim that is being questioned by Sarawak Report.

    Since the 1980s, Samling and other Yaw-family-owned logging groups have been involved in large-scale illegal logging in a number of countries, including Cambodia, Guyana, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. Last month, the Norwegian government exluded Samling from the Norwegian Government Pension Fund portfolio because of Samling’s responsibility for illegal logging and severe environmental damage in Malaysia and Guyana.

    It appears likely that the huge assets invested by the Yaw family in the US real estate sector originate from illegal logging and have not been properly taxed in the countries of origin. The Bruno Manser Fund is asking the US authorities to investigate the real estate and financial dealings of the Yaw family in the United States since the late 1980s and the precise link of the Yaws to the Mountain House crash.

    Sources:

    http://www.sarawakreport.org/

    http://www.mountainhouse.net/

    http://www.samling.com/

    For background information, please contact us:

    Bruno Manser Fund,
    Socinstrasse 37,
    4051 Basel, Switzerland

    http://www.bmf.ch/
    mailto:info@bmf.ch

  7. Every fine detail in the history of malaya is misrepresented one way or another. Putting right in official terms to all the numerous distorted facts and accounts of the nations past , future and present lies in the hands of truth seeking individuals. But the big question is , are there any around? And the bigger question will be , even if there are , will they be willing to forsake foolish pride and sentiments in order for precise details of the country’s past to take centrefold so that the present and future would be steered back to and on the right track where it rightfully belong?
    I certainly have reservations it’s forthcoming in the near future , not when sensible and able minded citizens the calibre of Din Merican remained confused over the dates of the formation of malaysian albeit it’s actual independence day…

  8. “Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal”

    Was this rallying cry the inspiration and how the word ‘malaysia boleh’ was derived, later to become the ‘land of the bole’ as a permanent fixture… Copyright is prohibited elsewhere but not in bolehland. Less wonder why the proton car engine was modelled after an out of date mistubishi automobile and medicative drugs that are supplied in govt hospitals are mainly manufactured in India. A country which does not recognised paten , the manufacturing of pharmacautical products!

  9. “Jungle is Neutral” by Spencer Chapman is out of print but you could still buy a used copy off eBay. When we think Spencer Chapman’s “Jungle is Neutral” we think Force 136 and how an unknown 2ndLt rose through the ranks to become the country’s first Malaysian Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces – the highest post our Tok Cik could hope to reach.

    Tok Cik should be writing his memoirs and writing a book, “We were soldiers once.”

  10. The Malay peninsula had a very peculiar political structure, consisting of the STRAITS SETTLEMENTS – Penang, Malacca, Singapore, British colonies, the FEDERATED MALAY STATES – Perak, Selangor, Negri Sembilan, Pahang – and the UNFEDERATED MALAY STATES – Kedah, Johore, Kelantan, Trengganu, Perlis, all of which were, politically and economically, more or less tied with Britain. Together they were one of the world’s leading producers of both TIN and NATURAL RUBBER.

    The country was dominated by the ethnic Malayans, but was home to a large Chinese minority, brought in by the British to work the plantations and mines.

    In December 1941 the Japanese easily occupied the peninsula, to stay until the end of the war. The Japanese were interested in securing the peninsula’s natural resources. The northern principalities of Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan and Trengganu were annexed by Thailand.
    Japanese occupation resulted in food shortage, rationing, inflation, factors which in turn caused a partially voluntary, partially enforced migration of urban, mainly Chinese, into the countryside, greatly increasing the number of squatters. Blaming the Malayan Chinese for having supported China during the Sino-Japanese War (since 1937), Japanese authorities in February 1942 launched a pogrom against the Chinese (Sook Ching Massacre), in the course of which several 10,000 persons were killed. Resistance emerged, developing along ethnic lines, the most significant organization being the MPAJA (Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army; Chinese-dominated). At the end of the war, the northern principalities’ independence was restored; the MPAJA moved to punish collaborators; as the latter were mainly Malays, the relation between Chinese and Malays became tense.

    The cession of the northern 4 Malay states to Thailand and the placement of the remainder – disregarding the previous status (Federated Malay States, UnFederated Malay States, Straits Settlements) under a common administration had created a Japanese-occupied Malaya with an ethnic Chinese population majority.

    The Japanese pursued a policy of ethnic discrimination, the ethnic Chinese being treated the worst, the Malay, comparatively, the most lenient, the ethnic Indians somewhere in-between.

    The Malay peninsula was rich in rubber and tin, which, for Japan were of little interest as both resources were not in short supply. Malaya was of strategic value, for it provided access to the vital oil fields of Sumatra, and because of Singapore’s naval base.

  11. Spencer Chapman’s “The Jungle is Neutral” is indeed a fascinating read of survival and dedication to a cause, despite the terrible deprivation of war. Yup, Chin Peng was his liaison officer and the resistance was initially led by Lai Teck. Chapman was finally rescued by a (diveable) submarine off Pangkor Laut, now the site of one of an expensive ’boutique’ resort, if i remember correctly. He also spent a great deal of time avoiding the Malay kampungs.. (Harimau 136, is another story)

    I remember reading about other heroes and heroines like Gurucharan Singh (the ‘Lion of Malaya’) and Sybil Katigesu, but these books are no longer extant. Why?

    My dad had to serve the Jap overlords as a storekeeper as he could write in Mandarin (thus Japanese), Malay and English. He swept rice/padi through the floorboards so that the poor and hungry (including the commies) could gather them at night. For this act of compassion, Force 136 and the MPAJA (Malaya People’s Anti-Japanese Army; commie Chinese dominated) spared his life immediately post WW2 (the BMA period), while they hunted Japanese collaborators. A retired MCA head honcho’s father, who was my dad’s contemporary, was killed as a traitor. This flur is presently facing some ‘trials and tribulation’, but the ‘sins’ of his father will not be transferable..

  12. The Penans have been the guardians of the rainforest. They know how to live sustainably with their environment. The know about the medicinal values of plants and the habits of the wild animals around them. For all their wisdom, we destroy their home, allow the rapists to go unpunished and care nothing for their future. When they are gone their immese knowledge go with them and we, the savvy Malaysians, will be the poorer for it. A fight for the Penans is a fight for the soul of Malaysia.

  13. Woman attempts citizen’s arrest on Blair
    Anti-war protesters gave former British premier Tony Blair a torrid reception when he turned up to sign copies of his autobiography at a book-store in Dublin.
    One activist, Kate O’Sullivan, who managed to enter the book-store, tried to make a citizen’s arrest on Blair for war crimes in Iraq. Here is her account:

    Related posts:

    “Wall of sound” confronts Blair at Westminster Cathedral
    Anti-war protesters to blare music during Blair talk

  14. Hahaha,, Din, a most excellent way of getting rid of that semi-literate ilham’s spamming/trolling/abuse.

    As for the teaching of ‘history’ in our so-called modern education system, the first order of business would be to scrap all religio- and ethnocentric rubbish that pervades the curricula. Like telling the truth about Chinapek Hang Tuah and gang and the formation of the Malacca Sultanate, the preIslamic history of Mongkut Beans ancestors, Majapahit, Sri Vijaya, Gangga Negara and subservience to Siam and Ming China (bunga ‘mas). The contributions of the ‘pendatangs’ in the socioeconomic, cultural and ‘Merdeka’ aspects of Malaysia. The truth about the WW2, Emergency and Confrontation, 05-13, Ops Lalang and many more. Stop the BTN of our young and gullible!! What they are teaching now is rotten to the core – the proverbial fruit of fascism/racism.

    The only way forward is to understand the Past. Not to pervert it for political expediency. Take this brick off the wall, and the falsity will be eroded. The slogan of ‘1’ this and that, has no meaning otherwise. Political will to undo this brainwashing? Zilch.

  15. James

    Please watch The Emergency in Malaya now showing in Astro to better understand Chin Peng’s role in undermining our country. You will understand why many do not agree to bring him home.
    __________
    Under the peace deal, he should be allowed to come home. But the government did not honour it because of political pressure from veterans. It would be good to hear Tok Cik’s view since he is a distinguished Officer and Gentleman.–Din Merican

  16. No, I am up and kicking, Bean. Let others say their piece since the subject is very close to my heart.

    The Battle of Kampar has been dissected and re-dissected over the years by students from the various military institutions around the country. I did it during my time at the Armed Forces Staff College in 1981.

    It was about the only battle worthy of mention in the annals of the Malayan campaign of the Second World War. It encompasses the classic principle of optimising on combined arms – infantry, artillery, engineers and air power although the latter was in favour of the Japs. They had air superiority since British fighter planes were practically non-existence by then.

    The clever use of the ground was to the defenders’ advantage and this was the factor that enabled the Indians and Brits to hold on for four bruising days.

    In defence the one who holds the high ground has the advantage. However, the element of surprise remains with the attacker, as he decides when and where to strike.

    Attacking a well defended position requires the attacker to increase his combat power on a ratio of 3:1. You need three times the number of men for the task. It takes a battalion to attack a company position – that’s the basis of calculation.

    And if the defenders are dug-in and are in fortified trenches, it will take a much larger force.

    Modern battlefield technology has, however, overcome this imbalance by way of overwhelming firepower, both from the ground and the air. This was evident during the two Gulf wars.

  17. The Indian Army under the command of British officers held their ground momentarily against Japanese on bicycles but only to beat a hasty retreat from Jitra and down the road to the airport at Aloq Setaq, abandoning their boots and uniforms from where they stood to merge with the local population. From that point on it was a fight to ensure they were not outflanked.

    There was no Custer’s Last Stand.

  18. Sayang

    Chin Peng was never on my list as a notable Malaysian, but historically he did instigate the independence process.

    Tunku Abdul Rahman, on the other hand, is GOD send to all Malaysians.
    Please do not view this as an insult, as most of you would not understand Taoism – But TAR would qualify on my altar for reverence.

  19. There is a Malay book written about the insurgency. I cannot remember the title, but the one that has stuck in my little head was the following before they bombed the shit out of an insurgent camp:

    Lu olang baik selah diri, tak tak lu olang mati macam katak kena sembelih, oi.

    Any one knows what that book is?

  20. This is my take on Chin Peng.

    Although I was fully involved in the second Emergency (1975 to 1989) and had lost some of my best men to the Commies, I bear no grudge against the man.

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. As Din has rightly said the Government, being a co-signatory to the December 1989 Armistice in Songkhla, failed to honour its promise to allow him to return to his hometown of Sitiawan.

    The past is done and gone. Must we still hold a grudge? Had it not been for Chin Peng I would not have be where I am today. My peers and I owe our existence and prominence to this man from Sitiawan.

    Armies, the world over, have (when necessary) to create something to justify their existence. The Malaysia Army is no exception. And I am privy to this.

    What can the poor man (already into his mid-80s) do? Charge at a tank on his wheelchair? Maha Firaun doesn’t need someone else to lead the charge. He’s more than capable to do it on his own.

  21. The Battle of Slim River (6 to 8 January 1942) is best forgotten. It was a disaster of the highest order. At staff college we were told to analyse it, regardless.

    The Brits and Indians, which formed the 11th Indian Division, were nearly wiped out by the Japanese Imperial Army who used tanks (medium and light) with deadly effect. Their unprecedented night attack caught the defenders fully unprepared.

    The two bridges that straddled Sg Slim, one a rail bridge and the other a road bridge, which were mined, were taken almost intact.

    The demolition of these two bridges would have help to delay the Japs advance. Once Slim River fell, the road to KL was wide open.

    There is an anecdote to this battle. One Gurkha soldier hid in the jungles and was only discovered in late 1949 during the Malayan Emergency. He remained hidden for almost 8 long years.

  22. ” When you go home
    Tell them of us and say
    For Your Tomorrow
    We gave our Today”

    When we look at Malaysia today, was their sacrifice yesterday worth it.

    Until our students learn NOT to be tainted by BTN and learn of our history dating back to over 2000 years, they will NEVER NEVER understand what makes MALAYSIA today great.

  23. Pardon this commentator from your neighbour SG.

    If the defenders had created 2 large “hedgehog” positions (all-round defensive positions) with as many AT obstacles as possible on the 2 main axes of advance shown on the map and then held reserves to counterattack any flanking attempts around these positions, would it have been a better defensive strategy than the historical array of one static linear defensive position after another ?

    On the Japanese side, what better attack approach could have been used compared to what they did historically ?

    Any views ?

  24. Re the Kampar battle, I have some evidence that my maternal grandfather, who was in 352 battery 88th Field Reg. R.A., was manning a bren gun high up on a ridge and shot down a Jap spotter-plane that was trying to locate British artillery positions. Does anybody have any more detail of that incident?

  25. There is another interesting book ” The Naked Island ” – Russell Braddon
    It details his experience as a young 21yr old who enlisted in the Australian artillery and was sent to Malaya as part of the 8th division. He participated in the heroic but futile stand at Parit Sulong with the 45th Indian infantry brigade, escaping the subsequent massacre of wounded by the Japanese imperial guards. He eventually made it to Singapore where he was captured and spent the next four to five years in Changing jail and building the infamous Thailand railway. This book is a must if you would like to know how in adequately prepared the British authorities were for the Japanese invasion but also as a testament to the human spirit in the face of harrowing adversity.
    _____________________
    Pierre, thanks for this kind reminder to all Malaysians including UMNO Malays. Australian and New Zealand soldiers and other Commonwealth fought side by side with Malaysians during the second world and the Emergency (1948-1960) and the Indonesian Confrontation (1962-1965).They gave their lives so that Malaya and later Malaysia would remain a democracy with constitutional monarchy.–Din Merican

  26. The more I learn about the battle at Kampar, the deeper my humble astonishment at the courage and commitment of its successful defenders turned attackers against a much larger combined force. To be then ordered to retreat due to bad generalship elsewhere (boats ‘handed’ to the japs at Penang) must have felt sickening to the men in the extreme.

    Stephen

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