The Fall Of Singapore 1942 History Essay

The autumn of Singapore 1942 was the most annihilating licking for the British in World War 2. It had its effects on the British regulation in the Commonwealth Countries of South East Asia including the Indian Subcontinent and Australia. The autumn of Singapore resulted in loss of adult male power as 100s and 1000s of soldiers from India and Burma and Australia were taken in as POW ( Prisoners of war ) and this made the fortress of Singapore which was one time thought to be inviolable expression weak. This gave an chance for the Indians to capitalise on the British failing and Hence with the aid of Subhash Chandra Bose and the Nipponese, India looked to derive independency in the procedure.

The probes made are both primary and secondary where we get penetrations of the different positions of the autumn of Singapore for illustration the British and besides by the Japanese. The range of this essay is how the autumn of Singapore was the influencing factor in get downing the INA which subsequently became the Azad hind Fauj, that had the psyche intent to stop the Imperialist British regulation and convey Swaraj to India.

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Significance of Singapore

The British had begun constructing a naval base at Singapore in 1923, partially in response to Japan ‘s increasing naval power. A dearly-won and unpopular undertaking, building of the base proceeded easy until the early 1930s when Japan began traveling into Manchuria and northern China. A major constituent of the base was completed in March 1938, when the King George VI Graving Dock was opened ; more than 300 metres in length, it was the largest dry dock in the universe at the clip. The base, completed in 1941 and defended by heavy weapon, searchlights, and the freshly built nearby Tengah Airfield, caused Singapore to be ballyhooed in the imperativeness as the “ Gibraltar of the East. ” The natation dock, 275 metres long, was the 3rd largest in the universe and could keep 60,000 workers. The base besides contained dry docks, elephantine Cranes, machine stores ; and belowground storage for H2O, fuel, and ammo. A self-contained town on the base was built to house 12,000 Asiatic workers, with film, infirmaries, churches, and 17 association football Fieldss. Above-ground armored combat vehicles held plenty fuel for the full British naval forces for six months. The lone thing the elephantine naval fortress lacked was ships.

The Singapore naval base was built and supplied to prolong a besieging long plenty to enable Britain ‘s European-based fleet to make the country. By 1940, nevertheless, it was clear that the British fleet and armed forces were to the full committed in Europe and the Middle East and could non be spared to cover with a possible menace in Asia. In the first half of 1941, most Singaporeans were unaffected by the war on the other side of the universe, as they had been in World War I. The chief force per unit area on the Straits Settlements was the demand to bring forth more gum elastic and Sn for the Allied war attempt. Both the colonial authorities and British military bid were for the most portion convinced of Singapore ‘s invulnerability.

Even by late fall 1941, most Singaporeans and their leaders remained confident that their island fortress could defy an onslaught, which they assumed would come from the South and from the sea. Heavy fifteen-inch guns defended the port and the metropolis, and machine-gun sand traps lined the southern seashore. The lone local defence forces were the four battalions of Straits Settlements Volunteer Corps and a little civil defence organisation with units trained as air foray wardens, fire combatants, medical forces, and debris removers. Singapore ‘s Asians were non, by and big, recruited into these organisations, chiefly because the colonial authorities doubted their trueness and capableness. The authorities besides went to great lengths to keep public composure by doing extremely optimistic dictums and to a great extent baning the Singapore newspapers for negative or dismaying intelligence. Journalists ‘ studies to the outside universe were besides carefully censored, and, in late 1941, reports to the British cabinet from colonial functionaries were still unrealistically optimistic. If Singaporeans were uneasy, they were reassured by the reaching at the naval base of the battleshipA Prince of Wales, the conflict and four destroyers cruiserA Repulse, on December 2. The fast and modernA Prince of WalesA was the pride of the British naval forces, and theA RepulseA was a seasoned patrol car. Their accompanying aircraft bearer had run aground en path, nevertheless, go forthing the war vessels without benefit of air screen.

The Indian National Army

The thought of the INA was foremost conceived in Malaya by Mohan Singh, an Indian officer of the British Indian Army when he decided non to fall in the withdrawing British ground forces and alternatively went to the Japanese for aid. The Japanese had boulder clay so merely encouraged civilian Indians to organize anti-British organisations, but had no construct of organizing a military wing dwelling of Indians.

Indian captives of war were handed over by the Japanese to Mohan Singh who so tried to enroll them into an Indian National Army. The autumn of Singapore was important, for these brought 45,000 Indian POWs into Mohan Singh ‘s domain of influence. By the terminal of 1942, 40 thousand work forces expressed their willingness to fall in the INA. It was repeatedly made clear at assorted meetings of leaders of the Indian community and of Indian Army officers that the INA would travel into action merely on the invitation of the Indian National Congress and the people of India.A

The eruption of the Quit India Movement gave a bonus to the INA as good anti-British presentations were organized in Malaya. On 1 September 1942, the first division of the INA was formed with 16,300 work forces. The Japanese were by now more conformable to the thought of an armed Indian wing because they were contemplating an Indian invasion. But, by December 1942, serious differences emerged between the Indian ground forces officers led by Mohan Singh and the Japanese over the function that the INA was to play. Mohan Singh and Niranjan Singh Gill, the senior-most Indian officer to fall in the INA, were arrested. The Japanese, it turned out, wanted merely a nominal force of 2,000 work forces, while Mohan Singh wanted to raise an Indian National Army of 20,000.A

The Battle for Singapore

Defense mechanisms in Singapore

The British had built a Naval Base in northern Singapore. In add-on, the British built belowground sand traps in secret topographic points all over the island. These sand traps were used as shops or air-raid shelters for defense mechanism intents.

The defense mechanism programs for Singapore were designed to forestall an onslaught from the sea. The large guns that were placed in Singapore were to be used for firing at large ships. These guns could besides be turned landwards to fire at enemies on land. However, they were non equipped with the right ammo to hit at such enemies.

The British did non believe that Singapore could be attacked from the land because the jungles of Johor were hard district for enemy soldiers to travel in. Therefore small was done to support northern Singapore. The naval base, belowground sand traps, large guns and the natural protection of the Johor jungles led the British to believe that Singapore was every bit strong as a fortress.

The Situation Worsened for Singapore

The Nipponese soldiers, nevertheless, were well-trained in jungle warfare, and so the jungles of Malaya were non a job to them. While the Japanese were occupying Malaya, they besides dropped bombs on Singapore. The British combatant planes were outnumbered by the Nipponese “ Zero ” combatants. Soon, the British moved their planes from the landing fields in Singapore to Sumatra. The landing fields in Singapore were abandoned before the Nipponese soldiers landed on the island. The British air defense mechanism failed to protect Singapore. In add-on, the Singapore Naval Base was destroyed by the British themselves to forestall the Nipponese from doing usage of it. The air and sea defense mechanisms of the British had therefore been crippled. By 31 January 1942, the Japanese were already in Johor Bahru – the doorsill of Singapore. Merely a damaged Causeway separated Johor Bahru from Singapore.

The Nipponese Headquarters

The Nipponese Commander, General Yamashita, set up his central offices at the Sultan of Johor ‘s castle. The pick was a clever one because the castle had a five-storey high tower. From this tower, General Yamashita could see every key mark in northern Singapore. Although the tower was an easy mark for the British, Yamashita was confident that the British would non fire at the place of their old friend, Sultan Ibrahim. He was right.


The Fake Attack

To misdirect the British, the Japanese in Johor made intense bombardments at Changi. To do it even more convincing, the Nipponese attacked Pulau Ubin on 7 February 1942. Thinking that the Japanese intended to occupy Singapore from the nor’-east, the British moved cherished stocks of defense mechanism supplies like gasoline and explosives from the Northwest to the nor’-east. This was precisely what the Japanes had wanted the British to make.


Landings from the Northwest

Since the narrowest point of the Johor Strait was at the northwest of Singapore, it was easy for the Japanese to traverse the Strait at that place. But the British had non stationed a big figure of military personnels at that place. The Japanese found it easy to direct divisions of soldiers across from Johor to Singapore in gum elastic boats and on tonss. Some of their armored combat vehicles were besides floated across the Johor Strait. The Allied soldiers, who had excessively big an country to support, opened fire at the Nipponese but could non halt them.


The British Blunder

The Nipponese rapidly repaired the Causeway so that both work forces and equipment could travel easy into Singapore. To fix for the worst, the British Commander, General A.E. Percival, made programs for the British soldiers to retreat to protect the town Centre if the state of affairs called for it. When Percival issued the secret programs in the thick of the conflict, they were interpreted as a bid to retreat instantly. Thus, many of the British soldiers on the western portion of the island withdrew even before the Nipponese soldiers moved into the country. When the error was discovered, orders were given to counter-attack, but these were carried out half-heartedly. By so, the Japanese had gained control of Bukit Timah.


The Battle of Bukit Timah

On 11 February, the Nipponese reached the Bukit Timah country. It was an of import topographic point as the British had stocked up nutrient and ammo every bit good as vehicle and machine parts at that place. The north-eastern incline of the hill faced a reservoir, which was critical beginning of H2O supply. It was here that the fiercest combat took topographic point. Armed merely with blades, grenades, rifles and guns that they used for runing birds and animate beings, the Chinese Volunteers fought courageously, side by side with the Allied soldiers. Many on both sides were killed. The Nipponese subsequently took retaliation on the Chinese by killing all the Chinese work forces, adult females and kids found in the small town.


The Battle of Pasir Panjang

By 13 February 1942, the Nipponese had already reached Pasir Panjang Ridge ( Kent Ridge Park ) . It was close to the Alexandra country where the chief ammo shops and British military infirmary were located.

There, some work forces of the Malay Regiment, led by Lieutenant ( Lt. ) Adnan bin Saidi fought courageously. Many of the Nipponese soldiers were killed or wounded. The following twenty-four hours, some Nipponese soldiers tried to mask themselves as Indian soldiers in the British ground forces. It was Lt. Adnan who was crisp plenty to detect that those familiar turbaned figures were processing in 4s alternatively of the usual 3s in the British ground forces. He ordered his solders to open fire, killing several of them. This cause the remainder of the Nipponese to fly down the hill.

But, the Japanese were shortly able to environ the hill. The Malays were to a great extent outnumbered. Fierce hand-to-hand bayonet contending took topographic point. Many soldiers on both sides were killed. Lt. Adnan was besides hit by the enemy ‘s fire. In malice of his lesions, he kept on combat. He was subsequently captured by the Nipponese and stabbed to decease.


The Massacre at Alexandra Hospital

The Nipponese so marched into Alexandra Hospital ( so a British military infirmary ) . There the Japanese killed the physicians, hospital staff, patients and even a British corporal who was lying on the operating tabular array.


Decision at Fort Caning

15 February was Chinese New Year ‘s twenty-four hours. A meeting was held in the belowground sand trap of Fort Canning. Percival wanted to discourse ways to counter-attack but his commanding officers were against the thought. There were excessively many jobs. The soldiers were tired. The chance of street contending meant more would be killed. Their supplies of nutrient and H2O were running out. To forestall farther bloodshed, they decided to give up.


The Bluff That Worked

The British surrendered to the Nipponeses at the Ford Motor Factory in Bukit Timah. It was a cheerless New Year ‘s twenty-four hours for the Chinese. Unknown to Percival, Yamashita had besides used up most of his ammo. Whatever arms he had were those which the British had left behind in their headlong retreat. Yamashita ‘s soldiers were outnumbered by more than three to one.

Nipponese Invasion Advantages


The British expected the Japanese to come in Singapore by sea. They stationed large guns near the sea to hit the enemies ‘ ships. The British besides did non set up a strong defence in northern Singapore. They felt that the jungles of Johor were excessively thick for the Japanese to cut through. However, the Japanese did the exact antonym.



General Yamashita set up his central offices at the Sultan ‘s castle in Johor. The castle had a tall tower to give the Japanese a good position of northern Singapore.


The out-of-date British military planes were of no lucifer for the Nipponese modern “ Zero ” combatants. To forestall the Nipponese from utilizing the Singapore Naval Base, the British destroyed the country themselves. Hence, the British were crippled both by air and sea. They were left with no strong defence to contend the Japanese.



To misdirect the British, the Nipponese intentionally bombed Changi and Pulau Ubin to a great extent. Their purpose was to entice the British into switching their defence supplies like gasoline and explosives to the nor’-east of Singapore. In this manner, the northwest would be weak in defence and the Japanese could occupy from that way easy.

Role of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose

On 15 February 1942, Singapore fell to the Nipponese ground forces progressing due south from the Malayan peninsula. Two yearss subsequently, in an impressive ceremonial held at Farrar Park in the bosom of the town, [ British ] Indian military personnels were handed over to the Nipponese as prisoners-of-war by their dominating officer, Colonel Hunt.

Major Fujiwara took them over on behalf of the winning Nipponese, and so announced that he was passing them over to Captain Mohan Singh of the Indian contingents, who should be obeyed by them as their Supreme Commander. Mohan Singh so spoke to the Indian POWs, showing his purpose of raising an Indian national ground forces out of them to contend for India ‘s freedom. He held a preliminary treatment with some outstanding Indians in Malay and Burma in a meeting in Singapore on 9 and 10 March, which was attended by Rashbehari Bose, a seasoned Indian revolutionist expatriate life in Japan for the last one-fourth of a century. Bose so called a conference in Tokyo, which was held 28-30 March. The delegates stand foring several East and Southeast Asiatic states present at the conference decided to organize the Indian Independence League to form an Indian independency motion in East Asia. Bose was recognized as caput of the organisation. The conference farther resolved that “ military action against the British in India will be taken merely by the INA and under Indian bid, together with such military, naval and air cooperation and aid as may be requested from the Nipponese by the Council of Action ” and further, “ after the release of India, the framing of the future fundamental law of India will be left wholly to the representatives of the people of India. “ 20

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On 15 June 1942, a conference opened in Bangkok with over a 100 delegates of the IIL [ Indian Independence League ] go toing from all over Asia. By the stopping point of the nine-day conference a declaration was nem con adopted puting Forth the policies of the independency motion in East Asia. The IIL was proclaimed the organisation to work for India ‘s freedom ; the Indian National Army was declared the military arm of the motion with Mohan Singh as the Commander-in-chief and Rashbehari Bose was elected president of the Council of Action. It was further decided that Singapore would be the central office of the IIL. Netaji had stated in a message to the conference that his personal experience had convinced him that Japan, Italy and Germany were pledged enemies of British imperialism ; yet, independency could come merely through the attempts of Indians themselves. India ‘s freedom would intend the mob of British imperialism. The Indian National Army was officially inaugurated in September 1942.

BoseA arrived in Singapore on 2 July 1943 on the invitation of radical freedom combatant Rash Bihari Bose.A He was appointed President of the Indian Independence League and took on the mantle of Rash Bihari Bose as leader of the Indian Independence League in East Asia.A On 21 October 1943, Subhash Chandra BoseA proclaimedA the formation of the Probationary Government of Free India at the Cathay Cinema Hall.A A Two yearss subsequently, he declared war on Britain and the United States.A With aid from the Nipponese, A he re-organized A and rejuvenated theA Azad Hind FaujA ( besides called the Indian National Army ) .A He lobbied sharply for financess in Malaya and other parts of Southeast Asia and launched a enlisting driveA forA theA Azad Hind Fauj.A A Tapping into the widespread discontent of Indian ground forces forces in Malaya, particularly over the manner British officers had abandoned them during their retreatA from Singapore, he was able to pull many British Indian military personnels to fall in theA Azad Hind Fauj.A A On 14 April 1944, he led theA Azad Hind FaujA on an violative against the British in India ; and traversing the Burmese boundary line, heA planted the Indian National tricolor flag at Moirang, ManipurA . It was a symbol of claiming Indian dirt from the British. However, the violative failed to take Kohima and Imphal and retreated to Burma. The run was considered a failure soA Bose left for Singapore via Bangkok on 24 April 1944.A

With the autumn of Singapore in 1942, approximately 40,000 Indian soldiers were captured. They were given a pick and 30,000 joined theA Indian National Army. Those who refused became POWs and were largely shipped to New Guinea.

With the antecedently formed divisions largely committed overseas in 1942, the ground forces formed another four foot divisions ( 23rd, A 25th, 28th, A 36th ) and theA 43rd Indian Armoured Division. A However events during 1942, and the Nipponese conquerings meant the 28th division was non formed and the units earmarked for it were used elsewhere. The 36th division unambiguously, was created as a British Indian Army formation, but was formed from British brigades that had reached India from theA Madagascar campaignA and from Britain. The concluding division formed in 1942 was theA 26th Indian Infantry Division, which was hurriedly formed from the assorted units in preparation or stationed nearA Calcutta

After the sensed hapless public presentation in conflicts in Malaya and Burma in 1942, it was decided that the bing foot divisions were over-mechanized. To counter this the 17th and39th divisionsA were selected to go light divisions, of merely two brigades which would rely more on animate being and four-wheel-drive conveyance. [ 15 ]

By December 1942, understanding was reached that India should go the base for violative operations. Support should be in topographic point for 34 divisions, which would include two British, one West African, one East African and 11 Indian divisions, and what was left of theA Burma Army.


Not all the defeated soldiers had to pass the following three old ages in Nipponese prison cantonments. Of the 60,000 Indians that surrendered, 25,000 chose to travel over to the enemy. They became the nucleus of the Indian National Army ( INA ) , which two old ages subsequently took portion in the Nipponese invasion of India. In that run INA soldiers faced their ain. countrymen, members of General William Slim ‘s largely Indian 14th Army, which crushed them and the Nipponese ground forces they served, greatly rushing the terminal of the war. In May 1945 Rangoon was retaken by an lndian division ; the same month the rabble remains of the INA laid down their weaponries.

Soldiers are sworn to function their state in peace and war. But to what state did the Indians who surrendered in Singapore owe their trueness? To Imperial Britain, or to an India that was engaged in a battle for independency? After the war, arrested members of the Indian National Army were classed as ‘white ‘ , ‘black ‘ , or ‘grey ‘ harmonizing to the perceived artlessness or blameworthiness of their motivations. Most were considered Grey. However much wartime publicizers, and even some historiographers, position complex issues in monochromatic footings, little in warfare is truly black-and-white.

Indian soldiers had helped Britain conquer India and Indian soldiers helped them retain it. During the First World War about a million Indian military personnels fought for the Empire in Europe and Mesopotamia. Up to this clip all higher officers of the Indian ground forces were British ; after the war belated attempts were made to ‘Indianise ‘ the officer corps. This was in line with Britain ‘s late announced purpose of increasingly professing self-government to India – a grudging response to a nationalist motion that, under the leading of Mahatma Gandhi, was get downing to mobilise the multitudes.


The British Raj in India was so weakened by the force per unit areas caused by the autumn of Singapore in 1942. Due to its engagement in the World War it was in a really bad province and hence it was the right minute for the INA to get down the war of independency. The soldiers from the conflicts at Kohima and Burma repatriated to India and therefore faced charges for lese majesty against the British regulation.Although it may look irrelevant, but this was the anchor that started the Indian Independence Movement. The Indian National Army fought aboard the Japanese in the conquerings of Burma and Indonesia and South East Asia. However, it failed to do any impact on a big graduated table as it lost the support of the Nipponese after the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombardments. It failed to convey complete swaraj to india and along with the decease of Subhash Chandra Bose it lost all its force.




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