February 15th 1942 Singapore Surrenders
Surrender cermoniesThe Japanese under the command of General Yamashita successfully conquered the Malay Peninsula. While British troops outnumbered them the Japanese had tanks and better air support. The British were forced to withdraw to the Island of Singapore. They destroyed the causeway but no one was under illusion that Johor Straits would hold back the Japanese. On the night of February 8th the Japanese troops started crossing the straits. The British put up a limited defense but the Japanese who advanced across the island quickly overwhelmed them. Finally on 15th of February “fortress” Singapore was forced to surrender.
The Japanese attacked the Northern Malaya within hours of their attack on Pearl Harbor. The British and Australian forces outnumbered the attacking Japanese forces, however the Japanese successfully out maneuvered the Allied forces passing through areas that the British thought were impassable. The British tried to send ships North the guard the coast sending the battleship HMS Prince of Wales and the battle cruiser HMS Repulse north from Singapore. They were both sunk by Japanese ground based aircraft on December 10th delivering a devastating blow to the British navy. The British aircraft that were deployed in the theater were inferior to the Japanese aircraft, and although they managed to down 20 Japanese planes they were eventually withdrawn. The British delayed the Japanese advance but by January 31st the last British soldiers were withdrew from Malaya. British engineers then blew up part of the causeway linking Johor and Singapore.
The Allied commanded by Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival had 85,000 soldiers in Singapore. The Japanese invasion force consisted of 30,000 troops. Percival however, was convinced that the Japanese would invade from the Northeast side, thus even after the Japanese started intensive shelling from the Northwest the Allies did not attempt to disrupt the Japanese troops in the Northwest. in he evening of February 8th the first Japanese troops crossed the Johor Straits . In the course of a few hours the Japanese transported 13,000 troops with a followup of another 10,000. Facing them were a mere 3,000 Australian troops with no reserves.
The Allied troops were unable to hold the lines and the Japanese steadily advanced. On February 12th the Allies decided to create a final line of defense around the city. The line of defense largely held for three days, but with a million civilians now crowded together Japanese bombing and shelling took its toll. It became clear that there was no choice but to surrender. On February 15th British troops surrendered unconditionally. 85,000 Allied troops surrendered. The British Gibraltar of the East fell.