Capture of Singapore 8-15 February 1942


Map Code: Ax00319

The Japanese invaded Malaya in December 1941, working their way towards the defensively vulnerable Singapore and amassing around 30,000 troops across the Strait of Johore in preparation for an invasion. The British ignored intelligence of a concealed build-up of Japanese soldiers in the northwest, instead focussing their defensive forces to the northeast of the island. Following heavy artillery bombardment, the Japanese landed their invasion force on the northwest of the island on 8 February. Although the 85,000 Allied troops in Singapore vastly outnumbered the Japanese, they were insufficiently trained and underequipped. The Japanese used stealth to advance quickly through the jungle, and had held air superiority in the area for some time before the invasion. The British were quickly outmanoeuvred and withdrew in a badly organized defense. By 15 February, amongst heavy civilian casualties and dwindling supplies, Lieutenant-General Percival was forced to surrender Singapore, causing huge embarrassment for the British.

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