EW Germans

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Truscott Trotter
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Re: EW Germans

Post by Truscott Trotter »

DougM wrote:
Mon May 04, 2020 12:12 am
But they were usually repainted. And not many captured US and British vehicles in use in the Malayan Campaign.
Not many US but one Japanese division in Malaya reported 500 captured Brit transports some still had keys in and engines running :lol:

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DougM
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Re: EW Germans

Post by DougM »

Nah, they were mainly Aussie transports. ;-)

In all seriousness, right up until the withdrawal into Singapore, while there were instances of transports being captured, generally speaking the retreating troops did a pretty good job of disabling equipment. The bulk of the equipment was captured in Singapore itself.
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Truscott Trotter
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Re: EW Germans

Post by Truscott Trotter »

Not according to Japanese staff officer Col Tsuji - they got them in Northern Malaya and that's why they managed to advance so fast - to be fair the numbers included civilian transport too.
All the Aussie transport was nicked of the Brits and Scots :lol:

e.g.
The casualties of the Saeki Detachment had been twenty-seven killed in action and eighty-three wounded—a total of one hundred and ten men. The enemy retreated, leaving behind as souvenirs about fifty field guns, fifty heavy machine-guns, about three hundred trucks and armoured cars and provisions and ammunition for a division for three months. Casualties suffered by the enemy were not clear to us, but over three thousand surrendered after having thrown away their arms in panic and taken refuge in the jungle, from which they were driven out by hunger after several days. The majority of these were Indian soldiers.

Tsuji, Col. Masanobu. Singapore: The Japanese Version . Verdun Press. Kindle Edition.


I suspect what the Commonwealth soldiers told their officers and what actually happened may differ?

and
On the early morning of the 14th (January) we penetrated to an important crossroad. At this place vast quantities of munitions were piled up like a mountain on the roadside; several trucks laden with provisions stood abandoned as if to welcome our army.

Tsuji, Col. Masanobu. Singapore: The Japanese Version . Verdun Press. Kindle Edition.

And the big one 24th Janaury
Accordingly the Army Commander planned, by negotiation, to squeeze as many cars and trucks as possible from each of these two divisions. We knew that by picking up the excellent British service vehicles after each battle the divisions had acquired nearly twice the number with which they had originally been equipped. I had frequently inquired about the actual numbers of vehicles they had, but the replies I received had not been quite honest. We estimated they had at least five hundred vehicles above their authorized number.

Tsuji, Col. Masanobu. Singapore: The Japanese Version . Verdun Press. Kindle Edition.

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DougM
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Re: EW Germans

Post by DougM »

I was relying on the official histories, which are surprisingly candid when you read below the surface. It's immediately apparent just how poorly some of the Indian (and other!) formations performed, lots of them newly formed, untrained and with no cadre of experienced ncos and officers. Some of the performances of the officers are simply unbelievable in hindsight, panicked and stupid sums it up in many cases, swept away by events.

I'm actually only really surprised that the numbers are so high as quoted in relation to the establishment. Although it is acknowledged that the figure of 500 is an estimate.
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Truscott Trotter
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Re: EW Germans

Post by Truscott Trotter »

Yeah 500 included those they brought with them and civilian vehicles but still they appear to have captured 2-300.

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DougM
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Re: EW Germans

Post by DougM »

It's not altogether easy to find out the vehicle establishment, with the best information I can find being parallels in the 8th army suggesting front-line motorised regiments might have 100 trucks & lorries. There were however several airbases, civilian stations and so on, which may well have supplied a number of vehicles.

From some of the signal traffic that has been preserved though, you get an impression that in some cases local company and regimental commanders simply had no idea where their troops; but more especially, where the enemy were. And there was a constant fear of being outflanked, surrounded and/or cut off, with really poor communications between formations. It looks like often troops were pulled back or redeployed to different locations in a panic, without letting neighbouring formations know until such times as Japanese troops had infiltrated and were present in locations they thought held by comrades.

The whole thing seems to have just snowballed from a start point of 'the Japanese can't shoot, and can't fight, and their air force is rubbish with rubbish planes' to a point of 'we have no air support, constantly strafed, we have no idea where they are, whole companies are disappearing, they can appear like phantoms anywhere they choose, wrecking bridges doesn't stop them, we don't have enough anti-tank support to stop their armour, and all our brigades are falling back so quickly we can't be the ones left behind.

Very poor leadership throughout, initial over-confidence then swinging wildly to 'jungle supermen', inexperienced and untrained formations especially in the indian Army, who were also lacking equipment, a lack of confidence in the leadership and the overall outcomes seem to have been the biggest contributors to the catastrophe.
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BaronVonWreckedoften
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Re: EW Germans

Post by BaronVonWreckedoften »

A classic example of a wartime army being led by peacetime generals, unfortunately. For me, the campaign was summed up by two separate battalions of Gurkhas being surprised in column of march, on a road, by Japanese tanks, and each being effectively destroyed as a fighting unit.

What's interesting is that, contrary to myth, there actually WAS a plan to prevent a Japanese invasion of the Malay Peninsula from the north, but (a) it required prior knowledge that they were coming, and (b) required us to violate Thai neutrality (although their government was pro-Japanese, so I suspect this would not have worried anyone unduly).
No plan survives first contact with the dice.

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DougM
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Re: EW Germans

Post by DougM »

I think the issue was not so much that it required prior knowledge, it was that violating Siamese sovereignty would have handed a propaganda coup to the Japanese, so that by the time the Foreign Office agreed it would have been too late. It also strikes me that there were too many plans, (such as the Northern attack that was costly), constant reorganisation of divisions and even brigades, incredibly poor communication, and officers at company and battalion level who were not up to the task. None of the British brigade commanders really shone, with the possible exception of Paris.

Just a final comment - the Wikipedia page appears to have been edited with a very strong Australian bias, so it forms a part of the Australian mythology how stupid British Generals cost Australian lives.
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Foxhound61
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Re: EW Germans

Post by Foxhound61 »

The discussion seems to have wandered a bit from EW Germans so I will add my bit.

Not always appreciated in forum discussions is that the AIF contingent in Malaya consisted of 8th Australian Division Headquarters, two Infantry Brigades and a proportion of Divisional Troops. Attempts to reinforce them in January and early February 1942 were largely unsuccessful.

The third Infantry Brigade of the 8th Division was widely deployed in Battalion groups in Rabaul (New Britain), Ambon and Koepang (Dutch Timor). Those are other sorry stories.

The only bright spot was that the Australian 2nd Independent Company in a bit of Australian aggression occupied neutral Portuguese Timor before the Japanese invaded Dutch Timor. Japanese records indicate that the Japanese had no intention of occupying Portuguese Timor until the Australians had occupied it. It is to be noted that the Japanese did not occupy Portuguese Macau when they captured Hong Kong.

Foxhound61

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Baldie
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Re: EW Germans

Post by Baldie »

Not done much on em this week but just had a crack for an hour or two.

MMG Team, 80mm Mortar Team, some odds and sods crew and LMG teams and the crew for the 37mm ATG.

Realising these guys will never end, got some artillery to do a sidecar combo, 221 and some enemy agents for my shabby Nazi tricks.
Then still got about three times as many infantry in great coats and mid/late kit for when we make it later in the war. Then stuff I got from a chum years ago loads of black tree vehicles including a metal tiger that weighs about as much as a real tiger.
Interests

Getting slaughtered by a surprising amount of opponents.

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