Coulsdon Eagle

Monthly Donor
If Keenan is on active service based at one of the northern airfields: -
  1. How can he send messages to his contacts back in Singapore?
  2. It seems almost impossible he could operate a wireless set undetected in a camp presumably on lock-down.
  3. How can he gather intelligence on major operations from Alor Star?
 

Mark1878

Donor
8:00AM on December 7th in Singapore is 8:00PM December 6th in Washington DC and 2:00 PM in Pearl Harbor. When Pearl Harbor was attacked at 8:00AM local time it was 1:00PM December 7th in Washington DC and 1:00Am December 8th in Singapore. There might be a late edition American paper reporting the British action and again in the morning papers. Radio broadcasts, and afternoon papers reported the attack on Pearl Harbor overshadowing any news from Malaya.

The Japanese landing at Kota Bharu started at about midnight December 8th Singapore time. The landings of the 5th Division at Songkhla & Patani were about the same time. IMHO the effect of Matador going in on December 7th would be to push the Thais into the arms of the Japanese forcing them to accept the ultimatum rather than let the time run out and put-up local resistance in the Bangkok area. The Thais would be fighting alongside the Japanese from the start of the fighting. The British have only about 24 hrs. to reach Songkhla & Patani to Forstall the Japanese landing.

The race for the Ledge is another matter. The British are 34 hrs. ahead of the OTL Krohcol but the Japanese wouldn't face any resistance at Patani and would rush troops forward to secure the Ledge. The question is can the British push though Thai resistance & delaying tactics at Betong, with the troops that fought the Japanese at Patani coming down the road to block them from reaching the Ledge. The British have to get to the Ledge secure part of it and set charges to bring the cliffside down on the road. The race will be tight. This TL also assumes these events don't force the Japanese to land at Patani earlier than in the OTL. Their transports are already in the north end of the Gulf of Siam.
Given all the comment here I would suggest that all the posts should show the time in Singapore, Hawaii and Washington to show how the authorities can or can't react.

Gort has enough authority not to need referral to th UK so BST does not matter.
 
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Given all the comment here I would suggest that all the posts should show the time in Singapore, Hawaii and Washington to show how the authorities can or can't react.

Gort has enough authority not to need referral to th UK so BST does not matter.

When we lead out information with Dateline: we are referencing what will be released to the press. Dateline was a reference to time and place as released by military censors to the press.
 
If Keenan is on active service based at one of the northern airfields: -
  1. How can he send messages to his contacts back in Singapore?
  2. It seems almost impossible he could operate a wireless set undetected in a camp presumably on lock-down.
  3. How can he gather intelligence on major operations from Alor Star?
Well, the simple fact is he did. From Wiki

Japanese forces invaded Thailand and Malaya on 8 December. Sydney Tavender, chairman of the Cotswold branch of the Far East Prisoners of War, and who served in the AIL unit with Heenan, said the Japanese aircraft always seemed to know the correct recognition codes, despite the fact that they were changed every 24 hours. By 10 December, the Japanese had destroyed most of the Allied aircraft in northern Malaya.

Heenan was caught during an air raid. "When we discovered he wasn't in the slit trenches with us we became suspicious," Tavender reported. "We went to his quarters and discovered a radio, which was still warm. That was the last we saw of him. He was arrested."[9] The Japanese air raids were assisted by radio transmissions made by Heenan.[1] Among other espionage equipment, he reportedly had a morse code transmitter operated by an alphanumeric keyboard — similar to a Traeger Transceiver — which was disguised as a typewriter.[citation needed] Heenan was sent to Singapore, and was reportedly court-martialled in January 1942.[1] He does not seem to have been formally sentenced, but the normal sentence for treason by British officers was death.[citation needed]


He would know that Matador was launched because the operation would need coordination with the RAF, and he was an army liaison officer with the RAF. He would be in a position to do some damage against an operation that needed operational surprise to succeed. The Japanese had other operatives in the Indian armed forces who were informing them of the strength, deployments and plans of Commonwealth forces. The Japanese knew far more about the British than they knew about the Japanese.
 

Mark1878

Donor
When we lead out information with Dateline: we are referencing what will be released to the press. Dateline was a reference to time and place as released by military censors to the press.
Yes but reading this now we need to show the details as this is seeing this much later.

Also not everyone reading this really sees the difference.
 
Yes but reading this now we need to show the details as this is seeing this much later.

Also not everyone reading this really sees the difference.
Thing is to understand the reality of the situation with what is happening across various time zones, and what will be seen and heard by the American, Canadian, and British public, you need to understand the perceived vs actual times.
 
He would know that Matador was launched because the operation would need coordination with the RAF, and he was an army liaison officer with the RAF. He would be in a position to do some damage against an operation that needed operational surprise to succeed.
OK, but as discussed before information flows took much longer in WW2. Who did his information go to, where were they based, and how did that flow to Japanese commanders?

Secondly, how much do the Japanese trust him; he might have turned and used to feed disinfo at a critical time?
 
OK, but as discussed before information flows took much longer in WW2. Who did his information go to, where were they based, and how did that flow to Japanese commanders?

Secondly, how much do the Japanese trust him; he might have turned and used to feed disinfo at a critical time?
The Japanese seemed to have trusted him to give them daily recognition codes which they used. That shows they were able to use the information he was sending them in a very timely manner. The issues of the slowness of reports moving up the chain of command is somewhat separate from actional intelligence coming from a mole they've found to be very reliable. The intelligence unit he was reporting to obviously had quick access to operational commands that were able to act on it within hours. Knowing the general plan of Matador and getting a reliable source reporting an execution order going out would be acted on quickly.

Besides Heenan wouldn't be the only source reporting on the operation. There were other spies in the Indian army, and fragmentary reports would be coming out from Thai sources and from local agents in the Kra area. The Japanese thought the British might preempt them and already had contingency plans. The idea that Matador would catch the Japanese flat footed is highly unlikely. In fact, they were in position to start the invasion earlier but were delaying the operation to time it with the Pearl Harbor raid. Matador would force the Japanese hand to start their operations earlier than planned.
 

Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
8:00AM on December 7th in Singapore is 8:00PM December 6th in Washington DC and 2:00 PM in Pearl Harbor. When Pearl Harbor was attacked at 8:00AM local time it was 1:00PM December 7th in Washington DC and 1:00Am December 8th in Singapore. There might be a late edition American paper reporting the British action and again in the morning papers. Radio broadcasts, and afternoon papers reported the attack on Pearl Harbor overshadowing any news from Malaya.
Hi Belisarius et al, there are a lot of different ideas on the time zones and as a consequence, what happened when, so lets get this straight.

Unless I'm mistaken, and that has happened once or twice (I know, hard to believe) but here are the time zones, everything referencing to GMT Greenwich Mean Time)

Hawaii is -10.30 Hrs GMT

Washington is -5 Hrs GMT

London is GMT +1 Hrs GMT (+2 Hrs in British Summer Time)

Singapore is +7.30 Hrs GMT

Manila is +8 Hrs GMT

Hong Kong is +8.30 Hrs GMT

Tokyo is +9 Hrs GMT

Now that's very confusing, especially Hawaii!, see https://www.timeanddate.com/time/zone/usa/honolulu?year=1940
 
There were?
Yes. From Wiki.

Planning for this offensive was undertaken by the Japanese Military Affairs Bureau's Unit 82 based in Taiwan. Intelligence on Malaya was gathered through a network of agents which included Japanese embassy staff; disaffected Malayans (particularly members of the Japanese-established Tortoise Society);[citation needed] and Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese business people and tourists. Japanese spies, which included a British intelligence officer, Captain Patrick Stanley Vaughan Heenan, also provided intelligence and assistance.[24]

Prior to hostilities Japanese intelligence officers like Iwaichi Fujiwara had established covert intelligence offices (or Kikans) that linked up with the Malay and Indian pro-independence organisations such as Kesatuan Melayu Muda and the Indian Independence League. The Japanese gave these movements financial support in return for their members providing intelligence and later assistance in determining Allied troop movements, strengths, and dispositions prior to the invasion.[25]

Through the operation of these networks prior to the invasion the Japanese knew where the Commonwealth forces were based and their unit strengths, had good maps of Malaya, and had local guides available to provide them with directions.[26]
 

Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
Besides Heenan wouldn't be the only source reporting on the operation. There were other spies in the Indian army, and fragmentary reports would be coming out from Thai sources and from local agents in the Kra area.
Hi Belisarius II, I'm not aware of any named Indian soldier spying for the Japanese before the invasion, perhaps your confusing the likes of Mohan Singh who threw his lot in with the Japanese after they had surrendered. However, there was a lot of Japanese activity pre-war in spying in Malaya/Singapore, I reported on this, see https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/malaya-what-if.521982/post-22807986, and I have no doubt the Japanese would have been capable of obtaining some info from Indian soldiers, how much worth that was I'm not so sure. Of more use might be the Malay Sultans, the Sultan of Johore came under some suspicion, although I casted him in a much more favourable light, see https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/malaya-what-if.521982/post-24118479
 

Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
Given all the comment here I would suggest that all the posts should show the time in Singapore, Hawaii and Washington to show how the authorities can or can't react.

Gort has enough authority not to need referral to th UK so BST does not matter.
Hi Mark1878, yes, we had a conversation on this point, and you should see future posts with the Singapore time zone and a local one if different.
 

Errolwi

Monthly Donor
Now that's very confusing, especially Hawaii!
Living in NZ, western North America is like 4 hours ahead, yesterday! It can be a struggle. Although streaming shows tend to drop midnight CA time, which is conveniently early evening. Some media tracking apps get confused by the day change and don't show them as available until a day after they are.
There is a myth that NZ declared war on Germany early due to time zone confusion, but there is plenty of evidence that the civil servants cross-checked carefully when to wait for the formal announcement.
 
Living in NZ, western North America is like 4 hours ahead, yesterday! It can be a struggle. Although streaming shows tend to drop midnight CA time, which is conveniently early evening. Some media tracking apps get confused by the day change and don't show them as available until a day after they are.
There is a myth that NZ declared war on Germany early due to time zone confusion, but there is plenty of evidence that the civil servants cross-checked carefully when to wait for the formal announcement.
Star Wars?
 
MWI 41120704 Laying the Last Mines

Fatboy Coxy

Monthly Donor
1941, Sunday 07 December, 05.00 – 20.00 Hrs Hong Kong Time (04.00 – 19.00 Hrs Singapore Time):

The signal from Lord Gort's command last night had effectively put the Colony on a war footing. That meant that some small further measures which had been delayed could now be taken. Since being called to the colours last Monday, the Colony had quickly evolved. Men who had only trained in their roles at weekends had becoming increasingly used to and familiar with their tasks. Now the grim realisation was taking hold that war was not only possible, but more likely probable, as defensive war plans unfolded in actions.

World War I "S" Class destroyers could be easily converted into minelayers, and this had proved very useful. Thracian, Scout, Stronghold, Tenedos, and Thanet had all been used in this role, either here or in the waters around Singapore. The conversion was quick, timewise: just a few days in dockyard to remove the two twin torpedo tube mounts and after 4-inch gun, and install the rails (fixings for the rails were all pre-fitted). It wasn’t popular with the converted ship's crew, who had the back-breaking job of emptying the after 4-inch magazine, and landing some other stores, to allow for the weight of the 40 mines she would carry.

Now, nice and early, first of the day, pre-dawn, HMS Barlight towed open the Tathong boom gate. Under the watchful eye of HMS Robin, the gunboat acting as boom defence vessel, HMS Thracian slid out in minelayer configuration, with 40 Mk XIV contact mines ready to be laid. Further lines of mines were to be added to the minefield covering Port Shelter Bay, reinforcing the defence against amphibious attack on the eastern side of the Kowloon Peninsula. It would take her about an hour to get there, a bit under that to lay the mines, and an hour to return. Then she would reload and lay 40 more mines in the afternoon, extending the morning's line.

Just after nine in the morning, Cmdr Hugh Montague and Commodore Collinson's Paymaster Lieutenant showed their passes to the police at the gate of Taikoo Dockyard and went in. Montague was somewhat disgruntled. Collinson had asked him nicely for a favour, but the drive round from the Naval HQ at Aberdeen had been delayed twice by convoys of trucks shifting stores from Kowloon, making him a few minutes late.

Collinson had asked him to meet the Dockyard's Director about the delicate matter of having to stop the construction of ordered ships and boats on the slipways, and indeed, prepare them for destruction. Collinson had made it all sound easy, a pleasant little morning of coffee and biscuits. But Montague knew the director and the construction manager well, and this was going to be more like pulling a tooth. That was why he insisted on being accompanied by the Paymaster Lt, who at the moment was quite enjoying his day.

Just before 11 AM, Lt Desmond Hindmarsh was called to the bridge of HMS Indira, patrolling south of Hong Kong. A lookout had reported a ship on the horizon: a Japanese destroyer. Hindmarsh called his crew to action stations, just to be on the safe side. Then he went to check his plot with the HKRNVR Sub-Lieutenant he'd been given as a navigating officer. The Sub Lt was thirty-something, portly, and used to sailing a yacht, which gave Hindmarsh cause for concern. But he was willing, eager even, and took in everything Hindmarsh told him. That included a few tall tales that Hindmarsh had managed to get out with a straight face. Yes, looking at the plots, the Japanese destroyer was well outside British waters, doing nothing wrong. But nevertheless, her presence was menacing.

Noon was passing. HMS Thracian was already back, laying alongside the mine carrier Moa Lee, her crane carefully swinging over another mine to sit down on the mine rails. The work was slow, done with care, and it wouldn’t be until well past 4 PM before Thracian could sail for her second mine-laying sortie, fully loaded with another 40 mines.

At half past one, "Christ, more like twenty to two," he thought, Cmdr Hugh Montague and a very dispirited Paymaster Lt walked out of the dockyard The police sergeant at the gate gave a very smart salute, as if to say "Ha, they saw you two off all right!" It had been as bad as he’d expected. They had spent hours down around the incomplete hulls, arguing as to the level of completion that had been reached. The dockyard was most anxious to be paid, while Montague very keen to be clear as to what would be destroyed, and not left to be used by the Imperial Japanese Navy for restoring some ship or other, if they captured the yard.

The four Fairmile B launches were relatively easy to agree on. 434 and 435 had barely been started, just a hull skeleton and supporting structure, while 376 and 377, although halfway finished, were still lacking engines and all their fixtures and fittings. But Skilful, the 300-ton dockyard tug, was well on the way to completion, and her demolition was going to be more challenging. Simply setting fire to her was most certainly going to set the godowns next to her alight, and pretty soon the dockyard could be in flames. Her hull wasn't sealed, so she couldn’t be towed out and scuttled. She would have to be taken apart manually, and who was paying the wages for that? Montague had some satisfaction in turning to the Paymaster Lt and telling him that was his decision, while the shipyard construction manager played on the intricacies of ship demolition.

3 PM, and HMS Barlight had the gate open for the umpteenth time, as two more small tramp steamers left harbour, one half unloaded, the other in ballast, taking the strong advice to leave and make for the waters of Manila or Singapore. A lot had already left over the last few days, but there was always the nagging worry of costs, and shipping agents. Even at this stage they were desperately trying to deliver their cargos and be paid.

Just after 4 PM, the P&O tug Jeanette, leased by the Hong Kong Dockyards, made her first journey over to Stonecutters Island with a small working party aboard. Overnight, she would hopefully remove the last of the munitions stored there, carrying them in a couple of trips to the underground magazine on Green Island.

At twenty past seven, HMS Thracian returned to harbour, her minelaying duties complete for the day. Tomorrow Collinson would probably send her to lay mines in Mirs Bay, northeast of where she had been today. When she docked, her crew would be disappointed, to say the least, as many had worked up a real good thirst. She would remain on the "four hours' notice to sail" orders she'd been given days ago, meaning that all shore leave was still cancelled, and an increase in the rum ration wasn’t going to put that right.

8 PM, and HMS Indira returned from patrol. Harbour traffic from Kowloon to the Island and back was very busy, as yet more stores, vehicles, and equipment were brought across. Sent round to Aberdeen Harbour to fill her bunkers from the small oiler RFA Ebonol, she found Thracian already there, and had to wait a couple of hours before Thracian was full and left the berth.
 
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