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Arthur Percival

Arthur Percival


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Arthur Percival nasceu em 1887. Ingressou no Exército Britânico como soldado raso, mas com a eclosão da Segunda Guerra Mundial subiu para comandar a 43ª Divisão da Força Expedicionária Britânica.

Após a evacuação de Dunquerque, Percival liderou a 44ª Divisão protegendo a costa inglesa durante a Operação Sealion. Na primavera de 1941, foi colocado no comando das forças britânicas na Malásia. Ele tinha menos de três divisões e, embora pedisse mais seis, seus pedidos foram negados.

No domingo, 7 de dezembro de 1941, 105 bombardeiros de alto nível, 135 bombardeiros de mergulho e 81 aviões de caça atacaram a Frota dos Estados Unidos em Pearl Harbor. Em seu primeiro ataque, os japoneses afundaram o Arizona, Oklahoma, West Virginia e Califórnia. O segundo ataque, lançado 45 minutos depois, impedido por fumaça, causou menos danos. Em duas horas, 18 navios de guerra, 188 aeronaves e 2.403 militares foram perdidos no ataque.

Naquela noite, o exército japonês começou a chegar a Kota Bharu. Esta foi apenas uma força de diversão e os principais desembarques na península malaia não aconteceram até o dia seguinte em Singora e Patani, na costa nordeste. Sob o comando do General Tomoyuki Yamashita, a 18ª Divisão Japonesa, fez rápido progresso ao forçar as tropas Aliadas a recuar para o sul.

Em 10 de dezembro de 1941, o príncipe de Gales e Repulsa foram ambos afundados por aviões japoneses na costa da Malásia. Isso deixou a Marinha Japonesa no controle do mar e foi capaz de fornecer ao Exército Japonês os suprimentos necessários para vencer a batalha com as Forças Aliadas na Malásia.

O exército britânico na Malásia não tinha tanques, enquanto os japoneses tinham mais de duzentos. A Força Aérea Japonesa também foi capaz de realizar uma série de ataques aéreos a posições aliadas. Tentativas sem sucesso foram feitas para deter o avanço do General Tomoyuki Yamashita no rio Perak, Kampar e no rio Muar.

Em 25 de janeiro de 1942, Percival deu ordens para uma retirada geral através do estreito de Johore para a ilha de Cingapura. A ilha era difícil de defender e, em 8 de fevereiro, 13.000 soldados japoneses desembarcaram no canto noroeste da ilha. No dia seguinte, outros 17.000 chegaram no oeste. Percival, transferiu seus soldados para o extremo sul da ilha, mas em 15 de fevereiro ele admitiu a derrota e entregou seus 138.000 soldados aos japoneses.

Foi a derrota mais humilhante da Grã-Bretanha na guerra. Percival e suas tropas permaneceram prisioneiros dos japoneses até pouco antes do final da Segunda Guerra Mundial.

Arthur Percival, que publicou A guerra na Malásia em 1949, morreu em Londres em 1966.


A História da Segunda Guerra Mundial e Batalha # 39 de Cingapura

A Batalha de Cingapura foi travada de 31 de janeiro a 15 de fevereiro de 1942, durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial (1939-1945) entre os exércitos britânico e japonês. O exército britânico de 85.000 homens era liderado pelo tenente-general Arthur Percival, enquanto o regimento japonês de 36.000 homens era chefiado pelo tenente-general Tomoyuki Yamashita.


História de Faversham Creek de Arthur Percival

Esta página é composta de links para materiais que estão hospedados em outro lugar na internet, não somos responsáveis ​​pelo conteúdo nem por quaisquer violações de direitos autorais por parte do site de hospedagem.

A História de Faversham Creek por Arthur Percival - o pano de fundo para a história de Percival e os riachos que alimentam o riacho

A História de Faversham Creek por Arthur Percival - Parte 2 - o mistério do nível do mar, pertencimento ao Cinque Ports no século 10, e o mercado fundado no século 11

A História de Faversham Creek por Arthur Percival - Parte 3 - a história de Stonebridge Pond

A História de Faversham Creek por Arthur Percival - Parte 4 - homem de negocios Henry Hatch fornece dinheiro para construir uma eclusa em 1558 para limpar o lodo do riacho, e a cidade floresce

A História de Faversham Creek por Arthur Percival - Parte 5 - mais sobre o crescimento do comércio ao longo do Creek

A História de Faversham Creek por Arthur Percival - Parte 6 - o porto Faversham responde à competição da ferrovia endireitando sua entrada

A História de Faversham Creek por Arthur Percival - Parte 7 - a pólvora funciona e a ponte oscilante da comporta

A História de Faversham Creek por Arthur Percival - Parte 8 - decadência do comércio e como a ponte oscilante parou de balançar


Rei Arthur e a Matéria da Grã-Bretanha

O mais antigo conto de Percival que sobreviveu é o inacabado Perceval ou Conte del Graal (História do Graal) de Chr & eacutetien de Troyes, de cerca de 1190, que gerou três continuações ao longo dos quarenta anos seguintes. O análogo romance galês, Peredur Son of Evrawc, é comprovado desde o século XIII. Ambos os contos provavelmente se baseiam em um Peredur Céltico comum:

Percival o Louco

Texto:% s

Peredur Son of Evrawc de The Mabinogion, traduzido por Lady Charlotte Guest, em Taffnet no Reino Unido. Perceval: the Story of the Graal, de Chr & eacutetien de Troyes, tradução dos episódios 1-5 de Kirk McElhearn. Perceval le Gallois ou le conte du Graal, a continuação anônima em francês antigo da obra inacabada de Chr & eacutetien, traduzida como A Alta História do Santo Graal por Sebastian Evans, 1898. Parte da Biblioteca Online Medieval e Clássica em Berkeley. Parzifal de Wolfram von Eschenbach, em alto alemão médio. -> Sir Perceval of Galles, um poema do inglês médio do século XIV, editado por Mary Flowers Braswell com notas, em TEAMS. Esta versão da história é provavelmente baseada em Chr & eacutetien, mas elimina a busca do Graal. Didot Perceval, ou Petit Saint Graal, talvez uma redação em prosa do conto perdido Perceval de Robert de Boron, como O Romance de Perceval em Prosa: uma Tradução do Manuscrito E do Didot Perceval de Dell Skeels. A História dos Campeões da Távola Redonda (1905) conta as histórias de Sir Lancelot, Sir Tristram e Sir Percival. O texto e as ilustrações completas, na coleção de Folclore Inglês do Internet Sacred Text Archive. Novo!


O antigo mistério do Rei Pescador e Seu Santo Graal

No século 12, Geoffrey of Monmouth & # 8217s publicação da Historia Regum Britanniae ou & # 8220History of the Kings of Britain & # 8221 apresentou uma releitura ilustrativa, embora também altamente imaginativa, dos antigos senhores das Ilhas Britânicas. Nele, Monmouth lembra o que é indiscutivelmente o mais famoso e lendário rei da Grã-Bretanha, o único Arthur Pendragon, ou como T.H. As brancas haviam escrito, & # 8220O Rei Antigo e Futuro. & # 8221

O título do branco & # 8217s foi emprestado da antiga inscrição mítica que se dizia marcar a lendária tumba do rei & # 8217s, que dizia & # 8220Hic iacet Arthurus, rex quondam, rexque futurus & # 8221 ou & # 8220Aqui estão Arthur, rei uma vez, e rei ser. & # 8221 A linha resume a antiga tradição heróica do rei caído que se acredita ressurgir, conforme representado em obras mitológicas exaustivas como Sir James George Frazier & # 8217s The Golden Bough, em que um rei herói representa um ciclo atemporal de rejuvenescimento, ou seja, para superar a luta aparentemente impossível entre o homem e seu maior inimigo, o declínio gradual que representa as próprias forças entrópicas universais.

No entanto, além da própria história de Arthur & # 8217, um dos mistérios mais duradouros e também peculiares relacionados nas famosas lendas arturianas é o do Rei Pescador. Este personagem é um enigmático & # 8212 e também trágico & # 8212 governante que é reconhecido nas histórias como o último de uma longa linha de guardiões do Graal. Existem muitas versões diferentes de sua história, com a primeira narrativa do paladino Perceval (ou mais tarde, Percival) entrando em sua companhia e aprendendo uma lição notável, embora um tanto estranha, durante sua corte.

Xilogravura representando Chrétien de Troyes

Entre as primeiras referências a este encontro entre Perceval e o Rei Pescador está a de Chrétien de Troyes & # 8217 Perceval (daí a grafia arcaica do nome do cavaleiro & # 8217s usada aqui). No relato de Chrétien, é durante o encontro de Perceval com o Rei Pescador que o Graal é espiado pela primeira vez. No entanto, há mais nessa história também, que envolve não apenas o graal mítico, mas também outra relíquia incomum de alto simbolismo:

& # 8220Perceval então retorna ao seu assento e continua sua conversa com o senhor do castelo. Eles conversam até tarde da noite e desfrutam de uma conversa esplêndida, mas enquanto falam algo estranho acontece. Primeiro, um dos atendentes entra no grande salão vindo de uma das câmaras carregando uma lança branca em pé em torno de seu meio. O menino prossegue com a lança entre o fogo e o salão em que estão sentados. Ao fazer isso, uma gota de sangue emerge da ponta da lança e escorre pela arma até a mão do menino. Ele observa com admiração e espanto com a visão e anseia por perguntar ao senhor do castelo sobre isso, mas então ele se lembra das instruções de seu mentor. Seu mentor o advertiu severamente para tomar cuidado para não falar muito. & # 8221

O relato acima, extraído de O Santo Graal: a história e a lenda da famosa relíquia, é apenas uma das muitas versões da história. Após este episódio com a misteriosa lança ensanguentada, uma jovem passa carregando o que é considerado o próprio Graal. Finalmente, um terceiro jovem passa pelo corredor, carregando uma grande bandeja de prata. Pode-se notar aqui que, de todas as três relíquias apresentadas na casa do Rei Pescador, é interessante que o graal tenha se destacado como se destacou entre as lendas, indiscutivelmente, a imagem apresentada pela lança ensanguentada é a mais impressionante do três.

Sobre o assunto da lança ameaçadora e sangrenta, enquanto este elemento seria mais tarde & # 8220Cristianizado & # 8221 em adaptações posteriores da história (como com vários outros elementos), o conto de Chrétien descreve uma arma de imenso poder destrutivo & # 8212 venenosa, mesmo & # 8212 cujas características nefastas não são & # 8217 facilmente ignoradas. Alguns estudiosos interpretam esta como uma característica distinta que diferencia a narrativa de Chrétien das posteriores adotadas em uma narrativa arturiana e decididamente cristã.

Ilustração medieval retratando a procissão na casa do Rei Pescador, onde a lança ensanguentada pode ser vista erguida, bem como o Graal abaixo dela.

Mesmo assim, Persival opta por permanecer calado, por instrução de seu mentor, e assim nenhum dos objetos desse estranho e elaborado desfile é explicado ao herói. Mais tarde, é revelado a Parsifal que se ele tivesse apenas perguntado sobre esses mistérios, não apenas teria obtido esse conhecimento, mas os ferimentos incomuns do Rei Pescador & # 8217s teriam sido curados, portanto, Perceval aprende uma lição igualmente esotérica: que existem certos tempos que são de fato direito para fazer perguntas, e que negligenciar fazê-lo pode na verdade ser equivalente a falta de consideração.

Em algumas tradições, a lesão do Fisher King & # 8217s foi sofrida quando um dardo perfurou seu lado, empalando-o pelo quadril e impedindo-o de montar em seu cavalo. No entanto, outra interpretação comum era que essa lesão afetou mais diretamente a região inguinal do King & # 8217s e, portanto, sua masculinidade foi comprometida. Isso afeta diretamente sua capacidade de governar, uma vez que sua impotência exclui a capacidade de gerar um herdeiro e, portanto, a tragédia duradoura do Rei Pescador.

Muitos analisaram os temas míticos que essa lenda representa, embora um dos melhores dos últimos anos tenha sido o psicólogo australiano Richard A. Sanderson, que discutiu o assunto dessa forma em seu ensaio & # 8220Wounded Masculinity: Parsifal and The Fisher King Wound & # 8221:

& # 8220No coração do castelo do Graal, jaziam uma lança sagrada e um cálice sagrado. Os dois implementos divinos são necessários diariamente para a representação do Santo Graal, a tarefa eterna de trazer luz ao reino, pois essa luz é a fonte do ciclo de vida e morte. Os dois instrumentos divinos representam os princípios masculino e feminino que, quando combinados na totalidade perfeita, produzem luz no reino do Rei Pescador. O Santo Cálice representa o aspecto feminino do sentimento e da beleza que contém e transforma. O cálice em versões cristianizadas é aquele que Jesus usou na Última Ceia, contendo o vinho e depois o seu sangue. A Lança Sagrada representa a força masculina necessária para ficar 'ereto & # 8217 e guardar o precioso Graal & # 8230 Todos os dias, cada cavaleiro da ordem interna (da tradição arturiana) renovaria seu juramento de defender o Graal com sua própria vida e afirmar sua serviço ao Santo Graal.

& # 8230A ferida do Rei Pescador, através de uma lança em seus testículos (até a parte mais sensível da anatomia masculina), significa uma ferida para o homem & # 8217s senso de potência e sua auto-estima. O ferimento nesta & # 8220 parte privada & # 8221 de si mesmo não vai curar e equivale a The Fisher Kings & # 8220Fall from Grace & # 8221 (a parte nobre do rei caiu em desgraça). Ele é metaforicamente expulso do Jardim do Éden (O Santo Graal). Curiosamente, O Rei Pescador só obtém alívio de sua dor quando está pescando, ou seja, fazendo um trabalho reflexivo sobre si mesmo. O reino do Rei Pescador foi destruído, os prados e as flores secaram e as águas encolheram. A sugestão é que qualquer mal-estar ao rei se reflete em seu reino. & # 8221

Na verdade, a lição aprendida com os mitos do Graal torna-se interessante quando se reflete sobre as nuances da sexualidade expressas na narrativa antiga, em que o Graal é decididamente feminino contrapartida da lança Perceval observada. Isso ecoa tons de populares Código da Vinci- releitura moderna das lendas, em que o tão procurado & # 8220Holy Graal & # 8221 pode realmente ter estive feminino, mais especificamente, que Maria Madalena, a companheira de Jesus & # 8220, a quem ele amava mais do que qualquer um dos apóstolos e beijava com frequência & # 8221, tinha sido sua esposa ou parceira na união sexual.

Deve-se notar que os estudiosos rejeitam amplamente que qualquer evidência direta encontrada nos Evangelhos apóia esta noção de uma relação sexual ou casamento entre Jesus e Maria Madalena, embora o uso do grego koinōnos (companheiro) em referência ao relacionamento apresenta derivações que podem sugerir uma união sexual e / ou casamento, como está representado no Evangelho Gnóstico de Filipe. Essa análise interpretativa, como podemos deduzir aqui, permanece uma questão de debate acadêmico.

Quer o Graal seja representado no contexto das lendas anteriores (provavelmente pré-arturianas) de Perceval, ou interpretado em relação à vida e aos relacionamentos reais compartilhados pelo Jesus histórico, a busca pelo lendário Graal torna-se não de um santo artefato, mas do próprio anseio do homem pela totalidade e da busca pela perfeição. Muito parecido com o conceito de sacramentos cristãos como sendo representações físicas de uma realidade espiritual mais profunda, as lendas da própria busca do Graal se tornam uma espécie de releitura tangível de uma realidade intangível que serve como a própria essência das relações humanas e do acoplamento. Freqüentemente, ocorre que, onde a linguagem falha, a emoção, o sentimento e o simbolismo prevalecem, a busca pelo Santo Graal se torna a imagem do espelho espiritual de nossa própria busca interior pela união com o divino e uns com os outros.

Termo aditivo: É interessante notar, deslocando nossa atenção para a cultura pop e ficção científica para este momento final, que no quarto episódio da nona série do programa de televisão britânico Doutor quem, intitulado & # 8220Antes do Dilúvio & # 8221, o vilão também é chamado de & # 8220O Rei Pescador & # 8221. O episódio foi escrito por Toby Whithouse (embora dirigido por Daniel O & # 8217Hara), e o papel do Rei Pescador, um alienígena monstruoso com um forte sotaque britânico nesta encarnação, foi interpretado pelo ator Neil Fingleton, e dublado por Peter Serafinowicz .

Permanece um tanto ambíguo qual tinha sido o significado do nome do monstro alienígena & # 8217s, embora de acordo com um artigo sobre o personagem em tardis.wikia.com, a comparação entre a criatura e o personagem arturiano seja feita. Aqui, observa que, & # 8220Estando ferido, o lendário rei espera que chegue alguém que seja capaz de curá-lo. Isso é semelhante ao personagem Doctor Who que está esperando que alguém de seu povo venha e o salve. & # 8221

Editores de Charles River. O Santo Graal: a história e a lenda da famosa relíquia (Locais do Kindle 170-176). Editores Charles River, 20/09/2013. Edição Kindle.


Blitzkreig de bicicleta & # 8211 A Conquista Japonesa da Malásia e Cingapura 1941-1942

No primeiro dia de 1941, um coronel do estado-maior japonês com óculos chamado Tsuji Masanobu se apresentou a um prédio modesto em Taipei. Seu trabalho era chefiar um pequeno departamento de pesquisa militar. A tarefa desta unidade de 30 oficiais, homens alistados e trabalhadores civis era planejar um possível ataque ao sul pelo exército japonês para conquistar o Sul da Ásia e as Índias Orientais. Com o passar do ano, o próprio coronel Tsuji começou a planejar um ataque à fortaleza britânica de Cingapura.

A perspectiva era assustadora. Cingapura é uma ilha ao largo da costa sul da Malásia. O lado voltado para o mar era fortemente fortificado e dificilmente poderia ser tomado por um ataque direto. O lado terrestre era vulnerável, mas para chegar lá um exército teria que atravessar os oitocentos quilômetros de extensão da península malaia. A península é acessível de ambos os lados em seu ponto mais estreito, o Istmo de Kra, onde a Malásia e a Tailândia se encontram. Porém, mais ao sul, a península se alarga e o centro é uma selva acidentada. A rota para o sul fica ao longo da costa oeste. Os japoneses teriam de avançar centenas de milhas no lado do Oceano Índico, onde sua força naval não poderia ajudá-los. Eles teriam que cruzar rios e posições fortificadas. Então, no final dessa odisséia, eles atacariam a Ilha de Cingapura, considerada pelos britânicos como a pedra angular de suas defesas no Extremo Oriente.

O próprio Tsuji era uma figura controversa e se tornaria ainda mais. Ele estivera fortemente envolvido na desastrosa guerra com a Rússia em Nomonhon, na fronteira da Mongólia e da Manchúria. Segundo seu próprio relato, ele foi expulso da China por causa de seu envolvimento em uma sociedade pan-asiática. No final da Segunda Guerra Mundial, ele desapareceu para evitar o tribunal de crimes de guerra, para vir à tona vários anos depois como autor e membro da legislatura japonesa do pós-guerra. Um livro foi escrito marcando-o como um criminoso de guerra (& # 8220The Criminal They Called a God & # 8221, de Ian Ward). Tsuji escreveu um relato colorido e interessante da campanha da Malásia, que foi traduzido para o inglês como & # 8220Japão & # 8217s Greatest Victory, England & # 8217s Greatest Defeat & # 8221, colocando-se em um papel de liderança. Este livro é uma grande fonte sobre a campanha do lado japonês. Este artigo presumirá que o livro de Tsuji & # 8217s é bastante preciso, tendo em mente que há algumas coisas que ele escolheu deixar de fora.

Os japoneses teriam algumas vantagens. Estavam em processo de tomada do controle da Indochina Francesa, sem se importar com o fato de que ela estava sob a autoridade de um governo autoritário nominalmente aliado de seus amigos na Alemanha. Isso daria a eles bases aéreas que permitiriam que seus aviões alcançassem a Malásia e as águas circundantes, e um ponto de partida para invadir a Tailândia. Os japoneses não tinham intenção de honrar a neutralidade tailandesa. Os recursos japoneses seriam esticados, pois eles planejavam atacar vários locais no Pacífico Sul simultaneamente, mas Tsuji poderia esperar ter tropas e líderes experientes designados para a operação de Cingapura. Alguma armadura pode estar disponível.

Em setembro, Tsuji foi transferido para a Indochina. A guerra estava obviamente chegando, e o plano para atacar a Malásia e Cingapura não havia sido finalizado. Desesperado por informações, Tsuji partiu em dois longos voos de reconhecimento sobre o norte da Malásia e o sul da Tailândia. Olhando para baixo, ele viu grandes campos de aviação britânicos em Alor Star e Kota Bharu, bem como um campo de aviação em Singora, na Tailândia. Depois de voltar para casa, ele considerou esses campos de aviação com uma mistura de medo e ganância. Os aviões que operam no norte da Malásia podem bagunçar uma frota de invasão se forem controlados de forma agressiva. Por outro lado, se os campos pudessem ser capturados prontamente, o poder aéreo japonês poderia ser instalado bem no quintal britânico.

Tendo examinado a situação, Tsuji criou seu plano para o ataque. Ele propôs que os japoneses aterrissassem quase simultaneamente em Singora, na Tailândia, e em Kota Bharu, logo ao sul, na Malásia, para tomar os aeródromos. Enquanto isso, uma força forte marcharia pela Tailândia. Ele voou para Tóquio para apresentar seu plano no final de outubro. Foi aceito. Tsuji relata que o Coronel Hattori, Chefe da Seção de Operações do Estado-Maior Geral, disse a ele que & # 8220 Por mais excelentes que suas opiniões pudessem ter sido, eu teria hesitado em concordar com sua intenção de modificar o plano determinado pelo Estado-Maior Imperial de acordo com seus próprios julgamentos baseados apenas em mapas. Mas como as modificações foram sugeridas como resultado de suas próprias observações em face do perigo, nenhuma objeção poderia ser levantada. & # 8221

O comando da operação foi entregue ao General Yamashita Tomoyuki. O General Yamashita era um oficial capaz e experiente, embora principalmente em cargos de estado-maior. Ele ganhou o apelido de & # 8220Tiger of Malaya & # 8221 nas operações seguintes. No final da guerra, ele foi condenado e executado por crimes de guerra cometidos sob seu comando. No entanto, como as atrocidades eram um modo de vida para o exército japonês durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial, virtualmente todos os oficiais superiores poderiam ter sido executados nessa base, e geralmente se considera que Yamashita não era mais culpado do que a maioria, e menos do que muitos.

O General Yamashita recebeu o comando do 25º Exército. Consistia em três divisões. A 5ª Divisão prestou serviço extensivo na China e foi considerada uma das melhores do exército japonês. O dia 18 também foi uma unidade experiente e excelente. A terceira divisão era a Divisão da Guarda Imperial. Eles eram considerados uma formação & # 8220elite & # 8221, mas não tinham experiência em combate. Tsuji é indiferente: & # 8220 Por um longo período de anos, eles foram treinados para cerimônias tradicionais elegantes, mas não gostavam de operações de campo e eram inadequados para elas. Os oficiais de seu estado-maior tendiam a desobedecer a seu comandante superior do Exército. & # 8221 O 25º Exército também continha um regimento de tanques, que se mostraria muito útil, três regimentos de engenheiros, que se revelariam inestimáveis, e várias tropas de artilharia e suprimentos. O total era de cerca de 60.000 homens. As tropas de invasão foram reunidas na Ilha de Hainan, na costa sul da China, enquanto o grupo terrestre estava na Indochina. Chegou-se a um bom entendimento com a Marinha, que cobriria os desembarques, e as unidades do Exército e da Marinha que tratariam de protegê-los.

Os britânicos não desconheciam a ameaça às suas possessões no Extremo Oriente. Em teoria, Cingapura era o segundo ponto mais importante no Império Britânico (depois de Londres), e uma quantia considerável foi gasta na década de trinta desenvolvendo e protegendo a base naval lá. O plano era que, se Cingapura fosse atacada, uma frota poderosa seria enviada para o resgate. No entanto, de 1939 até meados de 1941, a Grã-Bretanha esteve totalmente ocupada com a luta contra a Alemanha nazista. A Marinha Real estava fortemente engajada no Atlântico e no Mediterrâneo, e os únicos navios que puderam ser poupados para o Oceano Índico foram alguns navios de guerra e cruzadores obsoletos e o velho porta-aviões Hermes. Em seu livro perspicaz & # 8220The Command of History & # 8221, David Reynolds aponta quão pouca menção há de assuntos do Extremo Oriente nos primeiros dois livros de Winston Churchill & # 8217s história monumental da Segunda Guerra Mundial. À medida que 1941 avançava, porém, Washington alertou os britânicos sobre a deterioração da situação diplomática no Extremo Oriente e a necessidade urgente de se preparar para uma possível guerra com o Japão. A coisa mais fácil de encontrar eram tropas. Soldados estavam disponíveis naquele enorme reservatório de mão de obra: a Índia britânica. O III Corpo de Índios estava na Malásia, incluindo as 9ª e 11ª divisões e as 28ª e 45ª brigadas. Havia também duas brigadas britânicas, a 53ª e a 54ª. O governo australiano estava observando a situação com cuidado, especialmente preocupado porque todas as suas melhores divisões estavam lutando no Norte da África. Eles concordaram em enviar sua 8ª divisão recém-formada para Cingapura. Também havia planos para enviar mais uma divisão britânica e, quando ela chegou, o exército totalizava cerca de 120.000 homens.

O homem da Grã-Bretanha no local era o comandante do quartel-general no Extremo Oriente, o chefe do ar marechal Sir Robert Brooke-Popham. Como aviador, ele encorajou o desenvolvimento dos campos de aviação que Tsuji havia avistado e a implantação do exército ao norte para protegê-los. O comandante do exército não percebeu isso, então foi substituído pelo tenente-general Arthur Percival. Percival era um homem alto e desajeitado, com considerável experiência militar, mas nenhum carisma. Ele se mostraria completamente incapaz para a difícil tarefa que tinha pela frente. Na verdade, o homem que acabou por ser o líder de combate mais capaz da Grã-Bretanha na guerra estava disponível, comandando uma divisão na Síria. Mas a hora de Slim ainda não havia chegado, e é possível que a situação britânica na Malásia e Cingapura fosse terrível até mesmo para suas habilidades prodigiosas. Teria sido uma pena para ele ter passado a guerra como prisioneiro.

Embora os britânicos tivessem muitos homens, o equipamento era outra questão. Não havia tanques de todo e uma escassez de canhões antitanque. Havia algum transporte mecanizado na forma de caminhões e carregadores de bren. A força aérea para a qual aqueles belos campos de aviação foram construídos estava usando o Brewster Buffalo como seu caça de primeira linha. Nos anos trinta, a Marinha dos Estados Unidos estava procurando um novo caça para substituir seus biplanos. O Buffalo foi projetado para esta especificação, apenas para ser rejeitado em favor do Grumman F4F Wildcat. No entanto, a empresa Brewster vendeu alguns para outros países que precisavam de um caça monoplano moderno. Os finlandeses compraram e gostaram. Ninguém mais fez. Em 1941, o Buffalo estava definitivamente obsoleto. Para piorar as coisas, o pessoal de Brewster havia fornecido a muitos búfalos do extremo oriente motores reciclados de transportes comerciais. Alguns dos aviões estavam sendo pilotados por pilotos britânicos, alguns por australianos. Eles se odiavam. Quando o líder do esquadrão WJ Harper, veterano da Batalha da Grã-Bretanha, chegou para assumir o comando do esquadrão 453 RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force), ele mais tarde relatou que & # 8220 fiquei surpreso ao notar entre muitos do pessoal australiano na Estação o antipatia predominante que alguns deles aborreciam para os ingleses & # 8211 os ingleses eram chamados de "Pommies & # 8217 com um ar de desprezo & # 8230 .. Deve-se notar, por sua vez, que o pessoal da RAF em outros lugares condenou os australianos ao ostracismo. & # 8221 Harper estava tão infeliz com a qualidade de alguns de seus homens que pediu e recebeu permissão para ir à Austrália implorar por alguns pilotos mais experientes. Para aeronaves mais pesadas, os esquadrões RAF e RAAF estavam usando Bristol Blenheims e Lockheed Hudsons. O Blenheim não era nada especial quando era novo e, em 1941, havia sido relegado ao treinamento na maioria das frentes. O Hudson era uma versão militar do transporte Electra e era útil principalmente para reconhecimento. Os britânicos tinham aviões capazes, Hurricanes, Beauforts, bombardeiros pesados ​​Halifax, o incomparável Mosquito, mas não achavam que poderiam dispensá-los para a Malásia. Havia também uma grande ignorância das capacidades do poder aéreo japonês. Em geral, achava-se que Buffalos e Blenheims eram bons o suficiente para o Extremo Oriente.

Embora estivesse focado na luta contra a Alemanha nazista, no final de agosto Winston Churchill refletiu sobre o que poderia ser feito para fortalecer a posição britânica no sul da Ásia. Ele teve uma ideia muito Churchilliana: enviar um navio de guerra. Melhor ainda, envie dois e talvez uma transportadora. Chame-o de & # 8220Force Z & # 8221. O Almirantado duvidava muito, achando que todos os navios de guerra da Marinha Real & # 8217s eram necessários em águas europeias, mas Churchill foi insistente e, como sempre, conseguiu o que queria. As ordens foram dadas para que o mais novo encouraçado da marinha, o HMS Prince of Wales, seguisse para Cingapura. O Prince of Wales foi lançado em maio e era um navio de 32.000 toneladas com 10 14 e 8243 canhões. Ela já estava em ação. Tão novo que ainda havia trabalhadores civis a bordo, ela prosseguiu em companhia do HMS Hood em uma missão para interceptar o encouraçado alemão Bismarck. Tendo feito isso com sucesso, sua tripulação assistiu com horror quando o capô explodiu após uma troca de salvas. O capitão do Príncipe de Gales e # 8217 decidiu se retirar, tornando-o talvez o único encouraçado da Marinha Real na história a recusar o combate com um encouraçado inimigo. Não houve muitos comentários adversos: a condição não experimentada do Príncipe de Gales, o fato de que o Bismarck foi acompanhado pelo poderoso cruzador pesado Prinz Eugen e a eventual destruição do Bismarck por outras unidades da Marinha Real pode ter ajudou a crítica muda. Juntando-se à Força Z estava o cruzador de batalha Repulse. O Repulse foi construído durante a Primeira Guerra Mundial, mas ao contrário de muitos navios mais antigos, ela era muito rápida. Ela estava armada com 6 armas 15 & # 8243. Seus principais defeitos eram blindagem relativamente leve e falta de armas antiaéreas. Ela já estava no Oceano Índico a serviço do comboio. O antigo encouraçado Revenge também estava no Oceano Índico, mas era muito lento para acompanhar o Príncipe de Gales. O transportador Indomitable deveria fazer parte da Força Z, mas ela acidentalmente encalhou perto da Jamaica e a necessidade de reparos impossibilitou que ela chegasse a tempo. Nenhuma outra transportadora pôde ser poupada, então nenhuma foi enviada. Naquela época, o transportador Hermes operava no Oceano Índico e, de fato, cruzou o caminho com o Príncipe na Cidade do Cabo. O Hermes era um navio antigo, o primeiro navio construído como porta-aviões, mas era bastante rápido e poderia ter acompanhado os navios de guerra. Seu minúsculo e obsoleto grupo aéreo não poderia ter fornecido muita proteção contra bombardeiros japoneses, mas ela teria dado à força-tarefa a tão necessária capacidade de reconhecimento. O fracasso em incluí-la na Força Z foi provavelmente um erro, especialmente porque ela foi atacada e oprimida por um porta-aviões japonês perto do Ceilão no ano seguinte. O comando da força foi confiado ao almirante Sir Tom Phillips. Ele era um homem muito baixo, com reputação de ser obstinado e autocrático. Ele e o General Percival deviam ser parecidos com Mutt e Jeff juntos. Phillips tinha muito pouca experiência no mar, tendo servido a maior parte da guerra em cargos de estado-maior. Suas ordens não eram específicas. Churchill disse mais tarde que seu esquadrão foi & # 8220 & # 8230 enviado a essas águas para exercer aquele tipo de ameaça vaga que navios capitais da mais alta qualidade, cujo paradeiro é desconhecido, podem impor a todos os cálculos navais hostis. & # 8221 No entanto, os japoneses tinha uma boa ideia de onde a Força Z estava, e o almirante Yamamoto ordenou mais 40 bombardeiros ao sul da Indochina para lidar com isso. Force Z arrived in Singapore on December 2, 1941. Prince of Wales immediately underwent boiler repairs, but waited a week to inform the RAF that her surface radar was not working. It was not until December 8th that technicians came aboard, and were unable to fix the radar on short notice. Phillips himself flew to the Philippines on December 4th to confer with the Americans, and did not return to Singapore until December 7th.

Unlike the navy, the army had a specific plan. It was called Operation Matador. As soon as the Japanese invaded Thailand, units south of the border would also enter Thailand and occupy a strategic position called the “Ledge”, where the road was cut through a high ridge. Unlike the Americans in Hawaii, the RAAF was flying reconnaissance over the Gulf of Siam. About midday on December 6th, they discovered the Japanese attack convoy, which had left Hainan Island the day before. This would have been a good time to sortie Force Z and start Operation Matador. But Admiral Phillips was still in Manila, the Prince was not ready to sail, and Brooke-Popham was not prepared to violate Thai neutrality until the Japanese did so. He did notify London, which in turn notified Washington, but somehow the significance of this Japanese convoy did not make it to Pearl Harbor.

At 4 AM on December 8th, local time, Japanese troops went ashore at Singora. Colonel Tsuji, was there with the first wave. Because of the time difference, this was actually a couple of hours before the attack on Pearl Harbor, so this landing may be considered to have started what the Japanese refer to as “The Pacific War”. The Japanese had hoped that the Thais would not resist, but the troops at Singora were met with machine gun fire, and the first Japanese officer to enter Bangkok was pulled from his car and killed by an angry mob. But soon elements of the Guards division were marching into the city, and the Thai government accepted the inevitable. First came the cease-fire, then an alliance with the Japanese. Although this was extorted by force, Thailand did have strong irredentist feelings about land in Malaya and Indochina, and hoped that the Japanese would help them to recover it. By being a co-belligerent, Thailand was spared some of the worst features of Japanese occupation. Thai military units did not do much actual fighting.

Almost at the same time as the landing at Singora, Japanese troops came ashore fifty miles south at Kota Bharu. They met a warm reception. The British had prepared positions covering the airfield, and they resisted the Japanese landings effectively. RAAF and RAF bombers attacked the transports at low level, and in spite of having several aircraft shot down by anti-aircraft fire, they sank one transport and set two others on fire. Now that hostilities had definitely started, quick action was needed from Singapore. But nothing much happened. General Percival found time to attend a meeting of the Legislative Assembly in Kuala Lumpur, Brooke-Popham couldn’t decide whether Operation Matador was on or off, and Force Z was still at anchor. By afternoon the Japanese had penetrated to the edge of the Kota Bharu airfield against heavy resistance, and attacks by Japanese aircraft operating from Indochina had made flight operations there impossible. At 6 PM British and Indian troops were ordered to retreat. The Japanese had suffered about a thousand casualties, the British about five hundred.

Force Z had missed its chance. The Japanese troops were ashore, their attack was underway, and they could bring up supplies and reinforcements by land. In London Churchill convened a meeting on the evening of December 9th to “review the naval position.” The big question was what to do with Force Z. Churchill tells us that he favored sending the ships across the Pacific to join the American Fleet. Heading south for Australia was also a possibility. But it was all academic.

Admiral Phillips was unwilling to leave Singapore without taking some action, but the city had already been bombed, and it was obviously unsafe just to sit in the harbor. He decided to head north along the east coast of Malaya. It is unclear what he was hoping to accomplish. Perhaps he thought that there would be further landings, although the Japanese had no need to put troops on the relatively isolated east coast. He requested fighter cover and reconnaissance off Singora, but since he was determined to maintain radio silence at sea, and the RAF and RAAF were in full retreat in northern Malaya, it is hard to see how this could have been practical, even if the airmen were willing to try. The two battleships and four destroyers sailed the evening of the 8th, and made their way north all the next day. The weather was bad, rainy and cloudy, which hid the force from Japanese aircraft, but made it hard for it to find anything. They were spotted by a Japanese submarine, which reported their position but was unable to get in position to attack. At about 8 PM Force Z turned back to the south. Admiral Phillips did not know it, but he was very close to Japanese cruisers that were covering the flank of the invasion. Had Phillips any idea that the Japanese task force was so close to him, there would have been a major battle. It might not have turned out well for the British. Although the Japanese force was composed of cruisers and destroyers, visibility was very poor, and the Japanese were armed with the famous Long Lance torpedoes.

During the night Admiral Phillips received a message that the Japanese were invading at Kuantan, about halfway down the east side of the peninsula. He decided to slow the task force so he could investigate. Although this proved to be a fatal mistake, it is hard to see how he could have done otherwise. Having sortied to interfere with the Japanese invasion, he could hardly ignore one that might be happening right under his nose. He probably thought that he was already out of range of torpedo bombers, not knowing that the Japanese had provided their very long-legged medium bombers with that ability. At 8 AM a destroyer was off Kuantan. Nothing at all was happening. There have since been varying accounts of what happened: a water buffalo blundered into a minefield, some fisherman were fired on. The nervous garrison had been spooked, but not by Japanese. Force Z headed for Singapore.

Early that morning almost a hundred Mitsubishi G3M and G4M twin-engined bombers, later code named “Nell” and “Sally” took off from bases in Indochina in search of Force Z. About a third were armed with bombs, two-thirds with torpedoes. About 11 AM the bombers, at the end of even their prodigious range, sighted the Force Z. The level bombers attacked first, scoring a hit on the Repulse. Then came the torpedo planes. Two torpedoes hit the Prince of Wales, one doing fatal damage to her propellers. The next group of attackers focused on the Repulse. She maneuvered desperately, evading 20 torpedoes, but with Japanese planes attacking from every angle, it was just a question of time. She was hit first about noon four other hits followed, and she quickly rolled over and sank. Now the Japanese could concentrate on the already crippled Prince of Wales. Six more torpedo hits, and she too was on her way to the bottom. None of the accompanying destroyers was damaged, and they managed to rescue many survivors, but not Admiral Phillips. British sea power in the far east was temporarily extinguished. Churchill says, “in all the war, I never received a more direct shock.”. And, “Over all this vast expanse of waters, Japan was supreme, and we were naked.”

With the navy and the air force defeated, the defense of Malaya was now up to the army. They planned to resist the Japanese advance at Jitra, just south of the Thai border on the west side of the peninsula. A column had been finally sent to try and occupy the “Ledge”, but it was too late. Japanese forces accompanied by light tanks had beaten them to it, and sent them tumbling back into Malaya. After driving in British forces screening the Jitra position in a pouring rain, the Japanese arrived in front of the main positions the evening of December 10th. A Japanese officer, Lieutenant Oto, penetrated the British positions, killed a sentry, and reported that there were gaps in the defenses, and a night attack was advisable. But when the Japanese tried to advance, they were met with severe resistance and turned back. British artillery fire began falling about them and the attack seemed to be in trouble. Colonel Tsuji went back to hurry reinforcements forward. But as morning dawned the British and Indian troops were looking over their shoulders. The airfield at Alor Star which was covered by the Jitra position was being abandoned by the RAF, and the soldiers couldn’t help wondering why they were defending it. General Heath, commanding the III Corps, went back to Singapore to request permission for his forces to withdraw. Percival was reluctant, but as the Japanese began forcing the British defenses, the order to retreat was given. A position which was expected to hold out for weeks, or even months, was lost in a few hours. How could this happen? The most important cause was the Japanese troops, who were experienced in combat and advanced with the elan which characterized their operations throughout the war. The British and Indian soldiers, by contrast, were seeing the elephant for the first time. The British commanders were also caught wrong-footed by the failure of their operations in southern Thailand, and had not carefully prepared their defenses at Jitra. Finally, the British forces were unsettled by the possibility of being outflanked by Japanese forces coming over from the east coast. They also greatly overestimated the forces against them, as they were to do throughout the campaign.

The defeat at Jitra started a trend which continued clear down the five hundred miles of the Malay Peninsula. The British would try to make a stand, the Japanese would attack, the British would retreat. It is often true that soldiers retreating toward their base can move faster than their pursuers. Supply lines shorten, and the advancing enemy must contend with blown bridges and obstructed roads. However, in the Malaya campaign the Japanese were able to stay right behind the retreating British, never giving them time to catch their breath. There were at least two reasons for this. First, the British abandoned vast quantities of stores and supplies. Tsuji refers to theses as “Churchill Supplies”, and the Japanese helped themselves to food, transport, and munitions, which greatly eased their somewhat tenuous logistical situation. The second reason was that the Japanese had issued their soldiers thousands of bicycles. Western Malaya had good hard surfaced roads, and the Japanese soldiers rode down them, as much as twenty hours at a stretch. The Japanese had sold many bicycles in Malaya before the war, so they were able to find parts and repairs in most towns and villages. When they could no longer repair the tires, they rode on the rims. If the Japanese soldiers came to an unbridged stream, they slung their bikes over their shoulders and waded through. When larger bridges were blown, the Japanese engineers performed prodigies of quick repair, so that not only bicycles, but tanks and lorries as well could pass over in a surprisingly short time. “Even the long-legged Englishmen could not escape our bicycles”, says Tsuji, “This is the reason they were continually driven off the roads and into the jungle where, with their retreat cut off, they were forced to surrender”.

What could General Percival have done? The most obvious thing would have been to move replacement troops up to man defense lines well to the rear. There were plenty of troops available in Singapore. But Percival was concerned, especially after the demise of British sea power, that the Japanese might bypass the whole Malay Peninsula and attempt a landing directly on Singapore. He also seemed gripped by a sort of lassitude where problems upcountry seemed far away, and the idea that the defense of Malaya was absolutely essential to the holding of Singapore never really penetrated. In theory, although the British did not have strong naval forces available, they should have owned the sea flank, since the Japanese did not have a single vessel in the Indian Ocean. But the threat of air power deterred the Navy, and it was the Japanese who managed to make amphibious end runs, often using captured small boats.

The next possible defensive position after Jitra was on the Slim River. It was overrun in a matter of minutes by a Japanese tank charge. The Japanese tanks were not very good–their medium tank mounted a 57mm gun, their light tank a 37mm, and neither was very well armored. The Japanese tankers were lucky they did not have to face the Russian T34’s, with their 76mm cannon and powerful sloped armor. But the Japanese tanks were too much for the British, who had none, and the Gotenda Regiment roared down the road for several miles, spreading panic and destruction.

Squadron Leader Harper returned from Australia in mid-December. He did not have any new pilots with him. The Australians quite sensibly felt that the few experienced pilots they had were needed as instructors and cadres, and should not be wasted in what was shaping up to be a hopeless battle. He found his squadron in complete disarray. They had been sent up to Ipoh, about halfway up the peninsula, to assist another squadron that had been severely handled by the Japanese. Morale was terrible, logistics were a mess, and one maintenance group was trying to do the work of two. The only possible way the Buffalo could fight with the Japanese planes was by using zoom and boom tactics, diving through enemy formations from a great height, and using the speed gained to climb again. Dogfighting with Zeros was suicide. But there was a total lack of any warning system at Ipoh, and Buffalos were being destroyed on the ground, or shot down while taking off and landing. The success that American P-40s and F4F’s of the Cactus Air Force on Guadalcanal had later in the year was due in large part to the devoted effort of coastwatchers up the Slot, who were able to give warning of Japanese raids. Without such a network in Malaya, Harper’s men were helpless. He also commented that “The ex civil Airline engines on the Buffalos were quite unsuited to the treatment they were getting in combat and on the ground…” Just about the time Harper began to establish an observer system and bring some order to the situation, the squadron was forced to retreat again. The one saving grace to the air situation was that the Japanese air units were not coordinated with the army, and tended to raid civilian targets. There was a horrific raid on Penang City on December 11, and daily attacks on Singapore. In mid January a reinforcement convoy brought in 60 Hurricane fighters in crates. The arrival of these planes was greeted with great optimism, but although the Hurricane was a capable fighter, certainly a big improvement on the Buffalo, it was not better than the Zero. The Japanese had over four hundred planes available by that time, and the Hurricanes were too few in number to make much of a difference. However Colonel Tsuji notes, “…the Hurricanes flying low over the rubber forest were a serious challenge. Their intrepid pilots continually machine-gunned our roads, shooting up our motor transportation and blocking traffic…..”

At the end of December Brooke-Popham was relieved, probably much to his relief. General Henry Pownell was appointed to take his place, but soon after that the Far Eastern Command was shut down, and everything from India east was placed under the command of Field Marshal Earl Wavell. Pownell became his Chief of Staff. Wavell and Pownell flew to Singapore in January. They were not impressed with Percival. “He is an uninspiring leader, and rather gloomy…” noted Pownell in his diary. But they couldn’t think of anyone to replace him, so he was left in charge. Meanwhile the Japanese continued to move south. Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaya, fell on January 11th.

The onrushing Japanese received a check on January 14th. The Australians were finally in action. Their flamboyant commander, General Gordon Bennett, was anxious for his men to have a crack at the enemy, and the 27th Brigade was given responsibility for blocking the main road south through Lohore. At a hamlet called Gemas the Australians ambushed the Japanese, letting several bicycle-riding groups ride by, then catching them from the rear. The Japanese 5th Division suffered casualties, but it is still not clear how many–certainly more than a hundred The tanks also took a beating. Australian Sergeants Ken Harrison and Charlie Parsons set up a pair of anti-tank guns near the main road. They remained there in spite of being told by the commander on the spot, Lt. Colonel Galleghan, that the Japanese wouldn’t be attacking with tanks, and that the guns were not needed or wanted. Sure enough, the tanks of the Gotanda Detachment came roaring up the road in their usual aggressive style. T-34’s, American Grants, or German PkW IV’s would have laughed at the sergeants’ 2 pounder popguns, but the thin-skinned Japanese tanks were vulnerable, and the Australians shot them to pieces. “The Gotanda Tank Detachment came under heavy fire in a mined zone”, says Tsuji, “and lost its ten tanks one after the other…”

But although the Australians had a strong position astride the main road, their flanks were shaky. Japanese advancing up the coast, and along the jungle were able to force them out. This would have been a great time for General Percival to commit some of those troops he was saving in Singapore, but, like all generals who are getting licked, he was convinced that he was heavily outnumbered, and that falling back was the only option. Another problem with operations in the southern part of the Malay peninsula was the vast rubber plantations on either side of the main road. Crisscrossed with little access roads, they made it very hard to establish a flank. Of course, this could have worked both ways, but the Japanese were going forward, and the British were going back. On the last day of January the Argyll regiment filed across the causeway to Singapore, which was blown up behind them. The battle of Malaya was over. The battle of Singapore was about to start.

The RAF and the RAAF were just about at the end of their strength. The last major operation was on January 26th, when the decision was made to attack a Japanese reinforcement convoy landing on the lower east side of the peninsula using Hudsons and antiquated biplane Vildebeest torpedo bombers, escorted by the remaining Buffalos and Hurricanes. Some damage was done to the Japanese shipping, but the Vildebeests in particular were massacred by Japanese fighter cover. Early in February all remaining flyable planes were flown off to Sumatra. Ground crews were instructed to remain to be issued weapons and fight as infantry. Flight Lieutenant Harper remained with the ground crews, who were upset at being abandoned this way, and at Harper’s stiff upper lip attitude. A couple of days later it occurred to someone that trained ground crew were as necessary to flight operations as trained pilots, and the whole unit was evacuated by ship. The Japanese also transferred a major part of their air strength to the attack on the Netherlands East Indies. Colonel Tsuji was very indignant about this, ascribing it to jealousy at General Headquarters. This may have been true, but it was also possible that GHQ saw the Singapore campaign as almost over, and while the capture of Singapore was an important objective, it was even more vital to capture the oil fields of Sumatra and Borneo quickly, before they could be destroyed by the allies.

At this point the situation on Singapore was hopeless. If there was one lesson from World War II, it was that islands could not be held under determined attack when air control above them was lost. Crete, Pantellaria, Tarawa, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, it was the same story every time. And the one occasion–Wake–when the attack was fought off, the Japanese simply returned with enough strength to do the job. And Singapore had several disadvantages that many of islands listed above did not have. Although General Percival’s strategy, if he had one, seemed to be to husband his strength for a final defense of Singapore, surprisingly little had been done to fortify the beaches on the landward side. No pillboxes dug and poured, little wire strung, etc. Singapore is not very far from Malaya, so the entire island could be commanded by artillery sited on the mainland. And worst of all there was a huge number of civilians, maybe as many as a million, all needing food and water. The British kept pushing in reinforcements: the British 18th division, the 44th Indian Brigade, 7000 Indian replacements, and 1700 Australian replacements all came in on convoys. The ships that brought them in also took refugees out, mostly Europeans, but only a tiny percentage of Singaporeans could leave. The rest were just another worry for an already very worried General Percival.

Having said that, however, there is no reason why Singapore could not have held out for weeks, perhaps even months. While their morale was sky high, the Japanese troops were exhausted from their long trek down the peninsula. The 5th Division had been given two days rest, which it badly needed. There were few if any reserves. The Japanese army was committed to operations in the Philippines, East Indies, and as far as New Britain and the Solomons, and had no troops in the area to spare. There was a serious shortage of artillery ammunition, and, as indicated above, a major part of their air support had been moved. And the Japanese were still outnumbered two to one. General Yamashita Tomoyuki stood in the glass-enclosed observation tower in the palace of the Sultan of Johore looking out over Singapore. He wanted it. He wanted it now. He knew all the problems that have just been listed, but he was determined to assault the island as soon as possible. Nothing he had seen of the British impressed him, and he felt that a sharp attack might lead to success. He approved a simple but effective plan. The Guards Division would carry out a feint to the northwest, the 5th and 18th Divisions would cross the straits at their narrowest point and attack the east and north coasts of Singapore. The Guards would follow. The commander of the Guards Division objected to this plan on the grounds that his troops did not have a prominent enough role, and it was adjusted to give them a little more to do.

On the other side, General Percival was clueless. Singapore is a fairly large island, with a circumference of about 70 miles. Unable to discern where the attack might come from, Percival decided to to spread his troops out along the entire coast, thus insuring that wherever the Japanese attacked, the defenders would be too weak to resist them. Nor would there be any significant reserve available to counterattack. He was convinced as always that the Japanese were far more numerous than they were, but this made his failure to put his troops where they could be concentrated at need all the more puzzling. He was never able to lose his fear that the enemy would swoop in from the seaward flank, and he told Wavell, that he thought the Japanese would probably attack from the northwest, down the Johore River.

Troops sent to the northeast coast were discouraged by what they found. Not only was there nothing in the way of fortifications, but the terrain was unsuitable for coastal defense, since mangrove swamps limited visibility and field of fire. The Japanese were shelling the island, and soon set fuel dumps ablaze, but the British were conserving artillery ammunition for what Percival was hoping would be an extended siege. When Australian General Bennett was asked privately by one of his brigadiers about the garrison’s chances, he gave them about ten days. However, he didn’t seem to have any ideas about how to improve that, and ignored the brigadier’s request to have at least some reserve available.

On February 8th the Japanese shelling increased, and the Guards carried out their feint. This did not affect Percival’s depositions in any way, serving merely to confirm his opinion that the blow would not fall in the obvious place. That night the 5th and 18th divisions crossed over to the east and northeast coasts of Singapore in several waves, as all the small boats available to the Japanese plied back and forth. The thinly spread defenders on the coast were overwhelmed, in some cases fighting bravely, in others fleeing. By dawn the Japanese were firmly lodged on the shore, and no British troops were available to drive them off. The next night the Guards division attacked near the broken causeway, further to the west. Soon Yamashita’s headquarters received reports that the attack was a failure, and that the British had flooded the water with burning petroleum. However, the report turned out to be false, and Tsuji was given another opportunity to dismiss the Guards: “Did not this incident show the true nature of the Kanoe [Guards] Division?”, he asks rhetorically.

Having succeeded in crossing the water, Yamashita was not in a great hurry. He knew that time was on his side. The Japanese advanced deliberately toward the center of the island over the next two days. Their goal was the village of Burkit Timah, and control of the island’s reservoir. The British attempted to establish a defensive line along the Jurong Creek, but although there was sporadic heavy fighting, most of the defending troops lacked enthusiasm. At British headquarters plans were made and orders were given for counterattacks and heavy resistance, but on the front lines not much was done. The smell of defeat was in the air, along with the burning oil tanks, and everyone had a strong whiff of it. Deserters, those unfortunate Australian “replacements”, and desperate civilians were all running around Singapore town getting drunk rioting, or looking for a way out. The harbor was still full of ships, and they began leaving. Most made it to some destination, although several were sunk with great loss of life. Some attempt was made to evacuate military specialists, such as Squadron Leader Harper’s ground crews. It took General Percival a few days to accept the inevitable, but on February 15th he agreed to surrender. Most books on the subject have pictures of the surrender at the damaged Ford Motor Company factory: Percival gaunt, unhappy, Yamashita sleek, triumphant.

In the short interval before the Japanese were able to establish control quite a number of people attempted to escape on anything that would float. Some were lucky. General Gordon Bennett wandered down to the waterfront with his aide and a couple of other officers, and managed to commandeer a junk. They climbed aboard, later changed to another vessel, made it to Sumatra, and from there back to Australia. General Bennett said he had fled to give the Australian government the benefit of his expertise in fighting the Japanese, but no one was impressed. There was considerable criticism of his having left his men, but he probably felt that was a small price to pay for being able to spend the war in Australia instead of a Japanese prison camp. He eventually wrote a fulsome introduction for the English translation of Colonel Tsuji’s book. Some were not so lucky. Mr. Vivian Bowden, the Australian Trade Commissioner for Shanghai, been instructed to close the consulate there in September and go to Singapore because of the increasing threat of war with Japan. He requested permission to return to Australia, but was told to “stick to his post.” On February 14th he succeeding in finding a place on a small launch, but the craft was intercepted by a Japanese naval vessel and forced to return to Singapore. He was seen arguing with a Japanese guard, was taken outside the movie house where civilians were being held, and shot.

Once the Japanese did establish control, they moved in to stay. They renamed the city Shonan “Light of the South”, requisitioned various buildings and facilities, later established the Southern Army headquarters there, and used its magnificent port facilities to base various units of the Imperial Fleet. The dreaded military police under the leadership of Lt. Colonel Oishi took control of the city, and immediately rounded up tens of thousands of Chinese men. They were screened by kempaitai officers against lists of known supporters of the Nationalist Chinese. In addition anyone with a tattoo, indicating tong membership, teachers, lawyers, other professionals, community leaders, or anyone else who gave a wrong answer or had the wrong face was taken outside town, shot, and dumped into mass graves. Estimates of the number killed range from 5000 to 50,000. General Yamashita said at his trial that he was unaware that this was going on, but it seems hard to believe that civilians could be killed on that scale totally unbeknownst to the man who was nominally in charge of the whole island. More likely the General chose to be unaware of proceedings he did not approve of but could not control. There was, of course, no paper trail, but there is considerable testimony that Colonel Tsuji was involved in the planning the massacre. Soon he was off to the Philippines, where the defeat of American forces there was behind schedule, and the “war planning god” was needed.

Not quite every British serviceman in Malaya was a Japanese captive. Some were still blundering around in the jungle waiting to be picked up, but the British had also authorized a few “stay behind” parties to serve as the nucleus for resistance. One of these was headed by Lt. F. Spencer Chapman. Chapman’s group attempted one ambush, then realized that pinpricks like this were futile once Singapore had surrendered. They went to ground in the wilds of the central peninsula. Chapman himself joined up with communist insurgents, who were doubtful about his politics, but liked his military skills and used him as an instructor. After many adventures, including being captured and escaping, and an abortive attempt to set up an intelligence network in Singapore, Chapman was evacuated by submarine in 1945 and wrote a book about his experiences.

The day after the surrender a large number of Indian Army personnel, officers and men, were taken to a large open area called Farrer Park. Here they were addressed briefly by a British officer, and then at length by Captain Mohan Singh, an officer who had been captured in northern Malaya. He told the assembled Indians. that they were invited to join the Indian National Army, a military organization that would, under Japanese auspices, liberate India from British rule. Reaction was mixed, some enthusiastic, some skeptical. But the Japanese had no plans to invade India immediately. The Burma campaign was just under way, so they were patient. Eventually quite a large force–a division and a good part of another–was recruited. Readers interested in the story of the Indian National Army should read Peter Ward Fay’s objective, detailed and sympathetic book “The Forgotten Army.”: Many other sources are either dismissive (traitors!) or fulsome (heroes!)

What lessons were learned? The British learned that the Japanese, far from being contemptible little buck-toothed losers, were dangerous, tenacious, and aggressive enemies. They learned that the Japanese Army and Navy could strike far and fast, on the surface and in the air. They also learned that the Japanese could be extremely cruel and vicious.

The Japanese learned that the Western soldiers and their Asian allies were poorly led and poorly motivated, and that the Japanese could conduct operations with inadequate numbers on a logistic shoestring, counting on their matchless elan and on capturing supplies as they went. When they attempted to apply these lessons against better soldiers with better leaders at places like Guadalcanal and Imphal, the results were disastrous.

Perhaps the people of Asia learned the most. They learned that these British who had been walking around as if God had chosen them to colonize the world could be beaten and humiliated just like anyone else. But the Asians also learned that being ordered around by the Japanese could be even more annoying, and often much more painful. What, they thought, if we were able to run our own affairs? That thought had to stay on hold for a few years, but it would eventually come into its own.


Arthur E. Percival

Arthur Ernest Percival (Lieutenant-General) (b. 26 December 1887, Aspenden, Hertfordshire, England 1 &ndashd. 31 January 1966, London, England) was the British commander who surrendered Singapore to the Japanese on 15 February 1942 during World War II.

Early life
Despite graduating from Rugby, which was famed as an army preparatory school, Percival initially chose a civilian life, working at a London iron ore firm after he left school in 1906. With the advent of World War I, he volunteered for the British Army in August 1914. By 12 September 1914, he had become a commissioned officer with the 7th Bedfordshire battalion. Percival saw action on the Western Front and distinguished himself by earning numerous military honours including the Distinguished Service Order and the Croix de Guerre, and achieving the rank of lieutenant-colonel. Percival remained in the army after the war, attending both the Army and Naval Staff Colleges and serving in Russia, Ireland, Nigeria and Malta. 2

Accomplishments
In 1936, Percival was posted to Malaya as the general staff officer (first grade). 3 Almost two years later in December 1937, he returned to the United Kingdom to join the Aldershot Command. There, Percival became concerned about Singapore&rsquos security if war were to break out in the Far East. He drew up a possible Japanese attack plan on Singapore, which was in fact similar to that used by the Japanese during its invasion. 4 However, his 1937 plan was rejected by the British War Office, 5 which favoured a defence based on the Singapore&rsquos naval fortifications, supplemented if necessary by a relief naval force from Europe. 6

On 16 May 1941, he was posted again to Malaya, this time as the temporary lieutenant-general and the General Officer Commanding (Malaya). Hampered by the lack of support from both the War Office and the colonial government, his efforts to hold Malaya and Singapore in the face of the Japanese invasion seemed doomed from the start. 7 The rapidity and audacity of the Japanese advance in Malaya 8 left troops unprepared, which resulted in the Allied troops&rsquo retreat to Singapore on 31 January 1942. A fierce battle to hold Singapore ensued, 9 but on 15 February, as conditions within the city grew desperate, Percival decided to surrender Singapore. The surrender took place at the Japanese headquarters at the Ford Factory off Bukit Timah Road. 10

Percival spent the next three years as a prisoner-of-war during the Japanese Occupation, first at Changi Camp, then in Formosa (Taiwan) and finally in Manchuria. On 2 September 1945, Percival was invited by General Douglas MacArthur of the United States to witness the formal surrender of Japan. Percival was also called to witness on the following day the formal surrender of General Tomoyuki Yamashita of the Japanese Army. 11

Aposentadoria
Percival retired from the army in 1946 with the honorary rank of lieutenant-general. He died at the age of 78 at the King Edward VII Hospital in London on 31 January 1966. 12

Criticism
Percival has been criticised for his handling of the Singapore campaign. Differing views abound some asserted that Percival was less than inspirational and had made the grave mistake in not using the engineers who were at his disposal to build fixed defences, while others argued that he had been the convenient scapegoat the military disaster. 13

Referências
1. Kinvig, C. (1996). Scapegoat: General Percival of Singapore. London: Brassey&rsquos UK, p. 5. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 KIN-[WAR])
2. Kinvig, C. (1996). Scapegoat: General Percival of Singapore. London: Brassey&rsquos UK, pp. 3, 5&ndash7, 15, 36&ndash43, 47&ndash87, 92&ndash95, 250&ndash251. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 KIN-[WAR]) Percival, A. E. (1949). The war in Malaya [Microfilm no.: NL 25785]. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, pp. 13, 25.
3. Percival, A. E. (1949). The war in Malaya [Microfilm no.: NL 25785]. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, p. 13
4. Kinvig, C. (1996). Scapegoat: General Percival of Singapore. London: Brassey&rsquos UK, pp. 106&ndash108. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 KIN-[WAR]) Percival, A. E. (1949). The war in Malaya [Microfilm no.: NL 25785]. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, pp. 17&ndash21, 23.
5. Kinvig, C. (1996). Scapegoat: General Percival of Singapore. London: Brassey&rsquos UK, pp. 108&ndash109, 129. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 KIN-[WAR])
6. Farrel, B. P. (2015). The defence and fall of Singapore 1940&ndash1942. Singapore: Monsoon Books, pp. 25&ndash29. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425957 FAR-[WAR]) Warren, A. (2002). Singapore 1942: Britain&rsquos greatest defeat. Singapore: Talisman, pp. 26&ndash27. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 WAR-[WAR]) Wigmore, L. (1957). The Japanese thrust. Canberra: Australia War Memorial, pp. 6&ndash7. (Call no.: RCLOS 940.5425 WIG)
7. Kinvig, C. (1996). Scapegoat: General Percival of Singapore. London: Brassey&rsquos UK, p. 115. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 KIN-[WAR]) Percival, A. E. (1949). The war in Malaya [Microfilm no.: NL 25785]. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, pp. 25, 27&ndash28, 106&ndash110.
8. Kinvig, C. (1996). Scapegoat: General Percival of Singapore. London: Brassey&rsquos UK, p. 133. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 KIN-[WAR]) Percival, A. E. (1949). The war in Malaya [Microfilm no.: NL 25785]. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, pp. 110&ndash115.
9. Percival, A. E. (1949). The war in Malaya [Microfilm no.: NL 25785]. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, pp. 136&ndash164, 198&ndash280 Wigmore, L. (1957). The Japanese thrust. Canberra: Australia War Memorial, pp. 288&ndash291. (Call no.: RCLOS 940.5425 WIG)
10. National Archives of Singapore. (1941-1945). Compilation of World War II footage [Tape 2 of 3] [Audiovisual]. Retrieved from National Archives of Singapore website: www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline Percival, A. E. (1949). The war in Malaya [Microfilm no.: NL 25785]. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, pp. 281&ndash293.
11. Percival, A. E. (1949). The war in Malaya [Microfilm no.: NL 25785]. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, pp. 312, 317&ndash318, 321&ndash326.
12. Kinvig, C. (1996). Scapegoat: General Percival of Singapore. London: Brassey&rsquos UK, p. 251. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 KIN-[WAR])
13. Farrel, B. P. (2015). The defence and fall of Singapore 1940&ndash1942. Singapore: Monsoon Books. pp. 427&ndash436, 448&ndash463. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425957 FAR-[WAR]) Kinvig, C. (1996). Scapegoat: General Percival of Singapore. London: Brassey&rsquos UK., pp. 195-197. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 KIN-[WAR]) Thompson, P. (2005). The battle for Singapore: The true story of the greatest catastrophe of World War Two. London: Portrait, pp. 182&ndash183, 356, 423&ndash425. (Call no.: RSING 940.5425 THO-[WAR])

Further resources
Smyth, J. (1971). Percival and the tragedy of Singapore. London: Macdonald and Co.
(Call no.: RCLOS 940.5425 PER.S)

The information in this article is valid as at 2016 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the library for further reading materials on the topic.


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He was given a guided tour of the place by staff from Singapore History Consultants (SHC), a private heritage consultancy which manages the Battlebox, as well as its director Jeya Ayadurai.

The 75-minute tour, titled The Battlebox Tour: A Story Of Strategy And Surrender, details the primary reasons for Malaya and Singapore's fall to the Japanese, as well as the roles and functions the various key rooms in the Battlebox played in the war.

Mr Percival, who last visited the bunker more than 20 years ago, said: "My memory of (the underground bunker) was that you got the idea of being on the ground then, but it hadn't been developed nearly as much as it is now.

Better and fairer portrayal of events: Lt-Gen Percival's son


Lieutenant-General Arthur Ernest Percival (right) and other British officers on the way to Ford Factory in Bukit Timah on Feb 15, 1942, to surrender, marking the start of the Japanese Occupation. PHOTO: NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF SINGAPORE

"The portrayal of the campaign is infinitely better now than it was when I was here before. It's totally different. It's more comprehensive and I think it's a fairer assessment of what went on than it had been before."

SHC took over the management of Battlebox in 2013. It was reopened in February 2016 after efforts to resolve maintenance and structural issues with the site.

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Mr Ayadurai said: "When we took on the task of reorganising the Battlebox, the intent was to be as impartial as possible and let history do the talking, and ensure that Singaporeans get a truer appreciation regarding the incidents that led to the fall of Singapore.

"As a young country, we are now getting to appreciate that history, and to have General Percival's son come here on the tour and say that he felt that this was an impartial history - it was really good hearing that from him."

The Percivals' visit to the underground bunker coincided with the Singapore Bicentennial, the 200th anniversary of Sir Stamford Raffles' landing in Singapore.

Mr Percival said that upon hearing that he and his wife were coming back to Singapore, his daughter and her husband decided that they would join them.

He said of his father, who died in 1966: "I've always been sad, throughout my life, that my father had to bear all the brunt of the surrender. When an event like this takes place, it's human nature that someone has got to be responsible for that.

"It's easy to say that General Percival was responsible for the surrender of Malaya and Singapore. He wasn't. There were very many factors that led to the surrender of Singapore. And he was a scapegoat."


Arthur Percival was born on 26 December 1887 in Aspenden, Hertfordshire, England. Percival joined the British Army on the first day of World War I, and he was made Second Lieutenant after leaving training. Percival served at the Battle of the Somme (including the Capture of Schwaben Redoubt) and the Spring Offensive, when he was a Lieutenant-Colonel. Percival then fought in the Russian Civil War as second-in-command of the 45th Royal Fusiliers in Arkhangelsk, capturing 400 Red Army soldiers along the Dvina River at Gorodok he gained further combat experience while putting down the Irish Republican Army in the Irish War of Independence.

Percival was the chief-of-staff of General William Dobbie in British Malaya by the start of World War II, having predicted that Japan would attack Malaya through Thailand in the event of war fixed defenses were built in Johore as a precaution. Percival was given command of the British forces in Malaya and Singapore in the campaign of December 1941-February 1942, and his British Commonwealth troops were discovered to have been poorly-armed and ill-trained. Em 15 de fevereiro de 1942, ele rendeu 80.000 soldados britânicos ao Exército Imperial Japonês, a maior rendição da história britânica e um desastre militar. Percival foi preso com Jonathan M. Wainwright na Manchúria, mas em 2 de setembro de 1945 ele teve a alegria de apoiar o general dos Estados Unidos Douglas MacArthur quando assinou os documentos de rendição japoneses do USS Missouri na Baía de Tóquio. Percival se aposentou em 1946, tendo tido uma reputação negativa devido à sua rendição em Cingapura, ele era odiado por muitos e não recebeu o título de cavaleiro como a maioria dos outros tenentes-generais. Percival morreu em Londres em 1966.


Assista o vídeo: Artur Persival vs Drum x DeltaBeliver (Pode 2022).