Malaya What If

Malaya What If
My story will be about whether Britain could have held Malaya/Singapore in 1941-42. There are or have been some storylines that flirt with the question, or paint it with a broad stroke, against a background of a much bigger picture. But I want to write in more detail about how things could have gone

My timeline will begin with some small changes, but without wholesale changes to the general direction of the war. But obviously, as a stone cast in a still pond spreads ripples, so my little changes will undoubtedly bring about changes in future events.

I’ve never written like this before, just posted on forums, or written reports in my real life, and so I wrote privately for myself originally, quite expecting this would just be a fad, a faze I’d quickly grow tired off. But it didn’t, and despite my very slow progress, I found I’ve had fun writing the stories, and want to share them with you.

I’ve struggled with a style, and looking at my stories see different styles, or just as worrying, the same formatted style. I’ve written them with my own enjoyment in mind, and readily concede they are at times very factual, or offer too much detail in the narrative, and may be quite boring, but I like detail. In addition, there are a lot of historical facts, which I hope I’ve got right and a lot of technical, tactical or even strategical points that I’m sure will offer up comment.

I take my hat off to Zheng He, Galveston Bay and Fester to name but three who inspired me to write, and I thank them for the enjoyable hours I’ve spent reading their storylines. If mine could be half as good I’d be happy.

Place names in Malaya and Singapore are historical, as is Burma (Myanmar) and the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), however, I have used current names when writing about events in Thailand, simply so the reader has a better chance of following the narrative while looking at Google maps. There are a lot of characters, many real, some of whom will find themselves in very different theatres of war, but there are also quite a number of fictional ones too. I hope no one is offended about what happens to the historical people, I have no intention to give offence. Other events are written with a broad stroke of the pen, to give some timeline reference, forgive me if they appear over simplistic

Hopefully I will post a couple of times a week, I’m not a quick writer. I welcome comment and criticism, provided its constructive, and will readily accept the errors I have no doubted made, being pointed out, so without further to do, I will begin.
 
MWI 40080510 The threat in the Far East
1940, Monday 05 August;

It was an early morning meeting of the COS, the Chiefs of Staff, with Churchill, in the Cabinet Room, Churchill wanting to be updated before a full War Cabinet meeting later in the morning. It was an intimate affair, just six men around a table that dated back to the last century. Churchill was in the middle, flanked with his chief military assistant, Maj Gen ‘Pug’ Ismay on his right, who was also the secretary of the CoS committee, and Maj Gen Leslie Hollis, the assistant secretary of the CoS committee, but who now did most of that work, on his left. Opposite Churchill sat Admiral Dudley Pound, the First Sea Lord and chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, and on his right was General John Dill, and Air Chief Marshal Cyril Newell on his left.

They were nearing the end of the agenda now, the threat of invasion, with the defence of Britain, and the Atlantic convoys, taking priority, and then the Middle East, finally they had reached the Far East. Closing the Burma Road if only temporary, in response to Japanese aggressive tones hadn’t sat well with the War Cabinet. And the increasing hostility of the Vichy regime, including in Indo-China, had heighten fears for the security of the Far East. The War Cabinet had requested an appreciation of Britain’s security in the area, and Churchill was most anxious to review this before the War Cabinet discussed it.

“OK next on the agenda, COS appreciation of the Far East”, Admiral Pound looked up at Churchill, and continued. “Have you had time to consider our paper Prime Minister?”

Churchill quietly growled “Far East? Yes indeed”. He looked sideways at Ismay, who handed him a sheet of paper. Churchill quickly scanned it, looking for his notes. “Yes, Gentlemen I have read through, and understand the situation. While I’m certain Japan won’t attack, nevertheless she would most certainly make play with these garrisons. I agree the troops in North China will have to be withdrawn, where are they going John?”

“I thought of retaining them in Malaya for now, being as we are so short there, Prime Minister, and it really doesn’t take up too much shipping Prime Minister”.

“For now, John, for now. Pug, make a note, we must write to the Dominions and the President and let them know we are pulling out, Leslie, the British battalions to Malaya on a temporary basis please, as agreed by General Dill”.

Both secretaries scratched down the notes with their ink pens.

“And Hong Kong Prime Minister?” Pound looked side to side at his colleagues, Newell and Dill, expectantly waiting Churchill’s answer.

Churchill leaned forward “Well Hong Kong is another matter, an altogether different affair. We cannot pull out of her, imagine what message that would send to Japan, our Dominions, and the World. People would say we are finished, no, no, NO, quite unacceptable, we simply can’t”.

Pound took a breath, “Prime Minister if Japan attacked the colony, we couldn’t hold it, all would be lost, and it’s too far from Singapore for any supporting Naval Squadron, should we ever find one spare”.

Winston clenched his right hand into a fist and slowly banged out a response. “We cannot, I simply will not, allow us to give up Hong Kong. How would we argue at the victors table for the return of Hong Kong without having made sacrifices in her defence? No, the garrison remains”. He looked slowly at each of the Chiefs in defiance. “Is that quite clear”

Yes, Prime Minister” Pound replied, “crystal clear. Moving onto Malaya and Singapore, and the matter of discussions with the Dutch over mutual defence plans”

Pound swiftly moving on had placated Churchill, and his tone softened, “Yes most certainly, they like us have an Empire to defend, we must work together for mutual support”

Pound continue “we are suggesting the local commanders submit a joint tactical appreciation, based on air power providing the primary defence of Malaya/Singapore”.

“Yes, yes, is that all Dudley” Churchill asked.

“Not quite Prime Minister, we had some other ideas. I was thinking of stopping the transfer of the four R class submarines to the Med, retaining them in the Far East, they would be most useful to us for scouting and information gathering, and somewhat of a deterrent to the Japanese”

“Hmm, Yes Dudley, I quite like the idea with the R class, but just them boats, the rest have to go to the Mediterranean. However, should Japan be so foolish as to enter into War with us, we’ll give her a taste of the U-Boat menace eh!”

Pound pressed on “We need to find a new depot ship for them, we can’t return the Medway, I suggest we requisition a small merchant ship for conversion in Hong Kong”.

“Yes, yes, make so, Leslie, make a note that, Dudley says a small merchant ship” Churchill waved his hand languidly, as a small smile spread across everyone lips, Maj Gen Hollis quietly noted the particulars down.

“Prime Minister, we also think there is value in forming two new Chinese Regiments, one each in Singapore and Hong Kong, and the expansion of the Malay Regiment”. Dill looked at Churchill, and held his breath, they were doing well so far.

“Yes, you can John, but I’ve no idea where you’re going to find the guns to arm them, we need everything we can here”. Winston continued, while finger pointing at Dill. “And mark you, the recruits need to be scrutinised, we don’t want any communist elements introduced!”

“Yes, Prime Minister, we thought they might be armed later, from new Dominion production. We’d also like two auxiliary Pioneer battalions for Malaya, Prime Minister, it means we don’t have to make too greater a demand on local labour”

“Really John, how much more? Very well, but only two, Pug, take a note, I need to persuade India to send a couple of Pioneers battalions to Malaya. Leslie, note that’s accepted. And Cyril, anything from you”? Churchill turned his head towards Air Chief Marshal Newell, making it clear he didn’t want to hear anymore from General Dill on this subject.

Newell leant forward slightly, he had enjoyed the last few minutes rest, having been drained by Churchill’s grilling for nearly an hour over Fighter command then Bomber Command, and lastly defending the need to keep Coastal Command as an RAF responsibility. “Yes, Prime Minister, but not a lot, just re-naming the Volunteers as the Malayan Volunteer Air Force, and requisitioning the local aircraft, and bringing the lot under RAF command. And we have the ongoing construction of some new airfields, both in Singapore and Malaya”.

“Yes, yes, note that down as accepted please Leslie. OK next”! Churchill looked sternly at Pound daring him to bring anything else up on this point of the agenda.

Pound quietly moved on, “next on the agenda is a request from the Falklands Islands ….”
 
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MWI 40090611 Layton arrives
1940, Friday 06 September;

Vice Admiral Layton sat at his cabin desk, trying to give the appearance of calm, by working through some mundane paperwork, waiting with growing excitement for the call to disembark from the ship, the Viceroy of India, a 20,000-ton passenger liner docked in Singapore. His wife, Eleanor, was in the other room, fussing over the packing of their luggage, doing her best to keep calm as well. The ship had been their home since leaving Liverpool in mid-July, along with numerous other service personnel, their three children left back in the UK in boarding schools.

The ship had sailed independently, relying on her speed to avoid any dangers, but while she was at sea, the German navy had been significantly increasing their threat potential with large surface ships, U-Boats and commerce raiders, meaning that independent sailing would, in the main be coming to an end, as the convoy system took greater control of ship movements across the Atlantic.

The Viceroy of India was only stopping overnight, enough time for the passengers bound for Singapore to get off. Mostly it was newly trained recruits coming out to replace experienced personnel who were either time expired or taking promotions back in the UK. Two days ago, those bound for Malaya had disembarked at Penang. And others would remain onboard, until the ship reached Hong Kong. Then she would retrace her steps back to the UK

Layton was assuming command of the Royal Navy’s China Station from Admiral Sir Percy Noble, not a particularly rewarding appointment, a backwater, which was starved of ships, and he’d be hard pressed to shine here. He knew these waters well, having been a Chief of Staff on the China Station in the early thirties. No doubt he’d meet Percy soon informally, and probable they’d sit down in more formal circumstances next week, as Percy updated him on the situation here. He already knew a bit about the few, old, obsolete, major units here, and the shortages of escorts. What he didn’t know was the acrimonious relationships between the Army and RAF and between the Military and Civilian worlds, something Percy would quickly tell him, and he’d soon see it first-hand for himself.
 
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MWI 40091517 Churchill visits on a very busy day
1940, Sunday 15 September;

He had been there in the bunker since nine-thirty, keen to see for himself the strategic picture, how the RAF was coping in the daily battles with the Luftwaffe. The word had quickly gone around, ‘Churchill’s here’, and aware of how his appearance could cause a distraction, had told everybody not to act any differently for him. Gradually they settled down, the WAAF plotters having little to do, Churchill and his party enjoying a cup of tea and a biscuit up in the Army’s observation gallery. Unbeknown to him, indeed all of them, today the Luftwaffe was staging a couple of major raids, their intelligence suggesting the RAF was near breaking point, one good push would do it.

Built at RAF Uxbridge, the bunker was no 11 Group RAF’s operations room, an essential cog in the Dowding System, the integrated air defence of the United Kingdom. The new, secret radar stations, called AMES (Air Ministry Experimental Stations) located around the entire coastline, together with the Royal Observer Corps, used dedicated telephone lines to report to Fighter Command Headquarters (FCHQ) central filter room at Bentley Priory. This information was then relayed to Group and Sector headquarters, where operators created a map covering their area of operations. Sitting up in the balcony’s, based on what they saw, the Controllers decided on what and how many aircraft to be scrambled, and the sector operation rooms managed the navigation of those aircraft to their targets, usually placing them in an advantageous position. It had been built before the war, was state of the art, and was proving to be very effective.

11am now, and the plotting table was getting busy, large numbers of enemy aircraft detected, forming up across the channel, all the hallmarks of a big raid. There was a quiet buzz about the place, Churchill, looking down, could see the ‘beauty chorus’, the WAAFs, headsets on, busy working across the map, reaching out with their long plotting rods, to push another raid marker forward, or pull one back to update the information on it, number of aircraft, position, height and bearings. It looked like the main raid would be coming up the Thames estuary, and so Douglas Bader and his big wing of 56 fighters were scrambled

Noon, and the main raid was being intercepted, opposing markers being placed on the map, as RAF fighter squadrons made interceptions, braking up formations, shooting down German aircraft, or being shot down themselves. Park had paired up his squadrons, and as each pair engaged, so it stripped away more German fighters, gradually reducing the escort around the bombers, until just as their bombs fell away, Bader’s big wing, hit the bombers and the few remaining escorts hard. It had been a bloody affair, 6 German bombers, 12 fighters and 13 British fighters lost, but more was to come.

1pm, and things had quietened down considerably, the map clearing, and the WAAF girls changed shift. Churchill was delighted, the drama had played out in front of him concluding with a spectacular finish as Bader’s Big Wing’s marker had meet the main raid on the map. Outside, returning German aircraft were landing in France, most of the RAF’s fighters had already landed, and were being refuelled and rearmed.

Just before 2pm, the plotters began filling up the map again, German markers massing over Calais, before turning to Dover. Park scrambled his fighters, again paired squadrons, placing them over Chelmsford, Sheerness, Hornchurch and Kenley, positioned to counter any German move. Crossing the channel, the Germans split into three, and as their size became more apparent, Park reacting by scrambling another four squadrons, then guessing that the forward German markers were fighters conducting sweeps, sent up another eight squadrons, while Group 12 Bader’s Big Wing was also airborne heading for Hornchurch. The British had 276 fighters in the air, the Germans had half as many again, and along with their bombers, more than doubled the RAF’s force.

Now the first engagements began, as interceptions were made, Air Vice Marshal Keith Park, commander of 11 Group, was getting increasingly worried, his squadrons had already been worked hard this morning, and mostly this was fighter verses fighter action, the German bombers being so heavily protected. Churchill asked him how they were doing, Park replied “I have everything up now Prime Minister”,
“What other reserves have we”
“There are none Prime Minister”

A matter-of-fact commentary continued as British markers intercepted, the radio broadcasts of squadron leaders being played out added to the drama.
“Enemy in sight, am engaging”
“Bandits at 10 o’clock, tally ho!”
“Look at the blighters, there’s hundreds of them”

Up in the air, the picture was less clear, other than an almost continuous stream of German aircraft met allied eyes, while the German formations were being intercepted in turn, steadily stripping away the fighter cover, allowing the bombers to be attacked. Bader’s Big Wing turned up, and was bounce from above by Galland’s JG 26. Heavy low cloud cover had been causing the RAF problems with interceptions, but now it saved London, masking the docks and other primary targets. East London was clear, and so 100 bombers dropped 120 tons of high explosive, Bromley-by-Bow gas works was hit hard, as was Upton Park tube station.

The return flight was hard on the bombers, who only suffered a few losses up to now, thanks to fighter cover, but with the German fighter escort engaged, precious fuel used in combat, they had headed back home. A further 50 German Bf109s arrived, the last part of the escort plan, but could only support part of the bombers, others sort out cloud cover, but with many British fighters still airborne, stragglers were picked off with ease.

The long day finally ended, having been bitterly fought, with heavy losses on both sides. The exact figures wouldn’t be known for some time, indeed it would be years before historians pieced together all the information, to come up with the figures of 61 German planes lost, at a cost of 31 RAF fighters. Nevertheless, even given the fact that claims over inflated kills, Churchill and Fighter Command knew they had experienced a very good day, abet a very bloody one.
 
MWI 40091718 The Italians Stop and Dig In
1940, Tuesday 17 September;

The Morris armoured car crept slowly up the slope until its commander, a sergeant of B Squadron, 11th Hussars, called a halt, just his head and shoulders exposed to the crest of the low hill, the armoured car hull down. The gunner beside him was crouched down behind the Vickers machine gun, the turret rotated to the right, covering the exposed open ground this side of the hill, the blue waters to the Mediterranean Sea glistening beyond. The sergeant put his binoculars up to his eyes and scanned the coastal road which ran in front of him, before having to bend around the hill they were on.

About three miles in front, stood a higher hill, the coastal road again winding around it, and he could see activity on the hill top, Italian infantry digging foxholes, he didn’t think they could do much more, the ground was quite hard and rocky. The small Italian patrol that he’d been following was nearing their line, a quick burst of machine gun fire and it halted, obviously needing to provide some recognitions signal, but it indicated the Italians nervousness.

Several miles beyond the lines lay Sidi Barrani, which the Italians had occupied last night, the retreating Coldstream Guards being careful not to get caught in there. But today, other than the patrol which he’d followed, the Italians weren’t advancing anymore, and had all the appearances of digging in. Scouting reports from his regiment, acting as the British screen, were being confirmed by RAF recon flights. The Coldstream Guards had continued their withdrawal, joining the 7th Armoured Division at Marsa Matruh.

The 10th Italian Army’s advance into Egypt, conducted at a pedestrian 12 miles a day, so the non-motorised units could keep up, had come to a stop. They would now start digging in, creating forts, arcing south and southwest, through Maktila, Tummar, Nibeiwa, and on top of the escarpment at Sofafi, with other Divisions fortifying Buq Buq, Sidi Omar and Halfaya Pass. For now, the threat to the Suez Canal, all that lay east of it had receded.

The Sergeant didn’t really care about that, but it was bloody hot in the armoured car, and he was as dry as a bone. He climbed out of the turret, jumping down onto the stony ground, a small cloud of dust rose around his boots. “Johnny, get a signal off to RHQ, enemy patrol had retired back to Italian lines on coastal road, infantry observed digging in on hill just west of us. Ronnie, take the car back down to the gully and point her west in case we have to make a quick exit, then switch off the engine and get a brew going. Sid, come with me, we’ll belly up to the crest and set up a nice little OP, we could be here for a few hours now I reckon.
 
MWI 40092122 A Wolf Among The Sheep
1940, Sunday 22 September;

It was early night, the sun well down, but the moon hadn’t risen yet. The big British convoy, HX-72, was plodding its way across the North Atlantic, laden with war material and supplies for Britain, bound for Liverpool, 12 days out of Halifax, Canada. The 43 merchant ships had been escorted by a single AMC, Jervis Bay, up to now, but entering the more dangerous waters of the Western Approaches, an escort of 5 warships would soon take over responsibility for HX-72 on her final days, while Jervis Bay had already turned to attach herself to a westbound convoy.

At last light Saturday 21st September, Kapitänleutnant Gunter Prien in U-47, of Scarpa Flow fame, spotted the convoy, unescorted. She was on weather duty, having used all but one of her torpedoes on other attacks, but still had a decent fuel reserve. She reported contact and shadowed the convoy, while the German U-Boat Command organised a wolf pack. Midnight, Kretschmer in U-99 made contact and promptly attacked, sinking three ships, the last with help from Prien, before a lack of fuel sent her off to Lorient.

The convoy Commodore, Rear Adm Hugh Rogers RN Rtd, had made things as hard as he could, ordering a turn, and as dawn the following morning came up, smoke with another turn in an effort to shake off the U-Boat tail, but failed, another ship being sunk by the newly arrived U-48. Further U-Boats arrived during the day, but so did the Royal Navy escort, the destroyer Shikari, sloop Lowestoft and three Flower class corvettes, Calendula, Heartsease, and La Malouine, causing the U-Boats to draw back.

That night they were back, U-48 damaged another ship, but the escort was doing its job of keeping the wolves at bay. That is apart from U-100, surfaced, Kapitänleutnant Joachim Schepke, standing on the bridge, who risked taking his U-Boat into the convoy itself, angling across the lines of the big merchantmen, crossing first one, and then a second line of ships, his boat’s low profile and a dark night sky making him difficult to see.

Before the moon rose, he attacked, sinking three ships in quick succession, causing panic in the convoy, which began to scatter. Schepke reloaded torpedoes, all the while remaining inside the convoy’s perimeter, outside the escorts frantically searched for him, driving other U-Boats under in the process. Just after midnight Schepke attacked again, another three ships sunk, but was spotted by her fourth target, Harlingen, who avoided the torpedo, and with her stern gun managed to cause some slight damage to U-100, driving her off.

As the convoy broke up, U-100 claimed her seventh ship, but the escorts kept everybody else submerged, and the rest of the convoy was able to escape, reforming the following day, and making port without further loss. The heavy losses were a worry for the British, the Battle of the Atlantic beginning to turn badly against them, but what wasn’t appreciated was the high-risk tactics the German submarine aces were taking to achieve those sinking's.
 
MWI 40092510 The 4th Submarine Flotilla
1940, Wednesday 25 September;

Admiral Layton sat across the conference table, in the naval base, Singapore, to the four submarine Lieutenant Commanders, Moore of Rainbow (which had only arrived yesterday), Browne of Regent, Currie of Regulus, and Marsham of Rover. Sitting either side of the Admiral was his secretary and a new Lt Cmdr. “Gentlemen, I have called you all here today to firstly introduce you to your commanding officer of the newly reformed 4th Submarine Flotilla, and secondly to outline the plan of why you’ve been recalled here and are not in the Med”.

Layton stood up and leaned forward extending a hand towards Browne. “Congratulations Hugh, or should I say Commander Browne on your promotion and posting as commander of the 4th Submarine Flotilla”. Browne awkwardly stumbled to stand, in surprise, and shock the hand, “Thank you sir, thank you, I won’t let you down”

Browne sat back down and Layton continued. “At this point I need to introduce you all to Lt Cmdr Walter Knox, on my left here, who will be replacing Hugh as Regent’s commanding officer”. Nods and smiles all around, Layton continued. “There is some bad news however, all of you are losing your first lieutenants and quite a number of your experienced petty officers and leading men. The Andrew has a growing need and these will be sailing back to the UK to feed those needs. Their loss will be made up by crew promotions and new arrivals straight from training. Hugh you can promote two Lieutenants to acting First Lieutenant and I’ll be giving you another two. I suggest you balance out what’s left of your experienced people among the four boats”.

“Ok, onto the plan, firstly the 4th Submarine Flotilla has been reconstituted to provide the Eastern Fleet with a submarine presence. Currently you have no depot ship, you’ll be given some temporary accommodation, but a 3,000-ton Chinese river boat, the Whang Pu, is about to undergo a conversion in Hong Kong, into a submarine depot ship, with accommodation, torpedo storage, plant for battery recharging and repair workshops, we expect her arrival in Singapore late January, or early February next year.

The Flotilla will maintain one unit patrolling the waters off China with a second unit on stand bye in Hong Kong, all units will rotate through this duty. In addition, units stationed in Singapore will undergo routine maintenance, and provide anti- submarine training for fleet units. Hugh, the first two units to deploy will be in six weeks. Regent and Rainbow in Singapore and Regulus and Rover in Hong Kong until end of June, then changing over until the new year. Our four boats have been reprieved from being redeployed to the Med, not an ideal sea to work in, they were designed for the Far East seas, but if things deteriorate that may change. So, take the opportunities of the ASW training and patrols off the China coast to work your new crews, I want every one of you to be a top line unit, is that clear”. Layton looked around to smiles and nods.
 
1940, Wednesday 25 September;

Admiral Layton sat across the conference table, in the naval base, Singapore, to the four submarine Lieutenant Commanders, Moore of Rainbow (which had only arrived yesterday), Browne of Regent, Currie of Regulus, and Marsham of Rover. Sitting either side of the Admiral was his secretary and a new Lt Cmdr. “Gentlemen, I have called you all here today to firstly introduce you to your commanding officer of the newly reformed 4th Submarine Flotilla, and secondly to outline the plan of why you’ve been recalled here and are not in the Med”.

Layton stood up and leaned forward extending a hand towards Browne. “Congratulations Hugh, or should I say Commander Browne on your promotion and posting as commander of the 4th Submarine Flotilla”. Browne awkwardly stumbled to stand, in surprise, and shock the hand, “Thank you sir, thank you, I won’t let you down”

Browne sat back down and Layton continued. “At this point I need to introduce you all to Lt Cmdr Walter Knox, on my left here, who will be replacing Hugh as Regent’s commanding officer”. Nods and smiles all around, Layton continued. “There is some bad news however, all of you are losing your first lieutenants and quite a number of your experienced petty officers and leading men. The Andrew has a growing need and these will be sailing back to the UK to feed those needs. Their loss will be made up by crew promotions and new arrivals straight from training. Hugh you can promote two Lieutenants to acting First Lieutenant and I’ll be giving you another two. I suggest you balance out what’s left of your experienced people among the four boats”.

“Ok, onto the plan, firstly the 4th Submarine Flotilla has been reconstituted to provide the Eastern Fleet with a submarine presence. Currently you have no depot ship, you’ll be given some temporary accommodation, but a 3,000-ton Chinese river boat, the Whang Pu, is about to undergo a conversion in Hong Kong, into a submarine depot ship, with accommodation, torpedo storage, plant for battery recharging and repair workshops, we expect her arrival in Singapore late January, or early February next year.

The Flotilla will maintain one unit patrolling the waters off China with a second unit on stand bye in Hong Kong, all units will rotate through this duty. In addition, units stationed in Singapore will undergo routine maintenance, and provide anti- submarine training for fleet units. Hugh, the first two units to deploy will be in six weeks. Regent and Rainbow in Singapore and Regulus and Rover in Hong Kong until end of June, then changing over until the new year. Our four boats have been reprieved from being redeployed to the Med, not an ideal sea to work in, they were designed for the Far East seas, but if things deteriorate that may change. So, take the opportunities of the ASW training and patrols off the China coast to work your new crews, I want every one of you to be a top line unit, is that clear”. Layton looked around to smiles and nods.
Love this TL, enjoyed reading it. Last chapter shows the submarine doctrine ofvthe UK and many other navies. Individual boats in a very long thin patrol line. Their task was scouting not atacking, and aimed at enemy war ships, acting mere as manned sea mines In this chapter not even a line but solist actions. Dutch Royal navy had developt in the prevouis decades a higly advanced submarine tactic as a defense for their DEI against an invasion fleet, more advanced than the German rudel tactic. Submarine squadrons of 3 to 4 boats activly patroling for enemy ships in close support by aireal reconnecaince of Do24 scoutplanes. Their attack doctrine was very agressive with risk of losig the boat. Unfortunatly the Dutch admiral of 1940 had an other personel opinion and handed over al 24 Dutch submarines to British comand who used them all over the world as manned sea mines instead of the Dutch Ruddel tacktic in the DEI
 
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I am enjoying this timeline. It is my understanding that the Japanese were at the end of their supply chain and were surprised when the British surrendered. Also, the fall of Singapore was a major blow to British influence in Asia.

A better showing in Singapore should have a positive impact on Britain in the long run.
 
"Prime Minister, we also think there is value in forming two new Chinese Regiments, one each in Singapore and Hong Kong, and the expansion of the Malay Regiment." Dill looked at Churchill, and held his breath, they were doing well so far.
The Hong Kong Chinese Regiment (HKCR) does seem to have been a major lost opportunity. If it had been raised sooner and expanded it would have been cheaper than British Army or British Indian Army troops and helped free them up for other areas like the North Africa/the Middle East and Malaya/Sumatra. I did have a rough scenario sketched out somewhere where it ended up having six battalions of full-time troops and nine of part-time reservists by the start of the war in Asia, which combined with four British infantry battalions made up two divisions. Hong Kong was always going to fall but it ends up costing the Japanese much more in casualties and time.


What he didn’t know was the acrimonious relationships between the Army and RAF and between the Military and Civilian worlds, something Percy would quickly tell him, and he’d soon see it first-hand for himself.
Someone on the forum, I think it might have been Riain, came up with the idea of replacing Shenton Thomas as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Straits Settlements and High Commissioner of the Federated Malay States with Air Marshal Brooke-Popham. Shenton Thomas was apparently a bit useless whilst Brooke-Popham had done very well as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Kenya.
 
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Love this TL, enjoyed reading it.
Thank you Parma
Last chapter shows the submarine doctrine ofvthe UK and many other navies. Individual boats in a very long thin patrol line. Their task was scouting not atacking, and aimed at enemy war ships, acting mere as manned sea mines In this chapter not even a line but solist actions.
Remember this is the Far East where there is no war at present, things maybe different when the shooting starts
Dutch Royal navy had developt in the prevouis decades a higly advanced submarine tactic as a defense for their DEI against an invasion fleet, more advanced than the German rudel tactic. Submarine squadrons of 3 to 4 boats activly patroling for enemy ships in close support by aireal reconnecaince of Do24 scoutplanes. Their attack doctrine was very agressive with risk of losig the boat. Unfortunatly the Dutch admiral of 1940 had an other personel opinion and handed over al 24 Dutch submarines to British comand who used them all over the world as manned sea mines instead of the Dutch Ruddel tacktic in the DEI
Yes your quite right about the Dutch tactics with both submarines and seaplanes, I will be writing something about their efforts when the time comes
 
I am enjoying this timeline. It is my understanding that the Japanese were at the end of their supply chain and were surprised when the British surrendered. Also, the fall of Singapore was a major blow to British influence in Asia.

A better showing in Singapore should have a positive impact on Britain in the long run.
Thank you stubear1012. Japanese logistics wasnt one of their strong suits, and I will endeavour to highlight this in my writings
 
The Hong Kong Chinese Regiment (HKCR) does seem to have been a major lost opportunity. If it had been raised sooner and expanded it would have been cheaper than British Army or British Indian Army troops and helped free them up for other areas like the North Africa/the Middle East and Malaya/Sumatra. I did have a rough scenario sketched out somewhere where it ended up having six battalions of full-time troops and nine of part-time reservists by the start of the war in Asia, which combined with four British infantry battalions made up two divisions. Hong Kong was always going to fall but it ends up costing the Japanese much more in casualties and time.
I quite agree on the failure to not encourage more Chinese involvement, and am going down the line you suggest, however, I/m not sure how I could raise a force of six battalions of the HKCR between Aug 1940 and Dec 1941. The British authorities were really worried about any communist infiltration, as well as the Triad Gangs, who were well established in Hong Kong and I believe some shady deals were struck, just to keep them onside. These concerns are a factor in recruitment numbers, but a more difficult one was the small garrison absorbing such large numbers.


Someone on the forum, I think it might have been Riain, came up with the idea of replacing Shenton Thomas as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of the Straits Settlements and High Commissioner of the Federated Malay States with Air Marshal Brooke-Popham. Shenton Thomas was apparently a bit useless whilst Brooke-Popham had done very well as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Kenya.
I don't think Shenton Thomas will be staying as Governor too long ;)
 
MWI 40092618 Japan enters Indochina
1940, Thursday 26 September;

Maj Gen Takuma Nishimura was angry, the frustration of the last few days had finally broken his calm exterior, nothing his men did could be right. They were too slow, inept, stupid or downright obstructive. But he knew that wasn’t the case, the infantry of the 21st Independent Mixed Brigade had landed on the beaches at Dong Tac and set up a defensive perimeter in good time. The second wave of landing craft had brought a dozen tanks of the 14th Tank Regiment ashore, and with some considerable efforts by tankers, infantry and engineers, had got them off the beach and onto the road. Ten hours later and following a nine-aircraft demonstration from the carrier Hiryu, flying over the port, with an ‘accidental release of a stick of bombs’, Nishimura and his Indo-China Expeditionary Army of 6,000 had seized the port of Haiphong.

But the frustrations stemmed from the previous days. The plan was for them to sail from Hainan Island, as an agreed occupation force, landing on the 22nd. But those bandits of the 5th Infantry Division with that hot head Lt Gen Akito Nakamura commanding, just had to get involved and crossed the border in violation of the agreement. And although the fighting had easily gone Japan’s way, the Admiral of the task force carrying Nishimura’s troops, an insidious man, Vice Adm Takasu Shiro, had refused to let them land, saying he didn’t have permission of the French to do that!

And what had that idiot, General Issaku Nishihara, who was supposedly managing the negotiations done. Nothing! While the Navy laughed behind their backs. And not only that, but having finally landed his men, he then watched incredulously as the Naval Task Force, sailed away leaving them stranded on the beach! Well, he had friends back in Tokyo, and boy was they going to hear about this. Heads would roll, he would insist on that!
 
1940, Thursday 26 September;

Maj Gen Takuma Nishimura was angry, the frustration of the last few days had finally broken his calm exterior, nothing his men did could be right. They were too slow, inept, stupid or downright obstructive. But he knew that wasn’t the case, the infantry of the 21st Independent Mixed Brigade had landed on the beaches at Dong Tac and set up a defensive perimeter in good time. The second wave of landing craft had brought a dozen tanks of the 14th Tank Regiment ashore, and with some considerable efforts by tankers, infantry and engineers, had got them off the beach and onto the road. Ten hours later and following a nine-aircraft demonstration from the carrier Hiryu, flying over the port, with an ‘accidental release of a stick of bombs’, Nishimura and his Indo-China Expeditionary Army of 6,000 had seized the port of Haiphong.

But the frustrations stemmed from the previous days. The plan was for them to sail from Hainan Island, as an agreed occupation force, landing on the 22nd. But those bandits of the 5th Infantry Division with that hot head Lt Gen Akito Nakamura commanding, just had to get involved and crossed the border in violation of the agreement. And although the fighting had easily gone Japan’s way, the Admiral of the task force carrying Nishimura’s troops, an insidious man, Vice Adm Takasu Shiro, had refused to let them land, saying he didn’t have permission of the French to do that!

And what had that idiot, General Issaku Nishihara, who was supposedly managing the negotiations done. Nothing! While the Navy laughed behind their backs. And not only that, but having finally landed his men, he then watched incredulously as the Naval Task Force, sailed away leaving them stranded on the beach! Well, he had friends back in Tokyo, and boy was they going to hear about this. Heads would roll, he would insist on that!
Great update. You explain cristal clear in one chapter the rivalry and distrust between the high ranking officers of the Japanese Imperial Army and the absolute animosity between the Japanese Imperial Army and the Janpanese Imperial Navy.
It make you wonder with such an atmosphere how Imperial Japan could come so far in 1942.....
 
Great update. You explain cristal clear in one chapter the rivalry and distrust between the high ranking officers of the Japanese Imperial Army and the absolute animosity between the Japanese Imperial Army and the Janpanese Imperial Navy.
Steady on there old chap, otherwise this will all go to my head!, gosh I feel giddy already XD

It make you wonder with such an atmosphere how Imperial Japan could come so far in 1942.....

Maybe it was just right time, right place, for them, but this What If is going to explore what might have happened if maybe a few things didn't go quite as they did historically, and then we'll see were we go from there.
 
Have the RN submarines travel to Hong Kong via Manila/Cavite. Let the RN officers discuss the failure of magnetic exploders (USN MK XIV Issue # 2.) Have the new RN Commander have regular meetings with Adm Hart CinC Asiatic fleet.
 
Thanks for the idea Butchpfd, but I think an earlier appreciation of the USN Mk XIV torpedo's problems is a whole new 'What If' on its own, the ripples from sinking Japanese shipping and warships months, even years earlier could be enormous. I'm trying to write with considerable detail, a finer brush stroke, and am mindful of not biting off more that I can chew, and I'm chewing hard as it is! :)
 
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