1941, Monday 13 January;

It was the seventh weekly meeting of the General War Council, they’d met the Monday between Christmas and New Year, for a short meeting, but were back to the full morning, the Monday afterwards. It was the same format, an executive first then the full council later in the morning. Caldecott had settled back into Singapore life, almost as if he’d never been away, he had such an easy manner with everyone, but still managed to get things done. Layton was the old hand now, five months into it, while Gort, Park and Percival were still trying to get use to the climate. Nevertheless, this format of governance seemed to work well. The Executive meeting just between the five of them and the Secretary, meeting earlier, helped smooth over conflicts of interest within the services and with civil government.

Today, after quite a few minor items of mundane business earlier on the agenda, the War Council had moved to the main item of business, discussing the FMSR (Federated Malay States Railways), and agreeing some changes to be put in place. This was due to it becoming a prominent concern, following the closure of the main line for two days in December, south of Ipoh, caused by a landslide brought on by heavy rains. It had help focus their minds on the vulnerability of the railway as both Gort and Park had been on a train stuck for several hours waiting for the FMSR to back the trains into stations, allowing them to get off, and journey on by car. A previous council had been discussing this, and a couple of sub committees, one headed by the General Manager of the FMSR, and a second by a Colonel of Royal Engineers, had been formed to discuss requirements and capabilities, they had reported back, and there were a number of points that they had agreed could be improved.

Chairman Andrew Caldecott sat in middle of the table, Grimwood to his left. “So, to summarise, One, I will work on providing laws allowing the militarisation of the FMSR to happen quickly in time of war. Two, provide additional funding for the FMSR, partly by directing more monies into their Railways Renewal Fund and Capital account, and secondly directly paying for FMSR rail related imports from Canada from the main Malaya War Fund Account, this will effectively more than double the annual budget. Three, through this council the Food Controller, Director of Public Works Dept and the Director of the Harbours Board Council will provide details of what expansions and improvements they would most desire.

Caldecott looked down the table at the FMSR GM, Leslie Smart, who took a great swallow and continued the summary in a somewhat hesitant voice. “Firstly, the err, FMSR will work with both the military and civilian authorities on planning and implementing the upgrading and developing some parts of the network for things like passing loops, extra sidings, expansion of the rail yards, and increased storage both in warehousing and open yards. This will include sites identified for significant military expansion, or key strategic sites”. He stopped and sipped from a glass of water, before carrying on.

“Secondly, the current rail track maintenance company will be expanded into three, based at Sentul (Kuala Lumpur), Prai (Province Wellesley), and Gemas (Negeri Sembilan), equipped to make major improvements and repair to rail lines, bridges and other rail infrastructure.
Thirdly, at the Sentul Railway Works, to construct new rail stock for military use, especially more flatbed wagons for vehicles, some extra-long flatbed wagons for aircraft. Also more carriages with be adapted for troop transportation, and the conversation of two steam engines into armored trains for specific military use.”
And lastly, all orders placed from Canada for rails, wheels and axles, rail cranes, and numerous other steel items required for new rail stock, will be done via the Governor’s Office”. Smart stopped talking, relief that his part was over, excited about what was being agreed for his FMSR, but still somewhat in awe of some of his fellow councilors.

Lord Gort cleared his voice, and began “I will ensure a coordinated military command to manage rail transportation and upkeep of rail network, in time of war, for all three services is formed. In addition, I will provide funds for the raising of a Volunteer Railway Regt RE, from the rail workers in Malaya”.

Eyes now turned to Vice Admiral Layton. “My office will detail what improvements we would desire to the rail network in relation to the Naval Base at Singapore, as well as other stations at Port Swettenham and Penang. I will also provide appropriate guns to be fitted to rolling stock attached to armoured trains”.

Air Vice Marshal Keith Park was next “My command will provide details on wanted expansion of railways to service both current and planned airfields, we will also provide advice and guidance on transportation of aircraft by rail”.

The eyes now turned-on Lt Gen Arthur Percival, “My command will firstly, provide detachments of troops to work with the armoured trains when they are converted. And secondly, provide troops to guard strategic points of the rail network in times of war, we also will provide details of wanted railway expansion to service enlarged or new army camps”.

Andrew looked around at the rest of the council, and satisfied that all were in agreement, said “That’s agreed then, my secretary will have copies typed up and sent out to each of you by close of play today. OK there are no other items left on the agenda, and I’ve had no notice of any other business, so I shall call a closure to the meeting, apologies we have run over, but I’m sure you all agreed the business had to be concluded. Now gentlemen, as I promised at the start of the meeting, and partly in anticipation that we would run over, I have a luncheon laid on for everybody, if you just follow my steward through the main doors, he’ll lead you all to the dining room. Ah Leslie, might I have a moment of your time please”

The GM of the FMSR stood by his chair, concern on his face, and nodded worryingly to Caldicott, as the others filed out of the room. Caldicott put an arm round his shoulder, “Well done Leslie old boy, piece of cake wasn’t it, just like I said it would be. Now let me give you a piece of advice. When we are talking about the FMSR, its capability, network, workshops, engines or whatever, don’t be afraid to say what you think, you are the expert here, and if you disagree with some staff officer from so and so’s command say so. Don’t allow yourself to be, excuse the pun, railroaded into an agreement that you can’t fulfill. And if asked a question, and you don’t know, don’t bullshit these people, be honest and say so, but make sure you know next time, and in good detail. I think in the coming months and indeed the next couple of years, you and your railway are going to be a vital piece in the jigsaw of Malaya’s defence”.

@Fatboy Coxy

I have a question, are you also including on the war between France and Thailand at this time? If you didn't know here is a link where you can learn more about it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco-Thai_War?wprov=sfla1

The reason is because here in the real timeline the British started to see that they have problems up North.
 
Just any Idea, how useful would it be to arrange for some sample Sten guns and production drawings to be sent out to Singapore. I am sure that the RN dockyard and local work shops could set up a production line to make Stens. The problem would probably be making Magazines. However shipping magazines only means you can send more of them.
Even if production is only a few hundred a week that soon build up to a useful total.
 
Just any Idea, how useful would it be to arrange for some sample Sten guns and production drawings to be sent out to Singapore. I am sure that the RN dockyard and local work shops could set up a production line to make Stens. The problem would probably be making Magazines. However shipping magazines only means you can send more of them.
Even if production is only a few hundred a week that soon build up to a useful total.
Would they have any ammunition though? Basically nothing in British service used 9mm ammunition until the Sten and Lanchester, the ammo for them was brought in from the US as a stop-gap until a 9mm factory could be built. Not a lot of use building guns if there is nothing for them to fire.
 

Mark1878

Donor
Would they have any ammunition though? Basically nothing in British service used 9mm ammunition until the Sten and Lanchester, the ammo for them was brought in from the US as a stop-gap until a 9mm factory could be built. Not a lot of use building guns if there is nothing for them to fire.
This is just from Wikipedia but Austrailia started producing version of Stens (and also Owens) in 1942 so could they produce the magazines and ammo, similarly could India do the production.
 
This is just from Wikipedia but Austrailia started producing version of Stens (and also Owens) in 1942 so could they produce the magazines and ammo, similarly could India do the production.
Eventually perhaps, but Australia had to build a new production line to make 9mm ammunition (again they never used it pre-war) and that decision was only made late in 1941. I suspect by the time any Australian production line is operational and there are enough stocks to send out, the Malayan campaign is going to be over one way or another.

So maybe a medium/long term plan, but short term any locally produced firearm probably has to be in 0.303" British as that is probably all the Singapore arsenals have large stocks of.
 
Just any Idea, how useful would it be to arrange for some sample Sten guns and production drawings to be sent out to Singapore. I am sure that the RN dockyard and local work shops could set up a production line to make Stens. The problem would probably be making Magazines. However shipping magazines only means you can send more of them.
Even if production is only a few hundred a week that soon build up to a useful total.

Apparently the DEI started producing MP28's in 7.63 x 25mm Mauser in 1939....and I believe the Royal Navy began producing the Lancaster in 9mm based on the same model in 1940(?)....so with the level of urgency those would be two good options.
 
"The GM of the FMSR stood by his chair, concern on his face, and nodded worryingly to Caldicott, as the others filed out of the room. Caldicott put an arm round his shoulder, “Well done Leslie old boy, piece of cake wasn’t it, just like I said it would be. Now let me give you a piece of advice. When we are talking about the FMSR, its capability, network, workshops, engines or whatever, don’t be afraid to say what you think, you are the expert here, and if you disagree with some staff officer from so and so’s command say so. Don’t allow yourself to be, excuse the pun, railroaded into an agreement that you can’t fulfill. And if asked a question, and you don’t know, don’t bullshit these people, be honest and say so, but make sure you know next time, and in good detail. I think in the coming months and indeed the next couple of years, you and your railway are going to be a vital piece in the jigsaw of Malaya’s defence”." Excerpt from Fatboy Coxy's post #340.

Reading this latest chapter with its details about the ATL efforts to improve the railway I couldn't help but think that the British have to do a better job building these railroads for themselves or else they are going to end up building railroads for the Japanese.
 
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re: The rail analysis.....I was thinking about the next conversation too.

"So now that you have constructed a brilliant plan as to how to improve our railway, I need to ask you to look at the system from the exact opposite perspective. Specifically if the various regions of Malaya look like they will fall to a potential Japanese invasion, how can we inflict maximum damage to deny them use of our rail lines for as long as possible and making repair as expensive as possible? And what supports would you need from me in order to execute those demolitions?"
 
@Fatboy Coxy

I have a question, are you also including on the war between France and Thailand at this time? If you didn't know here is a link where you can learn more about it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franco-Thai_War?wprov=sfla1

The reason is because here in the real timeline the British started to see that they have problems up North.
Hi Logan2879, I hear you, and there's something coming up in the very near future on this. There will be a number of stories on Thailand, French Indo-China, and the Dutch East Indies to come, some due to significant historical events, others more about how things are building up to war. Some bits will also be buried in other stories. But thank you for the prompt, I'd hate to miss something really significant.
 
Re Sub Machine guns in the Far East

Thanks to sonofpegasus, El Pip, Mark1868, duckie and CB13 for bringing this up. The British Empire forces in the Far East were equipped with the Thompson sub-machine gun, distributed at one per section leader, so giving three sections to a platoon, three platoons to a company, and four companies to a battalion, that’s 36 per battalion. I know this, because of photos of Gurkhas training with them dated November 1941, and I’m sure it’s mentioned in the book ’Moon over Malaya’ about the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders. Also, there is a Japanese report of captured arms, which details 582 Thompson submachine guns captured, and later another note of 1,350 automatic rifles. Given that the heavy and light machine guns are all accounted for under their correct headings, I think the automatic rifles were Thompsons. I estimate these were delivered from about September 1941.

Sub machine guns are a short-range weapon, the Thompson effective up to 50 yards, a Lee Enfield SMLE good to over 500 yards, and it was about a pound heavier that the rifle. That and the introduction of another ammunition type, disinclined the British Army to want to adopt one, until the Germans proved their usefulness in 1940. After that the British couldn’t get enough of them, not only were they great for trench or urban warfare, they were great in the jungle where visibility could be down to yards.

However, the US army also adopted them, and Thompson’s couldn’t make enough. There was also the small matter of cost, a Thompson costing $200 each, later brought down to $70 with mass production, but the lighter, easier to manufacture, home built Sten gun, could be produced for a mere $11. So, the British shifted over to the Sten. However, in our time period, the Far East was served with the Thompson, and I wasn’t planning on introducing any changes to that, that would be best done in a new timeline specifically about the submachine gun.

The Japanese didn’t really adopt the submachine gun until late in the war. They had a small number of licensed models of the German MP 18, and had begun developing the Type 100, but that didn’t reach mass production until 1944. So, we may see a few in the newly formed parachute units, both IJA and IJN, but the infantry formations of the IJA didn’t have them, to the best of my knowledge.
 
Re Sub Machine guns in the Far East
Also, there is a Japanese report of captured arms, which details 582 Thompson submachine guns captured, and later another note of 1,350 automatic rifles. Given that the heavy and light machine guns are all accounted for under their correct headings, I think the automatic rifles were Thompsons. I estimate these were delivered from about September 1941.
Are there any accounts of what, if anything, the Japanese army used those captured Thompsons for? I would guess they would have captured a large quantity of the ammo for it.
 
Are there any accounts of what, if anything, the Japanese army used those captured Thompsons for? I would guess they would have captured a large quantity of the ammo for it.
I have heard that US Marines didn't like them on patrol. Usually the point man carried them and the Japanese were always short of ammo for their .45 cal pistols.
 
To quote Roy and HG “pig shooting with the Owen gun” an Illawarra legend of post invention conformance manufacturing.
 
Are there any accounts of what, if anything, the Japanese army used those captured Thompsons for? I would guess they would have captured a large quantity of the ammo for it.
Hi Draconis, like a lot of captured British Army equipment, it was mostly distributed to local units left remaining in occupational duties. I have no knowledge of them in use, but some equipment, ie Marmon Harrington armoured cars were used by Indonesian forces fighting to gain independent against the Dutch in 1947-48, and the Thompson could have well resurfaced here.

Two main reasons strike me as why the Japanese didn't use these arms in other conflicts, one, the Japanese were aware of their logistical frailties, and adding another gun, with different ammunition was a problem, and secondly, in their opinion, it wasn't warranted. Japanese army units were expected to be somewhat frugal with their ammunition, it was often stated that their spiritual strengths would see them vanquish forces despite having poorer equipment, and to some degree that did work. For long range, they had machine guns and rifle, for close range, the grenade and bayonet, hence the Banzai charges.
 
MWI 41011400 Parks Priorities His Airfields
1941, Tuesday 14 January;

After arriving back in November, Air Vice Marshal Keith Park had toured his command and quickly realised how big a job he had. He decided that air defence of Singapore and Johore was his first priority, followed by a need to develop a maritime strike capability, and a tactical force able to support land forces in Northern Malaya. This would call for three groups, each tailored to its appointed task. However, resources were pitifully few, and his command would have to develop gradually, with a requirement that assets would be interchangeable where possible.

In part, this meant getting a better grip on airfield development. He knew all too well about airfield vulnerabilities, and the need to have an integrated system. Some of the locations chosen frankly alarmed him, and he was going to restrict the building plan to be more in keeping with what could be defended, and what air assets he was going to get. The trouble was airfields took a lot longer to build than squadrons being sent out from the UK to arrive did. He also had problems with the resources allocated to building and developing the airfields but was being assured this would be addressed.

So, with air defence his first priority, he had to have a ring of fighter airfields in Johore. His eye for detail insisted on protected munition and fuel dumps, dispersal areas with aircraft pens, AA guns, huts and maintenance sheds. And this was at the expense other airfields, especially some northern ones, where building progress was being delayed, indeed stopped in some cases, as the building resources were re-allocated. However, he still needed to develop airfields for the future plan of expanding the force for Army Co-Operation in Northern Malaya, and provision for airfields for the Maritime Strike Force.

Hand in hand with all of this came the need for air control and especially radar. His experiences in the Battle of Britain had taught him how crucial radar was. He planned an extensive network providing an air defence of Singapore and Johore. He would also have smaller areas of air defence around Northern Malaya, based at Penang, Central Malaya at Kuala Lumpur and Kota Bharu covering the North Eastern sector. He planned that they would, possibly in 1942, become one united air defence system, but resources wouldn’t allow that at the moment.

Given that his command was half way round the world, reinforcements, replacements, aircraft and spares, would have a long way to come, and take time. With this firmly in mind, Park drew from some salient points he’d taken from the Battle of Britain. Timely use of advanced radar warning was critical to giving fighters time to gain the height and positional advantage. Always target the bombers first, if possible. And a new tactic he’d come to view as essential was operating in finger four formations, which made it easier for new pilots to remain in formation. Given he was building a command from the ground up, the majority of pilots would be extremely green, with little experience scattered about them, so anything that help, had to be looked at.

After review current airfield development was as below with planned works for 1941

Singapore Island

Kallang – civil airfield complete, ovoid grass runway, 1941, provide protected munition and fuel dumps, dispersal areas with aircraft pens, accommodation for two fighter sqns, a dedicated fighter control bunker with filter and control rooms, linked by telephone to all Singapore and Johore airfields and AMES units. All work by PWD and contractors.

Seletar – military airfield complete, 2 grass runways, extensive hangers and buildings, seaplane slip, major RAF maintenance unit, 1941, runways being converted to hard. All work by PWD and contractors

Sembawang – military airfield incomplete, 2 grass runways, few buildings, 1941, expansive works ongoing, including extension and conversion of both runways to hard, accommodation for two bomber sqns. All work by PWD and contractors.

Tengah – military airfield incomplete, 2 hard runways incomplete, 1941, completion of the two hard runways, buildings and new pens, dispersal areas etc also being added to accommodate two bomber sqns. All work by PWD and contractors.


Johore

Kluang – incomplete military airfield, 1 grass runway, 1941, two hard runways and extensive building work to be completed for two fighter sqns, in addition, a large RAF maintenance facility to be provided

Kahang – military airfield, site surveyed, small grass runway, 1941, single grass runway with protected munition and fuel dumps, dispersal areas with aircraft pens, hutted accommodation to be provided for one fighter sqn.

Batu Pahat – civil landing ground, small grass runway, few buildings, 1941, extension of single grass runway with protected munition and fuel dumps, dispersal areas with aircraft pens, hutted accommodation to be provided for one fighter sqn.

Skudai – civil grass landing ground for light a/c, no buildings, 1941, no development planned, to be used as emergency landing site only.

Tebrau (Johore Bharu) – did not exist, 1941, site surveyed for development as bomber airfield for two sqns, no further work planned as yet.

Labis – civil grass landing ground for light a/c, no buildings, 1941, planned to develop as bomber airfield for two sqns, very low priority.


Central Malaya
Batu Berendam, Malacca – did not exist, 1941, Aug/Sep begin development, one grass runway, for one fighter sqn.

Gemas – did not exist, 1941, planned to develop as bomber airfield for two sqns, very low priority.

Port Swettenham – civil airfield complete, 2 grass runways, few buildings, 1941, planned protected munition and fuel dumps, dispersal areas with aircraft pens, hutted accommodation to be provided for two fighter sqns, low priority.

Kuala Lumpur – civil airfield complete, small grass runway, combined engine repair depot incomplete, 1941, completion of engine repair depot, further development of site, hangers, pens etc, runway to be expanded and converted to hard

Taiping – civil airfield complete, small grass runway, very few buildings, 1941, planned to develop as bomber airfield for two sqns, with major expansion and 2 hard runways.

Ipoh – civil airfield complete, 2 small grass runways, very few buildings, 1941, planned to develop as bomber airfield for two sqns, with major expansion and 2 hard runways.

Sitiawan, near Lumut – civil airfield complete, grass runway, no buildings, 1941, no plans to develop

Jendarata near Teluk Anson – civil grass landing ground for light a/c, no buildings, 1941, no plans to develop

Kerling, 30 miles north of Kuala Lumpur – civil grass landing ground for light a/c, no buildings, 1941, no plans to develop


North West Malaya
Alor Star – civil airfield complete, hard runway, very poor disposition of buildings, needs major changes, no current work progressing

Sungei Patani – grass landing ground for light a/c, few buildings, needs major works, 1941, runway being extended in grass, planned to develop as bomber airfield for two sqns.

Kuala Ketil - site located, nothing else, 1941 planned single grass runway, protected munition and fuel dumps, dispersal areas with aircraft pens, hutted accommodation to be provided for one fighter sqn.

Bayan Lepas (Penang) – civil airfield complete, part grass part hard runway, few buildings, 1941, convert all runway to hard, planned protected munition and fuel dumps, dispersal areas with aircraft pens, hutted accommodation to be provided for two fighter sqns.

Butterworth – airfield construction had begun, ground clearance completed, awaiting grading work, 1941 planned to develop as bomber airfield for two sqns.


North East Malaya
Kota Bharu – airfield complete, grass runway, few buildings, 1941, planned to develop as bomber airfield for two sqns, pens and dispersal areas required.

Gong Kedak – airfield incomplete, ground clearance complete, awaiting grading work, 1941, planned to develop as bomber airfield for two sqns.

Machang – site located, nothing else, 1941, no development planned.

Kuantan – airfield incomplete, grass runway, few buildings, 1941, planned to develop as bomber airfield for two sqns, work progressing slowly

Many of these airfields needed major development, but with limited earth working plant, and concrete in short supply, this would have to be staged. The work on the runway at Tengah was already in progress, While at Seletar, the work would have to be carefully managed alongside an existing grass strip. Both Kluang and Kahang were new sites, with no restrictions other than resources, again some work had already been done, like ground clearance, and a lot of levelling. Kuala Lumpur was having a major expansion of facilities, as well as the runway being extended and hardened.

Looking at the development of a radar network, here they were sadly lacking, with few units allocated and none yet installed and working. Expressing concerns Park, had found support from Portal, who had agreed a diversion of units from West Africa, namely two COL units, 513 and 514 and a MRU, 244, to Singapore, being temporary backfilled by a unit promised to the Middle East, with Singapore giving up the same number of units later on in its allocation. These units should arrive in March.
 
1941, Tuesday 14 January;

After arriving back in November, Air Vice Marshal Keith Park had toured his command and quickly realised how big a job he had. He decided that air defence of Singapore and Johore was his first priority, followed by a need to develop a maritime strike capability, and a tactical force able to support land forces in Northern Malaya. This would call for three groups, each tailored to its appointed task. However, resources were pitifully few, and his command would have to develop gradually, with a requirement that assets would be interchangeable where possible.

In part, this meant getting a better grip on airfield development. He knew all too well about airfield vulnerabilities, and the need to have an integrated system. Some of the locations chosen frankly alarmed him, and he was going to restrict the building plan to be more in keeping with what could be defended, and what air assets he was going to get. The trouble was airfields took a lot longer to build than squadrons being sent out from the UK to arrive did. He also had problems with the resources allocated to building and developing the airfields but was being assured this would be addressed.

So, with air defence his first priority, he had to have a ring of fighter airfields in Johore. His eye for detail insisted on protected munition and fuel dumps, dispersal areas with aircraft pens, AA guns, huts and maintenance sheds. And this was at the expense other airfields, especially some northern ones, where building progress was being delayed, indeed stopped in some cases, as the building resources were re-allocated. However, he still needed to develop airfields for the future plan of expanding the force for Army Co-Operation in Northern Malaya, and provision for airfields for the Maritime Strike Force.

Hand in hand with all of this came the need for air control and especially radar. His experiences in the Battle of Britain had taught him how crucial radar was. He planned an extensive network providing an air defence of Singapore and Johore. He would also have smaller areas of air defence around Northern Malaya, based at Penang, Central Malaya at Kuala Lumpur and Kota Bharu covering the North Eastern sector. He planned that they would, possibly in 1942, become one united air defence system, but resources wouldn’t allow that at the moment.

Given that his command was half way round the world, reinforcements, replacements, aircraft and spares, would have a long way to come, and take time. With this firmly in mind, Park drew from some salient points he’d taken from the Battle of Britain. Timely use of advanced radar warning was critical to giving fighters time to gain the height and positional advantage. Always target the bombers first, if possible. And a new tactic he’d come to view as essential was operating in finger four formations, which made it easier for new pilots to remain in formation. Given he was building a command from the ground up, the majority of pilots would be extremely green, with little experience scattered about them, so anything that help, had to be looked at.

After review current airfield development was as below with planned works for 1941

Singapore Island

Kallang – civil airfield complete, ovoid grass runway, 1941, provide protected munition and fuel dumps, dispersal areas with aircraft pens, accommodation for two fighter sqns, a dedicated fighter control bunker with filter and control rooms, linked by telephone to all Singapore and Johore airfields and AMES units. All work by PWD and contractors.

Seletar – military airfield complete, 2 grass runways, extensive hangers and buildings, seaplane slip, major RAF maintenance unit, 1941, runways being converted to hard. All work by PWD and contractors

Sembawang – military airfield incomplete, 2 grass runways, few buildings, 1941, expansive works ongoing, including extension and conversion of both runways to hard, accommodation for two bomber sqns. All work by PWD and contractors.

Tengah – military airfield incomplete, 2 hard runways incomplete, 1941, completion of the two hard runways, buildings and new pens, dispersal areas etc also being added to accommodate two bomber sqns. All work by PWD and contractors.


Johore

Kluang – incomplete military airfield, 1 grass runway, 1941, two hard runways and extensive building work to be completed for two fighter sqns, in addition, a large RAF maintenance facility to be provided

Kahang – military airfield, site surveyed, small grass runway, 1941, single grass runway with protected munition and fuel dumps, dispersal areas with aircraft pens, hutted accommodation to be provided for one fighter sqn.

Batu Pahat – civil landing ground, small grass runway, few buildings, 1941, extension of single grass runway with protected munition and fuel dumps, dispersal areas with aircraft pens, hutted accommodation to be provided for one fighter sqn.

Skudai – civil grass landing ground for light a/c, no buildings, 1941, no development planned, to be used as emergency landing site only.

Tebrau (Johore Bharu) – did not exist, 1941, site surveyed for development as bomber airfield for two sqns, no further work planned as yet.

Labis – civil grass landing ground for light a/c, no buildings, 1941, planned to develop as bomber airfield for two sqns, very low priority.


Central Malaya
Batu Berendam, Malacca – did not exist, 1941, Aug/Sep begin development, one grass runway, for one fighter sqn.

Gemas – did not exist, 1941, planned to develop as bomber airfield for two sqns, very low priority.

Port Swettenham – civil airfield complete, 2 grass runways, few buildings, 1941, planned protected munition and fuel dumps, dispersal areas with aircraft pens, hutted accommodation to be provided for two fighter sqns, low priority.

Kuala Lumpur – civil airfield complete, small grass runway, combined engine repair depot incomplete, 1941, completion of engine repair depot, further development of site, hangers, pens etc, runway to be expanded and converted to hard

Taiping – civil airfield complete, small grass runway, very few buildings, 1941, planned to develop as bomber airfield for two sqns, with major expansion and 2 hard runways.

Ipoh – civil airfield complete, 2 small grass runways, very few buildings, 1941, planned to develop as bomber airfield for two sqns, with major expansion and 2 hard runways.

Sitiawan, near Lumut – civil airfield complete, grass runway, no buildings, 1941, no plans to develop

Jendarata near Teluk Anson – civil grass landing ground for light a/c, no buildings, 1941, no plans to develop

Kerling, 30 miles north of Kuala Lumpur – civil grass landing ground for light a/c, no buildings, 1941, no plans to develop


North West Malaya
Alor Star – civil airfield complete, hard runway, very poor disposition of buildings, needs major changes, no current work progressing

Sungei Patani – grass landing ground for light a/c, few buildings, needs major works, 1941, runway being extended in grass, planned to develop as bomber airfield for two sqns.

Kuala Ketil - site located, nothing else, 1941 planned single grass runway, protected munition and fuel dumps, dispersal areas with aircraft pens, hutted accommodation to be provided for one fighter sqn.

Bayan Lepas (Penang) – civil airfield complete, part grass part hard runway, few buildings, 1941, convert all runway to hard, planned protected munition and fuel dumps, dispersal areas with aircraft pens, hutted accommodation to be provided for two fighter sqns.

Butterworth – airfield construction had begun, ground clearance completed, awaiting grading work, 1941 planned to develop as bomber airfield for two sqns.


North East Malaya
Kota Bharu – airfield complete, grass runway, few buildings, 1941, planned to develop as bomber airfield for two sqns, pens and dispersal areas required.

Gong Kedak – airfield incomplete, ground clearance complete, awaiting grading work, 1941, planned to develop as bomber airfield for two sqns.

Machang – site located, nothing else, 1941, no development planned.

Kuantan – airfield incomplete, grass runway, few buildings, 1941, planned to develop as bomber airfield for two sqns, work progressing slowly

Many of these airfields needed major development, but with limited earth working plant, and concrete in short supply, this would have to be staged. The work on the runway at Tengah was already in progress, While at Seletar, the work would have to be carefully managed alongside an existing grass strip. Both Kluang and Kahang were new sites, with no restrictions other than resources, again some work had already been done, like ground clearance, and a lot of levelling. Kuala Lumpur was having a major expansion of facilities, as well as the runway being extended and hardened.

Looking at the development of a radar network, here they were sadly lacking, with few units allocated and none yet installed and working. Expressing concerns Park, had found support from Portal, who had agreed a diversion of units from West Africa, namely two COL units, 513 and 514 and a MRU, 244, to Singapore, being temporary backfilled by a unit promised to the Middle East, with Singapore giving up the same number of units later on in its allocation. These units should arrive in March.

@Fatboy Coxy

I have a question during 1941 did the island of Pulau Sudong exist a runway or was constructed after WW2?

here is a image

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Since there is a lot of tin mining in Malaya, did the British take advantage of the stocks of explosives that the mining companies had on hand?
 
Since there is a lot of tin mining in Malaya, did the British take advantage of the stocks of explosives that the mining companies had on hand?
Hi Stubear1012, I would have thought so, but I haven't found anything mentioned. I know the Indian Field Engineers had some problems with the Gun Cotton they were issued, and I thought it was WWI stock, but it may have come from the tin mines, as they would have probably used gun cotton too.
 
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